Legal Disclaimer: Read all of the other fics
in the series to see my disclaimer for this fic. This is the fifth fic
in the Universal Judgment Series. Parts of this is just like "A Lonely
Journey", written in first person. And there is some references to
medical type stuff in here, which I really honestly know nothing about,
so don't nitpick at that because I really don't know what I am talking
about. Thanks again to everyone who encouraged me to continue on with these
fics, I really appreciate it! Continue to let the mail pour in, I'm really
enjoying it! It makes me feel great!
You know, I always thought that horrible death at the hands of my worst enemies was going to be incredibly more painful than this turned out to be. I don't feel a thing! Imagine that, death being painless!? Who would have thought of it like that??
Oh wait…I'm dead, of course I can't feel anything. Smart philosophy you had for yourself there, Andros! Dead people can't feel anything! Man, if I had only listened to what Ashley and the others were trying to tell me…they were right all along. I can't believe what an idiot I was being, trying to destroy Dark Specter and Astronema all by myself? How could I have been so...so blind?
I know I know…Revenge. I guess it wasn't worth it to try and avenge Carlos' death…now I'm dead too!
I'm dead. Well…damn. This sucks. Ashley's gonna kill me. No, she can't kill me…I'm already dead.
Why did I charge in to it like that? What did I accomplish? Nothing! Really smart, Andros. You're supposed to be the leader, and here you go doing stupid stuff, getting yourself all nice and dead where you can't help anybody... real smart, stripey-head! You're certainly living up to the family legacy of intelligence…NOT!!!!
I guess I'll never know what Ashley wanted to tell me because of my stupidity. If I weren't already dead I'd die of humiliation. *sigh* Oh well, I guess I might as well get used to it…
Hmmm…wait! If I'm dead…and Carlos is dead…how come I haven't seen him yet? That's very strange, I thought I would have seen him by now!
Oh well…I suppose he wouldn't want to speak to me anymore anyways, after all I've done. He's probably angry with me, if dead people are capable of anger.
Well if I know one thing that dead people are capable of, it's self-sympathy.
"D.E.C.A…Is he going to be alright?" Ashley hovered over her boyfriend protectively as he lay motionless on the medlab table. He looked so pitiful there…on the brink of life and death. He lay like one dead, skin pale where it wasn't red from the blood smeared on it. His breathing was shallow; you had to look twice, if not more to see if he was actually breathing at all...and perhaps what was worst of all…his heart was almost not beating. The red power ranger uniform, an armor used to protect their bodies from outside forces was torn in many places, revealing deep red wounds in the skin underneath. And then there was something that tore out each and every one of their hearts…in his right hand, clenched tighly in his blood-covered gloved fist, was his spiral saber. They had tried to remove it from his grip…but had found it impossible.
"We are lucky that we pulled him away from there when we did. If we had gotten the lock on him and teleported him here a second later, he would not be alive right now. But, as it is…" D.E.C.A. said solemnly, "He is in a coma. And the sensors show that it is uncertain if he will even wake up from it…"
T.J. sighed deeply, rubbing his forehead. Tears were beginning to form in his dark eyes, and he shut them tightly. He opened his mouth, letting out words in a choked voice. "First, Astronema kills Carlos…then, Andros goes off and gets himself killed by Dark Specter and Astronema! It's like they're offing us one by one. Who knows which one of us is going to be next?"
"Don't you even think about it like that, T.J.!" Cassie snapped suddenly. "It's not like that at all! It's…" she quieted suddenly, then buried her face in her hands. "You're right..."
Ashley grabbed hold of Andros's other hand, squeezing it gently. "You had better not die on me," she whispered. "I told you that before, but you couldn't hear me. And I'm not even sure if you can hear me now…but you had better not die on me! For more reasons than you can ever imagine…"
She wanted him to answer her. She wanted for him to squeeze her hand and acknowelge that he heard her. She wanted for him to sit up and be okay, and take her into his arms and tell her that everything was going to be okay. But the only reply that she got from him was the same shallow breathing…
_Please don't die, Andros…_ Ashley begged mentally, drowning out the
sobbing of Cassie and T.J. coming from behind her. _I can't live without
For the third morning in the course of three weeks, Carlos woke up alone
in the small featherbed. Once more, he was alone in the small house that
was nestled in the forests of a small planet named Caeli. "Where is
she?" he sighed to himself, snapping the top button of his jeans.
He walked over to the large window and looked out of it, in hopes of seeing
her. Once more, there was not a trace of her to be found. "She just
up and leaves me here, not even telling me where she's going or what she's
doing…and when she comes back she doesn't even have a descent explination
for where she's been!"
"Andros, would you please calm yourself? You're almost as whiney as your mother used to be! Come on, be a man already!"
"Huh? What's going on here? Hey! I'm dead, couldn't you leave me alone!?"
"If you were dead, then I'd have a reason to leave you alone. But since you aren't, could you stop whining?"
"Okay, this is weird. Wait…this is beyond weird! Who are you, and what makes you think I'm not dead! I know I'm dead!"
"I think I know a lot better than you, squirt. You're not dead!! Now stop your whining for a moment and listen to me, I have some important information that you must know!"
"Who else would call you 'squirt'?"
"Affirmative. Now…listen to me for a moment, Andros…and listen well."
"Hey…what are you doing here anyways?"
"Did you hear a word that I just said, Andros?" a sigh "It is important for you to stop asking questions and stop whining and listen to me…"
"I just wanted to know! I haven't…well…seen or heard you for a long time. You died so long ago. Hey!! You're dead!! That means I'm dead too! You liar!"
I pause for a moment, letting the echo of my name being shouted circle around me. I hear my father's breathing, all raspy and rattling, after the noise fades. He always got like this when he was upset, at least that I could remember. I didn't remember that much about him…being the last time that I saw either him or my mother when I was only two…shortly after Corone was born.
And he was my father, how dare I call him a liar? There must be some reason he was communicating with me now…I shouldn't be acting this way towards him. I never had the time to show him respect while was alive, and this was my chance. Now I'd upset him. Smart, Andros…really smart. From now on: Listen when people beyond the grave come to talk with you, it might be important!
"I'm sorry…" I apologize to him "Really I am. Continue: I'm going to calm down and hear you out…"
I hear the intake of a deep breath, and then the voice continues. "This concerns not only you, but your friend Carlos and your sister Corone…"
That's it…all I wanted to hear. If it had to do with Carlos and Corone I was ready to listen! "What about them?" I wondered. "Carlos died when Astronema shot his Galaxy glider down over Caeli…and Corone hasn't been seen since she was kidnapped on KO-35."
"You're always looking on the downside, Andros." His voice mocks me softly.
I sigh. "I can't help it…"
"I understand that, Andros…but…look on the upside of the situation with Carlos, first. You told me that he crashed onto that planet? What can be a possible upside to that?"
"Well…" I stop for a moment and think over what my father has just told me. He's such a smart man, there must be something in what he has just told me to think about. An answer of some sort, perhaps. "He might not have died in the crash maybe?"
My father chuckled a little. "Now we're getting somewhere, squirt!"
"Don't call me that!" I whine.
Ashley shrieked suddenly, jumping away from Andros. "D.E.C.A.! He's shaking! What's going on!? He's shaking!" she began to sob uncontrollably, "He's dying! He's dying!! Someone help him, he's dying!"
Cassie and T.J., pulled out of a non-restful sleep as they sat in the chairs in the infirmiry, ran over to the panicked Yellow Ranger. Cassie held her close and allowed her to cry on her shoulder as T.J. went over to Andros.
His body was trembling violently, as if he was having a seizure. The spiral saber that they had not been able to remove from his clenched fist clattered to the ground loudly as he shoot. T.J. put both hand's down on the chest of the young man…trying to keep him from falling off of the infirmiry table. The already pale face was beginning to turn to a sickly shade of blue, and his eyes were now wide open.
"He's dying!" Ashley wailed. "Make it stop! Make the hurting stop! Help him, please!"
"I'm trying!" T.J. himself was panicking. He knew that his aunt and uncle wanted him to study to become a doctor, but he knew very little about how to take care of an emergency situation. All of those battles with Divatox…and Astronema seemed to rank nothing on the scale of emergencies as their leader, knocked into a coma by his rage, convulsed and writhed beneath his hands…dying underneath him. What could he do?
"Oxygen…Andros needs Oxygen. He is beginning to awaken from his coma, but lack of oxygen interfered…he is sufficating, since the part of his brain that initiates breathing shut down." D.E.C.A. told him.
He looked down at Andros' pained face. So he was waking up, huh? Andros always did know how to make an entrance, but this was not the least bit amusing. It was terrifying. "How? Where are the oxygen tanks and masks?"
Ashley looked up. "Th…they're in the storage room over there. Hurry!"
she looked down at her love, whose trembling was not as great as it had
been before. Gently shrugging Cassie off of her, she walked over to him.
Corone walked silently into the cabin, wearing a slightly strange and sinister smile on her pretty face. "One down…" she muttered quietly…then gasped as she heard a low growl coming from the other side of the room. "Who's there? Carlos? Is that you?"
"Yes…" he replied, his voice quavering. He sounded extremely distressed.
"Is something wrong?" She stepped out of the doorway and into the room, finding him staring out of the large picture window. The sun glittered in his dark eyes, reflecting in the pools of tears that had formed there. He turned his hurt filled eyes to look at her, and she shuddered a little bit. Backing away a little…she repeated her question.
He stood up, wiping at his eyes. "Yes, Corone…there is something wrong." He choked. "I think you need to talk to me about something."
"Wh…what do you mean?" she stammered. "I don't know what you're speaking of, Carlos!" He had never once called her by her real name…he had always called her Bonita…
"Where have you been going all these days?" he asked her. "You've been dissapearing…going off to who knows where and not giving me a single explination as to why! I think I deserve to know, Corone… I do live with you, and I do love you!"
"I love you too, Carlos!" she insisted. "I…I've just had some important things to do around here. Take care of the animals and things, you know?"
He sighed…a long shuddering sigh. Shutting his eyes tightly to keep away the onslaught of tears that tried to overcome him, he continued. "No, I don't know, Corone. I've been where you go when you take care of the animals…you showed me everywhere that you go when you take care of them…and you have never been any of those places. I want you to tell me what has been going on!"
How could she tell him? He'd hate her for the rest of his life, he'd
never forgive her! She cursed herself for not telling him sooner…and for
falling in love with him when she had just come down onto this planet to
make sure that he was finished off. Not only would he probably murder her,
but Dark Specter would as well! She was supposed to be his queen afterall,
and here she was…loving a Power Ranger of all people. She looked at him…then
walked over and took his hands into her own. She had to tell him everything
that was going on. "Alright…" she whispered and kissed him slowly
on the cheek. "I'll tell you what has been going on…"
"It's all quite simple, really…" he says. "Now…what did you just say?"
"Don't call me that?"
He almost laughs, but holds it back. "Before that, Andros. What did you say before that?"
"That Carlos might not have died when Astronema shot him down on Caeli." I state simply.
"Do you think that is possible, Andros? I want you to seriously think about that for a moment." He does laugh now, crystal clear and happily. "Sometimes I wish you hadn't gotten your mother's spontaneous nature…but that is something I loved so much about her!"
I begin to think over what he said to me…about it being possible that Carlos survived the crash. "Well…yeah, it's possible that he survived it. He might not have died on impact, that depends on what he was able to do before he crashed. But…if he survived, he's been on that planet for over a month now. How would he survive then?"
"Carlos is somewhat intellegent, is he not?"
"Well, yes…he is pretty smart I guess. So you're saying he could have maybe…used some type of survival technique and found himself food and water and shelter?"
"Wow…I never thought about it like that!" I wish that I could hit myself in the head right about now, but I don't think that is possible. "So…he's probably still on Caeli!"
"Affirmative, Andros." My father agrees. "Now…isn't this much better than where we started off from?"
"Of course! Now I have some hope!"
"Now…I believe that you should wake up from your coma now and look for him…you might be pleasantly surprised!"
I stop for a second before agreeing. He had forgotten something! "Hey, you said that you had something important to tell me about Corone!" I remind him.
He chuckles. "You will know in time, my son. For now, farewell! You also might be pleasantly surprised by something Ashley needs to talk to you about. Now go on, squirt! Get out of here and keep on living! Now you have hope…"
"Oh, do I ever!"
"Next time you feel like taking on Dark Specter and Astronema by yourself…think first. It might avoid a lot of pain that way!"
For the first time since I thought that I had died, I laugh. "No problem, Dad. Thank you for everything that you have told me!"
"You are welcome, Andros. Good-bye!"
T.J. pulled the oxygen tank out of the storage closet quickly. "I found it!" he almost smiled a little as he put it at the side of the table. Placing the mask over Andros' mouth and nose, he turned on the gas. Oxygen began to pump into Andros' lungs…and once more he began to breath.
Four relieved sighs echoed through the room.
"He's going to be okay…" Ashley looked up at the ceiling. "Thank goodness…" She stepped over to Andros, now steadily breathing, and placed her hand on his forehead. They sat for a few minutes in silence, just watching the Red Ranger as his condition began to stablize.
"The color is starting to come back into his face," Cassie added. "More color than before, it looks like!"
Ashley grabbed onto his hand. "I hope he wakes up soon. I want to slap him for all this worry he's caused us." She giggled. "Well…I don't think I'll really slap him. But he did almost give us all heart failures!"
T.J. nodded. "He's going to get a good talking to sometime after he wakes up, that's for sure!" he agreed.
"Well, sor-ry…" a playful voice chimed in. The three rangers turned their gaze back down to the man lying on the infirmiry table.
From under the oxygen mask, Andros smiled up at them widely. His eyes were opened wide, twinkling happily in the lights. He still had all of the cuts and bruises from before…but he looked happier…more relieved.
"Andros!!!" they all cried.
Ashley pulled the oxygen mask off of his face and planted a passionate kiss on his lips, which he eagerly returned. After they broke apart, he sat up and looked at them all…holding Ashley close to him.
"You're never going to believe this!" he stated cheerily.
Ashley poked him gently in the ribs as T.J. picked up the spiral saber off of the ground and handed it back to his owner. "I think I have something to tell you before you tell any of us YOUR news, young man…" she prodded playfully.
He smiled. "You're right…you were trying to tell me something before you left. Go on…you go first!"
"Okay." She cleared her throat loudly and took hold of both his hands. Staring him straight in the eyes, she began shakily. "Something has happened between us, Andros…something very important…a…blessed event you could say…"
Andros almost gulped. What could this possibly be? He hadn't any idea… "What are you talking about, Ashley?" he wondered.
"Andros…" she said firmly. "I am pregnant. We're going to have a baby and be parents…"
"Uhhhhh…wow…" He said, jaw seemingly dropping all the way down to the ground.