introduction from the author
Those without extraordinary powers see no bold line between evil and good. The two seem to be crossed together, and it is often hard to see the difference between them. What may appear to be good and fun might actually hurt you, and what appears to be evil may actually turn out for the better in the long run, but when you know of the way things work, and you must fight evil day in and day out, you know the tremendous difference between good and evil. It’s like light and day.
However, what happens to an individual who has lived in the light for so long and all of a sudden is trapped in a world of darkness from which he cannot escape? What happens to those lines between good and evil that were so clear before? The answer is quite simple...they disappear. No matter how hard you want them to remain, you can’t always win. How can you continue to fight what is so inviting?
A month has passed, and to us this is a small amount of times. Well, it seems that way. In a month we can pay the bills or have a few tests in school. During the course of a month we continue to love those that we have married, or keep up the search for our soul mates. We laugh and we cry, but it’s always the same thing. Maybe, however, things change more than we realize. Over the past month, what have you done? Has your life changed dramatically when summer changed to fall? How many new people have you met? Do you have a new lover? Are you more in love with a person than you have been before?
Yes, this seems boring, but a lot can happen in a month. Imagine being taken away from everyone you knew and loved and having to live within an evil empire light years away from your true home with those who have been your enemies for what seems like a lifetime. Could you survive that month?
Tommy Oliver has been this way for a month since Halloween closed. He has been offered everything from expensive clothes to all types of foods and appliances that we couldn’t dream of affording, but most of these he turned down. Tommy figured that if he didn’t have these things on Earth why would he want them now?
The police continue to search every day for him and his family and friends hope that those who took him will bring him back. However, the rangers are less hopeful. Most of them have come to realize that Tommy knew he probably wouldn’t be coming back. Rocky is still the leader by Tommy’s wishes, though he isn’t proud of this fact. Adam and Aisha’s relationship has come to light, but has not progressed. With the current situation, how could it? This is where we pick up...light years away from Earth.
Tommy Oliver stared at the bleak walls of his chamber (though he considered it more of a prison than anything else) with a blankness that would have even spooked his former mentor, Zordon, out. “MAYBE YOU SHOULD GET SOME SLEEP,” he would have said, or, “I THINK WE SHOULD RUN A DIAGNOSTIC CHECK ON YOU JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR POWERS ARE STABLE. THAT COULD BE CAUSING YOUR WEARINESS.”
At the time, he would have been annoyed at all the fussing he received from Zordon, but now he missed him just as much, if not more, than he missed the Earth in general. It had been a lovely place, and he knew that now. The grass was green, and the skies would occasionally be clear and blue. He remembered those afternoons when he would just sit with Kim by the lake and the two would talk for hours as he threw pebbles into the still water. Then there would be other times when he would hang out at the beach with everyone, or they would all go to the Youth Center and get a few drinks. Tommy missed those times, and he wished that he could escape. In fact, he probably could if he put his mind into it...
...but escape to what? He knew that he was light years away from Earth, and he had no idea how to get back. Rita Repulsa had only told him that they were on a moon of the planet Mandel, and that if he stayed with them that he would be safe. (Safe. Yeah right. I feel really safe with you guys.)
The kindness everyone had showed him in the past month was a little overwhelming. Rita acted as if nothing had happened between them (concerning his period as the Green Ranger), and Scorpina seemed to be doing everything in her power to become his best friend. In addition to this, Tommy had even found himself talking to Finster about missing home, and the little creature had told him how he also missed his home planet. Then there was Goldar who still resented him, and Lord Zedd who would hit him whenever the others weren’t looking. (Does that make me the victim of an abusive household? Household...I don’t think it even counts for that.)
So there he sat with his eyes focused on the wall as he thought about what he had just done a few days earlier. For the first time, Rita had sent him into battle along side Scorpina, and he had been ordered to kill all Mandelians he came across. They were an evil nation, he knew, and he had been sent to fight them because the monsters wanted control of the planet, but it was the first time he had ever killed an innocent person. Yes, people had died when he was on Earth as a ranger, but he had never killed any of them in cold blood or by choice.
The burning in his heart was just too much to bear as he remembered the cries for mercy as he struck down the Mandelians with Saba. He could even recall hearing the little sword beg for him to stop. “Tommy,” he had said, “there are other ways to go about this. You could run now and take refuge within Mandel and from here we could find a way teleport back to Earth,” but Tommy had pretended not to hear him as he continued to slay the innocent men and women...and children...and infants...(oh God...)
At that moment, he heard the door to the chamber open and an all too familiar voice say, “We were taping you yesterday, and I figured that you should watch the video feedback so that you could see what you did right and wrong during the fight.”
“Well, I know what I did wrong, but I don’t see how I did anything right.” Tommy growled at Lord Zedd who was glaring at him. “Never again. Do you hear me? That was the most horrifying experience of my life. You made me kill innocent people!”
“No one made you do anything,” Zedd snarled. “You were given an order and chose to follow it. You could have said no.” (Why does Rita insist on keeping him alive!? All he does is mope around like a homesick puppy, and now that he’s actually done some fighting, he insists on making me the bad guy here!? He was the one who agreed to go out there!)
Tommy smirked. “Yeah, and have you kill me instead. Decisions, decisions...”
Shrugging, Zedd walked over to Tommy’s bed and sat down on it before glancing at the human again. “I remember that there was a time you would have preferred to die instead of killing innocent people. You’ve changed. I doubt that your friends on Earth wouldn’t even recognize you if you were to return.”
“They...I...” Tommy tried his best to think of a comeback but, seeing that there was none to be made, he turned away from the viewing screen on the wall as Zedd flipped it on and sounds of war began to fill the room. He could easily make out his own battle cries, and at one point Tommy could faintly hear himself praying for God to pity him and kill him at that moment.
Zedd watched him for a moment before putting a metal finger on Tommy’s cheek and forcing him to look at the fight. “How will you learn from it if you don’t watch?”
Staring with disgust at his own actions, Tommy turned away again as he saw himself stick Saba through a small child who had been clinging onto her mother. “I don’t want to see that. Damn it, I don’t want to see it!” A tear rolled down his cheek as he pulled away from Zedd and moved to the other side of the bed.
“I’ll leave you alone with it,” Zedd told him as he pushed a few buttons on the screen controller in his hands. Throwing the gray device on the bed, he chuckled evilly. “Don’t try turning it off. I’ve set it so that you won’t be able to until the tape is over.” Turning up the volume a little bit, he left the White Ranger alone.
The screams of the Mandelians continued to haunt him, and Tommy tried everything he could to shut it off. At first he thought just the mute button would be enough, but Zedd had rigged it so that there was no mute. Then, he had tried to break the screen by using the controller, his fist, and his foot, but nothing would stop it. For a moment, Tommy had thought of calling Saba, but after what he had done he didn’t want to face the little sword. He was actually afraid of seeing Saba again.
Cursing the images on the screen, he tried putting a pillow over his head to block out the noise before desperately trying to sleep. It was to no avail, and at that point he was so distressed that he seriously considered banging his head against the wall and knocking himself out so that he wouldn’t have to hear the sounds of battle anymore, but the idea failed leaving him extremely upset and with a monster of a headache. Finally giving up, he did the last thing he could think of...he sat down and watched the fight.
As they had been before, his eyes became blank as he saw the images of himself killing people over and over. Tommy had barely noticed the tears falling from his eyes when the door opened and Goldar entered with his sword in hand. “There is something I have wanted from you, White Ranger, for a long time. Stop blubbering and follow me.”
“Not if it will involve taking your armor off,” Tommy said with a shudder as he rubbed the tears from his eyes. (With this guy...thing...you never know.)
Goldar growled and again motioned for him to stand. Regarding him for a moment, Tommy did as told and sighed as he was pushed out of the room. Once he had reached the throne room, he was barely prepared for Goldar’s blow which sent him tumbling to the ground and landing painfully on his knees. Looking up at the space ape, he winced. “What do you want?”
At that moment, Rita and Scorpina entered the room, and they both looked at the two in shock before glancing back at each other. “What the hell are you doing to Tommy, Goldar!?” Scorpina questioned angrily.
“I’m getting what I want from him,” Goldar explained. Turning his attention back to Tommy, he smiled evilly. “There’s something I’ve been dying to hear you say ever since you lost your green ranger powers, Tommy. I think you know what it is.”
“This is idiotic, Goldar,” Scorpina said. “Tommy is one of us now. Haven’t you had enough of the petty rivalry between the two of you?”
Goldar nodded. “Once he says this, it will be done and I will consider him one of us. He always tried to be better than everyone else, and I want to hear him say that I am his superior.” Looking down at Tommy, he snarled. “Go on. Say it.”
“No, I--” (Think about it, Tommy. At least Goldar knows where he stands. Do you? Goldar knows what exactly he’s fighting for and he’s proud of it. Are you?) “Goldar, you are...I...” Lowing his head, he tried his best to keep from crying. (This is it, Tommy. If you do what he asks then you are no longer a ranger...you’ll just be a drone who doesn’t have a purpose in life.) (I lost all purpose in life when I gave it to these creatures.)
“Get on with it!” Goldar yelled, and he raised his sword tauntingly above the White Ranger’s head.
Rita scowled at him. “Goldar, if you kill him I will kill you. Do you understand!?” (Tommy has been broken. Hell, he was broken a long time ago, and yet Zedd and Goldar continue to taunt him as if he was still the same person that he was a month ago. The person I see before me...this is not the Tommy that I hated for so long. All I see is a human who is in over his head and sees no way out. Well, he is right. There is no way out for him now.)
Tommy glanced up at the space ape with tear-filled eyes. “You are my superior, Goldar, and I wish I could be like you.” (Goodbye Good Tommy Oliver and welcome Drone Tommy Oliver. Zedd was right...no one would want to remember you if you’re giving in to Goldar.)
Hearing him, Scorpina shook her head at Goldar. “You can be such a bastard.” (Why does everyone have to do this to Tommy!? Can’t they all see that he was broken the moment that we took him from his friends a month ago!?)
(I never thought I would hear Tommy say those words. This is all I’ve ever wanted of him. How can Scorpina scold me for that which I’ve deserved for so long?) Goldar smiled before glancing at Scorpina. “I am satisfied now. He is one of us.” With that, he left the room.
Scorpina closed the distance between herself and Tommy and put a hand on his shoulder. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“Yes, I did,” Tommy muttered quietly as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I had to give in to the fact that I’m not who I was a month ago...I’m not a ranger anymore.”
“You still have your powers,” Rita said with a frown. She didn’t understand how he could say that he wasn’t a ranger. Just a short while ago he had morphed and gone into battle. What did he mean when he say that he wasn’t a ranger anymore?
Tommy nodded. “Yeah, but do I deserve them?” Standing, he rubbed the back of his neck before leaving the two alone in the throne room and returning to his own chamber.
Back on Earth, Rocky DeSantos had just closed his locker and pushed his backpack behind him. Sighing, he smoothed down his red sweater before turning to where Aisha was standing next to him. “Hey.” He easily noticed her concerned expression and, closing his eyes for a moment, he turned away.
“Hi,” Aisha Campbell whispered. Touching his arm, she shook her head. “They’re just starting in the Youth Center. The turn out looks good so far...we’re hoping that the donations will be large.”
“I hope so,” Rocky said softly. Looking at her again, he took in a shaky breath before muttering, “I hate this. You know how much I hate this. If I had led the team better in the Dark Dimension and we had been able to defeat the Soul Stealer then Tommy--”
Aisha frowned at him. “Don’t start that again, Rocky. It is not your fault that Tommy was taken by Rita and the rest of them. He made the choice.”
Rocky lowered his head and mumbled, “It was the wrong choice, but I know why he did it. If I had been in that situation and there had been no other options, I would have done the same thing.”
“Well, I did go to Zordon today,” Aisha told him. Seeing his hopeful expression, she shook her head. “They’re gone and he hasn’t been able to trace their path through space.”
“Damn it,” Rocky murmured. “So Zedd and Rita...they aren’t on the moon anymore which means that we won’t be able to track Tommy.”
Aisha nodded. “Not for awhile anyway.” Smiling weakly, she tugged on his arm. “Well, let’s get to the Youth Center. I need to contribute.”
“Me too,” Rocky said. The two sighed and left the school together.
Reaching the Youth Center, they looked around for the others as Ernie was stepping up to a podium set up on the lower level of the Juice Bar. Rocky spotted Adam Park just then and, walking over to him, the three looked at each other for a moment before turning to Ernie as the man said, “I thank you all for coming. This is being done for a good cause. A lot of you knew Tommy Oliver and your efforts in finding him have been wonderful. Today we are collecting money for the Oliver household to help them along financially during this hard time. Now I wish that we could help them emotionally or that we could return their son to them, but while this is going to be a large feat...we must help in whatever way we can, so now we are accepting donations. Be sure to bring your money to the front of the room.”
Pulling out his donation from his pocket, Rocky put it in the box at the front of the room and watched as Adam and Aisha did the same before walking with them back to where they had been standing. “Where is everyone else?” Aisha asked.
Adam pointed to where Kimberly Hart was standing at the front of the room. “She needs her space during this time.” It was hard enough knowing that one of his closest friends and his leader was somewhere in the universe and they didn’t know where. He couldn’t even imagine how hard Kim must be taking it. Tommy was her boyfriend! How do you deal with knowing that your boyfriend was somewhere in space?
“Who wouldn’t?” Rocky voiced. “When I see all these people giving money and keeping their hopes up about Tommy being found, I...I wish that we could tell them that he was a Power Ranger and what a brave thing he did for all of us.”
“Well, with the Tenga story, everyone knows that how heroic he was anyway,” Adam stated. Licking his lips, he lowered his head. “I was talking to Kim today after she had been with the Olivers, and they’re...”
Aisha glanced at him with worry. “What is it, Adam?”
Clearing his throat, Adam sighed. “They’re already considering scheduling a funeral.”
Rocky gaped at him. “So soon!? It’s only been a month! How can they be thinking about planning a funeral so soon!?” (A funeral!? Adam must be kidding! Tommy’s only been missing for a month! Some people that are kidnapped aren’t returned for a year or longer!) (Rocky, it isn’t like this is a normal kidnapping. Most people aren’t taken away by Rita and Zedd.) (Yeah, but still...)
“I can understand,” Aisha whispered. “How many people have lived after Rita and Zedd have gotten to them?”
(How can they give up on Tommy like that!?) “No!” Rocky cried. “We can’t give up hope on him! You were both there! They weren’t planning on hurting him!”
Adam shook his head. “There’s a lot they would want to kill him for. Why would they keep him alive?”
Lowering his head, Rocky’s cursed to himself before saying, “I won’t give up on him. Until Zordon or anyone else shows me for certain that he’s dead...I can’t give up on a fellow ranger...he’s our leader, for God’s sake!”
“Tommy left you in charge,” Aisha commented. “He wasn’t planning on coming back.” She knew that Rocky was taking this whole situation badly, but sooner or later he was going to have to see the truth. Tommy had given him leadership of the team. When he gave himself to Rita, he knew that he was giving his life for theirs. The thought made her want to sob as she had when she had gotten home that night after he had been taken. (No, Aisha. You have to stay strong. Kim needs you, Rocky needs you, and, most importantly, Tommy needs you. He wouldn’t want you to cry over him.)
“Who cares what he planned!?” Rocky exclaimed. “I’m not just going to turn away from him! If Tommy needs anything right now, it’s a lot of prayers. I would give...I don’t know...everything just to see that he was alive.”
“Rocky, don’t you think we all would?” Adam questioned gently. “Listen to me. Tommy is one of our best friends. I don’t want him to be dead, and I’m not turning away from him. All I’m saying is that there is the slight possibility that he isn’t alive in which case we need to be strong for him. That’s what Tommy would have done, don’t you think? If it were one of us missing, he would have told us all to be strong.”
With tears in her eyes, Aisha nodded and chuckled faintly. “He would have told us to be strong while blaming himself for everything.”
Rocky grinned weakly. “Yeah, he would have been going around saying that it was his fault...” As his voice trailed off, the others looked at him and nodded. They knew what he was thinking: that he had been beating himself up over Tommy’s disappearance just as much as Tommy would have if it had been the other way around.
Meanwhile, Kim was watching in disbelief as more and more people donated money for the Olivers. She still couldn’t believe the truth: that Tommy was really gone. Everything felt like a bad dream, and the images of Scorpina wiping Tommy’s tears continued to haunt her every minute of every day.
(How dare she do that! Scorpina had no right to touch him!) She knew that had been the final straw. After that moment, she had sworn that the next time she met with Scorpina one of them would have to die, and Kim hoped that she would prevail.
Feeling someone move beside her, she smiled at the blond-haired girl before saying, “I’m glad all these people are donating money.”
“I’m still so sorry that this happened to the family...that it’s happening to you,” Cassandra Wilcocks murmured. “If anything like this ever happened to Rocky, I don’t know what I’d do. I wanted you to know that you just seem so strong in my eyes.”
How Kim had been able to manage like she had for the past month was beyond Cassandra’s comprehension. If Rocky had been taken, she would have been bawling for the whole month, but Kim had seemed so calm and hopeful. It was inspiring to watch her.
Kim laughed faintly at this. “It’s a challenge just to get up every day and not burst into tears, you know? I’m not coping with it...what I’m doing is hiding what’s really going on inside.”
Cassandra nodded. “You’re doing a good job of it, though no one would blame you for showing emotion.”
“I have, it’s just that I know tears won’t bring him back to me,” Kim said. “The only thing I can do now is keep faith that Tommy will be returned. Inside my heart, I know that he will be.” Cassandra merely turned to the ground, and Kim could tell what was going on in her head because neither knew whether she was right or not about Tommy returning to them.
Up in the Command Center Zordon of Eltar glanced down at his assistant, Alpha 5. “HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO TRACK RITA AND ZEDD’S ENERGY?”
“Ay yi yi, I’m working as fast as I can, Zordon, but it is to no avail! I’m not getting any readings. It’s as if they vanished without a trace!” Alpha answered.
(Nothing vanishes without a trace) Zordon reminded himself gently. (That means, hopefully, that Tommy is still alive somewhere out there.) “KEEP WORKING, ALPHA. WE WILL FIND HIM.”
(What if we don’t? It will be my fault for not teleporting him up before he had sold his soul like that. Who knows what dastardly things they are doing to him at this moment. In a way, it may be better if they killed him. That way, he will not have gone through a lot of pain.)
Silently, he continued to pray for the White Ranger’s safety. He had always thought of Tommy as a son. The White Ranger had always been so stubborn and determined. In fact, Tommy reminded him of himself in his youth. (I sense that he is alive. Hopefully we will find him soon.)
Glancing at the viewing globe at the far end of the room, he watched as the rangers, mostly separated from each other, were talking to each other as money was collected for the Oliver family. (It’s a good thing that they are supporting the family. Now, if only I could find who they want more than any of this...)
Meanwhile, back on the moon, Tommy was sitting with his back against the wall in the dining hall within the moon palace. Watching as Rita took a bite of a horrible looking creature, he did his best to control his queasiness before standing and murmuring, “I, um, I’m not that hungry. There’s some stuff in my chamber that I can eat instead of waiting in here for you guys to finish.”
“Is it not enough that we feed you?” Zedd growled. “You are becoming quite selfish, White Ranger. Very well. Go eat the bread and whatever else you have in your room. Your being here was making me lose my appetite anyway.”
As Tommy quickly, left the room, Rita glanced at her husband. “We’ve broken him completely, and yet you still continue to harass him.”
Zedd nodded. “Of course, Darling. After all that he has done to humiliate me in the past...one month of service is not satisfying enough. I want to see him squirm. Besides, as you said, he has been broken, which means that he is ours to use as a slave now. It is in the Old Code of the Evil Powers.”
The Old Code that he spoke of was a mystical thing that only the most evil of creatures were able to view. Zedd, being a lord of evil, had been allowed to see the parchment. It held within it ways to ensnare all different types of beings. Humans were usually considered one of the weakest among universal beings, therefore it was written that after the spirit of a mortal had been broken that they were to be used as slaves only.
“Why must you always speak of that damn code whenever Tommy is the topic of conversation?” Rita muttered. “He has not been broken completely. Tommy still holds on to memories of Earth. Once he forgets these things...he can be used as a servant, although I’m not sure I wish that of him.”
“Have you gone mad, woman!?” Zedd exclaimed. “He’s a human, damn it! Rita, have you forgotten that you are a being of evil and that the White Ranger is not a mortal to befriend!?”
Standing from her chair, Rita walked over to Zedd and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Of course not, but he was my Green Ranger before he became the White Ranger. For that, I will always have a soft spot for him. Seeing him like this...it is not how I intended it to be.”
Shrugging, Zedd placed his fist on the table. “I can understand what you speak of, but I do not feel the same way as you do about him.”
“As my husband, I would hope that you would back me up in this,” Rita told him softly. “He was mine first, after all. Tommy was not Zordon’s and he was not yours. He was mine.”
“You have made your point,” Zedd grumbled. “Until he has forgotten Earth I will not enslave him, but when that time comes...we will readdress this issue.” Satisfied with the answer, Rita returned to her seat and gazed at Scorpina who caught her eyes for a moment before turning away and placing a small creature in her mouth, savoring it’s slimy taste.
Billy Cranston put a hand through his shining blond hair before picking up a stone by his foot and throwing it into the shimmering lake before him. Watching as it skipped twice before sinking into the water, he sighed before closing his eyes and lying back on the green grass. (This kind of day...it’s abnormal for the first day of December...wow, one month already.) (I wonder what Tommy’s doing now. Is he still alive? Did Rita and Zedd make him a slave, or are they looking out for his well-being as they seemed to be when they took him? Does he blame me for getting taken over by Soul Stealer’s spell?)
As he heard someone come up behind him, he opened his eyes and rubbed them. “I already donated earlier.” Billy knew that it didn’t matter who it was. Anyone coming to see him would want to know if he had contributed whether it was Kim, his parents, or even Mindy Skylar. Thinking of Mindy again, he shuddered involuntarily. Luckily, Mindy’s ‘thing for him’ hadn’t lasted very long. Now she was together with some slackie, and there were rumors that she was pregnant.
“What’s with isolating yourself, Cranston?” The person questioned. “Are we low-intelligence life forms not good enough for you?”
(What the hell does he want!?) “Leave me alone, Jeff. I would prefer to be by myself right now.”
Pushing a strand of hair off of his brow, Jeff Fowler sighed before sitting down next to Billy and turning towards him. Seeing the Blue Ranger frown, he chuckled. “Come on, Cranston. Lighten up. It’s obvious that you want attention.”
Billy nodded. “Perhaps, but definitely not from you.”
“Why not?” Jeff questioned nosily. When Billy refused to answer, he smiled. “Just because I’m not part of that little group that has for some reason accepted you doesn’t mean that you should shun me.”
(Bastard. He thinks he’s so popular. I’ve never understood it myself. Jeff is such a ignoramus.) “I’d prefer company from people who understand how upset I am about what happened to Tommy. You know, people who actually were his friends. For a long time, I thought you were, but now I know differently.”
Obviously caught off guard by this, Jeff’s eyes narrowed. “What the hell do you mean by that!? You think I don’t care that Tommy was taken by those...things!?”
“You don’t seem like you care. Then again, Tommy was just someone you would obtain money from and never return it or flaunt him to some of the other students to win yourself approval,” Billy responded. He could already feel the anger rising within him, and Billy reminded himself quickly that using his ranger powers for personal gain was not allowed.
“Damn it, Cranston, you have no idea what you’re talking about!” Jeff shouted, his eyes cold. (What the hell does he know? He’s just some geek who hid behind Tommy because he wanted to seem popular!)
Billy smirked. “You never did care about anyone but yourself, did you?” Jeff would do anything to help himself socially. It was too bad, in Billy’s opinion, that he wouldn’t put some of that will-power into his school work.
Standing up, Jeff glared down at him. “You’re way out of line.”
As he was walking away, Billy glanced back at him. “I never could figure out why Tommy hung out with you!”
“That’s funny,” Jeff said, turning back to face him, “because I was trying to figure out the same thing about you.” With that, he continued walking back to the Youth Center.
Billy picked up another rock and, angrily, he threw it into the lake. Instead of skipping as it had before, it sank to the bottom of the lake. Looking over his shoulder at Jeff, he shook his head. (Why did Tommy hang around me anyway? The only thing we had in common was the rangers, and it isn’t like I’m popular. Maybe Jeff was right.) As he continued to ponder these things, he didn’t notice Jeff gaze back at him thoughtfully for a moment before stuffing his hands in the pockets of his baggy jean shorts and continuing towards the Juice Bar.
(Ok, it has to be here somewhere.) Walking into Finster’s laboratory, Tommy looked around the room and shuddered as he saw all the clay models sitting on various tables. (It’s hard to realize that all of those things are really monsters that haven’t been cooked up yet.)
In all honesty, Tommy didn’t know exactly what he was doing in Finster’s lab. A little while ago, he had been talking to the pale creature, and Finster had told him vaguely about the spell book in his workshop that he used to create monsters and spells. When Tommy had asked him about a spell to take away a ranger’s power, Finster had grown silent and had left him alone.
Tommy knew he was at the end of his rope. There was no way that he would allow Zedd and Rita to send him into battle in order to kill people as he had before. If he could lose his powers as he had when he was the Green Ranger, Tommy knew that he would be practically useless as a warrior.
At that moment, he noticed a fat book sitting on top of one of the tables and, walking over to it, Tommy glanced at the purple cover which had gold writing on it that he could not understand. (That has to be it. Well, it looks like a magic book anyway...not that I’ve ever seen a magic book.) Trying to open it, he grunted as the cover didn’t move at all. “What the hell is wrong with this thing?”
All of a sudden, a burning sensation crept up his fingers and he was barely able to contain a yelp as he pulled his right hand away. Glancing at the large book in horror, Tommy tried to shake off the burning feeling. (It’s all right. Calm down.)
“What does a mortal desire within this book of spells!?” A deep voice rumbled. Looking around, Tommy was horrified to find that the words had come from within the book. Though it had not moved at all since he had tried to open it, he could sense that something was watching him, and that this thing was evil.
Forcing himself to contain his fear, Tommy looked at the book. “Will you not open so that I can see for myself what I want?”
“A mortal does not come to me unless he desires something specifically. I sense a power around you, but you are still mortal. Humans do not recognize the majesty of what is within me.”
(Great, Tommy, so now you’re going to have a conversation with a fucking book?) (How is it different than having a conversation with a floating head or a space monkey?) Taking in a shaky breath, he whispered, “I want to lose my powers.”
“What powers do you speak of, Boy? Do not make me wait for an answer or I will use my own power to diminish you.”
(It’s a book for crying out loud.) Still, the chill that went up his spine told him that there was magic within this book that he should not test. “I’m a Power Ranger, but I want to find something within...you...that will make me lose them.”
The book said nothing after hearing this. Tommy licked his lips before carefully questioning, “Is there a spell that I could use?”
“Zordon’s Power Rangers do not give up their powers willingly. Then again, I can tell by the way you speak that you have been broken. You have betrayed them, and now you no longer want to be a ranger so that you can be freed of this burden on your shoulders.” Pausing for a moment, the book began to glow a faint green, and Tommy watched it with great fear. Out of everything that had happened to him during his time as a ranger, this had to be the most terrifying because he knew that he could not see the strength of this evil thing, but the book obviously knew more about him than he did himself.
“You were Rita’s, but one of Zordon’s destroyed the Sword of Darkness and freed you. Ah, Young One, you have led the team yourself. That is a difficult task for a youthful lad such as yourself.”
Tommy frowned at the mocking tone in the voice of this being. His mind was desperately telling him to run and leave this thing, and yet his heart knew that this was what he had to do. “Do you have the spell I am searching for, or are you just messing with my mind?”
“Perhaps both, Young One, but you will not know unless you stay.” The green light around the book became brighter to the point that Tommy could barely see at all. Soon, it dissipated, and the book continued. “There is a spell within me that will ease your guilt and pain, young one.” With that, the book flipped open and a bright light shined on the pages that it turned to.
Looking at them, Tommy smiled faintly as he was able to make out the words: drain, ranger, and no more. “I have translated it for you, Young One, but I fear that you will not be able to do the spell on your own. Tear these pages, ranger, and take them with you. Tell Finster not of what you have done, nor anyone else. Take my pages to your chamber, and I will posses them so that I can instruct you on the making of this spell.”
Tommy immediately didn’t like this idea. The word ‘posses’ made him shudder involuntarily, and he questioned, “How do I know that you won’t posses me instead of the pages?”
“If I was eager to posses a being, I would posses one far more powerful than a human. You are at the bottom of the universal chain, Young One. I fear you have much to learn.”
“I don’t feel like learning it,” Tommy mumbled, and he tore the pages. The book immediately closed, and he had to jerk the pages out quickly to keep his fingers from being squashed. The two pages he had removed were swallowed by a green light, but this quickly disappeared. “Can we start the spell tonight?”
“The draining of your powers will be a long process, Young One, but we can complete the spell tonight. Take me to your chamber and we will begin.” Tommy left the room with the papers in hand, and to book remained in it’s position on the table. After a few minutes, however, a golden light covered it, and the book flipped open to the section where the pages had been torn out.
As Tommy entered his chamber a few moments later, the pages began to glow brightly. “I will recite the words, and you must follow with me...in morphed form, of course.”
Tommy nodded slowly, and turned towards the wall before placing the papers on his bed.
Sighing, he pulled Saba out of his holster and glanced at him gingerly before taking the little sword over to the cabinet on one side of the bed. Saba, having woken up, glanced at Tommy and groaned. “I don’t want to see you right now. After what you did two days ago...I cannot forgive you.”
“I know,” Tommy told him softly. “I don’t expect you to forgive me, but at least be grateful for this.” With that, he stuffed the little sword in one of the drawers of the cabinet and closed the door.
Obviously upset by this, Saba growled. “What the hell are you doing!? Take me out of here this instant, Tommy!”
Tommy ignored him as best he could and turned towards the papers that were still glowing on the bed. “I’m ready.”
“I am using the language of the Old Code. Only skilled wizards know of these words. Rita, the sorceress that she is, still does not know the words of removing a ranger’s energies. Lord Zedd will never know, for he is a lord of what he can barely control. Rita Repulsa’s father, Master Vile, knows these words, but he does not use them. He feels that to take away a ranger’s power using magic shows weakness. Master Vile prefers to use his tricks.
“Now, repeat after me, Young One. Grewhim dos Lutem.”
“Grewhim dos Lutem,” Tommy whispered. All ready he felt his armor weaken.
“Weltos brawlem Yassel Profilk.”
“Weltos brawlem Yassel Profilk.” At these words, his eyes snapped shut, and he could feel more of his power drain. (I don’t like this.)
“Now, Young One, I will continue. You will not follow. When I finish, you must stay completely silent and let the magic work. Do you understand?” Tommy nodded, though he knew that he should not have. “Jaspel von Guren el Zebara. Taba mos Lewrisky Pels.”
As the voice died away, a horrible ringing filled Tommy’s ears, and his head began to pound mercilessly. Biting his lip in agony, Tommy felt a stinging in his chest and his breathing became quick gasps. Tommy felt these gasps fall away, and he desperately tried to find air, but all he could do was become more pained. His heartbeat quickened, and his eyelids, which had been held shut by magic, flew open. He found that the room was now completely black except for the white light that was glowing around himself.
Feeling sick to the stomach, he panted and looked around in horror as a black shadow began to circle him. The shadow stopped in front of his face, and for a moment it seemed to watch the suffering mortal with an eerie satisfaction. At that moment, the shadow reached out towards Tommy’s mask and it disintegrated with the being’s touch. Tommy watched in horror as this black mass suddenly took shape. It seemed to become a massive head, and he soon found that the shadow had become a likeness of Zordon. Quickly, this image faded and the shadow took on the image of a young man. Staring at it in awe, Tommy was barely able to contain his emotions as he called the form by name. “J-Jason?”
“I know you’re in pain, Bro, but it’ll be over soon,” the dark Jason whispered soothingly. Reaching out a hand to Tommy, he smiled. “You can trust me, can’t you?”
“It’s not really you, though,” Tommy muttered. (What if that really is Jason?) (That’s not Jason. He’s a figment of your imagination.) (If he’s a figment of your imagination, how is it that his hand is on your shoulder?)
The dark Jason chuckled at this. “I am here to ease your agony, Tommy. The pages...the shadow wouldn’t use me to hurt you. I’m your best friend, Man.”
As the dark Jason touched his cheek, Tommy shivered as he felt how cold the hand was. “Leave me. I’d rather suffer the pain alone.”
“You don’t want to go through it alone,” the dark Jason told him seriously. “Believe me. It will get worse from now on for you. I know you may not think so now, but you’re going to want me here.”
Finally accepting the being, Tommy turned away as the pain in his chest grew, and he clutched the bed in agony. His knuckles grew white, and his breath became rapid again. Closing his eyes, he bit his lip again to keep from crying out, and this time he felt blood begin to flow into his mouth and down his throat. For a moment he relished the coppery taste of his own blood, but this feeling was quickly gone leaving him disgusted by the liquid.
The dark Jason watched this before sitting down on the bed next to Tommy and grinning. “You’re doing good, Tommy. Just hang in there.”
“Are you the being that was in the pages, or are you another?” Tommy questioned weakly. Coughing, he closed his eyes again as blood continued to flow into his mouth.
“I am not the being of the pages, Tommy,” the dark Jason said. “It is hard to explain my nature, but I am the reflection of who you wanted by you in this time. That is the best way to put it. You wanted to see me, and I am here.”
Tommy glanced at him as the sick feeling began to dim slightly. “Why not Kim or any of the others?”
The dark Jason laughed. “Do not be so naive, Tommy. Kimberly is a Power Ranger, and we cannot be dark beings of that which is only light. The mortal I am now, he is no longer a ranger, and therefore I am able to come to you. Besides, unless I am mistaking, you wanted to see me more than Kimberly.”
Nodding slowly, Tommy felt a tear fall from his eye, and he whispered, “I miss Jason. Ever since I became the leader, I’ve missed having him over me. I’ve tried to protect the others as he protected us, but I’ve never been able to match his confidence and his power.”
“That is why I am here,” the dark Jason said. “I’m here to calm your fears, Tommy.”
He shook his head at this. “You aren’t the real Jason. All you are is an illusion that I made up in my mind.”
The dark Jason shrugged. “Sometimes illusions are enough to soothe the soul.” Suddenly, he frowned. “The pain is coming again. Tell me what I can do for you. What would Jason do for you?”
“Don’t do anything,” Tommy replied. “Jason wouldn’t do anything.”
The dark Jason scowled at this. “The hell he wouldn’t. If he was your best friend, he would have done something for you. This is going to be the worst of them all, Tommy. You’re going to want comfort.”
As the dark Jason finished his sentence, Tommy became dizzy and nearly fell on top of the shadow before muffling his cries in the mattress of the bed. Fiery pain shot throughout his body, and he cursed softly as the rest of his armor faded away. At this point, the pain was nearly unbearable, and he felt tears stream down his cheeks as the dark Jason called to him and placed a cold hand on his back. Unable to see the dark being, Tommy was, in a feverish daze, able to convince himself that the dark being really was Jason, and that the former Red Ranger was there to help him and take care of him in his weakness.
Suddenly, he heard the voice of the pages speak to him for the first time in what felt like hours, though Tommy, in his weakened state, was barely able to make out his words. “Young One, you are no longer morphed. The powers are being drained from you as I say these words. You will have to feel guilt no more.”
“What’s happening to me?” Tommy groaned as fiery pain continued to shoot through is body.
The voice chuckled evilly and murmured, “Your powers have returned to Zordon, but I must ask for payment. Young One, your life force will serve me well. For a mortal, you are a strong boy, and I will use your energy to take in the power of Zedd, Rita, and the rest of the dwellers here before beginning my conquest of Mandel and then the enslavement of Earth. Thomas, you were right to trust me. I did what you asked, but black and white can be very intricate colors. There are shades of gray in between. Not all things can be solved with ‘do all’ or ‘do none’. I have done what you wanted me to do, and now I take what I want from you. It is more than fair. Besides, now you will no longer have to feel guilt. Again, I have not lied to you.
“Unfortunately, I cannot begin my conquest now, but your life will soon be over, and when it is I will have the strength needed to begin.” Laughing hideously, the dark being circled around Tommy like a bird over it’s prey before leaving the room. Along with him went the dark Jason who glanced back at him once and never did again.
“I’m a fool,” Tommy snarled. (Why did I trust a being who I knew from the start was evil!?) Another wave of pain shot through him, and he cried out before grabbing a pillow from the far end of the bed and holding it against him as a child might hold a teddy bear. (It was right, though. No more pain...no more powers...)
Pulling out his power coin that had remained in his pocket the whole time, he inspected it and saw that half of the coin was glowing with white light. The other half was as dull as it had been before. Tommy shook his head. “Half gone, and a half to go.”
After the donations had all been turned in, the rangers had gone to see Zordon in the Command Center. As Rocky caught sight of Billy he quickly turned away. The past month had been hell for both of them. Billy was guilty about all that he had done, and yet a part of him felt even worse that the rangers had actually attacked him in his vulnerable state. Rocky had been afraid to talk to him ever since. He could still see himself punching Billy’s face and seeing the red mark swell up before his eyes. The image haunted him whenever he saw the Blue Ranger, and in his dreams he wondered how he would feel if it had been him in Billy’s position, and he had snapped out of a spell only to discover that the others had offensively attacked him.
“Have you heard any word on Tommy, Alpha?” Kim question hopefully. Seeing the droid shake it’s head, she sighed and glanced at the ground in sorrow. (I actually thought that...maybe...)
Looking up at Zordon, Adam was alarmed to find that his mentor had closed his eyes and was shaking his head slowly. “Zordon? What’s wrong?”
Gazing down at the rangers, Zordon frowned. “DISTURBING IMAGES WERE IN MY MIND.”
“What kind of images?” Aisha asked with interest. If Zordon was this concerned about it, the images must have been something important.
“I FEEL THAT MY FACE WAS USED FOR AN EVIL PURPOSE ALONG WITH JASON’S. WHERE THESE MENTAL PICTURES ARE COMING FROM...I DON’T KNOW...” He cut off mid-sentence as his warp began to glow with white light.
The rangers watched this with awe before glancing at their own bodies which were now glowing brightly. “What’s going on!?” Kim questioned frantically.
As the light dissipated, the rangers glanced around at each other with confusion. “What the hell just happened?” Rocky wondered allowed.
Adam shrugged. “I don’t know, but I feel...great.”
“Me too,” Billy said. “In a way, I feel strengthened.”
Gazing up at Zordon, Aisha quickly saw that he had a look of shock on his face. “Zordon, what was that?”
Zordon’s massive eyes looked down at her and for a moment he said nothing. Opening his mouth finally, he muttered, “IT WAS TOMMY.”
As he entered his laboratory, Finster couldn’t help but feel sorry for Tommy. Rita and Zedd spoke of him as if he weren’t even there, and they forced him to kill innocent people. He was such a young mortal...most humans at his age were busy with social engagements and courses to enhance their knowledge, but now Tommy was away from everyone and everything that he loved. What could he possibly make of his life except to become a warrior or a slave? (He’s becoming like you, Finster. Isn’t that funny?)
Turning on the light in his lab, Finster was unprepared for the sight in front of him. Sitting on the table in the middle of the room was his book of spells. It was opened, and, getting a closer look, he saw that two pages had been torn out. “He couldn’t have...” Finster murmured aloud. (Tommy wouldn’t be foolish enough to try and control magic which he could not even understand...but to him that could seem like bravery.)
Addressing the book, Finster frowned. “Tell me what pages the mortal took.”
Weakly, a voice replied, “He requested the old spell with which a Power Ranger’s energy can be taken away. With it, the boy released the spirit within. I am all that is left. He has locked me inside now after we finished with the boy.”
“What did you do to him?” Finster questioned angrily. (Why the hell did he come in here and do such a stupid thing!? That spirit...it could be draining his life force...and that puts us all in danger.) “Is the being draining his life force?”
“Yes, he is draining the life force of the boy. The shadow is pleased with him; he spoke of the mortal’s divine energies. I was commanded to comfort the boy during his time of need. He is so young... I pity him.”
Finster shook his head angrily. “You disguised your being!?”
“As I was ordered to do. He saw through me, though. The Young One knew that I was just a figment of his own imagination,” the voice said, his tone quivering. “I was known as Jason during that time.”
“Jason Scott,” Finster muttered. Looking at the book, he sighed. “Where are the pages?”
“The boy has them, but the shadow roams free as it absorbs his life.”
Finster closed his eyes in fury. “Damn it! There’s no time to waste.” Concentrating all his energies on Tommy’s chamber, he teleported there only to find the White Ranger curled in a ball on his bed. The power coin in his outstretched hand was a little less than halfway glowing with white light.
Examining the coin, Finster threw it on the bed again and sat down next to Tommy. Looking him over briefly, Finster forced himself to not hit Tommy in a rage before muttering, “You have endangered yourself and us as well as everyone you care for. We never did such things. Understand that we have not betrayed you, but you have betrayed us, White Ranger.”
Whimpering in pain, Tommy gazed up at him with tear-filled eyes. “I’m sorry, but now I’m glad. I want to die.”
Finster looked around as he heard a mumbling coming from inside the room. Going over to the cabinet, Finster opened one of the drawers and found himself facing Saba, Tommy’s sword. Picking it up, he glanced at it before saying, “You are Saba, the White Ranger’s saber, are you not?”
(Who...what the hell is that!?) Saba glared at the white being before shifting his eyes around as he heard a familiar moaning coming from somewhere near by. Spotting Tommy, he gasped as he saw his current state. (Damn it, I think he’s dying!) (How can he be dying!? You just spoke to him a little while ago!) (Words of anger...words of anger...) (No, he’s not dying! This must just be a visual trick. Tommy will be strengthened again and as annoying as ever.)
“I will tell you nothing until you tell me what is happening to Tommy,” Saba growled fiercely. “Have you done this to him!?”
Finster shook his head. “You may not believe it, but we are on the same side now. The White Ranger’s powers are being drained. You can help him, or you may continue to hold him responsible for what he did on Mandel.”
Looking at Tommy who was crying softly now, Saba sighed. “What do you wish of me?” Despite how shocked and infuriated he had been during the fight on Mandel, Saba knew that the bond between himself and the White Ranger was too deep to just let Tommy die without doing everything possible to save him. (Sport, you are going to have to kiss my ass for a long time after this.) (What if there is no ‘after this’?) (Well, that’ll save him the trouble.)
“You are connected to Zordon, therefore I assume you can get back to the Command Center from here.”
“Swords travel well,” Saba informed him. “If I teleport now, I’ll be able to find my way back in a few minutes.”
Finster nodded. “Good. Tell Zordon where we are. He most likely has sensed Tommy’s predicament himself, but you will give him details. Zordon is to come to us here on the moon of Mandel. There are ways for him to come along with Jason Scott. Also, one ranger must come, but no more than that. We do not want to risk the lives of many in this endeavor, but many will be lost if you do not go now.”
Sighing, Saba searched the creature’s face for a sign of lying. Seeing none in Finster’s worried eyes, Saba used his power and disappeared from Finster’s hands. After watching him leave, Finster turned back to Tommy who was eyeing him with fright before walking to the White Ranger and pulling him to his feet. As Tommy slumped against him, Finster sighed. “You must remain with me, White Ranger. If you are alone then you will be in danger.” Picking up the white power coin, Finster used his energy to teleport them up to the throne room so that they could find the others and tell them of the situation.
“Could you tell where he was, Zordon?” Rocky questioned.
Zordon shook his massive head. “I COULD NOT SEE THAT, BUT THE POWER WE RECEIVED WAS WHITE POWER, AND THAT COULD HAVE ONLY COME FROM TOMMY.”
Aisha shook her head. “Why would we be getting Tommy’s powers?”
“Does that mean that he’s dead, and we’re getting the remains?” Kim questioned, the thought making her sick. (Please don’t let him be dead!)
“THERE IS NO PROOF OF THAT, KIMBERLY. THE IMAGES I RECEIVED SHOWED THAT TOMMY SAW MY FACE IN A BEING OF EVIL AS WELL AS JASON’S. I FEAR THAT HIS RANGER POWERS HAVE BEEN DRAINED BY A DARK FORCE.”
Adam clenched his fists angrily. “Was it Zedd? Rita?” (Damn them! Get those two down here! If they did anything to Tommy, I’ll kick their asses so bad that...well...forget that! I’ll just kill them!)
“SOMEONE OR SOMETHING FAR MORE HIDEOUS, ADAM. WHILE YOU FIVE MAY CONSIDER ZEDD AND RITA TO BE THE ULTIMATE IN EVIL, THEY ARE NOT. DARK FORCES IN THIS UNIVERSE COULD EASILY DEVOUR THE LIKES OF ZEDD AND RITA, BECAUSE THEIR TYPE CAN FEEL EMOTION. SOME BEINGS FEEL NO REMORSE, AND THESE ARE THE BEINGS THAT ARE SO DANGEROUS. I FEAR THAT TOMMY HAS SURRENDERED HIS POWERS TO A DARK BEING SUCH AS THIS, AND THAT HE MAY SOON LOSE HIS LIFE, AS WELL.”
At that moment, everyone turned towards one of the consoles as a small white light came together. Fading, Saba, just missing the top of the console, plopped onto the ground. “Ow, damn it! I was close this time, too!”
“Saba!” Kim exclaimed joyously. Picking the sword up, she grinned. “If Saba’s ok, Tommy must be also, right, Saba?”
Becoming solemn, Saba gazed at her with sympathy. “I was sent here by Finster. We have plans to discuss.”
Rocky’s eyes narrowed at this. “What plans?” No matter what Saba said, he didn’t trust any of the evil powers. Finster had been responsible for a lot of things happening to them. What if this was a trick?
“The plans to save Tommy’s life,” Saba told him. “Tommy has accidentally unleashed a shadow demon of some sort. This being, after consuming Tommy’s life force, will go on to take over the moon palace, and then on to Mandel. After that, he plans to come to Earth and make the population a slave race.”
“I HAD SPECULATED THIS MUCH. WHAT DOES HE PROPOSE THAT WE DO ABOUT IT?”
Saba nodded. “His commands were quite strange. Zordon, he said something about you going to the moon of Mandel; that there was a way for you to teleport there.”
“THERE IS, AND I SHALL DO SO TO SAVE TOMMY’S LIFE. WHAT ELSE?”
(I don’t like this. Zordon teleporting to a place where Rita and Zedd will be waiting for him? This is not good at all.) “Zordon, this could be a trap,” Billy said. “Don’t you think we should check out this place first--”
“SABA SPEAKS THE TRUTH, AND NOW THAT I THINK OF IT, MANDEL IS A PERFECT PLACE FOR RITA AND ZEDD TO HAVE GONE. THEY HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO RULE THAT SECTOR OF THE GALAXY.”
“Only one ranger is to go with you,” Saba continued, “and there was a strange request after this. He said that you are to bring Jason.”
“Jason?” Kim asked with puzzlement. “What does Jason have to do with anything?”
“TOMMY HAS SEEN BOTH OF US IN THIS EVIL VISION OF HIS. IT MAKES SENSE THAT THE REAL JASON WOULD HAVE TO BE THERE TO HELP HIM THROUGH THIS.”
Rocky nodded and motioned towards himself. “I want to go.”
Kim shook her head quickly. “No, Rocky. I’m going.”
“Why don’t we all just go together?” Aisha questioned. “If things turn ugly--”
“If things turn ugly then only one of you would be lost,” Saba finished. “Only one of you should go.”
“KIMBERLY, I UNDERSTAND YOUR DESIRE TO SEE TOMMY, BUT THE EMOTIONAL STRESS OF THIS SITUATION MAY HAVE DULLED YOUR SENSES.”
“We’ve all been under emotional stress!” Kim exclaimed. “Besides, Rocky wants to go because of his guilt!”
“I’ll go, then,” Adam spoke up. “Though I have been stressed about this, I don’t feel that my senses have been dulled. Aisha and I are the only ones who don’t feel direct guilt over this situation.”
“VERY WELL, ADAM. YOU WILL COME. NOW, I MUST FIND A WAY TO CONTACT JASON.”
Alpha, who had been silent during all that had happened, began pushing buttons on a console. “I’ll scan for his location, Zordon. The computer still holds his brain wave pattern from the time that he was a ranger.”
“HURRY, ALPHA. THERE IS NO TIME TO LOSE.”
“So what you’re saying, Finster, is that there is a shadow demon lurking around somewhere, we don’t know where, and it’s the White Ranger’s fault!?” Zedd roared. This was unbelievable. To think that the White Ranger was supposed to be an asset and that he may have just caused their deaths...it would have been funny if he wasn’t in the position to die.
Finster shook his head. “Tommy didn’t know what he was doing, My Lord. He wanted relief from his despair. I’m not excusing his actions, of course. what I’m merely saying is that you shouldn’t just blame him for this.” Glancing down at the White Ranger who was huddled in the corner of the throne room with his head on his knees, he sighed.
Rita, who had been standing by her husband, looked at Tommy before shaking her head. “It was because we made him go to battle.”
“He did it because he wants to destroy us!” Zedd yelled angrily.
“Why would he destroy himself in the process?” Scorpina asked quietly. Scowling at her, Zedd sat on his throne.
Goldar, who had been listening in to the conversation, shook his head. “So, we recognize the situation. What now?”
Coughing, Finster took a step away from Zedd before saying, “I have let Saba return to Zordon. He is informing them of the situation.”
While Zedd began to rise angrily, Rita looked at him in confusion. “What can he do?”
“Zordon is a wizard. If he came here he would probably be able to banish the demon,” Finster told her. “I’ve read the spell that the demon used on Tommy and also listened to the weaker demon that the stronger had trapped within the spell book. One of the rangers will be accompanying him as well as Jason Scott.”
“Why the hell would he come along?” Zedd asked. “He’s not a ranger anymore.” (Jason...I hate him. Hell, I hate all of them! I hate this! I really hate this!)
Finster nodded. “I know, My Lord, but this procedure is very delicate. Only few know how to take away the powers of a ranger, and it must be done in a way that the victim of the spell is put at ease, so in this case Tommy wanted someone to tell him that everything was going to be all right, and present rangers cannot be made into dark form so a dark Jason was made. To keep that same calm, the real Jason should be brought here.”
“I don’t believe this is happening,” Scorpina mumbled. Hearing the White Ranger moan, she looked down at his pain-ridden face before kneeling by his side and opening his clenched fist. Looking at the power coin that she found, Scorpina shook her head. “I’d say he has about one-fourth of his original life force. We’re going to have to contact Zordon now if we want any chance of stopping this thing before it has Tommy’s powers.”
Sighing, Zedd growled, “Oh, very well. Rita, use your sorcery to contact the rangers within the Command Center.”
“I am beginning the process already, Dear,” Rita told him. Waving her hands in the air, she began to chant in a language unknown to mortals while Zedd did his best to stay calm.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Alpha chuckled. “I’ve found him, Zordon. Jason is coming up now.”
Turning around, the rangers watched as Jason, dressed in a suit and tux, materialized in the Command Center. He looked around in startlement for a moment before smiling. “You guys have the worse timing. I was about to give a speech over there...well, I guess Trini can cover. What’s up?” Looking at the five rangers, he immediately became alert. “Where’s Tommy?”
“We have a lot to fill you in on, Jason,” Billy told him slowly. Glancing at him, Jason nodded and leaned against a console for support.
After telling him the facts of the matter *which took quite a bit of time*, Jason looked at Zordon seriously. “I’m going.”
“IT WOULD BE VERY DANGEROUS, JASON. YOU COULD BE RISKING YOUR LIFE BY COMING WITH ADAM AND MYSELF.”
Jason nodded. “I understand this, but Tommy is my best friend, and I’m willing to give my life if I can save his.”
Putting a hand over her eyes, Kim sighed. “Please don’t talk like that, Jason. This whole situation is hard enough as it is.”
“I’m sorry, Kim,” Jason told her. “Listen, I’ll be careful, ok?” (I can’t believe they didn’t tell me a month ago that Tommy was missing. He’s been on the moon for four weeks, and I still went along like nothing was different while I was at the peace conference!)
At that moment, everyone in the room turned to see the viewing globe turn on and Rita’s face come over the screen. “Are you all there?”
“WE’RE HERE, RITA. WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
“An area for you to teleport has been prepared, Zordon. Who is coming with you?” Rita questioned.
“JASON AND ADAM ARE COMING WITH ME. NO MORE THAN THEM.” Zordon replied. (It seems like only yesterday that a communication like this would have been unheard of. Things can change so quickly.) “DO YOU HAVE COORDINATES FOR US?”
Rita nodded. “Yes, Zordon. They should be coming over your computer shortly. When you arrive, you will begin the spell immediately. Any time we can buy before the shadow comes to us will be valuable. It must be very powerful by now after being free for so long.” With that, her face disappeared from the screen.
At that moment, Alpha walked over to one of the consoles as a sheet of paper came our of the top of it. “We’ve got it, Zordon. I’m putting the coordinates into the teleportation unit. It should be ready in a few minutes.”
“Zordon,” Rocky began. “I don’t think this is a very good idea. It could be a trap. How do you know that after you’ve banished the demon, Rita and Zedd won’t kill you, Adam, and Jason?” (This is not good. Can’t Zordon see the danger he’s putting himself in?)
“I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT, ROCKY. WHEN RITA CONTACTED US, I COULD SEE THE TRUTH IN HER EYES. SHE WANTS THIS JUST AS MUCH AS WE DO.”
Jason nodded. “We have to do this.” (Come on, Bro. Just hold on a little bit longer. We’re coming.)
“I’ve put the coordinates into the unit,” Alpha told them. “Do you want me to teleport you out now, Zordon?”
(This is it. I must agree with Rocky in that I don’t like this, but we have no choice. Tommy is my underling, so I must go after him as I would go after any of the rangers.) “YES, ALPHA. TELEPORT US NOW.”
Pushing a few buttons on a console, Alpha watches as Zordon disappeared from his time warp before sighing. “Be careful, Zordon.” Turning to Jason and Adam who were watching him in silence, Alpha pushed a few more buttons. “Good luck.”
“Do what I’d do over there, Adam,” Rocky said with a smile. (I don’t want them to go, but they need to. Tommy is counting on them. Hopefully, in a few hours, they will all be back, and this demon will be disposed of.)
Adam smirked. “Thanks, Man, but I’d prefer to come back alive.” At that moment, Jason and Adam disappeared in flashes of black.
After they had left, Kim closed her eyes. “I hope they’re going to be all right.”
“Me too,” Aisha agreed. (If they don’t come back...I don’t know what we’ll do. First Tommy and now this...)
When Zordon rematerialized, he found himself in a time warp at the far end of a room that was nearly identical to Zedd’s throne room back on the moon of Earth. Looking around, he frowned as Rita and Zedd entered the room and regarded him coolly. “THERE’S NO TIME FOR US TO QUARREL. WHERE IS THE WHITE RANGER?”
Before the two could reply, Scorpina and Goldar entered the room with glum expressions on their faces. They each had one of Tommy’s arms over their shoulders and, seeing him wince, the two quickly set him down against the wall. Tommy looked around in a daze before glancing down at his power coin. Seeing that the glowing white light was diminishing fast, he snickered faintly. “It’s almost over. No more pain...no more guilt...”
“WHITE RANGER...TOMMY...LET ME SEE YOUR POWER COIN.” His concern was nearly at a peak level for Tommy as he heard the near-hysteria tone of his voice mixed with utter helplessness. (Damn it, what have they done to you while you were here, Tommy?)
Seeing who had called to him, Tommy quickly shrank back and curled up as much as he could. “Don’t look at me,” he whispered. “Please, don’t look at me. I don’t deserve it, Zordon...please...” Holding the Power Coin out in front of him, he lowered his head onto his knees. “See? Soon I’ll be gone. It’s hard to believe. When I was a ranger I thought I would live forever. It was stupid...really stupid...no one lives forever on Earth.”
(When he was a ranger? They’ve broken him...I don’t believe this.) “DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP ON YOURSELF, WHITE RANGER.”
“Don’t call me that,” Tommy said softly. “I’m not the White Ranger anymore. Soon, I won’t be anyone.”
Rita, who had been listening with interest to the conversation, turned towards Zordon. “You must begin the process now, Zordon, or his life force will completely belong to the shadow.”
“I WILL BEGIN, BUT ON ONE CONDITION.”
“What condition?” Zedd questioned. (That’s like Zordon. Greedy, greedy. I suppose he’ll ask us to move out of the galaxy or something of that nature.)
Zordon glanced at Tommy once more before saying, “I WANT THE WHITE RANGER BACK. THERE’S NO REASON FOR ME TO SAVE HIM IF HE CANNOT RETURN TO THOSE THAT HE LOVES.”
(What!? The only reason we’re participating in this is because Tommy is going to be our slave once he recovers! Well, out deaths have a small part in it, too.) Zedd was about to reply when, out of nowhere, he heard his wife respond, “Take him.”
“What!?” Zedd exclaimed, anger bubbling within him. What was she doing!? Tommy was there’s!
Rita shook her head. “I don’t want to see him die. You may take him back.” As Scorpina breathed a sigh of relief, Finster nodded. (At least he will live a good life on his planet...unlike me...)
At that moment, Adam and Jason teleported into the room. Gazing at the monsters for a moment, Jason quickly turned his attention to his best friend who was gasping for breath and clutching his stomach. Running to his side, he quickly knelt down next to Tommy. “Hey, Bro, I’m here. Everything’s going to be ok. Just hang in there.”
“I told you to leave me alone,” Tommy groaned. Looking up at Jason, he shook his head. “You can’t fool me. I know you aren’t real. The only reason you’re here is because I wanted to see you.” Closing his eyes, he turned away and shuddered as a chill went up his spine.
(I’m not real? What the hell is he talking about?) “Tommy, it’s me. This is real. I’m Jason, and I’m here to help you through this. Look at me, Bro.” Hearing the nickname the two had for each other, Tommy glanced wearily at Jason. The former Red Ranger smiled. “Come on, Tommy. With this body, you know I can’t be a fake.”
“I guess you are...I dont’ know anymore.” Another dizzy spell washed over him. Clutching his power coin, he shook his head a few times to clear it before gazing at Jason, bewildered as he had been before. Taking a few deep breaths, he moved as far away from Jason as he could before meekly murmuring, “Help me?”
“Yeah, Man,” Jason told him while feeling nothing other than worry for his best friend. (If he wants help then why is he backing away from me?) “Tommy, what’s wrong?”
Tommy shrugged before looking at Jason as a small child might look after seeing something they were terrified of. “You won’t hurt me? After all that I’ve done, I figured you’d want to get a few good hits in.” He smiled. “I’ve tried, but it hasn’t worked that well. Maybe when I’m dead, you could kick me a few times to make sure it’s true. Then, you and the other guys could celebrate a little--”
“Stop it!” Jason hissed, startling the White Ranger into silence. “I don’t want to hear you giving up like this! Tommy, we all want you to live through this. Rocky has been nothing but a guilt trip since you were taken, and Kim told me briefly about dreaming that you would come back to her. If you don’t live for yourself, then at least live for them and the rest of the rangers...and me.” Seeing Tommy just stare at him blankly, Jason lowered his head before laughing lightly. “I had really hoped this meeting would have been under better circumstances.” As Tommy continued to eye him, Jason grinned and put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “Well, besides the fact that you’re dying, you look good.”
Hearing this, Tommy smirked. “I guess it’s not very good circumstances.” Reddening lightly, he smiled. “I’m glad you’re here. If anyone could be here to see me off...well...I’m glad it’s you.” Suddenly becoming self-conscious, he turned away from Jason and closed his eyes.
Adam, who had been listening in on the conversation, turned around as Zordon called to him. “STAY ALERT, ADAM. THE SHADOW WILL DEFINITELY TRY TO GET TO BOTH ME AND TOMMY DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF MINUTES.” Nodding, Adam stared at Zordon in awe as he began to say a long string of words that he doubted he could even pronounce right. “DRATYL ETYUWEL SARBEWTA POLIBO PUANTRE.”
At that moment, Scorpina shivered as the room suddenly became cold. “It’s here,” she whispered. Sure enough, right in front of her was a black mass who was looking around angrily.
“Terewel Gutem Piutia!” It screamed as it saw what Zordon was doing. Spotting Tommy leaning against the wall, the shadow gave a long cry before moving rapidly towards him.
Before it could get there, however, Adam stepped in it’s way and pushed it back. The shadow smirked before saying, “Frewta Yunem Pololia.”
(What the hell!?) Looking down at himself, Adam was surprised to find that he was no longer morphed. Turning back towards the shadow, he was barely able to brace himself for its attack. Striking the being with all his might, Adam was shocked as it pushed him to the ground and wrestled with him for a bit. At that moment, a burning sensation went through his cheek, and as the shadow jumped off him, Adam put a hand on his face and easily found fresh bleeding scars there.
Glancing up, Adam gasped as he saw the shadow looming over him. “Selta Beutra, Black Ranger. It is time for you to die.” Before it could do anything else, however, the shadow froze and was pushed back against the wall. “What!?”
Seeing that Zordon was looking directly at him, the shadow laughed cruelly. “Ah, Zordon of Eltar. I have heard much of you, but now...Selta Beutra...” With that, he ran towards Zordon’s time warp.
(This is not the time to give up, Adam. Zordon and Tommy need you.) Standing, Adam chased the shadow and flung the dark being to the ground before putting another tentative hand on his cheek. As he looked down at the shadow, Adam was alarmed to see both Goldar and Scorpina kicking it. (Well, I guess things have changed.)
At that moment, Goldar went soaring backwards and landed painfully on the ground. Scorpina, who had seen what happened, was barely able to scream before being pushed back against the wall. Before she could black out, the shadow put its ‘hand’ around her throat. “If you serve Rita and Zedd, you are a fool. Die.”
“I don’t think so,” Adam growled. Pulling the shadow off of her, he punched it as hard as he could. Looking at his hand, he was shocked to see that his knuckles were now bleeding.
The dark being grinned evilly. “You have all met your match.” With that, the shadow threw Adam against Scorpina before turning back towards Tommy and Jason. “White Ranger, you are mine.” Adam desperately tried to push himself back up so that he could face the shadow again but, unable to, he closed his eyes for a moment.
Jason stared with concern at Tommy who was panting now and breaking into a sweat. “Zordon is working on it, Bro. Please hang on.” (Damn that thing...I can’t believe this is happening. God, I hope Zordon can do whatever he needs to before the shadow sucks up his energy.)
“It hurts, Jason,” Tommy sobbed. “I want the pain to stop.”
At that moment, Jason felt himself be pushed away from Tommy and, looking up, he was shocked to find that the shadow was now right above Tommy with a dark smile on his face. “I don’t think so, Bastard,” Jason muttered before standing up.
The shadow turned to him and scoffed. “You aren’t even a ranger anymore, though I know my shadow underling had fun impersonating you to fool the White Ranger.”
“I’ll kill you for that!” Jason hollered in anger. Charging the dark being, he was unprepared for the blow he received that sent him head first into a wall. Feeling weak, Jason did his best to turn back towards the shadow before passing out completely.
Tommy, who had wordlessly watched what had happened, glanced up at the shadow in horror. The dark being cackled. “Ah, Young One, I suppose this is where we end your existence.”
Shaking his head, Tommy did his best to push himself to his feet. Watching his movements with amusement, the shadow smirked. “You!? I just knocked out a former ranger, a present ranger, and two of Rita and Zedd’s henchmen! How can you think of fighting me!?” It supposed that maybe the draining of the white ranger powers had left the young earthling mentally ill. Still, a fight would mean that Tommy would be destroyed quicker. “Very well, Young One. We will fight.”
Wavering slightly, Tommy ignored the shadow’s taunts before looking at different parts of the room where Jason and Adam were lying unconscious. Tommy frowned and clenched his fists. “I’ll kill you for doing that.”
Before the two could fight, however, the shadow felt a burning go through its back. Turning around, it found that Rita and Zedd were standing angrily with their staffs in hand. “You will die, shadow,” Zedd murmured. Rita nodded in agreement.
The dark being smiled maliciously. “Zedd and Rita...you are nothing but amateur wizards compared to some that I have defeated in the past.” Charging them, he laughed as he knocked both of their staffs away.
Rita snarled. “Asshole.” Saying a few words of magic, she watched in contentment as the shadow bent over painfully. “Never underestimate your competitors.”
“I’ve learned that if you overestimate someone, you will be disappointed,” and with that, he fired a ray at Rita sending her to the ground. Turning to Zedd who was eyeing him with rage, the shadow mumbled, “You have no business calling yourself a Lord of Evil. I have heard you from my place of confinement, and it is pathetic.”
“You have no business calling us amateur wizards,” Zedd scowled, “if you have not seen our true power.” (Stall him so that Zordon can finish the spell. It’s the only thing left to do.)
The shadow smiled. “I will stop Zordon, but you are in my way. Besides, it will be so much easier to just kill Tommy and suck up his life force.” Knocking him to the ground, the dark being turned back towards Tommy who was eyeing him with fright. “Do not fight me, Young One. Sit and rest. I will finish you soon.”
Feeling a strange force within his body, Tommy felt himself lose his energy and slide to the floor. He rubbed his eyes and glanced up at the blurry form above him. The shadow moved towards him and touched his shoulder before pushing a lose strand of hair away from Tommy’s face. “I will keep your being inside me, Young One. It is a shame that you are the one I have to kill.”
At that moment, the shadow put its ‘hands’ on Tommy’s chest and closed its eyes before whispering a few strange words. Tommy cried out weakly before feeling more of his life drain. A faint white light began to glow around Tommy, and it slowly moved from his body to the frame of the shadow’s form. Feeling energized, the shadow nodded. “Yes, Young One, your life force serves me well.”
Losing all track of what was going on around him, Tommy focused his attention on his power coin that was now in the shadow’s possession. The last part of the white light was fading away fast and, suddenly, he felt his legs grow numb. This feeling traveled up to his hips and then into his chest, which was where the burning started.
Tommy gasped for breath before trying to use the last of his strength to push the shadow away, but he knew it was useless. Knowing this, the shadow smiled. “It is almost done. Your heart is slowing as I say these words to you.”
Shivering, Tommy all of a sudden felt his eyelids droop and, knowing that if he gave into the drowsiness that he would never wake up, he did all he could to keep his eyes open. Seeing his struggle, the shadow touched his face. “Give your body rest, Young One. I am finishing now. In another minute, you will feel no more pain.”
Tommy gazed up at the shadow only to find himself staring at a dark version of his own face. “No,” he whispered helplessly, “I won’t let you do this” Smirking, the dark Tommy merely touched his cheek and smiled.
The shadow said a few more words, but, mid sentence, his voice gave way. Glancing around in shock, he looked down at the White Ranger only to find that the human was still looking at the ceiling and trying not to give in to his sleepiness. By now, he was shivering, and his pulse was barely remaining steady. As it lost Tommy’s being and became simply a black mass again, it growled.
Turning towards Zordon, the shadow growled as the interdimensial being said, “IT IS DONE.”
Charging him, the shadow screamed as Zordon said a few words that stopped him after taking just a few steps. As he disappeared, the shadow growled, “This is not the end!” With these words, he was gone.
Adam, who was just beginning to recover, glanced at Zordon who had closed his eyes before looking at Tommy and Jason who were both lying on the floor on the other side of the room. Running to their sides, Adam looked at the large bleeding gash on Jason’s forehead before feeling his pulse. (It’s there. Now Tommy...) Glancing down at Tommy, Adam felt for his pulse and, finding it, he gazed into Tommy’s brown eyes which were growing smaller because of his drooping eyelids. “Hang in there, Tommy,” Adam told him.
Seeing him nod, Adam walked over to Zordon and, as his mentor smiled, he did so, as well. “It’s over?”
“THE SHADOW IS NO LONGER DRAINING TOMMY’S LIFE FORCE. HOW ARE THEY?”
“Jason was knocked out, and he has a nasty gash on his head, but it’s nothing a few bandages won’t cure,” Adam informed him. “Tommy...I don’t know how he did it, but he’s managed to remain conscious. It’s amazing, but I’m pretty sure that he saved his own life.”
Zordon frowned suddenly. “BRING TOMMY’S POWER COIN TO ME.”
Adam nodded and walked over to where Tommy was lying again. Picking up the golden coin that had been sitting in Tommy’s outstretched palm, he brought it over to where Zordon could see it. Glancing at the coin, Zordon grinned. “THE POWER WITHIN IT HAS BEEN RESTORED. TOMMY PHYSICALLY WILL NEED MORE TIME TO HEAL THAN HIS POWERS, BUT I FEEL THAT, IN TIME, HE WILL BE ABLE TO FIGHT AGAIN.
Zedd, who had just gotten up again, looked at Tommy and Jason before hissing, “Get out of here before we change out minds about Tommy returning to Earth with you.”
Glancing at him, Zordon laughed besides himself. “I SUPPOSE THIS EVENT WILL MEAN NOTHING TO YOU IN THE LONG RUN.”
“I would love nothing more than to break that time warp,” Zedd growled, “but I promised my wife beforehand that I would do nothing of that sort...now, anyway.”
“ADAM, TELEPORT WITH JASON AND TOMMY BACK TO THE COMMAND CENTER.” Watching as Adam did as told, Zordon gazed at Zedd with amusement for a moment before teleporting away, as well.
Rita sat up and, looking around, she frowned. “Where are they?”
Zedd helped her to her feet. “They teleported away, and I think we should get into Serpenterra right away.”
“Why are we using Serpenterra?” Goldar, who had just gotten up, questioned.
Cackling, Zedd kissed Rita’s cheek before saying, “The rangers are still alive, and most of them are well...”
“You can’t be serious,” Rita muttered with disbelief. Seeing her husband nod, she smiled. “We’re going home!”
(Finally, things will be getting back to normal around here) Goldar thought to himself. He snickered. “Well, when will we be leaving for the moon of Earth?”
“As soon as Scorpina awakens, we will go...and crush those rangers once and for all! Just because we helped them once doesn’t mean that we are all of a sudden best friends,” Zedd explained.
Rita cackled. “Yes, my husband! To the fall of the Power Rangers!”
An hour or two later, Mrs. Oliver was flipping through the channels on her television aimlessly. She was happy about the donations that students from Angel Grove High had made, but it couldn’t even begin to equal what her adoptive son meant to her. As it was, Jackie had been completely depressed since Tommy had been taken.
Mr. Oliver entered the room at that moment and glanced at his wife before walking slowly around the room. Seeing his actions, Mrs. Oliver shrank back. Yes, her husband did have a temper, but if he was trying to calm himself, then the outcome wasn’t going to be good. Apparently not becoming calm enough, Mr. Oliver picked up an empty glass vase that was sitting on top of a coffee table near the TV for decoration and threw it against the wall in a rage.
“Damn it, when are they going to find him!? Those police officers don’t know shit about finding a lost teenager!” Mr. Oliver roared.
Mrs. Oliver quickly stood and walked over to the broken vase before picking up a few pieces of it. “I’ll, um, I’ll get the broom and a trash can.” She scurried out of the room in search of these items while Mr. Oliver glanced down at the floor.
As Mrs. Oliver returned, he put his hands on her shoulders. “You don’t have to clean it up. I will.”
“No,” Mrs. Oliver told her husband, “I want to do it. Believe me, I want to.” Pulling away from him, she knelt down by the broken vase and began to sweep up a few of the pieces.
Kneeling down by her, Mr. Oliver did his best to try and take the dustpan from her, but she pulled it out of his reach before continuing to clean up the shards of vase. “Cheryl, stop it.”
Mrs. Oliver shook her head without even looking at her husband. Mr. Oliver grabbed her shoulders and pulled her into his embrace. Trembling lightly, Mrs. Oliver abruptly dropped the dustpan and cried into his shoulder. As Mr. Oliver rubbed her back, she whispered, “I want him back, Mike.”
Mr. Oliver nodded. “I know you do, Cheryl, and I’m...I’m sorry for doing that. Tommy...God, I miss him, too.”
As the phone rang, Mrs. Oliver stood slowly and walked over to the cellular before putting it up to her ear. “I’m sorry, but this isn’t a very good time,” she said shakily.
The male voice on the other end of the line questioned, “This is Mrs. Cheryl Oliver, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is,” Mrs. Oliver said. “Who is this?”
“My name is Dr. William Soloman. I have some news for you,” Dr. Soloman said. “Your son, Thomas Oliver, was admitted earlier today. We’re not exactly sure how he got here, but when a nurse was doing evening rounds, she found him leaning against the walls in one of the patient rooms. I assumed that you would want to come down here.”
Mrs. Oliver gasped at this before nodding. “Of course. We’ll be right there.” Hanging up the phone, she allowed her knees to give way.
Catching her, Mr. Oliver looked into her eyes with concern. “Cheryl, what is it?”
“Tommy’s in the hospital,” Mrs. Oliver whispered. “They aren’t sure how he got there, but he’s there...here...he’s alive.”
Jumping to his feet, Mr. Oliver ran to the foot of the stairs and yelled for Jackie to come down. When she did, they informed her of the situation, and after about five minutes the three were on the way to Angel Grove Hospital.
Reaching the building, the Olivers ran inside to the information desk and, after finding out which room Tommy was in, they all practically sprinted to it. Running inside, Mrs. Oliver took in a few deep breaths as she saw her son, deathly pale, with tubes and wires all over him and in hospital garb. Crying, she turned away from him just as Mr. Oliver and Jackie entered the room. Mr. Oliver stepped next to Tommy’s bed and looked down at his face which had IV units and tubes running everywhere. Touching his hair gently, Mr. Oliver shook his head. “Damn it, why?”
Jackie just stayed by the door and stared in shock at her brother before desperately trying to remember how he had looked the night before he was taken. Back then he had been so cheerful, and now...
At that moment, a man with light brown hair entered the room in a doctor’s coat with a clipboard in his hands. “I know you’re going to have questions for me. My name is Dr. Soloman, and I was here when Tommy was...admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, I still can’t give you any answers on how your son was brought here. When he was found, he didn’t have a strong pulse, and yet he was still conscious. It was actually quite incredible that he was able to keep his eyes open through all that.
“His energy has clearly been diminished, but most of the IVs are just mandatory for someone in his state. There is no internal bleeding and no injuries that seem life threatening in any way. Besides that bruise on his forehead and some other bruises and scrapes on his chest, there’s no way to tell how he got into this state.
“I know that this was the boy taken up by those tenga things a month ago,” Dr. Soloman continued, “and that could account for why he is this way. We don’t know what they did to him up there, and until your son gets better we won’t be able to know. As far as we can tell, he has been bathed before he came here, so there will be no hope of finding fingerprints, but with this case...I doubt they would help since we know who took him.”
Mrs. Oliver nodded. “Yes, but...can the condition he’s in...is he in a life-death situation right now with this energy drain?”
Dr. Soloman shook his head. “At first his pulse was so weak that we didn’t even think he would survive the night, but this is the amazing thing: he’s been here for about an hour and already his pulse as retained a steady beat, so, to answer your question, I think that your son should be ready to leave in a few weeks, and back on his feet feeling cheerful again in two to three months.”
“That’s incredible,” Jackie breathed while keeping her eyes on Tommy. “Damn...”
(Thank you, God.) “Dr. Soloman, thank you,” Mr. Oliver said. “We really appreciate all of this, and I’m sure Tommy will give his gratitude as soon as he can.”
Dr. Soloman nodded. “Really, it’s wonderful to see that he survived a trip to the ‘moon kingdom’ as some have called it. Maybe, when he’s feeling better, he can help us learn a little bit about this place on the moon. Who knows? Maybe Tommy even got up close and personal with the Power Rangers.”
As Mr. and Mrs. Oliver nodded at this, Jackie bit her lip. (Maybe he’s been up close and personal with the rangers in a different way...I’m not sure yet, but everything is pointing towards Tommy being a ranger...the White Ranger. For this past month, the White Ranger has never fought in any battles with the other rangers, and he and Tommy are the same height and have the same battle calls. Oh, Tommy, what really happened to you up there?)
(A day later, at night)
Cassandra took the blue claw in her hair out before smoothing down her blond hair before twisting it back up. Adjusting the glasses on her eyes, she glanced across her bed at Jeff before sighing. “Have you done any studying in the last thirty minutes, or were you planning to stare at my wall all night?”
“I’m fine,” Jeff muttered glumly. Looking at the book in his hands, he sighed. “Actually, Cassandra, I...well, it’s Tommy.” He crossed his arms over his blue cotton shirt before frowning.
“Ah, so you are feeling something about Tommy missing,” Cassandra observed. “I don’t mean to make you feel bad, but before now you never seemed to care.”
Jeff glared at her. “I cared!” As he saw her startled expression, he rubbed his eyes before leaning his head against her wall and banging it lightly a few times. “Rocky doesn’t mind that I’m studying with you in your bedroom?”
Cassandra shook her head. “Rocky knows that we have a big test in history tomorrow, and he knows that if you made a move, I would kick your ass,” she muttered, “and don’t change. What about Tommy?”
“He’s missing, of course,” Jeff spat maliciously. Slumping his shoulders, he closed his history book and stood. “I’m sorry, Cassie. Maybe I should go.”
“No,” Cassandra said. Putting a hand on his arm, she held him back. “I want you to talk to me, Jeff. No, we aren’t going out anymore, but we’re best friends, and I would hope that you could talk to me.”
Lowering his eyes, Jeff muttered, “I talked to Billy for awhile.”
Cassandra gazed at him dubiously. “You hate Billy.” (Jeff talking to Billy!? That’s not something you hear every day!)
“I don’t hate him,” Jeff protested. “Billy and I just don’t move in the same circles. That’s all.” As Cassandra continued to eye him with amusement, he sighed. “Just take me seriously for once, Cassie.”
“I am taking you seriously,” Cassandra told him. “Go on.”
Jeff nodded. “Anyway, he told me that, well, Tommy never considered me a friend, and that I’ve been using him.”
Cassandra frowned. “Obviously, you know that’s not true, right?” When Jeff didn’t answer, she shook her head. “Jeff, you’ve always been great friends with Tommy. You guys were...are best friends!”
“Jason is his best friend. Not me,” Jeff corrected. “I never felt like I used him, but Billy was right. He has loaned me money, and sometimes I never paid him back. Plus, I have used him to be accepted by others, but Tommy has...I didn’t...God, Cassie! If he comes back, will he ever forgive me for all that!?”
“Look, Jeff,” Cassandra told him strongly. “Tommy has probably forgiven you for all that a long time ago.” Before she could say anything more, the phone rang, and she looked at Jeff with pity before walking over to her desk and picking it up. “Hello?”
“Cassandra, it’s me,” the voice said.
Cassandra smiled faintly. “Hi, Rocky. What’s going on?”
“Is Jeff still there with you?”
“Yeah,” Cassandra told him, “Jeff is here.” She grinned. “Why do you care? You said that you didn’t mind that we were going to be studying together.” Hearing his name, Jeff looked at Cassandra, puzzled.
Over the phone, Rocky sighed. “Well, I wanted to know because I have news that both of you will want to hear. Tommy is in the hospital. He was brought there yesterday.”
Cassandra gasped. “I don’t believe it. Is he all right!?” (Thank you, God!)
“He’s not in a life or death situation,” Rocky said. “Tell Jeff. I need to call a few more people.”
“All right,” Cassandra mumbled breathlessly. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Rocky.” Hanging up the phone, she looked at Jeff. “You’ll never believe what just happened.”
“What?” Jeff asked with confusion. “Is something wrong, Cassie?” (Could they have found Tommy? Oh no, what if he’s dead!?)
Cassandra replied. “Tommy is in the hospital, and it seems like he’s going to be ok.” Jeff’s mouth opened at this, and he stared at Cassandra in shock for a few minutes before smiling brightly and throwing his arms around her.
(A week later)
Kim and Jason entered Tommy’s hospital room and they both smiled as they realized he was awake. Jason pulled up a seat next to his best friend’s bed before saying, “Hey, Bro. Feeling a little better?”
“If it’s considered better to feel like a truck just hit you,” Tommy muttered weakly. Glancing at Jason through half-shut eyes, he smiled. “I owe you my life.”
Jason shrugged. “Well, you owe yourself your life. We were talking to Billy. If you hadn’t stayed conscious after being attacked by the shadow you would have died.”
Hearing this, Tommy coughed a few times before mumbling, “Yeah, well, if it hadn’t been for you I would have wanted to die.” At his understanding expression, Tommy turned towards Kim and smiled. “Hey, Beautiful. Did you find a new boyfriend while I was gone?”
(This is one of those times where I really want to hit him, and yet I wouldn’t dare.) “No one could put on a pout like you, Tommy,” she replied. Sighing, she allowed herself to get a better look at him. Most of the IVs had been removed, and he was no longer breathing through a tube. Now, however, there was still an IV in each of his arms and a tube by his nose giving him extra air.
“Zordon talked to us about what you’re to tell the Doctors that ask you about the incident on the moon,” Jason told him. “You remember nothing. Will it make you feel weird if you have to lie to your parents?”
Tommy frowned. “Well, I don’t have a choice. Besides, I was going to do something like that anyway. I’m not eager for everyone to know what I’ve gone through, and I definitely don’t want them knowing that I’m a ranger.”
Looking down at her watch, Kim sighed. “The bell is about to ring, Jason. I should go.”
“That’s one of the great things about being a ranger,” Jason said with a smile. “You should, Kim. I’ll bug him for a little bit longer.”
Kim stood and kissed Tommy’s forehead. “I love you, all right? When school’s over I’ll come over here as soon as I get my homework done.” As her boyfriend kissed her hand softly, she did her best to hold back tears before teleporting out of the room.
Jason regarded Tommy in thought for a moment before saying, “Why did you do it?”
“What do you mean?” Tommy questioned. “Why did I do what?”
“You unleashed that shadow because you wanted it to drain your powers,” Jason said, noting Tommy’s shocked expression. “Why did you want to lose your power to that thing?”
Tommy chuckled lightly. “I didn’t want it to take my life away.”
Jason sighed. “You know what I mean. Why did you want to lose your ranger powers?”
Closing his eyes for a moment, Tommy took in a deep breath. Jason was abut to pose the question again, when he heard his best friend murmur, “They ordered me to go into battle on Mandel and I killed people, Jase. I mean...I really killed people. Sure, they weren’t good people, but I killed elderly people, middle-aged, children, and infants.”
“God...” Jason whispered.
Tommy nodded. “Then, I gave in to Goldar. After that, I didn’t want anyone to see me again. I figured it would be better to lose my powers so that I couldn’t do any more damage.”
Jason frowned. “What do you mean that you gave in to Goldar?”
(He doesn’t know?) “He told me to tell him that he was my superior, and I did.”
“Why the hell did you do that!?” Jason asked, startled by what he had just heard. (Tommy gave in to Goldar!? That’s impossible! Why would he give in to him!?)
Tommy sighed. “I was at the end of my rope, Jase. At that time, I figured that I didn’t deserve to be a ranger anymore and...damn it, I was frightened because I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I was envious of Goldar because he knew about himself what I wanted to know about myself. He didn’t rub it in my face, but I still can’t believe that I did that.”
“I can’t believe you did, either,” Jason muttered, “but Tommy, you know the rangers would forgive you for that, and you couldn’t say no to Rita and Zedd when they told you to go to Mandel and kill those people. How can you give your life for people you don’t know?”
Hearing this, Tommy chuckled, and at Jason’s curious expression, he explained, “That’s how Rita threatened me that night. She said that if I didn’t do what she asked that I would be giving up the lives of the rangers, and that I shouldn’t give my life for those on Earth that I don’t know.”
(Damn all of them.) “Tommy, I wish I knew what to tell you. Obviously, you’d be a fool to give up your powers, but that’s just my opinion. Don’t give them up just because of your guilt because I assure you that most of the rangers would leave right after you.”
Tommy nodded and yawned. “Sometimes I wonder what they put in the IVs besides that food mush. It feels like drugs.”
Jason shrugged. “Maybe they put drugs in the food?” As his best friend nodded, Jason sighed. “Get some sleep, Man. I’ll come by tomorrow.”
“All right,” Tommy watched as Jason walked to the door before murmuring, “You saved my life, Jason.”
Turning back towards Tommy, Jason grinned as he saw that the White Ranger was already asleep. “Believe me, Bro,” he whispered, “you’ve saved plenty of people, and you don’t even know it.” With that, he left Tommy alone.
(A few hours later)
Adam, Aisha, and Rocky walked silently into Tommy’s room later that day. Seeing his predicament, Adam shook his head and leaned against the wall for support. Aisha smiled faintly. “I think he’s asleep.”
“Well, there would be a lot more noise in here if he was dead,” Adam noted as he glanced at Tommy’s heart monitor.
“Don’t worry. I’m not dead.” The three looked at Tommy only to find that he was glancing at them through half-closed eyes. He smiled. “It’s great to see you guys.”
Aisha walked over to him and put her hand on his. “You had us worried to death while you were gone, Tommy.”
He shrugged. “I did what I had to do.” (I’ve also done things that I’m not sure you’ll ever be able to forgive me for like giving into Goldar.) Looking at Rocky, Tommy was surprised to see that the Red Ranger was barely looking at him and was in the far corner of the room.
“We feared the worse,” Adam told him honestly. “I mean, Rita and the others had taken you up to their palace. It seemed near impossible that they would keep you alive.”
Tommy nodded. “Well, I guess I just got lucky.” As his chest began to burn, he tensed and quickly sat up, hoping to stop the burning. (Why now!?)
Noticing this, Aisha put her hand on his shoulder. “What’s wrong? You heard the doctors; you shouldn’t be sitting up in your state.”
“It hurts,” Tommy whispered weakly. “My chest...hurts...” Adam was about to run out into the hall to find a doctor, when the White Ranger raised his hand to stop him. “It isn’t that bad, Adam.”
Adam shook his head. “If you’re in pain, we should get the doctors to give you something.” (How can he say that it isn’t that bad!? I can’t believe that this is still happening to him!)
“Really, Adam, it’s getting better,” Tommy told him. Lying back down, he wiped the sweat from his brow before saying, “So, what’s been happening since I was...missing?”
Aisha smiled. “Well, two of the people in this room are going out.”
Tommy looked at the three curiously before grinning. “Adam, Aisha, congratulations. I think you’ll be great together.”
Rocky pouted from the other side of the room. “How did you know it was them? Why not Aisha and me?”
“I guess you and Adam was out from the start, Man,” Tommy told him flippantly. “Besides, you have Cassandra, or have things changed?” Rocky shook his head and, becoming self-conscious, he turned away. Frowning, Tommy looked back at Aisha and Adam who were beginning to inch towards the door. “Leaving me alone, eh?”
Adam shrugged. “We know how much you need your rest, Tommy. The doctors said not to stay in here more than a little bit, but we’ll be back tomorrow.” Tommy nodded, and watched as the two left.
Rocky glanced at him for a moment before turning to leave as the others had, but he stopped abruptly when he heard Tommy call him. Looking back at him, Rocky moved to his side. “Is something wrong?”
“I, um, I kinda wanted to talk to you, Rocky,” Tommy told him. “Would you mind coming alone tomorrow?”
Swallowing hard, Rocky shook his head. “I don’t mind. Um, I’ll be here after school.” Tommy smiled and watched as he left the room. (At least I’ll find out what’s bugging him.)
Aisha, Rocky, and Adam had just left Tommy’s room when both Jeff and Billy entered at the same time. The two regarded each other with annoyance before turning to Tommy who seemed to just be dozing off. Seeing the two enter, he rubbed his eyes. “Hey, guys. What’s going on?”
“We’re just making sure you’re all right,” Billy said as he did his best to regain his composure. “How’s life in here?”
“Well, I just learned that Adam and Aisha are a couple,” Tommy told them with a smile. “Besides that, it’s been pretty boring.”
Jeff stuck his hands in his pockets before muttering, “Billy, could you leave us alone for a second? I want to talk to Tommy for a little bit.”
Billy shook his head. “I want to talk to him alone, too. You leave.”
“No, you leave. I got here first,” Jeff growled.
Billy scoffed. “You did not! I entered this facility a few minutes before you did!”
Jeff smirked. “Yeah, but I got to the room first.”
Tommy groaned. “This isn’t helping my headache.” (Why do I sound like Rita all of a sudden?) “I’m sure you can trust each other to keep secret whatever you were going to tell me in private, so go ahead.”
Jeff quieted before glancing at one of his best friends. (Damn it, he looks so weak now...so pale...shit, what if Billy was right about Tommy never trusting me or anything?) “Fine. Tommy, I need to know something: did you ever like me?”
(Oh boy.) “In what way, Jeff?”
Smirking at this, Jeff replied, “As friends. Did you ever like me, or did you just hang out with me because I was popular?”
Tommy frowned as he heard the question. “Where did that come from, Man? We’re good friends, Jeff. Of course I liked you...well, tolerated you...” Seeing Jeff’s face fall, Tommy sighed. “I was kidding.”
Billy lowered his eyes. “I was kinda wondering the same thing, Tommy. Did you just hang out with me because I could help you with your grades and because I was friends with Kim and the rest of the group?”
“I don’t understand where you guys are getting all this from,” Tommy admitted, “but Jeff, you’re my buddy, and Billy, you’ve been a close friend of mine since I moved to Angel Grove. We’re best friends, literally. Why would either of you think that I...I don’t get it!”
Jeff sighed. “Yeah, well, it was my fault with Billy. I got him on that track of thought.”
Billy nodded. “I got Jeff thinking that, too. Look, Jeff, I know we’re probably never going to be close, but I would hope that we could at least respect each other.”
“Of course, Man,” Jeff said. “I’m glad we cleared that one up.”
Tommy shrugged. “Look, and all I had to do was open up completely and get all mushy about our friendships.”
“Thanks, Tommy,” Jeff said. “Everyone really missed you while you were gone.”
“Yeah, well, you better watch out,” Tommy voiced, “because now I’m back. Well, in a few months, anyway.”
(Yep, and we’re going to have to keep you away from the ranger business for a few more months after that so that nothing like this happens ever again.) “That’s good to hear, Tommy.”
Tommy nodded. “Yeah, you’re going to have a hard time getting rid of me.” (Yep, I’ll be back at school in a month...back rangering in two weeks...I’m already expecting large speeches from Zordon about my conduct. This is going to be a load of fun.)
Rocky stepped into Tommy’s room the next day, and shifted uncomfortably as he found the White Ranger staring right at him. “Um, you wanted to see me alone?” (I don’t want this to be so weird...having us together alone, but after I screwed up with the Soul Stealer and Tommy giving himself for us...how can I face him?)
“I don’t want to make this seem like a meeting or anything,” Tommy told him with a weak smile. Rubbing his temple as a headache assaulted him, he motioned for Rocky to sit down next to him, which he did quickly and stiffly. “Rocky, I want to know what’s wrong.”
“What do you mean? Nothing is wrong,” Rocky lied. Seeing Tommy eye him dubiously, he frowned. “How can you just talk to me as if nothing has happened in the past month!?” As Tommy opened his mouth to speak, Rocky cut him off. “Yes, you’re in a hospital. Obviously things are different, but with all of us! You shouldn’t be talking to me! I...I let you down, damn it! Why can’t you be angry with me for once!?”
Tommy shook his head. “Rocky, I’m not mad at you because there’s nothing to be mad at you about!” (So, Rocky has be guilty about my decision? Why does that not make sense?)
Rocky stood and walked to the end of Tommy’s bed before exclaiming, “How can you say that!? Damn it, how can you be so ‘oh, everything is perfect’ when it comes to things like this!? I mean, this isn’t the first time that you’ve let me slide for something stupid, and a month ago...what I did...it just takes the cake over everything else I’ve ever done to get you and the others into some mess! Just for once, I’d love to have you scream at me like I’ve deserved ever since I’ve been a ranger! Hell, I don’t know why I’m still alive now! God knows I’m stupider than anyone on this team--”
“How the hell can you say that!? Rocky, I don’t blame you for what happened with the Soul Stealer, all right!? I made my decision! Believe me, I have faith in you and your abilities, and if I thought there was any way out for you guys then I wouldn’t have done what I did because I know that you could have figured it out!
“Do you remember when I would become guilty about every single thing I did wrong!? Damn it, don’t be like me, because you’ll end up destroying yourself! When I was up there...the only person I blamed for my being taken was myself. Why was I so stupid that I couldn’t figure a way out of what I had gotten myself into!? How could I have not seen Billy be taken away by the tengas!? What would I have done if...if...” Taking in a deep breath, Tommy buried his face in his hands before whispering, “What would I have done if in the Dark Dimension they would have killed all of you? How would I have lived with myself?”
Rocky just stared at him in shock for a moment. (I don’t believe it. All this time I thought it was my fault, and that no one else felt remorse, and now I learn that Tommy has been beating up himself over what happened this whole month, and he’s been all alone!) “Tommy, it wasn’t your fault.”
Tommy nodded and glanced at him. “It wasn’t yours, either.”
“I know,” Rocky said, and he was surprised by the honesty of his words. Now, he didn’t blame himself for what had happened. There was no way either of them could have prevented the outcome from happening. “This whole month I thought you were up there cursing me and wondering why you had left me in charge.”
“This whole month I thought all of you were wondering how I could be dumb enough not to be able to find a way to escape,” Tommy told him.
Rocky shook his head. “No way, Man. I mean, we thought you had died up there.”
Tommy nodded. “Luckily that wasn’t true.” (I can’t believe I’m here...and I’m alive...)
“Well, I should be going,” Rocky told him. “Cassandra and I are going to head over to the Youth Center. I think she has some complaining to do about her test grades.”
“Hey, bring me a shake, Rocky,” Tommy said. “You have no idea how horrible it is to have to eat through some tubes in your body.”
Rocky smiled. “Wait until the tubes are out, and we’ll talk.” Grinning, he left the room.
Meanwhile, the monsters had just returned to the moon, and Zedd was as gleeful as a child on Earth. “Well, Tommy’s strength is still not fully restored. Let’s attack now!”
Rita began to nod, but, closing her eyes, she couldn’t help but remember the time when Tommy had still been around when they were on Mandel. Rita had been gazing at the planet while he had been sitting in a corner of the room reading something. She had walked over to him and tried to look at what the literature was, but it was difficult since he was in such an odd position. Finally, she had just questioned, “What is that?”
“Shakespeare,” He had responded. “It’s what we would have been covering now in English.”
Licking her lips, Rita had watched him read for a little longer before inquiring, “What makes Shakespeare so different from other literature?”
At this question, Tommy had glanced up at her before shrugging. “His works, some humorous and some dramatic, are all incredible. The characters he creates are phenomenal, and the usage of words...it’s amazing.”
“Which work are you reading now?” Rita had asked, not exactly sure why she had taken an interest in the conversation.
Tommy held the book up to her before answering, “Romeo and Juliet. A lot of people consider it his most famous piece of work. You know, it’s a story of forbidden love, and how two people got together despite their feuding families.” Apparently finding his words somewhat strange, he had turned away and folded his arms in his lap.
Reading one of the pages, Rita had shrugged. “It seems like paper and meanless words to me.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand it,” Tommy had said, and, knowing that he would receive some punishment for the bitterness of his words, his body tensed as he waited for whatever Rita would do to him. He took the book shakily from her and tried to focus his attention back on his reading.
Instead of striking him as she had done many times before, Rita had just watched him with interest. Finally, she had mumbled, “I feel emotion, but words don’t interest me.”
Tommy had smiled. “I guess you’re luckier than humans in a lot of ways. Then again, I pity you, too.” Reading on, he gazed up at her once before saying, “Don’t you ever wish that you had the chance to really live?” At her puzzled expression, he had sighed. “Never mind.” Standing, he had taken the book and left the room leaving her to ponder what he had just said.
Scorpina, when hearing Zedd’s words, slunk back against the far wall of the throne room before glancing down at the floor. There, she could faintly remember the time when Tommy had been walking around in a daze around the palace. She had bumped into him, and he had muttered an apology before continuing on.
Interested in what he was doing, Scorpina had followed him through the hallways until he reached the small area between the dining room and the throne room. There, he had taken in a few shaky breaths before falling to his knees and beginning to cry. Running to his side, Scorpina had held him in her arms and tried her best to comfort him as he sobbed into her shoulder. After a few moments, she had asked him what was wrong, and he had quietly replied, “I want to go home.”
Scorpina had never been sure exactly why the words had impacted her so much but now, as she thought of Zedd attacking Tommy while he was still weak, she couldn’t help but feel spite for him. When they had been here before taking Tommy up, they had still fought fair. The rangers had always had a chance to defend themselves, but if they were too weak to fight, Zedd and Rita had always taken a break...a second/third/fourth honeymoon or a power charge. They had never attacked a ranger when he was down before a fight unless they had done something to make him or her weak in the first place, but Tommy was weak because of conditions they didn’t cause, therefore she didn’t think it was right that they attack Tommy before he had regained his strength.
Goldar, meanwhile, couldn’t get the picture of Tommy giving into him out of his mind. At the time, it had felt so good, but now the face of the White Ranger haunted him every time that he closed his eyes. He could still see Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger that he had envied and the White Ranger that he had hated more than anything or anyone else, kneeling before him with a look of utter helplessness, and saying the words that he never thought he would hear. “You are my superior, Goldar, and I wish I could be more like you.”
Finster sighed and closed his eyes, thinking of that one night that he had gone to search for the White Ranger after dinner. He had found Tommy in the throne room using Rita’s telescope to look out at Mandel. “If she catches you using the Repulsascope, you are going to get a real beating,” Finster had said.
Startled, Tommy had jumped back but, seeing who it was, he sighed. “I was curious.”
“Curiosity kills the cat,” Finster observed, “or, in your case, curiosity kills the tiger.”
“I miss home,” Tommy had said out of the blue. “You know, I wonder what the others are doing now.”
Finster had sighed. “I was taken from my home world when I was about your age. Not by Rita, though. At that time I was sent to fight for my planet. Since then, I haven’t been back, but I know those that I remember are dead. The whole planet was destroyed in my absence.”
Obviously not knowing how to respond, Tommy had stammered, “Um, I’m sorry. Who did you hear it from?”
“I knew when Serpenterra went past it, and it wasn’t there. After that, I questioned Rita, and she told me it had been destroyed by the Machine Empire.”
“Machine Empire?” Tommy had asked, apparently never having heard of them.
Finster had nodded. “Yes. Don’t worry about that happening to Earth, though. My people are not a good race to make slaves of. Earthlings are. Most beings would spare the Earth so that the inhabitants could be made slaves.”
“That’s a much better thought than annihilation,” Tommy had said with a smirk.
Sighing, Finster had put a hand on Tommy’s back before saying, “You will get home. I promise you that.” Tommy had turned back to him, the pain evident in his eyes, and yet he said nothing. That look...it reminded him so much of himself at that age.
Zedd, seeing the doubt on his comrades’ faces, growled. “Fine! Let the White Ranger get well, but when he does, I promise you that you will regret having done so!” With that, he stormed out of the room in a rage leaving the others to look at each other in understanding.
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver sat hand in hand inside of Tommy’s hospital room. They glanced briefly at his two friends, Kim and Cassandra, before turning back to Dr. Soloman and another man, a hypnotist named Mr. Brad Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler smiled at Tommy who was shivering lightly. “Don’t be nervous, Son. I’m not even going to start with a trance, because I’m not sure if it’s really necessary. Instead, I’m just going to speak to you and have you answer a few questions for me.”
Mrs. Oliver leaned towards him shakily. “Are you sure he’s ready for this? I mean, he’s only been back a week, and Dr. Soloman has said that Tommy isn’t even close to being fully recovered from his energy loss yet.”
“This may be a way to find out how to help him,” Mr. Wheeler told her. Turning back to Tommy, he smiled. “Now, I kinda lied to you, Son. See, what I’m going to do is somewhat like a trance, but it isn’t a full-trance. You’ll be relaxed, but it will be easier to pull you out if something goes wrong.” Tommy nodded.
Watching him, Kim frowned. She knew that the day before, Zordon had found a way to alter his thought process so that when he was under the trance it would still seem as if he didn’t remember anything about the incident, but she still didn’t like the idea of him being hypnotized so soon. What if something went wrong and Mr. Wheeler couldn’t pull him out of the trance in time?
“All right, Tommy. Close your eyes. You are becoming relaxed. Listen only to the sound of my voice. Relax your hands and your feet. Loosen your arms, legs, chest, jaw...let nothing remain stiff. Can you still hear me, Tommy?”
“Yes.” His voice was calm and demonic making Kim shudder involuntarily. Glancing at her, Cassandra put her hand on Kim’s arm, knowing that this was going to be hard for her.
Mr. Wheeler smiled faintly. “All right, Tommy. We’re going back to the night you were taken by the bird creatures. It was Halloween. What’s going on?”
All of a sudden, Tommy’s breathing became pants, and his whole body tensed as he muttered, “They’re everywhere. It’s a swarm of sorts. I don’t think I can handle them by myself, but I know I have to.”
(This is so weird. I mean, it’s amazing how Zordon was able to alter his mind so that his subconscious remembers things that never took place.) “They’ve grabbed me, and I can’t get away!” Turning his head a few times, Tommy’s face became red from the strain. “The tengas, they’re taking me...I don’t know where. Now it’s just dark. I’m afraid...Kim...”
Hearing her name, Kim glanced with horror at Tommy as he seemed to reach out to someone who wasn’t there. “What if they’ve done something to her? It’ll be my fault for not protecting her! God, it’s my fault!” Kim looked at Cassandra thankfully as the blond-haired girl hugged her.
“It hurts!” Tommy hollered in agony. Turning his head as if looking for someone, he finally lowered his eyes and began to cry. “I don’t know what they’re going to do to me. God, I want to go home. Mom...Dad...” Mrs. Oliver automatically reached out to her son, but Mr. Oliver held her back. “I want to go home...Someone is hitting me again! More pain! I can’t stand! Why can’t I see who’s doing this!? Shadow...God, it’s...what is it...”
“What shadow?” Mr. Wheeler asked fiercely. “Tell us, Tommy! What shadow!?”
“I don’t know!” Tommy cried, tears still falling from his eyes. “I can’t see it! All I know is that it’s hurting me!” Clutching the bars around his bed, he whispered, “It’s, damn it, it’s...I’m tired...can’t...hurts too much...”
Noticing that his heart beat was beginning to rise, Dr. Soloman protested. “Pull him out of it. I don’t like the numbers on that machine.”
Mr. Wheeler shook his head. “We’re getting somewhere. Soon he’s going to tell us something about the Power Rangers. I can feel it.”
“You’re going to kill him if you keep this up!” Dr. Soloman yelled. “Take him out this instant!”
“This could be the biggest breakthrough we’ll ever have!” Mr. Wheeler screamed. “Just give this a chance, Doctor!”
“I want to sleep,” Tommy moaned. “Rest...they’re hurting me, and all I want to do is sleep...sleep forever...”
Mrs. Oliver stood and stepped in front of Mr. Wheeler angrily. “Pull him out! You’re going to permanently injure him if this keeps up!”
Tommy shifted a few times before hissing in pain. “Why won’t they stop!? Make them stop, Dad...Mom...make them stop! Kim...Jason...”
Hearing her name, Kim walked to Tommy’s side before glaring at Mr. Wheeler. “I’ll personally call the police if you don’t take him out of this thing right now!”
“Fine, I’m doing it!” Mr. Wheeler exclaimed with a snort. “Tommy, I want you to come back to us.”
“Dad...” Tommy whispered helplessly. Mr. Oliver walked to the side of his bed and touched his hand before waiting for Mr. Wheeler to finish.
“Tommy,” Mr. Wheeler continued. “Come back.”
Opening his eyes slowly, Tommy gazed around the room bewilderedly for a moment before closing them and passing out. Dr. Soloman glanced at the heart monitor before saying, “He needs the rest. I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
“You don’t think!?” Mrs. Oliver roared. “I think you’d better damn well find out!”
As Dr. Soloman walked out of the room, Mr. Wheeler smiled. “So, do you want to schedule a session for next week?”
Mr. Oliver walked to his side and coldly glared at him. “If you ever come near my son again someone will die. Do you understand?”
Seeing him clench his fists, Mr. Wheeler quickly grabbed his briefcase from the floor and left the room. Kim, meanwhile, watched her boyfriend with tear-filled eyes before turning to Cassandra. “I have something to do. Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Cassandra told her softly. “Kim, I just want you to know that he’s going to be fine.”
Kim nodded. “I know.” With that, she left the room. (Ok, Zordon, prepare to be really chewed out! You could have killed him!)
(A day later)
Zordon looked around the silent Command Center before frowning as he remembered the Pink Ranger’s rant the day before. (She was really upset. I feel that as long as Tommy didn’t die that the memory altering procedure was a success.)
All of a sudden, the alarms in the room began to sound sending Alpha into a frenzy of ‘Ay yi yi’s’. “Zordon, Rita and Zedd have sent down a monster made from a pickle!”
“A PICKLE!? THEY MUST BE IN AN IDEA LOW AT THE MOMENT. ALPHA, CONTACT THE RANGERS AND TELL THEM TO TELEPORT TO THE MONSTER’S LOCATION.”
“You’ve got it, Zordon,” Alpha said. “I’m contacting the rangers now.”
Tommy received the call a few minutes after the others since he had just woken up from a drug-induced sleep. “I read you.”
“Tommy, the other rangers are in the park. We need you to teleport there now!”
“You’ve got it, Alpha,” Tommy told the droid. Pulling out his morpher, he got out of his bed and steadied himself against its railing. Getting into his morphing stance, Tommy felt his knees give way and, collapsing to the ground, he groaned. “Damn it, why do I have to be so fucking weak!?” Trying to stand, he cursed as fiery pain shot through his entire body. Tommy gasped for breath before bringing his communicator to his lips. (I hate to do this, but I have to. The other rangers need help.) “Jason, come in. This is Tommy.”
Jason, from where he was in the empty locker room of the Youth Center, narrowed his eyes in concern. “Tommy, what’s wrong? You sound horrible.”
“Are you in an empty area?” Tommy gasped out. “No one is around?”
“I’m in the empty locker room in the Youth Center,” Jason said. “Tommy, what’s wrong with you? Are you all right?”
“Jason, I’m sending you my morpher. Please don’t question this, but I can’t fight. The rangers are all in the park,” Tommy panted. (I hope there won’t be any side effects of Jason getting my powers, but I really don’t have a choice here. Without the White Ranger, the others are going to be short-handed.)
Jason, receiving the device, looked down at his communicator with extreme worry. “Tommy, is the pain starting again? I could go to Zordon and--” Hearing the other side of the communication go dead, Jason looked around nervously before touching a few buttons on his communicator again. “Tommy, please respond.” There was no answer. “Tommy, this is Jason. Please come in.” (Bro, why do you insist on putting me through this!?)
Reaching the park, Jason watched as the other rangers turned to him in shock. “Tommy, why the hell did Alpha even contact you!?” Aisha cried. (I can’t believe Zordon called Tommy in! He can barely walk and Zordon expects him to fight!?)
“Get back to the hospital!” Rocky commanded. “You could really injure yourself out here.”
Adam nodded. “Yeah, Tommy. We can handle this guy. He’s a pickle monster, damn it!”
“Guys,” Jason told them, “it’s me. Tommy sent me his communicator because he knew he wouldn’t be able to fight today.”
Kim breathed a sigh of relief before saying, “Well, then, let’s kill this guy and use his remains on hamburgers!” (I thought that one was pretty good, myself.)
Billy shook his head. “We really need to stop with the corny phrases. They get worse all the time.”
“Hey, Tommy’s usually the one with the bad puns,” Kim opposed. “I was just trying my hand at it.”
“All right, Rangers,” Jason said, getting into leader mode, “let’s take this guy!”
“Right!” They responded, and, with that, they attacked the overgrown pickle.
Tommy, meanwhile, was still trying to push himself up so that he could at least get back onto the bed, but his arms nor his legs weren’t helping him. “Damn it,” he whispered breathlessly, “why can’t I do this?” Shivering as the coldness of the floor began to rub off on him, he tried pulling himself up by the railing of the bed but, falling back over, he looked around in a daze before giving in to the feeling.
Ten minutes later, the door to his room opened and a nurse walked in with a cheery smile on her face. Pushing back her black hair, the Asian woman looked at the bed in confusion when she saw that Tommy wasn’t there. Glancing around, she gasped as she saw Tommy’s predicament. “Oh shit!” Walking over to the side of the bed, the nurse picked up the emergency box from where it had been on the table near the bed’s railing. “I need Dr. Soloman!” she called into it. “This is room 352. Tell him that his patient seems to be in a mild case of shock.”
Putting the device down, she walked to where Tommy was kneeling on the ground before helping him to stand and get back on the bed. Draping his covers over him, she shook her head as he grabbed them and shook near the point of convulsion. “Damn it, what happened to you?”
“Monsters,” Tommy told her weakly. “There were monsters.”
The nurse frowned with concern. “I can’t even imagine going through that. Believe me, I’m sorry that happened to you. Maybe you’ve got some sort of post-traumatic shock.” (Poor kid. I can’t even think about how big the stress must be for a person who has gotten closer to those moon monsters than even the Power Rangers have.)
“Monsters cause pain,” Tommy whispered hoarsely. “I don’t want them to hurt me anymore.”
After the fight that day, Jason teleported up to Zordon and stared at his mentor angrily. “How could you call Tommy? I mean, he sent me his morpher, but what if he had tried to fight!? He could have died!”
“AT THE TIME I DID NOT KNOW THAT THE ENERGY DRAIN HAD LEFT HIM SO WEAK THAT HE COULD NOT WALK. I THOUGHT THAT THE REASON HE WAS STILL IN THE HOSPITAL WAS THAT THE DOCTORS WANTED TO MONITOR HIM.”
“Well, I can assure that you were wrong,” Jason spat. (I still can’t believe him. Tommy sounded like he was in real pain when he contacted me today. I wonder what happened to him.) “Zordon, can you get a visual on Tommy? He didn’t sound good today when he contacted me, and he cut off our communication when I started asking him about the pain he’s been having ever since he got back.”
“ALPHA, BRING TOMMY UP ON THE VIEWING GLOBE,” Zordon commanded. (After all that Tommy’s been through...I thought it would have been over now.)
Alpha nodded. “I’m doing it now, Zordon.” Pushing a few buttons on a console, the three watched as a shot of Tommy in his hospital bed came up. Dr. Soloman was standing by his side talking to a nurse that was holding a few things in her hands.
“Do you know how long he was like that?” Dr. Soloman questioned. “Did anyone hear him fall, or did he have a flashback...?”
The nurse shrugged. “I don’t know. When I came in to check on him, I just found Tommy on the floor talking about monsters. I assume he may have been having flashbacks, but I can’t say for sure.”
“I can’t believe that,” Jason muttered. “Tommy’s having flashbacks now? Zordon, why is this occurring just because of an energy drained. This has happened to him many times before. I mean, not to this extent, but he’s never experienced this level of mental damage before.”
“JASON, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT TOMMY WAS CONFINED BY RITA, ZEDD, AND THE REST OF THEM FOR A MONTH. I DON’T KNOW WHAT EXACTLY THEY DID TO HIM, BUT THE MENTAL STRESS MUST HAVE BEEN ENORMOUS.
“SECONDLY, YOU SAID THAT TOMMY SOUNDED PAINED WHEN HE CONTACTED YOU. PERHAPS HE TRIED TO MORPH, FOUND THAT HE COULDN’T, AND FELL. SHOCK CAN EASILY CAUSE MILD HALLUCINATIONS, AND AFTER ALL THAT HE’S BEEN THROUGH LATELY...” Closing his mouth, Zordon looked back at the viewing globe where Tommy was shaking as Dr. Soloman injected him with some kind of medication.
(If only Zordon knew what I know about Tommy’s experiences. Zordon would understand if I told him about Tommy giving in to Goldar or killing all those people on Mandel.) (You can’t tell him, Jason. Tommy told you that and is trusting you not to tell anyone.) (Fine, but if this starts getting out of hand...I’m telling the truth about this.)
That night, Jackie sat in front of the TV in her living room with a carton of Breyers Ice cream. Flipping through the channels, she sighed. “I didn’t know Baywatch was still on the air.” Changing it, she sighed. “Fraiser!? I still can’t understand why that thing has won all those Emmys.” Again, Jackie changed it and smiled. “Ah, X-Files. Fun for the whole family. Well, there’s nothing else on.”
Smiling as Fox Mulder walked slowly to the other side of his office and began stomping on a trash can, Jackie watched as the broadcast went dead and this was followed by a NEWSFLASH sign. “Great. That was a Vince Gilligan episode, too.”
“Good evening,” the anchorman began. “This just in: another monster has been defeated by the Power Rangers. Today was the first time in a month that the White Ranger has appeared on the scene with the other rangers, but whoever he is, he seems to be back on the job as they all defeated the monster easily.” Turning to the anchorwoman by his side, he smiled. “Joan?”
“Thanks, Michael,” Joan said. “Anyway, this monster seems to have been, pardon my language, quite lame. It was a giant pickle. Here’s some footage we received after the attack.”
Jackie continued to stare in awe at the TV as a shot of all six Power Rangers came up. When they were fighting, she couldn’t even begin to identify the battle cries of the White Ranger. “That can’t be Tommy. Dad said he had some kind of flashback episode today that put him in shock the whole afternoon. Well, if he’s not the White Ranger, then who is?”
(A week later)
“Tommy, are you sure you’re ready for this. Yes, you have been improving according to the charts, but this is going to hurt.”
“I can’t keep avoiding it forever.” Looking Dr. Solomon straight in the eye, Tommy nodded. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
Dr. Solomon shook his head, unable not to admire his strength. “Now, see if you can stand from the wheelchair.”
Tommy looked at the arms of his wheelchair nervously before pushing himself up. Immediately, he felt his arms burn, but he forced them to continue until he was in a full upright position. Dr. Solomon smiled. “Good. Now, go slowly, but see if you can walk from where you are to where I am.”
(I hate this. Walking never used to take any effort for me.) Taking in a shaky breath, Tommy took a wobbly step over. His feet stung like a million needles were poking into them, but he knew that he wanted to be able to walk again, and this is what it was going to take. (Come on, Tommy. Focus. First the right foot and then the left...) Taking another step, his legs refused to support him, and he fell over onto the grass beneath him.
(Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to do this in the park) Dr. Solomon told himself as he ran to Tommy’s aid. (Other people might see him here. Still, he hasn’t been out in so long...I figured the fresh air would be good for him.) “Are you all right?”
“Yeah,” Tommy told him breathlessly. “Go back over there. I want to try again.”
“Are you sure?” At his nod, Dr. Solomon helped him to his feet before walking back towards the place where he had been standing before. Turning around, he motioned for Tommy to walk to him.
(You can do this. Step...shit, it hurts.) Tommy took another step before wincing as pain went through his legs. At Dr. Solomon’s concerned expression, he smiled faintly. “I’m fine.” Putting weight on his left foot, he tumbled to his feet again. “Damn it.”
As Dr. Solomon ran to his side again, he buried his face in his hands. “I can’t do it.”
“You told me yourself that you were ready,” Dr. Solomon said. “Besides, I know that you are. You can do this, Tommy. I know you can.”
“No, I can’t,” Tommy whispered, his voice quavering. “It would have been better for me to just die.”
“Don’t say that,” a voice from behind them said. Turning around, Tommy was shocked to find that Kim was standing there with Rocky and Aisha. As her boyfriend turned a deep shade of red, Kim frowned at him. “Tommy, don’t you know that I would have died if you would have!? How can you be so selfish!? I thought you loved me!”
Tommy stared at her guiltily. “Kim, I--”
Kim shook her head. “Maybe I was wrong to wait for you to come back. If I had known you were going to be like this, maybe I would have...moved on. You probably don’t even love me, do you?”
Seeing Tommy’s anguished expression, Rocky leaned towards her. “Kim, this isn’t a very good--”
“No, Rocky. If he loved me, he would walk over here,” Kim stated, “but I guess he doesn’t. He won’t even try.”
“Kim, he can’t,” Aisha told her softly. “If he could, he would, but he can’t.”
She sighed and lowered her eyes. “He’s always been able to do what no one thought he was capable of, and yet he won’t do this. If Tommy loved me, he would at least try to walk over here.” Raising her eyes again, she gasped as she saw that Dr. Solomon had helped Tommy to stand, and that he was now starting to step cautiously towards her.
“Tommy, you don’t have to do this,” Rocky told him quickly. (What was Kim thinking? If he pushes himself too hard...well, the results wouldn’t be that good.)
Instead of stopping, Tommy continued to move towards, his watering eyes remaining locked with Kim’s. Pausing for a moment, he took in a deep breath before whispering to himself, “Keep going...just a little further.”
“Tommy...” Kim murmured softly as she continued watching him. At one point, he winced and wavered slightly, but he didn’t fall. (Damn it, what have I done?)
After a few more minutes, he was right in front of her and, touching her hand, Tommy fell to his knees. He kissed her hand faintly before muttering, “You’d be right not to love me. I don’t deserve you.”
Kim knelt by him and touched his cheek gingerly. “Tommy, I love you. I always have, and I always will.” Wiping a lone tear away from his eye, she kissed him tenderly on the forehead before raising his head and kissing him gently on the lips. At first, he seemed hesitant...or frightened...by the gesture, but this quickly passed, and he returned the kiss lovingly.
“I love you too, Kim,” Tommy told her, breathing heavily. “You have no idea how much I wanted to die up there when I couldn’t be with you.”
Aisha glanced at Rocky, still amazed by what she had just seen, before grabbing his arm and pulling him away. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “That is what love is all about.”
(The next day)
Finster walked into the throne room where Rita, Zedd, Scorpina, and Goldar were awaiting him. “I have it.” Showing them the large needle in his hands with a green liquid inside of it, he smiled. “This will do the job.”
“Finally,” Zedd muttered, “no more worrying about that confounded weakling. Once this is done, we can proceed with our conquest of Earth without him being in the way.”
“Goldar and Scorpina,” Rita said, “you will go down to Earth. Right now, Tommy is trying to relearn how to walk or something of that nature. Inject that into him, and our problems will be solved.”
Goldar nodded. “We are honored to serve you.” With that, the two teleported away.
After they had gone, Zedd turned to Rita and sighed. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Trust me,” Rita merely told him. (This is all going according to my plan. Zedd will see. After this is done, we will no longer have to worry about Tommy.)
“You’re doing good,” Dr. Solomon told Tommy as he walked slowly towards him. “Keep coming.”
Reaching him, Tommy used Dr. Solomon to support his weight before smiling. “I have a feeling that in a few months I’m going to be back in the Youth Center relearning some karate moves. Maybe in a year I can start doing competitions again!”
“We’ll see,” Dr. Solomon told him, a false frown on his face. As Tommy’s face fell, he grinned. “Of course you’ll be at the competitions in a year, Tommy. If you train really hard, maybe you’ll be there before that.” Pushing his brown hair away from his face, he patted Tommy’s back. “Now, should we get back to work?”
Before Tommy could answer, the two heard an evil laugh from behind them. Turning around, Tommy gasped. “Not now.”
“Happy to see us?” Scorpina questioned. At Dr. Solomon’s horrified expression, she smiled. “Perhaps you’ll have some questions, Doctor. We were the ones that kidnapped Tommy, and now we’ve come to finish what we began.” As Goldar held up the needle Finster had given him, she cackled.
Not knowing what else to do, Dr. Solomon stepped in front of Tommy. “Stay away from him.”
“You!?” Goldar snickered. “I doubt you’ll be able to do much good, Doctor. Tengas!” As the overgrown birds surrounded them, Goldar smiled. “Restrain the Earthling and Tommy. They are not to get away.”
Dr. Solomon could do nothing but try to pull away as a group of tengas grabbed him and dragged him away from Tommy so that he was completely vulnerable. “Haven’t you done enough to him already!?” He yelled.
Instead of answering, Scorpina pointed towards Tommy. At her command, the tengas circled around him before attacking. Tommy kicked fiercely at one of them, sending it tumbling over. As burning pain went through his chest, he took in a few deep breaths before punching another tenga with all his might. Goldar watched this calmly before taking a few steps towards him. “It used to be so easy for you to defeat them, Tommy.”
Kicking at another tenga, Tommy rubbed his temple dizzily before falling to his knees. He felt the tengas grab his arms, shutting down any hope of his escape. Just as he was about to inject Tommy with the needle, he turned around to find that the rangers had assembled behind him. “Let him go!” Jason commanded. “Haven’t you done enough to him, Goldar!?”
“This could all be so simple, White Ranger,” Goldar said, “if you would just let me do what we have been commanded to.”
“Not a chance, Goldar!” Kim screamed.
Rocky nodded. “Get him!”
Throwing the needle to Scorpina, Goldar sighed. “If you insist. Tengas, attack the rangers!”
Adam flipped over a few tengas before kicking a few of them. Looking over the heads of a few, he found that Scorpina was moving closer to Tommy with the needle. “We have to stop her!” Before he could move towards her position, however, a group of tengas jumped on top of him.
Kim shot a few of the tengas with her laser pistol before having it knocked away by a tenga. Being kicked to the ground, she gasped as Scorpina moved closer Tommy with an eerie smile on her face. “Someone stop her!”
“I’ll get him!” Aisha yelled. Pulling out her Power Daggers, she slashed at a few of the tengas before running towards Scorpina. Before she could reach her, however, five tengas grabbed her and held her back. “Billy! Stop Scorpina!”
“I can’t get to him!” Billy hollered before kicking at a few tengas coming his way. As a tenga grabbed his arms and two more punched him in the chest, he coughed before looking to where the tengas had just dropped Tommy to the ground. Scorpina was looking down at him and was beginning to lower the needle towards his arm. “Jason!”
“I’ve got her!” Jason told him. Running towards Scorpina, he stopped abruptly as Goldar stepped in front of him. As the space ape struck him with his sword, Jason tumbled painfully to the ground. Pulling out Saba, he looked around for Rocky. “Rocky! You have to stop her!”
Rocky shook his head as Scorpina stuck the needle into Tommy’s arm and injected the fluid within it into him. “It’s too late, but I’ll stop her!” Flipping over a few tengas, he ran towards Scorpina only to watch her teleport away. “Damn it!” Reaching Tommy’s side, he looked down at him only to find that he was no longer conscious and his breathing had slowed. “Tommy, talk to me! Come on, Man!”
Goldar knocked Saba out of Jason’s hand before kicking him to the ground. Stepping back a few steps, he laughed. “We will meet again, Rangers.” With that, he teleported away with the tengas.
“Shit,” Jason breathed. (I hope Scorpina didn’t get to Tommy in time.)
Turning around, he frowned as Saba called to him. “I understand that you’re substituting for Tommy, Jason, but you should know that I don’t enjoy being stuck in the mud.”
He sighed. “Sorry, Saba.” Pulling the enchanted saber from where it had been sticking out of the ground, he ran along with the others to Tommy’s side. Dr. Solomon merely watched them in awe.
“Tommy, can you hear me?” Kim asked hopefully. When she got no reply, she shook her head, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “Please, Tommy...”
All of a sudden, Tommy’s body tensed, and he moaned in agony before crying out, “No! Jason! Not me! Jason!”
Caught off guard by this, Jason looked down at him with worry. “Tommy, I’m here. Calm down, Bro.” All of a sudden, he began to feel weak. Swaying slightly, Jason watched as the White Ranger Costume disintegrated, leaving him unmorphed.
“What the hell just happened?” Rocky inquired with surprise. “Jason, why did you unmorph?”
“I don’t know,” Jason replied. All of a sudden, the rangers watched as Tommy glowed with White Light for a few moments before morphing leaving him in the White Ranger Armor. His helmet, however, remained by his side and not on him at it usually would be.
Shaking his head, Tommy curled up and whispered, “Jason is the better leader. I’ve never been able to equal him; I don’t deserve the power. Leave it with Jason. Take it back. Jason, take it back.” Hearing him, Jason lowered his eyes but said nothing.
Aisha gasped. “I don’t believe this. His powers returned to him after Scorpina injected that stuff into him.”
“Could it be that Rita and Zedd fabricated a concoction that would return Tommy’s ranger energies to him?” Billy wondered aloud. “What purpose would they have in doing that?”
“That’s simple,” Adam voiced. “Zordon said that Zedd and Rita are beings that feel remorse. No matter how badly they wanted to destroy Tommy and the rest of us, they felt that they couldn’t do that if we all weren’t at full strength. They knew that this was their fault, and so they wanted to right things between all of us by returning Tommy’s powers. Then, things will be back to normal and they’ll attack us as if nothing happened.”
Kim shook her head. “They attacked us before, Adam. Remember that pickle monster?”
Adam nodded. “I remember it, but you don’t understand. Rita and Zedd had the opportunity to kill Tommy if they wanted to, and yet they didn’t. During the first attack they didn’t go after Tommy at all. There was nothing to stop them from hurting us, but with Tommy they still felt some sort of guilt. Yes, I know that they’re evil, but even they have to feel some kind of regret sometimes.”
“That makes sense, Adam,” Aisha said. “So they made that green stuff to give Tommy his powers back so that the next time they attack, he’ll be able to fight therefore lifting the guilt from their shoulders.”
Jason frowned. “Tommy could have had his morphing capabilities if he wanted them. I had his Power Coin. All he had to do to get his powers would have been to ask for it back.”
“I’ll bet you that when he comes to that Tommy will be able to walk and do everything else as he normally would,” Adam mumbled. At Jason’s unbelieving expression, he sighed. “Yes, he had his morphing capabilities, but did he have his physical energy? No, and I think that’s what Rita and Zedd gave him.”
Rocky shook his head. “That makes no sense. Why didn’t they give him this potion before when he was losing his powers to the shadow?”
“The shadow must have had some divine energy that stopped Rita and Zedd from reversing the energy drain,” Billy speculated. “Zordon did say that the shadow was stronger than Rita and Zedd.”
Aisha nodded. “Yeah, well, we should get Tommy back to the Command Center.”
At that moment, the five turned around and watched as Dr. Solomon, who had been listening in on their conversation, walked over to them. “All right. I want answers. Tommy is a Power Ranger?”
“I guess we have some explaining to do,” Jason muttered. Standing, the Rangers helped Tommy to stand before grabbing onto Dr. Solomon and teleporting to the Command Center.
Looking around, Dr. Solomon began to feel weak as he saw a large head floating in some kind of a giant tube-like structure. “GREETINGS, DR. SOLOMAN. I AM ZORDON; THE RANGER’S MENTOR. WELCOME TO OUR COMMAND CENTER.”
“What the hell is going on?” Dr. Solomon questioned silently.
Unmorphing, the rangers all looked at him and smiled as recognition appeared on his face. “Just in case you don’t remember us, I’m Adam Park, the Black Ranger.”
“I’m Kimberly Hart, the Pink Ranger.”
“I’m Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger.”
“I’m Aisha Campbell, the Yellow Ranger.”
“I’m Rocky DeSantos, the Red Ranger.”
“I’m Jason Scott, and I was filling in for our White Ranger, Tommy Oliver, who had his energy drained by evil forces.” Putting his hand on Dr. Solomon’s shoulder, Jason smiled. “We owe you a lot for watching over Tommy like you did.”
Dr. Solomon shook his head. “I don’t understand...the hypnosis...”
“Staged,” Kim told him. “We couldn’t have everyone finding out that Tommy was a Power Ranger, so Billy and Zordon came up with a thought-altering device that would cause changes in his subconscious if put under a trance.” As he stared at her in disbelief, she smiled. “We have a lot of technology that the people back home couldn’t dream of.”
“So, Tommy’s family doesn’t even know that he’s a ranger?” This was becoming too much for him to handle. This whole time he had been watching over the White Ranger, and now he was in their command center and had just spoken to a floating head.
“No, they don’t,” Rocky told him. “We can’t have people finding out who we are, as Kim said. Dr. Solomon, we’re trusting you with this information because Tommy will still need your help, both as a ranger and as a normal patient.”
Adam nodded. “Even if he has his energy back, he’s going to need to regain his full strength, and his rapid improvement is going to need to be explained to the Olivers and the hospital staff. Besides, during that last battle I think you heard all of our names, and you identified Jason. We need to know that you’ll keep this information private. We’re counting on you, Doctor.”
“You know I will,” Dr. Solomon said.
At that moment, Tommy began to stir, and the others were quickly by his side. “Hey, Tommy, are you ok?” Aisha asked.
Glancing up at her, Tommy nodded. “Yeah. Right now I just feel a little dizzy.”
“Stand up for me,” Dr. Solomon instructed.
Noticing him, Tommy’s eyes widened. “What are you doing here?” (Please don’t say that Dr. Solomon was some helpful alien in disguise.)
“Don’t worry, Bro,” Jason told him. “We can trust Dr. Solomon with our identities.”
Nodding, Tommy stood with barely any problems. Dr. Solomon smiled. “Now, walk to the other side of the room.”
Doing so easily, Tommy gazed at the others in shock before exclaiming, “I don’t believe it! Guys, I’m back!” Unmorphing, he smiled. “It feels good to be able to stand again.”
As the others glanced at Jason, he cleared his throat. “Um, we need to talk.”
“What about?” Tommy asked curiously. “Is something wrong?” (Why did he get so serious all of a sudden?)
“Teleport to the park,” Jason instructed. The other rangers and Dr. Solomon just watched as they both left the Command Center.
Alpha looked up at Zordon. “Should I set the viewing globe for their location?”
“LET THEM BE, ALPHA. I THINK I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS JASON WISHES TO SAY, AND EVEN IF I DON’T, THEY NEED THE TIME TO TALK.”
Reaching the park, Tommy grinned at his best friend. “I can’t believe that it was so hard to just walk before. The monsters saved me. That’s incredible.”
“That’s what I want to talk to you about, Bro,” Jason admitted. As Tommy looked at him silently, Jason took that as a cue to continue. “Do you remember what you said when you had just gotten your powers back?” Tommy shook his head, still not saying anything. “I’ll give you a summary of what you said,” Jason told him. “You said something along the lines of that I was the better leader, you didn’t deserve the power, and that I should take the White Ranger energy back.”
Hearing this, Tommy turned away from him and looked up at the sky. “You can’t criticize me for what I feel to be the truth.”
Jason’s eyes widened at this. “Truth!? How can you say that you don’t deserve the power!?”
“I’d be happy if you took the White Ranger powers back, Jason,” Tommy said softly. “You are the better leader. I mean, I told you what I did on Mandel and what happened between Goldar and me. Before that, I destroyed many things as the Green Ranger. Have you ever done that?”
Tommy sighed. “Have you ever hit your mother?”
Jason’s jaw dropped at this. “You hit your mom?”
“When I was the Green Ranger,” Tommy explained. “Have you--”
“Have you ever destroyed the zords?” Jason questioned.
Tommy shook his head. “No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did sooner or later--”
“Have you ever been kicked out of your house?”
“What!?” Tommy stared at him. “When were you kicked out of your house!?”
Jason sighed. “When you were evil I, um, I started getting a little upset. I cursed out my dad, and he kicked me out. Now I’m back in, but at the time...I had to stay at Zack’s.”
Tommy chuckled weakly. “Have you ever gotten your best friend kicked out of his house?”
“Shit, Tommy, can’t you see that we’ve both done things wrong!? That’s one of the drawbacks of being the leader. If you make mistakes you can impact the team. I’ve done it, and I’m sure you’ve done it. If Adam became the leader he would screw up, and so would Rocky, Kim, Aisha...even Billy! We’re human, and we make mistakes.
“The thing with Mandel...they would have killed you if you hadn’t gone, and with Goldar you weren’t thinking straight. Who would have been after being inside of an evil empire for a month? You’ve been back for a few weeks now. Can’t you see how much everyone missed you, and how glad everyone is that you’ve gotten better? I was just your substitute. They want you back, now,” Jason told him.
Tommy shrugged. “When you went off to the Peace Conference, I always thought that I was just going to be your substitute. I mean, when Zordon made me the leader I was glad, but I couldn’t help but remember all the horrible things I had done as the Green Ranger. It didn’t seem right that I was the leader. You had all the experience. For those first couple of battles I had to remind myself that everyone was counting on me. I’d think ‘ok, I’m in a jam. Let’s ask Jason what to do...no, wait, you’re the leader, and he’s counting on you’. Then, when you guys left, I felt like I was all alone.”
Jason smiled. “Come on, Bro. If the others hate you so much, don’t you think you would be off the team, or they would have made someone else leader? Rocky told me that he talked to you. He made mistakes when he was leader. We all do, but that doesn’t mean you should run from the responsibility by giving me the power, because you know what? You’ll be miserable.”
“I’d move on,” Tommy opposed.
Shaking his head, Jason continued. “You’d be miserable. It’s all right to admit that you love being a ranger. I did, too, when I started out, but the Peace Conference became more important to me. Honestly, I don’t think you would have gone if given the opportunity.”
Tommy sighed. “Of course I would have. It was a great opportunity.”
“Maybe, but you would have been such a wreck wondering how the rangers were. Yes, I did, too, but I could still function,” Jason said. “You...I wouldn’t want to see you away from the rangers.”
“You make it sound so horrible,” Tommy murmured.
Jason shrugged. “You know I don’t mean it to sound that way.” He grinned. “So, in other words, I’m leaving for the Peace Conference tomorrow, and so I’m not going to take the power back. If you got on your knees and begged, I wouldn’t take it back, though it would be interesting to see you try to make me.”
Tommy just glanced at him for a little while. Finally, he smiled and embraced his best friend. “I’m going to miss you a hell of a lot, though.”
“Likewise,” Jason told him, “but you guys will survive without me.”
Pulling away, Tommy shrugged. “Well, until you and the others come back, anyway.”
Jason sighed. “Yeah, well, I should pack. I’ll contact you before I teleport back tomorrow morning, though.”
“If you don’t, I’ll teleport to the Peace Conference and kill you.” Realizing how dumb that sounded, the two chuckled before smiling at each other and walking in separate directions back to the places they were staying.
The next day, Tommy walked into the Youth Center and was greeted by his girlfriend who kissed him passionately before pulling away and smiling. “It is great to see you back on your feet, Tommy.”
“Believe me, it’s great to be back on my feet,” Tommy told her. He frowned faintly. “Jason left this morning.”
“Is he going to be all right?” Kim questioned. She knew that the two had been together for quite awhile the day before.
Tommy nodded. “Yeah, he’ll be fine, and I think I’ll be ok, too. Well, as long as you don’t mind that I’m probably going to screw up a lot during our battles.”
Kim smiled. “We all do, and you know it.” Leading him over to the table where the others were sitting, they sat down and began conversing with them.
Ernie, who had been standing behind the counter of the Juice Bar, walked up to Tommy and looked at him for a few moments before saying, “It’s great to see you back, Tommy.”
“It’s great to be back,” Tommy told him with a smile.
“What the hell? I’ll get your favorite shake, and it’s on the house,” Ernie told him. Tommy offered his thanks, and the stout man returned to the kitchen to begin making the shake.
Rocky grinned. “Well, I think it’s safe to say that things are back to normal around here, and I’m sure glad they are.”
Billy nodded. “Definitely. Tommy, I know I’ve said it quite a few times already, but it’s great to have you back on Earth.”
“Yeah, let’s hope we all are here to stay,” Aisha said. (I’ve never been happier than I am at this moment. Tommy’s back, I have Adam with me, and we’re all like one big happy family again.)
“Oh, I’m sorry that I didn’t get here earlier,” Tommy told them, “but Dr. Solomon wanted to work with me today.”
“Is everything all right?” Adam questioned.
Tommy nodded. “Yeah, everything is fine. He just had me do a few katas so that he could see if I had any energy flaws. I had to morph a few times, and he monitored my power, and it seems like everything is back to normal.”
“That’s great,” Kim told him. As he put his arm around her, she smiled.
After Ernie had given Tommy his shake, he took a sip of it before gazing across the table at Adam who had just put his arm around Aisha. “I wish I had been around to see this happen.”
Aisha grinned. “Well, Rocky was the only one around when we first kissed at Jeff’s party, but he was a little preoccupied.”
As everyone laughed, Rocky shrugged. “Blame Cassandra. If she weren’t so beautiful, I wouldn’t have been so preoccupied.”
“Awww,” Kim cooed, earning more laughter from the table. At that moment, Tommy’s communicator beeped.
The whole group stood and walked to the entrance of the Juice Bar. Raising the device to his lips, Tommy called into it, “This is Tommy, Zordon. I read you.”
“RANGERS, YOU MUST TELEPORT TO THE PARK IMMEDIATELY. A MONSTER IS ON THE RAMPAGE.”
“We’re on our way,” Tommy told him. Cutting off the connection, he looked at the others. “Is everyone ready?”
“Let’s do it,” Rocky said.
Tommy nodded. “All right. It’s morphing time!”
As they teleported away, Ernie watched them from the counter of the Juice Bar and sighed. “Once again, they haven’t suspected that I know. Lucky for them, I’m not planning on telling anyone.”
“Michael, I’m not sure what’s been happening with these monsters lately,” Joan said from her spot in the news room. “They have been...I don’t know...horrible. Anyway, all six rangers were present again. It’s great to see them all back together.”
“Well, at least one of them isn’t evil like that green one was at first, Joan.”
Rita listened in to the news report and scoffed. “Humph. Horrible monsters, they say. All we’re doing is giving Tommy a chance to get his bearings back.”
Zedd nodded. “Right, Dear. Our next monster will be more horrible than anything they have ever witnessed! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”
“Anyway, Joan, do we have any clue who these multi-colored superheros are?” Michael questioned.
Joan shook her head. “Not at the moment. Speculations have been made, but they have all turned out to be untrue. Besides, most sources are not reliable.”
Michael nodded. “Well, that’s understandable. The question now, however, is: will we ever know?”
“I hope so, Michael,” Joan admitted. “One day, I would love to find out who the Power Rangers are just so that we could give them our undying thanks.”
“I’m sure the rest of Angel Grove would love the same thing,” Michael said. Turning back to the camera, he smiled. “We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.”
Jackie, who had been watching the news report, smiled. Looking up, she watched as her brother came in the door. He gazed at her before walking to her side and hugging her long and hard. “It feels good to be home and out of that hospital. I’ve missed you, Jackie.”
She nodded. “I’ve missed you, too.” As he began towards the stairs, she added, “Good job, Tommy.”
“What?” He turned back to her, a curious expression on his face.
Grinning, she replied, “For recovering so quickly. I’m really proud of you.” Tommy lowered his eyes before nodding, smiling warmly at her, and walking over to her, he kissed her forehead softly before running up the stairs to his room.
Watching him go, Jackie sighed. “I’m even more proud to know that my brother is out there fighting monsters all the time to save my life and the lives of others. Good job, White Ranger.”
The end. Hmm...longer than expected. Why is it that Tommy always ends up in the hospital in my stories!? There was this, Convulsion, and Cold Season. Well, what can I say? I love to antagonize Tommy. Then again, in Perfect Likeness/Blue Files I antagonized Rocky. Heck, I antagonize all the characters in Allied Evil. Anyway, I would love feedback. I’m not exactly sure how some of you liked this story, but I did tell quite a few people that this story was going to be a Tommy-based story. Well, e-mail me at Rkacat@aol.com Thanks for reading this! Oh, and of course Ernie knows that who the rangers are! He can’t be that stupid...or can he?