"That comes from within" Coach Schmidt was fond of saying and usually thumped his chest for emphasis. "If you do not feel it here, you maybe as perfect as I am, but it will mean nothing." He usually finished with a glower at their giggling response to his mock profundity.
Though when it came down to it, he was correct. She knew she had lost that inner motivation, haunted as she was by the events of the past. Since Muranthanis she had found it difficult to move with light and grace, having been touched so deeply by overpowering evil. She walked to the bench and listlessly picked up her drink. She felt so alone. All of them appeared to be alone at the moment. She hadn't actually physically seen Tommy for ages, nearly since the whole Turbo incident. They spoke on the phone frequently and she could tell he was hurt and confused by the way she refused to come back and see him. It wasn't to do with him, or the relationship, but she doubted he believed that. If there was one thing she wanted was to be with him, to have back that feeling of togetherness, but if she wanted to filfill her life-long dream she had to work at it - and a few days from now all those dreams would be shattered in useless pieces on the competition floor. She sighed. She missed being able to talk to the other girls too, even Kat. She felt guilty about that and she hadn't even been to see Rocky since his accident, which was terrible really when she thought about it. Why did everything seem so hopeless to her? She put her head in her hands as the feeling of repressed tears began to rise in her from out of nowhere. He eyes burned and her throat ached with the strain, but her eyes remained dry and her features resolute. In a sudden move she threw down the drink bottle and headed back out onto the mats. Resolute and defiant she began her exercises again as she thought to herself that if she did not find anything within, it would not be because she had not looked hard enough.
Another argument flared in WolfZord as the Ninjetti continued their quest through space for Allies, Ninjetti and Zords for the eventual conflict with the Zha'Kha-ree'aa, the Darkness Visible. Arguing had come to be a regular occurrence since Aquitar, almost a habit, that substituted conflict for the more subtle connections that had existed between the three Ninjetti. It was astonishing how easily they had slipped into this pattern of constant bickering, but on this particular occasion Trini believed that she might actually have a point rather than just playing devils advocate.
"The Ronani were hardly the most reliable race!" Trini argued vociferously. "Their concept of "relative truth" nearly got us all killed once already. Following their information could be highly hazardous and waste valuable time. I think we should forget about the Chi'iten Empire and concentrate on something worthwhile!" * Why couldn't he see that? They had no time to waste on fools' errands! *
Billy eyes were ice-blue and uncompromising. "Nevertheless, the Chi'iten Empire is massive, that much is obvious. They are an ancient race, who.."
"Who have never been Ninjetti." Trini interrupted pointedly. She had her hands on her hips challenging him to defy that logic.
Billy paused. It was a good argument, but she was missing the point. "Fine, true, but who were reputed to have been Allied with the Ninjetti in the last conflict with the Darkness Visible. Skye looked into the Ma'rai Sphere, probing the histories of the Ninjetti and found mention of them lending critical support."
"Oh, you got him to talk?" Trini said in a slightly softer tone.
Billy shrugged wearily "In words of one syllable. I wish he'd tell me what was wrong." As he said that he met Trini's dark gaze directing the question implicitly at her also. She turned away and busied herself at the controls and the moment died in the air between them.
The trio of questing Ninjetti were not doing so well. Since Aquitar it seemed like dissension had spread between them, irritating, straining, pulling at them and growing progressively worse with each mission. The fact that all three of them, in order to avoid the issues between them had thrown themselves into their work and purpose with growing intensity, meant the quest in itself was going very well; however, the actual questors were not doing so well at all. Billy and Trini ignored each other in a frosty demanding silence or quarrelled privately in a fashion that would have shocked their friends and family. It still amazed Billy that Trini could provoke him quite the way that she did because he would start out with the best intentions of remaining calm and she would pick at him and pick, and pick until he totally lost control. Skye had wrapped a wall of isolation around himself and was morose and withdrawn remaining secluded in his cabin for long intervals only coming out for missions. He would do his scanning and sensing in the briefest possible time as if afraid of touching their minds like he used to with comfortable familiarity. Billy sighed. The more he thought about it, the more confused he became, and the more confused he became the less he wanted to deal with it. Still, they could not let the mission suffer because of their personal problems. That was possibly the ONLY thing they agreed on at the moment.
He brushed back his blonde hair thoughtfully. They had only the sketchiest information about the Chi'iten, and they had been only Allies not Ninjetti, but they were an ancient space faring empire from all accounts. In sheer numbers they might even the score and they may have technologies that could assist them.
"I think it is worth a try." He announced suddenly and Trini flashed him a sceptical look that wounded his confidence but he stuck resolutely to his course of action. Trini saw that he wouldn't move on this point and with an audible sigh altered the course of the two Ninjetti Zords to enter into what was reputed to be Chi'iten Space.
After Billy had summoned Skye to join them, all three of the Ninjetti sat in a cold uncomfortable silence as they penetrated deeper and deeper into Chi'iten space without any sign of contact. Billy frowned as they swung through some outlying solar systems. They appeared to have been inhabited at some point but were desolate now. It was an eiree sensation, like tiptoeing through a galactic graveyard, waiting for someone to jump out from behind the planetary equivalent of a gravestone.
"We better broadcast on all channels." Billy said eventually into the hushed silence. "They were reluctant allies, only forced to aid the Ninjetti by a devastating attack on their homeworld. They may not appreciate visitors." The thought occurred to him that they might not appreciate the Ninjetti in general but it was a little late to worry about that now. Besides, that would be admitting to Trini that he had been wrong in his decision to bring them into this sector of space.
"What are they again?" Trini asked trying to mentally prepare herself for the encounter. It didn't make a good impression when you recoiled in horror, or just felt the urge to laugh compulsively at a new race. The Shanrishu's resemblance to Munchkins had kept all three of them in barely repressed fits of giggles for days, especially as they were a highly formal and dignified race. Mind you that had been before Aquitar. They hadn't laughed together like that since their trip to the Ocean planet.
Skye looked up briefly. "The Chi'iten." he supplied in a soft voice.
"I know that!" Trini snapped sharply. She took a couple of deep breaths. "WHAT are they?, reptilian like the Drakan?, aquatic like the Aquitians? Avian like the Ronani?" She frowned at herself for losing control so easily and at Skye too. He was not the one who she was angry with, aside from him refusing to say what was wrong with him.
"Insectoid." Skye reported tersely, refusing to meet her gaze directly.
"Like the Edenoi?" Billy asked interested. They had passed by there a just before Aquitar. From what he recalled of the Rangers trip there, their race had evolved from insects but, of course, was essentially humanoid in appearance.
Skye shook his head "Much more like very large bugs by all accounts."
The alarms began to sound a proximity alert and they all focused their attention on the spacecraft approaching their position with great speed. A menancing cruiser with weapons charged and targeted on the linked Wolf and TigerZords swept into view
"Raiders of the Klaxal! If you do not leave Chi'iten Space you will be destroyed!" an implacable voice stated. There was the faintest hint of a burr in it as if many voices almost but not quite overlapped. The message however, was uncompromising.
"We are not raiders, and we have not heard of the Klaxal. We represent Dulcea of Phaedos. We come to you as Ninjetti!" Trini announced taking the initiative.
"Ninjetti?" the voice questioned sounding sceptical.
"It was long ago" Billy attempted to explain soothingly. "It is possible that the Alliance between the Ninjetti and your people has been forgotten."
"The Chi'iten forget nothing." The voice interrupted harshly and Billy winced to himself. He had obviously made a diplomatic error. A visual image suddenly appeared. And Trini had to prevent herself from gasping. She was reminded irresitably of the time when she was studying Mantis Kung Fu, when she had become exceptionally familiar with the form of the Preying Mantis. Aside from being nearly six foot tall, the Chi'iten appeared exceptionally mantid in form and even had retractable forearm blades. It seemed to be listening to something before it suddenly spoke again.
"You will be towed to homeworld. We are bound by the Original Covenant between our races to hear the first representatives of the Ninjetti to approach us after the Great War. Despite the significant time elapse, you are the first envoys to have approached us since that time. The Conclave would converse with you. You will be brought aboard our ship. Prepare yourself." The tone was clinical and unforgiving.
Before Billy could answer, all three of them blurred and were suddenly standing aboard the Alien bridge. There was a faint spicy aroma to the air as they were approached by a group of six Chi'iten.
"Greetings." they said in unison "I am Vy-Ru-Sa-Mi-Ka-Lo"
The Ninjetti exchanged looks, mildly confused by their behaviour. Maybe it was a formal title, so Billy decided to respond in kind.
"I am Billy, Blue Wolf Ninjetti Spirit Warrior."
"I am Trini, Gold Tiger Ninjetti Spirit Warrior."
I am Skye, Star Ninjetti." Skye finished their recitation.
"Ah, single unit beings." the six said as one, "We will disassociate to this level."
One of the great insects strode forward "I am Vy. You are to consider yourself guests of the Chi'iten Empire. Separate them." Three Chi'iten detached themselves from the group and approached each of the Ninjetti separately. Billy's mind buzzed with questions and protests but they were swiftly lead away from each other. He looked anxiously after Trini but with their forearm blades unsheathed he believed they would be disembowelled before they could morph. They had no real option but to go with their "hosts".
Trini was escorted to a strange but luxurious chamber by the Chi'iten Ru. As it didn't appear to be a dungeon or a jail, Trini felt she was within her rights to start to assert herself.
"When can I see my friends?" she demanded as they entered the room. Angry though she was with Billy she did not want to see him hurt; and Skye they were both worried about.
Ru emitted a low discordant buzz of confusion. Obviously her question was somewhat unexpected. "I do not understand. You are a single unit beings? Yet you feel deprivation as if you were separate from a collective?" the insect warrior asked the confusion evident in its tone.
Trini nodded. "Yes, that appears to sum it up."
The mantid Chi'iten studied her with large facetted ebony eyes. "I was not aware that single unit beings could behave in such a civilised manner."
"Are you not a single unit being?" Trini asked curiously. The mantid appeared to have her own identity so it seemed logical that she would be an individual.
Ru reared back her forearm blades unsheathing again with an odd brittle scraping sound. "You would be wise not to suggest such a thing." the mantid warned in a low muted buzz.
Trini shook her head, drawing in a deep breath to calm her nerves. Having the equivalent of a large serrated sword flash out before her eyes was unsettling to say the least. It was times like this that she wish she could hear her Tigerspirit more clearly, though since Aquitar she had barely been in contact with it and felt quite lonely without it's warm comforting presence.
"I do not understand." She admitted shakily
"Be seated, I will instruct you." replied the Chi'iten.
She obeyed. If teachers at Angel Grove had had weapons like those, homework would never have been late!
"Each Chi'iten is a part of a chi-lax, a composite entity of life-mates and siblings, offspring and companions. I am Ru of the chi-lax Vy-Ru-Sa-Mi-Ka-Lo. It is a small chi-lax, as only such are sent on combat missions. A group of chi-lax forms the composite entity of a chi-ix, chi-ix together for a chi-var and so on. The composite entity of the entirety of our race is the Chi'iten." Ru explained patiently as if to a child.
Trini was stunned. Ru seemed too...individual to submerge herself as part of a composite entity. "But how can you be individual and one entity at the same time?" she asked grappling with the concept.
"As each cell of your body is individual leads an individual life but associates with others in a harmonious progression until you, the composite entity is the result." Ru explained. "However the consciousness of the cell is nothing compared to the mind that arises from the interaction of all cells working in harmony. Single unit beings are not civilised enough establish permanent connections with their own kind, they are too self-orientated." It said with a hint of superiority.
"Ah" Trini nodded, trying to grasp the implications of that concept, and privately disagreeing with some of the mantid creatures assumptions. Did that mean they had no sense of self, of self-worth? Or knowledge, surely that meant that each chi'iten, as part of a composite, had access to the knowledge of all other Chi'iten?
"Does that mean you know everything the others know?." She asked steering away from the other more controversial questions. It would not do to anger them when they appeared to be prisoners.
"That would only happen if there was a Singing of the Great Song" Ru supplied "And that has only occurred three times in the long history of our race. Other Songs have occurred for various reasons. Otherwise, yes, we can share our memories within the chi-lax"
"Singing of the Great Song?" Trini queried intrigued. That sounded fascinating.
Ru bowed her head raising her wings a little in a ritualistic movement. "We are but notes in the harmony of the Great Song" and after that she would say no more.
Billy had an informative conversation with the Chi'iten Mi. There seemed to be no censorship on the information passed to him and he had made good use of that fact. He had discovered that the vast Chi'iten Empire spanned a hundred solar system each inhabited by billions of Chi'iten and that they had been constantly raided by a nomadic space faring race, the Klaxal. From Mi's graphic description the Klaxal were arachnid in nature, though when described as venomous with a stinging tail they sounded much more like a scorpion than the immediate images of six foot spiders that had leapt to Billy's mind. Of late, however, it appeared that the Klaxal raids had become more frequent and intense, their aim seeming to shift from raid for goods or profit, to wide scale destruction. The Vy-Ru-Sa-Mi-Ko-Lo Chi-lax (who, in an interesting development, were the unpowered equivalent of the Power Rangers on Earth) were one of those groups responsible for swift response to reported incursions and attacks. Billy mused silently on the potential of the Chi'iten as an ally or as actual Ninjetti. They would be invaluable. If they could Quest for the Great Power then many thousands of Ninjetti would swell their ranks and if not, they would gain the support of their substantial fleet. They had to persuade the Conclave to ally with them! He gave a wry smile to himself. Of course this was assuming they were not going to be executed on sight when they were brought before this Conclave. He ought to stop getting ahead of events in his thoughts.
Skye, wrapped in his cocoon of imposed isolation did not even try to strike up conversation with the Chi'iten escorting him. His mind wandered over familiar ground and whilst he was distracted he let his tight mind blocks slip just a little, enough so he could brush the mind of the great insect next to him. There was something soothing about touching the mind of a Chi'iten, like hearing a beautiful distant song on the wind, almost out of earshot. He did not ask much of Ka but rested, listening to the hypnotic melody of the mantid warriors' mind. It had been a while since he had reached out to a mind. Ever since Aquitar - since Alesto had destroyed his hopes, he had shut himself away from Billy and Trini for fear they might read his despair and their hope be crushed also. Hiding hadn't stopped the dreams however, they became worse if anything as time went on. Sometimes it was as if images lurked behind his vision even now.. Gently, without even realising it, he had slipped into rapport with Ka - his abilities had come a long way from the times he had established links with his friends
* You are of Us! * mindspoke Ka in astonishment feeling the humans mindpresence.
* I am human * Skye replied startled into wakefulness.
* You are of us, you are a Note in the Great Song, I hear you! * Ka buzzed with excitement. * Join us. * The massive insect turned and mentally allowed the rush of complex distant voices vast and overwhelming to reach out to envelop him. The Star Ninjetti recoiled. He could not lose himself in that tangled maze of otherthought!
"I cannot...I am...too dark inside. I would bring only disharmony * Skye protested. Besides if he did and they saw what he thought, what he knew about their efforts, then they would never get them to sign on as Allies.
* We shall see * Ka said calmly before silently leaving the Star Ninjetti to his now, curiously empty, solitary thoughts.
The homeworld of the Chi'iten was nothing like how Trini had imagined. She'd thought of tunnels riddling the surface, darkness and packed claustrophobic chambers. Instead it was filled with soaring spun glass towers that were dazzling in the light. It was hard to imagine an insect race to have such a deep appreciation of beauty, but it was plainly obvious that the huge Tsoma, or City-Nests had been designed to not only be functional but pleasing to the eye and all the other senses. As they stepped from the ship they could see the skies filled with the Chi'iten gliding from tower to tower on glistening rainbow gossamer wings. The place was filled with a rich spicy odour that smelt edible in it's intoxicating flavour and everywhere ornate wind harps and chimes, thrummed and rippled dazzling glissando's of sound. It was all Billy, Trini and Skye could do to watch where they were going, so enthralled were they by the dazzling sights and sounds around them.
They were eventually ushered into a massive light filled structure of that strange glassy material that opened out into stadium like arena. They found themselves escorted to a central dias and stood looking about in wonder as, with startling insect speed, groups of Chi'ten began to pour into the place in their thousands each finding their place without any conflict or apparent communication.
"This would be the Conclave I guess" Billy said dryly looking around at the multitudes of Chi'iten.
"Whatever gave you that idea?" Trini muttered with mock sweetness, feeling nervous at the swarms of giant insects filling the arena around her. Billy ignored her comment focussing on the action around him.
Abruptly all movement ceased and a large mantid nearly ebony black with age stepped forward and began to speak, with a rumble in it's voice suggesting the multitudes of minds behind that voice.
"Ninjetti envoys of Phaedos - we admit you to the Conclave as prescribed in the Memory Laws. Know then that our duty is done- we will hear your words. But expect nothing of the Chi'iten. The Alliance ended after the war when the Enemy was destroyed." The voice was harsh and authoritarian. It was now obvious that the Chi'iten were not overly impressed by the Ninjetti as a whole, and probably not much by them in particular.
The three stepped forward, Billy in the centre, Trini on his left, Skye on his right.
"Honoured Chi'iten, hear me" Billy began. "The Wardstones placed deep in the Galactic void have flared warning. The Time approaches that all races wished would not occur, that time which the Oldest ones have guarded against for untold millenia." He took a deep breath, they wanted formal? he would give them formal! "Take heed of my words! The Sun goes Down. Beware the Darkness Visible!"
There was a susurration of alarm from the crowd.
Billy paused a moment letting the noise die down. "In accordance with the Ma'rai Sphere containing Ancient Mysteries of the Ninjetti, we have been sent to seek out Allies and those who can become Ninjetti spirit warriors against the coming darkness!" Billy finished his speech on a resounding note. There was absolute silence.
"We have our own problems" The Conclave said flatly after a few moments consideration. "The Klaxal raiders that plague our Empire have a new leader and a new weapon that devastates our cities. We have none of our own to spare for an ally that abandoned us after the Great War. Ninjetti did not help us when the one called Dark Spectre stole the existence and Song of our Singer Queen in the distant past. You are not worthy of our trust." It was quite plainly a dismissal and Billy winced. Damn!
Trini stepped forward to speak forcefully when an eiree sound filled the air, strange but unmistakably an alarm.
"The Klaxal come! They strike at home world! Whilst we have been distracted by you, the enemy has caught us unawares!" The Conclave said urgently. "All Che-var to emergency posts"
"Conclave! Let us help you fight the Klaxal!" Trini pleaded, thinking maybe if they could not be persuaded by diplomacy, then maybe they could be convinced by a demonstration of assistance in a time of trouble.
"If we give you access to your ships then you will flee." The Conclave stated. It still harboured feelings of abandonment, and was reluctant to trust them at all.
"You question the honour of the Ninjetti?" Trini challenged with deadly calm and was surprised as a blush of white shame flowed across the Chi'iten.
"We have no time to argue. I suggest one of us remain here as guarantor for our return." Billy suggested urgently. He looked across at Skye who gave an imperceptible sigh and nod as agreement. He would much rather go with Billy and Trini, but there was not time to argue this through.
Skye stepped forward. "I will remain. I am not the warrior of the group, the others have much more battle experience than myself."
"Agreed." The Conclave said in a surprised tone.
"Ready?" Billy asked Trini, adrenalin already starting to rush through him.
"Lets go!" Trini said, her dark eyes glittering fiercely.
"Blue Wolf Ninjetti Spirit Warrior...Now!"
"Gold Tiger Ninjetti Spirit Warrior...Now!"
Skye watched as they vanished in their respective flashes of blue and gold light. Left behind again. He knew they did it to protect him but, he would much rather be out there with them both.
"It will do no good." The Conclave said fatalistically. "It is likely that we are all destroyed - we have not developed a defence for their new weapon. We have had to abandon world after world as they have approached, and they have plundered and destroyed all the Tsoma they have come across."
"Do not underestimate the Ninjetti. Billy is an experienced scientist and warrior, as is Trini. He will find a way." Skye defended his friends stoutly.
"There may not be a way to be found. Assuming there is, it will not be enough to save homeworld as our forces have been greatly depleted. The Klaxal will be within striking distance in a short period of time." the Conclave stated with implacable finality.
"There must be a way! A way to protect the population..evacuation or some sort of defence!" Skye said in frustration, clutching at straws.
There was a brief pause before the Conclave replied "No, there is no viable solution." But the hesitation was enough to fan the brief hope in Skye to life. There was something that they could do. "You do have a means to protect yourself... tell me!" he demanded becoming strangely assertive in his desperation.
"A way that is not possible as we have no mature Singer-Queen..." The Conclave said sorrowfully.
Skye blinked. He'd expected some sort of super weapon or domesday device. What was a "Singer Queen"? "Tell me more!"
The Conclave declined. "There is no use exploring theoretical possibilities. We must rely upon our physical defences and the assistance of the Ninjetti warriors." but the manifold voice did not sound particularly hopeful of any degree of success.
The Scorpion-ships of the Klaxal raiders were compact and deadly and swarmed out of the darkness in a venomous horde. Trini flew the golden Tiger-zord directly against their assault with a passion and ferocity that astonished the Chi'iten, devastating the Klaxal first wave attack.
Billy assisted but was more interested in the data being gathered by WolfZords' keen sensors. "Trini! Fall back!" he advised urgently scanning his readouts. "There are large motherships moving in!"
Trini snarled to herself in the privacy of her Zord cockpit. "If I have to take them on I will...what else is going to stop them?"
"You are not going to solve or save anything if you get blasted out of the sky!" Billy said with a pained expression. * Please Trini, don't argue with me now * he thought to himself.
Sensing the genuine concern in his voice, Trini spun TigerZord backwards just as a Klaxal mothership fired upon them. The beam struck a Chi'iten ship which, instead of exploding, appeared to warp, twist and crumple inward like a grotesque fullsize version of a paper model. Eventually it did explode but it was painfully slow. Even worse was the fact that the area on the moon behind the ship did exactly the same, twisted and deformed.
"What the ..." Trini gasped, barely believing her eyes.
"A molecular deformation weapon!" Billy announced horrified. His mind shuffled idea's swiftly, formulating and discarding concepts. There were similarities - molecular manipulation had been a frequent problem with Rita, Zedd and Mondo. This time he needed to stop the beam, not correct it's effects.
"Vy-ru-sa-mi-ka-lo...Do you have anything like a parabolic emitter system that covers this area?" He asked urgently. He could remember enough of the inventions he had worked on in the past to know he could build something to block the beam transmission if he just had something capable of blanketing the Klaxal invasion force.
"The systems communications in orbit run on something similar." They replied.
"Good enough....take me to the central communications area." Billy ordered already planning his moves. WolfZord sped towards the communications space station, and the wolf ninjetti grabbed tools and parts as the Zord docked on auto-pilot and he teleported to the control centre.
"Hurry Billy!" Trini yelled. "If one of those beams hits the Cities...and the Conclave.." She left the rest unspoken as she whirled back into the fray.
Thee were too many of them, too many to fight effectively on her own. Some of the tiny fighters began to scuttle past her deadly pouncing attack heading towards the planet below. In front of her a squadron of enemy ships swung back around at her and her eye was caught by the flash of the lead ship against space. The pattern clicked - they were following the direction of THAT gold and red fighter. Ignoring Billy's shouts over the communicators she spun Tiger Zord on it's tail and sped after the lead ship.
"Trini! Trini, there is a squadron of fighters going in behind the moon! Behind the MOON!" Billy yelled urgently, only to see the Golden TigerZord peel off and head in the opposite direction. Billy worked frantically with the Chi'iten in the communications satellite to try and adapt the system into a molecular deformation jammer. He originally was unable to understand why such an advanced race had such primitive electronic communications and why they hadn't considered using carrier waves. Eventually it occurred to him that with their species wide telepathy they would not have need to develop elaborate ways of communicating - they already had the best version available. The fact that Trini was out there fighting did not aid his concentration. Something was wrong, why had she gone after that ship? He glanced up at the screens picking up the first explosions on the planet surface with a cold crawling feeling inside. Maybe too late already. He twisted the last wire into place with fevered haste.
"There - the adjustments are made" he said. "The emitters must charge first..."
" It is too late to save Homeworld" One of the Chi'iten working with him said mournfully. Explosions could be see in the planets atmosphere as fighters engaged in aerial combat in a last ditch attempt to protect the spun-glass cities.
"No!" Billy shouted "There must be a way there must!" He slammed his fist against the metal console in a futile attempt to relieve his fear and frustration. "Trini! Trini?" he called urgently into his communicator and got no response.
"Damn!" He ought to stay here, but Skye and the Chi'iten were down there on the nigh on defenceless planet, and he couldn't just watch as fighters closed in to destroy them all. First rule of being a Power Ranger of any type, protecting the innocent came before anything else.
"Local Teleport to Wolfzord - now!" he shouted in anger and concern and flashed to the Zord controls. As fast as he could he sped through space, a blue wolf-shadow against the stars, to intercept the attacking Motherships.
*You do realise this is perhaps one of the most stupid things you three have ever done? * his wolfspirit suddenly wolfspoke.
* I haven't noticed you stopping us up until now * Billy retorted. In fact his animal spirit had been particularly quiet up until now.
*Because I couldn't believe you could behave so un-wolflike * the wolf spirit berated.
"This is not the time!" Billy said aloud.
*The way you three are going it might be the only chance I have! How exactly are you going to take those motherships on your own? * The wolf actually sounded angry with him * Think about this! There is a difference between blind stupidity and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. *
* Then get the Tiger Spirit to get Trini over here to attack the ships! * he said frustrated. * Get Skye to reach out and overwhelm them with his mind.! I cannot do this alone *
* You are correct, you cannot do this alone * the wolfspirit advised, * but is this where your attitude as led you? You have behaved as Not-Pack. * the wolfspirits tone made the phrase a vile epithet. * You have allowed the distance between you to grow because you have not had the courage to face the problem and deal with it. I mean you, I mean the Tiger cub and the Star Bearer! *
Billy flinched as he twisted and turned from the scorpion-fighters fire, more from the harsh words than from the physical threat in space.
"Fine! You are correct, as always. I can't lead as Tommy does, or Jason - I'm sorry, but if you wanted someone who could then you should have chosen one of them, not someone who finds communication a torture from hell! I cannot MAKE Skye talk to me, any more than I appear to be able to get Trini to LISTEN!" Billy shouted aloud in the cockpit.
There was a silence from his Wolfspirit and for a horrible moment Billy thought he had driven his Wolfspirit away completely.
* The Star-one is being dealt with by other means, but the young Tiger will listen only when you say something worthwhile.* It said quietly. * But as all chances of change will be lost if you do nothing then let us see about delaying this attack by the bitter scorpion spirits. Now let them see your Wolfteeth!*.
With which Billy spun around to strafe the Klaxal mothership in a desperate and futile attack to delay them from firing long enough for the molecular deformation jammer to broadcast it's lifesaving protection across the planet.
Trini, with all her anger and frustration focussed on the lead fighter listened in on their frequencies for clues. There was something familiar about the way it fought and manoeuvred that she couldn't shake the feeling that she was going to kick herself when she discovered who was leading this attack. The red-gold enemy ship twisted and turned away from her diving into an asteroid belt and then stopped suddenly. Trini, caught unawares shot past and nearly twenty fighters appeared as if from the void itself. A trap! A womans' laugh, rich with delighted evil finally jogged her memory as she whirled TigerZord to face her attackers.
"Scorpina!" she said through clenched teeth. Always one for an ambush.
"I'm glad you remember me Ninjetti. I remember when you were a mere little yellow ranger, and you are still as stupid now as you were then!" Scorpina hissed in derision. "You should have listened to your blue boyfriend and gone back - together you might have been able to stop my friends the Klaxal, but with you out here...dear oh dear...where is that legendary teamspirit..did you have a lovers tiff?"
Trini found herself with her face locked in a snarl of defiance visualising her old enemy's supercilious smile.
"Shut up! We beat you on Earth, I'll beat you here.."
"Did I touch a nerve dear?" Scorpina said with malicious honey sweetness. "On Earth, I was surrounded by losers, now I am surrounded by fellow arachnids, each with a sting potent enough to take out a pussy-cat like you."
Trini reached for her Tiger-Spirit, trying to invoke that devastating ability of the Tiger Dance she had discovered on Drakan, but her emotions were too tumultuous, she was out of control, so she had to settle for flying for her very life. "If you catch a Tiger by the Tail Scorpina...you better hold on tight!" She warned defiantly as she opened up her fearsome array of weapons in a golden rush of destructive power. She had to get back! She had to get back to help Billy and Skye.
Scorpina just laughed at her strong words, bolts of energy launching at the Tigerzord from the tail of the red gold scorpion fighter. "You do realise that your mutt of a boyfriend is trying to take on our motherships alone? For some reason he wants to stop them destroying the Cities of the insects, but obviously that is not important to you.. cats have no sense of Honour." The villianess jibed.
Trin felt a cold chill; the worst thing about this was that Scorpina was right about leaving innocents defenceless. Once before she had let a jibe about honour nearly draw her and the team into destruction, and this time she was going to learn from that mistake. She turned the Golden TigerZord around, finally resolved to abandon the fight with her old enemy Scorpina and as she sped away she heard her mocking laugh ringing in her ears. "But you are already too late! Much too late!"
Billy flew Wolf Zord once again straight on at the Klaxal mother ship, peppering it's vast bulk with explosions but very little in the way of permanent damage.
"Remind me to upgrade our weapons system as a matter of urgency!" he said aloud to himself. He jerked back on the controls, rolling from a maelstrom of destructive power streaming from the massive hideously shaped mothership, crawling ever closer to its intended prey like a space faring spider preparing to suck the life from it's defenceless prey. WolfZord was small but fast and Billy, following the instincts of his Wolfspirit, tried to hamstring the monstrous spider-scorpion by launching a Ninjetti plasma charge at the propulsion system. The blast impacted but failed to break the shielding.
"No!" Billy shouted. He had made himself vulnerable in his attack for nothing. WolfZord was hit by enemy fire from all around, throwing him from his seat against the control panel with a painful impact and sending them spinning away in the darkness. He had failed!
Skye paced the floor, limping still in frustration. A deafening explosive roar ripped out the far side of the Conclave arena throwing him to the ground with it's concussive force. Tiny splinters of the clear glass like material showered onto him and using the Star Crystal he created a small repelling shield to protect him from the piercing rain. An idea occurred to him.
"You have similar abilities...to those I have whilst using the crystal" he said excitedly remembering the Chi'iten Ka's words to him. "Could you not project a shield if enough of you got together?."
The Conclave spoke reluctantly "In the distant past we could do this, when we bred warrior che-lax to war on the ManyHives, under the command of their Singer Queen they could do many wondrous things, including shields and defences. "
"So..sing and protect your world! You say you never forget anything, you must know how to do it!" Skye demanded with uncharacteristic assertion.
"We remember - of all things in our culture, the Singer Queen is most sacred." The Conclave said managing to sound despondent.
"And the problem is?" Skye questioned, flinching from another explosion. The smell of acrid smoke began to fill the air around him.
"That the birth of a Singer Queen occur less and less frequently, perhaps once in a generation - and the current candidate is too immature to hold the Song. We try every planetary cycle, but She is too young." The Conclave explained.
Skye muttered curses that the others would have been surprised he knew. "But she knows how to do it yes?" he queried a desperate plan forming in his mind.
"Yes, the knowledge is innate. But that will profit none of us for the Klaxal motherships are nearly within range and there is nothing to stop them."
"What if..what if I linked with her and became the focus for the Song?" Skye blurted out. "With the Star Crystal of Sionas I believe it is possible." To be truthful, he had no idea if it was or not but at this late stage he was willing to try anything. The Conclave had a brief conference with itself as fighters screeched banshee like overhead. Skye had earlier caught a brief glimpse of a familiar Zord shape chasing down the enemy fighters and his heart sank. If Billy were fighting in WolfZord then his attempts to stop the Klaxal with science must have failed.
"We will try it - there is nothing to lose." The Conclave said desperately reaching a similar conclusion. "Prepare to be contacted by our young Queen."
"I will attempt to be a...Singer for you." Skye said realising this was literally his last chance. The Klaxal motherships were visible in the sky above them. They looked like immense spider shadows crawling behind the clouds of billowing smoke that spiralled heavenwards from all the destruction.
"We must hurry!" He raised the Star Crystal high and called the power to go within himself. Painfully he began to open the rigid blocks and defences he had erected around his abilities since Aquitar, tearing them down in a frenzy of self preservation. He became progressively more aware of the roaring multitude of Chi'iten thought around him, deafening like a mighty ocean swirling around his mind. A wave of awe and reverence swept him into it's embrace as the mind touch of the young Queen was transmitted through the minds of the insect race to envelop him in a velvet smooth cool touch.
"Open yourself to me" the feminine voice echoed within "Give yourself to the music within." The harmony of minds swirled and he felt reluctant to push forward to submerge into the Great Symphony.
* You must let go of yourself * her soft Chi'iten voice advised * You are the Singer and the Song, and the singer is nothing without a song and the song nothing without a singer. Together they are everything, Apart they are nothing but potential. You must become one with the Great Song, you must accept your part in the harmony of All things. * She showed him the inborn knowledge, that innate instinct that showed her how to take the minds of her race and forge them into a focused whole, that meant giving your identity totally over to the acceptance of the harmony of their minds and in doing so becoming their mind-focus. Skye's human independence shrieked at the prospect of abandoning it's importance but the Queen insisted that the Power of her race could not be influenced by the mind, but by the deep instinctive needs common to all, guided by the singer.
Skye felt the truth of this and with the danger they were in, he had nothing to lose. He opened his mind, his spirit to the Queen who in turn began to Channel the Song towards him. In his mind the energy began to swirl around him drawing upwards in a tornado of light, eroding away anything that he had set up to protect himself to keep others out. The song was like a singing spear of light that pierced him through. He channelled the Song through the Star Crystal as more and more of the Song was added as it took on a life of its own he felt like he was swirling away in a harmony that allowed nothing for himself and stripped him of everything. Yet strangely he felt more worth in himself when he was a note of the Great Song, because he was a part of something so much more than himself, and yet without him the harmony would be lessened. There was a need..a fundamental unconscious need to survive the threat, to preserve this magnificent harmony and a part of him coloured that desire with the Ninjetti ethos to protect and defend. Somehow this theme rose through the harmonious minds to dominate the Chi'iten song, and he pushed it's strength outwards towards the threat as hard as he could, in the process dropping behind the framework of the Great Song into emptiness.
As the deadly beams arced down towards the surface prepared to crumple the Tsoma NestCities and Billy spun helplessly in the damaged wolfzord, his side burning with his impact against the controls, he mouthed a silent inarticulate No of horror as he was unable to stop the slaughter about to occur. Over the communicator he heard a familiar gasp and desperate cry of "Skye!" from Trini. And then, out of nowhere a shimmering dome seemed to erupt from the city of the Conclave, which like a shimmering bubble of energy expanded relentlessly outwards and upwards towards them. The weapons fire met its surface and clung, producing coruscating light at the shield interface, but then simply vanished into its dancing energy.
"What is that!?" Billy asked aloud to the Chi'iten in awe. He got no response. He manually activated the frequencies, visual and audio and all he could see were the Mantids apparently frozen midway through what they were doing. The energy swept towards them and even if he wanted to Billy could not of escaped it's passage. As it passed through him, for the briefest moment he felt the immense presence of the minds of an entire race focused as one, and a sound that resonated like the music heard only in dreams which fade with the opening of the eyes into the waking day.
At that moment, the jammer finally charged and blanketed the environs of Chi'iten space with it's dampening field that rendered the Klaxal motherships essentially weaponless.
There was an explosion of vile and strange curses and Trini smiled sweetly. "Oh dear Scorpina, did we break your toys?"
Their past enemy scowled, her plans destroyed by the strange shield phenomena.
"You'll regret this Tiger Ninjetti! Our time is nearly upon us - the Power of our Alliance has been growing and developing whilst Old fools like Zordon and the Council of the Wise have tried to pretend change does not occur. " Gone was Scorpina smooth self-assurance, and in it's place an outpouring of poisonous threats. "Do you think the Darkness Visible will not have changed in the aeons it has been gone? Do you not think it might not be stronger than before? Think on that ninjetti whelps, crawling in the dark seeking aid from races who will roll on their backs when the Darkness unfurls over their skies! Then consider the wisdom of the Scorpion who makes Darkness it's ally!" With that parting vituperative shot Scorpina turned her red and gold fighter around and sped out into space.
Skye drifted within the Great Song, having pushed himself behind the incredible sound into the silence that made it all possible. And here there was a voice, a voice that sounded like his own thoughts coming unbidden into his mind. * You have found me again * a thought said in his head * As I found you those many years ago and made you mine *
Skye felt a thrilling recognition. * The Nameless One * he identified.
There was the impression of laughter. *In some ways, yes, in others completely wrong. I have no name and I have the only name, and in singing a part of that Name you have come to me * The voice appeared to say.
Skye felt a chill as he thought back to Aquitar. * I'm not sure that I want to be here. *
*What does tasting bitterness over and over benefit you? Let it go, swallow it and accept it.*
Skye railed into the darkness. * How can I? I was told....I was told there was no hope. The Prophecies all show that this time we will probably not win, that whatever we do my friends will be destroyed, I will be destroyed, everything will be destroyed! You brought me back, put me, put all of us through that for nothing?! *
* Not for nothing, never for nothing * came the soothing response.
* But you are the source of the prophecies! * Skye pointed out.
*It is more complex than that. I would not bring you back if there were not hope. I would not have intervened directly at all if there were not more to this than even the Prophecies forsee. You must understand that there is always hope and you and you friends and what you do, is the focus of that hope. You must reconnect them. It will be vital *. There was no mistaking the sense of urgency in that message.
Skye felt the darkness on him lift slightly.
* Then the Prophecies are false? * he asked hopefully.
* Let it be said they are incomplete, but what has been said cannot be unsaid. But in what has been unsaid lies the potential for salvation. The Danger is greater than is written, but brings with it more choices than before. Learn to exist in that paradox my son, that is the most important thing of all. * Still flowing in the song Skye felt these words in the deepest most private parts of himself.
*I will, but how can the danger be greater than is written? * he asked with trepidation. * The Darkness Visible is the potent force of evil ever experienced by this Galaxy.*
* True, but it is a child compared to other forces in the universe. There are many things more Evil or dangerous that exist. Beyond every Evil another greater darkness lies in wait.*
* Then if it is but a Child to you, then why are you involved? * Skye challenged the voiceless words.
* Because a child sometimes has not learnt that playing with matches can destroy as easily as it can illuminate. In that ignorance of danger they can set into motion catastrophic events that more powerful being would never consider out of self-preservation. A child will press a button not realising it is connected to a bomb that could destroy everything.* The chilling knowledge appeared in his mind. Skye shuddered. The implications were not good.
* Now return...you have travelled far to reach me...we will be together soon enough. * came the whispered parting before the Presence disappeared and Skye was floating in the Song once more.
It was fading around him as the threat perceived to the Great Song had faded away and he struck upwards pulling himself back to his single unit state. It was hard, very hard. All that time (how long?) being a part of the Song to return to being a note. The paradox was that being a note was being the Song! You turned from one to the other, focussing it through yourself and....
Kimberley sat up in bed, in the darkness of her dorm room her mind filled with the most incredible sound, resonating, filling her with harmony and light. Like the music of the spheres it was totally indescribable but filled her with a wild exaltation. She wanted to laugh and cry, leap up and stay still, run out into the corridors to tell the world and keep this for herself. It was not the ghost memory of a dream it was happening now! For this time, this moment she was in completely and utterly connected with everything. She leapt out of bed and heedless of her appearance ran down the dimly lit corridor to the practice hall. It's moonlit mat seem oddly illuminated by the purity of the sound in her mind and it's infinite variety. She began to move to the internal music, letting it sweep her in its harmony and sliding so easily into that elusive "something" that she had been seeking all this time. The improvised routine was an expression of this unity and strength inside and was more moving, more natural than anything she had slaved over in the past few months. She finished just as the sensation ended, spiralling away into a distant silence and she murmured "Protection, unity and protection, harmony is strength." This was what it had been like as a Power Ranger, in touch with the Power, part of the team, using their added strength and togetherness to protect the greater harmonies of the Earth. This is what she would show them! Inside she had that wildfire feeling of a nervous expectancy, of something being required of her. This was what she would share, and through it she knew what she would try and do. Kim sat alone in the silvered moonlight and smiled an exultant secret smile.
Without warning the shimmering shield ceased in an instant and the Chi'iten were released. They lifted their forearms and spread their rainbow wings in a very ritualistic movement, but Billy was more interested in seeing if his friends were safe, especially Skye. He had at least heard Trini over the communicator. As hard as he had tried he had been unable to prevent some of the attacks on the Tsoma NestCity where the Conclave arena was based and where they had left their friend for 'safe keeping'.
"Skye?" Billy called into his communicator with an edge of desperation "Skye!?". There was no response.
"Trini?" he queried, though he had heard her voice over the communicator.
"Here." Trini replied tiredly "and before you ask, no contact from Skye." They both paused in silence for a moment. Trini closed into visual range of the damaged WolfZord.
Her eyes widened at the results of Billy's close encounter with the Klaxal Mothership. "Billy!? Are you okay? It looks like that giant spider-scorpion chewed you up and spat you out again."
"I'm fine, a bit battered but fine." He brushed off her concern. "I cannot control WolfZord at all until the Zebeedees have finished repairing it and we have to get to the planet now!"
"I'll pick you up." Trini said her attention divided between her concern for Billy and for Skye. She felt sick at the sight of the damage. If she had been there, this would not have happened! If they had all stuck together then Skye would be answering, Billy would not have been in danger or hurt and maybe there would not have been so much damage to the planet.
They teleported to the Conclave only to still hear a deafening chorus of song from every Chi'iten ,all standing with rainbow wings unfurled in the same manner. Trini and Billy pushed through the hosts of insects to the Conclave Chamber. Even through the crowds they could Skye's sprawled body lying on the floor of the chamber. Billy ran through the Chi'iten chorus, to his friend, terrified that there might be a deathly stillness about him. Quite the opposite, Skye's chest was heaving, his muscles trembling and he was covered in perspiration as if he had been doing something inhumanely strenuous. The Star Ninjetti was gasping for breath and seemingly exhausted, but he was conscious.
"You okay?" Billy asked gently pulling him up. Skye was unable to speak but nodded feebly.
"Here." Trini said bringing some water and helping him take a sip. He coughed and Trini poured some of the water over him to help cool him down. All around them the song continued, until Billy began to get irritated. Here was their friend on the verge of collapse and they were just singing! Fortunately, Vy-Ru-Sa-Ka-mi-La arrived and Ka approached with some sort of medication that calmed the Ninjetti rapidly. Billy was relieved and then surprised as he felt Skye's mindtouch reached out to him and Trini.
* I'm fine...tired but fine * his mind voice said. There was a brief smile before he said aloud. "But this..time...I didn't go to sleep on the job!" he gasped out triumphantly.
"Don't tire yourself anymore" Billy admonished smiling at the private joke. Skye smiled back and sat up with some help.
"Now I know singing is such hard work, I will never laugh at Tanya ever again!" He cracked with a tiny bit of his old humour.
The singing stopped suddenly and the Chi'iten bowed with deepest respect to the Ninjetti.
The Voice of the Conclave spoke. "Che-lax Billy-Trini-Skye you have done us a great honour."
"Then you will join our cause?" Billy asked eagerly. In all the excitement he had nearly forgotten their purpose in being here in the first place. " You will join with the Ninjetti against the forces of the Zha'Kha-ree'aa?"
The Ebony Chi'iten said "You are a che-lax with a Singer...He may not be a Singer Queen and a mother to our Race..."
"I should hope not" Skye muttered.
" But he has held the Song in his heart, and if he can do that, then he holds the Chi'iten in his heart also. A Singer may not be denied! And your Singer took us to the depths of the Great Song, encompassing the great mysteries. Our entire race would follow the Song that your Singer has brought forth from the Great Song. But know now that the passion with which you fought on our behalf and the advances and inventions that will preserve our kind against the Klaxal would have proven your worth. The Chi'iten will be with you as Ninjetti and in whatever manner required." The Conclave stated unequivocally.
Billy smiled with relief. They had done it! "It is my hope that Ninjetti Chi'iten will fight alongside Ninjetti of all species against the enemy."
"In unity is the course of wisdom" the Conclave intoned. "We ally ourselves with the Ninjetti Spirit Warriors. When the time comes we will follow the Song of unity and protection which your Singer has shown to us."
Skye managed a brief bow in acknowledgement with the support of his friends. "I thankyou for everything" he said fervently. "For giving me this experience." They bowed in response.
The whitehaired artist smiled and glanced across at his friends "The strange thing is I can't carry a tune or sing a note!" he said as an aside and Billy and Trini found themselves chuckling together for the first time in ages.
Zack Taylor wasn't going to miss this for the world. He'd finished at the Peace Conference and frankly he was glad. After Jason had left, and then Trini, without his friends there is ceased to be fun, it ceased to be worthwhile to him. He came to realise that without his friends very little had value for him any more. So here he was, at the Panglobals trying to make a fragile connection to his past and those heady days that seemed so far away, almost like another life. He had managed to get here to see Kim in the finals. She had been doing well, but the judges seemed to like the more classical style of the Eastern gymnasts. It all came down to this last event, the freestyle routine, if she did well here she was likely to get a medal, if exceptionally well a chance at the gold itself. Whilst he waited he looked around restlessly. And stopped suddenly. The hairs prickled on the back of his neck as he caught sight of a tantalisingly familiar profile to the right of him a few rows down. He was trying to put his finger on it when the young woman, obviously feeling eyes on her turned her head and looked for her mystery observer. She was beautiful! He was sure he knew her and he was just trying to recollect from where when she met his gaze and gave a quizzical grin. Emboldened, Zach stepped forward and as he did so his loose sleeve rolled up exposing for a moment the "retirement present" communicator Billy had give to him before he had left that he wore more often then not. It was basically only a watch but patterned in sleek black it was stylish, comfortable and familiar. The beautiful stranger's eyes widened in surprise as she caught a glimpse of it and she casually brushed her sleeve back revealing a similar yellow communicator. Like a trigger mechanism, his memories came rushing back. He had not known her for very long at all but he did know her!
"Aisha!" he stated rather than called.
Her smile broadened with recognition and lit up her face. "Zack?"
"Glad to see I'm not totally forgettable!" he said only half joking. "You here with any of the others?"
"Well you know...I wasn't entirely sure that" she began awkwardly "I just couldn't bear the thought of being a total stranger to them, walking up to them and seeing blank expressions...but I didn't want to miss our Kim's big moment!" She sighed. "We were the closest of friends for a long time."
Zack was trying to cope with the fact Aisha had become a stunningly beautiful woman. They had barely met before they had gone to the Peace Conference and she looked fantastic. She's looked good before of course but now he really was in a position to appreciate the difference whereas before he had been single-mindedly pursuing Angela.
"I asked if you were here with any of them..you know?" Aisha asked curiously.
Zack shook his head slowly. "It's just, well you know, after we gave up, well it would be uncomfortable. I expect they are here though." In fact he was sure he had seen Tommy by the arena edge, but he hadn't seen him for a long time.
"I wonder if Adam and Rocky remember me?" Aisha said in a quiet sad voice. She still remembered growing up with them, being the closest of friends, and the thought that they might not know her because of the Time distortion hurt her deeply.
Zack felt a spurt of jealousy and then berated himself for being ridiculous. He gave a wide grin "I can't see how anyone could forget you Aisha." He said gallantly and receive a genuine smile in return.
"Seriously though - Isn't this a long way to come just to see Kim?" he asked "I mean, I heard that you were in Africa?." From Billy of all people. He wondered what he was doing at the moment. Surely he would be here to see Kim in her moment of glory?
"Actually, I got a scholarship to any university I wanted funded on the basis of my research with the Plague and the cure we eventually found." Aisha replied and then surprised him again. "I selected Angel Grove University - I wanted to come home."
"Really?" Zack said in surprise "Not that you want to come home but that you are going to Angel Grove Uni? I'm registering on Monday too!"
Aisha looked genuinely pleased " In that case, can I meet you and go together?"
"Can we ever! Yes...how about.." Zack began excitedly but was interrupted by the tanoy announcing the turn of Miss Kimberley Hart, performing her freestyle routine called "Touching the Sky." A small graceful and familiar figure walked out onto the mats to finally realise a cherished dream.
Kim raised her arms into the start position and took several deep breaths. As her simple melodic music began, in her mind she called for the memory of that incredible harmony that had resonated through her being and began her unique routine, carried along by that incredible internal song.
The entire audience of the Panglobals appeared struck silent by the routine being performed in front of them. Tommy watched, his eyes riveted on the graceful form as Kimberley Hart, one of Angel Grove's own, moved with Power and transcendent grace in front of the judges, in front of the world.
"I never knew..." he whispered under his breath. He had never realised the depth of passion Kimberley had to succeed in her gymnastics. He had known she was good, but this was something else. Now he could understand why she had left to try for the Panglobals, why they had not seen each other very often over the last few months, what she had meant when she said she was looking for something special.
"Oh Beautiful...you found it all right, you found it and you are showing the world your heart." He murmured, his mouth dry with the sheer strength of the performance.
Glowing white and brilliant in her white team leotard she was performing the most incredible moves as if she was dancing on air, dancing to a deeper Song than the gentle lyric melody accompanying her. Somehow she created an impression of moving in harmony with the world, with the air, with the light around her and the strength, that inner balance gave her shone through the required techniques for her piece. She did not place a foot wrong and when she finally ceased moving and raised her arms in the traditional ending for a routine there was a moment of absolute silence before the stadium erupted into an uproar of cheering and a standing ovation. Tommy ran unerringly from his seat across to where she was and swept her into his arms in jubilation as the crowd roared around them.
In a small voice in his ear he heard her say "Do you think I did okay?" and he looked into her dark eyes and laughed. "Oh Beautiful...you've set the place afire....they'll never see anything like that again! You've got the gold for sure."
Around them the roar of the crowd increased in volume as the judges concurred with Tommy's opinion. Kim's dark eyes were glittering with unshed tears of jubilation and over Tommy's shoulder she could see Coach Schmidt standing, staring at the scoreboard, with tears pouring down his face usually stern face. She had fulfilled not only her own lifelong dream but his as well. She was glad for him that she had finally managed to repay him for helping her achieve her own ambition.
People were beginning to rush up to join them and she whispered in the ex-rangers ear urgently. "Did you understand? Do you know what we must do?" before she was helplessly pulled away from him by her over excited team mates. Tommy laughed as he watched her, her eyes constantly seeking him through the crowds. He knew, he understood. He would have to have been blind not to see her dance who and what they were and what it meant in that routine. How they would do it he didn't know, but at this point in time, caught up in the euphoria of the moment he strangely had no doubt that they would somehow find a way. He smiled at her happiness, the confusion of the last few months swept away in a moment of understanding.
"Oh yeah." He murmured silently to her as the crowds continue roar like a mighty ocean of approval. He grinned again relishing the thought of what they should do, which suddenly seemed so clear and obvious to him in the light of Kim's performance. It would be difficult, as in the time since Billy and Skye had left, and particularly after they had all passed on the Turbo powers there had been a subtle but definite pulling away from each other. But as his Falcon spirit had once said. * Anything is possible if you will it to be so. But possible is not the same as easy and all things worth having have to be fought for at some point*
Tommy grinned as a sense of purpose descended upon him once again and he sought out Kimberley's glowing face in all the excitement and said silently in a promise to her,
"Time to bring everyone back together."