Teen to Mature

Summary: Astronema relives the fall of KO-35 before CD2D

Authoress Note: The title is based off of Flyleaf's song 'All Around Me' which inspired this one-shot.

It had started when the red and silver rangers fought and failed to protect KO-35. If she thought back long enough, everything seemed to play on that fateful day. The day the astro rangers had fallen one by one. It was hazy at first, all her early memories before the new terra rangers had taken up the mantel were hazy, but it slowly was coming back to her. Something she found odd was she had memories that she knew did not belong to either Karone or Astronema , MaKaya's death was the first thing that came to mind whenever she tried to sort out the memories.

MaKaya had fallen first. It had been painful for her to relive the memories as she watched her best friend fighting, pushing herself beyond her body's limits. Watching her body shut down from blow after blow, Darkonda had enjoyed MaKaya's tortured screams too much for her to be granted a quick death. He had led her through the old training facilities, leading her to familiar grounds on which she saw her friend's bodies, all of whom had been in consideration for the morpher that now felt so heavy on her wrist, in twisted and unnatural forms, their screams frozen on their faces. She didn't have time to think about it though she had to complete the mission and if it met sacrificing herself for the safe passage of the team and KO-35 it was all worth it.

MaKaya followed the lurking shadow of Darkonda through the twisted corridors of weaving throughout all eight buildings on the training compounds. He was playing a game of cat and mouse and it made her nervous. If he was brave enough to toy with her like this, knowing she was going to turn herself over. It made her think it wasn't going to be quick and painless death like she had originally been led to believe.

Finally, after sickening hours of being stalked and stalking she was led to the room that she had the others had received their final test, and their morpher's, in. The power had failed during the second wave of attacks and the room was pitch black, but there was a thickness to the darkness which told her he was there, in the shadows waiting for her. During her contemplation she lost her concentration allowing Darkonda to sneak up on her. Reaching to grab her from behind he made a misstep, one small mistake that made enough noise to alert McKaya that she wasn't alone. Swinging around to face her adversary she drew a jagged breathe before stealing her face.

"I'm here." Her normally honey smooth voice had taken on a steely tone, hard enough to hide her fear even as her light green eyes gave away her fear and apprehension.

"MaKaya, Yellow Astro Ranger, Imperial Guard to the Ambassador of KO-35 and the people of KO-35, you're even more beautiful than word gives credit for. Noble as well I see, willing to sacrifice yourself for the people you where sworn to protect. It's a pity really that you would have to die so young, you're only fifteen, you would have blossomed into a beautiful woman." His voice had taken on a leer as his eyes made it clear that she had been correct in her assumption that this wasn't going to be a quick death as she had hoped, but it was a fool's hope, something she had always known.

Reaching for her morpher had been a mistake as she soon found out as he swung his blade aiming to injure her; after all killing her this swiftly would make the torture pointless. The blade swiped at her breast bone, effectively slicing through the skin and possibly breaking the bone, the immense pain was making it hard to tell but she didn't have time to think about it as she pushed back off the wall and into a roll, putting enough distance between her and Darkonda for her to have barely enough time to morph.


The cry of her morph echoed throughout the empty compound, bouncing back on them even after her morph was complete. Pulling her blaster from her belt she fired shot after shot, her hope falling as he deflected blow after blow until finally he became bored with her futile attempts and decided to end their little game. Darkonda charged her swiping his blade only to miss her by inches to catch her on the turn around as the blade was run from the curve of the base of her spine to the junction of her neck in a swift motion, giving her no time to react as she was forcefully and painfully paralyzed in one swift movement that left her lying on the floor in a puddle of blood unable to move as her morph failed her swiftly to revile a bruised and beaten body and torn, weathered clothes.

Watching Darkonda make the final blow was what reminded Astronema that she at one time had been a human being, that at one time she had a soul, a heart and that MaKaya had at one time been her best friend and the closet thing she had to a sister.

Steadying herself with a deep breath Astronema braced herself for the memories to continue because while the deaths had gotten swifter after MaKaya's, MaKaya's had been the only one she hadn't caused.

Liam was the next ranger to fall, it truly was sad at how easy it was to track down the Black Astro Ranger. For being such a promising person in the academy according to his record and her observations he shouldn't have been that easy to single out and kill. Even in the midst of an invasion it shouldn't have been that easy, he should have been on his guard yet all it took was a voice recording of MaKaya's last moments to lure him away and into the desolate ship yards that stood abandoned and unguarded, disheartened at his lover's death he might have just easily handed himself over.

Astronema watched with unguarded amusement as he checked ship after ship following the cries of MaKaya, she knew he could feel her energy in the air, she just wasn't allowing him to pin point who or where it was until he had backed himself into a corner in the far end of the shipyard, out of anyone's sight or hearing range should an unfortunate soul be happening to wander by.

By the time Liam realized he had been led into a trap it was too late. Five feet in front of him was a tape recorder that had been emitting out MaKaya's last moments alive, a few more feet back where more quantrons than he could survive against. Watching his hope disappear Astronema let out a high pitched laugh that chilled Liam to the bone, he knew his fate was sealed on that one laugh as the quantrons attacked in droves. As the blows came faster and harder his body broke down as his will to fight left him as the cries of MaKaya finally stopped filling the air. When Astronema finally killed him, it was then and only then that she realized he had never morphed nor made a move to morph.

Aubrey and Ami where a truthfully not as intriguing as Astronema had hoped. Even Liam had put up more of a fight than the two love birds had. Watching the other as they slowly gave up hope; their only desire was to die together. Something she had felt obliged to give them since they were to die anyway.

Aubrey and Ami always worked in tandem. They were at their strongest as a tandem team and it was something she had anticipated as both the Pink and Blue Astro Rangers hunted her. It really was a futile attempt on their part as the four remaining rangers had known about Liam's and MaKaya's deaths as she had presented them at the Astro Megaship in a loving embrace before proceeding to attempt to destroy the Megaship, yet when Aubrey and Ami stormed the strong hold she held she knew it was their suicide that they ran to, better to go down fighting than to fail your planet, that was something that was instilled in all ranger candidates.

They actually came close to succeeding in killing her; it wasn't something she was proud of.

Aubrey came in from her right while Ami came in from her left, blasters clipping her body in more than once place before she swung her staff to her side sending a blast of energy at each ranger, managing to clip Amy hard enough to force her morph to fail and to burn her in several places, distracting Aubrey long enough for her to land a crippling blow to his left leg. Ignoring the searing pain that coursed through his overworked body Aubrey charged her again and again dealing blows as well as receiving them. Astronema swung her staff with the intent of bringing it down over his head with a blast hard enough to kill when Ami lunged forward, blocking the lethal blow at the cost of her own life. Watching his lover's lifeless body fall to floor caused something within Aubrey to snap as his blows became harder but more careless, leaving Astronema the perfect opening to attach hard enough to end his life.

Aubrey's eyes as he fell to his death still haunted her in her dreams.

Zhane had been the hardest to kill, and she hadn't succeeded in killing him. Just knocking him unconscious and into a coma. He had been distraught at his friends and fellow ranger's deaths but he channeled his energy into his fighting, making him a stronger and more concentrated on the mission. Gone was the laughing and joking Zhane that she had observed for hours on end, something about him captivating her even then. It had made it harder to fight him but it made her fight harder than before. Darkonda couldn't be allowed to see her falter; any mistake on her part could mean her life was forfeited in the place of that of whom she spared.

Her memory had blocked what had actually happened, she had no true memory of it, just snippets here and there and then what Darkonda told her, what their ship had recorded during the hellish invasion of KO-35 but try as she might she couldn't unbury her own memories of putting him into a life threatening state that caused him to slip into a coma. Only in her nightmares did they resurface and even then when she woke up screaming she couldn't remember why she had been screaming, what happened in the dream.

The hissing of her door stopped her from continuing her trip down memory lane.

"Princess, it is time."