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Chapter 7

 

Karone watched the oncoming Quantrons in mute shock.  Never before had she seen so many Quantrons in one place, not even during her time as Astronomer.  Thousands upon thousands of Quantrons stood in rows as far back as the eye could see.  And only and she Tommy stood against them.  She and Tommy were the last hope that Zordon would probably ever have.  I guess this is when all my years as Astronomer will finally pay off.  Even though I regret my years under the forces of evil, they did give me very good training.  Because of that training I had, and with the help of my powers, I should be able to defend myself for awhile against them.  But after that...

 

Her thoughts were cut short as a group of Quantrons lunged for her.  She dodged the blow from the first one and swept the feet out from another.  But another Quantrons kicked her in the side, knocking her back.  She stumbled slightly before catching herself and delivering a swift side kick to its head.  It fell to the ground, and she ran forward and used its back as a jumping off point.  She jumped off its back, scissor-kicking another as she was in the air.  She looked around quickly and saw that she had been separated from Tommy.  While she defended herself against yet another attack by the Quantrons, she searched for him everywhere.  A flash of red caught her eye and she turned to her right to see Tommy holding his own against the Quantrons.  She smiled slightly as she saw he was faring very well.

 

Suddenly, a sharp pain in her abdomen brought her attention back to the present.  A Quantron had gotten a lucky shot off of her, because of her distraction.  Alright, enough of that.  Concentrate on the task at hand.

 

The self pep-talk seemed to work as she plowed through the Quantrons as if they were made of water.  One by one she took them down, not wasting a moment to think about what to do next.  Though she was making good progress, she soon found herself completely surrounded by the creatures.  Karone quickly assessed her options before pulling her lightsaber out of her belt.  She ignited it quickly and swung it around, slicing the closest Quantrons in half.  She swung the lightsaber expertly as she faced off against yet another group, which had quickly replaced the first.

 

Meanwhile, Tommy was doing an excellent job of holding his own.  In fact, he was doing even better against the Quantrons than Karone was.  All the years of studying karate, all the years as being a ranger was definitely paying off.  As he fought against them, he felt as if he was finally using all of his abilities.  Being a ranger was his life, something he had really missed after his retirement.

 

As a wave of Quantrons rushed at him, he flew into a mighty tornado kick, knocking many of the creatures aside.  He flew into a series of kicks and punches, knocking his way quickly through the many Quantrons.  Using every skill he possessed, he delivered a swift whip kick followed by another tornado kick.  He ended it with a series of punches, knocking any Quantrons that were remotely close to him away.

 

Suddenly, a Quantron ran forward, head butting him.  Tommy stumbled backwards, almost losing his footing completely.  As he struggled to clear his head, the Quantrons rushed forward and grabbed him.  They held onto his arms and legs, making any kind of movement impossible.  His struggles were useless as he was half carried, half dragged him through the throngs. 

 

It was as if pure luck hit him at that moment, for he was able to loosen his lightsaber.  He ceased his struggles as a sudden though passed through his head.  The Quantrons, surprised by his ceased movements, loosened their grips slightly.  The slight opening was all that Tommy needed.  With a strong jerk of his hand, he pulled his lightsaber out of its holder and ignited it.  He sliced it through the air, knocking any Quantrons near him away.  Tommy looked around and saw that the Quantrons were once again closing in on him.  He slowly backed up, trying to assess the situation.  Suddenly, he backed right into a solid being.  He turned around, raising his lightsaber in preparation to destroy the thing he had run into.  Instead, he found himself face to face with his own teammate, Karone.

 

"Tommy!" she screamed in surprise as she saw the lightsaber he had raised above her.  He grimaced slightly and turned back around.  The two stood back to back, Quantrons closing in at every angle.  Karone turned her head slightly, just enough so she could see Tommy out of the corner of her eye.  "What are we going to do now?"

 

"Fight," he said quickly as he knocked three Quantrons away.  Karone bit her lower lip as she swung her lightsaber at the Quantrons in front of her, knocking them away instantly.  The two circled, still back to back, working through the hordes of Quantron as best as they could.  But their best wasn't good enough.  No matter how hard they fought, the Quantron kept coming.  Karone felt her muscles beginning to tire as she stumbled slightly into Tommy.

 

Suddenly, a wave of fiery light engulfed the Quantrons, causing them to disappear as soon as the light touched them.  As the light engulfed Tommy and Karone they grabbed onto each other, the Quantrons forgotten as the fiery light burned at their suits.  But as soon as the light had come, it was gone. They slowly let go of each other and looked around.  The Quantrons were gone.  A rumbling laughter from behind caused them both to slowly turn around, looking skyward.

 

There, standing above them, was none other than Dark Spectre himself.  He glared down at the two rangers, his rock armor shining a bright red.  This is what the war between good and evil for the rangers had come down to.  In order to save Zordon, and the rest of the universe, they would have to battle the leader of the Alliance of Evil.  They would have to fight their greatest enemy in order to reach their greatest ally.

 

Karone felt a wave of fear pass through her as she stared up at the intimidating form before her.  Even when she had been Astronomer she had been afraid of Dark Spectre, for no one crossed him and lived.  Good, evil, it did not matter.  If they opposed him, they died.  She shuddered slightly as she remembered what had become of Ecliptor and Darkonda when Dark Spectre had heard of her deflection to the side of the rangers.  Words could not describe the pain that the two had been through.  He's evil.  Completely and totally evil.  And we have to get through him in order to save Zordon.  But how can we defeat him?  It's never been done.

 

On the other hand, Tommy stared directly into the eyes of Dark Spectre, not even flinching as fire flew out of the creature's eyes.  He was not afraid.  He could not be afraid.  Not when everything he had worked for depended on this battle.  He was not going to let himself be defeated now.  Not with Zordon's freedom so close.  He would not die today.  He had survived facing his great fears, facing the dark side of his soul, facing a person he had cared so deeply for.  He had stared death in the eye many times before and he was no longer afraid.  He was never going to give up.  Not now, not ever.  He and Karone would come out victorious, no matter what price they had to pay.

 

"You've put up a decent fight, rangers," the creature said, spitting out he last word.  His voice boomed out, filling the air around them with his voice.  "But now, it is time for you to die."

 

"I don't think so," Karone hissed, swallowing her fear.  Dark Spectre stared down at her, her voice sounding slightly familiar.  In a flash of light, the wand which Karone had used during her days as Astronomer appeared in her hands.  She brandished it as if it were a sword, clenching the wand tightly.  "We will never die by your hands."

 

With those words, she threw the wand forward with everything that she had.  Every emotion, every strength, every pain was put into that throw.  Every part of her was in it and she watched as it traveled through the air.  Dark Spectre did not even have a chance to react, for the speed at which she had thrown it was immense indeed.  The wand struck him and pierced his armor, going directly into his heart.  He roared in pain, the ground shaking as his roar echoed through the planet.  He slowly tilted forward, directly above the rangers.

 

"Karone, c'mon!" yelled Tommy.  "We have to get out here!"  He grabbed her hand and with a burst of adrenaline, the two flew away from the spot where Dark Spectre loomed above and fell to the ground.  As they ran, they could hear him hoarsely screaming out orders behind them.

 

"Where are we going?" Karone asked her voice strained.  Her only answer was a slightly shrug of his shoulders as he dragged her through the ruined town of KO-35.  "Tommy, he isn't dead.  It takes a lot more than just that to mortally wound him.  He's just hurt!"

 

"I know, Karone," Tommy answered, searching the town.  "Right now, we have to find a place to hide until we can get - "

 

His sentence was cut off as both of them stepped onto a boarded walkway.  The wood beneath them creaked and a second later, gave out on them.  Both rangers fell, screaming, into the darkness below.  Down they fell, tumbling in the air.  They hit the ground, landing painfully on the hard dirt.

 

Karone slowly pushed herself up, wincing as she felt pain in every part of her body.  She wiped dust off of the front of her helmet and looked around, brow wrinkling as she looked for Tommy.  Her heart stopped as she saw him, completely unmoving on the ground beside her.  She ran over to him, limping slightly on a sprained ankle.  She flung her helmet off as she knelt down besides him.

 

"Tommy!" she called, shaking his arm.  "Tommy, are you okay?"

 

She received no answer.  Fear began to build as she slowly undid his helmet.  His eyes were closed and his face was very pale.  Karone grabbed his wrist, searching desperately for a pulse, but could not find one.  As she felt her panic begin to take over, a sudden noise from behind caused her to jump.  She stood up slowly, wiping her tears away.  She crept forward, lightsaber clenched tightly.  She turned the corner and found herself face to face with -

 

"Zordon!" she whispered, her voice filled with relief and awe.  "You're here!"

 

"Yes, Karone.  You have found me." he said, his voice lending her calm and strength that she could not have found otherwise.  "But I'm afraid our time to become reacquainted is very short."

 

She nodded, not able to say a word.  "There is a switch on the back of the tube.  Once it is hit, I will be freed from this energy tube that imprisons me."

 

Karone nodded and rushed forward, hands trembling as she searched for the switch.  She quickly found it and with a flick of her wrist, she hit it.  Immediately, the room was filled with a bright light.  A sense of peace settled over her momentarily as she felt the presence of Zordon all around her.  The light slowly disappeared, leaving Karone all alone.  She looked around, searching for Zordon but could not find him. 

 

She ran into the other room where Tommy lay.  As soon as she entered it, she skidded to a stop.  There, kneeling besides Tommy, was Zordon.  The mage's head was bowed as he slowly put Tommy's hand on the ground where it had laid.  Zordon turned as he heard Karone's approaching step, eyes downcast.

 

"Zordon?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.  "Is he...?"

 

Her question trailed off as she saw the look of great sorrow on the face of the mighty mage.  He nodded once, giving Karone all the assurance that she needed.  Tears slowly slid down her cheeks as she walked over to her friend and teammate.  Though she had not known him for that long, there had been a connection between them.  There had been a deep connection that gave them the ability to create a short-lived but meaningful friendship.  She walked forward unsteadily, falling to her knees when she stood next to Tommy.

 

"We must leave now, Karone," Zordon said quietly, gently lifting Tommy's body up.  "It is not safe for us here."

 

She nodded, following Zordon as he walked towards the place where she and Tommy had fallen.  Before she could ask how they were going to get out, Karone found herself standing in front of the Astro Megaship.  She looked around, confused by the sudden teleportation.  She led Zordon onto the ship, taking him to the medical bay where he could place Tommy.  All this was done in complete silence.  As soon as Tommy was laid down, Zordon turned to Karone.

 

"Take him home, Karone," Zordon said.  "He deserved to be buried in a place that he loved.  I am afraid that I must now take leave of you.  There are others in great need of my help."

 

Karone nodded absently and with that, Zordon disappeared in a cloud of gold.  She stood in the medical bay, staring into space when suddenly a thought came to her.

 

"DECA, put the ship into autopilot towards Earth.  I have to try to bring Tommy back."

 

"Yes, Karone," DECA said.  Karone felt the ship begin to move, but she paid no attention to it.  She turned the machines on and attacked them to Tommy, determined to try.  I will not let him die.  He has fought too hard for it to end like this.  But before she could do anything, a voice called to her from behind.

 

Karone, let it go.

 

She turned around, her voice pale as she stared at the image before her.  Tommy stood - well, floated before her.  An aura of gold covered him and he smiled at her.  It is my time to die, Karone.  I am a warrior - I have to go out fighting.

 

"Tommy, no," she said.  "It isn't your time.  You have to come back to Earth with me, to be with those that you love.  You have to keep on fighting, defending those that you love."

 

Tommy shook his head.  No.  This is the path I must take.  If I continue on the path that I was on, I would never be able to stop fighting.  Fighting would become my reason to live and my reason to die.  I understand what Obi-Wan said to me.  On this path, I will be able to help others.  I will be able to live through those that I have touched or that I will touch.  This is the choice that I make, Karone.  Tell the others that I will miss them, but I have to do this. Tell Kat that I will always love her and I am sorry for how I treated her.  Wish her luck for me.   Goodbye, Karone.  And may the power protect you.

 

With that, he disappeared in a golden glow.  Karone stared at the spot where he had just stood, tears shining in her eyes.  "Goodbye Tommy.  We will all miss you."

 

*****

 

Queen Amidala found herself scurrying down unfamiliar halls, following someone she had never met before, pushing back the shock she felt at seeing Senator Leanna Ortega lying motionless on the ground.  Dead.  Lying in her own pool of blood.  A well-renowned worker for peace killed by those that opposed her.  And all I can think about is that could have been me.

 

The echo of a blast tore Amidala away from her thoughts, bringing her back to the present.  She pulled a blaster out of her sleeve, clutching it tightly to her chest.  She followed Mace Windu carefully, trusting his skills in the Force to get them to their ship.

 

Mace Windu slowly crept through the halls, relying on the Force to guide him to the ship.  With the help of the Force he was able to make his way through the battle-stricken halls.  Though he knew that he could go out fighting then and there, there was something about Amidala that made her - important.  This one is very important, though I cannot figure out why.  She is important both to the future of her planet and to the future of the Jedi.  But for now, we have to get out of here in one piece.  Both of us are needed elsewhere.

 

His powerful form led the way, lightsaber poised for action.  Even though she had never actually seen him in battle, Amidala knew that he had great skill with the lightsaber as well as with the Force.  She had heard many stories of the Jedi Master, each of them more awe-inspiring than the last.  Even with the short time she had been following him, he had already gotten them through crowds of stormtroopers without even breaking a sweat.

 

The sounds of blasters caused Amidala to spin around, her finger poised on the trigger.  There she saw a dozen white stormtroopers chasing after them, sending bolt after bolt of blaster energy towards them.  Mace Windu jumped in front of her, using his body as a shield to her.  With precise motions, he was able to deflect every bolt that the stormtroopers sent at him.  More and more stormtroopers appeared and the bolts flew from every angel possible.  Wrinkles appeared on his forehead as he moved his lightsaber with lightning speed to deflect every blast.  Suddenly, stormtroopers began falling, ones that he had not even deflected bolts at.

 

Amidala is blasting them.  The information came to him suddenly as he continued to reflect the blasts, stormtroopers falling quickly now.  He was not really surprised, because he had heard of her exploits on the planet Naboo.  But still, she was young and he had not been sure if she would be able to act that quickly.  He watched as more stormtroopers appeared, causing him to deflect the blasts even faster than before.  We have to get out of here before anything happens that not even I will be able to prevent.

 

"Start down the hall and wait for me around the corner," he ordered in a calm yet firm voice.  Amidala looked at him in shock, opening her mouth to argue.  But something, and she did not know what, stopped her.  She was not sure what it was, but she knew that arguing with him would be a waste of time and energy.  Instead, she turned around and ran at top speed down the hall.  Everytime she would spot a lone stormtrooper, she would shoot it down with her blaster.

 

She quickly reached the end of the hall and turned around to see where Mace Windu was.  To her surprised, he was close behind her.  As he neared her, he pointed her towards the right.  She nodded and started down the path.  They had not made it very far when she heard a shout behind her.  She twisted her head sharply and saw stormtroopers slowly pouring in behind them, close to where Mace Windu stood.  Without a second though, she started backtracking down the hall, shooting bolts of energy at stormtroopers as she did.  She tried to get the ones that were closest to him, so that he could get away.  Suddenly, all she saw was the blur of a figure jumping towards her.  As Mace Windu landed besides her, the two turned and ran down the hall.

 

As they turned another corner, Mace Windu finally found the door he was looking for.  He punched in the code quickly, pulling Amidala inside as soon as the door opened.  He closed the door just as he heard the stormtroopers reach the corner.  Amidala gave a sigh of relief as the horde of stormtroopers run by, not even stopping to check the door.  She turned around and looked up in surprise.

 

"Mace Windu, look!" she called out, walking forward.  He turned around to find that his ship stood behind them.  Dozens of ships stood motionless around them and farther down the room was a long runway that the ships could take off of.  She smiled ass he realized that they had walked right into their escape.  "It looks like luck is on our side for now."

 

"Luck has nothing to do with it, Queen Amidala," he stated, making his way to his ship in the back.  She followed him, puzzled as to why he did not pick one of the closer ships.  As the two boarded the ship at the end, she found herself shocked by the personnel on the ship.  Standing in the center of the main meeting room stood many of her soldiers.  But the creature that captured her attention the most was the Jedi known as Yoda.

 

"Come you have," Yoda stated in the same tone that Mace Windu had used moments earlier.  He showed no surprise whatsoever that they had managed to get through a building full of stormtroopers and into a room that held the ship that they needed to be on.  Mace Windu nodded at Yoda's statement and the two of them slowly walked out of the room, giving off the fact that they wanted to be left alone for the time being.

 

Amidala stood in the room for a couple of seconds, not quite sure of where she should go.  A soldier came over to her, seeing her confusion.  "Milady, the Jedi wish that you go to the bridge where you will be able to contact your planet."

 

She nodded and left the room, refusing any help to find the bridge.  She trudged down the halls, trying to think of what to tell her advisors and her planet.  As she turned a corner, she heard voices traveling down the hallway.  Curiosity filled her as she recognized the voices as those of Yoda and Mace Windu.  What she overheard was something that she wished she had not.

 

"What are we going to do about Obi-Wan and Anakin?" Mace Windu asked quietly as he and Yoda sat facing each other, unsure of where the rest of the Jedi Council was.  Yoda stared at him, his eyes filled with the wisdom that he had collected over the years.

 

"Nothing we can do there is," Yoda croaked.  "Face their enemies they must."

 

"Then we are going to meet with the mages?"

 

Yoda nodded.  "Discuss important things with them we will."

 

"Are you sure there is nothing that can be done for Obi-Wan and Anakin.  Both are important to the Jedi cause," Mace Windu said, though he already knew what the answer was going to be.  He wanted to hear the answer from Yoda himself, the oldest and arguably the wisest of the council members.

 

"Alone they are for now.  Come out for the best we hope."

 

Amidala felt a stab of pain in her heart as she heard those words.  Anakin and Obi-Wan have to face enemies and there's nothing we can do to save them?  I wish I could find a way to help them - both helped me greatly when my planet was under attack.  What if something happens to them?  Anakin is just a little boy.  I don't want anything happening to him.

 

With those words echoing through her head, she started once again for the bridge.  She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she did not notice that Yoda and Mace Windu had stopped talking.  They sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to her facing footsteps.  When they sensed that she was finally gone, they once again began their conversation.

 

"What of the young girl?  The young Eran?" asked Mace Windu urgently.  "Where is she?"

 

"On the ship, she is," explained Yoda, gesturing to the medial facility that was down the hall.  "Being studied, she is.  Find out what is wrong we will." 

 

Mace Windu nodded as he digested this information.  For some reason that girl, just like Amidala, was important to the future.  It was not determined what she would contribute to, but she was important and they needed her to live.  Speaking of the future, he suddenly remembered about their plans.

 

"Where are we going to meet the sages?  How many of them are there going to be?"  Mace Windu asked.

 

"Far away on a planet will we meet them."  Yoda  announced.  "Two there only are, important they will be."

 

Mace Windu nodded as silence once again filled the room.  But they had nothing else to say to each other, as they prepared for the events that they knew would change many lives, including their own.  They were not quite sure of the events that would take place, but they did know that it would cause many changes.

 

*****

 

Justin took a deep breathe as he rushed at Scorpina, trying to knock her boomerang away.  The two clashed harshly in a deadly embrace, neither getting the upper hand right away.  Justin winced as his muscles tightened, exhaustion finally catching up to him after days of little to no sleep.  Scorpina felt his hesitation and, taking advantage of it, knocked him to the ground.  She leapt forward to deliver a devastating blow but Justin kicked her in the stomach, knocking the wind out of her.

 

He slowly got to his feet, wincing again as he felt the wear and tear that his body was enduring.  He cursed quietly under his breathe as he thought of the years in which he had let his self-defense abilities slide in order to concentrate fully on science.  True, he had always had more power when using his mind than when it came to fighting, but the difference was much more prevalent now than it had ever been.  At that moment, he wished he could turn back the hands of time, so he could find more time to get back in shape.

 

Scorpina circled him cautiously, a slow yet wicked smile on her face as she watched him.  She could feel his exhaustion oozing out of every move he made.  His punches lacked force, his defense sloppy.  She brandished her boomerang, light flickering off the sharpened points.  All of her years of practice in solitude were finally paying off.  After she had been expelled by Lord Zedd all those years ago, she had been practicing, waiting for the chance to prove why she was the most coveted assassin in the galaxy.  Now, her chance had come at last.  She circled the weakening ranger, knowing that her time of glory was to come.

 

“You’ll never defeat us, weakling,” she spat out, watching Justin’s every move with a cautious eye.  No response came from the boy as he fell into a defensive position.  Attacking the villainess straight on would be foolish, for she was a far better fighter than he had ever been.  To defeat her, he had to do so with the strongest power he had: the power of his mind.

 

She lunged at him with a snarl, brining her boomerang down to finish him off.  He lunged out of the way and turned around just in time to kick her squarely in the small of her back.  Scorpina gave a cry of surprise as her weapon flew away from her and skidded across the floor.  She turned towards Justin just in time for him to knock her down again, this time with a powerful tornado kick.  Adrenaline rushed through Justin’s body as he silently prepared for his next attack.  Scorpina got up slowly, glaring at him as she did.  Failing to destroy such a young opponent was unforgivable in the villain community.  She would not fail.  Not now, not ever. 

 

“I tire of this, little boy,” she hissed, her fists clenching as he stalked forward, her long tail outstretched behind her.  Justin jumped at her, pulling his lightsaber out as he did.  Scorpina swung her tail, a tail so full of venomous juices that it could kill many people, let alone a single ranger.  Her tail sailed at his chest, intent on taking him down then and there.  As her tail neared him, Justin swung his lightsaber with all of his might.  The lightsaber met skin and in a flash of light, singed the tail off completely.  Scorpina screamed in agony, falling to the ground.  She clutched what was left of her tail, black blood flowing from the wound.  The entire lower portion of her tail was gone, leaving her without any of her poison. 

 

Justin stared down at his opponent, then turned to glance at his lightsaber in shock.  Never would he have thought that this sort of damage could be done with a weapon like his.  This was not something that should fall into evil’s hands.  Who knows what could be done if that was too happen.

 

Pain was the only thing on Scorpina’s mind as she clutched at her bleeding tail.  She slowly stood up, glaring at Justin in completely hatred.  He had destroyed the best and most intimate weapon she had ever possessed.  Now, he would pay.  In a move that was so obscure that he had did even notice, she pulled a small blaster out of the top of her boot.  Though she rarely used it, the blaster itself was very powerful.  It had enough power to take out portions of an army, not to mention a single ranger.

 

Justin’s failure to notice the blaster was all that Scorpina needed.  In less time than it took for a person to blink their eye, she leveled the blaster at his chest and shot it point blank at him.  Justin flew back in shock and pain as he felt the force of energy that was directed at him.  He hit the ground, hard.  He attempted to stand up, but Scorpina shot at him again and again.  Stars exploded before the young man’s eyes as his vision began to go blurry.  He silently asked Kat to forgive him, for the mistake that had cost him not only the battle but possibly his life.  As his vision started to slip away, he vaguely noticed that Scorpina had stopped shooting at him and was slowly beginning to stand up. 

 

Kat ducked as Goldar’s sword flew through the air in the spot where her head had been just seconds earlier.  She reacted to his aggressive attacks by knocking him aside with a forward kick, solidly landed in the center of his chest plate.  A bead of sweat rolled down Kat’s face as she readjusted the grip on her dagger.  She had no clue how long she had been battling Goldar, but it seemed like centuries had gone by.  She was not beginning to tire, though; at least not yet.  It did not look as though Goldar would let up anytime soon, and she knew that her strength would let out sometime.

 

Even though it had been years, she was not out of shape.  In fact, she was in the best shape of her life, even better shape than she was in as a ranger.  Maybe it was the years she spent as a cat; maybe it was an aftermath from the spell.  Whatever it was, Kat was thankful for it.  Unfortunately, Goldar’s skills had also improved over the time.  He was more skilled, more deadly than he had been when she had fought against him.  Kat knew that her skills alone would not defeat him.  She needed help; she needed more power.

 

Without any warning, Goldar thrust his sword forward directly at her heart.  She danced out of the way, but the sword managed to catch her on the shoulder.  Sparks flew from her uniform as she fell to the ground.  If I hadn’t gotten out of the way, I would have been a goner.  She rolled out of the way as the sword flew at her, attacking Goldar’s exposed abdomen with a series of hammer fists and hook punches.  He staggered back slightly, giving her enough time to get back on her feet.

 

The two slowly circled each other, waiting for the other person to make the first move.  Goldar had been surprised at the strength and power Kat had shown, for it was nothing like he remembered the once weak girl.  Something had changed over the course of the years.  Somehow she had become stronger and more mature.  Yes, that was the word.  She knew that even though she was a ranger, she was not invincible.  She knew that any of the battles she fought could be her last.  Maybe that was why she was fighting now like it was her last battle.  Maybe it would be.  That was up to him to decide.

 

Goldar lunged first, swinging his sword as if was going to attack.  Kat immediately readied her dagger in order to deflect the blow that was aimed directly at her.  At the last minute, he suddenly relaxed his sword and kicked her in the chest with a swift whip kick.  She fell to the ground, for the kick had taken her by surprise.  As she hit the ground, her breath was taken away by the impact.  She struggled to regain her breath as Goldar ran over and kicked her in the ribs.  Kat winced in pain and quickly rolled out of the way of another attack.  She carefully readied her dagger as she slowly got her breath back. 

 

She quickly stood back up and swung her dagger at Goldar.  He brought his sword down and the two clashed in a series of sparks.  She adjusted her grip slightly, causing Goldar to momentarily lose his balance.  She took advantage of his by a front kick to his abdomen and a knee to his groin.  He fell to the ground heavily, his sword falling from his hands.  She moved in, adrenaline pumping as she brought her dagger up to knock him out.  Suddenly, she froze in shock as she was hit from behind.  She stumbled to the right, turning around to find Scorpina holding her smoking boomerang glaring down at her.  Kat’s breathe caught in her throat as she saw an unconscious Justin lying on the ground behind Scorpina.

 

“This is the end,” Scorpina hissed as she crept over to Goldar and helped him up.  The two henchmen readied their weapons, creeping forward menacingly towards her.  Kat stood up quickly and backed-pedaled, not taking her eyes of the villains.  If she did, it would be over.  She had to get away from them.

 

Suddenly, to the surprise of all of them, a cloud of smoke suddenly appeared in the middle of the room.  Kat watched in shock as the ruler of Goldar and Scorpina appeared, none other than her former master and foe, Rita.  The two henchmen immediately fell to one knee and bowed their heads before her.  Rita nodded at them before turning her attention to Kat. 

 

“This is my last offer, Kitty Kat,” cackled Rita, smiling wickedly at Kat.  “Join us, and you will live.  Refuse us…” 

 

Rita allowed the sentence to trail off, giving Kat the full effect of what would happen to her.  But Kat would not allow the sorceress to defeat her.  She would not join them.

 

“Never, Rita!” yelled Kat, her voice hoarse.  She held her head high, her dagger still held out in front of her.  “I will never join you.”

 

The smile on Rita’s face disappeared, replaced this time by an ugly sneer.  She turned to her warriors, nodding once at them.  The two smiled and both of them pulled out small blasters, the same type that had caused Justin to pass out.  Rita pointed her wand at Kat and with a single motion, the dagger flew from Kat’s hand and onto the floor in front of the villains.  Kat’s eyes widened in alarm as she found herself defenseless against the two.  She groped for a weapon, hands shaking as she pulled out her lightsaber.  She barely had time to turn it on before shots were blasted at her again and again.  Without even thinking, she deflected the shots with the lightsaber.  The energy shots flew everywhere as more and more were deflected.  A stray blast went directly into the force field that surrounding the battling Zhane and Andros, and a blast hitting the same spot that Kat had swiped at earlier.  A mini-explosion occurred at the base of the force field and when the dust cleared, the force field was gone.   

 

Zhane, tired and sweating, felt his adrenaline pumping as he saw Kat being backed into a wall.  His fear rose as she saw Justin, unmoving, in a pile of broken objects.  He jumped over Andros, kicking his former friend and teammate in the head, determined to get to Kat before it was too late.  But he could only watch in horror as Kat’s defense finally broke and the blasts started to hit her.  She fell to the ground, hoarse screams of pain coming from her.  Zhane knocked Goldar and Scorpina away and ran to Kat’s side.  He kneeled by her side, cradling her body in his arms.

 

“Zhane,” she whispered as she clumsily grasped his hand in hers.  He winced as the saw the many burns on her uniform, knowing that many more lay underneath.  “I’m sorry.  I tried.”

 

“I know Kat,” he whispered.  “I know.”

 

“Enough of that!” Rita screeched as she turned to her warriors.  “Destroy those two and Earth will be ours!”

 

Zhane slowly put Kat down behind him and turned around to face them.  He was not afraid anymore.  He had done all that he could and his fate was beyond his hands.

 

*****

 

Feelings she had not known for a long while bubbled up inside Kanara, utter helplessness taking the place of any other thought.  She forbade herself to look down for if she did, she would see the bottomless pit that she dangled dangerously above.  All her plans and thoughts of destruction, power, and evil flitted from her mind as she could only think of one thing: staying alive.  Dread slowly grew as she was hit with the sudden realization that she would not make it out of this situation alive.  None of her training had ever prepared her for a situation like this.  She had never been in this position before and she did not know how she was going to make it out.

 

She slowly tried swinging from side to side in order to try and get her legs to wrap around the bar that she was holding onto.  But with every swing she attempted, her hand would begin to slip from the bar, filling her with panic.  She immediately stopped swinging and instead tried to grab the railing with her bad hand.  Pain shot down her arm and into the rest of her body, causing her to let of a screech.  She tried as hard as she could to hold on, but her damaged hand would not allow it.  She let go of the bar with her bad hand, panic screaming through her mind.  For a brief moment she wondered why the routine flash of purple had not come and healed her hand of its pain.  Maybe because she could not think straight it would not come.  Maybe because she was already using all of her powers to force herself to hang onto the small bar that was keeping her from falling to her death.  Whatever it was, Kanara knew that this could be the end.  And it took all of her strength and powers to keep from thinking that she would die.

 

Obi-Wan stared at her, his thoughts and emotions being completely twisted by the turn of events.  For the first time in his life, he had no clue what he was going to do.  None of his training could have prepared him for a situation like this.  The options on hand were incredibly perilous.  He knew that she was evil and that he could let her die.  But another part of him had seen the good in her that was hidden deep beneath her evil mask.  His emotions were being split completely in two as he watched her struggle to hang on.  On one side, he wanted her to endure suffering and pain for everything she had put both he and Anakin through and for all the pain she had caused for the rangers and all the innocents she had hurt.  Yet, on the other side, he had seen parts of a different person in her eyes.  A person that was full of goodness and love, one that he did not want to destroy.  He slowly weighed his options, good and hard before finally coming to a decision.

 

Kanara squeezed her eyes shut, waiting until she no longer had the strength to hold on.  This was the end – she knew that much.  Nothing could save her now, not even her own powers in which she had depended on for the last couple years.  But in the small corner of her mind, a small voice pushed itself to be heard.

 

No!  I will not die!  screamed the familiar voice.  It was the voice of a long smothered Kimberly Harte.  After years of trying to break through the wall of evil that had surrounded her, she was beginning to work up the strength to finally do so.  You have already destroyed everything I stood for and all of those that I love.  You turned me into a psychotic evil bitch who would do anything – or anyone – for power.  I will get out of this, if just to make up for everything that you’ve done.  I will not let you have my life! 

 

It is my life now, weakling, hissed the voice of Kanara.  I am the ruler of this body and this life and I will not let you stand in my way of completely domination.  I own this body, just as I own you.

 

You will never own me, bitch, whispered Kim.  I will not let you control me any longer.  Not now, not ever.  Now that I have found the weakness in your powers, I will not back down.  You may have won the past battles, but you will not win the war.  I will make sure that you never hurt anyone as you have before.  I promise you this, and I am not one to break my promises. 

 

You will never win, little girl, Kanara sneered. This is my life now and I will have it.  I will destroy you once and for all when I get out of this.  And no more will I have to listen to the whining, annoying little voice that is too stupid to realize her life is over.  I am the ruler of this body, just as I will be ruler of the world.

 

No, Kim quietly said.  You will not control my anymore.  I will find a way to get past you and I will not stop until I have done so.  This I promise you. 

 

As if Obi-Wan could hear the battle that was taking place in Kanara’s mind, he made his final decision.  He quickly stood up and rushed over to where the dangling girl was hanging for dear life.  He knew that if he let her fall to her death, he was just as bad as they were.  Just as bad as those of the Dark Side.  He had become a Jedi in order to protect people and to save the lives of all people, no matter who they were.  If he were to let her die, he would fall into the Dark Side and there would be no saving him from there.  No.  He would not let that happen. 

 

“Give me your hand,” Obi-Wan ordered as he reached for her, encircling her good wrist with his hand.  Kanara looked up at him and he was surprised to find there was a difference in her eyes.  Yes, the darkness was still there, but there seemed to be a fire in them, a fire that was from a long oppressed girl who was determined not to give up.  Kanara shook her head as she held up her burnt hand.

 

“I can’t,” she screamed, suppressed sobs evident in her raw voice.  “It’s too painful to hold onto anything!”

 

“If you want to live, give me your hand!” he yelled at her, not wanting to let her fall when he was this close.  She winced slightly as she slowly pushed her hand towards his.  He quickly grabbed onto her wrist and pulled her forward with all of his might.  Time seemed frozen for a moment as Kanara felt her good hand slipping from the railing and from Obi-Wan’s grip.  He did not have enough force or energy to pull her away from the pit. 

 

In a gesture that was either very foolish or very brave, Kanara released the railing and grabbed Obi-Wan’s wrist with her own hand.  He struggled with all of his power to pull her onto the small platform that they had been fighting on just moments earlier.  All of the emotions, all of the energies left inside of him burst forth as he pulled her with his last reserves of strength.  As he did, they toppled together onto the small platform.  Obi-Wan panted slightly as he felt all of the exertion that he had put forth moments earlier begin to lessen.  He had saved her.

 

Kanara’s breathe started to come to her as she realized that she was not going to die today.  She tried to move, but her muscles screamed in protest.  She slowly pushed herself up, agony filling her as she did.  She looked down at the Jedi beneath her, gratitude filling every ounce of her soul.

 

Only one time before had anyone ever saved her life like that – that time felt like eons ago now.  Her boyfriend, her love Tommy, had saved her from certain death years ago, and she could still feel the love that they had for each other, for she was feeling something very much like it right now as she stared down at Obi-Wan.  For a split second, a strange feeling arose in her as she stared down at the Jedi.  Her cold heart seemed to fill with an emotion that she had not felt for years.

 

“You saved my life,” Kimberly Harte whispered, the first time she had been able to control her words in years.  “You knew what a monster I was, and you saved me.  I don’t know how I can ever thank you.”

 

“You don’t have to,”

 

“Are you …”

 

Her body stiffened suddenly as her eyes widened in sudden fear.  She looked down at Obi-Wan, sorrow reflecting in her eyes.  “I’m sorry.”

 

A flash of purple overtook her, the light so bright that it momentarily blinded Obi-Wan.  He blinked to clear his sight, finding himself staring into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.  Kanara smirked back at him now.  “I figured out how to thank you – since I won because of you.  Now, you’re mine.”

 

She laid her weight on top of his, grabbing his wrists with an iron grip.  She licked her lips as she stared at him, leaning forward and slowly licking the side of his neck.  One of her hands let go of his wrists and slowly traveled down his body, stopping as she came to his waist.

 

Her eyes glinted wickedly as she stared in his eyes.  “Let’s see if a Jedi is really as good as I’ve heard.”

 

Suddenly, with a sudden movement of her hand, a knife appeared in her hand.  She slowly cut the front of his shirt open before every so carefully lightly slicing his skin.

 

Obi-Wan became rigid as he felt the knife biting into his skin, a sharp gasp eliciting from his lips.  Kanara smirked at him mockingly as she held the knife above his skin.  “What?  Don’t want a little pain with your pleasure?”

 

Obi-Wan tried to dislodge her from above him, but to no avail.  She paid no attention to his attempts, instead waving her hand as she frowned at his wrists.  Shackles appeared around his wrists, leaving her hands free.  She continued making little slices on his chest while her other hand traveled slowly down, watching his reaction the whole time.  He closed his eyes, knowing that his decision though seemingly right, was the wrong thing to do.

 

*****

 

Far across the universe, on the planet known as Phaedos, a lone warrior paced back and forth, waiting for the arrival of the invited parties.  The warrior searched the sky as she paced, all of the muscles in her body tensed in nervousness.  If the invited few could not get to the meeting place or if they arrived too late, the universe would be destroyed.  She took a deep breathe as she continued her pacing, glancing over at her surroundings as she did.

 

Everything was prepared for the arrivals.  Though dust covered many of the columns and altars that stood in the wind-worn temple, a fire blazed brightly in the middle.  The fresh air blew through the open walls of the temple, causing ragged garments to sway gently in the breeze.

 

Suddenly, a blinding flash of gold light appeared before the warrior.  She shielded her eyes from the light, for looking directly at it would cause her momentary blindness.  When the light disappeared, an old yet powerful mage stood before her.  A slight smile crossed her face as she recognized the mage.

 

“It is good to see you again, Zordon,” she said, her lightly accented voice filled with relief.  It was the first time in nearly two centuries that she had seen him out of his time warp.  He wore the traditional robes of the Eltarian mages, the robes the brightest of white and made up of the finest of silk.  A tired smile crossed Zordon’s face as he looked at her.

 

“As it is you, Dulcea,” he said quietly, sorrow evident in his voice.  Dulcea frowned slightly as she stared at Zordon but before she could ask any questions, he turned towards the fire.  Memories washed over him as he watched the multicolored flames that blazed before him.  It seemed only yesterday that the two of them had learned of their spirit animals.  She, the wise and stealthy snowy owl and he, the courageous and strong lion.  And then his rangers had gone on the same quest…

 

Memories of the rangers flooded through him as he turned away from the fire and looked back over at Dulcea.  “Do you know when the Jedi will arrive?”

 

She shook her head in uncertainty.  Zordon sighed and turned to glance at the vast forest that the temple overlooked.  “I am tired of this fight, Dulcea.  I have seen too much during my years as a ranger and mentor.  And I have lost more children than I can count.”

 

Dulcea stepped forward, placing a hand of comfort on his shoulder.  “But your children do not give up, even when it is hopeless.  They are fighting for you right now, fighting against the evil that you have stood against for so long.”

 

“I know,” he whispered, a lone year welling up in his eye.  “And I have lost another.”

 

He glanced over at Dulcea just in time to see the confusion and shock rush through her features.  She was unable to voice her thoughts as she stared at him, uncomprehending.

 

“They freed me from Dark Spectre’s grasp,” he explained.  “But the cost was too much.  I have lost one that has grown so much from the beginning.  He changed from an uncertain, young boy to a mature and strong leader.  Tommy is dead.  The falcon has flown free,”

 

Dulcea took a sharp intake of breathe as she heard his words.  She remembered the boy – she had knocked him down because of his seemingly arrogance.  But even with the arrogance that he had, there was a light burning inside of him.  He was a fighter for the people; he started his career as a fighter and she knew, without asking, that he had ended as a fighter.  That is the way it was with rangers like him.

 

“I’m sorry, Zordon,” she said softly, knowing that her words were not enough to help the pain he must be feeling.  “He was a brave fighter.”

 

“I know.”

 

Silence passed between the old friends as they watched the trees of the forest gently swaying in the breeze.  The war seemed so far away in the peacefulness of the jungle.  It seemed like the war was all a bad dream, one that they had suddenly woken up from.  But they knew that it was just wistful thinking.  The war was greater than ever now, and they had to stop if before it was too late.

 

A load roar from above caused both Dulcea and Zordon to turn around and glance up at the sky.  A large ship was slowly lowering itself next to the temple that they stood on.  They watched carefully as the ship carefully landed in a small clearing close by.  Dulcea walked over to a small platform at the end of the temple, waiting for the inhabitants to come out.  She watched as two figures walked out, one of them a small green creature with large pointed ears and an aura of wisdom that she could feel even from so far away.  The other was a strong looking dark male with a feeling of intensity around him.  She walked slowly to the very end of the temple as they made their way up to her.

 

Soon, the two figures arrived before them.  Zordon walked out of the temple to greet them, bowing down slightly as they stopped before him.  The two figures repeated the gesture to him and turned to stare up at Dulcea.  She bowed and the figured followed.  They looked up at her in curiosity, silently asking why she had not greeted them along with Zordon.

 

“I cannot leave this temple,” she stated simply.  “If I do, I will quickly wither in age and die.”

 

They nodded at her words and followed Zordon up into the temple.  They glanced around silently and quietly, taking in their surroundings.  The tall dark male turned to Dulcea and Zordon asking, “Are you Dulcea and Zordon of the Ranger Council?”

 

Zordon nodded for both of them, carefully taking in the aura around them.  The two were most definitely powerful, not only because of the way they moved but because of the goodness and strength that seemed to radiate from them.

 

“Then I presume that you are Master Yoda and Master Windu of the Jedi Council,” Zordon stated, watching them nod in acknowledgement.  “Then we shall begin with the ceremony.”

 

The four of them slowly made their way over to the blazing fire, each standing on different sides with their arms outstretched to their sides.  They easily and quickly joined palm to palm with each other, though it was a bit difficult in Yoda’s case.  Each closed their eyes, emptying their minds in preparation.  Dulcea took a deep breathe and began the ancient ritual.

 

“A darkness has slowly but surely filled our land, causing pain and destruction to every creature of light.  Escape is useless, for the evil, our enemy, is slowly growing and taking over.  We, as four representatives of the land, join together for this time only in order to help our people and the people of all universes.  Our powers alone are not enough, but once combined they will be a pushing force behind a resistance.”

 

“Combining our strength we know is not enough.  The key to our success is anyone who is able to take our freely given power and use it to blanket and wipe out as much evil as possible.  We now combine our strengths in order to push against the evil before us.”

 

“The power of strength I present,” boomed Zordon, his voice echoing through the sudden darkness of the sky.  As he said that, a spirit in the shape of a roaring tiger burst from him and flew into the fire.  The flames turned a golden yellow in color as they started to blaze even greater.  Though the flames were now closer to the participants, they paid no attention to it.  They were too deep into the ritual to notice any outside force.  “Let the spirit of all of those who defended their people with this power help the universe now in the time of need.”

 

The flames changed from golden yellow into the shape of long-deceased rangers.  The faces of ancient rangers, names now forgotten, appeared faces grim.  Rangers from all times, all walks of life appeared, each letting off a spark of energy to add to the fire.  Zordon felt tears begin to run down his face as he felt the presence of his young children calling to him, whispering in his ears.  His most recent children shone out behind his closed eyelids, smiling down at him.  Each added a spark of energy to the fire, giving it the power it needed.

 

“The power of courage I present,” announced Mace Windu.  The spirit of a springing panther burst from him as he said the words, jumping into the fire.  The flames turned a light brown and grew even more.  “Let those that have died in the line of their cause help us now in our time of need.” 

 

Spirits of Jedi Knights flew through the fire, each adding their sparks of the Force.  They flew around Mace Windu, voicing their support and buzzing with energy.  Strength flowed through him as he felt the Knights, a smile crossing his face for the first time in a long while.

 

“The power of compassion I present,” said Dulcea.  As she did, a spirit of a screeching snow owl burst forth and whisked into the fire.  The fire turned a bright green as the flames once again intensified.  “Let those who have sacrificed themselves for others help us through this.”

 

Spirits of past ninjetti guides burst from the fire, roaring as only animals can.  They surrounded Dulcea, nuzzling her lightly and giving her strength and courage.  A few lone animals stopped and mournfully chatter in her ears, crying for their children overtaken by darkness.  A pink crane screeched its pain as it felt the cold heart of its one-time ranger taking joy in destroying others.

 

“Present, I do, power of wisdom,” croaked Yoda.  The spirit of a giant sea creature burst forth and slithered into the flames.  The flames turned a deep blue as the flames once again intensified, now burning so brightly that nothing else could be seen.  “Deep wisdom from Jedi will be shared, I see.”

 

The flames burst suddenly only all of them, but the fire did not burn.  Instead, as it touched them, the flames burst into a wide array of colors.  Dulcea raised her head to the sky and in the tongue of the ancient Phaedian, she began to speak.

 

"Gre keneara meia banr ayiew mikalos!" she screamed.  “Let the powers combine and be taken to the key!”

 

In a burst of color the flames shot forward and joined in the sky above them.  They danced around each other in a dance of color before finally joining together in a bright golden light.  It shot off away from them and with that, the four lowered their arms, slowly sinking down to the ground in exhaustion.

 

*****

 

Anakin felt his fear rising with every moment that he stayed in the site of the robed figure.  The figure seemed to be watching him carefully, taking in every reaction that Anakin had.  He felt as though the being could see right through him and could read all of his thoughts and feel all of his emotions.  He was nothing like Anakin had ever seen – or felt – before.  He had powers of a Jedi, yet they were darker, more sinister.  He did not know what it was, but he did know that he did not like it. 

 

“You don’t like the powers, little one?” whispered Sideous.  “At least, you don’t like them now.  But in time, you will see the how…useful and commanding the power is.  Open yourself up to the Dark Side – let it flow through your every thought and every action.

 

Anakin shook his head, fists clenching as he held firm his decision to resists.  No!  I will not let him destroy me.  I will become stronger than he is – I will become a Jedi.

 

Sideous laughed lightly as he heard Anakin’s thoughts.  “A Jedi will never be stronger than I.  The Dark Side is much more powerful than the Force that Obi-Wan and the Council use.  The Dark Side gives me, and can give you, power that has never been felt before.  It can give you strength that is unimaginable.”  He bent forward, his beady eyes showing beneath his dark hood.  “And I can give you all that you want.  I can make you ruler of the universe.  You will be in control, not having to listen to the “rules” made up by the Jedi.  No one will control you – you will not be anyone’s slave anymore.  Isn’t that something that you’ve always wanted?” 

 

“No!” exclaimed Anakin.  “I don’t care what you say.  The Dark Side is made up of evil and hatred.  It will only hurt me and those that I care for.  I will never let the Dark Side control me.”

 

Silence met the boy’s words, a silence so thick that Anakin once again felt his fear rising.  This being, though not making any kind of attacks, caused Anakin more fear than he had ever felt.  This being was so immersed in evil that Anakin could not think straight.

 

“Let yourself go, Anakin,” Sideous whispered.  “I too used to believe what the Jedi taught.  Until one day, someone showed me the real power.  When I found out the real power that the Force can have, I knew that I had chosen the right side.  The Jedi Council, afraid that they will be taken over, never let anyone become as strong as they are.  That’s why they call it the Dark Side – they don’t want to lose their power.  Why wouldn’t they want stronger fighters with them?  Why do they keep the Jedi Knights so weak, keep them from growing stronger.  Listen to me, boy, and I can help you with things that you have only dreamed of.”

 

Anakin said nothing as he looked away from the Darth Lord.  What the being was saying about the Jedi – it almost made sense.  I mean, why do the Jedi keep from growing stronger.  If they were stronger, they could help to keep the peace better.  Is that why they didn’t want to train me?  Because they thought I was going to become too strong?

 

“Yes, they are just trying to hold you back.  They don’t want you to become too powerful, because if you do, they will not be able to control you.  Do you want to be controlled?  You’ve spent your whole life as a slave – do you want to work so hard just to be a slave to the Jedi?”

 

Anakin’s head shot up as he stared at Sideous.  No!  I’m not going to be a slave to the Jedi.  I’m going to be part of them.  They had good reasoning to be wary of me, I guess.  I do fear things and that fear could turn into worse things.  If I’m not careful, I could fall to the Dark Side.

 

“I can give you what you want,” said Sideous lightly.  “I can give you everything that the Jedi don’t want you to have.  I can protect you from pain.  They haven’t done that, have they?  They’ve failed you and they’ve failed to protect those that you love.”

 

“No they haven’t,” argued Anakin.  “Death comes to everyone, no matter how hard you fight against it.  People are going to die no matter what happens.”

 

“But their deaths could have been prevented.  They didn’t die of old age – they were brutally and horribly killed.  That’s not very good protection from the Jedi, is it now?”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” said Anakin darkly.  “Things like that won’t happen again.  I will do my best to protect others and then the failures of the past won’t matter anymore.”

 

“Oh, but you are wrong.  They will keep on failing to protect those that you love and then someday, they will fail to protect you.  If you join me, I can keep that from happening.  I can give you glory and power.”

 

“I don’t believe you!” yelled Anakin, anger filling his voice.  Sideous smiled a slow smile as he felt the anger radiating off of Anakin.  Yes, the boy had potential.  And now, that potential could be used to his advantage.

 

“I can help you.  Do you want me to show you?” Sideous proposed lightly.  Anakin looked at him in shock and surprise, his anger for the being forgotten.  No one could read the future, for the future was uncertain.  Many different paths could be taken, depending on the choices that were made.  “I can show you the future.  And all that you want to know.”

 

“Can you really?” asked Anakin in curiosity.  He had a nagging feeling that something bad was happening, but he pushed the thought aside as he took a step closer to Sideous.  He might be able to see the future, if the being was telling the truth.  And if he knew the future, then maybe he could keep those he loved from being hurt.

 

“Come closer.  I can show you what my power can do for you.”  Anakin hesitantly took another step closer.  As he did, Sideous stood up and grasped Anakin’s hand, almost to the point of pain.  Anakin gave a slight cry, but Sideous paid no attention to it.  Instead, his eyes seemed to be staring at something on the wall behind Anakin.  Before Anakin could ask what was there, a vision suddenly appeared in his mind.

 

Anakin was fighting, desperately pushing through the crowd of stormtroopers, trying to get to Amidala before it was too late.  He fell back as he was punched in the face, stumbling to the ground.  Power like he had never felt before flew around him and, without thinking, he accepted the power and pushed through the troopers, just in time to save Amidala from being killed.  The power he had felt moments earlier was gone, but he could not forget the way it had felt as it gave him the much needed strength to save her.

 

Obi-Wan fighting against him, anger radiating in his master’s eyes.  With every swing of his lightsaber, Obi-Wan pushed Anakin closer towards the edge of the pit.  Finally, with one final swing, Anakin fell into the pit, lava eating away at his skin.  The power once again filled him, this time giving him the strength to pull himself out of the pit and onto the ground.  Obi-Wan was gone, deserting his apprentice.  Instead, Chancellor Palpatine was there, lifting him from the ground, helping him with his wounds.  As Anakin began to black out, he could still feel the power flowing through his veins.

 

The world was changing now.  Anakin could see the Jedi being wiped out, destroyed by their own choice, because they lacked the power and the people to live on.  Anakin could feel the real power as he turned to smile at the woman by his side.  The two clasped hands, watching with a bit of sadness as the Jedi were no more.

 

Anakin opened his eyes, the power he had felt in the visions still swirling in the air around him.  He looked up at Sideous, wonder reflecting in his young eyes.  “Is that the future?  Is that what is really going to happen?”

 

Sideous nodded gravely, releasing the young boy’s hand.  “Yes.  The Jedi race is slowly dying out for they do not know the true power.  Join me and I can give you everything you want – I can help you to become the greatest power in the universe.”

 

Anakin stared at him in indecision, not noticing the small smile that crossed Sideous’ face.  He could feel what the boy was thinking.  He knew the decision Anakin was going to make.  Anakin sighed, making his decision.  He opened his mouth and was about to speak when suddenly, a golden light pushed the two people apart.  Anakin fell to the ground hard, squinting at the golden light.  Sideous stepped back, his eyes closing to slits as he felt his powers blocked by the light.

 

Anakin watched in awe as the light twisted and shimmered, finally forming into the shape of a person.  Puzzlement filled his features as he stared at the familiar shape.  “Tommy?”

 

Tommy nodded, smiling down at the young boy.  Peace radiated from every inch of his spirit as he bent down to eye level with him.  Yeah, it’s me.

 

“But that means…” Anakin bit his lip as sudden realization hit him.

 

Tommy nodded, eyes sympathetic as he stared at him.  I’m dead, Anakin.  My time on this plane of existence is over.  But that doesn’t mean that my journey is over.  I have one thing left to do before I leave for good.

 

Anakin cocked his head.  “What?”

 

I have to make sure you make the right decision. Tommy said, his voice filled with seriousness.  There are many things in this universe that may seem too good to be true.  Be careful when you are making decisions, for the consequences of them will be shown through every action you do and every thought that you think.  Do not let evil convince you that their way is better – be strong. 

 

“But he showed me the future,” whispered Anakin as he stared at Tommy.  “If I accept the power, I can help people so much more.”

 

 No, you can’t. Tommy said slowly.  He only showed you a portion of the future.  A future that may never come to pass.  What he didn’t show you was the pain that you could cause or that you will feel.  He didn’t show you the evil that will have filled you.  Before I leave, I give you this final gift.  Good luck, Anakin.  May the Force by with you.

 

Gold sparked in Anakin’s eyes as he once again felt visions descending on him.  Tommy’s figure disappeared as the gold surrounded Anakin and made it impossible for Darth Sideous to disturb him.

 

A young girl stared frightfully at him, telling him information that he had wanted to get out of her.  And yet, Anakin allowed her entire planet to be destroyed, pleasure surging through him as he felt the people of the planet screaming out as they were vaporized into nothing.  He smiled, a dark, twisted smile as the young girl began to cry for her killed people.

 

Anakin, covered in black armor from head to toe, fought against Obi-Wan, hatred seething from every inch of his soul.  Obi-Wan, old and out of shape, was slowly being pushed back.  Anakin felt a dark happiness arise as he took and swing and killed his one-time master.

 

Anakin fought against a young boy, his own son.  His son that he had never known about because Amidala had run away from him when he had let the Dark Side take over.  He chased his son through the ship, taking pleasure in cutting off his son’s own hand.  He gave his son an ultimatum – join him or die.  He watched in mild regret as Luke jumped off the platform and down into the pit. 

 

Anakin watched as his own son was being electrocuted by Darth Sideous, the same man that had convinced him to join the Dark Side.  He watched as his son writhed in pain, because he had refused to join the emperor.  

 

Anakin could feel pain filling every inch of his body as electricity ran through him, killing him slowly as he walked.  The pain was too great – everything he had done over the years, everyone he had killed came back to him, causing him to stumble in regret and grief.  He was dying – destroyed by the own evil that he had embraced for so long. 

 

As the visions disappeared Anakin stared at Darth Sideous in horror, realizing what he had almost agreed to.  He pushed himself away from the being, shaking his head as he felt the evil reaching for him.  “No.  I will never join you.  I will never fall to the dark side, never give in.  I will live to be a Jedi.  I will not let evil control me or anyone.  This ends now.”

 

Sideous watched in fascination as Anakin’s eyes suddenly turned gold in color and his hands suddenly crinkled with golden energy.  Anakin stepped forward with unseeing eyes, one hand outstretched towards the evil being.  Sideous held his own hands out, energy bursting from them and onto Anakin.  Anakin felt pain registering as the bolts of lightning hit, but he paid no heed to it.  He kept walking forward, his hand reaching closer to Sideous with every step.

 

Darth Sideous gasped in shock as Anakin’s hand touched his arm, causing the Darth Lord to freeze in his place.  Sideous felt the souls of all those who had died for the good of the universe flowing through him – all of their strength, courage, compassion and wisdom filling him with pain.  He stared at the boy in wonder before exploding in a burst of ashes.  Anakin, though, paid no heed to the now empty space in front of him, instead still feeling the golden energy passing through him.

 

He could feel everything around him, from the room next door to people all over the universe.  He could see Obi-Wan, screaming in pain as Kanara opened cuts all over his body.  Suddenly, she froze in mid-strike, feeling the loss of the evil Lord.  Golden light overtook her, much as it did the emperor, but when it disappeared, she was not destroyed.  She fell off of Obi-Wan, the knife forgotten about as she hugged her body, tears streaming down her face.

 

He could see the Erans, dying of the disease that Kanara had bestowed upon them.  His heart ached for them, but he knew that nothing could be done to save them – they were too far into the sickness to be cured.  He closed his eyes, tears streaming down his face as he felt their lives flickering and slowly, but peacefully, dying out.  He wept openly as he saw Floita give her final breath, a smile crossing her face as she succumbed to the illness and into eternal peace.

 

Far across the universe, he saw the ravaged planet of Earth, its three defenders slowly losing ground.  He watched as the villains stiffened in fear, for they felt the loss of the Darth Sideous, even so far across the universe.  They felt his pain as the light fell upon them, causing them to explode in dust.  Andros screamed as the machines controlling him gave one last push before dying out, leaving him lying on the ground, panting in exertion and loss.

 

He saw evil all over the universe, some exploding to dust others so far away that they merely fainted in exhaustion.  He felt the Force filling him, showing him an image of four figures on Phaedos, lending him abilities to help.  He smiled wistfully as the old mage breathed his last, smiling as he went into the next world.

 

Slowly, every so slowly, the golden light disappeared.  Anakin opened his eyes and saw the familiar throne room.  A smile crossed his face as he slowly sank to the ground, his injuries finally catching up to him.  He closed his eyes and blackness overtook him.