Stopping outside his door, he slipped his key into the lock and walked inside, glancing around with a pleased smile. It had felt like years instead of a few months of being gone. It's so good to be back, he thought. Checking his dresser, he pulled out a fresh uniform and quickly slipped into it. Glancing around once more, his gaze faltered on his reflection. Pale and thin, it had been ages since he's had a proper meal. Of course, Magna Defender had kept his body in good condition but it wasn't the same. Making a mental list of things to accomplish, he turned and left the room.
Outside again in the fresh air, he suddenly glanced around uneasily. His gaze faltered on two forms near the entrance of the apartment complex. Bulk ... and the Professor? They seemed to sense his appearance as well and looked up. Bulk's eyes narrowed in thought, then smiled. "Mike, over here!"
Shrugging to himself, he walked into their direction, "Hi guys, what's up?"
"Is it really you, Mike?!" Professor Phenomenous asked, raising an eye at the young man. "We thought an alien kidnapped you!"
"It di... What? How did you come up with that conclusion?" Mike mentally kicked himself at his lack of ... well, denial.
"We saw that black armored guy," Bulk stated. "You know, that guy with the black horns and stuff... And you disappeared around then too... And we tried putting two and two together."
"Well, if you can keep a secret, you're right." Mike said at last. "I was kidnapped by the 'Magna Defender,' who wanted revenge on the evil guys the Power Rangers fight. So he used my body to win his honor back and other stuff like that." He looked at the two men who were staring at him with open mouths.
"You could have just told us to get lost, you know," the Professor said. "Instead of making a story up. A Magna Defender! Hah! Come on, Bulk, we need to go investigate that new pod."
Bulk gave Mike a disgusted look and followed his elder. "Everyone mocks us! Oh, and Proff, that new pod was another watermelon..." Mike shook his head, chuckling softly.
Turning his attention to the path, he took a breath of the fresh air. It felt good to be outside and *really* be outside as himself. He smiled as he walked towards the Control Tower. His head lowered thoughtfully as he wondered what he was going to say. What *could* he say? Admitting the truth would be okay to his friends, and Bulk and the Professor, but he had to honor what he was taught with strangers... This is going to be hard, he thought silently to himself. So much confusion...
With a determined sigh, he quickly headed for his destination.
"So, what you're say is," Commander Alex Stanton shook his head, glancing up at his friend, the High Council Renier. Alex sighed, capping his pen with a low popping sound. He glanced around his small airy office, and grimaced, speaking again, "That if we don't watch what we're doing, the attacks will grow worse..."
"Mm-hmm..." Janet Renier murmured. "And the attacks have grown stronger, haven't you seen?"
He nodded in agreement. "Yes. The Power Rangers confirmed in a recent press conference that we all should be on the lookout. What do you think--" He paused at the sound of a knock on his door, "Come in!" He called out.
"Commander Stanton, sir?" A rough, familiar voice timidly asked. Alex's eyes widened and dropped the pen in his fingers.
"Mike Corbett?!" He asked in disbelief. He stared in surprise at the tired form standing in the doorway. It looked like he hadnít slept in days! He glanced over his shoulder at Janet, who wore a matching expression on her dark face at seeing the young man. "Where in God's name have you been?! We've all been worried sick about you!"
"That's... Uh, what I came to explain. You see..."
Alex watched with anxious eyes over Mike. "First, come in, please." Alex said gently, observing with concern at Mike's fidget. "How are you? Are you hurt, sick, anything?"
Mike smiled gratefully, taking a seat in the chair at the wooden table. "I'm fine, thank you.." Mike gulped silently to himself, glancing between the looks of shock and wonder on the two high adults. "You see.. It's like this..." He paused, sitting back into the chair. He glanced at the ground, shaking uneasily.
"Mike, what happened?" Janet prompted. "You've been gone many months..."
Mike nodded, "Yes, I know I have been. You see..." He let out a frustrated sigh, "I don't know what to tell you..."
"The truth?" Alex asked gently. "We will understand, whatever you have to say..."
"Alright." Slowly, he began his tale of what had happened over the months. He conveniently left out the pulling of a Quaser Saber, carefully not letting his friends' secret out. "Ö And that's what happened." He finished. He leaned back in his chair, watching the two adults exchange looks.
"Sounds..." Alex sighed, "I'm not sure what to tell you. That story is kind of hard to believe. Being used for a spirit's revenge?"
"It's the truth, Commander. Have you ever known me to lie to you?" He asked pointedly.
Alex shook his head. "No, I suppose you haven't..."
"I believe it." Janet stated quietly. Both turned to look at her. "After all the things, Alex, we've encountered since we launched into space, how can you're eyes not be open to the unbelievable?"
Alex just shook his head. "Well, Mike, you're post is still waiting for you. There's a number of new recruits just waiting to be taught the basics."
Mike smiled, "I have my job still?" His voice was tinted with just a tad bit of surprise.
"Yes, after all, you were my best GSA officer." Mike smiled at that.
"Thank you, sir." He smiled his thanks and glanced at his watch, eyes widening when he caught the time. "Oh, shoot, I have to go meet up with Leo." He stood up, extending his hand to both. "Thank you, thank you so much."
Alex shook his head, "Just glad to have you back, Mike." Janet nodded in agreement.
Mike left silently, smiling to himself. With his plausible excuse, he had managed to stay ahead. Things were definitely looking up.