In the Mitchell family's garage, Billy prepares two cots on the floor of his laboratory. While he does so, Zack Taylor, a close friend of Billy's, is sitting on the lab table itself with his eyes tightly shut. His head is bowed down, and a grim expression crossed his face. Billy glanced at his friend and shook his head. He then let out a quiet sigh as he layed the top blanket on his guest's cot.
"What's wrong, Billy?" asked Zack suddenly. Billy turned around in surprise.
"What do you mean?" Billy asked.
"I heard you sigh. It doesn't sound like you think I'll pull through this."
"Zack," said Billy, "Alpha 5 and Zordon have technology at their disposal that is infinitely more advanced than anything this world has ever seen. Much of its intricacies yet escape me. If anyone can determine the acute damage to your visual system and develop a means to restore it, they can."
"Billy," said Zack grimly, hopping off the lab table and turning toward Billy's voice, "We've been friends for a few years now. I can tell when you're not sure about something. I can't see your facial expressions, but I can make out the tone of your voice. Now, I want you to be totally honest with me. You know I can handle whatever the verdict is. Am I gonna be blind forever? And don't sugar-coat it!"
"To be perfectly honest, there is no way to know until Zordon and Alpha finish running scans of your neural network. The visual system is by far the most advanced perceptive system in your brain. The network of billions of ganglion cells, receptors, and dozens of visual pathways are extremely delicate, and the damage can be anywhere from the lens of your eye to the occipital lobe of your brain. It is uncanny that the Command Center has the kind of equipment necessary to scan this entire system one piece at a time, but it could take awhile before the damage is found. My expertise isn't really in the perceptual system, so I can't say exactly how difficult repairing such damage is, but usually, brain damage is permanent. If you end up with a lesion in your occipital lobe, you will most likely never see again. I'm sorry."
"Don't be," said Zack, holding out his arms and feeling around. Once he found a cot, he sat down on it, and lay down on his back. He folded his hands over his chest, and lay perfectly still. Billy couldn't tell if Zack had fallen asleep or not, so he finally lay down on his own cot and turned out the lamp.
"You guys are gonna need a new Black Ranger," said Zack finally.
"Not just yet," said Billy, "Your vision may still recover. It may even recover on its own!"
"True, but it could take days... even weeks until Zordon can do anything to help me, and you know Rita won't wait to attack again. What if you guys need the Megazord or something? I can't pilot the Mastodon without seeing!"
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," said Billy, "Now, try and get some rest. Its been an exhausting evening."
"That's one way to put it," muttered Zack in response, "G'night, Billy."
But both young men did have difficulty sleeping, and throughout the night, Billy could hear soft sobbing coming from the other cot.
* * *
"Ah," said the shrill voice of the Empress of Evil, "It couldn't have worked out better if I had planned it!"
"What happened, Your Royalness?" asked Squatt, the dim-witted, short blue alien.
"The Black Ranger has been incapacitated," she said with a smile, "He's blind!"
"But Billy said that it may be fixed!" said the taller, black alien named Baboo.
"It doesn't matter," said Rita, stepping down off her balcony, "It can take days before his retinas heal, if they do heal! If we attack now, we can annihalate the four other rangers, and be done with it! We'll snatch their Power Coins, and then destroy them! Then, I'll use the five coins to create my own team of evil Power Rangers! They'll wreak havoc throughout the universe! Goldar, get in here!"
"Yes, my Queen?" said the golden armored warrior.
"Take a few squads of Putty Patrolers to Earth, and fight the four remaining Power Rangers! You should be able to defeat only four of them!"
"It shall be like falling off a log," said Goldar confidently, "But, how shall I draw them out? Its four o'clock in the morning, and they most likely are asleep in their homes."
"Then go and wake one of them up!" screeched Rita, "Why don't you go attack the Red Ranger? Then, you can get rid of the most powerful ranger before he has a chance to morph, making their capture all the easier! Oh, and use that sleeping spell I taught you. It will make sure the Power Rangers stay still while you steal their coins!"
"Brilliant scheme, Majesty!" said Goldar, bowing as he left, "It shall be done!"
* * *
Its late night in Angel Grove, and inside one split-level ranch style home in the residential area of the city, a young man tosses and turns in his sleep. He mutters softly as he relives the scene that cost his best friend dearly the previous day.
"No," he whispered, "Zack!"
Jason Lee sprung into a sitting position, panting heavily. He took a deep breath, and lay back down on his pillow, staring up at the darkened ceiling.
I've got to get some sleep! he thought silently, I have a feeling Rita will be taking full advantage of Zack's injuries in the morning. Man, I can't believe this is happening! This is the first time any one of us has been seriously injured! The damage done to Zack's vision may even be permanent! He'll have to live with a lack of vision his entire life, and there isn't a thing I can do about it!
Jason could feel his eyes well with tears of frustration. He'd really been scared when Zack first announced he couldn't see. But, Jason had to be strong for the rest of the team. He was always looked up to for his strength and control, and his friends needed him to be a pillar, especially during times of tragedy. But now that he's alone, he can let his emotions out.
This is all my fault he reasoned, If I hadn't let down my guard, Illuminator wouldn't have knocked me out of the fight so soon! Then, Kim and Billy wouldn't have had to come check on me, leaving Zack and Trini to take that monster alone! This whole thing wouldn't have happened had I been more careful! I have to be able to lead better than this! I should be ready for anything! But I wasn't, and Zack paid the price for my mistake...
Just then, Jason heard a branch snap from just outside his open window. He looked out the window in surprise, and prepared to get up. But before the soles of his feet touched the carpet, a figure moving at an amazing speed pushed him back onto the bed, and pinned him there.
"GOLDAR?!" Jason cried in surprise, struggling against the iron grip of Rita's lead henchman.
"In the flesh," said Goldar with a grin, "Oh, and try to keep it down? We certainly don't want your parents to get involved in this, do we?"
Jason shuddered at the thought, and continued his struggles against the large beast in silence. Through the corner of his eye, he could see his morpher on his nightable. Fortunately, Goldar didn't seem to notice it.
"What do you want?" asked Jason.
"You," said Goldar, "Without Zack, there are only four Power Rangers, and once you've been dealt with, there are only three to go! The others will no doubt be rushing to your aid any moment now, but you won't be alive to greet them!"
"We'll see about that!" said Jason, pushing his legs up with all his might. He managed to weaken the monster's grip severely, and he then wriggled his arms free. Jason delivered one powerful punch to Goldar's snout, knocking him off the bed. Jason leapt off the bed on the other side, and picked up his morpher.
I can't fight inside the house! It may wake up my parents! thought Jason, "Now its time for a fair fight! TYRANNOSAURUS!!"
In a bright display of red light, Jason's red plaid pajamas were transformed into the inpenetrable red and white armor of the Red Power Ranger. He then proceeded to leap out of the open window, to land nimbly next to the trunk of a tree. Goldar leapt out after the Red Ranger, and brandished his golden sword. Jason did likewise, and the two warriors clashed swords. Jason's speed managed to keep him one step of the stronger Goldar, but the two warriors seemed too evenly matched for any one to gain the advantage. Goldar smiled as he kicked the Red Ranger back, knocking him to the grass.
"Putties!" Goldar cried, "Tear him apart!"
To Jason's horror, nearly twenty of Rita's clay Putty Patrolers appeared at Goldar's command. Jason held his sword high, and tried to fend off the enemies. But he couldn't keep them off him for long, and soon he was completely surrounded by Putties.
"Now that he's distracted..." said Goldar, holding his sword high. A sphere of pulsing gold energy formed at the tip of the golden sword, and Goldar leapt into the air. He pointed the sword at the Red Ranger from above, and the sphere of energy flew at him. Jason didn't have time to duck before the sphere crashed into his helmet, knocking him unconsious. Goldar began to laugh as he approached the downed leader of the Power Rangers. He stopped when the Red Ranger was sprawled out at his feet, and raised his hands to the sky.
"At last!" he roared, "I have claimed victory for my empress!"
As Goldar bent down to take the shining golden Tyrannosaurus coin from Jason's belt, a silver and pink arrow pierced the golden armor protecting his foot. Goldar howled in pain, and clutched his injured foot with both hands. He then looked up, and glared as the Pink Ranger leapt from the roof of the Lee family's house, holding her Power Bow tightly. The Yellow and Blue Rangers landed on the grass on either side of the Pink Ranger, respectively holding the Power Daggers and the Power Lance.
"Get away from Jason!" cried the Pink Ranger, pulling back on the bow again, "Or the next arrow will pierce something a bit more vital!"
"You don't scare me, Power Rangers!" yelled Goldar, pulling the arrow out of his bleeding foot, "Putties, get them!"
The three Power Rangers gave a battle cry as they plowed into the oncoming Putty Patrolers. While they slowly managed to decrease the number of monsters, Goldar once again approached the Red Ranger to collect the coin. But this time, he was greeted by a strong hit to the back of his neck. He fell on top of the Red Ranger, and looked up to see the Yellow Ranger, holding both of her Power Daggers. She had hit him with the butt of the dagger, and she was standing above him menacingly.
"Well," he said with a grin, "the little tiger has claws, eh?"
"You'll have to go through me before you can lay one slimey finger on Jason!" she declared angrily, spinning her daggers in her hands. Goldar rose to his feet, and picked up his sword.
"I have no problem with that," said Goldar, swinging high at the Yellow Ranger. She ducked the swing easily, and side-kicked him while he was off balance. Goldar didn't seem to feel the attack, and used his leg to sweep the Yellow Ranger off her feet. She recovered with a quick hand-spring, and managed to hit Goldar beneath the chin with her heels. Goldar fell onto his back, and Trini held her dagger to his throat.
"You fight well, Yellow Ranger," Goldar said with a smile, "for a human, at least. But, its time for this game to end!"
Goldar's sword, which was lying about two feet from his hand, came to life, and glowed bright gold. Goldar pushed the stunned ranger off him, and clutched the sword. He let the power build, and touched Trini's helmet with the glowing blade. Trini shrieked as golden energy poured into her body, overloading her system. She fell limp to the ground, and Goldar blew the smoke off his blade. He then set his sights on the Pink Ranger, who was using a series of hand-springs to hit the putties as they ran from her. He grinned, and fired some golden energy bolts at her, causing her to fall ungracefully to the ground. She stood up quickly, and turned to face Goldar. She took a step back as he approached.
"I know how much you'd rather fight me from a distance, Pink Ranger," he said, "but your little bow won't help you up close and personal!"
"We'll see about that! Power Bow!"
The pink and white archer's bow appeared in Kimberly's hands, and she used her bow to block Goldar's downward swing. She struggled against his superior strength, but managed to keep her balance. She then kicked up with her right leg, which powerfully struck Goldar's hand and caused him to drop his sword. Goldar stepped back as Kimberly swung her bow like a sword. He dodged, and then managed to catch her arm, forcing her to drop her weapon by tightening his grip. Kim shrieked as he lifted the small ranger with one hand until they were eye-level, meaning her feet were dangling over a foot off the ground.
"Let me go, Creep!" she snapped, struggling to free herself. He only laughed at her, and held out his other hand towards his sword. Once again, his sword came to life, and floated up to him. He clutched it firmly, and tossed Kimberly like a rag doll into a tree. She crumpled against the tree on impact, but she managed to rise to her feet. But by then, a pulsing sphere of energy was already flying directly at her, and it struck her on her stomach. She cried out in pain, and fell lifeless to the grass. Goldar picked up her still body, and tossed her beside the unconscious Yellow and Red Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Blue Ranger managed to destroy the last two Putty Patrolers with a mighty split-kick. He panted with exhaustion, and looked up to see Goldar's foot flying towards him. Billy managed to put up his Power Lance just in time, and caught Goldar by his armor. Billy threw Goldar overhead, causing the monster to crash into the quiet street. The Blue Ranger followed Goldar, who had quickly recovered from the fall. The two clashed weapons for awhile, but it was plain to see that the Blue Ranger was no match for the stronger, more experienced Goldar.
"I'm bored with this," said Goldar, delivering a powerful swing with his sword. The sword managed to dislodge the Power Lance from Billy's hands, leaving the Blue Ranger unarmed. Goldar then tried to run his through with his sword, but the Blue Ranger cartwheeled out of the way, and drew out his laser blaster. He fired the gun at Goldar, who used his sword as a shield. The sword's shiny surface deflected the rays of blue light, sending them back to their source. The Blue Ranger was struck by a few rays, and was knocked backwards. Goldar finished the job by once again channeling golden energy through his sword. Soon, the Blue Ranger was lying still as death, and Goldar laughed in triumph.
"Well," he said, "since you're the closest, I might as well get the Triceratops coin first. Then, I'll get the other three."
Goldar bent down and reached for the coin seated in the Blue Ranger's morpher. But as soon as his golden talon made contact with the coin, a rush of blue energy shocked Goldar, and threw the warrior back with force. Goldar stood up, and frowned.
"Empress!" he called out, "I cannot touch the coins!"
A ghostly image of Queen Rita appeared before Goldar. Goldar bowed at her appearance, and she frowned angrily.
"There must be some kind of protection spell on the coins," she said, "making it impossible for someone to separate the coin from the Power Ranger while morphed. They may have to give up the coin willingly."
"How will you do that?" asked Goldar.
"I can't!" shrieked Rita, "This is not FAIR! There must be a way around it! Oh, I have an idea! Here, idiot!"
A rather large marquise-cut black gemstone appeared in Goldar's hand. It was about the size of his open palm.
"What is this?"
"This is the Gem of Disjunction. It basically undos certain spells. But, it doesn't always work, and it takes quite a while. You can't bring those rangers up to my palace until the gem has taken full effect, though. The energy release isn't a pretty sight."
"So, where do I cast the spell of Disjunction?"
"I don't care! But do it somewhere down there! And make it snappy, too."
"But, if I cast the spell down here, Zordon will be able to find me!"
"Who cares? He can't teleport the rangers while they are under the power of this kind of spell! What can he do, send that tin-can of an assistant after you?"
"There still is the Black Ranger to deal with."
"So what?!" shrieked Rita's image, "The boy is blind! If you can defeat all four of the other rangers, you can take care of a blind Black Ranger. Now get to work! The spell will take about an hour to take affect, and I want to add those five coins to my collection!"
"I obey, my Empress!"
* * *
In the Command Center, Zack sits quietly and listens to the sounds emitted from the Viewing Globe. He was waken by the sound of Billy's communicator going off, and decided he shouldn't stay in Billy's garage alone while the Power Rangers were off fighting one of Rita's monsters. So he opted to stay in the Command Center with Alpha Five and Zordon. Golar's maniacal laughter chilled Zack to the bone, and he desperately wished he was able to see what had happened to his friends. But the sound of Goldar's laugh made it painfully obvious who the victor was.
"Aye yi yi!" shrieked Alpha Five, "Goldar and the rangers have vanished!"
"I heard, Alpha," said Zack, still sitting on the black table, "But he didn't take them to the Moon Palace yet. There still on Earth. Somewhere."
Zack leapt down from the table, and turned in the direction in which he knew Zordon's column was.
"Zordon," said Zack, "Is there any way you can track their teleport?"
"NOT DIRECTLY," said the wise sage, "HOWEVER THE SCANNERS WILL BE ABLE TO DETECT THE POWERFUL RELEASE OF MAGIC. THE SPELL OF DISJUNCTION IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL SPELLS THERE IS."
"Can the Spell of Disjunction really make it possible for Goldar to just take the coins?"
"YES. THE SPELL THAT WAS CAST TO BOND THE POWER COINS TO THE POWER RANGERS IS OF THE KIND THAT CAN BE UNDONE WITH THE SPELL OF DISJUNCTION. BY ELIMINATING THAT BOND, THE COIN WILL NOT BE PROTECTED, AND GOLDAR WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE IT OFF THE MORPHER WITH LITTLE IF ANY DIFFICULTY."
"Then we have to find them, and stop this," said Zack, "Alpha?"
"Right here, Zack," said the little robot, stepping towards Zack.
"Could you please teleport my morpher to me? I left it in Billy's laboratory."
"Aye yi yi!" he yelled, "You're not thinking of going after Goldar!"
"Well, there's no one else to do it," said Zack, "We have less than an hour before Rita has total control of the Power Coins! I'm the only one left."
"I AGREE WITH YOU, ZACHARY, BUT YOU MUST USE EXTREME CAUTION. ALPHA FIVE AND I MUST PREPARE YOU."
"Right," said Zack.
The next few minutes was a time of preparation. Zordon scanned the city and the surrounding area for the energy signature of a powerful magical spell, while Alpha Five and Zack came up with a way to defeat Goldar, without using the sense of sight.
"Well," said Zack, clutching his morpher, "if I can't see, we'll have to even up the odds by stopping Goldar from seeing."
"But Goldar's species is very similar to canines! He doesn't rely on vision as much as humans do. He uses his sense of smell. He'll be able to hunt you down, whether he can see or not!"
"Then, let's knock out that sense also," said Zack, rubbing his chin, "Limit sight as well as smell... I've got it! How about a smoke screen?"
"The smoke would cloud the room, making it impossible to see, and the smoke will overpower Goldar's sensitive olefaction. It could work."
"Then prepare a couple smoke grenades," said Zack, "I've got my work cut out for me."
"ZACHARY," said Zordon, "I HAVE LOCATED GOLDAR AND THE OTHER FOUR POWER RANGERS. THEY ARE INSIDE A CAVE NOT FAR FROM HERE. I SHALL RECALIBRATE THE TELEPORTER FOR YOU."
"A cave?" asked Zack, "Good. There'll be limited ventilation, and the smoke screen will have an even better effect."
"YOU MUST DESTROY THE GEM OF DISJUNCTION IN ORDER TO STOP THE SPELL IN PROGRESS."
"But, how will I find it if I can't see?"
"THE GEM SHOULD EMIT A VERY SOFT HUM. IT IS USUALLY INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM BACKGROUND NOISE, BUT SINCE YOUR VISION HAS BEEN COMPROMISED, YOU WILL PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE AUDITORY CUES. MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU, ZACHARY."
"Thanks," said Zack, taking a deep breath, "Its Morphin Time! MASTADON!!"
Zack's body was bathed in an intense black light, and he was clothed in the form fitting armor of the Black Power Ranger. He touched his morpher, and vanished from the Command Center in a streak of light.
* * *
Inside a cave not far from the Command Center, Goldar carefully places the black gemstone Rita sent him onto a stone pillar. He looks behind him, and checks to make sure the four Power Rangers were still unconscious. The ball of energy that Goldar cast on them was actually a small spell Goldar had learned, that induces sleep. The Rangers slept soundly, and they wouldn't wake up for at least an hour, if Goldar's calculations were correct. That was plenty of time for him to cast the Spell of Disjunction, and separate the Power Coins from the rangers.
"Soon," he rumbled, "you four will be the Powerless Rangers! Now, to cast the spell... ú¿¶Æû ÂÅû¹·©´Æ..."
As Goldar began to chant in an ancient alien language, a subtle streak of black light flashed just outside the cave. The Black Ranger appeared, and felt around carefully. He could hear Goldar's powerful voice clearly, and Zack leaned against the stone wall just outside the cave, and listened. He must be casting the spell! he thought, I gotta act quickly, or the guys are doomed!
Zack clutched one of the two smoke grenades in his right hand. He then warily approached the voice. But before he could throw the grenade, he was suddenly thrown to the ground. He lost the grenade, and he could feel a heavy body crushing him.
"Goldar," he muttered. Goldar laughed. "What? You actually thought you could sneak up on me?! I smelled you the moment you teleported outside the cave! But, I needed to finish casting the spell before I crushed you."
"You're not going to get away with this!" Zack yelled, struggling against Goldar's grip. He quickly realized from the distance of Goldar's voice that the beast was actually pinning him to the ground with his feet. Zack then felt a sharp point through the cushion of the neck of his uniform.
"Who's going to stop me, Human?" he chuckled, pressing his blade harder into Zack's neck. It still didn't penetrate the armor. "Oh, what do we have here?"
Goldar leaned over and picked up the grenade Zack dropped. He touched it to his nose, and inhaled deeply.
"A smoke grenade," he observed, "Clever. Too bad you didn't get a chance to use it."
Goldar reached down and picked up the Black Ranger. He hefted the young man over his shoulder, and walked over to the line of stone beds, where the remaining Power Rangers lay. He lay Zack on the bed, and pointed his sword at Zack.
"Now, to put you to sleep," he declared, "just like your friends."
A flash of bright light shot forth, and Zack lay motionless on the bed. Goldar then turned around, and returned to the pillar. He didn't realize that Zack was still conscious.
I... I don't believe it! Whatever he tried to do, it didn't work! Now's my chance...
Zack slowly and quietly reached to his holster, where the remaining smoke grenade was attached. He pulled it off, and silently felt for the pin. He pulled the pin, and thew it in the direction he heard Goldar's footsteps.
"What?!" shrieked Goldar as a deep, dense black smokescreen surrounded him. He began coughing violently. Zack leapt off the cot, and followed the sound of the coughing.
"Times like this, I'm glad the Power Ranger helmets automatically purify the air we breathe!" he said, kicking Goldar to the ground. He continued to aim his attacks at the source of the coughing. Goldar was at a serious disadvantage-- not being able to see clearly, smell anything but foul smoke, and barely able to breath through the dense smoke. He crumpled under the Black Ranger's relentless attacks.
"No... fair..." Goldar wheezed between coughs, "Not... fair... fight!"
"Probably not," said Zack, delivering a powerful uppercut, "but it certainly wasn't fair for your Illuminator monster to play possum, and trick me into coming close! It sure as heck wasn't fair for him to blind me! WAS IT?!"
Now, Zack was pounding Goldar mercilessly, his aggression fueled by the anger and frustration of his recent blindness. Goldar quickly realized he wasn't going to win this battle.
"We'll... finish this... some other time..." he wheezed, and vanished in a cloud of gold. Once he was gone, Zack fell to his knees, panting hard. "Now, to find that gemstone," he said, holding his breath. He listened carefully for the sound of a weak hum, which Zordon had described to him earlier. Zack soon perceived it, and slowly crawled across the cave towards it. He moves slowly enough that when he collided with a rock, it didn't hurt. Soon, Zack felt his way to the pillar, and touched the black stone with his gloved hand.
"Once I destroy you, the rangers will be free of this spell. Power Ax!"
The Power Ax appeared in Zack's hand, and with the other hand, he felt the gem. Then, he lifted the ax high, and let it drop. He hit the gemstone right in the center, and the gem exploded. Zack was thrown back by the energy release, but he wasn't hurt. He pulled himself off the floor, and activated his communicator.
"Zordon? Alpha? Mission accomplished. Bring us home."
^You got it,^ said Alpha Five's voice over the line, and the five Power Rangers vanished in streaks of bright light.
* * *
Billy's eyes slowly opened, and to his surprise, he wasn't in his bedroom. He wasn't even in his laboratory, where he often falls asleep. He saw the blinking lights of the Command Center, and sat up quickly. He found himself on a black cot, wearing his Blue Ranger costume. His helmet lay beside him. He looked around, and saw Kimberly, Jason, and Trini all sitting up on cots alongside his. He then looked further, and saw Zack sitting on another cot, with Alpha Five pointing a small machine into his eye.
"What happened?" asked Billy weakly, straightening his glasses, "If memory serves, I was in solitary combat against Goldar..."
"... when you were knocked unconscious by a magic spell," said Zack, not turning his head, "All four of you were. Then, he tried to take your Power Coins."
"Well, it looks like Goldar failed again," said Kimberly, glancing down at her morpher.
"Zack fought Goldar off, and brought you all here," said Alpha. Everyone's eyes widened.
"Zack fought Goldar?" Trini repeated, "Without being able to see? But, how?"
"I used my brain, for a change," said Zack with a smile, "You would've been proud, Billy."
"I am," said Billy, "What happened to the rest of us?"
"GOLDAR USED A VERY POTENT SLEEP SPELL. ITS DURATION IS DIFFERENT FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE, AND I BELIEVE THAT, SINCE YOU WERE THE LAST ONE TO BE HIT WITH THE SPELL, IT WAS WEAKEST WITH YOU. SO YOU WERE ALL ASLEEP FOR APPROXIMATELY THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME."
"Well, he tried to put me to sleep," said Zack, "But it didn't work. I guess he miscast the spell."
"NOT NECESSARILY. MOST MAGIC SPELLS MUST APPEAL TO THE SENSES OF THE VICTIM. SOMETIMES THEY MUST BE HEARD, AS IN WITH ENCANTATIONS. OTHER SPELLS MUST BE SEEN. IN YOUR CASE, THE SPELL WAS MOSTLY VISUAL. IF YOU DIDN'T SEE THE LIGHT OF THE SPELL, IT DIDN'T HAVE AS STRONG AN AFFECT. IN YOUR CASE, IT HAD NONE WHATSOEVER."
"Well, I guess being blind is good for at least one thing," said Zack.
"Alpha, what are you doing?" asked Billy, hopping off the cot and watching over the short android's head, "Are you conducting more scans?"
"No," said Alpha, "The scans we took concluded that the problem lies in Zack's retina. Apparently, the light Illuminator cast was so powerful, it bleached all the cones and rods in both retinas."
"What do you mean, 'bleached'?" asked Jason, as he, Trini, and Kimberly circled Billy, Alpha, and Zack.
"The rods and the cones are the visual receptors," explained Billy, "Their job is to capture light, one particle at a time, and send the visual information through the optical nerve. Once a receptor captures a light photon, it is bleached. That means that the two parts of the receptor, the opsin and the retinal, separated. While the receptor is bleached, it cannot absorb another photon. So if all the receptors in your retinas were bleached, no light would be processed, and all you'd see is blackness."
"Well, that's a good description of what I'm seeing right now."
"Usually, the receptors regenerate, or the two pieces rejoin, in a few minutes," continued Alpha, "All the receptors never are bleached at once, because there are literally billions of them, so that's why people don't lost their vision when they are exposed to bright light. But the Illuminator's light burst was magical. It bleached all the retinas in your eyes, and also inhibited their regeneration, so they couldn't absorb light anymore."
"Great," said Trini, "Now that you've determined the problem, can you fix it?"
"I'm trying," said Alpha, putting away the device he was using, "I just finished running a special stimulator over your retinas. If this works, it should disinhibit your receptors, meaning they should regenerate normally."
"How long do we have to wait before we know if it worked?" asked Zack.
"Anywhere from five to twenty minutes," said Billy, "That's how long it takes receptors to regenerate."
The next few minutes, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers paced around the Command Center, waiting for Zack to say something. Zack's eyes were closed, and every minute of so, he'd open them, excitedly expecting to see something. But each time, he was disappointed, and closed his eyes again. With each attempt, Zack became more and more upset, and worried that he'd never see again. Finally, twenty minutes were up, and Zack lay still, his eyes clenched tightly.
"Well?" asked Kimberly, "Can you see?"
"I... I'll check," said Zack, a hint of fear in his voice. He knew that if he didn't see now, he probably never will. He opened his eyes very slowly, and kept them open. His eyes remained perfectly still, as if Zack was staring at something.
"Zack?" asked Jason, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," he said quietly, "But, I never noticed the ceiling was blue in here!"
Zack sat up, and grinned widely. "Yup, I can see!"
Kimberly, Trini, Jason, and Billy wrapped Zack in a warm group hug, and tears of joy trickled down from Zack's healed eyes. For of all the successes the Power Rangers had over the past few weeks, since Zordon banded them together, this one was by far the most meaningful.