Fifteen years since the Relocation, and the colonists from Terra Venture and Mirinoi have settled all over the vast Treaty Sector. Most opted, however, to stay on the planet of Crystinia, the Treaty Sector's centre of government. They have adjusted well to life there, and even have their own Ranger team, called the Spirit Rangers. This is the story of Karone Corbett, and her quest to rescue her parents from the clutches of evil. She will meet with many familiar faces along the way, but ultimately, the journey is hers alone.
"I’m home!" shouted Karone happily, her wavy brown hair literally bouncing as she entered the house. Throwing her packsack on the floor in her front entry, she continued, "Man, school was boring today! We did a study on weather patterns. I fell asleep on the field when we were looking at clouds, and I would have gotten caught, except Sirah woke me up before Professor Thyemi found me out."
"That’s my girl," laughed Leo Corbett, her father. "We’re in the kitchen."
"Smells good," commented the fifteen-year-old. "Has "Uncle" Kai been giving you cooking lessons again?" she grabbed a slice of fruit and munched on it.
"Hey, hey, hey," Maya swatted her daughter’s hand away as Karone reached for a second slice. "No tasting."
The family’s good mood was shattered unexpectedly when a bright flash of light filled the room. Karone covered her eyes in shock, and when she opened them once again, there was an evil looking man standing in the kitchen.
He bowed mockingly.
"Hello," he said, "I’ve come for them." He pointed at Leo and Maya. "If you don’t interfere, I won’t have to hurt you."
"You can’t take them, you can’t!" screamed Karone. The man’s yellow eyes glowed feircely.
"I warned you." He said simply, and shot her with something. A searing pain filled her body, and she slumped to the floor, paralyzed and forced to watch as he grabbed her parents and teleported out with them. A small datalink device in her packsack quietly analyzed the teleportation beam, and recorded the data it gathered.
When she woke, she was on her bed in her room. Was it all a dream? She wondered to herself. No, she shook her head. It was no dream, it was real, every horrible bit of it. Her parents were gone, and she hadn’t saved them.
"I’m a Ranger," she whispered, her voice filled with sorrow. "The Red Ranger and I couldn’t save them."
"Even Rangers aren’t perfect." Said a voice from the doorway.
"Sirah?" Karone questioned, looking at her Crystinian friend. "What are you doing here?" The felinoid teen walked to Karone’s bedside.
"I found you here. You were unconsious and your kitchen was a big mess. I carried you to your bed, and I have been waiting for you to wake up. Are you alright?"
"Of course I’m not alright! Some creep just kidnapped my parents, right in front of me, and I couldn’t stop it."
"You can’t blame yourself." Sirah insisted, her black tail curling in anger at what had happened to her friend. "Listen, I’ll talk to Kyenin, see if he can get some of his people to take some fighter wings, maybe even the Chimera, go searching." Karone knew her friends older brother Kyenin would try his hardest to find them, but she also knew that he was busy with his duties defending the Treaty Sector planets from any outside threats. Any search party he could send out would only be temporary, to be recalled the moment his superiors decided that searching for two missing Treaty Sector ambassadors was futile, however valubale they were to helping keep the peace thoughout this small sector of the galaxy.
No, she had to go alone. The Lightning, she thought, suddenly. The sleek little ship was her father’s prized possession, he’d had it for as long as she could remember. And just this past year, she’d been allowed to pilot it.
She waited until nightfall, then when Sirah, who had volunteered to stay the night, was fast asleep, crept out of her bed. Sirah wouldn’t be wakened by the sound of soft footsteps, Karone knew. In fact, nothing short of an earthquake could wake the Pink Spirit Ranger.
Karone quickly threw a few items of clothing into her packsack, along with emergency rations from the cupboard and a couple of chocolate bars.
Gotta have chocolate, she grinned to herself weakly. Besides, I have to have something other than those disgusting emergency rations.In all likelihood, she’d be gone for weeks, even months. Without hesitation, she snatched her wallet from her dresser, and teleported to the spacedock. Once there, she walked purposefully to the bay where Lightning waited, activated the launch sequence, and opened the bay doors. The hawk-like ship whirred smoothly, then lifted from the ground and shot out into space.
"I will find you, Mom and Dad." Karone whispered forcefully to herself. She gazed sadly for a moment at the world of Crystinia, her home. "I will find you, and bring you home." Forcing herself to look away from the viewscreen, she entered the information her datalink had gathered on the kidnappers teleportation beam. It scanned nearby space, searching for similar teleportation residue. Once it was located, the small ship accelerated and then disappeared from Crystinia's sensors.
I should have brought a holo-video to watch, she thought wryly. Maybe I should just get some sleep. Attempting to make herself comfortable on the hard plastic chair of the cockpit, she set the navigation on autopilot and shut her eyes.
An hour later, the sensor began to beep frantically, having detected something it shouldn't have detected. A small anomaly in the fabric of space had opened, and bits of spatial debris had been merrily flying through it, ending up who-knows-where, and Karone's ship was heading on a course right towards it. What the computer had failed to account for when it located the teleportation residue, was anything else in the immediate vicinity. Karone hadn’t even thought of scanning for time portals, and as such, the anomaly had gone unnoticed.
"Hunh?" Karone grumbled blearily. The incessant beeping had finally awoken her, and as she saw the anomaly, she said something her mother would have washed her mouth out with soap for saying. She attempted to change the course, but it was too late. The small ship was pulled right through.
Oh, crap. Karone thought to herself as she drifted towards unconsciousness again. I've really screwed up this time.
"Change course to intercept it." Andros said without hesitation. That person, whoever he or she was, needed their help. "DECA, what kind of ship is it?"
"Information on its design is not in my databanks." If it was possible for a computer to sound annoyed, DECA did.
"Are we within visual range yet?" Piped up Ashley. In response, a new image replaced the panorama of stars. "Oh, wow.." she whispered. Among several rocks and bits of destroyed starships floated a magnificent, sleek little fighter craft. It was hawk-like in appearance, with smooth wings that swept backwards. It was clear that the ship, small as it was, was capable of incredible feats of speed and maneuverability.
"The lifesign aboard the unknown spacecraft is deteriorating." DECA informed the Rangers.
"Well, then lock a tractor beam on it and pull it to the cargo bay." Carlos commanded. "TJ and I will go down to get whoever's in there to the infirmary."
"Oh, gee thanks for volunteering me." TJ said sarcastically, following his friend as he left the bridge for the cargo bay.
"Where..?" She managed.
"You're on the Astro Megaship." Piped up one of the blurs. "We found your spaceship adrift and pulled it into the cargo bay. You were unconscious."
The Astro Megaship.. Karone knew the Megaship well. She'd spent almost as much time aboard it, travelling with her parents to the neighboring worlds in the Treaty sector, as she did in the Corbett family's apartment on Crystinia. Wait a minute. How can I be on the Megaship? Uncle Kai and aunt Kendrix took it to Kylaran for that meeting. She blinked again, and the two blurs solidified into faces she knew well.
TJ and Carlos. she thought. What are TJ and Carlos doing on the Megaship? The last time I saw them was last year when they came to visit us on Crystinia!
"I'm TJ, and this is Carlos." said TJ. "And you are...?" They don't know who I am? An idea struck her. I'm in the past.. That explained a lot of things: The presence of the Megaship, TJ and Carlos aboard it, and neither of them knowing her name. If she was in the past, it probably wasn't a good idea to let them know her real name. If Andros is here, he'd freak if he found out my name is the same as his sister's. Not to mention I could really mess up history..
"Sirah." she replied, using her best friend's name. Even as she spoke it, she felt a pang of homesickness.
"Well, Sirah, TJ and I will get you some temporary quarters here on the Megaship, if Alpha thinks you can leave the infirmary." He glanced at Alpha.
"Go ahead. She’s in perfect health. She might feel a bit woozy later on because of the fact that she was unconscious for such a long period of time, but it’s nothing serious." Said the android.
"Thanks Alpha," Karone said, hopping off the medical bed to follow TJ and Carlos. They took her down a several corridors until they reached the living quarters hall. Karone automatically headed for her old room aboard the ship. As far as she knew, no one before her had used that room.
"How about this one?" she asked.
Carlos shrugged. "Sure. None of us here have ever used that room." He tapped something on the entry keypad by the door, then placed Karone’s hand on it. A small red scanner passed over her hand, and DECA’s voice intoned:
"Identity confirmed. Access granted."
The door slid open, the lights automatically turning on the moment she stepped through.
"Hey, Sirah, we’ll bring the others down here to meet you later, okay? You get yourself settled in." said Carlos, and he and TJ turned to leave, presumably back up to the bridge.
The door slid shut, and Karone was left alone in the room. She collapsed on the bed, so familiar yet entirely different at the same time. Bouncing up and down on it experimentally, she smiled as the mattress squeaked in protest, just as it always had when she was growing up.
"Sirah is a Crystinian name." Spoke DECA suddenly. Karone looked up at DECA’s camera-eye, startled.
"What?" she exclaimed.
"The name Sirah comes from the Jan’in dialect of the planet Crystinia. No humans have ever claimed permanent residence on the planet. It is not, in fact, even in this galaxy. Crystinia is located in the " Karone felt the knot in her stomach that had been present ever since waking up here begin to tighten.
"My parents were- are ambassadors." She admitted truthfully. "They- they liked the sound of Crystinian names."
"Your pronunciation of the name suggests you are familiar with Jan’in speech patterns. Unless you were born and raised among Crystinians, this is impossible."
"Alright," Karone sighed. She should have known DECA would trap her in her lies. "Can you lock everyone out of here?"
"For security reasons, only Power Rangers can activate non-override locks." DECA replied. Her camera-eye zoomed in on Karone’s face, taking readings.
DECA’s processors concluded that Karone's elevated heartbeat, pale complexion, and breathlessness were due to anxiety. The girl was upset about something, and DECA silently proceeded to lock the door, providing only an emergency override. She also concluded that there was no need to inform the Rangers of the fact that the door was locked.
They are busy on the bridge. Supplied her logic circuits. Satisfied with this rationalization, she spoke again.
"Good. What I’m about to tell you may sound strange, but you can’t tell anyone, not even Andros."
"How do you know there is someone named Andros aboard the Megaship?" Queried DECA. This was unexpected.
"Because, I’m not from here. I’m not from any of the human colonies in this galaxy. Hell, I’m not even from this time." She paused, taking a deep breath.
"DECA, I’m from the future."
"That information correlates with the facts I have been presented since your arrival."
"What?!" Karone blinked. She hadn’t expected this.
"Your ship matches no known designs, and has computer systems more advanced than my own. Your name, or presumed name, is Crystinian in origin, as is your accent. You are familiar with the layout of the Megaship’s halls, and you knew this room. You also knew Andros."
Sighing, Karone slumped unhappily on the bed. "This isn’t fair!" she exclaimed. "I’m supposed to be looking for my parents, not trapped twenty years in the past." Tears started to stream down her cheeks. "I want to go HOME!" Pulling the covers up around her, she sank into a restless sleep.
"Ashley, there are hundreds of human colonies out in the Universe. We’ll never know where she’s from, unless she tells us."
"I don’t like that, Andros. I mean, I’d love to trust her, she seems honest enough, but I’ve got a bad feeling about her. She’s covering something up, and I just wish I knew what it was." As she moved to open the door, a scream sounded from inside.
"What was that?" Andros asked, exchanging worried looks with his companion. Ashley tapped something into the keypad, but DECA refused to open the door, stating only,
"Sirah has requested the door remained locked unless there is an emergency."
"There is an emergency DECA." Ashley reminded the stubborn computer. "Sirah is in trouble."
"Very well," Andros could have sworn he heard the AI sigh. "But if she is angry, it is because of your own actions." Inwardly, he wondered why DECA was so protective of their guest. The door slid open silently, revealing a darkened room. Sirah lay on the bed, thrashing wildly and sobbing.
"Please, no!!" she wimpered. "You can’t take them!" she screamed again, and Ashley went to her bedside to try and wake her up. To her surpise, the younger girl grabbed her arm and pulled her close in a hug, crying and unwilling to let go.
"They’re gone, they’re gone and I have to find them, I have to bring them back.." Karone chanted rythmically to herself. Ashley, not knowing quite what to do, simply hugged her back. The younger girl seemed to take comfort in this, and calmed down.
"Maybe I’d better go," Andros said quietly. Ashley nodded, and as he slipped out the doorway, whispered,
"We’ll talk later,"
Karone continued sobbing for a few minutes, but eventually ran out of energy. Exhausted, she slumped back on her bed.
"Now," Ashley said. "Can you tell me what this is all about?"
"I will," Karone hiccuped. "But you have to promise, promise you won’t tell anyone." Ashley nodded solemnly. Whatever it was the girl had to tell her, it was important.
"My name is Karone." Ashley gasped at the name, but Karone shook her head. "Karone Corbett. My parents were- are, Leo and Maya Corbett. The Karone you know, Andros’ sister, saved their lives more than once. She was a good friend to them." She paused, taking in a deep breath. "I’m from the future, and my parents were kidnapped and brought back here. I followed their trail to find them. That’s all I can tell you." She described the kidnapper to Ashley, who gasped. That description…it almost sounded like…
It couldn’t be… she thought to herself. Or could it? "Karone," she said. "Are you going to tell the others the truth, about where- when, you are from?"
"No," Karone shook her head. "They can’t know. I’ve already told you too much. I don’t know how that will screw up the timeline. Time travel is a messy business. Besides, can you imagine how Andros would react if I told him my name?" she smiled a little at that.
"I didn’t even think of that," remarked Ashley. "But you’re right. We’ll have to keep it secret, at least for now."
Karone had been enjoying her time on the Megaship. Her parents friends had been much more fun when they were younger, she decided. Although she knew that eventually she’d have to leave and start her search for her parents, she had decided to enjoy the time she had here while she could.
So far, they’d spent a day at the amusement park, where Karone had won a stuffed teddy bear. And then the next day, Ashley had taken her shopping. She’d gotten some Earth-style clothes and some jewelry, a few things Ashley thought the younger girl might enjoy. Today, they’d simply been lounging around the Megaship. Cassie was teaching Karone how to play hopscotch in the hallway outside her room. Karone had started giggling uncontrollably as soon as she saw the chalk markings on the floor.
"Won’t you get in trouble for that?" she asked. Cassie shrugged.
"Nah. It’s my home, too. Besides, the chalk is washable." The game was interrupted by an alarm and DECA’s alert.
"Something is attacking Earth."
"Only, ‘someone’, DECA?" Cassie inquired, the game of Hopscotch forgotten. She moved quickly for the nearest Turbolift, Karone following close behind.
"My sensors are unable to determine the identity of the attacker." Confirmed the computer, sounding almost frustrated.
As the ‘lift reached the deck where the jump tubes were located, Cassie turned to Karone.
"Sirah, you can’t come with us. You’re not a Ranger."
"Yes I am!" she said. "I’m the Red Ranger on Cry- my home planet." She twisted her wrist, causing her morpher to appear.
"Why didn’t you tell anyone about this?" Cassie questioned.
"No one ever asked," Karone said innocently. Cassie sighed and rolled her eyes, entering the jump tube room.
"Sirah’s coming with us, she’s a Ranger." She said shortly. Andros nodded curtly. He didn’t really have time to discuss it, they had to get to Earth right away.
"Red Spirit Ranger!" she cried, and followed Ashley down her jump tube. A minute later, the Rangers were on Earth.
"Ah. So the Rangers decided to crash my little party." The attacker said. Behind their helmets, all six Rangers wore shocked expressions. He was a human, and not a bad looking one, at that. He had black, slightly wavy hair, and the clearest blue eyes any of the Rangers had seen. At first glance, he was dressed simply, in only a red t-shirt and black pants, with a black leather jacket. But once the Rangers looked closer, they saw the clothing had an almost ethreal shimmer to it.
Armour. Thought Andros. He didn’t have much time to think anything else, however, as the attacker had launched himself at Sirah. As quickly as he could, he dashed over to help her.
It wasn’t quick enough.
"You’ll be sorry, little one." He heard the attacker say. "Sorry for following me!" Something was eerily familiar about his voice, but Andros couldn’t place it.
Karone was staring at the man who threatened her, unable to move. His eyes flashed an angry yellow as he reached for his gun, and for one sickening instant, she knew who he was. Before she could say anything, he shot her, twice. Once, to cause her to unmorph, and the second, to injure her. Fire seemed to shoot up her right arm, and she cried out in pain before Alpha, who had been monitoring the fight, teleported her away in a streak of red.
The other Rangers continued to fight the mystery attacker, with neither side seeming to take the upper hand. For what was far from the first time, Carlos wondered just what the point to the attack was.
Then again,he mused, he’s a villan, and they don’t need reasons to attack innocent people!
The strange attack was over almost as suddenly as it began, with the strange man stepping into a strange black portal and dissapearing. But not before he could deliver his final warning:
"Be wary, Rangers, for I have a mission and I will complete it. You cannot, and will not stop me, not even the little one who does not belong here. Her attempts to foil my plans will be in vain, I promise you this. If you are smart, you will find a way to send the intruder back, where she cannot interfere."
"You know what?" She remarked, turning to Ashley. "I hate getting shot! It wrecks my clothes, and doesn't do anything good for my temper."
Ashley just rolled her eyes.
"Come on Sirah- Karone." she corrected herself. "I'll take you back to your cabin, and you can rest before dinner."
There is no way I am eating dinner with them, Karone thought to herself. I have to find my parents. Once in her cabin, she began to throw the few items she brought with her, along with the things she'd accumulated during her days on the Megaship, into a packsack. Slinging it over her shoulder, she opened the door and peered out, making sure no one was around.
"Where are you going?" DECA queried.
"I'm going to finish my mission, DECA. I have to find them. I can't stay here any longer."
"Do you wish me to inform the Rangers of your departure?"
"Not yet," Karone shook her head. "As soon as I get to my ship, I'll give you my destination's co-ordinates. If the Rangers care enough to follow me, let them."
When she reached the cargo bay, she stopped short in her tracks. Ashley was standing in front of the cargo bay door, her arms crossed in front of her chest. And she did not look pleased.
"Um, hi, Ashley.." Karone mumbled, hiding her packsack behind her.
"Hello Karone." Ashley replied. "And what do you think you're doing?"
"Leaving." Karone stated matter-of-factly. "I have to find my parents, and you guys obviously are not going to help. So I'll do it on my own."
"You're going to leave, in a small starship, to search a galaxy you've never even been to, let alone the fact that it's not even the time you're from?" Grabbing Karone's arm, Ashley dragged her to DECA's nearest console in the hallway.
"I've been peicing together what you've told me about your parents kidnapper, and I think I might have something." She called up a file on the screen. Karone stared at it in shock.
"That's him." She said quietly, pointing to the picture of Darkonda.
"That is the man who kidnapped my parents."