Last time on Power Rangers: Allied Evil...Master Vile returned to the moon palace after receiving orders from Dark Specter and became enthralled by Uriel. This caused a deep hatred to form inside of Rashell, and he pledged to destroy Vile for good. The Master of Evil called on one of his wives, Melantha, to take on the rangers, and she ended up putting all of the male rangers except Jason (who was up in the Power Chamber, injury-stricken) and Zack under her powerful trance. After the Rangers freed Tommy, Adam, and Rocky from the incantation Vile appeared and told them of the commands Dark Specter had given him. Zordon entered Tommy’s body, much to Jason’s dismay, and used the White Ranger to battle Vile in order to get Andros, Zhane, and Jaime back. He was able to succeed after getting help from Rashell, Uriel, Scorpina, and Finster, but only Andros and Zhane were saved. Tommy, poisoned after being bitten by Zedd’s staff-snake, died. Will the Rangers be able to defeat Melantha and the moon powers as well as get Jaime back without their leader? Find out in part 14 of Allied Evil...next!
Everything was black, but he could feel himself falling. How long had things been so strange? He could barely think. Who was he? What was going on? Why couldn’t he see anything? There was only one emotion registering in his mind at that moment: utter terror. There was no one around to help him. He would probably continue falling forever.
All of a sudden, the darkness turned to blue skies, and he could only watch as the green ground came spiraling closer. He braced himself for impact, closing his eyes and thinking of what it would be like to die. The crash never came, however, and he opened his eyes to find that he had softly landed in the middle of a large green field. At that moment, a voice flowed past making him shiver. You know what it’s like to die, Tommy, because you just did...
Tommy Oliver looked around in fear. He had died? When? How? What was this place? The skies were clear and blue, and the field around him was quiet except for the faint call of birds and the rustling of leaves in nearby trees. Wasn’t there anyone else around? (Jason...Kat...I miss you guys so much right now! If I died...I wonder how they’re taking it. Why do I have to be alone?)
Standing up, Tommy clutched his throbbing wrist tightly before gazing at the two blatant puncture wounds making it red and swollen. (If I’m dead...why am I in pain? This must be a dream...then again, if this is a dream why do these marks hurt so much?)
All of a sudden, the world began to spin, and Tommy stumbled blindly ahead until, exhausted from walking, he plopped down onto the ground. Looking around, he stared at the clear river in front of him. The sunlight reflected off of it making the water sparkle luminously. He stuck his hand into it, enjoying the numbing cold on his fingers, before plunging his whole wrist in.
For a moment, the coldness made his wrist throb in protest, but slowly the pain died down until Tommy could barely feel it. He gazed at the cool water before swallowing dryly. It was so tempting, but he had no way of knowing if the water was pure. (Why should I care? What’s the worse that could happen? I could die again...big whoop...)
Lowering his face to the water, he greedily splashed it with the cool liquid before swallowing as much as he could. The water cooled his heated face, energizing him from head to toe. Before he could truly register what he was doing, Tommy had pulled off his white tank top, black shoes, white socks, communicator, and black jean shorts and, in his black boxers, he dove into the water. The cold liquid made him relax as soon as it touched his body, and for a moment nothing else registered to him. It just felt good to not think about anything and indulge in his cool surroundings.
“Really, is this any way for a Power Ranger to act?” Looking up, Tommy’s heart stopped. The person above him was none other than Uriel, the Evil Queen that he had slept with while under her trance. “Look at you...nearly naked and dirtying my drinking water...”
Tommy stared at her. Uriel’s long blond hair was tied up much like his was, and she was wearing a short black skirt with a black tank top and platform black sandals. “W-what are you doing here!? You aren’t...at least, I didn’t think you had--”
“I’m not dead in reality,” Uriel told him with a sigh as she bent down and cooled her face with a handful of the clear water. “In fact, my true being will never know that I am meeting you here. In fact, she’s probably contemplating suicide again. You know, you really hurt me by dying, Tommy.” Smiling seductively at him, Uriel pulled off her shoes and lazily slid her smooth, long legs into the water. Tommy watched her, unable to stop himself from licking his lips. “My true self is going to miss you, Tommy. Besides, so is that Katherine brat. She loved you, Tommy. I mean, you two might have gotten married if you would have lived long enough.”
“If you aren’t Uriel then who are you?” Tommy asked, not sure what to make of this situation. He should be upset with her. This woman was his enemy who had caused the rangers a lot of pain, but he couldn’t. She still had that beauty...that appeal...Tommy felt himself blushing with embarrassment under her glimmering blue gaze.
In response, Uriel pulled off her tank top to reveal her silk black bra. Grinning at the startled White Ranger, she quietly murmured, “Power Rangers can’t be admitted into this place, Tommy, because they’re mortals. Don’t expect Jason, Katherine, Kim, or any of the others to come visit you until they die. I, on the other hand, am not a full mortal. Yes, I can die so I’m not a fully immortal, but I am half and half. My immortality allows me to enter this world, and your spirit called me forth.” At Tommy’s confused expression, Uriel laughed to herself. “Look within yourself, Tommy. I know you don’t love me as much as you love Kat, but you have feelings for me that you can’t deny. These emotions summoned me. I’m here to keep you company, White Ranger.”
As Tommy continued to watch her, not believing what was happening, Uriel slowly stepped out of her black skirt and, now only in her black bra and underwear, she slid sensually into the water and moved towards the White Ranger. Reaching him, she put a soft hand on his arm before gazing up into his hazel eyes. She used to consider them chocolate, but now she could see that they were truly hazel. Little green tints highlighted them, and Uriel found herself loving him even more. “You’re here for eternity, Tommy. I know your true feelings aren’t for me. Let me be Katherine until she arrives. After all the pain you’ve put me through, I think I deserve that if not more.”
“After all the pain I’VE put YOU through!?” Tommy glared at her, but his hardness slowly evaporated as she let down her blond hair. The golden locks washed over her shoulders like a shimmering river, and as Uriel put a hand on his cheek he made no attempt to push her away. “I love Kat.”
“As I said before, I know this, Tommy,” Uriel told the White Ranger gently. As he closed his eyes, she smiled happily before doing the same and moving nearer to him until she could feel his warm breath on her face. “Welcome to eternity.” With that, she kissed his soft lips passionately, grinning mentally as he returned the gesture with just as much feeling.
Tommy put a hand through Uriel’s luscious hair before letting out a few deep breaths as she moved to his neck, kissing every inch of him eagerly. Despite his guilt, Tommy couldn’t deny how much he had missed this sexual contact. With Kat’s standings on intercourse, he had made sure not to push the idea. Besides, now there were no risks to worry about. He wasn’t going to get an STD from having sex, and getting his partner pregnant was out of the question. This truly was paradise. “Did you miss me, Tommy?” Uriel asked softly, her cheeks flushed with the lust she was feeling for the White Ranger.
As he nodded and shakily put his arms around her, she smiled before kissing him again, pleased by the fact that in her spiritual state her pregnancy didn’t show. “Kat will never know, and when she comes to you I promise that I will never bother you again, Tommy, but that won’t be for awhile. We have plenty of time to experience what we did on the moon, and this time you’ll be able to enjoy it to the fullest. I suppose, officially, that this is your first conscious time having sex. Don’t worry...I’ll be kind.”
Feeling Tommy unhook her bra and slip it down over her shoulders, Uriel allowed him to throw it up on the bank with the rest of their clothing. Bending down, Uriel caressed his chest, eagerly kissing his abdomen. Reaching the waistline of his boxers, Uriel touched it briefly before biting her lip and gazing at Tommy hopefully. When he nodded, she bent down and, keeping her eyes on the White Ranger’s face, Uriel slowly lowered the black boxers until she was forced to stick her head under the water so that she could finish what she had begun. She returned to the surface with a triumphant smile on her face before throwing the soaking boxers onto the dry ground where their clothes were piled up.
Rubbing the White Ranger’s bare hips, Uriel laughed lightly. “You have no idea what it’s like to have sex with Rashell, Tommy.” At his questioning expression, her giggling increased. “Literally peanut-sized. You can get no enjoyment out of intercourse with him at all. God, Tommy, you have no idea how much I would dream about you after you became good again. Why, if you had feelings for me, didn’t you let yourself give in to what you wanted?”
“You’re evil, Uriel,” Tommy told her softly, grabbing her hands as she went to caress his most personal area. “I...I shouldn’t even be doing this!”
Uriel put her hands on her hips angrily. “Don’t you understand, Tommy? There is no black and white. Good and evil...they don’t exist! Tell me what classifies you as good and me as evil. Let me know what makes us so different.”
Tommy thought about this for a moment before confidently replying, “You, Rashell, Rita and Zedd attacked Earth and killed hundreds of humans! How is that not evil!?”
“Your people kill each other over horribly stupid things like money, clothes, and personal relationships! Besides, most ‘evil beings’, as you call us, want slaves to help their race to flourish. Think of your people. Even Earthlings keep slaves, or they used to. We’re doing it to save our nations and to expand our worlds. Humans do the same thing!”
As Tommy faltered after hearing her words, Uriel smiled softly and put a hand on his shoulder. “Please, I don’t want to fight with you. Tommy, you know what I say is true. Yes, we’re enemies in the traditional sense. I’m a Queen of Evil, but, to me, you were the leader of a group of people bent on destroying me and everyone I care about. Who is the evil one? What is evil, Tommy?”
Turning away from her fiery gaze, the White Ranger swirled his finger around in the water flowing slowly past them before sighing. “I don’t know, and I’ve never known, but I will protect my planet at all costs.”
Uriel sighed at his words. “Well, you would protect your planet at all costs. Now, you don’t have a planet to defend, nor do you have people to fight for. In this dimension, it is just you and me. Tell me now, which one of us is the good one, and which one of us is the evil one?”
“I’m the evil one,” Tommy muttered, stepping away from her and walking over to the bank, lowering his head as he put his hands against the sturdy soil. “You, at least, are alive. I abandoned everyone by dying when they needed me the most. Jaime is still under Melantha’s control, and none of the rangers will ever forgive me for leaving them like this. Now, I’m in peace, and they’re still in the middle of the war.” As memories of his, or Zordon’s rather, battle with Vile, he shuddered. What had truly happened after Zordon had exited his body? He couldn’t remember anything...had Jason even seen him before he died? What were his last words? His lack of knowledge surprised himself. If he was dead shouldn’t he have some kind of supernatural wisdom?
Gazing at him, Uriel had no choice but to sigh lovingly. He was so guilt-ridden...so idiotic...so amazingly attractive, especially since the clearness of the water allowed her a wonderful view of his ass. The thought made her struggle to hold in another giggling fit. Walking closer to the White Ranger, Uriel put a hand on his back and rubbed it comfortingly. “Their struggling will not last forever, Tommy. You must accept that you’ve done everything for the other rangers, and let them go. When the time is right, you will join with them once again, but until then you must learn to deal with all of your hatred, fear, and sadness. This is eternity, Tommy. There should be no hurt in this place!”
Tommy turned around, and the morose look he gave her made Uriel want to throw her arms around him and sob. “I-If there’s no hurt in this place, why do I still feel it? I always...thought that when I died I would have no memory of the pain I went through on Earth, and I would be happy to have left and would celebrate because the others would join me soon. Why is everything like this? Am I in hell or something!?”
“Hell!? No!” Uriel frowned, not having expected him to come up with such a ridiculous idea. “Fine, Tommy, you’ve pushed me over edge, and there’s nothing left to do. I have to tell you the truth.” As the White Ranger continued to gaze at her, his expression begging for her to say what she was going to, Uriel sighed. “This isn’t eternity...well, not for you, anyway. You’re in limbo, and unless someone calls you back you will probably lose your chance to go back. Time is not out for you, Tommy. It just depends on whether anyone calls you back or not.”
“Could you call me back?” Tommy implored desperately, hope lighting up his eyes. At this point, the White Ranger seemed to have forgotten that he was buck naked and standing in front of a very aroused woman. “Uriel, you aren’t dead, and I know you have the power to bring me back!”
Hearing the trustful tone of his voice, Uriel shook her head sadly, shutting down his hopes. “As I told you earlier, Tommy, my true self has no idea that we are meeting like this. Even if she did, I have elementary powers, but to bring a ranger back from the dead!? That would be impossible! I would kill myself and accomplish nothing, and besides...we’re on different sides of the Morphing Grid! It might not even be possible for me to try!” Tommy nodded slowly and a soft tear fell from his eye. So, he truly was going to have to wait long days and nights in this barren world until his friends joined him.
Wiping the tear from his cheek, Uriel put her head on his shoulder comfortingly and kissed his chin as gently as she could. Tommy gazed at her, eyes gleaming with unshed tears, before putting a hand through his wet hair. “I know you’re upset right now, Tommy. Obviously, I’m not going to push you. Even us evil queens aren’t emotionless.” Moving back to the center of the river, she dipped down under the water again, letting the cool liquid moisturize her hair.
Coming back to the surface, Uriel found that Tommy was no longer in the water. Instead, he was pulling on his wet boxers, and she watched with interest as he pulled on his white tank top before tugging his black jean shorts on and lying down on the ground. (He really has no idea what he does to me, does he?) Uriel climbed out of water and, putting on her bra again, she walked over to Tommy. Standing above him, she put a hand on her hip. “I came here for you, Tommy. You didn’t come here for me. Do you want me to leave?”
“I...” Looking at her face, still covered in little droplets of the river water, Tommy put his hands over his eyes. “I’m so confused right now. None of this makes any sense. I can go home, and yet I can’t...I want to be back with Kat, and yet I don’t...I want to be with you, and yet I know I can never be...I wish someone would just explain to me what’s going on!”
Sitting down next to him, Uriel frowned before running a hand over his stomach, enjoying how his white shirt was sticking to his wet chest. “You’re making things so much more difficult than they have to be, Tommy. This isn’t a matter of evil and good or even right and wrong anymore. We’re on the same side. If you make love to me, you aren’t betraying Kat. She’s not here for you to betray. As of now, there is no Katherine Hilliard. Think of this as a second beginning. We’re here together. Kat isn’t. Both of us are on the same side. There’s nothing that we need to accomplish in life. When Kat comes, things will change. I know they will, but right now it’s so simple. Why can’t you just indulge in the present? Forget the past, and don’t fight the future. Live in the now.”
As she put a hand on his, Tommy sighed before closing his eyes, shivering lightly as a cool breeze rushed by. “I want you to stay with me. In this place...this empty world...I’m afraid of being alone. Uriel, I don’t love you, but I...I can’t say that there’s nothing between us. I lost my virginity to you!” There, he had spit it out. It was something he had been needing to say for a long time. “You’re my first and only. Obviously I’m going to feel something for you!”
“Shhh....” Putting a hand over his mouth, Uriel smiled before kissing him softly. “As I said, don’t live in the past, Tommy. What I did to you is done. It no longer matters. If it makes you feel any better...I’m sorry for doing that to you. It was wrong, I know, but I wanted to experiment.” As Tommy put his arm around her, accepting the apology, Uriel sighed before cuddling closer to him and putting a hand over his chest. Feeling the sun dry out their soaking bodies, Tommy smiled faintly. This was nuts...if only Kat could see him now, but it was like Uriel had said. Katherine, in this world, was only a memory. She didn’t exist. The idea both excited and saddened him at the same time.
A small wave of energy rippled through Dark Specter’s enormous and hideous form, and he closed his eyes wondering what had caused the power boost. It was almost as if their side of the Morphing Grid had just been strengthened. He knew that the armies had been getting better, but this had been a spurt of energy...not a gradual change. What, then, had been the cause?
Looking out at the small stars billions of miles away, he sighed before gazing at the circular Dark Fortress in front of him. Though it was large to mortal-sized beings, he saw it as no bigger than an Earth bagel. “Astronema, come forth!”
“I hear you, Dark Specter.” The Monarch of Evil watched as one of his Queens, dressed in all black with long black hair decorated with silver gems, appeared in the window of the large ship, staff in hand. To Dark Specter, she was a marvelous creature...beautiful, smart, and at his bidding despite her past. Then again, he knew Astronema had no clue what her origins were, and the Monarch of Evil planned to keep things that way. “There has been a weakening on our side of the Morphing Grid. I have spoken to Melantha on the Moon of Earth. Master Vile is dead.”
Dark Specter frowned, clenching his large jaw tensely. He had known that the Master of Evil was dead. Then again, Dark Specter hadn’t truly been expecting Master Vile to destroy Zordon. The Eltarian Wizard was wise and fierce. Sure, Vile must have been excellent competition, but that he would beat Zordon? The idea was madness. Now, at least, he wouldn’t have to worry about Master Vile ever trying to overstep his ranks as the Monarch of Evil’s spies had told him. “This I know, but there has also been a small strengthening of our side of the Grid. Whatcaused this, Astronema?”
“I thought you knew.” At Dark Specter’s frown of impatience, she quickly told him what he wanted to know. “Zordon was using the body of the White Ranger, and his strength did not endure after the Eltarian Wizard left him. Tommy Oliver is dead. That is probably the strength you felt.” As the Monarch of Evil continued to blankly stare at her, Astronema searched frantically for something else to say. “Um, the White Ranger was the leader of the Rangers. Without him, they will surely fall. I assume they might give the White Powers to Yaralla, but she will not hold the strength that he did. Who knows? Perhaps the White Ranger Powers were lost along with--”
“Silence!” Dark Specter roared, making her jump back, startled. So, the leader of the rangers was dead. How interesting...how wonderful...how horrible...To be honest, Dark Specter had wanted the White Ranger for himself. The human amused him. Their brief meeting on Dactor had intrigued Dark Specter, and the fact that Master Vile had killed him made the Monarch of Evil boil with anger. “Was Vile the responsible one?”
(Why does he care?) Astronema wondered briefly, answering as quickly as she could so that the Monarch of Evil wouldn’t be upset. “No, Dark Specter. Melantha explained to us that it was Lord Zedd who killed the White Ranger. In order to give Vile the upper hand, he turned his staff into a powerful snake, and this creature bit the Leader of the Rangers and injected its poison into him.” As Dark Specter closed his eyes, infuriated by this information, Astronema took a small step towards the viewing screen through which she was seeing the Monarch of Evil. “Is something troubling you, Dark Specter?”
Staring at her for a moment, Dark Specter shook his large head. “No, Astronema. I must journey to the Milky Way Galaxy to pay my respects to Melantha. You and Karaya are in full control of this sector until I return.” Astronema nodded her understanding before watching as he teleported away.
“What did Dark Specter want?” Karaya asked, twirling a strand of her fiery red hair around her finger as she entered the control room of the Dark Fortress. Pulling down on her short forest green dress, she smiled faintly. “Did he come to celebrate the White Ranger’s death? I’ve never liked Zedd, but he really did get the job done.” As Karaya remembered her first meeting with Tommy Oliver, she grinned slyly and wished that he could have died at her hands.
Astronema frowned at this. “Karaya, Dark Specter seemed to be upset about the White Ranger’s demise.” As her best friend gazed at her, confused, Astronema nodded, feeling the exact same way. “There was that event on Dactor, but I didn’t think it had affected him this much. He actually seemed to care that the White Ranger was gone!”
Karaya rubbed her chin in thought, sparing Ecliptor a small smile as he walked into the room. She had always liked the fierce warrior. He was strong and yet so fair towards his competitors. “Dark Specter doesn’t care about Rangers. Hell, he doesn’t care about mortals in general.”
“He cared about this one,” Astronema argued confidently. Turning to Ecliptor, she sighed, deciding to explain this matter to the machine that she had been living with for as long as she could remember. “Dark Specter seemed to be upset about Tommy Oliver’s death. It was strange! He’s never acted in this way before!”
“Interesting,” Ecliptor mumbled, rubbing his chin as Karaya had earlier. “Maybe he just wanted the White Ranger for himself. Dark Specter is the Monarch of Evil. No one can touch him. Tommy Oliver was the leader of the Rangers. No one could touch him. Obviously, the two were destined to battle each other. Dark Specter is just feeling a loss for a target he desired for himself. Everyone mourns valued targets that are killed by others. It was like...like Goldar when he attacked Tommy while I was fighting him.” He growled at his own words, thinking once more about how much he hated Rita and Zedd’s henchman.
Karaya nodded, showing her agreement. “I think he’s right, Astronema. Dark Specter wanted to fight Tommy Oliver himself. Think about Dactor. Dark Specter used up one of Darkonda’s lives so that the bounty hunter couldn’t destroy the White Ranger. After that, Dark Specter still could have killed Tommy, but there wouldn’t have been any fun in it. He was helpless on Dactor. Dark Specter let him go so that they could meet in a more one-on-one situation. It makes perfect sense!” Astronema sighed. What her best friend and her second-in-command had said made perfect sense, but it just didn’t feel right. There was something else about the White Ranger’s death that was bothering Dark Specter, and Astronema swore to herself that she would find out what that was.
“It’s been two days, Uriel. The least you can do is tell me what you’re feeling.”
Gazing at her older sister who was lying on the opposite side of her king-sized bed in the moon palace, Queen Uriel closed her eyes and sighed. She still couldn’t believe that she had told Kali everything that had happened since her first meeting with Rita and Zedd...the coming of Jaime Talsik, her secret affair with the White Ranger...her unborn child not being Rashell’s...although Kali had seemed pleased with this information. It was no secret that Kali strongly disliked her husband. She hated him for taking Uriel away from everyone that she loved because he was smitten with her, and Rashell knew this which was why he had been sleeping in the throne room for the past two nights.
“We’ve literally been sitting in silence since you told me this tremendous story,” Kali continued, gazing at her sister through large green eyes full of concern. “Yes, I’m shocked, and I’m angry, but I’m not going to beat you up over things that you are probably wishing you had never done! Please talk to me!”
Uriel smiled faintly, clutching the silver arrowhead around her neck that had once belonged to the White Ranger. “Things that I wish that I never did?” She laughed besides herself, enjoying her older sister’s innocence. “Don’t presume things like that about me, Kali. To be honest, I don’t regret it. I love...loved Tommy. He was everything to me.”
“You loved him while he was evil,” Kali corrected softly. As Uriel laughed even harder, she frowned, her glittering eyes betraying her amusement. “You’re a wreck, Uriel. Look at you...hair matted down, shirt literally hanging off your chest...and laughing about losing your sex toy, but do you realize that you never truly told him that you loved him?”
“I told him every day when he was evil,” Uriel argued, the hilarity of the moment gone. Gazing down at her chest, she pulled up her black halter top to cover her breasts fully before frowning. “Besides, he wasn’t a sex toy. Tommy was more than that.”
Kali grinned and played with a strand of her long golden hair. “As you told me, Tommy Oliver lost his memory after being under your control. In order to get him to remember what had taken place while he was on the moon, you showed him mental pictures of the two of you making love. I’m sure you hinted that you loved him. Who knows? He might have gotten the message, but mortals are stupid. I know...believe me, I do, and maybe he just thought you wanted him for sex.”
Uriel glared at her angrily. How dare she say such a thing! Tommy knew that she loved him! Why else would she have wanted to take him away as she told him in his shelter cubicle? Plus, she had attempted to take Tommy away so that they could live together on Hirpog! What other signals would have been more obvious!? “Tommy knew, Kali. I know that he did. He has to have known.” Little did she know that something inside of her was with the White Ranger even as she spoke to her sister...
“Did you tell him that you loved him? I mean, did you say the three words: I love you?” As Uriel sheepishly shook her head, Kali sighed and put a hand on her shoulder. “Maybe he did know, Uriel. I can’t say for sure, but you never did tell him out right. Think about that. He wasn’t obligated to you in any way, so why should you be obligated to him?”
“Damn it, Kali, haven’t you heard anything I’ve said to you!?” Uriel growled with fury. “I’m carrying Tommy’s baby! That’s kind of an obligation!” Turning away from her older sister, she took a few deep breaths before touching her rounding stomach. “If you want to see a sex toy, go out there and see what Melantha is doing to the Silver Ranger!” The reference to Jaime Talsik was enough to make Kali shudder. That poor mortal...being tortured by Vile’s bitchy widow. “I cared about Tommy! You just don’t want to accept that!”
Kali folded her arms over her chest, her face red with anger. “Why would I want to accept it!? He was a fucking Power Ranger, Uriel! You’re such an idiot! Why would you sleep with a Power Ranger!? He was the leader, damn it! I could turn you into Dark Specter for treason!”
Uriel stood, as if disgusted by having to be near her sister, before leaning against the wooden door which exited to a hallway leading to the throne room. “Yeah, like I’m the only one to have ever slept with a Ranger. I know for a fact that Rita had Tommy feel her when he was the Green Ranger, and Lord Zedd has found enjoyment with Katherine Hilliard, the Pink Ranger! There are countless rangers out there, Kali! Along with them, there are countless evil beings like me who want a taste of something different...something pure...something mortal! Yes, I committed treason, but I did what any curious being would have done! So, go ahead! Turn me into Dark Specter! Even he’s probably slept with a ranger! Who knows!?” She was holding the arrowhead around her neck so tightly by this point that her knuckles had turned white.
A lone tear fell from her eye, and Uriel collapsed to the ground, burying her face in her hands. “Damn that Vile! I want him back, Kali!” As she felt her sister’s arms wrap around her weakened form, Uriel cried onto her shoulder. “No matter what you say, I loved him, and I probably always will. If only Rashell, Scorpina, Finster and I had diminished Vile’s power sooner...maybe Tommy would still be alive!”
Rubbing her younger sister’s back, Kali sighed in resignation. “I know you loved him, Uriel. He probably loved you, too. I mean, of course you looked for other options. Who wouldn’t with a husband like Rashell?” Kali closed her eyes and frowned. She should have come to her sister earlier...perhaps she could have stopped this madness before it occurred. There might have been a way to talk her sister out if sleeping with the White Ranger. “What will you do with the baby?” Kali questioned, getting onto a different subject. “I assume you’ll want to be rid of it.”
“No,” Uriel replied, earning a startled look from Kali as she pulled out of their embrace. Smiling weakly, Uriel explained her answer. “The arrowhead I wear around my neck and this child are all I have left to remind me of the love I felt for the White Ranger. I would never give up the baby. He or she will always have a closer place in my heart than Rashell.” Kali opened her mouth to oppose, but she decided against it at the last moment. Uriel had obviously put her foot down on this topic. There would be no point in trying to get her to change her mind, so Kali decided to save her strength.
Two days had passed. Two fucking days, and yet it seemed like no time had passed at all. Lip trembling, Jason Scott put a hand through his dark brown hair before clutching Tommy’s power coin which was sitting on the ground by his side. Putting his head back against the console he was sitting in front of, Jason flipped the coin in the air once before catching it. Two days...
A tear fell from his eye, and he let out a deep sigh, not bothering to wipe it away. Tommy was gone...Jason had been angry at him, and now the White Ranger would never know how much he had truly cared for him. (Why were you so fucking stubborn, Jason!? You couldn’t have fought with Zordon in your body! Why didn’t you realize it then!?) Another tear fell from his right eye, and Jason took in a shaky breath, not noticing the silver streak behind him.
Hearing footsteps, Jason chose not to acknowledge them. What was the point? He didn’t want to talk to anyone, and the person probably didn’t want to talk to him either. Everyone was too busy dealing with their grief to care about anyone else. “The others are worried about you, Jason,” the newcomer said cautiously. “They, um, they want to know if you’re ok.”
“Even Trini is afraid to come near me,” Jason whispered sadly, sighing as Zhane, the Silver Astro Ranger, bent down next to him. “I don’t think you want to hang out with me, Zhane. Who knows? I might lose my temper like I did towards Tommy before he left.” Lowering his eyes away from the Kerovian’s, he wiped away the tears that were rolling down his cheeks.
Zhane frowned, not knowing what to say. He had no clue how he would react if Andros or Yaralla died like Tommy had. “You have your guilt, Jason, and I have mine. We’re in the exact same position.” As Jason gazed at him, Zhane sat down by his side. “If Melantha hadn’t taken over my system, I could have gone out there. The Silver Astro Powers were stronger than the White Powers. I probably would have lived if Zordon had entered me.”
Jason snorted at this. “Probably,” he echoed mockingly, and Zhane had to smile. “He was my best friend, and I couldn’t help him when he needed me the most because Goldar hurt me on Dactor.” Rubbing his temple which was throbbing, Jason sighed, staring at the consoles on the other side of the room. “Zordon hasn’t appeared at all since Tommy died.”
“I guess that means that you’ve been here for two days,” Zhane acknowledged as he looked up at Zordon’s inter-dimensional tube. Sure enough, the Eltarian Wizard wasn’t present. “Look, I’m sorry that this happened, Jason. You know that I liked Tommy. Given the opportunity, I think we would have been really good friends. Dark Specter and his followers will pay for this, I guarantee it.” As the Red Ranger buried his head in his hands, Zhane reached out and awkwardly rubbed his back as comfortingly as he could. “Man, Jason, you’re really sweating.”
The Red Ranger sighed, rubbing his face. “I haven’t felt well since this happened. Maybe I’m coming down with something. Who knows? I really don’t care.” Jason was too overcome with guilt to let his own health bother him.
Zhane frowned with concern at his words. “You should care, Jason. Do you think Tommy would want you to go on like this? I don’t think he would appreciate you dying because you were so guilt-ridden about his death that you didn’t care at all about yourself.”
This sparked something in Jason, and he glared at the Silver Astro Ranger with fury. “How the hell do you know what Tommy would want!? You aren’t even from this planet! Don’t start acting like you were his best friend, because you weren’t!”
As Zhane backed away, startled by the outburst, Jason, calmer than before, stared blankly at the floor and wrapped his arms around his knees. “I want to be alone, Zhane. Look, I’m not mad at you, ok? I’m just...angry at the moon powers and upset and...I don’t even know! I just...I’m not ready to talk to anyone about what I’m going through, but I do appreciate that you cared enough to try.” Wordlessly, Zhane nodded and stood, teleporting out again. Despite the Red Ranger’s attempt at an apology, his words had still stung, and Zhane found himself pondering them guiltily by the time he reached the Megaship.
Trini Kwan rubbed her arms which, despite the warmth of the air around her, were covered in goose bumps. Standing with her back against the front wall of the shelter, she sighed as a wind flowed past, lifting her silky black hair delicately. Though it was a beautiful day out, she couldn’t enjoy the loveliness of the nature around her or the excited workers beginning construction. It amazed her that the workers were still so happy about being able to help after working on Angel Grove for months.
(I remember Jason telling me that it was Tommy’s idea to come back and work on Angel Grove. He always loved this city even though he moved here sophomore year. Why wouldn’t he? The city loved him. I can’t think of anyone who truly hated Tommy. Sure, he wasn’t friends with everyone, but they always respected him...even Bulk and Skull!)
As a hand fell on her shoulder, she turned and smiled faintly at the person who had just joined her. “I’m going to start working in a little bit. Tommy always wanted to see the city rebuilt. Wherever he is, I want to make sure that he sees it.”
Zack Taylor let out a shaky breath before putting a comforting arm around her. “Jason still hasn’t come out of the Power Chamber?” When Trini shook her head, he frowned before lowering his eyes. “I always used to wonder what it would be like if a ranger died, but I never thought it would happen, and if it did I never thought it would be him. Tommy was always invincible, you know? He was the one no monster could touch.”
“I’ll make Zedd pay,” Trini muttered harshly, gazing up at the sky and cursing mentally at the moon that she knew was up there. To most people, the moon was a sign of comfort...it would always be there. Trini found this thought sickening. How could something so wondrous be a home for beings so hideously evil? “If it weren’t for that snake, Tommy might still be here!”
“Tommy knew the risks. This may sound strange, but I believe that he knew whoever Zordon entered was going to die,” Zack admitted softly. As Trini looked at him in shock, Zack shrugged at his own words. “I don’t know this for sure, but the way that he left...he was scared, Trini, and yet he didn’t let his fear get the best of him. He was like a kamikaze pilot...”
As his voice trailed off, Trini grabbed him in her embrace just as the Green Ninja Ranger began to weep with loss for one of his best friends. “Tommy is sorry.” Rubbing her best friend’s back, Trini sighed. “It was like that time when you, Kim, Jason, and Billy were trapped inside the stomach of that Venus Flytrap monster. Tommy was going to give himself to Zedd to get you guys back. I remember his words as if it happened yesterday...he said ‘If I ever come back to hurt you or any of you, tell them for me that I’m sorry.’ It’s almost the same thing. Tommy gave himself so that we could go on, and he didn’t want us to suffer over losing him, but I can’t help it...we can’t help it.”
Zack wiped his tears before gazing sadly at her. “I never knew that he said that.” When Trini nodded, he rubbed his eyes and murmured, “Maybe we should tell Jason. I’m sure he could use all the help he could get in dealing with this loss. Kat, Jackie and Jason are going to take this harder than anyone.”
“Jason needs to be alone,” Trini told him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. She needed Jason during this time, and yet she knew that he needed his space. Tommy’s death was going to be hard for him to get over. “I wouldn’t dream of bothering him. Zhane went into the Power Chamber this morning, but I haven’t heard from him so I’m guessing that Jason didn’t accept his help. We need to give him time, Zack, just like we need to give Jackie and Kat time.” Zack nodded reluctantly, and the two walked back into the shelter to eat breakfast silently, dreaming of Tommy’s ongoing complaints about having to eat the exact same thing everyday and wondering how they could have ever found him annoying. They would give anything to hear one more word from their friend and leader...just to hear one more breath.
Throwing a small pebble into Angel Grove Lake, Kimberly Hart watched as a small ripple appeared on the surface of the clear blue water and the rock drifted to the bottom. She smiled faintly, surprised by how the smallest thing was enough to make her happy. Still, it made her want to cry, as well. What would happen when they finally used up all the water? How would they survive if the Hydro Hog Aisha had told her about came back and succeeded in taking all of their water? It would no longer ripple as it did now. She couldn’t take that for granted...Kim refused to make that mistake again.
She tossed another rock into the water and watched as this, too, created a ripple in the smooth water. Kim promised herself that she would never take anything around her for granted again whether it was the water or the sun or her closest friends. She bit her lip to keep from sobbing again. How could she have ever taken Tommy or Jaime for granted? (We will get Jaime back...the moon powers took Tommy from me. They won’t get Jaime, too.)
As she heard someone clear his throat from behind her, Kim sighed, knowing who it was. “I expected you to be on the Megaship with Yaralla.” Hearing the bitterness in her own voice, Kim sighed. She liked Yaralla. Truly, she did, but the Kerovian woman was pulling Rocky away from them. During this time of mourning, they all needed him, but he was too fed up with lust to care about the White Ranger’s death.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Rocky DeSantos questioned with confusion as he sat down next to Kim and stared at her. “I haven’t seen Yaralla all day. Emily told me that you had come out here, and I didn’t think you should be alone.”
Kim smiled weakly at him before looking back at the water sparkling in the morning sun. “Really, you cared about me? That’s a first.” As Rocky continued to stare at her, puzzled, Kim pushed a strand of brown hair behind her ear and chuckled faintly to herself. “I remember a story Jason told me about how you got kinda upset with him because you thought that the others liked him more than you when he came back to be the Gold Ranger, so you decided to take on King Mondo yourself so that you could prove your worth to the Rangers. You failed, but it was a ‘heads up’ to the others about the way they had been treating you. Then, when we were on Dactor and Tommy went back to fight Darkonda, I looked at you and you didn’t seem to care. He was just someone helping you to get back to the Megaship to be with Yaralla.”
Rocky turned away from her and cradled his chin in his palm, frowning with irritation. “That’s really cold, Kim, and you know it. I cared about Tommy just as much as any of the other rangers if not more. Of course I cared that Tommy risked his life for us! Yes, I like Yaralla. That’s a fact that everyone seems to understand but her, but I don’t understand why you’re taking it so personally. I haven’t thought of Yaralla at all since...since...you know, he...” Trailing off, Rocky bit his lip and closed his eyes to hold in tears.
“Are you going to start crying because you miss Tommy or because Yaralla doesn’t share your feelings?” Kim asked, her voice harsher than she had expected. As Rocky turned to her, a small tear falling from his eye, she could see the raw anger in his face.
The Blue Ranger scowled at her, doing his best to keep his voice from wavering. “Have you been hanging out here sobbing your eyes out because Tommy is dead or because you miss Jaime!?” Where the hell was all this coming from!? If Kim had been so mad at Rocky, he wished that she had just told him! Besides, who was she to say that he hadn’t cared at all about the White Ranger and what had happened to him? They had been really close and walking around the past two days had been like stepping on needles as knives pierced his chest. He could honestly say that Tommy’s death had struck him five times harder than Cassandra’s.
Kim glared at Rocky in disbelief and rage before slapping him with all her might. “How dare you! Who are you to say that I don’t miss Tommy!? Plus, I can’t believe you would just turn your back on Jaime like that! I loved them both, Rocky, but in different ways! Yes, I want Jaime back, but I know that he isn’t dead right now! Tommy...is never coming back!” By now, tears were streaming down her cheeks, and she had to use all of her power to keep from hitting Rocky again.
“Yeah, so you get all upset about my liking Yaralla, but am I with her now!? No!” Rocky shouted at her, standing and picking up a rock with one hand as he put his other over the red mark on his cheek that Kim had given him. “How could you think that I would care more about her than Tommy!? Damn it, I can’t believe I even came out here! Then again, what did I expect from you, Miss ‘I’m such a fucking whore that I’ll dump my boyfriend who I’ve been dating for three years with a letter’!?” Throwing the rock with all his might, he watched as it slammed into the water and a spurt of liquid came up from where it had landed. As more tears fell from Rocky’s eyes, he wiped them angrily before looking up at the sky, trying to allow himself a momentary peace.
His words were enough to push the Pink Ninja Ranger over the edge. “So, now the truth comes out.” Though her voice was quieter now, it was obvious that more hatred was inside of Kim than had been before. “You’re still sore about me breaking up with Tommy. Well, that’s understandable because once again, Rocky, you’ve spoken without thinking.” As the Blue Ranger turned towards her, he was barely able to brace himself for her powerful blow that sent them both tumbling to the ground. Once Kim had successfully pinned him to the ground, she shook him in a full-blown rage.
“Yes, I was a chicken shit! Are you happy, Rocky!? I was an idiot to dump Tommy like I did, and you probably wonder why some of the others aren’t as mad as you. Well, that’s because they have the facts! My boyfriend, Jeff, was abusive! He beat me so fucking hard one time that I couldn’t do gymnastics for almost two weeks!”
Kim, not caring about being immodest, pulled down on her soft pink tank top to expose a large scar across the top of her right breast. As the Blue Ranger stared at it with shock, she quickly used her shirt to conceal the scar again. “That’s why I dumped Tommy the way I did! I didn’t want him seeing me...I didn’t think I deserved him because I thought Jeff beating me was all my fault! It was idiotic! I didn’t write Tommy that letter because I had found someone else...it was because I had cheated on him and paid the price! Are you happy now!? That’s why I need Jaime...he’s the only one who really knows how I feel because he was beaten...not by a girlfriend, but by his father. We can relate. I wish you could understand that.” She rolled off of Rocky and curled into a ball on the ground, crying helplessly into her hands as the emotions she had been holding in for so long came out.
Biting her tongue to keep from whimpering, Kim didn’t bother looking up as she heard Rocky’s shaky voice whisper, “Cassandra’s death was hard on me. I...I was afraid to be with a woman again because I was thought she would desert me like Cassandra had. There was no reason in my mind that anyone would like me. When I found Yaralla, I wasn’t looking for someone to have a crush on. Far from it...when I started assessing how I felt about her, I was terrified. Yes, I like her, but that I would hold her in a higher position than any of you...Never, Kim. I would never turn on you.”
Facing the lake again, Rocky didn’t notice the Pink Ninja raise her head cautiously and gaze at him through glimmering eyes. “Tommy reminded me a lot of myself when he was in a good mood. I never thought he would agree to skydiving with the rest of us, and I never thought he would suggest roller blading through a construction site.” The Blue Ranger laughed besides himself. “That was crazy. I was so amazed that we didn’t get caught. Then, on Phaedos, I remember how Dulcea kinda knocked him down a peg or two. Don’t ask me why that always sticks out in my mind, but thinking about it...I don’t know, it always gives me a good laugh. She knocked him over, and we thought Dulcea was going to kill him. You and Aisha had gone to sleep later that night, and it was just Tommy, Adam, Billy and me talking about the day...”
Rocky slowly opened his eyes, groaning as he saw that it was still dark out. He could barely wait to get the Great Power so that they could return to Earth and save Zordon’s life. Sitting up, the Red Ninja Ranger stretched out his arms before looking around. Kim and Aisha were sleeping next to each other. He wondered how they could sleep with all that had happened to them lately...Zordon dying, losing their powers, Ivan Ooze threatening humanity, meeting Dulcea, getting the Ninja Powers...
Kicking off the blanket that Dulcea had given him, Rocky looked at it for a moment, wondering what it was made out of. (Hopefully not the skin of that skeleton Aisha found when we first reached Phaedos.) Hearing whispers, he turned towards the fire that was barely burning after that amazing trick Dulcea had done to give them their Ninja Powers. Adam, Billy, and Tommy were sitting around it and talking quietly to themselves.
Rocky stood up and, making sure to be as silent as possible, he walked over to them and sat down between Adam and Tommy. “I’m glad someone else is up.”
“We were wondering when you were going to join us,” Adam Park told him, smiling brightly. Rubbing his hands together as a cool wind flew past, Rocky gazed at Billy who was putting his hands out to what was left of the fire in order to warm them. “Couldn’t sleep?”
“Are you kidding? After all that’s happened today?” Rocky questioned in wonder. Rubbing his cold arms, he wished that he could hop into the fire for a bit to warm up, but the others probably wouldn’t appreciate having roasted ranger the next morning. “Everything is overwhelming.”
Tommy nodded in agreement before rolling his shoulders in an attempt to stop their stinging. “Why do you have to be so stubborn?” Adam asked with amusement. “You know that any of us would massage your shoulders. It would be better than watching you stretch every ten seconds.” The White Ninja Ranger gazed at him before sighing in reluctance and moving closer to Adam. “If you wouldn’t have made such an ass of yourself in front of Dulcea then this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Ha, ha,” Tommy muttered, closing his eyes as he felt the Black Ninja Ranger begin working on his shoulders. “She overreacted. I wasn’t being intimidating. All I was doing was making a statement.”
Rocky couldn’t help but smirk at this. “Sure. All of us believe that. You advanced on her, Man. Dulcea is cute, but your tough guy act doesn’t work on every woman.” Feeling his leader smack his arm, the Red Ninja Ranger stifled a chuckle. “She’s hot.”
“Dulcea is definitely tantalizing. She’s ravishing.” Seeing the other three male rangers stare at him, puzzled, Billy laughed and translated his words. “The Master Warrior of Phaedos is a total babe.”
Tommy grinned at his words. “I understood that. Billy, get me a thesaurus for Christmas. That way we won’t have to force you to translate everything you say.” As the Blue Ninja Ranger frowned at him, Tommy was unable to hold in a snicker. “Thanks for toning down your language for idiots like me lately. I owe you one.”
“I’m going to hold you to that,” Billy murmured, smiling and moving over to other male rangers who had huddled together with their backs to the sleeping female rangers and Dulcea. “I wonder how Zordon is,” the Blue Ninja Ranger pondered aloud, changing the topic.
Adam sighed at his words before staring up at the starry sky of Phaedos. “What if he, you know, doesn’t live and we get back to the Command Center too late?” The thought of his mentor dying was enough to make Adam force himself to hold back tears. It wasn’t like he was dead yet, and the Black Ninja Ranger knew that he had to stay strong.
“We won’t be too late,” Tommy said strongly, and the others looked at him. Noticing their stares, Tommy frowned and slumped his shoulders, stiffening as Adam touched a sensitive area. “I haven’t wanted to accept this situation. Hell, I still don’t want to accept it. In the end, everything has always worked out for the Power Rangers. We always succeed no matter how hard it is to do so. Guys, we aren’t going to fail this. Zordon is too important for us to lose. We’re going to get back in time with the Great Power.”
Billy sighed before touching his leader’s arm softly. “I hope we do, Tommy, but you have to realize the possibilities. Zordon might not make it, and if he doesn’t we have to be prepared to go on without him. I doubt Zedd and Rita are going to stop making monsters just because Zordon is gone, and what if we don’t defeat Ivan Ooze? As our leader, you need to start thinking about these things. We’ll still have the communications system, but Zordon’s death will probably weaken the Morphing Grid. How will we deal with these losses, what will we use to find information on monsters now that Zordon can’t tell us about them...?” Finding that the White Ninja Ranger had lowered his head and was clenching his fists tensely, Billy frowned with worry. “Tommy? Are you ok?”
“I...I kinda wish Jason was here,” Tommy told him, his voice weak. “Jason was always the best at getting out of situations like these. He would know what to do...I...I don’t know what to do about anything. All of this is happening so fast, and I don’t know how to make it slow down.”
Rocky gazed at him for a moment before shrugging, not really knowing what he could say to help the White Ninja Ranger. “Look, Tommy, all of us have faith in you. If it weren’t for your leadership, we would all be dead right now. I know that you’ll be able to lead us out of this. Please believe in yourself, if not for yourself then for me and the others. We need you, Man.”
“Have you already forgotten your totem spirit, Tommy?” Turning around, the four male rangers stared at Dulcea as she walked over to them with a faint smile of amusement on her face. In the firelight she looked like a goddess, and Adam coughed before blushing immensely as he saw how well her body fit her clothes...or lack of clothes. “As the falcon, you need to be strong, fierce...overcome your odds. Prove yourself despite the circumstances.”
The White Ninja Ranger nodded reluctantly before stiffening as she sat down between himself and Rocky. Yes, he had forgiven her for what she had done to him earlier, but Dulcea just had this mystical appearance that unnerved him. “This situation is hopeless though, Dulcea. If Zordon dies, I don’t know what we’ll do--”
“Is he dead, Tommy?” Dulcea asked, interrupting him. “You speak of Zordon as if he has died already. Don’t think that way. If you do, you’ll never be able to lead the team to victory.” As Tommy stared at the fire while taking in her words, Dulcea put a hand on his. “Look at me, White Ranger.” Hesitantly, he did as asked, and Dulcea laughed at his nervous expression. The light gesture caught Tommy off guard as well as the other male rangers who had never expected to even get a chuckle out of the beautiful red haired warrior.
“Young Falcon, why do your doubt yourself!? Can’t you see how far you’ve led the team already? You’ve brought them here, Tommy, and despite my early hostile nature towards you, I saw that you were the first to follow me when I told you that I could give you powers. Look around you, Young Falcon. Take in all of the beauty and peacefulness of my planet. It will guide you as you make the journey to find the Great Power. This energy is not only physical but spiritual, as well. If you are not one with your surroundings and have not lived up to your totem spirit then the power will not be granted to you despite the fact that you have attained the Ninjetti Powers.”
Tommy pondered her words before chuckling faintly to himself. “Young Falcon?” As she nodded, he shifted as Adam hit another sensitive area before mumbling, “I don’t know if I deserve to be called that yet. Don’t you need to, you know, be in touch with your totem spirit before you can be called by your animal name?”
Dulcea grinned at him, entertained by the question. “Yes, and you are. How else would you have received the Falcon Powers if you weren’t in touch with your totem spirit? Tommy, you’re examining every part of your past trying to tell yourself that you don’t deserve this energy. Don’t fight it! You have these powers because you deserve them. End of story. Do you understand me?” At his nod, Dulcea motioned to the other rangers who had been listening interestedly. “In the same way, I can already call Billy a Young Wolf. Adam is my Young Frog, and Rocky is a Young Ape.” Hearing this, Rocky burst into laughter and Adam had to do his best not to chuckle as Billy smiled flippantly at the Red Ninja Ranger. “What’s so funny?” Dulcea asked, confused. “I don’t understand.”
“It’s just the way you said it, Dulcea,” Rocky told her, his expression bright. “You know...I’m a Young Ape. If you call someone an ape on Earth it usually isn’t a complimentary term.”
Dulcea shrugged at his words. “Well, be glad your totem spirit wasn’t the jackass, because then that’s what I’d have to call you, Rocky. A Young Jackass.” She sighed as all four rangers laughed.
Tommy smiled at her before shrugging his shoulders, knocking Adam’s hands away in the process. “Man, they were really stiff, huh?”
“That’s what you get for falling onto a bunch of rocks when Dulcea pushed you over,” Adam told his leader with a wide smile on his face. As Dulcea shrugged apologetically, Rocky snickered before gazing at the White Ninja Ranger to see what his reaction to this would be to this torment.
Instead of getting any response from Tommy, Rocky found that the White Ninja Ranger was gazing at the monolith in the center of the jungle just beyond the mountain that the ruins of the temple were located on. Looking at the large stone structure, Rocky couldn’t stop himself from staring at it in awe. He prayed silently that they would reach the large monument and get the Great Power so that they could save Zordon’s life.
Dulcea followed the eyes of the rangers and, finding that they were staring at the monolith, she smiled besides herself. It would be dangerous and, most likely, Zordon’s six warriors would die on their journey, but there was something about the Great Power that seemed to be drawing the young humans to them. Their bravery made her respect them even more than she already did. Leaning closer to Tommy, she sighed. “It is your destiny. The White Powers will always be a big part of your life.” If only she would have known how accurate her prediction had been...for all of them...
“...At that moment, we didn’t know what the future held, but we were locked in the present. Now, I wish I did know what the future holds. I want to be able to get away from the present and look into a crystal ball to see what good could possibly come out of having this tragedy occur.” Feeling more tears trickle down his cheeks, Rocky laughed softly. “I was always amazed by Tommy’s lack of confidence. He is...was a wonderful leader, and yet he would always doubt himself--”
“His Green Ranger days have always haunted him,” Kim told the Blue Ranger quietly. As he turned around, surprised by the fact that she had actually been paying attention to him, Kim wiped her eyes and continued, “Tommy was so scared that he would mess up and all of us would hate him for making an error. I could never understand that. See, we all make mistakes...I’ve sure as hell have made a bunch of them, but Tommy seemed to think that he was the only one to ever screw up. Do you remember how mad he was when we lost our powers after fighting Ivan Ooze’s troops?”
Rocky nodded, the memory clear in his mind. “How could I not? One minute Tommy looked like he was going to burst into tears after he lost his powers, and on the way to the Command Center he was exploding left and right.” As Kim smiled at him, remember that horrible time Ooze had attacked Zordon, Rocky sighed and put a hand through his hair. “At that time there was hope for Zordon, though. There’s no hope for Tommy now. He’s gone...and he isn’t coming back.”
Hearing the Blue Ranger’s voice become strained at the last part of his sentence, Kim stood and put a cautious hand on his shoulder. “You know, when I found out how depressed Tommy was after I dumped him I was devastated, but I was too scared to call or write him. I didn’t know how he would react to hearing from me. Now, though, I guess that was for the best. Tommy was happier than Kat than he ever was with me...”
“When you two were going out, Tommy loved you, Kim,” Rocky told her strongly as he turned around to face the Pink Ninja Ranger. “Don’t ever let yourself think otherwise. Besides, it must be comforting to know that he still loved you when he died...not like before, but you didn’t have that wall between you when he passed on. In fact, you two were still really close.” Kim smiled weakly before throwing her arms around the Blue Ranger who was barely able to support her. Returning the embrace, Rocky closed his eyes sadly as he felt Kim’s warm tears fall onto his blue T-shirt. (Tommy, if you can still see us and hear us...know that we miss you so much...you were everything to all of us. I still can’t believe you’re gone...)
Stepping into the transporter on the Astro Megaship that he lived in along with Andros and Yaralla, Zhane leaned against the wall of it before calling out, “DECA, take me to Megadeck five.” He hoped that a good work out would help him get his mind off of everything that had just happened during the past couple of days.
“Zhane, you know as well as I do that Andros has banned you from Gingazook,” DECA, the built-in computer system of the Megaship, told the Silver Astro Ranger. “I can’t allow you on Megadeck five.”
Zhane groaned, having forgotten about Andros’ rule about him going to Megadeck five. (Dumb Andros...how did he become the dealer of punishment around here anyway?) “I’m not going up to play Gingazook, DECA,” Zhane argued, folding his arms over his chest with annoyance. “All I want to do is run a simulation. If I do anything else, I give you full permission to electrocute me. Deal?” He was answered by the transporter beginning to move.
As the door opened, Zhane was about to walk out when he heard DECA call to him again. “Are you all right, Zhane?” The computer system questioned worriedly. “You look paler than you normally do.”
“Paler than I normally do?” Zhane smirked, entertained. “Thanks, DECA. I needed that.” Walking away from the door, he looked around the Simudeck before shouting, “Let’s Rocket!” Pulling out his Digimorpher, Zhane pushed in his four-digit code before waiting for the transformation to begin.
“SILVER ASTRO RANGER!”
Walking over to the simulation controller on one side of the room, Zhane pushed the buttons for a monster attack with some craterites on the side before watching as the room covered with green virtual lines. Hearing footsteps, Zhane knew that the simulation had begun. Turning around, he gazed at the large oyster monster standing there along with about ten craterites all ready to attack him. “Super Silverizer!”
Zhane fired at the first craterite to near him before slashing at two, destroying them instantly. Running for the fourth craterite, he was about to bring down the Silverizer on it before hearing a voice in his head: If you hadn’t been stupid enough to fall under Melantha’s control then Tommy would still be alive...
Before he knew what had happened, Zhane found himself on the ground with three craterites crawling all over him as the oyster monster laughed with amusement. Pushing them off, Zhane fired at two more craterites before slashing another. Turning his attention to the monster, he smiled under his helmet. “You’re mine.” You caused Tommy hell with your whole addiction thing. The least you could have done was try to keep away from Melantha...you knew what she was capable of...
After being knocked over by the monster, Zhane stood weakly before glaring at the monster and the four remaining craterites. “Come on, Zhane. Focus! You’re better than this!” Yaralla was right when she told you that you weren’t going to survive very long. Look at the way you’re fighting...this is horrible. Tommy was such a great warrior...you dying wouldn’t have been as big of a loss. “Concentrate, Zhane!”
Zhane ran at the monster, falling over as the four craterites jumped at him. He blasted one away from him before kicking the others off. Raising the Silverizer in sword mode, he killed the remaining craterites before turning back to the oyster monster who had gotten into fighting stance. “Ok, Zhane, this is going to be a piece of cake.” Look at you, Zhane...pathetic...Really pathetic...you can usually beat this simulation in five minutes, and it’s been nearly fifteen already! Gee, I wonder how long it would have taken Tommy. Two minutes? Maybe three? “Damn it, I have to focus!”
Rushing the monster, Zhane threw himself at it before crying out as it struck him hard, sending him flying to the ground. Putting a hand on his chest, Zhane frowned in disbelief. “What’s wrong with me? It’s never taken me this long to beat a simulation!” He ran at the monster again, this time being thrown to the other side of the room. Great, Zhane...really great...you know, it’s a good thing Andros isn’t here. He would have to take away your powers. This is a joke. You’re no ranger... “Shut up!” He yelled at the annoying voice taunting him from the inside. “Just shut up!”
Zhane brought his Silverizer down on the monster before watching in horror as it took the weapon from his hands and threw it out of reach. As the monster raised its energized hands, Zhane cried out as the power shocked his body, making him shake near the point of convulsions. Finally, the whole room became dark, and when the lights came back on Zhane found that the monster was gone. “Simulation ended. Evil wins.”
“Evil wins!?” Zhane shouted in a rage, kicking the wall with fury. Yes, Zhane...that’s right...evil always wins. Evil beat Tommy, and it will beat you, too. Who knows? Maybe it already has... Looking at his hands, Zhane gasped, alarmed, as he saw that they were shaking heavily. He cautiously picked up his Silverizer and put it away before unmorphing. “What’s happening to me?” Touching his forehead, Zhane easily felt the sweat that had moistened it, and he took a few panting breaths. Doing the simulation had never made him this tired before. Feeling dizzy, Zhane wandered over to the transporter and stepped inside, stiffening as his temples began to throb.
“Are you all right, Zhane?” DECA asked with concern. “You don’t look well.”
“I-I’m fine,” Zhane told the computer system weakly, rubbing his face tiredly. “It’s just that I, um, I’ve never lost a simulation before. I’m just in shock, I guess.” Running a hand through his hair, Zhane quickly ran out of the transporter before DECA could ask anymore questions and stepped into the control room. Shutting off DECA’s voice, Zhane moved into the recreation room and, seeing that no one was there, he leaned against the wall and soon found himself sitting, exhausted, on the floor. You’re looking good, Zhane...really good...
Sitting in her room within the Angel Grove Shelter, Tanya Sloan pushed a strand of her curly dark hair out of her face before looking at a tree just outside of her window. There was a group of birds perched upon one of the branches, and she watched as one of the larger birds flew away. Slowly, the others followed. (One goes and the rest of the group is forced to follow...) So, the rangers could die. Tanya had never thought it was possible before. They fought battles, sometimes coming dangerously close to dying, but they would never truly perish. Now, one of them had and it was hard to grasp the fact that Tommy was just the first of the rangers to die. They were all going to at some point, and that thought frightened her.
Turning to her side, Tanya put her hand on Adam Park’s back as she saw that he was crying softly again. Though he hadn’t made a big scene like Jason, Rocky, or many of the other rangers had in the Power Chamber, Tanya knew that Adam was taking this loss worse than the others thought. Tommy had been his role model when he first became the Black Ranger after Zack, and then they had become great friends. Tanya knew that the two had always had a lot in common. “Adam, are you going to be ok?”
“I want to kill Zedd,” Adam whispered, and his voice was so full of hatred that it made Tanya shiver. It wasn’t often that something pushed her boyfriend over the edge, but now it was obvious that Tommy’s death had pushed him further than anything else ever had. “That bastard is going to pay for doing this to Tommy.”
Emily Johnson, who was sitting on Tanya’s bed across from the two, sighed softly. “What are we going to do without our leader? The rangers are going to lose to evil.”
“We’re not going to let that happen!” Jackie Oliver, whose face was tear-stained and red, cried with anguish. “Tommy fought too hard for evil to win...we’ve fought too hard! I refuse to just sit and watch as the rangers go down without him. Tommy would want us to keep fighting, and that’s what we have to do!”
Wiping her misty eyes, Emily nodded before faintly questioning, “Who will be the leader? We need a leader, Guys, as much as the idea of having anyone over us besides Tommy is painful.” She knew that she was probably the only one thinking about these things, but someone had to. Emily had to admit that she hadn’t been as close to Tommy as most of the other rangers had, but she did know that Tommy would have wanted them to keep fighting, and he wouldn’t have wanted them to sulk around while the moon powers took over the Earth.
Thinking about this, Tanya shrugged. “I assume that Jason will take Tommy’s place as the leader. That’s what Tommy would have wanted, and Zordon definitely sees him as the best substitute. Who better to replace Tommy than his best friend?”
“No,” Adam muttered, trying to regain his composure. Putting a hand through his silky hair, he sniffled before quietly saying, “Jason won’t accept the position as leader and you all know it. First of all, Jason can’t fight. He’s still injured. Even if he could, Jason just lost his best friend, and he’s full of guilt and anguish. Do you really expect him to take over Tommy’s place so soon after his death?”
Emily nodded, knowing that the Black Ranger was right. “I would say Jaime because he took over as leader when Tommy and Jason couldn’t fight, but he’s...you know...AWOL right now.” Thinking about the spell-ridden Silver Ranger on the moon made her shudder. The whole concept of being put under a spell terrified her, and the fact that this was Jaime’s second time? How had Kat and Tommy ever moved on?
Jackie closed her eyes for a moment, immediately picturing her brother teasing her good-naturedly or laughing at one of her jokes, before weakly commenting, “Zhane. He’s the strongest ranger after Jaime. It makes sense that Zhane will take over as leader.” She didn’t like the idea of someone replacing Tommy. Yes, they needed a leader, and Zhane was the best person for the job, but getting a new official leader meant putting one part of Tommy behind them. She didn’t want to lose the memories of her brother.
“You’re right,” Tanya observed, gazing out of her window as the sky darkened for a moment as a cool breeze flew past. “Zhane will probably take over...at least until Jason is comfortable with the idea of leading. I doubt Zhane would deny him the duty of leader if Jason really wanted it.”
Adam nodded in agreement. “You’re right. Zhane isn’t that kind of guy.” Sighing, he stared at the floor before slowly mumbling, “We need to contact Aquitar.”
“Aquitar?” Jackie frowned, not understanding. “What about Aquitar?” What did Aquitar have to do with Zhane becoming the leader of the rangers and her brother’s death? “I don’t understand,” she finally admitted.
Emily and Tanya, however, easily understood what Adam had meant. “You’re going to tell him so soon?” Tanya asked worriedly. At Adam’s puzzled expression, she sighed, troubled by the whole idea. “I mean, Billy’s life is going perfectly. They’re rebuilding all the systems that were damaged during Divatox’s attack, and he’s engaged to a very pretty woman! I don’t know if we should ruin his good spirits so soon!”
“He’ll never forgive us if we don’t tell him, Tanya,” Adam argued, wondering just how Billy Cranston, the Blue Ninja Ranger, was going to take the news of Tommy’s death. The two, while not good friends at first as Kim had told him, had become really close after Jason, Trini, and Zack left for the Peace Conference. “If you were away and one of us died, no matter how devastating it would be, wouldn’t you want to know?” Tanya reluctantly nodded, and Adam smiled faintly, glad that she had given up on the argument. “We have to contact Billy.”
Emily, seeing that Jackie was crying again, wrapped her arm around the younger girl before gazing at Adam and Tanya. “You guys go ahead. I’ll stay with Jackie.” The two nodded and stood, teleporting away in flashes of yellow and black. Watching them go, Emily rubbed Jackie’s shoulder softly. She thought of saying something to help comfort Tommy’s younger sister but quickly decided against it. There was nothing to say that would make Jackie’s pain, or her own for that matter, any easier to deal with. It would be better just to indulge in the silence and wish that time would be gracious and turn back two days so that they could find a way to stop Tommy’s death from happening.
Katherine Hilliard, the Pink Ranger, could see her life flashing before her eyes...except there seemed to be no life without Tommy. How had she ever managed without him? He was her joy, her pain, her love... Tears streamed down her face as she gazed at the small photo sitting on her bed. It was a picture of herself and Tommy standing on the shore of the Angel Grove beach. Tanya had taken it as a joke...hopefully to be used as blackmail later on, but it had come out surprisingly well. Kat was wearing a pastel pink one piece suit and Tommy had his arm around her in his white tank top and black swimming trunks. They were cuddling together...ah, the love of a newly steady couple.
Looking at the second picture on her bed, she laughed, though it came out more as a choked sob. All of them were out on the beach...herself, Tanya, Tommy, Rocky, Jason, and Adam. She didn’t remember what had been going on with the guys, but Rocky had gotten into a stupid argument with Jason which had resulted in the two beginning to wrestle each other just as the man they had gotten to take the picture of them was getting into position.
The photo was priceless. Jason and Rocky were falling helplessly into the water, but in an attempt to take as many people down with them as possible, Rocky had grabbed hold of Adam and Jason had gripped Tommy’s shirt, and the picture had been snapped with Jason and Rocky just barely touching the water and both Tommy and Adam with the most horrified expressions on their faces as Kat and Tanya laughed at them from the shore. What had resulted, she remembered, was the biggest water fight of all time. Tommy had gotten her soaked...not that she’d minded. Whenever he had gotten that playful look in his eyes she had melted helplessly.
(Don’t you remember what I told you, Tommy!? If you died I’d have to kill myself...) The two pictures were the only things she had been able to salvage from the rubble that was once her house. Sure, the people cleaning it out said that mostly everything was still in tact and the house would be rebuilt, but the two pictures had just been lying outside of the wreckage...as if an omen that the happy times were gone forever along with her home and all of her prized possessions.
Kat wiped her tears before standing and walking over to the small wooden cabinet by her door. Opening the first drawer, she pulled out a full bottle of aspirins and a packet of Nyquil and gazed at the two for a few moments before bringing them back over to her bed and sitting down. (Now I realize that none of the things I lost in the attack of Angel Grove matter to me. You were what I cherished the most out of anything or anyone. I meant what I said, Tommy, and I’m going to prove to you that I keep my word. Please forgive me...)
Crying once again, she buried her face in her flimsy white pillow, feeling her tears moisten her cheeks. “Why, Zordon? Why did you let Tommy go out there with you!?” She remembered how he hadn’t answered her when she had told him that if he died she would have to kill herself. (He knew...I really think he knew that he wasn’t going to make it. Tommy, why did you do this to all of us!? Why did you do it to yourself!?)
Looking down at the Nyquil and the aspirins for one more minute, she smiled weakly. “I won’t be alone for long...” Chuckling to herself, she pulled her blanket around herself and shivered. She had never thought that anything or anyone would made her come to this. Kat had heard about teen suicide, and she had thought that people would have to be stupid to end their lives, but now she knew the pain and hopelessness involved in the decision. Those poor teens no longer were nameless faces around the USA and the rest of the world...they had become her.
“Ay, yi, yi, Adam, are you sure you want to contact Billy so soon?” Alpha 5 questioned worriedly. It knew as well as Tanya had that Billy was just getting back on his feet after the attack on Aquitar, and he wasn’t sure if he should be bothered so soon. “This will hurt him deeply.”
Nodding with determination, Adam pushed a few buttons on a nearby console, and both he and Tanya turned to look at the viewing globe as a shot of Aurico and Cestro came up. The Blue Aquitian Ranger looked at them in wonder for a moment before smiling brightly. “Adam! Tanya! To what do we owe this pleasure?”
Aurico, however, wasn’t so cheerful. He gazed at them with concern. “Is there anything wrong on Earth? Do we need to help you with something?”
“No, Aurico,” Tanya told him, her voice shaking even though Billy wasn’t in sight. “We, um, we need to speak to Billy. It’s a matter of extreme urgency, so could you find him for us please?” Wordlessly, Cestro nodded and left the room in search of the Blue Ninja Ranger.
After about twenty minutes of waiting, Billy Cranston appeared in the Power Chamber’s viewing globe with a bright smile on his face making him look like a sophomore in high school again. Seeing him, Tanya couldn’t help but close her eyes. This was going to kill him... “It’s so great to hear from you!” Billy explained, his tone pleasant and excited. “I’m sorry that I never contacted you guys, but we were working on getting communications online and fixing our teleportation systems. That battle with Divatox caused a lot of technological damage, but I’m glad to say that we’re finally getting back on our feet.”
“H-how’s Cestria?” Tanya asked faintly, turning away as Adam glared at her. No matter what her boyfriend thought, Tanya couldn’t bear to break Billy from his high spirits. She couldn’t even remember seeing the former Blue Ranger so happy before. “Are you guys keeping the engagement?”
Billy nodded, obviously enjoying the fact that she had touched on the topic of his marriage. “Yeah. In fact, it’s not going to be much longer until all of our systems are back to full and we’re able teleport you guys here for a wedding ceremony. I mean, it wouldn’t be the same without you guys here. Adam, I hope you’re prepared to be one of my best men.”
The Black Ranger was unable to stop from smiling weakly at this. “Really? You’re serious? I would love to be one of your best men, Billy. To be honest, I’m flattered and surprised.”
“Why surprised?” Seeing Adam shrug, Billy laughed. The sound felt like swords ripping through both the Black and Yellow Rangers’ stomachs. How could they stand to tell him the news when he was acting this way? “Adam, you’re one of my best friends. We have a special connection! In fact, you were always the person I felt the most comfortable to be around. We have a lot in common, which is why I was so glad Zack chose you to be the Black Ranger.”
As Adam lowered his eyes and nodded, Billy frowned at his strange behavior. “There’s something wrong, isn’t there?” When the Black Ranger refused to answer, he looked at Tanya who had taken the same position. “Guys, what happened? You’re keeping something from me.”
Tanya opened her mouth, lost all track of her words, and tried again. “We, um, we do have some bad news for you, Billy. It came as a shock to all of us, and we couldn’t keep you out of this. After all, even though you don’t live here anymore, you’ll always be one of us.”
“What happened?” Billy asked again, and both rangers could tell that he was beginning to panic. “Please, Guys, don’t taunt me like this. Just tell me. I’m sure I’ll be able to accept whatever it is!” Adam looked him straight in the eye and he couldn’t stop a tear from escaping. He was so innocent...(Billy, I don’t think you’ll want to accept this...) Noticing the tear, Billy grew pale. “Adam...”
The Black Ranger took a deep breath before telling himself strongly that he wasn’t going to start crying while explaining everything to Billy. “Master Vile returned, and he challenged Zordon to a battle.”
Billy stared at him, not understanding. “In a physical fight?” When the two rangers nodded, his frown deepened. “I don’t comprehend what you’re saying, Adam. Zordon is in a time warp. He can’t fight outside of it let alone live. You saw what happened when Ivan Ooze broke his tube!”
“He can’t fight in his own body, Billy, but Zordon can enter the body of a mortal and use that person to fight,” Tanya explained softly, easily seeing the startled look on his face. She took a deep breath as she saw that Adam was trying to regain his composure. “Zordon had no choice because Vile’s wife, Melantha, had put Jaime and two new teammates from KO-35, Zhane and Andros, under her control, and this was the only way to free them.”
Billy gaped at her for a moment before weakly inquiring, “Who did Zordon select as his carrier?” There was something about this whole situation... Billy knew where this was going even though he didn’t want to admit his suspicions. Maybe they were just making him think the worst so that what they had to say wouldn’t come across as badly.
Having found his voice again, Adam continued for Tanya. “There was some arguing in here, but I think you know who finally won out. He always did when it came to reckless things like this.” His lips tightened, and Adam clenched his fists, telling himself that he had to keep control.
“Tommy...” As Tanya and Adam nodded, Billy felt a pit form in his stomach. “What happened to him? Is Zordon all right?” (He always ‘did’!? No...)
“Zordon is fine,” Tanya assured him, glad that she could give the Blue Ninja Ranger some good news in light of the bad. “He’s in a meditative state right now, but we’re sure that in a few days he’ll regain his full strength.”
Seeing the inevitable question in Billy’s eyes, Adam cleared his throat before forcing himself to tell the Blue Ninja Ranger the truth. (You can’t keep walking circles around it, Adam. Do it now.) “Tommy wasn’t so lucky, Billy. He, um, he was bitten by Zedd’s snake that seems to have been made by his staff. Poison was injected into Tommy’s body, and when Zordon returned to his time warp he weakened in a matter of moments.” As tears began to fall steadily down his cheeks, Adam did his best to finish what he had begun. “H-he’s dead, Billy. Tommy’s dead. There was nothing anyone could do for him after he returned. He’s been dead for two days, and I-I felt that we shouldn’t k-keep such important information from you.”
Tanya looked at the Blue Ninja Ranger only to see that he had frozen in shock. Billy’s eyes were completely blank, and for a moment Tanya thought that he was experiencing some sort of serious medical reaction. Finally, Billy rubbed his temple before strongly saying, “I’m coming back.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Tanya told him in protest. Billy needed time to deal with his grief. Maybe Cestria could comfort him better than they could, but the look on the Blue Ninja Ranger’s face told her that arguing wasn’t going to dissuade him in the least.
“I need to be with you guys during this time, and I need to pay my last respects...” Billy’s voice trailed off, and he struggled to keep his voice even before continuing, “The funny thing was that I was going to contact you guys about the wedding in a month or two. Adam, you were going to be one of my best men, and Tommy and Jason were going to be the other two. I-I can’t believe he’s gone...” Feeling tears threatening to spill from his eyes, Billy forced himself to calm down before quickly saying, “I’m going to pack some things, and I should reach the Power Chamber in a few hours. We’ve got some new technology here; it should enable me to teleport to Earth faster than I would normally. Besides, this is an emergency and I need to be there.”
Adam nodded, thrilled by the fact that he was going to be coming. It wasn’t just because he had missed Billy, but if there was anyone that he needed more than Tanya during this time of mourning it was the Blue Ninja Ranger. “We’ll be waiting for you. Travel safely, and we’ll see you in a few hours.”
“Thank you for contacting me,” Billy told him faintly before waving. After that, the communication went dead. Tanya and Adam looked at each other, knowing that all they could do now was wait for their friend to arrive.
God, Zhane...you’re a sight for sore eyes...The great Kerovian warrior. Oh, yeah...you really represent KO-35, Zordon, and the other rangers. Yep, Zhane. You’re a real piece of work. Closing his eyes against the nausea he was feeling, Zhane wrapped his arms around his stomach and did his best to hold his breath. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to think. It hurt to exist.
Standing painfully to his feet, Zhane rubbed his forehead and sighed as he felt how warm it was. (A simulation has never taken so much out of me. I don’t understand this.) It’s called guilt, Zhane. You know you’re not as good as Tommy. Why didn’t you resist Melantha’s spell? Maybe he wouldn’t be dead if you hadn’t been stupid enough to fall for her tricks!
Zhane pushed the little voice out of his head before walking over to synthetron and staring at it for a moment. He wasn’t truly in the mood to eat anything. In all honesty, the only reason he was thinking of food was that after eating he would have something to throw up and maybe his stomach wouldn’t feel as bad as it did at that moment.
Zhane pushed a few buttons on the machine before thinking twice and pressing something different. Opening the door, he looked at what he had ordered with tears in his eyes. This is perfect, Zhane. It’s appropriate. You screw up and feel bad so you decide to screw up again. Still, he had to admit that the food in his hands was the only thing that had made him able to forget his pain and loneliness.
Tearing the wrapper off of his synthetron selection, Zhane threw it on the ground before gazing at the large piece of chocolate in front of him and feeling a small tear fall from his eye. “I’m sorry, Yaralla...I’m sorry, Andros...I’m sorry, Tommy, but I need it...”
Lord Zedd cackled brightly before twirling his staff like a baton. Cackling again, he hugged his wife, Rita Repulsa, lovingly. “Tommy Oliver is dead! I still can’t believe that it’s true! This is like a wonderful dream! I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and none of this would have happened!” Finally, his most despised ranger was gone. This was magnificent! No more heroic phrases. No more losing to his leading. Goodbye, Rangers!
Touching her gray hair for a moment, Rita put her hands on her hips with anger. “If I would have had my way, my father would still be alive and Tommy would be evil! I never wanted him dead! Do you realize what an awesome power has slipped through our fingers!?”
“I’m sorry that he died,” Melantha, the widow of Rita’s father, Master Vile, told her sorrowfully. Twisting a strand of her black hair around her finger, she smiled faintly. “I loved your father. It is sorry to see him killed in such an dishonorable way.”
“Dishonorable!?” King Rashell, who was sitting on Zedd’s throne despite the Lord of Evil’s earlier protests, exclaimed. Melantha had only been on the moon for two days without Vile’s presence, and already Rashell knew that he hated her more than he had Rita’s Father. Melantha was beautiful, yes, but she was also sneaky, untrustworthy, and a slut. It was obvious that she barely cared about her husband’s death! “Master Vile died with dignity. He almost destroyed Zordon, and he defeated the Leader of the Rangers...something you couldn’t accomplish with that idiotic love spell of yours!”
Melantha grinned sardonically at him, her purple eyes sparkling with amusement. “Really, Rashell, it wasn’t my husband who killed Tommy. I thought you had realized the truth. If Zedd had not created his staff-snake then the White Ranger would not be so still right now.”
Taking this in, Rashell nodded reluctantly. It had been Zedd who had killed Tommy whether he wanted to accept it or not. He had underestimated the Lord of Evil, and now he was forced to admit it. “What we need to do now is destroy the rest of the rangers.” Waving her hands in the air, Melantha turned to the wall and watched as her servant appeared leaning against it coolly.
Looking up, Rashell snorted as he saw the purple gleam in Jaime Talsik, the Silver Ranger’s, eyes. Jaime, hearing him, scowled before walking in front of Melantha and bowing before her. “You summoned me, My Queen?” His voice was cold and monotone, and his gray T-shirt was torn on the left shoulder and on the lower right hand side. Rashell sighed. Just what had Melantha been doing with the Silver Ranger? Whatever it was, he quickly told himself that he didn’t want to know.
“It’s time to destroy the rangers,” Melantha told him seductively, wrapping a snake-like arm around his shoulders. Seeing this, Zedd sighed. How could Rita still think so highly of her father even after he got together with a woman like...her? At first he had wondered why a beautiful creature like Melantha would ever marry Master Vile, but now the answer was apparent. They were both sneaky, annoying, and lustful. The two had been perfect for each other. “Are you ready to fight them, Jaime?”
The Silver Ranger nodded, assuring her that he was. “I will fight diligently for you, Queen Melantha.” He bowed again, and Vile’s widow grinned at him. He was a cute young mortal. It would be interesting to see if Jaime would keep fighting until the rangers died or if the rangers would finally have no choice but to kill him. Either way, she was sure that it would be fun to watch, and she intended to be on Earth when the inevitable fight occurred.
Suddenly, a sharp voice rang out from beyond the palace. “Come forth, my followers!” Rita looked beyond the railing of the throne room and had to stop herself from jumping back as she saw Dark Specter’s hideous face looking at them. “Did you think I would forget about you, Weaklings!?”
“To what do we owe this honor, Dark Specter?” Rashell asked humbly as he fell to his knees and bowed to the Monarch of Evil along with the others in the throne room. Raising his head, Rashell slowly opened his eyes. “You would never forsake us, and for that we are grateful.” He smiled mentally as Dark Specter nodded. Rashell was proud of his worshipping ability. His praises had gotten him out of many hard times with Dark Specter. If he wasn’t such a good butt-kisser Rashell knew that he probably wouldn’t be alive.
“I have come to give my respects to Melantha for her dead husband,” Dark Specter explained, turning his attention to the black and purple-haired woman who was watching him from her position on the ground. Gazing at the mortal standing next to her, Dark Specter frowned. There was positive Morphing Grid energy coming from him. “You have a Power Ranger here.”
Melantha nodded proudly and patted Jaime on the back. “Yes, Dark Specter. This is Jaime Talsik, the Silver Triphorian Ranger. I have put him under my spell and will soon use him to destroy the remaining Power Rangers, for without their leader they are nothing.”
“The White Ranger was a weakling anyway. It’s a good thing he was destroyed so quickly. Now there’s one less nuisance to worry about.” Zedd gasped in amazement and turned to Jaime who was chuckling quietly to himself. How strong was Melantha’s power that made the Silver Ranger say these things against the person who he had once respected? Tommy and Kat had been easy to manipulate. When they were made evil for the first time there was nothing but spite for the rangers because there had been no interaction between them, but Jaime? The rangers were his life, and yet this simple charm Melantha had used made him this way!
Dark Specter regarded Jaime with amusement. “Ah, Melantha, not a ranger but a pet? He will be useful in the future. Make sure that he gets plenty of rest so that he is at full strength when it comes to fighting the rangers. Now, all of you, leave me. I wish to speak to Lord Zedd alone.” The Lord of Evil swallowed nervously. What could the Monarch of Evil want? Slowly, the others teleported away leaving Zedd alone facing Dark Specter.
The Monarch of Evil glared at him angrily before opening his mouth and watching with contentment as fire hit Zedd dead on and sent him tumbling weakly to the ground. “What have I done to deserve this!?” Zedd wailed, pain shooting through his body. He cried out as a burning sensation crept up into his chest and made him struggle for breath.
“You imbecile! I know that you were present on Dactor and yet you still killed the White Ranger!” Dark Specter yelled furiously. “How could you have not known that I wanted the White Ranger for myself!? Why did you kill him!? You could have restrained him or done anything that you wanted, but no! You interfered! Zedd, you’re lucky I don’t kill you for this!” Zedd watched him in horror. Dark Specter had cared about the White Ranger? Why? For what purpose had the Monarch of Evil wanted Tommy? As another blaze of fire hit him, Zedd slammed into the wall and fell to the ground again, trying to block out Dark Specter’s consistent screaming.
Zordon closed his eyes as the mist of his meditative state continued to cover him. It was nice to have this peace even if just for a little while. He knew that soon he would have to leave this serene state of mind and return to the rangers...and confront them about what had happened...what he had caused...the poor mortal.
Taking in a deep breath, Zordon allowed a small tear to fall from his eye in memory of his young human who had literally died so that he could remain. If it hadn’t been for Tommy Zordon knew that he wouldn’t have had the strength to keep fighting. He sighed, remembering when Tommy had been freed from Rita’s evil spell. Though there was uncertainty and guilt in his heart, the young mortal had still been ecstatic about being on the right side. Zordon laughed weakly to himself. What a fool...
No one lives forever, and Zordon knew that. What he wanted to know was why these teens continued to fight evil despite the risks. Being a ranger wasn’t a game and it definitely wasn’t danger proof. One day, Zordon told himself, he would be forced to remain in an empty Power Chamber with Alpha 5 after all of the humans had been killed. Why were they so proud of what they were doing? As of now, the war against evil seemed futile. Zordon could see no breaks. In this fashion, good and evil would continue fighting until the Universe collapsed.
(Tommy is going to miss the most horrific battles. I suppose it’s better that way. He would have killed himself if any of the rangers went before him. This way, there was no guilt and no fear. Tommy was calm when he died...once again, he was uncertain. This time he was uncertain about eternity, but he will adapt just as he adapted to being a warrior on the positive side of the Morphing Grid after Rita’s spell was broken. Oh, Tommy, how I envy you...)
Smiling to himself, Zordon wished that he could have his body. There were times that he wished that he could just pop out of his time warp and hug the rangers...tell them that everything would be ok even if he didn’t believe it...tend to their wounds. He had used up a great amount of his strength tending to the burns he had given Tommy after disciplining him. It was not something he could do on a regular basis. More tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered Tommy and Jason reaching out to him as he returned to his time warp. His two sons...wishing that they were perfect...wanting to save the world.
They were stupid to think this way...pure idiots, but their motives were so innocent that Zordon allowed himself to keep giving them hope. He wanted them to believe that if they kept fighting they would one day defeat all evil in the Universe, but in the short lifetime of a mortal ranger it would never happen...Zordon was far past his youth years, and this fact was now blatantly apparent. No matter how hard he pushed the rangers they would never defeat all evil. He would probably use up all of his energy and die before the day came that evil or good won the war. (White Ranger, I miss you. I miss your idiotic recklessness and never-ending optimism. If only I could have saved you...where are you, my ranger? Where are you hiding? Are you happy?)
Zordon allowed himself to dwell on this question...was Tommy ever truly happy with his life? Hell, were any of the rangers? They were such strong rangers, but that didn’t mean that they were happy. He wondered what they would have been like if they had never been dragged into this battle.
Jason, Zack, Trini, Kim, and Billy were made rangers because Zordon had put the burden on them. He had picked them randomly. Oh, how happy they had been before they were forced to bear the stress of battle!
Tommy had been forced into being a ranger. Rita had given him no choice but to take on the coin, and so naturally he couldn’t just give it up after being freed.
Aisha, Adam, and Rocky had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. What if they hadn’t been doing that competition in Angel Grove? What would have happened to them if they hadn’t become rangers?
Kat was asked by Kim, but after all that she had been through after Rita had made her evil how could she have refused? Would Kat have been happier without being a ranger?
Jaime had grown up wanting to be a ranger. On Triphoria, you are either a warrior or a nobody. The stress of battle had made the Silver Ranger into a hardened man. What was Jaime doing now on the Moon? Was he preparing to fight them? If he had never come to Earth to fight Veron he would have never been kidnapped by Melantha.
Andros and Zhane were forced to take on powers after KO-35 was attacked and Yaralla had been given no choice but to come along for the ride. In Zordon’s opinion, Jaime, Andros, and Zhane were the only ones besides himself to experience the full effect of war. Jaime had seen the King and Princess of his planet murdered along with a countless number of his fellow soldiers. Andros, Zhane, and Yaralla had witnessed their entire planet being taken over by Dark Specter’s troops, and despite their cheery dispositions Zordon knew that they had been scarred forever by the experience of losing everyone that they knew and loved.
Why were such young humans being forced into things such as this!? Why couldn’t they be happy and live a normal life!? Why had the White Ranger given his mortality for the team!? Zordon pondered these questions before allowing himself to sob openly. The poor mortals...they were sacrificing themselves for the cause...for what they thought was right...at that moment Zordon made a new vow to himself. Despite the fact that these rangers would be killed in battle, he would do everything in his power to make sure that evil would never triumph or die trying.
Stirring, Uriel opened her blue eyes lazily before looking up at the clear sky. Puffy white clouds passed overhead, and she smiled sleepily after seeing them. They were so perfect...this world was so perfect. Turning around, her grin widened as she saw that Tommy was still next to her. His face was slightly flushed due to the sun that had been falling on them since they had fallen asleep, and Uriel had to stop herself from kissing him. Tommy was so beautiful when he slept...his serenity made him look like an immortal god. As the arm he had wrapped around her shoulders tightened, Uriel gave in to his embrace and put her head on his shoulder before laying an arm over his chest. As he opened his eyes and smiled at her, Uriel nuzzled him. “I love you,” she told him softly.
“Thank you for staying with me,” Tommy told her, sighing as she kissed his cheek. “This lonely world would be so frightening without you here.” They were not the words that Uriel had been hoping for, but they were a start and contented her. Watching as he closed his eyes again, Uriel let out a deep breath and tightened her grip on him. She was so happy. This was what she wanted...Tommy wasn’t under a spell, and though he didn’t love her at that point he cared for her. That was all Uriel asked for.
Suddenly, a deep male voice sounded from above them. “Talk about unexpected.” Tommy’s eyes flashed open and he glared at the man standing above them with blond hair and shining green eyes. The newcomer laughed, obviously entertained by seeing the White Ranger in a tank top and boxers and Uriel in a black bra and underwear. “I never thought that I would see good and evil bonded in this way. Star-crossed lovers? Really, Tommy, what about Katherine?”
Tommy stood and turned to Uriel who was watching him with fright. “Do you have your powers in this world?” He frowned with disappointment as she shook her head. Getting into fighting stance, Tommy purposefully blocked Uriel’s body with his own as she stood and clung onto his arm. “Run, Uriel.”
“I’m not going to just leave you!” Uriel screamed at him, watching in horror as the man in front of them also got into fighting position. (Who is he!?) Her mind shrieked. (I’ve never seen this person before! How is it that he’s in this world! This is a place of peace!) As Tommy continued to block her, Uriel hesitantly let go of his arm and took a few steps back so that he would have room to maneuver.
Tommy rushed the mysterious man, clutching his chest as the stranger delivered a series of blows to his unsheltered body. Jumping at him, Tommy could only watch in horror as the man somehow grabbed his arm and flung him over his shoulder. From his spot on the ground, he clutched his throbbing shoulder before forcing himself to stand again. “You can do better than that!” The person taunted with a jeering laugh. “Come on, White Ranger! Show me your skill!”
(I need my powers!) Tommy’s mind screamed, but, knowing that he didn’t have his morpher in this world, Tommy ran towards the man again. The two threw a series of punches and kicks at each other and, after a few minutes, Tommy was on the ground gasping for breath again. (Who is this person? I can’t beat him!) As the mysterious man attempted to kick him while he was down, Tommy rolled out of the way and delivered the most powerful blow to his chest that he could. The stranger fell back with a startled yelp before standing again, an amazed expression lighting his face. “I never expected that from you...no mortal has ever gotten a blow through to me!”
“I guess...that just means...you should practice harder!” Tommy called to him through panting breaths as he tried to steady himself on his feet again. At his words, Uriel put a hand over her eyes in mortification. He was losing by a mile, and yet he was still making fun on the man!? Stupid...but surprisingly admirable. “Come on, was...that all!?”
“You wish,” the stranger said, running towards him. Flipping, he avoided Tommy’s punches before delivering a blow to his back sending the White Ranger flying to the ground. He laughed, knowing that the victory was his as Tommy groaned in pain before grabbing the White Ranger’s shirt and hauling him to his feet. He raised a fist and chuckled happily. “That was fun...now, I think, it’s time to end this...” Putting a hand on Tommy’s chin, the stranger tilted his head back so that he could see the White Ranger’s expression. The mysterious man gasped at what he saw. “Good God...you’re bleeding!” There was a cut on the left side of his head causing blood to slowly trickle down the side of his face. Pain glazed the White Ranger’s eyes, and the stranger felt a pang of guilt go through him.
Tommy snickered at the man before pushing him away as hard as he could. “Yeah, smart ass...that’s what happens when you lose to someone.” Putting a hand to his forehead, he easily found the small cut that was causing blood to trickle down his temple. As arms wrapped around him, Tommy fell back into Uriel’s embrace. “Impressed?”
“Idiot,” Uriel mumbled with a faint smile. She helped him to sit upright before standing in front of him and facing the stranger who still had a look of shock on his face. “Whoever you are, you’ve really pissed me off!” Uriel got into fighting stance. “How did you get into this dimension!? It’s for the dying!”
“...and yet you’re here.” As Uriel growled at him, the stranger pushed her away with a forceful heave before bending down near Tommy and catching him just as he fell back. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, Tommy, but I’ve wanted a chance to spar with you for a long time. You have to give into temptation sometimes, right?” He gazed at Uriel after saying this and watched as the Queen of Evil stood weakly and put a hand on her abdomen.
(It couldn’t be...) Feeling faint, Tommy gazed into the man’s green eyes before softly whispering, “Z-Zordon?” At his nod, the White Ranger stared at him in shock. How had he entered this world? Why was he here? Was there a chance that Zordon was going to save him? “Why are you--”
“Don’t talk,” Zordon told him softly as he put a hand on Tommy’s wound. He chuckled suddenly. “You’re so stupid, Tommy! Rushing into battle with a person you knew nothing about! What if I had been Dark Specter!? You could have been killed!” Tommy reached a hand up and felt his forehead, gasping as he found that his cut had magically vanished. “Then again, I suppose you’ll always be an idiot...in life or death.”
He looked at Uriel again and watched as the Queen of Evil gaped at him. Why was SHE here, Zordon wondered. Could it be...Tommy had...that time when he was under her spell...this was all starting to make sense, and it was a picture that Zordon wanted desperately to push out of his head. “Imbecile,” he whispered, but there was no anger in his voice...only relief. Zordon had found his ranger...it had taken what seemed like forever, but he had found him, and Tommy was all right...at least for the time being...
“...hideously ugly, ignorant buffoon! That’s what you are, Zedd! I should just kill you! It isn’t like anyone would care!” Dark Specter shouted in a rage at the cowering Lord of Evil who was now bowing humbly by the railing of the moon palace’s throne room. “How could you NOT know that I wanted the White Ranger!? Idiot! Imbecile! DISGUSTINGLY STUPID OAF!!!”
“Excuse me, Lord Zedd, but I wanted to ask you--” Uriel, in her normal attire of black on black, gazed in horror at Dark Specter who was glaring at her, obviously not appreciating her interruption. She knelt on the ground in fear. “I’m sorry, Dark Specter! Forgive me for not being aware of your presence...I’ll be leaving now.” Standing, Uriel was about to leave when she heard Dark Specter call to her. Turning around, she looked at the Monarch of Evil who was watching her with interest. “What do you wish of me?”
(It’s that energy again...) Dark Specter watched the Queen of Evil with intrigue, unable to shake the uncomfortable feeling in his mind. It was the same thing that he had felt after confronting her when he was informing the Moon Powers of Karaya’s involvement in the war with the Earth Rangers. It was the same thing that he had felt after confronting the White Ranger on Dactor. What did they share? There had to be something between them... “Leave us, Zedd. I wish to speak to Uriel alone.”
“A-as you wish, Dark Specter,” Zedd murmured quickly, thankful for the excuse to leave. He had been afraid that the Monarch of Evil was going to fry him to death. Who would have known that Tommy’s death had struck him so hard? Zedd honestly didn’t think that Dark Specter would have cared. Nodding towards Uriel, Zedd left the room, wondering what horror the Monarch of Evil was going to put her through.
Dark Specter continued to gaze at Uriel before pulling himself out of his stupor and strongly requesting, “Tell me everything that you remember about Tommy Oliver.”
(What!?) Uriel stared at the Monarch of Evil, wondering what he expected to hear out of her answer. (Why did I come out of my room!? If I give anything away about my relationship with Tommy then I’m dead!) “Um, Tommy Oliver was a constant nuisance, Dark Specter. He was always foiling our plans to destroy the rangers. However, he was a brave mortal. Braver than most. Well, all of the rangers are. He died for his mentor, and that is one of the most honorable ways that I can think of to die. Tommy was an interesting advesary. I will miss toying with him...” (Toying with him!? God, Uriel, you’re pathetic...) She looked up with fear at the Monarch of Evil, hoping that her answer was good enough.
Regarding her solemnly, Dark Specter looked into Uriel’s eyes and sighed softly. A fair answer...it was obvious that she wasn’t going to tell him what connection she had to the White Ranger. He stared at her for a few moments in silence until he could see her squirming under his gaze. Finally, he let out an amused laugh, something that Uriel had not been expecting, before questioning, “When are you going to tell your husband that you are not carrying his offspring but the child of a dead ranger?”
At that moment, Uriel felt her world shatter. (He knows!? How could he know!? Dark Specter is going to kick me out of the Union...kill me! Banish my soul!) Dark Specter noticed her fright and laughed at her. “If I wanted to kill you, Uriel, I would have done it long ago. You have committed treason, but I don’t have the will to kick you out of the Union. In fact, the White Ranger interested me as well. That was why I was so upset at Zedd.”
(He was interested in Tommy? I hope he didn’t mean...) (You have a sick mind, Uriel.) Uriel felt her head lighten with relief before cautiously saying, “I didn’t plan on telling Rashell the truth. It would be easier to make him believe that the child is his.” She hoped that he would accept this answer. It was the truth, after all.
“A wise decision,” Dark Specter told her with as much of a smile as his hideous mouth could form. “Tommy Oliver is dead. There’s no point in haunting yourself or him with ghosts, Uriel.” As the Monarch of Evil continued to speak to her, Uriel leaned back against her hands. He didn’t care? This was unexpected! She had thought Dark Specter would kill her for her treason. Any romantic relationship with a fighter of justice was forbidden, and that she had slept with Tommy? That was one of the worse offenses that one could commit! Uriel smiled mentally. (Well, it looks like I’ll be continuing for you after all, Tommy. Don’t worry. When my child is born I’ll ask Dark Specter for help in hiding from Rashell. I will raise the baby alone, and our offspring will be the most beautiful in all of history.)
“Zhane!” Andros called as he walked down the hallway to the bridge. Where was the Silver Astro Ranger anyway? Andros hadn’t seen him all day, and Alpha had said that he hadn’t left the ship since he came back a few hours earlier. “Where are you, Zhane!?” Looking around the control room, he sighed. No sign of Zhane...or Yaralla, for that matter.
Exiting the bridge, Andros continued down the hallway towards the recreation room. (Stupid idiot...I’m going to yell at Zhane for making me search around this whole ship for him.) “Hey, Zhane!” Andros called as he entered the recreation room. “Are you here!?” Spotting something on the floor, Andros froze in his spot...a wrapper of some kind...(It couldn’t be...he wouldn’t be that much of an imbecile!)
Andros picked up the wrapper and stared at it in shock, feeling the anger beginning to swell within his chest. It was a chocolate wrapper, and it was empty. (Zhane...no, please say you didn’t...this isn’t what it looks like, right?) Hearing a grunt from the other side of the room, Andros turned around and frowned as he saw Zhane leaning against the wall and shivering helplessly. He stood and walked in front of him, his eyes blazing with rage. “Why, Zhane?”
“Why did you do it after you had worked so hard to quit!?” Andros shouted furiously, not letting Zhane finish his sentence. This was unbelievable. Zhane had worked so hard to stop...everyone had supported him so much, and he had been in better spirits lately! How could he be so idiotic!?
Zhane weakly turned his head and gazed at Andros, his eyes shimmering with innocence. “I didn’t, Andros.” He smiled faintly, wincing suddenly as a pain went through his chest. “You’d be proud of me. I didn’t do it...”
Andros looked at him and relief flooded his features. So, Zhane hadn’t done anything. Good. He knew that it couldn’t be true...not after everything that they had been through. Zhane wasn’t that dumb. Looking down at Zhane’s hands, however, Andros’ relief turned into full-blown spite. “You didn’t, huh?” When Zhane nodded, Andros grabbed his wrists tightly and tugged his hands upward, exposing the melted chocolate on them. “What the hell is THIS then!? ASSHOLE! Don’t you DARE lie to me!”
“Andros, you have it all wrong!” Zhane protested, groaning in pain as Andros used his hands to raise him to his feet. “Damn it, you’re going to break my wrists! You have to believe me, Andros!” Seeing the fire in Andros’ eyes, Zhane leaned back in horror. How could this be happening? Everything was becoming clouded...he could barely see...
With a piercing stare, Andros shook Zhane in fury. “Damn you! I can’t believe you’d be such an idiot! DAMN YOU!” The Red Astro Ranger, unable to stop himself, raised his fist, and before Zhane could even think of blocking the blow Andros struck him on the left side of his face. The force of the hit sent the Silver Astro Ranger spiraling helplessly into the wall and crashing against it. He slid to the ground and hissed in pain before tentatively putting a hand on his forehead.
Andros stared at his clenched fist in horror. He had never swung at Zhane under his own free will. Sure, there had been spells, but he had never hurt Zhane willingly...he had never even thought of it! Hearing the Silver Astro Ranger take a few gulping breaths, Andros took a step towards him and opened his mouth to say something but stopped abruptly as he saw the blood now coming down Zhane’s forehead. He turned around and sprinted as fast as he could out of the room. Zhane listened to his footsteps become fainter before doing his best to hold in tears as the nauseous feeling returned to his stomach. “Andros, believe me,” Zhane whispered weakly as a small tear fell from his eye. “Please, Andros, come back...”
Walking into the throne room, Melantha bowed apologetically as she saw Dark Specter talking to Uriel. “I’m sorry for intruding, Dark Specter, but I wanted to know if I should take Jaime down to Earth along with some Jagas and Tengas. He is well rested and nearly bursting with desire for ranger blood. Please, Dark Specter?” She smiled innocently at him.
Dark Specter used all of his will to stop from attacking her. He hated Melantha and her cocky attitude, but at that time he had no reason to banish her from the Union therefore he was forced to put up with her until she gave him good cause. “Yes. That is a good idea.” Melantha nodded, happy that her idea had gone over well, before teleporting out of the room in a cloud of purple smoke.
Watching her go, Dark Specter smirked. “Stupid bitch.” He then turned his attention back to Uriel who was looking at him intently. “Go to Rashell and tell him that you are mourning Tommy’s death because he still had some of your energy within him. Though you do not love him, he is still your husband, and until you have your child I cannot keep you from him. Oh, and fetch your sister for me. I wish to have a word with her.”
“Yes, Dark Specter,” Uriel said, bowing graciously. She couldn’t believe this. Not only was Dark Specter going to keep her secret, but he was also going to help her go into hiding after her child was born! “Thank you...I’ll get Kali for you.” With that, she left the room with a deep joy in her heart. Stopping in the hallway, she laughed to herself. “Everything is going to be ok, Tommy. Just watch me...your child will be so beautiful. I’ll keep the kid healthy and strong. He or she will be a marvelous being one day...”
As alarms sounded in the Power Chamber, Adam turned around and looked at the viewing globe. He gasped in shock at what he saw. “She’s come...and Jaime’s with her...” So, Melantha had finally decided to show herself. Adam felt like pounding her face in with his fist. Tanya looked at him and frowned worriedly as she saw that his eyes were clouded with rage.
“Ay, yi, yi!” Alpha exclaimed, rushing around and pushing buttons on various consoles. “Rangers, come to the Power Chamber immediately! We have a situation!” The droid didn’t have to wait very long for a response. In a matter of moments an array of lights illuminated the room as the rangers made their entrance.
Materializing, Rocky immediately turned to the viewing globe and his jaw clenched in fury. “The bitch...we have to get Jaime back.” As a hand fell on his shoulder, he turned around to see Yaralla eyeing him with concern. He offered her a weak smile, knowing that she didn’t buy it. It was obvious that the only thing on his mind was destroying Melantha once and for all.
“W-who’s, you know, who’s going to...” Trini’s voice trailed off as she lost the courage to ask the inevitable question of leadership of the team. Overcome with emotion, she didn’t notice the red and silver lights that entered the room, nor did she notice that Andros and Zhane moved to separate sides of the room when their teleportations ended.
A voice called to them from the center of the room, and the rangers turned to see that Zordon had returned and was looking at them with an expression of fierce determination on his face. Jackie smiled weakly. At least he wasn’t trying to hide the pain that the White Ranger’s death had caused. “JASON, YOU ARE STILL TOO WEAK TO FIGHT. I MUST ASK YOU TO REMAIN IN THE POWER CHAMBER WHILE THE OTHERS TAKE ON MELANTHA AND TRY TO FREE JAIME.” Jason opened his mouth to protest, but as he saw both Adam and Yaralla gaze at him he gave up and slipped to the ground, feeling tears threaten to spill from his eyes. How would he be able to continue Tommy’s legacy if he couldn’t even fight? (I promise you, Tommy...no one’s ever going to forget you. As of now I’m dedicating my life to your memory. We’ll beat evil one day, Bro. Just watch and see.)
“ZHANE.” Hearing his name, the Silver Astro Ranger raised his head and faced Zordon in surprise. The Eltarian looked over him for a moment and his frown deepened. “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?”
“I, um...” As Emily gasped, noticing his puffy eye and scarred forehead for the first time, Zhane took in a deep breath before looking at Andros who had lowered his eyes to the floor. “I...there was a simulation mishap when I was running it. Something must have caused an overload because the monster really got through to me, but I’ll be ok.” Zhane saw Yaralla’s disbelieving expression, but the other rangers seemed to buy the story. Relieved by this, Zhane turned towards Zordon. “What were you going to say to me?”
“YOU ARE TO BECOME THE LEADER OF THE RANGERS, ZHANE, UNTIL JASON IS ABLE TO FIGHT AGAIN. DO YOU ACCEPT THIS RESPONSIBILITY?”
Zhane stared at him, not wanting to accept the question that he had just heard posed, before looking around the room. The other rangers were watching him expectantly, but they couldn’t hide the sadness in their eyes. Zhane felt weighed down by it. How could he take over for Tommy? Especially at a time like this...his fighting was atrocious and Andros hated him! “No.”
“No!?” Emily looked at him in shock before putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Hey, Zhane, I know it might be hard...we’re all still mourning, but we need a leader, and all of us believe in you! Please...all of us are asking you to do this. Will you lead us?”
He gazed at her. She was so innocent...all of the Earth Rangers were, but they didn’t know all that had happened earlier...Jason’s words, Andros’ blows, his losing to the simulation...how could a person like himself lead the team? “I...I can’t.” Turning to the Red Astro Ranger, he offered his best friend a small smile. “Andros, I think you should lead instead of me.”
“What!?” Andros looked at him in shock, not having expected this from the Silver Astro Ranger. Shouldn’t Zhane be mad at him? (Look what I did to his face! What the hell is wrong with him!?) The look in the Silver Astro Ranger’s eyes, however, told him that he had made this decision and was going to stick to it no matter what, and so Andros gazed up at Zordon with determination. “I’ll act as leader in Jason’s absence, but only if it’s ok with you, Zordon.”
The Eltarian Wizard looked from Zhane to Andros, already sensing that something was wrong between the two, before nodding slowly. “YOU’LL MAKE A FINE LEADER, ANDROS. MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU...AND ZHANE...” As the Silver Ranger turned his head to face him, Zordon grinned faintly, “...YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR JUDGMENT.” Zhane nodded before stuffing his shaking hands into his pocket. Now all he had to do was get Andros to start speaking to him again...
Jason looked around and frowned suddenly. Where was Kat? Why hadn’t she teleported up? “Um, Zordon, while they go to fight Melantha I’m going to get Kat. She should be in her room at the shelter, and I want to at least be of some use.” He smiled as Zordon nodded, allowing him to do what he had asked.
As the other rangers turned to him, Andros hesitantly got into position, knowing that he was going to cherish this moment when looking back on it even though at that time he felt that knives were piercing his skin. (Tommy, I’ll make you proud. I swear, until Jason gets his strength back you can count on me to lead the team.) “It’s morphing time!”
“NINJA CRANE POWER!”
“GREEN EMERALD NINJA STALLION POWER!”
“COPPER PENDANT NINJA HAWK POWER!”
“PURPLE GEM NINJA CAT POWER!”
“RED ASTRO RANGER!”
“SILVER ASTRO RANGER!”
“GOLD RANGER F POWER!”
After the rangers teleported away, Yaralla watched as Jason left to fetch the Pink Ranger before sighing and looking at the viewing globe. It didn’t take long for the just warriors to reach Angel Grove Park, and she watched as the battle began before smiling faintly. “Andros is going to be a great leader. Tommy, I hope you’re watching this because I think we’re going to be ok...”
Jason materialized just to the side of the Angel Grove Shelter, and he wiped the sweat from his brow before running as fast as he could into the building and towards the room that he knew was Kat’s. “Please be there, Kat,” he whispered through panting breaths. “The rangers are going to need all the help they can get.” Reaching the wooden door, Jason banged on it. “Kat, open up! It’s Jason!” There was no response. “Kat!” He turned the knob slowly and found that it was unlocked. (I have a bad feeling about this.)
He slowly pushed the door open and smiled as he saw Kat standing in the center of the room. “Kat, I’m glad I found--” Jason shut his mouth as he saw the tears running down Kat’s face as she lifted a handful of white pills to her mouth, not giving him a second thought. “Kat...”
“Go away, Jason,” Kat whispered through sobs as she continued to raise her hand holding the white capsules to her mouth. There would be no stopping her. She wanted to be with Tommy. That was that. “I want to be alone.”
“Alone!?” Rushing her, Kat gave a startled cry as Jason pushed her against her bed, knocking the pills out of her hand in the process. “Damn you, Kat, we need you! Pull yourself together!” Not registering what he was doing, Jason jumped on top of her, pinning the Pink Ranger down on the mattress before she could even think of going for the pills again.
Kat pushed him fiercely, no emotion displaying as she saw a small scar appear on Jason’s cheek. “I don’t want to live! Do you hear me, Jason!? I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT TOMMY!” Finally, she succeeded in bringing her legs between her and the Red Ranger and kicked him away as hard as she could. The force of the blow sent Jason to the ground at her feet and, surprised by her own power, Kat slowly stood and looked down at him, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Jason gazed up at her in awe before shakily standing and throwing his arms around her. As Kat stood still, not returning the gesture due to her shock, Jason put his head against hers. “You can’t leave, Kat, and do you know why? I need you during this time.” He tightened his grip as Kat attempted to pull away from him. “You’re the only one who’s feeling a loss like my own right now. Kat, if you kill yourself I’ll have to follow you, because I can’t take this! Tommy died thinking that I hated him, and now you...you’re going on your guilt and if you succeed I wouldn’t have been able to save you!”
“Jason...” She relented and put her arms around him, gasping as she felt his warm tears on her shoulder. As he began to tremble, sobs making it hard for him to breathe, Kat gently led him over to her bed and got him to sit down. “It’s selfish for me to want to die, and I know that, but it hurts so much!”
“Know that we’re all here for you, Kat,” Jason told her softly as he did his best to halt his weeping. “We can help each other through this. I still don’t want to accept it, but since I do I want to get through with all of you. Please say that you’ll reconsider. I won’t stop you if you truly can’t stand being in this world anymore, but please reconsider.”
Kat sighed softly and rubbed his back. “I’ll keep fighting, Jason...the rangers need both of us, and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone losing heart by leaving. No, I’m going to keep going. Tommy would want me to be strong for him. I have to do what he would want me to do.” As he leaned his head on her bare shoulder, she gasped as she felt how warm it was. “Damn it, Jason, you’re sick!”
“The rangers are fighting Melantha in the park, Kat. You have to get to them,” Jason told her weakly, enjoying her cool hands on his forehead. “Morph and teleport,” he said, and Kat smiled as she noticed how much he was beginning to sound like Zordon.
Nodding, Kat helped him to lie back on her bed before strongly saying, “I want you to get some rest, ok? Don’t worry...we’ll be ok. Take care of yourself, Jason...” Turning towards the door, she faced him one more time. “Thank you.” He nodded and watched as, in a pink flash, she disappeared, before closing his eyes and smiling. Tommy would be proud of him...in fact, he would probably be a little jealous. Jason chuckled. After all, the Red Ranger had managed to pin his best friend’s girlfriend to a bed...He drifted off to sleep as he pictured Tommy yelling at him for roughing up the Pink Ranger.
Andros watched as a horde of Jagas and Tengas rushed them. Raising a hand, he motioned for the rangers to spread out. “We have to defeat them before going after Melantha. Are you ready, Guys?”
“Time to kick some ass,” Zack whispered, knocking a Jaga to the ground. “Tommy, this one’s for you. I bet you wish you could come down here and join us, huh?” As three more Jagas rushed him, he kicked them away easily. “See, I have improved. You didn’t even get to spar with me.”
Melantha watched the rangers with amusement before putting a hand on Jaime’s arm. “Pathetic, isn’t it? They’re fighting so strongly because of their hatred of us. After all, their leader is dead thanks to Lord Zedd. The rangers are taking their spite out on our troops.”
“Soon, though, they won’t pose any threat, My Queen,” Jaime whispered, laughing faintly as he saw Jackie fall to the ground after being kicked by a Tenga. “They’re so entertaining to watch...”
Kim pushed a Tenga away from herself before kicking a Jaga in the head and sending it flying into a nearby tree. Free from threat at the moment, the Pink Ninja Ranger looked in horror at Jaime who was watching them, in ranger form, by Melantha’s side. (So, he still isn’t free? Jaime, please, remember us!)
Gazing at the Pink Ninja Ranger as she went back to fighting the troops, Melantha smiled with pleasure, a lock of purple hair falling over her eye. “Jaime, your girlfriend is here. Kill her.” As he nodded and ran towards the unsuspecting human, Melantha cackled. “Mortals are so easy to manipulate.”
“Enemy of the Dark Specter...die...” Kim turned around, unable to defend herself from the Silver Ranger’s kick that sent her spiraling to the ground. “Such feebleness. You’re disgusting, Kimberly.” The Pink Ninja Ranger cleared her vision before looking at him, not wanting to believe what she was seeing. He couldn’t be attacking her. Just a short while ago they had been in each other’s arms laughing and speaking about their worlds.
“Don’t do this, Jaime,” Kim whispered, crying out as he kicked her in the ribs before she could stand. “Remember!” She screamed, hoping that her words would have some effect on him. “Please! Remember us...remember me!” Jaime just laughed mockingly at her before raising his arms, calling for Silver Thunder, and watching as the blow sent the Pink Ninja Ranger flying a few feet away. She crumpled to the ground and passed out from the pain.
“Kim!” Zhane called out in horror after seeing what had just happened to the Pink Ninja Ranger. At that moment he was feeling faint as he had been earlier that day, but the anger inside of him was too much to ignore, and he glared with hatred at Jaime. “Bastard! Don’t you know that she’s your girlfriend!?” At Jaime’s smirk, Zhane got into fighting stance. “That’s it...I’ll make you remember!” With that, he ran at Jaime and the two began fighting each other.
Rocky, who had just reached Kim’s side, propped the Pink Ninja Ranger’s head on his knees. How could he have been so mad at her before? Kim’s pain and sadness over Tommy’s death and losing Jaime was so obvious now! Cradling the Pink Ninja Ranger in his arms, Rocky watched in horror as Zhane pointed his Silverizer at Jaime and used it to send the Triphorian falling the ground, not having expected the blow. (At this rate they’re going to kill each other!) “He’s our friend, Zhane! Cut it out! That’s Jaime but it’s not Jaime!”
“Did that make sense to you!? What friend does what he has!?” Zhane hollered angrily at him before falling backwards as Jaime kicked him to the ground. “Damn you! That hurt!” His weariness had been completely replaced by adrenaline, and he used this burst of energy to knock Jaime down before he could use his Silver Thunder. Zhane raised his Silverizer as Jaime stood back up and put it into Sword Mode.
Opening her eyes wearily, Kim looked at Jaime and watched as he tried to punch Zhane. (Please, Jaime, remember us...) What she saw next amazed her. Zhane brought the Silverizer down on Jaime, and the blue energy that emitted from it made Jaime cry out in pain and collapse on the ground. He put a hand on his abdomen and gasped for breath, raising his hands to shield his body from Zhane’s kicks. (Jaime isn’t going to make it if this keeps up...) In a moment of pure emotion, Kim cried out in a pained voice, “Zhane! Stop!”
(Stop!?) Pushing Jaime away from himself, Zhane looked at Kim only to see that she was clutching Rocky for support so that she could face him. “Don’t kill Jaime!” Kim yelled in anguish. “Please, Zhane, I’m begging you! Don’t kill him! If you kill him, I’ll...I’ll...please, just stop!” Zhane stared at her in disbelief, easily seeing the tears sparkling in her eyes which were uncovered by her ninja mask, before turning back to Jaime who had stood once again.
From the side of the battlefield, Melantha chuckled, amused by the Pink Ninja Ranger. “Jaime has attacked her and all of her friends, and yet she still insists on not hurting him? That girl really must have a thing for him.” She watched Zhane intently, wondering what he was going to do.
Zhane grunted as Jaime kicked him in the chest and knelt on the ground so that he could catch his breath. “What are you looking at?” The Triphorian questioned with an entertained snort, easily seeing the Silver Astro Ranger’s weakness. “I’m your opponent, Zhane, in case you’ve forgotten. Don’t let your mind wander.”
“Shit,” Zhane whispered to himself as he saw that Kim was still staring at him, obviously in both physical and emotional agony. (What am I going to do? Jaime’s going to keep coming at me whether I relent or not...then again, I’ve hurt so many people already...Andros, I’m so sorry. Tommy, too, and Yaralla. Now I’m hurting Kim. Jaime’s screwed up now, yes, but he’s still one of us...no matter what happened on Zarok...) Slowly, he put his blaster away, and when Jaime regarded him curiously he merely muttered, “I don’t need a weapon to beat you.” (Please Rocky, Kim...don’t waste this. Regroup with the others. Don’t worry about me...shit, this is going to be hell...then again, hell is what I deserve.)
“We’ll see about that,” Jaime said, smirking, and he attacked the Silver Astro Ranger, easily sending him flying to the ground. Kicking him a few times, Jaime laughed. “Come on, why don’t you defend yourself!? I thought you could beat me. Show me your stuff, Zhane!”
Standing again, Zhane glared with spite at Jaime before softening as he saw Kim sitting with Rocky to his right. (I hope you appreciate this, Kim...) Bracing himself, he cried out as Jaime’s Silver Thunder hit him, and he left himself susceptible to a series of kicks and punches, all of which stung him like a million knives. “Zhane...” Kim whispered, not wanting to believe what she was seeing. He was doing this...for her?
Rocky watched with horror as Jaime flipped Zhane over his shoulder before throwing him carelessly into a nearby tree. Realizing what the Silver Astro Ranger was trying to accomplish, Rocky pulled Kim to her feet. “We have to get out of here!”
“What about Zhane!?” Kim cried, wincing as she heard the Kerovian scream in pain as Jaime continued his onslaught. “We can’t just leave him!” After saying this, the two rangers turned around after hearing a horrible thud. Jaime was laughing evilly at Zhane who was lying, unmoving, on the ground at his feet. “Zhane!”
“He was giving us time to get our bearings back, Kim!” Rocky told her strongly, praying silently that the Silver Astro Ranger was all right. (I won’t be able to handle another death, Zhane, so you’d better not have just killed yourself!) “We have to regroup with the others!” Kim slowly nodded and kept her eyes on Zhane as Rocky led her back to the other rangers who were fighting the Jagas and Tengas, all the while wondering how Zhane could have let Jaime do this to him despite the pain and humiliation it must have caused. (God, Zhane, that must have really hurt...why did you do that? It must have been mortifying...)
Jaime kicked Zhane’s limp body before smiling cruelly under his helmet. “I guess I was more than you could handle, Zhane. Then again, everyone knows that Kerovians have always been weak compared to Triphorians. You can admit it now that I’ve proven it. Triphorians are superior.” Laughing, he turned around and grinned as he saw that Andros was beating the Tengas that were attacking him. “Well, might as well get the leader down.”
Andros kicked the Tengas he had been fighting away before stumbling forward as a force hit him from behind. Turning around, he found that it was Jaime, and the Triphorian had folded his arms over his chest. “I see that you’re substituting for Jason, the second-in-command. What a pity that you’ll never be at full strength again since Tommy is dead. Well, it’s not a big loss to me, but then again I’m the only one who was ever able to see what an idiot he truly was.”
“Bastard,” Andros muttered, raising his Astro Blaster. “Spell or no spell, you’re going to regret saying those words.” He fired at Jaime and watched in awe as the Silver Ranger jumped away before the lasers could hit him. (He’s fast...)
What happened next occurred in the blink of an eye. Jaime launched a huge offensive against Andros, and in a matter of moments he found himself on the ground gasping for breath with Jaime raising his hands threateningly towards the sky. “Well, well, you were easier to beat than Zhane. Then again, I got him kinda upset. Anyway, Andros, it’s been a blast, but it’s time to end this. Silver--”
“ANDROS!!” The Red Astro Ranger turned around at the sound of the voice and gasped. “HANG ON!”
“--Thunder!” Jaime brought his hands down and could only watch in amazement as the Silver Astro Ranger jumped in front of the blast and took the force full on. Andros gazed with horror at Zhane as he let out a small groan before falling back on the ground and unmorphing. “That was interesting. You’re lucky, Andros, to have such an idiotic best friend.” With that, Jaime turned and started helping the Jagas and Tengas against the remaining rangers, not giving either Kerovian a second thought.
Feeling tears threaten to spill from his eyes, Andros quickly ran to Zhane’s side and bit his lip as he saw the blood running through his best friend’s gray shirt and down his pale face. “Damn it, why did you do that for me...after I hit you on the Megaship!? Zhane, why did you do that!?”
Zhane offered him a small smile in response. “I’ve already lost one leader,” The Silver Astro Ranger told him weakly, closing his eyes and trying to block out the pain. “There was no way I was going to...lose another one so soon.” As tears began to fall from Andros’ eyes, he cringed, terrified, as a thin line of blood came through Zhane’s mouth and tinted his chin.
Andros shook his best friend softly. “Everything’s going to be ok, Zhane. Trust me...a few hours under Yaralla’s care and you’ll be as good as new.” When he got no response, he shook the Silver Astro Ranger harder than he had before. “Zhane, everything will be fine! You’re going to be ok and we’ll laugh about this in a few days, right?” He forced a weak chuckle just to make his point. “Right, Zhane? Right!?”
Again, there was no reply, and Andros felt his heart shatter. “Z...Zhane?” Everything faded away at that moment; he could no longer hear or see the battle that was raging around him, and Andros focused intently on his best friend’s face...hoping for some indication that Zhane could hear him. (Don’t do this to me. Please! Don’t do this!) ZHANE! NO!” Tears streaming down his cheeks, Andros leaned his head against Zhane’s and cried helplessly. “DAMN YOU! ZHANE, YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS!”
As a hand fell on his shoulder, Andros looked up and was barely able to make out Yaralla through his blurry eyes. She smiled reassuringly at him before kneeling down next to Zhane and putting a hand on his neck. “Always check the pulse point, Andros. He’s still alive...just unconscious. Zhane’s survived this much. He’s going to be fine.”
“Thank God,” Andros whispered, allowing Yaralla to hug him strongly. “If he had died, I would’ve...”
Yaralla smacked his shoulder and chuckled weakly. “Let’s not go there, ok, because then I would have to, as well. He’s not going to die. I think we should leave it at that.” Putting a hand on Zhane’s forehead, her smile faded. “He’s running a fever. I knew it. When we were in the Power Chamber Zhane didn’t look all that good. Let’s get back to the Megaship.”
Andros frowned at her words. “What about the other rangers? I can’t just leave them like this!” He turned around and watched as Trini jumped in front of Zack, shielding him from a Tenga’s kick. As Yaralla sighed, he nodded. How would he be able to fight knowing that Zhane was in this condition? “Rocky, take over for me!” The Blue Ranger turned to him and wordlessly nodded, understanding that he had just been handed the leadership position.
Knowing that there was nothing else he could do, Andros teleported with Yaralla and Zhane back to the Megaship. Watching them go, Melantha cackled with glee. Already there were only eight rangers fighting, and while Kim wouldn’t even touch Jaime the others were unwilling to go after him offensively. This would be fun to watch. How appropriate that they were going to be destroyed by another ranger...one who they had trusted and loved. It was so ironic...so wonderful.
Walking into the throne room in the Moon Palace, Kali, in her black halter top and black tight pants, bowed humbly before Dark Specter who watched her with intrest. “You summoned me?”
“What is Melantha’s progress on Earth?” The Monarch of Evil questioned. It was amazing to him how alike Kali and Uriel were even though they were two years apart. Kali, however, had a fierceness around her that Uriel did not. Either that, or recent experiences had made the younger of the two sisters lose this trait.
“The Pink Ninja Ranger has been weakened, and the Red Astro Ranger has left the fight along with the Silver Astro Ranger who was almost killed by Jaime Talsik,” Kali responded dutifully. “The Pink Ranger is nowhere to be found. Nor is the Red Ranger who, I assume, is still ailing from his injury on Dactor. Rita informed me of these things.” She bowed again. “Was this information all you wanted, Dark Specter?”
The Monarch of Evil shook his massive head. “No, Kali. I wish to ask your opinion of Melantha,” Dark Specter told her and, seeing that Kali had been confused by the question, he simplified it. “Should I let her destroy the rangers or should I just let her toy with them and make the battle bigger...something that will scar the Meledan forever, perhaps?”
Kali smiled, knowing that it was because of thoughts like these that Dark Specter had remained the leader of evil for such a long time. He always had a scheme...a master plan... “In my opinion, Melantha, though able to make Jaime Talsik evil, does not deserve the honor of destroying Zordon’s Rangers. I don’t believe she can do it, and even if she could I wouldn’t want her to.”
“Fair enough,” Dark Specter observed. “I must agree...Melantha is not among one of my preferred subjects. Do you have any plans that I could use to destroy the rangers?”
This question was unexpected. Kali hadn’t thought that Dark Specter considered her so highly as to ask her for a battle plan. She racked her brain for ideas. “Give me time, Dark Specter, and I will come up with wonderful plans for you that can be used to destroy the rangers.”
Dark Specter nodded. “Very well. I must ask, however, that you return to your home on Xeona until you come up with these ideas. Uriel...she needs to deal with her deeds and situation on her own.” Kali gaped at him. The Monarch of Evil knew of her sister’s transgressions? He wasn’t going to reprimand her? Relieved by this, Kali nodded. “Yes, Dark Specter. I will contact you when I am ready.” With that, she waved her arms in a circle and teleported away in a black swirl of energy.
Watching her go, Dark Specter turned and faced the Earth. It truly was a beautiful planet...the blue and green with the white swirls of cloud complimented it. (Soon, though, it will not be so wonderful. I could destroy it myself, but that would take time and much of my energy, and there are so many other worlds to attack besides the Earth.) Remembering that he had to return and relieve both Astronema and Karaya of their duties, he faded away from the Milky Way Galaxy, knowing that it would be only a short while before he returned.
Rocky winced in pain as Jaime kicked him in the side and knocked him to the ground for what seemed like the millionth time. “We’re not even scratching him!” He called out weakly, sprinting away before Jaime’s Silver Thunder could hit him. (Jaime is really strong...how can we fight our own teammate, and even if we were willing to harm him, how much damage could we honestly do? Nothing that we’re doing is even giving the Triphorian a scratch. Tommy, we need you!)
“Well, you aren’t doing a good job of fighting,” Jaime noted with a proud smirk. “I suppose losing Tommy really did have an affect on you, huh?” Adam and Tanya, who were standing after being hit by a group of Jagas, stared at him in shock. How could his memories be failing him so miserably that he didn’t remember his strong friendship with Tommy? “Who cares about him anyway? He didn’t feel anything for you...all of you were just his pawns that he could use to bring himself glory. Don’t you understand? You all fought for a prideful hog. That was all Tommy was. You should be glad that Lord Zedd finished him off before he turned on all of you...like he did when he was the Green Ranger and when he was in Gasket’s arena.”
“Shut up!” Turning around, the rangers gasped as they saw that Kat had arrived in her ranger armor and was holding her Power Bow threateningly. Getting a tighter grip on the bow, she growled in fury. “I’ve wanted to forgive you, Jaime. Believe me, I still want to, but I won’t forgive you for saying those things about Tommy. You’ll wish you never said them!” Pointing the bow at him, she fired off a few pink energy arrows that sailed past Jaime, and he casually jumped to the side. Unfortunately for him, this was what Kat had been waiting for, and she fired directly at him, knocking the Silver Ranger to the ground.
As Jaime scrambled to his feet, Kat grabbed his arm and kicked him back down. “I can’t forgive you for those words...if you say those things then you might as well have killed Tommy yourself!” Pulling out her Laser Pistol, she pointed and fired at Jaime, and he cried out in agony as the lasers made his body sting. “Apologize to him, damn you!” Kat screamed, kicking him in the ribs before he could pull away from her iron grip. “Tommy’s watching. I guarantee you of that, and he’ll forgive you, but you have to apologize!”
“He doesn’t deserve it,” Jaime hissed at her, using his lower positioning to kick her legs out from under her. He had only ran a few steps when a force knocked him to the ground, and he barely had enough time to see a flash of pink behind him before feeling a fiery sensation go through his back. “I’ll never apologize for the truth!”
“You’ll be sorry,” Kat whispered with hatred as she put her foot on his back and slammed him down as hard as she could. “I’ll make you pay, you bastard!” Watching this display in awe, Zack folded his arms over his chest. He had never seen Kat so pugnacious and unrelenting. (Then again, Jaime’s words probably hit her hard. He’s going to pay...)
“Katherine...” Kim whispered, but as she saw the Pink Ranger kick Jaime in the face, she knew that trying to dissuade her friend would do no good. (I can’t protect him. When I tried, look what he did to Zhane! I just have to face facts...Jaime isn’t himself anymore, and he might never be again.)
Melantha, who was watching the battle from the sideline, shook her head in anger. “Unforgivable, Pink Ranger! You’ll pay for doing this to Jaime! He’s mine and no one else’s!” As she was about to run towards the fight, she felt cold hands clamp around her arms and throw her backwards. Looking up, Melantha stared at the young mortal that stood before her with an icy tint in his blue eyes. “Who are you?”
“I’m your opponent,” he answered casually, flipping his blond hair away from his forehead. “You’ve hurt my fellow rangers and killed one of my best friends. These actions give me no choice but to do the same to you. It’s morphing time!”
“NINJA WOLF POWER!”
Zordon stared at the viewing globe and watched as the Pink Ranger persistently shot, kicked, and punched Jaime before closing his eyes, guilt consuming him. This was not what he had wanted...he had never intended to kill Tommy, and he had never wanted to see Jaime attacked in this way despite the fact that he was under a strong spell. “Billy has arrived, Zordon, and he is fighting Melantha! Ay, yi, yi!” Zordon sighed, watching as the Blue Ninja Ranger pounced on Melantha and was immediately kicked away. (I never wanted this to happen...)
All of a sudden, Zordon frowned. He felt something...a sudden energy...very close, and yet he couldn’t identify the cause. It was almost like someone was entering the Power Chamber, but who? All of the rangers were fighting...except for Andros, Jason, and Zhane, of course. There was a bright white flash, and when it was gone Alpha took a step back in shock. “Ay, yi, yi! Who are you!?”
“I’m a friend,” The woman replied. Flipping her blond hair over her shoulder, she stared at Zordon through slitted eyes, and, in a flash, she flicked her snake-like tongue against her chin. “It’s a pleasure, Zordon.”
“A SELVINIAN,” Zordon whispered in awe. It had been forever since he had seen one of the legendary bounty hunters, but that one had entered his command base? How was that possible? For one to enter he or she needed a communicator, to be part of the positive side of the Morphing Grid, or to be in possession of a power coin...a Selvinian didn’t fit those categories. “HOW IS IT THAT YOU’VE ENTERED THIS PLACE? WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
The female grinned slyly at him before seductively whispering, “I’ve entered your Power Chamber because I am the protector of one of your rangers. It is my duty to save his life.” As realization dawned on Zordon’s face, she nodded her head. “My name is Trimaya. I sensed the death of the one I swore to protect. That is why I am here.”
Still in shock, Zordon turned away from the Selvinian, feeling tears threaten to spill from his eyes. “YOU’VE COME TOO LATE, TRIMAYA. TOMMY IS ALREADY DEAD. THERE IS NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE HIM.”
“I never suspected that you, a legendary wizard of Eltar and Meledan fighter, would have so little faith, Zordon,” Trimaya told him with a sly smile. As his mouth fell open in shock, Trimaya continued with enthusiasm. “You are not enough to bring him back. Neither am I, but together with your wizardry and my connection to the one who holds my sworn oath we can create a miracle.” She winked at him. “I trust you still have the body, Zordon.”
“MELEDAN CODES FORBID IT!” Zordon shouted at her, enraged. Was this what the Selvinian had come for? Did he want to get him and the rest of the rangers killed? If the Meledan council learned of his transgressions he and those he cared for would be put to death as an example to the rest of the Universe! “I WILL BE KILLED! YOU WILL BE KILLED! THE RANGERS WILL BE KILLED ALONG WITH TOMMY, AND WE WILL HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING! TAMPERING WITH THE COURSE OF HUMAN LIFE AND DEATH IS CONSIDERED TREASON OF EVERYTHING THAT WE STAND FOR!”
Trimaya put her hands on her hips, her tongue flickering angrily, and she glared at the Eltarian. “My coming was in vain then, I suppose.” She smiled innocently, the spite still present in her eyes. “I’m a fool, Zordon, for thinking that you cared about the mortals under you.”
“I CARE, AND THAT’S WHY I AM SAYING NO TO YOU!” Zordon yelled matter-of-factly at her. Selvinians...they thought they knew everything and could do what they pleased...
“Do you honestly believe that it was Tommy’s time to die?” Trimaya questioned in awe. Putting a hand through her hair, she sighed, having expected more from the old wizard. “Look within your heart, Zordon...if you still have one! I have witnessed your rangers fighting the Triphorian. At full strength they could have beaten Jaime Talsik easily, but guilt and anger is clouding their judgment.”
As Zordon lowered his head, pondering these words, Trimaya took a step towards the center of the room. “I will willingly give power to you and to Tommy. He is special to me...not in any strange way like he is to that blonde girl, but we are bonded. I have done the pleasure ritual on him...it was wrong of me, but I was ignorant. All a human wants after the pleasure ritual is death, but he is too noble to let go of.” Trimaya looked at Zordon pleadingly. “Please, Zordon. Help me revive your White Ranger.”
Alpha, who was stunned by this conversation, glanced at Zordon in terror as it saw that its master was actually considering this option. “Ay, yi, yi, Zordon! You can’t do it! I miss Tommy, too, but if you do this Jalice and the rest of the Meledan will find out! It may be sooner or later, but they will find out! Please, Zordon, push this idea out of your head!”
Zordon sighed, his eyes closing with weariness at the stress of this decision. Yes, Jalice, the leader of the Meledan. Jalice and he had been friends back in the days when they had merely been mortal fighters. Then, with many supporters and much luck, Jalice took over after the former leader was killed in battle. He was a fairly new leader...only a few hundred years...but Zordon knew that he was fair. Remembering the good times they had together made him smile. How could he go against the law of his best friend?
Then again, he did have the chance to save his White Ranger...the poor mortal who had died before his time. Zordon could still hear Tommy calling to him from that time when Zordon had exited his tube and treated the White Ranger’s burns, and he could feel the strength Tommy had given him pulsing through his veins while he fought Vile. He nodded slowly. “TRIMAYA, YOU AND I WILL DO IT TOGETHER...ALPHA, TELEPORT TOMMY’S BODY UP HERE FROM THE REFRIGERATION UNIT.”
“Zordon, no! You don’t know what you’re doing!” As the Eltarian looked down at him, Alpha could easily see the pain and determination on his face, and the robot hesitantly pushed buttons on a console that would open the refrigeration unit in a lower part of the Power Chamber. There would be no stopping the wizard or the Selvinian in the task, but Alpha desperately wished that he could. If they succeeded severe consequences would endure. Jalice was kind yet stuck to his principals. Even if Zordon was his best friend, he would not relent. Alpha sighed in submission. It had to be done.
Sitting in a chair on the bridge of the Megaship, Andros twirled the chain of his locket around his neck blankly with his finger. He didn’t want to think about what had just occurred. Everything had happened so fast...him hitting the Silver Astro Ranger...Zhane jumping in front of Jaime’s Silver Thunder... (Why did you do that, Zhane? I didn’t deserve it. You know that.)
“I’m talking forever! No kidding! Really!”
“Why not? You and I will prove it!”
“Kinwon is going to kill you both. I can’t believe you’re actually forming a partnership behind his back!”
“Who cares about him? He’s just an old fart anyway.”
“Zhane, he might hear you. I’d shut up.”
“If you say anything to him I’ll tell Tykwa that you were making comments about how much weight she’s gained in the last few months, Andros, so you’d better not get any ideas!”
“Boys will be boys.”
“What are you talking about, Yaralla? You’re one of the boys, too!”
“Oh please, God, no. I don’t want to be put into a category with you.”
“So, Zhane, you’re serious, right? We’ll vow to fight as a team forever?”
“Always. Hey, I’m afraid to let you go off on your own! Who’ll I use as a comparison so that the ladies will think more highly of me?”
“There’s no hope for you...and what do you mean as a comparison!?”
“Well, with the amount of times you two get hurt you’re going to need a personal doctor...and psychiatrist for that matter.”
“Are you serious, Yaralla?”
“Why not? It might be fun! Besides, someone needs to keep you guys in line!”
“Andros?” Turning around, the Red Astro Ranger smiled faintly as he saw Yaralla standing in the doorway. Yaralla walked over to him and sighed, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You know, I was hoping you would come up. Before I sedated Zhane he was calling for you.”
Lowering his head, Andros removed her hand before standing and walking to the other side of the room. He didn’t want her pity, and, in all honesty, he didn’t think that he deserved it. “Is he going to be ok? Y-you know, no permanent injuries?”
Yaralla nodded, sitting down in the place where he had just been seated. She was slightly hurt by Andros’ closure of his feelings, but Yaralla knew that the Red Astro Ranger was always like this when something had deeply impacted him. He never wanted help when he needed it the most. “Nothing permanent, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t have any extensive injuries. Zhane has cuts and bruises everywhere, not to mention the sprained ankle, broken arm, and mild internal bleeding. I’ve gotten that cleared up, though.”
Seeing Andros’ horrified expression, Yaralla quickly tried to lift his spirits. “Come on, Andros. Do you honestly think all of these things were caused by him jumping in front of you? I’d say Jaime administered most of these injuries when he was fighting Zhane before...well, I’d say it was one-way fighting. For some reason, Zhane wasn’t going back at him as he had been earlier.”
“There was no simulation malfunction, Yaralla,” Andros told her softly, tears stinging his eyes as he folded his arms over his chest. He couldn’t keep it in any longer...not against Yaralla... “I...I lost control in the recreation room. It was just that I was so mad that I couldn’t control it!” Taking in a shaky breath, he sighed. “Some leader, huh?”
“I knew it,” Yaralla said in wonder, closing the distance between them and putting a hand on his arm. “Just the way you two were looking at each other in the Power Chamber...I knew something was wrong.” She frowned at him, still confused about the whole ordeal. “Why did you do that? What did Zhane do that made you so angry?”
Biting his lip, Andros closed his eyes and morosely whispered, “He went back to chocolate, Yaralla. It was wrong of me to do what I did, but I just couldn’t help it. After all he did to quit, I couldn’t control myself when I found out!” Just saying these words made the fire inside of him burn again. How dare he. How dare Zhane do this to himself and everyone else!
Yaralla stared at her best friend for a moment, her eyes wide with surprise, before shaking her head. “Andros...about this virus or whatever it is that Zhane has...I had to take a sample of his blood and run some tests on it.” She frowned. “There was no caffeine in his system. Even if he ate it hours ago it would have showed up.”
Andros gasped, not understanding. How could Zhane NOT have eaten it? The wrapper was empty...there had been chocolate on his hands! “Well, it wasn’t like you were specifically checking for it,” He finally snapped at her, his cheeks flushing with frustration. “There’s probably caffeine in his system and you don’t even know!”
“After seeing Jaime walk all over Zhane don’t you think I considered the worst!?” Yaralla spat back with just as much venom in her voice. “Maybe...maybe it was a little untrusting but the first thing to reach my mind was the possibility that Zhane was defenseless because the withdrawal had been too much and he needed the caffeine. It was the first thing I looked for in the blood sample!” She put her hands on her hips and watched as Andros’ hands shook. “There was nothing,” Yaralla added in a gentler tone. “You misjudged like I did. Even doctor-types like me make mistakes.”
“Not mistakes like hitting your best friend for something he didn’t even do!” Andros yelled, startling Yaralla. Turning away from her, the Red Astro Ranger pounded his fist into the wall furiously. “Damn it! I can’t believe that I didn’t believe him when he said that he hadn’t eaten it! Why didn’t I trust him!?” Biting his lip, Andros shivered as Yaralla put her arms around him. “How could I have been so stupid?”
Yaralla sighed, smiling warmly at him. “You aren’t stupid, Andros. You’re human. We all are, and all of us make mistakes, some big and some small. I know you think that Zhane must hate you, but he doesn’t, and I can say that as a fact because if he hated you then he wouldn’t have jumped in front of Jaime and saved your life.” She rubbed the Red Astro Ranger’s shoulders before hesitantly letting go. “I should get back up to the sick bay. Zhane’s not going to be up, but I have to find out what this virus inside of him is. So far I haven’t been able to identify it.”
Andros nodded, fully understanding, and offered her a weak grin. “Go ahead. I’m...not quite ready to follow you, but I’ll stay on the alert just in case Zordon sends a communication up here calling me back to the battle field.” At that moment, however, he didn’t think he could fight even if forced. “Make sure he gets better, Yaralla.”
“I will,” She told him strongly. Waving towards him, she watched with concern as the Red Astro Ranger grabbed the locket around his neck before leaving him alone on the bridge and returning to Megadeck 3 to do more research on the illness plaguing her other best friend.
Tommy looked so peaceful. It appeared as if he were sleeping, and Trimaya touched his pulse point just to make sure that he wasn’t alive already. Despite the fact that he had been in a refrigerator unit for the past two days, his skin still retained its normal color. (I knew that I was right. Tommy isn’t ready to go on. He’s yearning for the chance to come back.) “He’s calling for help, Zordon. Will you help him?”
Zordon sighed and forced himself to face Tommy’s corpse. Corpse...what a horrible word. It was so disgusting, and Zordon quickly corrected himself. Tommy’s body. He saw exactly what Trimaya had...his skin color...it even appeared as if his cheeks were slightly flushed. How was that possible? He had been in below-freezing temperatures for the last two days! “YES, I WILL.” At these words, Alpha shook its head and walked to the other side of the room, unwilling to face its master. How could Zordon do this to himself...to the other rangers...to Tommy?
Trimaya nodded, smiling faintly, before putting a hand over Tommy’s heart. Instead of causing a feeling of death like it had when she had been torturing the White Ranger aboard Gerlin’s ship, now she would use the electrifying tactic to restart his heart, but she could only do this after Zordon somehow brought him back from the other side which was something Trimaya couldn’t even begin to comprehend. “I’m ready, Zordon.”
“OSHIWARU MOTOSERAI...WELTSEPERI JYUSEIKUHANOBAKE SUGAWONOTESSYU! WHITE RANGER, RISE UP! I CALL YOU FORTH!” Closing his eyes, Zordon concentrated his energy on the dead mortal in front of him...slowly, he felt his power draining after being already weakened by Vile, but he pushed on knowing that he couldn’t give up. “PLEASE, TOMMY, HEAR MY VOICE!”
“Setrimasu sokosuta...Tommy, hear my voice and return to where you belong,” Trimaya whispered. Closing her eyes, she stiffened as a sharp pain went through her chest. Resistance? Why? Why wouldn’t he want to return? “Setrimasu sokosuta...Tommy, you aren’t done in this world! Remember those that you love and care for! Return to us!” She called, her voice gaining strength with every word. What was going on in his spiritual state of mind? Why wouldn’t he acknowledge his duty as a Power Ranger? “Tommy, come on! Come back! The others need you! Zordon needs you! I need you...” Her final three words were soft, and Trimaya let her thoughts flow into the body of the White Ranger...her bonding with him...it was a bond that she could never let go of and that she never wanted to. Being a protector was an important thing; it was a responsibility that most Selvinians never got the chance to have, and Trimaya told herself harshly that she would have Tommy under her care for many years to come. “Tommy!”
“Don’t you hear?” Zordon whispered softly. He gazed up at the clear blue sky and sighed. Just a few moments ago he had heard his own voice calling Tommy back to the real world along with the voice of his Selvinian protector. “Tommy, don’t you hear them?”
From where he was kneeling on the ground, Tommy stared at his mentor for a moment before lowering his eyes to the ground as a few tears fell from them. “Zordon, I was finally starting to get used to being here. You know...there’s no pain...the aches in my body from when I died are no longer bothering me.” Wordlessly, he faced Uriel who was standing next to him and touched her hip softly before gazing up at the sky as more words rained down on them. These were Zordon’s...calling to him weakly. What should he do? “I’m happy here. Do I really want to go back to the pain?”
Uriel nodded in agreement, a bright smile lighting up her face. She really had influenced the White Ranger. The thought flattered her, and she turned to Zordon smugly. “Tommy’s right. All he experienced in the other world was pain and suffering. He is free from that in this place. Zordon, as his mentor, do you really want him to go back to the torture of the real world?”
Zordon closed his eyes and stepped towards Tommy, putting a hand on his head and rubbing his hair. In all honesty, he was furious. Tommy was trusting this woman...one who had done nothing but harm him and mortify him...over him, his mentor who had been there for him ever since Rita’s spell had been broken? The thought was preposterous, but Zordon knew it was true. Slowly, he knelt down in front of the White Ranger. “Do you believe her, Tommy? Was the other world nothing but torture for you?”
“I...” Looking up at Zordon, Tommy sighed, his mind muddled. He wanted to go back and be with the others again, but that would mean going back to the heartbreak, the sorrow, the danger, the anger, the pain...he didn’t know if he could face all that again. “I’m afraid to go back, Zordon,” he said at last. “So many bad things happened there, and this place is so beautiful...I’m confused...”
“You said that you were going to spar with me later.” Hearing the voice, Tommy raised his head and gazed at the sky in wonder as a picture appeared in the clouds. He was sitting at a table in the Youth Center with Adam, Rocky, Tanya, Kat, and Jason, and they were all in high spirits. He remembered the day well. It had been before the attack of Angel Grove.
“I still will. Is that OK with you?”
“Sure. I’ve been embarrassed enough for one day,” Rocky had said, and Tommy smiled. He was so stupid...thinking that he couldn’t fight worth shit. Well, he could, and being a ranger had proven that.
“C’mon, Rocko, you’re a whole lot better than you used to be!”
“So are you.”
“I don’t think so.”
Tommy remembered what had happened next even before it had happened. Jason had been drinking a Coke and had nearly spit it out at his words. “You don’t think you’ve improved at all over the last few months?” Clearly, the Red Ranger had been surprised. (That’s right...Jason wasn’t the Red Ranger at this time...he had just given up the Gold Ranger Powers...)
“Ok, Ok, I guess I have.”
That day had been so carefree. They had been normal teenagers not having to worry about saving the world. For a moment Tommy missed that freedom. (You can have that freedom if you stay here, remember?) He smiled. The thought was tempting. Before he could verbalize his thoughts, however, the scene changed to one in the Power Chamber after the attack on the city.
“This can’t be the end!” Tommy had yelled. He heard the grief in his own voice and the raw anger towards himself, Zordon, the moon powers...he couldn’t quite remember which it had been. “I refuse to go out like this! If I go out, I’m going out fighting whether anyone comes with me or not!”
“I CANNOT ALLOW THAT, TOMMY.”
“Then, damn it, what can you allow!?” Tommy was in a rage. He could hear it in his own voice, and as he watched himself scream at Zordon the White Ranger smiled. He had been so persistent...so stupid...and yet he found himself admiring...himself. “We can’t just give up! We’re the power rangers, with or without powers, so, hell, if I have to go by myself I will! Two cities were just destroyed and many people were killed, but we saved most of the population! Isn’t that a reason to keep trying? We need to protect those people!”
“Tommy’s right,” Tanya agreed. She always had been optimistic. Tommy wondered if there was any situation that she would give up on. He strongly doubted one existed. “We can’t give up. There are people out there who need us, and Zordon, I don’t care if you won’t ‘allow’ something, because if Tommy goes, I go.” (She was about to put her life on the line...for me...some leader, but no, I don’t think that’s it. Even if I wasn’t the leader or I was against going back down she would have still gone. Tanya’s just that type of person.)
“I’m going, too,” Rocky exclaimed, and Tommy grinned faintly at the Blue Ranger, finding himself lip synching along with his words. “Powers or no powers, I’m going to go down fighting.”
Kat nodded. “Count me in. I’m not just going to give up and watch while more people are killed!” Ah, his Katherine...always so compassionate about others whether they were team members, friends, or people that she didn’t know. Tommy wished that he could be like her, and he felt his heart reaching out to his girlfriend. Feeling hands on his arm, Tommy gazed at Uriel who was smiling at him. She was beautiful, yes, but this was wrong...this was all wrong...
“I’m with you all, too,” Jason exclaimed. “If you all go, I go.” Jason sounded like a fucking musketeer! All for one and one for all...wait, wasn’t that what had happened? During this scene of his life the rangers were giving their lives, and he had started them on this track. All for one...and he had given his life for them...one for all...
“So, Zordon,” Tommy said, stepping forward, “do you understand that you can’t keep us locked in here? If you do, we will escape, and I promise that we will fight evil even if we die trying to win.” (I did die trying to win, and my death was in vain, or so Zordon has told me. The rangers are losing...I need to be there!)
“I’m not giving up. I’m prepared to fight for Rocky to get out, even if it means I have to be put in jail, as well.” Gazing at Adam as he spoke these words, Tommy grinned. Despite his quietness, Adam was just as pugnacious and determined as any of the other rangers if not more so. When something got him mad, anyone would be an idiot to stand in the way of his goal. This scene, outside of the homeless shelter in LA, found Tommy nodding to himself. Not only had Adam been willing to go to jail for Rocky, but he had been willing to die, as well. All of them were willing. Tommy knew this was true, and he sighed. Had he truly given his life because of nobleness or because it was a leader-like thing to do?
“Look, Tommy, I know you. Something inside of you is telling you to stay, and I feel it to. I just want you to know that if you stay here you better not try that ‘lets teleport up’ crap and then you stay here alone. If you stay I stay.” Rocky had said these words while fighting the Veronians after King Philip of Triphoria and Gloria of Triphoria had been killed. Tommy sighed. Again, Rocky had been willing to risk his life for him and for the Earth.
“I will, too,” Tanya voiced. Just like Rocky, Tanya was once again showing her strength and courage. Before rangering, Tommy remembered with a smile, he had honestly saw women as wimps. None of them had ever beaten him in a physical match, but it was after watching the women fighting evil...seeing Kim and Trini’s perseverance, Kat’s compassion, Aisha’s optimism, Tanya’s courage, Delphine’s leadership, Yaralla’s fierceness, Emily’s determination...he found himself wishing to be more like them.
“Sometimes you have to be willing to risk your life to help others, Jason,” Rocky said to the Red Ranger in the Power Chamber. He had still been upset about being called back from fighting the Veronians. Tommy had felt the same way and, in his heart, he knew that this was the reason why he had given his life for the others and let Zordon enter him. In the Power Chamber he had felt something that told him the person Zordon carried wouldn’t be alive long after the battle. There was no way he was going to let Jason or anyone else take the fall.
“Being close to death really makes you think about what you need to do in life, and who you belong with.” Tommy grinned as Billy’s bright face appeared in the clear sky. Out of all the rangers, Tommy knew that Billy was the one to grow the most out of all of them. Starting out he had been a nerd that everyone picked on...even him behind his back, but he changed into a respectable, smart, great fighter and ranger that Tommy always envied. Even now he had Cestria who he loved and was engaged to...everything went perfectly for Billy. Tommy smiled. Maybe that was the reason that he had grown to like the Blue Ninja Ranger so much.
“If we were carefree and there were no rangers, we’d be dead.” Too true, and Tommy sighed at Jason’s words. He was right. Though it was stressful, dangerous, and painful both emotionally and physically, being a ranger was essential to the survival of life on Earth. Without rangers, Rita would have taken over without any problem after being freed from her dumpster. (It’s selfish of me to want to stay in this peaceful world when everyone needs me. What kind of a ranger abandons his duties? A bad one...)
“Yes, I love you, but now I love you as a brother and as a best friend.” Kim’s words had set Tommy free. It was amazing to him that she was willing to put the past behind them and go on with the future, and their friendship was something that Tommy treasured as a priceless possession. (Kim, I must have hurt you by dying. I’m so sorry.)
“This is now, and I love you with all of my heart.” Katherine...his beautiful Katherine...so innocent and amazingly tantalizing. Tommy had done so much to hurt her, and yet she continued to deal with him and loved him even more for his mistakes which petrified the White Ranger. Shouldn’t she scold him? Yell at him for being so stupid and reckless? Kat never did, though. For some reason, she just continued to say “I love you” and never got mad. (I wish I could be so controlled...)
“As a young child Karone was taken from my family by Darkonda, a servant of Dark Specter.” Andros’ story of his sister’s abduction had nearly killed Tommy. He couldn’t even imagine having Jackie taken from him at a young age and never knowing what had become of her. Was Karone alive or dead? The question still burned in his mind. If she was alive, what horrible things had and were being done to her? That was something that had amazed him about Andros. Despite how hopeless the situation seemed, Andros never gave up on his sister. His determination was admirable.
“I don’t appreciate adventurous guys that are under my medical care,” Yaralla said, her voice showing her annoyance, “and if you dare to do anything like that again, I’ll be forced to stab you with one of these needles and kill you. Got it?” Tommy laughed at this. Yaralla was a Tom-boy to him. Sure, she was feminine (Well, Rocky sure seemed to think so) but her aggressiveness and pugnaciousness made her like one of the guys. Still, she was a blast to hang out with...always playing jokes and roughing up the rest of the rangers...
“You guys are nuts...going out there before you were fully healed.” Trey had grinned. “I owe you one.” Tommy wished that Zordon could be that lenient, but no. Instead, Tommy got fried with Zordon’s powers. Still, he deserved it, he supposed. At least in the world of the unliving Zordon couldn’t “reprimand” him anymore.
“I’M PROUD OF YOU AND THE OTHERS IN EVERY WAY. YOU ARE ALL MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, AND I AM HONORED TO BE LIKE A FATHER TO ALL OF YOU. ALL OF YOU HAVE GROWN SO MUCH SINCE YOU BECAME RANGERS...YOU ESPECIALLY, TOMMY.” Smiling, Tommy gazed at Zordon who was watching the scene from his memory intently. Zordon was more than a mentor. It was true. He was like a father...disciplining, advising, caring...
“...I want to be there whenever you need me. My problems just didn’t seem important. I wanted to be there for you.” Jeff...the idiot...thinking that his problems weren’t important. Tommy sighed and wished for a moment that Jeff was a ranger so that he wouldn’t always have to hide his secret identity from him. It really hurt to have such a large secret in between the friendship, but there was nothing he could do about it. (Wait a minute, why am I thinking about the situation as if I’m still alive?)
“If you dare to do anything like that to me again, you’ll pay with your life, Tommy. Do you understand?” Tommy frowned at Trini’s words...he had done something like it again...and this time he hadn’t been lucky enough to survive. How was Trini taking it, anyway? They hadn’t been as close as they could have been, but Tommy had still cared for the Copper Ninja Ranger, and he wondered how she was taking his death. Was she upset? Crying? Comforting Jason? In a way, he wished that all three of these questions were answered with a “yes”.
“You can’t die on me, Tommy. If you do, I’ll have to kill myself.” Tommy closed his eyes, tears making them sting. She was still as pure as ever...thinking that nothing bad could ever happen to him...he was invincible and couldn’t die. He froze suddenly. Would Kat actually go through with it or attempt to? Tommy didn’t think that she was present in that world, but what if she was? What if she was all alone?
“Tommy?” Uriel touched his shoulder as she saw the first tears fall down his cheeks. “Please, Tommy, don’t worry about that life. It was painful. I can see how much agony you’re in now, but you can put all this behind you!” She smiled as Tommy put his hand on hers. So, he wasn’t going to go back with Zordon. Uriel was relieved. He would stay with her forever and be so in love with her that when Katherine did arrive he wouldn’t even remember her. Wrapped up in her daydreams, Uriel was unprepared for her hand to be gripped by Tommy’s, nor was she prepared for the quickness in which she hit the ground after Tommy pushed her away. “No...”
Tommy didn’t even bother acknowledging her. Instead, he watched in awe as a scene that was blurred in his mind appeared...the time of his death. However, instead of being from his perspective he could easily see himself along with the other rangers which was a change from what he had been watching in the sky.
“Whoa, Tommy, are you ok?” Tommy could hear his own rugged breaths as Jason, obviously having more strength than he had before, stepped in front of him. Noticing the concern and guilt in Jason’s voice, Tommy wiped his eyes and forced himself to continue watching. The pictures in the sky were fascinating. He couldn’t tear his eyes away.
He gazed at himself as he put a hand on his chest, his breathing becoming even more forced than it had been before. “I...I can’t breathe...”
“Calm down,” Jason told him forcefully, and the White Ranger could hear his best friend’s fear. It killed him inside. “Tommy, you’re just a little tired right now. Try to breathe normally, ok?”
“I can’t,” Tommy panted as he put a hand on his wrist. He watched as Yaralla gasped, seeing the two red punctures on his wrist. His eyes wide, the White Ranger put his hands on his own wrist. The marks were still there, but they didn’t hurt as they had before. “Everything’s spinning...can’t...can’t breathe. Jason, I can’t breathe!” Tommy watched as Zhane barely caught him when he fell over. “What’s happening to me? What’s going on?” Zhane attempted to steady him, and Tommy turned away for a moment. They all cared so much about him. Why? What had he ever done to earn their respect?
The White Ranger watched as Yaralla and Adam both stepped in front of him, and he did his best to hold in a laugh. It was as if an alarm had gone off and the two had flipped into doctor mode at the same moment “Tommy, try to follow my breathing pattern, all right? Breathe in...breathe out...breathe in...”
The method didn’t work, and Tommy watched as he continued to pant for breath. “No...everything’s getting hazy. I can’t see you, Adam. Where did you go? Adam!? Air...I can’t find any air...”
“Hold on, Tommy,” Kat cried as she grabbed the White Ranger’s other hand. Tommy bit his lip as he heard the pleading in her voice. (Again, Kat, you think your voice can save me. I’m so sorry for hurting you.) “Please stay with us. We’re all here for you.”
“He’s unconscious. We need a monitoring table up here,” Yaralla said authoritatively, obviously having switched to complete physician personality. Alpha nodded before waddling as quickly as it could out of the room to find a health scanner for the White Ranger.
Zordon gazed at his rangers with fright, and Tommy watched as he sighed and closed his eyes. They were all hurting...all in pain...why?
The scene changed again, and Tommy watched as Yaralla touched forehead before frowning with concern. “He’s gotten warmer.” Dipping the green cloth she was holding in the cool water Jackie had fetched for her, Yaralla dabbed it on Tommy’s red face. “You’re right, Adam. There’s nothing we can do.” (I’m sorry, everyone. Believe me, I am!)
Jason bit his lip before slamming his fist into his right palm. “Damn it! Now Tommy’s going to be out of action because of me! If I hadn’t been so weak, Zordon would have entered me instead of Tommy!” (Jason, you’re so stupid. So I could be in the same position as you? Sorry, Bro, but that wasn’t going to happen.)
“Oh, so you could be in this position and Tommy could be you?” Trini asked. Tommy smiled at this. Trini had taken the words right out of his mouth. So, they had had a closer bond than he had thought
All of a sudden, the heart monitor Tommy was connected to began to slow, and the White Ranger opened his eyes and looked at the others, disoriented. Gazing at himself, Tommy gasped. He was so pale...it was obvious that he was dying, and he didn’t want to believe the sight. “Tommy...” Kat breathed in relief. “You’re going to be ok.” Tommy watched his head shake; he watched her touch his lips with her fingers, not wanting to believe the level of pain he was causing her. (Katherine...you’re so beautiful...I never deserved you. I mean, look at what I’ve done to you!
“I love...Kat...” Tommy heard himself whisper. His own agony was evident, but at the moment Tommy wasn’t interested in his own pain. What caught his attention was the tears falling down Kat’s cheeks as she grabbed his hand. (Oh God...)
Tommy watched himself reach out a hand to Jason who clutched it strongly. “Hang in there, Bro,” Jason told him, and Tommy watched his head shake again. Couldn’t he have said something? Told Jason that he would be ok in the next life or anything to comfort him? What a horrible way to leave your friends! “What do you mean ‘no’?” (Jason didn’t want to accept it) Tommy told himself, tears rolling down his cheeks. (The idiot just didn’t want to accept it...)
Tommy smiled faintly at him before letting out a deep sigh. “I don’t...hate J-Jason. Don’t h-hate me.” (Damn it, no! Tell him that you know he doesn’t hate you!) Tommy’s mind screamed as he watched a smile form on his own face. “Tell him!” The White Ranger found himself hollering. “Do it!”
“I don’t hate you, Tommy. Know that.” Tommy watched his eyes close as Jason squeezed his hand hopefully. (God, no...I couldn’t have left him like that...I’m not that weak! I can’t have left him like that!) “Tommy, tell me you understand that I don’t hate you. I never have, and I never will.” His only response was Tommy’s heartbeat slowing even more, and the White Ranger let out a soft whimper of protest. He couldn’t have done this to Jason...their friendship had been so strong...he couldn’t have left Jason like that! “No, damn you! Don’t you dare leave me like this...” Taking in a wavering breath, Tommy watched as Jason shook his head in disbelief. So, he finally understood... “No, you can’t...”
As if proving him wrong, the rangers all turned to the heart monitor as it flatlined, and Tommy let out a disbelieving wail. “No! I didn’t leave them like that! I...I always wanted them to be at peace when I died...never...I never wanted to go like that!”
“Oh my God...” Trini whispered in shock. “No...” (Trini...I can’t believe this. I’m so sorry!) Tommy could only watch as tears began to fall down Trini’s face, and she turned around so that she wouldn’t have to face him. (Trini...)
“No...” Emily stared at the White Ranger before lowering her eyes away from the body. (Emily, even you’re hurting and I wasn’t always nice to you when you were dating Jason. Poking fun at you...that was all I did. I liked you, Emily. You were really full of spirit. I miss you...) As she touched his forehead, he lowered his head and wiped his eyes again.
“Adam...” Gazing at the Black Ranger, Tommy watched as tears began to roll down his cheeks and Tanya wrapped her arms around his waist. (Good...at least he has someone to comfort him. I miss you, Adam. You were always so quiet, and yet when you meant business no one could stop you. The silent warrior who strikes without notice. Dulcea was right to give you the Frog Ninja Powers.)
Jackie touched her brother’s stomach before rubbing it. “Tommy? Talk to me, Tommy. Please?” As he didn’t respond, Jackie, with tears rolling down her cheeks, shook him softly. “Tommy, answer me!” Tommy could only watch in anguish as she began to cry hysterically and threw herself on his dead form. (Sis...I left without even saying goodbye to you...I can’t believe myself...)
Zack gazed at the body of the White Ranger for a moment before turning around and kicking a console with all his might. “Damn it! Damn that Tommy! We need him! That asshole! Idiot!” Zack continued to kick the console until Emily pulled him away. Suddenly exhausted, the Green Ninja Ranger leaned against her, sobbing helplessly, and Tommy cried with him. Zack was right to be upset. Tommy had left when they needed him the most. He hadn’t deserved to be the leader. As the head of the rangers, he should have done everything in his power to stay alive so that he could continue with his friends. What he had just witnessed was not the death of a noble man. He had just seen the death of a quitter...one who accepted death without fighting it to the bitter end. Why had he been so weak?
Rocky laughed suddenly, startling everyone in the room. The Blue Ranger gazed at Tommy before raising his hands up in exasperation. “He’s not dead, Guys! This stupid heart monitor is a piece of crap. Tommy’s probably still alive, and we don’t even know it!” (Rocky...) Feeling for Tommy’s pulse on his neck, Rocky frowned. “Um, I must have missed the pulse point. Let me try again.” (Don’t do this to yourself, Rocky...please...)
Adam gazed at him through blurry eyes and shook his head. “Rocky, Tommy’s no longer here.” Tommy grinned weakly at this. Despite his grief, Adam was always in control.
“No!” Rocky shouted angrily. “I just didn’t find the pressure point!” Feeling for it again, he didn’t find it before smiling faintly, and everyone could see the maniacal look in his eyes. “I must be losing my touch! That’s it...let me try the heart...” Rocky put his hand on Tommy’s chest. (Rocky, you’re only hurting yourself and the others. Please, stop! Just stop!)
Kim gazed at him expectantly. “Did you find anything, Rocky? Please say you found something. The heart monitor must be cheap.” As Rocky shook his head, Kim buried her face in her hands, collapsing to her knees. Trini ran over to her best friend and threw her arms around the Pink Ninja Ranger. She cried onto Trini’s shoulder, and the two wept together. (Kim...you’re so special to me, and I hurt you so much! How could I have done this to you!?)
“There must be something else that I can check...maybe his wrist pulse!” (I can’t believe he’s doing this to himself. I always thought that Rocky would be in complete control when any of the rangers died...especially me!)
“Move away from him,” Yaralla ordered softly, putting a hand on Rocky’s arm. He pulled away from her and reached out towards Tommy again, but, like before, Yaralla held him back. The Blue Ranger bit his lip before letting Yaralla walk and sit with him against a console. Tears fell from his eyes, and the Kerovian woman let Rocky put his head on her shoulder. (Thank you, Yaralla, for being there for him. He needs someone, and I’m glad you can help Rocky in my absence.)
Kat kissed Tommy’s forehead softly before putting her head against his, sobbing uncontrollably. Kneeling beside him, she put a hand through his long brown hair. “What am I going to do without you, Tommy!?” She called out sadly. “How can I go on without you!?” (Katherine...I’m so sorry! Please forgive me for hurting you!)
Andros, meanwhile, had put his hand on Jackie’s back. Tommy’s younger sister gazed at him through eyes glistening with unshed tears and had slowly let him pull her into his embrace. Tommy couldn’t help but frown at this, momentarily forgetting the current situation. Jackie and Andros? Was that why she had stayed on the Megaship that night? Nah...he was imagining things...right?
Gazing at Tommy’s dead body, Jason turned around, clenching his fists, before feeling a small tear trickle from his right eye. (Why are you so quiet, Bro? I hate it when you get like this...it always means you’re about to explode...)
Facing Tommy again, Jason kicked a console like Zack had before covering his eyes. “How dare you! Damn you, Tommy! You do something idiotic, and then you leave me hanging before you die!? Damn it! How dare you do this! Are you happy now!? You died first before anyone of us! It was what you always wanted, asshole! Damn you, Bro!” Zhane looked at him through misty eyes, and was barely able to run out and catch the Red Ranger as he collapsed. (Oh my God...Jason, don’t be like this. Yes, I was stupid for not pushing myself to say more to you. I’m so sorry, but don’t do this!)
“Tommy...” Tearing his eyes away from the scene, the White Ranger gazed at Zordon who was looking down at him expectantly. “You need to make a decision, Tommy. Will you stay? Do you desire to return to your planet?”
“I...” Looking at Uriel who was gazing hopefully at him, Tommy slowly stood and wiped his eyes before grinning faintly at Zordon. “Let’s go. I need to return. It wasn’t my time, and I can’t leave them like that. I wanted to die nobly, and that wasn’t a noble death. Far from it, that was a horrible way to die. Please let me go back, Zordon.”
The Eltarian smiled warmly at him before pulling the White Ranger into his embrace. As Tommy returned it, Zordon sighed contentedly. “You have good judgment.” As Trimaya’s voice rang through the small world again, he let go of his ranger before laying a hand on his shoulder. Tommy watched his body begin to glow, and soon he found that he was transparent. “I’ll see you soon, Tommy.” Opening his mouth to ask what was going to happen to him, Tommy was whisked away by a white spurt of energy before he could.
“You’ve sent him back because of your selfishness,” Uriel muttered darkly at him, her eyes showing her anger at what had just taken place. “Tommy will be killed by the Meledan when they discover that you have revived him.” As Zordon grinned at her and disappeared from sight, she plopped down on the ground and put her hands over her eyes. “I suppose it’s better this way. Tommy will be happy, and who knows? When my true self has his child perhaps he will be drawn to our offspring and forget about Katherine...”
As Zordon had, she slowly vanished from the perfect world of limbo and returned to her true self who still had no idea what had taken place in the spiritual dimension. It was better that way, her subconscious told itself, because it was one less painful thing that would hurt her. Since Tommy had come into her life, she was barely ever happy unless when she saw him. Release from one painful memory meant more than conquering any nation to her.
(I can’t believe it! He isn’t coming back!) Trimaya felt tears well up in her eyes as she continued to push her energy into Tommy’s body. Why wouldn’t he return? Didn’t he realize that it hadn’t been his time. (Tommy, you damned idiot! Get back here! Think about Katherine, Jason, and the others! They need you! Come on!)
“HE’S REFUSING TO RETURN.” Turning away from Tommy’s face, Trimaya gazed at Zordon and watched as the stream of power he had been sending into the White Ranger began to weaken. “WE TRIED AND FAILED. IT WOULD BE UNWISE TO GIVE UP ALL OF OUR POWER FOR A LOST CAUSE.” Lost cause. Just referring to Tommy like that made Zordon numb. He had never seen any of his rangers as a lost cause, Tommy especially, but if he didn’t want to return that was his decision. Closing his eyes, Zordon drew his power back into himself and began to drift into his meditative state when Trimaya’s voice halted him.
“Zordon...” What he heard next made the Eltarian’s heart stop. Someone was in horrible pain...he knew this groaning well. Tommy? Opening his eyes, Zordon looked down at Trimaya and Tommy. Trimaya was desperately sending all of her power into the White Ranger as his face twisted into one of intense anguish. “Zordon, I need your power! Please! I can’t do this alone!” Trimaya cried, struggling to keep Tommy from moving around as she continued to give him her power.
“TOMMY...” Seeing the White Ranger’s fists clench against the pain, Zordon quickly focused his energy onto the mortal once again and sent as much power into him as he could. (Please hold on. I lost you once, and I’m not losing you again so soon.) Despite Tommy’s horrible wails and his thrashing around, Zordon didn’t relent. Instead, he let out more of his energy than he had been earlier not caring that he was becoming weaker. “IT’LL JUST TAKE A FEW MOMENTS. HANG IN THERE.”
Trimaya gazed at Zordon as his forehead creased and a burst of energy came from him and entered the White Ranger. She then closed her eyes and sent a spark of power through her fingers and into Tommy’s body. Exhausted by the act, Trimaya keeled over against the monitoring table that was holding the White Ranger up before watching as he let out one more whimper before taking panting breaths, his body still stiff. She watched him intently and touched his pulse point. His heart was beating...he was breathing...he was sweating. (We did it...I don’t believe it...) “Tommy...”
The White Ranger opened his eyes slowly and turned towards Trimaya, still taking deep breaths. Trimaya watched as he moved his lips as if trying to say something but no noise came out. (That’s normal...I’d be surprised if he did have his voice after going through all that...) “It’s ok, Tommy. Don’t try to talk. You’re back. Everything will be ok.” As the White Ranger smiled faintly at her, Trimaya sighed, touching his hand softly. Her words had been true. He really was going to be ok.
Zordon grinned weakly, feeling completely drained both physically and emotionally, as Tommy turned to face him. It was obvious that the procedure had been tiring for the White Ranger, as well. As it was, it appeared as if he was going to pass out at any moment. “Z...Zordon.” The Eltarian’s eyes widened. Though Tommy’s voice was strained, he had spoken. That was nearly unheard of for a mortal brought back from the dead. Usually the energy infusion caused extreme battering of the vocal chords, and the effects didn’t go away for a few days. “My...my death...it won’t be in vain anymore,” Tommy whispered, his eyes bright. “I can right my wrongs now.”
“THAT’S CORRECT,” Zordon told him softly. “YOU CAN FIX EVERYTHING.” Already it had begun. Tommy was going to want to accomplish everything now that he was alive again...fix all relationships that he had ever had, get revenge on those who had done him wrong, defeat evil once and for all...it would never happen, but Zordon admired him for his strength. His courage...it was something that Zordon knew he would never take for granted again. “I BELIEVE IN YOU, WHITE RANGER.”
On the moon, Uriel offered her husband a weak grin before putting a hand over her stomach, a groan escaping her lips. “Ooooh.”
“What is it, Uriel?” Rashell asked with concern. They had both been lying on their bed, and he rolled over to face her worriedly. “Why are you in pain? Tell me what’s wrong so that I can help you.”
“The baby...” Uriel whispered feeling near tears once again as she rubbed her stomach which held her growing child. “The baby just kicked, Rashell.”
Kicking the Blue Ninja Ranger away from herself, Melantha growled at him. “I don’t care who you are or where you came from, but if you are friends with those power twirps then I’ll take all the anger inside of myself out on you!”
“Spare me the lecture,” Billy growled at her as he put his hands over his animal symbol. “Great Power, give me the energy to finish this fight...summon laser power!” Pointing a finger at Melantha, Billy watched as she cried out in pain and tumbled to the ground, a blue light covering her body. Before she could stand, Billy kicked her in the stomach making Vile’s widow groan in pain. “Well, while you take your anger out on me I’ll take mine out on you.” He kicked her again. “Like the pain you’ve caused my friends by making the Triphorian evil or the agony you’ve caused us all by being part of Tommy’s death!”
Before he could strike her again, she kicked his feet out from under him and took that opportunity to say a short incantation. In her hands appeared a black whip, and she smiled sardonically at Billy before bringing the weapon down on him. “You were saying?” She struck him again and again relishing his pain-filled cries.
“You’ve gone too far this time. First you help kill Tommy and now you hurt one of my best friends.” Before she could turn around and face her new opponent, Melantha was struck in the back and fell to the ground in anguish. Billy squinted through watery eyes and smiled faintly at the Red Ranger who was standing above him. “Are you ok, Billy?”
He nodded and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. “When did you get here, Jason? I didn’t see you when I first arrived here on Earth.” Billy was glad to see that the Red Ranger was all right. After hearing about Tommy’s death, he had wondered how Jason had taken it.
Jason grinned underneath his helmet. “Why let you guys have all the fun? Besides, I made a promise to myself and to Tommy that I would avenge his death. I’m not going to give up on that oath.” Billy nodded, fully understanding the statement, and the two faced Melantha who had just stood again. “Let’s get her.”
“I’m with you,” Billy assured him, fists clenched. “Here we go.” Melantha smirked at the two, amused by their loyalty to each other and to their dead comrade, before preparing herself as they both rushed towards her at the same time.
Meanwhile, Trini helped Emily to her feet after a Jaga kicked her down. “Are you ok?” The Copper Ninja Ranger questioned, gazing at Jason briefly and smiling. So, he had finally come back to the land of the living. That was good.
“Yeah, I’ll be ok,” Emily assured her, brushing off her armor to prove her point. Trini smirked. Emily was always so concerned with her appearance...even if she was fighting. “What about Jaime, though? We have to break him from this spell, but how?”
From the other side of the battlefield, Kat cried out in pain as Jaime kicked her down. Her adrenaline rush, though having done some physical damage to the Silver Ranger, hadn’t lasted for very long, and he was just as strong as ever. Landing softly, she grinned briefly as she realized that she had landed right on top of Rocky. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s what I’m here for, I suppose,” The Blue Ranger told her, his voice dripping with sarcasm. After she helped him to his feet, the two were immediately knocked back down as Jaime called for his Silver Thunder. “Shit, he just keeps coming! No wonder Jaime was the top warrior on Triphoria! He has more power than all of us combined!”
“If you understand my power, why don’t you just give up?” Jaime questioned boredly, his hands folded lazily over his chest. “I promise that I’ll make your deaths quick and painless...well, except for Kat’s. She was the only one to actually do some damage to me. I have to pay her back for what she’s done.” Rocky growled at him before putting himself defensively in front of the Pink Ranger. “You’re such a pest, Rocky. I’d be kind to you, but you just keep bringing more agony on yourself. Do you feel guilty because Tommy died in anguish and you don’t want to go easily?” He raised his hands to the sky and, hearing a rumble of thunder, Rocky’s body stiffened and he prepared himself for the force of the blow...
“STOP IT!” His concentration broken by the voice, Jaime snarled and turned around to see the Pink Ninja Ranger facing him, her eyes dark. “I loved you, Jaime, and I don’t want to do this, but you’ve scorned one of my best friends and hurt everyone that I care about.” Kim clenched her fists. “When you first appeared here I thought that you loved me enough to break yourself out of this spell, but obviously I was a fool to ever like you because you’ll never return the favor. Did you ever truly care about this world!?”
Jaime frowned at her and got into fighting stance. “Shut up! I won’t hesitate in killing you!” There was something about her voice...it was stirring weird memories inside of him...things he couldn’t begin to process.
“Go ahead!” Kim shouted back at him, her whole body tense with anger. “I don’t care if you kill me! That’ll mean I can be with Tommy again! Do you remember him, Jaime!? Do you remember how well you two got along!? I...I thought that by coming here I could break you out of this spell because the Jaime I knew and loved was inside of you, but he’s not! He’s NOWHERE! All that’s left is you! A SHELL!”
“SHUT UP!” Jaime screamed at her, his head throbbing. (Kimberly? Why are you so mad at me? Kimberly? Have I hurt you?) (She’s a Power Ranger! Kill her!) (KIMBERLY, HELP ME!) (KILL HER!) “SILVER...”
“SUMMON LASER POWER!” Pointing her hand at Jaime, Kim watched as a strong beam of pink light shot out from her fingers sped towards the Triphorian, and she closed her eyes, concentrating all of her energy on the blow. (If the real Jaime is in there, I’m sorry...)
“THUNDER!” A silver burst of energy shot out at the Pink Ninja Ranger, but Jaime could only watch in horror as the silver light hit the pink one and the two battled it out between the two. “What the hell?” Keeping his focus on his power, he willed it to get through. (Kimberly? This power...you’re using it against me?) He slowly felt his concentration becoming weaker. “Kimberly?”
Hearing the voice, Kim opened her eyes and stared, terrified, as her pink energy mixed with the silver power and, together, the two lights spiraled back towards the Silver Ranger who, taking the force of both energies, flew back onto the ground and writhed in pain. What had she heard before? Jaime...he had called to her...”Jaime? Jaime!?” Kim ran towards the Triphorian and watched as he unmorphed, easily seeing the blood running down his forehead. “Say something, Jaime!”
“Kim?” Jaime opened his eyes, and Kim smiled faintly as she saw that they were no longer tinted with Melantha’s purple light. “Y-you’re crying, Kimberly. Why? What happened?” He reached a shaky hand towards her face and wiped her tears away before grinning painfully at her. “Man, I must have gotten clobbered or something. Was it Zhane? Y-ya know, he is kinda dangerous.” He chuckled at his own attempted pun, but there was no humor in the action.
Kim merely stared at him in shock. (H-he doesn’t remember what he’s done...what he did to Zhane, how he mocked Tommy, all the things he said to us...Jaime doesn’t remember just like that time he was put under Uriel’s spell...) “I-It’s ok, Jaime.” She forced a reassuring smile. “Everything will be ok. I’m just glad you’re all right.” As he nodded, she turned around and faced Trini, Zack, Emily, and Jackie who were all staring in her direction with open mouths. They had obviously heard the verbal exchange between the two
All of a sudden, a horrible choking sound broke Kim from her thoughts, and she gazed in horror and Rocky and Kat, both of whom were holding their throats in pain. Tanya gasped in shock. “Kat! Rocky!” She ran towards them, worried for the well-being of the two rangers. “Hang on, Guys!” Before the Yellow Ranger could reach them, however, they both disappeared in a black swirl of smoke.
Jason and Billy, who had both seen this, scowled at Melantha who laughed mockingly at them. “You may have gotten Jaime back, Rangers, but I don’t give up so easily. Don’t worry, though. I’ll make sure that your friends aren’t hurt...too badly.”
“Bitch!” Jason yelled at her, but before he could even think of attacking her she had disappeared in the same fashion that Rocky and Kat had. He punched a nearby tree angrily. “Damn it! As if losing Tommy wasn’t bad enough--”
“They’ll be ok,” Billy told him softly as he put a hand on the Red Ranger’s shoulder. “From what I’ve seen, Melantha likes to play with her victims. She won’t kill them unless she absolutely has to. We’ll get them back, Jason.” As the Red Ranger turned to face him, Billy chuckled lightly. “Yes, I did say ‘we’. Until Rocky and Kat are safely returned I can’t return to Aquitar with a clear conscience.”
“Billy...” For a moment the Blue Ninja Ranger was afraid that Jason was going to start bawling, but instead he touched Billy’s hand softly before motioning towards the other rangers. “Let’s get back to the Power Chamber. Maybe Zordon will have some idea of where Melantha took them.”
Billy nodded, agreeing with this. “Good idea. Let’s go.” Rejoining with the other rangers, they teleported away in their specified colors.
As Melantha reappeared in the throne room of the moon palace, she cringed as Rita’s screaming infiltrated her ears. “DAAAAAMN YOOOOOUUU! I DON’T WANT POWER RANGERS HERE, YOU BRRRRAAAAATTTT!” Rita put her hands on her hips and glared at her father’s widow. “As if having Jaime here wasn’t bad enough now we have BOTH Kat AND Rocky!? I don’t want Rocky here! He’ll eat everything!”
“I didn’t say that I was going to make them evil,” Melantha argued weakly as she rubbed her assaulted ears. “Be patient and my plan will unfold. That Kimberly brat may have broken Jaime from my spell, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t mess with him. Besides, Jaime said it best. Rocky is a pest. I want to get him out of the way. Katherine, too.” She cringed suddenly and ran out of the room nearly bumping into Rashell and Uriel as she left.
Zedd, still recovering from his wife’s yelling, nodded towards Uriel. “I heard that your baby kicked. Congratulations. That means that it isn’t dead and rotting in your stomach.”
“Zedd!” Rita yelled in mortification of her husband’s words. “Saying things like that is bad luck!” He merely shrugged in response, obviously not sharing his wife’s feelings.
Uriel smiled proudly at them, not minding that Zedd’s words had been repulsive. “I can’t wait to have this child. He or she is going to be beautiful, and I that one day--” She cut off suddenly as Melantha bumped into her reentering the room carrying a small box.
“Watch it, Bitch!” Rashell hollered at Vile’s widow, his eyes dark with anger. “Uriel is pregnant, and if you do anything to her baby I’ll kill you!” As Melantha turned around and stuck her tongue out at him, Rashell growled while muttering curses under his breath. No matter how much he hated Melantha, he couldn’t afford to get Dark Specter upset by ending her miserable existence.
Melantha opened the box and stared with wide eyes at its contents. “There was a strengthening on Zordon’s side of the Morphing Grid, but this...this makes no sense, and yet the light shadows never lie!”
“Let me see,” Zedd commanded, gazing into the small box at the lights which symbolized the life forces of the Power Rangers. “I don’t see anything diff-- oh my God, how could it be!? He was...is dead! This is a mistake.”
“As I said, there can be no mistake. The shadows don’t lie,” Melantha told him shakily, her face showing her amazement. At the others’ confused expression, she quietly whispered, “The White Ranger...he’s alive. I don’t know how, but he’s alive.”
Rita’s mouth fell open in shock. “W-WHAT!? Tommy’s dead! We all saw that light go off! There has to be a mistake!” This was impossible! Tommy was alive!? How!? Why!? Did Zordon...bring him back? No, he wouldn’t be that stupid! “Are you positive?”
“Tommy...” Uriel muttered in disbelief, and she turned away from the others in order to hide the smile lightening her features. “Good for you,” She mumbled under her breath as she touched her stomach softly. “I knew that it couldn’t be true. Dark Specter will be pleased...I know that I already am...maybe it was a good thing that Melantha abducted Katherine. Tommy’s free for the taking now...” Uriel grinned. Finally things were beginning to go her way...
Materializing in the Power Chamber, Billy looked up at Zordon with concern. “Do you know where Melantha took them, Zordon? We have to get them back. Who knows what Melantha is going to do them!”
Kim nodded, gripping Jaime’s cold hand tightly. “Can you follow the teleportation track? Are they on the moon? In a lower chamber perhaps?” Jaime frowned. Yes, he was worried about Rocky and Kat, but at the same time he knew that the rangers were keeping something from him. Kim had never truly told him what had happened during that battle that he had woken up in. Jaime didn’t even remember fighting in it.
“Guys, keep it down, huh? I’m trying to get some rest.” At the voice, all of the rangers froze. The words were soft and strained, and yet there was no mistaking who it was. Had they imagined it? Was Zordon playing a trick on them? Turning towards the source of the voice, they stiffened. There was a monitoring table at the back of the room, and from it their dead leader was watching them through shining eyes. “It’s good to see you again. I guess even death couldn’t stop me.”
Jason stared at his best friend in shock. How was this possible? Were his eyes playing tricks on him? Tommy WASN’T sitting right in front of him, was he? That was impossible. (You’re so stupid, Jason. Tommy is dead. You were holding his hand when he died. There’s no way...) “Hey, Bro, either come over here or wipe that revolting look off your face.” Tommy laughed good-naturedly, and as Jason took a cautious step towards him, still not believing what he was seeing, the White Ranger lowered his eyes. “Come on, you didn’t think I could die without telling you that I know you don’t hate me, did you? Even I’m not that bad of a friend.” As he felt a knot form in his throat, Tommy closed his eyes as he felt strong arms wrap around him. “Jason...”
“It’s you...” Jason whispered, tears streaming down his cheeks as all the emotions he had buried so deep during the battle returned. “It’s really you...you came back...” As he felt his best friends tears hit his shirt, Jason wrapped his arms tighter around him. “I...I don’t understand...how did? You were...I saw you die! You were on a monitoring table like this...this...this is impossible! Am I dreaming?”
“Bro, I’d hope you’d dream of better things than me,” Tommy told him, smiling as he heard Jason laugh through his tears. “Um...I can’t breathe, Man. Care to give me some air?”
Jason snickered at him. “After the hell you put me through you’d better get used to this. Damn you...” This was real. The Red Ranger didn’t know how this was possible, but it really was Tommy that he was embracing, and Jason made a new vow...he was never letting go of him again. There was no way his best friend was ever going to escape life...unless he went first.
“Tommy...” Opening his eyes cautiously, Tommy grinned at Jackie as she smiled with relief at him before wrapping her arms around both the White Ranger and Jason, her tears mixing with there’s. “Don’t you ever...EVER scare us like that again. I don’t care if I’m you’re younger sister; you’re going to listen to me for once!”
“I told you that I was going to kill you if you did anything to scare me again, but since you were...just dead...I guess I can’t fulfill that promise,” Trini whispered softly as she threw her arms around the White Ranger. “You idiot...you stupid idiot!”
“I’ll second that.” Looking up, Tommy smiled, amazed, as he saw Billy grinning at him, crying much like everyone else was. “I mean, I came all the way here because you were dead!” The sarcasm was evident in his voice, and everyone laughed as the Blue Ninja Ranger put a hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “You can’t die until I marry Cestria, Tommy. I have to show off the fact that I’m going to be the first to tie the knot.”
Tommy grinned at him, his eyes bright. “I never knew that you were such a bragger, Billy.” One by one, all of the rangers joined the giant embrace, and the gesture was enough to bring fresh tears to his eyes. It really was true...they all cared about him...he had been right to return. His death had been premature. This felt right. Looking around, the warm feeling in his chest dissipated. “Where are the others?”
“Zhane took some bad hits in battle, and both Yaralla and Andros are attending to his wounds,” Zack informed him, praying desperately that by some stroke of luck the White Ranger wouldn’t ask the obvious question. (Please...just let him pass out or something! Please!)
“What about Rocky and Kat?” Adam bit his lip nervously and looked at Trini who shook her head. What could they tell him? If they told him the truth he would have a heart attack...no pun intended, and the last thing they needed was for him to stress himself out in his weak condition. “Guys?” Tommy stared at them as they all turned away from his interrogating eyes. They were too much to bear. “Where are Rocky and Kat? Guys? Tell me! What happened to them!?”
As Jason and Kim attempted to calm him down, Tanya shook her head angrily. Damn that Melantha. She was going to pay for putting them through this just when things were finally working out for the best. Tommy was back, Zhane was going to be ok, and Jaime was back to normal...this was not what they needed. (I promise you, Melantha, that you will pay...even if I go down with you...)
The End. Ta-da! That’s part 14. Enjoyed it? Didn’t? “She brought Tommy back!? What the $^$^$&^ kinda @%%& %^&% is this weird #$@% doing!?” Hehehe...well, sorry if it was too strange for your liking. Feel free to e-mail me at Rkacat@aol.com to give me compliments *gets into begging position* or CREATIVE criticism. I’ve gotten used to flames and find them fun to laugh at, so go ahead and send those, too. Ah, something you might have noticed: Zhane letting Jaime beat him up for Kim’s sake was inspired by a Fushigi Yuugi scene in episode 20 where Tasuki allows himself to be beaten up by Tamahome for Miaka’s sake. Great anime. I suggest you see it if you haven’t already. Well, I guess that means I should give some credit to the wonderful Yuu Watase who came up with the magical world of FY.