Though it was meant to be a secret, all of the Rangers knew the real reason for Billy's mystery trip. After Rocky had told them what had been in his secret present to Billy, a website with Trini's name and by all accounts her heart all over it, and then to have Billy announce that he had bought a plane ticket and would be away for a little over a week - well as Rocky said...you didn't need Billy's smarts to figure it out. Kat and Tanya, since this revelation had spent an inordinately large amount of their time in speculations about what would happen when Billy and Trini met. In fact it had become a favourite topic of conversation in their daily meeting at the Juice Bar. Rocky was still glowing with the reaction the girls had given him to his involvement in this romantic development. Kat had been particularly impressed, as Adam had pointed out to him, a fact which the Blue Ranger shrugged off as being a compliment from one matchmaker to another. Still it had been nice to have their undivided attention. In a week Billy would be back and it was their considered opinion that the poor guy would know no mercy until he had spilled every single detail of his trip! In the meantime, it appeared that they had a more pressing problem to deal with.
Rocky, Adam, Tanya and Skye were sitting at their usual table in the Juice Bar embroiled in a very in depth discussion. "I'm serious!" Skye protested over the others half stifled laughter. "I think Rocky should teach me to do those dramatic retorts that you guys always use. It beats me how you think them up, and it certainly sounds better than "arrgh! horrible monster thing" which is all I managed last time."
Rocky almost choked on his smoothie, nearly spilling it down his blue jeans. "Yeah, and nearly got me toasted, because I was laughing so much I couldn't morph!"
"See? for safety reasons then..." Skye pleaded surpressing a smile.
Adam smirked a little. "I hate to tell you this but I think it comes with the Power. I never used to do it before neither did Rocky....don't know about Tanya though. I'm pretty sure she wandered around the African Bush yelling 'what! lion down on the job?! And you hyena's have laughed your last!! "
"Hey!" Tanya protested and tweaked his dark green shirt to get him back into line. She enjoyed this banter, she liked things in harmony and since Billy becoming a Ninjetti Spirit Warrior things seemed lighter as if a shared burden of guilt had been lifted from them. Plus of course the battles were over that much quicker. Jason strode purposefully into the Juice Bar with a slight frown on his face and a letter in his hand.
"Is Tommy here?" he asked by way of greeting.
Adam shook his head wondering what was going on. "No he's out with Kat, in the Park somewhere..."
Jason sat down, relieved. "Good...this..." he waved the piece of paper around, "is a letter from Kimberley, saying that she is coming back!"
"Hey great!" Rocky exclaimed impulsively and then his face fell as he considered the implications of her return. "...oh..."
"'oh' is right" Adam contributed in a subdued voice.
Skye and Tanya looked at each other realising they were the only ones who really didn't know what the anxiety was all about. Obviously there was a problem of some description. Skye looked around at the group, and surreptitiously touching the Star Crystal hanging around his neck so he would be able to pick up the information required.
" Sorry, who is Kimberley again? " he asked the group. A welter of vivid images of a petite brown haired girl, graceful and spirited, pink ranger, firebird, crane Ninjetti, Kim and Tommy, Kat and Kim and Tommy poured into his mind....
"She's..." Jason began trying to work out where to begin. Skye held up a hand, to forestall another rush. He had underestimated the intensity of their memories and regard for Kim.
"S'okay, I just got it all from you." replied the Star Crystal Ninjetti, rubbing his forehead and temples gingerly. One day, he thought, I am going to get the hang of this hunk of stone.
"Well I didn't, some of us don't have your advantages!" Tanya said pointedly. "But I'm guessing that we are talking about Tommy's ex, yeah?.....before Kat."
"Exactly." Jason sighed. What a mess. It had been dropped right on him too, as he had told her in a letter recently that he had come back and that she should visit, so it was partly his own fault. But he'd been asking her that for ages so what had changed to make her decide now was a good time? And that didn't change the fundamental difficulty about this whole thing.
"What do I do about Tommy and Kat though? Is this going to be a huge problem? There is no way that she's not going to see them." Jason finally said. They looked at each other silently. They all knew Tommy still had unresolved feelings for Kim, whether he admitted it even to himself. It was not going to be easy for Tommy, or for any of them.
"So why is she coming back? " Rocky asked cutting to the heart of the matter.
"Just for a visit, a break from training she says" Jason replied. If he believed that for a moment there wouldn't even be an issue. They sat in silence, the atmosphere crumpled into anticipatory tension.
" All of the complications aside, it'd be great to see Kim again" Adam commented feeling a bit nostalgic "Like old times...when does she get here?"
"Well that's just it" Jason said heavily, "In a couple of days...I think she wrote to me so I would tell Tommy but not have time to talk her out of it."
"At least Billy will be back not long after she gets back" Rocky said thinking ahead a little. "He'd hate to miss her!
Jason nodded thoughtfully. That was true. Billy and Kim had been pretty close, and he knew that Billy was apparently not bad at keeping in touch. He shook his head. This was not getting to the heart of the matter; Tommy and Kat.
"I'll tell them both." he said finally.
"Need a hand bro?" Rocky offered. Adam also met the Gold Rangers gaze offering his support.
"Nah...I'll be fine, everything will be fine." Jason said stoutly, secretly dreading the task. "Besides she's only back for a couple of weeks, what could go wrong in that space of time?"
Billy had said goodbye to Trini and was filled with a burning glow from a surprisingly passionate farewell kiss. Yes, he Billy Cranston had kissed Trini! Well actually it had been more the other way around but the end result was the same. He stood in the airport lobby basking in the warmth of that memory. She was even more beautiful than he remembered and that was saying something! He had come here and they had talked. It sounded simple, but those simple acts of communication had changed his life more profoundly than anything that had ever happened to him. He may not have been totally comfortable with discussing emotions, and he may not have said some things that he should have said but the answer was the same. She wanted to be with him, as much as he wanted to be with her! Everything had been better than he could have imagined. There was no doubt now in his mind...now as soon as he finished that self-powered teleporter, he would be able to see her whenever. Now there was a thought. His fingers brushed his spirit crystal as he reached in his jacket for his tickets and he had a vivid mental impression of his very smug wolf spirit.
You should be wagging your tail he said lightly.
Wagging my tail? Wolves do not wag their tails! I am not a dog! it replied in a mock affronted tone. Its tail flicked from side to side nonetheless.
She has a glossy coat and very bright eyes it wolfspoke slyly.
Billy had to stifle a laugh. Admittedly, Trini did have lovely black hair and eyes but it sounded so, um, basic when put like that. Next thing he would know the wolf spirit would be commenting on whether she had a cold wet nose or not! Billy was becoming accustomed to the strange ways of his Power animal; and to think he had assumed that it would be deadly serious all the time and deal with things with solemn gravity! How wrong could he have been. Billy was just about to mentally reply when he felt the wolf inside alert to...danger.
We are needed it said and faded. Billy's joyous feeling was suddenly replaced by an inexplicable adrenaline rush of fear. There was nothing around him to produce the reaction. He sensed, he reached, he inspected the airport, and all his logic told him that there was no danger, but nonetheless he was trembling with the need to face or run from danger. Heaving a patient sigh, he glanced up to see when his flight was boarding when he heard a muted bleep from his communicator. He ducked swiftly into the rest room and activated his communicator.
"Billy here Zordon." he whispered, feeling sick with apprehension. Zordon had expressly said he was not going to interrupt his holiday and this was too close to the strange feeling to be a coincidence.
"Billy, a crisis has developed, prepare to teleport directly to the Power Chamber immediately." Zordon's voice was unusually solemn.
"Affirmative Zordon" he replied and vanished in a stream of blue light.
The Power Chamber that met him on his return was nothing like the one he had left a week previously. Consoles sparked, lights flickered...equipment was damaged and it looked like a conflict had taken place with in the sacrosanct walls of the Power Chamber itself. That in itself brought back too many bad memories of the last time there had been such destruction, which resulted in him losing the Power. He took a deep breath and focused his disturbed emotions as panic threatened.
"Zordon...what the....what on earth has happened here?" he asked in an intense controlled tone. If this had happened to the Power Chamber..then what on earth has happened to the others? Before their Mentor could answer, Adam and Tanya ran into the room both looking worn and upset, their clothes dishevelled as if they had been working and sleeping in the same outfits for some time.
"Billy! Billy man am I glad to see you!" One look at the worried on Tanya's nigh on permanently optimistic face was enough to convince Billy that this was not going to be the best of homecomings. He surreptitiously summoned the comforting presence of his Wolf spirit and began to assess the technical damage and start repairs as he said,
"Adam...could you please tell me what has been going on?" in as much of a mild calming tone as he could muster, which appeared to settle the two Zeo rangers.
"Well...I guess it all began when Kim came back..." started Adam. Billy flashed him a startled glance but motioned for him to continue. Kim had come back? When had that all happened?
"Things were...well kind of tense - you know" Tanya added. She sighed. "With the whole Kat ,Tommy and Kim thing, tensions and all"
Billy nodded, of course that was always going to be a problem. One of the reasons Kim was always asking in her letters for them to visit her, rather than her come back to Angel Grove.
"Surprisingly, Kimberley was basically throwing Kat and Tommy together" Adam went on "and she really seemed over Tommy, so we all kinda relaxed." Adam stopped.
"And then? Billy prompted dreading the reply.
"I think it would be best if you saw it for yourself." Adam said heavily.
Zordon finally spoke "Behold the viewing globe!" he intoned sombrely.
A sunny afternoon in Angel Grove (mind you, Billy thought wryly, were there any other kind?). The group of rangers along with Kim and Skye appeared to have met up to go on a nature hike of some description. Up the rim above Stone Canyon by the looks of it. Not unsurprisingly Kim still seemed to favour wearing pinks, though she dressed in softer, more muted shades than he remembered. Billy watched with interest as he observed the interactions of the group. Kim, and he had to admit she still made his heart race even now, was mingling, but definitely dropping back through the group to the back. That was strange; the Kim he knew, would have been striking out front, breaking the trail. So naturally she ended up at the back with Skye, who though not exactly struggling to keep up, was to a certain extent hampered by the damage to his left leg, and was trailing back a little. It was almost as if she felt uncomfortable with her old friends. He watched the interaction between one of his oldest friends and his newest.
"Skye right?" she asked brightly "You are Billy's friend yeah?"
The white haired artist smiled. "Yeah, mainly"
"Not one of the.." she questioned hesitantly
"No...no...though I help Billy out a fair bit nowadays." replied Skye.
Kim appeared to relax, and started to chat about this and that, and Billy observed a glazed expression on Skye's face, and that his replies became more and more monosyllabic, looking as if he was ill suddenly. The artist frowned as if struggling to concentrate on Kim's' words.
Eventually he turned to the ex-ranger and said "Kim I'm sorry, can we stop a moment?"
" You not feeling so good?" Kim asked solicitously.
Skye just stared at her , frowning slightly. "Frankly no....I know you don't know me Kim....but please what on earth is wrong?" he asked urgently.
"What do you mean?" Kim blustered weakly.
"I don't know if Billy has told you of my...abilities but I can feel a mental pain and despair radiating off of you that nigh on knocking me sideways!" Skye said in an intense whisper gripping the Star Crystal around his neck.
The colour drained from Kim's face and she stepped back. "I...I..
Suddenly, a brace of cogs materialised, and an ugly looking monster surrounding them all.
"It's Morphin' Time!" he heard Tommy shout from up ahead. A chaotic scene ensued, and the powerless, if battling Skye and Kim were swept down the track further away from the Rangers.
"Kim!" he heard Tommy shout, and then, "I want you to get her out of here Skye, do it now! It's too dangerous!"
Kimberley was in the process of somersaulting away from an attacking cog. She spotted a bunch of trailing wires at the base of its neck joint and deftly yanked them free in a satisfying shower of sparks, shutting it down.
"Phew!" she said "Tougher than Putties and Tenga's"
"So everyone tells me!" replied Skye breathlessly. "Anytime anyone wants to swap them over so I can make a comparison....now might be convenient!"
Kim flipped the Cog that was giving Skye some trouble over the edge of the cliff. She stood close to the edge of the canyon cliff breathing hard as Skye limped towards her reaching for his communicator, determined to carry out Tommy's instructions. She did look a little winded from their brief encounter.
"Come on lets get out of..." his sentence remain unfinished as Kim suddenly swayed and slipped with heart-stopping suddenness and slipped over the edge of the cliff. Skye with astonishing reflexes that he hadn't thought he possessed lunged after her but was caught unbalanced and slid over the edge after her. They tumbled a short way, Skye never breaking his grip and wedged in a sapling jutting out from the cliff face, the jolt of impact leaving Kim scrambling for a more secure grip on his leg, and Skye bent double over the springy trunk of the tree.
"Hold on Kim!" Skye reassured hoarsely, once he had recovered enough to find his voice "I'll teleport...oh..." the communicator on his wrist was smashed. Of all the stupid things to do!. He should have just grabbed Kimberley from the fight and teleported straight away as Tommy had said, not tried to join in. He was sweating, in extreme discomfort as Kimberly unknowing pulled on his bad leg. The sapling was bending alarmingly and they heard the first ominous crack as it began to give way under their combined weights. He glimpsed the sheer only slightly less than vertical cliff beneath them, his skin going cold and his mouth dry with fear at the height. Kim looked oddly calm as she looked up at him, her brown hair flickering across her face in the breeze.
"It won't support us both" She looked down at the rocky precipitous slope below. "Maybe it is better this way.."
Skye felt her fingers loosen their grip and was horrified as he realised what she intended. He scrabbled desperately to reach her with his hands without a hope of succeeding.
"Kim No!" he yelled and twisted violently as she let go and tumbled away in a cascade of sharp rocks and a strange unprotesting silence.
"Noooo!" screamed Skye frantically reaching after her, reached not just with his hands but with his whole being in an instinctive need. There was a flare of bright, bright light from the Star Crystal. Kimberly's freefalling body vanished midair then reappeared at the base of the cliff and Skye's rigid yearning reach collapsed as he faded into unconsciousness.
The Red Ranger looked upon the scene as the group arrived to see Skye unconscious in a tree and Kimberley's body lying motionless at the base of the cliff. The Rangers steeled themselves for an outburst of unparalleled force but instead Tommy appeared locked in an inhuman stillness that was evident even behind his helmet. Eventually when Jason reached out to touch his arm, he ordered, in dead voice, Kimberley transported to a hospital and the semiconscious Skye to the Power Chamber.
There was a deathly hush in the Power Chamber as Tommy took off his helmet. The darkness had risen in him and was seeking a target to lash out at. The team stood frozen in place watching him warily as emotions warred within him. They did not know how badly injured Kim was but after falling down that cliff, it couldn't be good. The Red Rangers eyes lighted upon the unscratched though dazed artist and his anger crystallised, and found its focus.
"You! you were meant to get her out of danger immediately!" he vented in accusation, stepping forward. Skye reeled as if punched. (Billy understood then that still weak from the psi teleport he must be unable to block powerful emotion, either that or Tommy's anger was so strong that not even Skye's mental shield could deal with it. This was really bad.)
"You are responsible! What the hell were you thinking! I TOLD you to get her to safety! It was the first thing I said, Why didn't you listen!? Was it too difficult for you to understand that she wasn't safe without the protection of the Power? You might as well have pushed her off the cliff yourself...and for all we know you might have done that!." He accused lashing out viciously.
The tirade continued with the empath staggering back as if he was enduring a physical beating. The others were so astonished at this onslaught they did not intervene immediately until Tommy almost physically lunged at the white haired artist...and then fought off Rocky and Jason as they tried to stop him, and began smashing everything he could find. He held none of his punches or his rage and anguish back, and it finally took the rest of the team to restrain his outburst.
"Get him out of here!" he yelled pulling an arm free and pointing at Skye shaking with reaction " Before I do something I REALLY regret!....If she is dead....." His voice twisted with pain. With an inarticulate sound, the Star Crystal Ninjetti turned as if trying to flee and vanished in a silverwhite flash of teleportational light.
The replay ceased and Billy found his hands trembling. He was experiencing that chilling feeling they had all experienced when Tommy had been the Evil Green Ranger and been out of control...ye gods, Tommy's eyes!. He took a deep breath. Giving in to bad memories was not going to help matters, he needed to focus.
"Then what?" he asked.
Adam looked up his dark eyes troubled. "Then... After Skye teleported out no-one has seen him since. I couldn't find him at yours and all the scanners have been off-line." he said keenly aware of his inability to find his way around the Power Chambers consoles even when they were working. He vowed to himself to try and remedy that shortcoming as soon as possible.
Tanya chipped in. "Tommy has been out of control, even though we were told pretty swiftly that Kim suffered only a mild concussion and cuts and bruises, which seemed miraculous at the time but now we know what happened, it makes sense....he's been fighting monsters like he was suicidal. We've all had close calls watching his back over the last few days....and yesterday, Rocky had to save him from Mondo's latest and took a glancing blast that would have finished Tommy...he's in the lab."
"Alpha says he is stable, but he's been unconscious since it all happened. Tanya and I have been working on a way to bring him round, but with no luck so far." Adam said, and Billy could see that he was deeply concerned about Rocky.
"I'll take a look at him in a moment..." he reassured. Adam nodded, relieved.
Tanya cut in "Kat is ripped apart by this Tommy out of control over Kimberley thing. Jason is shouldering the brunt of the battles and...well he's not looking so good..the team is falling apart!"
"Hasn't Tommy viewed the record of events?" Billy asked as he fixed another load of connection. His wolf-spirit stirred within him asking deeper questions of why Zordon had had the viewing globe trained on the group at that particular time. No time for that now.
Adam coughed tiredly, showing the signs of strain. "Tommy smashed the place pretty thoroughly after Skye left - we don't know much about this place Billy. Tanya and I and Alpha have only just managed to get the viewing globe back on line."
He paused, ashamed "To be honest we thought that Skye had let Kim fall."
Billy let all this information flow through him, into his mind. What a mess! He had to organise his thoughts a moment and found himself automatically reaching for his mindlink with Skye only to find a gaping hole...a sensation not unlike find yourself stepping over empty air. Right first things first. Adam was watching him intently. Billy rapidly attached a few wires and restored life to a couple of the consoles. He called up the results of the tests that Adam had been performing on Rocky first and ripped off a print out.
"Alpha could you finish the final repairs to the technical data consoles. You'll need a replacement processing module - the existing one is fried."
"Yes Billy" Alpha said in a subdued tone.
"Can you help Rocky?" Adam asked eagerly.
"I hope so...you did good work here Adam, Tanya." Billy said scanning the read out. They had covered all the vital information and there appeared to be a pattern. He made for the med-lab, with Tanya and Adam in pursuit. He paused in the doorway as they saw Kat standing over the unconscious Blue Zeo Ranger, gripping his gloved hand tightly. She dropped it startled.
"Billy! Thank God you're back!" she said with obvious relief. Tanya looked at the Pink Ranger, at her frantic expression speculatively. Interesting.
Kat continued, oblivious "Can you help him? Please?"
"I am certainly going to try Kat" Billy replied. Rocky had been badly hurt, but he had remained morphed which had undoubtedly saved him. If he had taken a direct hit, or Tommy had, Mondo would definitely have had one less Ranger to worry about. But in protecting him the Zeo energy had been drained so swiftly, that its readily accessible reserves of energy were critically short, and the crystal would take time to replenish unless given the equivalent of a booster shot. His wolf spirit could not understand why his deliberations were taking so long.
When a Pack member is weakened, others of the Pack give of their own energy to restore them. It is simple. it said. Billy tried to explain the intricacies of transforming energies to be met by the mental impression of unblinking golden wolf eyes It is simple the wolf reiterated and faded into the background of his mind. Billy sighed. A case of never mind the details, just do it.
"I need one of your Zeo Crystals" he announced finally.
"Here, take mine." Kat said before the other could even get a word in edgeways. The crystal flashed into her hands as she concentrated. Billy took the Pink Zeo shard feeling it's power pulsing like a heartbeat.
"Thanks...Kat this may leave you weak for a short time." he explained.
"Whatever you need Billy...just take it!" she said fiercely. Billy rapidly hooked up the Zeo crystal and shifted the controls on the make-shift transmitter
"Here goes..." he flicked a switch and pink Zeo energy began to flow into the Blue Crystal, and pulses of sapphire energy began to crackle up and down Rocky's morphed form. Eventually satisfied Billy shut off the power and unhooked the Pink Zeo shard and gave it back to Kat.
"Anytime now Rocko" he murmured quietly. Abruptly, Rocky powered down and he stirred. Billy allowed himself a small pat on the back for his success.
"Hey Rocky...sleeping on the job huh?" Billy needled gently.
"Billy?" Rocky's eyes opened widely, and he struggled to sit up.
"How do you feel?" Kat asked with concern, helping him up.
The Zeo ranger blinked and his face fell into a tragic expression "I hate to say it...but I am starving!" They couldn't help it, they all laughed, a little too loud and a little too long than the comment warranted. Obviously they needed an outlet for the tension in the air.
Billy nodded. "That's good Rocky, but I think you should take things easy to start with. You took a bad hit there. Kat could you take care of Rocky...?" he asked "I think Adam and Tanya need a bit of a break, having been up here for so long and doing most of the work to help Rocky....I've got quite a bit to do by the looks of things."
Kat nodded eagerly and supported Rocky as they teleported away. Adam and Tanya, their face lightened with relief prepared to teleport also, just as he was about to go...Adam grasped Billy's right arm.
"Way to go Billy! " he said simply.
The Blue Wolf Ninjetti smiled. "Thanks....and for my next trick...." his smile faded abruptly. "Before you go...Kim is where?"
"In hospital though just for observation, she meant to be out tomorrow" answered Tanya.
"And Tommy is probably there too." Adam added meaningfully.
"Right, I'm going after Skye first - then I'll deal with them....you go on back. You all need a break!" They nodded and vanished.
Billy fixed the scanners and scanned down-town Angel-Grove for Skye - well actually for the Star Crystals' unique energy signature. He could not believe things could have gone downhill quite so quickly. A week ago when he had left the team had been on a high. With him added to the team as Blue Wolf Spirit Warrior, they had been thoroughly trouncing the monsters that Mondo was mustering. Everyone seemed to be getting on really well, Skye had been making friends with the others in their own right and enjoying his lessons with the Star Crystal as well. Then of course he had gone away for a week, a wonderful week for him, which appeared to have turned into the week from hell for all of his friends. As if someone had pulled out the key support that held them all together and the whole group had fallen apart.
The scan bleeped. It was as he thought. Skye had returned to the sublet studio flat in downtown Angel Grove where they had met.
"Zordon, I'm teleporting after Skye if you need me." he informed the Eltarian, before vanishing.
There was no light in the apartment or heat. It was empty, still, cold and utterly unwelcoming. He looked around unable to see through the shadows. He touched his spirit crystal and called upon the enhanced senses of the wolf. His friend was there...in the far corner, tightly curled in a foetal ball. Waves of mental pain washed over him, of guilt and despair. Billy found himself oddly shaken by this development. Skye had always been strong in his mind, his personality. He had been the one who gave support ever since he had known him. He had taken trips to alien planets, the Power Rangers and all the peripheral madness that went with being their friend without a blink. He had been a rock, to see him out of control was....very disturbing.
"Skye..." he touched him gently on the arm. No response.
"It's Billy...come on talk to me Skye!" he pleaded.
Nothing. Right well then, time for devious tactics. It had worked with Adam, and Billy was not one to turn his back on a tried and tested strategy. He shimmered into wolf form, and nuzzled and licked at the artist hands until he uncurled. When in the wolf form this behaviour seemed the most natural thing in the world.
Skye he mindspoke Speak to me!
Finally he caught his friends thoughts.
.Billy...ah Billy Skye's mindvoice was tragic I've killed her....I've destroyed everything...the pattern has unravelled, the whole thing is torn apart! The voice was frantic.
Billy could not understand why the situation was producing such a negative effect. After all Kimberly was fine. Instinctively, his wolf-instincts caused him to put his wolf-ears back with concern as he considered the possibilities.
No...no...Tommy didn't mean it...he was upset and you saved her!
No, he meant it....and he was right. I thought I had saved her...but...I went to the hospital after...I could feel the death on her! Skye wailed, the tone of his thought conveying the absolute belief he had in that statement.
Billy was confused. But she's coming out tomorrow, she's only there for observation....
I know what I felt! Skye cried out with great force. I KNOW death when I feel it! a dark morass of shadowy memories rose up from within him and slammed into Billy causing him to whimper puppy-like in shock.
He reasserted himself. "Skye! We need you now! The team needs you now! If we are going to deal with this problem then I need you up and running....I need you...Kimberley needs you."
"But Tommy....the pain from Tommy!"
"He will understand...." Billy reassured, sure that would be the truth when Tommy finally saw the replay of events. "Now I want you to go home and make up some sort of cover story for my dad. I don't want him worrying that I've been kidnapped off the plane or something."
Taken off guard Skye nodded. Billy shifted into his normal form and helped his unsteady friend up.
"That was a dirty rotten cutesy wolf trick Billy" Skye said in a voice rough with emotion.
"And who said Adam did the best puppy-dog eyes around here?" Billy asked rhetorically to lighten the moment.
"We definitely have a new world champion...." Skye said with a faint smile on his worn features. They looked at each other for a moment, and without the need for words or crystals Billy knew how much he was thanked. He turned to leave, wishing he had more time to talk this through.
Feeling torn, he turned back and Skye quirked a smile "It's okay...go on..." he said. And with that Billy teleported away.
Billy walked into the hospital mentally preparing himself for his first sight of Kimberly since she had left to train for the Panglobals. It would be pointless to deny that he he'd had a huge crush on her...it would probably be accurate to say that there hadn't been a young hormonal male in Angel Grove High that had escaped her charm. Plus of course he'd had the advantage, or disadvantage of seeing her in all those skin tight Morphin' outfits. Trini was his true love, but that didn't take away special something from your first crush.
He knocked on Kimberley's door and walked in. He took in the sight of her packing her overnight bag and smiled.
"So you wait until I leave the country before coming home?" he said lightly. "Trying to tell me something?"
"Billy!" Kimberly cried out in surprise and hugged him tightly.
"Good to see you too Kim" he replied mentally apologising to Trini as his heart raced. "I'd like the use of my ribs in the future though..." he pointed out, and she smiled and released him.
"So how are you Kim?" he asked casually studying her
"Fine....honestly" she said a little too quickly.
"Uh-huh.." Billy replied looking her over through wolf senses. There was something. Skye had been right, the wolf-spirit part of him reacted with despair, though exactly why, he could not say. He became aware that Kim was studying him with equal intensity.
"Wow Billy...you've changed! contacts yeah? And you've really filled out man!" she commented.
What she wasn't saying was how much his eyes had changed. There was a presence and maturity in him that she had never known before. That aura of vulnerability that he had initially had when they first started being Power Rangers...had gone and it wasn't just the shedding of the overalls for jeans and shirts. He looked like he had seen and done more than most adults ever had in their whole life time, and that it had left a mark of experience on his face. He had changed.
"You busting out of this place then Kim?" he asked breaking her concentration.
"Uh-huh...let out for good behaviour" she grinned, but the smile didn't touch her eyes.
"Tommy was here?" Billy asked. Why hadn't he waited? After all that had happened and the obvious emotion he had for her, he would have thought he would have needed a crowbar to prise them apart. Make that a Zord Uncoupler.
"He was.." Kim replied, her voice tight.
"Want to go somewhere and talk?" he asked innocuously. Kim blinked like a rabbit caught in headlights
"Billy? You are asking me to talk? you are Billy aren't you?" she asked incredulously.
"Oh yes...and you should see my dirty rotten cutesy wolf trick." he said and seeing her puzzled expression finished "Sorry, private joke".
"What happened to techno-babble Billy?" Kim asked at a bit of a loss.
"Oh I keep him under strict control and only let him out to play every now and then.." He said "We need to talk...and now!"
They reached the edge of Angel Grove lake, as evening sun touched the water in a breathtaking display of rippling light. They sat down next to a tree on the shores edge and Billy sensing the urgency of the problem launched straight in.
"Kim I need to know what is going on!" he asked.
"What do you mean?" Kim hesitantly fielded the question. Her guilty glance at the ground, confirmed Billy's suspicions. She did have a secret. Maybe...maybe she was under a spell, or put up to splitting apart the Power Rangers in some way by blackmail or one of the many other ploys that had been used to turn people against them in the past. There could be no other explanation for the complete disintegration of the team in such a short space of time. He had to make her see what had happened.
"Okay...lets put it this way...the Rangers have gone to pieces, my friend Skye has spent the last nearly two days paralysed with guilt in a darkened room. Rocky was nearly killed, and Tommy has gone off the rails in a way only Tommy can...and you need to ask what do I mean?" Billy ended forcefully.
Kim looked down, picking at the grass. "It is my fault. I feel bad about Skye....it wasn't meant to hurt him" she said softly.
"No I know..." Billy said quietly. "I saw a recording of what happened- and I would like to know why you let go?"
Kimberley stared "How...?"
"Too clever for my own good Kim" Billy said determined not to be side-tracked "I also have good reason to trust Skye's instincts, and he has told me twice now there is something seriously wrong with you."
Kim remained silent, but Billy could feel a barrier inside tumbling down, piece by piece. He placed an arm around her. The warm gesture obviously startled her.
"Come on...Kim after all we've been through...."
Kim began to weep, and Billy held her with a fearful coldness growing inside him.
"Tell me..." he said eventually. Though by now he was desperate not to know.
"I thought....I thought that I had been working too hard. I found it difficult to focus, I slipped in practice, and fell...several times like I did just before I left.. I had bad headaches...thought I had got run down. Eventually...Coach made me go to the hospital..." the uneven words came spilling out...." They ran alot of tests and scans...." Kim gulped and then said in a surprisingly strong voice "I'm dying Billy...I have a brain tumour."
The words hung in the air between them, waiting to be acknowledged.
Billy was rocked to the core. Of all the explanations he had considered for what had happened, an illness, a natural illness had not been one of them. When you could be destroyed at any moment by gigantic space monsters you tended to overlook the dangers that you were prone to as an ordinary member of the human race. He found his voice in face pale with shock.
"You're dying?!" Kimberly, so full of life and energy dying? It could not be true. Deny it enough and it will be a cruel practical joke he thought desperately. But as he looked at his friend again he could see the marks of this dreadful knowledge had left on her. It was true.
"Yes..I am...I came back to say goodbye..but..." She began crying again and Billy held her his mind racing, too shocked to cry himself. It made sense a horrible sense, why agile Kimberley had fallen, why Skye sensed death on her, why she had been throwing Kat and Tommy together....Tommy...Oh my god!
"Have you told Tommy this?" Billy asked gently, afraid of the answer. Please be no, please be no, he thought. She nodded mutely and the look in her eyes told him some of what his reaction had been like. Oh God, this was bad.
"That's okay...I'll speak to him later." he reassured instinctively wanting to shield her from further trauma and pain.
"I don't want to die!" Kim raged, "not like this!...I have fought, and fought against it....and...nothing I do makes any difference..."
"We will do something Kim....we will find a way..." Billy said hoping desperately that his words were not as empty as they felt. "Don't give up on me yet...most of all don't give up on yourself!" he said with conviction. "You were always the heart and spirit of the Original Rangers, and you always will be - you cannot leave us!"
"Perhaps...I will try." Kim replied, but her voice was bereft of true hope.
"We are here for you Kim." Billy said softly "I am here for you...." It would be a long night.
Later, the sun had set and Kimberley was home and Billy was walking back along the dark streets, the shock of the terrible news overwhelmed him. The numbness caused by the shock of the news se had dulled his appreciation of what it actually meant. They would lose her. Not her move away, far away but attainable, she would be gone from their reach forever, like, like his mother. There was no reason why this had happened, it just had and that was the worst part of it all! Where was the enemy to confront? To defeat and destroy? What could he do? He did not know how to deal with this, his emotions were a churning formless mass of shouldn't's, couldn't's , and might have beens.... He needed some sort of release. Without even a conscious thought he shimmered into his wolf form, and ran, and ran, and ran across the night. Eventually he stopped on the cliff top his wolf-eyes glowing with pain and grieved as a wolf, by howling his grief and despair to the listening moon. Tomorrow he would look for reason and answers, and maybe there was a glimmer of hope that he might find something, but now, for once, he let emotion flow through him and out into the darkness.
Billy clenched his fists slowly trying to restrain his frustration. He had started looking for answers in the early hours of the morning, and it was now mid morning and he felt like it should be the middle of the night. For someone accustomed to coming up with solutions to his friends life and death situations in the space of half an hour or so this was not a good start. He picked up the data he had been pouring over for the last seven hours and sighed.
"So Kim cannot be healed using the Morphin' powers, or the Zeo crystals." he half-asked, half stated.
"I am afraid not" Zordon said. They had discussed the concept thoroughly, and Billy had explained about why Tommy had trashed the Power Chamber, and surprisingly Zordon appeared to understand.
"I am not unaware of the emotional attachments between my rangers." Zordon had said "These bonds are...of vital importance in the development of the team, and Tommy and Kimberley's was particularly intense, though there is potential for equally intense relationships." Billy had blushed at that comment. "Nonetheless, I must speak with Tommy and remind him that as leader of the Power Rangers he must learn to curb his actions."
Billy had nodded, surprised at the leniency of the verdict.
Zordon had continued with his summation of their failure to find anything to work on. "It is a natural condition and embedded in the genetic level. The Morphin' and Zeo Powers supplement the natural healing processes of the body, they do not rewrite the genetic code - which is where this condition originates."
"We cannot be out of options yet! The healing capabilities of the Powers seemed like a logical place to start, there may be other ways." Billy said vehemently. He rubbed his eyes as they ached and burned with tiredness.
"I will search the data-banks for you Billy!" Alpha volunteered.
"In the mean time...I guess it is time to try and find Tommy...I really should have done something last night...but..." He got up. He gave a humourless half grin to himself. "Somehow I don't think my cuddly cutesy wolf trick will work either." he muttered.
"Alpha could you tell me where he is...?" he asked steeling himself.
"I have located him in Angel Grove Park" reported the little droid.
"Naturally." Billy said wryly programming the co-ordinates into his communicator.
Landing in perhaps the most isolated part of Angel Grove Park Billy began to wonder what was going through Tommy's mind, whether he really intended to lose himself out here for good. He finally located Tommy sitting hunched over with his back to him.
"Tommy!" he called out.
Tommy pushed himself up unsteadily and with a jolt Billy realise that Tommy appeared to be drunk. He was out of control, and dear god his eyes! Like someone had gouged the life from them. He was barely recognisable as his friend.
"Tommy..." he began hesitantly, asking himself what the hell he thought he was doing "Kim told me what has happened..I know what is going on"
"Really? Do you really?" Tommy shouted, his eyes flickering with a dark fire of despair. "You know she's dying then?...well stupid question...Billy knows everything! She probably came back so you could save her, she certainly didn't come back for me!.""
Billy was smarting a little under the onslaught and was about to retort when he was interrupted. He is in pain said his wolf spirit sympathetically All creatures snarl and snap when they are hurt. Wolves are no exception and even a lord of the sky will strike out when they suffer.
Billy obediently bit back his response, realising on reflection that it was not so much him, but the whole situation Tommy was angry about. Tommy grabbed Billy by his blue shirt and yanked him forward, catching him completely by surprise.
"So boy genius, you gonna think a way out of this one huh? Where were you huh? If you'd been there to keep that friend of yours in line, this would never have happened!"
"No one is to blame" Billy replied in as calming a tone as he could muster.
Tommy pushed him away, sending him staggering backwards.
"How do you know!? Oh yeah you are genius boy, yeah- you've got all the answers huh? Tell me you can save her! Tell me there's some machine just been built that will save her!" Tommy yelled at him in a curious mixture of anger and hope.
"I can't do that." Billy replied softly with regret.
Tommy roared and for all his drunkenness there was no way Billy could have evaded the lightening flurry of punches that floored him.
"Tommy.." Ow...not easy to speak! "I'm not going to fight you...drunk or sober, you can beat me and we both know it."
"Come on... lets see that Wolf of yours Billy!" Tommy growled kicking at him.
Billy suddenly understood what Skye had meant about not fighting back...if he did, Tommy would lose it completely. As it was the Red Zeo Ranger appear to only just be clinging to the edges of his control.
"I am not fighting" he said calmly. Tommy lashed out at him again wildly, but as his anger spun out against nothing he stumbled and collapsed.
"Why can't I save her!" he called out to the incongruously clear bright sky. "I would give up every ranger power I have ever possessed if I thought it would help her for even a moment...she can't leave me! she can't!" he cried out anguished.
"I understand Tommy, I really do." Billy said feeling again the tightening of the throat as he felt his friends' pain. And if there had ever been any doubt as to Tommy's feelings for Kimberly then this...this answered it all.
"Lets get you sobered up, yeah" he said softly. For the second time Billy found himself in the odd position of shoulder to cry on, and took as long as he dared to sober him up and keep him talking. He was acutely aware of passing time, from his own tiredness, and also of the fact that it would not be long before The Machine Empire realised the uncharacteristic weakness of the team. Realistically it was only a matter of time, and the Zeo team needed their leader. To protect them both he teleported them to the Power Chamber to continue the recovery process. Plus those barbs about finding the answer hadn't hurt any less because he hadn't reacted, and damn it all....Tommy packed a hell of a punch. Jason, now Jason was the answer, but something else was nagging at him, something that Tommy had said earlier.
Finally, whispered his wolf spirit annoyingly. Ah yes "I would give every ranger power I have ever possessed." Green Ranger, White Ranger, Red Ranger or...Morphin' Power, White Tiger, White Falcon ninjetti and Red Zeo. He'd ruled out the Morphin and Zeo, but Ninjetti...his power? the Great Power. He had the strongest memories of that time line, especially now, and they had nigh on brought Zordon back to life!
Excited he blurted out "Damn it Tommy you may have just knocked some sense into me! Easier than knocking it into myself." Billy said his mind racing, chasing the idea down.
"What?" Tommy said blearily.
Billy ignored him "Zordon, what are the possibilities of treating Kimberley with the Power of the Ninjetti, as we did to restore you in the other timeline?"
Zordon hesitated "Inconclusive"
"Well not a definite no then" Billy said pleased. He had that old thrill of when he found the thread of enquiry that eventually lead him to the answer he sought.
"Billy it would be wise to recall that in that time line that there were six full Ninjetti, now, though you are a Ninjetti spirit warrior and have more Power than then, you are alone." Zordon cautioned
"I must find out more....of course Skye! He has the Ancient Mysteries of the Ninjetti." Billy said. "If there is anyway to save Kim with the Great Power, he will find it in the Ma'rai Sphere!"
He called Jason, and could tell immediately by the sound of his friends' voice that he knew about Kim. He didn't mention anything about his speculation, as he didn't want to get any hopes up. He asked him to teleport to the Power Chamber. He was counting on the strange bond that the two had - and to be honest, if Tommy wanted to burn his aggression off by sparring then Jason was best equipped to deal with it...and might welcome it himself, by the sound of it.
Jason flashed in a glowing stream of gold light and took one look at Billy's swelling black eye, and bruised face and then at Tommy's semi-sober condition and understood.
"You should have called me before you went to see him" he chastised.
"You didn't know yourself then." Billy said feeling overwhelmingly tired as soon as there was relief in sight. Jason looked down, and Billy intuited that Jason had also taken the news badly.
"Jase, I've got to go and look into a few options...plus I am exhausted, and if I don't turn up at home soon dad is going to, in the proverbial fashion, have kittens."
"You've been up all this time?" the Gold Ranger asked, concerned.
Billy nodded. "I'm going back home...look after Tommy will you?" He prepared to teleport.
"Er Billy?" Jason interrupted.
"You turn up at home like that and your dad is not going to believe in a 'tripped falling into the taxi story'." The Gold Ranger tossed him on of Billy's most useful little inventions, a portable holomimic device, that pressed on and camouflaged those frequent bruises and cuts they all received until their accelerated healing caught up with them.
"Thanks Jase" he said gratefully, wincing as he pressed it into place. "Call me if you need me." he said and then teleported away.
He teleported in to his hidden arrival spot just around from his house and walked slowly up his drive and let himself in.
"Billy? that you?" His dad walked through from the kitchen beaming. "Did you have a good trip?" Trip? It seemed like an age ago...so much had happened since he had left Trini and it had been all of..barely over 24 hours.
"Oh yes, fantastic!" he said truthfully, and then yawned. "Sorry dad."
"That's okay - Skye said he spent most of yesterday waiting at the airport as your flight had been shuttled around owing to technical difficulties. I admit I wondered where he had gone and why you weren't back." his father said understandingly. "I guess you must be tired, and it looks like Skye didn't get a lot of rest at the airport - though I wish you'd call!"
Billy accepted the gentle rebuke with a sense of relief that he didn't have to conjure an excuse himself.
"Sorry dad.. I will next time.." he promised
"So there's going to be a next time huh?" Hank leapt on the words eagerly.
Billy laughed tiredly "If I have anything to say about it. But I need to catch up on some sleep, planes aren't the best place to spend 24 hours...Skye upstairs?"
"Yes - he came back last night after they finally announced you had an enforced stop over.
"I'll just say hello" Billy said already halfway up the stairs.
Skye was sitting on his bed in the guestroom, apparently meditating, but the way his eyes moved frantically behind his closed lids Billy suspected he was having another one of his dreams.
"Skye?.." he called softly. He sat down on the bed and popped off the holomimic patch as with a sharp gasp Skye shocked awake.
"Bad one?" the Wolf Ninjetti asked.
"Not pleasant - to do with Kimberley...what happened to you?" the Star Crystal Ninjetti inquired taking in the bruises.
"Oh.." Billy tried to sound casual "..Tommy was having a bad day...you were right about Kim." he finished heavily "She is dying...a brain tumour." He could just about say it without his voice cracking now.
Skye went pale. "I hoped so much I wasn't right...I hoped against everything...I have Seen horrible dream visions if she is not part of the group, if her thread is removed from the tapestry, many things will unravel."
"What did you see in your dream?" Billy asked feeling a great chill at these mysterious words. Skye had never claimed his dreams as premonitions, but Billy couldn't deny that there appeared to be some substance to many of them.
"Nothing" Skye said simply "A great nothingness where we should be, and then the presence of something so unnatural, against the laws of the Universe that I felt nothing but a paralysing fear of existing, and yearned to be one with the nothingness....It's difficult to explain, it's probably a symbolic representation of her importance..and by that I would say she is very important!"
Billy didn't quite grasp the precise meaning of Skye's dreams but he could go along with the sentiment behind it.
"All of us feel the same way. I have been searching for a way to heal her and so far only possibilities to escape outright condemnation by Zordon is use of the Ninjetti power." he said eagerly broaching the subject."You've seen my memories of the timeline where we brought back Zordon...I wondered if we could heal her in a similar way."
Skye reached out for the Ma'rai sphere, which had provided the knowledge to enable the Spirit Warrior Ninjetti armour to become a reality.
"I will probe the Ancient Mysteries" Skye said "but don't get your hopes up". He lifted the Ma'rai Ninjetti mysteries gleaming in their crystal orb, their fire livid and bright. "In the mean time you better get some sleep - this will take time and it doesn't look like you got any at all last night."
It was dark when Billy roused himself and got up groggily. He looked in on Skye who was still tranced. By the time he had showered and changed his friend had broken trance, looking dazed.
"Drink this." Billy said handing him a coffee which he took gratefully with a trembling hand.
"Any luck?" he asked eagerly.
"Well there is bad news and ...slightly less bad news..." Skye said slowly.
Billy steeled himself. "Go on."
"Firstly...you did not heal or cure Zordon..." he saw Billy's puzzlement. "Your animal spirits realised that healing him would still leave him stranded without a functional life support - which incidentally Adam's Frog spirit pointed out, and your Wolf spirit offered the solution of using your Power to reverse a localised area of Time, restoring not just Zordon but the Power Chamber and his transdimensional warp tube." Skye finished.
This is true interrupted his Wolf spirit That one cannot survive beyond it's immediate territory, so it was best to restore both
Billy groaned. "That wouldn't work for Kim - if we reversed the time aspect then it would just start growing again. There must be something else!"
"Possibly" Skye said warily.
"What?" Billy seized on the remote chance.
"Other Ninjetti can supplement another's energy, their healing processes by learning to actively project the Power." explained the Star Crystal Ninjetti.
"We've done similar things over the years - like what I did with Rocky and the Zeo crystals." Billy commented thoughtfully.
"In some ways and injury or a disease would be comparatively simple to deal with as it would be a case of boosting energy to her systems.... but in this case, it would be necessary to ...rewrite Kimberley's energy patterns, realign them on a fundamental level." Skye continued. "The energy required to do such a thing would be phenomenal."
"First of all.." Billy began "How could that be done?"
Skye lifted the Star Crystal around his neck "I think that...I could do it with this, link to Kim and rework everything from the inside out....but...The energy required...makes it very difficult indeed."
Billy was frowning "I see there could be problems"
"Uh-huh...and then some..this has never been done before, I'm kinda not sure if it can be done." The artist said
"Well it is something to work on" Billy said speculatively. He touched his spirit crystal and slipped into their mind-bond Now lets see what we can actually do!
Billy sat, his mind in a quandary processing the information. The odds were not good at all. It seemed to save Kim they would have to risk the lives of them all one way or another. What type of choice was that? The more Skye explained about the process the more he realised the very slim chance of survival there was for either his friend or Kim as the focus of the plan. With the Great Power indeed anything was possible, but it appeared that sometimes the price was so high as to prevent it from being used. If the price to bring back one life was the death of five others...well...He shook his head.
He looked over at his friend "You sure you want to try this? Considering the odds and that..you don't really know Kim?" Billy felt he had to at least ask.
"If I can I will" aswered Skye simply.
But why? Billy couldn't help but probe and lapsed into mind speech.
She is important to you for a start - and it's difficult to explain, but she is part of the pattern....it is important that Kim lives I don't know why, I just know that it is! Skye mindspoke his thoughts laced with a strong emotion as he struggled to explain.
Billy nodded. "Now I have to ask Zordon and the others."
Billy teleported to the Power Chamber desperate for this sketchy plan to be workable and agreeable to their mentor.
"Zordon, I need to speak to you about Kimberley." He explained their idea's and was met with a lengthy silence.
"I am afraid I cannot allow this." Zordon said regretfully "I cannot condone the risk to the current team and the civilian population for the benefit of one person - however much I desire to see that person safe and well."
Billy was shocked at Zordon's pronouncement. "You cannot seriously expect us to stand by when there is a chance that we might save her...if Tommy found out...it would send him over the edge!"
"The team cannot risk themselves for one person" Zordon said adamantly. Billy was hurt badly by this. He was willing to risk all, why wasn't Zordon?. There was a flash of silvery light behind him and Skye appeared.
I felt it...Zordon not going for it? he mindspoke
No...not at all Billy said disillusioned.
Let me speak to him Skye replied stepping forward.
"Please Zordon...I think you should reconsider your decision."
"There is nothing to reconsider...it is a very difficult decision to make, but I cannot allow this. Kimberley is special to me also, she was one of the first of my Chosen but I cannot let my personal feelings compromise the defence of Earth" The Eltarian said firmly.
Skye pulled out the Star crystal and touched his fingers to its shimmering surface. "Let me show you why I feel that it is necessary to risk this much.." He projected the essence of the dream-seeing he had had into Zordon's awareness.
When he had finished there was silence in the command chamber, and then Skye said aloud softly.
"Zordon this may be out of line, but did it ever occur to you that there was good reason for your special attachment to her? To any of your Chosen?"
Billy stepped up "Zordon?" he pleaded.
There was a pause and then the trans-dimensional being said, "There is a point where the destiny of one is interwoven with the destiny of the many...Agreed. If the other rangers chose freely to accept this danger then I will not oppose their decision."
Billy let out an explosive sigh. "Thankyou Zordon!"
"Alpha, contact all the other Rangers and Kimberly, I need to speak to them immediately." Billy paced up and down nervously awaiting their arrival and as Alpha announced they would be teleporting in, Skye hissed a warning and threw him a holomimic shield for his face. He had barely positioned it when columns of multicoloured light filled the chamber. They were obviously expecting a monster attack and were woefully unprepared for it by the signs of strain and despair in all their faces. None of them had been untouched by the news.
Jason stepped forward "Is there another monster?"
"Actually, I asked Alpha to call you here." Billy said trying to remain in control. "This is very important. I guess Kim has told you all about her... condition" he asked receiving solemn nods from the group, whilst Kim stood clenching her hands staring through them all.
"I've been researching all possible ways that I can, with help from Alpha and Skye for a way to heal her....we have come up with..a slight possibility..." he said cautiously, but even so, there was an immediate eruption of excited babble.
"Hold on, hold on...there are facts that everyone needs to know!" he said.
Rocky shook his head "If there is any sort of a chance we will take it, there is nothing more to say."
Billy fought an inner battle to accept that spontaneously well meant judgement at face value and regretfully failed to deny his conscience.
"I will not let any of you make a decision without full knowledge of the danger involved!" he said forcefully.
They quietened down much to his surprise. He took a deep breath and launched into his explanation.
"Right...we propose to use the Great Power of the Ninjetti - which requires the assistance of all the Ninjetti available. Now...This is where we get into problems. Firstly, there is a low probability of survival for Kim and Skye even if we can get the following procedure to work anyway. Bear that in mind. We believe that if all the nigh-Ninjetti can mindlink with Skye and donate whatever energy of the Great Power they can, Skye will be able to use that to rework Kim's energy patterns and eradicate this threat once and for all. IF this works, and I say if, because mind-bonding is not an easy procedure, this will leave these Rangers severely de-energised for a period of time. They will not be able to function effectively as Rangers. This would leave Kat, Tanya and Jason very vulnerable and Angel Grove's only protectors for a significant period of time. The decision is yours." Billy stopped, looking at his friends faces, seeing duty war with emotions.
Instinctively they all turned to Tommy for a decision.
The Red Zeo Ranger shook his head "I cannot make this decision. There is only one that I could make for good or bad and that would not be fair to the rest of the team. I cannot trust that my judgement would be unbiased in this instance." He looked over at Jason, and Billy felt a strange deja vu of the old days.
The Gold Ranger looked up at Zordon "What do you say Zordon?" he asked.
"I'm afraid this decision will be yours alone Rangers." Zordon said unhelpfully causing Jason to frown.
He looked over at Kim standing brave and fragile alone. His resolve focused; he turned to Kat and Tanya, and with that instinct common to all leaders of the Power Rangers sensed which way their decision would go.
"Kat, Tanya?" he asked anyway.
"We are with you." Tanya replied. Kat nodded in agreement.
"Everyone willing to try mind bonding with Skye?" Jason asked the rest of the group. The remaining rangers nodded purposefully.
"Kim? You want us to do this?" Jason asked gently, afraid to offer her a hope that could so easily turn out to be unworkable.
"I don't want any of you hurt on my behalf.." she said uncertainly.
"Kim...risk is always involved it's part of being a Power Ranger....How many times have we been in danger over an innocent bystander? Being a Power Ranger is not a question of numbers, it's question of what is right..and what is right is saving a life if there is a possible way to do it."
Billy shot a glance at Zordon; that was what he thought Zordon would see. That was what felt right, not numbers and equations, but maybe he was being naive.
A Wolf knows what is right by instinct his wolf spirit contributed and for more reasons than you know this is right, though no less dangerous. Billy was oddly reassured by this conflicting message, and looked up to see what Kim's response would be.
Kim nodded, with tears standing in her eyes and a pale hope in her face.
"Well then...we will try it." Jason announced as if suggesting a walk in the Park and Billy exhaled with relief.
"Right then" he addressed the group. "Tomorrow all the Ninjetti please turn up here - make excuses for the weekend ...I'm not sure how long this will take. Get some rest all of you...we're going to need all the strength and energy we can get!"