Last time on "Rangers on the Rocks," the Rangers had just been attacked by PuttPutt of Doom, and Rocky hadn't even gotten to first base with the mysterious Rhinestone Ranger! Will an apathetic Zedd win this tournament? And will Alpha get to run some more tests? Find out next, in the dramatic conclusion of "Rangers on the Rocks!"
Morphed, the Rangers faced off with the monster.
Rhonda's Rhinestone Ranger costume was just like Kimberly's, except that where Kim's was pink, hers was shimmery white, and where Kim's had white diamond shapes on pink spandex, Rhonda's bodysuit and skirt were accented with glittering rhinestones. White go-go boots and long white ballroom gloves decorated with rhinestone diamonds completed the ensemble. Ronda's helmet was also dotted with rhinestones and displayed a black catseye visor. A lightning bolt made of rhinestones decorated each side of it. She looked like a lightning strike in progress.
"Rhinestone Power?" asked Kim from inside her helmet. "What kind of power is that, anyway?"
"Quit flailin' your head around, you're gonna give yourself whiplash." said Rhonda irritably.
"Huh?" said Kim.
"Ferget it..." Rhonda muttered. "Monster, remember?"
"I am... PuttPutt of Doom!" shrieked the monster. "You will all be destroyed... by something golf-related!"
"Talk about a fate worse than death!" drawled Kimberly.
"And I thought normal putt-putt was bad..." Rhonda moaned.
"Cmon guys, this monster's really tee'in me off!" Tommy growled.
"Yeah, let's club him back to Lord Zedd!" Aisha cried.
"We're gonna be par for the course!" Kimberly cheered.
"Man, it's time for this baddie to turn caddy!" Rocky threatened.
"It's a long drive..." Adam muttered.
"Take me now, Lord." Rhonda whimpered.
In reply, the PuttPutt monster shot several multicolored energy spheres at the Rangers.
"Rhonda, look out!" Rocky cried, pushing her aside. They tumbled into the bushes.
"Rocky, leggo!" said Rhonda. "And get your hand OFF my... uh oh."
"What?" said Rocky. Then he saw the other Rangers- or what was left of them- and groaned. "Oh, man... They've been turned into golf balls!"
"Isn't this a twist." said Rhonda, scooping up the black and pink power golf balls. "Come on... let's get them back to the Command Center."
"Right!" said Rocky, picking up the white and yellow power golf balls.
"You won't escape me for long!" shouted PuttPutt of Doom as Rhonda and Rocky teleported out.
"Ay-yi-yi! What has happened?" Alpha asked.
"The guys got turned into golf balls!" said Rocky in anguish. "Hurry, Alpha - contact Billy!"
"Whoa, major deja vu." said Alpha as he carefully took the tiny, round Rangers and set them on a black card table. "I'm teleporting Billy here now. Then I'll do some... tests! Hee hee!"
Billy appeared in the Command Center in a flash of blue lightning. "Whoa... what happened to the guys?" he asked.
"Rather obviously, they got turned into golf balls, and less apparently, it's all Rocky's fault." Rhonda muttered.
"Wha?" Rocky said angrily. "If I hadn't've knocked you aside-"
"My Rhinestone Energy Shield would have protected me!" Rhonda said. "See?" She crossed her arms. "White Rhinestone Energy Shield!" A shell of glittering light formed around her. Curious, Rocky tried to touch it.
"Rocky, I wouldn't-"
"Ow!" Rocky slumped to the ground, unconscious.
"-do that." said Rhonda, uncrossing her arms. As the force field faded, she gave the unconscious Rocky a little smile. "You know, Braniac," she said offhandedly, "he _is_ actually kinda cute... It must be the male model walk."
Rocky's eyes fluttered. "I heard that!"
Rhonda groaned. "Why me? Why, why, why?" She banged her head against Zordon's hyperlock chamber, almost warping him into a dangerous dimension.
"You like me!" said Rocky. "You really like me!"
"Get up..." said Rhonda.
"Hey, I think I have an idea how to fix the guys!" said Billy.
"Yeah?" Rhonda asked apprehensively. "This doesn't involve sparklers, does it? Or dry ice?"
"Actually, a carefully measured combination of both." said Billy abstractedly. "Plus an oddly-shaped, metallic tool, in blue of course, with lots of little blinking lights and dials."
"Wow..." said Rocky.
"Sounds good to me." said Rhonda, shrugging. "So how long will it..."
"I'm done!" Billy said.
"What? Already? But I wanna do some more tests!" Alpha wailed.
"Sorry, Alpha." said Billy. "There'll be other times."
"Yeah." said Rocky. "Right now, we have to worry about PuttPutt of Doom."
Rhonda snickered. "I'm not even gonna dignify that with a response." Billy glared at the two of them and aimed his device at the four golf balls on the card table. Multicolored energies crackled and swirled, and soon the golf balls vanished and Tommy, Kimberly, Aisha and Adam were standing in the command center.
"All right!" said Rocky happily. "They're back to normal!"
"Define 'normal'." Rhonda cracked.
"Uh... good work, guys." said Tommy to Billy, Rocky, and Rhonda. "Now, let's go get that PuttPutt poser!"
"BACK TO ACTION!"
"Back for more, are you?" thrashed PuttPutt of Doom.
"All right guys, time for a hole in one!" Tommy said. "POWER CANNON!"
There was a very loud KABOOM! The monster exploded in an impressively gigantic fireball.
"Yay!" shouted all the Rangers. Except Rhonda, who pulled off her helmet and asked, "Ooh, do we get to group hug now? No, no- let's all stand in a circle and put our hands in the middle and then jump up and yell Power Rangers!" She laughed.
"What's so funny?" Adam asked Tommy as the other Rangers pulled off their helmets. Tommy shook his head in disgust.
"Listen, Rhonda," blurted Kimberly impatiently. "I don't get it."
"That's the truth." said Rhonda seriously. "What a shock. News flash, everyone... Kim doesn't get it."
"I mean..." said Kimberly, "You're a Power Ranger, you're from Angel Grove- why is your attitude so bad?"
"Bad?" asked Rhonda bewilderedly.
"Yes, bad!" Tommy said. "If it wasn't for your Power Coin, I'd never know you were a Ranger! A bad attitude just doesn't go with true leadership, Rhonda."
"What are you talking about?" Rhonda protested. "Just look at... uh... let's see. Late 20th century." She thought for a moment. "Er... Rush Limbaugh, or Senator Packwood... or even President Bulkmeier!"
"Excuse me, did you just say..." said Adam. The other Rangers looked at him. "Never mind... I don't wanna know." he muttered so softly that no one could hear him.
Rhonda continued her tirade. "I don't believe you guys!" she yelled. "I don't think my attitude is bad! In fact, in the hellish, crime-ridden, nuked-out dystopia of 2999, I am considered a complete goody-two-boots!"
Rhonda paused to clear her throat, and glanced around at the Rangers. "It wasn't easy... growing up an orphan..." She hung her head, blinking sadly. "I'm sorry... I just- I just can't talk about it." Her lip trembled. Rocky placed his hand on her shoulder. Rhonda looked up at him gratefully, and sniffled.
"Aww..." said Kimberly, moving in for a hug.
"No hugs!" Rhonda snapped, crossing her arms. The Rhinestone Energy Field snapped to life, zapping Rocky again.
"Whoops!" Rhonda gulped, dropping her arms and kneeling at his side.
"Tell me how cute I am." Rocky hinted, eyes squeezed shut.
"Tell us more about you." Aisha said, pulling Rhonda to her feet.
"Well... there's not much to tell." said Rhonda. "When I... well, when I became a Power Ranger... I couldn't believe it. I mean, I'd heard of the Rangers, but I never believed that I could actually be one. See, the Rangers were in big trouble." Rhonda explained, shaking her head. "The cyborg clone of Lord Zedd had just been revitalized by the Venusian descendants of Baboo... and there also was the re-activation of Cardiotron... Well, you can imagine. Billy, I don't want to put pressure on you or anything... but have you found a way to get me back yet?"
"Well, Rhonda," said Billy. "I think I have. Basically, if you could manage to manifest a large amount of rhinestone energy, we could use it to reopen the warp in time-"
"Because my rhinestone energy was what created it in the first place!" Rhonda breathed. "Thus causing-"
"A reverse peristalsis effect in the portals of time!" Billy and Rhonda finished triumphantly and simultaneously.
"Oh, Billy, you're a genius!" Rhonda gushed, inwardly gagging. But if I don't give him credit, who will? "So theoretically, all I should have to do is call on my Power Weapon?"
"That should do it." said Billy. "Assuming of course that it's fully charged."
"Actually..." said Rhonda. "Calling up the Rhinestone Charge kinda drained me. I'm gonna hafta wait a few hours before I'm back at full power."
"Yeah, we wouldn't want a partial broadcast." said Billy. "That could have disastrous results ranging from severe jet lag to complete bodily disintegration."
"Technospeak... boring!" gasped Rocky. "Losing... consciousness!"
"Uh yeah." Tommy interrupted. "Meanwhile, on the planet of people with lives..."
"Oh. Sorry." said Billy. "But Rhonda's right. We'll have to wait."
"I hope this doesn't mean..." Rhonda began.
"Hey, I have an idea!" Aisha pitched in. "We can wait in the Juice Bar!"
Rhonda flinched, but attempted to smile. "Sure. Why not. Sometimes I think my head really doesn't hurt enough, you know?"
"Now that's the spirit!" said Tommy encouragingly, clapping her on the shoulder.
"Back off, puppy boy." said Rhonda disparagingly. "See you guys at the bar." She teleported out.
"Well?" said Tommy reluctantly."Should we join her?"
"Well," said Kimberly slowly, "I guess so..."
"Mmm... I dunno." said Adam. "I feel kinda weird. How about you guys? I think Alpha needs to run some tests before we go _anywhere._ "
"Oh, yeah, definitely, right, mm-hmm." The other Rangers nodded and agreed. "Right, Alpha?"
"Yes! Yes!" said Alpha happily, scrambling for his myriad odd testing devices.
"Well, _I_ feel fine." said Rocky. "I'm gonna go meet Rhonda." "You do that." said Billy, as Rocky teleported out.
And on the dark side of the moon... "Goldar, I know what my big problem is now." said Zedd.
"Uh, that the Rangers destroyed your monster?" Goldar ventured.
"You just don't get it, do you Goldar?" asked the master of evil.
"No." said Goldar. "Not really... so what's your problem, Lord Zedd?"
"I really, really, really hate my job." Zedd sighed.
"Er... me too." said Goldar.
Rocky appeared in the dimly lit hallway of the Juice Bar, just in time to bump into Rhonda, hastily exiting the Juice Bar.
"Ohmigosh!" Rhonda exclaimed, clutching Rocky's arm. "Rocko, you have gotta hear this!"
"Uh, what is it?" Rocky asked. "Rocky! In the Juice Bar! I just met this guy... I mean, he's totally historical! Like Gandhi! I mean, he will be in 2999." Rhonda paused for breath. "Revered at the level of... well, of the Power Rangers!"
"Wha?" Rocky asked. "Who is it?"
"Geez, it'd be like meeting Abe Lincoln!" Rhonda gushed. "The history vids never said anything about his childhood. It's like... the Lost Years! But now I know he grew up in Angel Grove! This explains so much... his perseverance against impossible odds, his creativity and strength of character..." Rhonda laughed. "He's got a positive outlook that would make you guys look like Tank Girl!"
"Wha... who is this guy?" Rocky asked. "He saved the rhinos, Rocko!" Rhonda went on. "He ended world hunger and pollution... he negotiated the first successful trade agreement with the Alpha Centaurans!" Rhonda looked at Rocky pleadingly through rhinestone-framed glasses. "I couldn't talk to him. I just couldn't. Rocko, you gotta go in there and introduce me. Please? Please?"
"Uh... sure." said Rocky. "Who is it?"
"He's right in there..." giggled Rhonda, pulling Rocky around to the doorway, just in time to see a milkshake land on Bulk and Skull's head as the rest of the Rangers laughed.
"Hey, it's the guys!" said Rocky. "They must have come in through the front door. I wonder why they didn't come looking for you?"
"Uh... oops!" said Tommy, laughing.
"Yeah... Sorry... not." said Adam.
Aisha and Kimberly giggled. "Insane freaks!"
"Yeah, that was really funny all right." said Billy, turning to the girl sitting next to him. "Don't you think so, beautiful? Hi, my name's Billy. Can I buy you a drink?"
"AAAH!" Rhonda screamed. Everyone in the Juice Bar turned to stare. She turned to Rocky, pulling him back into the hallway. "Tell me I didn't see what I just saw."
"Uh... Bulk and Skull getting dumped on?" Rocky said bewilderedly. "It's pretty much the most popular spectator sport around."
"Eugene Skullovitch." said Rhonda weakly. "The Great Emancipator... is the butt of your cruel mockery? How long has this been going on? No, I don't even want to know." She shook her head. "No wonder President Bulkmeier turned to a life of crime..."
"No no no." said Rocky, regaining his equilibrium. He pointed at Rhonda. "I refuse to believe that Skull becomes some great hero. Therefore... you're lying. Therefore... you are a bad guy!" he realized sadly.
"Huh?" said Rhonda.
"Well... you know." said Rocky. "A bad guy. Like, a monster in disguise or something. C'mon, then, transform! Show your true colors! I can take you on!" said Rocky, assuming a battle posture.
"Don't get your boxers in a bunch, Rocko." said Rhonda leaning against the wall. Her eyes glittered. "Not only is your running-dog, two-dimensional, safe-for-children-three-years-and-younger moral code incapable of defining right and wrong in a world with three-dimensional characters and realistic human motivations... it's beginning to bore me as well."
"Huh?" said Rocky.
"All right, I admit it, you caught me." said Rhonda. "I'm not really from the future."
"Well, technically no. I'm from about this same time... but in a different dimension." said Rhonda.
"Uh..." said Rocky. "Another dimension?"
"Yes." said Rhonda. "Tell me, Rocky... are you familiar with the theory of alternate universes?"
"Yeah." said Rocky. "Well, forget it, it's completely wrong." said Rhonda. "The multiverse is actually arrayed like a number line. Each universe is slightly more probable than the next."
"Probable?" asked Rocky. "Yeah." said Rhonda. "For instance, I come from a universe that's much more statistically probable than your own. We don't have dinosaur spirits or witches on the Moon, just a lot of pollution, crime and poverty. And poorly guarded dimensional portals." Rhonda pursed her lips. "So I borrowed one and told it to send me to the most improbable time and place in the dimensional multiverse." She laughed. "It put me down in Angel Grove, 2999." She frowned. "You see what I'm saying? I did come to Angel Grove 1999 from Angel Grove 2999... I just came from 1999, my dimension, first. Are you happy now?" She took a deep breath. "Do you want me to repeat any of that?"
"No, I get it." said Rocky. "But then... how did you get your powers? Where did they come from?"
"I have no idea." said Rhonda honestly. "Out of the nowhere, into the here." She wrinkled her brow. "This has never been postulated before, but I believe that it has something to do with the fact that each dimension must maintain its level of probability or improbability. Do you get it? I couldn't just come here and be normal. That would most likely unstabilize the entire string of universes." She shrugged. "I suppose becoming a rather improbable Rhinestone Ranger 2999- and experiencing an extremely improbable time-warp the first time I tried to call on my Zord- balanced the equation quite nicely."
"Your dimension.... tell me more about what it's like." said Rocky. "It's no utopia." sighed Rhonda. "There are wars. Did I mention that we don't have any more whales? It actually takes time and effort to build an technological device, and not everyone is pretty, talented, and tan."
"Then why can't you stay here?" Rocky asked, placing his hand on her shoulder. "With me?"
"Rocky, I..." said Rhonda, turning away. "You don't understand how much the change affected me. I... I used to be just a normal teenager. Now I'm a gutsy, spunky superheroine, complete with secret identity and snappy comebacks for every situation. I can't live this way!" she sniffled. "I have to go back to 2999, find the dimensional portal, and take it back to my own dimension."
"Well then... can I come with you?" Rocky asked.
"_What!?_" Rhonda asked. She stared at him for a moment, mouth open. "You'd give up everything you have here for _me_?" "Well... yeah..." said Rocky. "I mean... the world you described- I think it needs me.... and the girl you described..." said Rocky softly. "I think _she_ needs me..."
"Oh, Rocko..." whispered Rhonda, throwing her arms around his neck. "You don't understand." she protested. "You can't come with me. You belong in this wonderful, improbable, dimension, where things are innocent, simple and joyous, where any problem can be easily resolved within thirty minutes, and Santa is really real."
"There's no Santa in your dimension!?" Rocky said, shocked. His lower lip trembled. "Uh, forget I said it..." said Rhonda. She pulled back, fingers caressing his face. "Rocky, if I took you back with me, you'd change to fit my dimension just as I've changed to fit yours. You'd become subject to bouts of depression and flashes of anger. You'd be able to find better things to do with your time than constantly giving and sharing. You might even get tired of wearing red every day! Rocky... you'd be imperfect. I couldn't do that to you." Rhonda blinked back tears. "I'm sorry for lying, Rocko. I could never be a Power Ranger, not really."
"Well... obviously this dimension thinks differently." said Rocky.
"Think about it." said Rocky. "You could have been transformed a bad guy! Or just another citizen with no special powers at all. Or a loser like Bulk and Skull-" Rhonda frowned. "Okay... maybe loser is too harsh of a word." said Rocky.
"And that's another thing." said Rhonda. "My being here is affecting you. And the others. There's a hard edge in your voice, a harsh tone you take that's gradually growing stronger." She shook her head. "At least, it's harsh for this universe... unconditional love and friendship aren't quite as common in mine. I... I tried to see if I could... I don't know, fix it by making you be nicer to Skull... but I can see now, that would only screw things up more. Don't you see? I'm having a negative effect on... maybe even on this whole dimension. Perhaps there are things man was not meant to know, and dimensional-portal probability mechanics is one of them."
"Wow..." said Rocky, thinking. "Aisha was right... you are affecting us."
"Aisha was right? Well, there's a first." sneered Rhonda. "No.. see? There I go again. And it'll only get worse. I have to go, Rocko. Now."
"Now?" said Rocky. "But didn't Billy say that it would be dangerous?"
"Well I guess that's a risk I'm just gonna hafta take." grinned Rhonda. "As per usual." She turned to leave. "If anyone needs me, I'll be outside... calling on the power of the ancient rhinestone." She laughed. "Doesn't that sound even a little ridiculous to you?"
"Well... not really." said Rocky honestly. Rhonda smiled. "Truthful to the last. And of course this wouldn't be a true ending without..." Rhonda leaned forward and kissed Rocky full on the mouth.
Rocky pulled back, startled, and blushed deeply. "Whoops..." said Rhonda. "Sorry. Your dimension is so... oh, never mind." She kissed him again, this time a quick, gentle peck on the cheek, and left the Juice Bar, leaving the glass door swinging behind her. "Next stop... 2999."
Rocky heard her say.
RHINESTONE POWER, NOW!
A bright flash of pure energy caused Rocky to shield his eyes, and when he dropped his hand, he discovered there were tears in them. "Of all the dimensions in the multiverse, she had to walk into mine," Rocky said wistfully, and then the effect of the energy field passed away and he sighed.
"I'm gonna miss you, Rhonda..."
Slowly, the Red Ranger brushed his tears away and wiped the glittering lipstick from his face.
Then he walked back into the Juice Bar to join his friends.
"Rocky?" asked Kimberly. "What's wrong?"
"It's Rhonda, isn't it?" said Tommy. "She's gone."
"Yeah, she's gone..." said Rocky. "But I have a feeling we'll see her again someday." Ignoring the other Ranger's shocked looks, Rocky turned to the bar. "Ernie, gimme a Coke on the rocks. And make it snappy."