Flashes of Darkonda

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I had woken up suddenly, heart racing and mind whirling. My room was pitch black. Swinging my legs off the side of the bed I tried to remember my dream. However much I tried to grasp at the remaining wisps of it, they escaped. All that was left was a faint impression of laughter and then a scream. I was left sitting on my bed feeling terribly disorientated.
My alarm clock read 3:07 and I groaned. With a sigh I stood up, grabbed my morpher and walked out into the hallway.
I decided to take the risk of wandering around without suiting up. It felt incredibly relaxing.

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I had been walking for some time when I heard a strangled sound coming from the room beside me. My hands flew straight to my morpher and I raced in, suiting up as I did so.
The room was dark but I could recognise it as Andros'.
"Andros?" I called gently. He was perched on the side of his bed, cradling his head in his hands.
"Maddison?" He stared up at me and I couldn't help but feel as though he could see right through my suit and recognise me. I diverted my attention to the side awkwardly and noticed a small picture frame. Inside were four beaming children and I gasped quietly.
"What is it?" Andros asked. He was standing up by now and I felt his presence beside me. 
"Sorry, it was just my comms. I think TJ's on night duty."
I shrugged. "Let's go see him."
Andros nodded and quietly followed me to the bridge.

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A few hours had passed and eventually the other Rangers began to appear. Andros and I were working at our respective stations looking for traces that might indicate where Zordon could be when TJ walked over to us.
"We're going to check out Degeba. We'll be back in a couple of hours."
And with that, he, Cassie, Ashley and Carlos headed out of the bridge. Before I could even stand they were all gone.
"Well, looks like we're staying here then." I shrugged, dropping back into my seat and reclining.
"Now searching sector 04759 for Zordon."
DECA chimed.
I reached forwards to zoom in on a section of the map, reaching for my key code to unlock the restricted files when I realised I'd left it in my room.
I groaned loudly.
Andros turned his head towards me.
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I forgot my key code. I'll go and find it."
He just nodded and turned back to his station, seemingly preoccupied and twiddling a necklace that hung around his neck. That was odd. For some reason I though I recognised it.
I was halfway down the corridor when I heard a child's scream. My heart jumped and I sprinted back to the bridge. Just as I turned the corner I stopped. My heart beat slowed to a normal rate as I realised Andros was watching something on the viewing screen.
I squinted as I recognised the monster who was grappling with a struggling child. A girl.
"Karone!" I heard a young boy, who I could recognise as Andros shouting. That name resonates with me and the image of a young blonde girl surfaced in my mind.
"It was you Darkonda." I heard Andros mutter. I took a few steps back, feeling like I'd intruded in something private until another clip began to play.
"Would you like me to eject the disk Andros?"
"No, I want to watch it again."
I frowned. There was more?
On the small screen I watched a young Andros and another boy wandering around a field.
"Maddi?" They cried. "Maddi?!" Their cries became more agitated until the young Andros pointed towards some tracks heading towards the river. He turned to the little girl clutching his side.
"Karone. Wait here, okay."
The little girl looked up at him and nodded earnestly.
Then the two boys raced towards the river. Already a burning feeling was starting to build in my stomach. It was uncomfortable to say the least.
"Maddi!" The second boy cried and I gasped quietly, my jaw dropping in shock as I saw myself as a young girl, flailing about in the river. My head was barely above the water for longer than ten seconds. The two boys at shore were panicking, ripping up roots and throwing them into the river, screaming their throats hoarse.
"No, Andros. It's too dangerous!" Zhane shouted, grabbing his friend's arm. "We're not going to be able to save her if we get pulled in too."
Young Andros nodded, stepping back and they both dutifully turned to the shore, racing to grab the largest roots and sticks they could find. Upon finding a large one their faces lit up hopefully and they raced back to the riverside with the findings. Only to stop dead in their tracks. The river was devoid of any colour except that of the white waves crashing into one another.
"No." The two boys echoed one another sorrowfully and hung their heads, gasping.
"We have to swim and find her. We have to. We have to!" Young Andros cried, sobbing. It was a heartbreaking sound. Zhane beside him nodded sagely, his words seeming too wise for his young age as he comforted his friend.
"The only thing we can do now is tell the adults. Maybe they'll find her."
"But what if she's..." Andros stuttered.
"Don't think that."
The two walked silently to the field and returned to the spot where Andros had left his sister.
"Karone?" She was nowhere to be seen and Andros sighed at his sister's antics. "Karone we have to go home now. Karone?"
"Karone?" Zhane began calling too. "Karone this isn't funny. Karone!"
The video stopped with a sharp click as Andros ejected the video.
I stumbled backwards, my chest feeling impossibly tight.
It couldn't be. Karone was missing... because of me? I let out a strangled sob as I stumbled down the hallways, tears clouding my vision. I suddenly felt incredibly claustrophobic and demorphed in a hurry, darting down the hall towards my room. I didn't get very far as I was struggling to stay standing and not let my knees buckle underneath me. I leant against the wall to give me the strength to walk towards my room as I felt darkness enclosing me. My vision became blurrier and tears flowed so frequently down my cheeks that they felt like a second skin.
With a gasp I collided into a large chest and all my fears and worried encompassed me. I vaguely heard my name being called as I slipped into the darkness.

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I've never been drunk before. But this was what I expected it to feel like. I woke with a splitting headache and groaned, disorientated at my dark surroundings. This wasn't the med bay. But it wasn't my room either.
"You're awake." A voice called from the darkness in the corner of the room. I jumped and pressed a hand to my chest, heart thumping rapidly beneath my fingers.
The voice was deep and gentle.
"TJ?" I whispered.
I reached out my hand to feel for him in the darkness and noticed that my skin shone ghostly pale in the slight light coming from who knows where.
Dread washed over me like a freezing arctic wave.
My hands flew up to cover my face but cool hands gripped my wrists.
"It's too late. I've uncovered your secret identity. It's nice to finally meet you face to face." I could hear the joking tone in his voice.
I hung my head ashamedly. I suddenly remembered the events before I'd run into TJ. I was the reason why Andros had lost his sister. If only I hadn't been so stupid I would have seen my family again. And Andros would still be with his family.
My eyes began to well up and I blinked rapidly trying to clear the tears.
"Hey, hey. Maddi, it's okay. I won't tell anyone what you look like. I don't understand who or what you're hiding from but I promise we won't hurt you."
I inhaled sharply as he gently wrapped his arms around my shoulders, pulling me into his chest.
You can't know that. I wanted so desperately to say it aloud, to tell this sweet, young man who had shown me nothing but kindness the real reason why I couldn't reveal my face. How many lives I had ruined. But I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Every time I opened my mouth, my throat went dry and I couldn't force the words out.
"I got you this."
The room was still dark and as he pulled away from the hug TJ slipped a smooth object into my hand. My morpher.
I smiled gratefully into the darkness,
"Thank you. For everything."
He chuckled and ruffled my hair gently.
"Now move it, I want to sleep."
I laughed at him before morphing and exiting his room. I dashed down the corridor and rushed into my room, practically leaping onto my bed and reclined, trying to organise the thoughts whizzing around in my head.
beneath the covers as he exited my room.

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When I awoke again I was felling much better. The indescribable anxiety that I felt from having someone see my face was awful but I managed to push past it as I morphed and set about my day, munching quickly on my breakfast before racing to the command centre. The other Rangers were already there when I walked in.
Ashley smiled at me and patted my arm gently.
"TJ told me you weren't feeling too great last night. Tell me if you need medical help Kay?" I nodded and thanked her quietly.
TJ just nodded as I stood at my station beside him.
Suddenly Andros walked into the room, a serious look drawn on his face.
"Hey, where have you been?" TJ asked him.
"Are you okay?" Ashley seconded.
"I'm fine." He responded quickly. "I ran into Darkonda and I got these." He held up a few black slips. All of us arranged ourselves around him quickly.
"What are they?" Cassie asked.
"They might have been stolen from Zordon." He explained. "Alpha can you check these out?" He handed them to the small robot who replied cheerily,
"You got it, Andros."
"Incoming transmission." DECA alerted and suddenly the viewing screen flashed to life. Darkonda appeared on the screen in all his angry red glory.
"Red Ranger, if you want to know where your sister is, bring me the key cards. I'll be waiting." He chuckled evilly before the screen turned blank again.
"Darkonda... was the one that took your sister?" Ashley asked. Andros nodded sadly.
Suddenly Alpha was by our side.
"Ay Ay Ay, they're genuine alright. They're from Eltar." Alpha said, clutching the key cards. Andros looked down at the robot before snatching them from his grip and storming out of the control room.
"Where are you going?" I asked as he stepped into the elevator.
"To find my sister." He replied bluntly.
"We're coming with you." TJ decided and we nodded, all filing in with him.

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