Alexis' eyes opened weakly and she released a silent yawn. Her vision was blurry, so she didn't recognize her surroundings. When her vision cleared, she stifled a cry of surprise when she noticed her surroundings. She wasn't in her pink and purple bedroom. Rather, she was in a conservative and neat bedroom.
Where am I? she thought, standing up quickly. A rush of dizziness enveloped her, and she sat back down. She looked to the door of the bedroom, and noticed a single suitcase. She glanced towards the window, and saw the familiar skyline of-- Philadelphia?! I remember, I'm here because Denise...is sick. I fell asleep on the plane, and then again at the hospital this morning. All this stress is really taking its toll on me.
She once again tried to get out of bed, this time, more slowly. She stretched out gingerly and opened the window. The cool November breeze rushed quietly into the hotel room, flooding Alexis' mind with memories. Wow, I didn't realize how much I missed cold weather! I doubt I'll ever be able to go ice skating in Angel Grove. Its just too darn hot, all year 'round!
Alexis searched her suitcase for something to wear. She selected a pair of brown oversized jeans and a cream turtleneck. She was busy tying her sneakers when a familiar tone sounded from her bedside. She rose and quickly grabbed her communicator.
"Alexis here," she said in an emotionless voice.
^Lex? Is that really you? Are you okay?^ came the answer. Even though Alexis was now some 3,000 miles away from Angel Grove, she could here the voice as clearly as if its owner was sitting next to her.
"I'm fine Kimberly. What's up? Is Lord Zedd attacking?"
^Well, no. I tried to call you at your house last night, but I didn't get an answer. I tried again this morning, and I still got the machine. I was worried.^
"I keep telling you guys to stop worrying about me," said Alexis with a sigh.
^Where are you, Lex?^ asked Kim quietly, her voice laced with concern.
"I'm in Philly. I have some...personal problems to deal with. I gotta go, Ma's calling me."
Before Kimberly could answer, Alexis turned off her communicator and placed it on the end table. Her mother wasn't really calling, but Alexis didn't feel like explaining her present predicament with the overly empathetic Pink Ranger.
I don't want anyone's pity. Not about Denise, and not about my powers.
Alexis knocked on the door to adjoining room. When there was no answer, Alexis opened the door and saw a small note written on an envelope. She picked it up and read it.
Honey, I'm at Ben Franklin General.
I didn't want to wake you--you've been sick for a while.
Come down when you're up to it.
Alexis sighed as she folded the envelope and stuck it in her jeans' pocket. She threw on her leather jacket and briskly walked out the door. She left her communicator and morpher on the dresser.
Kimberly's face curled into a frown as she released the button on her communicator. She sighed and supported her head on her hands. She glanced over at the mat, where Tommy was sparring with Adam. Rocky was on the sidelines, cheering them both on. Aisha was in her yellow karate gi, slowly teaching Billy some blocks. She turned to the clock on the wall.
It's ten thirty, she thought in frustration, they're gonna announce the names of the three students going to the Peace Conference in Geneva any minute, and Jason, Zack, and Trini still didn't get here yet. They just HAD to go mountain biking this morning. And what's up with Alexis...
"Hey kids," called Ernie from the bar, "here comes the announcement!"
Ernie turned up the volume on the television, and the two dozen teenagers in the building crowded around the television in anticipation. Kimberly, who was already at the bar, turned her attention to the screen. She was soon joined by the other five.
"So, did we miss it?" asked Tommy, sitting next to Kim.
"No," said Kim quietly. Tommy was surprised by how cold she sounded.
"Is something wrong, Kim?" he whispered, putting his arm around her shoulders.
Kimberly was about to answer, but the news anchorwoman interrupted her.
"And in local news, three juniors from Angel Grove High School have been selected to attend a special worldwide Peace Conference in Geneva Switzerland. These peace talks were designed in the hopes that the youth of the world, our future, can reach agreements on critical areas of debate. The three teens are...Jason Scott Lee, Zachary Taylor, and Trini Kwan. These three teenagers will bring all our hope and love with them to Switzerland--"
The rest of the report was cut off by an uproar. Kimberly shrieked when she saw the photo of Jason cross the screen, and each of the other teens expressed their surprise and joy in similar ways.
"We gotta find them!" said Tommy excitedly, leaping off the stool, "They should be on there way here from the mountain!" With that, Tommy, Billy, and Kimberly ran out of the Juice Bar.
"I wonder what'll happen with the Power Rangers," whispered Adam to Aisha and Rocky. The two others shrugged silently.
Alexis wanders through the streets of Philadelphia to the Ben Franklin Memorial Hospital. Once there, she sees her mother waiting in the lobby, sobbing silently. Alexis sits next to her mother and envelops her in a warm hug.
"Oh Honey," Amanda sobbed, "She's too young to die. Oh, God, she's so young! She's got a son to look after, and...and..."
Amanda's words stuck in her throat, and she continued to weep in silence. Alexis' eyes started to brim with tears.
No, she said to herself, I'm not gonna cry! Someone has to remain strong, and since Dad's not here, it looks like it'll have to be me.
"Mom," she said quietly, "can I go see her?"
"Yes, its still visiting hours. She's awake, too. Room 511, I'll be with you shortly."
Alexis left her mother sitting in the lobby, and made her way to the elevator. She was soon standing outside Room 511. Alexis took a deep breath, and pushed open the door.
"Hey, Kiddo," called a weak but cheerful voice, "come on in."
Alexis smiled at her sister, even though she was crying inside. Denise looked pale and small in the big hospital bed, with numerous IV units in her arm. Her thick strawberry blonde mane was in disarray, and her emerald eyes seem to have lost their glimmer. She looked old and tired, even though she was twenty four. She looked forty.
"What happened, Denise?" asked Alexis quietly, keeping her tears back. Denise's smile fell.
"Well, I've been feeling a little ill the past week, so I decided to get a check up. It turns out, I have full blown AIDS," she answered casually.
"Must've been Martin," said Denise coldly, "I mean, he left me for some waitress almost a year ago, and who knows who he's been with before that! I should've realized he was no good long ago. Well, its too late for that."
"What about Jonny?" asked Alexis, sitting down beside the bed.
"Jonny tested negative," Denise answered with a smile, "My friend Alice is watching him. I think they're done running tests on me, so I'll be getting my prescription and be going home."
"So, what are you planning on doing?" asked Alexis.
"Well, I plan to finish law school. After all, no one seems to know how much--time I have. I'm not going to let a little thing like AIDS stop me from achieving."
"When do you get out of here?"
"In a few hours. So, enough about me! How're you? You moved to California three weeks ago. Did you make any friends yet?"
Delighted to change to a more pleasant subject, Alexis told her older sister about her nine good friends. Of course, she left out the Power Ranger business.
"Wow, sounds like you found your niche," said Denise, smiling, "So, you seem to like this Jason fellow."
Alexis turned beet red, and stared at Denise.
"How did you--"
"Well, you mentioned how strong he is, how sweet he is, how smart he is...I don't need to be a detective to figure that out! So, is there anything going on between you two?"
"No! We're just friends."
"Okay," said Denise with a knowing smile, "Let's change the subject. You live in Angel Grove, right? Isn't that the town that the Power Rangers protect? Have you seen them?"
"Uh, briefly," said Alexis, uncomfortably.
"Ya know, I heard that there's seven rangers now. They recruited a Purple Ranger! I saw on the news last weekend that the Purple Ranger, flying some big bird machine, told the citizens of Angel Grove to evacuate because some dragon monster was attacking."
"Yeah, I remember that."
"Well, she's my favorite Power Ranger."
"Really," said Alexis, turning around in surprise, "Why?"
"She's the only Power Ranger who seems to think about the little people. Usually, the Megazord, or whatever it is they call it, tramples as much of the town as the monsters do. The Purple Ranger actually broadcast a warning. That's the only time I've heard of the Power Rangers warning the people of an oncoming attack. She's really responsible."
Just then, there was a small knock on the door, and Amanda Darling walked in. She looked haggard, but managed a small smile.
"So, what are you two talking about?" she asked, taking a seat beside Alexis.
"Oh, just the Power Rangers," said Alexis with a smile.
"Good. Well, I spoke with Doctor Kusac. You'll be free to go in a few hours. Now, I wanted to know what you're planning on doing now. I mean, you have a son to look after, and you're very ill. I want you to know there's plenty of room in our new house--"
"That's okay, Ma," interrupted Denise, "but I don't plan on moving in with you guys. At least, not until I finish up law school. I'll graduate next May."
"But Honey, that's a year and a half! Do you really think you could do it? I mean, there isn't anyone here to take care of you and Johnathan."
"I don't need to be taken care of, Ma," said Denise with a hint of anger, "I'm an adult."
"But you're sick, Denise," said Alexis quietly, "You don't have any relatives anywhere near here. How do you plan on working, going to class, and taking care of Jonny? I mean, I don't know how you handled it before, but now, things'll be gong downhill."
"Look, I plan on becoming a lawyer, okay? What if they discover a cure in a year? Then what do I do? I could live for years with AIDS, and I don't plan on spending the rest of my life being treated like a baby!"
"Denise, you could transfer to Angel Grove University. They have a good law school..."
"No, Ma," said Denise sternly, "I'm staying here at Penn. End of discussion. Now, if you don't mind, I'm really tired."
With that, Denise pulled the blanket over her head. Amanda frowned and got up to leave. Alexis followed her mother quietly.
"She's just as stubborn as your father," muttered Amanda bitterly as the two got into the elevator.
Meanwhile, in the Command Center, the other six Power Rangers discuss a crisis with their mentor.
"Zordon," said Tommy, "Jason, Trini, and Zack have been selected to go to Switzerland for that Peace Conference."
"I AM AWARE OF THIS, RANGERS," boomed Zordon, "LET ME BE AMONG THE FIRST TO CONGRATULATE THE THREE OF YOU."
"Its appreciated," said Trini with a smile, "But what about the Power Rangers? We can't just leave, and let Zedd win!"
"Yeah," said Zack, "I mean, anyone can go to the Peace Conference. We'll just have to tell them we said no. After all, they can't force us to go to a peace conference, can they?"
"ZACHARY, YOU, TRINI, AND JASON HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE. WHEN I CHOSE YOU TO BE POWER RANGERS, I HAD NO INTENTION TO LET THAT RESPONSIBILITY STAND IN YOUR WAY OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. IF YOU WISH TO GO TO SWITZERLAND, YOU SHOULD. IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO GO, THEN STAY. BUT DON'T LET THE FACT THAT YOU ARE POWER RANGERS BE THE REASON YOU CHOOSE NOT TO GO. IT IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU."
"What'll happen to the team?" asked Jason.
"I WILL HAVE TO TRANSFER YOUR POWERS INTO THREE NEW TEENAGERS, BUT TO DO THAT, I SHALL NEED THE SWORD OF LIGHT."
"Where is it?" asked Tommy.
"YOU MUST ALL GO ON A MISSION TO THE DESERTED PLANET IN THE FURTHEST GALAXY TO RETRIEVE IT. IT SHALL BE A DANGEROUS JOURNEY. ZACK, JASON, AND TRINI, HAVE YOU MADE YOUR DECISION?"
The three friends look at each other in uncertainty. Finally Trini steps forward.
"I'd like to go to the conference," she said, "I'll miss all of you, but I have the feeling we could make such a difference."
"Yeah," said Zack, "Me too."
"I guess its unanimous," said Jason with a smile, "But, who's gonna replace us?"
"I SHALL CHOOSE THREE WORTHY TEENAGERS WHILE YOU ARE ON THE MISSION. GO NOW, AND MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU."
"Zordon," said Kimberly, "What about Alexis? Shouldn't we at least contact her?"
"I SHALL CONTACT HER TO INFORM HER OF THE PRESENT SITUATION AFTER THE SIX OF YOU HAVE LEFT. THERE IS NO WAY SHE WOULD BE ABLE TO SURVIVE THE JOURNEY IN HER PRESENT STATE OF WEAKNESS."
"Okay then," said Tommy, "Its Morphin Time!! TIGERZORD!!"
The six teenagers morphed, and disappeared in streaks of bright light.
"ALPHA FIVE," said Zordon, " ESTABLISH A LINK WITH THE PURPLE RANGER."
In the Sheraton Hotel in West Philadelphia, Alexis Darling sleeps peacefully in the bed. She has only been awake for about three hours, yet she is tired all the time. Amanda watches her daughter sleep from the door.
I pray nothing is wrong with her, she thought silently, Alexis is usually so vibrant, so full of life! Now, she can't last a few hours without a nap. This is probably how it started with Denise. I don't know what I'd do if something were to happen to Alexis as well. I should get her checked out when I go pick up Denise. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Amanda sighed and went into her adjoining room. She turned on the television, and watched the news. She didn't hear the soft tone that roused Alexis from her sleep.
"Kim?" said Alexis into her communicator, "Is that you?"
^NO ALEXIS,^ came the answer, ^ITS ZORDON.^
"Did something happen?"
^YES. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO TELEPORT TO THE COMMAND CENTER AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE.^
"I'll be right there," she said, standing up. She threw on her shoes and jacket, attached her morpher to her belt, and went to her mother's room.
"Ma, I'm gonna go for a walk, okay?"
"Sure, Honey," answered Amanda, smiling at her daughter, "So, you're feeling more energetic?"
"Yeah, Ma, I'm fine."
"Good. Just make sure to be back by seven. That's when we pick up Denise from the hospital. I'm going over to Denise's apartment to pick up Jonothan. Alice has to go out. Just be at the hospital at seven, okay?"
"You got it, Ma," said Alexis, waving to her mother. She stepped out into the hallway, and looked around. When she saw no one, she teleported in a streak of purple light to the Command Center. When she arrived, she was greeted by the sound of various alarms.
"What's going on?" she yelled over the noise.
"Ay, yi, yi!" cried Alpha 5, running from computer console to computer console, "The Power Rangers have been attacked by Serpentera!"
"Serpentera?" asked Alexis.
"LORD ZEDD'S BATTLESHIP ZORD. IT IS INVINCIBLE, AND A GREAT DEAL LARGER THAN THE MEGAZORD."
"Maybe I can help," said Alexis, holding her morpher, "I haven't tried to morph in a few days. I've been feeling better, and--"
"THE RANGERS ARE ON A DISTANT PLANET IN ORDER TO RETRIEVE THE LEGENDARY SWORD OF LIGHT. THERE IS NO WAY YOU'LL BE ABLE TO SURVIVE THE TRANSPORT, EVEN IF YOU COULD MORPH."
"The Sword of Light?"
"It's the only way to transfer the morphin energies from one to another," explained Alpha, "Jason, Zack, and Trini are going to Switzerland for the Peace Conference, and they must transfer their powers to others."
"They're leaving!" said Alexis incredulously, "And they didn't even tell me? So, since they're already gone, and there's no way I'll be able to help, what am I doing here?"
"THE RANGERS AND I HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT YOU, ALEXIS. YOU HAVE CUT YOURSELF OFF FROM THEM, JUST AS TOMMY HAD DONE WHEN HE LOST HIS GREEN RANGER POWERS. IT ISN'T HEALTHY TO DEAL WITH THESE PROBLEMS ALONE. WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU."
"No, there's nothing anyone can do," said Alexis quietly, "Nothing at all. Look, Zordon, my sister Denise is really sick, and she needs someone to help her take care of her son. She lives in Philadelphia, and there's no one there for her. She wants to finish up school, so she won't come live with my Mother and I until next summer."
Alexis took off her communicator and left it on a console. She then held her morpher in her hand.
"I've decided to move back to Philly. At least, until she's done with school. I'll transfer back to my old high school, and finish the year there. Here, I won't be needing this."
Alexis gives he morpher to Alpha, then looks up to Zordon.
"I don't know how much longer I'll be incapacitated. It could be a permanently power loss. Maybe you can find someone else to be the Purple Ranger. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha would all make excellent Power Rangers. Alpha, could you teleport me back to the hotel, please?"
Alpha silently started typing coordinates into the computer.
"Tell Jason and the others I said goodbye," she said quietly, as she was bathed in white light.
"MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU, ALEXIS," said Zordon in as quiet a voice as he could, "ALPHA, PLEASE TELEPORT THE THREE TEENAGERS HERE."
"Yes, Zordon," said Alpha, activating the teleporter.