"Hey Adam," a voice said, and Adam looked up to find Tommy standing at his side. "Whatcha readin'?"
Adam closed the book and ran his hand over the cover. "It's about the Titanic," he said. "It's for my history class. We're supposed to research some major tradgedy in history..." He paused. "It's amazing. I guess I never realized how awful that was, that ship sinking, and there weren't enough boats..."
"I know man." Tommy's eyes gained a distant look for a second. "Well, anyway. Jason and Rocky and I were just about to head to the park. You wanna come?"
"Sure," Adam replied, standing up. He was glad for the break. As much as everything about the Titanic amazed him, it was a little heavy for his mind to take all in one day. He was barely a third of the way through the book and already he had thanked God several times that he hadn't been alive to be on that ship... He shivered as he remembered what he had just read. So sad, he thought to himself. So tragic. So sad... And with that, he followed Tommy out the front doors of the school and to the park. Still, all afternoon as he tossed around a football with his friends, he couldn't shake the sadness, the tragedy from his mind.
Zedd laughed as only a true evil master can laugh as he observed Adam that afternoon. "Of course..." he said to himself. "It's so simple I can't believe I never thought of it before. All the times that I've tried to destroy the rangers using my monsters... why not just send them back in time and let history run its course?"
"Zeddy," came the sickningly sweet call from behind him. He turned to face Rita. "I see a plan brewing."
"Yes my dear," Zedd replied, turning back to the balcony and raising his staff. "I have a plan. And this time, those stupid teenagers will be nothing but sitting ducks... floating ones... if they're lucky enough to get a life vest..." He laughed again. "Hear me now rangers... prepare to meet your doom aboard the unsinkable ship." And with that, Zedd thrust his staff out toward the earth and called upon every evil power he posessed.
Somehow-- he wasn't sure how he did it, really, but somehow-- the earth began to change...
Adam looked up to find himself looking into the face of a gentlemen who looked to be about his own age. His accent gave him away as being Irish.
"Oh, nothing," he said quickly. He hurried past the young man, only to run into a mass of people. Where AM I?? he wondered. He turned around... and that's when he realized...
"God Almighty," he whispered. He glanced below him, and sure enough, he was aboard the ship. The Titanic. The ship that could never be sunk-- but would be, nonetheless. A lot of people were going to die, and not only was he going to witness it, he might be one of them... "God have mercy." And now what? What was he supposed to do? And where were the others?
Adam turned to head further on to the ship. He didn't feel the need to wave a happy goodbye to the people on the docks below. What was there to be happy about, knowing what he knew? He had to concentrate on finding his friends and finding some way off the boat... before it was too late.
Nearly an hour passed. Adam found his cabin-- it was on the second deck from the top. Maybe that was okay... but maybe it wasn't. He wouldn't rest until he knew where his friends were...
A frantic pounding on the door to his cabin shook Adam from his daydream. He stood up and opened it, only to find Tommy and Kat on the other side. They looked just as horrified as he felt. "Thank God," Adam breathed as he saw his friends standing in his doorway. They were well dressed -- apparently they had been thrust into the lives of some upper class folks. "What about the others? Tanya, Jason... Rocky..."
Tommy shook his head. "We haven't seen them. We were able to get ahold of a passenger list, and that's how we found you. Apparently Zedd--" Tommy stopped and he and Kat stepped into the cabin and shut the door. "Apparently Zedd has altered history to the letter... we are supposed to be on this boat. We have tickets and everything. And look at this." Tommy indicated his and Kat's clothing. Then he shook his head. "Damn Zedd," he said. "We're really in for it this time."
"Can we teleport out?" Adam asked, hoping they had simply overlooked the obvious.
Kat shook her head. "We tried," she answered. "We have no powers here.
We're just as helpless as everyone else... except... we know."
"And we don't want to cause a panic," Tommy went on. "So no one else is going to find out. Got it?"
"Got it," Adam replied.
"Alright. Let's find the others."
It took awhile, but just as darkness was falling, the last of their teammates was found. Jason and Rocky had been together on the lowest level of the Titanic-- a dangerous place to be, given the circumstances. Tanya was dressed much the same as Tommy and Kat, and she too had a first class ticket. And now that they were together... it was a waiting game.
"It's sad, you know... so many people are going to die," Kat said as she and the others sat in various places around Kat and Tommy's cabin.
"I wish we didn't know, you know?" Rocky added. "Knowing makes it worse.
Knowing that it's going to happen, powerless to stop it..."
"I'm scared," Tanya admitted.
"Me too," the others replied, almost in one voice.
"Zedd's gonna pay for this," Tommy added.
Adam stood up. "How, Tommy? We're stuck here. We might all die in a couple of days and we can't do anything about it."
A somber silence followed. It lasted a few minutes until Tommy finally broke it.
"Look," he said. "I know once Zordon and Alpha realize we're missing they'll do everything in their power to find us. We'll just have to wait... and hope they find us fast enough."
And to his surprise, no one asked "But what if they don't?". His statement was followed by more silence, and during that silence he realized why no one asked that... they all knew. They knew what could and would happen if they were not found before midnight just two days from now. But in their own minds, each of them pushed those thoughts aside. They were too awful to dwell on.
"And," Tommy said, looking into the eyes of his friends, "No matter what happens, none of us gets in those lifeboats alone. No one goes unless we all go. Agreed?"
"So what now?" Rocky asked, hoping to clear the somberness of the moment.
"As long as we're stuck on this boat, we might as well make the most of it," Jason replied. "We can't get off, so while we're here, I say, let's enjoy ourselves. We know we'll be fine for a couple of days..."
The others nodded their agreement. And then, they went off to bed. It was late, and what else could they do? Running down the halls screaming "Iceburg dead ahead!"
Two days early was not exactly the best plan in the world... and it had been a long day.
Jason woke up on his bunk beneath Rocky with a sore back, among other aches and pains. The bed he had slept in was nowhere near big enough, and between that and the rat he had seen just before he closed his eyes, combined with the overall horror of their situation, he had barely slept at all.
Rocky groaned and rolled off his bunk, landing on the cement floor of their tiny cabin. "What a night," he said with a sigh, reaching up to scratch his head. "I don't think I slept a wink..."
Jason nodded in agreement and then looked around. "Well, we might as well head upstairs... see what this ship's got to offer before she sinks."
The two got dressed and left their cabin. They climbed the stairs all the way to the top of the gigantic ship and stepped out into the sunslight.
"Beautiful day," Tommy remarked as he came up to join them.
"Sure is," Jason replied. "But it would be a whole lot more beautiful if we didn't know what was going to happen tomorrow night..."
A few seconds of silence followed before Tanya and Adam joined their friends on the deck. Once they were all together, they decided to explore the ship. "Just think of the stories we'll have when we get back to our own time," Kat remarked as she looked around the huge dining room on the B deck.
"If we get back," Adam whispered under his breath.
Present day Angel Grove
"Alpha, you must locate the Rangers," Zordon's voice boomed through the Power Chamber. "My instincts tell me they are in grave danger."
"Ayiayiayi, I'm TRYING, Zordon," the robot replied, scurrying from one computer to another. "But the rangers seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth! The computers can't find them anywhere!"
"Don't panic, Alpha 5. Sensors indicate that Zedd has sent them back in time. We must begin a search through history. Try to locate their individual biorythyms."
"Oh, Ayiyiyiyiyi!" Alpha whined. He pushed some buttons on a control panel.
Zordon watched the robbot scurry about on the floor below. "We must hurry, Alpha. The rangers may not have much time."
Back aboard the Titanic, later that same day
"Wow, look at that," Jason said to himself, leaning over the side of the ship and watching two dolphins swim and jump through the water.
"They are beautiful, aren't they?"
Jason didn't recognize the voice, and he turned to find out who it belonged to. He found himself facing a young woman about his own age. "Hi," he said slowly.
The girl smiled. "Well handsome, are you gonna just stand there staring at me or are you gonna tell me your name?"
Jason stared at her blankly for a second before replying, "Jason. Jason Scott," and extending his hand to her.
She shook it. "Michelle," she told him. She stepped up next to him and leaned over the side of the boat to watch the dolphins swimming below.
This girl is truly beautiful, Jason thought to himself. She's so much like... wow. She did look a lot like Emily. And now that he was thinking about Emily, he could never be comfortable with a girl like Michelle. "I have to go," he said quickly, trying to get away, but she caught him by the arm.
"There aren't too many places to go," she reminded him. "This ship may be big but it is just a ship. And from the looks of things--" she paused to look him over-- "You don't have anywhere to be getting to."
Jason knew what she meant. He looked like he was a third class passenger with no money-- and that was exactly what he was. She, on the other hand, appeared to be very wealthy. Probably first class, he thought. Maybe a snob.
"You look like you have a lot on your mind, Jason Scott," she observed.
Jason sighed. "You could say that."
"Well, I might look like an upper class snob, but I'm a good listener," she offered. "Care to talk about it?"
He hesitated. "No," he said at last.
"About anything?" she smiled at him.
"Well... sure." After all, he reasoned, what was there to lose? If he got rescued, he'd return to Emily. But if he was going to die, then why not enjoy his final days?
And so, Jason spent the rest of that day with Michelle. He liked her-- he liked her A LOT. And while he was with her, he was even able to forget, if only for a little while, what was going to happen the following night.
Before returning to his own cabin for the night, he walked her to her room and then, almost as if he had done it every day for a long time, he kissed her goodnight.
It really was a beautiful sunrise. Too bad the day would end so tragicly...
Jason leaned against the side of the ship on the top deck. Very few people were up and moving around-- it was early, and he was enjoying the peace and quiet.
Zordon, where are you? Jason thought to himself. I don't want to die! Not here, not now... Well, he reasoned, at least Michelle had nothing to worry about. She would get into a life boat, and he would take it upon himself to make sure she was one of the first ones off the ship. That shouldn't be a problem. She was a first class passenger, and she was a woman. He, however, was a third class passanger and a man. He didn't stand a chance-- in his own mind, anyway.
Jason sighed. That water must be cold, he thought, shivering. What a terrible way to die... God, please don't let us die.
"Want some company?"
Jason turned to see Tommy approaching. The two young men turned back to look out across the wide expanse of water. Nothing but water and sky for miles and miles... it really was beautiful. But knowing what they did about the events that would take place over the next twenty four hours, it was really hard to enjoy it.
"I wish they would hurry up," Jason blurted as soon as his friend was at his side. "What could possibly be taking Zordon and Alpha so long?"
Tommy shook his head, his long brown hair blowing in the gentle breeze.
"I dunno, man. But they will find us. They will. We have to keep believing that."
"But what if they don't?" Jason just couldn't shake the thought. "I don't want to die, Tommy. And... we can't die. Without us... what will happen to the earth in our time? It'll be destroyed."
Tommy didn't answer. He couldn't, not really. What was he supposed to say?
Jason was right. If they didn't get found and returned to their time before early the next morning, they might all die, and the world in their time would be destroyed.
Alpha scuffled across the floor of the Power Chamber, a sheet of facts and figures fresh off the printer in his hand. He scanned them quickly and then-- "Zordon, I've done it!" he exclaimed triumphantly. "I've found the rangers!"
"Excellent work, Alpha Five."
"But-- Ayiayiayi! Oh Zordon, this is terrible! They're on board the RMS Titanic! If we don't find a way to bring them home soon, it could be too late!"
Back aboard the Titanic, sometime after noon on April 14
"Twelve hours," Rocky commented, looking at a clock on the wall of the dining hall.
"Thirteen," Adam corrected. "Thirteen plus, because the ship won't sink until 2:20 tomorrow morning."
"You're not helping," Tanya informed him.
Adam shrugged. "I'm just trying to be optimistic," he said. He sat down. "I wonder if they've even found us yet," Kat said aloud. "I wonder if they know where we are, if they're trying to get us home yet."
No one answered her. They didn't have an answer, really. They had no way of knowing, and they weren't in the mood to guess.
"Know what the worst part about this is?" Jason spoke up. "It's not actually knowing what's going to happen... it's that if we die on this ship, the world in our time is going to be destroyed. Without us, there will be nothing to stand in Zedd's way."
Silence followed. "We can't die," Tommy said at last. "Not together, not alone... we can't. Our world is counting on us, guys. We have to do whatever we can to stay alive until Zordon and Alpha are able to bring us home."
Five heads nodded in agreement.
"So after five years in Europe, we finally decided it was time to go back home... what's your story, handsome?" Michelle looked deep into Jason's brown eyes.
Oh boy, Jason thought. Well, let's wing it... "Not much to tell," he began. "I was born in the States, in Minnisota." (That part was true.) "My parents died when I was eleven and since then I've been on my own." (That part was not.)
"So how'd you come to be getting on this boat in Europe?"
"The same way I happened to be getting on a different boat to take me there," he replied. "I won the ticket in a poker game." He'd seen a movie about a young man who'd done exactly that.
"And what do you intend to do when we get to New York?"
He shrugged. "I'm not sure yet," he said. "Try to find work, I guess. Start a new life." Jason suddenly felt uncomfortable lying to her. It wasn't his style, not really. Besides... for all he knew, he could be dead in twenty four hours. And he knew for certain the ship would never get to New York anyway.
"You seem tense," Michelle observed. "What's wrong?"
Jason looked down into her eyes. For a moment, just a brief moment, he considered telling her everything... but he knew he couldn't.
"But if it's bothering you then it must be important," she insisted.
"N-nothing," He replied. "Nothing worth mentioning, anyway." "But if it's bothering you then it must be important," she insisted.
Jason looked around the deck and out across the water. Then he took her by the arm and guided her back inside. "Come on," he said. "It's getting late."
Niether one of them said a word for quite awhile. Jason wasn't even sure what time it was... it didn't matter, really. It would be dark soon enough and not long after that, the ship would hit the iceburg and it would all be down hill from there.
The evening hours passed quickly and soon it was dark... completely dark. Dark as a tomb. Around eleven or so, the rangers stepped out on to the deck and looked out over the water.
"It looks so peaceful," Tanya observed. "So quiet and peaceful... undisturbed..."
"It does," Rocky agreed. There was a pause. "You know, over the few days that we've been on this ship, I've realized... man, it's beautiful. No ship in modern times can compare to this... and even if I'm going to die, well, at least I can brag in heaven that I sailed on the mighty Titanic..."
"It IS beautiful," Kat agreed. "It's hard to believe that in a few hours, all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic."
"Listen guys," Tommy said. "We gotta stick together now... and no matter what, we stay on this ship as long as we can. Every second counts... and don't give up. No matter what... don't give up."
"Right," the others echoed.
A brief silence followed and then the rangers went back inside the ship. It was cold outside and anyway, they had a good solid hour... they couldn't sit outside that long.
An hour, Tommy thought. And then he realized... if he was going to die, there was something he had to do first.
Kat turned at the sound of Tommy's voice. She turned toward him and studied his face as he got close. "Tommy is something wrong?"
Duh, Tommy thought, we're on board a ship that's about to sink into the ocean, the question is, what ISN'T wrong. But he didn't say that... he couldn't. "Kat, there's something I need to talk to you about."
"Come on. Let's go in here." He led her into the privacy of his cabin and sat down facing her. "Kat, I realized just now that... well, when this ship sinks, there's no garuntee that I'll make it. I mean, let's face it. Any one of us could die... we can do everything as a team, but death comes to the individual. And anyway... in case I don't make it... I wanted to tell you that I--" he stopped. He hadn't said these words to anyone since he'd said them to Kim so long ago. "I love you."
"Oh Tommy..." Kat smiled. "I... I love you, too."
Tommy pulled her into a warm hug and held her close for a long time. "I don't want to die," he said, almost sobbing. "Oh God Kat I'm so scared..."
"Me too," she said, holding him tighter still.
It seemed like only moments passed from the time the Rangers went back into the ship and the moment they were all sitting together and felt the jolt. . . and that was it... the ship hitting the iceburg. What would follow would be two hours of panic and confusion... And then terror... and then death. The rangers raced for the uppper decks as soon as they got over the initial shock of feeling the ship hit the iceburg. And what they found when they got there was... well, unbelievable.
"Look at these people!" Tanya exclaimed. "This ship just hit an iceburg-- it's going to sink, and they're practically throwing a party!"
"The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, Tanya," Adam said as he watched a group of 3rd class youngsters kick a chunk of ice around like a soccer ball. "The passengers were secure in their belief that it would never-- could never-- be sunk, by anything."
The rangers watched as, slowly but surely, the crew and then the passengers became aware of Titanic's impending doom. They watched as the crew began loading women and children into the lifeboats. And that was when Jason remembered Michelle.
"Guys, I have to go back into the ship," he said.
"Are you crazy, Jason?" Rocky questioned. "You can't go back in there!"
"I have to." Jason wasn't sure why, but there was a nagging voice in the back of his mind that insisted that it was of dire importance for Michelle to survive. He had to find her and make sure she got into a lifeboat.
And find her he did... she was rushing around the C deck, apparently searching for him, having started from the lowest deck of the ship and climbing upwards.
"Thank God," Jason exclaimed. He hugged her close. "Listen to me, Michelle," he said, looking down into her eyes. "You have to get to a lifeboat and you have to do it now. There-- there aren't enough boats for everyone on board, and this ship is going to sink. Half of the people on this boat-- half, maybe more-- are going to die, and I don't want you to be one of them."
A brief silence followed. "I can't, Jason... I won't leave you."
"You have to!" Jason was frustrated, almost angry.
"I can't. I won't, and you can't make me..." She looked into his eyes. "I love you, Jason."
Jason didn't reply. He was realizing something even as she said those words. He didn't love her. She was a lady who would be over a hundred years old in his present day. She was a dream, something he would remember for the rest of his life-- however long that was going to be-- but if and when he ever returned safely to Angel Grove in the 1990's, he had Emily.
"Michelle," he said, his tone becoming soft but stern, almost that of a father to his child, "You listen to me. You are going to go and get into a boat, and I am going to see you off, but I can't go with you. You have your life to live and I have mine, but we can never be together. These last few days on this ship, with you, they've been amazing, but they weren't meant to become anything."
A tear trickled down her cheek. "You really mean that?"
"Yeah, I do. I might not survive tonight, but I'll be secure and I'll rest easy if I know you got into a boat and that you are going to go on and grow up and fall in love and have children-- with someone else."
Michelle nodded, and wordlessly, Jason helped her find a boat and get into it. "Goodbye, Jason," she said just as the boat was being lowered into the water. "I'll never forget you."
Jason simply nodded his head and watched as her boat hit the water and the women inside began to row away from the sinking ship. Jason stood there for a second, and then sighed and returned to his friends. Now, all that was left for them to do was wait.
"I've done it Zordon! I've broken through the time barrier!" Alpha 5 exclaimed triumphantly.
"Well done, Alpha Five." Zordon's voice was... well, as happy as it could possibly sound.
Alpha began pushing buttons and punching codes into the computer. "Okay, Rangers," he said, "It's time for you to come home."
The Rangers stood on the deck of Titanic, listening to the band play and the people scream, watching in horror as people jumped over the side of the ship into the freezing cold water to certain death, and hoping-- praying - - - that Zordon and Alpha would find them soon.
"It won't be long now," Adam observed as he and the others became aware of the downward tilt of the ship.
The band reached the end of a happy song-- it would be the last. The next one they began was a sad, somber tune-- music to drown by, many would say. The rangers struggled to climb up to the top of the ship, reached it, and held onto the railings for dear life. Kat bit her lip and a single tear trickled down the side of her face, and she reached for Tommy's hand. The music, the screams for help, the priest leading the people in prayer as Titanic sank... it was all too much for her. It was too real... too real.
The lights went out, and it was then that Tommy realized the true horror of it all. It was a terrible, awful way to die-- for these people, and for this ship. The beauty that, just three hours ago, had been sailing across the Atlantic had now died, and Titanic had become a ghost ship, and a tomb for those still inside.
The ship split in two, and the people still on Titanic's decks screamed, the Rangers included. They weren't trying to be heroes, to be tough teenagers from the 90's, anymore. They just wanted to survive.
The stern section of the ship, where the Rangers and a hundred or so others were hanging on for dear life, bobbed up and down for a few minutes, and Adam looked down and found himself staring death right in the face. It was like being stuck at the top of one of those amusement park rides that goes around and around and for a second or two you're hanging straight up in the air-- only worse.
It was then, just as the stern section of the ship was disappearing beneath them and the Rangers had given up all hope of surviving the night, that they felt themselves being lifted upwards and each of them knew they had been rescued-- Zordon and Alpha had found them.
Fifteen hundred people went into the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic when Titanic sank. Seven hundred or so watched, horrified, from the boats floating nearby. And one of them would swear for the rest of his life that he saw six streaks of colored light jet across the sky just as the very tip of the great Titanic disappeared into the sea. The Rangers returned to the present day and went on with their lives. Once again, Zedd's attempts to cut their lives short had failed, but this time it had not passed without teaching them some lessons about life and death and history that they would never forget.
A few weeks after their ordeal, the Rangers were sitting in their history class, having a class discussion about the Titanic. Mr. Caplan had pictures and books and whatnot, but nothing could ever replace the feeling of being there-- a feeling they could never share with anyone, ever, because... well, it wouldn't be logical to the non- Power Ranger mind.
"Class," Mr. Caplan said, "Seeing as we've been discussing Titanic in class and it seems to be of great intrest to most of you, I have arranged for a very special visitor to come and speak to you today. She is a wonderful lady with a story to tell that I'm sure you will all want to hear. Emily?"
Emily stood, ducked out of the classroom, and helped an old lady into the room. She WAS old... over a hundred, and she was leaning on a walker in addition to Emily's support.
"This is my great-grandmother, Michelle Becker," Emily said. "She's a hundred and two years old, and she was seventeen when she sailed on Titanic. She is a survivor, and she wants to share her story with all of you."
And as she shared her story, Jason came to realize why it had been so important for Michelle to survive the night of the sinking-- THIS was Michelle. She was Emily's great-grandmother, and had she not survived, Emily would have never come to exist.
The Rangers sat back in their desks and relived the sinking just as Michelle was, and they remembered it just as vividly as she did.
"Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still hear the cries for help," Michelle said as she concluded her story. "Sometimes I'm haunted by the memories of what happened that night. But I have maintained through my entire life since then that Titanic was a truly wonderous ship. Her tragic end that night does not change that. And my memory may be failing me in my old age but this story and especially that night are things I will never forget. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't... things like that, they stick with you." Her eyes looked around the room, and they came to rest on Jason.
She looked at him and cocked her head, as if trying to figure out how he could possibly be sitting in this classroom. And then she said, "And sometimes, when the memories are especially haunting, I can actually see the faces of those who died... You never forget. You never forget."
That was the truth. The rangers would never be able to share their memories of that night with anyone the way Michelle just had, but they would remember for the rest of their lives what happened that night. They were, as Michelle had said, haunting memories of a terrible night, and you can never forget. Never.