Disclaimer: All of the characters belong to Saban. Author's Notes: This is the second story of my "Requiem for Ecliptor" trilogy-within-a-series. It takes place during the trip to KO-35 in Countdown to Destruction, Part Two. Like all three, it is dedicated to Ecliptor. This particular story is also dedicated to Jeremy Ray Logsdon, the master of the magnificent Jenga's Library site.
His first impulse had been to throw the cube into the recycler. He didn't need any more of Ecliptor in his life. Not only had the villain helped slaughter his first teammates, he had kept Karone from him. Besides, the long feud was over now. Ecliptor was dust, literally. And Karone was back. Why give himself more trouble?
Because with his arch-enemy within arms reach, Ecliptor had taken the time to check on Astronema. Because he had demonstrated, with his cries of horror and rage, in front of Andros himself, just how much he cared about her. The whole encounter had badly shaken Andros, at least after the adrenaline rush wore off. It was easy for a Ranger, who daily fought evil personified, to see the world in black and white. Ecliptor had shattered that, and it frankly scared Andros. In his line of work, doubting yourself could be deadly.
It was that, more than anything else, that made him set the cube onto his cabin's desk and activate it. He refused to be scared of anything Ecliptor could dish out.
"Greetings, Red Ranger," the hologram began. "I'm not much for speeches, and you're not much for patience, so I'll make this short. The only reason you'd be listening to this is because Astronema has regained her memory and rejoined you. Congratulations. You've won. Yet in a sense, the battle has just begun. I protected her while she was growing up, and I now pass that duty on to you. Two words of advice: let her grow, and let her take chances. Don't make the same mistakes I did. Also, if you ever hurt her, I swear by all that is evil that I'll find a way back to this world and make you pay dearly. Farewell, Andros." The hologram raised it's sword in a salute before it dissolved, and there was no trace of the mockery that was usually there.
For several minutes, Andros simply stared in stunned silence at the cube. Then he turned to the camera mounted on the wall. "DECA, what is Ecliptor listed as in our data files."
"He's listed as `henchman to Astronema.'"
"Add the words `and her protector' to that, would you please?
"Thank you." Andros looked at the holocube for a moment longer, then dropped it into the recycler. You're my enemy, now and forever, Andros thought, certain that Ecliptor could hear him. But just this once, I'll do you proud.
Andros smiled, and went to find his sister.