Separation and Reunion
written by Mindy

Andros entered the bridge. The other Rangers, along with Ruth, Jenny, and Hallie, were in the bridge waiting for him. Andros had gone down to his home planet of KO-35 to meet Astronema. She had something important to tell him.

When Andros returned, the others turned to him. “Hey,” T. J. smiled. “So, what happened?” As an answer, Andros turned to the open door as Astronema entered. Now, she had fluffy blue hair, tied in several places for decoration.

The others were shocked that she was walking freely on the ship! “You brought her to the ship,” Hallie asked in shock.

“She’s my sister,” Andros said. No one could be able to imagine what a terrible shock everyone else had, especially Jenny and Hallie. “And she knows where Zordon is,” he continued.

“Of course she does,” Ashley said. “She helped Dark Specter hide him.”

“Actually, I didn’t,” Astronema said. “But I know where he is. I can be able to tell Dark Specter to lower the forcefield around the planet, so that we could go in.”

“We,” Carlos asked. “What do you mean, we?” Ruth shot a glance at Carlos, gently shoved him, and cleared her throat, warningly. Carlos looked at his wife and knew that her eyes were telling him not to be rude. For some reason, she felt that Astronema was telling the truth.

“We’ll let you help us, but under one condition,” T. J. announced. “We have to restrain you.”

“No,” Andros and Jenny said in unison. They glanced at each other in surprise. Ruth gave an extremely small snicker.

“It’s okay, Andros, Jenny,” Astronema said.

“Where is Zordon,” T. J. asked.

“Kirak Galaxy, planet Yotoba.”

Carlos told Deca to set a course, and to set the Mega-thrusters on full. T. J. whispered to Andros and Jenny, “Let’s hope she’s telling the truth.”

After that, Astronema was taken to the engine room and was chained up to one of the poles. Surprisingly, she didn’t even attempt to break free.

* * *

The Rangers and some of the Spices were in the dining room. Andros removed a plate of warm food and a glass from the Syntetron. Then, he left for the engine room. Zhane left for the bridge.

It was quite for a while. Suddenly, Ruth broke the silence by bursting out, laughing.

The others were confused. “Why are you laughing, Ruth,” Jenny asked.

Ruth was finally able to stop her laughter for a minute. “Well, you guys took a lot of time to make a friend out of Andros, right,” Ruth asked Jenny and Hallie.

“Yeah,” Hallie answered. “So?”

“Well, I can just imagine you two approaching Andros and saying, ‘Hello, Uncle Andros.’”

All the others joined Ruth in her laughter, except for Jenny and Hallie. It took Hallie some time to understand the joke, and she also laughed. But, Jenny didn’t laugh, even after she understood the joke.

“I don’t find it funny.”

The others snickered.

Meanwhile, Andros arrived at the engine room with the plate of food and the glass. He placed it in front of Astronema.

“I’m not hungry,” Astronema said.

“It’s a long trip,” Andros warned. Astronema didn’t add to the conversation. “Karone, I’m sorry that you had to be chained up like this.”

“It’s all right. Your friends don't trust me. And you, do you trust me?”

“Of course I do; you’re my sister! The question is: do you trust me?”

“Trust, that’s a hard one,” Astronema admitted. “Andros, our parents, are they...?”

Andros shook his head and sat down against one of the walls, facing his sister. “You know, as I think about, I can see a lot of Mother in you.”

“I wish I could see Mother. Were our parents good ones?”

“The best a kid could ask for.” They continued their conversation. Eventually, Andros and Astronema fell asleep.

* * *

“Good morning,” Deca said. Andros eyed his sister sleepily. She was also waking up. “We are approaching the planet Yotoba.”

“Thank you, Deca,” Andros said. He got up and released Astronema from the chains. “C’mon, we have to go.”

When they got to the bridge, Astronema was holding 7 chains. Only the other Rangers and Ruth were on the bridge. When they turned to see the siblings together again, they also saw the chains.

Cassie knew exactly what was in Astronema’s mind. “Oh no, you don’t,” she said.

“I have to make it look like I captured you,” Astronema responded.

T. J. stepped up. “It’s too risky; we’ll make it look real.” In another minute, all 7 of them were in the chains, pretending that they have been chained up for hours.

“Robot,” Astronema called. Alpha walked up to her.

“Please, call me Alpha.”

“Open a communication channel.”

“If you say so.” Alpha walked away, and he began speaking to himself. He wasn’t even aware that he was speaking loud enough for the others to hear. “She could have at least said, please. Sometimes I just don’t understand these villains. A little courtesy goes a long way in this universe.”

Astronema also heard Ruth and Carlos whispering. “Where did you get such an amusing robot,” Ruth asked in a giggle.

“Don’t ask me; he came with Dimitria,” Carlos answered, also giggling.

“Please, Alpha,” Astronema said. Cassie almost laughed at Alpha’s astonished “look”.

“Communication channel opening in a few seconds,” Alpha answered. The few seconds was enough time for him to hide from Dark Specter's view.

“Thank you, Alpha,” Astronema said. Cassie almost laughed again. But she quickly covered her smile with a large frown when an image of Dark Specter appeared on the screen.

“Greetings, Dark Specter,” Astronema said in her villainous tone. “I have captured the Power Rangers and the Spice Club. Several of them are here to prove it. I’m approaching the planet now.”

“I will lower the shield,” Dark Specter said. The communication channel was closed. The Rangers slipped out of the chains, and Carlos helped Ruth out. The shields were lowered and the ship entered the dense and threatening atmosphere. The ship was gently shaking.

“Velocifighters detected approaching the ship,” Deca announced.

“It is an escort,” Astronema said. “We have to follow them.”

T. J. was unsure. “Okay,” he said hesitantly. “Let’s follow them.” Andros took Astronema back to the engine room, and they were talking some more.

Lightning was flashing across the unstable atmosphere. The Astro Megaship lost the Velocifighters on T. J.’s command. A lightning bolt struck the ship, and they were falling to the planet surface. Upon the severe shaking, Andros returned to the bridge and left Astronema alone. The hard crash on the planet sent everyone on the ship to at least lose their balance.

When everyone got up, Andros realized that he left Astronema alone. He returned to the engine room, to find that the chains had been broken and a door was open. They knew too well that Astronema escaped at the first safe opportunity.

* * *

The Rangers and Ruth, along with Jenny, Hallie, Hanim, C. C., and Earl left the way Astronema did. They didn’t walk far when they had to hide from about a dozen Piranhatrons. They got up after they left.

Earl heard more Piranhatron grunts. “This place is full of Piranhatrons. Maybe Zordon really IS hidden here.”

“Or, maybe they know that we’re here,” T. J. said cautiously.

At that moment, Piranhatrons had burst from the bushes. They began to shout for an attack.

“Let’s rocket,” Andros shouted.

The Spices stood by. Ruth smiled ecstatically as she watched her husband transform to the Black Ranger. They all attacked the Piranhatrons.

Ruth and Carlos held each other’s wrists. Carlos began to spin Ruth for a quick moment, while she kicked a Piranhatron’s face. Then, she began to spin him in the same manner. They continued this pattern until a total of 7 were knocked down.

Hallie brutally kicked the gut of one of her foes. It kept trying to punch her in the face, but she always ducked under it or dodged to one side. She kept kicking him until it could fight no more. *He’d have to practice more often,* she thought and giggled to herself.

During the fight, Jenny was minorly injured. One of the Piranhatrons was about to stomp her to death when Astronema came and kicked the Piranhatron away. She helped her daughter up. She guided her away from the fight. Ruth followed.

“Where are you taking us, Mother?”

“To Zordon.”

When they were out of hearing distance of Jenny’s friends, Ecliptor appeared in front of Astronema and Jenny.

“Not so fast, Tonfa Spice,” he threatened.

“Ecliptor, you will not hurt my daughter,” Astronema ordered.

“Traitors,” he yelled. He raised his sword to strike the three females. Jenny bolted in front of her mother. He saw Astronema and Ruth shake both of their heads. He feebly lowered his sword. “I can’t do it.”

Ecliptor had let them pass, to continue towards Zordon. He didn’t see Darkonda jump from behind Ecliptor and swipe his sword against his back! Darkonda hurled insults at the injured Ecliptor. He began to further injure him, forgetting that Astronema, Jenny, and Ruth had escaped him towards Zordon.

* * *

Jenny, Ruth, and Astronema arrived at a clearing. They looked up and saw Zordon! Jenny couldn’t believe her eyes. *It’s really him,* she thought.

Ruth just smiled, only because she had never known who Zordon was, or even seen what he looked like. She took a long gaze at him, and grinned a broader smile.

“Tonfa Spice,” Zordon said in what seemed like a weak tone. “Who’s your new friend?”

“This is Ruth, currently known as Magic Spice,” Jenny answered. Ruth came closer, humbly. “She’s our newest Spice Club Member. Ruth, this is Zordon.” Ruth smiled again.

“Oh, Zordon,” Jenny said. “I can’t believe we’ve finally found you!”

“Tonfa Spice,” he said again.

“Zordon? Is something wrong?”

“I just can’t believe after all this time that you have become such a fool!”

Jenny and Ruth were caught by surprise. Neither of them saw Astronema smiling. “What do you mean,” Jenny asked.

Zordon laughed. In a weak flash of light, the image of Zordon changed to Dark Specter; it was a trick! He laughed in his normal tone.

“Dark Specter,” Jenny shouted.

“That’s Dark Specter,” Ruth asked in astonishment. “Woah, creepy. Talk about dressing up for Halloween Night.”

Just then, the Rangers and the other Spices appeared at the clearing. They each were held by a Piranhatron, and several Quantrons came as guards. Darkonda also appeared, laughing.

In just a few moments, the others realized what had happened. They all realized that it was a trick. T. J. was right all along.

“Karone,” Andros exclaimed. “How could you do such a thing?!”

“Yes, Karone,” Dark Specter said. “Tell them, how could you?”

Astronema paused, smiling. “It was my pleasure. I’ve finally captured the Rangers and several of the Spices, Dark Specter.”

“Yes, Astronema,” he complimented. “But you haven’t finished yet. You must destroy them, now!” With that, he vanished.

Astronema approached Andros. Cassie tried to lunge at her, but the Quantron holding her kept his grip. Ashley and T. J. stared at her blankly. But Carlos looked at Ruth, who was being held captive with her Spice friends at the other side of the clearing. She also looked at him.

“Karone,” Andros said. “You are my flesh and blood! How could you do this?”

“Darkonda,” Astronema ordered. “Destroy them.”

Darkonda laughed, and turned to the Spices. “So, which one of you will I destroy first?” He laughed, but his laugh was interrupted.

He was surprised because of the answer he received. He was expecting none of the Spices to speak, but most of them volunteered. He got a variety of answers.

“Me! Me! Me!”

“Hey, Darkonda? Over here!”

“Pick me! Pick me!”

“No, I was the biggest pain. You should destroy me!”

“Hey! Am I invisible or something?”

Jenny found herself laughing instead of volunteering. Of course, Darkonda could not destroy his own wife, so that left her out. The only other one not volunteering was Ruth.

*Of course,* he thought. *She’s the only mortal one of them. She should be destroyed.*

“You,” he shouted. He grabbed Ruth’s wrist and held her tight. She screamed for a quick moment. His grip was too strong to struggle, and her legs were kept out of kicking distance. But she tried to struggle and kick, anyway. Darkonda laughed, and heard Carlos shouting and struggling.

“Let her go, Darkonda,” he hollered. “You will not destroy her!!”

This gave Ruth an idea. She smiled and winked at her husband. He stopped struggling and stared, wondering what she was going to do.

“Oh, Darkonda,” Ruth said calmly, much to his surprise. He didn’t realize that she was trying to bluff him. “You really wouldn’t want to destroy me, would you? If you do, the Spice Club would reduce, and the rest would fall apart, and conquering the entire universe would be boring, now wouldn’t it?” She smiled.

Carlos grinned under his helmet. He understood what she was trying.

Darkonda gave some thought. Then, he felt a blast of energy on his “backside.”

He turned around and saw Astronema, raising her staff. What she did became obvious: she shot Darkonda with her staff. He couldn’t believe it. Forgetting about Ruth, he released her.

The Spice and Rangers were released from the Piranhatrons’ grip. They ran away in fear. “Wow,” T. J. exclaimed. “You really ARE on our side.”

In response, Astronema playfully winked.

“Traitor,” Darkonda shouted. He was about to charge when a green blast struck him from the side.

He turned and saw Ecliptor. He was watching Darkonda threatening the Spices, grabbing onto Ruth, and shouting the insult at Astronema. He ran to Darkonda and they fought for a short while. Then, Darkonda accidentally had his back turned towards Ecliptor. As a result, Ecliptor slashed his sword strongly against his opponent’s back.

Darkonda fell and exploded. Another one of his lives was wasted. But Ecliptor was also standing in the way. He would have been destroyed if Ruth didn’t run into the outburst, grab Ecliptor and dragged him out. She was coughing, but was okay. Ecliptor stood weakly.

“Astronema,” he said. “You must escape.”

“I can’t leave you like this!” This was the first time that anyone had seen her become emotional.

“You must leave!” He fell. The Piranhatrons ran away in fear, and the Quantrons helped Ecliptor up. But by the time he was on his feet again; Astronema, the Spices, and the Rangers were gone.

* * *

Darkonda was in the Dark Fortress. He was speaking with Dark Specter.

“Darkonda,” he said. “You will be in command of the Dark Fortress.”

“A wise decision, Dark Specter.”

“...Until Astronema returns.”

“What! That traitor?”

“Yes. Astronema is still evil inside. Thus, she will return to her rightful place, in the side of evil.”

Darkonda grumbled to himself. Then, two Quantrons came, carrying a cot bearing the injured Ecliptor.

“I say that we destroy them both, Dark Specter. They’re BOTH traitors to you!”

“Not in my opinion, Darkonda.” Then, communication was turned off.

“Thanks to you, Ecliptor, I only have four lives left! Take him away,” Darkonda ordered the Quantrons. He was alone again. He was plotting on what he could do...

* * *

At the Astro Megaship, Andros and Astronema entered the bridge again. This time; the other Rangers, Ruth, and Astronema’s daughters smiled in glee instead of frown in surprise.

T. J. was the first to speak. “Hey, I guess I owe you an apology.”

“Not just him,” Ashley added. “All of us.”

“There is no need for an apology,” Astronema, now Karone, answered. “I had no friends to trust, and I did nothing to deserve one.”

“That’s not true,” Cassie said assuringly. She placed her hands in Karone’s. “We’re your friends.”

Karone smiled. She finally had someone to trust. She was happy, for the first time that she could remember.

“I know what it’s like to lose your family,” Ruth said to Andros and Karone. “But both of you have it lucky; you are reunited, unlike my family. Now, the only family I could have is with Carlos.”

Karone was confused. “Why is that, Magic Spice? I mean, Ruth.”

“Didn’t Ecliptor tell you?” Karone shook her head. “Carlos and I are married.”

For a moment, Karone did nothing. Then she smiled, knowing that the two belonged together.

Another sense of trust was rebuilt between good and evil, but everyone knew that they had a long way to go before Dark Specter could finally let go of what he wants: Zordon. But, the heroes decided to take the process of handling evil one step at a time.

In their own way, everyone had their own type of separation and reunion.

The End... for now