"Where is he?" Ashley asked, "I want to welcome him home!"
Andros nodded. "Me too! You guys just came back with him, didn't you? I'm so glad that you guys were able to locate him so quickly! My father was right, after all! I've really got to thank him for that!"
Their bright and cheery moods were shot down almost instantly when T.J. and Cassie shook their heads. "He doesn't seem to be doing too good, you guys…" Cassie whispered. "After we found him, there seemed like there was something eating him up inside. When we helped Alpha fix up his hand, he didn't say a word…but just stared at the floor! And then he told us that he wanted to be left alone and went into his room…We're just respecting his wishes…"
A look of concern passed over Andros' and Ashley's visage. They looked at each other, then back at the other two. "What could be wrong with him?" Andros wondered aloud. "What could have possibly happened down on that planet after all this time?"
T.J. piped in. "We're not sure…but he seems majorly bummed out. We should just leave him alone until he wants to talk to us. Until then…let's get back to the task at hand…."
Cassie made a face. "What _was_ the task at hand?" she asked. "Things have been pretty peaceful…"
"Except for when I lashed out like that, remember?" Andros pointed out. "Other than that, all we can do is wait. And look for Zordon, I must remind you."
Ashley sighed a bit. "They've still got him. My lord, Andros…while you were in the general area, the thought never passed your mind that Zordon was nearby?" there was a slightly teasing tone to her voice, but a serious edge to it as well. He shook his drooping head sadly.
"No…I was a total and complete fool. Don't rub it in." he looked up again, then poked her in the ribs. "Or should I start complaining about that little self control problem that you have?…"
Her eyes widened and she clapped her hand down over his mouth before he could finish. "Don't you even mention that, Andros Cranston!" she shouted. "That's none of _their_ business, besides!" she pointed to Cassie and T.J., both wearing confused looks on their faces. Andros chuckled darkly.
"Yeah, that's our little secret, huh?" he almost purred. She jumped a bit, then covered his mouth with her hand again.
"Keep quiet about that kinda stuff, okay _dear_…" she stressed the final word, giving him a lazy eye. He almost whimpered.
"Alright, alright! You win!" he squeaked. "Just don't look at me like that anymore!"
She gave her head a triumphant toss, letting a sneaky grin pass her lips. "Okay…" she started to giggle…then poked him in the tummy slightly.
T.J. shook his head. "What's it with two people in love, anyways?" he asked the Pink Ranger. She shrugged as the two of them started to walk away towards the bridge…leaving the now kissing pair to be alone in the hallway.
"I have no idea. It must be great to have someone who cares for you so much though. Maybe not so great to have someone who knows everything about you and teases you about little details, like Andros…but it's generally nice."
"Yeah," T.J. agreed. "I kind of like being single though…"
She grinned. "It has it's advantages."
He pulled out a chair and sat down in it. Cassie mirrored the movement with the chair next to him. "I wonder what's going on with Carlos…" he sighed. Once more, she shrugged her shoulders.
"I have no idea….something has really hurt him though. I think that he's really glad to be back, but he needs to talk to us…something is really up with him. He's acting…"
"Heartbroken?" T.J. suggested as she tried to chew through several words, none of which seemed to fit how she thought Carlos felt. She nodded eagerly.
"That's it, exactly. He's acting heartbroken. But what could have possibly caused him to get that way, what…on a deserted planet and all?"
He narrowed his eyes and attempted to think on the matter. "I have no clue…" he said after a long while. "I hope he tells us soon, though…I'm worried about him."
Cassie eyed the closed door of Carlos' room and let out a long sigh. "We're all
worried about him…"
Carlos laid his head down on his pillow. Letting out a cry of disgust, he flipped the pillow over. He had cried so much, that the other side of the pillow was soaking wet. Now he was all cried out, and all he wanted to do was curl up and die. He couldn't believe how he had acted that past month…how stupid he had been. It was so obvious, played out in front of his face…and he never even saw it there.
"How could I have been so stupid?" he asked himself. Realizing the answer, he growled. "I was in love…in love with the enemy. Talk about fraternizing, we were practically married!"
He rolled himself off of his back and onto his eyes, staring straight at the wall. _I don't know why I even bothered to come back here. Everyone wants to baby me, I can hear it from out in the hall. I hurt so much right now that even death sounds pleasant. Maybe it would have been better if I had died in that crash…at least then I wouldn't be in any pain._
"Carlos, would you like anything?" a tiny camera popped out of the wall through a panel, seemingly looking at him. If it was at all possible, he thought that perhaps she was giving him a look of curiosity.
He sniffed. "No, D.E.C.A." he replied. His voice was low, and filled with pain. D.E.C.A. craned her 'neck' to examine him more closely.
"Perhaps someone to talk to?" she offered. "I may be nothing more than an computer, and not understand human pain…but I can listen to you if you have anything that you need to say. Computers can be good listeners."
Carlos sat up and leaned himself against the wall. Pulling the pillow from underneath him, he tucked it underneath his arms and just held it there. "I don't know if there's anything I want to talk about," he told her, then sighed. "What am I saying. There are a million things on my mind. That entire crash on that stupid planet…everything was so screwed up…and it all ended so badly! I don't know what I am going to do!"
The tiny camera poked down out of the wall even more, until it's lens was right up next to Carlos. "Please, tell me what happened."
He choked back tears that were trying to form. "It all started with the crash. I landed on the planet and everything, when I was shot at. I didn't see who had done it, but knowing how things happen, it was most likely Astronema. I landed…but didn't die like she had hoped. When I regained consciousness…there was this girl there. The most beautiful girl that I had ever seen in my entire life."
"She helped me…and healed me and all of that. She had no memories of her life, and lived on that planet alone as the only human being. I called her Bonita…and we fell in love. About a month into it…she got all her memories back. She's Andros' long lost sister, Corone! I had completed my original mission after all! Of course I couldn't tell any of you about it. My communicator was smashed. Everything was perfect until she started sneaking off on me…and never told me why." He sighed deeply. "Now I wish that she had never told me. D.E.C.A., she is really Astronema! I know I said she was Corone…she's both of them! She's Astronema and Corone! I was so upset…that I ran away from her, and told her I never wanted to see her again. That's when I found T.J. and Cassie and they brought me back here. Oh…I hurt so badly inside right now that I wish that I would just die and get it over with!"
The little camera just looked at him, unmoving. "I think that I understand how you feel, Carlos…" she said at last. "No one knows this but you…but…I was not always a computer. I used to be human myself. I had fallen in love with a wonderful man. His name was Malachite…but he belonged to the side of evil and in another dimension." She seemingly sighed, the best a computer could. "He hid it from me…and did very much the same as Astronema did to you. When I finally confronted him, and made him tell me…I was so shocked and heartbroken…that I never wanted to see him ever again. Oh…but that wasn't the end of it! I was pregnant with his child! After we had broken apart, he had made a vow to get rid of me! As soon as the child was born….she sent it away to the planet of Earth to be raised by strangers, and turned me into a computer with his evil magic. Before he did, he boasted about his newfound girlfriend, Zoicite…causing me to suffer. I had never hurt more in my entire life than then…and never have since. Then he disappeared back into his old universe…and I never saw him again. I understand exactly what you are going through, Carlos. Just…take this warning. Watch out for yourself. The wrath of a heartbroken evil-doer is potent."
With shocked eyes, Carlos stared. "I…never knew…"
"No one knew, as I said." She reminded him. "I felt, that in this situation I could trust you with my secret. You will get over the heartbreak eventually…but it will take a long time. Just try not to let it bring you down. Go on and talk with your friends, they are worried about you…"
Stretching his legs, Carlos pushed himself up off of the bed. "I think you're right…" he said at last, clearing his throat and wiping his eyes. "I really have missed them, it's been a long time."
D.E.C.A. pulled her little camera back up into the wall. "Remember, don't tell any of them about me… not even Andros."
He nodded, then punched in the code on the panel near the bed to unlock and open the door. "I promise, D.E.C.A." was all he said before he stepped out of the door, and it slid closed behind him.
The computer sighed again. "Oh, Malachite…"
The pounding of black boots could be heard on the metallic floor of Dark Specter's throne room. The king of evil lifted his head up to find that his Queen; Astronema…was storming through the room. Her hair was reverted back to it's purple state…the one which it had been when he had introduced her to the public of the alliance of evil. On her face, she bore the most determined and evil look that he had ever seen in his entire life. He was indeed pleased. She came up to the base of the throne, then bent down on one knee to kneel before him.
"Dark Specter," she greeted him solemnly. "I have released the prisoner from the planet of Caeli…he is now back with his friends on the Astro MegaShip."
With a growl, the large monster lept to his feet. "What!?" he howled. "You let him go, Astronema? The one vital key to our plan!!"
Her head lowered. She had not really released any prisoner. As a matter of fact, Carlos had never been a prisoner to begin with. Last she had known him, he was her love…but now…he had destroyed her love for him and left her. "Please, your Majesty. Forgive me for what I have done. But correct me if I am wrong, but is it not true that _this_ is the vital key to our plan, and not him?" she held up a small device in front of her.
He had almost descended his sword upon the back of her neck, but then stopped. "What you speak is true, Astronema…" he agreed, raising the sword away. "So that means that you've actually done something right for once?"
Climbing back up onto two feet, she pulled out a small keypad with a wristband attached. Placing it in the hand of her master, she said, "Yes, of course, Majesty. What you hold now is what you require."
He cooed and turned the device over in his gigantic gangly hands. "Yes…" he whispered. "Now we may proceed with our plan. We needed one element to seal our grasp, and now we have it! In moments, we will be able to pull our trusted allies, the forces of the Negaverse into this universe! At long last, Queen Beryl and I will be united…and the rangers will be destroyed! The universe will crumble under our power!"
Stumbling on his large legs over to a gigantic claw shaped cauldron, he held the hand with the morpher over it. With a quick movement, he smashed the device into a fine, glittering dust, and tossed it into the pit of the cauldron. "The spirit of the treacherous General Neflite traveled into this universe…and vowed to destroy the forces of evil. How convenient that he and his star powers took the shape of the powers of the Power Rangers in Space!" he almost snorted. "Since Neflite was a general of the Negaverse, and a servant of Queen Beryl…these powers link us to an alternate universe…where Queen Beryl is attempting to release the Negaforce on Earth. With this link, we shall pull her through into our own universe…and form an alliance that the Power Rangers can never combat!"
Astronema bowed low. "Dark Specter, what if…along with Queen Beryl and her last remaining General Malachite…we pull in Sailor Moon, and those annoying Sailor Scouts as well?"
He sneered cruelly. "If they do decide to follow Queen Beryl…then they're going to be in for a nasty little surprise! If they thought that Beryl and Malachite were hard be beat, wait until they get a taste of a little double header!"
Her lips curved into a small, evil smile. "Yes, of course…" she said. "Then we will be rid of the Power Rangers, and they will be rid of the Sailor Scouts. This plan is all too perfect."
"Do you have the other prisoner ready, Astronema?" Dark Specter turned to her once more. She nodded and snapped her fingers. From out of the shadows crept Ecliptor, holding tightly onto a struggling figure. As he drew nearer, she bowed again.
"The Phantom Ranger is all ready for your ceremony, your Darkness." She said quietly, then turned to her servant. "Take off his helmet…"
Ecliptor's hand went up to the back of the helmet. Seconds later, a clicking noise was heard, like that of a latch being opened. In one fluid movement, Ecliptor removed the helmet and tossed it across the dark room. Billows of long, wavy brown hair fell down onto the Phantom Ranger's back, and his bright blue eyes were wide with fear and shock. Dark Specter chuckled deeply.
"Why, General Neflite…what a pleasant surprise! You can't keep yourself out of anything having to do with the rangers, now can you? You should have learned by now that no matter what universe you're in, you can never escape from the evil you once were! Traitors never prosper!" he stepped away from the cauldron and over to the still struggling unmasked ranger. His claw slammed down, grabbing onto the top of Neflite's head and turning it sharply up to look at him. "Neflite, my boy…you really should get a haircut…"
"Let go of me, Dark Specter!" the former Negaverse General snarled, shaking his head hard. The claw didn't budge. "You will never get away with this!"
"Such strong words for such a weak man…considering the fact that your entire life force is in one tiny ruby!" with his other hand, he reached into the chestplate of the phantom ranger uniform, and ripped the Power Ruby from out of it's holding compartment. Neflite slumped suddenly, gasping for breath. "That last battle with Zoicite really took a lot out of you, didn't it? Aww…you poor baby! You'll get your ruby back, don't you worry. It might be after you have died, but you'll get it back…I just need it to focus the energies that I need get your former mistress into my universe!"
Ecliptor released the dying man, and he fell onto his hands and knees. As Astronema looked at him, a look of pity almost crossed her face. He looked like he was hurting very badly, one hand was clutching onto his right shoulder, while the other was shaking…struggling to balance him. He pulled in and released many rattling breaths. How could Dark Specter let someone suffer so much just for one gem? Shaking her head suddenly, she banished that thought from her mind. Carlos had made her soft…and she wasn't going to put up with that. She was going to be hard.
Dark Specter waved his empty hand over the cauldron with the dust of the stars in it. The points of the claws on its edge folded up to almost close, leaving a tiny place on it's top to fit a small object. On that spot, he placed the Phantom Ranger's Power Ruby. Raising both of his arms high into the air, he called out. "Forces of the Negaverse, heed my call! I, Dark Specter, the King of Evil require your services in my universe to conquer! I use the one link that binds us….the former General Neflite's Powers and Life Force…to pull you through! If you accept, enter the portal that my power creates for you…and we will be united as one to destroy the forces of goodness…."
For a moment, everyone stared at the tiny gem…and all was silent…
Things in Tokyo were rather peaceful that day, in that other universe. Of course, an argument between Serena and Raye was at hand…but that was nothing unusual these days. Sailor Mars was always getting on the case of the whining, crybaby leader of the Sailor Scouts, Sailor Moon. Once more, Serena had been late to a Sailor Scout meeting at the Cherry Hill temple…and Raye was furious.
"No way, Raye! That is so totally unfair!" Serena whined. "You didn't tell me that you guys were going to have a Sailor Scout Meeting at the temple today!"
"I called you this morning!" Raye declared in an annoyed tone. A large sweatdrop appeared on the back of her head. "But you were still asleep on the phone, I could tell!"
Serena bounced up onto the tips of her toes. "You could have gotten Amy, Lita or Mina to have told me in school or something, then!" she wailed. Waving her arms, blue haired Amy…Sailor Mercury, put herself in between the two arguing girls.
"Hey now, stop this at once!" she insisted, pushing them apart. Lita: Sailor Jupiter grabbed onto Raye's shoulders, while Mina: Sailor Venus, grabbed onto Serena's. "We came here because Luna and Artemis said that they were picking up some strange kind of disturbance!"
Serena and Raye stopped bickering instantly and stared at her. Two cats, a black one with red eyes, and a white one with blue eyes…both with a yellow crescent moon on their foreheads came up to the group of five girls. "It seems as if all presence of the Negaverse has vanished!" Luna, the black one said.
"It's like they were never even there to begin with," Artemis…the other cat said. "And things don't look good!"
"How could that be possible? Why would Queen Beryl and Malachite just go off and disappear when they still had us to fight here?" Lita clenched her fists.
"We're not sure," Amy added. "I used my computer to scan the Earth for any traces of them…and they're not anywhere to be found. Then I scanned the entire solar system…the entire universe…still nothing. Either they've totally blipped, or this is some kind of very clever trick."
Mina shook her head. "That doesn't seem like something that they'd do, though. They like to make themselves known…and in the most annoying ways. I don't think that they would go off and hide their existence like that…"
"Maybe that's the point?" Raye pointed out. "It's something that we'd never expect, that's for sure. They could be hiding themselves because they know that if they did, we'd never know about it."
"As if, Raye!" Serena moaned. "If you could think of that, then they could think that you could think of that….or something. Amy, could you scan other universes? Or…something…"
Everyone's eyes widened with shock. "Um…" Amy, the smartest Sailor Scout was dumbfounded. "I never quite thought of that, that's actually a very intelligent thought, Serena. The only way we could do that, I'm afraid…is to go to the base of the Negaverse…"
"And if they're there…we're in some big trouble!" Raye continued, then stuck her tongue out at Serena. "So it wouldn't work, meatball head!"
Luna dug her claws into the ground and glared up at Sailor Mars. "We don't have much of a choice, though. If it turns out that they are there, then we must be ready to fight them. If it turns out that they are not, then we might be able to track where they went and go there ourselves!"
"Gee," Mina muttered. "I sure am glad that all of our parents think that we're spending the weekend at Lita's."
Artemis shook his head. "I get the creepy feeling that this is going to take much more than just the weekend, Sailor Scouts! We'd better get a move on…"
"Artemis is right, girls. Let's show the Negaverse some Scout Power!" Luna looked up at them. All of the girls looked at each other, then their gaze came to land on Serena.
"Okay, Okay! I'm on it!" she whined, then threw her hand up into the air. "Moon Prism Power!"
The other four held their transformation sticks up into the air and shouted the names of their respective planets.
Their transformation sequences flashed by quickly, revealing five sailor suited soldiers standing around each other in a circle. Their two guardian cats stood in the center of the circle, then nodded. Quietly, the team began to chant.
"Scout Power…." It felt as if a great push of air blasted underneath them…and no sooner had they began their chant, then they had disappeared from Tokyo.
It was time to see what the deal was with the Negaverse.
The silence in Dark Specter's throne room, besides the frantic panting of General Neflite, was unnerving. Long moments passed without any answer from the Negaverse. The King of Evil sighed, then stepped away from the cauldron.
"Damn this…it didn't work!" he cursed.
No sooner had he stepped away, the Power Ruby began to glow with a powerful purple light. Like a laser beam, the glow shot up from out of the jewel, and up as far as any of them could see. The light became so violently bright, that everyone was forced to cover their eyes to avoid the glare. The sounds of mechanical like pulsating filled the room, ringing through the room and into everyone's ears.
When it faded, the light from the Power Ruby too had faded. All those witness to the scene slowly opened their eyes. Neflite searched the room with blurred vision. When he caught the gaze of his former mistress, Queen Beryl…and his former ally General Malachite…his arms crumpled beneath him and he collapsed onto the floor. Silence once more filled the room, besides that of his quiet, labored breathing.
"Well, well, well…" Queen Beryl said at last. "Dark Specter…how nice of you to bring us here."
Immediately, as none underneath him had ever seen him done, Dark Specter sank onto one knee and bowed before the queen of the Negaverse. Her general mirrored the movement, both to Specter, and to his mistress. "Welcome, Queen Beryl…Welcome to my humble home."
"Yes, it is humble, isn't it?" she held a staff in her hand…the top of it was shaped like a claw, just as the cauldron, and a large crystal ball balanced in mid-air above it. She gathered her skirt and whisked past the bowing creature, and came to stand before the fallen Phantom Ranger. "Tsk, tsk, tsk…And I had so thought that we had gotten rid of you, Neflite? So your spirit traveled to another universe…big deal? You are much more of a traitor than I had thought you to be in our own universe! Creating the powers for this meager demon's version of Sailor Scouts…and becoming one of them?" the bottom of her staff came down hard upon the ground near his unlifted head.
"I came here…" he whispered with a rasping voice. "to make sure that evil would never triumph here, as it almost did under my control in that other universe…"
Planting a sharp kick in his side, causing him to scream out loud, Beryl shouted at him. "Well, General Neflite…where has that gotten you! Where has good ever gotten you? Last time you were treacherous to your true self, you were killed…or so we had hoped! Now you lay here dying! Tell me, Neflite…is it really worth it!?"
Before he could answer, Dark Specter rose up from his bow and came over to her. "That is why I summoned you, your Majesty. Together, we can conquer those things that your former servant has become."
"The offer sounds tempting." Beryl flashed him a wicked smile. "Destroy the Power Rangers?"
"Of course," he replied, bowing slightly. "Together, you and I."
As Queen Beryl and Dark Specter began to walk through the room and discuss their plans, their two servants stood still, watching the Phantom Ranger. He now lay unconscious and unmoving. Almost simultaneously, they turned their gaze to the Power Ruby, still positioned on the top of the closed cauldron. Astronema bit her lip as she looked at the man. He was fairly attractive, and very familiar looking. He had long, white hair that fell down to the middle of his back, and intense silver eyes.
"Um…" she spoke quietly, stepping closer to the man. "General Malachite, isn't it?"
He nodded slowly. When he spoke, she felt her knees become weak. "Yes, and you are Astronema?"
She forced her self to nod shakily, then looked back at Neflite. "I don't like seeing him suffer…"
"Neither do I," he replied. "He was my friend once…before my love, Zoicite killed him."
Astronema began to walk over to the cauldron. "Do you think we should help him while there is still time? Dark Specter had promised to give him his ruby back…"
"If you wish…" he said. "I hate to see him like this…I would like very much to help him. If my mistress found out though…" Since he stood right next to it, he reached to the top of the cauldron and removed the Power Ruby.
"Yes, I understand. Queen Beryl would probably take your head off or something." She removed it from his hands and headed over to the man lying on the ground. Kneeling down, she checked his pulse. Malachite came to kneel next to her, and observed that he was no longer breathing as well.
"I hope we're not to late…" he looked almost sadly upon his former comrade. "Put the ruby back in, quickly."
Astronema nodded and slid the red gem into the circular compartment on the chestplate. For a second, nothing happened….but then it began to glow…and he began to breath again. Checking once more, she found that he had regained his pulse. The two of them stood up…then walked away from the recovering Phantom Ranger.
"Thank you for helping him…" Malachite's voice was only a whisper.
"We both did it together," she reminded him. "Thank you too."
He opened his mouth to reply, but his voice was drowned out by a sudden scream from his Queen. "GENERAL MALACHITE!"
He spun around to see her standing with Dark Specter, then bowed low. "Yes, my queen?"
Her lips curved into an evil sneer, revealing her fanglike teeth. "I have a very important job for you, my general. I was originally going to give this job to my Prince Darien…but we left him behind to defend our whereabouts. Come closer to me…"
Slowly, almost nervously he stepped closer to. In her hand she held a small object. It was a small compact with a wristband attached to it. She opened it up to reveal a keypad with numbers written on it. He leaned in and looked at it curiously.
"Dark Specter used the power from this object to bring us here. I have recreated it…and I am giving it to you, my most loyal general." She chuckled. "See this? Shout the command 'Let's Rocket!' and press these four buttons. '3. 3. 5. Enter.' And you will transform into one of the Power Rangers."
Malachite took it into his hands, then slipped it onto his wrist. "Are the Power Rangers not on the side of good, mistress?" he asked her.
She nodded, the same cruel smirk on her face. "That is the point, general. These powers once belonged to one of their own. Once they see them on the side of evil, and have a powerful warrior battle them using these powers…they will crumble! Now that you hold these powers, Malachite…they are down by one in number!"
"I see…" he muttered. Astronema came up to stand beside him.
"Astronema, General Malachite…now it is time for the two of you to make your first attack on the Power Rangers!" Dark Specter announced. "Go out, and conquer not only for me, but for Queen Beryl and the Negaverse!"
Both bent over in a low bow, then stood back up. Astronema disappeared in a purple flash of light, with the black flash that was Malachite trailing soon after her. They left their masters, laughing and gloating together over how they would soon conquer everything that was pure and good.
It was indeed a huge step forward in the plan for the triumph of evil.
Everyone was back in the bridge when Carlos finally emerged from his room. His face was tear streaked, but now that he had talked to D.E.C.A., he felt a lot better than he had when he arrived. They all turned around, waved to him and greeted them cheerily, while he did the same.
"Hey, you guys!" he said, coming up and pulling each and every one of them individually into a tight hug. "It's great to be back…"
Andros grinned. "It's great to _have_ you back, man."
Carlos turned his usual chair around and sat down in it. "I'm glad that you guys found me…I just want to know how. I thought that you guys probably thought I had died or something….what all has happened?"
Ashley bit her lip to supress a smile. "We kinda did think you were dead. Um…a lot has happened while you were gone."
T.J. popped up from behind the chair to grin mischievously at him. "Yep, like Ashley and Andros are going to be parents and get married!"
Carlos' eyes went wide. "Say what!? When did this happen?"
Andros blushed. "You remember the day that you went out to look for Corone? When you were teasing me about what Ashley and I could have been doing that other night?"
He nodded. "I was only joking…but your reaction was absolutely classic! You can't hide anything from anyone! Hey, congratulations though…you had better take care of her or I shall be forced to bash your head in, best friend or not!" Carlos laughed shortly.
"Hey! I promise that I'll take care of her! I love her way too much! Well…that's when it happened." He continued. "And after we thought that you had died, all of us got really depressed…"
Cassie snorted. "Depressed wasn't the right word to describe how Andros was, he was a total nervous wreck. He went off to battle Dark Specter and Astronema by himself to avenge your death! It put him in a coma, that he just woke up from. Now he's a changed man cause in his mind he heard his father talking to him…"
Carlos shot a confused glance towards Andros, who chuckled nervously.
"Well…it's kind of hard to explain, but that pretty much sums it up. While I was in the coma, the voice of my father called to me…he's the one who told me that you were still alive, and where you were…He also told me that I would find Corone soon…" he began to look deep and thought. "I wonder what he meant by that…are we close to finding her?"
The black ranger almost winced at that name…he had also done so when he had heard Astronema's. He couldn't help it, but the tears began to fill his eyes again. He cleared his throat. "Or maybe she was right in front of our faces the entire time and we never even knew about it?" he suggested with a quavering voice. Everyone eyed him strangely.
"What do you mean, Carlos?" Cassie asked. "Do you know where Corone is? Wait…how could you…you've been deserted on that planet for so long…"
He wiped his eyes. "Maybe she was on that planet with me? I was supposed to search that planet to find her, and it was extremely coincidental that I did find her. But you guys, there's more to her than that…you wouldn't understand…"
Andros grabbed onto Carlos' shoulders, his eyes wide. "You found Corone? Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you tell _me_?" he almost shouted. Carlos groaned and shoved his hands away.
"If you knew why I didn't tell you, then you'd wish I'd never told you and _understand_ why I didn't tell you!" he declared. "You don't understand!"
Everyone backed away from him, a look of shock on their faces. Their mouths were hanging wide open, but no words came. This had to have been what had upset him so much when was on Caeli. A deep down gnawing curiosity was eating them up inside, and they hoped that he would soon tell them everything that had happened. Andros knew from experience that telling close friends things that were hurting you, then it would make you feel better. His hand once more went onto Carlos' shoulder, but this time as a comforting aid.
"Tell us," he whispered. "Tell us what happened when you were there, and we didn't
know that you were still alive…"
"Brrrrr….it's COLD!" Sailor Moon wailed. "Maybe we belong someplace warmer? Like Tahiti?"
"Give it a break, Sailor Moon. This is where the Negaverse base is. What better place for a couple of cold hearts like the arctic, huh?" Sailor Mars growled at her teammate.
"Yeah, well this doesn't look much like a Negaverse base, now does it, Mars?" Sailor Moon thrust her hand in front of her, pointing their surroundings out. The snow swirled around them, blown by a strong wind that blew at their hair and skirts. It was moments like that in which they wished that their outfits hadn't been made that way. She was right, however…the place seemed to be nothing more than a barren arctic wasteland…not the place for a Negaverse base.
Sailor Mercury nodded, then touched her blue stud earring on her left ear slightly. A blue visor came to cover here eyes, and in her hand, she opened up a small blue computer with the symbol of Mercury on it. "Perhaps it is some kind of illusion," she said quietly. "There are definitely strong Nega vibes here, or at least remnants of them…" she began to punch buttons on the tiny keyboard as everyone watched her intently. Sailor Mercury was the brain of the group…if anyone had a question about something confusion, they always came to her or their guardian cats.
Of course, almost as always, Sailor Moon got bored with watching her friend try and figure out what kind of predicament they were in. That, and the fact that she was freezing cold caused her to start jogging around the area as all of the others continued to watch over Sailor Mercury's shoulder. As she bounced around to keep warm, she thought that she saw a slight glitter of light in the sky to her right. She turned to look at it, but she didn't see it again. Shrugging, she started to bounce again…only to see the flash again! Finding the others so engrossed in Mercury's computer project, she decided not to bug them and started off in the direction from which she had seen it. They probably wouldn't have even known that she had gone…besides, it wasn't all that far off…just a few yards. Of course, Artemis noticed the wandering scout and set off to follow her. Who knew what was out there?
"Aha! I've got it!" Sailor Mercury finally announced. "The Palace of the Negaverse is here…but they have put a cloaking device on it to make it seem like it is invisible. It should be a few yards off to our right…" she turned around, then gasped. "Sailor Moon! Look out!"
'BAM!' Sailor Moon ran straight into an unseen wall and fell over. Groaning, her face turned blue and she buried her head in the snow. Artemis gasped and ran over to her, pushing at her with his paws, as the scouts and Luna ran over, screaming out her name. She mumbled something about never wanting to eat ice-cream again and wanting to have some hot cocoa just as they came up, which told them that she was still alright. Sailor Jupiter bent down and helped her up.
"Looks like Sailor Moon found out where the Negaverse palace was on her own, you guys!" she joked, only to have everyone shoot her an annoyed stare. A large sweatdrop slid down her forehead and she giggled nervously. "Ohhh boy…."
Mercury touched her earring again, and the blue visor disappeared. Then she turned her attentions back to the computer. "I am going to try and see if I can make this thing visible, or at least find the entrance…"
Sailor Venus laughed. "Maybe we should make our own entrance, you guys!" She raised her hand to the sky, pointing her index finger. "Venus Crescent Beam!" she shouted, lowering her arm down directly in front of her. The other Sailor Scouts backed away. "SMASH!" a ray of yellow light energy shot from out of her finger, blasting against the side of the invisible building. When it stopped, there was a large opening which almost appeared to be standing in midair had appeared. Inside of it, it was almost pitch black.
Waving her hand, Sailor Venus started for the hole. "Nothing like the direct approach!" she stated, then bounced in. "Come on, everybody!"
As everyone began to file in, Jupiter stood outside of it, arms crossed over her chest. "Hey, now!" she complained. "That was my trick!" But then she shrugged and climbed in herself.
As the last Sailor Scout vanished inside the building, the opening that Sailor Venus
had created with her power disappeared…and the maniacal dark laughter of a man echoed across
the arctic plain.
"Earth is as much as a dump in this universe as it is in mine," Malachite grumbled. "I don't see why everyone is so intent on capturing it. There are much better things in this galaxy far more worth taking. But over and over, they always come back to Earth…"
"I've always wondered about that myself." Astronema grumbled. "You run up, scare a few people, and then some world saving idiots come up to kick your rump. Your overlord always meets your basic repetitious loss of battle with your basic repetitious ranting and raving. Not my idea of fun."
"Nor mine." His silvery eyes darted about. "And it isn't my idea of fun to come down and attack a planet without a plan. It's so unlike Beryl to send me out without specific orders."
She snorted. "It's not unlike Dark Specter, let me assure you! Besides bringing you and your queen here, he has never had a decent plan or decent orders to give me or any of his other freaking flunkies for that matter…and you wonder why the rangers win all the time!"
"Well I very much doubt that they are going to be winning for much longer…" he grinned evilly. "The Negaverse is much more powerful than your 'Dark Specter' anyday. You saw how your master bowed to Queen Beryl? Well…these rangers will soon know the taste of losing!"
Astronema cracked a smile then laid a hand on his shoulder. "General Malachite, I think you and I are going to get along very well…"
"As do I." He replied. "How does one go about getting the rangers to come out and fight anyhow?"
She sighed slightly, twirling her purple hair with her little finger. "We sit here and wait. Their onboard computer D.E.C.A. should be able to track us and inform them that we're here…then the fun begins!"
Malachite's evil smile faded and his hard eyes softened slightly. "D.E.C.A….I
see…We'll be ready when…D.E.C.A….sends the Power Rangers down…"
Carlos was just about to speak his mind, as the alarms on the MegaShip began to blare loudly. D.E.C.A.'s voice boomed out. "Rangers, there is a disturbance on Earth. Astronema and some other villain are in Angel Grove. As of now, they aren't causing any threat, but I doubt that it's going to stay that way for much longer!"
An image appeared on the screen before them. There was Astronema all right, but the man who was standing next to her was someone that they had never seen before! With four of them who had spent a few years and high school, he could only be described as wearing a gray marching band uniform with light blue lining. Two blue gems held a long, flowing cape onto his outfit. His hair was long, falling down about to the middle of his back…and his eyes were a bright and expressive silvery color. His skin was dark, and his features were sharp…strangely handsome and eerily evil all at once.
There was a long silence before D.E.C.A. spoke again. "If I am correct, that is General Malachite from the Negaverse. How he could be in this universe, I have no idea…for he is from an entirely different reality than we are."
"I've got a bad feeling about this," Carlos choked. "A guy from another universe? Here in ours?" _This must be the man that D.E.C.A. just told me about in my room. If so, we're in really big trouble._
"I suggest that the five of you get on it at once. Now with more enemies it seems, our mission to save Zordon is going to be much harder to accomplish." D.E.C.A. told them.
"Alright!" Andros said, then held out his hand in front of him. "Let's Rocket!" he opened up the keypad of the morpher on his wrist and was about to punch the morphing code. Most of the others did the same until they heard a sharp incoherent cry from one of their teammates.
"It's gone!" Carlos shrieked. "It's gone! My morpher!!"
As it was, he was standing in front of the group besides Andros. Four pairs of eyes of the other Power Rangers were locked on him as he stared in surprise at his wrist. With a panicked whimper, he began to search his pockets, but still he found nothing. "She took it…." He moaned quietly, the color in his face draining until he was sickly pale. "She took it…."
"Who took it, Carlos?" Cassie asked, coming up to lay a hand on his shoulder. He shrugged it away, staring at his wrist with wide-eyed horror.
"She took it…" he repeated quietly, starting to shake his head slowly. "I can't believe this…"
T.J. grabbed onto both of his shoulders and shook him fiercely. "Carlos!" he yelled almost angrily. "Who took your morpher!"
Carlos leaned forward in T.J.'s grip. With a long sigh, his knees collapsed and he fainted dead away.
Andros growled lightly, picked him up and carried him over to the infirmary table. "D.E.C.A., watch over Carlos while we're gone. He's going to have a lot of explaining to do when we get back, but right now, we have to go kick some butt…" he walked back over in front of the rangers. "Okay everybody, NOW Let's Rocket!"
They completed the morphing sequence that was so rudely interrupted before, and then disappeared from the MegaShip to battle Dark Specter and General Malachite.
As Carlos lay on the infirmary table, he began to whisper in his fainting spell. "Corone took my morpher…A…Astronema took my morpher…no…."
D.E.C.A., though she was a computer, tensed up at that sound as she watched the two
attackers on the screen. If Astronema had taken Carlos' morpher…and General Malachite was with
her…this spelled out only one thing; trouble.
"Geez, what a creepy place…" Sailor Mars muttered. "It's no warmer in here than it was outside, and I can barely see two feet in front of my face!"
The two guardian cats were in front of the Sailor Scouts, scanning the area. "Shhh…" Luna warned in a hushed voice. "If they are still here, which _is_ a possibility, then we had better keep quiet for fear of getting ourselves caught!"
Artemis nodded. "She's right, girls…keep it down…"
A tiny sweatdrop slid down Sailor Mars' forehead as Sailor Moon walked by her and stuck her tongue out. "Yeah, Mars…" she teased.
Luna turned around. "That means you too, Sailor Moon. You're not excluded from this, and neither are any of the others. Now shhh!"
The hissing sound echoed through the dark room, causing each and every one of them to hold their breath. When the noise stopped, and still they heard nothing, they exhaled deeply and began to breath again. Quietly, they crept through the room.
After walking for what had seemed to be hours through the endless dark space they were in, a dark voice boomed in from above them, causing their blood to run cold. "Why…hello, ladies! How nice of you to join me here…I was getting rather lonely…"
"That's Prince Darien…" Sailor Venus gasped. "Or Tuxedo Mask…either way, I recognized his voice…we're in trouble now!"
A sudden eerie purple light ignited and lit the vast chamber. When they saw it's appearance, they wished that they hadn't seen it at all. But there was no time to concentrate on the ugliness of their surroundings, when a man wearing dark black armor, a long dark flowing cape and a sword at his side crept out into the light. Sailor Moon's knees grew weak at the sight of her Prince Darien…twisted by Queen Beryl's brainwashing to make him think that he was the Champion of the Negaverse. He smiled darkly at them.
"Why, Sailor Venus…you always _did_ have a knack for being able to state the completely obvious!" he drew his sword and looked over the group. "Well, well, well! All of the Sailor Brats are here this time, I see! And look, their little kitty guardians came too! _This_ ought to be loads of fun!"
Artemis arched his back. "Prince Darien, will you get over this Negaverse kick already! You're on our side, not theirs! Now where is Queen Beryl? And Malachite?"
Darien tossed his cape back over his shoulders and laughed. "They left for another universe, and I doubt very much that they are going to be coming back! They kept me here to guard their palace from intruders…and you guys seem to fit that category to me!"
Sailor Moon turned to Sailor Mars. "See, I toldja, Mars! They're in another universe! Now you owe me!"
"Sailor Moon!" Luna snarled. "Stop it! This situation is serious!"
Holding the sword in front of him, the brainwashed man laughed. "Might wanna listen to your little kitty friend there, Sailor Moon! She's right! And it's about to get even more serious! H-ya!" Jumping high into the air, Prince Darien soared across the room. Landing between the group of scouts, he swiped his sword and sent all of them flying. "And Queen Beryl thought that I couldn't take you all at once! All of you together are no harder than beating Sailor Moon on her own! Don't tell me that was all that you've got, Sailor Scouts! I'm just getting warmed up!"
Sailor Jupiter snarled as she climbed to her feet. "We've not yet begun to fight, pretty boy! Come on, hot shot! I can take ya!"
"Idle threats, Jupiter! Idle threats indeed! You cannot fight the Champion of the Negaverse and expect to get out of it in one piece! Either you're very brave, or very foolish. I'm leaning more towards the latter!"
Sailor Mercury lept up and grabbed Jupiter's arm. "He's right, Jupiter…Don't rush right into this…we have to think about it logically!"
Jupiter gently removed Mercury's hand from her arm. "Don't worry, Mercury…I know what I'm doing." As Sailor Mercury backed away, a long golden antenna came up from her tiara. Crossing her arms in front of her holding her hands so that the ring finger and the middle finger were held down, she shouted "Guardian Jupiter…give me the power to bust this dweezoid Negacreep back onto our side!" Lightning bolts flashed around her and gathered at the ball tip of her antenna. "Jupiter…Thunder…CRASH!!" Flinging her arms out, she shot forth a mass of lightning hurtling towards the evil Prince Darien.
Taken completely by surprise, the power of Sailor Jupiter sent the man sprawling out onto the ground. He dropped his sword, but got up at least onto his knees again. "Is…is that all you've got!?" he threatened again, although they could tell that he was getting weaker. Sailor Jupiter flashed the rest of the team a thumbs-up and winked.
Sailor Mars lept up, holding a small piece of parchment with Japanese writing on it up to her face. Her hair began to flow about wildly behind her as she whispered. "Maybe an evil charm will work in getting Tuxedo Mask back onto our side." She opened her eyes. "It's worth a try…if nothing else it will weaken him enough so that Sailor Moon can heal him with her moon wand. Mars…Fireballs…CHARGE!" she sent the tiny strip of paper streaking through the air, only to land on Prince Darien's forehead. He cried out in pain and sunk back down…as he had almost been standing again. With a snarl…he ripped the parchment off of his head, balled it up and threw it, but he could no longer get himself to stand up.
"Come on, Sailor Moon! Don't just stand there! Heal him, heal him!" Luna began to bounce around furiously, nudging the motionless Sailor Scout. She shook her head, blinked, then nodded.
"I'm on it, Luna!" she grumbled, then pulled out her crescent moon wand and held it in front of her face. Moving it so that she held it out slightly above her shoulders, she twirled in midair in a complete circle. "Moon…Healing…" she brought the wand around her in a full circle from her feet up to her head. "Activation!" The crescent moon wand and the Imperium Silver Crystal that it held began to glow brightly, sending a flood of golden light over Prince Darien.
The five scouts stared as they saw the form of their friend illuminate in the strange light. He was screaming out loudly with both frustration and pain, a sign that he was trying his hardest to stay on the side of evil. He was being torn between a powerful spell and his truth as Sailor Moon continued her attempt to heal him. Suddenly, the sounds of his struggling ceased, the light from the wand and himself disappeared. In the place of the black armored Prince Darien was a man wearing a tuxedo, a long black cape with red lining, a small white mask, and a tall black hat. He was crouching still, but when a single red rose dropped to the ground near him and he smiled…they knew that they now had their friend, Tuxedo Mask, back onto their side.
"TUXEDO MASK!" Sailor Moon could no longer contain herself and ran straight into the arms of her long lost beloved. She had not seen him as his normal self since she and everyone else found out that it was she who was the moon princess. He wrapped her up in his cape and let her cry on his chest. "Oh, Darien…you're back!"
"Yep, I sure am. You promised to set me free again, and you did. I owe you, meatball head." His tone was joking, but she growled and poked him in the stomach.
"I thought that you said that you weren't going to call me that anymore, it's not FAAAAAAIR!" she started to whine and cry as the other scouts and the cats came up to them.
"What a pleasant reunion, huh, Luna?" Artemis nudged her with his paw. She shrugged as best a cat could.
"I suppose so…but we still have to find the Negaverse. We just can't stay here now that they are gone, and let them terrorize some other unsuspecting universe, now can we? Now…we need to find a way to get there."
Sailors Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Venus were too busy chatting to even hear what Luna was trying to say…but Sailor Mercury knelt down next to the two felines and began to use her computer once more.
Before any results could come to her, however, a thick black spinning cloud encircled them. It was as if a cyclone had appeared out of nowhere…and a fierce wind began to blow, shooting them upward and upward, spinning around in around. They shrieked with terror as the wind wrapped around them, unable to stop their unwilling flight to wherever it was they were going. In the space of a heartbeat things had changed from joy to the rescue of Darien, to sheerest fear at being swept into the unknown.
And the unknown was coming up awfully fast.
"It's about time!" Malachite crossed his arms over his chest and plastered a mock pouting expression to his face. "I thought that they would never show up! Welcome Power Rangers!"
Andros laughed. "Look bleach head, we're not going to be formal and welcome you to our universe, got it? Prepare to be beaten, and beaten badly."
The other man faked a shudder, then replied in a sarcastic tone. "Ohhh, I'm trembling!" he lost the sarcasm. "I think not, Power Ranger…the power of the Negaverse is far more superior than that of your…space powers."
Astronema tapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear. "Um…Actually, Neflite created these powers…isn't he from the Negaverse?"
He cleared his throat loudly. "That doesn't matter, my former friend or no…he is still a traitor! And besides, the power of any Negaverse lackey spoiled by the forces of good is never as potent, these wimps don't even stand a chance against us, Astronema!"
Cassie stepped forward, putting her hands on her hips. "Look, I don't have any Earthly idea what you guys are talking about…but I don't even think I want to know. You guys wanna fight us or what, cause if not, we're kicking your butt straight back to Dark Specter…whoever _you_ came from…" she pointed to Malachite.
Ashley nodded. "You may think you know what you're up against, but you don't! The Power Rangers aren't defeated so easily!"
Malachite grinned wickedly. "Is that so? Well…let me assure you, yellow one…The Negaverse is just as persistent as you are!" He thrust his hands out in front of him. Instantly, purple glowing rings of pure energy shot out of them, headed straight for the Yellow Ranger. She screamed loudly as the Red Ranger lept in front of her and accepted the blow. He collapsed to the ground in a moaning heap.
"Andros, you idiot!" she snapped. "What made you think you could go off and do something like that, huh?"
He coughed. "I didn't want you…or our baby to get hurt!"
She stared for a moment. "Oh yeah, I forgot about that. That's a pretty good reason."
The yellow ranger proceeded to help the red up as the pink and blue stood in front of them. "Pretty fancy trick!" T.J. commented. "Not bad at all, but it's going to take more than that to beat us! Astro Axe!" with a blue flash, the steel blade of the Blue Ranger's Astro Axe appeared in his hand. He swung it menacingly towards Malachite, who just laughed.
"You actually think that sorry excuse for a juiced up butter knife is going to do any good against me? I think not!"
Astronema backed away. "Why does it feel like this guy is doing this all by himself!" she grumbled and hid in the shadows. If they weren't going to pay any attention to her, she didn't want to be any part of it.
"Satellite stunner!" Cassie cried. Her tiny pink satellite shaped weapon appeared. "How about two weapons then, pretty boy!?"
He clicked his tongue. _I don't even see why Queen Beryl gave me those powers to begin with. They aren't needed against these puny excuses for world defenders! I can beat them with both of my hands tied behind my back. They couldn't even beat Sailor Moon…and that is as low as you can get!_ "A juiced up butter knife and a television satellite dish…I don't know why I bother with you twits!" he raised his hands into the sky, creating two neon purple boomerangs. "Now these…these are weapons!"
Malachite let out a wild battle cry and was about to fling his boomerangs at the five rangers…when a space in the sky seemed to open up before them. Strong gusts of wind blew all who were near away from it, then without warning…out spouted five girls in short skirts with sailor like outfits, a man in a tuxedo and top hat with a mask, and two cats. The black whirlwind disappeared as quickly as it had come, and the winds stilled. Everyone was silent except for the group that came from out of the vortex, who were groaning, with pain, shrieking with terror and screaming at one another to get off each other. Malachite's eyes went wide and he began to back away, boomerangs vanishing.
"It can't be…" he whispered. "They followed us! No!" he winced and turned around as he felt someone's hand graze his shoulder. He gasped when he saw the Phantom Ranger standing behind him.
The Phantom didn't speak a word, just pushed on past Malachite and began to help the Sailor Scouts and Tuxedo Mask to their feet. They thanked him gratefully, then shot a confused glance around the forest in which they were standing. To their left was an extremely shocked looking Malachite. To their right was a group of five multi-colored spandex wearing people. Sailor Moon squealed and began to jump up and down when she recognized who they were.
"Oooooh! It's the Power Rangers from T.V.! This is sooooo wicked cool!" she giggled and bounced over to them. "HI! I'm Sailor Moon and you guys are the total coolest! I've got your action figures, and your coloring books, and your video games and I've seen your movies a hundred gazillion times! Wow, you guys it's the POWER RANGERS!"
T.J. almost shuddered. "I knew that the name Malachite seemed a bit familiar! And no wonder I didn't recognize him, on T.V. their all Japanese animation! Whoa, so this is what they'd look like if they were real people."
There was a tall girl with her long brown hair pulled up into a high ponytail. Her eyes were dark green…as her skirt was a lighter shade of the same color. The bows on her outfit were best described as a sugar pink color. She wore short green laced up boots with high heels. This was Sailor Jupiter.
The girl standing next to her was a bit shorter, but all of them besides the man were that way. She had long black hair, and dark eyes. She wore red high heels for shoes, and her skirt was read. Her bows were an almost purple color. She was Sailor Mars.
The light blue eyed girl next to her had hair just as long, but it was blonde instead of nearly black. Her skirts were orange, where her bows were blue. She wore high heels just as Sailor Mars was, except they were orange with a strap around her ankles. In her hair was a bright red bow. She was Sailor Venus.
Wearing a dark blue skirt and light blue bows was Sailor Mercury. She had boots that came up to her knees…dark blue with a light blue lining. The strangest part of her however was her sea blue hair, which matched her eyes almost perfectly. In her hand she was holding a tiny compact which was soon revealed to be a tiny handheld computer. She was right out the brains of the group.
And if Sailor Mercury's hair wasn't strange, it was completely normal compared to the hair of Sailor Moon. It's color wasn't abnormal…whereas it was the same shade as Sailor Venus'…but it was the way she wore it. She had her hair up in pigtails that could only be described as meatballs. She had tall boots just like Sailor Mercury…which were red, with a white lining and a tiny crescent moon on their tip up at her knees. Her outfit was the color of the U.S. flag, with a blue skirt, and red bows.
The only male of the group besides the white cat was Tuxedo Mask. And indeed he did fit his name. He was wearing a…believe it or not…tuxedo. In his hand he held a long cane, over his eyes was a tiny white mask. On his head he wore a very tall top hat over his short cut black hair. Down at his feet there were two cats. The white one with blue eyes was Artemis, and the black one with dark red eyes was Luna. Both of them had a tiny yellow crescent moon on their foreheads. Even though they were felines, they both had the strange ability to speak, which shocked all of the rangers who had never seen the show on television before.
One of T.J.'s television obsessions was now real and standing in front of him. This had to have been the weirdest day of his entire life! So much, rushing up so fast!
Sailor Jupiter cleared her throat and tapped Sailor Moon on the shoulder. "These aren't the ones they show on T.V. back home, Sailor Moon…these are the U.S. dubbed version ones…"
Sailor Moon grinned and started to ramble. "Yeah, I know! Molly's cousin from the U.S. sent her a tape of the U.S. version of Power Rangers and she let me watch em! They've got some totally hunky guys, Jupiter!! Wait till you see…uhh…wait….where's the black ranger? Oh well…the red and blue ones are majorly hunky too, and they're both here!"
Both Ashley and Tuxedo Mask cleared their throat. "Andros is mine, my meatball headed friend…" the yellow ranger joked. "You'll have to get through me if you want him."
"Oh, that's okay!" Sailor Moon waved her hand. "I've got my Tuxedo Mask anyways, I just think your boyfriend is such a cutie! But of _course_ my Tuxedo Mask is so much better!"
Quite coincidentally, the Phantom Ranger and General Malachite cleared their throats at exactly the same times. With gasps of "Huh?" coming from all of the others, they looked at the two who had made the noise. The Phantom Ranger spoke before Malachite was able to utter a word.
"This reunion is nice…" he said in his deep voice. "But I'm afraid that we have other matters at hand." He gestured towards the fuming Malachite, who grumbled something inaudible under his breath.
"Um…yeah…" Sailor Mars said quietly. _Why do I get such a creepy familiar feeling about that guy?_ she wondered to herself. _Not just his voice, but the vibes I'm getting from him…hmmm…_
"I think that it's time to trash this Negacreep," he suggested. "Don't you?" he turned and growled at his old ally, who shot him a cold glare.
"Traitor…" Malachite muttered, then started to back away. "Five wimpy rangers were easy, but not the Sailor Scouts too! I'm out of here!"
"Not so fast!" Sailor Mercury shouted and crossed her arms in front of her. "Mercury….Bubbles…" Floating in midair, she turned in a circle. A glowing blue bubble formed in front of her arms. "BLAST!" she flung her arms out and sent a barrage of fogging bubbles out to keep Malachite from seeing his way.
"My turn!" Sailor Mars declared. She clasped her hands together, both index fingers out and touching each other. "Mars….Fire…." a flicker of flame appeared at her fingertips. "IGNITE!" the stream of fire shot through the air and slammed against a forcefield that Malachite had placed around himself. He groaned loudly, then began to scream for Astronema. As the fog was beginning to clear, The Power Rangers and the Scouts saw the purple haired woman run to his side.
"You may have beaten us this time, Power Rangers and Sailor Scouts! But next time, you won't be so lucky!" he warned them. Instantly, as the last of the fog from Mercury's attack was swept away by the wind, they both vanished.
The rangers were crouching on the ground, watching the Sailor Scouts with shock and wonder. Tuxedo Mask grinned widely. "Good job, Sailor Scouts…" he commended. "You really taught Malachite a lesson." He walked over to stand next to the Phantom Ranger, who almost bowed!
"I'm glad you guys made it," he said. "I had barely enough energy to create that vortex that brought you here, and I feared that it might not work. I didn't think that it was very fair for the Power Rangers to have to face the forces of the Negaverse _and_ Dark Specter!"
Sailor Moon gaped. "You're the one who brought us here? I mean, how? How'd you do that?"
Tuxedo Mask laid a hand on the Phantom's shoulder. "Maybe if you knew who he was, then a lot of your questions would be explained." He spoke in a tone of kindness towards the man that those who knew him had ever heard. "Isn't it good to be back on the side of good, General?"
The Phantom ranger gasped a little, but then knelt down onto one knee. "Of course, Prince Darien. Back in your service once more."
T.J. borrowed a line from the first pink ranger of so long ago…"Okay, can someone come back down to Earth here and pick me up, because I am _totally_ confused!"
Tuxedo Mask laughed, suddenly transforming back into his black prince armor. This time, at least, he was not evil as he wore it. "Why don't you show them, my friend?" Prince Darien offered. The Phantom nodded, then stood up.
Touching the Power Ruby on his chest plate, he lowered his head down to the ground. Slowly the black armored uniform began to fade away, revealing a man wearing a gray Negaverse General uniform with dark blue lining. Around his neck hung a long golden chain with a large beautifully cut ruby on it…the Power Ruby. He had long, wavy brown hair…and when he opened his eyes, he revealed twin pools of bright blue. A tiny smile tugged at his lips as he looked at Prince Darien. "General Neflite, at your service, my Prince."
Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Mercury felt their breath catch in their throat. The only one of them able to speak, Sailor Moon squeaked out, "That's Neflite…no way, he was dead! We saw it!"
Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter were staring at the man as well, but not quite the same way the other's were. "Wow…what a hunky guy…" they sighed dreamily.
"He looks just like my ex-boyfriend…" Jupiter cooed, just as Sailor Venus gave her a smack on the back of the head. "Ow!"
"I don't understand this….Neflite, how'd you get here? How are you alive? Why are you being all formal with Darien and all of that? Can you please explain what's going on here!? I think our Power Ranger friends here are just as confused!" Sailor Mars confronted her former enemy.
He laughed, something that he hadn't done for a long time since before he had 'died' in Molly's arms. "Before I was under Queen Beryl's control…I was Prince Darien's guardian and servant in the Silver Millennium. That's why I'm acting so formal with him. I did die in your universe…Zoicite killed me…you saw how my spirit floated away? It came to this universe and I was reborn. I was given another chance at life, to live it the right way. I was given this ruby as my life source, because of my death in your universe. It is the only thing that is keeping me alive now. With the powers that I have, I created the powers for the Power Rangers that you see here…I bet you didn't see that on T.V., did you, Sailor Moon?"
Her eyes were extremely wide as she shook her head. "Well, no…it never said why…and it never said who the Phantom was. It never even said that it was real in another universe!"
Neflite's chest heaved with laughter. He started to wheeze a little bit, but a little bit of coughing quickly cleared it up. "Well…I dedicated my life to protecting this universe from evil, the exact opposite of what I did before. I was captured by Dark Specter, an old ally of Queen Beryl. He had discovered what I had done with my power in this universe, and used me as a link to pull Queen Beryl here. I…guess you could say it is my fault that the Negaverse is attacking now. I used almost all of my power, as he was using my life force as a key to pull them in, to create a vortex and bring you…the Sailor Scouts…here. After Malachite and Astronema returned my power ruby, for reasons that completely confuse me, I came here…and from there, you know the rest."
"Well…this is all fine and good, but what are we supposed to do now?" Artemis was always a whining and complaining cat, never satisfied with anything that was going on. "We're going to be here for a while, it seems, Scouts…where are we going to stay?"
They were all totally clueless until the Blue Space Ranger came up to them.
"You can stay on the MegaShip with us!" he offered cheerily. The other rangers gasped out short protests, but they knew that the scouts had no where else to go. They quickly agreed and began encouraging the Sailor Scouts, their cats, Tuxedo Mask and General Neflite to stay with them on the MegaShip.
"Well…" Sailor Moon hesitated, but then began to giggle wildly. "Sure, why not! Let's go check out the space ship everybody! This oughta be so COOL!"
If they had all been anime characters at that moment, a gigantic sweatdrop of frustration
would have slid down each and every single one of their foreheads…
"I gave you perfectly good powers, Malachite…and you didn't even bother to use them? That has been your worst attempt ever! Next time, don't be so foolish!" Queen Beryl snapped at her servant. He was forced only to bow low to her.
"I apologize, my queen…it will not happen again, I assure you!"
Dark Specter roared. "Make sure that it doesn't, Malachite…you made Astronema look good out there with how poorly you did! Speaking of which…" he turned his gaze to his own servant. "How dare you hide, what kind of villainess are you?"
"I'm sorry, Dark Specter…" she groveled. "We'll do better next time, make no mistake of that. We just weren't ready this time…there were too many all at once. Next time we shall plan out our attack!"
Queen Beryl pounded her fist against the arm of the throne that Dark Specter had constructed for her. "Leave us! We must discuss our defeat! You have failed us…now go and train for your next mission! I want you _ready_ for the next battle!"
"Yes," the two of them said quietly, bowed deeply then turned and left the room. They grumbled to each other over what they had been talking about before the rangers had shown up…. "Your overlord always meets your basic repetitious loss of battle with your basic repetitious ranting and raving."…and it was true. Even after the two of them had left, the Queen of the Negaverse and the King of Evil were still screaming about their defeat.
"If those annoying Sailor Scouts from your universe hadn't shown up…" Dark Specter clenched his fists. "They could have beaten those rangers once and for all…Malachite was about ready to slice and dice them…until that hole in the sky opened up and those short skirted menaces showed up!"
"Patience, Dark Specter…patience. You're going to need to learn it if you want to defeat the Sailor Scouts. They may seem just like a group of little girls…but they are definitely more powerful than they seem. But…they are not stronger than we are. Soon we will rule…don't you worry…"
"I suppose you're right…" he muttered. "I just expected things to move much faster after you arrived. You _are_ the most powerful force of evil that I know of."
"Don't get your hopes up so high, next time…you are a fool, Dark Specter…don't forget who is in control here. You may have brought me here, but it is I who is in control. You're right, together we will defeat the Power Rangers, and now the Sailor Scouts…but it is I who will take the glory! You might as well get over it now!"
He stared at her, his orange eyes flaring up brightly with rage. "Whatever you say, Queen
Beryl…" he rumbled.
"See…isn't it the funkiest!" Serena giggled as she bounced around the corridors of the MegaShip. "This is just like living in the T.V.!"
"For real!" T.J. was bouncing right along with her, showing her around as everyone else was tending to Carlos. "It's really cool to have you guys here, on the MegaShip. In this universe, you guys are the coolest cartoon ever!"
As the two of them bounded past the infirmary, Andros shook his head. "I think we've found T.J.'s secret obsession. Who would have known that he was a Sailor Moon addict." He watched as Neflite dabbed Carlos' forehead with a cold, damp cloth. "How's he doing?"
"Finding out about his Powers being stolen, plus everything that happened before he came back here has really knocked him out. He should be alright in a while, though. Right now he's sleeping peacefully…we should let him rest." He turned around and started to shoo everyone out of the room.
They walked out to the bridge, dodging Serena and T.J.. Luna was perched up on Amy's shoulder, while Artemis was being carried by Mina. Neflite and Darien were talking like old friends as the three rangers trailed along behind them. Two of them however, disappeared as soon as they had passed Andros' room. When the Sailor Scouts wondered why, Cassie explained to them about Andros' and Ashley's relationship. They giggled… being much younger than the rangers were, they thought that it was all silly. Serena pulled Darien off with herself and T.J. as she made her bouncing round again. As Cassie began to tell the remaining scouts about the MegaShip, they got interested and wanted to try out the Simudeck. How convenient that this left Cassie…and the Phantom Ranger that she had been having a crush on for so long alone. Now that she had seen him, and knew who she was, she loved him even more.
"It's so nice finally knowing who you are." She smiled softly and leaned against the wall. "I think that it's really cool that you're from another universe…and that you have all of those cool powers of controlling the stars."
He nodded slowly and looked out of the large window at the starfilled void. "Ever since I came here, the stars have been my only companions. Everything is ruled by the stars, Cassie…did you know that?"
"I always did kind of like Astronomy." She admitted. "I've always wanted to study it. There was such deep feeling in just looking at the stars, I used to do it all the time. I still do…I'm so drawn to them. As drawn to them as much as I am drawn to you." She blushed severely when she realized what she had just said.
He locked his brilliant blue eyes onto her dark ones. "Cassie, I don't want to hurt you…but my interest in you is not love interest. I am in love with a young lady in that other universe…I died in her arms…"
"Molly," Cassie bit her lip. She felt her heart breaking at what he had just said to her. How could he have been acting that way so much and not be in love with her? It just didn't make any sense to her! "But, then why do you single me out all of the time…i…if you don't love me like I love you…"
"You are drawn to the stars…so much that it seems unhealthy to you sometimes?" he asked her, voice shaking slightly. He knew that the fact that he didn't love her had really broken her up inside. She would soon get over it though, he knew that for a fact.
She nodded. "Yeah…exactly."
He chuckled softly, then took her hand in his. "Cassie…would it surprise you at all if I told you that you have the same powers that I do? That you have the ability to control the stars?"
For a moment, she looked a bit shocked. But then, as she continued to think about it…it became more and more clear. "No…" she shook her head, surprised not by what he had told her, but at herself. "Not at all…"
Hooking their hands together, he smiled into her eyes. "I will train you, Cassie…I will train you in the ways of how to control the stars, if you accept?"
"Yes…" she whispered. "I accept…"
"Go on to bed…" he released her hand. "It's been a very long day and tiring day for everyone."
Cassie nodded slowly, waved a little then left the room. Neflite sighed to himself as he continued to look out of the window.
"I'm beginning to wonder if there will ever be peace…" he whispered. "The battles never seem to cease…and I doubt they ever will. This is only the beginning of the battle…Only the beginning…"