There’s a truth to the saying “Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger”. A positive one, yes, but a negative one, too. After their separate adventures with the Dark and Star Gem teams, Sabe and Padme had decided to retire to the Naboo colony planet of KO-35, only 2 systems away from the clone safeworld of Gyrillion, where the other Star Gems live, 6 systems from Naboo, and 30 systems from the slowly recovering Dathomir,
They retire from the life of being Rangers, though everyone knows who they are, and they always help, when they’re called.
But they aren’t Rangers, anymore.
Both had, of course, passed the Power Necklaces on to the Queen and Handmaidens who had come after them, and Sabe had lost the the Black Dark Ranger Powers in the final battle with Maul. And Padme could, in an emergency, probably call Obi-Wan for her Star Supergem morpher, but…
They’re Rangers only at heart. They find other ways to help, aiding refugees and escapees.
Local Wars. Sidious’ thousand year Empire. Dark Spectre’s forces. All of them pass people their way, and they help.
And… they settle, adopt three year old twins named Karone and Andros. Fives and Anakin bring Cassie, the same age as them, whenever they can. Life is good, for seven years.
And then, when their twins are five, Maul contacts Sabe to tell her that he needs to speak with Anakin.
A week later, reports of Maul joining the United Alliance of Evil make the news, and Fives Saab’s that Anakin has gotten… secretive.
And everyone knows that the easy time is over.
“What the kriff are you doing?” Sabe asks, kicking Maul back. “We trusted you, even after everything you’ve done.”
“You would not understand what chance we were offered,” he says. “I’m sorry.”
“You aren’t sorry enough,” she says. “Or you’d go back to your family.”
When the twins are just six years old, Karone is kidnapped. She disappears, and no contacts can find her, anywhere. Andros is utterly distraught, and Sabe and Padme have never felt so helpless.
That’s the first time that Sabe and Padme are contacted by Firebird.
It’s such a short message, but it’s so clear.
Karone is safe. I wish I could tell you where. I’m sorry.
Firebird. About two months after Maul defected, various Rangers had begun receiving messages from Firebird. New monsters headed their way, powers that the local conquerors were looking for.
Advice, sometimes, on how to deal with an extra powerful threat.
But nobody knows who they are or how they get their powers.
Shortly after, Ahsoka finds herself a part of the Power. Padme remembers the six year old girl who lived with Obi-Wan, and it’s still hard to imagine her as… well, older than Padme and Sabe had been, when getting their first powers. Is this how Mariek felt? They wonder.
Padme more than Sabe. Boba had only been thirteen when he became the Green Dark Ranger, after all.
And then Anakin reveals that he’s been working with Maul for years, that he’d been using his own daughter’s team to spy and that their powers would destroy them. A team made up of children of past Rangers.
Padme is devastated. Anakin is - was one of her closest friends, and Ahsoka is like a daughter to her. He’d willingly hurt the girl, and she just… she can’t justify that. She’d joined the team after he’d left Sidious’ side, as well, so it’s… shocking, horrifying, to see his eyes glow gold, to watch him laugh, coldly, and reveal his entire master plan.
Sabe is angry . She doesn’t know Anakin nearly as well, but she had connected with her fellow Sixth on the idea of personal loyalty, that it matters to both far more than a larger plan. And he’s left a hurt family behind, a family that includes Sabe’s own wife.
Fives calls, says he’s moving Luke, Leia, and Cassie to a small, insignificant Level 2 world. Called Earth. It’s two galaxies over, and a hero world, so who would expect it?
And life continues.
“I have chosen your son to be the next Red Astro Ranger,” Dorra says. “I wanted to tell you first, however.”
“Dorra, you’re one of my oldest friends,” she says. “But there’s no need to break protocol, for this. I always knew he’d be a Ranger, especially after…”
After Ahsoka had been chosen for Anakin’s team. Potential in her and in Cassie just like Andros.
(Just like Karone.)
“Darth Vader is a bastard and a coward,” she says. Padme shrugs.
“You aren’t wrong,” she says. “I still just… can’t believe he’d do that.”
“I think part of the use of evil Rangers is that you don’t see them coming,” Dorra points out. Padme laughs.
“That’s true,” she says. “What about the others?”
“We just haven’t found the right team,” she says. “Well Zylonar is close, I think.”
Dorra frowns. Padme laughs.
“A Sixth second,” she says. “I can see it.”
Once a Ranger, always a Ranger. There’s a sad truth to those words. When Dark Spectre attacks KO-35, Padme and Sabe fight.
They haven’t had powers in many years, by this point, but they fight.
And they fall. Of course they do, they knew they would, the moment that they entered the fight.
“Once a Ranger,” Sabe says, smiling at her Queen and wife and Red. “Always a Rangers.”
Padme’s smiles is just as sad, leading her Sixth with her to their death.
“And may the Power protect us all.”