(Timeframe: Skips ahead to Turbo, shortly after "Shift Into Turbo Part III" but before "Shadow Rangers")
[Angel Grove City Park, Monday, May 26, 1997, 4:06 pm]
Adam hurled the football into the air. "Justin, go deep!"
The boy ran back. "I got it! I got it!" Justin shouted as the ball rocketed toward him
"Oh no you donít!" Tanya called out as she and Tommy chased him down.
The ball sailed over everyoneís heads and landed a few feet behind them on the ground in front of a young woman wearing tall black boots, white breeches, and a white, long-sleeved blouse with purple pinstripes and a white stock tie tied around her neck. "Donít give up your day job, Adam," she joked, picking up the ball and tossing it back to him. "I donít think the NFLís quite ready for you yet."
Adam recognized the girl right away after catching the football. "Andréa?" he asked. "What are you doing back already?" She had been gone for the past few days down at a major horse show near San Diego, so she ended up missing the Rangersí graduation, the return of Divatox, and the departure of Zordon and Alpha 5. "I thought you werenít gonna be back until later tonight."
Andréa smiled. "Things went a lot better than we thought they would," she replied, "so Jenny and I were able to leave earlier. I obviously just got back, so I havenít had time to change yet." She looked over to where Kat was setting out some dishes of food on the picnic tables. "I take it I havenít missed much of the graduation party yet, have I?"
"Nope," said Kat. "In fact, weíre just getting started."
"All right!" Justin cheered, running to the food. "I was getting hungry anyway!"
The rest of the Rangers all had to laugh. "Hmm, that sounds a lot like another Blue Ranger I used to know," Tanya commented.
"No kidding," Andréa added. "Something tells me that Justinís been hanging around Rocky a little too much."
"Some things just never change," Tommy then said, no one noticing the tiny periscope that had popped out of an opened Coke can.
[Divatoxís subcraft, same time]
"Aww, isnít that cute?" Divatox said while snooping on the six. "That little Turbo tot reminds his friends of one of their old friends." She thought for a moment. "I wonder what Justin would do if he didnít have any of his Ranger pals around to help him out . . ."
"Hey Auntie D, you want we should capture the four older Rangers for you?" Elgar asked.
Divatox looked at her nephew, totally stunned. "Are you feeling all right, Elgar? íCause you just gave me a brilliant idea!"
"Gee, I, uh, feel fine, Auntie D," Elgar responded, scratching his cone-shaped head. "Why do you ask?"
Divatoxís expression returned to normal. "Never mind," she replied, not even wanting to go there. "Porto, do you have any input as to what we can do with the Rangers once weíve caught them? But not the bilgeóyou all know what happened the last time we tried that!"
"Why not scatter them all over the earth, my piratress?" Porto responded. "The Blue Ranger surely wouldnít be able to find and rescue all of his teammates in enough time if we did that."
"Hmmm, I like that," the pirate queen responded. "Rygog! Get up to the surface with an army of Piranhatrons and get those Rangers!"
"Ooh, ooh, can I go too?" Elgar cut in.
Normally, Divatox would have screamed at him, but this time she didnít. "Oh, I donít see why not," she said. "After all, you did, believe it or not, come up with the idea. Go, all of you! And donít fail me!"
"You got it, Auntie D!" Elgar said back with a salute.
[Angel Grove City Park, 4:28 pm]
"So Rae," Tanya said, "how did everything go at the show?"
"It was awesome," Andréa replied. "Adamís certainly done wonders for Lightning since November. I mean, it was the first show heís ever been ridden in, and he was an absolute angel. And Thunder, of course, was great. Out of ten classes in all, we won six."
"Wow, way to go!" Tommy congratulated her. "Maybe next time Adam can join you."
Adam blushed. "Uhh, yeah, sure," he came back, giving his red-clad friend an odd look. "But I donít think Iíd want to be caught dead in an outfit like that."
"Oh, come on," Andréa teased. "You know, itís actually not much different from our Ranger suits. Besides, there are a lot of young men out there who look good in huntseat and dressage outfits and donít make a big deal out of it." Kat and Tanya both grinned in agreement, liking the idea of guys dressed in form-fitting breeches, tall black boots, and a dark-colored coat. "Thereís another show here in Angel Grove coming up this weekend. Why donít you give it a try?"
"Iíll, uh, think about it," Adam replied, almost seriously hoping he had to work that weekend.
But just then, a small army of fish-like monsters and two other strange-looking creatures suddenly appeared out of nowhere a few yards from the Rangers. "What the heck are those things?" Andréa asked, the first of the six to notice.
The rest of the Rangers jumped up from the table. "Piranhatrons!" Tanya shouted.
"Huh?" Andréa asked again, totally confused.
"Bad news," Tommy answered. "Come on guys, letís get rid of these party crashers!"
The six ran toward the small army and the battle began. Andréa was ready to take on the unfamiliar foot soldiers, but as she tried to get involved in the fight, they totally ignored her as if she was invisible. "What the heck?" she asked herself, looking over at the rest of the team getting kicked around. Donít these overgrown sardines know Iím a Ranger too? Andréa thought.
Her thoughts were immediately cut off by Justin getting thrown into her. "Rae, what are you just standing there for?" the boy asked. "Canít you help us fight?"
"Iím trying!" she came back. "Itís just that these . . . things . . . are totally ignoring me, even when I do try to fight them!"
Before Justin could even answer, the two looked up and saw that the Piranhatrons had grabbed hold of the other Rangers. "Guys!" Andréa shouted.
"Rae, get out of here!" Adam called back to her, barely even able to telekinetically force the foot soldiers away from him. "Save yourself!"
"Are you crazy?" she screamed. "Iím not leaving any of you!"
"Heís right, Rae!" Tanya cried, struggling hard to break free. "We donít need you getting caught too!"
"No!" Andréa shouted again. One by one, the Rangers were pulled into a portal by the Piranhatrons holding them: first Tommy, then Kat, then Tanya.
But the Piranhatrons had yet to pull Adam in. Using as much of his power as he could, he threw one of them over his shoulder as Andréa ran to him. "Rae, I told you to get out of here!" he said. "Please, I donít want anything happening to you."
"Adam, just because you always promised to protect me doesnít mean that I shouldnít be there to protect you!" Andréa came back. "I am not leaving you!"
All of a sudden, a tall figure backflipped in from nowhere and started clearing out the remaining Piranhatrons. This distracted the three Rangers, and so Andréa and Justin didnít see the two foot soldiers that tackled them. Adam was also thrown backwards by one he didnít see coming in front of him.
"Adam!" Andréa and Justin cried in unison, the girl reaching out a hand to the older Turbo Ranger from where she was still pinned to the ground.
Despite being pulled away, Adam reached out for Andréa as well. But just then, the mysterious figure suddenly turned, and Adam looked up and could see exactly who it was. "Billy?"
The young man looked hard at him, barely able to recognize his old friend. "Adam?"
Andréa also looked back, rather stunned as she was finally able to pull the Piranhatron off of her and get back to her feet. Whatís Billy doing here? she thought.
She didnít even see when the Piranhatrons started to drag Adam into the portal until it was almost too late. He was nearly halfway through when Andréa finally was able to grab his hand and worked to pull him out. "Itís no use, Rae," Adam said. "You guys are on your own now." His hand began to break away as he was pulled further in. "I love you, Andréa," was the last thing she heard Adam say before the Piranhatrons, the two other monsters, and the portal finally disappeared and all was quiet.
Andréa fell to her knees in front of where Adam just was. "No!" she screamed out once more, not knowing what else to do.
Justin ran to her side. "Rae, are you all right?" he asked.
Andréa tried to catch her breath. "Yeah Justin, Iím . . . Iím fine. But itís just . . . I canít believe I let those creeps get away with Adam and the others!"
She then felt a slightly larger hand on her shoulder. "Donít worry about it," another voice said. "It wasnít your fault."
Andréa looked back to find that it really was Billy standing next to her. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "I thought you were on Aquitar." Shortly before Andréa had become a Ranger, she had already found out that Billy was a friend of the Rangers and was once a Ranger himself, and so he already knew that she was supposed to be the Purple Ranger for a while before Tommy, Kat, Rocky, Tanya, and even Adam knew about her.
"I was," Billy replied. "Things just . . . didnít work out, so I decided to come home. Itís a really long story. Iíll tell you all later." I wonder if Triniís come back from Switzerland yet, he thought to himself. If Jason came back last year, then she and Zack couldnít be too far behind.
Justin looked up at the young man, wondering what the heck the two teens had been talking about. "Rae, who is this guy?" he asked, breaking Billyís train of thought.
"Oh yeah," Andréa said, realizing that introductions were in order. "Billy, this is Justin Stewart, the current Blue Ranger."
"But what happened to Rocky?" Billy asked. "And whyís there a kid Ranger?"
"Um, thatís all kind of a long story too," Andréa answered. Justin looked at her again strangely, wondering why she was telling this seemingly total stranger his identity as a Ranger. "Justin, meet Billy Cranston, the original Blue Ranger."
The young boyís jaw dropped. "The original Blue Ranger?" Justin repeated, staring up at Billy in awe as if he had just met someone extremely famous. "This is too cool!"
"Billy, I know a lot of things have changed since you left," Andréa changed the subject, "but would you be willing to help us to find the other Rangers? I remember how Adam always told me about how much you used to help out the team, so maybe, just one last time, you could give us a hand."
Billy smiled. "Iíd be more than happy to," he replied. "So, just whatís all taken place since I left? Obviously, youíve made it onto the team, and thereís a new Blue Ranger, so lots mustíve happened."
"Well," Andréa began, "it all started about a week after you left, when Adam was caught in the middle of a Cog attack in the desert . . ."
[Eastern South Korea (about 100 miles southeast of Seoul), 5:01 pm Angel Grove time (10:01 am Tuesday local time)]
The portal opened, and the Piranhatrons threw Adam to the ground hard. The Ranger rolled to his feet and looked around, finding the surroundings amazingly familiar, like he had been there before. I donít get it, Adam thought, knowing exactly where he was now. This is the place where I came to look for my piece of the Zeo Crystal a long time ago, but why would the Piranhatrons want to bring me here? Wouldnít Divatox want us on her sub if she were trying to capture us? This doesnít make any sense!
Just then, as if on cue, Divatox appeared before him. "Hi, Green Ranger," she said facetiously as the foot soldiers grabbed hold of Adam once again.
Adam shot her and icy glare. "What am I doing here, Divatox?" he growled. "Thereís nothing here that would be of any interest to you! Whatís this all about?"
"Oh, Iím not interested in anything thatís here," the pirate queen came back, not really caring if anyone was actually listening to her. "I actually heard about this little place from some friends of mineóI think you might know themóRita and Zedd. But if you really must know why youíre here, Iím just trying to make it easier to get rid of all of you, you know, divide and conquer and all that. Too bad your little kid Ranger friend wonít be able to find all of you in enough time to save you." She came up to Adam and looked him over, mildly taken by his handsome looks as he continued to glare at her. "You know, I really donít want to have to get rid of you. Iíd rather just have you and, oh, whatís his name again?óoh yeah, Tommyóall to myself and just do whatever I want to the rest of your sorry Turbo friends."
"I hate to burst your bubble," Adam retorted emotionlessly, trying to pull away from Divatox, "but Iím already taken. And Iím sure that my other friends will be able to find Kat, Tommy, Tanya, and me in more than enough time!"
Divatox rolled her eyes. "Your other friends?" she said. "You mean that little pipsqueak and that one ex-power puke who couldnít even keep you from being brought here?" She laughed. "Yeah, right!"
Adam noticed how Divatox had never said anything about Andréa. That could only mean one of two things, he thought. Either Rae got away and Divatox doesnít know about her being the Purple Ranger, or she was taken prisoner too. Please let her still be all right. I donít know what Iíd do if that witch did anything to Rae.
The thought of Andréaís well-being finally provoked him to retaliate, regardless of whether or not she had been caught. Using as much of his combined physical and telekinetic strength as he could, Adam simultaneously threw the two Piranhatrons holding him to the ground. And then, before either of them could even figure out just what was going on, he thought of something and "hurled" a large rock at them, pinning them to the ground.
Divatox was stunned yet enraged by Adamís actions. "No!" she screamed at anyone who might have been listening. "He canít be a telekinetic!" She looked around at all the other Piranhatrons standing around her. "Donít just stand there!" she yelled as Adam continued to pummel the rest of the foot soldiers. "Stop that Ranger! Do . . . something to keep him from using his powers!"
Adam looked around at all of his opponents, looking and waiting for the best place and the best time to strike and take out as many as possible. However, he had waited too long, and there was a sudden shooting pain in his shoulder. He grasped his shoulder and tried to pull whatever had been shot into him out only to find that it was some sort of strange-looking dart. All of a sudden, Adam began to feel unbelievably weak; one of the Piranhatrons had shot some kind of sedative or poison into him that not even his healing abilities could keep from affecting him. And whatever it was, it was also keeping him from using any of his telekinetic powers as well. He tried to fight, but he kept getting thrown around by the fishlike foot soldiers. The last things Adam saw were Divatox laughing at him from afar and Piranhatrons closing in on him before his surroundings became blurred and everything went black, never even seeing a young Korean girl who had been hiding behind some trees and watching the whole confrontation.
[Power Chamber, 5:43 pm]
Three streaks of light lit up the inside of the Power Chamber: one purple, one blue, and one white. Billy looked around, noticing the brighter, more high-tech look. "Wow, I had no idea that you guys remodeled the place," he said. "I like it."
The alarm suddenly blared, and Alpha 6 came running in. "Ho, no, intruders!" the robot shouted, checking all the sensors frantically and ultimately finding nothing.
"Alpha, calm down!" Justin said as the alarm finally stopped. "Itís just me!"
Billy and Andréa, who was now dressed in regular clothes, exchanged confused glances. "Alpha?" the two asked in unison, knowing that this wasnít the same Alpha they had already known for so long.
"Alpha, what the heckís with the Brooklyn accent?" Andréa then asked.
A beautiful woman with long, dark hair and white robes then appeared in what was once Zordonís tube before Andréa could get an answer. "Justin, why have you brought these two here?" she inquired. "Are you aware that you should not reveal your identity as a Ranger to others?"
"Itís okay, Dimitria," the boy replied. "Theyíre friends."
"Uh, yeah," Andréa added, still a little confused yet still finding the woman rather familiar-looking. "Iím Andréa, the Purple Ranger, and this is Billy. He used to be a Ranger with Tommy, Katherine, and Adam a few years ago. But . . . just who are you, and what happened to Zordon?"
"Did Zordon not inform you of Divatoxís return and his and Alpha 5ís departure?" Dimitria questioned.
A stunned look crossed Andréaís face. "Well, no," she replied. "It mustíve just happened while I was gone, and so the guys havenít filled me in about it yet." She turned to the current Blue Ranger. "Justin, can you quick tell us everything thatís been going on? It looks like we missed some really important stuff."
"Sure." Justin explained the whole thing of Divatox returning during the other Rangersí graduation, then how Lerigot returned in order for Zordon and Alpha 5 to leave, and finally how Dimitria and Alpha 6 came to take their places following the battle to help out the Rangers.
"Whoa," was all Andréa could say after Justin was done. "Guess I missed a heck of a lot more than I thought."
"Iíd say," Billy agreed. "But who exactly is Divatox?"
"Ooh, sheís bad news, big guy," Alpha blurted out. "Sheís the one who sent the Piranhatrons to get the Rangers."
"So thatís what those things are called," Andréa said to herself.
"But why didnít she go after you then?" Justin asked Andréa. "Youíre a Ranger too, and it looked like she was trying to make it so I was the only one left."
"I have this sinking feeling that she probably doesnít even know that the Purple Ranger exists," she replied, leaning on a control consul. "But I swear, by the time weíve found Adam and the others, sheíll have heard of me for sure!" She paused for a moment. "God, I donít even want to think about what she mightíve done to them. What she did to Kimberly and Jason a while back was bad enough, so who knows what sheís gonna do with them?"
"Hey, hey, take it easy there, Rae," Billy tried to calm her down. "The Rangers and I have been through worse scrapes than this before. Weíll get through this one too."
She looked back at him and sighed. "I hope youíre right. I just wish we knew where to begin looking."
Billy began to type something into the computer and tried to study the readouts on the screen only to find he was getting nowhere. "I donít get it!" he said. "Why canít I get a lock on their Zeonizers?"
"I guess thatís something else we forgot to tell you," Andréa informed him, remembering how she had left out that minor little technicality when she told him what had been going on since he had left Angel Grove. "Theyíre not using the Zeo Powers anymore. Theyíve changed over to whatís called the Turbo Powers, which I think might be derived from the Zeo Crystal, but Iím not sure. Let me take a look at that. Maybe I can get a reading on their Turbo Keys." She looked at the screen, typed in a few things, and groaned at what wasnít on the screen. "What the heck? The only clear reading I can get comes from Justinís key!"
"Letís try scanning for their communicator signals," Billy suggested, pressing a few more buttons. Still nothing. He sighed frustratedly. "Wherever this Divatox has got them, she definitely made sure that we couldnít find them easily. Now what do we do?"
"Wait a minute," Justin broke in, working at a separate consul. "I think I got something here."
Billy and Andréa ran over to the boy. "What is it?" the former Ranger asked.
"It looks like some faint traces of something," Justin replied, "but I canít tell what. All I can tell is that theyíre scattered across the earth."
Billy studied the readouts. Something about where the strongest of the faint readings were located seemed oddly familiar. But then he looked up to see Andréa staring off into space, more than anything, in Dimitriaís direction. "Rae, are you all right?" he asked.
Andréa partially broke out of her trance. "Oh, uh, yeah, I-Iím fine," she stammered. "Itís just that . . . Dimitria . . . she looks like . . . someone I used to know when I was little, thatís all." Finally, she snapped back into reality. "So what do you have?"
"Check this out." A map of the world came up on the viewscreen.
Andréa studied the map and the four regions highlighted on it. "Hmm," she said partially to herself, "western North America, east central Africa, southeastern Australia, and eastern Asia." She turned to Billy, both of them finding a pattern in the readings shown on the map. "You donít think . . ."
"It would make sense," Billy answered. "Those are the same basic areas I remember them telling me where they sent to during their Zeo Quests. Guess Divatox isnít as original as we first thought."
"Now the real trick is finding out their exact locations," Andréa said. "Alpha, do you have any idea how long it might take to do that?"
The robot began to play around with some of the scanners. "Ho, boy, I donít know how long itís gonna take!" he replied. "Wit such faint readings, it could take all night to get anywhere!"
"Billy, do you know what time it is?" Andréa asked curiously.
He looked at his watch. "Just about 7:30. Looks like itís gonna be a long night."
Justin suddenly realized something. "7:30? Oh man, I was supposed to be back at the shelter an hour ago! Theyíre gonna kill me for being late!"
"Justin, why donít you get going then?" Andréa suggested. "Billy and I will take it from here. Weíll call you back once we find something important . . . whenever that might be."
"Are you sure?"
The two teens smiled. "Donít worry about it. Even though it was before I was on the team, Billy used to just about live here. We can handle it."
"All right," Justin replied reluctantly, teleporting away in a flash of blue.
There was a long silence before Billy finally spoke up. "You know, for just being a kid," he said, "Justinís not that bad of a Ranger."
"I was kinda tentative about it myself from the start," Andréa replied, "but then he grew on me. Guess Iím not the youngest Ranger on the team anymore. Now Justinís like the little brother I never had, mainly because he and I have a lot in common when it comes to losing our parents in one way or another. But actually, heís pretty smart; the guys told me earlier today that heís gonna be a freshman at Angel Grove High in the fall. So Rocky really did make a pretty good choice in choosing his replacement, but itís almost too quiet without him around, if you know what I mean." She looked over to Billy. "Do you miss being a Ranger at all?"
"Yeah, kinda," he sighed, "but I knew that it had to come to an end at one point or another. I remember how just before the others took on the Zeo Powers, I told Tanya that I was giving my piece of the crystal to her. If that wasnít the biggest lie Iíve ever told in my life, then I donít know what would be. It was never mine to begin with; it was actually Aishaís, and all she did was send Tanya back from Africa in her place with it. All I was doing then was trying to make her feel more like a part of the team, but none of the other Rangers seem to know thatís what really happened."
"Jason told me about how you couldnít be the Gold Ranger either. Is that true?"
Billy sighed again upon recalling that memory. "Yeah, unfortunately it was. I didnít believe it at first myselfónegative protons? I thought I knew everything there was to know about science, but I never had any idea that there was such a thing until then. And then there was that whole aging thing that sent me to Aquitar to begin with. So now I wonder if it would even be possible for me to become a Ranger at all if necessary because of all that."
"Is it not true that anything is possible?" Dimitria broke in all of a sudden, overhearing the twoís conversation.
The two teens exchanged glances. "What does she mean by that?" Billy asked.
Andréa stared off into space again for a moment. "I donít know," she replied, "but that almost sounds like something my mother mightíve said to me when I was little. She even looks a little bit like her too."
There was another brief silence before Billy changed the subject again. "Earlier today . . . was that really Adam who I saw getting caught?"
A thin smile crossed Andréaís face. "Yeah, that was Adam," she said almost dreamily. "Why do you ask?"
"Outside of the way he looked," Billy replied, "something about him just seemed . . . different."
"Oh yeah, Adamís definitely changed a lot, especially since he and I met. I mean, a few weeks after I joined the team, Mondo kidnapped everyone except for the two of us and stole the Zeo Crystal, and so Zordon had Adam take on the power of the White Rangeró"
"The White Ranger?" Billy broke in, slightly caught off guard by that. "But werenít all the Power Coinsó"
"All except for that one, apparently," Andréa then cut him off, knowing exactly what he was going to ask and remembering how she had left that event out too. "But anyway, when Adam took on those powers for a short time, really weird things started happening to him. For a while, his hair had gone from black to white and his eyes from brown to blue. It was almost frightening, more so to him than the rest of us, and so he really doesnít like to talk about it. Thatís why I never said anything about it earlier." She lowered her voice as if someone might have been listening in on the conversation. "Then after that happened, Adam became telekinetic, and he still is now. I donít know if it was like what Zordon said to all of usóa lasting side effect of being the White Rangeróor if it was just something heíd had all that time deep down and never knew it until the powers suddenly brought it out, but whatever it was, it totally changed him. Since that time, he and Tommy have become almost equals when it comes to leadership skills, when before that, he seemed real quiet and reserved and more or less took orders instead of giving some of them."
Billy was amazed by what he was told. "Wow, I can imagine how much something like that could change someoneís personality. But I never wouldíve guessed that any of that couldíve happened to Adam to begin with. When we were on the team together, he was a lot like what you said, really quiet and off to himself."
"No kidding," Andréa agreed. "Zordon said that the power wouldíve affected Adam differently because he was never possessed by evil like how Tommy had been at first, so whoís to say that couldnít have happened to any of us?"
"But is there not a rhyme and reason to everything in life, regardless of the outcome?" Dimitria inquired. "Could it even be possible that Adam may not have received his powers by chance?"
Dimitriaís first question stopped Andréa cold. I swear, the Purple Ranger thought, if it werenít for the fact that her hair is a lot longer and she doesnít have a French accent, Iíd almost think that Dimitria was my mother, ícause thatís exactly what I used to be told when I was younger. Itís been eight years since she disappeared, but could she still be alive? . . .
[Paris, France, July 23, 1989]
Andréaís mother kissed her on the cheek. "[Iíll be back in less than an hour]," she told her young daughter.
"Oui, maman," Andréa said as her mother walked out the door. A minute later, the girl ran to the window and saw her come out of the main door of the apartment building, walk down the narrow street, and disappear around the corner in the direction of the marché. She had no idea that it was the last time she would see her mother again.
A few hours later, because her father hadnít returned home from work yet, she left her familyís apartment and walked down the street to the familiar marché. "Bonjour, Andréa," Marie, the owner of the marché and a family friend, greeted the girl from behind the counter. "Comment ça va?"
"Bonjour, Marie," Andréa returned the greeting, a rather worried look on her face. "[Have you seen my mother anywhere? She said that she would be back home in less than an hour after she left, but itís been four hours now.]"
"[No dear, I havenít seen your mother. Sorry.]"
Andréa walked out of the marché, her head hung low. Where was her mother? Usually, if she said that sheíd be back by a certain time, she meant it. And if she ended up being late, she always called home. When Andréaís father came home, he said he hadnít seen her either. There were no relatives she could have been with, as all of her family lived well outside the Paris metropolitan area. It was seemingly hopeless.
[Paris, June 12, 1990]
"Dad, I donít want to move!" ten-year-old Andréa complained as she and her father packed the last of their belongings into the taxi. "I like it here in Paris!"
"Iím sorry, sweetie," he said, trying to keep his composure, "but thereís nothing left for us here. Your motherís been gone almost a year now, and the police assume sheís dead." He packed in the final suitcase. "Now come on Annie. Our flight leaves in a few hours." She reluctantly climbed into the taxi before it drove away from the apartment building, the only home Andréa had known for those ten years of her life, and wondered if she would ever be able to return someday.
Billy waved his hand in front of the girlís face. "Rae, youíre doing it again," he said, hoping to get her attention. "Are you feeling all right?"
Andréa quickly broke out of her daze. "Sorry about that. Iíve been up since 4:00 this morning, so if you see me spacing out like that, just wake me up. But we should really get back to work. Alpha, have you found anything new yet?"
"Nope," Alpha replied. "Weíre still right back where we was a little while ago. But Iíll keep tryiní."
Andréa sighed. "I think youíre right, Billy. Itís gonna be one long night."
[Little Angelsí Haven, Tuesday, May 27, 12:58 am]
Justin was awakened by a familiar beeping sound. Fumbling around in the dark, he grabbed his communicator from the nightstand and hopped out of bed, already dressed in regular clothes.
The boy ran out of the dormitory and into the hall, then made sure no one was around before he activated the communicator. "Yeah, whatís up?" Justin called into it.
"Justin, itís Rae," the voice on the other end replied. "Itís taken us a couple of hours, but Billy and I finally got through and located the other Rangers. Now we just need a plan of action on how to go after them, ícause we still canít get a lock on their communicators to teleport them back."
"Iíll be right there," Justin signed off. Glancing around once again to check if anyone was watching, he teleported out.
[Power Chamber, 1:06 am]
"So, whatcha got?" Justin asked upon teleporting in.
"Well," Andréa said, taking yet another gulp from what was probably her third or fourth bottle (she had lost count by that time) of Coke that night, "you know those faint traces youíd found earlier?"
"Uh-huh," the boy answered, waiting for her to continue.
"Weíve been able to do some more concentrated scans on each region and were finally able to pick up their Turbo Key readings." Andréa paused for a moment. "But theyíre still scattered across the planet. I donít think we have much of a choice but for you and me to split up and each look for two Rangers apiece while Billy stays back and tracks our whereabouts."
"Where do we have to go?" Justin then asked.
Andréa and Billy checked over some of the readouts again. "Letís see . . ." the Purple Ranger said, "Tommyís the closest, right over in the Death Valley area, which shouldnít be much of a problem, but the others are all over the place. Tanyaís back in Africa, Katís down in Australia, and Adamís somewhere on the eastern edge of South Korea. Looks like weíre gonna be doing a little bit of globetrotting tonight to get them back."
Billy looked back at Justin. "So where do you want to go, kid?"
The youngest Ranger thought for a moment. "Iíll go after Tanya and Tommy," he finally said.
"Then Iíll go west for Kat and Adam," Andréa stated.
"Rangers," Dimitria broke in, "do you know that Divatox will not be likely to let you find the Rangers without at least some resistance?"
"Sheís right," said Billy. "Youíd better be careful. We donít know what Divatox might try to pull on you."
"Yeah, I understand," Andréa replied. "Itís just . . . Iíve never had to do this kind of thing before, and so I really hope we know what weíre doing."
"Donít worry about it," Billy responded. "Iíve got you both covered." He took something out of his pocketóhis old, damaged Triceratops Power Coin that he still carried around for good luckóand showed it to the two current Rangers, Justin awed once again by seeing the former Rangerís one-time source of power. "And if all else fails, Iíve always got this, providing it would still work."
"You just canít let go of the old days, can you, Billy?" Andréa teased him, recalling some of the things that Adam had told her about the very first Blue Ranger.
"Here are the Turbo Navigators," Justin said, setting the two devices on the consul. "These should lead us right to the Rangers."
Billy looked over one of them. "Geez, wish we had these back when I was a Ranger," he commented, impressed by what the little computers could do. "In fact, we really didnít have much to begin with when we first started out four years ago. These are incredible!"
"I can only imagine," Andréa said. She took a deep breath. "Well Justin, you ready?"
"You bet!" he responded enthusiastically.
"Iíll be teleporting both of you to the places closest to the Power Chamber," Billy reminded the two Rangers. "Good luck."
The two nodded in acknowledgement. "Shift into Turbo!" Justin called out. "Mountain Blaster Turbo Power!" Billy watched in amazement as the boy began to grow.
"Purple Phoenix FireStar Power!" Andréa then cried, her crystal out in position.
"Teleporting now," Billy said, the Power Chamber immediately illuminated by two streaks of purple and blue light.
[Somewhere outside of Sydney, Australia, around 7:45 pm local time (1:45 am Angel Grove time)]
A flash of purple lit up the early evening Australian sky, quickly materializing into the Purple Ranger. Andréa looked around. "I know how I once said that Iíd always wanted to come to Australia one of these days," she said to herself, "but I didnít expect to come just to rescue a friend."
She flipped out her Turbo Navigator and studied the screen, then looked around in what very little daylight remained. In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter months were just getting started, and so the amount of daylight was considerably less than what there would be back in Angel Grove at that time of the year. "Well, at least Iím close," Andréa continued to herself. "The readings are starting to go through the roof."
The Purple Rangerís glance immediately fell upon what looked like an old, abandoned farmhouse of some sort there in the middle of the field. "Thatís it!" she thought out loud, already starting to approach it. "Hang on, Kat, Iím on my way."
But of course, just as Andréa got there, she ran into a small army of Piranhatrons. "Oh great, not these creeps again!" she complained, assuming a fighting stance. "Come on, fishbrains," she called out to them defiantly, "time for you to meet the Purple Ranger!"
One of the foot soldiers immediately came after her, but before it could even do anything, Andréa knocked it effortlessly to the ground. In very little time, she was able to clear them all out. "Some challenge that was," she said to herself after they had all dematerialized. "Considering how they were able to capture the guys, I almost thought theyíd be able to put up more of a fight." Looking to see if there were any more Piranhatrons waiting to come after her, Andréa cautiously entered the small house.
* * *
The Purple Ranger looked around through the abandoned house, the dark, cobweb-covered surroundings giving her the creeps. "Hello?" she finally called out, starting to get really jumpy as she thought a tall lamp to be someone out to get her when she bumped into it. "Kat, are you there?"
"Iím in here!" a familiar voice called back through a closed door.
Andréa began to run in that direction when one of the floorboards suddenly gave way underneath her. She nearly freaked out again as she fell through, barely grabbing hold of the remaining boards before she would have fallen all the way. Using all of her strength, she finally pulled herself up and back to her feet. Following that, she immediately ran to the door and tried to pull it open unsuccessfully. "Of all the times this has to happen," Andréa mumbled to herself frustratedly. "Itís locked!" she finally shouted through the door, banging on it to see if that would help. "Do you know if thereís a key for it?"
"I donít think there was one when the Piranhatrons brought me here," Kat answered. "Youíll have to break it down."
"Iíll give it a shot," Andréa told her, already drawing her saber. Slashing off the doorknob, she took a running start and threw herself into the door with all the strength she could muster.
The door flew open and Andréa burst into the room, quickly rolling back up to her feet. She looked around in the dark room and then found Katherine bound to a chair in one corner, her communicator and Turbo Key sitting on a table in another. "Kat, you all right?" Andréa asked her.
"Well, except for the fact that Iíve been stuck here all this time, Iím fine," the Pink Ranger replied. "But whereís Justin? Did he get caught too?"
"Justin and I split up," Andréa responded, working to untie her friend. "He went off to look for Tommy and Tanya while I came for you and Adam."
"But how come the Piranhatrons never captured you?" Kat asked as she was finally freed.
"Until now, they probably didnít even know I exist, and so thatís why they never even came after me before in the park. It looked like their intention was to isolate Justin from all of you so that he couldnít find all of you on his own, which obviously didnít happen." Andréa paused for a moment. "But right now, we gotta get going. We still need to find Adam."
"Iím with you," Kat said, grabbing her communicator and key from the table. "I canít wait to get out of here!"
"I canít blame you for that," Andréa agreed. "This place gives me the willies, and I didnít exactly want to find out what couldíve been down underneath those floorboards out there either." She shuddered at the thought.
"Shift into Turbo!" Kat called out. "Wind Chaser Turbo Power!"
Andréa raised up her communicator and spoke into it. "Billy, Iíve got Kat," she said. "Weíre ready to keep going."
"Wait a minute," Kat broke in, "did you say Billy?"
"I read you, Rae," Billy answered on the other end. "Iím sending both of you to Adamís location now."
"Gotcha," Andréa signed off before looking back at Kat. "Weíll tell you whatís going on later, after we get everyone back," she then said to the Pink Ranger before the two of them teleported out in bright flashes of purple and pink light.
[Eastern South Korea, 7:32 pm local time (2:32 am Angel Grove time)]
Andréa and Kat landed in the middle of a mountain range. "Where are we?" Kat asked, looking around at the scenery in the remaining daylight. "Itís beautiful."
"Weíre in South Korea," Andréa answered. "Now this is definitely one place I never thought Iíd find myself." Immediately getting down to business, she studied the Turbo Navigator readouts. "Hmm, looks like this isnít gonna be as easy as it was finding you the way you were basically out in the open. Even with all the mountains in the way, the readings show that Adamís close by, but they arenít clear as to exactly where. Maybe if we go up this hill, we should be able to get a better reading."
But just as they started up the hill, the two Rangers ran into a small girl coming down from it. The child jumped back in shock upon seeing the two, saying something neither of them understood.
Kat eyed Andréa through her helmet. "Whatís she saying?" she asked.
"Donít ask me," the Purple Ranger replied with a shrug. "I donít speak Korean. Let me try the universal translators though. That ought to solve our problem."
Andréa pressed a few buttons on the Navigator, and the young girlís words suddenly changed to English. "Who are you?" the child then asked, awed by the elaborate yet unfamiliar costumes the two Rangers wore.
"Weíre the Power Rangers," Kat responded, the little girl now hearing them speaking in Korean instead of English. "Weíre trying to find a friend of ours who we think is here."
"What does this friend look like?"
"Heís just a little bit taller than me," Andréa then said, "with sort of long, curly hair and was wearing a green shirt and jeans. Have you seen him?"
"Oh, do you mean that stranger up in the cave?" the girl asked, pointing up to the top of the hill.
"Stranger in the cave?" Kat repeated.
"Yeah," the little girl said. "This morning, I saw all these monsters leading someone up to that cave who looked a lot like what you just said, and he was trying to fight them, but I couldnít understand what they were saying. The last time I saw him, he didnít look too well, and I donít think he even saw me when I went up there. Is that who youíre looking for?"
"Yes, it is!" Andréa exclaimed, her heart soaring as she prayed that Adam was still all right. "Can you show us where he is?"
The girl nodded enthusiastically and immediately led the two Rangers up to the cave entrance. "Your friend should be in there," she said. "But I have to go now. My parents are probably looking for me, and I shouldíve been home a long time ago."
"Well, youíd better get going then," Kat told her.
"Thank you," Andréa replied, watching as the girl ran down the hill and toward the village at the foot of the mountains. She then looked over at Kat. "Well, here goes nothing," she said before the two of them cautiously entered the cave. "Letís hope sheís right."
* * *
Andréa and Kat continued down the dimly-lit path, the lights on the Pink Turbo Rangerís helmet helping only a little bit. "Man, this makes me think of that time when Adam had to come and rescue me after I became a Ranger," the Purple Ranger commented. "But geez, this path goes on forever. Youíd think weíd be getting close by now."
All of a sudden, a sharp blade started whizzing toward the two from further down the dark path. "Look out!" Kat cried, pushing Andréa and herself out of the way as the blade cut into the rock wall just inches above their heads.
Andréa stood up. "That was too close," she said. "I wonder what other traps theyíve got set up for us."
"I donít think I want to know," Kat responded.
The path continued to get darker and darker as the two girls kept going further into the cave. But then, a very familiar yet still rather weak-sounding voice stopped them in their tracks. "Whoís there?"
Andréaís heart nearly skipped a beat upon hearing that voice. "Adam, is that you?" she called out.
"Yeah, Iím back here!" he called back.
In no time, Andréa and Kat found themselves at a small yet still rather dark clearing in the cave, and that was where they found Adam. He certainly wasnít in as good a condition as Kat had been in when she was rescued, making it obvious that he had tried to put up more of a fight against the Piranhatrons. His clothing was torn and stained, his body was bruised and battered, and he was chained and shackled to the wall. To Andréa, it was a wonder he had even lasted that long in that condition. "My god," was all she could say. "Adam, what did they do to you?" Unable to take it anymore, she started to run to him.
"Rae, look out!" Adam shouted to her. "Itís probably a trap!"
He was right. As soon as Andréa was within almost ten feet of him, a wall of fire shot up from the floor. She jumped back, totally caught off guard by what had just happened. "Oh my god, what am I supposed to do?" she yelled frantically, trying to shield herself from the intense heat. "The flames are too high!"
"You gotta jump, Rae!" Kat cried out to her.
"Itís your only chance!" Adam then said in agreement. "You can do it!"
Regaining her composure, Andréa went as far back as she could, took a running start, and hurled herself over the wall of fire, barely missing getting burned in the process. Upon landing, she returned to her feet and removed her helmet as the flames then receded and all was quiet again. "Adam, are you all right?" she asked, staring at him and still trying to catch her breath.
"Except for the real beating the Piranhatrons gave me when they brought me here, Iím fine," he answered softly. "I donít know why, but for some reason, all my telekinetic powers have been completely blocked out, and thatís why I probably look the way I do. Without them or even my Ranger powers, I canít break free either. You think you can get me out of here?"
"Iíll see what I can do," Andréa said, already drawing her saber. "Just hold still."
With a few quick slashes, the chains were broken, and Adam fell forward. After staring at her for a short time, he threw his arms around her and pulled her into him. "Thank God you finally made it," he said. "I was beginning to think they got you too."
Andréa looked up at him. "But they didnít," she replied. "In fact, none of them probably even know thereís a Purple Ranger." She smiled, brushing some stray locks of hair from his face. "But that doesnít matter anymore. Itís just good to know that youíre okay. And right now, I just want to get home. Itís been way too long of a day for all of us, I think."
Adam smiled back. "No kidding," he agreed. "Letís get out of here before they decide to come back."
* * *
The three Rangers, Kat and Andréa demorphed, had just come out of the cave when an army of Piranhatrons surrounded them. "Looks like they donít want you to leave quite yet, Adam," Kat noted.
"But unfortunately," Adam responded, finally able to telekinetically break the shackles off of his wrists and throw them to the ground, "I donít plan on staying much longer! Letís clear íem out!"
"But shouldnít we morph first?" Kat asked them.
"Letís hold off on that for a little bit," Andréa answered. "Make them think weíre powerless, and then spring it on them when they least expect it, especially when it comes to showing them Iím a Ranger."
"You got it," Adam said, already assuming a fighting stance.
The Piranhatrons then came after the three Rangers. Kat went left and Adam went right as Andréa stayed right where she was, ready to take on whatever what was thrown at her. "So, you overgrown sardines actually gonna put up a fight this time?" she taunted them defiantly. One took the challenge and lashed out at her, but Andréa quickly retaliated with a series of blocks and kicks that sent it flying. More came after her simultaneously; however, none of them were any match for her.
As that happened, Adam and Kat had slowly been backed up beside her again by their opponents. "I think now would be a good time for us to spring it on them!" Adam shouted.
But before anyone could say anything else, Divatox and Elgar appeared in front of them. "How pathetic," the pirate queen commented in a sarcastic tone when she noticed someone else with Kat and Adam, "the Rangers had to enlist the help of someone else ícause the kid couldnít find all of them himself."
Andréa came out from behind Kat and Adam. "So youíre the infamous Divatox Iíve heard so much about," she said, crossing her arms defiantly. "You know, Iím not too happy with what you did to Adam here." The Green Ranger glared at her as well, still rubbing his sore wrists protectively.
"And just who do you think you are, girlie?" Divatox came back, obviously unimpressed by whoever this girl was.
The three looked at each other. "Letís show her just who I am!" Andréa whispered to her teammates, a devious look on her face. Both of them nodded in acknowledgement.
Kat handed Adam his communicator and Turbo Key that she had retrieved before they came out of the cave. "I think youíre gonna need these," she said to him quietly. She then took out her own key. "Shift into Turbo!" Kat called out once again. "Wind Chaser Turbo Power!"
"Desert Thunder Turbo Power!" Adam shouted.
"So you want to know who I am, huh?" Andréa waited a few more seconds before taking out her crystal. "Purple Phoenix FireStar Power!" she then cried, thrusting it into position.
"What?!" Divatox yelled, totally caught off guard. "Not another Ranger!"
Andréa couldnít help but laugh. "Thatís right, Divatox," she replied. "Looks like you made a fatal mistake in not knowing about me. Now itís time to show you just how I feel about you trying to get rid of all my friends!"
Divatox scowled at Elgar, ready to just about throw a fit. "Ooh, this is all your fault!" she screamed at him. "I thought you said that there were only four older Rangers! Now theyíve got this Purple Ranger too, and Iíve lost all my prisoners because of her and that kid Ranger! I canít believe I actually went along with that stupid idea of yours!"
"Hey, how was I supposed to know?" her nephew came back with a shrug. "Last time we fought them, there were only five Rangers, including the kid!"
Adam had to laugh. "So Elgar knows how to count after all!" he commented. "Come on, letís go. Let them have their own fun."
Andréa spoke up into her communicator as Divatox and Elgar continued to bicker. "Billy, itís Rae," she said, laughing as the two evil beings argued. "Iíve got Adam and Kat, and all three of us are ready to come home."
"You got it," the former Ranger responded, the early evening Korean sky suddenly lit up with three streaks of purple, green, and pink light.
Not until the Rangers were gone did Divatox realize that they had indeed left. "You idiot!" she shouted at Elgar, smacking him upside the head. "The Rangers got away again! This is all your fault too!"
"B-but Auntie D," Elgar sputtered, "I didnít do anything!"
"Oh, shut up!" Divatox screamed before she, her nephew, and all the remaining Piranhatrons disappeared.
[Power Chamber, 3:26 am]
The three Rangers of Kat, Adam, and Andréa all removed their helmets upon landing in the Power Chamber. "Billy?" the two Turbo Rangers asked in unison.
The former Ranger turned to face his old teammates. "Who else would you expect?" he joked.
"What are you doing here?" Kat finally asked.
Before the question could even be answered, Justin, Tommy, and Tanya all teleported in, the three of them taking off their helmets as well. And that was also when the Red and Yellow Rangers noticed their old friend standing there. "Billy!" Tommy exclaimed. "What are you doing back here? I thought you were on Aquitar!"
Billy couldnít help but laugh. "Is that the only thing you guys are gonna ask me?" he asked back. "Tell you what: Tomorrow we can all go over to Ernieís and Iíll tell you all the whole story over some smoothies . . . on me."
"Well, whatever youíre doing here," Adam said, "itís good to see you again, man. Wasnít sure if I was seeing things or not when you came along earlier."
"And youíre right back where we always found you," Tanya added, knowing how hard it had always been to find Billy outside of the Power Chamber before he had first left.
"A regular Power Ranger reunion," Andréa commented. "Any more people in here, and the Power Chamber would be bursting at the seams!"
"But is this not also another reunion of sort, Annie?" Dimitria then asked suddenly.
Andréa stopped cold, stunned by what she had just been called. "Oh my god," she said.
And I can hear you calling my name
Your healing hands smooth away the pain
And I can hear you whispering itíll be all right
Youíll stay until the night breaks into day . . .
"Rae, whatís going on?" Adam asked her, noticing her sudden change of expression.
"I donít get it," Andréa replied, not even looking back at him. "Only people who knew me when I was little always called me Annie, so that could only mean . . ." Her voice trailed off as she put two and two together and slowly turned to face Dimitria, starting to finally see the resemblance. Only one word could then come to her mind: "Maman?" she asked in a quiet, innocent, childlike tone.
Although no one could see it through the veil that covered her face, Dimitria smiled down at the Purple Ranger, eventually descending to the floor. "Yes dear, itís me," she said.
The rest of the Rangers could only stand there in complete shock. "Sheís . . . sheís stopped talking in questions!" Tanya finally said.
"Forget about that," Adam replied, also unable to believe what he was seeing. "Rae just found her long-lost mother!"
"So thatís what she meant before when she said she looked like someone she used to know," Billy also said.
"Although Inquirians prefer to speak in questions," Dimitria told them, "we do have the ability to speak in normal sentences."
Andréa was fighting hard to hold back her tears of joy. "I canít believe this is happening," she sobbed. "But . . . but why did you leave us in the first place?"
And when you hear me calling your name
(I hear your voice)
You touch me with your chosen words
Everlasting faith, everlasting love
Is the greatest gift you have
Believing, understanding me . . .
"I was needed on another world," Dimitria responded. "I didnít want to leave you here, but I had no other choice, and so that is why I had to leave so suddenly. I already knew that you would someday become a Ranger, and so when Zordon recently informed me of his departure, I was more than willing to come back to Earth to be with you again."
"Itís been eight years since I last saw you," Andréa said, still trying to hold back tears, "and after that much time, I never thought Iíd ever get to see you again." No longer able to hold back anymore, she came up to her mother and hugged her. "Iíve missed you so much."
You are my light in the dark
You stand beside me
You take my hand, show the way
Youíre here to guide me
You give me the strength that I need
You give me shelter
You gave me life, you gave me love
You are my mother . . .
"And I have missed you too, Andréa," Dimitria answered, holding her daughter in the same manner she used to when Andréa was a child.
[Angel Grove Youth Center, Wednesday, May 28, 1:30 pm]
"And thatís the whole story," Billy said, finishing his story on why he had come back from Aquitar.
"Man, itís still just unbelievable that youíre back," Tommy commented.
"So, now that you are back," Adam then said, "do you think youíd ever want to be a Ranger again?"
"Actually," Billy answered, "even though I helped you guys out the other day, Iíd kinda like to be able to live a normal life for once. I havenít been able to since I first became a Ranger!"
"Gee, whatís a normal life?" Andréa joked as the others laughed. "I didnít think Rangers were supposed to have those!"
Just then, two other familiar friends walked into the youth center. "Hey Rocky!" Tanya said, seeing the one-time Red and Blue Ranger coming up to them.
"Jason, whatís up, bro?" Tommy then asked as the former leader and Andréaís cousin also joined them.
"Not much," Jason answered, "but I bet thereís been a lot more interesting stuff happening to you guys."
"Hmmm," Andréa said, pretending to pick her brain, "except for Divatox returning, Zordon and Alpha leaving, the others getting captured, Billy coming back, Justin and me having to get the others back, and finding out that my mother is still alive, no, nothing spectacular."
"You found your mom?" Jason asked, slightly caught off guard. "How did that happen?"
"Actually, it just happened the other day," Andréa explained. "We had just gotten back from rescuing the other Rangers, when Dimitriaóthatís who took Zordonís placeóall of a sudden told me that she was really my mother and the real reason she disappeared. Itís still just way too much for me to believe. I mean, my mom, an intergalactic being and the mentor to the Power Rangers? Who wouldíve thought? Geez, next thing you know, I also have a twin brother I never knew about and heís been off on some other planet himself all this time!"
"Hey, it could happen," Adam commented. "When it comes to all of us being Rangers, I guess anything is possible."
"But speaking of other people coming back," Rocky broke in, "Jason and I ran into some old friends on our way in."
Four other familiar teens then entered the youth center. "Hey guys, over here!" Tommy called out to them, recognizing them to be Kimberly Hart, Trini Kwan, Zack Taylor, and Aisha Campbellóall former Rangers and teammates of his.
The four immediately came up to the group of past and present Rangers. "Hmm, looks like Iíve been out of the loop for a while," Trini noted upon seeing many of the unfamiliar faces. Billy couldnít help but stare at her and wonder if she was seeing anybody yet.
"Youíre not the only one, girl," Aisha added.
"That makes three of us," Zack also said, his glance falling on Tanya and finding her to be rather attractive as the current Yellow Ranger found the same thing in the original Black Ranger. "So Tommy, whatís new? The last time I saw you, you were the White Ranger."
"Then youíve really been gone a while," Andréa commented. "There hasnít been a White Ranger for some time now, just about two years I think." She wasnít even going to bring up the one time Adam had to be the White Ranger the previous fall, mainly because she knew that was something heíd rather have forgotten about, and those who had been on the team at that time knew it.
Aisha took a look at the girl in purple. "Youíre Andréa Collins, arenít you?" she asked. "Tanya and Adam have told me a lot about you in their letters, especially Adam." The former Rangers who didnít know Andréa yet already assumed that there must have been something going on between her and Adam judging by Aishaís statement and how the two current Rangers were sitting very close to each other.
"And you must be Aisha," the Purple Ranger answered. "Theyíve told me a lot about you too." Andréa looked over to the unfamiliar Asian girl. "And you are . . ."
She smiled. "Iím Trini, the first Yellow Ranger," she replied, already able to see that she and Andréa would become good friends.
"As you just heard, Iím Andréa, theóone and onlyóPurple Ranger," she said, also knowing that the two of them would become friends and noticing the way Billy was constantly staring at her, "and Iím pretty sure itíll stay that way."
"This is just too cool!" Justin broke in. "First I meet Billy, and then I meet all the other old Rangers! How lucky can a kid get?"
The former Rangers who didnít know who he was looked at their friends confusedly. "Heís a Ranger too," Rocky explained. "Iíll explain it to you guys later."
"Now this is a Power Ranger reunion," Kat commented.
"Actually, I think itís more like a family reunion," Jason corrected her, "the Power Ranger family."
"Couldnít have said it better myself," Andréa said as Adam put an arm around her. "Itís more of a family to me than Iíd ever imagined." Billy, Rocky, Jason, and the five Turbo Rangers all laughed, knowing exactly what she meant.
[Divatoxís subcraft, same time]
"Oh, of all the things that had to happen to me!" Divatox complained.
"What seems to be the problem, my piratress?" Porto asked as he waddled onto the bridge.
"All right, first the Rangers had to go and ruin all my plans to marry Maligore," Divatox began, "and then that blasted Dimitria had to come along. I just about get ahead of them by capturing four of the Rangers, but then this Purple Ranger shows up and turns out to be Dimitriaís daughter! Itís just not fair!"
"But actually," said Porto, "the Purple Ranger has been with the team since last year. Anyone in the Machine Empire could tell you that."
"Then how come I didnít know about her?" the pirate queen continued to rant. "Iím always the last to know everything!" She peered in her periscope and watched the group of past and present Rangers as they talked and reminisced. "Oh, I wish I had a whole bunch of friends like that for me," she said in a rather dejected tone.
"Aw gee, Auntie D, arenít we all your friends?" Elgar cut in.
Divatox groaned at the sound of her nephewís voice. "Well, thatís just the problem," she came back. "You morons canít do anything right! How can I consider any of you my friends when all you do is screw up?" She looked back into her periscope. "You better watch it, Purple Ranger, ícause next time, youíre not gonna be the one left behind!"
[Angel Grove City Park, Sunday, June 1, 4:35 pm]
Finally able to spend some time by themselves, Adam and Andréa went for a ride together in the park aboard Lightning and Thunder respectively. "You know, I still think you wouldíve done well at that show yesterday, considering everything youíve been able to do for Lightning," Andréa said, looking over at Adam.
"Like I told you two days ago, I couldnít anyway," Adam replied. "I had another stunt show performance that day, and I couldnít get out of it because they were already short on actors. Besides, I donít think Iíd look too good like that to begin with, if you remember what I said last week."
Andréa was about to say something in response to that but decided not to, indeed remembering that little conversation. "Whatever," she finally gave in. "But speaking of which, how is the stunt show going?"
"Pretty good. This week, weíre gonna be doing a Wild West theme, and then next week, weíll be doing one with a 50ís theme in conjunction with Tanyaís radio station."
"Ooh, Wild West, sounds like fun," Andréa responded, imagining some of the interesting possibilities there. "Iíd almost like to do something like that as a summer job, but Jenny wants me to start pulling my weight some more at the stable by giving lessons myself. But Iíll still make an effort to get out every now and then to see it for sure." She paused for a moment as they continued down the path. "You know, even though itís been almost a week since I found it out," she changed the subject, "I still find it amazing that Dimitriaís really my mother."
"I think all of us do," Adam said, "but I think itís great that you finally found your mom after all these years. I remember what you had told me about her when we first met."
"Me too," Andréa agreed, "and now, it feels like my life all of a sudden became a little more complete. But I just wonder if Divatox might try to use that against me in some way, ícause she probably knows all about it now too, knowing her. Iíve all of a sudden become an easier target."
"Not if I have anything to do with it!" Adam joked, trying to pull her closer from where she was on her horse.
"Hey, watch it!" she shouted, almost squealing as he tried pull her over to him. "Even though Thunderís not as big as Lightning, itís still a long way down!" A devious look then crossed her face as she got an idea for some playful payback. "Race you back to the stable, hot shot. Loser buys the smoothies next time we go to the youth center."
"Oh yeah, like youíre gonna win with that little horse!" Adam teased.
Andréa laughed. "Well, Iíll have you know that while Arabians may be small, theyíre a heck of a lot faster than Andalusians," she came back. And with that, she spurred Thunder up into a canter. "You better start counting your money!" Andréa called back to Adam.
Adam sighed and laughed, knowing she was probably going to beat him anyway. "Yeah, you just wait," he said to himself, finally kicking Lightning up into a canter as well.
As the two chased each other through the park, Billy came walking down one of the paths that Adam and Andréa had just crossed. All right, Iíve gotta tell Trini just how I feel about her, he thought. Iíve had way too much time to think about who I really want in my life, and Iím not gonna make the same mistake I made with Cestria. But what do I say to her? When it comes to trying to be romantic in any way, I always sound like such an idiot, and thatís probably what drove Marge, Laura, Violet, and Cestria all away from me to begin with. He paused for a moment, watching Adam and Andréa as they disappeared over a hill with their horses. Andréa and Adam are so happy together; itís like they were made for each other the way theyíre always together like that. And Iíve noticed that Kat and Tommy have also become more of an item since I left. Jason and Emily are still together too. Heck, it even looked liked Zack and Tanya were showing some interest in each other the other day. Why canít I have a stable relationship like any of them?
That was when he turned and finally saw Trini. She was alone and practicing one of her katas, just like how she always had while as a Ranger and before going to the peace conference. "Itís now or never," Billy said to himself, knowing this had to be done. "I canít chicken out." Taking a deep breath, he walked up to her.
Trini looked up. "Hey Billy," she said, flashing him a sincere smile, "whatís up?"
Billy stared at her hesitantly for a moment. God, sheís so beautiful, he thought. Itís a wonder sheís not hooked up with anyone already. "Um, Trini, thereís something Iíve wanted to say to you for a while," he stammered, sounding a lot like the real quiet and shy individual he used to be when they had first become Rangers.
Trini could tell that he was holding something back, but she continued to smile at him anyway. "Go ahead," she said, waiting for him to keep going. "You can tell me anything."
The End . . . for now
Well, like I said at the beginning, this is about half the average length of most of the fics in my series. I know thereís not as much action taking place in this one as there could be, but the two major things I wanted to emphasize here were the return of Billy to Angel Grove, not to mention all the other former Rangers (because I plan to bring them back for something in a later part of the series), and the revelation that Dimitria is Andréaís mother. Although there may not be too many mentions of the latter as time goes on with the series, there will be an important reference back to that in the conclusion especially. Like the key theme here, thereís a rhyme and reason to everything that happens, and so some of the stuff introduced in every story becomes important later on in the series.
Coming up next time . . .
Book IV: "Return of the White Knight"
Still enraged that Dimitria is really Andréaís mother, Divatox has an idea that would make the Purple Ranger her own surrogate daughter. She then captures Andréa in front of Adam, leaving the Green Ranger in a state of total denial and despair, and places her under an evil spell to destroy the rest of the Rangers. After the Purple Rangerís first few attacks, Adam begins to lose hope that heíll ever get her back, but then the Rangers come to him saying that they know of a way to save Andréa. And so when they finally bring him to the Power Chamber, Dimitria tells him that only one Ranger is powerful enough to break the spell, and that Ranger just so happens to be the White Ranger, which only he can become now. But thereís just one small problem with that: Adam doesnít want to be the White Ranger again . . .