Alpha 5 had never seen Zordon of Eltar more annoyed in its whole life. The wizard was glaring at the viewing globe, irked, as a man that had a lizard-like head spoke of the troubles of his planet, Horat. “WHY SHOULD I RISK THE LIVES OF THE POWER RANGERS JUST TO SAVE YOUR PLANET?” Zordon questioned angrily. (Horations. They can’t do anything by themselves.)
Thinking about this for a moment, Trider, on the viewing screen, sighed. “One of your rangers had been brainwashed by Gasket and Archerina and was going to kill the other rangers. When he was freed from the spell, there was a force field around their location, but I destroyed it so that they could escape. If you send them, I would consider that a repayment for my actions.” When Zordon just continued to eye him skeptically, Trider growled. “When you fought us with the Order of the Meledan, Zordon, I know we were on different sides, but we’ve joined the side of good now. You no longer have to be wary of our planet, and we need the rangers to help us. If Horat falls, then the Just Powers will be weakened. We helped Triphoria fight on Dactor. Don’t say that doesn’t count for anything.”
“IT COUNTS, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE UP FOR ALL THAT YOUR PLANET HAS DONE, TRIDER,” Zordon said with a frown. “I WILL SEND THE RANGERS, BUT ONLY BECAUSE YOUR PLANET IS PROTECTED BY THE MELEDAN.”
Trider nodded. “Thank you. We will be awaiting their arrival.” With that, his face disappeared from the screen.
Alpha glanced up at Zordon before questioning, “Why were you unwilling to send the rangers to Horat, Zordon? Aren’t they a planet that uses the morphing grid?”
“HORAT USED TO BE AN EVIL PLANET BEFORE YOU WERE CONSTRUCTED, ALPHA. THEY USED THE MORPHING GRID TO KILL INNOCENT CIVILLIANS AND DESTROY PRECIOUS MELEDAN RESOURCES. THEIR PLANET WAS SPARED FROM DESTRUCTION AFTER THE LEADER PROMISED TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS, AND THEY DID, BUT I HAVE NEVER MUCH CARED FOR THEIR LEADER, NOR HAVE I CARED FOR TRIDER, HORAT’S TOP WARRIOR.” Knowing that his speech had gotten a little out of control, Zordon sighed. “ALPHA, CONTACT THE RANGERS AND TELL THEM TO TELEPORT HERE IMMEDIATELY.”
The moon palace was deadly quiet as Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and King Rashell filed into the throne room. None knew what to expect from Queen Uriel, who had called them there with what she had called urgent business. Seeing the blond-haired evil empress nod, Rita sighed. “What is the big news, Uriel? You’re interrupting my scheming!”
“There is something I have to say that will make a big impact on all of us,” Uriel told them, looking to Scorpina for reassurance. Seeing the Asian woman in the golden armor smile faintly, Uriel continued, “When we were returning home from Hirpog, I had Finster run some tests on me because I was experiencing abnormal pains in my stomach. He found something quite interesting inside of me.” At this, Zedd was immediately alert. “What did he find, Uriel? Do you have some kind of Hirpogian disease?”
Uriel shook her head. “Nothing that serious, Zedd. He ran the test and discovered that I am pregnant.”
The room became silent as the three stared at the woman clad in black with shock. Rashell, taking in a deep breath, asked, “Is the child mine, or is it--”
“No, the child is Goldar’s, Rashell. What do you think?”
“Well, you and that ranger...” Rashell insisted, his eyes dark. What if the child was the White Ranger’s? What would he do? Fidgeting slightly, Rashell rubbed his beak in anxiousness.
Uriel chuckled as if this hadn’t fazed her. “Rashell, do you honestly think I would be able to keep the child of a ranger? What I did with him was for pleasure. This child is yours.” Rashell smiled happily at this before leaving the room.
Zedd glanced at Uriel in confusion. “What did you do with a ranger?”
“Leave Uriel with her own business,” Rita instructed, knowing that this conversation would somehow lead to her own ‘sins’ with the White Ranger when he still had the Green Powers. Walking towards the evil queen, she laughed. “Oh, I can’t tell you how long I’ve needed a child in the palace. It’ll give us some time away from the seriousness of destroying the Earth, although I can’t imagine what the child of you and Rashell will end up looking like.”
“To be honest, I’m hoping for the child to be mortal so that he or she will have my looks,” Uriel admitted. “However, the child should have some power. Maybe if Rashell’s powers were inherited fully as were my looks...”
Zedd nodded. “The child could do anything he or she wanted to! Looks, powers, brains...we’ll have our own perfect being that, when old enough, can help us diminish good in the Universe.”
At this thought, Uriel grinned weakly. “Yes, I suppose so.” (Well, Uriel, they believe that the child in Rashell’s. Now all you have to do is figure out what to tell them when the child is born, and neither Rashell’s powers nor looks are inherited. I guess I can convince them that the baby inherited only my powers and genes, but what if the child looks like Tommy? This is going to be very complicated.)
She had talked for a long time with Finster and Scorpina about whether or not she was going to keep Tommy’s child, but in the end, she decided that she couldn’t let the baby go. First off, she had always wanted a child, and secondly, she did love Tommy enough to go through with it. (Plus) she reminded herself (who knows how the White Ranger will react to learning that he has a child that I bore. Maybe he’ll learn to love me because of the baby...)
“Chicken salad again!?” Rocky DeSantos groaned as Kimberly Hart placed a plate in front of him. “We’ve had chicken salad ever since we started working!” Putting a hand through his short brown hair, he sighed.
The room was bubbling with laughter and chatter as the workers in Angel Grove all piled inside of the shelter to have lunch. It was especially hot that day, and everyone was grateful for the shade.
Kim shrugged before pulling down on her pastel pink tank top that just barely exposed her naval. “Sorry, Rocky, but we don’t exactly have a menu.” Sitting down across from him, she ate a small piece of chicken before sighing. (Rocky’s right. I don’t know how much more chicken I’ll be able to stand.)
Emily Johnson grinned after eating a bite of her salad. “When we were on Aquitar we should have tried to sneak some of their food back over here. That stuff was good!” Looking around, she frowned. “Where are the others?”
“Jason, Tommy, Adam, Zack, and Jaime are still working, but they should be coming in soon,” Tanya Sloan informed them. Pushing a strand of dark brown curly hair out of her face, she sighed as thoughts of her first kiss with Zack played over and over in her mind. It wasn’t that she loved Adam any less than she had before, but now she had divided her love between two men. She knew it wouldn’t last, but since it was still working she was happy. Adam didn’t suspect a thing since she and Zack were so good at keeping their relationship a secret.
Trini Kwan noticed the strange look in her eye before shrugging and deciding not to give it a second thought. “Can you believe that they’re making Tommy work? He’s still walking with a limp!” At her boyfriend’s name, Katherine Hilliard bit her lip before looking down at the ground.
“Still, do you think my brother wouldn’t have worked if given the choice? He feels bad enough as it is about missing a week when he was in the hospital!” Jackie Oliver exclaimed before eating some of her salad.
At that moment, Trini looked towards the door of the shelter as she faintly heard her boyfriend say, “...you’ll have to let me use those so that I can kill him!” Sure enough, the door opened and Jason Scott, in a red muscle shirt and black shorts, entered with a large smile on his face. Turning back towards the door, he helped his best friend, Tommy Oliver, through it. The White Ranger muttered his thanks before wiping sweat from his brow and dropping his crutches on the ground near the door.
Not seeing the crutches, Zack Taylor tripped over them and plummeted to the ground in shock. When the others laughed, the former black ranger chuckled before allowing Jason to help him up. “You have to be more careful with those things, Tommy,” Zack flippantly warned.
Tommy shrugged. “Sorry, Man, but it was worth it to see you trip over them like that.” When Zack hit his arm, he smiled.
Adam Park entered next and slipped his black tank top on after taking it off while they were working. Tanya whistled causing him to turn a bright shade of red before walking over to her and pecking her cheek lightly. Seeing this, Zack frowned but, not wanting to give anything away, said nothing. “It is so hot out there!” Adam exclaimed as he wiped sweat from his brow. “Ever since Angel Grove was attacked, I’ve lost count of the days. It is summer, right?”
“That it is,” Jason said as he helped Tommy over to their table. “Well, it’s obviously not winter.” Adam smirked and took a seat next to Tanya.
Sitting on the other side of Tanya, Zack smiled. “It was the funniest thing. Some guy was painting one of the buildings while this girl was washing off the streets with a hose. One thing led to another, and soon we were all involved in this big water fight!” Pointing at his wet ensemble, the table laughed.
Adam glanced towards the door as Jaime Talsik entered, his gray tank top just beginning to dry, and motioned for him to join them before turning to Tommy. “You know the guy who started it, don’t you?”
“He’s a year younger than us, I think,” Tommy said, trying to recall the face of the guy that had caused them all to be yelled at by their supervisor. Cautiously sitting down next to Kat, he smiled. “It was T.J., I think, and he has some awesome karate moves.”
Kim nodded. “So, he’s in your training level?”
“Um, I don’t think so. Maybe a level under me. He was pretty good, though, so who knows? He might be.” (At least Kim is still talking to me) Tommy thought to himself.
“Do you think he could beat you?” Jaime questioned, happy that they were talking about something that he could relate to. It wasn’t like he could join in on a conversation about going to the mall or playing basketball.
Tommy shook his head, a proud grin on his face. “Nah. The only people that could really beat me around here are Jason, Rocky, and Adam.” At Zack’s hurt look, he sighed. “Well, I haven’t sparred with you in awhile, and I can’t really do it now because of my ankle.” Tommy looked at Jaime and quietly added, “Well, and you could kick my ass.”
Jaime shrugged. “You never know. Maybe you could beat me.” Tommy chuckled and shook his head before putting his arm around Kat.
The Pink Ranger’s eyes widened as he did this. (This is what you want, Kat. You love Tommy.) (He had sex with Uriel. She may be evil, but she sure is beautiful compared to me. What if he still loves her? Tommy said he had feelings for Uriel.) Shrugging Tommy’s arm off, Kat took in a shaky breath. “Please don’t.”
“Um, Sure.” Tommy glanced nervously at the others. Kim frowned and shrugged before taking another bite of her salad while Rocky let out a deep breath and shook his head.
Jason, knowing that Tommy had told her what happened between himself and Uriel, decided that he should try and get the focus off of them for the moment. “Well, construction is going really well.” Smoothing back his wet brown hair, Jason sighed. How had the mood of the table gotten so tense all of a sudden?
“It really is,” Emily agreed, her blue eyes concentrated on Jason. He glanced at her and, seeing something in her face that he didn’t like, Jason shook his head before poking a spare plastic fork into Rocky’s salad and pulling out some lettuce.
The Blue Ranger watched him and pouted. “Hey! Get your own! I’m hungry, too!”
Smirking, Jason smiled, happy that Rocky was lifting the mood as he knew he would. “What number are you on, Rocky? Your fourth?” Kim put her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing.
“I’ll have you know that I’m a growing boy in need of nutrition,” Rocky said matter-of-factly, “and if I’m hungry then I eat. Unlike some people, I don’t go for that anorexia thing.” At his words, Jason looked down at his stomach and grinned with amusement.
Seeing that Rocky’s eyes had fallen on him, Adam shivered lightly. “I eat.” Before Rocky could even comprehend what he had started, every single male Power Ranger was looking at his stomach to make sure that he didn’t look anorexic, earning hearty laughter from the female rangers.
Jaime frowned. “What’s anorexia again? Isn’t that when you don’t eat?” At Kim’s nod, he glanced down at himself before shrugging. “I look well-fed.”
Tommy nodded. “I do, too. Do you guys remember that monster that Rita and Zedd put in my stomach?” Kat glanced at him for a moment before chuckling. Rocky and Adam snickered at the memories of Tommy going around eating everything in sight. That had been hilarious.
“I don’t get it,” Jason admitted. “What monster? Bro, what did she do to you?” (Tommy had a monster inside of him? Why did I never hear this story?)
“I’ll tell you later,” Tommy said after calming himself. “Honestly, I thought I had told you about it.”
Jason shook his head. “I think I would have remembered something like that.”
Tommy was about to respond to this when his communicator beeped its six note melody. Looking at the others, the White Ranger slowly stood and limped out of the main room followed by the others. Reaching the drab gray hallway leading to the rooms of the workers, Tommy glanced around for onlookers before raising the device around his wrist to his lips. “This is Tommy. Go ahead, Zordon.”
“RANGERS, YOU MUST TELEPORT TO THE POWER CHAMBER IMMEDIATELY. THERE IS A SITUATION THAT YOU NEED TO BE INFORMED OF.”
“Can we come, Zordon?” Zack asked hopefully. Even if he didn’t have powers, Zack knew that being in Angel Grove again made him feel like a ranger, and he wanted to be included in the little group.
In the Power Chamber, Zordon thought about this before nodding. “YES, ZACK. YOU, TRINI, AND JACKIE MAY COME, AS WELL.”
“All right, Zordon. We’re on our way,” Tommy told him before lowering his wrist. “Ok, guys, let’s go.” Roc
ky shook his head. “Wait a second.” Looking back towards the dining hall, the rangers saw that people were beginning to file out, leaving them no opportunity to morph.
Adam cursed before suggesting, “We should go down the hall to my room, and then we can teleport up to Zordon.”
“Good idea, Adam,” Tommy acknowledged. “Let’s go.” With that, the eleven began down the hallway as quietly as they could...
...but are eleven teenagers ever truly quiet?
Jason, who was leading the way, stopped abruptly as two security guards stepped in front of him. The first, a large African American male, crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “Where do you think you’re going? The rooms aren’t open until six at night unless there are special circumstances.”
(We don't have time for this!) Jason thought to himself urgently. “We really need to get to my friend’s room.”
“Would you mind giving me a reason?” The second man, a Caucasian with blond hair asked sternly. Hearing the steel in his voice, Emily bit her lip and looked at the ground. This was not good.
All the rangers were silent as they tried to think of a good reason. Kimberly cursed under her breath as she saw that the African American seemed to be growing impatient with them. (We need to get to the Power Chamber, but at this rate we’re going to end up being put on probation!)
Every ranger, still thinking, turned around, surprised, as Tommy weakly put his hand on Jason’s shoulder. “Are they going to let us pass?” He limped forward and whispered, “It’s my leg. I need to take some anesthetics that my doctor gave me.” Gazing at the security guards, he put on the biggest ‘wounded puppy dog’ face that any of them, guards or rangers, had ever seen. “Please? You won’t even notice that we were here. I just really need them because my ankle is killing me.”
Faltering slightly, the blond-haired man’s eyes narrowed. “You’re that kid that they found in the woods, aren’t you?”
“Yes, Sir,” Tommy told him, his voice quiet. Hearing him, Jason lowered his eyes to keep from snickering. (If Tommy wasn’t into martial arts, he would definitely be an actor. I don’t know anyone that can pull off something like this better than him.)
“Are you going to be all right?” The African American questioned, concern breaking through his rough voice. “Do you need a doctor or anything?”
Tommy shook his head and forced a smile. “No, Sir. They gave me everything I’ll need to stay healthy.” He looked at the two guards and, seeing them nod and move to the side, Tommy offered his thanks before continuing to lean against Jason and use him as a crutch.
Reaching Adam’s room, Tanya smiled. “Whoo! Man, Tommy, that was some awesome acting!”
“Yeah, Tommy, you could beat out Leo DiCaprio any day!” Emily exclaimed, her eyes bright.
Rocky scoffed and folded his arms over his chest. “Puh. Leonardo DiCaprio. I’d like to see him defend the world from monsters everyday.” As Kim glanced at him with amusement, the Blue Ranger lowered his head and ducked into Adam’s room.
Tommy flushed slightly. “Well, I’ve gotten used to it. Lying comes with the job.” Allowing Jason to help him into Adam’s room, Tommy limped over to the Black Ranger’s bed before lying down on it and closing his eyes. “Anyone think Zordon will take a rain check?”
Jackie smirked. “I doubt that, Tommy. Sorry.” Walking over to her brother, she sat down next to him and rubbed his shoulder softly before looking at Adam. “Well, I guess we should teleport.” Groaning, Tommy pushed himself up and walked back over to the others.
“Let’s go.” With that, the eleven teleported to the Power Chamber. Reaching it, Tommy looked up at Zordon. “What’s up?”
“I WAS CONTACTED TODAY BY TRIDER OF HORAT. HIS PLANET IS UNDER ATTACK AND IS IN DESPERATE NEED OF ASSISTANCE. RANGERS, YOU MUST GO TO HORAT AND COME TO THEIR AID.”
Jaime shifted uncomfortably. “Um, Zordon, is Horat going to be like Aquitar or is--”
Zordon smiled, understanding what he meant. “YOU’LL BE ABLE TO ACCOMPANY THE RANGERS TO HORAT, JAIME. LATELY, YOUR LIFE SIGNALS HAVE SHOWN ME THAT YOU HAVE MADE A FULL RECOVERY, AND THE CONDITIONS ON HORAT WILL NOT HARM YOU IN ANY WAY.” Turning his attention to Tommy, he frowned. “YOU’RE STAYING HERE.”
Jason and Zack looked at each other before bracing themselves for Tommy’s response. “What!? Why the hell do I have to stay here!?”
“This should be an exciting match, folks. Rookie Tommy Oliver against Zordon of Eltar,” Rocky muttered. Hearing him, Kim chuckled besides herself. All of the rangers knew what was coming up...a long battle having to do greatly with Tommy’s physical condition.
“I’VE BEEN MONITORING YOU, AND YOUR INJURIES HAVEN’T HEALED TO THE POINT THAT I FEEL COMFORTABLE LETTING YOU GO TO HORAT,” Zordon reasoned as gently as he could. Adam shook his head. He knew in his heart that Tommy wasn’t going to last much longer without getting yelled at by their mentor. By now this type of argument was practically cliché.
The White Ranger frowned. “Zordon, when I morph my ankle and hip will be fine, and everything else is just small scratches.” He touched the scars on his face that were beginning to heal to make his point. “The others are going to need help out there. I need to go with them.”
Zordon shook his head making Tanya sigh. She leaned against a console and flashed Kat an exasperated glance. “IF YOU WERE TO DIE--”
“I’m not going to die, Zordon!”
“HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU WON’T? CAN YOU READ THE FUTURE!?”
“Why!? Can you!?”
“YOU’RE STAYING HERE!”
“No way! Zordon, I’m flattered by your attempts to keep me under your wing, but--”
“I’M NOT HOLDING YOU BACK, TOMMY. ALL I’M DOING IS--”
“Looking out for my well-being. Well, what if it’s for my well-being that I go with the others? Fighting may help me get back into the scheme of things.”
“Zordon, this is shit! I’m perfectly fine!”
“YOU’RE LIMPING, AND DON’T USE THAT WORD IN MY PRESENCE.”
“I’ve used it before!”
Jason rolled his eyes and put his arm around Trini for support, listening for a few more minutes before losing track of the fight. He glanced at his best friend and, seeing that he was rubbing his hip again, smiled. (Tommy tries to act all macho, and there he is showing his weakness without even knowing it.) Following Jason’s eyes, Trini shook her head and grinned, entertained by the whole thing.
Most of the rangers had gone on to work on consoles as the White Ranger continued to fight with Zordon until they heard their mentor say, “FINE, BUT IF YOU DIE OUT THERE...”
“Stop being so pessimistic,” Tommy said with a grin. “That’s my job.” Seeing the genuine anger in Zordon’s large eyes, the White Ranger shrank behind Jason and Zack earning snickers from the two.
Rocky shrugged. “That’s what you get for fighting with him.”
“GOOD LUCK, RANGERS, AND MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU.” Looking at Tommy who was watching him expectantly, Zordon frowned. “DON’T EXPECT ME TO BAIL YOU OUT EVERY TIME YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF.” Tommy opened his mouth to respond, but Alpha teleported the eight rangers out before he could.
Jackie lowered her eyes. “You know, sometimes I wish I could go with them.”
“Yeah,” Zack agreed. “I miss being a ranger. The excitement, the danger...the lovely ladies in tight spandex...” When Jackie and Trini eyed him with annoyance, he flippantly shrugged.
Zordon regarded them before saying, “I HAVE RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM PHAEDOS DURING THE PAST WEEK SINCE I HADN’T SPOKE WITH HER SINCE THE TIME THAT THE RANGERS RECEIVED THE NINJA POWERS. WHEN WE TALKED I TOLD HER THAT I HAD THREE HUMANS WHO WOULD MAKE WONDERFUL NINJA RANGERS.” At this, the three grinned widely, unable to believe what they were hearing.
“IT WOULD BE VERY DANGEROUS, BUT IF YOU RECEIVED THE POWER ON PHAEDOS THEN YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO GO OUT INTO BATTLE WITH THE OTHER RANGERS.”
Trini and Zack exchanged nods. “I’ll do whatever it takes,” Trini told him.
“Me too,” Zack told him. “I really miss being a ranger.”
Jackie shrugged. “Well, I’ve never been a ranger, but I would love to try!”
Zordon nodded. “VERY WELL. ALPHA, SET THE TELEPORTATION UNIT TO THE PLANET PHAEDOS.”
Hearing the order, Alpha began working on a console. “Right away, Zordon.” Pushing a few buttons, Zack, Trini, and Jackie looked at each other before teleporting away.
“THEY WILL BE GREAT ADDITIONS TO THE TEAM,” Zordon noted. He let thoughts of the eleven rangers fighting on the side of good pass through his mind, but these were quickly replaced by others that disturbed him greatly. (This is one of the only times that I’ve sent a ranger into battle while still upset.) Zordon realized at that moment that he hated the feelings going through him.
Tommy had been wrong. Zordon knew that for a fact, but knowing that the White Ranger could die in battle thinking that his own mentor didn’t believe in him...he shook his head. “ALPHA, DID I DO THE RIGHT THING WITH TOMMY? DO YOU THINK THAT THE WHITE RANGER DESERVED MY ANGER?”
Alpha 5 was not used to being posed questions such as this. Humans saw him to not understand much because he was a robot, and so these inquiries caught him off guard. Thinking for a moment, Alpha shrugged. “Tommy is strong, Zordon. I’m sure he’ll return.”
“YES, I’M SURE HE WILL, TOO, BUT IN HOW MANY PIECES?”
The jungle was silent and humid with lizards crawling on trees and all sorts of birds flying around in the blue sky. All was calm...until nine colors came whizzing to the moist soil. As the blue light dissipated, Rocky looked down at his shoes and frowned. “It’s muddy, and I’m wearing white shoes.”
“Ugh,” Kim murmured. “It’s so...humid! Zordon didn’t tell us that it would be so hot here!”
Jason rubbed his brow before looking around at the trees which had vines wrapped around them that seemed to be tangled with each other. He rubbed the back of his neck in confusion. “Ok, I don’t see any arrows around here, so which way should we go?”
Steadying himself on a nearby tree, Tommy shrugged. “We have two choices, and one of them is wrong.”
“Does this remind you of a certain movie they gave in LA while we were staying there?” Adam questioned. The others shrugged, remembering that the movie had something to do with an Oldsmobile Intrigue.
Emily looked around before pulling down on her white tank top. Tightening the gold long-sleeved shirt that was tied around her waist, she pointed to their left. “This side seems lighter than the other way. I vote left.”
Nodding, Tanya said, “I’ll agree with that. This is a path, after all. Both directions have got to lead somewhere.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want to end up in enemy territory,” Kat mumbled. Taking this into consideration, the eight shrugged before turning to the left and beginning down the dirt path.
The rangers had been walking along for about ten minutes when they reached the end of the path. All they could see in front of them was green plants in all directions except the way they came. Jaime frowned. “That makes no sense. Why would they have a path leading to a bunch of plants. Then again, these could be walking and talking plants.” When the others looked at him in disbelief, he sighed. “You guys have got to see more of the galaxy. A walking plant is nothing compared to some beings that live out there.”
Feeling the sun continue to beat down on him, Adam wished that he hadn’t worn black before reasoning, “Horat wants to cover the tracks to their kingdom or home base...whatever. If you didn’t want an evil force finding your base, then you wouldn’t make a path leading to it obvious. You’d want to cover your tracks, so--”
“...beyond these plants we’ll find some Horations,” Tommy finished for him. Adam nodded.
Jason sighed. “Well, let’s go.” Watching as the others went on ahead of him, he put his hand on his best friend’s shoulder. “Are you going to be all right, Bro?”
Tommy grunted. “Jason, you’re starting to sound like Zordon.” As the Red Ranger supported him in his grasp, Tommy decided not to argue but to let Jason help him if he really wanted to. Wincing as his foot hit a small rock, he forced himself to keep up with Jason as they pushed through the green plants.
Kim had pushed out ahead and was looking around for an opening in the tall green plants when she felt her body slam into something. Her eyes narrowing, she reached a hand out and felt it fall on something hard and cool. She got a closer look and, seeing what it was, she screamed in horror.
Rocky was quickly by her side. “What is it, Kim? Are you all right?” Soon, all of the rangers had circled around her.
The Pink Ninja Ranger shook her head and pointed. “Why did the Horations make statues like this!?” Emily pushed past Adam to get a closer look at the statue and, gazing at it, she backed away. It was a statue of Bulk and Skull made of bronze, or so she suspected.
“I don’t understand,” Adam said. “How would the Horations know Bulk and Skull?”
Rocky smirked. “Anyone who knew Bulk and Skull wouldn’t be making statues of them.” Hearing him, Tommy lowered his eyes knowing that he couldn’t make fun of the two like he once had. Scratch that...he couldn’t make fun of Skull like he once had. Bulk had killed himself just a week earlier.
Kat shook her head when she looked at the bronze figure. “Zordon, what have you done by sending us here?” (Bulk and Skull!? This is really weird...)
All of a sudden there was a ruffle in the leaves.
Jaime gazed around, already sensing the danger. “Did you guys hear that?” (This is not good...)
“I don’t like this, guys,” Jason admitted as he rubbed his bare arms. “Something isn’t right. Things just got so quiet all of a sudden.”
At that moment, there was a loud battle cry followed by the sounds of feet trampling through the tall plants. Adam, barely seeing the top of a spear a few feet away, swallowed hard. “We need to move.” With that, the nine pushed their way further into the forest of plants.
Tommy, giving up on limping, did his best to run on his bad foot despite how much it hurt. Suddenly, he found himself beyond the green plants and in an area that looked like the jungle they had been running through before. Looking around as the others joined him, Tommy sighed. “This place is confusing the hell out of me.” As pain began to register in his ankle, he bent down to inspect the throbbing area before cursing silently.
“Don’t move!” A foreign voice called. Looking up the dirt hill in front of them, the rangers found themselves face to face with some of the strangest beings they had ever seen. It was a group of Horations with heads covered in lizard skin. “State your business!”
Jason frowned, wondering why they hadn’t been expecting them. “We’re the Power Rangers from Earth. Zordon told us that Trider of Horat contacted him for help!”
The Horations looked at each other before walking down the hill and glaring at the humans. Without saying any more, the Horations pushed their spears against their backs and motioned for them to start moving. “Some welcoming committee,” Emily muttered before they were led down a dirt path like the first they had been traveling on.
Waves beat against the barren rocks on the planet of Phaedos. A cool breeze rolled past the cliffs, and all was calm until three white lights landed on the planet and materialized into Trini, Zack, and Jackie. Zack looked around. “Dude, there’s nothing here!”
“All I see is a bunch of rocks,” Trini breathed as she glanced around at the barren scenery. A wave crashed against the rocks as a seagull cawed in the distance.
Jackie shrugged. “Well, I guess we should start looking for Dulcea. In this empty a world, we should be able to find one living being.”
“Yes, you should, but will you?” A strong female voice said from behind them. Spinning around, the three found themselves facing a figure covered by a large green hooded cape. “You must learn to trust your instincts.”
Taking a step forward, Zack swallowed hard, already sensing that this woman was far more powerful than himself. “Um, you must be Dulcea. We were sent by Zordon to find you so that we could receive Ninja Powers.”
The hooded figure nodded. “Yes. I know who you are, Zack Taylor, as I know the rest of the rangers.” When Zack took a step back in fear, she shrugged. “It comes with the greatness of my powers bestowed on me by the Meledan, but you should not feel threatened by me. I mean you no harm.” Slipping off her cape, Dulcea was revealed to be a beautiful red-haired woman clothed in only a green bikini-like ensemble.
Zack gaped at her. “Whoa, Baby!” At this, Trini and Jackie rolled their eyes.
“So, what now?” Trini asked, not wanting to seem rude.
Dulcea smiled at her. “Trini, we will go to the ruins of the Temple of the Ninjetti where, if all goes well, you will receive the power of the Ninja.” Turning around, she began to walk in the other direction and, not knowing what else to do, the three followed her.
“Hey guys,” Jaime said, shielding his eyes from the sun that was burning them as they were led along by the Horations. “Do you see that?”
Glancing at the large structure in front of them, Adam frowned. “What the hell is it?” The building resembled a stone castle or fort. Horation soldiers ran around the facility as well-dressed beings spoke in hushed whispers as they neared.
Pushing Emily along, one of the Horations growled. “Keep moving, Alien.”
“Hey!” The Gold Ranger yelled, somewhat offended by the term. Yes, they were aliens on this planet, but the word showed so little respect. “I’m moving, all right!?”
As one of the Horations pushed him onto his bad foot, Tommy snarled. “Where exactly are you guys taking us?”
Rocky snickered. “We’re sacrifices for their gods, Bulk and Skull.”
Hearing him, the Horation behind him kicked him to the ground in fury. As Rocky moved away from him, both appalled and furious, the Horation growled. “Do not ribald Bulk and Skull, Alien. They are legends.”
“Legends of the fall,” Kim murmured earning a small chuckle from Tanya. A Horation pushed her forcefully ahead making her hiss in pain. “I don’t know how much of this I’ll be able to take before I morph and kill them.”
Jason sighed. “We have to hold it together, Guys. Zordon did send us to help them.”
“He’s right,” Tommy acknowledged. “Let’s wait for five more minutes, and if they don’t let us go, we’ll kill them.”
“Right,” Everyone else said quietly.
Looking at Tommy, a Horation frowned. “What are you blabbering on about, Alien?”
Tommy glanced at him and shrugged. “Homicidal impulses.” As the others smirked, the Horation just shook his head, obviously having no idea what the phrase meant. Wordlessly, the rangers allowed the Horations to lead them into the stone structure.
As soon as they had walked into the large building, they found that the floors were made of marble, and the ceilings was amazingly high. In the center of the big room they had entered was a large gold statue of Bulk and Skull. Seeing this, Kat groaned. “Not another one.”
“You should be grateful to them,” A loud male voice said from behind the statue. Glancing around, Tanya noticed another Horation, this one wearing nothing but rags, and yet he seemed to hold himself with a strength that the other Horations hadn’t possessed. Looking at the soldiers that were still surrounding the rangers, the superior Horation waved them away. “These are the rangers of Earth. Let them go.” Somewhat regretfully, the Horation soldiers did as asked.
Stepping closer to them, the Horation extended his hand. “I am Trider, Master Warrior of the Planet Horat. Despite what Zordon might have told you about our people, Horat is a fairly peaceful world despite the occasional squabble with another planet. This, however, is far beyond anything we’ve ever faced.”
Rocky narrowed his eyes. “Why should we be thankful to Bulk and Skull?” (They’ve never really done anything but try to search us out when we had these powers the first time around.)
Trider smiled at this. “When one of yours was under Prince Gasket’s control, Bulk and Skull were teleported to my prison cell. Breaking free, I was able to destroy the force field around your position while the two humans warded off Cog attacks. Our fighters have a hard time fighting machines, so that two humans could beat a whole army by themselves was quite impressive.”
“Well, I knew that they had helped us escape, but I didn’t know they had done all that!” Jason exclaimed. (Bulk and Skull fighting Cogs? That would be a sight to see.)
Trying to ignore the pain that the memory had raised, Tommy mumbled, “I don’t want to cut to the chase so quickly, but what exactly is the threat to Horat, Trider?” (Why do I feel like I’m always the one to break up conversations?)
“Ah,” Trider said, looking down at Tommy’s ankle. “You must be the White Ranger. Zordon has told me a little about you. That was why I couldn’t meet with you personally when you landed on our planet. He sent a message.” He frowned. “Honestly, I don’t understand why Zordon would send us an injured ranger. I mean no offense. Being the White Ranger, you must be a powerful warrior injured or not, but the risk of being injured further or dying is raised when you begin a fight impaired.”
Jaime shrugged. “Actually, Zordon didn’t want to send him, but Tommy ended up sending himself.” Apparently not noticing the White Ranger’s angered glare, Jaime continued, “I assure you, though, that Tommy is as able a fighter as any of us, even in his weakened condition.”
Trider nodded. “I’m sure he is.”
(Zordon sent a message concerning me? That’s weird.) “Hey, Trider, what exactly did Zordon say about me?” Tommy asked curiously.
“Literally, he said that we have to pamper you and nurse you back to health,” Trider responded, a smile forming on his lips. “Of course, he didn’t word it that way, but you get the idea.” Lowering his eyes, Tommy nodded.
“Oh yeah,” Jason said, almost forgetting that they hadn’t introduced themselves. “I’m Jason Scott, and this is Emily Johnson, Katherine Hilliard, Tanya Sloan, Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park, Tommy Oliver, and Jaime Talsik. Jaime is Triphorian, by the way.”
Trider leaned towards Jaime, obviously intrigued by this. “Triphorian, eh? Any hope of us getting some Triphorian Red Wine while you’re here?”
Jaime coughed nervously. “Um, the only way I could get that would be through Trey, and he doesn’t enjoy seeing me or anyone else getting drunk off the stuff.” Remembering Trey telling him of all the times he had made a fool of himself after drinking the wine made him blush involuntarily.
Trider shrugged, and, deciding to answer the question Tommy had posed quite a while ago, said, “Our planet has been attacked by Gasket and Archerina, the only members of the Machine Empire that are still living. They’ve come here with hundreds of Cogs, and many of our soldiers have been killed. They also have a new secret weapon that can make a ranger’s power dissipate in the blink of an eye, but we have yet to identify what this is.”
Rocky let out a deep breath. “Gasket and Archerina? Man, they’re brutal.”
“They sure are,” Kat agreed, “and they’re here with hundreds of Cogs? Oh boy...”
Trider smiled. “You have beaten the Cogs many times before, though, so it should be no problem for you nine to help us defeat Gasket and Archerina.” Ignoring the rangers’ startled expressions, he continued, “Well, you should eat and then rest. Shifts are being assigned by the general of our armed forces, and I have a feeling that you guys are going to get the night shift.”
“Night shift?” Kim shuddered, already not liking the sound of that. As Trider exited the room, the nine looked at each other before hurriedly following him.
Zack wiped the sweat from his brow before inquiring, “How much longer until we get to this place? I’m so hot, tired, and hungry that I could faint!”
“Quiet, Zack,” Trini scolded. “Dulcea knows where she’s going.” Ignoring the tongue that he flashed her, Trini turned around and looked up ahead at the large columns that they had been nearing for the past half hour. “Dulcea, is that the Ninjetti Temple?”
She nodded, not even bothering to turn back and look at her. “Yes, Trini. Well, they are the ruins of the temple. That’s where you are to receive the powers of the Ninja.”
About twenty minutes later, the three Earthlings were entering the Ninjetti Temple in awe. Despite the fact that it was simply a few columns with no walls or ceiling at the edge of a mountain overlooking a large jungle, there was an energy around it that amazed them.
Dulcea breathed in the clean Phaedos air before walking to the other side of the temple and sitting down. As the humans sat beside her, she smiled. “Do you see the monolith? That is where the other rangers had to go to get their full powers.”
A wind blew through the ruins, lifting Jackie’s silky hair and gently placing it on her shoulders again. “It’s beautiful.” Her soft features were accented by the rays of the setting sun.
“Do you truly believe that we’re worthy?” Trini asked, turning to Dulcea.
The warrior of Phaedos shrugged. “That is not for me to decide, Trini. If your Ninjetti Spirit does not appear tonight, then you may never find it unless you try. However, I have faith in Zordon’s judgment. If he feels that you will be powerful warriors, then you will be,”
The three nodded and turned back tot he jungle, watching as the sun disappeared behind the horizon leaving them to gaze at the monolith in wonder. How had the other rangers been able to succeed, and would they? It seemed that only time would tell.
Meet me in the main room of the Horation Castle. We really need to talk. Kat”
Tommy glanced at the note before looking from his place in the doorway leading towards the main room of the Horation Castle to Kat who was standing in front of the shrine of Bulk and Skull. He swallowed nervously. Something about the curtness of the note had thrown him off, and he wasn’t sure what to expect from this meeting.
Walking past the green shrubs planted on both sides of the marble path, Tommy cleared his throat to get his girlfriend’s attention. “Kat?”
The Pink Ranger turned to face him before looking away and walking over to the large stone fountain right in front of her. Sitting down on it, she looked at the clear water flowing from the top of the structure before watching as Tommy sat down next to her. “I want to apologize.”
“For what?” This was weird. Tommy knew that Kat hadn’t done anything recently that warranted an apology.
Kat took a deep breath. “I want to apologize for lying to you,” She responded shakily.
(She’s never lied to me about anything...) “Lying about what?”
“When you were in the hospital, I told you that we could work through what had happened between you and Uriel,” Kat began weakly, “but I can’t. Ever since you told me the truth about that, things have been awkward.”
She shook her head. “I need to get this out, Tommy. Deep inside I love you, and I always will, but to just push aside the fact that you had sex with Uriel...that you lost your virginity to a being of evil...and then you didn’t tell me about it!?”
Tommy frowned, surprised by the sudden anger he felt. “Damn it, Kat, what do you want from me!? Knowing that I had sex with Uriel has been killing me inside, and then thinking of the pain that I’ve caused you--”
“I want to be with you, Tommy,” Kat whispered, interrupting him. “You have no idea how much I want us to work out.”
“I want to be with you, too,” Tommy told her softly.
Kat chuckled weakly before putting a delicate hand on his. “Tommy, I want you, and instead of losing my passion for you, it has grown...grown with lascivious daydreams and jealousy...but, at the same time, I can’t.”
Tommy stared at her in shock. “Kat, no...” (This can’t be happening.)
Moving her hand to his cheek, Kat took in a wavering breath before saying, “I won’t, Tommy. Back on Earth, I thought about this for a long time, and I can’t go on like this. We need some time apart. I need to deal with my own emotions, and you need to sort through your problems.”
At that moment in time, Tommy Oliver’s heart broke into a million shards. “I can’t--”
Kat cut him off by kissing him lightly on the lips. Feeling tears threaten to spill from her eyes, she quickly pulled away and murmured, “Goodbye.” With that, she stood and ran out of the room leaving Tommy to stare after her in horror.
Ceilings were all so drab. They were always white on earth or on any other planet, although Rocky knew that he was only looking at it to get his mind off of his loneliness. Lying on the bed he had been given by Trider, the Blue Ranger closed his eyes and let out a deep breath.
Hearing the door to his room open and someone cautiously enter, Rocky smiled without even bothering to open his eyes. “Why are all ceilings white?”
Adam, who had just closed the door behind him, shrugged. “Maybe all ceilings are dedicated to Tommy because he’s the leader of the Power Rangers.” Hearing Rocky snicker, Adam moved closer to the bed. “What’s wrong?”
“I feel like the odd one out of the group,” Rocky admitted. “Everyone is interested in someone else, and I’m Mr. Bachelor. Adam, I miss Cassandra.”
“Look, it isn’t like you’re the only single one of the group,” Adam told him. “There’s Kim, Jaime, Emily, Zack, and Jackie--”
Rocky smirked. “Emily just got dumped, Kim lost out in her war with Kat over Tommy, Jackie is a little too young to be with any of the rangers, Zack just got back from the Peace Conference that didn’t allow him any time to date, and Jaime is Triphorian.”
Adam sighed. “...and your girlfriend was killed by your double from Hirpog. Everyone has reasons for being alone, and yours is a good one.”
“Cassandra has been dead for awhile now,” Rocky argued stubbornly. “You would think that I would have moved on by now.”
“Rocky, it hasn’t even been a year. In fact, it hasn’t even been close to a year, and even if you do get together with someone else, you’re still going to miss Cassandra. She was your first true love,” Adam said gently.
“I’ll tell you something,” He continued, sitting down on the bed. “You will find someone else in time, Rocky, but you have to heal internally first. When Aisha left the team and stayed in Africa, I was crushed, but I gave myself time, and now I’m with Tanya and everything is great.”
Rocky sat up and slowly nodded. “You’re right. I mean, you’re doing fine without Aisha now.”
Adam grinned. “Tanya is amazing. I swear that I’m in love with her. She’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”
“You’re lucky to have a girl like her,” Rocky said, his depressed mood vanishing as quickly as it had appeared.
“I know,” Adam acknowledged, his eyes bright. “I know.”
Meanwhile, Tanya was sitting on her bed with a dreamy expression on her face. Sticking her hand into her pocket, she pulled out a folded piece of paper. Opening it, she read its message.
It doesn’t seem like anyone suspects anything which is good. Is Adam starting to ask questions? I just wanted you to know that the brief time I’ve been with you has been amazing. You are such a remarkable woman. I’d hope that you would keep this with you when you’re doing ranger things, Tanya. That way you’ll always have a symbol of my love for you.
Folding the note back up, Tanya sighed and mumbled, “I miss you, Zack. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back home soon.”
The heat of the fire was intense compared to the coolness of the rest of Phaedos. Its blaze was a light in the darkness of the barren planet, and Dulcea threw a handful of sand into it before stepping back and glancing at the three humans that were watching her with interest. “Close your eyes and search within yourselves for the power of the Ninja, and your Ninjetti Animal Spirits will emerge.” Without questions, the three did as she asked.
Dulcea blew some of her magic dust into the fire and closed her eyes for a moment before glancing at the three. For a moment, they were clothed in their Ninja Armor, but this quickly dissipated leaving them in normal attire again. She frowned. Something wasn’t right.
Jackie opened her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t understand, Dulcea. What happened?”
“There are emotional conflicts inside of all three of you that are blocking your Ninjetti Spirits from coming forth,” Dulcea responded.
Zack cursed to himself. “What does that mean? Will we never attain the Power?”
With a shake of the head, Dulcea replied, “There is another way for you to get the Power of the Ninja. You must be tested away from here so that your Ninjetti can deem you worthy of the Power.”
“Can we leave tomorrow?” Trini asked hurriedly. She didn’t like sounding so rushed, but she knew that Zordon needed them back soon, and she personally didn’t want to stay one Phaedos longer than she had to.
Dulcea nodded. “Yes, Trini. Tomorrow you will journey into the jungle towards the monolith where you will go on a quest to find your true self.” She smiled reassuringly. “Do not be afraid. You should rest now so that you can dedicate your full energy to your quest tomorrow.” Dulcea raised her arms which put out the roaring fire before lying down against one of the temple columns. Jackie, Zack, and Trini looked at each other with worry before following suit. What sort of quest was Dulcea referring to, and would they really be able to find their Ninjetti Spirits?
The Horation night sky was illuminated by millions of brilliant stars; its moon casting shadows around the Horation base, and Kim looked up at it before shivering as a cool breeze passed by.
She didn’t know why she wasn’t using the time to sleep, but something in her had just wanted to look at the stars and think about life. Yes, she had felt that she was over Tommy, but with his injuries and the way Kat had been treating him ever since he got out of the hospital, she wasn’t sure anymore. Then there was Jaime. Kim didn’t know if she was falling for him or just empathetic after hearing about how homesick he was. Shivering again, she crossed her arms before spinning around as she heard someone observe, “You look cold.”
Seeing who it was, Kim smiled. “I’m fine. Why aren’t you resting, Jaime?”
“I couldn’t sleep,” The Silver Ranger explained, walking from the doorway leading into the Horation castle to her side. “When Trider hadn’t seen you , I decided to find out where you went.” Taking off his black jacket, he wrapped it around her. “Go ahead. I was getting warm anyway.”
“Thanks,” Kim said, enjoying his scent which was invading her nose. “To be honest, I’m worried about the battle. Do you think we’ll be able to take on the Cogs?”
Jaime grinned. “Do birds fly? I gather you’ve never fought Cogs before. They’re just big robots.” Looking up at the sky, he touched the black and silver stripes over his eye before sighing. “You must be sick of me saying this, but I see Triphoria.”
As he put his hands on the gold railing closing in the stone walkway they were on, Kim put her hand on one. “You’re homesick. It’s natural for you to continually point out Triphorian in the sky. When I went to the Pan Global Games in Florida, I missed Angel Grove.”
“Florida?” Jaime frowned. “Is that near Feltor?”
Kim chuckled. “No, it’s...oh, never mind.” Rubbing his hand with her thumb, she smiled. “Tell me about Triphorian Red Wine.”
The Triphorian groaned. “It’s only the best wine in the whole Universe. The taste is to die for, but you get drunk off of it so fast...a Triphorian can be completely wasted after three to five small drinks. Aquitians can have two to three, and a human can have one drink and be out for the rest of the night.”
“Oooh.” Kim giggled. “That sounds good. Everyone has been so serious lately. It would be great to go wild for a night.” (I’m underage, of course, but still...being a ranger adds maturity, doesn’t it?)
“Believe me, though, getting drunk off of Triphorian Red Wine isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be,” Jaime told her solemnly. “My actions haven’t been harmful in any way...just somewhat rowdy. Trey, though, actually went into full blown rage under the influence once.” He shuddered at the memory.
The Pink Ninja Ranger gasped. “That’s horrible! What did he do?”
Jaime sighed. “Well, he struck one of his servants after he supposedly didn’t offer Trey all the food that he deserved. Trey had an escort that night, and she made the mistake of trying to stop him. He put her in a hospital.”
“Oh God...” Kim breathed in amazement.
“Her injuries weren’t fatal, luckily. Then, I had to try to restrain Trey, and I was able to, although it took a nasty cut on the back and a black eye to do it,” Jaime mumbled. Turning around, he pushed back the right side of his silver tank top exposing the white scar line there. “It never fully went away.
“After that incident, if Trey started feeling tipsy while drinking the red wine, he’d stop. Apparently he has the same problem with alcoholism that his father did. Plus, whenever we have to change into anything, I have to be in a separate area from Trey so that he doesn’t see the scar on my back, because if he does he literally lives the night over in his mind and goes into shock. Triphorians can become quite guilty.”
Kim grinned at this. “Maybe Tommy is a Triphorian in disguise.” When Jaime chuckled and looked up at the sky again, she cleared her throat. “What about you? Did you have any escorts to any of these parties? I guess what I mean is...do you have a woman missing you right now on Triphoria?”
Jaime turned to her and smiled faintly, his hazel eyes sparkling. “Trey enjoyed trying to set me up with Triphorian female rangers and some of the upper class women, but none of them peaked my interest. Then there was Gloria, Trey’s sister.” He laughed. “Gloria had this idea in her head that we were lovers that could never be together because of our ages, but that maybe in another life we were husband and wife. The royal family would tease me about that.
“It wasn’t that Gloria wasn’t attractive because she was. Hell, she was downright gorgeous, but the age thing...if ordered to, I would have married her, but it wouldn’t have been for true love.” Jaime lowered his head sadly and added, “Now, she’s dead.”
Kim softly put a hand on the Silver Ranger’s arm. “I’m sorry that she died.”
Regarding her hand with curiosity, Jaime looked into her large doe brown eyes and quietly questioned, “Kimberly?”
Moving her hand to his shoulder, Kim, eyes glimmering, inquired, “What are you feeling?”
“I’m not sure,” Jaime told her honestly. As she put her other hand on his arm, he shook involuntarily as he remembered his brief conversation with Trey’s father about his never wanting to settle down because of all that his father had done.
“Though you may not believe it, there should be more to life for you than just your service here. Have you ever thought of marriage, Silver Ranger?” Philip of Triphoria had asked.
Jaime had bit his lip to keep from laughing at this. “Marriage, my Lord? No, I haven’t thought of it. After my family life, I’ve never felt the desire.”
The king had sighed. “You may have had a tough family life, Silver Ranger, but you shouldn’t count out marriage.”
“Maybe when I’m old and crippled I will think about it,” Jaime had said flippantly.
The king had laughed, entertained. “That’s my boy.”
“You’re shivering,” Kim noted with a small smile as she leaned towards him. “I think you’re the one that’s cold now.” The two moved closer to each other as if they were drawn by an outside force. Touching lips gently, Kim caressed his cheek before deepening the kiss. She knew that this was more than just a confirmation of feelings. In the kiss she was able to let out her inner emotional struggles and offer Jaime as much support as he needed. She wasn’t even sure if he felt the same way about her, but Kim did know that Jaime was in desperate need of love and comfort, and this was the best way to five it to him.
At that moment, a voice from behind them startled the two. “I thought I might find you here. Come, we have much work to do.”
Jaime stared at Trider in surprise before stammering, “I, um, we...what is it Trider?”
“The Cogs are attacking again,” Trider informed them. “Tommy told me to tell you to lock in his communicator with yours so that he can tell your the rangers’ battle plan.” With that, the Horation turned around and left the Pink Ninja and Silver Ranger to nervously look at each other.
“We should go,” Jaime said at last. When Kim nodded, he pushed a few buttons on his communicator before shouting, “It’s morphing time!”
“NINJA CRANE POWER!”
“SILVER RANGER POWER!”
Teleporting, Kim instantly spotted the White Ranger...it was pretty hard not to since she almost landed on top of him. Tommy jumped out of the way and watched as the two rangers landed on top of each other before chuckling. “Ok, Jaime, Adam’s going to have to show you how to use our communicators again.”
Jaime shrugged. “I was close. All I forgot was the ‘five degrees apart’ thing.” Kicking away a Cog that was running towards them, he scouted the battle field. All fighters were jumbled in one open area surrounded by the jungle. “It’s a good thing there are a lot of stars out tonight or we would be in trouble.”
“I know Trider told you that we had a battle plan,” Tommy said, “but that’s fallen through. This has literally become a free for all.”
Saba, who had been listening in from Tommy’s hand, nodded. “I’ll say. Then again, no one ever really follows your plans anyway, Teen Tiger.”
At Kim’s chuckle, Tommy sighed. “Just shut up.” Raising the sword so that it could see the Silver Ranger, Tommy muttered, “Saba, this is Jaime Talsik from Triphoria. Jaime, this is my annoying battle partner Saba.”
“You’re funny,” Saba mumbled with a smirk. Gazing at Jaime, Saba frowned. “Triphoria, huh? Is that the planet that has the really good wine?” Jaime just groaned in response. At that moment, about twenty Cogs attacked them which promptly halted all conversation for the time being.
From the large metal ship hovering above Horat, Prince Gasket of the Machine Empire moaned with annoyance. “Power Rangers!? Argh!” Spotting the Red Ranger, Gasket scowled as he remembered how much he hated that color.
“My husband, the Blue Ranger is alone fighting Cogs,” Archerina reported obediently.
Gasket nodded. “Good. Tell the Cogs to use our secret weapon on him and then bring him aboard our ship.”
Archerina giggled happily. “Yes, Dear.”
Meanwhile, Rocky was leaning against a nearby tree after kicking a Cog away from him. The rangers had been fighting on planet for about 2 hours, and he was already worn out. “Power Lance!” He called tiredly and, as the weapon appeared in his hands, he used it to destroy two Cogs.
Suddenly, the robots that had been moving in to attack ran away in fear. Rocky frowned, knowing that there was no way he was the reason for their departure. “Where are they going?” At that moment, he heard a buzzing in his ear, faint at first, but growing louder with each passing second. “What the hell?”
Rocky looked around nervously, but the only thing he saw was the moon shining down on the other rangers who were still diligently fighting. By this point, the buzzing sound had drowned out the noises of battle.
Glancing down at his uniform, Rocky gasped as his suit flickered once before disappearing completely. “I don’t believe this!” (Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.)
“NINJA APE POWER!”
Instead of fully morphing, Rocky watched helplessly as his armor evaporated ten seconds after he had called for the powers. “Damn it!” That was when the world began to spin.
Closing his eyes, Rocky fell to the ground. He had a horrible headache, and his stomach was turning. Looking up, he gasped as he saw about twenty Cogs running towards him, and he knew that he was completely vulnerable to their attack.
The Cogs were a few feet from Rocky when something kicked them from behind. Rocky squinted at the two figures that had begun fighting the Cogs. At first he thought that the two rangers were Jason and Tommy, but, seeing that the armors of the rangers were red and silver and not red and white, Rocky allowed himself to ignore the confusion he felt.
While the Red Ranger continued to fight, the Silver Ranger inspected Rocky quickly before shaking his head. “You don’t look well, Blue Ranger.”
“Who are you?” Rocky weakly inquired.
The Silver Ranger merely shrugged. “It isn’t important, Blue Ranger.” Looking across the battlefield, he whistled at one of the rangers fighting about five Cogs. “Hey! Black Ranger!” After a few minutes, Adam, with a concern, ran over to them. “Get him back in the castle,” the mysterious ranger ordered. With that, he ran back to where the Red Ranger was fighting and joined the battle.
Adam shook his head, puzzled, before looking Rocky over. “Ok, Man, let’s get back to the castle.” Pushing a few buttons on his communicator, Adam let Rocky’s situation take priority over who the two new rangers were and teleported them up in flashes of black.
Trini looked up at Phaedos’ colorful morning sky before glancing worriedly at Jackie who was sitting by the edge of the temple staring at the monolith. Tommy’s younger sister had been in that position since she had woken up, and Jackie had refused to eat anything. Turning to Zack who was looking at the ground and playing with the pebbles that littered it, the former Yellow Ranger frowned. “We should go. I mean, what are we accomplishing by sitting here doing nothing?”
“Trini’s right,” Jackie stated absently, keeping her focus on the monolith. “We aren’t getting our powers by sitting here.”
Dulcea, who had been watching them from her place by an upright column overlooking the path that they had traveled on to reach the Ninjetti Temple, nodded. “Yes. I think that you should go. Unfortunately, I will not be able to accompany you because if I did I would begin to age rapidly. The temple is my source of life just as Zordon’s time warp is his.”
“Thank you for everything that you’ve done,” Zack said honestly, knowing that without her they wouldn’t be there.
Smiling, Dulcea responded, “It is always my pleasure to help Zordon’s warriors. May the Power protect you.” With that, Jackie and Trini murmured their good-byes before walking slowly down the hill leading to the opening of the jungle. Dulcea watched them with a sigh. “Good luck.” Nodding, she used her magic to transform herself into her Ninjetti Animal, the owl, and fly to the top of the temple, gazing down at the rangers as they continued down the hill. “I know you’ll find what you’re looking for.”
About a half hour later, the three would-be rangers were within the steamy jungle of Phaedos using their intuitions to find the monolith. Jackie, out in front, looked up at the tall trees above her before turning to face the others. “I know why I didn’t receive the Ninja Powers.”
Zack frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Dulcea said that we couldn’t receive the Spirit of the Ninjetti because there were emotional barriers that cut it off,” Jackie told them. “Well, I’ve been thinking about it, and I know what my emotional conflict is. Becoming a ranger would put me under Tommy’s command.”
“I don’t understand,” Trini admitted, unsure of why Jackie wouldn’t feel comfortable with her brother leading the rangers. “What about Tommy leading makes you uncomfortable?”
Jackie sighed and sat down on a large rock propped against one of the trees. “What if I messed up during a battle? I would embarrass him to all hell, and he’d probably kick me off the team.”
“Trust me, Jackie, Tommy has made his fair share of mistakes,” Zack said with a chuckle. “He wouldn’t kick you off the team if you made an error in judgment during a fight.”
Trini nodded in agreement. “Besides, I can see that you have what it takes to be a great ranger.”
Jackie glanced at her hopefully. “On the level?”
“Absolutely,” Zack said. “You’re smart, cute, and can kick ass in Kung-Fu. If and when you get the Ninja Powers, you’ll be a valuable addition to the team.” Jackie smiled, surprised by how reassured she felt.
Gazing at Zack, Trini took a seat next to Jackie on the stone. “My barrier has to do with impressing someone, too, although it isn’t Tommy. It’s Jason. He’s such a terrific ranger, and he seems to have the idea in his head that I’m still as good as I was when I was the Yellow Ranger, but I’m not sure if I am. what if I disappoint him?”
“Trini, Jason is as in love with you as Rocky is with food,” Jackie commented. “Even if you could only do karate and fight as well as that Mulder guy, he would still love you.”
Zack grinned, already loving Jackie’s sense of humor. “Definitely. Hey, my reason is even worse.” As the others looked at him curiously, he nervously cleared his throat. “You guys have to sweat that this information will go nowhere.” The two females nodded making their silent vows. “Ever since Tommy got out of the hospital, I’ve been secretly going out with Tanya.”
Trini gasped. “She’s still going out with Adam, too?” At Zack’s nod, she shook her head. “Zack, how can you go out with someone knowing that they have another boyfriend!?”
“She looks soo good!” Zack argued. “Besides, Tanya is nice and talkative, and she started our relationship.”
“Obviously, we can’t tell you to stop seeing her,” Jackie commented, “but I would hope that you would realize what you’re doing to Adam and, initially, what you’re doing to Tanya.”
Zack shrugged. “Tanya is happy, I’m happy, and what Adam doesn’t know can’t hurt him.” The two females just shook their heads, not believing what they had just heard, and stood, continuing on the path leading them to the monolith that, hopefully, held powers waiting for them.
Rocky woke up the next morning to find himself face to face with the ugliest thing he had ever seen. It was black, and some kind of gooey substance was pouring from its mouth. Jumping back, he growled. “Who are you?”
“Asletech mortape uoyera yag,” the being responded. Seeing Rocky’s confused expression, the being laughed before raising its hands in the air. Yelling out something that Rocky couldn’t decipher, the being was covered in smoke, but this quickly dissipated, and he found himself facing someone that, even though he had seen her only once in his life, he remembered her quiet well. “That was Ssssselvinian for ‘good morning.’ ” She pushed her black hair out of her face, exposing her eyes which were white with black slits and her pale skin. Flickering her snake-like tongue, she smiled at him.
Groaning, Rocky rubbed his chest which was aching. “What are you doing here? I thought you went back to Selvin.”
“You’re funny, Rocky,” the Selvinian said. “This issssn’t a vacation for me, Blue Ranger. I’m your protector. If a Sssselvinian doesn’t go through with killing a victim after doing the pleassssure ritual, we musssst become that being’ssss protector, and, lucky me, I got you.”
“Well, Delsia, would you mind telling me where I am and what I’m doing here?” Rocky asked, looking around at the room filled with technology that he couldn’t begin to comprehend.
Delsia nodded. “Gassssket and Archerina did sssssomething to your sssuit yesssterday, Rocky.” Taking a moment to pick up some charts that had been lying on the table next to her, she continued, “Trider couldn’t identify the caussse, but he ssssaid that the sssame thing hasss been happening to ssssoldiersss a lot in battle lately. It isss obviousssly a sssecret weapon of sssortssss, but we are unsssure of the nature of thisss weapon asss of now.”
Rocky became alert suddenly. “Where are Adam and the others?”
“Poor thingsss,” Delsia murmured. “Horat’ssss general hasss kept them fighting all night. Hopefully he will be bringing them in ssssoon for a break. I can’t imagine fighting for that long. It hasss been quite a few hoursss.”
“Can I go out and relieve them?” Rocky asked, knowing that he was in no condition to.
As if reading his thoughts, Delsia smiled. “You humor me, Rocky. No. Trider hasss labeled you unfit for duty until the rangerssss’ next sssshift.”
Meanwhile, Kim summoned her Ninja Laser Power and fried about ten Cogs before turning to the Yellow Ranger who was fighting a few feet away. “Tanya, where are the others?”
“I think they were pushed back into the forest!” Tanya called back. Using her Power Daggers, she slashed a few Cogs before landing next to the Pink Ninja Ranger. “I don’t like being separated like this.”
Kim nodded in agreement. “Me neither. What if something happens to everyone out there?”
In the forest, Emily kicked a Cog away before being pushed against a tree. “Talk about embarrassment. Golden Lighting!” A bright streak of light streamed down from the sky and struck five Cogs. That gave her enough time to scramble to her feet and try and find cover until she could regain her breath.
Jumping behind a few bushes, she gasped as a laser pistol was pointed right in her face, but this was quickly put away as an apologetic voice mumbled, “Sorry, Emily. I didn’t know that was you.”
Seeing who it was, Emily sighed. “Jason, you sound horrible. Are you hurt?” She looked over the Red Ranger’s body for any sign of injury.
“I’m so tired,” Jason muttered weakly. “I want to sleep, but I know I can’t.”
“You should go back to the castle,” Emily told him. “I mean, what’s the point of your being out here if you’re going to pass out from exhaustion?”
Jason yawned before shrugging. “I can’t go back. You guys need me.”
Emily smirked. “Yeah, we need you to pass out on the battlefield.” Her voice softening, she added, “Hopefully, we’ll be called back momentarily. I saw Adam a little while ago, and he said that the next shift of Horation fighters were beginning to join the battle, so we’ll be called out soon.”
“That’s good,” Jason said softly. His head nodding, he unconsciously let it fall on Emily’s shoulder and, closing his eyes, he whispered, “You’re the best.”
Drawing him closer to her, Emily rubbed his arm softly before answering, “You are, too, Jason. Believe me. You are, too.”
Further into the forest, Jaime, Kat, and Tommy were fighting Cogs that were continually attacking them from all directions. Kat shot one of them with her Power Bow before being pushed back by one and kicked to the ground by another. “Shit!”
Tommy quickly took her place fighting the Cogs. Using Saba, he struck one Cog, destroying it completely, before kicking two to the ground and ordering Saba to use his laser eyes to destroy three Cogs. Four more, however, popped out from behind a group of trees and, their eyes flashing, they shot him with beams of energy, making him fly back against a group of rocks. Jumping in front of him, Jaime called on his Silver Thunder and destroyed these Cogs before taking the time to enjoy the lull in the action.
Running over to the White and Pink Rangers, Jaime helped them to their feet. “Are you guys all right?”
“Besides the fact that I could fall asleep on my feet, I’m fine,” Kat said. “How about you, Tommy?” Watching the White Ranger limp from the spot where he had landed on the rocks to where he had dropped Saba, Kat frowned with concern. “Tommy, your leg.”
“What about it?” Tommy questioned as he picked up his saber. Kat took a step back after hearing the bitterness in his voice. (No, Tommy...not like this...I don’t want us to be like this...)
Saba, however, never had and never would have a real reason to fear Tommy. “Your limping, Teen Tiger! What did you think was wrong with it!?” Tommy glared at the sword before throwing it on the ground again. Saba growled. “That was mature. You’ve grown a lot since we first became partners, Tommy.”
The White Ranger scowled. “Go to hell.”
“They’re right, though,” Jaime noted, taking a cautious step towards Tommy. “You are limping. Maybe you should go back to the Horation Castle.”
“Our shift is going to be done soon,” Tommy argued, “and I need to keep fighting.”
Kat shook her head. “If you’re injured then you shouldn’t be fighting, Tommy.”
“Why the hell do you care?” The White Ranger growled.
“I care because I’m a ranger, I care about you, and I don’t want to see you dead!” Kat yelled, having had about enough of his sudden attitude problem. Picking up Saba, she held the saber out to Tommy. “Saba was only kidding, Tommy. I think you need to apologize.”
Saba nodded. “Yeah, I think you do, too.”
Tommy grunted before taking Saba from Kat and stuffing the sword in its holster. “I’m not leaving you out here. That’s my apology, and that’s all you’re getting.” Looking back at Kat, Tommy shook his head before walking slowly over to the rocks that he had been pushed against and sitting on one. “I don’t understand why everyone is so focused on me when Jaime has been rubbing his wrist for the last hour.”
Jaime, who had been doing just what Tommy had said, lowered his hand quickly and frowned. “Don’t change the subject. We were talking about you.”
“What’s the matter?” Tommy asked. “Do you not like having all attention on you?”
The Silver Ranger was about to respond when a young Horation girl ran up to them. “Rangers, the shift is over. You have been ordered to return to the Horation Castle immediately.”
“Are you going to be ok out here by yourself as you tell the others?” Kat asked, not sure if they should leave the little girl out there.
She smiled. “I take if you’ve never seen what a Horation girl can do when she’s young.” With that, she walked past the rangers and, seeing Cogs approach her, she disappeared from sight.
Tommy’s mouth fell open in wonder. Trying to regain control, he coughed. “Um, let’s teleport to the castle.” The other two nodded, and the three pushed a button on their communicators making them disappear in flashes of pink, white, and silver.
“Is it hot out here, or is it just me?” Zack asked ironically as they continued to walk along in the jungle.
Trini sighed and rubbed the sweat from her brow. “We’re in a jungle, Zack. Should I dignify that question with a response?” The former Black Ranger just grumbled a few words under his breath before forcing his legs to keep moving.
Jackie chuckled to herself before spinning around as she heard something rustle in the bushes next to her. Out from underneath the green shrubs came a small tabby cat crying pitifully. “Hey, Guys! Check this out!”
“I wonder what a cat is doing out here,” Trini thought aloud. “Is it domesticated?”
Jackie bent down in front of the cat and, spotting the purple gem around its neck, nodded. “It has some kind of stone on it.” Something about the jewel caused a strange feeling inside of her but, ignoring the sensation, she picked it up and stroked it. “There’s no water around here. The poor thing is going to die if we leave it.”
Zack shrugged. “Whatever, as long as you’re carrying it.” Trini sighed and the three continued down the path.
After a few minutes, Trini stopped abruptly as she heard a something faintly in the distance. “Hold up.”
“What’s wrong?” Zack questioned. All of a sudden, something jumped him from behind sending him plummeting to the ground.
Jackie and Trini jumped back and gasped as an army of Jagas popped out from behind some trees. “This is really not what we need right now,” Tommy’s sister whispered.
Trini looked at the large group frantically. “Damn it, we can’t morph!” Kicking one of the hooded creatures away from her, she helped Zack to his feet. “There’s no way we’ll be able to fight them all off!”
“Spread out!” Zack commanded. Wordlessly, Jackie and Trini did as asked and began fighting the Jagas.
Punching a Jaga in the face, Trini kicked another in the chest before running as fast as she could to get away from them. After a few minutes, she turned around and breathed out a sigh of relief when she saw they were no longer following her. “Great...how am I going to find the others?”
Trini listened for a few moments but, hearing neither Jackie nor Zack, she looked up at the sky and closed her eyes. “I don’t believe this.” That was when the cawing caught her attention.
Squinting at a branch connected to the tallest tree in view, she saw before her a large hawk gazing down at her with piercing eyes. “This is perfect,” she mumbled. “First we get attacked by Jagas, then I lose the others, and now some big bird is looking at me.” As if understanding her words, the hawk cawed angrily before flapping its wings a few times.
The large bird swooped off the branch and hovered just above Trini’s head. The Former Yellow Ranger watched it in awe before spotting the copper pendant around its neck. “Wow.” All of a sudden, she heard a voice that seemed to echo through the trees.
Trini looked around nervously before glancing up at the hawk as it cawed. The voice called to her again. “Follow me.” This time, however, she didn’t bother looking around for the source. Instead, she kept her full attention on the hawk. Wordlessly, she followed the large bird as it began to fly over a nearby path.
“Rest,” Trider told the rangers as they entered the Horation Castle along with about twenty planetary soldiers. “Your next shift will begin in four hours, and since you haven’t slept all night you should take advantage of this time.”
Emily bit her lip before turning to Kat who was shaking her head. “Four hours!?” Adam shook his head and, seeing that Jason was beginning to fall asleep sitting on the fountain, he smacked his arm to wake him back up. The Red Ranger glanced at him before nodding his thanks and rubbing his eyes.
Without looking at the others, Tommy pushed a few buttons on his communicator and teleported in a flash of white to his room. Adam watched him and frowned. “I wonder what his hurry is.”
“I guess he’s just trying to catch up on some much needed sleep,” Jaime suggested. The other rangers just sighed, knowing that this phrase never had and never would apply to Tommy’s way of thinking. Exchanging their ‘see you laters’ the rangers teleported up to their rooms to get some sleep.
Reaching his room, Tommy unmorphed and groaned in pain as a burning registered in his leg and hip. He stuck a hand into his pocket and, pulling out some of the medication he had received from his doctor for his wounds, he popped two pills in his mouth and swallowed them dry before stumbling over to his bed and lying down on top of it.
After being in that position for about five minutes, Tommy shifted and tried to roll over and get more comfortable but, unable to will himself to sleep, he moved back to his original position and closed his eyes. “Saba, now.”
The white saber appeared on the bed next to Tommy and, looking at his surroundings, smirked. “Decide to kill me in private, Partner?”
Flinching at the anger in his voice, Tommy turned around to face his wearily. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for earlier or sorry for killing me?” Saba asked, his mood lightening. As Tommy turned away from him again, Saba sighed. “We always make fun of each other, Tommy, but lately you’ve been such an ass...if you really just want to be business partners, we’ll do that, but I always thought we were closer than that--”
“Today, you didn’t piss me off, Saba,” Tommy said, cutting him off. “I was just in a really bad mood, and I took my frustration out on you.”
Saba frowned. “What frustrations?” When Tommy just looked at him, Saba looked up at the ceiling. “We may get each other mad, and I may not call you ‘Bro’ but we are partners and best friends, and I always know when something is getting you down. What do you say?”
Tommy yawned before saying, “If I tell you this, you can’t tell anyone. Only a select few know.” At Saba’s nod, Tommy continued, “When I was under Uriel’s control she had sex with me many times.”
“Good God!” Saba exclaimed.
“Tell me about it. Anyway, I found out that this happened a little while after the spell was broken, and naturally I was afraid to tell Kat what had happened because I didn’t want her to dump me, and I didn’t want us to be awkward,” Tommy explained. “When we were on Aquitar, Kat and I got into a fight after Corcus told her that I had been making out with Delphine, which I hadn’t been, but when I returned to my room I found her there, and before I knew what was happening, we were kissing each other.”
Saba shook his head. “Humans and their confusing lives.”
Tommy smiled weakly. “I’m getting to the fun part. So, Delphine leaves and I realize that Jason was there the whole time, and he heard and saw everything.”
“Poor Jason,” Saba muttered. At Tommy’s cold glare, he chuckled.
“He really pushed me over the edge, and I told him everything that had happened between Uriel and I, and he told me that I had to tell Kat. After we were nearly blown up by a torpedo--”
Tommy nodded. “Aw, forget about it. That’s in the past. Well, I told Kat about what I had done with Delphine, and she forgave me, so I considered telling her about Uriel when we got back to Earth, but Uriel tried to capture me when we were returning to Earth which gave me this lovely limp that you commented on today.”
Saba grinned. “You have a bruised hip, too.” When Tommy shot him a puzzled glance, the white sword mumbled, “We sabers have our way of learning things.”
“I told Kat about what had happened when Uriel when I was in the hospital, and she said that we could look past that, but things were awkward between us ever since I was released from the hospital. When we landed here, Kat broke our relationship, and that’s why I was so upset,” Tommy finished.
“Who exactly knows about this thing with Uriel?” Saba questioned.
“You, obviously,” Tommy responded, rubbing his stinging hip. “Jason and Kat, also, and I’m pretty sure that Jaime knows, too. I didn’t tell him, but he also had a telepathic link with Uriel when we were under her evil spell, and I think he might have...seen what we did.” Saba shuddered.
Standing, Tommy limped over to the small cooler that Trider had placed in his room. “Via Zordon,” the Horation had told him. (Ah, good old Zordon. It’s great to know that he wants to make me comfortable before I die.) Pulling out some ice, Tommy placed it in a small bag before walking over to the bed again. He sat on it and put the ice on his ankle, hissing as he touched a sensitive part of the injured area.
Saba watched this interestedly before fidgeting in his spot, an obvious motion that he wanted to move. Tommy put the ice down and picked up his sword before frowning at him. “What?”
“Lie down and put the ice on your ankle,” Saba instructed. Seeing that the saber wasn’t going to give an explanation, Tommy did as asked before holding Saba in front of his face. “Now, put me on your bruised hip.”
Tommy laughed faintly. “Don’t tell me that you’re getting ideas from what I did with Uriel.” When Saba just stared at him solemnly, Tommy did as the sword had asked before shivering as a numbing sensation went through his body. “What are you doing?”
Saba frowned. “I can’t believe you fought like this. Get some sleep.”
“Everyone is starting to sound like Zordon nowadays,” Tommy complained. “There’s Jason, Kat, Jaime, Adam, Kim, you...”
“Well, I don’t know about the others, but I’m telling you to get some sleep because we have to fight in four hours, and if you’re not at your best then I could die,” Saba said with a scoff. Seeing Tommy smile, Saba continued using his numbing power until he was positive that the White Ranger was asleep.
“Jackie!” Zack called after outrunning the Jagas that had been following him. “Trini!” Getting no reply, he leaned against a tree in frustration. “Damn it! I don’t believe this!”
All of a sudden, he felt something large poke his shoulder. “Shit...” Zack breathed. Looking cautiously behind him, Zack gasped as he saw that the thing was round and black. Jumping away, he dove to the ground and scrambled as far from the tree as he could. Getting a closer look at the thing, however, he saw that it wasn’t a bug or snake but the snout of a handsome black horse.
Zack let out a breath of relief before taking a small step towards the horse. “Hey...what’s an animal like you doing in a jungle?” The horse bucked its head before walking in front of Zack and sticking its snout in his face. Petting it, Zack chuckled. “I wonder if there’s anyone looking for you.”
That was when he heard a strange voice. “Ride me...”
Staring at the horse in awe, Zack shook his head. “No way. The horse did not just talk. I didn’t see its lips move or anything.”
“Ride me...” The voice said again, this time louder. Spotting the green mineral around the horse’s neck, Zack wordlessly jumped onto the horse.
“Great, now how do I get it to move?” Zack wondered to himself. “Um, go?” As if being started by the word, the horse took off galloping down a path. Zack grabbed the horse’s main and hollered in surprise before giving up on trying to stop it and looking around as the jungle flew past his eyes.
(He’s so cute when he’s asleep...so boyish...) Emily stood at the foot of Jason’s bed and watched the Red Ranger sleep peacefully. (Why did you leave me for Trini? I could have offered you so much better.)
As if being pulled by an invisible spirit, Emily climbed onto the bed next to Jason and put her head down next to his, watching as his chest rose and fell and enjoying the sound of his breathing. She touched his hand softly before biting her lip. (What is there to lose? He dumped you...and you want him back...) Emily leaned forward slowly and kissed along his neck.
Jason chuckled lightly, his voice muffled by sleep. “Trini, cut it out...”
The words literally cut Emily in two. (That bitch...) Moving from his neck, Emily kissed his lips tenderly and watching his face as he slowly opened his eyes and stared at her in shock.
Jumping back, Jason wiped his lips quickly before yelling, “Emily, what the hell are you doing!?”
“Tasting,” Emily said with a shy smile. With that, she leaned towards him again.
Jason turned away from her. “I’m with Trini now, Emily. Look, you were drooling over Jaime, and I’m completely in love with Trini. We’re over,” Jason told her.
Emily shook her head. “You’re such a dork, Jason. How could you think that I liked Jaime? I was angry at you, not in love with him, and I never felt for him in that way. How could I have been in love with him? I didn’t even know him.” Closing the distance between them, she kissed his cheek softly before pushing him back on the bed and deepening the kiss much to Jason’s amazement and...
Feeling his body respond to her touches, Jason frantically told himself that if he didn’t get away that he would regret it, but she just felt so good...Emily always had, and that was why he had loved her. As his body stiffened, Emily grinned and whispered, “It sure has gotten hotter in here since I first entered.”
Before Jason could protest, Emily lifted his red shirt and kissed along his chest making him groan involuntarily. Reaching his navel, she licked it gingerly before kissing right above his pant line. Emily moved away from him suddenly and, hearing him whimper in disappointment, she kissed him again and breathed, “I’ll go further if you want me to, but I want a commitment which means that you have to pick between me and Trini. If you can’t...that’s where it’ll stop. I want you, Jason, and I think you want me. The question is...can Trini offer you what I can?” Lifting his hand, she let it fall on her breast for a moment before kissing it and jumping off the bed, leaving him alone in his room.
Jason watched her leave before looking up at the ceiling and letting out a deep sigh. (Wait until I tell Tommy about this...whatever is causing his bad luck with women must be catching...)
Jackie walked along through the jungle of Phaedos with the cat she had found in her arms. “I can’t believe that I lost the others. None of us are rangers, and I’m already making mistakes!” All of a sudden, the cat meowed and jumped out of her arms. “Hey! Come back here!” (Who cares if it’s just a cat? I don’t have the others, and there’s no way I want to be alone out here.) Frowning, Jackie ran after the quickly fleeing cat.
Continuing to chase it, she was surprised to bump into someone who had been running in the other direction. Hurriedly recovering, Jackie stood and got into fighting stance but, seeing who the other person was, she sighed. “Trini, I thought I had lost you out there!” Looking at the ground, Jackie saw that the cat was sitting right in front of her.
“I thought I had lost you, too,” Trini admitted, gazing up at the hawk that was eyeing her from a branch in the trees above. Looking at their surroundings, Trini gasped. “Wow. Check this place out.”
Doing as asked, Jackie was surprised to see that they were now in a clearing within the jungle and that in front of them was a large stone structure that stood proudly up over the trees. “This must be the monolith that we were trying to find before,” Jackie reasoned, “and I can’t believe I was led here by that cat!”
Trini frowned. “You were led by the cat? I followed a hawk here.” Hearing a loud cry, the two turned to find Zack ride up to the monolith on a black horse. “Zack!”
Jumping off the horse, Zack ran to them with a smile on his face. “This is incredible! I didn’t do anything, guys! The horse just knew to come here!”
Jackie pondered this. “I was led by a cat, Trini was led by a hawk, and Zack was led by a horse...you guys don’t think...?”
“These are our Ninjetti Spirits,” Trini said softly as she glanced at the hawk that was still spying her intently. All of a sudden, the pendant around the hawk’s neck fell to the ground. Trini picked it up and examined it before watching as it began to glow. “This is weird, guys.”
As the gem from the neck of the cat fell off, Jackie looked on as it began to glow in her hands. The emerald in Zack’s hands glowed as well. “Major funky,” Zack murmured in wonder.
Jackie knelt down by the cat who had been covered by a purple light and was stunned as it became transparent and jumped into her body. “Whoa! Did this thing just...?”
Zack’s horse was covered by a green beam of light before becoming transparent and floating into his body. Almost immediately he felt energized. Trini continued to watch the hawk as it turned copper and became transparent before swooping from its branch and diving into her body.
The three looked at each other before turning to the front of the monolith where a transparent picture of Dulcea appeared. “Congratulations, Rangers. You have freed your Ninjetti Spirits. Jackie, you are the cat...sly yet loyal to those that you love. Trini, you are the hawk...vigorous and fierce. Zack, you are the stallion...swift and free-spirited. You will control your powers by calling on your special coin-like objects. Jackie, you will use the purple gem; Trini, you will use the copper pendant; Zack, you will use the green emerald. To call on your powers say the name of your coin-like morpher followed by your Ninjetti Spirit.” She smiled. “Good luck, rangers, and may the Power protect you in whatever you do from here on.”
“Thank you, Dulcea,” Jackie said softly. “You’ve done so much for us.”
Trini nodded. “Yeah. Without you, we wouldn’t have these powers.”
“You’ve always had the Ninjetti inside of you,” Dulcea told them. “All you needed was help finding it.”
Zack grinned. “Take care of yourself, Dulcea.” She bowed to them before the transparency disappeared. Turning to the others, Zack let out a deep breath before saying, “Well, let’s give these new powers a whirl and get back to Earth. I’m in the mood for a good shower.”
“I’ll second that,” Jackie said with a laugh. “It’s morphing time!”
“GREEN EMERALD NINJA STALLION POWER!”
“COPPER PENDANT NINJA HAWK POWER!”
“PURPLE GEM NINJA CAT POWER!”
Trini looked down at herself before jumping up and down. “This is amazing!”
Examining the stallion plate on his chest, Zack nodded proudly. “Morphinominal.”
“Let’s go, guys,” Jackie said. “We don’t want Zordon to get mad at us for being late again.” Trini and Zack snickered before pushing a few buttons on their communicators and disappearing in flashes of copper, green, and purple.
Rocky looked down at his watch before yawning and trying to keep his attention focused on the general of the Horation forces who was giving them some kind of battle plan. (Screw it. In ten minutes we’ll be fighting to survive, not to get some dumb tactics right.) He leaned towards Adam. “You guys were brought in six hours ago by my watch. Didn’t Trider say that you guys would be fighting in four hours.”
“I’m not complaining,” Adam told him before rubbing his eyes with tiredness. (Six hours was not enough. I could use another...twelve hours...) “What is this guy babbling on about anyway?”
Smiling, Rocky responded, “Who cares? It’s not like anyone else is listening.” True to his word, Kim and Emily were comparing hair styles and giggling to each other, Tanya and Kat were making fun of how bad the guys looked, and Tommy, Jaime, and Jason were falling asleep by the fountain.
“Go now,” the general said after about five minutes, “and may the Power protect you.”
“That’s our cue,” Adam said. Walking over to the three by the fountain, he kicked Jason’s foot before shaking Tommy and Jaime. “Guys, we just got the order to go.”
Jaime rubbed his eyes before squinting at him. “That guy was still talking?” Tommy and Jason shrugged.
Standing, they waited until the girls had joined them before getting into position. “It’s morphing time!” Tommy yelled.
“NINJA CRANE POWER!”
“GOLD RANGER F POWER!”
“SILVER RANGER POWER!”
The nine teleported to the battle field and began attacking fresh Cogs who had just come out of Gasket and Archerina’s ship. “Silver Thunder!” Jaime yelled, watching as the ten Cogs nearing him disappeared. Feeling pain shoot through his arm, he bit his lip tensely before moving into the jungle. After assuring himself that he was alone, he demorphed and stuck a hand into his pocket, pulling it out with cloth wrap inside of it. Using it to wrap up his injured wrist, he sighed before morphing again and joining the battle.
“Rangers, Lizard-people, and robots...oh my!” Saba exclaimed before shooting oncoming Cogs with his eyes.
Tommy smirked. “Has everyone ever told you that you have the worst sense of humor?”
Saba smiled. “Yeah, you have quite a few times, but I always ignore you.” Happy to hear a genuine laugh from his partner, he shot at a few more Cogs before bracing himself as Tommy used him to slash a few oncoming robots.
The White Ranger kicked a Cog to the ground before shooting at a few more with Saba. All of a sudden, the Cogs that were around him disappeared. “What the..?”
“Good job! We beat them!”
“I don’t think so, Saba,” Tommy said with a shake of the head. “Gasket doesn’t have his troops pull out until they win or they’re destroyed. Besides, I was still really outnumbered.” That was when a buzzing sounded in his ear.
Saba frowned as Tommy’s powers began to weaken. “What’s wrong? Tommy?” When his partner didn’t answer, Saba was about to try calling to him again when he felt his own power weaken until he disappeared from sight along with Tommy’s armor.
Tommy looked around as his stomach began to turn. “What the hell is wrong with me?”
“NINJA FALCON POWER!”
“Summon Laser Power!” Tommy called. Pointing his fingers at some oncoming Cogs, the White Ranger disintegrated them. Feeling weak, he tried to ignore the feeling and kicked at a few more of the robots, but the sensation grew steadily worse until he could only watch helplessly as his Ninja Armor left him just as the Tiger Armor had.
Looking up, Tommy gasped as about ten Cogs neared him, but before they could jump on top of him two rangers got in the way and began fighting them. Tommy squinted at the newcomers before frowning. (They aren’t ours, and they don’t look like Horation Rangers.)
The mysterious Red Ranger left the Silver Ranger to fight before kneeling down in front of Tommy. He shook his head as he saw how weak he was and his swollen ankle. “I don’t think you’re fit to fight out here, White Ranger. You should get back to the Horation Castle so that your ankle can be wrapped, and you can be treated for your ailments.”
“Who are you?” Tommy asked, lowering his head as it began to pound.
Shrugging, the Red Ranger replied, “I’m a friend.” The mysterious Ranger turned around and, spotting another Red Ranger fighting, he whistled towards him. “Red Ranger!”
Jason ran over to them, easily seeing Tommy’s condition, before facing the other Red Ranger. “How did this happen?”
“Gasket and Archerina have a secret weapon, and it was used on the Blue Ranger as well as the White Ranger,” the Red Ranger explained.
The two looked at Tommy as he gazed down at his morpher and lifted a small black thing up. “What’s this?”
Glancing at it, the Red Ranger shook his head. “It’s a bug of sorts.” Motioning for the Silver Ranger to join them, he sighed. “That would make sense. Gasket makes a weapon so small and innocent that we would never suspect that it is causing such hazardous results.”
“God, I feel sick,” Tommy said with a moan.
Hearing him, Jason nodded his thanks to the two unknown rangers. “Can you bring the bug to Trider? Maybe he’ll have a better idea of what it is.”
The Silver Ranger tilted his head before nodding. “Sure. Make sure he gets treated, Red Ranger.”
“I will,” Jason promised. Pushing a few buttons on his communicator, the two disappeared in flashes of red.
Watching them leave, the Silver Ranger turned to face the Red Ranger. “Will we be able to tell them who we are?”
“Soon,” the Red Ranger swore. “Very soon.”
Rocky did a spin kick on a Cog before using his Power Sword to slash a few more. Adam flipped over him before shooting at oncoming Cogs with his Power Ax. Jumping to his side, Tanya slashed at a few with her Power Daggers. The three watched as the remaining Cogs bunched up together, frightened, in front of them. Rocky smiled. “Guys, let’s bring them together.” Hearing him, Kat ran to his side. Not seeing the Red Ranger, Rocky frowned. “Where’s Jason?”
“I saw him teleport with Tommy back to the castle,” Tanya said. “Something happened to Tommy.”
Rocky shrugged. “Ok, well, I guess I can call his Power Sword. Go ahead, Guys.”
“Right,” Adam said. “Power Ax!” Jumping in the air, he flung the weapon upward.
“Power Bow!” Kat called. Throwing her weapon up, it connected to Adam’s.
“Power Lance!” Rocky yelled as he threw his weapon in the air. It split into two parts and connected to the halfway formed master weapon.
“Power Daggers!” Tanya cried. Throwing the weapons in the air, they connected to Kat’s Power Bow.
“Power Sword!” Rocky hollered. As expected, Jason’s weapon appeared in his hands, and he jumped into the air before placing the weapon on top of the configuration of the others.
“Fire!” Everyone yelled in unison. The Cogs moved closer to each other with fright before being blown into a thousand pieces.
Kim and Jaime, who had been watching this, cheered as the Cogs were destroyed before running over to the others. “That was fantastic!” Kim exclaimed.
Jaime nodded. “Great job, Guys.” The other rangers accepted the praise thankfully and, along with the celebrating Horations, they teleported back to the castle.
From his ship, Gasket kicked the wall in fury. “Damn it! How dare they do that to my precious Cogs!”
“Do not be upset, My Husband,” Archerina pleaded. “This war is not over.”
“What are you talking about?” Gasket asked, hearing a twist in her voice that he hadn’t heard in quite awhile.
Archerina giggled evilly to herself. “Let’s just say that we’re in need of a Power Boost, and blackmail might just be the way to go.” Gasket grinned at this before leaning closer to her, eager to hear more.
*the next night*
Music echoed throughout the Horation Castle as the Horations and other rangers celebrated their incredible win. “We can’t thank you rangers enough for what you’ve done,” Trider said.
Kat smiled. “It was a pleasure to help. Hey, if it hadn’t been for you, we wouldn’t have escaped from Gasket’s arena.”
Tanya nodded. “That’s right. Besides, if we can stop evil from invading any part of the galaxy then any hardship is worth it.”
“Well said,” Adam said. Holding a hand out to her, he grinned charmingly. “Are you up to dancing?”
“Always,” Tanya said with a smile. The two gleamed at each other before walking out to the dance floor.
Emily, who had been watching the two, looked at Kat. “Hey, I just saw Tommy and Jason talking by a wall. Why don’t you go ask your boyfriend to dance?”
“I don’t think that would be a very good idea,” Kat told her softly. At Emily’s confused expression, Kat murmured, “Tommy and I broke up. Our relationship wasn’t working out.”
“Wow,” Emily whispered. “After all you two went through...what happened, if I may ask?”
Kat sighed. “Maybe I overreacted, but Tommy did things that...really ruined our bond of trust, and without that bond I can’t have a relationship. I can’t say more than that, though. We may not be going out, but I respect his secrets.” Emily nodded in understanding before looking at Jason who was laughing with Tommy over something. (I hope he can respect mine, too.)
Jason put his hand over his mouth to control his laughter. “The thing was put inside your stomach, and you were eating everything in sight?”
“I found out later that Ernie had called me ‘Hurricane Tommy’. Talk about a trip,” Tommy said with a snicker. “It wasn’t funny at the time, but every time it’s brought up no one can keep a straight face.”
“I wish I could have seen Bulk and Skull when you were eating all that food at the bake sale,” Jason said. “Or, even worse, Aisha and Rocky holding a giant sundae while Kat and Adam held you back from it!” Losing it again, he leaned against the wall and turned away from his best friend before cracking up.
Tommy grinned. “Yeah, well, I guess it was better that she put the monster into me. Can you imagine if she had done that to you?”
Jason smirked. “Me!? Hurricane Jason!?” At this, Tommy snickered as Jason laughed. “That would be a sight to see.” Feeling a hand touch his shoulder, he turned around to see Kim standing there. “Hey, Kim.”
“Hi,” Kim responded. Glancing at Tommy, she sighed. “Could you excuse us, Jason? I need to talk to Tommy.”
Sensing that the cheery mood had vanished, Jason nodded. “Sure.” With that, he left the two alone.
Tommy smiled at her. “Hey, Kim.”
“Where’s Kat?” Kim questioned, her face noncommittal. “We’d be dancing up a storm by now if we were still going out, so I thought you two would be, too.”
Licking his lips, Tommy stuffed his hands into his pockets before responding, “Um, Kim, Kat and I broke up a few nights ago.”
Kim gaped at him. “Why?” She asked at last. “You two were going so well!”
“It’s complicated,” Tommy told her softly.
“I want to know,” Kim said. Seeing his skeptically expression, she explained, “Tommy, I want nothing more than us to be friends. Yes, I love you, but now I love you as a brother and as a best friend.”
Regarding her for a moment, Tommy sighed before taking her hand and leading her out to the dance floor. He ignored her startled expression and put a hand on her hip before pulling her close. When he was assured that no one was paying any attention to them, he whispered, “Uriel made me evil, as you know, but I found out that during my time on the moon we had sex. I lost my virginity to her.”
Kim gasped. “Shit, Tommy--”
“When I found out, I was afraid to tell Kat, but a week ago I did,” Tommy continued. “She assured me that we would work through it, but a few days ago she announced that she couldn’t deal with what she had been through, and we broke up.”
“Did you want to break up with her?” Kim asked.
Thinking about this for a moment, Tommy struggled to find an answer for this supposedly easy question. “I love her,” Tommy said at last, “but a part of me was afraid to go on, and a part of me felt for you...and felt for Uriel...and felt for Delphine who died on Aquitar...”
Kim put her head on his shoulder before whispering, “I know how that feels.”
Tommy, realizing all that he had said, stiffened. “I’m sorry, Kim. What I said...that must have put you on the spot, and I--”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kim told her. “Do you feel like getting some fresh air?” She pointed to the balcony beyond the ballroom. Tommy nodded silently, and the two walked, hand in hand, over to the door, neither noticing that Kat had watched the whole scene and was, out of curiosity, following them.
Walking outside, Kim and Tommy stepped up to the railing and looked up at the stars. “It’s a beautiful night.”
“It sure is,” Tommy agreed. He sighed. “You’d expect the stars to be different since we’re on a different planet, but they aren’t. I guess no matter where you go you can always count on the stars to be there for you if you need comfort.”
Kim nodded, surprised by the emotion she had heard behind Tommy’s statement. “That can be a good thing, but sometimes you just want to get away from reality.” Looking up at Tommy, she smiled shyly. “Do you ever feel that way?”
Tommy gazed down at her and grinned. “Of course I do...in fact, sometimes I wish I could live in a world away from reality where everything was perfect...there would be no evil, no blackmail or tricksters...no conflicting emotions...you would know what you wanted and be assured of getting it.”
“I couldn’t have put it better myself,” Kim said softly. The two looked at each other, confused by that old spark that was burning inside of them like it had when they had been going out so long ago. Leaning towards each other, they brushed lips gently, but deepened the kiss after a few moments. Caressing each other, neither noticed that Kat was watching them from the door to the balcony, nor did they notice her running away with tears in her eyes.
Pulling away from Kim, Tommy saw the look in her eyes, and he felt the same way. “I’m sorry.”
Kim nodded. “I am, too. Believe me, Tommy, I have always wanted us to work out, but now I know that we never will.”
“I felt what I felt back in sophomore and junior year,” Tommy explained, “but that’s all it was. There was no feeling of now...besides, it was a fun jump out of reality, but I guess we have to come back. I love Kat.”
“I know you do,” Kim said, “and I’m happy for you. About tonight...what I said is true, Tommy. I want us to be friends. Please don’t let all that’s happened between us come between that.”
Tommy smiled. “Of course. You’ll always be close to my heart, Kim, and I’ll always love you as my best friend.”
Kim hugged him before looked up at the sky and pointing. “That’s Triphoria up there.”
Hearing her, Tommy snickered to himself before flippantly inquiring, “You and Jaime?”
“Thomas Oliver, you know me too well,” Kim said, a blush creeping into her cheeks. “Maybe...I hope so...we kissed each other on Horat, but Trider interrupted, and I think he’s afraid of me now.”
“He’ll come around,” Tommy said. “I mean, who could resist you?”
Kim put her hands on her hips. “Besides you?”
Tommy coughed and looked at the ground. “I couldn’t the first time.” Poking him, the two laughed and continued looking at the stars, enjoying each others friendship and company.
At the same time, Tanya was on another section of the balcony which circled most of the Horation Castle looking up at the sky. Adam had left to get them some punch, and she was alone to let her mind wonder to other things...such as Zack’s safety...and how, if ever, she was going tell Adam of what she had done to him.
All of a sudden, he heard a strange sound from behind the corner to her right. Looking around, Tanya walked to the corner of the balcony and glanced on the other side only to have a cool metal hand clamp over her and pull her behind it.
Adam returned from inside the castle and was alarmed to find that Tanya wasn’t there. Hearing an evil laugh, he turned around to find that Gasket was holding Tanya and the Yellow Ranger was struggling to break free. Dropping the punch he had been carrying, Adam got into fighting position. “Let her go!”
“Who’s going to make me?” Gasket questioned mockingly. Gripping Tanya harder, he cackled. “You wouldn’t put your girlfriend’s life in danger, Adam. I know you wouldn’t, because you’re too noble for that.
Adam growled. “What do you want, Gasket!?”
“We are in need of power,” Gasket explained calmly, “and we will make a trade. The Yellow Ranger for the Gold Ranger.”
“You can never have Emily!” Adam yelled. “Now, give her back!”
Gasket sighed. “Really, Adam, why would I want the powers of a rookie when I can have the powers of a king.” As the Black Ranger’s eyes widened, Gasket nodded. “That’s right, Adam. I want Trey of Triphoria’s powers. If I don’t get them...let’s just say that Yellow’s outfit is going to be looking rather red...I mean, blood does stain.” With that, he waved his arms in the air, making the two teleport away.
“Damn it!” Adam looked at the spot where Gasket and Tanya had disappeared before looking up at the sky. “Tanya for Trey? We can’t give one ranger for another, can we? What are we going to do?”
TO BE CONTINUED IN ALLIED EVIL PART TEN...
The End. Well, that’s part nine of Allied Evil for you. Did you enjoy this? There are many unanswered things here, aren’t there? What will happen to Tanya, Adam, and Zack? Who are the mysterious Red and Silver Rangers? Feel like guessing? Many of you know already, but still... Tanya or Trey? Jason with Emily or Trini? Will Kat and Tommy get back together? I’d love your opinions on these things and any of the other conflicts in here. If you want to send some suggestions/guesses/whatever or you just want to write and say that you loved this or you hated it write me at Rkacat@aol.com Thanks a bunch, and happy PR fic hunting! Expect Allied Evil #10...no later than the end of December, but hopefully earlier than that. It’s just that I want to focus more on school this quarter than writing *Bad, Christina, Bad, Bad...Tsk...tsk...*, and I’m not going to have much time to write until Winter Break...but, I will try to make time because I’m writing and transferring, and that actually helps to get things done. Well, I know this has been kinda long. Thanks again for reading this story, and I hope you’re enjoying this series so far. Oh...just a personal note...Justin Nimmo, I LOVE YOU! No, not it THAT way, but I love Zhane, I love his relationship with Andros, I love the crush on Astronema/Karone...expect a Zhane fic from me as soon as I get more time on my hands. You know me...I start on a stand alone and it gets done in six months. I’m good with series, but B-A-D with stand alones.