The night sky of Angel Grove was a thriving masterpiece. What could possibly damage it's intimidating, yet always inviting, encasing beauty. Obstructions were few, the beautiful tree tops that seemed to guide young eyes towards the cloudless dark blanket. Compliments radiated within it, the stars so gently, yet sensibly sprinkled over it, turning an otherwise frightening black oozing tarp, into a comforting cloth of late-evening delight.
And the wind! The cool breeze running against anyone after the day's afternoon heat. Not to be undermined by the heavens, it began to tug at the blonde locks of a passing beauty. While the park was known for being peaceful, the young woman had never experienced such a perfect evening.
She rubbed her bare arms, wishing she hadn't chosen her sleeveless, pale pink dress for this evening. For a moment, she considered the wind to place a damper on the evening, but it was then, in that moment, she realized that the wind would make the night, truly, unforgettable.
In one fluid movement, she felt the heavy red suit jacket wash over her. Gratefully, she tugged it shut in the front. Looking back to the sky, she could feel the starlight bounce off her beautiful eyes. A smile crept across her lips, and she let out a thin giggle, attracting the attention of her male companion.
"What're you grinning at?" He asked, his long dark hair protected from the wind while tied back into a sensible tail, that fell into the middle of his back. "What's so funny?"
She pulled the jacket closed, and leaned into the tall man's side, as he wrapped his arm around her. "I was just wondering how much you had to pay Zordon to leave us alone." The young man chuckled in return, but the girl's laughter turned to slight concern. She noted the short sleeved, black silk, dress shirt he was wearing, with a pair of black slacks. In giving up his jacket, he had only exchanged possibilities of catching a cold with the young woman.
"Aren't you going to be cold?" She asked in all honesty.
He stopped the percession, and looked into her eyes. She felt her legs quiver. Those caramel eyes that could easily melt any female's heart they're set upon. There was no mistaking those eyes.
"I'd do anything for you, Kat." he announced. He pulled the young woman into a tight embrace, as he sent a ghostly whisper against past her ear. "As long as it pleases Lord Zedd."
With her own eyes widening, she returned her site to his. Those eyes, those unmistakeable, caramel coated eyes, now replaced by an unfeeling tone of grayish silver. "Tommy?" she wasn't sure if she was questioning motives or identity. "Wh-- What's going on?"
Senses now aware of anything around her, a fear running through her blood, she turned about in time to see the rustling entrance of somehow, another Tommy Oliver. Not hers, no, that much was obvious from the appearance. The long locks of black hair were cut sensibly, not even touching the young man's shoulders. His toned arms were bare, courtesy of a sleeveless, mint green flannel vest, with a black hood attached to the back. His legs were covered in worn black jeans, and his feet in heavy black boots.
She turned back to the first young man, double-taking his transformation. As the first Tommy retrieved the jacket from Kat's posession, she noticed it had become the same unfeeling gray of his eyes. With an eerie grace, he wrapped himself up in the jacket, waiting for Kat to ask yet another predictable question.
"What are you?" She backed away from each of them, carefully, keeping both in eye view. Behind her, Kat nearly jumped out of her skin as she confronted yet another Tommy. This one posessed softer features than the second incarnation, with a hair length somewhere between the first two. He folded his arms across his chest, barely covered in a loose fitting, white tanktop. Panic stricken, Kat turned the only way left to her.
"No!" she begged, not sure of what would happen while the fourth Tommy stepped towards her. The fourth wore a hairstyle that hung loose around his shoulders, undisturbed by the winds which had seemed to increase with the girl's panic. His red t-shirt contrasted greatly against the dark green surroundings of the park.
"Are you frightened?" The green Tommy asked. "We're the same," he hissed. "You are from the same mold. You too have the conflict stiring within you. The quest for goodness. For purity. The burning desire to be praised."
"Let go of the goodness." the white Tommy insisted. "Do not welcome it, but exploit it. Let it be your mask in your quest to become once again, what you were so short a time ago. Let you're lies pave your way, while the truth gives you the power."
"The power to make things as they should be," the red Tommy continued. "As you want them to be. Cease your battle and be true to yourself. With the truth comes power. With power comes everything."
"And anything," the original tommy finished. "The power to have what you want, and to dismiss the less favorable. You could have the world in the palm of one hand, and shape it with the other."
"You fear our actions," green Tommy began the cycle of voices again.
"But we can not harm ourselves."
"We are not a part of Tommy."
"We are a part of you."
Katherine screamed in agony, as she felt the cold hands of the four incarnations reach into her soul, stretching her very spirit and body, into their respective entities. Pain, fear, the two feelings overwhelmed her. If she was going to die, let it be now. Let it be now!
She could hear the voices echoe collectively in her mind. We are a part of you.
"NO!" Kat sprang to an upright position. She patted to her immediate left and right. Her bed, her comfortable double bed, complete with pale pink comforter. Her neck craned from side to side, letting her eyes take in the security her room created. The numerous ballerina porceline statuettes sparsely thrown about, the pure white walls alive with the dancing shadows of the old tree just outside her bay window.
Just a dream, she reassured herself. But it wasn't just a dream, and Katherine Hillard knew that. It wasn't a dream. No, it was that dream. It was always that dream. Reaching into her nightstand, she withdrew a small legal pad, and a blue ball point pen.
She examined her blind writing as best she could. Legible? She didn't know, or care. The details of the vision were engraved into her mind. Capping the pen, she returned it, only to toss the pad onto her bed as she headed for the bottom drawer of her large white dresser.
She withdrew a pair of white sweat pants, and all but leapt into them. Stepping before a mirror, she tucked her long pink nightshirt into the pants, and pulled her hair back into a convinient tail, suitable for an unannounced meeting with her secondary father figure.
She felt a tickeling at her feet, as she searched the top drawer for a pair of socks. She lowered her head to face the worried English Springer Spaniel with a heavy heart. Kat couldn't remember when the dog hadn't been there for her. Notorious for being loveable, it was also a great judge of character, and firghtened off many possible unwelcome associates while she took, minus the dog at her side, lonely strolls through the park.
She knelt down and scratched the dog playfully behind the ears, ruffling the black and white fur. "Sorry Dexter," she apologized, "But it's important that I find out what's going on." As she sank into the floor to place the socks on her feet, she left herself open for the animal's infamous caring licks. "Okay Dex," she smiled, as she quickly put on her white low-cut sneakers. "That's enough. Go bug Da'."
Climbing to her feet, Kat opened to door and was pleased to see the dog follow instructions, as it usually did, and run into the always slightly ajar door to the master bedroom of Jesse Hillard. She smiled, but almost immediately regained her focus. Turning to her nighstand once more, she strapped on the pink banded watch she always carried with her, and even in darkness cut only by the dancing moonlight, found the proper button to teleport her in a blast of pink light.
Her feet touched lightly on the heavy gray floors of the Power Chamber. The large room was dark, with absolutely none of it's usual lumination. Even the time warp for Zordon, her interdimensional mentor, was empty, without it's 'guiding light', as it was. There was no Alpha 5, Zordon's assistant, running about, crying it's familliar 'aye yai yai's.
With the exception of the low-powered flood lamps, the only other light was coming from one of six control panels. Speciffically, the communications board. It was the single most important board in the Chamber, controlling contact and teleportation between all five of the Rangers, as well as the galaxy-roaming Gold Ranger of Triforia.
The small red bulb flashed. Kat may not have known as much as Alpha about the controls, but she knew an incoming message when she saw one. Maybe it would explain the disappearance of Zordon and Alpha. Maybe they were captured. Maybe it was a ransom. She felt the light calling to her, and found her finger flipping the appropriate switch.
The wall-mounted viewing globe came alive. It flickered with static at first, but slowly revealed the Gold Ranger's face. "Trey?" she asked the image. When the image continued to speak over her, Kat realized the message must have been a pre-recorded loop.
"Zordon," Trey spoke as the message started from the begining. "After extensive testing on my part, I have determined that the project must not continue. Please Zordon, destroy the silver project. I urge you, destroy the silver pr----"
"Katherine." Zordon rumbled. The young girl had been so fixated on the message, she had not noticed the bodyless figure return into his timewarp. His eyes narrowed on his 'child'. "What brings you here at such a late hour?"
Katherine swallowed. Zordon seemed genuinely annoyed that she had viewed a possibly private message. "I -- I umm, came to talk to you. About a dream I've been having a lot, lately." She flashed the legal pad she had brought with her from home. "I've written down the details from the very begining," she stated. "Since the first dream, they seem to tell more and more each time. I experience the previous dream, but there's more added to the end of the next one. I wanted to figure out what was going on before anything else happens." Zordon listened as Kat outlined her dreams, yet still providing detail where needed. "So? What do you think, Zordon?"
Kat wanted to curse as the alarm sounded. Quickly, she brought up an image of the disturbance. "Cogs," She spat. The robotic storm troopers were attacking an unfinished structure. "It's Ernie's night club!" Kat realized. "It's almost done and they're destroying it!"
"I will have Alpha notify the others," Zordon informed the girl. "But it will take a few moments. Please try to keep the cogs at bay until then."
Kat nodded. "Zeo Ranger I: Pink!" she called forth her power.
"Whoa!" Pink Ranger ducked as she teleported into the night club, narrowly missing steel girder tossed her way. It flew over her head, crashing into the wall of the catwalk she stood upon. "Nothin' like a warm welcome," she quipped, pulling her Zeo Pistol from it's holdster. As she picked off a few Cogs, she summoned her shield from it's subspace pocket, using it to deflect several loose items thrown at her during the battle. "Why do I end up pullin' the late shift?" Pink Ranger asked, upping the power setting on her pistol since it's laser merely singed the outer housing of the shock troops. "And where's the monster?" she asked. "Normally these things have a plan, not just random destruction."
"Need a hand?"
Pink Ranger jumped, nearly blasting the Red Ranger behind her, who had brought with him the remains of the team. Surprisingly, she didn't lower her pistol, but her shakey aim frightened her friends. She kept the weapon focused on Red Ranger's chest, her aim only wavering an inch or so in any direction as she searched for a handle on the moment.
"Kat," As Red Ranger attempted to push the pistol off to the side, her aim stiffened. "Kat, are you okay? What's wrong?" He watched as her aim lowered. "That's right, just talk to me." Red Ranger heard no response, simply witnessing a blank stare from her visor. "Do you even recognize me?" he asked. "It's me, Tommy." To the Red Ranger's surprise, Pink Ranger returned her aim to his chest, almost pressing the barrell of the pistol into him. "Wonderful." Looking over his shoulder, Red Ranger gestured to his teammates. "Guys, maybe you should take care of the Cogs."
"No problem," Green Ranger nodded. He summoned his hatchets from their subspace home, in turn giving the notion for Blue Ranger to summon his arm blades, and Yellow Ranger her nunchaku. "Just be careful and don't say anything stupid." he warned, leaping off the catwalks to the floor several levels below, Blue and Yellow Ranger close behind.
"C'mon, Kat." Red Ranger put up his hands. "I'm not going to hurt you. What's gotten into you?" He saw her finger beginning to press against the trigger. "I'm not going to hurt you." Suddenly, a wave of white energy washed over him. At first, he couldn't believe what had just happened, but as he looked up to Pink Ranger from his now kneeling position, Red Ranger had clarification. His Pink counterpart had not fired. But as his head swam, he had no time to discover who had.
"Well, that was easy enough," Laughed a two-toned robot, one half of his face silver, the other maroon. "Ye would think a Power Ranger would put up more o' a fight," he said, in a scottish accent. He held the large rifle-styled weapon in two hands. "How's our power, Orbus?"
A black and white flying robot, much much smaller than it's friend, circled around to the other's back, examining the power readings from the weapons supply battery. "Looks like we've got enough for one more, Clank," it chirped mischevously.
In that time, Pink Ranger's aim had transfered instantly over to the robotic pair. "You!" she growled. "What've you done with Tommy?" Her aim was much more determined this time, and had Clank uttered the wrong words, he would be a pile of dust on the ground. "Tell me!" she ordered.
"Wouldna ye like t'know---"
"Put the gun down!" Pink Ranger demanded. Clank complied.
"Very well," he said pointing the gun over to his side. If he even attempted to fire at the Pink Ranger, he would be giving more than enough notice. However he wasn't aiming for the Pink Ranger, at least not anymore. He pulled on the hair trigger, as another blast of white energy leapt from the barrell, down to the floor.
Pink Ranger shivered as she heard Yellow Ranger's cry. She pulled back on the trigger, only to find her laser pass right through the teleporation beam that carried the mechanical duo back to the Machine Empire's skybase. "Son of a ---" Pink Ranger leapt over the railing of the catwalks to the floor below, littered with the scattered and mixed remains of Cogs. "What happened?" Pink Ranger asked.
"I was about to ask you the same thing," Yellow returned. "What the hell happened to Adam? And where's Tommy?" Yellow Ranger asked, looking to her friend, who had no answer. "This is wonderful." She lifted her wrist to her mouth, speaking into the communicator underneath. "Zordon, are you there?" Static. "Great, what's going on?"
"There must be too much interference here," Blue Ranger suggested. "Maybe whatever Clank did is causing a communication barrier." He tested his own communicator. "Nope, we can't even teleport. We'll have to get away from this area before we can do anything. I doubt anyone'll be comin' around, so let's power down and head home for the night."
"Yeah," Yellow Ranger agreed. "As much as I hate to say it, there's nothin' else we can do."
The Rangers powered down, and left, with only Kat feeling as if she and her friends were being watched. "I don't like this," Kat mumbled under her breath. "Not one bit."
It enveloped her, the unfeeling yet unusually warm darkness. It seemed wherever she moved, no progress was made, for no surroundings actually existed around her. In the distance, or relatively near, came a blue sparkle. She didn't know how long she walked, nor did she care, all that mattered was reaching that compelling destination.
She found herself in a hall of mirrors, yet not one reflection her own. As she turned to each pane of glass, she saw only the hispanic boy known as Rocky, the Blue Ranger. He stood, hands clamped infront of him, looking solemnly out to meet his friends eyes.
"Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion." Kat felt compelled to reach out. She expected her palm to press against the cold glass, and almost withdrew as her fingers lightly grazed the young man's face. "Time to wake up."
"Kat!" Jesse Hillard, the girl's father called through the bedroom door. "Time to wake up."
Sluggishly the pink clad girl rubbed her eyes. Turning to her clock, she shuddered. "Eight thirty. Kids shouldn't have to wake up this early on a weekend."
Her father entered, Dexter close in toe, leaping onto the girl's bed. The man, mid-to-late forties, with graying brown hair and a beard, examined his daughter. "Y'okay? You don't look well."
"I'm fine," she assured. "Tanya still home?"
Jesse shook his head. He sometimes wondered why he allowed the girl to become a part of their home so easily. Not that Jesse resented Tanya. It was just the opposite, she had become a second daughter to him. And it was almost as if he felt pushing the girl away was doing the wrong thing. "She left for Adam's." he answered.
"Adam's?" she asked. "But he's---" she shut up.
"He's what?" Jesse asked curiously.
"My fault, thinking of something else. I'll be up in a few minutes."
Jesse nodded and walked towards the door. Quickly he pointed a finger into the air. "Oh yeah, I think it was Adam who called, a few minutes before Tanya left." He stroked his beard in thought. "In fact she took the call and rushed outta here. Must've been something important. Maybe you should call him back."
"I will Da'," she promised. "I will."
As the door shut behind her father, she went immediately to her telephone. Zordon didn't approve of the communicators as standard instruments of conversation, and he never seemed to be able to stress the fact enough. She dialed one of the many numbers she had memorized. No way Adam called, Kat realized. But Da' could never keep my friends' names straight anyway "Hi, Mrs. DeSantos. This is Kat, is Rocky home?" Kat frowned. "Ernie's night club? Okay, thanks." Hanging up the phone, she sat in thought for a moment. "What's he doing at Ernie's night club?"
"Thanks a lot guys," Kat heard Ernie call as she entered through the old warehouse. "I really appreciate this." The tubby hawaiian shirt-clad man was busy giving the Angel Grove police department information on the attack.
Quickly locating her friends, Kat engaged in conversation. "What're you guys doing here?"
Rocky began cleaning paths, pushing Cogs into huge piles of metallic junk. "We're cleaning up." He frowned as Kat shot him a questioning glance. "And we're looking for clues," he whispered. "But we can't do that with the cops here. And by the time they leave everything'll be confiscated."
"Lieutenant!" A hefty officer and his lean companion tromped through the Cogs to their superior officer. "Lieutenant Stone! We've found something!" The hefty officer proudly displayed a large box, with a large screen on the front. "It's some kind of computer."
The Rangers looked at each other in worry as Stone took the device. "Hmmm." he examined it. "Yeah, it's definitely a computer. It's even got some kind of pre-recorded coordinates in there. Wonder what they're for."
Ernie held a stubby finger in the air. "Remember the security footage I showed you, how two of those Power Rangers got hit by the gun, and then they vanished?" Stone nodded. "Maybe that has something to do with it."
"Possibly, but I don't know a thing about travelling through time and space."
"But I do," A calm voice answered. A golden spotlight filled the room as the Gold Ranger appeared a few feet from the Police Officer and the club's owner. "I do not believe we have met. I am the Gold Ranger of Triforia."
Kat was ready to call out Trey's name, but she found her mouth quickly covered by Rocky's sweaty hand. "Shhh," he told her. "We're not supposed to know him, remember!" She nodded. "If Trey finds anything it'll be waiting for us at the Chamber." He slowly removed his hand. "Let's get back to cleaning this place up."
"How's it going, guys?" Ernie asked, waddling over. "Y'know, I can't tell you enough times I appreciate your help. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to open on time after last night's attack. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what I'm doing with these stupid things," he kicked one of the useless Cogs. "Garbage men won't even go near 'em. And I can't put them in the dump."
"Sell 'em for scrap," Tanya suggested. "These guys are cold iron, they should give you a pretty decent wad of cash." She picked up one of the Cogs' heads. "See, this stuff could be melted down and salvaged."
Rocky took the head and lifted it high. "Ah poor Horatio. I doth exchanged him for a five cent deposit." He tossed the head over his shoulder. "Oh well, back to work."
"Speaking of work," Ernie continued. "One of my new employees just backed out on me. Any of you guys need a part time job? It's a night position, and it's gonna be busy, but it'll pay well."
"I'll take it," Kat asnwered. "I could use some extra cash right now."
"Well anytime you're ready, swing by the Youth Center and fill out the tax forms." Ernie began to leave the trio when he suddenly turned. "By the way, where's Tommy and Adam?"
"Bored, bored, bored!" Adam kicked a rock off of the floating island. The entire world that the duo found themselves in had seemed to explode at the core, leaving small islands roaming in a mysterious orbit. He sat on the edge, much like Tommy, with his legs hanging over the side. His main concern was the atmosphere, whether it was breathable. He found out it was once his powers had mysteriously given out on him. "What're you thinking about, Tommy?"
"Bumper stickers." The tall young man simply replied.
"Bumper stickers? Why?"
"Everyone's been merchandising the Power Rangers, but I've never come across bumper stickers. It's the oddest thing. Maybe we should make some up, y'know, corner the market." he smiled.
"Oh yeah, that's just what Zordon wants, borderlined-dignifying slogans on the back of our Zords. I can see it now," Adam panned his arms outward. "Honk if you love Alpha units!"
"My kid's an alien menace at the Machine Skybase," Tommy countered.
"If you can read this, you might get squished."
Tommy thought, and smiled. "Power Rangers kick your ass 'til you barf."
"Not bad," Adam laughed. "Once we get home, I'll call Kinko's."
"That's if we ever get ho-- OW!" Tommy stood immediately after an object hit him on his head, and fell behind him onto the island's crumbling soil. "What in the world?" Tommy stood to get a closer look at the item, and picked it up in his hands. "No way!"
"What is it?" Adam asked, before he could get a good look. "Wait, why does that look familliar? It kinda looks like something Trey would have."
"Yeah," Tommy displayed the black staff. "Check out the spear on the end, exactly the same. But the ornament, it's not the triple gold bars, it's more of a double-bladed axe," he pointed to the silver item poised at the end of the weapon.
"Do you suppose it's here for a reason?"
"All I know is, when Jason was the Gold Ranger, he used the Golden Power Staff to morph."
"But Trey never mentioned a Silver Ranger."
"Maybe he doesn't know." Tommy looked to his friend. "I'm gonna give it a shot." Closing his eyes, concentrating, Tommy held the staff high above his head. "Silver Ranger power!"
"So Trey," Rocky asked, as he and the girls teleported into the Power Chamber. "Did you get any information out of that --- whatever it was?"
The Triforian tossed the box over to the Blue Ranger. "See for yourself."
Turning the box in his hands, Rocky examined the insignia on the back. "That's the Machine Empire's crest, alright," he displayed it to his friends. "Did you figure out what the coordinates were?"
The alien nodded. "Yes. Assuming the data hasn't been changed, your friends have been sent to the dimension of the shattered Earth. Not the most appealing place, but there aren't many dangers, if any. They should be safe until we find them."
"Hey Zordon," a voice called from one of the back rooms. Jaws dropped as Jason Lee Scott and David Trueheart stepped into the main room. The burlier of the two was wearing the red Zeo V costume, with the helmet under his arm. Tommy's tall brother was clad in the green uniform of Zeo IV. Jason's head jerked to his former teammates. "Uhh-- bad timing."
"Zordon, what's going on?" Rocky flat out asked.
"With Tommy and Adam in no immediate danger," Zordon explained, "And no telling of how long it will take for them to return to the team, I had to act accordingly, and transfer their powers to intereum Rangers. Jason has served the team twice, and he is an excellent leader. In addition, the connection to the Zeo Crystal has completely healed him from the Gold Ranger ordeal. David already knew of the team, is semi-familliar with it's inner workings, and has his share of run-ins with the Machine Empire."
"And you're sure the guys'll be okay?" Tanya asked.
"I am certain they are fine." Zordon confirmed.
"Well," Kat sighed. "We do need five Rangers."
"Look guys," Jason approached the three Rangers. "I know you don't like this arrangement. Hell neither do I, I don't like taking Tommy's powers a second time."
"And I don't like this period." David broke in. "I don't know the first thing about being a Ranger. I mean, what if I crash my Zordon into a building or something?"
"Relax," Jason smiled. "The main thing you have to learn is to stay calm."
While the Rangers continued their conversation, Zordon took the time to motion Trey into his private laboratory. Solemly, Trey stood before the secondary plasma tube, while Alpha 5 guarded a mirrored liquid in a glass jar.
"I see the symbiote is restless." he frowned. "Has it been difficult? I would be more than happy to return it to the scientists on Triofria if it's too much trouble."
"That is not why I called you here," Zordon revealed. "I wanted to speak to you about the Silver Project." Zordon watched as Trey's face hardened.
"I thought I asked that it be destroyed. The Imsa Stone, the power source for the staff, has caused adverse reactions in all who hold it, regardless of race. It's too dangerous to keep among Rangers. Get rid of it, once and for all!"
"I did." Zordon simply spoke.
Trey's mood lightened. "Then what's the problem?"
"I did not destroy it. I sent it to another dimension. A dimension where I thought it would be safe, and untouched for an eternity."
Trey breathed deeply, words following his breath. "The shattered Earth dimension?" he asked. Zordon nodded as best he could. "Wonderful. Well, it is an extremely large dimension. The odd's of either Tommy or Adam finding the staff are very ---" Through a small one-way observation window, Trey saw a bright flash of silver, accompanied by a thunderous clap. "By the founders--" he spat, stepping back into the main room.
Adam was immediately wrapped up in a hug courtesy of Tanya. Kat managed to surpress any latent fears she had, and did the same to Tommy. Feeling left out, Rocky took the time to embrace himself in a way only Rocky could.
"God I missed you," Adam told his girlfriend.
Kat pulled away from Tommy. "Well," she smiled. "What happened to you?" she looked at his outfit. She examined the black body suit, the standard boots and gloves of the Zeo Rangers, and the silver shield he wore on his chest. He held a black helmet in his arm, with a silver outline of an axe-shaped visor. "You seemed to have an interesting time."
"Not really," Tommy admitted. "Adam and I were sitting around when this thng," he displayed the Silver Power Staff, "bonked me on the head. It hurt too."
"Couldn't be all bad if it brought you home."
Tommy turned, not expecting to see David in a green Ranger's costume. "Nice threads," he laughed. David blushed.
"Right, I guess we give these back now?" David asked to anyone who could answer.
"Actually," Adam interupted. "I could really use a break. Just for the week. Is that okay, Zordon?" The interdimensional being managed a shrug. "Great. Don't worry David, after the week you'll be begging me to let you keep those powers."
"I doubt that." the taller boy replied.
"What about you, Tommy?" Jason asked. "Want your colors back?"
"Nah," Tommy smiled. "I kinda feel like I've bonded with these," he gestured to his costume. "I think I'll keep them for a while. Besides, Trey can't be here all the time, right?"
"Well that's true," Trey spoke, "But ---"
"Good, then it's settled." Tommy didn't notice the harsness in Trey's gaze. "I'm hungry, who's up for some food?" Tommy heard a rouse of agreements. "Trey, feel like coming along?"
The Triforian looked to Zordon, then to Tommy. "Regretfully, I must decline. I have some things to discuss with Zordon before I return to Triforia."
"Suit yourself," the Silver Ranger shurgged. He powered down, looking at his red t-shirt. He felt a shiver run up his spine. "But first I need to go shopping." His teammates agreed. One of the greatest, if not the only hassles of being a Ranger, was the psychological fixation to the color bonded to the wielder. Now, red no longer seemed appealing to the young man.
Trey waited until the teens left before confronting Zordon. "I woud have expected you to break in at any time." He admitted. "You and I both know that Tommy of all people can not handle the Silver Power. You should have destroyed it when I asked you to."
"I do have a mission, Trey," Zordon reminded. "It is my duty to ensure that Earth's protectors have the ability to defend their world from any evil forces."
"You just created an evil force!" Trey countered.
"I did not give Tommy those powers."
"But you didn't take them away either! You let the most unstable Ranger of all time walk out of here under the power of the Imsa Stone! What were you thinking creating a Ranger whose power source would be that of a warrior who served evil for six-thousand years? No one has ever posessed that power and come to reject it's influences! Once someone holds the stone's power, it is theirs until they die! If that stone unlock's Tommy's evil side, which by the way," Trey said matter-of-factly, "I do know about, all too well, we are all in immense danger." Trey ran a hand through his hair. "I must take my leave. Fate has taken a questionable turn."
"Do not go," Zordon pleaded. "If you are indeed right, the Rangers will need your help."
"Oh no they won't," Trey almost laughed. "They'll need much more." A flash of golden light, and the alien prince was gone, leaving a confused Zordon to sort through his thoughts.
Ten young people, all alike in dignity, in Angel Grove, where we lay our scene, from anceint grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
"Ten?" Katherine asked herself as she strolled through the Youth Center. For some reason, she easily dismissed the unknown narrator. She floated to the usual table of the Power Rangers, indeed finding ten occupants; the five Zeo Rangers including herself, Trey of Triforia, and four indistinguishible blurs, who upon closer inspection, only lost any possible features they might have had.
"How can I be two places at once?" she asked. She was surprised to have her double turn to her.
"Because you're not sure of where you should be," the double answered. Kat flinched at the comment. "You stand where you believe you should, but not where you wish." she motioned to an empty seat away from Tommy, whom the double was seated next to.
"I don't understand."
"Don't understand yourself," Adam turned in his chair, a pair of mirrored Lennon-style sunglasses resting off his nose. "Trust yourself. Forget your knowledge and remember your instincts."
"What in the world does that mean?" Kat asked.
"What does what mean?"
Instantly, Kat found herself, once again, in the Youth Center, this time, sitting at the bar. Her roommate and friend, Tanya, sat on the stool next to her. "Well, what were you talking about? C'mon, spill it." Tanya demanded in a friendly manner.
Kat fumbled for the words. "I --- I can't. I'm not even sure what I'm talking about."
"You've been zonin' out a lot lately, y'okay girl?"
"I'm fine. Probably under too much pressure."
Tanya talked over a sip of her smoothie. "Okay, but I'm just down the hall if you wanna talk."
Ernie waddled out from the back room, handing a fairly thick booklette of tax forms over to Kat. "Here you go. Just fill these out and we'll set up a schedule. Lemme know if it interfere's with your other interests."
Kat blinked. "What other interests?"
Ernie pointed to a collection of photographs he had accumulated on the wall. Subtly, he sent his chubby digit towards a photo containing the Zeo Rangers. "Those interests." He saw the girls pale, and then worry. "Relax," he told them. "I've known since Jason and his friends first started. I'm not totally oblivious to what's totally obvious." He picked up a glass and began to scrub it clean. "And stop teleporting in front of my office window," he told them shyly.
Kat turned to her friend, who shrugged. "Don't look at me, I'm the new girl, remember?"
"Well I guess this only helps my employment." Kat flipped open the booklette. "Lesse, name---"
They did it to you again, Tommy told himself. After his boredom in the Shattered Earth Dimension, the tall young man had looked forward to simply watching television for an hour or so. As he laid about on his bed, he had no expectations to start a debate with his own mind.
"They didn't do anything," he quietly returned, eyelids slowly but surely dropping.
Jason stole your spotlight. He took your powers. Again, without question.
"It was necessary."
You were not gone long enough for it to become necessary.
"But I only came back because of my new powers,"
Power your earned. Do you think you did not earn the position as Red Ranger?
"Jason did as well. A long time ago."
He has them because they are all afraid of you.
"They're not afraid of me."
Kat is. Kat tried to shoot you. If it hadn't been for your quick thinking, you'd be dead. You make the Power Ranger a success. Do they let you have that glory?
Tommy's eyes snapped open, and was immediately startled not to find himself in his bedroom, but instead he was in a room of empty black space, confronted by the Silver Ranger. "Where am I?" he asked the Ranger.
"The part of your mind that you refuse to come to." Silver Ranger answered. "I have been waiting for you. I was hoping you'd return."
"Return to what?" Tommy asked. "This?" he gestured to his surroundings. "A cold empty nothing? There is nothing to return to. Not since I lost the Green Ranger powers." Tommy almost blushed at the bass laughter from the Silver Ranger. "What's so funny?"
"You didn't destroy anything here," Silver Ranger contradicted. "You may have removed as much as possible, to convince your own self, but you will _never_, get rid of the evil inside you."
Tommy stepped back a few paces. "Wh-- What are you going to do?" he stammered.
Silver Ranger stepped closer, making up more than the lost distance between the two. "I'm going to show you the way."
Tommy returned to his bedroom, his fear completely eliminated. "Yes," he said, in a very raspy voice. "I understand now."
"I forbid it!" the middle-aged woman cried. She watched as her son sifted through the items in the glass cabinet, choosing items and sorting them into several piles, narrowing choices all the while. "I will not have you living on that mud ball. You're place is here," she gestured towards the large room, attempting to indicate the entire palace of ivory and gold.
"Mother," Trey shut the display case, holding two items in his hands. "I have made up my mind. As long as the Rangers of Earth need me, I will be there for them."
"You are not one of them," she huffed.
"Yes, I am!" he debated, watching his mother roll her eyes. "For the longest time, I used to believe that I was actually the Gold Ranger."
"And you are," she replied.
"No." Trey shook his head defiantly. "I'm not. I am by right, Zeo Ranger VI!" He watched his mother shiver at the thought. "I am meant to be part of a team, Mother. It's where I am happy! It is where I belong!"
"And you'll so easily dismiss your subjects?"
"What subjecs?" Trey asked. "Other than taking Pyramidas to another world, I have never been outside the palace walls! I know not of these subjects." He tucked the items into a belt pouch. "I am leaving Mother. You can either give me your blessing, or you can continue to disillusion yourself."
She turned to the hallway, heading towards the throne room. "I'm sure once you meet your subjects you'll make the right decission. I'll have our speech writer prepare an introduction and you ---" She turned again, hoping to see her son. "-- and you will be long gone."
"Hey Ernie," Kat asked, as she and Tany looked up from the counter. "Turn up the television."
Complying, the tubby man increased the sound on the small thirteen inch television set. The broadcast was a live report, coming directly from Angel Grove Stadium. The reporter was out of view, but her voice clearly heard.
[And as you can see, a troop -- uh -- band -- I mean a gaggle of ---- a lot of Cogs interupted the basketball game between the Angel Grove Halos and the Stone Canyon Flames. Roughly seventy-percent of the spectators made it out before the Cogs sealed the doors.] The imaged shifted, indicating what they were watching was a prerecorded segment. The live footage was easily distinguishable. [Which proved to be quite the dumb manuver, because now they're stuck with this man.] Cameras zoomed in on a Ranger type warrior, all black, with a featureless helmet, a thick breast plate, whipping a three-sectioned staff into any and all Cogs in his path. [Now, I have no idea who this guy is, and I'm in no position to ask right now as the floor is overrun with ---] Suddenly, the entire collection of robotic shock troops vanished, leaving a slightly winded warrior alone. [---Cogs.] The woman moved in front of the camera. [C'mon Jimmy, hurry up, let's get down there before he's gone!] The reported turned once again to the now empty stadium floor, releasing inappropriate vocals.
"Oh my," Kat giggled.
"That's the loudest profanity I've ever heard," Tanya noted.
"So who was that guy?" Ernie asked curiously, dismissing the reporter's obscenity.
"Damned if I know," the black girl replied. "Not one of our guys."
"I've never seen him. He looks like a Ranger, though." Kat heard the familiar six tones emit from her 'watch'. Ernie smiled, well knowing what it meant. She covered her wrist simply out of reflex, as she assembled with the others in their usual teleportation spot. "I'll finish those forms later, Ernie," she called, as she left the building in an unseen blast of pink light.
Kat felt her head hit her pillow. In fact, if she wasn't slightly bruised in various places from the afternoon's battle, she probably would have felt nothing else. Her pleasant smile slowly, over a minute or so, turned itself into a light frown, not of despair, but of confusion. She tossed and turn, causing grief to the poor dog at the foot of her bed, who constantly had to readjust himself so he too could be comfortable.
"Stop it!" She cried at the two figures somehow glittering in the darkness. "What are you doing?" Kat watched in horror as the Gold Ranger defended attacks from the newly created Silver Ranger, it's human counterpart. "No!"
The broad side of Silver Ranger's axe headed staff caught the Gold Ranger in the side of the head, with a powerful impact. Kat shrieked as the helmet rolled to her feet. She examined it fearfully, and found the courage to look back to the combatants.
"Trey?" No, she knew it wasn't Trey. The Gold Ranger was not as tall as it once was. Then Kat saw, not in the battlescene, but in her own mind, the Gold Ranger's face. Innocence gone, eyes burning with fury, the Gold Ranger raised it's own staff high, calling forth a ludicrous amount of power.
A golden lightning bolt struck down upon the Silver Ranger, it's armor breaking away, only to reveal another set. The new armor was solid gold, unlike the trim on the Gold Ranger's uniform. The warriors weary blue face turned to Kat, speaking only once.
Kat woke in her sweat-soaked pillow and huffed. Climbing out of her bed, she knew it was time to end the nightmares, one way or another.
It's cold, Kat thought. The young girl had left her house for the second night in a row, this time to roam the park. This is where it all started, She recalled. Indeed, the park was the location of her first vision, so it seemed to be the most logical place to search for answers.
She looked down at her clothes, surprised to still be shivering with all she wore. She had worn one of her unusual outfits. Her white sneakers with pink trim padded her feet. Her legs were wrapped in light blue jeans, with patterned patchs of pink near the pockets and seams, as well as the knees. Her matching jean jacket had pink patches on the elbows, and the heavy item covered her white tank top. Her hair sat still, parted in the middle, hanging straight down.
I don't think I've worn this since I moved here, she thought. It was one of her most loved outifts, if not her favorite, even if it did seem a little odd to some people. A couple's voice snapped her from thought. She heard a laugh. And it's familliar, she worried.
She could've ducked into one of the large shadows of the trees, but something pushed her to stay put. Hands in her jacket pockets, she waited as the couple rounded the bend. There was no mistaking the tall young man. For some reason, she expected it. "Hello Tommy." she said as politely as possible. She turned to the red head, who was a junior in Angel Grove High. "Rebecca," she nodded.
"Kat--" Tommy shyly smiled. "Wh-- What're you doing here?"
"I went for a walk. What are you doing here?"
"I asked Rebecca on a date." he admitted, no longer with a smile.
Kat deeply inhaled the crisp night air. "You asked her out." she repeated, calmly. "Well, isn't that nice." she barely smiled.
"Am I missing something?" Rebecca asked. "Tommy told me you guys broke up weeks ago."
Kat shot Tommy a questioning gaze. "Oh he did? Well, I'm always the last to find out, aren't I?"
"Well I can see this won't be pretty," Rebecca uttered. "Thanks Tommy, I had a great time." She leaned in for a kiss, quickly exchanging it for a handshake, and finally withdrawing the offer completely as she peddled off. "G'night." she waved.
"Nice girl," Kat complimented.
"Just what do you think you were doing?" Tommy asked with rage.
"Me?" Kat gestured to herself. "You're the one who's been going around behind my back!" Kat saw Tommy's cold eyes. "Well, you wanted to break up with me," she sighed. "Guess tonight was the official announcement, huh? When did you plan on actually telling me?"
"I wasn't," he said with an odd sense of pride. "It's not over."
"Oh no," Kat stood firmly as Tommy stepped towards her. "You've got it wrong. It is so over."
In one swift motion, Tommy grabbed a handful of Kat's blonde mane. "It's not over," he told her. "Not until I say it is. You belong to me, just like Kimberly, just like Rebecca." Kat didn't even open her mouth as he pulled on her hair. No, she stood strong, defiant. "I own you, Katherine Hillard."
Not letting go of her hair, Tommy turned to barely see a completely black figure standing behind him, with a large bo staff. "Who are you supposed to be? Batman?" The figure's answer came in the form of his bo meeting Tommy's knee cap. It caused the taller of the two to lose his balance, but it was quickly regained.
"I'm Fortune," he said.
"Nice t'meechya," Tommy sneered, holding his hand up high. "Just call me Silver Ranger." The power washed over Tommy, fully morphing him in a split second. "Now that the odds are a little bit more even ---"
Fortune could see Silver Ranger smile devilishly underneath his helmet. "Ranger must not fight Ranger," he warned. Fortune extended his gloved hand. "This is not who you are, Tommy Oliver. Come with me, I can remove the corruption done to you by the Imsa Stone. I can help you, make you the man you once were."
Silver Ranger lifted his boot high into Fortune's stomach. "I am the man I once was!" he declared. Grabbing the handle of his staff, he spun, bringing it upwards against Fortune's left hip, tearing the uniform worn by the mysterious warrior.
"It's morphin time!"
"Oh no you don't!" Silver Ranger spun around in time to grab Kat by one wrist, denying her the ability to connect her Zeonizers. He took one half of the device, which held a small chunk of pink crystal, and tossed it at Fortune. He pinned Kat's arm behind her back, and brought his axe staff to her throat. "Should've ran when you had the chance, Kat." With a hateful glare underneath his helmet, Silver Ranger was tempted to spit in the direction of Fortune, who was just recovering from the injury. "We'll settle this later," he insisted, before teleporting away with his prize.
Fortune sank to his hands and knees, staring at the walkway below him. "Isn't this just wonderful," he breathed.
Adam stepped out of the Power Chamber's lab, rolling his white sleeve down over his bandaged arm. It was in the fairly late evening when Zordon asked the young man to come to his laboratory for some brief testing. For what? Adam had no idea, and he really didn't care. All he wanted right now was to go back to his bed.
He stopped. It was a perfectly natural reaction, for there before him stood the black clad warrior he had been told of earlier by Tanya. Neither made a move towards each other, but stood in a mutual respect mixed with fear. "Who are you?" Adam asked.
"Fortune." the warrior replied after a brief pause. "And I am a friend."
"A friend, huh?" Adam wasn't sure what to make of the man just yet.
"A friend who bears ill news." Fortune displayed one half of Kat's Zeonizer. "I encountered a confrontation between your friends, Katherine and Tommy. The latter of whom had escalated it to an almost physical battle."
"Where's Kat?" was Adam's next question "Is she okay?"
"I'm afraid I can not answer either of those questions. I had underestimated the fighting ability of the Silver Ranger, allowing him to capture your friend." Fortune lowered his head. "I am sorry."
Adam sighed, letting what he had learned sink in. "Thank you."
Fortune slowly looked up. "Pardon?"
"Thank you," Adam repeated. "We would've never known about this if you hadn't intervened."
Fortune turned, examining the collection of Ranger costumes on the wall. "Your team has encountered many changes." he stated.
"It's not my team." Adam corrected.
"Isn't it?" Fortune asked. "You have the traits of a great leader. Sensible. Powerful. Smart. Very little ego. I don't expect Zordon will delay too long in appointing you officially."
"I'm off duty for a while. The original Red Ranger is leading the team."
"Jason Scott." Fortune nodded. "Not a bad selection in his own right."
"How do you know about us?" Adam asked.
"I have been watching the Zeo Rangers for quite some time."
Adam tipped his head, focused on something. "Just the Zeo Rangers?" He asked. "Billy?"
Fortune sighed, and removed his helmet, revealing a young man with slightly mussed blonde hair. He held the helmet in both hands, tipping it slightly. "How'd you know?"
Adam pointed to the tear on the costume's left hip. "The tatoo." he answered.
Billy looked at his own hip, examining the design. It was a circle, with six points, with one pointing at 'seven o' clock' slightly longer than the others. Inside the circle was a close-up of a howling wolf. His mind flashed back to the night after the Ninja Quest. For some odd reason, the entire team at the time, Tommy, himself, Kimberly, Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, ahd agreed to brand themselves. The newer Rangers jumped at the chance. They had felt like replacements, and finally came into their own after the Quest. The tatoos created a new bond, knowing that each Ranger shared something in common.
"I remember it hurt like hell," Billy recalled. "I couldn't sleep on the side for two days."
"Why'd you come back? Not that I didn't miss you, but I thought you were happy on Aquitar."
"Yeah so did I." Billy said. "All I will say say is certain --- complications --- arose. Cestria and I did not, in my mind, have a proper relationship. And once I had found these powers," Billy held his hand as he saw Adam prepare another question. "I only feel like explaining it once. Next time the group's together." Adam nodded.
"It's good to have you back, Billy."
"So what do we do?" Tanya asked, as the team collected themselves in the Power Chamber. "We can't just leave Kat wherever she is, but we also need a Pink Ranger, and Tommy has half of her Zeonizer."
"Not the important half," Billy told them. "The Zeonizers are two parts, but it was the non-esential half." He saw the group's confused state. "Okay," he sighed. "Imagine one half of the Zeonizer, as a lamp. The other half, which holds a small chunk of the appropriate crystal, acts like a light bulb. Imagine these light bulbs different colors, but all the same type. They can be switched from lamp to lamp without any difficulty.
"When you plug the red bulb into the lamp, you get red light. It's the same principle for the other colors. Jason for instance, could exchange his 'bulb' component, for Rocky's, and easily become the Blue Ranger. The 'lamp' has no purpose but to reflect the bulb's power into yourself, and transforming the energy into something visible, and in our case, physical.
"It's a good thing Tommy didn't know this. He had apparently assumed that this piece," he displayed the bulb mechanism of Kat's Zeonizer. "was useless without it's other half. On the contrary, had he decided to remove the other component, then we would be without a Pink Ranger.
"All that remains is to create a temporary lamp mechanism and to choose a temporary Pink Ranger."
Adam could feel all eyes fall on him. "Oh no," he argued. "I'm not doing it!"
"You do not have to," Zordon reassured the non-active Ranger. "Unlike yellow, the pink power is not genderless. The pink power was created to give balance to the team. It was to guaruntee that there would be at least one female per Ranger team. In some cultures, such as Aquitar, white is the feminine color, in the now defunct Rangers of Vrahnan, the female wore gray."
"There isn't anyone available, though," Tanya commented.
"Billy," Rocky said to his friend. "What about that girl Tommy was with? Rebecca?"
"We don't need her getting involved," the genius answered. "Tommy's gone off the deep end, and we can't risk bringing an outsider in on it. I think there's only one way to go with this."
"Kimberly?" Adam guessed.
Jason stroked his chin. "You know, that's not a bad idea. She's already used to being a Ranger. She also knows more about Tommy than anyone. Including me. I think it's worth a shot." He turned to the red and gold robot parading around the Power Chamber, bored as could be. "Alpha, can you open a channel to Kim's communicator?"
An image flickered to life on the viewing globe. It was a bedroom, mainly white, sparsley decorated in pink. Tossing and turning in a bed, was the lavender clad Kimberly Hart.
"Send the signal," Jason ordered. The beep emitted from the viewing globe's speaker, much like a television. Jason watched as Kimberly groggily turned over, and smacked her hand down on her alarm clock. "Uhh -- maybe you should try again, Alpha." The robot complied, and sent the page again. This time, Kimberly wearily reached for her phone, placing it upside-down to her ear.
"Getting closer," Rocky shrugged.
Jason was not very amused. "Okay Alpha, one more time, crank up the volume." The young man smiled as Kimberly finally reached for her communicator, and hesitantly spoke into it.
"Hello, Kimberly." Jason greeted.
[Jason? What's wrong?]
"You get right to the point, don't you?"
[If it was anything else you would've used the phone,] she pointed out. [Now tell me.]
"We need your help. We have a situation here and we need you to help us out."
[Okay, give me a few minutes and teleport me, okay?]
"Right. See ya soon." Jason nodded to Alpha to close the channel. He turned to the team as the viewing globe went dark. "That's one problem solved. There's still the problem of Kat's abduction."
"She could be anywhere," Tanya realized.
"With anyone." David realized. "The only thing we can do now, is wait."
Kat's body quickly grew sore as she was tossed at Lord Zedd's feet. "What is the meaning of this?" the skinless man asked the Silver Ranger. "Who are you?"
"You know who I am," Silver Ranger spoke, seeing Zedd step back.
"You! What do you want?"
"To give you the Rangers. One by one. As you can see," he gestured to Kat. "I have already brought you a gift. Do with her as you wish." Silver Ranger examined the room's occupants. "I do not see Rita or her ever bumbling followers."
"Master Vile's house of low IQ's proved not to be home to me. Luckily, the Machine Empire and I have reached an agreement in terms of coexistence. I leave them alone, they leave me alone, and our soldiers to do not act hostile to one another. Thus I was able to return to my lunar citadel."
"Well, since you are so fond of making deals ---"
"Let me guess," Zedd paced to his throne and sat. "You want in. Well forget it."
"Very well," Silver Ranger sighed, taking his leave.
"You forgot your 'gift'," Zedd pointed his bladed staff to Kat.
"Keep her," Silver Ranger laughed.
"You son of a --" Kat got to her feet and charged Silver Ranger, only to have him knock her back down more physically then the first time. She sat on the cold stone ground, wiping the blood from her mouth. "You really do belong here, dont' you?" she sneered.
"Yes," Zedd applauded. "yes, he does. Kneel before me, Silver Ranger." The young man did as requested, stepping before Zedd's throne, and lowering himself to one knee. He felt Zedd's staff slightly above his head. He felt the evil bubble inside him, all the while smiling. A powerful silver light engulfed him. As it faded, a new figure knelt in the charred circle.
Standing upright, Tommy found himself roughly seven feet tall, equal to Zedd's henchman Goldar. His eyes were a dead silver, and fangs were visible when he opened his mouth. Powerful wings jutted from his back. His forearms and fists were covered in powerful guantlets, leaving his talons, and his upper arms bare. A heavy silver armor encased his torso, as well as his powerful legs. His long hair whipped loosely in the wind provided by Zedd's large industrial fan.
"Thank you my lord," Tommy bowed.
"A new man, a new name," Zedd decreed. "Rise Silvor."
Tommy grinned at the name. "Silvor, yes. I like it."
"Goldar," Zedd snapped. "Familiarize our new associate with the citadel. And prepare yourself as well. For tomorrow, our mission of evil continues!"
Kimberly pouted as she tucked the helmet underneath her arm. "I miss the diamonds," she said, looking at the black and gold circuitry pattern that ran from shoulder to shoulder on her pink uniform. "And what's with the belt buckles? At least the old ones did something."
"Sorry about that. We switched tailors," Rocky cracked.
"What'd you tell your coach?" Adam asked curiously. "Or did you?"
"Well, my mom already knows about my 'hobbies' so to speak. So if she get's any calls from him she won't be too worried. Other than that, I'll make something up when I go back." She bit her lip. If I go back.
"Where do you plan on staying?" Tanya asked.
"Good question," Kimberly thought. "Right now, it's anyone with a spare bedroom."
Once again, all eyes fell on Adam. "Well, that I can help with. All we need to do is come up with a good excuse, and my parents should have no problem with it."
"I can teleport your belongings to the Power Chamber until then," Alpha offered.
Kimberly smiled. "Thanks. So, when do we start looking for Kat? More importantly, how do we do that? She could be anywhere."
"Aye yai yai!" Alpha brought a thermographic image onto the viewing globe. "I'm detecting movement in the lunar citadel."
"What?" Billy ran to the control panel where the robot stood. "He's right, four distinct temperature patterns, and a few hundred of the same kind." He punched a few buttons. "The computer's cross-referencing with old scans we've preformed on the citadel. It's diagnosing two of them as Zedd and Goldar. Nothing for the rest."
"Well we can bet those hundred or so are tenga Warriors." Rocky grunted.
"What do you want to bet that the other two are Tommy and Kat?" Adam asked the group.
"Not very much," David sighed.
"Oh David, I'm sorry," Adam realized. "Listen, if this is too much for you ---"
"You said yourself, you can't find anyone else. It's me, or you go without a fifth of your core team." All stood silent. "I don't want you to feel pressured, but it's your call Adam."
Adam looked to the Red Ranger. "Jason?"
"Your team, your decission," the burly young man said.
Adam turned to Billy, who was standing with a slight grin. "Told ya." the genius bragged.
The powerless Ranger's eyes returned to David. "Will you be able to fight Tommy if it comes down to it? He's not the same man you knew. He's not the same man any of us knew. If it comes down to you and him, you can't hesitate, or let your emotions take over. Can you do it?"
The scenerio Adam was trying to create finally sunk in. David tried to imagine himself fighting his brother, not just sparring, but for survival. He swallowed, remebering his own words. "I'll have to."
"Good. Tomorrow, the core team will stay here, while Billy and I head for the citadel---"
"Problem!" Tanya violently interupted. "No way you're going up there powerless."
"She's right," Jason agreed. "I'll go."
"Jason, you're needed here. You're the best field leader for the team."
"He's got a poi----" Kimberly grabbed her head and staggered for a moment.
"I believe I can settle this argument."
Adam turned to the doors of Zordon's private lab to see the unmorphed Gold Ranger. "How long have you been here?"
"Not long. I teleported in to supply Zordon with some items." Trey was looking curiously at Kimberly, extreme disturbed by her presence.
"Oh," Adam realized. "This is Kimberly," he told the Gold Ranger. "Kimberly this is---"
"Trey. I know." she said, walking into a secluded corner of the Chamber.
"Well --" Rocky sputtered. "That ended the conversation."
It took Trey almost ten minutes to coax Kimberly into a private conversation. The two had retreated into a stairwell that lead to the roof of the Power Chamber.
"So talk," Kimberly pushed.
"Why are you angry with me?" Trey asked.
"'Cause you screwed up my life, Trey!" He flinched at her words. "You were on the other side of the picture. You don't see it like I did. There I was, just sitting in a nice little coffee house in Miami, when I suddenly get sick to my stomach. Then this cute guy decides to walk over to my table. And to think my worries at that moment were getting sick on your shoes! Then the feeling went away, and everything was cool. And this really cute guy asks me my name. And then he tells me I wasn't even human!"
"You are still the same person you always were."
"Bull!" She spat. "You took everything away from me. One second, I'm the red-blooded American girl realizing her dream, and then I find out it's all a lie and I'm supposed to marry you!" She took a few breaths before continuing. "Are you going to enforce it? You gonna tell everyone on Triforia that you found your betrothed?"
"I thought I was helping you realize your potential."
"Damn it Trey, I don't want to be a queen. I'd go insane! I like to interact without thousands of bodyguards surrounding me. I like having pizza and hamburgers for dinner! I like walking around in jeans and a leather jacket! I'm not giving it up."
"You considered it," Trey reminded her. "For quite a while."
"Trey," Kimberly ran a hand through her brown hair. "We had a lot of good times. The last thing I expected to do when I met you was to break up with Tommy. After you told me of who I was, and after I talked to my parents about it, I thought I had finally found someone that I could picture myself with in twenty years. But how can I do that if I have to give up what I love?"
"Do your friends know I was the one you referred to in the letter?"
Kimberly shook her head. "No, luckly they haven't brought it up."
Trey saw Kimberly smile. "What is it?"
"I just remember the last month or so. It seemed everytime we were together, you were making some lame excuse and darting off somewhere else. I can't believe after doing that so many times myself that I didn't make a connection."
"How could you? You didn't know about the Gold Ranger powers."
"And you're apartment? The one you never let me see?" she continued.
"That would be Pyramidas. My Zord. Which in all honesty, is quite a mess."
Kimberly sobered. "Trey, did you know I was a Ranger?"
He shook his head. "No, that's why I was so surprised to see you here."
"Trey," she lowered her voice. "Where do we stand now? I mean, I like you and everything, but honestly, can you picture me as royalty?" He laughed to himself. "The last few hours have been a bit of a blur to me. I need time to think about everything I've been through. With you, with the Rangers."
"I understand." No sooner had Trey finished his sentence had the door slid open.
"Guys," Jason told them. "Zordon's getting ready to cut the main power for the night."
"Thanks Jason. We'll be right there." Kimberly told the young man. "I guess we can continue this tomorrow?" she asked.
"Perhaps. But conciously, I can not let Adam go to the citadel without any powers. I will be taking his place. I have my obligations to the Rangers, and I must fulfil them."
"Oh," Kimberly fumbled her hands. "Well, just -- try not -- come home safe, okay?"
Trey nodded as he left the stairwell. It's gonna be one of those lives, Kimberly told herself.
The tenga fell to the ground, a slight burn mark in it's chest plate. Two black figures stepped from the shadows, one of them decorated slightly in white and gold. "Let's get this over with," Fortune insisted. "I'm not sure how long the cloak will stay active, plus I just don't like it here."
"You've never been here," Gold Ranger corrected.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I have to like it." Fortune lead the way to a corridor almost entirely composed of heavy iron doors. "Well, this looks like the dungeon."
"Which one is Katherine in, though?" Gold Ranger asked.
"Must be one of these." Fortune sighed. "You take the right side, I'll take the left."
"Very well." Gold Ranger nodded, stepping over to his designated side of the hall. He peeked through the first window. A large, green, spiny shelled creature lazily waved it's tenticles about. "Definately not the Pink Ranger."
"Last door," Fortune sighed. He wasn't sure if he wanted to look inside. If Kat wasn't in that cell, he wasn't sure what he would do. "Of course, it would be the last door."
"Maybe we started on the wrong end," Gold Ranger honestly spoke, yet drawing a laugh from Fortune regardless. "Do you plan on checking?"
Fortune nodded, and peeked through the cell door. "Oh God," he quickly yanked open the door. "Kat!" Fortune rushed to her side. "C'mon, let's go!"
"NO!" Kat cried. She tucked into a corner almost more than physically possible. She brought her shredded jean covered knees to her chest, revealing several scars on her legs. Her jacket was torn to the point where it was barely a vest, and her blonde hair was stained with dirt and blood. "Stay away!" She ordered. "Leave me alone!" She began to cry uncontrollably. "I don't want to hurt anymore ---"
Fortune felt a knot in his stomach. "What the hell did they do to you?" he asked quietly. He removed his helmet, shaking his short dirt blonde hair back to it's natural shape. "Kat, it's me. It's Billy."
Kat only crawled further into the corner. "No -- another trick. I don't want to hurt!" She cried as Billy reached out for her. "I don't want to hurt!" Finally, possibly of her own will, she collapsed.
"No!" Billy replaced his helmet and scooped the Australian girl into his arms. "Alpha, teleport me to the Medical Center! Now!" The two left in a puff of black smoke, Gold Ranger followed in a trail of golden light.
"How is she?" Tanya and Kim asked almost simultaneously as Billy emerged from the Medical Center of the Power Chamber.
"She's sleeping. Uneasily, but she's sleeping. She's suffered extreme damage to her legs. What can't be healed using the Power Chamber's technology can be replaced. Even so, it'll be a while before she can use her legs again." He shook his head. "We can start healing her scars in a day or so. But there's a bigger problem then any of this."
"What's that?" Jason asked.
"What could get worse than this?" Adam added.
"Being the one who gets to tell her father what happened." Billy answered. He saw their faces pale. "I'm the one who saw the abduction in the first place, and Tanya, you should come too since you know Mister Hillard."
"Won't this be fun," the black girl sighed.
Kat's eyes twitched with the moist slapping of her face. "Da'?" she weakly called for her father.
"You're awake," the comforting voice returned. "How are you feeling?"
"I don't feel good," she barely said. "I hurt."
"I know you do," she felt a hand brush along her cheek. "But it'll get better."
Kat's eyes opened, and she found herself staring at the cold wet nose of Dexter, her springer spaniel. The dog licked her face playfully. Confused, Kat looked around as much as she could move her neck, to find herself not in any room she had seen before. Her bed was apparently mounted to the wall, and the room was not as wide as it was long. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a colored blur.
"Who's there?" she asked.
"It's me," the voice said, placing a wet towel on her forehead. "Rocky."
"Rocky? Where am I?" she asked tiredly.
"A part of the Power Chamber we hoped we'd never need. You were in Zedd's citadel, don't you remember? When Billy and Trey found you, you were histerical. You passed out and they carried you back here." Kat attempted to roll onto her back, but winced in pain. "Hold on, lemme help." Walking to the foot of the bed, he carefully rotated her feet, following the pace her shoulders set. He let go when the girl was laying comfortably. "Better?"
"What happened?" she finally asked.
Rocky searched for the appropriate response. "Nothing that can't be fixed. It won't be long before your bouncing around, kicking Cog butt with the rest of us."
"Why's Dexter here?" she asked, noticing the faithful friend on the floor. "Who brought him?"
"What if my father notices him gone?"
"I'm the one who told Rocky to bring him here."
Kat followed the voice with her eyes, seeing her father standing in the doorway.
"Well," Rocky smiled. "This is my cue." he said, leaving.
Jesse Hillard sat down in a chair next to his daughter's bed. "How are you, kitten?"
Kat smiled. "You haven't called me that in a long time." She saw her father grin. "Well?"
"Well, what?" her father asked.
"This is the part where you tell me what a stupid thing I did."
"Oh," Jesse frowned. "How dare you go out with Tommy Oliver," he shook his finger in mock anger. "Bad, bad Kat." He saw a brief smile on her lips. "Kat, I'm not mad that you're a Power Ranger."
"Was." she corrected.
"Oh come on, the guy in the water cooler said you could return whenver you want."
"I don't think I can do it again."
"Kat," Jesse squeezed her hand. "You can't tell me it's not a major part of your life. You were so unhappy those first three weeks we moved here, and then, just like that," he snapped his fingers, "You find a group of friends as tight as can be. You've watched out for them, they've watched out for you, sticking together through your good times. Clinging together through the bad. I can tell you one thing, if I had the group of friend's you had standing outside, all of whom are worried sick about you, I wouldn't give them up." He stood up, looking at his watch. "I'm sorry kitten," he kissed her on the forehead. "I wish I could stay ---"
"It's okay," she smiled. "Really."
"Oh," he said from the door. "Someone wanted to talk to you."
Kat watched as her father left the room, and a petite pink clad girl entered. "Kimberly!"
"Trey was the guy in the letter?" Kat gasped. Somehow, her conversation with her predecessor had helped Kat to regain some of her strength. "You can't seem to date anyone but Rangers, can you?"
Kimberly laughed. "Things could be worse."
"Yeah, you could help rule an entire planet." Kat attempted to make it sound like a bad thing. "Wouldn't that just suck?"
"I just had this argument with Trey," Kimberly informed. "I'm not having it again."
"Sorry, sorry. So how was Florida?"
"Other than the slavedriving coach, fine. I thought the pan-globals would be my life dream. All this time what I was pushing into a career was just a hobby. I don't plan on going back."
"You think you'll stay a full time Ranger?"
Kimberly shook her head. "I'm only here while you're out of action. Once you're back on your feet and in good shape, I'm done. I've done enough Rangering for my time." She flinched as she heard the alarm sound. "Crap," she muttered. "Guess I've gotta go."
"Good luck," Kat wished.
Kimberly ran out of the door, into the main room, skidding to a hault just before she colided with Rocky. "Sorry, what's up? Mongo?"
"Mondo," Jason corrected.
"Sorry," Kimberly defended. "I've been away." Zordon directed the team's attention to the viewing globe. 'That's Tommy?" Kimberly asked. "What the hell happened to him?"
"Zedd has altered Tommy's physical structure into what you see now. He has teleported with some tenga into the Angel Grove High Football Stadium. Billy, I would like you to watch over Katherine. The rest of you are to stop Tommy, and if possible, reason with him. I must warn you, the Imsa stone is an extremely corrupting property. With it in Tommy's posession, the only possible recourse may be a direct assault."
Jason nodded. "We're on it. Okay guys," he said, as the team lined up. "It's morphin time!"
"Ptera--!" Kim stomped her foot. "Damn it! Zeo Ranger I: Pink," she said with some annoyance. "I'm not having a good day."
"There he is!" Red Ranger cried, leading his team into the battlefield. Inside himself, his stomach turned, and his heart ached for his old friend. I fought you once, Tommy. Red Ranger remembered. And I don't wish to do it again, but if I have to, so be it!
Tengas were doing the best they could to destroy the stadium, and doing a pretty good job of it. "That's enough Tommy!" Red Ranger had managed to convert his fear into a potent form of anger. "Call them off! Now!" He commanded the winged warrior.
The former Ranger turned, smiling. "Tommy? There is no Tommy, my friend. Tommy was weak. Tommy was simple-minded. Tommy was a FOOL! But now, Tommy's gone." He lunged for Red Ranger, picking him up by the throat. "There is only Silvor! And now, I'm---"
"Lemme guess," Blue Ranger grunted as he sweeped the legs of Silvor, causing him and his temporary captive to fall to the ground. "More powerful, yadda yadda yadda, destroy the Earth, blah blah blah? Gee, doesn't this sound familliar?" Blue Ranger stroked the chin of his helmet. "Do you bad guys come up with new material at all?"
"Rangers," Gold Ranger called. "Confront the Tenga! I will take care of our unstable friend."
"But --" Red Ranger began.
"Go!" Gold Ranger commanded, pleased as the team followed his orders. "You have made a mockery of yourself." He told Silvor, while the two circled each other. "You threw away everything you held dear. Your family. Your friends. The people who cared about you the most. All for a temporary place by Zedd's side! I do not insult opponents often, but truly Silvor, you make me _sick_!"
"Thank you for the compliment, Trey," Silvor smiled. "But maybe I'm not working for Zedd,"
"And maybe you found your own flock of Tenga roaming within Angel Grove and decided to throw Kat into Zedd's dungeon."
Silvor snarled. "She's mine! You had no right to take her!" A silver axe appeared in his hands, clashing against Gold Ranger's power staff.
"Funny," Gold Ranger returned. "I was about to tell you the same thing."
The battle continued, fustrating the Rangers. It seemed everytime a tenga was taken down, another would appear in it's place. Meanwhile, Gold Ranger and Silvor were still engaged in battle, the latter of whom had the upper hand.
"Your courage certainly exceeds your skills, Gold Ranger," Silvor laughed, having disarmed the Gold Ranger. He pressed his axe into the kneeling Ranger's throat, cutting off his air supply. "But it doesn't say much for you. It's a shame really. You were always the one who saved the day. Always flying in at the last minute in that stupid Pyramid. Maybe we should have let the Gold Powers die." A smile crossed his lips. "Maybe I can still remedy that."
Silvor unclasped Trey's helmet, removing it, but the Gold Ranger did not move one inch to stop him. _I tire of games,_ Trey silently told his enemy. _Kill me, if you can. But if you should strike me down, you had best be prepared for what follows._
"Smiling?" Silvor asked curiously. "So soon to death, Gold Ranger?"
"Do it, Silver Ranger." Trey demanded. "And learn from it. You can kill _me_, but you can not kill the Gold Ranger." He felt Silvor's metal clad fist strike against his face in response. Indeed his future looked dim. _Mother always said I would get myself killed._
"I---" Pink Ranger smacked one of the last remaining tenga's on the head with her shield. "--miss--" She hit another one it the gut with the weapon's edge. "--my--" The final tenga she simply released all her fustration upon. She stepped on it's foot, bashed in it's beak with her sheild, used the item to deliver a dangerous uppercut, and finally knock the bird out. "--bow!" Examinging the football field, she sighed. The others were like her, tired, but proud. However, damage had been done. Tenga blood stained the grass, and misplaced laser fire had singed some of the concrete bleachers. "Oh no!" Pink Ranger's face paled beneath her helmet, as she remembered her final comrade. "Trey!" She turned to her friend, a weary, beaten, bruised young man, sporting a blood stained face. "NO!" She cried, running towards the scene.
She stopped, somehow compelled to watch what followed. Silvor's axe swung from high above his head, in a clean arc, making one swift cut from the left side of Gold Ranger's neck. "NOOO!" she sank to the ground, almost as lifeless as her friend.
"Yes!" Silvor cheered. "Another victory for the great Lord Zedd!" He stepped back as an energy began to crackle around him. "Huh? What's going on?" The golden sparks danced around the ground, multiplying, but joining, forming long strands of energy. Fearing the results, Silvor stepped back even more. The energy solidified into a golden ball of light, and hovered over Trey's lifeless body for a moment. Then, it streaked across the sky, impacting Pink Ranger dead on, sending her into the ground.
"Kimberly!" Red Ranger called. He and Green Ranger lifted her from the field, notcing the outlined crater of her form in the turf. "Are you okay?" He asked. He stepped back, taking in her enitre Ranger costume. "What in hell just happened?"
"Huh?" Pink Ranger looked down at her uniform, noting the addition of the Gold Ranger's shield to her pink uniform. "No!" She ran to where she last saw the Gold Ranger, but found only charred marks on the pale concrete. She fell to her knees, sobbing. "This can't be happing." She felt an arm wrap around her.
"Kim--" Red Ranger supported the Pink Ranger. "I---" Words failed the once unshakeable leader of the Power Rangers. Eventually, even he just shook his head. He felt the young woman go limp in her arms. Everything's gone insane, he decided, scooping the small Ranger into his arms. "Back to the Power Chamber," Red ranger demanded the team, which seemed to become more and more his each minute Tommy was gone. "Now!"
"Cut it out!" Jason snapped at Alpha. He had politely told the robot not to scan him, but his requests were ignored several times. "We just lost someone, can't that wait?" He looked at the sulking robot, and then within himself. "I'm sorry, Alpha. It's just not an easy time. Tommy's gone, Kat's been through hell, Trey's dead..."
"Uhh--" Alpha displayed his scanner. "No he's not." The robot felt uncomfortable with the sceptical stares he was receiving. "Sensors are showing him in this room."
"He's inside the Power Chamber?" Kimberly asked.
"No, he's more of inside you." The robot explained.
"Inside me?" Kimberly questioned Alpha's statement. "That's impossible--" She suddenly stiffened upright, her eye's bulging with a golden light. Jason placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Kimberly?" He asked, concerned. "Kim?"
She walked along the blue sand beaches of Triforia, the purple waters splashing lightly against her bare feet. Her almost weightless gown of white flew in the winds, and glittered in the light of Triforia's pink sun.
She stared out across the waters. _I could seriously consider living here,_ she thought. _All this time, those dreams of my paradise... who knew it would actually exist? Who knew it would be my true home?_
"It's beautiful, isn't it?"
Kim turned. "Trey? What are you doing here?"
"Alpha was right," Trey said, stepping next to Kimberly. "I'm dead.. but I'm not gone."
"Is this common with all Triforians? she asked.
"No," Trey smiled. "Those who are betrothed at birth are placed under a rather creative spell. Once one partner dies, the conciousness is transferred to the other. It prevents lonliness, as second marriages are prohibited."
"I see." Kimberly returned her eyes to the ocean. "So what happens now? Do you -- y'know-- actually have a say in what I do?"
"Your body, is still your body," Trey reassured. "I don't see or hear what you do. I spend the rest of my days here, relaxing by the ocean. No obstacles, no dangers, no distractions... just myself, and total contentment.
"But should you ever want to speak with me, all you have to do is ask." Trey smiled again.
The girl snapped out of her trance as Jason waved a hand before her face. "Sorry," she apologized. "I guess Alpha was right. Trey just explained it to me."
"It took almost two-hours to explain it?"
"Two hours?" Kim jumped. "I wasn't there for five minutes!"
"Subconcious thoughts are not bounded by time," Billy pointed out. "You can think a lot things a lot faster than the time it takes for them to actually happen. And vice-versa."
"I never could grasp time travel," Rocky snorted.
"YES!" Zedd roared from his throne room. "That's it!"
"What's it, My Lord?" Goldar and his new silver counterpart asked in unison. The two glared at each other, having grown a severe distaste for the other's company since Silvor's days as the Green Ranger. It was a relationship Silvor felt he would have to mend, one way or another.
"Time travel," Zedd smiled beneath his mask.
"Again?" Goldar asked. Silvor punched him in the stomach with his armored fist.
"Show some respect for our master, Simian!" Silvor showed his fangs, but inwardly smiled. He had gotten the first shot in, and in the name of Lord Zedd. Never too early to start scoring brownie points, Silvor mused.
"Go easy on him, Silvor," Zedd requested of the newly mutated warrior. "I'm afraid disrespect for me was in Goldar's blood when I first found him. Which is why I gave his services to Rita in the first place. I only keep him around now for his warrior abilities, not his manners."
"My lord," Silvor softly spoke. "Your plan?"
"Ahh yes," Zedd laughed. "My previous attempts at time travel were somewhat, unorthadox. Sending Goldar back in time, to the eighteen-hundred's of Angel Grove, only confirmed the exisitence of the Rangers today, almost as if it tied up the loose ends. And Master Vile's turning back of time did not help, as the Ranger children still had their memories, and anyone outside of Earth was unaffected. This time, there will be no mix-up. There will be no Power Rangers. There will be no future to look forward to, with bright, open eyes. This time I finish it," Zedd's body began to glow a bold red. "before it started."