"Whoa," the Rangers breathed in chorus. The eight young people stared as the light from Aura's necklace filled the Command Center. When it faded, two ghostly images stood before them, one male, one female. "What's going on?" Rocky breathed softly.
Aura stared at the two figures, and her eyes widened. The male wore the same uniform she did as the Amber Ranger, only where the shield covering her chest was blank, this one bore the image of a planet of some type! She began to tremble a little.
IT APPEARS THIS IS A MESSAGE FROM NERAS, THE LAST AMBER RANGER. Zordon spoke. I DO NOT KNOW WHO THE WOMAN IS, HOWEVER.
"Daughter," the man's image spoke suddenly. "I am Neras, the thirty-fifth Amber Ranger of Kalakan, and your father. This must be strange, I know not how life on an alien world has treated you, but you are not human, nor are you from Earth. Your name; your real name, is Alaina. You are my firstborn child, and like me, you bear the power of the Amber Ranger, the chosen defender of Kalakan."
The woman spoke next. "I am Shaya, your mother, a sorceress of Kalakan. By my magic, I was able to see that you would be in grave danger if you remained on Kalakan, and though it was greatly against our will, Neras and I sent you to Earth in a stasis capsule when you were but a week old."
"My daughter, you are not the child of myself and my wife, Selania," Neras continued. "Shaya and I knew each other as children, and fell in love as adults. I had to marry Selania to satisfy certain political obligations, but I did not love her. Before my marriage however, I paid one last visit to Shaya. Perhaps I should not have, but the results are the same: you.
"As the firstborn child, you have the power of the Amber Rangers, the hereditary defenders of our world. I wish I could be there to train you as I was trained, but that cannot be," Neras looked sad, almost as if he were about to cry.
"My daughter," Shaya spoke once more. "Our world is currently under attack by an evil warlord, by the name of Zedd. My arts have told me that Kalakan is doomed, but Neras and I can convince only a few of this. We have made plans for what we can, but this is what I know: that Neras will die fighting Zedd, that our world will be rendered lifeless for thousands of years, and that you will survive on Earth. I wish I could help you more, but all I can do is give you life and all my love. One day we shall meet again, my daughter."
Neras raised his head. "This necklace you wear is as old as you are, child, and will be with you as long as Kalakan exists; it is the symbol of the bond between you and your homeworld. Shaya and I have placed this message into it for you, that you will know who and what you are. It will play the first time you touch it as the Amber Ranger, and I truly wish I could have seen the warrior and woman I know you must have grown into. Farewell, my daughter, and know that your mother and I love you: always."
"Always," Shaya nodded agreement as the images faded.
A deep silence fell over the Command Center as the Rangers looked at each other in shock. Azure broke the stillness.
"Aura... you mean... you're not human?"
"I guess I'm not," Aura was shaking as she gripped a console. "What am I?"
YOU ARE A KALAKAN, AURA. THEY ARE A VERY PROUD PEOPLE. YOU SHOULD BE HONORED TO BE OF THEIR BLOOD.
Billy slipped an arm around Aura to support her. Aura looked at him gratefully. "I... don't know what to do now. My family's not my family. My parents aren't who I thought they were... I'm not even what I thought I was!"
"I don't care that you weren't born into my family!" Azure told her firmly. "You're still my sister, always have been, always will be!"
Aura smiled lightly. "I want to talk to Mom and Dad about this. See if they knew what I am."
"You're going to have to be careful about how you approach this! Heck, I didn't even know you were adopted!"
"Neither did I," Aura sighed. "They could have at least told me that much!"
Tommy looked at the ground, shadows in his dark eyes. "I know how you feel."
"Tommy?" Aura raised an eyebrow.
"I was also adopted," Tommy told her. "I just found out recently; I came across the adoption certificate."
Aura nodded briefly, then glanced at Azure. "Want to go talk to our parents? They've got a few things to answer to."
Azure nodded. "Sure. Let's go do it... sister!"
"All right, sister," Aura smiled a touch. * * *
By the time Aura and Azure entered their house, Aura was on the verge of losing her temper completely. She'd thought a lot about her recent discoveries, both about being the Amber Ranger and now an alien and adopted.
Their mother looked up as they came in, and saw storm clouds in Aura's gray eyes. "Girls? What's wrong?"
"Why didn't you ever tell me I was adopted?" Aura spoke flatly.
Their father looked up, shock in his eyes. "How did you find out?"
Azure interrupted Aura before she could say anything. "It's a long story, but we did."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Aura's voice was choking with tears. She could bear it no longer, she touched the amber in her medallion. The images of Neras and Shaya appeared again, but before they could speak, Mrs. Robinson fainted dead away.
"You're joking, right?" Mr. Robinson looked at them. "This has got to be some kind of joke!"
"I'm not joking," Aura bit the words out. "I'm not even laughing!" She pinned them with her gaze. "Well? What do you think of your daughter... the alien!?"
Mr. Robinson sighed as his wife slowly regained her senses. "We adopted you when we thought we couldn't have children. As for why we never told you..." he glanced over at Mrs. Robinson.
"We never deemed it important," she said. "You are our daughter, nothing can take away all the love this family has had!"
"And we never knew about you being an alien," her father took a deep breath and continued. "You were in an orphanage, we were told you had been found quite literally on a hospital's doorstep, and your necklace was with you even then."
Aura touched it again, not calling up the images of her birth-parents this time, though. "This came from Kalakan: like I do. My birth-parents sent it with me."
She sighed, her anger suddenly drained away like snow in summer. "But you still should have told me I was adopted."
Azure frowned a bit; something had been bothering her since learned of Aura's origins. "Does this mean I'm adopted too?"
Her father shook his head. "No Azure, you're our natural daughter."
Aura muttered, "Guess that makes me the unnatural one."
"You came as quite a shock to us, by the way," Mrs. Robinson told Azure. She glanced sharply at Aura when she mentioned being 'unnatural'. "You're as natural as Azure is!"
Aura nearly growled, "I'm not even human!"
"Does that change who you are in our hearts? Our Aura? Our daughter!"
"I guess not... Mom," Aura smiled a touch.
"I didn't think so." Her mom smiled. "Why don't we call out for pizza and have an evening of discussing some of this?"
Aura's smile broadened. "Yeah! I don't know what they ate where I'm from, but whatever it is, it can't compare to pizza!" * * *
"So that's why she was able to fight the spells!" Zedd exclaimed. "She's not human!"
"That also explains how she's the Amber Ranger," Rita cackled. "She's the daughter of the last one!"
"I knew I got rid of Neras," Zedd muttered to himself. "He prevented me from taking Kalakan, now his offspring is preventing me from taking Earth! Well, now I can have my revenge on him, through her!"
Rita's cold laughter chilled all who heard it. "Tell me your wicked thoughts, Zeddy! I want to see her suffer!"
Zedd explained. "We create duplicates of the Rangers and of her family, evil duplicates. She will be so confused by seeing them normal one moment and vicious to her the next she won't know where to turn or what to do!"
"We could even regain her as our warrior, perhaps!" Rita laughed. "If she believes they're all against her, then she may turn against them!"
"And if not," Zedd grasped his staff and glared down at Earth, to where Aura was walking alone, having left her house after dinner to think things through even more. "Then she will be destroyed!"
Rita agreed, as Zedd raised his staff and sent a beam of energy down towards Earth, to a photocopying machine. "Duplicator, arise!"
Duplicator appeared. "Command me, and I obey, Lord Zedd!!!"
"Go and duplicate the Power Rangers, and the Amber Ranger's family, Duplicator!" Zedd ordered. "But don't let anyone see the duplicates until I command it!"
"As you wish, master!" Duplicator set off on its evil mission. * * *
Things had settled down tremendously in the past few hours for the Rangers. As they walked, Tommy found his thoughts turning to the newest Ranger, and the strange things they'd discovered about her. "I wonder how Aura's family is taking all of this."
Rocky shrugged. "I don't know. It's kind of a shock, you've gotta admit."
Billy nodded. "I know."
Kat had been thinking over something. "Billy, does knowing what Aura is change anything... about how you feel about her?"
Billy paused and looked at her questioningly. "No, not in the least."
Kat smiled. "I didn't think it would. You two are a tighter couple than I've ever seen before."
"Thanks," Billy smiled. Adam was staring at something in the distance, suddenly he pointed.
"Uh, guys, I think we've got a problem!"
The Duplicator was storming towards them, with a small army of Tengas with it. "Man, not now!" Tommy groaned. "It's morphin' time!" * * *
"Well, this has been a strange couple of days," Mrs. Robinson sighed. Her husband nodded.
"Who would have thought that Aura's... well... what she is?"
"I think the message said Kalakan," Azure reminded them. Her father nodded briefly.
"That's right," he agreed.
"I don't care who or what gave birth to her, she's still my daughter," was Mrs. Robinson's statement.
Azure smiled, then yelped suddenly as a monster lurched towards them. Her parents turned to see what had startled her, only to be surprised in their turn by a bright flash of light.
"What happened?" Azure shook her head, her head was spinning suddenly.
"I don't know," her mother blinked, trying to clear her mind.
"That was strange!" was Mr. Robinson's addition.
"You're telling me," Azure nodded. I'd better go find Adam and ask him about this.
"We'd better go on home," Mrs. Robinson placed a hand against her forehead. "I suddenly don't feel well." * * *
Who would have thought I'm... not human. I still can't accept it. I LOOK human... I feel human. I act human. But I'm not. I'm from another planet. I don't remember it. But it must be true. I'm the Amber Ranger already, I had to have gotten the powers from somewhere, and I already know I was born with them.
Aura's thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice, with a strange, nasty edge to it she'd never heard before. "Hey, look who's here!"
She looked up to see Adam and Rocky, both with mild sardonic expressions on their faces. Adam grinned faintly. "Look, it's Aura, the alien!"
"Hi, guys!" Aura smiled, not letting the sharp pain she'd felt when Adam had called her an alien show.
"Hey," Rocky mumbled. She frowned.
"Is anything wrong?"
"Not really," Rocky told her. Adam leaned over and whispered into his friend's ear, but Aura heard it plainly. "Nothing her leaving wouldn't fix!"
"Are you sure?" Aura wondered. Rocky looked at her, an annoyed expression in his eyes.
"Yeah, I'm sure!"
"She sure is pushy, isn't she?" Adam looked at Aura somewhat harshly. Rocky nodded, and turned away from her, starting to walk off.
"Excuse me if I said something wrong!" Aura was confused. "I just wanted to know if everything was all right, you were acting kind of strange!"
"Oh, everything will be fine," Aura stared at Adam as he spoke. "If you stay away from us."
Aura stared after them as they left. What was that all about? she wondered. She headed for home, hoping that whatever had been wrong with Rocky and Adam wasn't catching: or serious.
"Something wrong?" Aura glanced up, it was Azure speaking to her.
"Oh, Azure. No, well... maybe," Aura took a closer look at her sister. "Are you all right?" Azure looked somewhat disoriented.
"Just a little confused," Azure motioned Aura to sit down, and told her of the monster's non-attack in the park.
"Yeah, he just flashed us, and left. It was weird."
"Very weird," Aura frowned.
"You're telling me," Azure nodded. "So, you going to tell me what's wrong with you?"
"It's nothing, I'm more worried about that monster," Aura tried to brush her sister's concern away. "I hope it didn't do anything to you guys."
Azure was more stubborn than that, however. "Spill it, girl, I know you too well, something's up!"
Aura sighed, there were some disadvantages to having a sister who knew you like an extension of herself. "Well, it was Rocky and Adam. They were acting kind of strange."
She quickly explained the strange encounter she'd had with them. Azure's eyes widened in shock. "That doesn't sound like Adam. He usually thinks the world of you, when you aren't under one of Zedd's spells. When you are, he's worried."
Aura sighed hopefully. "Maybe. I don't know. Maybe they're just having a bad day?"
"Must be," Azure nodded. "Let me talk to Adam about this, okay?"
Aura nodded. "Not a problem." She smiled as Azure gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
"Did I tell you what a great sister you are recently?"
"No, not since yesterday!" Aura giggled.
"You are," Azure smiled. "Always have been, always will be."
"You're the best, too," Aura smiled, forgetting her worries always seemed easier when Azure was around. * * *
"Hello?" Adam picked up the phone as it rang.
"Hey, it's me." It was Azure. "I need to talk to you about something."
Her tone was more serious than he'd ever heard it before. "What's wrong?"
"What was going on with you and Rocky today?"
"What are you talking about?"
"When you were talking to Aura earlier, she told me that you two were a little rude!"
Adam was surprised. "Azure, I haven't seen Aura since she left the Command Center to go with you to talk to your parents."
"But... man..." Azure had been disoriented by the park monster, now she was just flat out mystified. "This whole day is getting way too confusing, first the whole necklace thing, then finding out Aura's an alien, then that monster in the park, and now this!"
"Monster in the park?"
"Yeah, he came and flashed us," Azure quickly explained once more what had happened.
"Are you guys all right?"
"Yeah, that's what I can't figure out, it flashed us and left!" Azure sighed.
"That's unusual to say the least!"
"Tell me about it!" * * *
"Where are you going, Aura?" her mom asked as she headed back outside.
"Going out for another walk," she told her. "I've got a lot on my mind, Mom."
"You be careful," Mrs. Robinson advised. "Not all aliens are as good as you!"
Aura grinned, but it felt fake on her lips. She knew better than most just how evil some aliens were. She walked past Billy's house, hoping to catch him outside. She was in luck, he was out there talking with Tommy.
"Hi, Tommy!" she waved at her friend and boyfriend. "Hi, Billy!"
"Hey," Tommy seemed a bit distant, and Billy wasn't even looking at her!
"Hi," was all he said as she came up and put an arm around him. Her kiss of greeting was accepted, but she had the strangest feeling he would have rather she didn't do it.
"Billy?" Aura's heart pounded, but not in the normal joyous fashion it usually did when she was near Billy. "Is anything wrong with you two?" Azure had mentioned a monster; what if it had done something to them? No, it hadn't bothered the Rangers, just her family, but that was worrisome enough as it was.
"Not really," Tommy replied. "I guess you could say a bad day."
"Oh," Aura smiled. "Anything I can do to make it better?"
"Not really," Billy told her. Aura felt a chill run down her spine at the coldness in his tone.
"Billy, what's wrong, what's happened?"
"It's nothing." He was almost sharp with her.
"Oh," Aura stepped back. "Well... ummm... I'll call you later, Billy, okay?"
"Yeah," Billy nodded, and whispered lightly. "Whatever..."
Aura kept walking, unshed tears hurting her eyes. What had she done to make people act so strangely towards her all of a sudden?
She paused for a moment. It wasn't what she'd done, she realized. It was what she was. No, it couldn't be that. They'd all told her it didn't matter, that she would still be their friend and sister regardless. "Hey, look who comes our way!"
Aura looked up to see Azure, Kat, and Aisha coming towards her. It was Azure who had spoken. "Hi!" Aura waved back at them happily. At least Azure wouldn't be mad at her or hate her for being what she was.
"Hi," Kat sounded extremely annoyed. It tripped Aura's temper.
"What is the problem with everyone today?!" the Amber Ranger snapped.
"Nothing," Aisha replied sweetly. "Nothing at all."
"Nothing," Aura growled. "Always nothing! If I've done something wrong to make everyone mad, I'd like to know about it!"
Kat shot her a nasty look. "You didn't! Sheesh... I've got to go meet Tommy."
"Bye," Azure waved as Kat left, then turned to Aura. "That was a bit rude!"
"Azure, this is the third time today I've run across people who act like there's something wrong, and whenever I ask what's up, they always say 'nothing'!! I'm getting a little tired of it!"
"You didn't have to snap at her," Azure looked coldly at her sister. Aura stared, not believing her eyes or her ears.
"Why are you mad at me now?" Aura trembled, she and Azure hadn't fought seriously once in all their lives.
"Why don't you look at your attitude? Come on, Aisha," Aura stared after them in disbelief, as Azure and Aisha walked away. Tears shone in her gray eyes that she still refused to shed. * * *
"Oh, this is simply too easy!" Zedd's laughter echoed in the palace on the moon.
"She's so confused already!" Rita agreed. "And it's only going to get worse!"
"She will be ours once more!" Zedd gloated, anticipating how much damage a free-willed Amber Ranger could do, once she was turned to evil.
"And willingly this time!" Rita couldn't believe this was happening, soon the Rangers would be defeated and destroyed! * * *
"You sure that's what he said?" Billy asked Tommy. Tommy nodded, and was about to reply, when someone came running by. Billy recognized the person on sight.
It was indeed the young woman he'd given his heart to. When he called her name, she stopped and looked at him, confusion in her eyes.
"Is something wrong?" Tommy asked gently.
"No... no... I... well," Aura didn't know what to say or how to say it. Billy captured her gray gaze with his own blue eyes.
"You can tell me Aura, honest." Aura couldn't look away from him, but also couldn't tell him the truth.
"Nothing's wrong Billy," Aura shook her head. Billy wasn't buying that, however; he'd always been able to see into her heart.
"Don't shut me out, please." Billy took her hands and forced her to look at him when she would have looked away. "I don't think I could take that again."
Aura trembled for a second, then finally told the two of what had happened in her last meeting with Azure and the two Ranger girls. Tommy looked confused when she was done.
"I wasn't supposed to meet Kat today, this is getting very weird."
"It got weird a while back, Tommy," Aura sighed. Tommy looked at her carefully, it almost seemed as if she were hiding something.
"Is there something you're not telling us?"
Aura shook her head. "I'm going to go find Azure again and apologize. I was kind of rude."
Billy smiled and kissed her gently. "Call me later."
"I already said I would, remember?" Aura left, her heart lighter just by being with Billy. * * *
Aura almost skipped up the street after leaving Billy. She saw her parents ahead of her, probably going to get the pizza they'd ordered a while back. "Hi, Mom, Dad!" she waved cheerfully.
"Hello." Her mother's voice was troubled. Aura's eyes widened a trifle.
"Mom? Is something wrong?"
"A lot," her father said.
"What is it?" Aura wondered what had happened.
"Nothing that you can help," her mom said sharply.
"Maybe I can," Aura tried. "If it's money, I can get a job or something. What's going on?"
"Aura!" her mother snapped. "You can't help us with it!"
Aura stepped back, surprised at her mother's tone of voice. "I... I'm sorry."
Her mother glanced over at Mr. Robinson. "We need to have a discussion," then cast a quick glance at Aura, "about that matter."
Aura's eyes widened, and she stepped back a bit farther. "I... I'll see you at home..."
She couldn't face them any more. She knew what they were talking about. She wasn't human. She didn't belong. She was an alien. She stared to run, the tears she'd held in so long finally bursting free.
She barely noticed Azure, reading on the front porch, as she ran by her. "Aura?" Azure called out her name. Aura kept running, straight to her bedroom, and did something she hadn't done since she was 10: threw herself on her bed and started crying her heart out.
"Aura?" Azure quietly opened the door and saw Aura's weeping. She entered, sitting next to Aura and touched her lightly on the shoulder. "Aura, talk to me."
"Oh, Azure, why did I ever tell them what I am?" Aura managed to choke out the words through tears.
"Who? What's going on, Aura?" Azure was confused.
Azure nodded lightly. "Give them time. It's going to take time to digest this."
Aura shook her head. "You didn't hear how they sounded... what they said," she managed to spill out what their parents had told her.
"What?" Azure couldn't believe her ears. "Why would they do that?"
"I don't know," Aura shook her head. "Everything's been so strange today, ever since I told Mom and Dad about being what I am..."
"I wanted to talk to you about that," Azure said softly, looking away.
"What is it?" Aura's heart sank; Azure didn't seem to be holding a grudge from earlier, but that could just be a clever concealment.
"I talked to Adam about what happened earlier, he told me that he and Rocky were at the Youth Center talking to Ernie, he said he hadn't seen you since we left the Command Center."
Aura shook her head. "That's not true, I talked to them, I know I'm not losing my mind," Aura closed her eyes. "Am I?" she whispered softly. Azure heard her, however.
"No, you're not," she smiled. "Something weird is going on here."
"I hope not," Aura sighed. Just then, the front door opened.
"We're home!" Mr. Robinson called out.
"Time to eat!" Aura giggled, she was feeling a little better already.
Azure smiled back, but had heard something in their dad's voice. "He didn't sound too happy."
Aura nodded agreement. "Probably they were just out of anchovies at the pizza place," she suggested. Azure looked ill.
"I hope so!" The sisters headed for the stairs, but Aura stopped suddenly about midway down. She'd heard something.
"Can you believe it? Do we really have to accept it?" It was Mr. Robinson.
"I believe it," his wife said. " But I don't think we have to accept it."
Azure stopped behind Aura. "What did she just say?" she whispered. Aura's face turned white at the next words.
"I'm not accepting it. My daughter... the alien!"
"She's not my daughter!" Mrs. Robinson declared. Her husband chuckled.
"She's an alien," Mrs. Robinson made the word sound like the vilest of insults. "She doesn't belong with us, or to us, or even on this planet!"
Aura backed up, she'd heard enough. She pushed her way past Azure and ran for her room, slamming and locking the door. She pulled a suitcase out of the closet and started packing a bag, she had no intentions of staying there a moment longer.
"Aura!" It was Azure. "Let me in!" Azure was banging on the door. "Don't make me break this door down!"
Aura finished packing and headed for the window just as Azure slammed the door wide open and grabbed her shoulder. "Don't!"
Aura threw Azure's hand off her shoulder. "They don't want me here Azure, so I won't be here!" Her gray eyes overflowed with tears.
"Then I'm coming with you!" Azure said firmly.
"You belong here Azure," Aura spoke through her sobs. "I don't. I'm... I'm an alien."
"I don't care!" Azure snapped. "You're my sister, that's all I care about!"
Aura shook her head and started out the window again. "At least talk to the Rangers, please!"
Aura sighed. "Oh, all right. Maybe I can stay with one of them."
Azure smiled. "I'm coming with you."
"If you insist," Aura sighed. "But hurry, I'm not staying here a moment longer than I have to." * * *
"There they are!" Azure and Aura headed towards the Youth Center. They'd spied the Rangers seated around a table at the outside cafe, but both girls stopped in their tracks as they heard what was being discussed.
"I can't believe you're actually dating her, Billy!" It was Tommy speaking.
"I won't be much longer," Billy laughed, but it sounded as if it would have been more appropriate coming from Zedd than from a human. "I'm going to find a human woman!"
"No," Aura whispered, looking as if someone had punched her in the guts.
"And as soon as I can, I'm going to get Azure away from that freak!" It was Adam.
"I... I..." Aura could barely speak; she had never dreamed to hear her friends say things like that. Suddenly Billy looked up, and saw Aura looking at him. He headed straight for her.
"Can we talk?" He sounded cold and distant.
"Yeah," she trembled in fear, hoping he didn't say what she thought he was going to.
"I don't ever want to see you again."
He said it. Blood drained from Aura's face as tears coursed down her cheeks. "Billy. . . why? What did I do?"
"I can't see myself dating an alien." There was not even friendship in his voice, much less love.
Aura shook as she tried to salvage her love. "Billy please, don't do this, we can make it work, I love you!"
What he said next struck her like a ton of bricks in her heart. "I don't love you."
"Billy, don't say that!" Aura dropped her bag and stepped back, shaking her head, trying to deny what was happening.
"What? I don't love you? Why not? It's the truth!"
Aura could take it no longer, she turned and ran, away from her sister, away from the Rangers, away from what had been her life.
Azure stared after her sister, then turned to Adam. The sound of her hand against his cheek as she slapped him echoed over all of Angel Grove. "I never want to see any of you again!" she swore.
"You should get away from that freak, Azure," Adam told her, touching his cheek. "She's nothing but trouble."
"Wrong," Azure hissed. "It's you I should be getting away from!"
She turned to leave, only to run straight into Bulk and Skull, having been attracted by the noise, and was stuck trying to get away from the two semi-bumbling junior officers. * * *
Aura ran through the park, not knowing or caring where she was going. She stopped suddenly when she ran into someone: literally. She stopped to move around them, when a voice that literally froze her blood spoke.
"Hello, Amber Ranger!" It was Zedd. Rita stood next to him, they were in the park, just like normal people!
She backed away, fear in her eyes. "Can't people just leave me alone?"
Zedd tried to look kind. "We want you to know that we haven't turned our backs on you, unlike the Rangers."
"W-what do you mean?"
"We want you to come with us," Rita smiled. "Where you will have a home. We aliens have to stick together, you know."
This was definitely not what she'd expected! When she'd seen them, she'd almost expected to be grabbed and taken to the moon again. "You're kidding!"
"Does it look like we are?"
Aura didn't believe what she was hearing; first the Rangers turned against her, now her worst enemies were offering a hand of friendship! For a brief moment, she wondered if she'd somehow awakened in an alternate universe. "I... I don't know." Reality struck suddenly. "If I went with you, would I have to fight the Rangers?"
"What do you think?" Zedd regained his normal evil visage.
"No. Never." Aura knew her reply without having to think it over for another second. "The Rangers might hate me, but I still love Billy, and I still care about the others. I will never fight them!"
Zedd was angry; she could tell his moods at a glance, it came from being unwillingly linked to his mind while she was his slave. "So be it!" he told her. "Then you will one day perish!"
He and Rita vanished. Aura closed her eyes; amazingly, talking with them had cleared her mind considerably. "I won't betray my friends, but I won't stay here where I don't belong, either."
Aura glanced around, no one was there to see her. She morphed and called forth the Axe of Kalakan. She knew so much of what it could do now, knowledge poured into her from the past thirty-five Amber Rangers: her family." "I'm going back where I belong. I'm going home."
She raised the Axe over her head. If she'd been unmorphed, tears would have shone on her face as she called out the next words. "Axe of my Ancestors! Take me home!"
Azure ran up the hill to Aura, calling out her name. But she was too late. In a flash of amber light, Aura, the Amber Ranger had left Earth. "AURA! No, don't go!"
She collapsed to her knees, crying as the light that was her sister vanished from view. A gentle voice spoke from behind her as she stared at the space her sister had last occupied. "Azure?"
She turned to see Adam and the others there. "What do you want?" Her voice betrayed only pain and hate for those who had driven her sister away.
"Azure, what's wrong? We heard you calling for Aura. Has something happened to her?"
Azure sprang to her feet and smacked Adam again, nearly cracking her hand in the process. "Why can't you leave me alone?"
Adam stared at her, eyes wide. "What's wrong?"
"Drop dead!" Azure ran off, tears in her eyes. Adam stared at the others.
"What was that all about?"
"I wish I knew, Adam," Tommy shook his head.
"Things have been strange all day." He quickly filled the others in on what Azure had told him earlier, about Aura's first encounter with Rocky and himself. Rocky was surprised.
"No way!" was his response.
"I think we'd better get to the Command Center," Tommy advised. Adam nodded, throwing a quick glance at Billy.
"I hope everything's all right with Aura, Azure seemed very upset over something." * * *
RANGERS, Zordon greeted them as they teleported in. Adam got down to business.
"What's going on, Zordon? Azure's acting very strange, and no one can find Aura! She didn't even answer her communicator!"
ALPHA, RUN A SCAN FOR AURA. ADAM, AS TO WHY AZURE IS ACTING STRANGELY, YOU MUST FIND OUT ON YOUR OWN.
Adam nodded, he hadn't really expected Zordon to know what Azure's trouble was. Suddenly Alpha cried out his characteristic "Ay-yi-yi-yi!"
"What is it?" Billy leaped over to him.
"She's on Kalakan!" Alpha reported.
"What? Why?" Tommy wondered.
"I don't know," Alpha shook his head, punching more buttons on the console. "She's not answering her communicator!"
A moment later they heard a cold, emotionless voice that was barely recognizable as Aura's. "Leave me alone. Forever." A moment later, only static answered them.
"What's going on here?" Billy looked worried.
"This is too strange!" Kat, like all the Rangers, was confused. The viewing globe flashed suddenly, and as one, the Rangers turned to see Zedd there, leering at them.
"Greetings, Rangers!" Zedd laughed.
"What do you want?" Adam growled.
"Oh, just to let you know that you no longer have to worry about your precious Amber Ranger," Zedd laughed evilly.
"What are you talking about, Zedd?" Kat wondered. She got her answer a moment later, when the scene in the globe shifted to a sparkling blue-green world.
THAT IS KALAKAN. Zordon told them. WHERE AURA IS NOW.
"Correction, Zordon!" Zedd's voice came to them again. The view widened, and they saw Serpentera hovering over the planet. "That was Kalakan!"
Lasers poured out from Serpentera's various weapons, to wash over the planet. When it was ended, only a few floating bits of dust remained of the once-beautiful world. "AURA!" the cry was torn from Billy's throat. "NO!"