Leading to Another Land
by: Kahva and Ivy

Another week taunted us, threatening to never end

A week filled with speculation and dread. It was far from uneventful. We asked, and received, all the information we could ever have wanted about Angel Grove's beloved Power Rangers. Everyone seemed to have a story of how they were saved by the heroic efforts of Zordon of Eltar's chosen. The way people talked about them, you would think them Gods. When I commented on this, Suzanne playfully asked me, "You mean Billy isn't?" Those were just about the only teasing words she spoke all week. 'Riotous' didn't quite cover the uproar in our household. You have never seen such stand-offish oafs in all your born days. We were scared, afraid and much too proud to show it. Being alone in this dimension and knowing Mondo was after us for some insane reason didn't do much for our frayed nerves. About the only things that kept us from jumping ship were the facts that the Rangers DID exist, and Suzanne's refusal to flee. She flatly told us that as long as Billy was here, so was she. And that ended the argument then and there, for none of the Sisters were going anywhere without her.

Mr. Alligood even commented on my snappish nature at work. Kindly, you must understand. He mentioned it only in the hope I would tell him what was wrong. "Just some trouble on the home front," I told him, and he nodded and left me to my work. Either he thought he understood the trials and troubles of living with a bunch of people, or he decided he was much better off not knowing. For whichever reason, he didn't ask again. Even calm and steady Kahva was affected by the tension. We had begun to notice whenever Suzanne was edgy, Kahva would be as well, often for no reason at all. If this dimension mirrored what those two wrote, were they connected as Kahva and Sheena? That brought forth all kinds of questions, such as how we got here, because Kahva Briton could open portals between dimensions. Could Kahva Brittain now possess that same talent? And could we blame her for all this without killing her? Suzanne reminded sternly that murdering one of the Sisterhood was a real BIG no-no. Asking this question took away some of our fear, at least. If Kahva was the one who portaled us through, then maybe Mondo had no real interest in us. But it raised a few fears, for Billy in the Series was linked to both Sheena and Kahva, by blood-ties and kin-ties. Could he sense them now? And what about Tommy? He too was linked to both those characters. Did he even exist? There wasn't any proof that he did, other than the Red Ranger had sounded very much like him in the park. Oh, boy! Here we go again!

Mentally we took the 'Silver Flame', 'Amber Ranger', and 'Raging Storm' stories apart. If we were somehow influencing this dimension through those fan-fics, there should be some clues as to what might be coming. But we had no idea which one to concentrate on, for the stories all dealt with such diverse plots, and we ended up with rather bad headaches. We had no way of knowing just which one could be responsible for everything. In desperation we finally voted on it. The 'Silver Flame' was chosen because it was the only one we had concrete evidence on - in the form of Suzanne's candle and Kahva's lens cap. So we settled down to study it to death. We found two major events to worry about. Sheena as the Silver Ranger, and Kahva as both Zordon's daughter and 'prophet' {for lack of a better word}. Just thinking of some of the things that had been written in the 'Silver Flame' Series was enough to terrify anyone. We didn't want to even consider what might happen if some of them came true. It was serious stuff we were dealing with. But just how were we supposed to prepare ourselves for something that might not happen? Curse words abounded that night, I assure you!

Of all of us, Jaycynda was by far the broodiest. For days she barely talked, preferring instead to pour over the old library books she'd checked out. They dealt with all manner of arcane subjects, and our confusion grew when books on Auric reading took their place. She finally spoke up one night after dinner. We sat in our customary semi-circle around the TV, watching the 6 o'clock news. The weatherman was droning on about how nice the weekend was going to be, and showing stills of children playing 'hide and seek' amongst some trees. Suzanne lost considerable colour when she realized just where the children were frolicking. Angel Grove Park. Jaycynda saw her reaction and seemed to come to a decision. She motioned for Gayla --who had possession of the remote-- to cut of the TV. When silence descended upon our household {a rare occasion} she began to finally talk, "Look I know I haven't had much to do with any of you lately, and I'm sorry for that. But I've been struggling with something I don't understand, and I'm to the point I'm desperate for some answers. I'm hoping by putting our heads together we can come up with something."

"Fire away," Katie invited with a smile.

"You'll regret that, trust me," Jaycynda warned. Katie merely grinned back, unconcerned over any trouble she might be instigating. Jay gave her a playful wink and continued, "I think I remember telling you that I can see Auras, right?" We nodded. I myself could recall two on-line conversations where the subject had come up. "Well, I got to wondering if I could still do that here. My attempt was successful, I can still see the Auras. But its. . . different than before."

"How so, Flame?" Rianna asked. She sat on the floor near the couch, curled around a huge tasseled pillow Roseleen had scrounged up from who knows where.

"First, an Aura defines the state of being, not the current misconception of good and evil. That does show up in the Aura, but not in the way fiction makes it out to be. Our Auras are coloured by our emotions -- if you tend toward evil, your Aura shows the darker aspects; greed, envy, and possessiveness. If you are 'good', then your Aura shows up the lighter colours; kindness, warmth, and love. But keep in mind there isn't any such thing as truly 'good' or 'evil'. Mankind has always been a study in gray." She motioned to the yin-yang symbol that I wore around my neck, "That stands for 'there is good in every evil man, but there is evil in every good man as well'. An Aura also reveals the sometimes conflicting emotional state we are in, and with a little training you can learn to see that. It's called Aura reading, or if you prefer something more archaic, Auric reading." At the confusion we displayed, she explained a little more. "For example, a person can seem outwardly to be calm. But their Aura would show the red wash of anger staining the blue of calm, showing that they are struggling to keep their temper in check. That had changed somewhat, in that the Aura I'm seeing is brighter, more vivid, and easier for me to read now. What has really changed is that for some reason, I'm seeing TWO Auras now, instead of the one I could detect before."

"What is the other one like?" Suzanne asked quietly, her voice and posture intense. She was leaning forward, gaze locked on our firebrand, wringing her hands nervously.

Jaycynda gave a shrug and said, "It's kinda hard to describe something you can't see. It's like a shield that surrounds everyone I see, and it encloses the personal Aura I'm used to."

"Describe it," I asked, curious. An idea was coming to mind, but I wasn't about to voice it just yet. No need to give the others a reason to call me insane, although by appearances, Suzanne might actually have beaten me to the punch.

"It has two colours; the Aura itself, and the faint shimmer that comes from it."

"Go on," Gayla urged. "Talk it out more." Her role of our 'conscience' was emphasized by her attempts to encourage Jaycynda to hash out her problem.

Jaycynda sighed and rubbed her eyes for a moment, testimony to how many sleepless nights she'd spent researching the topic. "The Aura is all one colour, which means it doesn't deal with emotions. The after-shimmer is the same -- all one colour, usually the same shade as the Aura itself. But this shimmer can dim or brighten from one moment to the next, and I've watched enough to realize it's showing that person's strength." She paused in her explanation, then added, "Mental strength, Sisters. It's revealing that person's will-power."

"And the Aura itself?" Kahva piped up, her head tilted to one side and her dark eyes sparkling with questions. Puzzles like this always seem to entrance her, I thought.

"Okay, here comes the insane part. Now, before you past judgment on this, please remember that I'm been studying this for days now, and that my theory is NOT a wild hunch. From what I'm seeing, the people from this dimension all have a faint orange Aura. The Sisterhood's in pink-tinged, and Suzanne's is a really pale yellow. What's so strange about hers isn't that it's a different colour --- the after-shimmer nearly overwhelms the main Aura all together. Kahva's isn't quite as bright, but it's definitely stronger than the rest of ours."

"You think the second Aura is interdimensional?" Suzanne asked, solemn and serious. "And my Aura doesn't match the rest of the Sisterhood?" Her face was pale but set, hands clenching and unclenching the armrest of the couch. My theory had been correct; so was Suzanne's. 'Silver Flame' strikes again, I thought, watching her for signs of distress. Kahva was shaken but keeping a close eye on Suzanne too.

"No, it doesn't. And that's what has upset me. I can't find anything on Auras such as I'm seeing, because none of the books admit in any way that there could be alternate dimensional!" She banged a fist on the end table in exasperation. "I never realized just how blind we were until my research hit this dead end. If we ever DO get back, I'm going to write a book about the possibilities of alternate dimensions. They will probably put me in a straight jacket and give me a nice and comfy padded cell when I publish the thing, but I can live with that."

Jaycynda looked so serious Kahva couldn't help but joke, "Well, since I'm supposed to be the Shadow Ranger, I'll grab hold of Sheena the Silver Ranger here to use as a battery, portal us in, and portal you out of there. Nothing simpler."

The joke was on her when Jaycynda told her, without malice, "You just very well be able to do that, Kahva Brittain. Or should I start calling you Kahva Briton?"

Dead silence greeted that cutting little sally. Needless to say, we all went to bed quite early that night, puzzled and not a little frightened by what Jaycynda had revealed. That she had kept this to herself for as long as she had certainly explained her recent weight-loss and the dark circles under her eyes. While we understood why she hadn't said anything to us sooner, a little advanced warning would have been most welcome. And it was a heavy burden for just one person to bear, no matter how feisty her spirit. Our concern couldn't alter the facts, though. Somehow, some way, we were changing. Or being changed.

By the time the weekend finally arrived we were ready to tear the roof off the house.

It was FRIDAY NIGHT, and I use all caps because Suzanne had plans for us. No moping in the house was allowed. "No matter what the future holds," she told us firmly, "the present is what we have to deal with first. We've been tearing ourselves apart for nearly a week and we deserve a break from the tension and stress." For the first time since our arrival we were officially going out. The suddenness of this statement should have set off all manner of alarm bells, but the distraction was welcome news and we didn't question her impulsive decision. Woe is my blind trust. We should have chained her to the damn house!! In a rush we shamelessly plundered each other's closets for that ever-elusive 'perfect' outfit to wear. But wouldn't you know it, we ended up in the same clothes we 'landed' in. There was one last primp in the mirrors, accompanied by much teasing and giggling, then we drew straws to see who had to drive tonight. Suzanne and I won this dubious honor, and everyone hopped into the vehicles and headed for the movie theater. Since Suzanne seemed to know where she was going, I fell in behind her and did not pay the slightest bit of attention to the road signs. I merely assumed she was taking us on a round-about way to the theater. Leave it to Suzanne to change our course in mid-flight. . .

Apparently she had taken the time to scout out the Youth Center, with Ernie's Juice Bar, earlier in the week. But did she inform us we would be taking a little detour before we made it to the movies? No sir! Our arrival there caused more of a tussle between us than the Cog attack did. But we couldn't stand outside arguing and threatening to kill Suzanne without attracting a crowd. So in we went, dragging our feet with every step. Seeing the Youth Center on a TV screen is vastly different from standing in it.

It was a strange experience.

We tried to be inconspicuous, but considerable curiosity was aroused anyway simply because we were newcomers. Katie found us a table big enough to seat the group, far away from most of the crowd. A good part of us were older than those assembled so the distance was a welcome relief. "After all we've been through in the past month, and here you go dropping us off right in the middle of the one place we have no business being! Didn't we take a vote last week? What on Earth were you thinking with - the gutter you dive into with Nibbles? None of us are ready for a confrontation with the Rangers!" Any other scalding remarks she might have made were cut short by none other than Ernie himself, larger than life and twice as jolly. It was easy to see why the kids were so comfortable hanging out at the Youth Center after meeting him.

"Hello there. My name's Ernie, and I run the Juice bar. Would you care for something to drink? Since you're new here, it's on the house tonight. Consider it a welcoming gift," he told us with a big grin. Charmed, we gave him our order and he ambled off.

"Boy, was that weird," Rianna said to no one in particular. "Way too normal, you know? As strange as everything had been lately, the LAST thing I need is for something that's NOT out of the ordinary to happen." That she was completely serious had us laughing too hard to breathe.

"I kinda like it, Sis," Gayla told her. "It's nice to know all the good people are here as well as the bad. Besides, Ernie's such an integrated part of the Rangers' universe, it just wouldn't be right without him."

Suzanne made a face at us, "You know, I feel like my nerves are going haywire all of a sudden. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to come here. What say we vamoose as soon as we finish our drinks? It's funny, but I don't think I'm any more ready for this than you are." Such an admittance from Suzanne was rather startling. "I'm not getting cold feet or anything like that, it's just that's it's a big step. Right now the Rangers are fantasy, no matter what we've seen or chosen to believe. But if they walk through that door over there in the next few minutes, they'll be reality. Excuse me, but I've been playing with fantasy for several years now, and I think I like it just fine. Reality is a little too real for me."

Jaycynda was giving her one of those looks; a sly, bright-eyed expression that let Suzanne know beyond a doubt that she was in for it now. "Oh, really? And just how did you come to that lovely conclusion? It couldn't be all the arguments we pounded into you several weeks ago as you lay pinned to the carpet, could it? We weren't just talking to heat up the room, you know. Every single thing we said, Suzanne, we meant."

Before it could get out of hand, Kahva stepped in, "Look, what's done is done, okay? There's absolutely no reason to beat each other with the truth. She jumped the gun and made a mistake. Look at what I did; there's a good chance I was the one who opened the gate in the first place. I don't see you leaping to tear my throat out. She let her heart get in the way of her brain, that's all."

"Okay, Kahva, that's enough. I think I can do without you trying to protect me anymore," Suzanne told her in a teasing voice.

Ernie arrived with our drinks and another big smile. His interruption cooled our tempers and even managed to relax us somewhat, although none of us could be completely at ease until we finally got out of there. When he left we started in on Suzanne again, happily casting all kinds of contemplations on her intelligence and hormonal levels until she had a bad case of the giggles. Any outside events didn't intrude on our basting until Gayla gasped and pointed over Rianna's shoulder. Heads turned to see what all the excitement was about, and half of us nearly hit the floor in shock.

Thomas Oliver and his brother David Trueheart were sparring only a short distance away from our table. The sight of them battling it out took my breath away, for in the 'reality' of this dimension they resembled each other far more than in the TV show. Close enough, in fact, to be nearly identical twins. . .

We had no idea we'd been watched from the moment we walked in the door

Adam was teasing Tanya and Kat about their caviler treatment of Rocky a few days ago when he noticed the women walking into the Youth Center. The sight of the blonde, her wavy hair loosely piled on top of her head to accent the cut of the dark blue velvet outfit she wore, nearly took his breath away. She is HERE! his mind shouted at him. But he remembered Zordon's orders and nudged Billy, who stood beside him, "Be careful how you turn around to look, but the seven mystery women we're supposed to introduce ourselves to just walked in the door and are sitting down on the other side of the bar." He made a careful nod of his head to indicate their location.

Seated with Tommy, David Trueheart grinned and asked, "Mystery women? Why, pray tell, are they so mysterious?" He glanced over at the women in question, then gave his brother a stern look, "And why didn't you tell me about them sooner? We're brothers, Tommy. You aren't supposed to keep secrets from me like that. Especially if there are beautiful women such as them involved."

Giving his brother a sour look, Tommy rose to his feet and motioned for David to do the same. In a low voice he said, "I haven't time to explain, bro, just come spar with me. Zordon ordered us to contact those women, and I'm hoping they will see us and want to start a conversation. We've seen for ourselves that they know enough karate to handle a half dozen or more Cogs all on their own." Tommy ordered the others, "If you see an opening, go for it," as he all but dragged David to the center of the workout area. Several people already on the mats immediately made room for them, for the sparring matches between the two brothers were all but legendary in the Youth Center. The rest of the Rangers gathered together in a quiet corner out of the way and focused all their attention on the young ladies in question.

"Oh, that is no problem. I can show-off as much as you!" David promised his brother as they took their places on the mat, and bowed to Tommy with the warning, "But only if you tell me what the deal is about the Cogs. Are you trying to tell me they fought off some of those weird metal men of Mondo's?" Tommy nodded and bowed in return, beginning the match. The other Rangers at once saw the difference; this bout was for looks only, and Adam couldn't help but grin at the way those two hams were playing it up. If a karate instructor walked in on that farce of a match, he would seriously hurt them both for the unbelievable stunts they were pulling. Just about everyone was watching them, the sole exception being the seven young women whom they were oh so desperately trying to impress.

"I don't see why they would run. We're not Rangers right now," Jason remarked quietly. He grinned, "And they are too occupied with their argument to pay them attention, anyway."

"I just hope Tommy doesn't give the whole thing away in his urge to show off," Kat said irritably. "If he acts like he has seen them before, I'm afraid they might bolt all together. They seem rather skittish right now." She nodded to where the young women sat, "Look how tense they are. If I didn't know better, I would say they did not want to be here."

"You know, I think you're right." Tanya agreed, then realized abruptly that Billy was no longer with them. She spied him a second later, in the process of edging closer to the table where the group was seated. "My God, what is Billy doing?!" she exclaimed, and Rocky instinctively clamped a hand over her mouth to quiet her. They watched as he took a seat not five feet behind them.

Adam shook his head in disgust, "There goes our element of surprise, folks. I only hope Billy has a good reason for this, Tommy will skin him alive if he doesn't." Privately, the Green Ranger wasn't too worried for the safety of his friend. If Billy hadn't acted like that, Adam certainly would have done of the honour of jumping the gun himself. Meeting the beautiful blonde woman was all Adam could think about at that moment.

They watched in silence as the women finally noticed Tommy and David on the mat, and all conversation ceased. Kat couldn't tell if they were awe-struck by the amazing leaps and bounds the brothers were concocting, or critical of the show. They did have considerable skill in karate themselves, so perhaps they saw right through the showing-off the two were guilty of. Quiet discussion broke out, and laughter sounded briefly. One of the girls even seemed to be teasing two of the others over something. Then Billy intervened, speaking to the woman in the incredible silver dress. All stared, speechless, as she dragged him to the mats and began a warm-up kata the likes of which they had never seen. As she whirled around, the dress flashing and her knee-length hair taking on a life of its own, Kat and Tanya decided to accept whatever damage had been done and approached the table. They arrived in time to hear a rather interesting comment concerning Billy's health. . .

Meanwhile, back at the table, the Sisterhood was really in for it

As we watched the brothers in awe, my face must have revealed more than I wished. Kahva had turned back to watch me with a most amused smile on her face. Perhaps it was the way I lit up like a light bulb at Tommy's appearance? I thought, bracing myself for the jest to come. Kahva was an old friend, and I've sampled her cutting wit a time or two. Sometimes her humor more resembles a broadsword than a rapier? As I expected, Kahva elbowed Rianna and said, "She's got the look of a hungry she-wolf about her, Ria. Maybe we need to check Tommy for teethmarks." Rianna giggled at that remark while Jaycynda shot her a tolerant look. But Kahva wasn't done yet with her innuendoes, and all Jaycynda had done was call attention to her own actions. Our feisty redhead got zinged as well, "And David needs a good looking over too, with the way Jay is staring so hard. Would you like him served on a silver platter, my dear?" Jaycynda started to make one of her legendary snappy comebacks, then glanced at the brothers and fell silent. Her sudden quiet in the face of this latest shock stunned us. Abnormal situations do not rattle her, and that rattled us!

But the surprise of the situation could no more hold us immobile than the shock of landing in this dimension. Suzanne was already beginning to leap from her seat when a pair of hands landed on her shoulders. The grip wasn't enough to stop her, really, but it did startle her. She titled her head back to see who it was and nearly choked. Billy Cranston stared down at her with dreamy blue eyes and commented, "You're really interested in the sparring! Maybe I could convince you to join me on the mat later?" Billy had crept up on them, and was amused by the teasing words spoken by the one identified as Kahva. Figuring to immerse himself in their company, he offered the one dressed in silver a perfect opening; he would convince her to spar with the Rangers tomorrow when they gathered for their weekly practice. But he was completely unprepared for the intense emotion in her eyes. He remembered her from the park, but he hadn't expected the incredible beauty, or the jewel-like emerald eyes whose fire all but burned him.

Suzanne's idea of 'joining him on the mat' had to be wildly different from his, if her expression was anything to go by. She closed her eyes and sighed, one hand reaching up to touch his where it rested on her shoulder (perhaps caressed would be a better word?) Then she grasped it tightly and gritted out, "You're mine!" Before he could react to that strange phrase, she had dragged him to the workout mats.

We did hear him say quietly, "I did mean later, my lady. Every Saturday me and my friends exercise here in the Youth Center, and I was really hoping you'd consider us. We're finished with our workouts by nine or so, and I wanted to spar with you for a little while, then maybe we could have a picnic lunch in the park or something. He gestured to the silver lamé dress, with the sparkling sapphire and silver necklace, in way of silent explanation, "While the dress you're wearing looks incredible on you, it is not exactly standard attire to spar in." Suzanne's only response was to kick off her high-heeled silver shoes and begin working out the Ki-see kata she had invented while writing the 'Silver Flame' Series with Kahva. The noise level in the Youth Center dropped to nothing as all turned awed eyes toward the whirling figure in flashing silver.

Because of her, Tommy seemed to spot us. His face was puzzled, as if trying to recall just where he had seen us before. Then the memory hit him (supposedly), and those dark eyes best resembled saucers. Grabbing David, he jerked his brother off to one side and began speaking rapidly, making occasional motions in our direction. When Tommy finished explaining, David whirled around to give us the most incredulous stare. It made those left at the table feel trapped; Suzanne had captured the Sapphire Ranger without the slightest battle and Tommy Oliver was watching our every move. In fact, he and David were examining us rather intently, bringing the tension level higher. Could he recall where he had last seen us? He and the Rangers wore helmets to protect their identities, but we weren't blessed with such devices. There was the faint chance he really would remember us from the battle-zone in the park. The thought wasn't a joyous one. The only thing that kept us from bolting was the fact they didn't know we were aware they were the Rangers. "Or maybe they do," Rianna whispered hoarsely. "The portal Kahva opened might have shown up on their scanners. They could know everything!"

"Maybe, maybe not. Let's not assume too much right now. Why not let fate decide? If we do something rash, we might make the situation worse than it already is. Lady Luck has been very kind to us lately, why question her will now?" Gayla said a light-hearted tone. "It isn't as if we weren't expecting this."

But as I have stated before, nothing can keep Jaycynda's irrepressible sense of humor down, and despite our dire situation she expressed it in her concern for Billy's safety. "Should we rescue the foolish boy before the possibility of r-a-p-e," she spelled the word out with a smirk in Suzanne's direction, "enters the issue?"

Imagine our surprise when Kat and Tanya walked up to give their opinion on the matter, "Surely he can't be in that much danger?" Kat teased, and nudged Tanya with an elbow, "He isn't really THAT attractive, is he?"

Tanya gave a sparkling laugh and admitted, "Now, Kat. You've seen how women drool over him. That one looks capable of doing more than simply drooling." Her dark eyes twinkled as she took in Billy's flabbergasted expression as the silver-clad beauty finished her kata and bowed to him with a flourish.

Jaycynda's laugh was brittle, edged with tension, "Oh, if only you knew. I'm Jaycynda Ashleana, and this is Ivy Tanté, Rianna Lia, Katie MaGee, Gayla Reese, and Kahva Brittain. The show-off out there is Suzanne Harrell. I've already met Billy, and I assume you're friends of his?" This question, from her of all people, threw me until I recalled we hadn't officially met any of them yet. Oh, how crafty you are, Jaycynda!

"I'm Kat Hillard, and this is Tanya Sloan. Yes, we're friends of Billy, as well as the show-offs out there sparing. They're Tommy Oliver and his twin brother David Trueheart. The rest of our crowd hasn't arrived yet. Mind if we have a seat while we wait for them?" None could think of a reason to deny them, so we made room and settled down to view the match just beginning. Suzanne was doing well. Billy was not by any means conceivable. Karate kicks weren't much compatible with dresses such as she was wearing, and he was getting some interesting views of those long legs -- just before they would reach him. He was distracted as hell and she was taking every advantage of that she could. I kinda felt sorry for him, because those kicks have all the power of a Missouri mule. I know from experience for Suzanne and I went several practice rounds once, and I won't make that mistake again any time soon. But it was obvious what the outcome would have been if not for her outfit. In a true one-on-one, Billy would win unless he was stupid enough to make a mistake.

Off to the side, Tommy and David had given up on their own match; they couldn't stop laughing long enough to finish it. They watched the fiasco with interest, and I swear Tommy had a bet riding on Suzanne! David chose to encourage the underdog, however, by yelling some rather questionable advice to Billy that made Tommy punch him in the arm.

As we watched Suzanne frolic around with Billy, the other Rangers arrived in ones and twos to slide into vacant seats around our table. They greeted us amiably enough, exchanging names and handshakes, and various comments of, "What in the world does Billy think he is DOING?!" {By using the 'sign language' we had invented some time ago, Rianna signaled to look at their wrists. Sure enough, there were communicators attached to each of them.} All immediately began conversing with us, as if determined to be included in our group for some reason. It was a little puzzling until I caught Katie's eye. A vague motion of her hands suddenly reminded me of Zordon, and I realized he had probably ordered the Rangers to find us and figure out what was going on around here. So we played along. And they were going out of their way to be as accommodating as possible.

Adam was by far the most charming of the bunch. All I really wanted to do was go up to him, whisper, "I'm a frog!" mournfully, and kiss the innocent expression right off his face. Something of my intent must have shown on my face, for Katie took hold of my arm very firmly and gave me a none-too-gentle shake. I was forced to leave the Green Ranger unmolested. Oh, well. . .

The last to arrive was Jason. Kahva was intently watching the massacre masquerading as a sparring match between Suzanne and Billy, so she didn't see him at first. Just watching her spar so enthusiastically was enough to make her hurt, and she moved her neck and shoulders as if to relieve the pain. I leaned over to whisper in her ear, "You pop your neck and I'll break it!" She knows I cannot bear to hear that sound, it makes you think someone's back is breaking.

She didn't have to risk bodily harm, however. Kahva suddenly found two warm and talented hands massaging her shoulders, and Jason's low voice in her ear, asking, "Does that help, beautiful?" Her head fell back against his chest, treating him to a full view of her blissful expression. He blinked, startled by her reaction. I knew the look well; he was relaxing her enough she was about to make her trademark purr. If she had, I believe the poor guy's knees would have buckled. When he finished the massage, she opened dreamily contented eyes and all but slayed the Gold Ranger. One look into her dark chocolate brown eyes and he was so lost he had to think to remember his own name. For the first time he became aware of the dark brown silk she had for hair swirling around his wrists where they rested on her shoulders. Swallowing with difficulty, he smiled down at her and introduced himself, "Hi. I'm Jason Scott. Hope you didn't mind the massage, I just realized I jumped in without asking. Mind if I sit with you?"

It was Kahva's turn to be startled, "Uh, sure. Go right ahead. I'm Kahva Brittain, and thanks for the massage. It felt wonderful." Her dark eyes smiled at him and he was smitten all over.

He forced down his impulse to fall to his knees and plead with her to be his girlfriend. As lovely as she was, surely she belonged to some lucky guy. That thought made Jason jealous, and he began hunting frantically for a seat not attached to anyone's backside. He just HAD to get to know her. He spoke cheerfully to the others, trying not to let his emotional state show in his voice. From Tanya's look, he wasn't doing a very good job, "So, someone mind telling me just what in world Billy is doing over there? Besides getting trampled on, that is." Kahva had spied a chair in a corner, and rose to retrieve it for him. This allowed Jason a good look at her outfit of black silk and gray velvet and he smiled appreciatively, trying not to stare at the black-stocking-clad legs that begged for attention, "Hey, you're so dressed up, want to join me for a movie? It beats watching her walk all over Billy!" He motioned to the mats where Suzanne was mopping the floor with him; Cranston gave not one sign he minded. Blushing at Jason's frankly admiring gaze, Kahva stammered an acceptance and became the first to fall to the Rangers' charm.

Billy, hearing of Jason's plans, immediately quit the mats. "Why don't you let us come along with you, Jason? I promise, you'll never even see us after we arrive at the movie theater!" he invited himself and Suzanne to come along without consulting her. He had been enjoying the match, for she was quite skilled, but in his mind he was too handicapped by her looks and outfit for it to be considered a fair fight. So he jumped at the first opportunity to get her out of the Youth Center and into more intimate surroundings. She didn't voice any objections to his plans, which surprised us.

Number two down! How many others will fall before the night is through? At least one more, I thought to myself, watching as Rianna flirted. She had attached herself to Adam and Rocky, asking them dozens of questions about the city, explaining she hadn't been here very long. By flirting shamelessly she had gotten offers from both to show her the sights later in the week. Adam was gone, gone, gone, gone; staring into her eyes with a sweet, dreamy smile while Rocky's effervescent nature kept bubbling up in his curious inquires as to where she had lived before moving to Angel Grove. Before she could accept one offer {or both!}, Tanya and Kat decided Gayla and Katie were going with them to a little dance club. "We're dragging Rocky and Adam along, so please come with us, Rianna. It will be so much fun!" Tanya pleaded.

Kat added as well, "You should, you know. I haven't been this entertained by those two ape-heads in a while. Watching them butt heads over you is great!"

But Rianna shook her head and pushed Gayla in the direction of the door, "Show Rocky the error of his ways, Sunny." 'Sunny' was the name we called Gayla, because of the bold sunny yellow sun dress she was wearing. Over Kat and Tanya's objections, Rianna chose to remain with Jaycynda and I for reasons unknown Perhaps she would check Tommy over for those teethmarks? Or does she think we are more apt to give her some quality entertainment?

Since everyone else was leaving, Kat had encouraged Tommy and David to keep us company. They drifted over to the table, intending to get our names that Kat had neglected to tell them, but were immediately assaulted by Rianna's disturbingly penetrating questions. "What was it like to find your brother?", "Did your vision quest really lead you to David?", and "What does David think of all the strange goings-on in Angel Grove?" Neither brother were quite prepared for those personal questions, nor were they about to ask where Rianna could possibly have learned of the situations involved. As far as they knew, only close friends and family were aware of the events leading up to their discovery. Tommy stared thoughtfully at the blonde imp before he shrugged the matter away. He didn't answer her, either.

He turned to me, and seemed momentarily stunned by my appearance. If I had known the truth of that slight pause in his actions, I wouldn't have been so nervous around him. I have never made a conquest before with just one smile, but I succeeded with Tommy and wasn't even aware of it. For his part, Tommy suddenly recalled a half-forgotten dream of falling into those gray-green eyes and never coming back out. He shook himself mentally, remembering Zordon's order to find the answers to our arrival in this dimension. It was all that kept him going as he said, "Hello, I'm Tommy Oliver, and this is my brother, David Trueheart. As Billy mentioned to your group before Silver dragged him onto the mats, you seem very interested in our sparring match. Perhaps you would care to join me in a friendly little bout now? Or would you prefer to wait until you're more appropriately attired?" His voice was neutral as he gestured to the workout area.

David had planted himself before Jaycynda, a gentle smile on his face and pure deviltry in his eyes. He took in her flame-red hair and sparkling green eyes and was completely taken over by her fiery spirit. She is the one for me! he decided abruptly. No other will ever do! When Tommy offered to spar with Ivy, he chimed in an instant later, asking Jaycynda, "Would you care to test your skill as well, my lady? I think you will find me a most willing opponent." His face was aglow with hope as he held his breath, waiting for her response. Her answering grin was nearly as gamin as it could get.

Personally I was afraid to accept the challenge; the actor who plays Tommy in our dimension is a fourth-degree blackbelt. Would Tommy be as skilled? But Jaycynda wasn't about to let my cold feet get in the way of this golden opportunity to match skills with a Power Ranger. She yanked me up and announced for us both, "We would be delighted, of course! I'm Jaycynda Ashleana, 'Flame' to most of the kids at school, the curious one is Rianna Lia, and that is Ivy Tanté." I growled at her; I may be brave, dear ones, but I am no fool. I was not about to take the chance that this dimension's Tommy would be too much for me to handle in a sparring match. I diplomatically declined the offer to a match, "Forgive me, but it takes far too long to un-lace these boots. You'll take a rain-check?"

"Of course. Shall we have a seat and watch the battle to come?" he asked, and pulled out a chair for Rianna, then myself. We watched as Jay removed her stylish heels and carefully put them under the table before she joined David on the mat. As they went into a few mild warm-ups, Tommy struck up a conversation with us.

"How long have you been in Angel Grove? I don't recall ever seeing you here before." he asked, then looked at Rianna. "Will you be going to the High School when it starts back?"

Rianna cleared her throat and looked quickly at me before answering. "I guess so, I haven't really been thinking about it just yet. We, umm, haven't been here long, and we're still trying to get settled in. I'm afraid school has been the last thing on my mind, as of late." I smiled at her reassuringly, she had covered herself and us very well. None of us had thought about the fact that Rianna still had one year of High School left.What are we going to do about it? She's only seventeen and needs to finish, but how are we going to arrange for her school records?

"Are you related to each other? I think I heard one of you call the others 'Sister'," Tommy mentioned, and Rianna and I exchanged a few more nervous glances on that one. How did we explain something like that? Oh, we met each other on-line when we were discussing Power Ranger fan-fics, and decided we liked the chatroom name of 'Sisterhood' so much we adopted it, and each other, for ourselves.

Throwing caution to the far winds, Rianna breezed through with an answer that mixed just right; several parts truth and one part fabrication, "None of us are related by blood, that's true. But with the exception of Ivy and Kahva, we all met on-line and decided to adopt each other. The seven of us finally had a chance to meet each other off-line, we decided to move in together. We went on a trip shortly after that, but we were rather unexpectedly stranded here in Angel Grove. It seemed like a good a place as any to start over, so here we are. Are you always so nosy with newcomers?"

"Only the beautiful ones," he remarked smoothly, his gaze resting briefly on Rianna, then moving on to me. Tommy's face was unreadable so I couldn't tell what effect --if any-- I had on him. But the Red Ranger was giving the acting performance of his life that night as he smiled at me. My outfit of green velvet that molded itself to my body, my waist-length golden-brown hair that swirled around me, and my gray-green eyes that looked at him so apprehensively were very nearly his undoing. Only the years of leading the Rangers allowed him to mask his feelings.

"Touché, mon capitain?" I asked dryly, so used to dealing with the Sisterhoods' no-holds-barred humor, it didn't occur to me NOT to tease him. "I suppose that makes us even for Rianna's less than tactful questioning of you and your brother?"

Tommy seemed confused for a moment, then he smiled, "I wasn't trying to get even for anything, I was just curious. And I was also being honest. Beautiful women intrigue me." That he was looking straight into my eyes when he said that rattled me considerably. But I noticed Rianna making a 'gagging' type face out of the corner of my eye, and that helped to get my wits back. That, and noticing the slight blush on Tommy's face made me realize he hadn't intended to be quite so forward.

I decided to try to save us both from any more embarrassment {and Rianna from more nausea}, "Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Oliver, a young woman does appreciate being told she's beautiful from time to time. Now, I do believe we were going to watch a sparring match."

"You know, I do believe you're right," and there was relief in his voice.

"God, thank you for putting an end to that," Rianna added sotto voice, for my ears alone.

Now, however well Tommy hid his emotions for at least part of the time, David had no such skill. Either that or he didn't care if she noticed his interest. He was an open book in his fascination for Jaycynda, and being much too gentlemanly to fight with a scrapper such as her. In no time at all, she was straddling his chest, pinning him to the floor with his hands trapped beneath her knees. She told him rather smugly, "Never underestimate your opponent, David Trueheart."

I was tickled pink to hear his response. He wiped that smugness away by winking at her, "How do you know I didn't let you win, little one? Perhaps I like it down here." There was just enough of an innuendo in that to make her blush, but not so much as to insult her. He would have been dead before the last word was out if that was his intention.

But Tommy hadn't seen the teasing wink and jumped to the wrong conclusion. "David!" Tommy snapped in amazement at his twin, "You shouldn't be so forward!"

From his trapped position beneath Jaycynda, David hollered out, "Forward? Down under is more like it, bro. Not even you have beaten and pinned me so badly."

"Guess I'm not your type. Be careful, I might dye my hair red very soon."

Over your dead body, Tommy Oliver, I thought as I rose from my ring-side seat. The teasing comments of the brothers made me assume the match was over, so I walked over to where Jaycynda still had David pinned to the mat. I leaned down to whisper in her ear, "He is beaten, dear one. You can let him go now." She gave a fierce shake of her head, forcing me to hiss, "Jaycynda! If you don't get off him this very instant, I will tell him of your utter fascination for Billy!" Don't laugh, it worked! She rose to her feet in a graceful move and offered him a hand to help him up.

He accepted with a warm smile and the saucy comment of, "Thanks, Flame."

David gallantly conceded the match in Jay's favor, and offered to buy us drinks to celebrate his 'defeat', which had been more out of surprise than anything else. We were headed for a smiling Ernie to order them when Tommy's communicator went off. I cannot tell you how strange it was to actually hear that six-tone beep. It, more than anything else, convinced me we had indeed stumbled into the world of the Rangers. Tommy looked at Jaycynda, Rianna, and I, then took a firm hold of his brother's arm, "If ladies will excuse me, I think I need to teach my brother the finer points of a first date, don't I?" He grinned at us, then made a motion with his head for his brother to come along peacefully. It was with considerable amusement that David allowed himself to be led away. They held a brief but muted conversation in a far corner. When they came back both wore identical expressions of worry, and Tommy's fists were clenched in rage. Without another word, he seated us at the bar. Suddenly Kat was there.

Her presence alarmed us, for Katie and Gayla were supposed to accompany her and Tanya to a dance club. Rianna jumped to her feet, brows furrowed, "Why are you here? And where are the others?"

But she barely got out the questions as Kat began without preamble, "I have bad news. Cogs have attacked, and in the general scuffle Suzanne and Kahva were taken captive." Her eyes were flashing, and she looked mad enough to spit nails, "I will go with you to the club and pick up Gayla and Katie. They have already been told what has happened." She paused for a second, then shrugged as if the matter had already been decided, "I'm sure the Power Rangers are aware of this and are working to get your friends back. So don't worry, everything will be just fine." Despite her assurances, she gave Tommy a questioning look that none of us missed.

Rianna stomped one foot, so mad she couldn't speak right away. The expression on her face said clearly, We trusted you with them, and you couldn't protect them? The look was so fierce, Tommy actually recoiled from her slightly. Rianna was all set to follow him when I put a restraining hand on her arm, for accusing them was grossly unfair in my opinion. If Jason and Billy were attacked by several Cogs, even Suzanne and Kahva wouldn't have been much help. Jaycynda chose not to place the blame on them, either. Instead, she seized the opportunity in both hands and told Kat, "Don't try that hogwash with me, Pink Ranger. We know who you are. But we must get to Zordon quickly, because this isn't the first time Cogs have gone after Suzanne. She was the one they were after in the park, not the rest of us." She spoke low enough so no one else could hear the conversation.

Surprise could not begin to describe Tommy's expression, but Kat got all defensive, "Excuse me? Is something wrong with you? Did I really hear you accuse us of being the Power Rangers?" But like us, she kept her voice low so she wouldn't be overheard.

It was interesting to note David merely took a step backward to better assess the situation. He noticed Rianna's concerned face and walked over to drape an arm about her shoulders, "It will be alright, Rianna, just you wait and see. Tommy tells me your group has handled Cogs before." His dark eyes twinkled with excitement, "I wish I could have seen that fight!" She mustered a half-hearted smile for his efforts to banish her fears, then shrugged off his arm and turned right back to Tommy, waiting impatiently to see his reaction.

Tommy stared Jaycynda down until she finally backed off a little, then sighed. He had no choice but to take things at face value, "Kat, report to Alpha. He needs to tell Billy and Jason to get the others to the safety of the Power Chamber. Don't argue with me, just do it! You heard Zordon say there was more to this than appeared. David, I trust you will provide a convenient excuse to our parents if we're late coming home?" His brother merely nodded in agreement. "Alright, we are going to Zordon before Jaycynda gets mad enough to go after Mondo herself," and he was not joking about that last part. She did indeed look angry enough to take on the Machine King all by her lonesome. He quickly ushered us into the familiar confines of the locker room and spoke into his communicator, "Alpha, we've got trouble down here, and three guests. Teleport us up, will you?"

I swear I could already hear Alpha's chattering before we made it. And sure enough, there was the red and gold droid running around like the proverbial chicken minus its head. Zordon was in his warp and looking solemn. Before we had a chance to take a good look around, Billy and Jason teleported in with Katie and Gayla. Jaycynda held out her hands to them and they immediately joined us in our quiet corner, awed and intimidated by the Power Chamber and Zordon's presence. Forgotten for the moment, we simply watched as a very aggravated Billy fired questions at Alpha faster than the poor droid could answer them. Jason put a restraining hand on his shoulder and advised him to cool down. We weren't keeping track of the rest of the menagerie, though, and as a result Katie nearly went through the roof when Alpha suddenly shuffled by her to reach the console behind us. "Oh my word!" she breathed.

If Jaycynda felt overwhelmed by any of the surroundings, she gave not a sign. Instead, she simply jumped in and hoped for the best, "We know who the Rangers are, we have for some time. But that is not important. Where are our friends? If they are in the Machine Skybase, gimmie a Zord, point out the right direction, and get out of my way!" Gayla clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle the laugh trying to escape while I merely glanced towards the ceiling in a quiet prayer for the Red Ranger's safety. Even Billy and Jason were startled by the heat in Jaycynda's snapped demands.

I don't think Tommy was used to such caviler treatment from anybody, much less a non-Ranger. He cleared his throat to give himself a chance to recover, "How did you know who we were?" He shot an accusing glance at the other two Rangers present for not helping him deal with this impertinence. They were too angered by the kidnapping to help him out, however, and continued to grill the poor droid on the probable location of the two women.

Hoping to keep him safe from Jay's uncertain temperament, I steeled myself and took hold of Tommy's wrist. Although I didn't want to admit it, Tommy could be just a touch intimidating when his voice too on that cool tone. It reminded me of Kahva and her icy cold temper. I concealed the shiver of apprehension; Suzanne and Kahva came first, "And what is this supposed to be, other than a communicator? Not to mention you spoke to us in the park. Am I not supposed to remember your voice?" He glanced down at me, and the fierce scowl softened somewhat. But he wasn't through with Jaycynda yet, so he politely removed my hand from his arm and turned back to the firebrand we called friend. To his surprise, however, the answer to his original question wasn't voiced by her.

We had briefly forgotten Rianna, but she quickly changed that. In all the excitement I guess we shouldn't complain about the way she blurted out the truth, "We come from another dimension where you guys are just actors on a TV show!" Poor Jason. He couldn't tell if Rianna was serious or just trying to shut everyone up. He settled on gently removing Katie's questing hands from a console before she could do any harm. She accepted this restriction gracefully, and gave him an impish wink before returning to Rianna's side. Gayla just rolled her eyes skyward and muttered to herself, "Hell of a time to start flirting. . ."

"Another dimension?" Tommy asked cautiously, ignoring the by-play all together and glancing in Zordon's direction. He well remembered the scan Alpha performed on them once before, but with every thing that was happening, he wanted Zordon's backing on this. He had already broken several rules tonight, starting with revealing their identities. He didn't want any more unexpected surprises.

Zordon seemed to consider this a moment before he finally spoke, REMEMBER, THERE IS MORE TO THIS THAN WE KNOW. THE SCANS HAVE CONFIRMED THEY ARE FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION. BUT KAT REPORTS THE COGS WHO ABDUCTED KAHVA AND SUZANNE HAVE BEEN CHASED INTO ANGEL GROVE PARK. SHE HAS JOINED ADAM, TANYA, AND ROCKY IN BATTLE BUT CANNOT REACH THE TWO WOMEN, WHO ARE GAGGED AND BOUND AND CLOSELY GUARDED. THIS DISCUSSION MUST WAIT, FOR THEY ARE OUTNUMBERED AND LOSING GROUND EVEN AS WE SPEAK.

Tommy leapt all over the suggestion, "Then let's go. Alpha will let you watch the fight on the viewing globe." He turned to Billy and Jason. Both were scuffed up from battling Cogs and looked boiling mad, "What are we waiting for? Let's do it!" He turned back to us and shouted, "Zeo Ranger V, Red!"

"Gold Ranger Power!"

"Sapphire Ranger Power!" Watching them morph was interesting. In the TV show, whenever they don their costumes it is accompanied by lights and wild graphics. In reality, it is much different. The uniforms wrap around them, followed by the helmets, and it all takes less than a few seconds. Am I in shock I wondered as I watched, or just becoming used to these strange events? As I've said before, the Rangers from this world are in no way the childish characters in ours. There was a sense of presence and power to the trio that I've only encountered once before -- when I met Suzanne the first time in the lobby of the hotel. It was an interesting revelation. But one that was quickly forgotten, for no sooner was the morphing completed than Billy started in on poor Alpha again, "Can we teleport the women out of there, or are they shielded in some way?" The fierce design on his helmet seemed to be snarling more than it had the last time I had seen it, and I wondered if it could respond to his moods. Crazy thought, huh?

"Negative. The Cogs are creating an interference I haven't been able to break through." The little droid was beside himself with worry, "As far as I can tell, they were headed for the Youth Center. One can only suppose they were going after the rest of the group when the other Rangers intercepted them."

Tommy spoke to him, "Teleport us right into the battle then, Alpha, as close to the two tied up as possible." He motioned to the viewing globe and told us, "You can watch the fight from here. I'll send Gold and Sapphire back with them the minute they are freed. It won't be long now, so don't worry." But before he could teleport down, Jaycynda acted.

As the little droid started toward the consoles to carry out the Red Ranger's order, Jaycynda did some leaping of her own. Our champion attached herself to Billy's arm and told him simply, "You go, I go. Those are my friends, and we have already proven we can take on Cogs, now haven't we?" The captured Sapphire Ranger looked pleadingly at Tommy, who yanked off his helmet to glare at Jaycynda once more, but this time his stare didn't cower her the slightest bit.

Emboldened by Jay's aggressiveness, Rianna stated, "I'm NOT going to be left behind!" She headed towards the Gold Ranger, determined to accomplish this feat. Jason laughed at Tommy's unconvinced expression as Rianna climbed onto a console, then landed on his back, piggy-back style. He stayed still long enough to make sure she had a good hold, then headed over to Tommy. Rianna giggled in his ear and tightened her grip. The Gold Ranger wasn't teleporting anywhere without her!

"I don't think I'd care to argue with them. Just remember how the park looked the last time!" Jason reminded needlessly. He hefted Rianna into a more settled position, and took up a stance at Jaycynda's left to indicating his support. "They have the courage, Tommy. Admit it." And although he'd never say it, he could see both the fear and worry in Jay's determined face. She was so scared for Kahva and Suzanne she wasn't allowing herself to feel right now. She was acting out of impulse, and she desperately needed to help her Sisters.

But the leader of the Rangers shook his head stubbornly, "No. It is out of the question. I can't watch out for them and still protect myself. And they aren't Rangers; they don't have a power to protect them. I can't be held responsible if anything happens."

I simply stood back out of firing range as Jaycynda's formidable temper exploded, "What?! Look, you stupid male, I have watched you go through a variety of Ranger Colors, but you will be one black and blue multi-colored Ranger if you don't move your Red carcass this very instant! Those are my friends and either you get out of my way, or Ivy's wishes notwithstanding, I WILL go right through you!" My first response to the threat was to groan. Oh, great, Jaycynda, finger me in this, will you?

The voice of reason sounded as Zordon spoke again, THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO HELP THEIR FRIENDS. ALPHA, SEND THEM DOWN WITH THE RANGERS. PLEASE BE CAREFUL, JAYCYNDA, TO WATCH YOUR BACK. COGS ARE NOT THE HONORABLE FIGHTERS AS DAVID TRUEHEART. And although Tommy didn't appear happy with this order, he obeyed Zordon by nodding for Alpha to include us in the teleporting.

Jaycynda rubbed salt in the wound by snapping out, "Zordon has spoken. Take us down or pay the price!" None wanted to argue with her, so we prepared ourselves for the transfer into the park. Jay was so frightened for Suzanne and Kahva that she was shaking badly. I sincerely hoped the Red Ranger noticed that before he laid into her later. 'This' Tommy had quite a temper, and I knew from experience that unleashing it on Jaycynda would not be a good idea. 'Red' Ranger? 'Charbroiled' will be more like it once she's through with him. Be careful, Tigger. I prefer you in one piece, thank you!

And while we waited, Jason and Billy filled us in on the impromptu 'date'

Jason had commandeered the keys to Billy's blue Tracker, and off they went, headed towards the theater that was supposed to be their original goal that night. "So, what kind of movie would a lovely lady such as yourself like to see tonight?" Jason jauntily asked Kahva, who was riding 'shotgun' in the front passenger seat. Not that there had been any real competition, once it was clear that Jason was driving. Suzanne didn't seem inclined to leave Billy's side any more than Kahva would leave Jason's. Jason watched her hair as the wind blew it around her face, fascinated by the deep auburn highlights that glinted in the streetlights. Hard to believe she and her friends are the same one who turned a half dozen Cogs into scrap metal. She looks like she should be on a magazine cover, not fighting those creeps. I wonder why Mondo ordered them attacked in the first place? Could Billy be right? DID they come through the portal?

Kahva turned and smiled, the ride seems to be relaxing her, he thought, hopes rising, "What's available? Mush, trash, shoot'em up, or 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not?' Dealer's choice, I'm not picky. And," she said with a glance at the couple in the back, "somehow I don't think those two will care, as long as we don't try to separate them."

Jason grinned as he looked in the rear-view mirror at Billy and Suzanne, "Perhaps we will just leave them in the truck, then?"

"Not if you want Billy back in one piece, we won't," Kahva replied with a wicked grin.

Totally oblivious to the conversation taking place in the front of the Tracker, Suzanne sat in the back seat with Billy, the wind blowing her hair and her heart singing. She was with him! Mother Goddess, thank YOU so much! This is a dream come true, and if I'm sleeping PLEASE don't wake me up! Billy turned to her and apologized gently, "I should've asked if you wanted to come along, Suzanne. I'm sorry for over-stepping myself." He gazed deeply into her eyes, if I'm not careful, I'm going to get lost forever. A pleasant fate, though. Billy cleared his throat nervously, trying to keep his mind in the here and now, "So, do you mind going out with me?"

Her smile lit up the night as she shook her head, "No, I don't mind. I'm flattered you thought to ask me at all. You have been a perfect gentleman, don't worry."

Relieved he hadn't upset her, Billy gave a brilliant smile and told her, "Good, I would never forgive myself if my high-handed manner caused a rift between us."

Her laugh was musical, happy, "I don't thing you could ever do anything to cause a rift between us, or offend anyone for that matter. Besides, I have my soul-sister in the front seat. You do anything wrong, she will happily straighten you out rather quickly. She is fiercely protective of her friends, especially the Sisterhood. That is the seven of us, by the way."

Billy laughed as he cast a quick look at the brunette, the two girls resembled each other if you weren't looking closely, or paying attention to the different lengths of their hair, "I will be sure to keep that in mind, then." He reached out and touched her hand, "Suzanne. . ." he started.

"Jason!" Kahva's scream pierced the night air. They swerved wildly, brakes squealing in protest. Suddenly the Tracker slammed to a stop with a loud metallic thud, throwing Billy and Suzanne against the backs of the front seats. Jason was slumped over the steering wheel, Kahva already had their seatbelts unfastened, starting to check him over. "He is hurt, he hit his head on the steering wheel! Don't move, Jason," she cautioned, the basic EMT training that Ivy had drilled into her taking over. He wasn't unconscious, merely dazed, but he was trying to climb out of the little truck. "That Cog came out of nowhere, guys! We hit it. . . Jason, stay still!"

Before either back seat passenger could demand an explanation, Cogs were grabbing them and yanking them out of the truck. Jason struggled with the ones pulling him out of the Tracker, but one landed a chance blow to his temple, right where he had hit the steering wheel. It knocked him unconscious to the asphalt. Kahva was fiercely battling over his prone body with snarls of rage, but it was four against one, bad odds even to an unmorphed Ranger.

Out of the corner of his eye, Billy saw Suzanne struggling vainly to free herself from the five Cogs holding her down, mule-kicking for all she was worth. He was helpless to stop them as they bound and gagged her. No matter how hard he fought, he couldn't get past the four Cogs threatening him. "Suzanne!" he screamed, watching in horror as she was taken away and Kahva finally went down. "NO!" He bashed frantically at Mondo's creations, trying to reach the dazed Jason. The Gold Ranger made it to his feet just as the remaining Cogs vanished.

People were running in from every direction, attracted by the wreck, preventing them from morphing to follow. Billy savagely swore, causing several people to give him strange looks, for he wasn't a person known for displays of temper. He and Jason fielded hundreds of questions before they managed to blend into the crowd enough to make their way to the edges of the mass and into freedom. A bush by the road provided cover so they could call the other. It was a long and impatient wait until the crowd surrounding the Tracker slowly dispersed. Rocky, Adam and Tanya appeared quietly and stood off to the side as Billy inspected the damage to his truck. It proved to be minimal. His worries over Suzanne and Kahva, however, had tripled in the time spent waiting for the others.

"Kat went to tell Tommy that Katie and Gayla are safe, that Cray Nash is watching over them at the club," Adam reported when Billy and Jason finally noticed them. "What has happened?" he then demanded in nearly the same breath.

"They were after Suzanne and Kahva," Jason said angrily, a hand pressed to his aching temples. "I was down and out, they could have taken me, but they got Kahva instead. WHY!?" he exclaimed as he banged a fist against the Tracker, denting the frame further, but neither he nor Billy said a word about it. Jason took a deep breath to calm himself, "There were too many to fight. We didn't stand a chance of defending them, and that was just the way they'd planned it!"

Tanya had to coax an explanation out of the two. No sooner where they finished than the six-tone beep sounded. "Rangers!" Alpha exclaimed. "The Cogs are approaching the Youth Center through the park. They have Suzanne and Kahva with them, and Zordon thinks they may be going after Ivy, Jaycynda, and Rianna next, since Tommy is the only Ranger with them!"

"Take us there, now," Jason ordered, his voice hard and cold. "When I get through with those metalloids, there won't be enough left to sell for scrap." With Kahva's fate hanging in the balance, Jason wanted something he could pound on. A few dozen Cogs sounded just about right at that moment.

"Billy, Jason. Tommy orders you to bring Katie and Gayla to the Power Chamber immediately. They aren't protected by any Ranger and are easy targets. Adam, Rocky and Tanya are to intercept the Cogs headed Tommy's way. When Kat finishes reporting to Tommy, she'll join you," Alpha hurriedly told them.

"He wants us to bring THEM to the Power Chamber?!" Billy demanded, unsure if he truly heard the command correctly. Yes, the girls were in considerable danger. But there was also some question of just which side they were on. If they were working for Mondo, should they really trust them enough to teleport them into the Power Chamber itself? Or could Tommy know something the rest of them didn't.

Jason clamped down on his anger with great difficulty, "If Tommy said do it, then we will do it. We'll worry about the consequences later. Let's go. But," he added savagely, "if he doesn't save me a few Cogs to rend limb from limb, he will pay for it during our next sparring match." With great reluctance, Billy agreed and the two teleported out.

Tanya turned to Adam and Rocky, linking her arms in theirs, "I guess it is just the three of us now, sugars. Let's go kick some Cogs so we can find out why in the world Tommy compromised our secret identities." Her expression turned solemn, and she vowed, "And if it is just to impress Ivy, I'm gonna make him one very sorry Red Ranger!" The Green and Blue Rangers agreed, largely to keep her anger directed at Tommy and not themselves. "Zeo Ranger II, Yellow!" Tanya cried.

"Zeo Ranger III, Blue!"

"Zeo Ranger IV, Green!"

Once they morphed and teleported to the park, it was like being in the middle of a three-ring circus. It wasn't long before they were all but overwhelmed. Kat's abrupt arrival in the center of the melee was as much as a surprise to her as it was to the Cogs. Her shouted words were all but drowned out completely as they hastened to leap on her as well. But they were too late. Even as they barreled her over, the words, "Zeo Ranger I, Pink!" sounded. A moment later and several Cogs went flying as the wormed her way out of the pile. She helped to tip the balance of the battle, but not enough for them to reach the bound and gagged women being carefully guarded off to the side. Kat managed to call for help, and Alpha promised it was on the way. Each Ranger hoped it arrived soon, for they wanted to know what Mondo found so compelling in these women that he would throw away so many Cogs. At least the question of which side they were on had been answered. If they worked for him, they weren't very likely to appreciate this treatment. . .

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