Legal Disclaimer: This fanfiction contains characters invented by Haim Saban and his writers. Because of them, my extremely overactive imagination was able to invent this truly whacked out universe based in part on the PRiS season of Power Rangers.

Special Note: An extreme thanks goes to SilvorMoon, who saved a scene from being lost forever. You saved my sanity that night.

Author's Note: This story picks up the tale approximately four months after Silent War ends. That is all.

Dreaming Of You
by: Cynthia

An awareness floated throughout the Astro MegaShip, slowly touching each of those within it. It had done so many times over the last four months, becoming aware of who each of the new people were there. The awareness longed to meet with each of them in person, to get to know the people they were apart from the mere emotions and feelings that it could sense. One in particular...

She lay on dream-haunted slumber in her room, tossing and turning as images and visions passed behind her eyes. The awareness hovered over her for several moments, uncertain as to what it could do, then slowly faded away, unable to remain away for any longer from it's own vessel.

Ashley Hammond, Yellow Ranger, still slept, unaware that she had been observed by something from outside her experience. She was deep in the dreams that had paraded their way through her mind every night since she had come to the Astro MegaShip. She hadn't spoken of any of them to the other Rangers, feeling they were too private.

It wasn't that they were nightmares; they weren't. Indeed, the dreams were some of the finest she'd ever had, and whenever she woke up, she felt as if she were subtly charged with some form of energy far beyond her usual levels. She had begun to hum every morning as she woke from them, her heart dancing with joy. She just felt good after one of those dreams.

Now she wandered through a green field, with tall trees at the far edges and the sound of a stream tinkling through. These dreams were the most vivid she'd ever had, with every detail for every sense coming through strong and clear. She was wearing a yellow sundress, her hair caressing her shoulders in it's usual fashion, and sandals. She didn't see her morpher, not that it mattered. This was a dream, not reality, and she didn't have to worry about Damien or his attacks. She smiled happily to herself. This was going to be one of the good ones she felt.

"Ashley..." His voice came, welcome as ever, and she looked to see him coming towards her. As ever, she couldn't see his face, but it didn't matter. His gentle voice and heartfelt hands were all she had needed, all she had ever needed. She smiled warmly at him.

"You came again!" Quickly she ran over to him, and the two embraced. "I wasn't sure if you would this time."

He laughed gently, and she felt his lips touching hers in a deep kiss. "I could never stay away from you, Ashley. I love you. I just wish...."

She stepped back just a little, not out of reach of his arms, but just so she could look into the blankness that was his face. "I love you, too....but I wish you'd tell me your name! I can't love a ghost, you know."

"You don't." He smiled, and she wondered anew how she could see that expression when she was so completely unaware of his facial features. She just knew, however. She usually avoided thinking about it, however, at least in the dreams. "It's just that I can't tell you right now. But when I can, I will."

Ashley frowned. "When will that be?" She wanted him more than she'd ever wanted anyone in her life, but it just irked her that she knew everything about him but his name. Maybe Cassie could make it work with someone who continually called himself 'Phantom', but she couldn't.

He pulled her closer to him and kissed her again. She lost all mental focus at the contact and just enjoyed herself in the embrace. "Oh, never mind," she murmured. "I want to stay here as long as I can...with you."

"I wish it could be forever," he sighed. "But even this dream will have to end."

"Not yet." She wrapped her arms fully around him and refused to let go. "Not yet, my love, not yet."

What they did after that is certainly no one's business but their own.

* * *
Damien, Prince of Darkness, son of Dark Spectre, and official current pain in the nether regions to the Power Rangers, was having a few dreams of his own as Ashley enjoyed hers. Daydreams, to be precise, and they didn't involve someone from his imagination. They involved the Yellow Ranger herself. Ever since he had seen her image in a file, he had desired her. She had featured in his daydreams, fantasies, and other such things quite frequently.

Everything is almost ready, he thought, looking through some of the preparations. His chamber had been modified to accommodate two by now, and several other things had been added so they would be able to satisfy his tastes and desires with her with ease. She would be unwilling in the beginning, of course. That was to be expected, and he looked forward to breaking her to his will. In time, she'll not just agree to my advances, she'll join in willingly and eagerly.

He laughed soundlessly, imagining the Rangers' confusion when he so neatly plucked his desired one from their midst and put her through the training course he had developed over the last few months. It was designed not just to shatter her will, but to cultivate a love for, desire for, and need for him in every part of her soul, spirit, mind, and body. By the time he was through, Ashley Hammond would be so thoroughly his that nothing short of a complete memory wipe would ever give them back any semblance of the woman they used to know.

And I'll be having quite a bit of fun in the process, He smiled. Fun would be vastly preferable to what they'd been doing for the last four months, going around and around in an endless cycle of defeats for him. If you could really call it defeats; certainly his monsters all blew up, but the Rangers were no closer to finding Zordon than they had been when he had first been captured, and that was really was Dark Spectre wanted.

The dark prince leaped to his feet and paced around. He hadn't really intended on attacking that day, but the way his thoughts had begun to revolve more and more around Ashley, he was beginning to wonder if he should. It had been at least a week since his last confrontation with the Rangers, and if he was any judge of Karone's character {which he felt he was the best judge because of their constant war}, then she would most likely be getting on edge by now. She would be itching for a fight, nervous and ready to snap because she hadn't had an outlet for her pent-up aggressions yet.

Which meant she'd be making mistakes when the fight did come. She would be off her full guard, so eager on just pummeling whatever creation he'd come up with that he could easily accomplish his real mission without so much as breaking a sweat. Damien's eyes glittered with darkness and desire. "Ecliptor!" He shouted for his guardian, and the crystalline creature stepped into the chamber. As always he was unsurprised to see Damien's attitude; the son of Dark Spectre was almost always spoiling for a fight. Ecliptor knew of his ward's desire for the Yellow Ranger, and wasn't quite certain just what to do about it. Logically he should speak to Dark Spectre about it, to see if the high overlord had anything to say, but emotionally...emotionally he just wasn't certain. He wasn't certain if it were lust or love that drove the prince just yet, and it was important to know the difference. If it were love, then it should be nipped in the bud as soon and as harshly as possible. Love was far too dangerous for those of evil, as proven by Rita and Zedd. The minute she had used a love potion on him, all of his rich and powerful evil had just melted away, leaving only a mockery of the terrifying emperor he once had been. Yes, love was to be avoided constantly.

Ecliptor had raised Damien not to concern himself with love, but to think only of power, prestige, and the unending need to please himself in the eyes of his father. Love was a useless bauble, something that the forces of good claimed was a weapon. Ecliptor knew it for what it was: a weakness.

"Yes, my prince?" he spoke quietly as he looked at the young man. "What is your desire?"

Damien smiled, a sight calculated to send fright to any who saw it. "I desire the Yellow Ranger, Ecliptor. And I think it's time that I took what I desired."

* * *
Earth was still the center of the Rangers' battle, despite the fact most of their battles actually happened in space. The small group had to stick around there since most of the time Damien's attacks came there. They all knew they weren't getting that much done, since their ultimate goal was the location and rescue of Zordon, and they had barely been able to make it back out of Earth's solar system since coming back.

That didn't really matter just then, however. Karone, Carlos, Cassie, Phantom, Ashley, and Justin were hanging around in the place they had all come to think of as a home away from home: the Angel Grove Youth Center. They had thought they would never see it again when they left, but when they returned almost a week after their departure, everything was just had they left it, with the exception of having to explain where they'd been to their parents.

Mr. Stone set the drinks they'd ordered in front of them, and smiled. "So how are things going, kids?" he asked. He was rather worried; one of their friends, T.J. Johnson, hadn't been seen in months. A small organization had been set up to find him, but none of them seemed too worried. He knew something odd was going on, but what it was, he had no idea.

"Same as usual," Karone replied. Stone's curiosity had been very severely aroused by the events of four months previously. He knew the Power Rangers had suffered a fairly serious defeat, losing both their MegaZords, and then it had been all over the news that they had taken the NASADA shuttle and vanished. At the same time, Carlos, Cassie, Ashley, T.J., and Justin had vanished from the town as well. Four of them had come back, bringing Karone and Tom, who seemed to be Cassie's new boyfriend, with them.

Maybe they do know something, maybe they don't, the ex-cop thought. But whatever it is, I trust them. He did wonder just where T.J. was, and what was going on. Trust aside, his instincts were aroused, and he decided to check into things as soon as he could.

"Any sign of T.J yet?" he asked quietly, glancing from one face to the other. For a moment, all of them were silent, and he did notice a faint flicker of emotion across Cassie's face. Then she shook her head.

"People have been looking everywhere, but it's as if he vanished." She said quietly. "Right off the face of the Earth."

Tom put a hand on hers, and she looked gratefully at him. Stone frowned slightly as he went back to his business; the last time he'd seen Cassie this distracted was when the Phantom Ranger was around. He had never interfered with anything the kids around the place did, but he always had kept an eye on them, and he noticed that when the mysterious stranger was around, Cassie was happier, sparkling, and just generally a thousand times more pleasant to be around. Phantom....Tom...Phantom...Tom..Phan...tom Stone turned his head to look back at the group, and saw Cassie leaning her head against Tom's shoulder, his arm around her. If it's not only makes sense, but it means ... He didn't finish the thought. It didn't need finishing. If they were who he was thinking, then they could handle things without his interference. If they weren't, then he was just wrong.

It did rather make sense though. There had been a subtle change in the Ranger team right around the same time Tommy, Adam, Kat, and Tanya had left, and T.J., Carlos, Cassie, and Ashley had begun to hang around. The only thing that hadn't changed was Justin. He had shifted his companions as easily as if he had been born to be with the new group. Stone smiled mentally as he started to clean up. He had the very strong suspicion that he was right about the group of them. They all appeared to have the same tight bond as other groups he'd seen over the years, a bond that extended beyond just friendship. As if they'd trusted one another with their lives and beyond. He nodded to himself. If they know anything at all about T.J.'s disappearance, I know they're going to do something about it. Power Rangers or just good friends, I have faith in them.

* * *
She was beautiful. Beyond beautiful. She was light and joy and peace and healing and everything else that he had ever wanted all rolled into one. She danced through his dreams in a blaze of brilliant yellow, a vision of purest innocence and beauty. He didn't know who she was, he had no idea of her name, but he knew her in all the ways that mattered. He knew her heart and soul, and longed to be joined with it.

His mind wandered out when it could, and got to know her and the others. It had only been recently when he had been able to do this. In the two years since he'd been sealed into his icy prison, he had slowly learned how to extend his mind from his body. It was the only way he'd been able to actually handle the fact his body was still and his mind still active.

Not that it matters. Not that any one else knows. He sighed deeply to himself as he let his mind wander once again through the MegaShip. Karone and Phantom had no idea that his mind was aware, and there was no way he could tell them. He could see, but he couldn't communicate with anyone in any way. It was quite annoying.

For two years he had lain, trying to heal from a battle that had come quite close to claiming his life. He had thought at first he had died, since he was able to see and hear without being seen or heard. Only when he had overheard Karone and Phantom speaking of his 'injury' had he realized what had happened and what he had learned. His 'out of body' education had been mainly instinctive, not something he thought about logically. Not that logic had been his strong point.

With practice, he'd eventually been able to wander all throughout the universe. He had to return to his body on a regular basis, which was analogous roughly to regular sleep, despite the fact his body was in perfect stasis twenty-four hours a day. But when he could, he wandered and saw things. He could move much faster than any normal spacecraft could, and since he didn't have to concern himself with breathable atmospheres and other usual barriers of travel, he had seen quite a few things that were beyond the experience of any of his friends.

But the best thing he'd ever seen had been the Yellow Ranger. He had wandered by Earth about a year after his accident, and seen her around her town. She hadn't been a Ranger then, but the moment he had seen her, his ethereal essence had flickered. He knew her, he couldn't say how, but he recognized her essence, and felt she recognized his as well. He had watched her every chance he got after that, and had cheered when she had been selected to become the new Yellow Ranger. As the months had passed, and she had experienced the things that made her grow and change, he had longed even more for her.

The Silver Ranger had no idea how he would ever meet her, even if he awoke from his sleep at any time in the near future. He could not imagine being without her any more than he could imagine being without his arms and legs. Then had come the attack on the Power Chamber, and he had watched in agony, wanting to help her and unable to do anything. He had tried to communicate to T.J. that he was in danger, but that had accomplished nothing as the then-Red Ranger was trapped and carted off by Divatox's warriors.

After that things had seemed to go a little better for her. She was able to get into space with her friends, and they located the very MegaShip that he was on! But even after all this time, Karone and Phantom still hadn't let them know that he was there! He sort of understood that; they had no idea if, or when, he'd ever recover, and it would be a distraction they could ill afford in their battles. But it would still be nice to know that she knows me.

He settled back into his body, feeling wearier than he ever had after one of his excursions. He hoped that wasn't a bad sign; he didn't want to die before waking up to meet the angel of his dreams. His mind wrapped around the vision of her, and he felt himself relaxing. She was beauty, she was everything to him. He loved her.

I'll be there soon for you, my heart..I hope.

* * *
Four months of unremitting servitude to Divatox had changed T.J. Johnson. He was actually used to wearing nothing but a loincloth, and waking up every morning next to the woman who was teaching him things he'd never before imagined were possible, and who had spent several months prior to his arrival being his worst enemy. They had traveled here and there, attacking some small colonies and adding the populations to Dark Spectre's slave mines. T.J. tried not to think too hard about that. It wasn't that he was becoming heartless; far from it. He just knew if he thought too much, he'd have nightmares, and Divatox wouldn't stand for that. After she'd had her pleasures, she wanted to sleep, and if he disturbed still made him shiver even to think about what she had done, and had promised to do if she were awakened by his screaming again.

He played loosely with a bit of the bedspread. Though he was given the run of the SpaceBase, so long as he didn't try to escape or help anyone else to escape, T.J. seldom left Divatox's bedroom alone. He didn't particularly like it there, but he had no intentions of running into Rygog or some Piranatrons in nothing but his loincloth. It had always been frightening enough meeting them with his powers.

And that's another thing I'm worried about, he thought. It's been months since she took my Turbo Key. What's going on with that? He knew that if Porto had any success, he would already know about, Divatox wouldn't have been able to resist crowing about it. She bragged to him more than anyone else, really.

A faint tap on the door caused him to look up, and he smiled. There was only one person that would be. Divatox never knocked; she just came stomping in, since she owned this entire complex. The flunkies never came by when he was there by himself; he had overheard Divatox giving them orders one morning to leave him to himself. She didn't want her playthings broken. But there was one person who would knock, and who would come and visit him. He opened up the door and let Rocky in.

The former Ranger smiled as he entered and the two clasped hands briefly. They shared the common bond not only of previous Rangerhood, but of being held captive in Divatox's cells. T.J. still had no idea how the other man had come here, and he wasn't certain he'd ever find out. Rocky could be very close-mouthed when he wanted to be, though his essential fun-loving nature hadn't changed. He just hadn't had a chance to express it properly until T.J. had arrived.

"So how are things going?" he asked, sitting down on one of the carved chairs. "We don't hear much about you upper-class ones down in the fifth-rate rejectee area." He grinned as he spoke; though mostly his words were jesting, some truth also edged them. He was one of Divatox's castoffs, which meant while he couldn't leave the SpaceBase, he was still kept around in case she wanted a change of pace from her current stud. T.J. was still fresh enough to keep her occupied for hours on end, however, so that wasn't something he had to worry about.

"Same as usual. The nights are far too long, the days are far too short," T.J. shrugged; he knew Rocky would know what he meant. If they ever escaped from here, both would be very hard-pressed to ever have a normal relationship with anyone again. "Heard anything interesting out there?"

Since Rocky used his freedom more than T.J. did, and had more of it realistically, he often heard things that the ex-leader of the Turbo Rangers didn't. "Nothing but the usual. The Rangers are giving Damien a hard time." They both smiled over that; T.J. had managed to learn from hints Divatox had dropped that his friends were not dead, as she'd told him when he had first agreed to remaining there. They were now Space Rangers, doing everything in their power to rescue Zordon. He hadn't actually told Divatox he knew this yet, but it was something he kept in mind. They weren't dead, which meant he didn't have to concern himself with revenge. But he also knew he didn't dare try to escape, at least not without a much better formed plan than anything he had right now. And not without learning more about what Divatox had planned for the Turbo powers; he wasn't going to let those fall anymore to evil than they already had. As Rocky filled him in on the bits and pieces he knew, T.J. reformed a promise in the back of his mind.

We will be free!

* * *
Justin sat by the side of the pond, staring into it. His eyes were extremely distant; staring into who knew what. The young Ranger was feeling particularly alone today. He didn't have Storm Blaster or T.J. to talk to anymore; he'd really never had his dad, since they had only been together for a couple of months before Mr. Stewart had left again, and before Justin's life had been turned upside down, inside out, and every which way but loose.

Space is fascinating, though, He smiled faintly to himself. He would never have imagined that he would travel through space one day, even after all he'd seen as a Ranger before this. He had to admit, it was pretty awesome.

He glanced up at the sound of a rock falling to see Carlos standing right behind him, slowly tossing stones into the pool and watching the ripples they made. The Black Ranger said nothing for a few moments, just stared into the pool.

"It's different being back on Earth now, isn't it?" he said quietly, sitting down next to his friend. Justin nodded a little, and Carlos continued. "Everything is different."

That was perfectly true. In the last few months, everything had changed. Barely half a year, and they were now Space Rangers, they had new team members, Cassie and Phantom had fallen so deeply in love with one another it was almost laughable, and T.J. was missing. The search for him was going nowhere fast, and the Rangers all knew why.

"Different isn't always wrong." Justin said quietly. "Parts of it are...but...some things..."

Carlos nodded. They both knew the things that were wrong about this different. It ached at them both not to have their friend there with them. "No one has even seen the SpaceBase in months, that we know about. Phantom was talking earlier about taking his ship out and trying to find them."

"What did Karone say?" It didn't seem all that odd to have a female leading them, especially when she did such a fine job of it. It was different, but it wasn't wrong.

"That it was up to him." Carlos laughed shortly. "Cassie told him if he went, she went. I think those two are attached at the hip sometimes!"

The two of them smiled; Cassie had waited patiently for fate to bring Phantom back to her, and when it had, she had latched on to him as if she were a leech. It was quite plain she had absolutely no intentions of letting him get away from her. "What are you thinking about, Justin?" Carlos had already dealt with his own inner turmoil. They came back to Earth about once a month, and in those visits, he had to deal not just with his parents wanting to get him caught up on everything that had happened in the family since then, but with getting caught up on school and other things. All of those who were enrolled in regular school had to deal with that, too. He honestly envied Karone and Phantom; all they had to do was just hang around town. Though Phantom did very little hanging. He simply waited on the MegaShip for Cassie to get out.

"It's ...kind of weird." Justin glanced down for a moment, then back up at his friend. "I don't think I miss my dad as much as I did. I don't love him any less....I just don't miss him like I did."

"You've grown up a lot, Justin," Carlos reminded his friend. "None of us are who we used to be."

The Blue Ranger nodded quietly. His eyes flickered back down the pool. I wished for my dad to come home and he did. I never wished for him to stay, and I really don't know if I'd want him to now. If he did, the Rangers wouldn't have a Blue Ranger. I don't need him like I did. Carlos, Ashley, Cassie, Phantom, Karone...even T.J...they're my family now. They always have been, ever since we met. He thought back to that first day and smiled a little. He'd been scared of being the senior member of the group, but everything had worked out fine. He thought about getting back in touch with the others, with Tommy and Adam, Kat and Tanya. There was so much they really should know about. Especially Tommy. He was going to want to know what had happened to T.J. I'll tell long as he doesn't start blaming himself for putting T.J. in danger by making him the team leader. I'll see if I can find them later today...

He was about to get up, when both he and Carlos were frozen in their tracks by the beeping of their communicators. Carlos touched his briefly. "What's going on, Karone?"

* * *
Ashley had been thinking a lot about hair that day. Not just any hair. Special hair. She remembered it from her dreams. Hair she couldn't describe, really, because it was quite unlike anything she'd ever seen. It touched the shoulders, and was both brown and blonde. It framed a face she had never seen clearly. In the center of that face were a pair of eyes that spoke the world to her. More than the world, the universe.

Who are you, my dream guy? Ashley had wondered that for months now. She wanted to know him, but at the same time she was scared that if his mystery was stripped away, she wouldn't like what she found. That's silly, though. Cassie fell for Phantom when all he was, was a dream to her. A much more realistic dream, of course, but still. They're working out just fine, and are nauseating the way they hang all over each other. But that doesn't mean this guy...whoever he real.

She sighed, toying with a strand of her own hair. Who was he? Where was he? For a moment, she thought about Damien, the bane of her and the other Rangers' lives. In the past months, she had seen him shift his hair color quite frequently. What if this strange person in her dreams was him? She shuddered away from the very concept. It can't just can't be him. He's evil and whoever this guy is..wherever he is..he's good. She couldn't explain it, but she got the most powerful sense of good from him that she'd ever gotten from anyone. He was true and loyal, stubborn and strong, everything she'd ever found attractive in a man, and then some.

I wish he'd tell me his name... She closed her eyes, thinking about the form she'd seen so frequently. Tall and with that strange multi-colored hair, with eyes that literally glowed with love for her. She longed to feel the figure in her arms, it's warm and solid reality, to feel his lips on hers and know that when she awoke, he would still be there for her. I wish I knew anything about him...but he never says anything.

She sighed. She tried to be practical, tried to be realistic. He was just a dream, a fantasy, someone she had made up because of how...honestly, how jealous she was of Cassie and Phantom. Perhaps even in a small way of Carlos and Karone. They weren't dating officially or anything, but she had heard the Black Ranger murmuring Karone's name one night when he'd been in the infirmary after a battle. Karone had spent part of that same night watching over Carlos, and they had went out a couple of times. Just how far things had gone was something the two of them had never mentioned, however. And I'm not going to ask, either. There are things you don't need to know, Hammond.

Ashley got up and slowly walked away. She had been in the park by the picnic tables, daydreaming more than anything else. Her birthday was the next month, and she was supposed to be making plans for the party she would be having. Six months ago I thought T.J. would be there. Instead, it's going to be Karone and Phantom, and who knows what T.J. is going to be doing. Their absent friend was never far from the thoughts of any who had known him, and each of them feared the moment when Divatox would reveal herself: feared and looked forward to it.

All right, forget about that, she sternly admonished herself. I've got four weeks to plan the party of a lifetime, and I'm not going to screw it up! It was going to be one of the most important parties she'd ever had. Her eighteenth birthday. She would be more or less free as any Power Ranger was. She smiled. Eighteen and a junior still....that was somewhat odd.

Involved in thoughts of the party, her birthday, and who would be coming and who wouldn't, she wasn't surprised when she bumped directly into someone. "Oh, I'm sorry," she muttered distractedly. "I should've been watching where I was going."

"It's quite all right." A voice that sent chills down her spine answered her. "I don't mind at all." She looked up to see Damien looking back at her. "Hello, Ashley. So nice to see you again."

* * *
The first thing that Carlos, Cassie, Phantom, Justin, and Karone noticed as they arrived in the park was that Ashley was fighting off Damien one-handed. She had to do it that way, since her other hand was caught in a grip of purest iron by the dark prince. Karone's eyes flashed with deep anger.

"Damien!" the Red Ranger was inches from morphing and blasting the evil young man away. The only thing that kept her from doing it was the fact one of her friends was right there. "Let her go!"

Her enemy just laughed at her, pulling Ashley even closer to her. "I don't think so, Karone! I've been wanting this little morsel for quite some time, and now I'm going to take her!"

Ashley balled up her free fist and swung it at the arrogant little snot. The prince merely smiled and caught her fist in his other hand. "I like them with fire, my dear," he purred into one ear and she tried to flinch. The attempt didn't go over very well as she was held in his grip fairly firmly.

Okay, remember self-defense class, she thought quickly of something she and Cassie had went through as part of their training as Rangers. What did Ms. Kwan and Ms. Campbell say? Oh, yeah, that was it! The universal male weak point! Keeping Damien distracted with the movements of her arms and torso, Ashley steadied herself on one foot and lashed out with the other, kicking as hard as she could into his personal male area. "Leave me alone!" She growled as he balled up and twisted away, losing his grip on her.

"Quantrons!" the voice of Ecliptor came as the crystalline creature teleported in. "Attack the Rangers!" the command came just as groups of Quantrons appeared all around them.

Damien's voice cut through the order. "All but the Yellow Ranger. She belongs to me. I will deal with her." Even as he spoke, his sword appeared in his hand and he delivered a frosty look at the lovely young woman. "You are going to pay for that, my dear. And I'm going to enjoy making you pay for it." He smiled suddenly, and Ashley realized that terrified her more than the thought of 'paying for it' did. "And I'm going to teach you to enjoy paying for it."

"I don't think so." Ashley flipped away from him and landed by the others. "Thanks for coming, guys."

"Not a problem, Ash," Carlos chuckled. "He's not really your type, you know!"

Karone cleared her throat. "We'll discuss compatibility later! Let's Rocket!" In a flicker of light, the group of teenagers morphed into the Power Rangers of Space: Red, Yellow, Pink, Blue, Black, and Phantom. "You guys deal with the metalheads, I'm going to take down Damien."

The dark prince laughed as the Red Ranger headed towards him. "I don't think so. Ecliptor, if you wouldn't mind?" He would forego the pleasure of tromping his enemy for a time. Battle had it's place, but romance was far more on Damien's mind at the moment. As his guardian and Karone began to clash, he circled around to where Ashley was tangling with a Quantron. The other Rangers were too busy trying to save their own lives against his warriors to bother too much with him, and that was just the way he liked it.

This should be quite interesting, he was feeling very charged up just from watching Ashley move around in that armor. She was going to make him the perfect queen, the perfect mistress, the perfect slave. He licked his lips in anticipation of everything that would be done to her. I can't wait another moment.

His sword vanished and was replaced by his staff a moment later. He pointed it slowly at her, well aware of the fact she wasn't even conscious of his presence there. "Time to go, Ashley," he said just loud enough to get her attention. The Yellow Ranger whirled, arms flying up in a defense posture that did no good as a burst of purple energy burst out of the tip of the staff and knocked her down by his feet. He laughed softly. "My queen and I will see you later, Rangers...much later!" With another swirl of energy, he, Ashley, Ecliptor, and the Quantrons were all gone. Karone stared at where they had been, then growled softly.

"Not again."

* * *
Everything was nervous on the Astro MegaShip, everything and everyone. The remaining Rangers were gathered in the control room, discussing what they were going to do.

"Blasting in there and ripping the place to shreds isn't going to accomplish much besides probably getting Ashley and the rest of us all killed," Phantom said flatly, his eyes directly on Karone. The Red Ranger said nothing, as she had not since they had returned to the ship. It was rather obvious what she had in mind, since she'd spent almost five minutes staring at the blaster controls once they'd arrived.

Carlos tossed his hair back a little. "So what do we do? We can't just sit around and wait for Damien to give Ashley back! You heard him, he wants her! And I mean wants her!"

"We have time." Karone spoke harshly and suddenly. "He won't just take her...he wants her to give herself to him. Only if he's convinced that she won't will he take what he wants. And by then, Ashley could've escaped anyway."

Cassie shook her head. "We still need to get in there and get her out somehow. Maybe we can hijack a Quantron fighter or something."

"Can't be done," Phantom corrected her. "They inspect those things inside and out before and after takeout and return. They'd spot a stowaway a couple of parsecs away and vaporize them." He touched the ruby that hung from a chain around his neck. "I could sneak in there, my ship's fairly invisible to their scanners." Before Cassie could open her mouth, he looked at her. "Alone. It can hide one, not two."

Justin considered something else. "It's bound to have shielding. We would need a way to get past it or take it down somehow." His mind was already drifting off into ways to get samples of the shields and work his way past them. The others let him be; they'd long since figured out the best way to get results out of Justin was just to let him figure things out on his own. He got there a lot faster than they would.

Karone sighed just a little, turning away from the others. She could feel the urgency to do something, to fix things again, to do something about this innocent snatched by the powers of evil. I've lost too much. It's why I won't commit to Carlos. I lost Zhane by caring, even at that age. I lost Andros... She put that line of thought off where it lay and shivered in memory. I'll deal with that later. Right now, Ashley needs us.

"If we can get past the shields, we can probably find her. Knowing Damien, he'll have her in his quarters." Carlos shuddered at the very thought, and Karone looked up in time to place a hand on his. She knew Carlos and Ashley had dated briefly back just before they had become Turbo Rangers, but it had transmuted into a friendship similar to that which she had with Phantom.

Talk continued for several more minutes, with Karone's mind wandering more and more away from it. She couldn't seem to focus; it was as if something was wandering just on the very edge of her consciousness, something she couldn't identify. It was very seriously disturbing her. I've got to find out what this is. If it bothers me while we're rescuing Ashley, that could jeopardize the mission. Quickly she got up and looked around, oblivious to the looks of the others. The sensation had turned into a full blown summons, something she hadn't felt in years. In two years to be precise.

"Karone?" Carlos looked at the Red Ranger. Something's seriously wrong. Beyond Ashley. He got up as she started to walk out, the others following as their leader led them through the corridors. He tried to call her again, but it was as if she didn't even hear him. He glanced back at the others.

"Follow." Phantom said quietly. "I've seen this before. Wherever she's going, it's what's meant to be." There was a look in his eyes that said clearly he knew what was happening, and amazingly...he was smiling about it. One by one, each of the Rangers followed Karone through the ship. Whatever she was doing, it was something they didn't understand. But they were all going to find out.

No matter what it was.

* * *
The first thing she was aware of was the fact her back hurt. It wasn't a huge throbbing intense pain, it was just as if she'd strained it during a battle and it was making itself known. As she reached up towards consciousness, she made a note to program up a nice massage program on the Simudeck as soon as possible.

As Ashley's eyes fluttered open, something rather quickly occurred to her. Her chamber on the MegaShip was as nice as she could make it, but there was no way she was there now! What she could see of it was absolutely huge, stretching out several feet beyond what her quarters there were. The entire place was decorated in black and red, colors she'd never before seen in her room, which was in varying shades of yellow, with faint touches of silver that had felt appropriate to put there.

She moved a little, hearing the whisper of silk against skin. Her eyes flashed all the way open, and she looked around. Oh, no.... This couldn't be. This just could not be! She was...she was ...

She was in Damien's room. His bedroom. In his bed.

"" she breathed out the words, and heard a soft, almost seductive laugh from right behind her, so close she could feel the breath of it on her. She whirled to see Damien behind her, dressed not in the armor she was used to seeing him in, but in simple black leather pants and a vest that displayed a fairly well-muscled chest.

Damien smiled. "Oh, yes, my dear. Welcome to my home." He made a wide gesture. "I'm certain you'll learn to love it here..with me." The huskiness of his voice and the way he looked at her made it all too clear just what it was he was talking about. Ashley felt her stomach churning at the very thought of it.

"I want out of here. Now." She spoke flatly, jerking herself away from him quickly. Her eyes flickered around, noticing there was nothing holding her to the bed, no chains, ropes, or anything. Could've put a force field up. But he wouldn't, not if I read his ego right. Hmm..ego.. She permitted herself a small mental smile. She had a good idea of what to do, but timing was everything.

Dark Spectre's son just looked at her, his eyes cold and possessive. "I'm terribly afraid you won't be going anywhere, Ashley. At least not until we've.." he reached a hand up to caress her shoulders. "Until we've enjoyed ourselves a little. You and I are going to be together for quite a while, and I want to savor every moment of it." His hand started to run down her shoulder again, and she jerked away. "Don't make me be rough on you...though I wouldn't mind." He smiled.

"I would." She growled, moving farther away from him. If she had judged him right....she had, he moved after her. "Keep away from me!"

"No." Damien's smile increased, and she shivered. If she messed any of this up, she had a very good idea of what was going to happen next, and she didn't like it. "You are mine, Ashley Hammond, and you always will be. You simply have to get used to it." He took a firm grip of her shoulder and pulled her closer to him, turning her head up as he planted a kiss on her lips. Ashley knew now was the time to strike.

She remained stiff for a few moments, then began to slowly melt into his arms and his kiss. Damien smiled as he moved his head back briefly, and she gazed up at him with slightly vacant eyes. "Wow..." she murmured in her best imitation of her younger sister, who had all the brains of a locust. "You're a great kisser..."

"I know." Damien smiled. "I've practiced." He drew her closer to him, a hand slowly going across her shoulders and to her chest. "I can give you anything, Ashley. Anything at all. Gold. Silver. Jewels. Gowns from the finest fabrics, things you have never seen or dreamed before. A palace that would make the most beautiful place on Earth look like a hovel. All you have to give yourself to me, forever. Be mine...and it will all be yours."

Ashley intensified the vacantness in her eyes, wanting to look as if she were fascinated by the very prospect. Damien drew closer to her, the hunger in his eyes growing deeper. Ashley moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I....." she drew the word out slowly.

Damien was enjoying himself. He'd really had no idea it would be so easy! Of course, she was probably doing something to trick him; the real fun would come when he started to use the various tricks and tools he'd had installed in his quarters on her. How she would scream...and then how she would give in...that would be the sweetest part.

He smiled warmly at her as he reached for her again, ready to enact the first part of their eternity together. Her arms moved behind him...and pain blossomed at the base of his neck, stiffening him almost like a board. Ashley moved back, kicking him away from her.

"Catch you later, creep!" she growled as she jumped off the bed and headed for the door. "And next time, don't pick on a Power Ranger!" Gotta thank Ms. Campbell for that nerve-pinching lesson..

Just as her hands touched the door, electricity arced through it, knocking her flat on her back. Footsteps sounded, and she looked up to see Damien standing over her. He reached behind him to his neck and touched the skin there, frowning. "I see I'm going to have to enact stronger methods of persuasion." He said as if to himself. He looked down at her, and the way he smiled made her sick. "Good."

* * *
Of all places on the MegaShip, Karone's half-trance led them to Ashley's quarters. She didn't appear surprised as she keyed the door open, then stepped in. As the others followed, Carlos couldn't help but wonder if it were possible for the Red Ranger's mind to have completely snapped. His wonder turned to absolute fascination, however, when Karone touched a panel on the wall. At her light caress, a part of the floor slid away, revealing a set of stairs leading down. Each of them slowly made their way down them, Karone still somnabulistically leading the way.

The room at the foot of the stairs was quite cold, and the Rangers got a new appreciation for just how tight the MegaShip's construction was, since not a hint of that cold had escaped to the room above. Faint tendrils of mist wafted all around, too thick in the distance for them to see really what was going on.

"Karone?" Phantom asked softly, but received no reply. He knew where they were going, but he'd had no idea that this was the right time. As far as he knew, no time would be the right time, it was a lost cause. He had humored Karone for two years because of her unceasing believe that the time would come when the sleeper would awaken...could she have truly been right all these years?

"Phantom?" Cassie touched his arm lightly. "What's going on? Where are we?"

"The Healing Chamber," her boyfriend told her. "Someone has been waiting down here for two years to join us. I...I honestly never thought he would, that Karone was just deluding herself, that she couldn't let go. But she just might have been right...."

A soft voice spoke. "I was right." Karone had paused ahead of them, and as the others came up, the mist parted enough so they could see a coffin-shaped tube just beside her. Frost silvered the outside of it, and slowly Karone's fingers brushed it off. Beneath it was the form of someone they had never seen before. It was hard to get a good look at him through the chill air, but it was obvious that this person was well-built and about their age. "He's going to be all right. He's going to finally wake up!"

The joy in her voice was completely unmistakable. Justin looked from the tube to the blonde. "Who is he?" He hadn't really enjoyed being called out of his mental calculations of how to take down the Dark Fortress shields, but this was proving to be just as interesting, if not more so. "Karone?"

She smiled quietly, a joy pulsing through her that they had never seen before. "My old partner. The one before Phantom. The Silver Ranger." Her eyes and mind were at once pulled back two years. "He and I grew up together. We fought side by side, and were unbeatable. No one could get through our defense of KO-35. We were young and proud and completely insufferable." She laughed, a sound torn between true happiness and bitterness. "That could've been why Dark Spectre sent his son to do us in. Damien, Ecliptor, and an entire horde of monsters swept down on the colony and very nearly decimated it."

There was nothing they could do; none of the other battles had been like this. Unlike most Ranger teams, they didn't have Zords, they'd only had their weapons and each other. That had been enough, until now. Until this moment had come. Karone had fought hard, as had her partner. Every monster they came against fell, but it was always replaced by five more. Quantrons filled the streets, as smoke and screams filled the air.

"Karone!" she heard the cry before she saw what was going on, and turned just in time to see a monster aiming it's blade at her as another fell off her Spiral Sabre. She wouldn't be able to deflect it or stop it, and there were too many other monsters around to avoid it. She was done for....

Until a silver streak had burst through the ring of monsters, thrown her to one side, and taken the blow for her. Almost as soon as the Silver Ranger fell, the monsters had vanished, as if that were all they had came to do. But if their work was done, Karone's had only begun.

"I brought him back here," she murmured softly, her hand still on the cryo-tube. "I brought him here and put him in this. It's healed him over the last two years. Now it's time for him to wake up." Karone looked at the others, and her eyes had never glowed so brightly with joy. "It's time for him to come back to us. To me."

* * *
Ice and cold. Not the warmth he'd always expected death to have. Not that he'd know; it wasn't as if he'd ever died before. But he had really not expected things to be so cold.

There were things moving beyond the limit of his clear sight. Such a small limit it was too. He was positive of things only less than an inch away from him, and that wasn't all that much. All he knew for certain was that he was in some sort of tube. He was intellectually aware of the fact he was there, but he couldn't see it. He knew it because it was all around him and he felt it was right for now that he be there.

Then the right time ended. It was impossible to describe just how he knew, but he began to move, feeling as if he were suddenly trapped in a place that was driving him mad. He needed to get out, needed to be out and be in the clean air, to feel the sunlight on his skin, to be out of wherever it was that he was!

Memory returned to him, quick and harsh. The battle. Seeing Karone about to take what would be a fatal blow from one of Damien's henchmorons. The decision had been absolutely instinctive, one he had not regretted even as the pain shot through him and one he wasn't regretting even now. I could do without the pain, though... Even as he thought that, he realized that he wasn't in pain anymore! He felt marvelous, if somewhat cramped.

More memory surged in. A girl, more beautiful than any he'd ever seen before. Her eyes, her hair, her lips, her face, her body...everything that was perfect in a female was her. He knew he hadn't met her before his accident. He'd seen lots of beautiful girls, and not one of them had held a candle to this one. She was his lifemate, his match, his soulmate, his connection to the infinite, the one who would love him no matter what, as she would love him. As he remembered her, he felt a sense of raw panic invading him. Someone was trying to hurt her! He didn't know what was going on, he couldn't think of anything rational, all he knew was the woman he loved was in danger, and he wasn't where he belonged: by her side.

He sat up, or tried to. His head struck something hard and unyielding, and one of the shapes beyond the tube looked down. A..are you there? the mental voice was thick and rusty with disuse. Are you...all right?

Where is she? he responded, panicking. Karone, where is she? I need her...she needs me...she's in danger...she needs me...

Shhh, her voice grew smoother as she spoke more. Who are you talking about?

Ashley... His mind gave him the name, bypassing his intellect entirely. She's Ashley. She's everything....Karone, where??

Damien has her. But we're going to get her back, and now that you're back... There was absolute and infinite joy in her mind, and he knew he was the cause. Let me open the cryo-tube.

Cryo-tube? He frowned, then saw a plethora of images pouring in from her mind to his. The unique connection they had gave him the ability to grasp it all, though it would be some time before he would understand the nuances of what he saw. The pure essence of it came through quite easily, though. Karone had a new team, one that would welcome him, and she wanted him back more than anything.

There was a snap and a hissing, and the tube above him slowly moved away. Karone was out there, and people that he only vaguely recognized from her mental imagery. He blinked several times, his mind clearing at last. Justin...Carlos...Cassie...Phantom... he put mental tags on each of them, then his eyes fell at last on Karone. With a strangled cry the two of them embraced, tears falling, both of joy and sorrow.

"Umm..." Cassie asked, confused. "Karone? Who is this?" Karone still had yet to speak his name!

The Red Ranger looked up, her eyes dancing. "Guys...I want you to meet the Silver Ranger. My brother, Andros."

* * *
Divatox toyed around with some of her gold coins, considering going out to make another raid on one of those planets that seemed to be so rich, yet have so little guards. I feel as if I never left off being a pirate, she mused to herself. I can rob from wherever I please, whenever I please, come back and entertain myself for hours on end with T.J., and just generally enjoy myself. I'm not getting kicked around by the Rangers, I'm famous throughout the universe for not only defeating them, but getting one of them in my bed on a regular basis. Life is good. Her eyes softened just a moment at the thought of T.J. She didn't use him for conversation; it wasn't his mouth she wanted. At least not for talking. But sometimes, in the night, when she was awake and he was asleep, she would watch him, and wonder what it would be like if she could talk to him.

I wouldn't mind having someone to discuss things with, she considered. It gets lonely being the Queen sometimes. But I have to maintain a proper level of respect and fear in my properties.

She didn't mind too much that he and Rocky had become friends. It kept the both of them happy and it was also another piece of leverage she could use on them both. If T.J. started to become fractious, she would use a threat of turning Rocky over to Porto to be used for experimentation to keep him in line. If Rocky started to cause trouble, the mere reminder of some of the things she'd done to him, if promised to be applied to T.J., could be an effective threat. Besides, doing those thing would also be fun. For me, at least. A cold smile touched her lips at the very thought of how Rocky had screamed during some of their first nights together.

Rocky had been on Earth, working at his dojo, which was going under rather fast. She had kept an eye on him since her arrival on Earth; once she'd found out Justin wasn't the first Blue Ranger, she'd wanted to know about the one before him. Divatox had been rather nicely surprised when she happened to spy on Rocky during one of his showers, and she had observed him since then. At that point in time, she'd gone without an in-house lover for a couple of years, satisfying herself with one-night stands with various prisoners she gathered up in raiding parties to other planets, or sometimes other villains would drop in for occasional entertainment.

When Tommy, Kat, Adam, and Tanya turned their powers over to T.J., Cassie, Carlos, and Ashley, Divatox had known her time to take what she wanted was at hand. As soon as the four of them had left, and she was reasonably certain that no one would be coming to look for Rocky, she had struck. He had been sleeping in his dojo after a long day of training, and she had appeared there. A quick spell to keep him unconscious had been all it took; when he awoke, he was in her bed, and she was already introducing him to the raw pleasure of being her temporary mate.

His reaction had not been pleased, and for several weeks she'd had to keep him tied down to prevent his escape. Only the threat of breaking his legs, and showing how easily she could do that, had finally kept him in line. Eventually she had worn down his resistance to the point he welcomed her touch, and even began to take eager part in their nocturnal activities. She knew his reasoning; it was the same as every other former Ranger she'd ever had a pleasurable encounter with: if they just relaxed, they might have the chance to escape one day. None of them ever had, nor would they. Most of her old lovers she had disposed of on the slave markets; they achieved top billing as well-trained sexual slaves in some of the harems of other evil monarchs. One or two she kept around and put to use around the ship. That was what she did with Rocky. Once he had been worn out, and she had acquired T.J., Rocky had been dismissed from her bed and set down to occupy himself in the lower reaches.

"Divatox?" She was drawn from her ruminations by Porto's voice. Her eyes widened as she saw what he was carrying in a carved box. He'd done it! He'd really done it!

Five brand new Turbo Keys sparkled in his hands.

* * *
Ashley slowly backed away from Damien, using her elbows to propel her along the floor. She didn't move her eyes away from him as he stalked her, feeling the reaction of a trapped animal that must stare at it's captor. Like a deer in headlights... She stared, her stomach wrenching with fear. Her mind took quick mental inventory of what she had at her disposal.

Her clothes. Not many of them either; she had awakened in a short black lace outfit that exposed much more than it showed, and was about as useful in a fight as a piece of tissue paper. Her wrist felt light; she hadn't noticed her morpher was gone until now. He had probably hidden it somewhere, so her powers wouldn't interfere with his plans. That pretty much covered everything that was on her body; she didn't dare go looking around for anything in his room just yet.

"There's no need to run from me, Ashley," his voice was slick and seductive as he stepped along. "There's nowhere you can go and nowhere to hide. The entire Dark Fortress belongs to me, remember? Anyone you meet will just hold you until I come, even if you could get out of here."

Ashley's eyes flashed with anger, and she kicked straight up, her foot aiming unerringly for certain private areas. Maybe it's repetitive, but you go with what works. He's human, therefore he hurts when he's kicked, and he's not wearing his armor right now.

Damien grunted, his own eyes darkening. "You are going to pay for that, Ashley. And the coin will be your own sweet flesh's pain. I like pain, girl. Giving it. And you will learn to like taking it." He began to reach down for her, intending on pulling her back to the bed by her hair if he had to.

The Yellow Ranger had no intentions of going along with that, however. As he reached down, she leaped to the side, spying an upholstered chair. A moment later she had thrown it across the room, straining one of her shoulders lightly, but knocking Damien down briefly. "Keep away from me!" she ordered sharply. "Where'd you put my morpher?"

"That piece of junk?" he laughed as he rose again. "That's been disposed of. Only Rangers need something like that, not my queen."

"I am a Power Ranger. I am not your queen, and never will be!" Ashley spied something on a desk near him, and a plan that was practically fiendish in it's simplicity occurred to her. I wouldn't normally do this, but this is an emergency. I need to get him out of the way.

Damien just smiled. "That's what you think. I always get what I want Ashley, and I want you. And should you have somehow failed to notice it, I do have you."

"You've got to be kidding." Ashley snorted. "All you've got is trouble."

She was about to step towards another chair, hoping it could divert his attention long enough for her to seize the knife, when he was suddenly beside her somehow. She hadn't even seen him move, he was just there. He pinned her arms to the side and locked his lips on her in a filthy, far too intimate kiss that made her stomach churn. For a moment she was taken by surprise too much to fight back, and she could feel him smiling at her.

It took him stepping over towards the bed, with her still in his arms, to shock her out of her near-stupor. The second she went closer to that place, her mind cleared and she stomped quickly on his foot. The dark prince jerked back, his eyes blazing with fury. "You are truly becoming an annoyance, my dearest Ashley. I am going to have to take even stronger measures."

Whatever else he might've said was forgotten as she leaped over to his desk, and seized a long knife he had left there in anticipation of future moments of pleasure. Damien simply stared in literal gape-mouthed shock as she balanced it briefly between her fingertips, then threw it sharply, aiming directly for that same area she'd previously kicked. As the blade sliced through the fabric of his clothing, pinning him to the wall, Ashley smiled. "Don't ever mess with a Power Ranger."

Damien smiled back, reaching down to jerk the knife out, then flicked his fingers, summoning his staff and pointing it at her. "Don't ever deny me what I want." Ashley didn't even have time to move before a blast of energy washed over her, sending her back to the same oblivion she had so recently awakened from.

* * *
The assembled Rangers and the newcomer took turns staring at each other. Cassie, Carlos, and Justin tried to figure out why they had never even heard of Karone's brother being a Ranger before. Cassie remembered hearing about him from Phantom, but it had never been mentioned that he was a Ranger. Andros was just trying to figure out why he was having the urge to find Damien and strangle him.

"You said...Damien had Ashley?" Andros formed the words carefully, his mind slowly shaking off the deepness of the slumber that had healed him. "How fast...can we get there?"

Carlos stepped up before Karone could answer the question. "How do you know about that?" Something between accusation and honest curiosity hovered in his voice.

"Because he and Ashley are psychically linked," Karone said simply. She had picked up as much from her brother as he had from her while they were connected. "They're soulmates." Her eyes danced at the thought of how much joy Andros must be having; not just waking up this day, but finding the one his soul was forged for. The own aching loss she herself experienced every day paled next to the love that burned within her twin.

Her statement set the others back, and Phantom stepped up. "We can discuss all else later. What is the most important even now is the rescue of Ashley. Afterwards, tales and explanations can be told."

"Right." Justin nodded. He'd still been mentally working on the calculations, and he smiled suddenly. "I think I might have a way to get past the shielding on the Dark Fortress, too."

Karone was suddenly all business. "How?" Then she winced briefly. "Forget how, just do it, if it can be kept from them noticing it. There's no need to go blasting our way in there if they're going to know we're coming."

The Blue Ranger's smile widened. "Not a problem." He headed back to the bridge, with the others behind him, Andros being supported by Karone as his muscles slowly began to be used to once again moving around. Cassie hovered back just a little, curious at this person who appeared to have fallen in love with her best friend without even seeing her.

He's sorta cute. Weird hair, though. Cassie tried not to look as if she were staring, especially since she wasn't. Her heart and soul were insolubly wedded to Phantom, but that didn't meant she couldn't look at other people. Besides, I want to be certain that he's good enough for Ashley. She had to admit, though, that practically waking up from a coma and speaking her name gave him major points.

As they all finally got to the bridge, Justin was in deep conversation with DECA and Alpha. The two mobile ones were moving all over the bridge at the same time, with little half-sentences being thrown all over the place. Everyone else stared in pure incomprehension, trying to figure out what they were doing. The Silver Ranger looked at Karone.

"If you trust him, I trust him, but what in the world are they doing? And is that an Alpha-unit?"

"Yes. They brought him with them when they got here," Karone settled him into a chair. "You rest here for a few minutes, you haven't walked in two years."

"I know, I know!" he sighed. "But when you go to get Ashley, I am coming along." There was absolutely no hint of denial in his voice, and Karone sighed. She loved having her brother back already, but his stubborn streak hadn't faded a single bit.

Five minutes later, Justin looked over at the others. "We've got a hole just big enough to get a teleport stream through. Who's going? We can't keep it open long enough for all of us to make it, and I've got to stay behind to keep this thing working." As was his wont, he spoke in fashion that previous Rangers might've termed 'Billy-speak' when dealing with scientific things. "So who's going to go get Ashley?"

Before any of them could move, the Silver Ranger stood up. "I am."

"And so am I." Karone suddenly had the Spiral Sabre in one hand, and they could see the eagerness to battle burning in her eyes. "Damien is going to regret trying to take Ashley from us....assuming she hasn't already made him regret it."

* * *
Divatox's eyes glittered with possessive evil as she gazed at the five keys that lay so peacefully in the box. "What colors?" she asked, more out of curiosity than a real desire to know. "And how did you repower them?" She'd honestly not expected Porto to be able to pull it off, but since he had, she wasn't going to argue over it for a moment.

"Using the original Red Turbo Key as the base, I was able to tap into the Morphing Grid they originally drew power from," Porto burbled at her. "The other ones, the keys of the other Rangers, still maintain a faint link, so I couldn't use those colors. Your Rangers will be Red, Black, Purple, Silver, and Gold Rangers."

The evil queen smiled, one finger hovering just above one of them. Each was as black as night, perfectly formed, glistening with evil and desire. "Excellent." She leaned back and snapped her fingers suddenly, summoning up a troop of Piranatrons. The fish creatures looked quickly at her as they formed, awaiting orders. "Bring me these three people from Earth." A flicker of her fingers summoned three holograms: Jason Lee Scott, Emily Maddison, and Kimberly Hart. "Don't damage them; they must be in perfect condition. And don't let anyone see you take any of them, I don't want anyone warning the Rangers. Or anyone else."

With a bow, the Pirantrons vanished, and Divatox quickly turned to her periscope. Plans she'd laid at the very beginning, when she'd held Jason and Kimberly on her ship and observed the girlfriend of the former Gold Ranger from afar, were about to come to fruition. She licked her lips with her long tongue, then glanced over to Porto as something else occurred to her. "Send for Rocky and T.J. They will serve me in more than one way now."

The scientist bowed and hurried out, and Divatox smiled. Now, let's see if those fish-heads can actually do what they're told. The first place she looked was to Florida, and the periscope obediently did as she wanted it to, peering through the vastness of space to show her a gymnastics compound in a place she had never been. A small young woman was turning flips and things on a mat, with many others surrounding her. There was a marked sadness on her face, which was thinner than Divatox remembered it, and the queen frowned. A moment's spell gave her the ability to hear what she wanted to hear.

"Miss Hart, you have proven unfit to join the final Pan-Globals team," a harshly accented human voice, coming from the thick man in front of Kim, spoke. "You have wasted my time and your own. Gather your things and return to your home."

Kim's head lowered briefly, then suddenly snapped back up, a hot fire burning in her eyes. "With pleasure. I should never have left. I gave up my life to join your bubble-brained crew, and now I'm going to get it back."

Without a backward glance, she seized a towel and began to dry her sweat-streaked face as she walked down a hall. Divatox was torn between pride for her standing up for herself and a dark joy that the girl was alone. She nodded patiently to herself as the Piranatrons leaped out of the shadows, seizing Kimberly quickly. The gymnast didn't even have time to scream before they had teleported away.

Divatox's eyes shifted at once to Angel Grove, to a quiet apartment where two young people were curled around one another and discussing their soon to be marriage. They had only known one another for a couple of years, but it didn't matter. They were what they were, and they were in love. They were also paying so little attention to what was going on around them that Jason Lee Scott and Emily Maddison didn't notice anything was amiss until the Piranatrons laid hands on them and vanished.

The dark pirate queen nodded to herself as she straightened up and reached for the box of keys. Porto had woven around each key a dark spell that would ensure the complete obedience of each of her Rangers, so long as they held the power. "Rygog!" she snapped. "Prepare quarters for my new Rangers. Two rooms, one for Emily and Jason, and one for Rocky and Kimberly." She chuckled faintly, imagining all the activity that would be going on in those rooms once the lights went out. She knew teenagers, and Rocky's libido, worn almost to nothing from her assaults on him, would rise again once he was faced with this new situation.

"As you wish, my queen," the monster bowed, then hurried out of the room. Divatox gazed at the keys for a moment, then went to where her new prisoners were being held. This was going to be very amusing.

* * *
Silver and red. They made a striking combination of light as they slipped out of the Astro MegaShip and through the darkness of space to that bastion of evil that was the Dark Fortress. It had been years since they had moved together in such perfect unison, yet each of them fell back into the rhythm as if it had never been broken.

I don't know if Carlos likes me or not. Andros spoke to his sister, worry filling his mind-voice. A soft touch of laughter echoed back along to him.

It is not a usual occurrence, even among Power Rangers, for one to waken from hyper-sleep and their first thought to be with someone they've never met. He and Ashley have been friends for some time, and he worries over her. He would react the same no matter who it was.

Andros said nothing for some time. Do you feel I am foolish for loving someone I truly haven't met yet? Even before he asked the question, he knew what Karone's answer would be. It was the same one he had given her when she had asked him if she were foolish to still love Zhane, despite the fact he had been dead most of their lives.

No, I don't. The soulmate bond eliminates foolishness in choice of love. Though you can still make a fool of yourself in how you express it. There was a slight chuckle in her thoughts. And you had best not make your first impression on her by falling at her feet in weakness, my brother. I have no doubt that she loves you as you love her, but that is not something that will impress her.

The Silver Ranger only laughed as they came towards the Dark Fortress. The entirety of their trip and the conversation itself had taken up far less time than one might imagine, and as quick as thought they slid through the minor gap in the shielding Justin had made and reformed into their physical selves.

"All right, we have to be careful," Karone murmured softly. Neither of them was morphed, but it would take only a second to do so, should they have to. The flare of power would assuredly alert their enemies that Power Rangers were in the area, and lose what element of surprise they had, but it might become necessary at some point. "Damien's quarters are this way, and that's probably where she'll be."

Even as she uttered the words, she winced at the flicker of pain that ran through Andros' eyes because of them. Andros... She reached out mentally to soothe the anger he felt and felt him withdraw slightly.

If he's hurt her, he'll regret it. No macho posturing accompanied the thought, just a simple conviction that no one should do such a thing and not be punished for it. Karone smiled to herself. It was going to be very good to have another in-love couple around the MegaShip. Another? She almost jumped; he could pick up on her random thoughts quite easily still.

Cassie and Phantom, she told him as they crept through the corridors. They're soulmates too.

He laughed mentally. That ship's just b full of those, aren't they? Karone smiled back at him, a faint chuckle, just barely audible, escaped her lips.

You know the way of the Power. Each Ranger is given someone who will mean the universe to them. Most of the time it's another Ranger. Someone who'll understand them.

Silence fell between the two of them as they searched through the various corridors. Nothing even resembling the Yellow Ranger turned up however, and it was only by good luck they avoided coming into contact with any of the Quantron patrols ranging around. Finally Andros paused, glancing down what appeared to be a service corridor.

"What is it?" Karone asked quietly, lifting one carved eyebrow in curiosity. She was just about to try morphing and holding the nearest Quantron hostage until she found out where Ashley was. If the Silver Ranger had any better ideas, she wanted to know about them!

He frowned lightly. "She's down that way. I can feel her." Without another word, he headed there, and Karone sighed. Some things never did change.

* * *
The chair was thick, bulky, uncomfortable, and bolted to the floor, forged out of Eltarian iron, one of the most powerful substances in the known universe. It came complete with straps that would hold a wild bull in full rage without so much as bending, and was situated in a room so tiny one would literally have to back up to get out of it.

I know the traditional cliché is that it is so small one must go outside to change your mind...but this is where minds themselves are changed, Damien smiled to himself as he stared through the barrier to where Ashley was struggling a little in the chair. She couldn't struggle very much since she was strapped down by her elbows, wrists, chest, waist, knees, thighs, ankles, and neck. The captive Yellow Ranger barely was able to breathe, much less get out of the situation.

Damien observed her, then looked down at the controls before him. He knew he had to hurry; if he wasted much more time, then the Rangers would probably break into the Dark Fortress somehow and get her out. If he could remake her before that, however, then it would be of no use. She would help him to repulse them, in fact! But how to do it, how to do it, that was the question. It wasn’t as if he had many options, either.

It was a very tricky problem, true. He wanted to keep her personality as intact as he could, for it was that personality that attracted him to her. But the resistance, the fire within her that pushed her away and repulsed her from him, that had to go. In a strange paradox, it was also that resistance that made him want her even more. A taste of the forbidden, that which he could not have and yet wanted all the same, that was what she was. Of course I can have her, and I will. This isn't easy, but nothing worth taking ever is. He let his mind wander pleasantly over several things they would be doing together that night, then jerked himself back to the present. Before he could take the spoils, he had to ensure himself of the prize.

He glanced down at the controls. Depending on what combination of buttons and levers he pushed, he could destroy her mind completely and irrevocably, or just block off what portions he wanted so that she would have gaps in her mind. The sheer power of it amazed him; the workers had done well. Or so he presumed; this had never been tested before. For a moment, the Dark Prince wondered if testing this on the woman he desired was worth it. One little mistake could destroy what it was he wanted most.

Then he shrugged. Such was the fate of war, and if Ashley was destroyed....Cassie was available as well, and it would be purest joy to see Karone's proud self remade into a willing and subservient slavegirl. If Ashley didn’t survive, either of them would do quite nicely as the next guinea pig.

Damien decided. He was going to strip her mind completely and remake her into what he had always wanted out of a female. The fire she had would be quenched; the repulsion she felt would be turned to attraction and desire, and she would have no more emotions than hate for anyone other than him. Slowly his hand reached down towards the control for *full wipe*, a cruel smile twisting his handsome lips. “Bye-bye, Ashley,” he purred. “Hello, my new queen.”

“I don’t think so.” The Spiral Sabre was suddenly, and he had no idea how, a mere inch from his nose, with the steel-hard eyes of Karone right behind it. “You’re going to release Ashley right now...or I’m going to find out just how far into your brain I can drill this thing.”

The Dark Prince gulped, feeling someone else’s hand on the back of his neck, one that made Karone’s grip feel like pure mush. A voice he hadn’t heard in two years, that he remembered quite clearly, hissed in his ear. “Don’t even think about moving, slime.”

Damien didn’t.

Karone smiled quietly. “Open up the door, Damien. Andros, you get her out of there and back to the MegaShip.”

Her brother was about to step away, then he looked back at her. “What about you?”

The Red Ranger smiled frostily, her sword sliding just a bit closer to the evil she had fought for so long. “I’ll be along.”

Andros shook his head quietly. “We all go or none of us go, Karone. We’re a team, remember? A family. You hold him here, I’ll get Ashley, and we’ll all go.” He reached from around Damien to touch Karone on the wrist. “Family forever, remember?”

Her mind flickered back to a day long before when she and he had promised to be together forever, to always fight for good together, to never abandon each other, or the team they hoped to one day have if the other morphers were ever given to worthy people. She knew she couldn’t break that oath. Even if she were dead she couldn’t. It was that oath she had called on him to hold to when he had been injured. He couldn’t have left her, because they were to be together forever. Slowly her free hand touched his. “Family forever. Go get Ashley.”

At Karone’s command, Damien touched a button on the console. As cold-hearted and twisted as he was, even he knew better than to argue with a sabre that close to twisting his very brain out of his head. He knew magic, yes, but there was no spell he could cast that would stop her before one or the other of them turned him into a shish kabob.

Andros didn’t waste any time. The bonds that held Ashley in the chair were too strong for her to break, but they were nothing but putty compared to the strength of his Super Silverizer. With a series of quick strikes, he had turned the chair and the chains into nothing more than links of twisted metal. Ashley was still unconscious, however, limp and weak as he picked her up. For several moments he just stared at her, his eyes wide as for the first time in the waking realm, he saw her, the woman of his dreams, the lady of his heart, his one and only true soulmate.

“Ashley..” he whispered her name as if to utter it was both to commit sacrilege and to pay the greatest homage he could. For a moment he was afraid they were too late, that Damien had already wiped her mind. Then, her eyes fluttered softly open, and met his.

“Andros..” her voice held the same tone his had, and as Damien and Karone watched, each felt a small flutter in their own souls, as if something was reaching for completion.

Karone felt her arm relaxing, just for a moment. She thought she could feel Zhane, her soulmate, her partner, her other half...then her mind snapped back to reality. “Let’s get out of here!” With a quick kick she knocked Damien to the far side of the control chamber, and headed out with the others. Time to go.

Damien caught himself quickly, steadying himself on the wall. For a moment he considered calling the Quantrons, having Ecliptor track them down, punishing them for daring to invade his home and steal that which he had stolen.

No. He decided it quickly. Let them go. I can face them in battle. Love and lust are weaknesses for their kind, not mine. I am evil. I am nothing but evil.

He sighed almost regretfully as he walked back to his quarters. It might’ve been nice to be different...but he wasn’t, and he would do everything within his power to bring down the rule of good, now and forever.

* * *
They stood in a row, each one’s eyes terrified, unable to move for the magical shackles placed on them. Rocky and T.J. were the most scared, they knew exactly what sort of evil that Divatox was capable of. Jason and Kim looked more sickened than anything else, while Emily was just flat out terrified. Nothing in her experience had prepared her for this. She had long since figured out about Jason’s Rangering days, and finding an old scrapbook he’d kept of him and his friends in the Command Center and Power Chamber had sealed it all. She had promised to keep their secret, especially since he’d promised that all of that was over with.

Now it looked as if things were just beginning.

“Well, it is nice to see you all again,” Divatox purred, a strange looking box in her hands. “Especially you, Jason,” she looked him up and down with a possessive glint to her eyes. “You’re looking quite...well. If I didn’t already have someone keeping me company at night, I just might borrow you.” It was hard to tell who looked sickest at that notion, Jason, T.J., or Emily. “But I’ve called this little gathering not just to reminisce about old times, but because you’re going to be called on to once again be Rangers.”

Jason was about to say something, but Divatox stopped him with a simple wave of her hand. “Evil Rangers, of course. My evil Rangers. You’ll get used to it after a while. You can get used to anything after a while, can’t you?” Her eyes were fixed on T.J. and Rocky, both of whom turned fairly interesting shades of red. She smiled, then turned back to Jason. “We’ll start with you, Jason. You won’t be the leader of my team. I give the orders, and none of you will forget this.”

With a snap of her fingers, a key floated out of the box and hovered before Jason. “You will be my Gold Turbo Ranger. All your strength and skills will be turned to my dark service, and you will enjoy every moment of it.” The chains binding his wrists vanished, and Jason’s eyes widened as his arms lifted up as if held on marionette strings. The key flew directly into his hand, and with a flash of golden light, he stood once more in Golden armor. Emily caught her breath; she had seen him morphed, but never known it was him, now that she did...he was everything she’d ever dreamed of and more.

Divatox smiled as Jason lowered his arms and removed his helmet. His eyes glowed a deep black, and he bowed briefly. “I am yours to command, my queen.”

“I know.” Divatox turned her attention to Emily, who suddenly turned whiter than a sheet. “And now for your girlfriend’s turn.” It was just as it had been with Jason; Emily’s chains vanished and her arms flew up to accept the key that flew towards her. The moment her fingers wrapped around it, silvery light blazed around her, and the Silver Turbo Ranger appeared. “My Silver Ranger.” Divatox stated firmly as Emily removed her helmet and her eyes flashed like purest ice.

Kim, Rocky, and T.J. all exchanged glanced. There was no chance to escape. The only hope they had was that somehow the other Rangers would stop them. Three minds slowly faded away into obedience, as the Purple, Black, and reborn Red Rangers were created. Divatox glanced approvingly at each of them. Jason stood proud in his Gold armor. Emily was confidant, despite her inexperience, in her silver suit. Kim wore the Purple as powerfully as she had the Pink. Black gave Rocky a dangerous air that Red or Blue never had. T.J. fairly glowed in his reborn Red armor.

“Just what I always wanted,” Divatox purred. “My very own Ranger team. With you, I’ll show that blasted Damien just what it means to be evil!” She laughed softly, then motioned to her Rangers. “Demorph, Rygog will show you to your quarters.” As they started to file past her, she placed a hand on T.J.’s arm. “You, my dear Red Ranger, will be remaining with me.”

Her slave’s eyes glinted redly. “As my queen commands.”

* * *
A few days passed before Ashley was pronounced fit to pick up her Ranger duties again. Things were quiet in that time, no sign of trouble from Damien or anyone else. It was almost worrisome; but the Rangers had too much to do getting to know their new companion to concern themselves that much about it.

A week after her abduction and rescue, Ashley was sitting in the Simudeck, the image of Angel Grove Park all around her. She breathed the soft air deeply, enjoying the sweet memories it brought up in her. I could’ve lost this forever...but I didn’t.

“Ashley?” She didn’t have to look up to know who was speaking to her. Her soul thrilled at the very nearness of him to her.

“Hi, Andros.”

He came into her line of sight and she smiled warmly at him. She had recognized him the moment she had seen him; he was the one from her dreams. He was the one she loved, and always would for all eternity. “I’ve been wondering when you’d come by.”

“I was trying to wait for the right time.”

Neither of them spoke. They didn’t have to. What was between them was what between them, and it was love. They stared at each other, devouring faces that had been but half-formed images days earlier, and now were before them in real and solid life. Andros had roamed as a bodiless spirit during his time of healing, guided by their bond to find her and love her. Ashley had searched her whole life without knowing who it was that she searched for, until she had seen him in her dreams.

When their eyes had finally met, each of them had seen something looking back from the other: a part of themselves. The soulmate bond that could not be denied or broken. It was what it was, and they were what they were. They were in love.

Without either of them really thinking about it, their hands slowly wrapped around each other. “I love you.” Andros said the words simply and quietly. “I’ll always love you. I don’t care that I don’t know you. I don’t care I’ve only been awake a week. I was born to love you.”

“And I was born to love you.” Ashley replied. “I love you, Andros, and I always will.” She smiled as she drew closer to him, placing a soft kiss on his lips and feeling his respond. They parted only enough to be able to speak, and she murmured her words softly. “Did you know I’ve been dreaming of you?”