Disclaimer: So yeah... I don't own Power Rangers.
Author's Note: I tried just to have one story, I really did! But this wouldn't leave me alone, so here you go...
Author's Note 2: Yes, I realize that "Stellar Staff" is an incredibly lame name for a weapon, but hey, it's no worse than "Lunar Lance" or "Super Silverizer" and I didn't come up with those. :P
Author's Note 3:Barring any major flashes of genius (hehe...) this is the first of three parts (shoots self for attempting trilogy.) Updating might be slow, but this story isn't going to leave me alone until it's finished. Oh, goody...
Come in," the silver ranger hissed into his communicator. He hugged the black cloak closer to his body as the chilly temperatures of deep space began to penetrate his suit. "Did you find anything yet?"
"I just enjoy dining with the monarch of all evil and his... guests," came the sarcastic, somewhat exasperated reply. "How about when I find something, I'll tell you?"
"Good plan," he muttered, feeling somewhat sheepish. "Just keep your eyes open, all right? Dark Spectre and Cosmos had something planned for tonight."
"I wasn't under the impression that we came here just for the food, you know."
The quiet laugh that reached his ears did a surprising amount in the way of soothing his nerves. "You're cute when you worry... Now, I'd better go rejoin the party before someone notices I'm gone... Love you."
"Love you too," he muttered back, teeth chattering with cold. "Good luck."
With a sigh, Zhane switched off his communicator and flopped down onto the cold, rocky formation of the asteroid. It was far from the most comfortable sitting position in the world, but a crick was rapidly forming in his neck and he knew well enough that he was likely to be caught spying.
That's why you're not down there in the first place, he reminded himself with a rueful grin. 'Cause you're not responsible enough. 'Cause you can't resist showing off.
The hoarse, raspy voice of Dark Spectre startled him and he jumped, slamming his head into the jagged wall of rocks. Fortunately for Zhane, his helmet bore the brunt of the damage, and his head was left feeling just the slightest bit dizzier than normal. With a sigh, he shifted onto his knees and crouched, for once remembering that he should take care not to be seen. Once he was fairly certain he was invisible to those down below, he settled himself down as comfortably as was possible to listen to the speech.
"Today marks the anniversary of a great victory for our side," he proclaimed. As he raised his own glass of sickly brown liquid, his subjects followed suit, toasting their heroes and their king.
"Two years ago today, our warriors not only forced the colonists of Karova to abandon their homeworld - "
The crowed stirred as Dark Spectre broke off his abruptly, his great head rotating in the direction of some unseen sound. The murmurs and whispers easily carried as far as Zhane's ears. He frowned, squinting off into the distance, trying to make out whatever it was that had distracted the monarch of all evil from his victory speech.
He tensed, flattening himself to the ground, checking to be sure that the cloak covered his boots and arms. The spacecraft was of a model he'd never seen before, and as it slowly approached the asteroid, Zhane hardly dared to breathe, for fear of being spotted by its pilot.
As the shuttle was guided down to a smooth landing amongst the rocky surface, Zhane straightened up again, his curiosity getting the better of him. The hatch opened and four squirming figures were tossed roughly to the ground. Zhane winced; they'd fallen at least six feet onto the hard, rocky surface. Then two figures leapt to the ground, landing neatly side by side.
He recognized Dark Spectre's 'son' and chosen heir on sight. The helmeted warrior in the hard blood-red armor couldn't have been anyone else. It was the second figure he had trouble placing, although he could tell even from a distance that it was a female. Then she spoke and his heart dropped down into his stomach.
Dammit. That's Lyra.
"We captured this shuttle not far from Earth, Father," she said, her voice clear and proud. The amused lilt hadn't left her voice in the last two years since Zhane had last seen her, and it was all he could do to keep himself from taking advantage of his hiding place and his Silverizer's laser mode.
"Cool it," he ordered, feeling the rage stirring up within his lover, just as it was doing within him. Rage, betrayal, pain, just plain fury, it was all there. He received no reply, but none was needed.
"This afternoon they were Earth's rangers," Lyra continued. "Now they are your prisoners, Father."
"Well done, then," Dark Spectre said, favoring his 'children' with a rare smile. The instant he did so, protests rose up from Divatox, Rita, Zedd, and countless others who believed that they were the ones responsible for the capture of these four rangers.
"We have to save them."
"I know," he agreed. "I think we're close enough to the Megaship to telelport straight there."
Zhane flipped open his communicator once again. "Deca, standby for teleportation..."
Ashley Hammond squirmed miserably as Lyra's taloned fingers appeared beneath her chin. Her refusal to glance up proved to be a mistake on her part, and the sharp claw-like nails dug deep into her skin, forcibly raising her face. Ashley winced but clenched her teeth against the pain, knowing that it could be - and probably soon would be - much worse.
"Fight me," Lyra hissed, her deep, dark eyes glinting dangerously. "Fight me, yellow ranger."
"W-What?" Ashley stammered. "Why?"
Lyra eyed her in disgust. "I simply wish to see whether you deserved the power given to you," she said finally. "Few yellow rangers are."
Over to her left, Ashley heard Cosmos chuckle darkly. "Lyra..."
"Let me have a little fun with this one, Cosmos," Lyra pleaded, shaking her flame red locks back from her face. "After all... yellow is my favorite color."
"If I get the rest of them," Cosmos relented.
"Do what you will with them," Lyra said with a smirk. She eyed Ashley again. "You can have this one when I'm done with her, even."
It took a monstrous effort of will for Ashley to keep her mouth shut, instead of screaming at them as she desperately wanted to do, to demand that they treat her as the human being she was rather than their property.
But you are their property now, she thought bitterly. Or at least, you are completely at their mercy.
"Fight me, yellow ranger," Lyra repeated.
Ashley hesitated. She sensed a trap, and if there was none, she highly doubted that Lyra would even consider undoing the shackles that held her almost completely immobile.
Lyra arched an eyebrow at her. "No?"
Ashley swallowed at the other's tone but stared ahead defiantly.
"Would you care to know what happened to the last person who refused to fight me, yellow ranger?" Lyra's eyes shone with the darkest light Ashley had ever seen. "Would you like to know how they screamed? So strong, too... much stronger than you, I suspect... but not strong enough."
"Refuse and Cosmos can have you along with your friends." Lyra smirked, laughing almost delightedly to herself. "As disappointing as it would be not to fight you myself, I assure you Cosmos can think up something... equally fitting."
Ashley swallowed, her throat drier than it had ever been. "Fine."
No sooner had the word left her mouth than Ashley found herself flung to the ground, the jagged rocks of the asteroid digging into her back, tearing through her skin. She cried out in pain, just barely managing to throw herself out of the way as Lyra came at her again.
Somehow, she managed to scramble to her feet, but she soon discovered that she was just as helpless upright. Her arms were chained behind her back, making them of absolutely no use in this fight, and her ankles were chained as well. She could barely stand, let alone kick. She could see the stricken faces of her friends, equally helpless, knowing how they expected this fight to end.
Ashley gasped in pain as Lyra caught her arms, twisting them hard enough until Ashley expected to hear her bones snapping at any moment. Releasing her, Lyra shoved her forward roughly, laughing as Ashley hit the ground on her stomach, the wind knocked out of her. She could feel small shards of rock drawing blood from her face as she gasped and struggled for air, sure that she was about to lose consciousness.
"Surrender yet, yellow ranger?"
Ashley could only gape at her, her mouth opening and closing weakly as air returned to her lungs. Instinctively struggling to get back on her feet, she somehow managed to raise herself onto her knees, but from there, it was all she could do not to collapse again.
Lyra shouted in what Ashley thought was more shock and fury than pain, driven back by twin streaks of bright light. Too exhausted to struggle as she was grabbed up into a pair of strong arms, Ashley simply watched as a second person moved towards her friends, shouting at the same time, "Deca, teleport six!" From there, everything Ashley knew was obscured by a familiar bright yellow light.