DISCLAIMER: Only Luke "Parker" and the name Sydney Reed and Ernie' last name (because I couldn't remember if it had ever been mentioned) Reed and past as well as Constellation and this story belong to me. Please don't sue. I have no money.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This takes place the same day as "The New Girl", only a few hours later.
"...And then she just... left," Tommy concluded.
"Just like that?" asked Adam. Five out of six of the rangers were seated around a table in the youth center. Rocky was gone, not saying where he was headed, just leaving. Lately, the red ranger had been quite moody around his comrades, especially Kat, and, consequently, Tommy.
"Yeah," Kat replied. She hadn't liked the girl one iota on their first meeting. But Tommy hadn't been able to keep his mind off of her. He insisted that she looked vaguely familiar, though he wasn't sure where he could have seen her.
"Sounds like someone I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley," Tanya commented.
"If you could see her with all that black," added Kat.
Billy gave Kat a strange look. "Why don't you like this girl? It's not like you to be so prejudice against people you just met."
"She gives me the creeps," was the reply. "She gave new meaning to the phrase 'a black cat walking over my grave'. Besides, it doesn't seem normal for any daughter of Ernie's to be like she is."
"You mean you don't think she's really Ernie's daughter?" asked Adam.
The pink ranger hesitated. "Well... it's not that, so much as the fact that when cranky newcomers come to Angel Grove, Rita and Zedd usually have something to do with it."
"It's not a bad theory," Adam commented after a moment's thought. "She could be under their spell, or she could be one of their creations."
"I don't think so," Billy disagreed. "Remember Scorpina? And you too, Kat, for that matter. It seems to me that any time those two send a monster to attack us, they're usually pretty nice."
"But it doesn't rule out the fact that she could be a new weapon against us. Tommy, didn't you tell us that they made you evil when you were the Green Ranger?" asked Tanya.
Tommy stiffened, as if just realizing they were including him. "What?"
"Didn't you say Rita and Zedd made you evil when you were the Green Ranger, and you were openly hostile to the other rangers?" repeated the yellow ranger.
"Uhhh... yeah," he mumbled, distractedly.
Kat put a hand on his arm. "Tommy what's wrong?"
He didn't seem to notice her gesture. "Nothing. I'm just trying to figure out where I've seen her."
"Maybe you just recognize a resemblance to Ernie," Billy suggested.
He thought it over for a long moment. "I guess that could be it, but she didn't really strike me as taking after his side of the family."
"Yeah, Ernie seemed to have something she didn't," Kat added sarcastically. "I think it's called humanity."
The familiar beep of their communicators put an end to the comment that was so clearly hovering on Billy's lips.
"Come on guys." Adam was the first to get out of his chair and go to the alcove where they normally teleported from.
The other four followed, with Tommy at the back, still thinking. None of them were aware of the eyes and ears that had been listening to their conversation. Or of the fact that the woman they knew as Syd Reed sat in a darkened corner of the juice bar.
Extra-sensory hearing, disable, she thought. Enable Shadow form.
With only her mental commands, her material form dissolved to be replaced immediately by a shadow that was only visible if you were looking for it. She went over to Tanya and prepared to teleport, unnoticed by all, to the Command Center. She could have gone by herself, but then she would have run the slight risk of being discovered, and, though the chances were molecular, it was not yet time for them to know about her.
All six of them teleported in multicolored beams of light. Not even someone looking for it could have seen the slight soot-colored haze surrounding the yellow color as it disappeared from the building.
Beam me up, Scottie, Kim thought inwardly.
When the six of them arrived at the Command Center, Rocky was nowhere to be seen. When Billy commented on this fact, Zordon's response was, "We are currently trying to locate him. He hasn't responded to his communicator yet."
As if on cue, Rocky teleported in on a beam of red light. His brown eyes as he looked around held more than a trace of hostility. Especially when they came to rest on Tommy and Kat, standing beside each other.
"What's up?" asked Tanya, not noticing her friend's seeming anger.
"I am detecting a disturbance in the morphing grid." Zordon spoke one of his favorite lines in the same peanut-butter-in-the-roof-of-his-mouth-voice as always.
"Are you planning on elaborating, or should we just guess?" asked Rocky, when he didn't go on.
Adam, Tanya, and Billy gave him strange looks, but said nothing about his impatient question.
"Someone or something is tapping into it and receiving power for some unknown purpose," replied Zordon.
"Is it Zedd and Rita?" asked Tommy.
"No. The sensors aren't saying much, except that the source of this is not of the same origins as any monster or interplanetary being you will every face. It seems to be coming from somewhere near, possibly even Earth."
"So is that the only reason you called us here?" Rocky snapped. "To give us information you could have simply just told us over the communicators? You are something else, Zordon. You go around acting like some all-powerful being when you do nothing but float around in a giant tube and make us and Alpha do all your work."
"What is with you, Rocky?" demanded Tommy. "The last couple of weeks you've had a major attitude problem with all of us--especially, me and Kat."
"Maybe I'm just sick of being around an asshole and his slut."
Tommy advanced on him and it took the black and yellow rangers to keep him from decking the red ranger, who stood his ground with a hateful smirk. The white ranger struggled against his teammates, anger in his dark brown gaze.
"Alpha, scan Rocky for a spell," Zordon instructed.
The robot grabbed the scanner, but Rocky slapped it away. "I'm not under a spell. I'm just sick of you people. He went out with Kim for--how long?--three or four years, and maybe a week after she writes to say it's over, he's taken up with her replacement. Then, on the anniversary of her death, he doesn't even have the decency to go lay flowers on her grave. Meanwhile that bitch--" He gestured to Kat "--latches on to him at the first chance she gets--and Kim was supposed to be her friend!"
"Rocky, there seems to be something wrong with y--"
"Oh gee, ya think so, old man?" he demanded sarcastically. "Maybe I'm sick of being your puppet. You guys haven't even acknowledged the fact that a former ranger--one of us--died one year ago today. Man, let me tell ya, I can't wait until I die. Maybe I'll even be lucky enough for you to come to the funeral."
"What's going on?" asked Tanya, going over to him and laying a comforting hand on his arm. "Why are you being like this?"
He shook her off angrily. "I'm out of here." Before they could stop him, he had teleported out of the Command Center.
"Should we get him back?" asked Billy.
"No. The tension between he and Tommy could ruin the harmony of the team," replied the giant head.
With his departure, Adam and Tanya were able to let their leader go. "One thing I know," Tommy threatened, "if I see him again anytime soon, we'll be short one red ranger."
Kim looked at the headstone that was supposed to be hers with a disdainful stare. As the sun set over Angel Grove, the day had gotten cloudy, and she could tell rain was coming. She looked at the rose she held in her hand, blackened by a touch of her hand. That was another thing she could do now that she was a Shadow; rob of color anything she wanted, and turn it into a shadow of what it had been. She couldn't do it with humans because Constellation hadn't been sure they wanted to give her that kind of power in case she ever turned on them, because it would make a human as good as dead--at least temporarily. It was fitting, she thought grimly about the flower. The petals and leaves were black and a little brittle, and the thorns were even sharper because of the change.
The meeting at the Command Center had provided no further useful information. By the time it had ended, she had wished she'd hitched a ride with Rocky out. All they'd done was talk about him and possible reasons for his hostility. When they had finally gotten back on subject, it had only be to propose totally inaccurate suggestions of what could be tapping into the morphing grid. Little had they known that there were assassins after them who knew how to use it, not well, but a little. If they knew the full extent of what the morphing grid could do, they'd know the identities of the Power Rangers, and most likely wouldn't be going after them--even to get to her.
"You know her?"
The voice came from behind her, and she whirled around. Rocky.
He still wore the same red plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off and torn blue-jeans as before. And he was still as gorgeous as ever. Tommy had been the one who seemed to get the most noticed for looks before, but in her opinion, Rocky was just as good-looking, maybe more.
Kim turned back to the grave. "No." She didn't go on.
"Then why are you putting flowers on her grave?"
She shrugged. "My old man mentioned her a few times. What's it to you?"
"She was a good friend. Who's your dad?"
"Why? You a cop?" she asked belligerently.
"No. Just curious."
"Well, why should I tell you anything? I don't even know you and really wouldn't care to either."
"At least you're honest."
If she knew how, she would have laughed aloud at that. She'd been called many things in her life since Constellation, but honest wasn't one of them. "If you're gonna be questioning me, I'm just gonna leave right now. I don't have time for this shit."
"Maybe I want to get to know you."
She turned at that, then stepped back when she realized how close he stood. "Look, if you're looking to make friends, go find a hooker or something. Don't bother me." She walked away. Somehow she knew, if she talked to him for too long he'd find out.
Kim arrived at the apartment where she was staying and opened the door. She didn't bother to turn on the lights immediately after she closed it again, just stood there. That was when she realized she wasn't alone.
She adopted a fighting stance and gave a fierce kick to the mid-section of the person standing a mere yard away from the door. The figure, male by the looks it, retaliated by tackling her to the ground and giving her a hard punch in the face. Trapped underneath him, she used all her lower body strength (which was quite a bit) to kick him off of her and roll to land on him, straddling him on his upper thighs, so he couldn't kick her. With his struggles continuing, she punched him in the face.
"Is this how you greet all your guests?" he grated.
Kim quickly reached over to turn on the lamp, next to their short confrontation. She stared down at him, recognizing immediately who it was. "Only the special ones."
Okay, I hope you liked part three. More to come soon. Feedback is appreciated and consider me begging for it. I've gotten about five E-mails about it and that's not exaggerating. I don't know what I'm doing right or wrong if you don't tell me and if you DO send E-Mail, send it with MeK-GAS in the subject, so I know what you're talking about.