Author's Note: This fanfic takes place during the first season, before "Green With Evil."
"...and so Juliet killed herself, by piercing her heart with Romeo's dagger," answered a tall, slender Asian girl.
"That is very true, Trini," said Mrs. Applebee with a smile, "Now class, the question is... why did both Romeo and Juliet have to die?"
Mrs. Applebee, an English teacher at Angel Grove High School, surveys her class of sophomores. She notices that the majority of the class seemed unconscious, and weren't paying attention to the lesson on Shakespeare. She sighed inwardly. Well, who can really blame them? It is the final period of the day after all.
Mrs. Applebee focuses on an energetic young girl with caramel hair and a twinkle in her eyes. The girl is waving her hand in the air excitedly.
"Kimberly," she says finally, "what do you think the reason is?"
"Well," said the girl, "because they were so in love, they couldn't stand living without one another. Romeo killed himself because he believed his love was dead, and when Juliet found Romeo's body, she cried in agony and killed herself. She didn't even need to think about it. Oh, its so romantic!"
"That's true, Kimberly, the tale of "Romeo and Juliet" is a romantic tragedy. But, on a literary level, why did they both have to die? What is the significance of their deaths?"
Mrs. Applebee once again scanned the room, and this time chose to call upon one of the students that wasn't paying attention. She frowned when she saw a rather large young man in the back of the room, his head down on the desk, snoring loudly.
"Farcus Bulkmeyer!" she yelled, instantly waking the slumbering teen, "I hope you realize class participation counts for twenty percent of your grade! If I were you, I'd participate as much as humanly possible!"
The rest of the class chuckled at Bulk's expense. Bulk sat up, and fixed the collar of his leather jacket.
"I heard ya," he said confidently.
"Oh really?" asked Mrs. Applebee, raising her eyebrow, "Then, what's the answer?"
Bulk fidgeted under the teacher's gaze, and looked desperately at his best friend, the skinny young man sitting next to him. But instead of coming to Bulk's aid, the young man began laughing his often annoying, nasal laugh.
"Oh, shut up, Skull!" snapped Bulk angrily.
"We're waiting for an answer, Mister Bulkmey--"
Then, the bell rang, signalling the conclusion of the days classes. Everyone immediately piled out of the room excitedly. Bulk breathed a sigh of relief, and began collecting his things.
"Just a minute, class!" called Mrs. Applebee, "You have to write an essay about Romeo and Juliet for Tuesday! At least three pages in length, and use samples of the text to prove your theses! The rough draft is due Tuesday!! Monday, there's no class. Instead, the last two periods, all students will attend a special assembly on the theory of interstellar travel. Have a nice weekend!"
Once the teacher had finished, the class continued out the door. A group of five students grouped just outside the classroom, and together headed down the hallway.
"Interstellar Travel?" said Kimberly, "I don't remember hearing about an assembly on Interstellar Travel!"
"It was in the school paper last week," said Jason, the tall, muscular young man with dark hair and eyes, "All classes will be in the auditorium during periods seven and eight. Doctor Arthur Darius will be lecturing."
"Who's he?" asked the young African American man in the group.
"Doctor Darius is a Nobel Prize laureate, Zack," explained Billy, the slender young man in blue overalls with wire-frame glasses, "He is an expert in astrophysics, and his entire life has been devoted to proving matter can travel at the speed of light. He hasn't succeeded yet, but he has accomplished much in his over twelve years of research and experimentation."
"I've read about him," said Trini, "Isn't he the South African scientist who was blinded in an accident several years ago?"
"Wow," said Zack, "really? What happened?"
"If memory serves, he was experimenting on light," said Billy, "He was trying to study the particle nature of light, and used sunlight as the subject, because it contains so many different bands of light. However, there was an accident, which resulted with an acute burst of harmful rays of visible as well as ultraviolet light. He survived the blast, but his retina was irreparably damaged. He hasn't been able to see since."
"That's horrible," gasped Kimberly, "What did he do?"
"The only thing a dedicated scientist would do: he kept on working. Obviously, he cannot conduct light experiments on his own, because he cannot see, but he does still advise other scientists, and studies their findings. He also designs numerous experiments. That's why he won the Nobel Prize."
"That's unbelievable," said Zack, "How could a blind person accomplish so much? I mean, not being able to see--?"
"There are many people that can't see, Zack," said Jason, "and many who can't hear. Just because they can't experience life in the same way that we do, doesn't mean they can't live a full life. Its just a matter of conquering the challenges that you're faced with."
"Perhaps you should meet Doctor Darius," suggested Billy, "We all can. Since I'm a member of the Young Scientists of America, I was fortunate enough to meet Doctor Darius last night, when his flight from Washington came in. He is a very pleasant and inspirational gentleman. He's staying at the Marriot here in Angel Grove, and he invited us to come visit anytime."
"That would be an honor," said Trini with a smile, "He's such a remarkable man. He endured so much, but he didn't let his trials hinder him in the least."
"In the meantime," said Kimberly, "let's go to Ernie's! I really have a craving for one of his Kiwi-Strawberry Spritzers!"
* * *
Meanwhile, high above the Earth, on the dark side of her only natural satellite, there exists a stone castle. This castle defies all the laws of nature-- it has its own self-contained atmosphere and climate. Within this mysterious castle is an even more amazing sight-- a group of aliens who have decided to conquer Earth. The leader of this alien army is an ancient witch called Rita Repulsa, who is the self-proclaimed Empress of Evil. The only thing stopping this sorceress is a team of five young teenagers, who wield the power of the ancient Dinosaurs. So Rita spends a good portion of her day spying these five through her Repulsascope, in a desperate attempt to find out the Power Rangers' weakness. She believes she has found one.
"What a brilliant idea!" she screamed, skipping away from her telescope, "Why didn't I think of it sooner? It solves all my problems, with no hassel!"
Then, a golden armored warrior with the face of a canine entered the throne room and bowed humbly.
"What is your idea, Empress?" he asked, standing up to his full height of six and a half feet.
"The Power Rangers themselves gave it to me, Goldar," she said, "What I need is a monster. A monster who can create powerful beams of light. Blinding light. Where's Finster?"
"I shall find him for you, Empress," said Goldar, bowing once again. He then left the chamber, and Rita took a seat on her throne, tapping her foot impatiently. Soon, a short white goat-like alien with a blue apron and glasses entered the room and bowed before the throne. He was holding a large leather-bound book.
"You summoned me, Rita?" he asked politely.
"Yes I did," she said with an evil grin, "Finster, do you have a monster that can create powerful beams of light?"
"Light?" asked Finster, "Light isn't much of a weapon, Empress."
"Well, neither is the ability to eat the whole world's food supply," snapped Rita, "and you did design the Pudgy Pig, didn't you? If I wanted someone to do that, I could've just sent Squatt to Earth! Look through your book! I need a monster who can create blinding light, to blind the Power Rangers!"
Finster rubbed his chin in thought. "I don't have a monster who can create light, Empress, but if my memory serves, I may have a monster who can focus light. Let me look..."
Finster began flipping through the hundreds of pages inside his text, while Rita continued to tap her foot.
"Ah," he said after ten full minutes, "here it is! His name is Illuminator."
Finster showed Rita the sketch of the monster in the text. The monster was, in essence, a walking magnifying glass. Rita arched an eyebrow, unimpressed.
"Oh yeah," she snarled, "That's threatening!"
"Achem," said Finster, "with all due respect, Empress, the Illuminator fits the bill perfectly. His magnifying glass will focus the usually harmless rays of the sun into a powerful beam of energy. It will easily blind whoever it hits directly in the eye. The actual heat will not penetrate the Power Rangers' helmets, but their visors will not be able to protect them from such a powerful dose of radiation. The damage done to the human retina will be devastating."
"Excellent," said Rita with a grin, "Start baking, Finster! We have to get the Illuminator to Angel Grove before the sun sets!"
* * *
At the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar, the five teenagers sit at their usual round table, enjoying some of Ernie's famous shakes. While they sit and relax, they all bounce around ideas for their English assignment on "Romeo and Juliet".
"So," said Kimberly, stirring her kiwi-strawberry shake with a straw, "what are you guys gonna write about?"
"I'm planning on developing a thesis, expanding the nature of the Capulet/Montague feud, and analyzing the consequences of their stubbornness regarding reconciliation."
"Come again?" asked Zack with a confused frown on his face.
"He's writing a paper on the feud between Romeo and Juliet's families," Trini translated, "That's a good idea, Billy."
"I haven't given it much thought," said Jason, "I have to admit, I didn't much like 'Romeo and Juliet'. I liked 'Macbeth' and 'Julius C¾sar' more."
"Perhaps the themes of political coups and cruel tyrants is more interesting to you than a tale of romantic tragedy, Jason," said Billy.
"Well, not me," said Kimberly with a starry look in her eyes, "This was the best story we've read in English for a long, long time!"
Just then, Jason's communicator rang with a familiar six-tone signal. All the teens traded concerned glances, and Jason motioned towards the hallway. Then, Jason left some money on the table, and led the group as indiscreetly as possible to the lockers, where no one was watching.
"We read you, Zordon," said Jason into his wrist. The other teens listened from their own wrist communicators.
^POWER RANGERS. RITA REPULSA HAS SENT DOWN A NEW MONSTER. TELEPORT TO THE COMMAND CENTER, SO ALPHA AND I CAN PREPARE YOU FOR BATTLE."
"We're on our way," said Trini, and the five teens simultaneously pressed a series of buttons on the side of the communicators. They all vanished in streaks of bright colored light, only to reappear milliseconds later within the darkened Command Center, with a circle of complex computer consols, a short red and gold android, a large glass sphere on a stand, and a large column with a green tint. Inside that column was the head of a man.
"GREETINGS, POWER RANGERS," the head said.
"What's up, Zordon?" asked Zack, stepping forward.
"I TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO THE VIEWING GLOBE."
While the rangers watched, and image of a slender monster with a rather large glass circle on its head appeared in Angel Grove Park. It immediately began running around excitedly, and it stopped before a tree. Rays of light beamed from the center of the glass plate, setting the tree on fire.
"RITA HAS SENT A MONSTER CALLED THE ILLUMINATOR," Zordon explained, "IT ARRIVED A FEW SECONDS AGO, AND BEGAN SETTING THE PARK AFLAME."
"What is it shooting?" asked Kimberly, staring at the image curiously.
"Its firing concentrated beams of sunlight," explained Alpha, the small robot, "The magnifying glass is focusing the sun's light, intensifying the heat to dangerous levels."
"Then, lets get going," said Jason, "The longer we wait, the more of Angel Grove Park will be blazing. Its Morphin Time!"
The five teenagers each pulled a small, silver rectangle from behind their backs. Embedded within the silver was a golden coin, with the image of an ancient dinosaur on it. The coins began to glow as their owners called upon their ancient magical powers.
"MASTODON!!" yelled Zack.
"PTERODACTYL!!" cried Kimberly.
"TRICERATOPS!!" shouted Billy.
"SABER-TOOTHED TIGER!!" called Trini.
"TYRANNOSAURUS!!" bellowed Jason.
The five teenagers were each bathed in brilliant light, each one according to his/her signature color. When the light faded, the teens were gone, leaving the ancient sage and the gentle robot alone in the Command Center.
* * *
"I've always loved barbecues!" said the Illuminator, laughing and setting another tree on fire. By this time, over a dozen of the parks trees were aflame, and the dry weather only served to spread the fire. Illuminator smiled as he surveyed his destructive work, and then skipped towards the lake.
"Hmmm," he pondered aloud, "I wonder if I can boil this lake! That'd be a hoot!" "Don't count on it!" called a commanding voice from behind. Illuminator turned around, and saw five colorfully armored figures, standing with their hands on their hips, all in a row. He growled under his breath as the five figures leapt high off the ground, somersaulting through the air, and landing in a circle around him.
"Enough playing around, Illuminator!" cried the Red Ranger, brandishing his silver sword, "We're sending you back to Rita!"
"Is that a fact?" asked Illuminator, firing a wide beam of white light at the Red Ranger. He managed to strike the Red Ranger in the stomach, sending the leader of the team flying by the force of the close proximity hit. The other rangers immediately began their attack, swinging their Power Weapons at blinding speed. Illuminator leapt out of the way, trying to get at a safe distance.
"Kim, Billy!" ordered Zack, "Check on Jason! Trini, you're with me!"
The Yellow Ranger nodded, and followed the Black Ranger towards the retreating monster. The Pink and Blue Rangers ran to where the Red Ranger finally landed, leaning limply against the trunk of a tree.
"Jason?" asked Kim, "Is he okay, Billy?"
"I... I'll be fine," Jason said quietly, shaking his head, "I'm just a little dizzy."
Not far away, Trini and Zack caught up with the Illuminator. Zack leapt into the air, flipped over the monster's head, and landed a few yards in front of it, with his Power Ax in hand.
"Cosmic Cannon!" he cried, pulling back the blade of the weapon. He held the barrel of the weapon towards the monster, and a beam of multicolored energy poured forth. The beam hit the creature in the leg, causing it to fall to the ground in pain. Illuminator sprawled out on the grass, and didn't move anymore.
"Nice shot, Zack," Trini, jogging up to him.
"If he's dead, why didn't he disintegrate or something?" asked the Black Ranger curiously, approaching the still monster. Trini followed him.
"Be careful," she warned, still clutching her Power Daggers, "What if he's playing possum--?"
As soon as Zack was close enough, the Illuminator fired a tight, direct beam of light, right into the Black Ranger's visor. Zack screamed in pain, and fell back, desperately trying to remove his helmet. Trini ran towards Zack, and both heroes were bowled over by a wider beam of light. The Yellow and Black Rangers were both knocked onto their backs, and the Illuminator approached the Yellow Ranger menacingly.
"One down," he said, "Four to go..."
Suddenly, a piece of silver and pink metal struck the monster in the back of his lens, shattering the glass on impact. The Illuminator screamed, and fell to the ground, exploding on impact. Trini sighed in relief, and rose to her feet painfully.
"What happened?" asked Billy, helping Trini balance herself. Trini looked past Billy, and saw the Pink Ranger, lowering her Power Bow, with the Red Ranger beside her.
"Where's Zack?" Trini asked, looking around. All four of the rangers searched the grass, until finally, Jason located his best friend, lying partially inside a bush. Jason ran over to him, and lifted him carefully.
"He's out like a light," said Jason, "Let's bring him back to the Command Center." "Right," the others said in unison, and the entire team vanished in streaks of light.
* * *
"I can't believe it!" roared the Empress of Evil in a heated rage, "The Illuminator failed! Finster, get in here!!"
Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo snuck out of the throne room as discreetly as possible, deciding it was in their best interests to avoid their mistress when she's in a bad mood. Soon, the old scientist entered the throne room, and bowed. "What is it, my Queen?" he asked.
"Finster!" she shouted, stepping down from the balcony and smacking Finster over the head with her wand, "The Illuminator was a waste of clay! It couldn't last five minutes against those Putrid Rangers! They didn't even need to use the Power Blaster!"
"Well, if I may say, sending a monster to blind the Power Rangers was not my idea."
"Don't talk to me like that!" Rita shrieked, "You've got a lot of nerve!"
"But, my Queen," said Finster, backing off a bit, "at least the Black Ranger was injured in the battle! He was unconscious when they returned to the Command Center."
"True," said Rita, stepping away from the scientist, "Although, I won't be able to figure out what happened to him until the Power Rangers leave the Command Center. My Repulsascope cannot penetrate the shields. Well, I've always considered myself a patient tyrant."
"Of course," Finster muttered sarcastically, leaving the throne room.
* * *
"What's wrong with him, Alpha?" asked Kimberly, wringing her fingers nervously. Alpha Five was busy scanning the unconscious Black Ranger, who was now un-morphed and lying on a black table. The other Power Rangers stood in a semi-circle, waiting for Alpha's diagnosis.
"Aye yi yi!" the little robot shrieked, "I don't detect any serious injury. He's just had the wind knocked out of him."
"Are you sure?" asked Trini, "He took a direct hit from Illuminator!"
"Where was he hit?" asked Alpha, turning around, "My equipment isn't detecting any physical damage to his body at all."
"I... I don't know," Trini admitted, "I didn't see what happened exactly. It all happened so fast."
Just then, Zack moaned, and rubbed his eyes with his hands. He sat up slowly, still rubbing his eyes.
"What... what happened?" he asked, "My eyes itch."
"YOU WERE HIT BY ONE OF ILLUMINATOR'S LIGHT BEAMS, ZACHARY. HOW DO YOU FEEL?"
Zack opened his eyes weakly, and turned his head.
"Why are the lights out?" he asked, holding his hands out and waving them slowly through the air around him.
"What do you mean?" asked Jason with a nervous laugh, "The lights are on!"
"No they're not!" said Zack, still waving his hands around, "I can't see a thing!"
"Oh no," gasped Trini, "Alpha, scan his eyes!"
Alpha nodded, and stepped closer to the Black Ranger, who was still waving his arms frantically.
"Calm down, Zack," said Kim gently, touching his waving arm, "Alpha's gonna figure out what's wrong."
Zack sighed and laid back down, his eyes remaining wide open. Alpha focussed the scans on his eyes.
"Aye yi yi!" he shrieked, "His pupils didn't contract when I brought the scanner close!"
"What does that mean?" asked Zack.
"It means the receptors in your retina aren't affected by the change in light intensity," explained Billy, stepping over to Zack and Alpha, "Under normal circumstances, the pupil will contract when exposed to intense light, and dialate when there is minimal light. That is how the eye regulates the amount of light focused on the retina, so that the correct amount is processed through the optic nerve. The fact that your pupil is unaffected by the intensity of light can only mean one thing: the receptors aren't responding to the light hitting them, and therefore, no light is being processed by way of the optic nerve."
"So," said Zack, "in a nutshell, are you saying I'm blind?!"
"I'm... I'm afraid so," said Billy, looking away. Zack closed his eyes, and buried his face in his hands.
"I'm blind?" he said disbelievingly, "Like a bat?"
"That is not the most correct analogy," said Billy, "But essentially, yes."
"Is this temporary?" asked Trini, turning to Zordon, "Will Zack's vision recover?"
"THERE IS NO WAY TO TELL WITHOUT FURTHER TESTS," he said solemnly, "BUT HUMAN VISION IS A VERY COMPLEX PROCESS. MOST DAMAGE TO IT IS PERMANENT."
"I'll start running eye exams," said Alpha, hurrying into the storage room, "Oh, aye yi yi yi..."
"Is there anything we can do?" asked Jason.
"NO. IF ZACK'S VISION CAN BE RESTORED, THEN ALPHA FIVE AND I CAN DO IT. THE REST OF YOU SHOULD RETURN TO YOUR HOMES."
"If its all the same to you," said Kimberly, "I'll stay."
"Me too," said Trini, "One can never have enough moral support."
"Perhaps I can help Alpha with the analysis."
"I'm not going anywhere," said Jason, "Not when my bro's in trouble."
"Thanks guys," Zack said with a weak smile, "Thanks a lot."
Kimberly, Jason, and Trini made themselves comfortable, watching anxiously while Alpha and Billy began scanning Zack's eyes and brain. After over an hour of extensive study, Billy took a deep breath, and turned on a computer screen. He glanced at Zack, and noticed he was shaking slightly, with sweat beading on his brow. Billy shook his head, and turned to Alpha.
"When will the computer analysis be complete?" he asked, "I believe we have completed the preliminary imaging."
"It should take about seven hours," said Alpha, "Even though the visual system is small, it is infinitely complicated, with millions of receptors and billions of neurons throughout. The problem could be anywhere in the visual pathway, from the retina to even his brain. There's no way to know what was damaged, so we must study each piece individually."
"Understood," said Billy, turning to his friends. He saw Kimberly leaning against Jason's arm, sound asleep. Jason was nodding off himself, and Trini was silently watching the whole procedure. Billy walked over to her.
"There's nothing more we can do tonight," Billy said, taking off his glasses and wiping the lenses with his shirt, "It'll take hours for the computers to locate the problem with Zack's vision."
"I know," she said, looking up at him, "I heard Alpha. We might as well go back home and turn in. Kim and Jason are already out, and we've all had a rough day. Especially Zack."
"I... I can't go back home," Zack said quietly, his eyes closed tightly, "How'd I explain to my parents what happened to me? I'm blind !"
"You can stay at my house," offered Billy, "If you don't mind staying in the garage. There's a bed there, since I tend to fall asleep while I'm at work. My father seldom enters the lab, so he won't learn of your..."
"Handicap?" snapped Zack, "Is that the word you were looking for?"
"Condition," Billy finished, "You can call your parents from my house, explaining that we're working on a school project. Tomorrow's Saturday, so they most likely will not withold their permission."
"What's happening?" asked Kimberly with a yawn. She sat up, and stretched her arms, "Is Zack okay?"
"We... we don't know yet," said Trini, "We're all going home. It'll take a few hours for the analysis to come up with anything."
"Good night, gang," said Zack, "Thanks for staying with me."
"No problem, Zack," said Kimberly, taking his hand and squeezing it gently, "You'll be fine."
"You're in good hands," said Jason reassuringly.
"I don't doubt it," said Zack, as he heard three of his friends teleport, "But I can't help being... scared."