I know I said I wouldn't write anything new until September, but I couldn't help myself! Its short, though, so it won't disturb my writing plans for the rest of the summer. This fanfic is something I decided to write on a spur of the moment basis. It takes place at the end of July, 1995, just before Lord Zedd appears and takes over the Moon Palace. This story is named after William Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, and there's a similar kind of insanity prevalent in this piece.
Its late night, and the intense humidity of summertime in southern California doesn't let up for an instant. In his garage/laboratory, Billy Mitchell is busy mixing chemicals for a project he took on to occupy his time during the vacation.
"Its eleven-thirty PM," Billy said into his hand-held audio recorder, "and I'm nearly finished with this formula. I've spent this summer studying human emotion, and I believe I've created a potion that can actually alter emotions' intensity. This particular formula is designed to increase a rather weak sentiment, although it needs further testing. For example, it can increase a person's fear of the dark, of dislike of a certain food, or anything else. I'm not certain exactly whether or not this will work, but I am about to test the first attempt on Jack, my lab assistant."
Billy turned off his recorder, and released a stifled yawn while he placed a small white lab rat into a large cage. Then, he placed a small cup with water laced with the formula into the cage, and activated the computer programmed to monitor Jack's heartbeat. Once Jack drank the water, Billy brought his family's cat, Amethyst, into the lab, and placed her on the lab table.
"I'm now monitoring Jack's reaction to the presence of Amethyst, my family's ten year old feline. Jack is in no immediate danger, since he's safe inside the cage, and usually Jack doesn't show much fear of Amethyst, because the latter has never shown interest in chasing mice. Jack's fear reaction is minimal under control circumstances, but in a few minutes, the elixir should kick in, and then we'll see Jack's intensified reaction."
Billy watched intently, forcing his eyes to stay open. At first, Jack didn't show any fear reaction at all, but after about half an hour, Jack became suddenly terrified, and froze in place completely. Billy was already sleeping, leaning against his lab table. Amethyst stretched and leapt off the lab table, and began scratching the closed door. After a few minutes of scratching and meowing softly, someone heard her, and opened the door gingerly, allowing the cat room to leave. Stephanie Mitchell, Billy's twelve year old sister, crept into the room, and grinned conspiratorially when she saw her slumbering brother. She snuck around the room, studying Billy's newest experiment intently. She then saw Jack, still frozen stiff in fear. She opened the cage, and picked up the terrified rat in her palm. She pet him gingerly, trying to calm him down, but Jack bit her fiercely, acting out an innate defense mechanism. She cried out in pain, waking up her brother, and dropping the poor rat. Jack ran like the wind across the lab table, knocking over the Erlenmeyer Flask containing Billy's experimental potion. Billy yelled out in anger when the flask shattered, pouring the chemical all around the lab table. Billy frowned and glared at his sister, who was cradling her hand painfully. Billy sighed and walked over to the cabinet, and searched for the hydrogen peroxide, and a bandage.
"What did you think you were doing, Steph?" he scolded, "If I told you once, I told you a millions times-- don't touch my experiments!"
"I didn't know you were conducting an experiment," she protested, "You fell asleep, and I opened the door because Amethyst was scratching, and I wanted to let her out."
"I guess its my fault," he sighed, wiping her cut with a cotton ball, "I should've locked the door. But I admit, I didn't think anyone was awake at this time of night. Fish, my serum is all over the place!"
He looked at the puddle on the lab table, and some of it began to drip on the floor. He sighed again, and began to search for a mop. Stephanie grabbed some paper towel, and began wiping up the chemical on the table. Soon, the paper towel was completely saturated with the potion, and Stephanie's hands got wet. Billy brought the mop, and saw her throw the dripping paper towel into the garbage can beside the lab table.
"Steph, I told you to never touch these chemicals with your bare hands!" he shrieked, "I don't even know if the chemical can be absorbed through the epidermis!"
"Sorry," she moaned, "I'll go wash my hands."
Stephanie hurried out of the lab, leaving Billy to mop up the mess. He then cleaned up the remainder with a towel, and he wore a pair of rubber gloves. Once the mess was cleaned up, he washed his hands carefully, and threw the contaminated towel and shards of glass into a special re-enforced plastic bag, and laid it against the garage door. He then stretched out and yawned.
"I'll dispose of the contaminated materials properly tomorrow," he yawned, walking out of the lab, "Well, this experiment's down the drain. It took me the whole summer to perfect the serum, and judging from Jack's reaction, I think it was working. I'll have to start from scratch."
Billy sighed and turned off the lights, and locked the lab door behind him. He slowly strolled up the stairs to his bedroom, unaware that someone was watching him from afar.
As soon as the lab was silent and dark, a rather short, goat-like creature with glasses appeared in the room. He looked around cautiously, and listened for any sounds.
"Magnificent," he said, rubbing his hands in anticipation, "Billy's gone. Now, I can find the serum."
Finster grabbed the plastic bag, and examined its contents.
"Its a shame Billy had to destroy this chemical," he sighed, "But I think I can find enough drops of the chemical to create more. This serum will greatly help me in my study of human emotions. I've been trying to perfect my love potion for eons, to no avail. This Billy Mitchell is absolutely brilliant! His little midsummer project will help me comprehend human emotion. All I need to do is study the potion, and then test it."
Finster teleported back to his own lab in the Moon Palace, bringing the entire garbage bag with him. Once he appeared in his lab, he immediately began examining each piece of glass and cloth, using a special machine to extract every last drop of serum from the materials. The process took the better part of an hour, but Finster was a very patient creature. After an hour, he had about two ounces of potion, and he began studying its concentration.
"This is a very concentrated formula," he said, "About two glasses full would infect an entire city! Also, it can take effect in about twenty minutes, and it can be absorbed through the skin or ingested. Fantastic! What I need to do is create more of the serum. I hope I can duplicate it exactly."
Finster immediately began working, analyzing the precise chemical makeup of Billy's emotion potion, and copying as best he could. Soon, he had exactly two glasses of potion, exactly like Billy's.
"Well," Finster said, "Now that I'm done, I can distribute this potion to the masses, and see what happens. Now, how do I get the people to consume it?"
Finster remembered Billy's experiment, and how Billy got his lab rat to partake of the potion.
"The water supply!" Finster shrieked, "I'll put it in the water supply of Angel Grove, and by mid morning tomorrow, everyone in the city will be under the spell of this potion, so I can study its affects on humans on a massive scale."
Finster smiled to himself, and teleported to the Angel Grove Reservoir with the vial of potion.
Billy slept soundly until about noon, since he didn't get to sleep until about one-thirty last night. He stretched out, and yawned. He got up, and grabbed his blue plaid robe, headed to the bathroom. But, before he could reach the bathroom to take a shower, his father spotted him in the hallway, and called him.
"Son!" he called, "Come here!"
Billy sighed and walked to his father, expecting a lecture about not properly cleaning up after his experiment last night, or for leaving Jack out of his cage. However, Billy was shocked when his father gave him a huge hug, and kissed his forehead. Mr. Mitchell then smiled down at his son, while Billy stared at his father in utter confusion.
"How's my sleepy-headed genius?" he said happily, "Go down and have some breakfast! Its getting cold!"
Mr. Mitchell then hugged his son again, and strolled to his room. Billy followed his father with his eyes for a minute, and then walked down the stairs.
Am I in the Twilight Zone or something? he pondered, My dad has never been very affectionate, especially once my mother died. And he NEVER cooks! What's going on here?
Billy shrugged and sat down at the table, where he saw his sister drinking a glass of orange juice. Billy looked at the large spread of breakfast foods: French toast, pancakes, sausage, oatmeal, toast and jelly, bacon, eggs, coffee, and orange juice. He blinked, as if expecting all this food to vanish, and then began to serve himself. He glanced up at Stephanie, who was watching him and smiling widely.
"What's your problem?" he asked her. She just smiled wider.
"Billy," she said in an exceptionally sweet voice, "did I ever tell you I love you?"
"Excuse me?" he asked, nearly choking on a mouthful of pancake.
"I mean, you're the best big brother a girl could have! You're nice, smart, considerate, caring, and you know how to have fun! You really are the best, Billy!"
With that, she stood up and walked over to him. She hugged him tightly, and then skipped out of the room. Billy stopped eating as he watched her go.
"Something is definitely wrong," he said, standing up. He rubbed his chin, and then snapped his fingers excitedly.
"Of course! Stephanie must be under the emotion potion! But, what about Dad?"
Billy frowned and hurried over to his lab. He turned on the light, and scanned the room.
"Maybe Dad came across a shard of contaminated glass or something," he said while he looked around. To his shock, the plastic bag with the contaminated glass and towels was gone.
"Impossible," he whispered, running up the stairs, "The bag was there last night! I distinctly remember leaving it beside the garage door!"
Billy huffed as he knocked on his father's bedroom door.
"Come in!" sang his father's voice. Billy took a deep breath and steeled himself for more of his father's love.
"Dad, did you see a ten gallon white reinforced plastic garbage bag in my lab, by any chance?"
"No, Son," said Mr. Mitchell, tying his black and blue tie, "I haven't been in your lab at all today. A young man like yourself is entitled to a little privacy. Well, I'm off to the office."
"Aren't you four hours late?" asked Billy. Mr. Mitchell chuckled.
"Well, I suppose I am, but I couldn't leave without making sure my babies get a proper breakfast. Maybe I'll come home early today, and the three of us can go out to dinner! We haven't done that in a while."
Mr. Mitchell turned to his son and gave him another warm hug. He then picked up his briefcase and strolled out his bedroom.
"Stephanie!" he called, "Come here and give your father a kiss good-bye, Pumpkin!"
Billy sighed audibly, and began polishing the lenses of his glasses as a nervous reaction.
"I just know my father is under the influence of that potion," he whispered, "Unless he's under the influence of a narcotic. But, I doubt it. The question is, where is the garbage bag?"
Billy searched the house for his sister, who was busy brushing out Amethyst's fur.
"Steph," he said, sitting beside her on the floor, "what kind of mood was Dad in when he woke up?"
"Well, he was upset, because he hates Mondays, ya know," she started, thinking hard, "Um, he yelled something about Jack running around the house, and then he went to take a shower. Um, then he went in his room, to get dressed, and then he decided to stay home from work, and fix breakfast."
"Uh, thanks Steph," he said, standing up, "I'm going to my lab, okay?"
"Okay," sang Stephanie sweetly, "I won't bother you this time!"
Billy nodded, and went into his lab. He leaned on the lab table, thinking about what his sister said.
"Dad was acting fine, until he took a shower," he said aloud, "Could the shower have anything to do with it?"
Billy grabbed a test tube, and raced up to the shower. He filled the tube with water, and then brought it to his lab for analysis.
"This water is contaminated!" he shrieked, "The trace amounts are hard to pick up, but my emotion potion is definitely in the plumbing. But, how did it get here? Oh... oh my God! Rita!"
Billy ran up to his bedroom as quickly as he could.
Could Rita have poured my potion into the entire town's water supply? Then, if someone drinks, or even touches tap water, they're under the influence of the potion. I don't have a cure, nor do I even know how long it lasts, or if there are any dangerous side-effects!
Billy grabbed his communicator, and contacted his friend Jason, the Red Ranger.
Meanwhile, not too far away, Jason Scott Lee is strolling down the street with his hands in his denim shorts pockets, humming to himself. A broad smile is on his face, and he basked in the sun happily.
"Man," he said aloud, "I can't remember a day this beautiful! The birds are singing, the breeze is cool, and the air is fresh! Aaaahh! Makes me glad to live in good ole Angel Grove, California!"
Jason continued to walk, until he reached his destination. He knocked on a hark oak door, and waited patiently for someone to answer.
"Oh," said Tommy, rubbing his eyes and yawning, "What're ya doing here, Jay?"
"Its great to see ya, Bro!" said Jason happily, wrapping Tommy in a bear hug. Tommy gasped aloud as Jason nearly squeezed the life out of the rather slim Green Ranger. When Jason let go, Tommy just stared at him in utter confusion.
"Are you feeling okay, Jason?" he asked, raising one eyebrow. Jason smiled even wider.
"Never better, Bro. Say, why aren't you dressed yet? You and me were supposed to go to the park and play basketball with the guys, remember?"
"Oh, man!" groaned Tommy, slapping his forehead, "I knew I forgot something! Darn it, Bro..."
"You, forgot?" asked Jason, his smile quickly falling.
"Yeah, man," said Tommy sheepishly, "I forgot. Look, I'm sorry. I'll go shower and get ready--"
"You FORGOT?!" roared Jason, this time his voice filled with rage, "How could you FORGET?! I thought we were BROS!!"
Tommy nearly jumped when Jason screamed at him. Tommy began to ring his fingers nervously.
"Cool it, Man," he said timidly, not knowing how to react to Jason's explosive temper, "I'm really sorry."
"Well, sorry doesn't cut it!!" Jason yelled in a fit of anger, "I guess that shows what kind of friend you are! You're really dependable, Tommy. I surprised you even remember my name!"
With that, Jason delivered a ferocious right hook to Tommy's jaw, knocking the shocked Green Ranger to the ground, and nearly dislocating the bone. He then stormed off, still fuming with rage. About a minute later, his communicator began to ring. He lifted the wrist device to his mouth, his anger still raging.
"Look," he said bitterly, "Whoever it is, I don't feel like talking. Okay?"
^Jason! Wait, its me, Billy! Are you okay, Jason?^
Jason's mood immediately changed back to friendly, and a smile crossed his face.
"Hey, Billy! What's up? Are you at the park?"
^No, I'm in my lab. Listen, Jason, did you take a shower today, or a bath, or in any other way touch tap water.^
"Now, that's a silly question!" said Jason with a laugh, "Of course I did! Why?"
^Um... just asking. It's... part of my project. I'll talk to ya later.^
Meanwhile, inside the Oliver house, Tommy touched his jaw in disbelief, and picked himself off the ground. He walked over to the mirror, and examined his face.
What the heck was that about? he thought, Man, Jason's in a bad mood. But he was so happy a few minutes ago. Something must be wrong...
He went into the bathroom, ready to wash his face off, when his communicator chimed.
"What?" he said angrily.
^Oh, no,^ Billy whispered, ^Not you too...^
"What?" he said in a more concerned voice, "Billy, what's wrong?"
^Uh, Tommy, this may sound like an odd question, but did you take a shower yet today?^
^Did you brush your teeth? Wash your face? Drink tap water? Wash your hands?^
"Is this a hygiene quiz?" asked Tommy with a small laugh, "No, no, no, and no. I just woke up like two minutes ago, when Jason came over."
^You saw Jason? Was he acting in an abnormal fashion?^
"Well, he just punched me in the face, because I wasn't dressed to go play basketball!" Tommy snarled, "And before that, he was in a like super-happy mood. Something's not right with Jason."
^And you're feeling fine? No odd mood swings, no out of control emotions?^
"No! Billy, what's going on?"
^Tommy, could you please come to my house immediately? Its an emergency.^
"Let me get dressed. I'm on my way."
^Okay, but remember not to touch any tap water at all! You hear?^
In about five minutes, a column of green light heralded the arrival of Tommy Oliver, the recently re-instated Green Ranger. He looked around Billy's work room, and found the young genius at his lab table, studying something in his high-powered microscope.
"What's the emergency, Billy?" he asked, looking over the Blue Ranger's shoulder. Billy looked up and stared Tommy straight in the eye.
"Somehow, a powerful elixir I created got into the water system," Billy explained, "All someone has to do is touch faucet water, and the serum takes effect. I pray its not too late for the others. I contacted Jason, and he's definitely under the influence. Tommy, why don't you check up on Kimberly, while I contact Zack and Trini."
Tommy nodded, and tried to page Kimberly. But, she didn't answer her communicator. And neither did Trini and Zack.
"I'll go to her house," Tommy offered, activating his teleporter. He was gone in a flash of green light. Then, Billy picked up the telephone, and called the Taylor residence.
^Good morning!^ sang a cheery adult woman's voice.
"Uh, hi Mrs. Taylor. It's Billy. Is Zack in?"
^Oh, I'm sorry, dear, but Zack's in the shower. I'll tell him to call you later, okay?"
"Nevermind, Mrs. Taylor. I'll try back some other time."
Billy sighed and touched his forehead.
"Great," he moaned, "Its too late to save Zack. Maybe Trini's still okay."
Billy dialed the Kwan household, but got no answer. Billy slammed down the phone in aggravation, and activated his teleporter.
"I've got to try and save her," he said, vanishing from his lab. In seconds, he appeared at the front door of the Kwan family's rather large house. He knocked several times, and then decided to go around to the backyard. When he rounded the corner, he heard a splash from the pool. He jogged over to the Olympic size in-ground swimming pool, and watched as Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger, continued to perform elegant freestyle laps across the pool. Billy called out to her, getting her attention.
"Oh," she said, startled, "Hey Billy. What's up?"
"Um, can you come out for a minute," he said, "There's an emergency."
"Okay," she said, swimming over to the edge and climbing out. She wrung out her long, ebony hair, and wrapped a pale orange towel over her yellow and green one piece swimsuit.
"Trini," he began, rather uncomfortably, "Did you take a shower, or wash your hands, or in any other way touch tap water this morning?"
Trini blinked and studied Billy's face, expecting to see him smile. But Billy wasn't joking.
"Not here," she said, wiping some pool water from her forehead, "I had visited my aunt and uncle yesterday, and I stayed at their house in Los Angeles. I only got back here about an hour ago, and I came straight to the pool. Why?"
"Trini, has your family been acting strange today?"
"Not that I can recall," she said, "We all just got back from my uncle's house."
"Trini, the water system of Angel Grove has been contaminated by a powerful chemical."
"It... it intensifies emotions, Trini. And it somehow got into the water supply."
"You mean your special project?" she gasped, "The one you've been working on all summer?"
"That's the one. Look, we have to go back to my lab and regroup. Tommy's okay, but Zack and Jason are under the effect of the potion. I don't know yet about Kimberly."
Meanwhile, Tommy appears at the door to the Hart residence, and takes a deep breath.
Okay, he thought, I have to be ready for the worst. If Kim's under the spell, then she'll either be in an overly-bubbly mood, or she'll be very angry. I think I can handle this.
Tommy rang the doorbell, and waited. Above him, Kimberly looked out through her bedroom window, and hurried down to open the door. She opened the door, and smiled up at him.
"Hello, Tommy," she said in a rather deep voice, leaning against the door, "What's up?"
Tommy's eyes widened, and a lump rose in his throat. Kim was wearing a pink silk nightgown, with matching pink robe. But, her robe was hanging loosely off her shoulders, and she stood in a rather provocative pose. Tommy cleared his throat, half-expecting his voice to give out, and then immediately took his eyes of Kim, staring down at his feet.
"Um, hey Kimberly," he said quietly, "Uh, how are you?"
"Fine," she said, throwing her head back. She then grabbed Tommy's hand, and dragged him through the door. "Why don't you come in?"
Tommy just continued to stare at his feet, and allowed Kimberly to lead him to the couch. She sat down, and patted the seat beside her invitingly.
"Uh, I think I'll stand, if that's okay with you," he said quietly, "Uh, Kim, are you feeling okay?"
"I feel just fine," she said, running her hands through her golden brown hair.
"Uh, right. Listen Kim, I think I'd better get going," Tommy said, bringing his communicator up. Kimberly stood up and walked over to him, her pink robe flowing behind her.
"So soon?" she pouted, "Are you sure? You just got here!"
Oh, I'm sure! he thought in partial panic, "I, I really gotta get going. Um, see you later, Kim."
"Bye Tommy," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him squarely on the lips. Tommy was too surprised by her forward action to respond. Once Kim let go, Tommy couldn't help but stare at her in utter shock for a moment. She smiled slyly, and placed her hands on her hips. Tommy opened his mouth to speak, but shook his head and instantly teleported back to Billy's garage. Once he appeared there, he released the breath he was holding, and shook his head in disbelief.
"It sure took you a long time," said Trini, "Where's Kim?"
"I... I'm pretty sure she's under the influence. So, you okay, Trini?"
"I'm fine," she said, "So, its just the three of us?"
"Just the three of us," said Billy, walking into the lab, "I think we'd better get to the Command Center, and find out how badly this epidemic has spread."
"Right," said Trini and Tommy in unison, and the three Power Rangers vanished from Billy's lab.