Back in the Command Center, Adam listened as he heard Tommy and Billy wind down the tale of what happened in the park, and as they repeated Dejanna's words, noticed that Aisha was looking at him. She jerked her head towards Zordon, and Adam shook his head. Aisha repeated the gesture with more force, and Adam refused her order again. As Tommy finished speaking, she said, "Tell them or I will!" Everyone turned to stare at them, and Adam blushed.
"It's just..., Dejanna's words struck close to home. I've never told anyone but Aisha this, but... I've always felt as if I was looking for something," Adam said. "The sensation had grown less since I've been a ranger, so...," he shrugged sheepishly, "I thought I found whatever it was that I was looking for."
"You THOUGHT?" Tommy asked.
"Yeah. The feeling came back, a few days ago, stronger than ever. Shortly before I saw Tyler for the first time," Adam mused thoughtfully.
"Is it possible that Adam's a Gemborn?" Tommy asked Zordon.
"There's no way to be sure, but I think so," Zordon said. "When Dejanna summoned Tyler's Gem, there was an unusual flickering in the Morphin' Grid. It could be that Adam's Gem was fighting the Black Morphin' Powers for ascension in Adam."
"What would happen to the Black Morphin' Powers when, IF the Gem takes control?" Billy asked.
"That's not known, Billy, but one thing is sure. The Black Ranger Powers will be forced from Adam... for good."
Adam pulled his coin from his pocket, and studied it. "Then maybe it's time we find a replacement, before they leave me," he said, in an amazingly calm tone.
"Adam, no!" Tommy protested, and Adam looked at the White Ranger.
"What if the Powers are destroyed when they leave me, Tommy? That would leave you with one less ranger, and you saw how Dejanna reacted to us destroying the Mecca Knights out there. If Dejanna was that careless about their destruction, then that means that she can build more, without strain. You'll need the sixth ranger."
Tommy sighed. "I don't like it, but... you're right. We will need the extra man power." All leader now, he asked, "Do you have anyone in mind?"
Adam thought, and then a grin grew on his face. "I have an idea for the perfect guy..... if he's willing to leave Geneva." The others looked at him and smiled as they realized who he was talking about.
"Yo, Zack! It's for you! It's a girl!" That was from one of his roommates, and the others ribbed him mercilessly. He laughed, and took the phone, and asked, "Hello?"
"Kim?" Zack stretched out, and closed the door separating the kitchen from the living room, where the others were stretching out to study for their various classes. Jason slipped into the kitchen, and closed the door behind him.
"Hey, Zack! How are things going?"
Zack shrugged, even though Kim couldn't see the motion. "All right, I guess. How are things in Angel Grove? How's... the business?"
"That's why I called. We need your help, and we need you back here. Are you willing to leave Geneva? We need you to take your place back."
"What's wrong with Adam?" Zack asked.
"Nothing... yet," Kim muttered the last word, and Zack immediately became concerned. "Kim?"
"We shouldn't talk over the phone, Zack. Think you can come home? We need you back badly."
"Adam's fine, it's just... the sooner, the better, really. Does this mean you'll come?"
"Yeah. I'll be back as soon as I can, all right?"
"Yeah. Thanks, Zack."
"Hey, no problem. Anything for my friends."
"Bye! And say hello to Jase, would ya?"
"Sure." Zack hung up as he heard the other end click, and looked at Jason. "They need me back, Jase."
"I heard. So, when are we going back?"
"We're not doing anything here, and I've heard Trini complaining about homesickness. I think that all three of us can leave here, knowing we did the best we could." Jason shrugged, and rubbed the back of his head. "Besides, with the.... business, if it affects one so that they have to call you back, it's sure to grow, and they might need us."
"So let's go talk to Trini," Zack said.
They walked down to Trini's apartment, down the hall, and Trini opened the door a few minutes after they knocked on it. Seeing the boys, she asked, "Jase, Zack?"
"We're thinking about going back," Jason said.
Trini's eyes immediately filled with worry, and she beckoned the boys inside. "The others are gone for the day," she explained as she closed the door. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"Kim wouldn't say over the phone, but..., I think that it's pretty bad. She said that Adam's okay, but I think that's prone to change. They want me back ASAP," Zack informed the former Yellow Ranger.
Jason asked, "What do you think? They might need us. They already called Zack back."
Trini rubbed the back of her neck, and said, "I wish I could say that we'd be leaving important positions here, but... all we do is talk and go to school, the same thing we could do at home. When are you planning on going?"
"We were hoping that you'd join us," Jason said.
Trini smiled and nodded. "I can be ready by tomorrow morning," she promised. The two boys smiled at her, and she smiled back. "I'll book the tickets."
The next two days were eerily quiet, setting everyone's nerves on edge. On the third day, the trio in Geneva arrived, and were picked up by the rangers since they had arrived after school. Jason smiled at seeing the gang together, and said, "Hey, bro! It's nice to see you again!"
Tommy smiled, and said, "I agree. I just wish that it was under better circumstances."
"What's wrong?" Zack asked.
"Well, let's get you home, and then we tell you." Jason, Trini, and Zack exchanged glances and shrugged. This wasn't like Tommy.
At the other end of the airport, a flight from Australia unloaded its passengers. Among them was a tall, blonde girl dressed in dark pink. Several of the younger male passengers admired her long legs, and everyone wondered what a pretty young thing like that was doing in a town like Angel Grove all by herself. What they didn't know was that in the game between the Power Rangers and the forces trying to take over the Earth, another player had just entered the arena. Looking around, she headed for the baggage claim.
Taking up her two bags of luggage, she headed for the taxi area, and was immediately greeted by a taxi driver. "Need a lift, ma'am?" he asked. She smiled at him, and he swore he was the luckiest guy on the afternoon shift.
"Yes, thank you. I need a ride to a hotel. Know any good ones?"
"Yes, ma'am. Right this way to my taxi, if you please," he said.
Fifteen minutes later, the rangers were settling around their table in the relatively empty Youth Center the boys having to bring another table over to seat everyone comfortably, and Tommy finally explained the situation. "And we think that Adam may be a Gemborn. If he is, and the Gem finally takes over in Adam, that means that he can't hold the Black Ranger Powers ever again, and that's why we asked Zack to come back."
Jason sat back. After a full minute's silence, he said, "It was a good thing you called him back, and I'm glad that Trini and I decided to come back as well." Changing the subject slightly, Jason asked, "You said that she took on Tengas AND these Mecca Knights without ANY powers?"
Adam nodded. "She's amazing," he said simply. "All that she's learned, she's learned without any steady type of training, doing the exercises by herself, learning bits and pieces here and there, and melding it all together into a formidable fighting style."
Dejanna laughed as she watched the rangers in her globe. "Oh, this is too perfect! One of Zordon's little rangers, a Gemborn?" She laughed and the view in the globe faded to black. She motioned to the Gems, and the emerald flared up. In it's depths Adam appeared, and Dejanna's mind filled with knowledge about the Black Ranger. "Too, TOO perfect!" she crowed, and then turned back to her 'guest.'
Tyler was unconscious on a alter, and a faint purple glow was visible. Dejanna smiled, and checked the wards around the alter, making sure that no one could sense the powerful magics involved in integrating the Gemborn with her Gem. It wouldn't do for anyone to know her true power, either Dejanna's or Tyler's, Dejanna mused.
Occasionally, the younger girl would twitch and scream, and the purple would flare to almost blinding intensity. But these instances of the girl fighting the integration were growing fewer and farther between, and the glow were growing steadily and noticeably dimmer. Dejanna knew this meant that the Gem was winning over the unconscious girl's instinct to resist the integration. She turned to where the Gem lay on the pedestal, and said, "Soon, I'll have the first of my Rainbow Warriors. And from there, we go after the FORMER Black Ranger." Dejanna's lips twisted into a parody of a smile, and she said, "But until I'm done..., Corbeth! Set course for my brother's palace. It's time I paid him and his wife a visit."
"Oh, brother dear!" Dejanna's voice ran out, and Zedd's face was snapped around to the balcony as Dejanna appeared in a swirl of black energy. "Why, Zedd, how.... lovely," Dejanna said finally, studying the throne room. She smiled condescendingly, and asked, "Now, where is that new wife of yours I heard about? It was a shame, you not inviting me to the ceremony. *I* would have, if I had ever gotten married," Dejanna said, smiling. She knew that her brother winced behind his visor, and she knew why. That was a pointed barb and she had thrown it accurately.
Rita swept into the Throne Room, and screeched, "Zeddy, who's this?"
Dejanna's eyes swept Rita over, and she said, "My condolences." Neither of the couple knew exactly who she was talking to. She held her hands out, and said, "Empress Rita, I am Lady Dejanna, adopted sister of your husband, and your sister-in-law. It's an... honor to finally meet you." Turning to Zedd, she said, "And I also came to collect my fiancÚ. Where is he, Zedd?"
Zedd shrugged, and said, "He's down on Earth, if you think you can collect him. Zordon's turned him into one of his little rangers."
"Yes, but you promised him to ME," Dejanna said levelly. "It's not nice to promise something you can't deliver, dear brother. ESPECIALLY to me." Dejanna tossed her hair back, and smiled. "But I already knew that, and I have a plan to capture him, and bind him to me."
"How?" Rita asked. "All our spells were easily broken by Zordon."
Dejanna winced at Rita's voice, and said, "Because, dear sister, I have something that will make the binding irreversible. But as it is..., I need your help, DEAR brother. If you give it, we'll be able to defeat the rangers."
"What do you need help with?" Zedd asked warily. He knew how his sister by adoption was, and wasn't fooled by her friendly facade.
"Just this." Dejanna snapped, and Lord Zedd and his wife, the Empress Rita disappeared in a flash of light and a crash of thunder. Dejanna laughed, and lifted a black jewel from under her robe. It looked exactly like the other Rainbow Gems, except that it was the only Gem to exude pure evil. It hung around her neck from a silver chain and a wire cage suspended it and held it to the chain. She glanced into the inky depths, and saw a miniature Zedd and Rita, their images quickly dwindling to nothingness. They wouldn't bother her any more.
Goldar and Rito, attracted by the thunder, and the flash of light, came running into the throne room. "Hey, who are you?" Rito asked. "Where's Sis?" Rito scratched his head as Goldar stiffened.
"Lady Dejanna?" Goldar asked. Dejanna smiled at her former lover. "Hello, Goldar. How would you like to work for me again?" Goldar's eyes brightened, and he bowed. "What ever you say, my lady."
"Good. You and that walking skeleton can start cleaning up this mess. When you have the time, send Finster to my ship. Corbeth will introduce him to my little collection of technological goodies. Go!" Dejanna watched as Goldar scurried off, dragging the skeleton with him. Dejanna shook her head, and sighed. As soon as she had Thomas, she would have no need for that gold baboon. She licked her lips as she planned her seduction. But first, she had to see to her Gemborn, who was probably waking up by now.
Tyler opened her eyes, immediately closed them as pain shot through her brain, and raised a hand to her face. "Oh, my head," she said, and massaged her temple. She opened her eyes, and that was the first time that she realized that her hand was encased in a white glove. The reason she hadn't noticed it before was because although the glove looked like leather, it felt like a part of her skin. She looked at her arm, and realized that she was encased in a deep purple armor, looking like a cross between plastic and metal, and it was VERY lightweight. The armor was like the glove, feeling like a part of her skin, which Tyler thought was odd. She sat up, and looked around. She was in the center of a circle of light, the temperature wasn't cool, but not warm, and outside of the light, chittering, slinking things, that she saw only as deeper shadows, moved around.
Tyler shivered as she watched the things out there, and noticed that they stayed away from the light. :Maybe they're afraid of the light,: Tyler thought to herself. :Or it's fatal to them, like sunlight is to a vampire. Where AM I?:
Tyler looked up, but couldn't tell what was shinning the light down. Standing up, she realized that her sprained foot was healed. :What day is it?: she wondered. Looking around, she saw that the circle was the perfect size for her to practice, and, to get her mind off of the things outside of the circle, she began a practice kata. It was that, or go crazy, and Tyler preferred to keep her sanity.
To Tyler's surprise, the armor didn't hamper her in any way. It even seemed to help her, adjusting itself to add momentum to her kicks and punches. Tyler blew the thought off as her imagination, and continued. As she finished the kata with a series of roundhouse kicks, she heard applause behind her, and whirled to see the woman from the park behind her.
Immediately set on her guard, Tyler demanded, "Who are you? Where am I?" She never relaxed out of the fighting stance she had instinctively fallen into. She was startled when the woman laughed, and struggled not to show it.
"So many questions, my Gemborn. Where shall I begin?"
Tyler narrowed her eyes, and said, "How about explaining what the hell a Gemborn is."
The woman laughed, and said, "Fair enough. YOU are a Gemborn, the living half of a Rainbow Gem. You were born with the ability to tap into the Rainbow Gem, but never knew it, because you didn't have your Rainbow Gem."
"And this is supposed to mean what to me?" Tyler asked. "Why did you kidnap me?"
"Because I wanted to join you with your Gem, Katherine Tyler," the woman said.
"That's all?" Tyler asked skeptically.
"That's all," the woman agreed. "My name is Dejanna, and I'm trying to undo the damaged my brother did to the family name."
"And your brother is...?"
"You know him as Lord Zedd," Dejanna answered. She then said, "You can leave..., if you wish. All you have to do is think of where you want to be, and you'll be there."
Tyler looked at her warily, and then closed her eyes, focusing a picture of the park in her mind. She felt a tingle, and then a jolt, and she sprawled to the ground. Opening her eyes, she found herself in the park, just as Dejanna said. Looking down, she noticed that she was still in the armor. :If I could teleport myself here,: Tyler thought, :then maybe...: She concentrated, and the armor seemed to slid back, revealing blue jeans in that "brand-new pair of jeans" shade of blue which never lasts, and a deep purple blouse. Tyler smiled, but then her smile faltered. :Home or school?: she asked herself. Glancing at her watch decided it for her. It was late afternoon on Tuesday. School was already out for the day.
Sighing, Tyler took off at a jog, and in five minutes, she covered what normally took ten minutes, and she wasn't even winded. She guessed, correctly so, that her endurance had been enhanced by the Gem. She opened the apartment door, and was startled when the knob was jerked out of her hand. Mike held the door open, and he stared at Tyler. "Ty?" he asked hoarsely, before pulling her in for a tight hug.
John, who had been a few feet behind Mike, stepped forward, and hugged Tyler when Mike released her. Spinning his baby sister around, he put her down gently, and asked, "What happened, Ty? The Red Ranger said that you had been jogging with some other kids, and the group had been attacked by those suits of armor you were attacked by on Friday. I think he called them Mecca Knights."
"I'm fine," Tyler said. "When the Knights attacked, they grabbed me, and took me to a cave. This morning, I noticed that they were distracted, and I slipped away." She lied for her brothers' peace of mind, plus, she wanted to talk to Adam and his friends before she talked to anyone else.
"Why did they grab you?" Mike asked.
THIS, Tyler could answer in complete honesty. "I'm not entirely sure, Mikey. Right now, I need something to eat, and then a good night's sleep.
That night, the rangers had all had varied reactions to the news, but all of them had been shocked when they heard that Tyler had returned. It was actually kind of funny, because the reporter tried to enter Tyler's apartment, and had been bodily removed by John. "Haven't you ever heard of freedom of the press?" the reporter snapped.
"Haven't you ever heard of privacy?" John retorted, and then slammed the door shut in the reporter's face. The reporter muttered a few insults, several of which the rangers had never heard before, and the camera man cleared his throat.
"Uh, Gretta, we're live," he said softly. The reporter stiffened, and whirled to face the camera.
"This is Gretta Whitman, for Channel Five News. Back to you, Jim."
That report hadn't done anything to answer any of the questions that rose in the rangers' minds, and they knew that they would have to wait until the next day to get their answers. But those questions had been forgotten as soon as they saw Tyler at school.
Adam saw her first. Whispers reached his ears as he dug into his locker. "Is that her?" a girl asked.
"Yeah. They say that she escaped without the Power Rangers' help," a second answered.
Shocked, Adam closed his locker, and turned to see Tyler walking down the hall, looking embarrassed, angry, and determined.
That morning, as Tyler walked through the halls, she knew what it was like to be a side show in a circus. People stared at her as she approached, and then whispered about her as she passed. Whispers of "Is that her?" and "They say she...," were all that she heard behind her. Tyler barely kept herself from blushing, and had to grip her backpack strap to prevent herself from killing someone. Just to get to her first class, she had to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.
She was concentrating so hard, she didn't hear her name being called, and when a hand clamped down on her shoulder, she reacted instinctively. Reaching back, she grabbed her arm that was connected to the hand, and flipped the person over her. She pulled back to punch whoever it was as her sight cleared from the haze it had been in, and she was treated to the sight if Tommy on the ground before her, hands in the "I surrender" position.
"Tyler, it's me," Tommy said unnecessarily. "What's wrong?" He could see the barely confined fury in her eyes. He was surprised when Tyler swirled away without a word, and then stalked down the hall. He turned to see a path clear for Tyler as the story spread that she just took down one Tommy Oliver, karate black belt.
What was that about?" Rocky asked, helping Tommy up.
"I don't know, but I can tell you this," Tommy said as he stood up. "She was ROYALLY pissed off."
As soon as Tyler had rounded a corner, an agonizing pain gripped her middle, and she doubled over, clutching her abdomen. Leaning against a wall, she bit back a moan and closed her eyes. :What's wrong with me?: Tyler wondered. There was only one place she could go for answers, and she definitely didn't want to return to Dejanna's clutches.
The pain surged again as she heard Adam's friends approaching, and she panicked, teleporting to the only place she could think off. Disappearing from the school, she reappeared in the park, and collapsed in a heap. She was forced to lie helpless until the pain passed.
As the agony was starting to pass, Tyler felt someone teleport in, and she saw a monkey with wings, wearing gold armor, teleport in with two Mecca Knights, and the monkey growled, "Pick her up!" pointing its sword at Tyler. The Mecca Knights walked over and picked the girl up by her arms, Tyler unable to put up a protest.
They teleported her back to the circle, and held her up as Dejanna appeared. "Back so soon?" Dejanna asked in a falsely caring tone. "Did I forget to tell you that you can't go more than 24 hours away from your Gem without dying? Shame on me. But then, I never did say just HOW my brother damaged the family name. " The sorceress walked over, and lifted Tyler's head to look into the Gemborn's eyes. "This is just the beginning of Gem withdrawal. It just gets worse until you get within range of your Gem again."
Here Dejanna smiled, and it made Tyler think of a wolf. "Fortunately, this circle is within range of your Gem. Barely, but it is. Don't do anything until the pains stop, and then you'll be fine." With that, Dejanna and the Mecca Knights disappeared, letting Tyler fall the floor.
Tyler closed her eyes, letting out a shuddering breath. She rolled onto her back and curled up into a ball, two tears squeezing out of her eyes and rolling down her face. As they soaked into Tyler's hair, sobs filled the air.
An unknown amount of time later, Tyler opened her eyes. Feeling better in body but not in spirit, she sat up, and wiped her eye. She stretched and froze as she saw Adam kneeling beside her. "Adam?"
"It's not your fault, Tyler," he said softly, cupping her cheek.
"But-" Tyler's question was cut off as Adam kissed her. Cupping the back of her head with one hand to prevent her from backing away, Adam slowly lowered Tyler to the floor. Tyler closed her eyes as Adam took the hand behind her head away, and waited.
When nothing happened after a moment, Tyler's eyes opened, and she was alone again. Tyler pushed herself up into a sitting position, and she looked around. "Adam?" she whispered softly. The chittering things seemed to laugh, and Tyler closed her eyes. Clenching her hands into fists, Tyler fought against the sobs until the damn burst, and she started crying again.
In class, Adam's eyes snapped open, and he looked around. :Was that a daydream?: he asked himself. He could still feel the tickling of Tyler's hair as he held Tyler to him, and the press of her lips against his. He looked around, and saw that only Tommy, who sat across from him, had seen Adam jerk. Jolting down a quick note in his notebook, he tilted it so that Tommy could see. "I need to see Z."
Tommy looked from the note to Adam, and mouthed the word, "Tyler?" Adam nodded.
Mrs. Applebee cleared her throat, and said, "If you and Adam are through with your conversation, Tommy, could you please get back to the assignment?"
Both boys blushed, and said, "Sorry, Mrs. Applebee." They turned back to their assignments as the bell rang to signal the end of class.
"Finish the assignment tonight, and turn it in tomorrow. Have a good day, class," Mrs. Applebee said.
As the rangers reached the hallway, Tommy asked, "What happened? I saw you jerk."
"I'm not sure," Adam said. "I think I was daydreaming, but it seemed so REAL. I think I saw where Tyler is."
"Really!? Where?" Rocky asked.
"I'm not sure. It was dark, and it looked like she was in the center of a spotlight. There were things moving out in the darkness, things that I couldn't see," Adam said.
"That could be anywhere," Tommy said, "but there could be a clue in there. Let's get to the Command Center, and see what Zordon has to say about this."
Everyone nodded, and the rangers headed for a secluded corner. As soon as they were sure that no one was looking, they teleported out. They should have looked harder. They would have seen Spyder watching them from behind the drinking fountain. Spyder wiggled, and then disappeared.
The girl walked out of the bathroom where she had hidden when she heard the teens talking, and looked up as she reached the spot where they had disappeared from. Her blue eyes clouded as she thought, and she almost ran into Jason, Trini, and Zack as they re-registered at Angel Grove High.
"Kat!" Jason exclaimed. "We almost didn't see you. Is there something wrong?"
Kat shook her head. "No. Just... thinking," she said. She had met the trio earlier that day when she had been registering herself for school.
"Well, why don't we go to the Youth Center," Jason suggested. "We can't find our friends, but they might be there."
"Yeah, sure," Kat said, smiling. "Why not?" The three turned away from the Australian, and for a brief second, her eyes glowed pink.
Dejanna sat on the throne that her brother had once sat on, and chewed on her thumb nail. "Hmmm, so Adam had a dream about Tyler, huh? Why don't we make that little daydream come true? Goldar," she called. "Before me, now!"
Goldar appeared before her, eager to please, and Dejanna sighed. What was it that she had seen in him? she wailed to herself. "I want to you to go down with some Tengas, and distract the rangers. Separate Adam from the others. I want him alone. Go!"
"Yes, my lady!" Goldar disappeared, and Dejanna sighed. Now to see to her Gemborn.
Dejanna teleported herself to where Tyler was being held, and Tyler whirled to face her. "What do you want?" Tyler demanded.
"I want you to capture Adam for me," Dejanna said, smiling.
"Never!" Tyler said. Her eyes widened and she took a step back.
Dejanna narrowed her eyes, and then motioned, temporarily severing Tyler's bond to the Gem. Tyler immediately collapsed in pain. "I can still separate you from your Gem, Tyler. Do as I say, or you'll suffer a horrible death. Now," Dejanna reconnected Gemborn and Gem, "what are you going to do for me?"
Gritting her teeth, Tyler pushed herself onto hands and knees, and said, "Nothing." She screamed and collapsed as Dejanna severed the bond again.
"I don't need you, Tyler. As soon as you die, the Rainbow Gem will find another to be its Gemborn," Dejanna informed Tyler coldly. Restoring the bond, she asked, "Now, I ask you again. What are you going to do for me?"
Tyler closed her eyes, and whispered, "Capture Adam." Dejanna smiled, and said, "Good. Now go." Tyler stood up, summoned her armor, this time with helmet to hid her identity, and then teleported out. Dejanna laughed, and teleported herself to the Throne Room. Looking down, she saw that Goldar had already engaged the rangers, and the plan was proceeding well.
Tyler landed in the center of a stand of trees, not too far from the battle, and watched as the Tengas separated Adam from the rest. The Tengas must have been told by Dejanna where Tyler was, because they drove the Black Ranger right for her. "Forgive me, Adam," she whispered, preparing herself.
As the Black Ranger reached even with her, she lunged at Adam, pulling him into the stand of trees. Adam whirled, and for a moment, stared in shock. "Who are you?" he asked, he asked the purple clad figure.
Tyler didn't talk, just attacked with a kick. Adam dodged, barely, and had to fend off Tyler's blows as she continued the silent attack. A punch sent Adam reeling into a tree, and Tyler kicked the stunned Adam to the ground. Dropping onto Adam's chest, she reached down, and grabbing his morpher, ripped it off. Adam demorphed under her, and Tyler stop up. Grabbing Adam by the collar of his shirt, she jerked him up, and then teleported out.
The rangers didn't notice their teammate's disappeared, distracted as they were by the Tengas. Tommy was fight Goldar, and the others were slowly beginning to win against the Tengas. Finally the birds and Goldar disappeared, and the rangers regrouped. Only then did they notice that Adam was missing.
"Has anyone seen what happened to Adam?" Kim asked.
Everyone shook his or her head. "I haven't seen Adam since close to the end of the battle," Billy said. "The Tengas seemed to be focusing on him, though."
"I noticed that, too," Tommy said. Looking around, he said, "Split up. He could have had to take care of something else. Call if you find him."
"Right!" With that, the rangers demorphed, and split up.
Dejanna laughed as Tyler appeared with Adam. "Ah, good! I knew you would succeed. Hello, Adam. Welcome to my service."
"I'll never serve you," Adam said.
"Ah, but that's what SHE said," Dejanna replied, pointing to Tyler. Two Mecca Knights took a hold of Adam, and Dejanna said, "Remove your helmet. Show the former ranger who captured him."
"Please..., no," Tyler begged.
"Do it!" Dejanna hissed. Tyler sighed, and then reached up to remove her helmet. Tyler couldn't meet his eyes as Adam took in a hissing breath.
"Tyler? Why?" Tyler looked down at the ground, and said softly, "I'm sorry, Adam."
Dejanna's hand snapped out, and she backhanded Tyler to the ground. "I didn't say you could talk to him," Dejanna snapped, and smiled as the Mecca Knights had to restrain Adam. Turning to the former ranger, she said, "Take him to my workroom. I'll be there shortly."
As the Mecca Knights forced Adam away, Dejanna turned to Tyler, and said, "You may go down to Earth, but, Tyler, if you tell the rangers about any of this, and I WILL sever the bond, permanently. Understand?"
"Yes, my lady," Tyler said, massaging her jaw where Dejanna had hit her. Dejanna motioned, and Tyler stood up.
"Go, Tyler, and remember what I said." Tyler swallowed and teleported out.
She landed in the park, exactly where Goldar and the Mecca Knights had found her earlier, and she saw her backpack, exactly where she had dropped it when she had landed. She walked over, and grabbing a strap in one hand, swung it onto her shoulder. She was about to head home when someone called her name. "Tyler!"
Tyler turned, and saw Tommy run up. "Yeah?" she asked. "Is something up?"
"Have you seen Adam?" Tommy asked. Tyler looked at him, and said, "Just a few minutes ago." :If you tell the rangers about any of this, I'll sever the bond permanently.: Dejanna's words echoed in Tyler's ears, and she hastily added, "He was in a hurry, but he did leave you this." She dug into her pocket, and pulled out Adam's Power Coin. She knew that Dejanna would be checking on Tyler soon through the Gem, and wanted to be out of there. "He went that way," Tyler said, waving behind her. "He was really in a hurry, so he didn't stay to chat beyond saying to give you the coin."
"Thank you," Tommy said, pale at seeing Adam's Power Coin. He looked at Tyler and asked, "Why weren't you in any of the classes today?"
Tyler shrugged. "I couldn't handle the way that people kept staring and whispering about me. I had to get out of there." :That much isn't a lie,: Tyler thought. "And if that wasn't bad enough, then there were the questions, when I don't even remember that much, starting about the time that we finished off the Mecca Knights."
"No one ever named them," Tommy said, sent on guard by Tyler's reference to the Mecca Knights.
"Mike told me," Tyler said. "The Red Ranger told him what they were, and Mike told me. Now, really, I should go. Mike and John might start worrying about."
"Oh. Uh, okay. See you later."
"Yeah, later," Tyler said spiritlessly as Tommy ran off in the direction that Tyler had indicated earlier. "But it won't be when you think, Tommy."
Jason, Trini, and Zack were all relaxing in the Youth Center, when Tommy came in, looking around. Seeing that the three were alone, he walked over and sat down. "Guys, we have bad news," Tommy said. "Adam's disappeared, and we found his coin. Zordon says that the Black Ranger Powers have been forced from Adam. You know what this means, don't you?"
Jason paled. "Dejanna has him, doesn't she?" he demanded. Tommy nodded.
"We think so. Zack...," he turned to the former black ranger.
"I'm ready. Let's go." The African-American stood up, and they walked out.
Dejanna smiled as she observed her next Gemborn. Adam laid on the alter, just like Tyler had before him, but this time, the glow was green. There was a flash, and Adam screamed. Dejanna smiled cruelly. Things were going perfectly.
Dejanna turned to where Tyler's Gem was suspended, and motioned. In it, Tyler appeared, lying down on her front on her bed, and the teen was writing something. Dejanna couldn't see what Tyler was writing, but decided to remind Tyler the price of betrayal. She motioned, and partially cut the bond. Tyler bit back a cry of pain as she dropped her pencil, and curled up as Dejanna restored the bond. Tyler looked up at the ceiling, seemingly right at Dejanna, and the sorceress smiled.
As the pain lessened enough for her to completely uncurl, Tyler uncurled, picked up her pencil, and began writing again. But occasionally, Tyler would flinch as her muscles remembered the pain. But she had to get this done. It was taking all of her courage to write down the request to an old friend.
"Hey, Tanya," the letter began. "It's Tyler. I hate to do this, but I need your help. I'm not sure what to do, and I'm only turning to you in desperation. Please, help me." From there Tyler told her friend about what happened to her.
"She's watching me, to make sure that I don't go telling the Power Rangers anything. Please, if you can, come help me. Even if it's," Tyler paused here, then continued on, "to kill me. That would be a blessing. But please, hurry.
Tyler folded the letter in half, and slid it into the prepared envelope. Sealing it, she closed her eyes and prayed, "Please, hurry." She knew that in the morning it would be gone, and in a day, she'd have her answer. It was the way she and Tanya had met in the first place.
Tyler rolled onto her back, and smiled bitterly. That day, five years ago, she had just been doing a homework assignment, writing down what she had done that day, and somehow wound up putting the events down in the form of a letter. She had sealed it in an envelope, and set it on her dresser so that she wouldn't forget it.
She was shortly after called down to dinner, and when she returned to her bedroom, the envelope was gone. She raised such a fuss, blaming Mike and John on the missing assignment. Tyler smiled as she remembered blaming Mike and John, the dog, Shadow, Gata's mother, almost everyone. She went to bed upset that her homework was missing, after all the work she put into it.
The next morning, there was an envelope on the dresser. While hers had been plain, this one had her name on it, written in someone else's handwriting. It was feminine, so she knew that John or Mike hadn't been playing a trick on her. She opened the letter, and it introduced her to Tanya's world.
Ever since then, whenever she wrote a letter, sealed it with Tanya's name on the front, and placed it on her dresser overnight, it would be gone in the morning, and within a few days, she'd have a reply. She never told anyone about it, but enjoyed writing to her unusual penpal. Now, Tanya was her last hope for freedom.
The black ranger again, Zack leaned against the deck railing at the back of his house, and stared up at the night sky. A twinkle reminding him of the Power Coin, and he pulled it out of his pocket. Zack stared down at the Power Coin in his hand. It was so familiar, and so different. It was good to have it again, but only if it hadn't come at such a heavy price. "We'll get you back, Adam. I swear," he whispered.
"Zack, don't stay out too much longer. It's late, and you have school tomorrow," his mom called.
"I'll be right in," he called over his shoulder. He took one last look at the night sky, and sighed. "Good night, Adam, Tyler," he whispered, and then headed in.
The next morning, Tyler found the reply to her letter already waiting for her to read. Sitting up, Tyler picked up the envelope, and opened it. Inside was a letter, brief, and to the point. "Tyler, I had a feeling that something was up. I'm sorry about what happened. I'll be in Angel Grove in two days. See you then, Tanya." Tyler took in a deep breath, crumpling the letter in one hand, and then let it out, smiling.
"Thank you," she breathed. For the first time since realizing she HAD to obey Dejanna, she felt a moment of hope. But then a twinge reminded her that she had to return to the circle before the Gem withdrawal began. Sighing, Tyler stood up and teleported out.
On her windowsill, a white furred cat stared in with unblinking blue eyes.
Adam sat up with a groan, and looked around. :Where am I?: he wondered. He was sitting in the center of a circle of light much like the one that Tyler had been lying inside in his dream. He could hear the things in the darkness moving around, and he whirled as he felt someone appear behind him.
Tyler was startled, when she appeared in the circle, to see Adam awake. She was about to smile when she saw that he was in armor similar to hers, except his was emerald green. She looked down at the ground, and said softly, "Hello, Adam."
"Tyler," Adam replied. "What's going on? Where are we?"
Tyler sighed, and dropped to the floor. "We've been integrated with our Gems, and if we're more than 24 hours away from our Gems, we start suffering from Gem withdrawal. That's why I'm here. I was starting to go through the first stages of withdrawal, so I had to come back."
"Back?" Adam asked.
"You see," Dejanna said, appearing behind Adam, "that's the beauty of my plan. I don't have to place any spells, or any type of mind control on you. All I have to do is keep the Gems." She smiled as Adam whirled to face her. "Welcome to my crew, Adam."
"I won't serve you," Adam spat.
"Maybe, maybe not," Dejanna said, and then motioned. She severed Adam's bond, and he collapsed with a scream. "I can sever the bond at any time, Adam. I don't really need you. The Gem can find another to be its living half."
Tyler stood up and hurried over to Adam's side as he started to curl up from the pain. "Let him go, Dejanna. You already have me." Tyler bit back a scream as Dejanna blocked the girl from her Gem.
Dejanna shook her head. "No. I want a complete set of my own Gemborn warriors, and you two are just the start. Soon I'll have all of the Gemborns, and then nothing will stand in my way. Until then, I hope you have learned your lessons." With that, Dejanna restored their bonds, and disappeared.
Tyler hugged her middle as the pain slowly lessened, and let the tears fall down her face silently. "Why?" she whispered, asking the question that echoed through her head ever since she had been kidnapped. "Why can't I just be left alone?"
Adam, his bond being so newly made, recovered first, and went over to Tyler. "Are you okay?" he asked. He saw her wince, and Tyler slowly rolled over to look at him.
"No," Tyler said, "but I'll live." She winced, and curled up. "I think I'm starting to get used to this." Tyler smiled weakly and Adam laughed.
Tyler's smile faded, and she said, "Adam, I'm sorry." She was about to say more, but it was cut off as Adam pulled her in for a kiss. He cupped the back of her head, and in a flash of green, his armor disappeared, revealing the clothes that he had been wearing when he had been kidnapped. When they broke apart, Tyler just let out an amazed, "Wow!"
Adam smiled, and asked, "Do you know how long I've wanted to do that?" Tyler smiled, and replied with, "Probably just as long as I've wanted to do this." With that, she pulled Adam in for a kiss even more heated than their previous one.
Tyler tugged Adam's shirt free, and broke the kiss to pull Adam's shirt off. Meanwhile, Adam was working with Tyler's blouse, and he managed to unbutton it down to her waist. He eased the blouse down, and stared at Tyler's breasts, heaving as she breathed heavily, and then he gently brushed his lips against the pale skin just above the silk of the bra.
Tyler closed her eyes, and clutched Adam to her as she felt his lips brush her sensitive skin. :Please, please, don't let this be just a dream: she thought.
:If it is, then let's not wake up.:
:Adam?: Tyler opened her eyes, and saw that Adam was enveloped in a green glow, and she had a purple one, and where they touched, the two glows swirled together, creating spirals of green and purple. :I think our powers are combining to let us talk like this,: Adam sent.
Tyler backed off, and Adam looked at her puzzled. :I have to ask this,: she sent, and then asked out loud, "Adam, will you make love to me?" Adam smiled and pulled her in for a kiss.
:Yes,: he sent.
Fifteen minutes later, as they laid together in the afterglow of their lovemaking, their minds and powers separate again, Tyler asked, "Adam?"
"Hmmm?" he answered, nuzzling into the back of Tyler's neck.
"Do you think that the others will ever forgive me?" Tyler asked, looking down where her fingers were intertwined with his.
Adam sighed, and sat up. Reaching for his shirt, he asked, "Do you know how Tommy started off his rangering career?" Tyler shook her head as she began getting dressed herself. "He was forced into Rita's service by a spell."
"Yeah, but *I* had a choice, and I chose to help Dejanna," Tyler said.
"You chose to live, Tyler," Adam argued. "You chose to keep the power of your Gem from someone that might willingly help Dejanna. At least with you, she won't have complete complaisance, but grudging compliance. And someday, we'll be free."
"That day will never come, if I can help it," Dejanna said, and both Gemborns turned to see Dejanna behind them. She eyed Adam hungrily, and Tyler had to fight back the anger that rose in her. Dejanna had watched them make love. "I want you to capture Tommy," Dejanna said, finally.
"Why?" Adam asked, and Dejanna grinned teasingly.
Wagging her finger, she said, "That's for me to know, you to never know."
"As much as I'd hate to argue with you, Lady Dejanna," Tyler interjected, "but we do. We need to know in what state you want him in. Broken and bleeding, slightly bruised, dead, what?"
Dejanna raised her hand, and began the motion that severed the bonds, and paused as she met Tyler's unflinching eyes. "If you must know, he's my fiancÚ," Dejanna said, "and I want him."
Tyler looked down at the ground, and then her eyes lifted to meet Dejanna's. "He's a Gemborn, isn't he?" She saw the answer in Dejanna's eyes, and closed her own, cursing mentally. "Give us a few minutes to wake up, lady," Tyler said tiredly. Dejanna studied Tyler, nodded, and disappeared.
Tyler dropped to the ground, and swore in all the languages she knew. She pounded the ground with her fist and slowly began to calm down. "Tyler? What is is?" Adam asked.
"Dejanna wants Tommy, like she said, because he's her fiancee, but that's not the only reason. She wants him because he's also a Gemborn," Tyler said. "I'm not sure how I know, but I know that he's one of us."
Adam swore, prompting a smile from Tyler, and he said, "We can't let her get her hands on him. The rangers are down enough with me gone, and they don't have the Black Power Coin.
"But they do!" Tyler said. "I gave it to Tommy when I ran into him in the park yesterday, after I grabbed you, and Dejanna told me to return to Earth."
Adam sighed with relief, until Tyler said, "But those Power Coins may not be enough. They may have to upgrade to a different Power source. You don't think I took you by accident, do you?"
Adam looked at Tyler, and saw that she was serious. "We're..."
"More powerful than the rangers, yes," Tyler said, sadly. She stood up and said, "God, why did this happen to us? Why ME?" She started pacing, and then said, "We don't really have a choice. We HAVE to bring Tommy to Dejanna, or else she'll sever our bonds, maybe permanently."
Adam looked at Tyler, confused, and she turned to face him. She hugged him, and whispered in his ear softly, "Dejanna's watching." Adam nodded, and sighed.
"You're right. So how will we do it?"
"I don't know," Tyler said, and then drew a small "Z" in the air. "Think he'd know?" she mouthed. Adam shrugged, and then reached for Tyler's hand.
:I think he knows about us, but Tommy? I'm not sure,: Adam sent. Tyler squeezed his hand, and sent, :Think you can capture Tommy if I keep the others busy? If I'm right about who the other Gemborns are, then Zordon needs to know.: She captured his lips in a kiss to explain their sudden silence.
:How are you going to tell Zordon by keeping the others busy?:
"Trust me," Tyler whispered, and then backed away. "You grab Tommy, since you know him best. I'll keep the others busy. All right?"
Adam nodded, and they weren't at all surprised when Dejanna laughed, and said, "I knew that you'd do the smart thing. Now how soon can you bring him to me?"
Tyler shrugged. "It depends, my lady. I need some information myself, like why it didn't take as long to integrate Adam with HIS Gem. If you took shortcuts that you didn't take with me, that may have lessened his powers."
"No, no, nothing like that. His body was already used to Power, it was merely an exchanging of one Power for another. With you, the Power had to create roads as it went, so it went longer. But with Adam, the roads were already there."
Tyler bowed her head, thinking, and then said, "We'll have him by the end of the day, Lady Dejanna, but there are a few things I want from my house. I have to go get them myself."
"Why you?" Dejanna asked.
"Because I don't trust anyone with it but myself?" Tyler said sarcastically. She instantly regretted it as Dejanna severed the bond. Tyler collapsed with a muffled exclamation of pain, cursing her runaway mouth.
"Never use that tone of voice with me," Dejanna snapped.
"Sorry, my lady," Tyler gritted out. she relaxed as the bond was restored, and as she looked up, Dejanna was gone. "What happened?" Tyler asked.
"I think you annoyed her enough that she left," Adam guessed. "What are you going to get?" he asked.
Tyler grinned around the pain, and said, "I'll tell you later... if it works. All right?"
"All right." He looked on the verge of saying more, and closed his mouth. "What do you want me to do while you're gone?"
"Get cuter?" Tyler teased, and Adam blushed. "I could go for some lunch, if we meet up here in, oh, say an hour," Tyler said, glancing at her watch.
"That reminds me," Adam said, and asked, "Should I take this off?" He motioned to his communicator, and Tyler asked, "What is that?"
"A communicator. It let us stay in contact with the Power Chamber and teleport there when needed." Tyler took it from Adam, and said, "I'll take it. I might be able to use it." She pecked Adam on the lips, and said, "You behave yourself while I'm gone, all right?" Adam nodded, and Tyler teleported out.