Carlos and Ruth returned to the ship. They were both out to search yet another planet. This time, not only were they out to locate Zordon, but also to solve the mystery of a disappeared civilization on the currently uninhabitant planet. They were unsuccessful to finding Zordon, but they retrieved some memory disks from the planet that could help solve the mystery.
Ruth and Carlos--along with Marvin, Jenny, Hanim, and the other Rangers--went into the meeting room to view the memory disks. They viewed every one of them with a tremendous amount of attention, but not so strongly than the last one. They were also listening to the conversations with a great deal of attention.
There were five brown-skinned creatures on the planet surface, each with a red uniform on. Andros recalled them as creatures called Delarians, from the planet Delana. They were a search team, also looking for the lost civilization. Another one was filming them using the memory disk and a recording machine. The Delarians were talking the a native language, but Deca removed their voices and replaced them with similar voices speaking in English.
Three of the Delarians, all males, were on the left side of the screen. One of them said,”Suzze, Djienna, you'd better come over here.” The other two Delarians, both females, approached the males. “No footprints, no vehicle tracks; the wind probably erased them. But look...”
The other male Delarian held up a blue colored cloth. It was a piece of clothing for a female, where the shirt and the pants were sown together, as of all clothing on this planet. This particular one had rips in it, as if someone or something tore them off. One of the females took a closer look at the piece of clothing.
“It looked just like the piece of clothing I found in Structure Number 37, 39, and 40. They were also ripped. Could something have torn them off? What do you think, Djienna?”
The other female responded, “I think that maybe the people of this world were somehow driven into insanity, ripping their clothes off as they did. I have never known any creature that would be willing to tear off the clothes of someone else.”
“Okay, enough of this chitter-chatter,” the second male said. “We have to stay to the subject.”
“Farleey,” the first female said, “you go back to the ship with the cloth and examine it. It might lead us to more clues.”
The first male Delarian nodded and tapped against a round, golden object on the left side of his chest. It was some sort of communicator, because he said, “One to transport.” In a few seconds, he was gone in a pale, golden stream of light.
“All right,” the first female said. “We need to check the Resident Structures again, just to be sure that we are not leaving behind any clues. Djienna, you are in Number 37.” Then, she turned to the recording device. “Allezia, you're with her. Tirakee, you take Number 39. I’ll take 40.”
Each of them went off in separate directions. A moment later, the screen is turned off. That was all that was recorded. Ruth explained that according to Earth days, that was recorded over 5 months ago. Lexington entered and went straight to Ruth and Carlos.
“I have just received information about the Delarians,” he said, giving the information he found. “All of them--Suzze, Djienna, Allezia, Farleey, and Tirakee--have also disappeared.”
“So it's not just the civilization, now the search teams have also disappeared,” Carlos said. Everyone looked at each other. No one realized that the possibilities of Carlos and Ruth disappearing are existent
The Rangers, alone, went back to the planet to explore; they were the only ones that could morph and protect themselves from whatever would make them disappear. They went in separate directions, except for Cassie and Ashley, who went together. They were searching their part of the area.
Andros and Zhane also went together. They found a shuttle craft of some sort. It was badly damaged; Zhane assumed that it had crashed a few weeks ago. The walls were slightly corroded from growing grass and bushes nearby.
Andros looked inside the shuttle and saw no one of any creature type. He found memory disks similar to the ones that Carlos and Ruth had found.
Carlos found some footprints that went down a path. The footprints were not anything that Carlos has seen before. The path seemed so faint that if the footprints were not there, they wouldn't have noticed it. Carlos followed the footprints, and they led him to a steep cliff. He looked around and saw nothing.
Eventually, Andros and Zhane met up. Zhane found nothing, as did Andros. Andros looked around and found Ashley and Cassie.
“No life forms here, Andros,” Cassie called. T. J. found Andros and walked up to him. He seemed to be spooked.
“Andros,” T. J. whispered. “I suspect that we are being watched.”
Andros nodded in agreement. Then he looked around. He noticed that someone was missing. “Where’s Carlos?” They looked around and began searching. “Carlos,” Andros called. He found the footprints that Carlos had found. He followed them and found Carlos. He pretended that he didn’t find him by calling his name again.
“Over here, Andros.” Andros walked to him. Carlos seemed to pay attention to nothing, but he was looking for something along the cliff's edges.
“Where have you been, Carlos?”
“I was searching. Did you see the footprints?”
“Yeah, but they're not Human or Delarian.”
“They're here!” Andros looked at Carlos, confused. He raised a skimmer- device and scanned the area. There was no one in the area besides himself and Carlos. “Just stand still and listen, Andros.”
“I‘m not picking up anything on this scanner.” He looked at Carlos concernly. He seemed to mean what he said. He noticed Carlos beginning to walk away. “Wait a minute; where are you going now?” Andros gently touched his shoulder. “Carlos?”
Carlos turned to him and gasped in shock and fear. Andros removed his hand quickly. “Just leave me alone, Andros,” Carlos said, as if warning him of something.
“Carlos?” He grabbed his arms, and the two struggled. The others heard the commotion and raced to the source of the noise. They found Carlos and Andros struggling.
Zhane lifted his communicator to his mouth. “Silver Ranger to Astro Megaship. A medical emergency is at hand. Lock on Andros’ signal and teleport two to the infirmary immediately!”
Carlos opened his eyes weakly. They had a light blue color, but it quickly faded to his natural eye color. He looked around. He saw Ashley and Ruth standing next to the bed in which Carlos was lying. He wondered what had happened and why he was here, in the infirmary. He felt a little awkward.
He dreaded to ask, but he wanted to know. He looked at Ruth and asked, “Do I look as bad as I feel?”
“You look fine,” Ruth responded. “Now,” she added.
“Your chemical balance is off, although your body seems to be functioning normally,” Ashley reported. “What exactly happened to you, I don’t know.”
“I have to get back to the planet.” Carlos tried to get up, but Ashley gently pushed his chest. While in a “sort of sitting up” position, Carlos noticed Andros, Zhane, T. J., and Cassie in the room, also.
“No, Carlos,” Ashley said. “Until we get some answers, we're not going to let you off of this ship.”
“I have work to do,” Carlos complained.
“I appreciate your commitment to your responsibilities, Carlos, but Ashley is right,” Andros said. Carlos started to protest again, but Andros interrupted him. “You will remain onboard the ship until further notice.”
Carlos lowered his head and frowned. “Understood.”
Zhane spoke. “Andros and I found some more memory disks in the shuttle we found on the planet. We might need you and Ruth to look at them.”
Carlos got up, and Ashley didn’t restrain him this time. “All right. Let’s get going, Ruth.” He and Ruth left.
T. J. looked at Ashley. “What about Ruth,” he asked.
“Ashley and I gave her two bio-scans today,” Cassie stated. “One after she and Carlos arrived from the planet the first time. The second after she came in here to make sure Carlos is all right. Both bio-scans say that she is fine.”
“That’s what the other reports said before the lost civilization and the Delarians disappeared,” Zhane recalled. Everyone looked at each other. What was the matter with Carlos? Is he affected with something? Could Ruth be affected as well? They didn’t know the answers, but they wished they did.
Meanwhile, Ruth and Carlos were walking down one of the halls that led to the meeting room, where the memory disks were waiting. Carlos was trying to persuade her to join him to go back to the planet.
“Andros and the others are wrong. The only way to find out any answers is to go back to the planet surface. We’ll take several scanners that reach long distances. We can cover a lot of ground over and over again, and...”
Ruth interrupted him. She didn’t want to be tempted to do a dishonest act. She also didn’t want him to do a dishonest act. “Carlos.”
Suddenly, both she and Carlos noticed that his right hand was beginning to shake violently, without his control. Carlos expressed fear on his face as well in the tone of his voice. He was breathing quickly as he spoke. “Oh, Ruth; it's starting. What if what happened to the others is happening to me?”
“You don’t know that,” Ruth assured. She gently placed both her hands over his. The added warmth of her gentle touch allowed Carlos to regain control of his hand. It stopped shaking, and Carlos didn’t breathe as fast. “Carlos, I’m here, and I’m not going to let anything happen to you, okay?”
Carlos nodded. They continued walking down the hall. Ruth removed her hands from his.
Ruth and Carlos were sitting next to each other. Each of them had a different screen, and they were each watching a different disk. Ruth glanced to Carlos and noticed that he sighed with exhaustion and frustration.
“Deca, pause visual.” She turned to Carlos again.
“We're not going to find anything this way,” Carlos said, trying to change Ruth's mind again. “We should both go back to the planet.”
“Carlos, that's not an option until Andros tells us otherwise.” Carlos turned away and resumed his visual, as did Ruth.
After a few more minutes, Carlos slammed his fist on one of the panels in extreme frustration. “I can’t look at it anymore; it hurts my eyes. My brain feels like it's all wrapped up in a blanket.” He almost giggled at his sarcastic remark.
“Carlos, take a break, okay? I’ll work on this,” Ruth volunteered. But Carlos was too persistent for Ruth’s influencing.
“I don’t need a break; I need to get off of this ship.”
Ruth gently held her hand in his. “Carlos, maybe we should go see Andros.”
Carlos shook Ruth’s hand out of his in stress. “Forget Andros and forget the others! It’s all down there, Ruth. It’s waiting for us! We should go back!”
Ruth tried one more time to be patient with him. “Carlos, you can’t leave.”
Carlos walked around her and left the meeting room, with Ruth close behind him. He was heading towards the jump tube room. “Carlos?! Carlos!!” Jenny heard Ruth shouting, and went to see what was going on. She saw them just in time to see Carlos. He looked like he was going to have a seizure. He collapsed to the floor. Jenny ran to get some of the boys to help Ruth carry Carlos to the infirmary.
Ruth tried to pick him up, but he was too heavy. His head dropped forward, and Ruth saw what looked like large blue veins at the nape of his neck. Regaining consciousness, Carlos placed one of his hands on Ruth’s shoulder. She noticed changes in the hands, too. His first and middle fingers on both hands joined into one, as did his ring and pinky fingers. What was going on?
Ruth and Andros entered a room where there was little light. A figure was lying down in the bed at the center of the room. Andros and Ruth stood at the doorway.
“He now has an extra-sensitivity to light,” Andros informed. “We’re trying to make him as comfortable as we can.” He left the room. Ruth walked to the bed.
The figure had blue striped all over its body, although it was only seen on its face and shoulders. The rest of its body was covered by a blanket. The skin was a bluish-black color. The facial features seemed to be human, but it was difficult to tell. There was a line running up from the top of the nose, which seems to be smaller than a human’s.
As she looked at the figure, piteously, Ruth knew that the figure in the bed was Carlos! “Oh, my...” Carlos opened his eyes, which now has a yellow color like a cat.
“Ruth,” he said, in his normal voice.
“Hold on, Carlos. The others will help you. Just hold on.”
“It’s inside of me, Ruth. I can’t fight it. It’s winning.”
“Don’t give up! Do you hear me? Never give up, Carlos.”
Carlos closed his eyes to sleep. Ruth wanted to kiss him, to comfort him, but she had no idea what would happen to her if she did. She walked out of the room and met up with Andros, Jenny, and Lexington.
“We gave him a T-cell booster; that should slow down the alteration process. We have no idea how this is going on, Ruth,” Andros said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” He got up and walked to her. “All I do know is that you are likely to be next.”
Ruth was stunned. How could she transform and behave strangely? “But I had two full bio-scans today, Andros. Ashley and Cassie said that I was fine.”
“We gave Carlos a bio-scan, and we didn’t find anything wrong with him, either.”
“According to the reports of the Delarians,” Lexington started. “Tirakee was ill a week before he disappeared. Allezia was fine until an hour before she vanished. You, Ruth, may have weeks or very few hours.”
Ruth gave a sigh. “Then there’s no time to waste. I’m going to the meeting room to continue watching those memory disks.” She turned to leave, but stopped when Lexington spoke.
“Ruth. Until we find out what’s going on, I think it would be best if you stay here in the infirmary.”
“But I was told that we have to solve the mystery. If I watch those memory disks, maybe I could find a clue to unravel the mystery and help Carlos.”
Jenny got up and gave a stern stare at Ruth. “Ruth? What if you begin to change? What if you feel compelled to leave the ship? When that starts, no one could be able to stop you.”
“Program Deca to monitor my movements and keep a tight security for me. That way, we can be absolutely SURE that I don’t leave the ship.”
Jenny looked at Lexington. He shrugged his shoulders. Jenny then looked at Andros. He nodded his head. Then, Jenny looked at Ruth. “All right, Ruth. Whenever you find a useful clue, let us know and we might help you solve it.”
“And Ruth,” Andros added. “If you have symptoms of any kind, please report here.”
“Sure,” Ruth smiled. She walked to the meeting room to look at the memory disks. Deca was programmed to monitor Ruth, and yet Ruth made no attempts to escape the ship.
Ruth was watching the last disk. The search team was leaving the main building and found nothing. There wasn’t anything left to look for, but they kept on searching. After several more minutes, the screen turned off. That was all the memory disk stored.
Ruth sat down, trying to gain information from Deca’s history disks that might lead to the solution to the problem. All of her attempts to gain information have failed.
Alpha came in, unnoticed by Ruth. “Ruth?” Thinking that she was alone, Ruth almost sat up in fear to hear her robotic friend. “May I ask how your research is progressing?”
“It’s not, Alpha.”
“Have your tried to recover an audio of the information?”
“Yes, Alpha. And, I’ve tried recovering visuals. And I’ve tried to extract information from Deca’s history disks! So I’ve done it all, okay?” Ruth realized that she had just snapped at her friend. Knowing that even a robot had feelings to hurt, she shook her head in shame and turned to him. “I’m sorry, Alpha.”
“There is no need for an apology. I understand your frustration from the baffling mystery and your distress from Carlos’ transformation. I suggest that you go to your quarters, where you could rest. Then, you could return here with a fresh point of view.”
“Thank you, Alpha. But I need to stay here and try to clarify this mystery, and the sooner I do it, the better.”
“Is there any way that I could assist?”
“No, Alpha. I think this is a mystery for myself.”
Alpha left. At least she was polite, and Alpha liked polite people. Ruth smiled. Then, she turned to the black screen she looked at. She went to it in preparation of watching it.
“All right, Deca. One more time.” The memory disk was being played.
“I’m sorry to disturb you from your work, Andros,” Cassie said, as they entered the room where Carlos was, “but I thought that you should see this.”
“Anything that had to do with Carlos, Cassie. What is it?”
In answer, Cassie radiated a small light on Carlos’ sleeping face. The appearance of the light’s end was the ordinary bright yellow. But as Cassie slowly moved the light from one end of the face to the other, a small trail of a green reflection was presented for a few seconds, then disappeared.
“Some sort of ion radiation presented against Carlos’ skin. Few beings have that trait,” Andros said.
“That’s not all,” Cassie said, concerned. “His blood temperature is dropping.”
Andros examine Carlos using a small piece of equipment. “His blood temperature is already 5 degrees below normal. At this rate, it’ll reach the freezing point in more than an hour. What is the status of the transformation?”
“That’s not possible; the T-cell booster should have slowed down the alteration process!” Cassie shook her head. “Unless... Unless there is a small body that got inside Carlos, somehow. It could have been the source of this mutation.”
“A very small body, or it would have been picked up by the bio-scans.”
“Then we have to do an extra-sensitive bio-scans. We have to begin now. Take information of anything obscure, no matter how small it is.”
Ruth sighed. “Deca, delete the audio.” The room was now soundless. The memory was close to being finished, and this time, Ruth was not paying attention to anyone in particular. Then she saw something that she had overlooked before.
“Wait a minute; pause visual.” She looked carefully at the object she overlooked. It was a shadow cast on the wall not far from the Delarian named Suzze. “Who’s shadow is that,” Ruth asked herself.
“Please restate question,” Deca requested. She thought that Ruth was talking to her.
Ruth touched a few buttons, allowing a grid of four-by-four boxes to appear over the visual. “Deca, the shadow currently displayed in Section B3: what is its source?”
“Aw, c’mon; it’s got to belong to somebody.” Ruth began to ponder. Then, she came with an idea. “Deca, is there enough information to create a simulation based on this event?”
“Creation of simulation will be limited to what the recording device has recorded.”
“Good, that’ll be fine. Extract information from the memory disk and create a simulation. I’ll be on the SimuDeck in a few minutes.”
Ruth got up and left the meeting room. She arrived at the SimuDeck entrance in a few minutes. “Deca, is the simulation completed?”
“Affirmative. Information in place; program on stand by. Begin simulation when ready.” Ruth entered the SimuDeck. The setting was the same jungle location that she and Carlos looked at, and the same place that the Rangers looked over. There were 4 Delarians standing in the position at the moment that recording began. Ruth looked around; there was supposed to be 5 Delarians.
“Deca, give me the name of the Delarian who recorded this event.”
“Allezia, a Delarian of the female gender.”
“Place her where she was when she was recording.” Another Delarian appeared. She was also standing in a still position. She walked to Allezia and stood behind her, where none of the Delarians would see her. “All right. Begin simulation.”
The Delarians started to walk and talk the same way that they did on the visual of the memory disk. They were almost done when the shadow was displayed. As on the memory disk, the Delarians on the simulation didn’t see the shadow. “Pause simulation.”
All at once, the Delarians stopped talking and seemed to stand still. Ruth walked from behind Allezia and walked to where the search team stood, motionless. “Deca, remove Tirakee.” A Delarian standing to her left disappeared. The shadow became more obvious to see.
“And, remove Farleey.” Another Delarian vanished.
“And, now remove Djienna.” The Delarian standing closest to her was gone.
“And now, remove Suzze.” The last Delarian disappeared. Only Allezia and the shadow were now the only life-forms in the simulation. Ruth was ready to take an important step in the process of solving the mystery by trying to find out to whom the shadow belonged to.
“Deca, extract information from the memory disk and tell me the source of this shadow.” She pointed to the shadow she indicated to Deca before while watching the memory disk.
“There is no object that could generate the shadow,” Deca responded.
Ruth gave a gloomy sigh. “According to the laws of physics and shadows, there has to be something between the Allezia’s camera light and this wall. Deca, given the distance between the light and the wall, can you determine the most likely shape and position of the source of the shadow?”
“Negative; there is not enough information to determine what you have requested.”
“Okay, Deca. Let’s say that the source of the shadow and I are about the same height, 1.7 meters. Now, can you determine its most likely shape and position?”
“Do it!” A moment later, a grayish object stood about 2 yards away from Ruth. Ruth gave a surprised look at the object. This wasn’t anything has she has seen before. She got a close look at the object. There were no facial features; they couldn’t be determined from the memory disk.
Suddenly, Ruth felt a pain on her chest. She seemed like she was going to have a heart attack. She fell down on her knees. She felt sweat on the nape of her neck, and she tried to sweep it off. It was then that she noticed that her fingers were not 5, but 3, just like Carlos’!
She knew that her transformation was beginning. She remembered Andros asking her to report to the infirmary, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Her self-control, for the first time, was lost. She went behind a simulated bush where she wouldn’t be seen by anyone who entered the SimuDeck.
“There, near the aorta blood vessel,” Cassie said. Andros looked up from Carlos. Carlos’ transformation was almost complete; they were running out of time! T. J. and Earl walked to where Cassie was. She was standing by a large screen. There was a small, pink object detected by Cassie’s extra-sensitive bio-scans.
“Some sort of parasite,” Earl observed. “Small enough to be overlooked by our regular bio-scans.”
“But this isn’t behaving like a typical parasite,” Cassie informed. “It isn’t feeding off of him, but merely transforming his DNA to match its own.”
T. J. took a closer look at the statistics on the bottom of the screen. “There’s not much of his original DNA left.”
“Than we’ll have to perform magnetic surgery,” Andros said. “Otherwise, we’ll never get him back in old self or even in one piece. We’ve got to that thing out of him now!”
Even though this surgery does not require an incision on Carlos’ body, or even removal of the blanket covering him, Cassie decided to leave this job for the boys. She left the room, but stood by the door.
Surgery was successful, even though it would take a few hours, at the most, to find out if they removed the parasite in time. Earl left the room to inform everyone else. Andros made an attempt to contact Ruth.
“Red Ranger to Magic Spice.”
“Deca, locate Ruth.”
“Ruth is no longer aboard the ship.”
“Red Ranger to Tonfa Spice. Deca says that Ruth is no longer aboard the ship. Is that correct?”
Jenny was on the bridge when she recieved Andros’ message. Lexington and Marvin were also on the bridge. They stopped what they were doing and did a survey on the ship’s status.
“There is no indication of a recent teleportation,” Lexington informed.
“All 38 Galaxy Gliders are here. All our ships are also here,” Marvin added.
“No, Andros,” Jenny answered. “There is no indication the Ruth has ever left the ship. Deca, what is the last known location of Ruth?”
“On the SimuDeck.”
“Jenny,” Andros said through communication. “When the transformation of Carlos has begun, it was difficult to know that Carlos was onboard except when we see him. Ruth may still be onboard, but undetectable to our sensors.
A few minutes later, Jenny and the Cybernetic Trio arrived at the SimuDeck. They didn’t see anyone. The only ones they saw were Allezia and the source of the shadow, but they knew that it was only a created simulation.
The Cybernetic Trio went looked around the SimuDeck and eventually went behind the bush that Ruth stood behind. There, they found the small, white dress that Ruth wore. It had a large rip in it. Her jewelry was also there, including her Spice Ring. For reasons unknown, Ruth had somehow removed it and left it with the other pieces of her attire.
They brought the ripped clothes and the discarded jewelry to Jenny. She examined it. She found it odd that her Spice Ring was able to be removed; none of the other Spice Rings could be taken off.
Unnoticed by anyone, an invisible figure walked through the ship, wordlessly. It arrived in the jump tube room, where Hallie and Kathy were playing and guarding the room against Ruth. The figure silently walk by the two girls; if one noise was made, then they would know that someone was there.
The figure quietly stepped up in front of Ruth’s jump tube. It went through the jump tube, but the sliding made a loud enough noise to lead Hallie and Kathy into suspicion.
“Baby Spice to Martian Spice,” Kathy said.
“Yes, Kathy,” Marvin asked in response.
“Please check the status of the Galaxy Gliders. I think one of them is missing.”
A moment later, Marvin said, “You’re right, Kathy. Ruth’s Galaxy Glider is gone.”
“Candy Spice to Tonfa Spice,” Hallie said.
“What is it, Sis?”
“Marvin said that Ruth’s Galaxy Glider is missing. I think Ruth has escaped us.”
“OK. Go to Marvin and tell him to do a search on the planet. We have to find Ruth before it’s too late.”
About 15 minutes later, Marvin was able to come up with a way to find Ruth. He and Zhane had built a hand-held light, which shined a blue light on the command to do so. If they would get close enough to the unknown creatures, including Ruth, the light would light up the blue vein-like objects that would be all over the body. Then, they would see them well enough to do everything normally with the creature.
That is, if the creature doesn’t run away in fear first.
The Rangers were ready to go back to the planet. Andros was still in the infirmary, even though he was preparing to leave. He heard a familiar voice saying, “Andros?”
Andros turned around to see Carlos. His facial features have returned to normal, the bluish-black skin color had returned to his normal tan, his hands were once again 5 fingers, and most of the blue streaks were gone. Andros smiled in comfort and success.
“Hey, Carlos. You look a lot better than you did half an hour ago.”
“What did you do?”
“We removed some sort of parasite that...”
“No, no, Andros. It’s not a parasite. It is a micro-sized body that can combine with the blood to alter the DNA strands which causes metamorphosis.” Carlos looked around. “Ruth? Ruth‘s gone?”
“She’s gone back to the planet?” Now, Carlos was sitting up.
”Calm down, Carlos.”
“No, we have to find her.”
“We are preparing a search team to find her.”
“You’re not going to find her in time! I’m the only one who can!”
A few minutes later, all 6 of the Power Rangers were on the planet surface. Carlos had completely recovered from the effects of the metamorphosis.
Only Carlos was not morphed, because he had informed everyone that because he went through the metamorphosis and had returned to normal, his body was now immune to the micro-sized body, even if another one had entered his body.
The morphed Ranger began to search for Ruth by using their lights. But Carlos stopped them.
“No! You must turn them off! The light frightens them.”
“What about the ultra-violet light,” Andros asked. The ultra-violet light was what the device Zhane and Marvin built made it work.
“It’s beyond their visual spectrum; they won’t run from that,” Carlos answered.
“She could be several kilometers away by now,” Ashley said.
“No, Ashley,” Carlos said. “She’s here. They’re all here!” They continued searching. Without their lights, looking for Ruth was going to be difficult, especially since there was only one ultra-violet light, and Zhane had that.
Carlos used his senses that he gained from the metamorphosis to find Ruth. He looked down a path, the path that lead to the cliff. He stared at it. He stared at a particular tree. “There,” he shouted.
Zhane arrived behind Carlos and shined the ultra-violet light down the path. Three figures with thick, blue streaks seemed to appear out of nowhere. They were standing behind the tree that Carlos stared at. They were aware of the Rangers’ presence, but when they discovered that they were seen, two of them ran. One of them remained motionless.
“Ruth,” Ashley asked.
The last figure ran a different direction than the other two creatures.
“Ruth, stop,” Carlos shouted. Zhane ran down the path to try to catch up with Ruth, followed by Andros. They only saw the first two creatures. In fear, they ran along the cliff’s edge and dashed to safety. But it was Ruth that the Rangers were after.
“Wait,” Carlos warned. He motioned for Zhane to follow him. They cautiously went closer and closer to the cliff. The two creatures ran to the right. Carlos and Zhane looked down to the left. There, on a small and narrow cliff edge, was Ruth!
She looked like her transformation was complete, but only Carlos knew better. He, alone, went along the cliff edge to go with Ruth. “Ruth? Ruth, you know that my voice is familiar, so listen to it. You know that I’m not a threat to you. You know that I’m your friend.
“The other two: they don’t exist as humans or Delarians anymore. But a part of you is still human. You’re not one of them, yet, Ruth.
“I know the fear you feel. I felt it, too. The urge to run away from me; it’s overpowering you. But we know how to fight it, now, Ruth.” In her fear and misunderstanding, Ruth tried to run away. “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”
Ruth stopped. She seemed to know what was going on and who was talking to her, but it was difficult for even her to understand. She turned to Carlos again. She was still cautious and afraid, but she was not too afraid to make eye contact with Carlos.
“You told me not to give up, Ruth,” Carlos continued. “And I haven’t. Because I’ve kept the faith that you taught me, I have come back to who I was.” He reached out his hand to her. “Let me take you back, too. Just take my hand, please.”
Ruth looked at her own hand. She was wondering what he was saying. But when he reached his hand out, she seemed to think that Carlos was offering her to go with him. Then, an extraordinary occurrence happened!
She extended her arm towards Carlos, slowly; she was now only afraid of falling of the cliff’s edge. When her hand was close enough, both hands clasped together! Carlos guided her to where the others were waiting and listening. When they arrived, Carlos and Ruth embraced each other in happiness.
Cassie raised her communicator to her mouth. “Pink Ranger to Astro Megaship,” she whispered. “Lock on Carlos’ signal and teleport two to the infirmary immediately.”
“We’re going home, Ruth,” Carlos said.
“Is there no hope for the Delarians or the lost civilization,” Andros asked.
“None,” Carlos answered.
“She’s waking up,” Ashley said.
Ruth had recovered just as quickly as Carlos did. There were only a few stripes of blue on the nape of her neck. Other than that, she was back to normal.
She was wearing a replacement piece of clothing since her dress was damaged. She was not completely aware of where she is or who was with her. “Carlos?”
Carlos placed his hand in hers. “I’m right here, Ruth. And so are the other Rangers and Jenny.”
“Here is your jewelry, Ruth,” Ashley said. She handed the Spice Ring first, and Ruth placed it on her proper finger. Then, one by one, Ruth placed the rest of her magical jewelry in their proper places.
Ruth raised her head a little and said to Jenny, “Ruth Veranda as Magic Spice, reporting for duty, Jenny.”
Jenny almost giggled at the joke. “Welcome back, Ruth.”
“Ruth,” Andros asked. “This species, could you communicate with it?”
“No, Andros. They act on instinct alone. And, in another few minutes, I wouldn’t have been able to respond to you, Carlos.”
“Hopefully, no one else would go through what you two have,” Zhane said. Andros motioned for everyone except Carlos to leave. They needed to be alone.
“You know, Carlos? Down there, I didn’t know who you were. And yet, somehow, I understood you, and believed you, and trusted you.”
“Must have been that bond we have together, Ruth.”
They stared lovingly into each others’ eyes. Knowing that they were alone, Carlos knelt down and kissed Ruth passionately. She returned the kiss with an even more emotional one. No matter what would happen to either or both of them, they would always pull through it together.