LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This fic totally tears the Zeo season apart, in a way no one's ever done before. It starts in the last five minutes of "Hogday Afternoon, Part 2". Please no one flame for this, it was an idea that simply would not let up until I wrote it. This is not meant to be in any way a slight to Tommy, whom I consider one of the more interesting Rangers of all time. This fic contains the death of a Ranger, and I warn you now: get out the Kleenex, you're going to need it! You guys know the drill, the Rangers don't belong to me, not in the slightest, though I wish they did. ..especially a certain gorgeous guy with glasses who typically wore blue. . .title comes from my online sister Liz, thanks soooo much! This fic was written on what we call the "Night of the Great Fics", in which many fics were written. Kathy & Liz, you know what I mean. . .
"No!!!!" Billy leaped across the console, trying to get to the teleportation unit that would send all of them, all the Rangers, Alpha, and Zordon, out of the Command Center. Tommy pulled him away as fast as he could, then everything went white as they were teleported outside.
Slowly Billy made his way to his feet. They were outside; the Command Center sat on it's hill roughly fifty feet above them. His eyes went at once to the magnificent building that had been everything but his home the past three years. His heart spasmed as it exploded, scattering dust and debris everywhere. He started to run towards it.
"Tommy!" Kat's voice cut through the noise of the explosion, stopping him in his tracks. He looked over to where it came from, and his heart sank.
"No," he breathed the word this time. The explosion dwindled almost to insignificance at that moment as he saw who. . . or rather what. ..she was kneeling beside. "Tommy. . ."
He found himself beside her a few moments later. Tommy lay splayed on the ground, a huge piece of bloody shrapnel imbedded in his chest. "Oh, no," Rocky breathed, tears starting down his cheeks. "This is horrible. . ."
There was nothing that could be done. Tommy had likely been dying even as the Command Center exploded. And now. . .it was done with.
"Now what do we do?" Tanya whispered. Her life had been turned upside down in less than the space of a day. First she'd been torn from the time she'd been in and sent to them. Then just as she was adjusting to that, Rito and Goldar had stolen the Zeo Crystal and let off an implosion device in the Command Center. Now, one of the people she'd just met had died in that destruction.
"Let's go see if Zordon and Alpha are . . .all right," Billy suggested. "We . . .can't do anything for Tommy now. He'll be safe here."
Kat nodded a little bit, then slowly reached over to close the former
White Ranger's eyes softly. As the others started up the side of the cliff,
she leaned over to place a gentle kiss on his lips. "Rest well, Tom.
You've earned it."
The five of them wandered about the ruins of the Command Center. Kat whispered softly, "I always thought the Command Center was the one safe place Rita and Zedd could never touch."
Rocky placed a hand on her shoulder. "We'll find a way to get them for this, Kat," he assured her.
"How?" Adam asked. "Without the Zeo Crystal, what can we do?"
Billy sighed and looked around. The place was a total shambles, to say the absolute least. As his eyes traveled across the ruins, something stopped them suddenly. "What's that?
Something crystal glittered at them from underneath the rubble. As swiftly as they could, the five teens ran over to it, and Billy dared to reach under and pull free. . . The Zeo Crystal.
"Whoa," Rocky stared at it. "Rito and Goldar must've dropped it during the explosion!"
As they stood around staring at the object that had brought so much pain, destruction, and even death, the earth suddenly began to shake under their feet. "What's going on?" Tanya screamed; there were few earthquakes in Africa.
"Earthquake!" Adam tried to reach for the Zeo Crystal as it fell from Billy's grasp. "Hold on!"
It was all they could do to remain on their feet as the entire mountain shook like an aspen leaf in a strong wind. Then, just where they were standing, the earth collapsed, dropping them into a deep and dark hole. Darkness engulfed each of their minds.
It might have been hours or days later when they each stirred and came back around. "Where are we?" were the first words out of Kat's mouth.
"Looks like we're in the tunnels under the Command Center," Billy said, looking around. He'd seen schematics for this in the data files. He closed his eyes for a few moments, doing his best to force the horrible memory of Tommy on the ground like that. We'll go back for his body once we've found Zordon and Alpha. Tommy would've wanted us to protect the Earth first and foremost.
Adam nodded briefly. "Let's try this way," he gestured down a corridor. With Billy in the lead, they headed out.
For who knew how long, they walked through the seemingly endless tunnels. Then, out of nowhere, they heard Alpha's voice. "There! Everything's all set up and working properly again!"
"Is that. . .," they looked at each other, hardly daring to hope that they had heard correctly.
"Rangers," Alpha spoke again. "Please enter the vortex!"
In front of them there appeared a strange bluish-white swirl of light. The five stared at it a bit fearfully, then Alpha's voice came a third time. "Rangers, step into the vortex."
One by one they did so, emerging into a huge, well-lighted, spacious chamber. "Whoa," Tanya breathed. "This is awesome!"
"To say the least," Billy agreed. Computers and scanning devices of every type were everywhere, but there was no sign of Alpha or Zordon. "I know we heard him. Where are you, Alpha?"
"Ay-yi-yi!" they all turned to see the familiar form of Alpha
5 coming towards them. "Hello, Power Rangers. Welcome home."
"Alpha!" the Rangers ran towards him, forgetting their grief over Tommy for a few moments.
"Hello, Rangers. Welcome to the Power Chamber," he spoke a little sadly. "We are aware of what happened to Tommy. He was a brave and proud warrior, and he will be missed."
"We?" Kat's voice held a moment of hope. "Then Zordon is. .
I AM FINE, KATHERINE, Zordon appeared in the new tube for him. BUT THOUGH THIS IS A TIME OF SADNESS, FOR THE DEATH OF TOMMY, WE HAVE NO TIME TO MOURN. ALREADY THIS WORLD FACES A GREAT CHALLENGE.
"Rita and Zedd?" Tanya asked. Zordon shook his head.
NO, TANYA. The Rangers listened in awe as he told them of the mighty Machine Empire, and how their arrival had sent the two minions of evil packing off to the M-51 Galaxy.
"I can't believe they left!" Rocky's eyes were huge.
THE MACHINE EMPIRE IS EVEN MORE DANGEROUS THAN RITA AND ZEDD, Zordon told them. BUT THE ZEO CRYSTAL HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ASSEMBLED, AND THUS CAN NOW GIVE YOU ALL NEW POWERS.
Billy stepped forward suddenly. "Zordon," he said. "Who's going to take Tommy's crystal and lead the team?"
BILLY, I HAVE THOUGHT OF THIS EVER SINCE OUR SENSORS REGISTERED TOMMY'S DEATH, Zordon spoke solemnly. THOUGH THERE ARE MANY CANDIDATES WHO ARE WORTHY, ONE STANDS ABOVE THE REST, WHO HAS LED THE TEAM IN A TIME OF GREAT PERIL, IS A SPLENDID FIGHTER, AND POSSESSED OF GREAT WISDOM.
The former Blue Ranger bit his lip. Jason. He's talking about Jason. Good choice. He'll make a fine leader.
BILLY, WILL YOU ACCEPT TOMMY'S SUBCRYSTAL, AND BE THE LEADER OF THE NEW TEAM OF RANGERS?
Say what? Billy stared up at his mentor. "Zordon, you can't be serious!"
"Why not?" Adam asked. "I think you'd be perfect for the job!"
Kat nodded. "So do I!"
Rocky and Tanya weren't long in agreeing. With everyone else united, Billy sighed. "All right, if you all insist."
RANGERS, STAND BEFORE ME, Zordon ordered. YOUR COURAGE AND SACRIFICE HAVE BROUGHT US THE ZEO CRYSTAL, WHICH WILL NOW BE USED TO EMPOWER THE NEXT GENERATION OF POWER RANGERS.
Five sets of bracelet-like things appeared on a table before them. RANGERS, THESE ARE YOUR ZEONIZERS. WITH THE POWER OF THE SUBCRYSTALS, THEY WILL ALLOW YOU TO MORPH AND CALL UPON YOUR NEW ZEO POWERS.
As they picked up the Zeonizers, the Zeo Crystal appeared floating next to Zordon briefly, then divided into it's subcrystals, each one hanging over one of the Rangers. KATHERINE, YOU ARE NOW ZEO RANGER I, PINK. The crystal descended into Kat, and a moment later she stood clad in her new Pink armor.
TANYA, YOU ARE NOW ZEO RANGER II, YELLOW. A flash of light, and Tanya was fully morphed.
THE OTHER THREE SUBCRYSTALS HAVE GIVEN YOU ALL NEW COLORS, Zordon told the male Rangers. ROCKY, YOU ARE NOW ZEO RANGER III, BLUE. Rocky now wore blue armor similar in shade to what Billy had worn during his days as the Blue Ranger.
ADAM, YOU ARE NOW ZEO RANGER IV, GREEN, Zordon told him, as he was empowered by his subcrystal. Finally, they all stood and looked at Billy.
BILLY, TOMMY RETRIEVED HIS CRYSTAL WITH HONOR, BUT PERISHED BEFORE HE COULD ACCEPT IT'S POWER. I KNOW THAT IF HE WERE ABLE, HE WOULD ASK YOU TO CARRY ON IN HIS PLACE AS ZEO RANGER V, RED.
The crystal enveloped Billy in it's power, and he stood there in the gleaming red armor of the team's leader.
AS POWER RANGERS, YOU HAVE SERVED YOUR PLANET WELL, Zordon told them. BUT THE POWER RANGERS AS YOU HAVE KNOWN THEM ARE GONE FOREVER. IN THEIR PLACE HAS ARISEN A NEW, MORE ADVANCED FIGHTING FORCE. YOU ARE NOW THE POWER RANGERS ZEO, THE NEXT LEVEL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST EVIL.
Billy could feel the strength that the Power gave him, but also in his
heart there beat sadness at the price this had come. I'll do my best to
be the kind of leader and Ranger you were, Tommy, he swore to himself.
I never wanted this, not at the cost of your life, or anyone's life. But
I'll do you proud, my friend.
Once the Power Rangers Zeo had halted King Mondo's first attack on the planet, they returned Thomas Lyn Oliver's body to his parents. To them alone did they reveal his identity as a former Ranger, stating he had given his life in the defense of the planet. The rest of Angel Grove was told Tommy had died in a monster attack, a rare, but not unheard of thing to happen in that town.
Two days after Tommy's funeral, Billy stood on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The red shirt and jeans he wore felt natural on him, though he'd never thought he'd look good in this color.
Tommy was on his mind. He had been ever since the funeral, heck, ever since seeing his body outside the Command Center. And even more so since accepting the power of the Red Zeo Ranger.
Billy, I swear, if you don't cheer up, I'm going to haunt you the rest if your life!
The Red Ranger jerked around to see. . ."Tommy?"
Of course, who were you expecting, Elvis? Tommy's ghost stood there, just as if he were alive.
"Tommy. . .you're dead!"
Of course I'm dead, that's why I'm a ghost! Tommy actually laughed; in all the time Billy had known him, it had been as if a great weight of some type were on his shoulders. Either he had been the Green Ranger, visible symbol of Rita's near-successful defeat of the Rangers, or he had been the White Ranger, the white knight leader of the team. But now he seemed relaxed, at ease. Billy irreverently thought, death's been good for him!
"Tommy, I'm sorry!" he gasped the words out. "I should've. . .you shouldn't be dead!"
His friend laid an insubstantial hand on one shoulder. Yes, I should be. I went through too much as a Ranger, Billy. Fighting the Machine Empire would've eventually driven me insane. It was time for me to move on.
"I have your crystal," Billy whispered. Tommy nodded.
I rather suspected Zordon would give it to you. I'm glad. You deserve it, Billy. And you're doing a fine job of leading the Rangers, better than I ever did. I just came to tell you that. And if you need to be asked, Tommy looked at him a trifle harshly, a trifle pleadingly. Billy, I'm dead. Would you take the subcrystal that I retrieved and be the Red Zeo Ranger, and lead the Power Rangers?
Amazingly, Billy felt better for hearing the question. "Yes, Tommy," he said softly. "And thank you. For trusting me."
Ghostly fingers ruffled through his hair. Hey, just returning the favor. You guys trusted me back in the old days, when I was the Green Ranger. Now I trust you: Red Ranger.
Tears stood in Billy's eyes as Tommy began to fade away. See you one day, Billy. . .but not too soon. . .and talk to Kat. . .
A few moments later, Billy stood alone on the cliffs, but with a lighter heart than he had felt before. The beeping of his communicator interrupted his thoughts. "What is it, Zordon?"
BILLY, KING MONDO HAS SENT DOWN ANOTHER MONSTER, THIS TIME TO ANGEL GROVE PARK, Zordon's voice came over the device. THE OTHER RANGERS ARE ALREADY THERE. Billy smiled a little to himself. Time to go to work.
"I'm on the way, Zordon," he said. "It's morphin' time!"
The power began to charge him even as he said the words. Then. . he
spoke the last part of the morphing phrase. "Zeo Ranger Five, Red!"