He moved with the ease of a jungle cat, his motions flowing with practiced
grace in this otherwise serene garden, filled only with the fragrance of
spring flowers, a few benches along the edge of the clearing he was in,
and his grunts of effort. He sparred with his imaginary opponent, anticipating
his next move, a swift kick, perhaps. No, it was a lunge, an effort to
slip through his defenses for a close strike. The young warrior countered
with a block, then an effortless throw, using his adversary's momentum
"Victorious again, dear?" The warrior allowed himself a small smile as he bowed in respect to his non-existent foe, it had been a good practice. He turned to his beloved, the only one he ever allowed to interrupt his katas. Besides his brother, anyway.
"As always Elysia. He never stood a chance." She offered him a special gourd filled with sweet water from the Mystic Springs, he accepted humbly and gratefully. The Mystic Springs were aptly named, no one had ever figured out why the water there was so clear, so pure, so sweet. But it was known for refreshing a person quickly, and that was why its waters were so cherished, and precisely why she had brought him the precious liquid. His energy renewed even more, he placed the gourd on a garden bench and hugged her tightly. "What's wrong?" She had always been quiet, peaceful. But lately she had been too quiet. "Elysia?"
She turned from him, gazing upon the distant mountain range. The morning fog was not as yet burned off of the lowlands, nor the mountain peaks. The grey tendrils draped around them, harmless enough, she supposed, but today she couldn't help but feel even they were not so benign as they seemed. He wrapped his arms around her, enveloped her with his very being, and they touched, heart and soul, as only they could. Her gifts made their union a very special one indeed. And a dangerous one in these times. "Rita will make her move soon. I've warned your brother to be careful on his quest. She will try to stop him."
"Do you know when?" She shook her head. She was holding something back, he felt it. But she would not tell him, so he would have to be patient.
"No, not precisely. But soon. She's wanting to prove she's as powerful as she has boasted. Her father is the one she wants to please. And Rita will do anything to prove she is the one who should be her father's right hand."
"Vile's upstart little teenager could be a problem, but we can deal with her Elysia. You worry too much about a sorceress who is still wet behind the ears. As long as Vile doesn't come here to help her, everything with be fine." He hugged his love and rested his hand gently on her stomach. "And our little one will be fine too, she will be as beautiful as her mother."
Elysia allowed herself a smile at that prediction. "Even I don't know if we will have a boy or a girl, dear. I haven't been shown that."
"Yet." He rested his face into her hair, shoulder-length, glowing dark auburn in the morning light and smelling of jasmine. "I may not have future vision, but I have a feeling on this. Our first child will be a daughter. We just need to pick a name."
"Kahva? That's not a name in either of our families, where did you get that one from?"
"I've seen her. I've seen - I don't know what I've seen, whether it is our daughter, or another person altogether. But the young woman I've seen is strong in heart and mind, she is destined to fight evil. You will be her teacher. That I know." Again she was holding back. Why, he wondered. He turned her back to face him and tenderly lifted her face to his, softly caressing her mouth with a loving kiss. He pulled her to him even closer and held her securely, as if that alone would protect her from whatever tormented her mind and soul. Whatever it was that she felt she couldn't tell him.
"We will name our daughter Kahva, then. Her heart and soul will be as true and kind as yours. And we," he looked down into his wife's face, his steely blue-grey eyes locked with her warm rich brown ones, "We; you, my brother Ninjor and myself, will rid our world of Vile's daughter. We will free everyone from Rita Repulsa's childish antics."
"Yes, you will." She closed her eyes and let him just hold her. It was all she needed.
He looked at the mountains where Ninjor was roaming somewhere, looking for the right place to build his temple, where he could train others to fight against evil, and hopefully find something that would help them if Vile did come after his errant child. The warrior-wizard cleared his mind of doubts, it was his duty, his destiny to fight evil with physical skill and magic. Ninjor was master of all known fighting skills, and Elysia had the gift of future vision, the ability to warn of danger not yet known. They would be all right. Elysia and his child would live in a peaceful world. Of all these things, he was determined to ensure they would come to pass. It was his duty. His privilege and honor to fight for truth and light.
He was young, a warrior-wizard skilled far beyond his twenty-five years.
He was Zordon of Eltar. And he would not let evil win.
PRESENT DAY - EARTH
EARLY MARCH 1997
Sheena rushed into Ernie's Juice Bar, out of breath. Adam could barely see her for all of the bags she was carrying, and she was close to dropping every single one of them. "Sheena, hang on," he called. In a second he was at her side, taking more than half of the load she had brought in and setting the overflowing bags by their usual table. Tanya and Kat were working on some new moves down on the practice mat under Tommy's supervision, and Rocky was already seated at the table, his attention focused on his history book. Focused, until a dark blue cummerbund landed on the page he had been struggling to make sense of.
"What the - Sheena? Not now, please!"
"Yes, now, Rocko. Just stand up and hold it around you, I have to make sure it fits!" Rocky groaned, if there was anything he hated more than a history test, it was trying on clothes, even if it was just a cummerbund. He stood and held it in place barely long enough for Sheena to be satisfied it would do, then he dejectedly sat back down. "Don't know why you have to get so dressed up for a wedding anyway, you only wear the stuff once and that's it! Not very practical."
"You get 'so dressed up' because you only do it once. Well, ideally anyway," Sheena replied. "And I wouldn't have had to interrupt you if you had just gone to the store and finished your fitting!"
"I hate those monkey suits! I mean, -" Rocky caught the glare and the swift kick under the table from Adam, and chose his next words carefully, "yeah, the tuxes look great, but they are so uncomfortable!" He shot a glare of his own at Adam as he rubbed his shin.
"And you think the women have it easy? I'd like to see you walking down the aisle in a wedding gown or a bridesmaid's dress, Roc." Kat, Tanya and Tommy were walking to the group, the practice over. Kat took a chair beside Rocky and ruffled his hair. "You're just scared that someone is going to see you looking like the handsome young man you are." She turned and pointed to a petite blonde leading an aerobics class. "Like, oh, maybe Stephanie over there? Isn't she in some of your classes?"
"Give me a break guys!" Rocky vainly tried to gain a little dignity back. "Look, Sheena, it's nothing personal, I just don't feel comfortable in a tux." They all laughed as Ernie came over with a platter of drinks. Rocky was grateful for the temporary shift in attention.
"Here you go guys. Sheena, did you buy out every store in Angel Grove?" Ernie tucked the platter under his arm as the last drink was taken. "Looks like you could start your own mall."
"It feels like it. I don't know what I would do without Mrs. Cranston to keep everything straight, the woman was born to organize weddings, I swear! Ernie, thanks again for letting us have it here, I know it was short notice." Sheena stopped to sip her drink and pull out a long checklist.
"Hey, no problem, I'm glad I could do it. Just to make sure here, the wedding is at three in the afternoon, right? I want to make sure that everything is set up in time." Sheena nodded, beaming.
"Three o'clock, Saturday afternoon, you got it Ernie. Thanks again, you're a sweetheart." Sheena gave Ernie a hug. The teens could've sworn that he actually blushed from the attention. "Mrs. Cranston will be getting up with you today to finalize everything." Ernie nodded and headed back behind the counter, Bulk and Skull had just walked in and were debating over who was supposed to buy the drinks this time and seemed to be trying Emily's patience. Tanya had settled down between Adam and Sheena and peeked into some of Sheena's packages.
"Ernie was wrong, you could open up two malls with all this stuff! Think you finally have everything?"
"I hope so." Sheena lowered her voice so as not to be overheard by anyone walking by. "Mondo's attack on the church really threw things for a loop. I can't believe the church 'just happened' to be in the path of his last monster's rampage." She glanced over the checklist, then nodded to herself. "He has been really nasty lately."
"Leave it to Mondo to try and ruin a wedding." Tommy looked around, Billy and Jason were supposed to be meeting them there, but they hadn't arrived yet. "That overgrown tin can can't stand to see anyone happy. At least no one was at the church when the attack happened. We were lucky."
Tanya shook her head. "Luck had nothing to do with it. I'm willing to bet that Mondo knew the bridal shower was that day, and trashed the place beforehand deliberately." She hugged Sheena. "All those gifts that were there already, completely wrecked. Mondo has done some mean things before, but that was just spiteful. Beyond spiteful. I wish we could've saved more." Sheena smiled at her friends.
"I'm just glad no one was there in the line of fire. Things can be replaced, people can't. Friends can't be replaced." An awkward pause filled the air. Tommy broke it finally.
"Speaking of friends and placing people," he stopped, as suddenly he found he couldn't ask the question gently, no matter how hard he tried.
"Go ahead Tommy. I think everyone has been wondering, anyway." Sheena smiled at Tommy reassuringly as Kat slipped her hand in his.
"There's no easy way to ask this, so I'll just blunder straight ahead. The only people you're really close to here, well, we're it. I mean really close, you know? And Kat and Tanya and Kim are going to be bridesmaids, Kim's flying in from Florida," Tommy paused again, he wasn't good at this. He took a breath and rushed through the rest. "You know us because we are all Rangers. You know Kim because we introduced you two when she came back to visit, and once a Ranger, always a Ranger, you know. But everyone else is just a casual friend, you don't have any family..."
"My family is you guys now, Tommy. And the Cranstons. And I couldn't ask for better friends or family. But no, I haven't picked a maid of honor yet. I just haven't been able to do it, it's too hard to choose." Sheena pulled out the small photo album she had taken to carrying with her everywhere in her purse. She flipped to the older pictures, the ones of her life in her home world. "Though my family was gone back there, I still had my friends." She touched the faces of her friends in the same picture she had been looking at on the fateful day when the Cogs had kidnapped her. When she had claimed her heritage. She didn't notice Bulk and Skull stumbling over to the table. "I -" Bulk tripped over Sheena's packages and knocked the album out of her hands.
"Whoops! Sorry Sheena! Skull, can't you watch where I'm going?"
Bulk drew himself back up and tried to look business-like. "We'd just like to let you know that we have decided to guard the Juice Bar against monster attacks, so you and Billy don't have anything to worry about, dear lady." Rocky couldn't help but smile, Bulk and Skull had been tripping over themselves from the first day they had seen Sheena, he was certain that they had a crush on her. "We'll let you get back to planning, we're going to start guarding."
"The wedding isn't until the end of the week guys, I think everything is going to be okay."
"Good detectives are always on the alert, Rocky." With that, Bulk and Skull saluted smartly and spun around, nearly running over Jason as he joined the group. Jason's foot hit the photo album, and the picture of Sheena's friends slipped out. He picked them up and handed the album back to Sheena as he sat down, but stopped as he noticed the writing on the back of the picture.
"Hey guys, Billy is still at the Power Chamber, he'll be here as soon as he can." He hesitated a moment before continuing, staring at the handwriting on the back of the photo. "Umm, Sheena, what's this, if you don't mind my asking? It looks like a poem." Sheena took the picture and looked at the handwriting on the back. For a moment, Jason thought he'd asked something wrong. "It's ok, you don't have to answer that, I shouldn't have asked."
"No, Jason, it's all right." Sheena paused, then continued. "You're right, it is a poem." She seemed to be trying not to let her voice crack as she read it aloud:
Miles away, or standing here,
the heart will always keep us near
Heaven or Fate, who can say,
just what brought us together that day
Blood cannot bring us any closer
It is our hearts and souls, we find,
That keep us forever in each other's mind
Time will flow as the tides,
but it is love that will cross the divide
Blood could not closer sisters make,
and time nor distance, can that bond ever break
"Sisters of the soul forever, K. B.," Jason finished for her quietly. "She's not in this photo, is she?" he asked gently. Sheena shook her head, then pulled out a picture the Rangers had never seen before from the back of the album. It was of Sheena and another girl, perhaps two inches shorter and slightly heavier than Sheena, olive-complexioned with eyes that seemed almost black as opposed to Sheena's sparkling green. But otherwise, the two looked very similar to each other, as if they were related by blood.
"She was adopted, like I was. We were instantly drawn to each other, it was like there was a bond already there, before we met. We were like sisters. She's the one who took the picture of my friends and me at the park that day. She never liked having her picture taken, but we finally talked her into it that day, Josh took this one. It's the only one I have of her."
Jason started to ask who she was, but the beep of their communicators interrupted them. Everyone quickly grabbed books, bags and packages and slipped out into the hallway for privacy. "Jason, here."
Billy's voice came over the communicator. "Guys, you'd better come to the Power Chamber. There's something weird going on at the Machine Skybase." The Rangers looked around, they were still alone. A second later, they had all disappeared in their respective teleportation colors, ready to face whatever Mondo had planned this time.
Billy was bent intently over the computer consoles, checking readouts with a concerned frown crossing his face as the Rangers teleported in. "I can't figure out what he could be up to, Zordon." Billy turned as Sheena slipped up beside him, and gave her a quick kiss. "Hello, beautiful. Hope my mom hasn't been running you too ragged."
"Your mom is a doll, don't worry. What's going on?" Zordon seemed as puzzled as Billy as he answered.
WE ARE NOT YET CERTAIN, RANGERS. ALPHA DETECTED SOME UNUSUAL ENERGY READINGS FROM THE MACHINE SKYBASE THIS MORNING. BUT NONE OF THESE ENERGY READINGS MATCH ANYTHING WE'VE SEEN FROM MONDO BEFORE.
"Well, what is this energy doing, or where is it going?" Tommy asked. Billy picked up a printout and read off the results.
"It seems the energy readings indicate a scan of some sort, through several dimensions. But as for what Mondo may be looking for, we can't tell. Jason and I were in the repair bay when the energy readings were first detected. Alpha, tell them what you found out."
The little robot shuffled over to the Rangers, as nervous as ever. "After I called Billy back to the Power Chamber, I ran a sensor sweep of the moon to be safe. Mondo's Cogs were crawling all over Zedd and Rita's old palace. But before I could determine what they were doing, they teleported back to the Skybase!" Alpha went over to another set of consoles to continue his analysis, muttering worriedly to himself.
"So that's what that was all about. I was wondering what was up when you told me to go ahead to the Juice Bar without you. Can you make a guess at all, Billy? If Mondo's planning another attack -" Sheena interrupted Jason, a frightening thought had just hit her.
"No, he's not planning an attack. Not yet, anyway, I don't think. Zordon, it seems to me that Mondo is looking for something very specific. Could he be looking for a new monster, or a new power source?"
"Or a new weapon, maybe?" Tommy interjected. "I think Sheena may be on to something here, Zordon." Their mentor was silent for what seemed like an eternity before he finally answered.
IT IS POSSIBLE, RANGERS. OR HE MAY BE TRYING TO SEE IF OTHER WORLDS ARE VULNERABLE TO AN ATTACK AT THIS TIME. HE HAS BEEN THREATENING AQUITAR AND TRIFORIA LATELY. THERE ARE UNCONFIRMED REPORTS THAT HE HAS SENT SOME OF HIS COGS TO EDENOI AS WELL, TO HELP COUNT DREGON. AT THIS POINT, UNTIL WE CAN DETERMINE EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF SCAN MONDO IS PERFORMING, I AM AFRAID THAT ANYTHING COULD BE POSSIBLE. ALPHA WILL CONTINUE CHECKING THE ENERGY READINGS AND WILL CONTACT YOU IF ANYTHING CHANGES. IN THE MEANTIME, BE ON YOUR GUARD, RANGERS, ESPECIALLY YOU, SHEENA. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MONDO HAS GIVEN UP ON THE IDEA OF HAVING YOU AS HIS ULTIMATE WARRIOR.
"He could be after Billy too. After all, he hasn't been happy ever since he found out that Billy has the Sapphire Power. If he can't have Sheena, he may go after Billy to get back at her. With or without powers, Billy's knowledge of the Zords and the Power Chamber make him a tempting target," Adam added.
"Guys, we could second guess this to death. The fact is, until we know more about what is going on, any of us could be targets. Or all of us. We all have to stay extra alert." Billy put his arm around Sheena's waist and pulled her close. "I'll stay here and help Alpha with the scans."
NO BILLY, YOU'VE BEEN WORKING FOR TOO LONG WITHOUT ANY REST OR RELAXATION. ALPHA CAN CONTINUE ON HIS OWN FOR NOW. UNTIL WE NOTIFY YOU RANGERS, ALL OF YOU NEED TO BE ON THE ALERT, BUT YOU MUST TRY TO RELAX. IF YOU LET YOURSELVES WORRY TOO MUCH, THE TENSION WILL DRAIN YOU, AND YOU WILL NOT BE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FOR A POSSIBLE BATTLE. HOPEFULLY WE WILL KNOW SOMETHING MORE DEFINITE SOON. Zordon disappeared in his time warp, concentrating his mental energies on the search. The Rangers all looked at each other, not knowing just how they were supposed to relax after that bit of news. But they all left one by one, Rocky to study, Tanya, Adam, Jason, Tommy and Kat to work out some more at the gym, leaving Sheena and Billy in the Power Chamber. Billy had gone over to look at Sheena's packages and started to chuckle.
"Looks like you've been busy. Anything I can help with?"
Sheena grabbed some of the bags and started for her quarters in the Power Chamber. "If you can help me get these things to my room, that would be a big help. I have to sort through everything, and then take most of it to the house and meet your mother."
"And I've been warned by her to stay away for now, that this is a time for the 'girls' to get to be together, so I'll let you have all the fun with my mom." Sheena laughed at the look on Billy's face. Billy had no idea what she and his mom were doing to the cabin that his uncle was giving them as a wedding present, and he wasn't sure he wanted to know. "Tell you what, when you get through at the house, meet me in the park for a picnic. We haven't had much time to ourselves lately." Sheena kissed him, and disappeared into her room.
"It's a date!"
The little girl sat with her grandmother at the Mystic Springs, watching as she meticulously tended the flowers that grew at the Springs' edge. "Grandmother Rina? Why do we have to care for the Mystic Springs?" Rina smiled at the dark-haired child, she would one day tend the Springs herself. "It started when I was young, only eighteen. My cousin Melantha and I found the Springs by accident. I called them 'mystic' because we could both feel the magic here, and that the magic was unaligned. Our grandmother, Veda, told us that this was a rare find indeed, and that the Springs would have to be aligned with either the side of good or evil, that it could not survive for long in its neutral state. We were instructed to align it at precisely midnight, at the next new moons. The Springs were aligned with the side of good that night, and our family has tended the Mystic Springs ever since." Rina looked at her ten-year-old granddaughter, Elysia wasn't completely satisfied with her answer. "How come nobody talks about Melantha?" Rina sighed, she supposed it was time to tell Elysia the rest of the story. "Melantha was my age, and her side of the family has never been as strong as ours with the gifts. She's the only one who has ever been resentful of that, however. I didn't know it then, but she was jealous of me. Everyone calling the Springs 'Mystic Springs', after the way I had described them, didn't help either. She was dating a young man back then, he was studying to be a wizard, but he had begun to learn some of the dark arts. Neither one of our families had anything to do with him, we didn't like the path he was taking, but Melantha was attracted to him. They were both power hungry, both wanted to be more than what they were, and were willing to turn to darkness to do it. Against the wishes of our families, she continued to see him in secret. He was called Zared back then. A vision warned me that someone would try to keep me from going to the Springs on the night of alignment, that there would be a potion in my water. I did not drink, and arrived there at the same time Melantha and Zared did. Melantha was furious that I was not asleep, it had been she who had put the potion in my water, Zared had made it for her." Rina paused, she didn't like to remember that night, but Elysia needed to know. "She attacked me, and I fell down. My head struck a rock, and I was bleeding as I fell into the water. My blood mixed with the Springs, and a few seconds later, at precisely midnight, the alignment was made. Normally, we would have just said the intonement, and that would've aligned the Springs, but when I fell into the water, a stronger alignment was made. Not only were the Springs forever aligned with the side of good, our family was aligned forever with the Springs. Any source of magic, once aligned, can never be turned to the other side, only destroyed. The Mystic Springs are now forever aligned with good, and because my blood is in the Springs, and the Springs' magic is in my blood, our gifts are also forever aligned with the side of good. Our gifts can never be turned to evil. We are a part of the Mystic Springs, and they are a part of us, now and forever. That is why we tend the Mystic Springs. Melantha left Eltar to go to another world with Zared after that, a world where he could learn his dark arts. They have never returned. The loss of Melantha is very painful for our family, that is why she is not talked about much. We miss her terribly, but we know that she chose a dark path, and never wanted to leave it. She died many years ago, poisoned by her own jealousy. The dark path is very inviting, Elysia, but you will never find happiness there. Remember this also, Elysia. Zared has vowed to return to Eltar one day, to spread his teachings here. Our family must not allow him to harm the Mystic Springs. No one here remembers the dark apprentice anymore. He has used many names since he left here, but seems to have settled on one name for himself now. I have recently learned of what he is currently calling himself. Remember his name, Elysia. He is now known as Vile." Little Elysia considered her grandmother's words very seriously, then the ten-year-old looked up at her grandmother solemnly. "I will protect the Mystic Springs, and the side of good, with my life." Elysia removed her old diary rod from the viewing box and carefully stored it away. She hadn't looked at the records she made as a child in a long time, she wasn't sure what was compelling her to do so now. She chose another rod and placed it in the box. The pale blue rod started to glow, and another scene from her childhood played out...
Elysia was happy, she played around the Mystic Springs as her Grandmother Rina tended the gourds that had recently started to grow around them. Elysia was eleven years old on this day, and a party with all of her friends would be held later that afternoon. She also knew that on this day her Grandmother Rina, like her Grandmother Veda before her, would be able to enter a trance and tell her which of the gifts she was destined to have. Elysia hoped it was the gift of growing, of making things grow where nothing had before. There were places on Eltar that were barren, and that gift would enable her to one day bring life to those wastelands. She loved plants and was determined that when she was older she would have a beautiful garden of her own, filled with jonquils, lilies, roses and fruit-bearing plants... it would be a place of peace and beauty, just like the meadow around the Mystic Springs. A falcon screeched up high in the air, circling over its territory, surveying the land. A bolt of energy suddenly pierced the sky and brought the falcon plummeting to the ground. "Grandmother!!!"
Rina had heard the cry of the falcon as it fell, had felt its pain. "Come Elysia, we have to find the falcon." She took her granddaughter's hand and they ran towards where they thought the falcon had fallen. A couple of minutes later they reached a small clearing and found two young boys, about Elysia's age, protecting the injured falcon from an older man who looked to be about fifty years old. Rina took in a sharp breath, then mentally sent for her kinsmen, they would need their help. One boy was now holding the falcon carefully, the other was struggling with the man for control of a staff. The staff was glowing with dark energy, and the man was losing patience with the boy.
"Impudent young pup! Unhand my staff!" he ordered. The boy refused to let go as the staff glowed brighter. The boy shouted for the other boy, his brother, to run away with the falcon. "That falcon is mine, stupid brat! Do you still dare to defy me, after seeing what I can do? I shot that falcon out of the sky with but a toss of my hand, I'll do much worse to you!" He finally wrenched the staff free from the child's grasp and then struck his head, sending the lad to the ground. He was dazed, a small trickle of blood seeped from the wound. The one holding the falcon went to his fallen sibling, to stay between him and the man. The dark energy dripping from the staff was starting to poison the cut.
"Are you so weak that you can only threaten children, Zared?" Rina challenged. Quietly she whispered to Elysia, "Go back to the Mystic Springs with your canteen and get water, we'll need to clean the boy's cut until we can take him there for the Springs' healing powers to do their work. Go child, your father and some of our kinsmen will be here soon, I've already sent for them." As Elysia ran back to the Mystic Springs, she could hear the man yelling at her grandmother.
"I am called Vile now, Rina, you had best not forget that!"
"I call you coward, for you are so afraid to die, you have used your dark arts to keep you young. I call you coward for threatening children. And I call you cursed, for even now my kinsmen are coming, and you cannot hope to stand against us all."
Elysia didn't dare look back as she heard him reply, "I can stand against you old woman! You think me a coward for staying young? Let's see what you think after I've beaten you down with my power!" Elysia heard the crackle of dark magic, then nothing else as she got closer to the Mystic Springs. She reached to her waist for her canteen, but it wasn't there anymore, it had fallen off while she had been running. Elysia looked frantically for anything that could hold water, then her gaze rested on one of the gourd plants. A gourd had fallen off of one of the vines, she picked it up. It could hold twice the water her canteen could if hollowed out. She grabbed her grandmother's gardening trowel to cut off the top of the gourd, it cut through it easily, and when she turned the gourd, most of the flesh spilled out, there was hardly anything she needed to remove. It was as if the gourd was meant for just the purpose she had in mind. She dipped the gourd in the water and filled it, then used the top she had cut off to close it. Elysia ran as fast as she could back to the clearing, she had been gone for nearly five minutes. Vile was firing blasts of dark energy at her grandmother, the boys were behind her, the injured one's cut now turning black as the cut was slowly poisoned by the trace of dark magic that had dripped on it. The other boy was still cradling the injured falcon and trying to shield his brother at the same time. Vile fired another blast at Rina, she deflected it as she had the others, and he was getting angrier.
"You can't stand against me forever, Rina! I will wear you down, and you won't be able to protect yourself, much less these children!" Elysia knelt at the injured boy's side and placed the gourd beside him. She glared at Vile, the one who had tried to get the power of the Mystic Springs for himself, the one who had encouraged Melantha's jealousy and lust for power. Elysia suddenly saw images around the dark wizard, images that scared her, but she was a protector of good, just like her grandmother. Little Elysia stood in front of her grandmother, and stared at Vile.
"You will be beaten, Vile. These boys will banish you from this world forever. Not even your daughter to be, Rita, will be able to stand against them. This will happen." Vile seemed shaken for a moment, then laughed even as Rina and Elysia's kinsmen ran into the clearing.
"So, the gift of future vision is with you early, child. Very well, I cannot stand against all of you at once, but I will return one day, and I don't think these boys can stop me, child." Elysia was kneeling by the fallen boy again and had started to clean the cut on his forehead.
"My name is Elysia, and I will not allow you or your kin to harm anyone, or anything. Leave, Vile." Vile laughed, but he did move away as he watched her clean the wound.
"You are spirited, child, and loyal to the side of good. It will be the end of you." With that, Vile disappeared in a flash of acrid black smoke. Rina and her kinsmen were staring at Elysia in amazement, and at first she didn't understand why. She had only done what she had vowed, to defend the side of good. Then as the boy she had been treating stirred, she saw what they were looking at. As she had wiped the cut with the water from the Mystic Springs, it had healed, and the trickle of dark magic had been washed away. She held the gourd for him and helped him drink some of the water. Moments later, he was recovered. Rina knelt by Elysia.
"Try the water on the falcon." Elysia took the injured bird from the other boy and washed its chest, then tipped the gourd so it could drink as well. Soon the bird was healed as well, the falcon flapped its wings and soared into the air, circling high over the meadow, diving back once to land by Elysia and place its head against her in thanks, then it flew off again, calling for its mate. They joined in the air seconds later, circled the clearing once more, then flew home. Everyone stood and watched the birds fly away, then looked at Elysia in wonder. Her father picked her up and hugged her, swinging her around in a circle.
"How did you do that? Could it be you have the gift of healing as well? And at such a young age!" Rina laughed as her son put his daughter down.
"No, Alaric, she is not a healer, but the water from the Mystic Springs do help the sick and injured. Elysia has found a way to transport the waters without their losing those properties, by using the gourd." Rina hugged Elysia, then all of her uncles hugged the girl too. Even Elysia's little brother Seth, who had come along with their father, hugged her. Then the two boys she and Rina had saved stood before them and thanked them. By the black belts they wore over their tunics, they were wizard apprentices, and quite accomplished for their years, as noted by the silver star each had on their belt. Rina recognized them then from the village, they were both older than Elysia. The one who had held the falcon was fourteen years, and the one who had so bravely fought against Vile was all of thirteen. The younger one bowed deeply before Elysia.
"Brave and noble lady, you have saved my life this day, I owe it to you forever." He turned to Alaric very seriously and asked, "Has anyone spoken for your daughter, noble sir?" Alaric laughed and told him no. "Then might I have that honor sir? I can feel it already, she and I are fated to be together." Alaric laughed again, then as somberly as he could, he told the boy he would consider it. He then invited both boys to Elysia's birthday party that afternoon, and after they had accepted, he and the other men left, taking Seth with them. The younger boy turned again to Elysia and kissed her cheek. "I shall see you this afternoon then, my lady. My brother here is Ninjor, and I am Zordon, and we have indeed been honored by your presence this day." The two boys left, leaving Elysia alone with her grandmother. Rina couldn't take the smile from her face, Elysia looked as if she had eaten a bitter pommlet. Rina took Elysia's hand and they made their way back to the Mystic Springs to finish the gardening Rina had started.
"You seem to have an admirer, Elysia." Elysia continued to wrinkle her face in disgust at having been kissed on the cheek by a boy. Rina laughed as they reached the Mystic Springs and Elysia promptly tried to wash the feeling of the kiss off of her face.
"Boys! Yuck! Why did he have to do that? A simple 'thank you' would have been enough." Elysia started to retrieve her grandmother's trowel when Rina stopped her.
"Elysia, I'm going to tell you something. Tonight, when I enter the trance to confirm which gift you will have, there will be some who will be afraid at what I will reveal, most will be very happy though. Vile will be one of the ones who will be afraid, I think he may have sensed something in you today. I entered the trance last night, because I myself have had disturbing visions of late. Unless the trance tonight shows anything differently, you will have all the gifts with you as you get older. You are a very special child, Elysia. I do not know if you will be able to use all of the gifts, but they will be there in you, in your blood, you will not just be a carrier of the gifts like everyone in our family is. The gift of future vision is already upon you, that is a sign that you are exceptionally blessed. Use your gifts carefully child, and wisely. You are sworn to the side of truth, light and good, which will make your life a dangerous one, more so because of your gifts. Your gifts will guide you, and your kin, trust in them." Rina sighed, she wasn't sure if Elysia was old enough to understand what may be asked of her as she grew. "Remember, your gifts can never be used for evil, if anyone tries to turn you to the dark path, your gifts will not work, you are protected by the blood-bond we share with the Mystic Springs, and all your children, and their children, and their children will have that same protection. You have been singularly honored, are you ready to accept the responsibility?" Elysia looked up solemnly at her grandmother and repeated her vow made little more than a year earlier. She had seen several things when she had looked at Vile, and understood more than Rina realized.
"I will protect the Mystic Springs, and the side of good, with my life. This will happen.
Elysia put away the diary rod, if she had seen on that day that Zordon would indeed become her true lifemate and soulmate, she still wouldn't have believed it. Now, she couldn't imagine life without him. "No," she corrected herself, "I have seen life without him, and it is hell for all beings, everywhere. That is why I must do what I will do." Tears threatened to form as she pulled out a clear diary rod and prepared to record on it, this would be a message for Zordon only. She had already sent a message to her brother Seth to keep the rods safe, and give them to Zordon when he returned. She hadn't been able to bring herself to tell her brother face to face what was going to happen, that she was going to die, she had to die, so that Zordon would live. She had written it down instead, in the message that would summon Seth, laying out all the details for him; he would need to help Zordon deal with what was to be. Elysia put her hand to her stomach, the child there wasn't yet a child, but the essence of who it would be had already begun to form. Elysia and Zordon would never get to see her birth. "Her?" Elysia caught herself. Yes, her child was destined to be a girl, and she was destined to have all the gifts as well. Elysia and Zordon had conceived her by the bank of the Mystic Springs, and the Springs had given them a blessing and a prophecy about the child. "In thanks for the service your family has given, the sacrifices made, and the bond that cannot be broken, we tell you that you have been blessed with a child this day, in this place of peace," a not-quite voice had sounded softly in their minds. "Elysia, your child, and the children of your line that will follow, will be forever joined with us, they are a part of us and we a part of them, lifeblood and lifeblood, just as it was with Rina, so shall it be with you and your line. Your family and kin will always have the protection we have freely given, but you and your line are our blood, and we are yours, joined together forever. Remember this: there will be a trial of sorrow and pain, death and non-life. When lifeblood joins lifeblood, the circle will be complete, and a new dawn will be seen. Zordon, this blessing comes not only to Elysia, but to you as well, you and your brother are true warriors of the light. You are destined for many things, but they will carry a price. Know that the price you pay will keep the light shining brightly. Will you, Elysia and Zordon, accept the blessing and responsibility?" And of course they had, not knowing all that the voice had meant, but knowing that they were protectors of good, and to defend truth was the greatest honor. Elysia had just come to understand the prophecy herself, and now knew what she had to do, to save Zordon, to make sure her gifts went to the one who was destined to be, and to fulfill the prophecy. "Kahva," the name came to her once again, a name of two destinies now, she knew. Elysia started to record her last diary rod, she had to let her husband know what she was doing, was going to do, and why; for in the hour she would send Zordon to help Ninjor, to ensure that they would find the power source and the Crystals for the warriors she had seen that her beloved would guide and train. By twilight, she would be young Rita's prisoner. By tomorrow she must die, for Zordon to live and continue the fight, or all would be lost. She composed herself as best she could and made her entry: "If you are watching this, my husband, then that means I am dead, but I have accomplished what I needed to do, you are alive..."
Sheena rushed about the Power Chamber, Alpha had teleported most of what needed to go to the cabin there for her already, and was preparing to send the last of it to Sheena's car at the Juice Bar. As soon as she was certain she had remembered everything, she would teleport there, pick up her car and drive out to the cabin to meet Billy's mom. Alpha had just sent the last of the packages to her car, and was about to send Sheena when she stopped him. "Wait, Alpha. Zordon? Can I ask you something?"
CERTAINLY SHEENA, YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS SHARE YOUR QUESTIONS WITH ME. Sheena took a breath and the words poured out, the dreams she had had lately about her homeworld, about her friends, and especially the ones about her best friend.
"It's as if I'm connected to her all over again, even though we're in different dimensions. She and I had promised so long ago that we would be there for each other for everything, including weddings. If she were here, she'd be my maid of honor. It's the reason I haven't been able to decide who to make my maid of honor, I can't think of anyone else but her being the one." Sheena paused, and gave a dry laugh. "You know, she would have a sixth sense about things sometimes, she even warned me that I was going to be taken away. I thought she had just been working too hard." Sheena went on a few more minutes about her best friend, finally mentioning her name to Zordon. "Kinda funny huh? Guess that should've been a hint way back then. I still don't know what I'm going to do about choosing, but thanks for listening to my ramblings, Zordon." With a nod to Alpha, Sheena disappeared in a swirl of silvery-white. Alpha could only stare up at Zordon for a few minutes after she left.
"What does that mean, Zordon? Why is Sheena having these dreams all of a sudden?" The ancient mentor was quiet for the longest time, then finally answered.
I DO NOT KNOW ALPHA, BUT I HOPE THAT IT IS NOT RELATED TO MONDO'S CURRENT ACTIVITY. IF IT IS, THEN THERE COULD BE GRAVE DANGER IN STORE FOR ALL. CONTINUE YOUR SCANS ALPHA, WE HAVE TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT MONDO IS LOOKING FOR AND WHY, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Billy wandered into the Power Chamber at that moment.
"Before what's too late?"
WE STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DETERMINE EXACTLY WHAT MONDO IS UP TO, BILLY, Zordon replied. BUT I NO LONGER THINK THAT HE IS TRYING TO THREATEN OTHER WORLDS, I BELIEVE HE IS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING VERY SPECIFIC. Billy went over to Alpha and peered at the console over the robot's shoulder. One set of readings showed Sheena's recent departure, the other showed the continuous scans that were trying to track the Machine Skybase's activities.
"But what could he possibly be looking for? If Mondo was targeting one of us, or something here on Earth, the scans would focus here, instead he's still going through several other dimensions." Billy shook his head and tried to make some sense of the readings, Mondo had never done anything like this before.
UNTIL WE HAVE THAT ANSWER BILLY, ALL WE CAN DO IS TRY TO KEEP UP WITH HIS SCANS, THEN HOPE TO STOP HIM BEFORE HE CAN BRING WHATEVER HE IS LOOKING FOR HERE TO OUR DIMENSION. Billy started to assist Alpha with the scans when Zordon's voice stopped him. BILLY, ALPHA CAN CONTINUE THE SCANS FOR NOW, AS I SAID BEFORE, YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR TOO LONG WITHOUT ANY REST OR RELAXATION, YOU MUST TAKE A BREAK. WE WILL CALL YOU AS SOON AS WE FIND OUT ANYTHING, I PROMISE. Billy sighed, Zordon was starting to sound like his mother, she had noticed the dark circles under his eyes lately, he'd been trying to make sure that everything at the Power Chamber was in tip-top shape before the wedding, so that he and Sheena could hopefully have an uninterrupted honeymoon. He'd also finished up some things for the cabin, things that he would take over there once Sheena and he had moved in, between that and college courses, he knew that Zordon was right, he did need to stop for a little while.
"Okay, I can take a hint when it's coming at me from all sides," he chuckled. "Alpha, call me the second you find anything, all right? I'm going to go to Ernie's and get a picnic basket fixed up for Sheena and me, have her meet me here when she gets through at the house." Billy punched the location of the quiet little spot in the park he had in mind for their rendezvous into the teleportation console for Alpha. "See you later!" Billy disappeared in a swirl of dark blue, then the Power Chamber was quiet again except for the beeping and clicking of monitors and sensors.
"Zordon, she hasn't told Billy about her dreams, has she?" Zordon closed his eyes and sighed, the nature of the dreams had troubled him greatly once Sheena had revealed them.
I SUSPECT NOT, THOUGH I AM SURE THAT SHE WILL. ALPHA, TIGHTEN THE SCANS, TRY TO DETECT IF MONDO IS SEARCHING FOR A PARTICULAR ENERGY PATTERN. IF WE CAN FIND OUT THAT INFORMATION, THEN MAYBE WE STOP HIS PLANS BEFORE THEY CAN START. I HOPE, Zordon thought, as his trusted aide did as instructed.
Klank was glad he wasn't humanoid, he would have developed a splitting headache long before now he knew. As it was, his joints needed a serious oil soak, and he was overdue for a lubrication of his gears. For six months he had been searching for any trace of Elysia's family that may have survived Vile's purge from fifteen thousand years ago. He was still working on the premise that her nephew's family, the last known survivors, had not been teleported by Vile to one of his dark dimensions to slowly rot away, but had been able to escape somehow from Vile's magic. Too little was known about Elysia's family line and just exactly what they could do. He had at least narrowed down the search of compatible energy signatures to a mere hundred dimensions. "Better than the thousands I started with, I suppose," he muttered to himself. He sighed and creaked over to the last of the diary rods that had been brought over that morning by the Cogs, he'd sent them on one last raid of the old palace on the moon to see if there were any rods left, and to make sure the other items they had discovered were still intact. Klank looked at the rods, they seemed no different than the others he'd looked at before, until he looked closer at the pouch they had been stored in. It had Rita's name embroidered on it, and judging from the age of the fabric, it was from her youth, possibly from her early teens. Klank excitedly looked at the rods again, there were twenty in all. He picked the ten that seemed by appearance to be the oldest and placed them in his modified viewing box. The first three mainly had a not quite thirteen-year-old Rita bragging about how she was going to capture Ninjor, or capture Zordon, they laid out several wild plans. The fourth rod held what he was looking for. He called for a Cog to notify Mondo that he had found something quite important, and set his viewing box to scan for the energy signature he needed. He had it as Mondo walked in. "Sire!! I've found it for ye!" he exclaimed. Before Mondo could reply, Klank replayed the rod from the beginning. It showed a young woman, twenty-four years old from his records, Klank knew, beautiful by humanoid standards, he supposed. She was Elysia, Zordon's wife, and she was trying to stop Rita and her henchmen from destroying some body of water, the legendary Mystic Springs, he guessed. Elysia managed to deflect some of the magic thrown at her by Rita, but eventually was struck down. The rod continued on with Rita's boasting, Klank skipped ahead to what was important to his master. The scene was now of Zordon confronting Rita, demanding the release of his wife, who was held by one of Rita's guards. Rita's ultimatum was his surrender to her, in exchange for Elysia's freedom. As Zordon seemed to give in and started to move to Rita, the young sorceress raised her staff to send a killing blast of black magic at the young warrior. Elysia broke free of her captor and ran between the two, taking the blast meant for Zordon. As Zordon's brother Ninjor arrived in the next moment with reinforcements to drive Rita and her minions away, Zordon cradled his dying wife in his arms. Klank nor Mondo could make out what was being said at that point, but the visual record told them just what they wanted to know. With the last bit of her strength, Elysia sent a ball of energy from her body, seemingly joined a millisecond later by another smaller one, but that was probably an afterimage, Klank decided. The energy disappeared a second later, and Elysia took her last breath. Klank went over to his computer and nearly danced with delight. "Sire! Our analysis proves what you have hoped for all along! Elysia did send her powers into the future, just like the first Silver Ranger did, to be reborn in one of her line. With these readings, and the energy signature I've lifted from the rod's record, we'll be able to determine if that signature has appeared in any dimension in the present time. I'm searching through the dimensions that have signatures similar to her nephew's, I'll wager my circuits that her signature is in one of those dimensions!"
"Well do it! I've waited long enough for this Klank!" Mondo watched as for the next half hour Klank scanned through dimension after dimension to see which ones had similar signatures. He amused himself for a while by spying on Sheena and her friends on Earth, they were seated at a table and Sheena was talking about her friends on her homeworld. Two of the clumsiest humans he'd ever seen stumbled into Sheena and caused her to drop her precious little photo album. "Sickening human sentimentality," he muttered to himself. He peered closer at the viewscreen and stared at the picture Sheena was showing her friends now. It was of her and another human who looked a great deal like Sheena. Mondo froze the screen on that image as Klank let out a shout.
"Sire! We may be in luck! I've narrowed down the search to twenty dimensions, and there is a seventy percent chance that we will find a descendant in one of those dimensions. The search is going along more swiftly since I was able to retrieve Elysia's signature, the signature of the energy she sent -"
"Get on with it Klank!" Mondo ordered. He absolutely hated it when Klank over-explained things. His majordomo had been at it for nearly a half hour now, after six months of searching Mondo's small amount of patience was wire-thin. Ten minutes later, they were rewarded. "Well, now, Elysia's descendant ended up in the same dimension that Sheena herself was sent to. Interesting, and how perfectly ironic." In another ten minutes Klank had narrowed the search down to that dimension's Earth. Within five, he had it down to a single continent. After an additional five minutes of searching, then another five of verification, Klank brought up the image of a human female. It was early morning there, about an hour before sunrise. Mondo stared greedily at the image of the young woman tossing fitfully in her sleep. He memorized every detail of her face. "How long before you can bring her here, Klank?"
Klank had already started feeding information into his device's computer banks. "My machine is only a scanner now, but now that I've got a lock on her sire, it will be very easy to create a dimensional portal and bring her here. The modifications to the scanner will only take a few hours. She will be yours by this afternoon." Klank turned to his work as Mondo looked from Klank's machine to the image that he had frozen less than an hour earlier.
"Sheena, I've got a little surprise for you. A very nasty surprise from home that is sure to ruin your wedding." Mondo laughed for a very long time as he lumbered back to his throne room. "Yes, the ones you humans love the most do tend to hurt you the most, don't they? Wait until you see what she's going to do to you, Silver Ranger!"
"Sheena look out! Cogs... needles... no... no... stop - NO!!!!!" The young woman sat up shocked straight in her bed, sweating bullets. She had woken herself with her screams, the nightmare had been so real... She shook herself; she was in her bedroom, her bedroom for a few more hours, at any rate, and was safe, if terrified at the moment. She took several deep breaths to calm herself, to bring her heartrate back down from warp speed to a normal rate. The brunette groaned as she looked at her alarm clock on the nightstand, it was an hour till sunrise, she didn't need to be awake quite this early. "Figures," she muttered to herself. "Well, might as well get on with it. I certainly don't need Steve gloating that I wasn't ready for the shoot when he got here. Thank goodness Greg will be there with the live truck, I can just leave everything with him that they'll need, and I'm gone from Richmond, Virginia forever." The young woman sat up on her bed, stretched, then reluctantly got up and started preparations for her last day in her apartment. "Kinda like almost two years ago," she thought. "Except I'm not getting ready to move in with Sheena this time, I'm just moving on. Before I screw up anyone else's life." That fateful day was still fresh in her mind...
She had just arrived at Sheena's place and was hit with the feeling that she was near a tremendous energy source, it was like she was caught in the middle of a huge static charge. She remembered trying frantically to open Sheena's door, then there was nothing but darkness, she had been knocked out. She never found out exactly how Sheena disappeared, but had been haunted ever since that day by one thought: she had been too late. For the first year of Sheena's disappearance, the brunette had visited the site as a memorial of sorts, but hadn't been able to bring herself to do it since, it had hurt too much. She blamed herself for not getting to Sheena in time. Sheena had laughed off her premonition days before. "What, me falling into a big white light? That's a dream, not a vision. You stayed up too late watching TV, sister dear," Sheena had told her.
"Why didn't you listen to me? I was supposed to move in with you that day, but instead I lost you! Why did you leave me?" Her tears blended with the water from the shower, after all this time she couldn't rid herself of the feeling that if she had gotten to Sheena's just a few minutes earlier... From that day forward, she had retreated into herself, had thrown herself into her work, but it hadn't helped. She had lost her soul-sister less than a year after she lost her adoptive parents, it had gotten to be too much to bear. "I wish I could be with her... it's got to be more interesting than Richmond. Not as empty a place, anyway. We weren't sisters by blood, but my blood tells me you aren't dead, Sheena." She ended her shower, it wasn't helping to relax or refresh her. She got dressed and went about her apartment, doing the last of her laundry, a final check to make sure she had everything packed. Jaycynda and Cindy were going to be moving into her place, they already had their keys and had signed the lease. Jaycynda had lost nearly all of her furniture in a fire at her old place, so she was getting all of the furniture there, and could sell whatever she didn't need. "I certainly don't need it," the young woman thought as she checked her bags. "Betacam - man I'm glad that I saw that ad when the indy station in Clayton disbanded its news department, I never could've afforded a new one for my own. Blank tapes, resume tapes, batteries..." She continued on her mental checklist, she had all of her news gear, except for a tripod, she didn't own one, and it would've been too bulky to take one with her anyway. She closed her gearbag and checked her personal camera bag's contents. There was a small 8mm camcorder, blank tapes, a few pre-recorded ones, batteries, a 35mm camera, two lenses, batteries for it, a flash and film, plus a few filters. She had the tripod for that gear strapped to the bottom of the bag, it was small and light, but strong and easy to transport. Her overnight bag had a few changes of clothes and an extra pair of black sneakers, plus a few personal items, among them three five-inch tall Power Ranger figures that were carefully wrapped. One was a Red Zeo Ranger, the second was the Gold Ranger, and the last was the original Blue Ranger, well before the change to Zeo. The last had been a gift from Sheena, she remembered with a sad fondness. Sheena had given it to her the day before she disappeared.
The last bag to check was her backpack from college, it now held three photo albums, an album that had all the negatives she wanted to keep, the rest she was leaving for Jaycynda and Cindy to distribute to their friends. Her backpack was still open, waiting for any last minute additions that could be squeezed in, and for three framed photos. The first photo she packed hastily, it was the only one of Sheena and herself that had ever been taken, she couldn't bring herself to look at it just then. The second was a framed, wallet-sized photo that had been found with her mother. "My first name on the back, my birthdate, nothing else. Who am I?" she wondered for the millionth time. The photo, a baby blanket and the bodies of her parents were all that had been recovered from the single car wreck that she had somehow survived at two weeks of age. The last was of Sheena and all their friends in the park, taken a few months before Sheena 'left'. She started to shove it in without a glance, but the images of her friends stopped her.
"Cindy. Jaycynda. Ann. Melissa. Josh. Kenny. Todd. You guys haven't blamed me, I know, but I just can't face you anymore, it's my fault Sheena isn't here with us. I lost her! I have to go, I can't stay here with the memories..." Her voice trailed off as she sat on the floor, hugging the photo tightly and crying, no longer able to keep her emotions bottled up, and trying to ignore the feeling that cold, hostile eyes were watching her, from somewhere...
Mondo watched his prize on the viewscreen while Klank continued to work on his device to bring her to their dimension, having moved it into the throne room at Mondo's order. "She's cutting off ties to her current life, she's starting over... Oh, this is going to be so easy, there will be nobody looking for her, nobody to stop her, nobody to interfere..." Mondo allowed himself to laugh, anticipating the damage he could cause with this young woman. "Sheena, get ready for a wedding you'll never forget, I promise!"
It was nine-thirty when she turned her key in to her now former landlord. "I won't be coming back, Mrs. Maitland," she said simply. "Cindy and Jaycynda will be moving in their stuff after lunch, so I'm guessing they'll be here around one or one-thirty." Mrs. Maitland placed a concerned hand on the young woman's shoulder.
"Where are you going?"
"I have one last job for the station, then I'm free. I don't know, maybe I'll freelance now. I've got all my own gear. It won't be too hard, stations all over need good photographers."
"But where will you go?" Mrs. Maitland asked again.
She shrugged. "Maybe out west somewhere, maybe even Los Angeles. I've got a ticket for the train at four, I sold my car a long time ago, so I've got money, I'll be okay. I'm not coming back, Mrs. Maitland, but I'll be okay, really. You worry too much about all of us," she laughed, trying to make light of it, trying to lighten her own heart. It wasn't working too well, for Mrs. Maitland didn't seem to be convinced, but she didn't press her anymore. She went back to where she'd left her bags, and sat on the steps of what was now Jaycynda and Cindy's apartment to wait for Steve to pick her up for the shoot, pulling her long hair through a dark grey baseball cap, as was her customary fashion. Her mind drifted back to the premonitions, visions and half-dreams she'd had for almost six months now, the first ones she'd had since Sheena's disappearance. A wedding where Sheena was telling someone she's glad they're there, and she saw it through the eyes of whoever it was that Sheena was talking to. That had been a rare happy premonition, the others were frightening. A battle where "Cogs" had grabbed "Billy", then all of a sudden seeing it through his eyes, and seeing herself there. She hadn't told anyone about the visions, the young woman thought for sure she was losing it, that her grief over Sheena was making her lose her mind, or come close to it. Why else would a TV show be in her visions?
She had also seen a dungeon where Mondo was holding "Billy", and whoever's eyes she was seeing the dungeon through, that person was strapped to a table and Klank was drawing blood from them, testing it, and saying something about a potion that wouldn't work. There had been something else, but it had been so terrifying, she had woken up five nights straight screaming, and then again this morning. "Am I losing my mind?" she wondered. Even now, though she wasn't having a vision right then, remembering them was enough to make her feel like evil eyes were watching her, and she couldn't shake it. The blare of a horn grabbed her attention, Steve was there to pick her up to go cover the Power Ranger look-a-like contest. Not exactly the assignment she would've picked, had she been asked, but it ended her last work day much earlier than any other shoot would have, so she hadn't said anything. Not even when they had assigned Steve to be the reporter. He was one of the many little reasons she was leaving, he was one of the ones who had taken her for granted, who had claimed work she'd done as his own. "But if it meant that Sheena would come back, I'd gladly endure his ego," she thought as she stowed her bags in the news unit. Steve was making some stupid comment, but she didn't pay attention to what he was saying, she didn't care anymore. She clipped her station id badge onto her T-shirt as she climbed into the vehicle, the general manger had said she could keep the badge as a remembrance of the station, if she wanted to. "It's been a good time for the most part," she mused silently.
As they drove to the contest, Steve tried to make conversation with her. "Hey K. B., the anniversary of your friend Sheena taking off is coming up, right? Anyone know what ever happened to her?" She glared at him, Sheena had not 'taken off' and he knew it, just as he knew that no one had found out what happened. Three years of irritation with the conceited blonde reporter bubbled to the surface, just barely under her control.
"As if you care. She dumped you after one date, and I don't blame her! You've never cared about anyone except yourself, you and Lisa deserve each other. Now, if you'd like to get through this assignment peacefully, just shut up and leave me alone." For once, Steve either found a compassionate bone in his egotistical body, or was shocked speechless at this rare show of temper from the twenty-four-year-old photographer. Either way, the rest of the ride was painfully quiet, at least for him.
Sheena puttered about the cabin that would soon be home for Billy and herself, it was really starting to feel like it was going to be a home. In what would be the dining room stood the china cabinet that Billy had made for them, Sheena had never known he was such a skilled woodworker. "He learned how to build things from Uncle John," came Mrs. Cranston's voice over Sheena's shoulder. "How to build things out of wood, anyway. He definitely gets his electrical and computer skills from his father."
"And his good taste from you, Mrs. Cranston, the cabinet is beautiful," Sheena answered. Mrs. Cranston walked over and hugged her soon to be daughter-in-law.
"Please, Sheena, call me Helen. And yes, I think my son has excellent taste. I couldn't have picked a more wonderful young woman to be his wife myself." Mrs. Cranston looked around the dining room, everything seemed to be in place. "I think we can start on the den now, there's a mantle over the fireplace there that's begging for some pictures, I believe. John brought the furniture over yesterday." The two women went into the den and started to set out things in there. Mrs. Cranston gathered up some pictures to go on the mantle and arranged them, then asked for Sheena's approval. "How's that, dear?" Mrs. Cranston was placing the photo of Sheena and her best friend on the mantle, Sheena had found a frame for it that morning while shopping.
"Perfect." Sheena walked over to the fireplace and gazed sadly at the newly framed picture. Just a few hours earlier, she had told Zordon that her friend was the one who would've been her maid-of-honor. Now her friend's dark brown eyes were staring right back at her, bringing back so many memories of home... "I really wish you were here," Sheena whispered softly, forgetting for the moment that she wasn't alone. Mrs. Cranston placed her hand on Sheena's shoulder and looked at the photo of the two young women.
"She's your best friend, isn't she?"
Sheena sighed and nodded. "Yes. If she were here, she'd be my maid-of-honor. I can't choose anyone to take her place, no one can. She's as much my sister as surely as if we'd had the same parents. But barring a miracle, she can't be here, no one from home can be here, it's just not possible." Mrs. Cranston hugged Sheena and turned her to face her.
"I know our religions are different dear, but I think we both know that miracles can and sometimes do happen, if it is meant to be. Dreams that should come true have a funny way of doing just that, though not in the way we would want them to sometimes. Remember this, Sheena. Even though your friends aren't here in the flesh, as long as they are in your heart, then they will be here in spirit. True friends never leave your heart, no matter the distance." Sheena very nearly cried, Mrs. Cranston was just like her, she had a gift for saying what needed to be said. Sheena smiled and nodded, then went out to the car to bring in the last of her packages, it was early afternoon now, and she wanted to meet Billy by three o' clock if she could. It was a bright, wonderfully sunny day, spring had come a bit early to Angel Grove. She stopped and listened to the birdsongs, it seemed that Nature itself was forbidding her to be sad. She concentrated on her soul-sister, trying to tap into whatever connection they may have had. "Be safe, I miss you..."
The contest was pretty standard fare, she supposed. The young news photographer made her way through the crowd, getting three tapes of footage for Steve's report. She had been at it for quite a while now, they had just announced some of the winners. Lisa, Steve's girlfriend, had won the 'Kimberly' look-a-like contest, not that there was any real competition in that category, or very convincing look-a-likes, to her mind. There were some good 'young Ranger' look-a-likes, among them Mark and Parker, a couple of kids from her neighborhood that she had given nearly all of her Power Ranger items to. Not that she'd had that much to begin with. They had won the 'young Adam' and 'young Billy' categories. She got footage of the 'Billy' look-a-like, the guy looked so much like him that many people were convinced it was really David Yost up there. The young woman had also gotten footage for herself, a few shots to eventually add to her resume tape. She walked over to the live truck and handed in the tapes for Steve to use and started to walk off with her belongings. It was a quarter to three, Josh was going to pick her up shortly after three to take her to the train station. "And probably try to talk me out of leaving, if he figures out I'm not ever coming back. I've got to keep him from getting suspicious, if I can," she thought.
Greg was checking the tapes she'd turned in, and she was about to make a clean escape with her bags and gear when Steve walked up with Lisa. "Where are you going?"
"I don't work at the station anymore, this was my last job Steve." She was tired of not being appreciated at her job, she wanted to do something where she had more control. She was tired of him, tired of Richmond, and tired of the pain in her heart. "I handed in my notice two weeks ago, this is my last job. Greg's got the tapes you need to edit for your package."
"Oh come on, you don't expect me to believe you're leaving, that's just a show to get a raise, girl," Steve countered. As the brunette slowly turned back to scowl at Steve, Greg eased over to hiss in his ear, "Bad move, big mouth."
Her dark brown eyes seemed to turn pitch black as she looked Steve straight in his eyes, making him quite uncomfortable. "No amount of money is worth staying here, especially with you around. News flash Steve, you don't have any coattails left to ride to fame on anymore, and little Lisa here will probably dump you as soon as the next new rising news star dawns on the horizon. I'm leaving, so find someone else to do your work. Hey, novel idea Steve, do your own job yourself, for once!" She stalked off, bags and all, and headed back into the arena to wait for Josh's arrival. Greg ran up and opened the door for her.
"K. B., I knew you had some fire in you! I'm glad I got to see you take that braggart down a few pegs."
"I don't like losing my temper, I've always tried to keep everything locked down, Greg. But he just hit all my buttons on a bad day."
Greg laughed. "He deserved it. Maybe he'll shape up now, you're the best photog we've had in a long time, you'll get a good job anywhere you want. I think Steve will soon realize just how much of his career he owes to your eye and skill." Greg's smile turned wistful as she walked into the arena. "Are you sure you have to leave Richmond?" He hugged her as she stopped and nodded. "Take care, girl. I, for one, am going to miss our 'Little Shadow'."
"Little Shadow?" She looked at him, puzzled. "Where did that come from?"
"That's the nickname we gave you not long after you started, didn't you know that?" he chuckled. "You've got a way of sliding in and out of sight, you're so quiet, it's like you're a shadow. Take care of yourself, promise?" She smiled and promised, Greg was one of the ones she was going to miss. As he watched her disappear into the arena, Greg wondered if he'd work with anyone quite like her ever again.
And off in the reaches of another universe, cold metallic eyes were still watching...
Billy waited anxiously for his wife, Sheena had promised she would be there by three o' clock, it was nearly that time now. "She is in the Rad Bug, so she can be here at any second," he reassured himself. They'd had so little time to themselves...
Billy smiled as Sheena walked up, then sat beside him on the blanket he'd laid out on the ground. The park was beautiful, there was hardly a cloud in the wonderfully blue sky. Sheena greeted him with a passionate kiss that let him know that she'd missed his company of late as much as he'd missed hers. "I was beginning to wonder if you were going to make it."
"What, and miss our first few minutes alone in nearly a month?" she replied. Billy flashed a mischievous grin at her.
"Well, if you hadn't shown up soon, the Sapphire Ranger always could've come to look for you, to rescue you from the perils of setting up a house with my mom." Sheena grinned just as impishly back at her love.
"Really? You know, I've always wanted to find out who was under that helmet and uniform. Think I might've found out?"
"Maybe," he winked. The two of them fell back laughing, it was so good to be alone, to be a normal soon-to-be-married couple. It was three o' clock on a Monday afternoon, they were going to be married on Saturday, and at least for the moment, they were simply Billy and Sheena, two people very much in love. Sheena sighed as Billy set out the late picnic lunch, just being with him had lifted her mood.
Mondo glowered for a moment as he watched Billy and Sheena through the screen, Klank had switched the view for him while he made the last few adjustments to his machine. "You humans make me so sick with this love nonsense... Well, I'll be spoiling all that for you soon enough, Rangers. The clock is ticking on your happiness."
"What is it Klank?"
"Your dimensional transporter is complete. We shall be ready to bring the girl here in five minutes," Klank reported. Mondo gloated as the scene switched back to the other dimension where the girl was wondering down a hallway, looking at posters of some sort, he couldn't tell what, exactly. Not that it mattered.
"Tick tock, Sheena. Tick tock, tick tock, time's nearly up, tick tock, tick tock..."
"No, really, I'm not David Yost," he explained once again to the young women. Daniel had lost count of how many times he'd had to tell someone that today. He'd won the 'Billy' look-a-like contest, and he'd also won the overall contest, which meant he had won a free trip to California to watch a taping of the Power Rangers show. He hoped that the trip would be profitable, he wanted to get some auditions lined up if he could, this could be a big opportunity if he played his cards right. He'd made a list of agents to go see, found out about casting calls that were scheduled to be held during the time he'd be there... "All it's going to take is a little determination - and a lot of luck," he mused.
Seeing another group of young women who had spotted him, Daniel quickly headed for the backstage area, the look-a-like contest was over, but there were vendors selling Power Ranger merchandise, karate demonstrations and others activities still going on, so there were still plenty of people milling about. He sighed as he reached the quiet of the backstage area, then nearly groaned as he spotted another young woman. "Here I go again," he thought for a moment, then Daniel realized that she wasn't paying him the least bit of attention. She looked tired and was overloaded with bags. Then he spotted the news camera she was holding and Daniel recognized her as the photographer he'd seen covering the contest. She was staring at the Power Ranger posters lining the wall, killing time, he supposed. She was slender, five feet, nine inches tall he guessed, and didn't seem like she should have the strength to carry all of those bags that swamped her. She had dark brown hair pulled through a dark grey baseball cap. Without the cap, he assumed it would fall down to the middle of her back. He noted her olive complexion, she looked like she could be anything from American Indian to someone of Mediterranean descent, a Scottish Highlander, or even Italian, there were so many possibilities... She also looked very familiar to him. Daniel made up his mind, and walked over to talk to her.
The brunette had been besieged with memories ever since she had gotten to the contest. All the Power Ranger stuff and the look-a-likes made her remember how much Sheena had loved the show, how she had dragged her in front of the TV to watch the Power Rangers and look at 'Billy' that first time. "Isn't he gorgeous?!" she'd gushed. And Sheena was right, he certainly was good-looking, in spite of the clunky glasses he'd worn that first season.
She found herself in front of a pre-Zeo Power Rangers poster and looked at the Blue Ranger. She knew how much Sheena loved him, and mentally put the face of David Yost over the helmet. As she gazed at the poster, her mental image of David Yost was replaced briefly by the face of 'Billy'. She shook her head, what was happening here? The face was the same, but slightly different, as if she was seeing the 'real Billy'. "'Real Billy'? What am I thinking, he's a character on a show!" she admonished herself. Then her mind returned to the mental image of the actor, but she couldn't shake the weirdness of the experience. She went to the next poster, a Power Rangers Zeo poster that had the Gold Ranger in it also. Something seemed to flash in the background of the poster, she suddenly 'saw' a Ranger in a dark blue uniform that had a slight metallic sheen to it, his helmet had a fierce wolf design. 'Sapphire Ranger', her mind supplied for some reason. Then she 'saw' a 'Silver Ranger', with a cheetah design on her helmet, and then Sheena standing with the 'Silver Ranger'. Then they might have become one person, or one of them simply disappeared, she wasn't sure which.
A tap on her shoulder banished the vision, and the poster was back to normal. She turned to see a young blonde man looking at her worriedly. For a second, she thought she was looking at David Yost, but remembered in the next moment that he wasn't there. "It's one of the look-a-likes," she realized. She was hit with another vision then. For a second she saw another face over his, 'Billy's', like there was his face over the look-a-like's face, but slightly off, just a little different. Then as suddenly as it hit, the double image was gone, and she only saw the look-a-like's concerned expression.
"Are you all right? You seemed a little lost there for a second." His smile was warm and inviting, Sheena would've liked him, she decided.
"I was just thinking about something, a little lost in thought, I suppose you could say. You're the one who won the contest, right?"
"Yes," he answered. "I've been asked if I was the real guy so many times today, I think I'm going to scream. Though I guess I should take it as a compliment. But I'm being rude here, I haven't introduced myself properly, my dear," he stated with an exaggerated air. It had the desired effect, the young woman finally smiled. "I'm Daniel Whitley." He hoped that she would answer, she looked a bit uncomfortable at his attention. "And you are?" She took his extended hand and shook it, but he barely noticed, he was lost in her warm, dark chocolate brown eyes.
"Nice to meet you Daniel. I'm Kahva Briton."
"Sire, the device is ready," Klank reported. Mondo whirled about to face him with impatient glee.
"What are you waiting for then? Bring her here at once!" the Machine King ordered. Mondo turned back to the viewer in anticipation. Not only was he about to get some old Eltaran power, and one of the oldest bloodlines from that world; the one who Elysia had sent the power into the future to, the one the power had found, was Sheena's best friend. Mondo was beside himself, she was the best bargaining chip he could have short of Billy.
"Yes, sire," Klank complied. He flipped a few switches and muttered a hopeful prayer to his Assembler, he'd never tried anything like this before. "Please work, after all this, please work," he urged his device with a whisper. No need to let Mondo know that it had been constructed more on guesswork than actual knowledge. The machine coughed and whirred, then a purplish cog-wheel-shaped portal formed and beamed out of the Machine Skybase. "The portal is heading for her now, sire."
"Zordon, the Machine Skybase is sending out an energy beam of some kind, it's going through to another dimension!
CONTACT BILLY AT ONCE ALPHA, WE NEED TO STOP THAT BEAM FROM REACHING THE OTHER DIMENSION, Zordon ordered. Alpha frantically pushed buttons on the communications panel, but could get no response.
"Zordon! The energy beam is interfering with our communications! I can't contact Billy or any of the other Rangers! And our scanners show that the beam is heading for the same dimension Sheena came from!" Alpha ran about the main chamber in a near panic, trying anything he could to contact Billy or stop the beam. "I can't stop the beam, Zordon! What do we do?"
KEEP TRYING TO STOP THE BEAM ALPHA, I'LL KEEP TRYING TO CONTACT THE RANGERS. I FEAR THAT MONDO HAS FOUND WHAT HE IS LOOKING FOR. As Alpha continued his efforts, Zordon didn't dare voice his fear that Mondo hadn't found what he was searching for, but who.
Kahva decided that she liked the young man. Besides the fact he was a dead ringer for the actor who played 'Billy', Daniel was the nicest guy she'd met in a long time. They were making small talk, sharing little things about each other, like their mutual love of photography and acting, that they were both twenty-four years old, both loved reading and sailing... but the small talk was running out, and in spite of his charm and wit, Kahva was still overwhelmed with the painful memories that were making her leave Richmond. No amount of laughter could lift the weight from her heart. She looked into his hazel eyes, one difference from the actor, she thought absently, and had the double image again of a face over a face, 'Billy's' over Daniel's. He didn't seem to notice her distraction as he looked over her bags that she'd put down.
"Got everything in there but the kitchen sink?" he asked, pointing to the bags. She shook her head to clear the double image and laughed a little. "No, just what's left of my life, I suppose." Daniel frowned at that.
"What's left of your life? What do you mean, what's wrong? Is there anything I can help with?" he offered. He'd only been talking to her for five minutes, but already he was thoroughly smitten with her.
She smiled ruefully as she gathered her bags back up, it was nearly time for Josh to arrive. She waited for the janitor who had just come down the hallway to pass before she answered. "Unless you can turn back time, no. The past couple of years haven't been all that great, I need a fresh start, that's all. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine." Kahva turned to leave with her bags and camera, but stopped to look back at attractive young man. "Thanks for asking though. Nice to know someone cares." Daniel moved to her, placing his hand on her arm to keep her from leaving.
"Don't your friends care?" he asked. Kahva sighed, she hadn't wanted to talk to anyone about why she was leaving, but she couldn't help but answer him.
"I can't face them. It's my fault everything's wrong."
"I didn't stop Sheena from disappearing," she replied softly.
Daniel straightened up a bit, now he knew why she was so familiar, why he had felt the urge to talk to her. "That's who you are, you're talking about Sheena Devereaux, right? I thought I recognized you, you were found unconscious at her place with no memory of what happened. The news reports said you heard something and opened the door, then evidently you were knocked out right after that. The police got a call about a woman screaming and found you outside her door with a mild concussion, I think they said?" Daniel placed his hands on her shoulders to make her face him. "You were knocked out, there's no way you could've stopped whatever happened. It's not your fault, why are you blaming yourself?" Kahva turned her head, she couldn't look at him anymore, too many memories were surfacing, memories that hurt too badly to remember. She took a shaky breath and answered him, trying to ignore the prickly feeling in her spine, the feeling of something creeping up behind her.
"If I had gotten there a few minutes earlier, I could've done something! You don't understand..." She broke from his hold and turned to leave, but stopped again, this time because of something she couldn't explain. "Something's feeling weird here," she thought out loud. Kahva had a sense of something dark and cold moving through the air, the essence of evil. "This is like when Sheena disappeared, but sinister, hostile..." she said. Daniel didn't know what to make of the young woman's ramblings, it seemed she had forgotten that he was there.
"Poor thing," he thought. "She's really got a bad guilt trip going here." Aloud he said, "It wasn't your fault -" He stopped as a cold breeze started to move through the hallway from out of nowhere. Kahva stared at a spot next to her. Daniel couldn't see it yet, but she saw a purplish circle, shaped like a cog from a machine, starting to form beside her. As she tried to push Daniel away from her, everything in the hallway took on a purplish tinge, then an ominous dark violet-black. She shuddered as the breeze turned to a strong wind, the awareness of something malignant, something cold and dangerous couldn't be ignored anymore. Daniel could see the cog-shaped circle now, it was opening up and forming a funnel. To where, he didn't want to know. The entire hallway was bathed in a purple glow, posters were tearing off the walls and the winds around the funnel were howling. Daniel struggled to keep his balance. "What's going on?!" Kahva tried to shove him away again, but she was being dragged into the funnel, bags and all.
"Get out of here!!!" she screamed. Daniel shook his head, he wasn't going to lose her now.
"Grab my hand!" Daniel felt himself sliding across the floor, he was caught in whatever was taking Kahva.
"Daniel, run!! Get away - "
Josh ran up to the arena, it was a little after three o' clock according to his watch, Kahva would be proud of him being so prompt. He noticed a bunch of people pacing around the main entrance to the arena and wondered what was going on. He spotted Steve, the reporter that Kahva was supposed to have worked with that day, but Josh ignored him, Steve wasn't one of Kahva's favorite people. He then saw Greg, the guy who ran the live truck, and trotted over to him. "Greg, right? I'm Josh, one of Kahva's friends, I'm supposed to be picking her up. What's going on? Where's Kahva?" Greg's face was ashen, and as Steve wandered over, Josh saw that he didn't look much better. "What's going on, somebody tell me something here." Greg looked at Steve, then back to Josh.
"One of the janitors was backstage and heard a noise, like a woman and a man screaming. He went to check it out, and when he got to the hallway, it looked like a war zone. Posters everywhere, trash cans knocked over, like there'd been a bad fight or something. There was no sign of the man or woman. He's already described the people to security, he passed them in the hallway a minute before he heard the noise, we're waiting on police to arrive now. The missing man is the one who won the overall look-a-like contest, we think." Greg sighed and looked straight into Josh's eyes. "The woman is Kahva. I'm sorry, Josh, she's gone." Josh turned and ran into the arena, making his way past the security guards to the backstage area. The hallway was indeed a wreck, littered with posters and trash. He spotted something plastic, about the size of a id tag. He picked it up, it was Kahva's station id badge. He sat in the middle of the hallway and cried as the first police officers made their way into the area, clenching the badge tightly in his hands.
"Not again. Oh please God, not again..."
"Where am I? What's going on, where am I going?" Kahva wondered. She was trying to yell her questions in the maelstrom, but the winds were beating her too badly. "At least Daniel got away," she assured herself. She hadn't seen him after the funnel had sucked her in anyway, so she fiercely clung to the hope that he was okay. Kahva had no perception of direction, nothing was up, down, sideways, anything. "Sheena..." she thought as consciousness started to leave her. There was a vague sensation of changing direction, then everything went black...
"What is going on, you rusty tin can?!" Mondo screamed at Klank. Where is my prisoner?!?!" Klank bustled about the throne room in a panic, something was wrong, very wrong.
"I dinna know sire, the portal is steering away from the Skybase. It's going to open up on Earth!" Klank shook with fear as the Machine King started to blow sparks and smoke.
"Bring her here Klank!! Bring my prize here!!! I will not lose her now!!!" Mondo roared. Klank could only squeak in response.
"It's too late, sire. She's on Earth."
"Billy, I can't believe it's almost our wedding day... again," Sheena said. She and Billy were talking about their upcoming wedding, about how they could celebrate their anniversary and not worry about mixing up dates and confusing Billy's family. "It's so close to perfect, I still think I'm dreaming, sometimes."
"Close? It's not perfect?" Billy studied her for a moment. "You mean Mondo destroying the church, right? Yeah, I always thought that I'd get married there, I grew up there practically." Sheena's gaze fell down to the blanket, a look of regret flashing across her face. "What? Sheena, it's not the place that makes the wedding, it's who is there, the love, your family and friends..." His voice trailed off as she looked up at him.
"I know. I really hate what happened to the church. I'm not a Christian, but still, Mondo destroyed a sacred place, he had no right to do that." Billy stared hard at her, there was something else.
"Sheena, what's been bugging you? It's more than just the church. Tell me, please."
Sheena sighed and finally told Billy about her dreams. "I've been thinking about home, my other life a lot lately. My friends, my best friend, especially." Sheena smiled and laughed as a good memory flooded back to her. "I can remember dragging her in front of the TV to watch an episode of Power Rangers, to watch you... rather the actor who played you, but it was the character I loved, it was you. It's funny, after I got her to start watching the show, she would say that certain things, like how Zordon got in the time warp, weren't right. She didn't know how she knew, but she knew that they weren't right. I figured she was just getting weird, I never really thought about it. It's like I told Zordon this morning, lately it's like I'm connected to her all over again. She's my best friend, my soul-sister... and she can't be here."
"What's her name?" Billy winced inwardly at the pained look on Sheena's face. "Never mind, you can tell me later. The last thing I want to do right now is to make you sad. This is supposed to be a happy time, a time for us to relax before the insanity of the wedding this Saturday." Sheena couldn't help but smile at that, he was trying so hard to make her feel better. Goddess, what did I ever do to deserve such a man? Thank You for bringing us together. And please, keep my friends safe. Please, let them know somehow that I'm okay and happy. Sheena gazed into Billy's eyes and felt his love flowing through to her very soul. Billy grinned. "There is maybe something we should work on before the wedding."
"The kiss." As Billy leaned in to practice the 'you may now kiss your bride' part of the wedding, they both heard a rush of wind. They turned just in time to see a purple cog-like circle open up, and an object fall out of it and crash into the ground. It seemed to be a heap of body and bags, lying just a few feet away from Sheena. Billy got to the person first, it was a young woman. Her hair was covering her face, and a dark grey baseball cap was lying a few inches from her. Sheena picked up the cap, her breath stopping as she recognized it.
"This is impossible, it can't be..." Sheena looked at the crumpled mass of body and bags lying in front of them. "Kahva?" As Billy brushed the hair away from the unconscious woman's face, Sheena's heart leapt with joy. "Kahva?!" she cried, not daring to believe what she was seeing. But as the young woman stirred and opened her eyes, Sheena knew it to be true: her soul-sister was there, right in front of her.
Daniel had the feeling of falling fast, a feeling that was confirmed as he hit something hard. He dared to open his eyes just in time to see the purple funnel he'd been pulled into close in mid-air. He was lying on a bench, and his shoulder was starting to throb a tiny bit already from his abrupt arrival. He got up and looked around, he guessed he was in a park somewhere. "Kahva?" Daniel called, hoping she was nearby. "Kahva!" No one answered his call. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach as he realized he was all alone, and he had no idea where he was.
"Hey Billy!" a voice called. Daniel didn't realize the voice was calling him until a hand grasped his shoulder. "Billy, you okay? You look a little out of it, the wedding isn't driving you that crazy, is it?"
"If I were marrying Sheena, I'd be crazy from love too, Bulky."
Bulky? Daniel couldn't believe his ears. The voices sounded like the actors from the Power Rangers TV show, the ones who played 'Bulk' and 'Skull'. The two young men looked like them too. "I'm sorry, you've got the wrong person here. My name is Daniel Whitley. Umm, I guess I am a little out of it, I've lost track of my friend I came with, she's about five feet, nine inches tall, long, dark brown hair -"
"Sounds like Sheena," 'Bulk' replied.
"Dark, chocolate brown eyes, olive complexion," Daniel continued.
"That doesn't sound like Sheena," the one who looked like 'Skull' stated. Daniel shook his head, these guys were really in character. But they had thought he was 'Billy', and they were talking about 'Sheena'... Daniel decided to try a hunch.
"I came here with Kahva Briton, she's a friend of Sheena Devereaux's, we, uh, wanted to surprise Sheena. For the, um, wedding, you know. But I've lost Kahva, have you seen her?" Daniel hoped his gamble would pay off.
The one who the skinny guy had called 'Bulky' answered him. "Haven't seen anyone like that, but Sheena drove up on the other side of the park a few minutes ago, maybe your friend is with her already. Over that way," he pointed to what was apparently the other side of the park. "Hey, your friend sounds an awful lot like Sheena, is she dating anyone?" 'Bulk' asked hopefully. Daniel started off in the direction he had pointed in.
"Yes," he lied. "Me."
"All the good ones are taken," Bulk grumbled as the stranger jogged off. "And we didn't even get to see this one yet."
"Life's not fair, Bulky my man. Life's just not fair."
Mondo raged about the throne room, everything had been going so well, according to his perfect plan... Now that plan was on the verge of ruination. "Where is she?!?!" he screamed at Klank again. "What happened?!"
Klank's audio receptors were about to blow from Mondo's verbal barrage. "Sire, I haven't been able to locate her yet, but I am getting some strange readings here. It seems there were two people in the portal. Perhaps the young man we saw her talking to was pulled in with her. The readings also indicate that the portal was altered as it came back into our dimension."
"How could that old fool Zordon have found out what we were doing? How did he alter the portal?"
"Sire, the portal wasn't altered by anything from the Power Chamber, or anything else on Earth." Klank checked his data once more, he couldn't be sure of just what had happened though. "But something did alter the portal. And I don't think it was a malfunction here. Perhaps it was affected by the second person being in the portal. It was, after all, designed only to bring one person over, not two." Klank watched as his master's full-blown rage settled down a few notches to just seething anger. But there was an odd satisfaction in his voice just the same.
"Perhaps, Klank. Just find her and bring her here. I want her to be mine..."
"Kahva?!" Sheena knelt by the woman, there could be no doubt, it was her. Sheena took her hand and willed her to wake up completely. "What in the world are you doing here?" As Kahva finally opened her eyes and looked at her, Sheena silently muttered a thankful prayer.
Billy was completely confused. "Huh?" was all he could say. The only Kahva he knew of was the ghost. The new arrival looked up at him with an equally confused expression.
"Daniel? What happened?"
Billy was really confused now. "Sheena?" Sheena was so happy, she could barely contain herself.
"Billy, this is Kahva, I don't believe it!!"
"Kahva is a ghost, what are you talking about?" The young woman Sheena was calling Kahva stared hard at him, as if seeing him clearly for the first time.
"Billy? Not Daniel? BILLY?!" Her eyes grew wide, then shut abruptly as she fainted. Sheena patted her face worriedly, but Kahva didn't wake up.
"She's never fainted before, not that I can remember, anyway. We'd better get her to the Power Chamber." Sheena was already tapping her communicator as Billy gathered Kahva into his arms.
"I don't know," Sheena replied. Billy was still confused by the sudden arrival of the girl.
"And you know this girl - wait a minute, she's the one in your picture. Her name is Kahva also? How'd she get here?" Sheena frowned as she could neither contact the Power Chamber, nor teleport them there.
"Give you three guesses and the first two don't count."
"Mondo," Billy answered, it was the only thing that made any sense. "We'll take the Rad Bug then, we've got to get her to the Power Chamber before Mondo finds out she's here." Billy picked Kahva up and carried her to the vehicle as Sheena quickly gathered up the bags and the news camera that had come through with her and loaded them in the car. Billy ran back and got the picnic fixings as Sheena cranked up the Rad Bug. Within just a couple of minutes of her arrival, Kahva was being teleported again, but this time to the Power Chamber. As the Rad Bug drove off, a young man who looked very much like Billy ran up.
"Kahva?" Daniel called. He could see a car leaving the parking lot as he ran up, he hoped that it wasn't Kahva leaving with someone, he had to find her, they had to find out where they were. A piece of black plastic caught his eye, it was a broken lens cap. "This must've come off of her camera. At least I hope it was hers," he said softly to himself. Daniel stood and looked around, he had to find her, every instinct told him that they were both in a great deal of trouble.
"Incoming, incoming! Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!!" Alpha yelped. As the blur the sensors showed entering the Zord Holding Bay solidified into the Rad Bug, Alpha relaxed a bit. "It's Billy and Sheena, Zordon - they've got someone with them??" For the first time since he had detected the energy beam from the Machine Skybase, Alpha actually stood stock still as Billy picked up a young woman from the backseat of the car, while Sheena pulled several bags from the trunk.
TELEPORT THEM DIRECTLY HERE, ALPHA. BILLY AND SHEENA WOULDN'T HAVE BROUGHT A STRANGER TO THE POWER CHAMBER WITHOUT JUST CAUSE. Alpha checked the internal teleportation systems, they hadn't been scrambled by the energy beam. He pressed a button and in a split second, Billy, Sheena, the unconscious young woman and the bags, along with a news camera, were in the middle of the main chamber. Billy immediately moved to one of the examining tables and placed the girl on it, then automatically started running scans on her. BILLY, SHEENA. THE MACHINE SKYBASE SENT OUT AN ENERGY BEAM A FEW MINUTES AGO, BUT WE WERE UNABLE TO STOP IT. THE BEAM ALSO SCRAMBLED OUR COMMUNICATIONS AND EXTERNAL TELEPORTATION SYSTEMS, SO WE COULD NOT CONTACT ANY OF YOU, NOR BRING YOU HERE. MAY I ASSUME THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE BROUGHT A STRANGER TO THE POWER CHAMBER? Sheena put down the bags and camera and walked closer to Zordon's warp.
"We were having a picnic in the park and heard a noise, it was one of Mondo's teleportation portals opening up. Kahva fell right out of it." As Alpha squeaked, Sheena quickly added, "Kahva Briton, my best friend from back home I told you about this morning. My soul-sister. Zordon, no ordinary teleportation beam could've brought her here, what happened? Why is she here?"
IT WOULD SEEM THAT MONDO'S ENERGY BEAM WAS IN FACT A DIMENSIONAL PORTAL. Billy looked up from his scans of the still unconscious Kahva.
"That means that Mondo wasn't searching for a thing, or a power source, he was searching for a person. One of your friends, Sheena." Billy looked at the innocent girl who had so suddenly arrived in their world. She looked even more like Sheena in person than in the photo Sheena had showed him when they were sorting through her purchases that morning. So much alike, and so different at the same time... "Why would Mondo bring her here, though?"
UNTIL WE CAN DETERMINE THAT, YOUR FRIEND IS IN GREAT DANGER, SHEENA. SHE MUST STAY HERE SO WE CAN INSURE HER SAFETY. WE CAN ASSUME THAT WHATEVER MONDO'S PLANS FOR HER ARE, THEY ARE CERTAINLY NOT IN HER BEST INTERESTS, OR YOURS. Kahva stirred on the examining table, Sheena ran to her side and took her hand again.
"Ohhh," Kahva moaned. "What happened?" As her vision cleared, she saw a very familiar face peering anxiously into hers. "Sheena? Oh, man, I've lost it, I'm seeing things."
"Only if I'm seeing things too, and I think if you were a Cog in disguise, Billy would've found that in his scans by now."
Billy grinned. "Nope, she's very much human, if a bit worse for wear at the moment. Hello there. I'm Billy Cranston, not Daniel, whoever that is. Nice to meet you." Kahva stared at him, and for a second Sheena thought she would faint again, but instead she struggled to sit up, unsuccessfully.
"Sheena? You're real? Where am I? Where's Daniel?"
Sheena laughed with relief as Kahva started to regain her senses a bit. "Yes, I'm real, you're in the Power Chamber, and I have no idea who this Daniel is you're talking about, but I'll take a wild guess that he looks like Billy, since you thought Billy was him in the park?" Kahva frowned and shook her head to clear the cobwebs, finally managing to sit up.
"I was talking to him before that - whatever," she shuddered, "sucked me in. He was trying to pull me out, I kept yelling at him to get away, then I couldn't see anything except for purple and black. I don't know what happened to him... uhh," she groaned as dizziness washed over her. Sheena helped her lie back down on the examining table again, Kahva was unconscious in the next second. Sheena turned back to Zordon.
"Could someone else have been brought over with her? I don't know any Daniel, but she did think Billy was him in the park." Billy was already working on the communications and teleportation controls. A minute later he closed a panel, then smiled at the readings he received.
"Communications and teleportation back online. Alpha, check the sensor logs and see if another portal opened up here on Earth, or at the Machine Skybase." He turned at Sheena's sharp breath. "If he was pulled through too, he might have ended up there, we have to be sure."
"The portal that opened up where you two were was originally a single portal, but part of it did split off. Sensors show it opened up on the other side of the park from you and Sheena. I'm getting a lifeform reading, but whoever it was isn't there anymore. Scanning now."
Sheena went over to the little robot. "Hurry Alpha," she urged. "If Mondo knows he's here, he's in trouble too."
"Sire! There was someone else in the portal with the girl, he's still in the park."
"I don't care about him, I want the girl!!" Mondo lumbered over to Klank to look at the scans for himself. Klank rattled nervously for a moment, Mondo wouldn't like his news.
"I canna find any sign of her, Yer Nastiness, only the young man." Mondo yelled in rage and nearly hit Klank, but stopped himself.
"Bring him here. If I have him, then I can still get the girl. And finally I can put my plan into action. Send down the Cogs!"
Daniel wandered about the park, hoping desperately to find Kahva, but he was having no luck at all. He fought down a wave a panic; wherever she was, she had to be in more trouble than he was. The whatever it was had opened up right next to her, if he had run, he wouldn't have been pulled in. "There's no way I could've left her then, and I'm not going to leave her now," he said to himself. "Where could she be?"
"You'll be joining her soon enough!" a cold metallic voice roared all around him. Daniel whirled, looking for the source of the voice. Above him the image of a massive metal head with a whirling crown floated. "Cogs, seize him!!" it commanded. Daniel turned around in a circle, Cogs were appearing everywhere, surrounding him.
"This can't be happening," he thought as he steeled himself for an attack. But instead of a Cog leaping on him, the next thing he felt was an invisible something gripping him, and then the park, Cogs and floating image vanished from view.
"Klank! Where is he?" Mondo roared, though he already knew the answer. "Why did you let him get away?" Klank stammered and stuttered, but Mondo cut him off with an impatient wave of his hand. "Never mind, you fool. So, you have your friend and her friend safe in the Power Chamber, do you Sheena? Maybe I can't drop her into your wedding as a surprise anymore, but she has to come out of there sometime. And when she does... Shifter! Come here at once!" The spying monster that served him so well on Eltar appeared a few moments later in the throne room and stood beside Klank's dimensional portal device.
"Yes, my liege? How may I serve you?"
"There is someone you will be retrieving for me as soon as possible, a young woman. A very special young woman." Mondo called up Kahva's image on the viewscreen. "Remember this girl, she is to be brought to me at the first opportunity. Dismissed." As Shifter started to leave, Mondo called him back. "Something else, my servant. If the chance presents itself, you are to capture the Sapphire Ranger as well. Now go." Mondo watched the viewscreen as the last of his Cogs teleported back to the Skybase. "The child is a good bargaining chip, but having Sheena's husband as well will doubly insure the Silver Ranger's compliance with my wishes. But even without her precious Billy, I can still do a lot of damage with the girl. Have a nice reunion, Sheena. Pity for you it won't be a long one."
"I've found him, Sheena! He's in the park, not too far from where you and Billy were picnicking," Alpha announced. Sheena peered at the readouts over Alpha's shoulder, even after a year on the team, she still couldn't make heads or tails out of some of the controls. But she hadn't felt so bad about it after realizing that with the exception of Billy, and sometimes Adam, the other Rangers had just as hard a time with some of them. Billy walked over and punched up an image on the viewing globe.
"There he is - he does look like me," Billy stated with a bit of shock. "I've never had a twin, but I think I've got one now. Alpha, prepare to bring him here, if Mondo finds him -"
Alarms blared as Cogs and a holographic image of Mondo appeared around the young man on the viewing globe. MONDO HAS FOUND HIM, HURRY ALPHA. YOU MUST BRING HIM HERE AT ONCE, Zordon ordered. AFTER HE IS HERE, CONTACT THE OTHER RANGERS. Alpha hastily worked the teleportation controls, and a white teleportation beam surrounded the young man on the screen. A few seconds later, the beam appeared right beside Billy, and solidified into the form of the other dimensional visitor. Billy put his hand on Daniel's shoulder to turn him around, and had to duck a wild roundhouse punch instead.
"You're not taking me!" Daniel yelled. "Bring Kahva back - wait, you're human." It was Daniel's turn to stare as he got a good look at Billy. "You're - me, or I'm you, or... you're not with the metal guys, are you?" he asked suspiciously. Sheena walked over to him, extending her hand.
"Fortunately not, Mondo hasn't succeeded in turning one of us to his side permanently. Though he's certainly tried, and has come close on occasion. I'm Sheena Devereaux, this is Billy Cranston, my fianc‚." Daniel studied her and Billy for a moment, then finally shook her hand. "Man, the special effects get better every season," he joked. "I'm Daniel Whitley." He glanced around the main chamber, awed by all the controls and monitors. "I'll take a wild stab that since I've already run into a Bulk and Skull, and Cogs and King Mondo just then, that this is the Power Chamber? Though there wasn't a Sheena Devereaux character the last time I looked at the show. But I have to admit, I haven't watched the show all that much." Sheena smiled at that.
"No, I don't remember a character based on me before I came over either. I'm just glad we got you in here in time, Daniel. We were afraid that Mondo would find you before we did."
"You knew about me? You were looking for me? Did you guys bring us here?"
"We knew about you because Kahva was asking for you, she thought I was you at first," Billy supplied. "We brought you here to the Power Chamber, but we believe Mondo is the one who brought the two of you to this dimension."
"Kahva was asking for me? She's here? She's okay?" Daniel asked in an anxious rush. "Where is she? Mondo acted like he had her..." Sheena moved so that Daniel could see Kahva lying on one of the examining tables. "Kahva..." he breathed, then rushed to her side. He studied her face, she was a little pale, but seemed otherwise uninjured. "Is she okay? We were talking backstage at the arena, and everything went crazy." Daniel jumped as he saw Alpha for the first time, shuffling over to the other side of the table.
MBR> "She just needs to rest and recover from the dimensional teleportation, it appears. We need to check you also Daniel, to make sure that you're okay." Alpha tried to guide Daniel to another table, but he wouldn't move. "The other Rangers are on their way. Daniel?" The young man shook his head, he didn't want to leave Kahva's side. Sheena placed her hand on his shoulder and smiled reassuringly at him.
"She'll be okay, Alpha and Billy checked her out as soon as we got her here." Sheena turned Daniel to face her. "I know how you feel, she's my soul-sister, I don't want to let her out of my sight either." Daniel stood looking from Sheena to Kahva for a few moments, then was about to move to the other table so Alpha could check him when the rest of the Rangers materialized in the Power Chamber.
"Hey, I've still got that killer history exam to study for, couldn't Mondo have waited..." Rocky started to joke, but stopped as he and the others saw Daniel standing by Sheena and Billy, and someone else lying on an examining table. "Umm, guys, are my eyes getting weird from studying, or are there two Billys over there?" The other Rangers were in as much shock as Rocky, they couldn't say anything. Daniel laughed at their expressions.
"Guess I really am a Billy look-a-like. Nice to know that winning the contest wasn't a fluke." Sheena laughed then, and quickly made introductions. As Kahva stirred on the table, Daniel rushed back to her and helped her sit up. Sheena was relieved to see the she was a little more stable this time, and the color was slowly starting to creep back into her face. Daniel sat beside Kahva on the table as Alpha started to scan him. "Welcome back, sweetie."
"You've known me all of a few minutes and already I'm your sweetie? You don't waste time, Daniel." There was a short pause as Kahva realized what she'd said. "Daniel? Oh my God, I didn't know if you had gotten away, or if something had happened..." her voice trailed off as Daniel fiercely hugged her.
"Don't worry, I'm fine, as I'm sure Doctor Robot, Alpha, whatever your name is little guy," Daniel looked at Alpha, "will find out after he does... whatever it is that he's doing." Daniel grasped the edge of the table as a wave of dizziness struck him. "I just hope the room stops moving, it's making me a little dizzy here." Kahva hugged him back, then looked at Sheena.
"I thought I'd never see you again, Sheena. But I knew you were alive, I could feel it. Your dad and I knew you were still alive." Kahva's smile was replaced with sadness. Sheena moved over to her, she had a feeling she knew what was wrong, but had to ask the question just the same.
"How is my Dad?" she asked softly. Kahva's eyes welled up, and Sheena had her answer. "When?" Sheena's voice started to crack, Billy moved to hold her as Sheena took Kahva's hands in hers.
"A little over six months after you disap - 'left'. We never believed you were dead, we knew you were still alive. Sheena, he loved you so much, he couldn't have loved you anymore had you been his own flesh and blood. His last thoughts were of you, he wanted you to know that he understood. He didn't know why you had gone away, but he knew that if you could've warned us or told us, you would have. He didn't blame you in the least, he never did. And he also knew if you were kidnapped, like the police believed, that you would find your way back one day, that whoever had you wouldn't be able to keep you captive." Kahva tried to blink back tears. "He passed in his sleep, with all of us by his side. It was peaceful, there was no pain." Sheena moved from Billy to hug Kahva, for a long time they just held each other, crying. The other Rangers cried silently, they knew how much Sheena loved her adoptive father, and how worried she had been about him, about his health. No one said anything, there were no words that could be spoken. Sheena finally let Kahva go and the two of them dried their tears with tissues that Billy had produced. Sheena smiled at her husband.
"Thanks, Billy. Thank you for being there," Sheena told her best friend. "I know he thought of you as his daughter, too, even before the Britons passed away. Did they ever find out what started the fire at their store?" Kahva nodded, surprisingly, a smile crossed her face.
"It took three years, but they finally arrested their suspects last week. It was T. C. and Randy who did it. Remember, he'd escaped from jail about two weeks before the fire? Seems he was hiding out with T. C., and they robbed the store for some quick cash to get out of town. T. C. is trying to say it was an accident, that they didn't mean for a fire to start, but the evidence shows differently. She's finally getting her just rewards, I guess you could say. They've both been charged with the deaths of my adoptive parents." Kahva shook her head. "You know, I almost feel sorry for T. C. She's actually scared for once," she sighed. "But we both tried to get her to straighten out... I guess you can't win them all. She made her choice to break the law. Now she has to face up to what she did." Kahva shook her head and forced a smile. "But enough seriousness for now, I've got my soul-sister back! For a little while at least," she grinned. "What has been going on with you here, wherever here is, these past two years?" Sheena laughed, it was so good to hear her voice again.
"Oh, nothing much... My first year here was pretty uneventful. In the past year however, I've learned a martial art on another planet, fallen in love, become a superhero, now I'm their leader... little stuff like that, that's all," she joked. Kahva's eyes grew as big as saucers as she looked from Sheena to Billy, who once again had his arms around her. Sheena was alarmed as Kahva sank back against Daniel, her eyes closed.
"Are you all right?" she asked anxiously. For a few seconds there was no response, then Kahva's eyes popped open and she grinned wickedly.
"Psyche!!! That's payback, girl!"
Sheena was so relieved that Kahva was okay that she nearly choked. "Payback for what?" Kahva laughed as she looked at Billy and Sheena, she was enjoying some kind of private memory or joke. "For what??"
"Let me put it this way: I have only one request, Sheena. Turn off your transmitter to me when you kiss him, please!!" she said, pointing to Billy. Now it was Sheena's turn to be shocked.
"WHAT?? What are you talking about?" Kahva giggled, it wasn't often that she could surprise Sheena, and she had two years to catch up on.
"You remember my premonitions, right? They stopped after you left, but I think they've started up again, within the last few months, anyway. Well, I saw a 'Silver Ranger' without a helmet on, bowed over another Ranger in a dark blue uniform who was lying on a table like this, and the 'Silver Ranger' started to leave to get Mondo, to make him pay for what he'd done." All the other Rangers had been smiling at the exchange, but at this, they stiffened and paid strict attention. If the girl was talking about the incident with the bonsai tree... Sheena's eyes went wide, she had never said what she was going to do, but she had been thinking it, and had quietly sworn her oath over Billy. Kahva continued, "But then the one in dark blue woke up and hugged her and they kissed! It was you and Billy over there! I was so startled, I didn't see the flash flood rushing at me. I was out of action for nearly two months!" Sheena exchanged a look with Billy, he was just as surprised as she was.
"Two months... when was this?"
Kahva laughed again. "Look, you can kiss him all you want, just don't send the signal to me without warning!" Sheena quickly kissed Billy, just to annoy Kahva, and because she wanted to. Kahva wrinkled her nose at Sheena in mock irritation, then answered the question. "Oh, let's see, this was about six months ago. I messed up my back pretty bad, and had some bad cuts and deep bruises. I ended up with an infection that made me really sick about a week after getting taken down the river, but I got some great footage before all that happened, though. My camera flew out of my hands and landed safely on the riverbank, so the tape didn't get messed up. I had a news intern with me, he got the tape fed back to the station. My camera was dinged a bit but not broken. The station had sent me down to North Carolina to get footage of the damage and flooding from Hurricane Fran." Kahva looked from Sheena to Billy, they both had strange expressions on their faces. "Why do you ask?"
Sheena shook her head. "That's typical of you. You could break your spine, but if you get a good shot, you don't care." Sheena moved nervously. "Umm... we need to talk."
Now it was Kahva's turn to be nervous. "Umm... why?" Sheena took a deep breath and everything came out in a rush.
"Because six months ago I had to leave the planet for a while, and Billy told everyone that I had a sick friend I was taking care of. I was gone for two months." Kahva was quiet for a few moments.
"Oh great, knock me into a raging flooded river so you can go to another planet! Gee, thanks," she teased.
"I'll take you to Eltar, that's where I went. I think you would like it there." Kahva digested that for a second, then shook her head as what Sheena had said sank in.
"Wait a minute... 'another planet'?"
Sheena smiled. "Yes, Eltar. My ancestors came from there, so did Billy's and the other Rangers. We really should go to the -"
"So this is really real, I'm really in the Power Chamber, and I really haven't lost my mind?"
"It's really real, you're really in the Power Chamber, and you really haven't lost your mind." Kahva considered all of this, then took a deep breath of her own. She was all business now.
"Ok, so how did I get here?" Billy moved over to her and sat on the other side of her, while Sheena leaned against a console. For the first time, the other Rangers got a good look at the female stranger. Tanya gasped and whispered to the others, "She's the one in Sheena's picture! She's 'K. B.' Who is she?"
"As soon as they remember we're here, Sheena will introduce us, I'm sure," Tommy chuckled softly. Billy was starting to tell what they had figured out.
"Alpha's readouts show that the portal which brought you here came from the Machine Skybase, but it was altered somehow." Billy checked a printout that Alpha handed him. He scanned the data, then nodded. "So from what we can tell, Mondo didn't want you to land on Earth, he wanted you two, or Kahva at least, on the Skybase."
"That makes sense," Daniel broke in. "What I remember is seeing a hole of some sort opening by Kahva, then it started pulling her in. It didn't pull on me until I tried to help her."
"Wait a minute. Mondo is real here too?" Kahva asked.
"You better believe it. More real than I personally want him to be." Sheena answered. Kahva whistled softly.
"I've seen on the show what he did, like when he blew Billy off course to the Power Chamber when he was coming back from Aquitar so he could capture him, and Billy ended up heading straight to the sun." Billy shivered at that memory.
"Please... that's not one of my fonder memories."
"But the Rangers were able to pull him back on course," Kahva continued. "But before all that, the Command Center blew up after the Rangers got the Zeo Crystal back together. Goldar and Rito had planted an implosion device for Zedd and Rita, and stole the Crystal while Tanya was in the Command Center with Alpha and Zordon. Now here's what I've always wanted to know: Why did you jump on that panel Billy? No one was really close to it, at least not on the show." Billy took his turn at being confused this time.
"What? That's not exactly how it happened, what are you talking about?"
Sheena laughed dryly, "Looks like some things are different between this world and the world we came from, Kahva."
"So, Billy didn't absorb a high amount of negative proton molecules that prevented him from taking the Gold Ranger powers?"
"Who was the science consultant on this show? I need to straighten out their science, sounds like," Billy laughed.
"Have they introduced me... uh... a Silver Ranger yet?" Sheena asked. Kahva didn't seem to hear her, she continued on, sorting out fact from fiction.
"And obviously you aren't aging rapidly Billy, and don't have to go to Aquitar, and then stay there because you're in love with Cestria."
"What?!" Sheena exploded. She looked ready to bite something in half, like a steel bar.
"Cestria? Who's Cestria? And what's this about aging?" Billy asked.
"Well, when you used the power coins to reverse the effects of Master Vile's time warp, it caused some kind of instability or something, I don't remember exactly, and you started to age rapidly, you turned into an old man in a few hours. The 'Eternal Falls' or something like that on Aquitar was the only thing that could reverse the effect and cure you. Then you stayed on Aquitar to be with Cestria.
"The only person you better stay with is me, buddy!" Sheena warned half-jokingly.
"I don't remember too much about that episode, it was a two-parter. I hated it, because they didn't even get David Yost to say the lines at the end. They used old footage to set up the aging scene at the start of the show, and then the good-bye part at the end. They really should've hired you to write on the show, Sheena."
Sheena smiled and laughed. "Thanks, I've gotten better since I got here, too. And like you said, the aging thing hasn't happened. Billy's a Power Ranger again."
"Wait a minute," Kahva stared at Sheena. "In the show, there isn't a Silver Ranger, or a - what are you now, Billy? The Sapphire Ranger? That's the name that's been coming to me in my premonitions." Billy nodded yes. Sheena grinned at Kahva.
"The fans in our old world are missing out big time by not knowing about the Silver and Sapphire Rangers, I personally think. But then again, I'm biased," Sheena laughed.
"Well, right now most everybody is having fits, the Billy fans are having fits, anyway, because Billy isn't on the show anymore, and because the new Blue Turbo Power Ranger is supposed to be an eleven-year-old kid. That's the rumor on the Net, at least." Kahva was startled by the sound of other voices laughing, she hadn't been aware that there were other people in the room. "All - all the Billy fans are upset that he's not on the show anymore," she finished with a slight hesitancy.
"An eleven-year-old? Hey, Rocky, sounds like you're being replaced," Billy called over to the Blue Ranger. "And Turbo? What is that supposed to be? Race cars?"
"Well, umm, from what I saw on some web pages, they look like high powered go-carts to me. The Turbo powers are supposed to be the new powers," Kahva answered nervously, very aware of all the eyes on her now. All of the Rangers laughed at her statement about new powers.
"Nope, I think we're going to hang on to our current powers," Billy assured her.
Tommy walked over to Kahva and added, "Yeah, we've gotten used to these, I think. But we haven't been introduced to you yet. They've called you Kahva, but you're not the ghost we've met. I'm Tommy Oliver, the Red Zeo Power Ranger. But you probably know that from the TV show." Kahva hesitantly took his extended hand and shook it. If he didn't know better, Tommy would've sworn that the girl was scared of him.
"Kahva Briton. I don't know any ghosts, I'm sorry. Sheena?" Kahva pleaded.
"Ok, let's make some introductions here," Sheena intervened. Quickly introductions were made all around, and Kahva finally began to relax a little again. Tommy watched the girl, she seemed very uncomfortable at being the center of attention. Sheena was hovering around the new arrival protectively, and Daniel hadn't let go of Kahva since he had sat down beside her. If anything, he seemed to be holding her even closer. Billy had picked up on her discomfort too, he was being as protective as Sheena. As he watched, Tommy found that all of the Rangers' protective streaks were showing, all of them wanted to make Kahva feel more at ease. Kahva finally managed to put more than two or three words together again, and asked Sheena how all of this had begun. Sheena was only too happy to fill her in. "Let's see, about fifteen thousand years ago..." Tommy smiled to himself. Sheena was giving the nutshell version of Kahva Kilanye, and how she had brought Sheena over to this dimension, then of her becoming the Silver Ranger, Billy's becoming the Sapphire Ranger and marrying Sheena all in the space of a little over twenty-four hours. She continued on, flying over the past year's events in an hour, and would've kept on going in her enthusiasm, but Kahva's eyes were starting to glaze over a bit, she was experiencing information overload. The look on her face said it all, 'I've just asked a writer for a history lesson, and writers go big on details... bad move!' Billy jumped to her rescue.
"Okay, enough TV show comparisons, enough history, let's not drown her with too much at one time, sweetie. What we need to do right now is figure out how Mondo got Kahva and Daniel here, and why, based on what Daniel saw, Mondo is after her." Sheena went from happy reunion mode to serious team leader in less than a heartbeat.
"He must know that she's my best friend, maybe he wanted to use her as a hostage to get me back as his servant. He never can take no for an answer." The Rangers killed a few hours throwing out whys, hows and maybes. Kahva was completely silent during the discussion, she watched Sheena with a practiced eye, experienced from their years of friendship. She knew Sheena down to her core, and noticed Sheena's discomfort at the thought of Mondo wanting her to serve him again. She's afraid not that it could happen, she's knows that's a risk just by being a Ranger. She's afraid that it WILL happen again, she's afraid of what Mondo will make her do. I've got to get her to talk it out, talk out the fear, or it just might happen... Jason was remembering the photos Sheena had shown them that morning, and guessed that Mondo might have been spying on them at the Juice Bar.
"Good guess, but that that doesn't explain about the scans Mondo was doing, or why Cogs were at the old palace on the moon. Where does that fit in?"
OUR READOUTS INDICATE MONDO WAS SEARCHING FOR A SPECIFIC ENERGY SIGNATURE WITH HIS DIMENSIONAL SCANS, BUT EXACTLY WHAT THE SIGNATURE IS, OR WHY HE WAS TRYING TO FIND IT IS UNCLEAR. Kahva jumped as she heard Zordon speak for the first time. WE DO KNOW ONE THING, THOUGH. A FEW HOURS BEFORE KAHVA AND DANIEL WERE BROUGHT HERE, THE SCANS STOPPED. Zordon didn't go into any more detail than that. He didn't have proof of his suspicions, but he felt that Mondo wanted Kahva for another reason, not just because she was Sheena's best friend. He had watched her for the past few hours, she reminded him of Elysia in small, tiny ways. How she was being so quiet, except for when she seemed to forget that anyone else was there but Sheena. Her comment about having premonitions... ALACOR AND HIS FAMILY LINE SURVIVED. IS SHE OF HIS LINE? IS IT POSSIBLE?
"So Mondo is after me, or both of us," Kahva shivered. "I want to go home."
"That's the other thing we have to figure out. How do we get you and Daniel back to where you belong?" Billy stated the question to no one in particular. "But if we don't find out why Mondo wants you, then you won't be safe anywhere but here, with us." Sheena pointed to Kahva's bags with a wry grin.
"Well, Daniel wasn't prepared for a trip, but you've got enough supplies for a while, looks like. We'll find some clothes for you Daniel, both of you need to stay here so Alpha can keep a check on you and make sure you've recovered from being pulled here. And we all need to get some sleep, has anyone stopped to realize it is dark outside now?" The Rangers glanced in surprise at their watches, they had been at it for a long time. They all said their good-byes to Kahva and Daniel before they left, all agreeing if Daniel and Kahva were up to it, they would meet at the Juice Bar the next day, in the early afternoon. As Daniel finally settled on one of the three examining tables, much to Alpha's relief, since he hadn't finished his scans of him, Sheena looked Kahva directly in her eyes. "Want to tell me what all of this is? Daniel mentioned you guys were backstage at the arena when you were taken, and said something about a contest he won. You don't need all of this for a simple shoot."
Kahva looked down at the floor for a long time, then back up at Sheena. "I was leaving Richmond. Leaving for good. Sheena, I couldn't handle it anymore, if I had just gotten to your place a few minutes earlier, I thought I could've stopped whatever had happened, I could've changed things somehow... I know now that you would've still been brought over here, but I always felt I lost you, it was my fault..." Sheena hugged her friend reassuringly.
"You didn't lose me, you never have. We've always been in each other's thoughts and hearts. 'Together forever, always and eternity' that's what we swore, remember? Anything that's happened to me is not your fault, you should never blame yourself for that. Promise?"
"Only on one condition."
Now Kahva was the one looking stern. "You have to promise not to blame yourself for my being brought over here. I know you, Sheena Devereaux, and that's what you've been doing ever since you found me, blaming yourself, I can see it in your eyes. You can't control what Mondo does, or who he decides to go after. But you can fight him, you always have that option. Now, promise?" The two girls laughed as they finished lecturing each other. Kahva laid down to sleep, Alpha promised to call Sheena if anything happened during the night with either Daniel or Kahva. As Sheena drifted off to sleep, one thought nagged at her.
If Mondo was looking for an energy signature, and Kahva matched it, then what is it? Why is it so important to him? Mother Goddess, please keep her and Daniel safe, I fear we haven't seen anything yet from Mondo...
Sheena showered and dressed quickly that morning, she had tip-toed into the main chamber after she woke up to take a quick look at Kahva and Daniel. Both were asleep then, but as she entered now, she found that Daniel was up and moving about, Kahva was still asleep. Daniel looked a little worn out to Sheena. "Didn't sleep well?" she asked softly, not wanting to wake Kahva yet. Daniel looked at Kahva, then turned to speak with Sheena in hushed tones.
"She was having a really bad nightmare last night... I don't know if 'nightmare' even begins to describe it. She was mumbling about Cogs and needles, calling out your name, and woke up screaming three times. Alpha finally gave her a shot of some mild sedative after she went back to sleep that last time, I think maybe it helped. Alpha said she didn't scream or wake up again after that. Sheena," he paused, then started again. "I don't know what she's seeing in her dreams, but if she really has premonitions, and this is one of them, then something terrible is going to happen, and Kahva's terrified. And I think it's safe to say that you are in a lot of danger. She wouldn't tell me about the nightmare, see if you can get her to talk about it, please?" Sheena nodded as Billy and Tommy teleported in.
"Feeling ok this morning, Daniel?" Billy asked. Daniel nodded and stretched, he was still trying to work the kinks out of his back.
"Nothing that a hot shower and a good breakfast can't cure. I'm not dizzy anymore, that's the main thing." Tommy grinned at him.
"We can take care of that, no problem. Billy's mom and dad have already left his house, so we can get you in there for a shower and some fresh clothes. Jason, Billy and I are closest to your size, so we've brought some things over to Billy's place for you to try. As for breakfast, Mr. Trueheart has invited us over to his place at the reservation for breakfast. How he knew we had visitors I'll never know, I hadn't even told David yet. Mr. Trueheart just told him call me and send the invitation. We'll all be there, we're all invited." Daniel smiled and tried to stretch his back again, he still felt stiff.
"Sounds good to me."
"Me too, if 'we're all invited' includes we girls," Kahva's drowsy voice came from the other table. Daniel moved over to hug her as she sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "Morning, I assume?"
"You assume correctly, Kahva. Did you finally get some sleep? Daniel said you were having bad dreams," Sheena asked, her concern showing plainly on her face. Kahva nodded, getting quiet as she looked at Tommy. She wasn't nervous like she'd been the night before, he thought, but still seemed a little wary around anyone other than Daniel, Billy or Sheena.
"I think I did, but I don't know if Daniel did. Every time I woke up, he was right there with me, Alpha too. Sorry I kept waking you up." Daniel smiled and ruffled her sleep-mussed hair.
"No problem, you can't help nightmares." He grunted and stretched again. "Man, I'm stiff, I -" he started to say something more, but stopped as Kahva started to massage his shoulders and neck, then worked down to his back. Tommy recognized the look of relief on his face, it was practically identical to Billy's when Sheena had massaged his neck after the Cog attack six months earlier, when they were dealing with the poison bonsai tree. Kahva was telling Daniel to breathe slowly, deeply and evenly, to empty his mind of everything. After about ten minutes she stopped, and Daniel smiled. "Wow, where'd you learn that? I feel great!"
Kahva shrugged. "During my college orientation, I went to a stress management seminar. They taught us a few massage and breathing techniques for relaxation. It's no big deal."
"No big deal? Girl, you taught me and I'm nowhere near as good as you. About the only thing I've never seen you be able to massage away is one of Todd's really bad migraines, and even those you could relieve to a big extent. Don't sell yourself so short!" Sheena told her. Billy smiled and moved over to Kahva.
"So you're the one I owe my undying gratitude to. Thanks for teaching Sheena," he said, placing a light kiss on her cheek. Kahva blushed a deep red, and stammered something about needing to shower and change. Alpha showed her where the showers to the personal quarters were, Sheena grabbed Kahva's overnight bag and followed her. When Sheena came back into the main chamber, Tommy was the only one left.
"Billy and Daniel went ahead, I wanted to make sure Kahva was okay before I left."
Sheena chuckled. "She'll be okay I think, she's just a bit overwhelmed by everything. Remember, I met you guys after I had been here a year, she and Daniel were hit with all of you within a few minutes." Tommy smiled at that.
"Point taken. Daniel seems to be more relaxed around us though. I guess Kahva's kinda shy?"
Sheena nodded in agreement. "She's always been quiet, ever since the first day we met. Once she's comfortable around you, then she'll open up more, she'll talk more. Even back then, back home, unless it was one of us, she was still quiet. I think it has something to do with being in the orphanage until she was eight years old. She wasn't adopted early on like I was, and when she finally went to the Britons, they were her foster parents to start with. They were able to adopt her when she was about ten, I think. But at the orphanage, from what little she's told me, she could rarely make friends, and it seemed that every time she did, they left. And none of the adults that worked there really got attached to the kids. Somewhere in there is still that little girl who's afraid she'll lose someone if she gets too close. That's my guess, she won't talk about the orphanage too much."
"She seems pretty attached to Daniel already. And fairly at ease around Billy, unless he kisses her again," Tommy smiled.
"She was talking to Daniel before they were yanked over here by Mondo. They've gone through a pretty traumatic event together, being 'attached' is only natural. Kahva also has a really strong protective streak in her, if she thinks a friend is in trouble, she'll do whatever she can to help them. She's doesn't like fighting, but if she has to, to defend a friend, she'll do whatever she can and then some. I'll have to tell you about how she stood up to a bully at the roller rink sometime. As for Billy, he's my fianc‚, and I'm here, so she feels safe around him. My being here makes her feel safe, or safer, at least, around all of you. More secure and sure of herself, you know?" Sheena grinned and gave a short laugh. "She's got a sharp sense of humor too, if she relaxes enough, you'll see it. You've already seen her tease me, when she didn't realize you guys were here. Hey, you'd better go before the guys wonder what happened to you. We'll meet you at the reservation." Tommy teleported away, and a few minutes later, Kahva entered the main chamber showered, dressed, and looking like she felt a bit better. "Feel human again?"
"Maybe close, anyway. I do feel better, the dizziness yesterday wasn't fun. Neither were the nightmares last night. I feel so bad, Daniel probably didn't get any sleep at all with me screaming. I really need to apologize to him." Sheena hugged Kahva reassuringly.
"He understands, trust me. He seems to be kinda sweet on you. I like him." Kahva smiled at that, it was obvious that she liked him too. "Kahva, before we go, do you want to tell me about the nightmare? Or should I say premonition? It's got you spooked, maybe talking about it will help." Kahva stared at the floor for the longest time, and as Sheena thought maybe Kahva wasn't going to say anything at all, the frightening vision poured out in a rush. After a few minutes, even Sheena was shivering.
"Now that I'm here, I don't know if I was seeing Billy and myself, or Billy and you, but promise me you'll be careful Sheena. I've just found you, I can't lose you now. Promise me, please?" she begged her. Sheena nodded her promise, then they left for the reservation in the Rad Bug to meet the others. Through the morning meal, Sheena pulled the other Rangers over one by one and quietly told them of Kahva's premonition. No one could say for sure whether it could come true or not, but Kahva had 'seen' Sheena and Billy in the Power Chamber six months earlier... They all agreed that what she'd dreamed couldn't be ignored. Until they found out why Mondo had brought her and Daniel over, anything was possible, and one thing was clear: Kahva and Daniel couldn't be allowed to go anywhere without at least one Ranger with them. Kahva and Daniel agreed to that readily, and when everyone left, Kahva went with Sheena, while Daniel decided to go with Billy. As Sheena and Kahva took the Rad Bug again so Sheena could show her the cabin, Kahva shivered uncontrollably for a few moments. "Someone's been watching us, ever since we left the Power Chamber, I can feel it, Sheena. It's him, he's been watching us all morning. It's Mondo, I can feel his eyes."
Shifter watched from the shadows as the Rangers went their separate ways, his master had sent him down as soon as the Skybase's sensors had shown that Kahva was out of the Power Chamber. All he had to do was wait for the right moment to lure her away... There was one problem, however. The Rangers weren't about to let her out of their sight, or the young man who had been brought over with her, either. And Shifter was certain that Kahva would only go somewhere willingly with a Ranger. He hoped when the moment was right, he could lure away the Sapphire Ranger as well, Mondo wanted him as extra insurance. But which was which, that was the question.
"Come on you idiot humans, go somewhere where I can get her," he urged as he followed Sheena and Kahva to a wooded area, but then lost sight of the Rad Bug. He teleported to the Juice Bar, Klank had contacted him to tell him the others were heading over there. He posed as a police officer at first, so no one would question his being there, watching as they arrived in intervals, carefully trying to keep track of who was there. He soon had to give up that guise and hide in the bushes, too many people were asking him for directions and other stupid questions. His patience was finally rewarded as he saw the Silver Ranger and Kahva driving up to the building, then entering a few moments later. "That means they are all there, except for two Rangers, and the human Daniel, I didn't see him enter. I'd better wait and make sure, I can't afford to make a mistake now." He'd been traipsing after these humans since morning, now it was early afternoon and he was close to being able to make his move, he was certain of it. Some minutes later the Pink Ranger and a human that Shifter knew was the Red Ranger's brother, David Trueheart, arrived. That left one Ranger and Daniel not there, according to his count, if he hadn't missed anyone. "I'll wait a few more minutes, then lure her away. She won't know the danger she's in until it's too late." Shifter took the human form he needed to carry out his mission. "Prepare to serve my master, Kahva Briton. It is only a matter of time."
Tommy was already in his customary red gi when Sheena and Kahva arrived at the Juice Bar, eager to show what he'd learned of ki-see to the others. Sheena only needed a couple of minutes to change into her gi and promptly put her first pupil through a series of warm-ups before she would allow Tommy to demonstrate his first basic ki-see kata. They had already attracted a bit of attention out in the gym area, for normally it was Tommy teaching someone in martial arts, not the other way around. Tommy took off the top of his gi, sweat already shining on his bare chest. All the young people stood off to the side of the mat as Sheena motioned for Tommy to begin. His movements started out slow, a bit hesitant, but fluid. As he fell into the kata his movements grew faster, more intricate. His hair came loose from its ponytail, but Tommy didn't seem to notice as one move flowed into the other.
Kat and David walked into the Juice Bar and noticed that there didn't seem to be the usual amount of conversation in the building. "Wonder what's going on?" Kat asked David.
David's eyebrows shot up as he answered in awe, "My brother, I think." Kat followed David's gaze out onto the practice mat and saw what everyone in the Juice Bar and gym area were watching. Tommy whirled, bent, swayed and jumped in ways that seemed impossible, his hair flying wild and free, sweat glistening on his chest and shoulders. His movements were incredible, exquisite, powerful and beautiful. He seemed to virtually fly across the mat, if he was touching it, Kat couldn't tell. Watching him was taking her breath away.
"Oh my stars, he's beautiful," a female voice breathlessly whispered just to Kat's left. She turned and saw Stephanie, the petite blonde from some of Rocky's classes staring at Tommy, drinking him in with her grey eyes. She tilted her head, as if a sudden thought hit her, and then she smiled with satisfaction. Kat was startled at her reaction, until a quick glance around revealed that nearly every single female with a clear view of Tommy was in the same condition. As Tommy's kata ended, there was applause from all of his unexpected audience. David ran over to congratulate his brother, Kat right on his heels.
"Bro, that was incredible! Think I can learn one day?"
Tommy chuckled as he caught the towel Jason tossed him. "It's not easy, that was a beginner's kata." Tommy's smile faded a bit as Kat walked up with fire in her eyes.
She sharply tugged his hair and hissed only loud enough for their friends to hear, "Just what do you think you're doing Thomas Oliver?!"
"Ow! Hey, what was that for?"
"As if you didn't know! How could you do that?" Kat stalked off in a huff out of the gym, leaving a bewildered Tommy in her wake.
"What did I do??" Tommy was stunned, Kat had never acted like that before. "What did I do?"
Billy nearly jumped out of his skin as Kahva moved from his side. She had been quiet all morning at the reservation, not saying much to anyone, and after she and Sheena had arrived, Kahva had taken a place in the corner slightly behind him and had silently watched everyone. She'd been so inconspicuous, he had honestly forgotten she was there. Now however, a quirky little grin replaced the shy expression she'd been wearing earlier. Billy stole a quick glance at Sheena, she had a rather expectant look on her face.
Tommy jumped nearly as much as Billy had as he turned and suddenly found himself looking at Kahva, who'd soundlessly walked over to him. "Tommy," she calmly said, her quirky grin still firmly in place, "you're an absolutely gorgeous, athletic young man who just finished a rather alluring kata. You're sweating, your hair is flying wild and free, nearly every single female here is devouring you with their eyes, and you have to ask what you did?" David was leaning against the wall for support, snickering, the other guys were about to lose their poker faces as well. "Let me put it more simply. You are a prime cut of steak, perfectly prepared for consumption, being waved in front of a pack of ravenous she-wolves. It's a wonder you haven't been mauled." Kahva started to head for a table in the Juice Bar, but abruptly turned and lifted Tommy's hair, apparently examining his neck. "Hmm, no teethmarks, you haven't been chewed on. I think we can still serve you to the public." Tommy's jaw nearly hit the floor as she calmly walked over to a table. Daniel stumbled over to join her, laughing all the way. David couldn't stand anymore, he sat down hard on the floor, laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his face. The other guys weren't much better off, leaning against each other or anything else that could support them. Sheena chuckled and draped a reassuring arm about Tommy's shoulders.
"I thought she was supposed to be the quiet one?" Tommy asked, having been stunned by two young women now.
"I warned you her sense of humor was sharp."
"I would call it a bit wicked, myself," Billy grinned as he moved over to Sheena's side. "I think I could get used to it." Sheena smiled broadly, it was good to see Kahva coming out of her shell around her friends.
"She does have a point, Tommy. You are quite attractive out here, half-dressed and sweaty," Sheena teased. Billy playfully covered Sheena's eyes.
"Hey, you're only supposed to notice me like that! Tommy, put some clothes on, please!!" Tommy shook his head ruefully as David managed to pull himself together enough to toss him the top of his gi.
"I guess I'd better go find her and get this straightened out. Billy, did you see where she went?"
"I'll help you find her man. We can't have you in the hot seat too long, come on." Billy and Tommy left to find Kat, while Rocky and Jason took the mat to start their karate sparring match.
After a few minutes of searching, Billy waved Tommy over. "There she is, at the end of the building." Tommy moved to go to her, but stopped when he realized that Billy wasn't moving.
"You're not coming with me?"
"What, and get caught in the crossfire? I know better than that. I'll wait here for you guys, this is something you need to work out between yourselves."
Tommy walked over to Kat quietly, almost put his hand on her shoulder, but thought better of it. "Kat?" When she didn't answer him, Tommy decided to forge ahead. "Look, I'm sorry if I made you mad or jealous, I didn't know I had a bunch of hungry she-wolves wanting to eat me alive out there." Kat turned to him with an arched eyebrow. "Kahva roasted me pretty well with her wit. I think I'm well-done now. Look, seriously, I didn't know, I still don't know what anybody did while I was in the kata. When you're really concentrating, in the ki-see trance, as Sheena calls it, you're not really aware of what's around you as you practice the moves and hear the litany in your head. All I was doing was trying to do my best in the kata, that's all, honest! Forgive me, please? For whatever I did? I won't do it again," he pleaded with her hopefully. Kat tried to look stern, but couldn't.
"Oh, you know I can't stay mad at you, Tommy," she relented. "But when I saw how all the girls, especially Stephanie, were looking at you... I guess I got jealous. I should've known better. If you forgive me, I'll forgive you - on one condition."
"Done! What is it, anything?"
"Don't you ever practice anything more than your basic beginner's ki-see kata out there."
"That was a beginner's kata."
"Then if you ever do it in there again, you'll do it in a snowsuit and floor-length parka, not shirtless."
"How about if I only practice ki-see at the Power Chamber, in the workout room?"
"Even better." Kat and Tommy kissed for a long time, then broke apart as they heard someone walking up, it was Adam. "I think we'd better go back inside now, before they think I've run you through a meat grinder," Kat suggested.
"Hey guys! Meat grinder?" Adam asked as they went to join Billy and head back into the gym. Tommy told Adam a little of what had happened, then Billy told Kat and Adam what Kahva had said. After they'd recovered a bit from laughing, and Tommy had stopped blushing, Adam gasped, "Kahva said that? I thought she was the quiet one."
"She's quiet, yes, but her humor is deadly," Tommy admitted.
"I think I'm really going to like her," Kat smiled. "I'm going to miss her and Daniel when they go home." The others nodded in agreement as they entered the gym.
Daniel was sitting by Kahva's side as he watched Billy and Tommy leave. "I guess they're going to find Kat so Tommy can beg for forgiveness," he chuckled. "You have got one wicked sense of humor, girl. I never would've guessed it. I suppose there are a lot of things I have to learn about you."
"It's not like I know everything about you either, Daniel," Kahva blushed. She turned and looked at the door. "Where's Adam? I haven't seen him yet."
"Changing the subject, are we? All right, I won't press. Adam had a class, then he was coming straight over here. I think they've all got spring break coming up by the end of the week." Kahva nodded and stared into her drink that Ernie had brought over. She'd hardly touched it, while Daniel had already gone through half of his.
"That'll be good, Sheena and Billy won't have to rush back from their honeymoon. Sheena said they're getting married 'for real' this Saturday. They make a really nice couple." Daniel gently placed his hand over hers so she would look at him.
"Kahva? You really are shy around people, aren't you? When you're around Sheena, you're more talkative, as long as you don't remember there's anyone else around. You're more relaxed around me than the other guys, I guess that's because of what happened... Kahva? Is it so hard for you to let someone get to know you? I want to be your friend, not just because we've been yanked to another world together, but because I like you, and I hope you like me. I'd like for us to be more than friends one day, if you want to. But I won't press, I don't want to scare you. I want you to feel safe with me, I want you to know I'm your friend." And that I find I can't get you out of my mind or heart, he mentally added.
Kahva smiled at Daniel, she felt at ease him, he was so nice. She wondered at herself, she'd never felt so relaxed this quickly with a guy before, why was it happening now? Part of her still wanted to hide her soul from him, but she found she couldn't, and she answered him in spite of herself.
"I've always had a hard time making friends, I guess. I've never been comfortable being around a lot of people, not when I'm supposed to be talking to everybody, anyway. Growing up at the orphanage, I was always the girl who nobody knew who I was, where I was from, where I belonged. Having a first name like Kahva, then the state-assigned last name of Smith didn't help any. I was either picked on because of my first name when I was little, or people had a hard time saying it and then they would look at me funny. I don't know, I guess it was just easier to let people ignore me. Most everyone at the orphanage was certainly good at doing that." Kahva sighed and smiled. "Sheena really is my soul-sister, you know, it's not something we say because it sounds cute. She made high school survivable for me. She and our group of friends. With them, I finally felt like I had a place where I belonged... I guess what I'm trying to say, and not doing a very good job of it, is that I need some time. I'm not used to getting attention, especially from a guy. But I'd really like to get to know you better too. And," she smiled, "I wouldn't mind it one bit if we became more than friends. I'd like that, I think." Anything else that might have been said was interrupted by Adam's arrival at their table. "Hey, you two."
"Hi, Adam. We were beginning to wonder where you were," she answered. "Daniel said you had a class?" Adam seemed puzzled by that.
"Uh, yeah, right. Well, I'm here now." He cast a look around the room, then in a hushed voice announced, "There's something I need to show you Kahva, you too," he motioned to Daniel. "It isn't far from here, let's go."
"Shouldn't we wait for the others?" Kahva asked, looking back at Sheena. Adam shook his head, he was already moving towards the exit.
"They'll meet us there in a few minutes, but right now you two need to see this first." Daniel shrugged and got up to follow Adam, Kahva stood a second later, but something felt a little weird. She picked up her unfinished drink, and Daniel's empty glass.
"I'll be right with you, let me take these back," she told them. Adam seemed impatient, but nodded. Kahva went over to the counter and motioned to Ernie. The portly man smiled broadly and came over to her and took the glasses. "Umm, Ernie, right? I'm Kahva, one of Sheena's friends. Please, when they get through down there with the sparring, could you tell Sheena that Daniel and I left with Adam? I think we're going to the park so he can show us something." Ernie promised and she thanked him, then Kahva joined Daniel and an agitated Adam, who was shifting from one foot to the other. They left the Juice Bar and as Kahva had guessed, they were heading in the direction of the park. Something still felt off, the sensation of cold eyes on her she'd had all day was even stronger than before. "So what's so important that we couldn't wait for the others?" she inquired, hoping to get some kind of answer from Adam.
"You'll see, we're almost there," he replied a tad coldly. A few minutes later they were indeed in the park, a group of Boy and Girl Scouts were doing a joint cleanup project. There was even a TV news crew covering them. Kahva could've sworn she saw Adam's upper lip curl in a silent snarl for a second, but then it was gone and they were past the kids. Not only was Adam's attitude bothering her, she had an eerie sense of d‚j… vu, she had seen all this before, she thought. Kahva wished there had been a couple of spare communicators at the Power Chamber that she and Daniel could have borrowed, she really wanted to call Sheena... communicators... Kahva tugged on Daniel's arm and put her finger to her lips to keep him quiet. She held him until Adam was several feet ahead of them.
"We have to get back to the Juice Bar, this isn't right," she whispered. "We've gotta get out of here, now." Daniel gave her a confused look, but whispered also.
"What do you mean, we're here with Adam, everything's okay, and if anything happens, he can call the other Rangers -"
"If he's Adam Park, the Green Zeo Power Ranger, then where is his communicator? He was wearing it this morning." Daniel looked as Kahva pointed to Adam's left wrist, it was bare.
"Maybe he lost it?"
"Possibly, but if he did, would he risk taking us away from the others, without a way to call for backup? I don't think so. Add that to his not seeming to know what I was talking about when I asked about his class... do the math, something's off here." Kahva looked at Adam, he was still walking away, unaware they weren't following him. "Daniel, I've seen this part of the park before... " Kahva stopped as it hit her what was going to happen. "Daniel! This is where the attack against Billy and me, or Billy and Sheena happened in my premonition. But it's not them, it's us. We're the ones who are going to be attacked!" Kahva yanked Daniel back the way they had come, he needed no further urging.
"Going somewhere, child?" Kahva let out a little scream as suddenly Adam was right in front of them. "Mondo wouldn't like it if you refused his invitation to see him in the Skybase." Cogs began to appear all around them, cutting off any avenue of escape. "You have something he wants, my dear, and he's waiting for you to come and be his slave."
"She's not going anywhere with you, whoever you are!" Daniel declared. The fake Adam laughed coldly at him.
"As if you can stop us. You've lost, why don't you just come along peacefully, that way she won't get hurt," he hissed, his eyes now glowing red as he scowled at them. The Cogs were closing in on them.
Kahva warily watched the Cogs. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about fighting, would you?" she asked Daniel hopefully.
"I played an amateur boxer in a play at college, that's about it."
"And I don't think my one or two self-defense judo moves are going to be of much help, but it's all we've got. Consider this an acting exercise and improvise, we've got to buy time until the Rangers can get here," she told him. Sheena, we need you! Mondo's goons are after us! Kahva yelled mentally, desperately hoping for a miracle.
Then as one, the Cogs attacked.
Sheena and Tanya were about to start their karate sparring match when Sheena suddenly reeled and staggered. Billy, Tommy, Adam and Kat entered in time to see Tanya steadying Sheena and leading her to a nearby bench. "Whoa, girl, you okay?" Tanya asked. Sheena shook her head and gave Billy a puzzled look as he sat beside her.
"That wasn't you who yelled, I don't think. I'm pretty sure I heard something."
"What? I'm right here, why would I yell... you mean our link? No, I didn't even whisper, what's wrong?" Sheena frowned, and looked around the room, searching for someone.
"I didn't think it was you, it sounded like a female voice, it sounded like Kahva, I think. But I've never heard her voice in my mind before." Sheena stood, she was steady now. "Where are Kahva and Daniel?" Eight pairs of eyes scanned the Juice Bar and the gym area, the newcomers were nowhere in sight. "Come on, maybe Ernie saw them leave."
"Why would they leave? They're not supposed to go anywhere without one of us."
"That what I'm afraid to find out, Jason. That voice, if it was Kahva's, was scared, and in trouble. David, could you stay here in case they come back?" Her cousin nodded and the Rangers went to the counter to talk to Ernie. "Hey Ernie? Have you seen Kahva and Daniel? They came in with us, Kahva looks kinda a lot like me, and Daniel is practically a clone of Billy." Ernie smiled and nodded.
"Yeah, she said to tell you they left with Adam, she thought they were going to the park, he had something to show them." All eyes turned to Adam then, who quickly covered his surprise.
"Umm, yeah, but we got separated, I'd hoped they would come back here."
"Haven't seen them, but I'll tell them to wait for you guys if they show up."
"Thanks, Ernie," Adam replied, then they exited the Juice Bar and immediately went behind the building, out of sight. "Guys, I don't know what's going on. I just got here and the first ones I saw were Tommy and Kat, then Billy. I haven't seen Kahva or Daniel since breakfast at the reservation this morning." Sheena's face showed a flash of fear, then went hard as she called the Power Chamber.
"Alpha, Zordon, this is Sheena. Can you pick up Kahva or Daniel on the sensors?" There was a pause before Alpha answered.
"I can't pick them up, Sheena, I can barely lock in on your communicators. Something is scrambling our sensors," came Alpha worried reply. Sheena felt her heart stop.
"Alpha, teleport us to the park and keep trying to find them, something's very wrong. Sheena out." A second later, eight beams of colored light left from behind the Juice Bar and flew over to the park. The Rangers materialized behind some bushes, as they stepped out on the nearby path, they spotted a group of Boy and Girl Scouts working on a park cleanup project. Sheena motioned to one of the leaders and asked if they had seen Kahva or Daniel. He pointed down the path, it led to a rarely visited area of the park. As the eight young people vanished down the path, the news reporter who had been covering the Scouts spotted them.
"Hey Carl, wasn't that Billy Cranston and his fianc‚e with their friends?"
"I don't know, why?" The ambitious blonde woman frowned at him in irritation.
"Don't you pay attention to the news? You work in news, for Pete's sake! Billy Cranston is the whiz kid who about a year and a half ago or so, was personally invited to go to the planet the Alien Rangers are from, surely you remember them? He was interviewed when he got back, NASA wanted to recruit him... if I could score an interview with him now, just before he gets married, I'll make network for sure! Come on, let's see if we can catch up with them."
Kahva was doing a little better than she thought she would against the Cogs. Very little, she thought as she tried to avoid the grasp of another Cog. She had actually managed to flip the first two that tried to catch her, but the element of surprise was no longer hers. Daniel had imitated her move and flipped a couple of Cogs himself, but they were ganging up on both of them now, Kahva and Daniel were badly outnumbered and overmatched. "Leave us alone, creeps!" she yelled as she tripped one Cog who was trying to sneak up on Daniel. Impossibly strong arms wrapped around her from behind as Adam caught her, firmly pinning her arms to her sides. "Daniel, run! Get away from here!" she found herself yelling for the second time in less than twenty-four hours. "Leave him alone, he can't help you!"
"On the contrary, he's another bargaining chip for my master, King Mondo," Adam hissed loudly in her ear. "Sheena will do just what Mondo wants to save her best friend and husband's miserable lives. Meanwhile, Mondo will carry out his plans for you, and then the Rangers won't know what hit them!" he gloated. Kahva and Daniel exchanged wide-eyed looks as they realized Adam thought Daniel was Billy.
"I'm not -" Daniel was tackled by three Cogs.
"Tie and gag him!" Adam ordered. Kahva squirmed frantically in the impostor's arms, but he held her even tighter. She was helpless to stop the Cogs from binding and gagging Daniel.
"He's not Billy!" she cried as they roughly hauled him to his feet. Adam laughed coldly.
"You expect me to believe that? I know who went into the building and who didn't. Now, it's time for you to pay an overdue visit to the Machine Skybase." He turned as running footsteps sounded on the path.
"Let them go - Adam?!" Sheena shouted, not believing her eyes. They were all speechless at the sight of another Adam holding Kahva prisoner. He laughed cruelly at the confused Rangers, the Cogs were dragging Daniel over to him. "Silv -" Sheena stopped herself as she heard footsteps and voices behind them. She risked a look behind her, the reporter and photographer who'd been covering the Scouts were running up the path, the photographer readying his camera to shoot on the run. Sheena turned back to the Cogs and the second Adam and gasped. The impostor shifted from Adam's form to a grey humanoid shape, the only facial features present being his fiery, blood-red eyes. "We can't morph, there's witnesses," she hissed, placing a hand on Tommy's arm, he had started to move for his Zeonizer. "I said, let them go!" she shouted. The panicked look on Kahva's face struck terror into Sheena's heart. Kahva tried to call out to them, but the monster roughly clamped a hand over her mouth, muffling her cry.
"King Mondo claims Billy Cranston and this woman as his prizes!" With that, the grey creature and the Cogs teleported away with Kahva and Daniel. Billy looked at the others in shock, the news crew running up in time to hear him say, "He thinks he's got me. He thinks Daniel is me." The reporter shoved her microphone in Billy's face as a small crowd started to gather, people who were previously enjoying the park had been attracted by the commotion.
"Mr. Cranston, two people were just kidnapped by King Mondo's men, and they seemed to be after you. In fact, they seem to think they have you, do you have any comment? Why is King Mondo after you?" Billy hugged Sheena tightly to him, all eight friends and teammates were pale and shaken. A police siren cut through the air, someone had called the law. Two officers ran up as more sirens were heard.
"That's what I'd like to know, miss. That's what we all want to know."
Kahva fought back a wave of nausea and fear as the teleportation ended as abruptly as it had begun. She and Daniel were in a strange, oddly lit, gear-filled room. An over-sized raised dais was in the center of the room, commanding her attention immediately. Kahva was certain that was its purpose, to terrify and intimidate anyone called in to face its owner. It's working, she thought as she tried to turn her head to see where Daniel was. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him standing between two Cogs a few feet away, his hands bound tightly behind his back, a dirty gag still firmly in place, keeping him from speaking. The monster turned to acknowledge someone entering the room, and Kahva caught sight of a lop-sided machine whirring near the throne, a purplish glow emanating from its center. She stared hard at it, and thought the glow had a funnel-like shape near the center. Wonder if that's what brought us here? A grinding chortle drew her attention to a large, lumbering mechanical man with a whirling crown atop his head. His facial features were cold and hard, and only slightly moveable. His eyes were sharp and cold, Kahva shivered as he looked her up and down, appraising her. Mondo, the Machine King. Her insides turned to ice as the evil overlord who before now had only been a buffoonish character on TV, was suddenly very real, taller than she'd ever imagined, and far more sinister-looking. She couldn't turn her head to see Daniel's reaction, the impostor held her head too firmly, but she could hear him gasp through his gag. Mondo motioned for the monster to take his hand away from her mouth, and finally her head was free.
"Sire, I have brought the girl as you commanded, and I was also able to capture Billy, he was with her. I had the Cogs gag him so he couldn't call upon his power," Kahva's captor announced proudly. The Machine King grunted his approval and moved closer to them.
Mondo grabbed Kahva's chin painfully and pulled her face forward to make sure he had her undivided attention. "You have caused me a great deal of trouble my dear, but you are finally where you belong, in my Skybase, and you are about to become my slave forever!" he bellowed, finally releasing her. The impostor had both of his arms tightly wrapped around her now, so she couldn't hit Mondo with her fists like she wanted to. She lashed out with a wild kick, but the creature pulled her away from Mondo.
"I'll cause you even more trouble if you don't let us go!" she shouted, trying to sound braver than she felt. She hoped the creature holding her couldn't tell how badly she was trembling. Mondo merely laughed and crossed over to Daniel.
"Yes, Shifter, I see you have brought me the brains of the Power Rangers, they will be unable to - Shifter!!" he yelled as he peered closely into Daniel's face. He yanked the gag off and roughly moved Daniel's head from side to side. "Shifter! I told you to get the Sapphire Ranger, not the weakling human who came here with the child! You grabbed the wrong one! Stupid idiot!" he snapped, cuffing Shifter on the side of his head where an ear would've been, were he human. Kahva caught the rest of the hit as Mondo's hand grazed her shoulder, she was glad it was only a glancing blow. If he'd struck her directly, he might've dislocated her shoulder, she thought. Daniel coughed and managed to speak.
"If you hadn't been so busy gagging me, or if you had listened to Kahva, you would've known that. Now how about letting us go, we can't help you." Mondo merely turned and laughed in Kahva's face, ignoring Daniel's request. Foul-smelling exhaust blew in her face as he wheezed in anticipation.
"You seriously need a breath mint, you walking junkyard," she coughed. Mondo continued to laugh as he strode to his throne and noisily sat upon it.
"She has spirit, too bad that will be gone once she's mine. Take them to the dungeon and tell Klank my future slave is ready to be converted." Daniel and Kahva tried to resist their captors, but their efforts were in vain. They found themselves being half-carried, half-dragged through the bowels of the Skybase for what seemed like an eternity until they arrived in a cold, dimly lit room with a cell on one side. The air was filled with the scent of burnt oil and smoke. Kahva and Daniel were carelessly tossed in to the cell, the door clanging shut loudly behind them. Kahva pulled herself off of the hard, icy floor and made her way to Daniel. It took a while, but she finally had his bonds undone. He flexed his hands and arms, then hugged her to him.
"Are you all right?" he asked. She nodded, too cold and scared to do much else at the moment. He rubbed her arms to help keep her warm and looked around their cell. "I hope the Rangers can find a way to get us out of here soon." He looked down at her, Mondo had called her 'child', and at that moment she did seem like a scared child. But she was doing her best to clamp down on her fear. "That thing that looked like Adam - Shifter, he called it? He said you had something Mondo wanted, what was he talking about?" Kahva shook her head, but a familiar voice sounded before she could answer.
"Do you really want to know?"
"Sheena!" Daniel shouted. He got to his feet and ran to the cell door. Kahva stood up as well, but hung back, there was something odd in Sheena's voice. "I knew you guys would get us out of here! Look out for that thing that looked like Adam, he's tricky. Sheena smiled strangely and opened the door, moving to Kahva's side.
"Oh really? I'll take that as a compliment." Sheena's form blurred away and was replaced by Shifter's in an instant. The next second he shoved Daniel away and grabbed Kahva, dragging her out of the cell. He sprayed gas from a small canister concealed in his hand and she sank against him, unconscious. Shifter sprayed the gas in Daniel's direction and slammed the cell door, locking him in. The last thing Daniel saw was the monster carrying Kahva away, then the room went black...
When Kahva started to wake up, she saw that she was being carried into a lab of some sort. As her senses cleared, she found herself being strapped securely to a cold metallic table. Her arms were pulled out slightly to either side, turned palm up and fastened tightly. Her head was strapped in place, she couldn't see anything but the ceiling. The bonds bit painfully into her body, there was no slack whatsoever. A mechanical voice with a bad Scottish accent spoke from somewhere at the foot of the table. "Ah, lassie, yer finally here to fulfill yer destiny and serve King Mondo. You shall make a fine addition to his forces, and you will be the one to bring down your friend Sheena, and the Rangers. How do you like that?" The table was then tilted up at an angle, enabling her to see who was speaking. He had his back to her, but she recognized him from the show also, it was Klank.
Her voice shook as she tried to sound as brave as she thought Sheena would in this situation. "I'll never serve Mondo or evil, tin man! And the Rangers will beat you!" She gasped as he turned and chuckled. He had in his hands the largest, ugliest, nastiest needle she'd ever seen in her life, it had to be over a foot long, and the business end of it nearly made her faint. Where normal needles were fine and sharp, this one was almost the thickness of a string and the tip was rounded. Before she could scream, he jammed it into her right arm and began to draw blood. The pain was unlike anything she'd ever felt before, it was like someone had stabbed her with a thin steel rod, and essentially that was what was happening, some part of her brain reminded her through the torment. She was deathly afraid of needles, she'd never liked getting shots, but this was pushing her fear to near phobic proportions. The needle jerked roughly out of her arm and Klank seemed satisfied with himself.
"I'm going to run some tests on this special blood of yours, we must make sure that you cannot break from the hold of the potion, lassie. You will use your powers to serve Mondo forever, it is useless to resist. You might as well accept your fate." Kahva had no sense of time, it could've been minutes or hours she laid strapped to the table, held immobile by the cruel straps. She recognized the room, it was the same one from her premonitions. That in and of itself gave her hope, for in the premonitions, Klank had said the potion wouldn't work. I hope that part is true, but what happened after, I can't remember... Kahva heard Klank shuffling about and tried to see what he was doing.
"Your potion won't work on me Klank," she gambled feebly. Whether her weakness was from the gas or the loss of blood or both, she didn't know. She couldn't even muster the strength to attempt to strain against her bonds. Klank grunted in surprise as he moved out of her line of sight.
"How did you know... never mind. It just means I'll have to conduct more tests on you," he answered her challenge with an odd trace of glee in his voice. She heard a rattling sound coming closer to her left. As the source came into view, she could see a large rolling cart overloaded with needles, tubes, extension arms and other things she couldn't identify, even if she wanted to. As Klank approached her left arm this time with the oversized needle he'd used before, her premonition of the lab tests flooded back to her, every single part. Before Klank finished lowering the table back to its normal horizontal position, Kahva fainted dead away.
Sheena paced nervously across the kitchen. It had taken a little while before the Rangers could leave the park, the reporter had been rather persistent and annoying. The arrival of the police had made the encounter with her mercifully brief, but the police wanted answers also, at the station. There were none they could give, and after an hour the police told them all to go home, they would keep an eye out for their friends, but that the only real hope of rescue for their friends was the Power Rangers. Billy's mom and dad had been contacted by the police and had arrived at the police station by that time. Billy and Sheena had to leave with them to avoid any suspicion, while the others went to the Juice Bar to let David know about the abduction.
"They're all at the Power Chamber by now and we're stuck here," she muttered to herself. Several of Billy's relatives and many family friends had come to the house to see if Billy and Sheena were okay, meanwhile, Billy's dad didn't want to let the couple out of the house. The kitchen had become Sheena's refuge for the past three hours while the Cranstons and Billy reassured the various relatives and family friends, and also dealt with several annoying phone calls from the media. Sheena turned at the sound of footsteps entering the kitchen, Billy and his mother came in through the swinging door. Billy moved to hug Sheena, while his mom took her hands.
"Are you ok, dear?" Her concern showed plainly, Mrs. Cranston had been trying so hard to make Billy and Sheena feel better that night, she had intercepted many of the concerned visitors before they tried to talk to Sheena or Billy, or she had mercifully drawn them away to give the two young people some peace.
"I won't be okay until we get Kahva and Daniel back. This is so frustrating, not knowing what's going on, what's going to happen..." Sheena stopped herself before she said too much. "We just have to wait for the Power Rangers to find them, I guess." Mrs. Cranston smiled and patted Sheena's hand, then went to the door and opened it a tiny bit. No one was near the kitchen entrance, so she softly shut the door again, and crossed back to Sheena and Billy, speaking in hushed tones.
"How soon do you two need to meet up with the other Rangers? I know this can't be easy for you. You have had to deal with everyone here, instead of going after Mondo." Billy and Sheena stared at her open-mouthed, but Mrs. Cranston shushed them before they could deny anything. "I've known for about three years now that you had something to do with the Power Rangers, Billy. I walked into your lab to call you in for supper one time and saw you disappear in a flash of light. There was a report that night on TV showing the Power Rangers, and when they left after the fight was over, they vanished in flashes of light too, just like the one I saw you disappear in. That, and shortly afterwards I found an old newspaper that your great-great grandfather had saved. It mentioned something about 'strange grey men' who had terrorized the town. There was also a sketch stuck in it, done by a fellow named 'Abraham' that showed some young people with a girl who looked like your friend Kimberly Hart. There was a note on the back, asking if your great-great grandfather thought they might have to fight those 'grey men' again. So I had my suspicions." Mrs. Cranston smiled at her son. "I knew for sure though, when your watches beeped on that first night Sheena came over. After you two were just out of my sight, I saw two flashes of light take off. The Silver Ranger is female, and the second newest Ranger, so I'm assuming that's you, Sheena. The newest Ranger is the Sapphire Ranger, and his uniform is a dark blue, the other light I saw was dark blue, so I believe Billy here is the Sapphire Ranger. Don't worry, dear, your dad doesn't know a thing, I haven't told him. I figured if you hadn't told us anything by now, there must have been a good reason."
Billy could only shake his head and chuckle quietly. "Mom, you're amazing. But why are you telling us all this now?" Mrs. Cranston put a hand on both their shoulders.
"Because you two have a job to do, and friends to save. I can't go out there and fight your battles for you, as much as I would like to, so I'm going to do the only thing I can right now. I'm going to cover for you. I'll tell everyone that you've gone home, Sheena, and that Billy's gone to bed. That way no one will be looking for either of you. Now you two go and find out how to save your friends." Sheena and Billy hugged her in turn, then stepped away.
"Thanks, mom. We love you."
"I know, Billy. You two and the other Rangers be careful now, okay?" They nodded and teleported away a second later. Mrs. Cranston sighed and whispered a prayer for the Rangers and their friends before leaving the kitchen.
Unfortunately, Alpha nor Zordon had been able to penetrate the force field surrounding the Machine Skybase to determine exactly where Kahva and Daniel were being held. Sheena knew in her heart where they had to be, in the dungeons located in the deepest part of Mondo's stronghold, she wouldn't be surprised if they were in the very same cell Mondo had held Billy in a year earlier. But until they could break through the force field, there was nothing they could do but continue their scans and stay on the alert. As the hours passed, the Rangers heeded Zordon's advice to go home and rest, reluctantly leaving one by one. Sheena finally headed for her room well after midnight, but stopped at the door. "What's that's noise?" she asked herself aloud. She walked further down the hallway, then explored a few others until she saw a light coming from a room she'd never been in. She quietly walked in to find Billy organizing what looked to be medical supplies. "Billy? What are you still doing here?"
He jumped at the sound of her voice. "Sheena? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
"I haven't gone to bed yet. What are you doing? It's nearly two in the morning."
"Is it? I guess I lost track of time. Have Zordon and Alpha found anything yet?" Sheena shook her head sadly. "I was afraid of that. I felt so helpless in there, there was only so much fine tuning I could do to the sensors, after that I was only in the way. So I came in here and started working." Sheena walked around the room, looking at the few monitors and first aid supplies strewn about, and some vials of medicine she couldn't identify. Billy rubbed his eyes and yawned. "Mondo's attacks have gotten worse over the past year, and they've been taking more of a physical toll on us than past battles have. So I thought I'd try to set up an infirmary for us. There's some stuff already here, but I'd like to have some other items to get it set up properly. This will be a quieter area for us to recover from a fight, and more comfortable than the tables in the main chamber. I'm going to move those in here, still use them for basic exams, though, and see," he pointed to a door at the back of the room, "behind that door is a hallway with ten rooms, five on each side. They're patient rooms, I just need to figure out where to get beds from to go in them. I'm taking inventory of the medicines we have on hand, checking what's useable and what needs to be tossed out, most everything is ok. This section was designed to be an infirmary anyway, we just never set it up -" Sheena interrupted him with a hug.
"Billy, why now? You should've said something, we could've helped you set this up." Billy sighed and sank into a chair he'd pulled out of mothballs.
"I had to do something, Sheena. That thing thought Daniel was me, Daniel's in trouble just because he looks like me. And Kahva, God knows what Mondo wants with her. I should've made communicators for them, Zordon and Alpha could've locked onto them and teleported them out of there if I had..." Sheena crossed to him and sat in his lap.
"I know how you feel, I've been doing it all night. Blaming myself. Mondo has my soul-sister, because he wants to use her to get to me probably. I feel like I've let her down, and Daniel. Billy, if we can't get them out, I don't know what I'm going to do. The thought of them in his clutches..." Sheena took a shaky breath, trying hard not to cry. "My mind's been running wild, imagining what might be happening to them." Billy cleared his throat uneasily.
"That's... that's the other reason I got the urge to set up the infirmary. They were shaken up badly enough from being brought over to our dimension. We don't know what shape they'll be in when we find them." Billy looked up at Sheena, he hoped she wasn't mad with him for saying that.
She wasn't. "You're right. But I appreciate the way you're thinking. You said 'when', not 'if'. That 'when' is what I clinging to right now, it's - ahh!!" Sheena cried out sharply, grabbing her right arm at the elbow. "It hurts!!"
"I don't know, it feels like something ramming through my elbow..." Sheena stopped as images past and present flashed in her mind...
The door slamming and locking behind her resounded in her ears like thunder. Her heartbeat had never been this fast, not even when she'd realized that she was in the same universe the man of her dreams, Billy Cranston, was in. She also had never been this terrified. Nothing in her life, either here or in her homeworld, had prepared her for this. Years of watching Power Rangers hadn't given her a clue as to how afraid it was possible to really be. Now she knew.
"Strap her to the table," Klank ordered the Cogs holding her. He was preparing a needle for something. Sheena swallowed, her throat suddenly dry in panic. All her life she'd hated shots, and she knew the next shot she got would probably be the last thing she hated... or loved... or had any emotions about. For a sickening moment, she wondered what it would be like to be evil. Fear choked her suddenly, and only the discipline she'd developed for keeping her emotions in check over many years kept a terrified scream from erupting out of her throat.
The Cogs fastened her to a table, and as their metallic hands left her she started fighting, trying to get out of the bonds. She didn't know where she'd be able to go if she did escape, but she had to get out of there.
"Oh, don't waste your energy like that," Klank told her. "Those straps are too strong, you can't break them."
Sheena flexed her arms and legs, trying with all her might to snap the bonds that held her to the table. She'd get out of there, run to the edge of the Skybase, and throw herself towards the Earth; she didn't care if she burned up from friction or died from lack of oxygen or any of the other ways she knew she could perish. Death was preferable to serving evil, something deep inside of her was whispering that. For a brief moment, she felt as if she were touching her crystal again, and a memory of the dream she'd had the night before flashed through her thoughts. She'd held the crystal up, and words had come to her lips. The only difference was, now she remembered what she had said.
As the memory burst through her, tears came to her eyes. "No," she whispered. "It can't be true. I'm..."
Klank turned to her. "A proto-Power Ranger is what I would call you. You have the potential, but not the Power itself yet. That will change: once you serve my lord Mondo."
"Never," she spat the word at him. "No Power Ranger will ever serve that rusted tin-can. Especially not ME!!"
"You will." Klank grabbed her arm and stuck a needle in it. For a second, total panic overwhelmed her as she thought this was the end, he'd given her whatever weird potion Mondo had told him to. She almost relaxed when she saw he was only taking some of her blood. A moment later, he deftly removed the needle, and started puttering about at a table a few feet away from her.
Sheena laid back against the table, the garish lighting playing across her face. She closed her eyes and wept a little, feeling both violated and defeated at the same time. She was too much in shock to really accept the fact of what she'd seen in her dreams, but she also knew at some deep level, that after today, one way or another, her life would never be the same.
"No matter what it takes," she whispered to herself. "No matter what I have to do, I will get out of this. Somehow. Maiden, Mother, and Crone, all hear me now, I ask of You. Help me. Let me find a way out of here, though it be at the cost of my own life."
There was no reply; at least not from Them. She closed her eyes, thinking of that last day she'd truly been happy, that last day on Earth, her Earth, her homeworld. Her best friend would be moving in with her that day, and was supposed to be there any second. Sheena had been waiting for Kahva, who'd called and said she'd be right over. The dark-haired writer had passed the time watching her favorite episode of the Power Rangers, "Blue Ranger Gone Bad". She'd sighed happily. "I wish I could be where you are real, Billy... I love you."
Seconds after that, a terrifying force out of nowhere had started to pull at her. She'd been scared, but as her hands instinctively gripped the small crystal ball by her computer, she'd also felt a sense of warmth, as if loving and caring arms were wrapped around her. She'd heard something outside the door, it sounded like Kahva screaming... then she was falling through some sort of tunnel, and she'd been sitting in the woods. In another universe, though she hadn't known it at the time.
Her reverie was interrupted just then as Klank was standing over her again, a cup of something in his hand. "Welcome to the world of evil," was all he said as he forced the cup's contents down her mouth. It burned on the way down, and Sheena swore a vicious oath. "I'm Sheena, I'm Sheena Devereaux," she frantically told herself. "I'm Sheena, a priestess of Isis, a witch, oh, Mother Goddess, help me, sweet Lady, this could've been Kahva, not just me, I'm Sheena, I'm Sheena Devereaux!!! Remember, you're Sheena Deverau -" Everything went black for a moment, and a horrible pain flashed all through her, pain like nothing she'd ever experienced before. She felt something inside of her split, and what had been one was now two.
Her vision cleared a moment later, and she saw Klank still standing beside her. She was no longer strapped down, and he helped her to her feet. He looked at her a long moment, then asked quietly, "Who are you?"
What a silly question. She knew who she was. Her bright green eyes were colder than ice, and her voice as hard and sharp as a silver sword. Her eyes burned with a fiery coldness and flashed with a crimson edge as she said, '"I am the soon to be Silver Ranger, and King Mondo's ultimate warrior. How may I serve my master?"
Who else would she be?
Sheena flinched as memories of Klank's lab ran through her mind side by side with new images. Images of a horribly long needle, a cart of medical tools, someone being dragged down a long, dark hallway... the images replayed over and over, the sense of sheer terror growing with each cycle, the pain now residing in both of her arms and growing more intense... Then suddenly the images stopped, and with them, the pain. "Billy, I think I have an idea of what's happening. What's happening to Kahva, at least. Klank's experimenting on her, trying to turn her evil. He's hurting her so badly... Billy, if we don't get the both of them out of there soon, they might not survive." Billy hugged her, trying to reassure his love.
"We'll get them out Sheena. Somehow."
A dragging sound woke Daniel from his fitful sleep. Shortly after, he could see Cogs bringing a half-conscious Kahva back to the cell. Once again, as soon as they opened the cell door, he threw himself at them, hoping this time he could knock them away long enough to grab her and get the two of them out of there. And again, he was the one who was knocked backwards, he was the one that was bruised and battered. He crawled over to Kahva, she was mumbling, still not quite alert and aware. He held her, preparing for what was next. Then she awoke completely, and struggled in his arms. "Shhh, you're safe now," he murmured, gently rocking her back and forth. After a minute, she stopped fighting him and knew where she was. Both of them were dirty, tired and hungry, they hadn't eaten since they'd left the reservation Tuesday morning. And how long ago was that? What time is it, what day? How long have we been here? Kahva's watch had been broken when they came through the portal, his when Mondo's monster had captured them, so neither of them had any idea how long they had been in the Skybase. Long enough for them to do a lot of damage to her, Daniel thought as he looked at her arms again. They were bruised from her hands to her shoulders, the most severe bruising being at her elbows. She'd told him of the countless times Klank had either drawn blood from her, or had stuck IVs in her to test her body's reaction to whatever chemicals he was pumping in to her. The first several times they had brought her back to the cell she had been violently ill, but the last few she was merely exhausted; physically, mentally and emotionally. She was too weak to be ill anymore. He didn't know how much more she could take.
"Daniel?" Kahva struggled to sit up with his assistance. "What does he want? Why are they doing all of this? I don't understand what they think I can do for them, or why they're keeping you here, why won't they let us go?" Her voice was strained, she was trying not to sound as frightened as she felt. She slowly moved her arms, grimacing with pain as she did. Daniel sighed, he didn't have any answers.
"I wish I knew. Did they say anything different this time, do anything different?" Kahva shivered and shook her head.
"No. Man, I had forgotten most of what happened in my premonition, but now I can't forget any of it, Klank's put me through it so many times for real. The needles, taking my blood. That vise thing he keeps putting on my head that the electrodes are hooked up to... I guess he's monitoring my brain waves or something. If I pass out for too long a time, he gives me something to wake me up. He wants me awake, he wants me to know what he's doing. I'm never sedated for very long. Daniel, I can hardly move, they might as well not even strap me down anymore, I don't have the strength to fight them. Every time I move, it feels like all my muscles are pulling apart. I know I don't have any broken bones, no thanks to Klank or the Cogs, but moving even a little makes it feel like every one of them is broken. But one thing scares me more than anything else."
"Not knowing what they might do to you while we're apart." Daniel smiled and softly kissed her forehead.
"Don't worry about me, you're the one they're using as lab specimen. Kahva, we're going to get out of here somehow. The Rangers are not going to let Mondo get away with this. Sheena's not going to let him get away with this," he assured her. They sat in the cold cell, resting what little they could, knowing that it wouldn't be long before the cycle would start again; the Cogs would come back, throw Daniel to the back of the cell, and drag Kahva back to Klank's lab. Some time later, the now familiar sound of heavy steps tromping down the hall floated to the cell. Here we go again, when is this going to stop??
Mondo's joints creaked and squealed with effort as he paced across the lab, his gaze going from his unconscious prize on the metal table to his majordomo. "Klank, what is taking so long? You've been trying to find a way to make that girl my slave without losing her powers for nearly three days now! What is the problem??"
Klank sighed and shuddered slightly, Mondo wasn't going to like his answer. "Her abilities are so tied to good my liege, that it is impossible to turn her to evil without canceling them out. It's almost as if there is a built-in protection in her blood to keep her powers from being used for evil."
"Well, how about using fear to turn her, can you make her use her powers for me out of fear?"
Klank shook his head. "It dinna matter, sire, whether it is a potion or intimidation or free will, if she turns evil, her powers are canceled out. She can be turned evil, but she'd only be an ordinary weakling human slave. Though I've come up with an idea that may help us get around this 'protection' in her blood. But it will take more testing to see if it will work."
Mondo stared at his unmoving prize. Her arms were nearly completely covered with bruises, her face, even through the dirt and grime from the cell, was very pale. He could still see the bruises he had left on her face when she and her companion had been brought to him. The sleeves of her T-shirt were gone, her jeans ragged and torn from being dragged back and forth from the dungeon to the lab. He could see the cuts and bruises on her legs from the straps and the few times she'd been awake enough to fight with the Cogs, trying to break free. There were marks that looked like maybe Klank had cut her himself, had perhaps taken small bits of skin to test. She was in bad shape, he happily thought. "Too bad Sheena can't see the precarious condition you're in my dear, she'd serve me in a minute to save your life... that's it! Klank! Bring the other human in here, I think you know what I want."
Klank nodded and called for Daniel to be brought in. Minutes later, two Cogs dragged the struggling young man in. When Daniel saw Kahva strapped down, he lunged forward, trying to get to her. "Let her go, you're killing her!" he yelled. Mondo grabbed his face, forcing him to look only at the Machine King.
"She is in bad shape, but I have no intention of killing her, not when there is still a possibility of using her powers for my purposes... or using her as live bait to catch a Silver Ranger. And you are the one who is going to cast the bait for me."
"I'm not going to help you do anything Mondo!" Then Daniel felt something jab his arm, and the room went black.
Rocky grunted as he and Jason moved the last bed into place, all the Rangers had volunteered to help set up the patient rooms in the infirmary Billy was equipping. "Where did all this stuff come from, Billy?" he called out into the hallway.
The Sapphire Ranger's answer echoed back to them from the other end of the hallway. "Remember the medical research facility we kept Mondo from trashing about ten months ago? The company my mom and dad work for does business with them, supplying computer equipment and such. Anyway, mom heard that they've been wanting to thank us somehow for saving everyone. I told her about the infirmary I was setting up here, she told me about them... to make a long story short, she had me make a wish list of equipment and other medical supplies, and she relayed it to them. They left everything outside of their facility this morning with a note saying for us to take it all. They did much more than I expected, they filled the entire list and then some. I didn't teleport a lot of stuff, just left a note from the Power Rangers asking that the extra stuff be donated to the children's hospital. At least this is something I can make progress on now, building a device to send Kahva and Daniel back home once we've got them back is going to take a long time." Billy was in the room with them by now, he glanced around and nodded. "Looks good, thanks guys."
"No problem, Billy, at least it gives us something to do, other than dodge that reporter during and after a Cog fight. She's really getting to be a pest," Jason replied. Sheena wandered in as he said that.
"You're telling me. We need a public relations person or something, this is getting a little ridiculous."
"That and all these stupid Cog fights, three days in a row. What's Mondo up to?"
"Wish I knew, Rocky," Sheena sighed. "I wonder if he's just trying to annoy us, or keep us busy while he's doing whatever he's doing to Kahva and Daniel." Sheena had told the other Rangers on the second day about the pain in her arms, and the images she saw with it. She had finally learned how to shut out the pain without blocking the images, it had become their only means of confirming that Kahva and Daniel were still there. Alarms blared once again throughout the Power Chamber and all of the Rangers ran into the main chamber.
RANGERS, WE HAVE YET ANOTHER COG ATTACK, THIS TIME IN THE PARK, NEAR THE NORTHERN END OF THE LAKE. THERE AREN'T ANY CIVILIANS THERE, BUT THE COGS ARE WRECKING THE PICNIC SHELTERS. Zordon's voice was tired, he and Alpha hadn't been able to find any answers to their current crisis. The Rangers morphed and teleported out to the park, preparing to do battle yet again.
"All right, I'm getting tired of this metalheads, where are Kahva and Daniel?!" Sheena shouted at the Cogs as soon as she was solid. The Cogs stopped their destruction and looked at the Rangers, then all teleported away except for one. He pulled out a remote device of some sort, flipped a switch, and suddenly a large bag appeared beside him.
"A message for you from King Mondo," the Cog spoke in a halting monotone, then he teleported away as well. The Rangers looked at each other in confusion, then rushed over to the bag as it started to move.
"Someone's in here!" Sheena gasped as she cut through the rope that held the bag closed. She tore the bag open. "Daniel!"
He blinked and stared at the Rangers for a second, disoriented, then recognized them. "Kahva's in a lot of trouble, Sheena. And I've got only two hours before I have to go back to the Skybase... with you, or Mondo will make her his slave, forever."
"Sheena, what do we do now?" Tanya asked. Sheena looked from Daniel to the Rangers, then up to the sky.
"Looks like in two hours, I'm going to go see Mondo."
Mondo watched on his viewscreen as the Rangers recovered the human from the park, then teleported away. "Yes, Sheena, you will come home to me, if you ever want to see your friend again. Klank!" His majordomo answered over the intercom set into Mondo's throne.
"Make sure than my little prize is fully awake for Sheena's arrival, I want her to know everything that is going on. Have you made the preparations for Sheena's arrival?"
"Yes, Your Nastiness."
"Good," Mondo chuckled as he turned off the intercom. Everything was going according to his plan. Before the end of the day, he would have either the child or the Silver Ranger as his slave, or both, forever. Mondo settled further down into his throne as he visualized the damage he could do with either one of them under his control. For the first time that week, things were starting to fall into place very nicely...
"That's what he said to tell you. You have to come back with me to the park in two hours and surrender to him, unmorphed, or Kahva is his, forever." Daniel was being scanned by Billy and Alpha in the newly set up infirmary. He had cuts and bruises on his arms, a black eye and his lip was split. He was sitting rather stiffly, and had been acting distant to all of the Rangers, he didn't even seem to notice they were there at times. "With or without you, I have to go back, or he'll hurt her even more." Sheena laid a hand on Daniel's shoulder, then went over to where Billy was checking the results of the scans.
"So, how is he?"
"Physically, he's in rough shape, he's dehydrated, I doubt if he's had anything to eat since the reservation Tuesday morning, he had no idea that today was Friday, so he's been pretty well cut off. I'd guess that Kahva in the same condition, or worse, if we can judge from how he's acting. He needs water, food and sleep, in just about that order. I've already given him an antibiotic, some of those cuts are rather nasty." Billy checked another set of readouts on his scanner. "As for what he's saying, he's telling the truth. He's at least telling what he believes, that he has to go back in two hours, with or without you. As for any potion, it's hard to tell. There's something in his system, but it going to take a little more than two hours to lock it down."
"Gut instinct then, Billy."
"It's a trap. He's being controlled somehow, I'd put money on that. Beyond that is anyone's guess. Until we're sure of what is in his system, I'd say the safest course of action is to take everything he says with a grain of salt. We're not being told something here, that's obvious." Billy motioned for the other Rangers to join them and repeated his analysis. "We need a plan, we can't let Daniel go back alone, controlled or not, and we can't let Sheena go in unprotected." Sheena thought for a moment, staring at Daniel. Can we trust him? What isn't he telling us, does he even know himself? Then she switched her gaze to Billy.
"Klank had to have made something to bring them over, right?" As Billy nodded, a plan formed in Sheena's mind. "And you've already said it will take a long time for you to build a device to send them back. Could Klank's device, or whatever he made, be reprogrammed to send them back home, then destroyed?" Billy bit his lip in thought then slowly nodded. "Okay, when Mondo teleports Daniel back, he's going to have to let down the force field at least a little, right?"
"Just enough to get him back, yes."
"Can we slip a couple of us through at that time?" Billy looked Sheena in surprise, then a grin spread across his face.
"Trojan Horse time?"
"You got it. We've only got about an hour and a half left, here's my idea..."
* * * *
Sheena and Daniel teleported to the spot in the park where Daniel had been delivered, and waited. They didn't have to wait long, less than a minute after they arrived, Mondo's Cogs appeared and teleported them to the Skybase. Once she was solid, Sheena saw the unpleasantly familiar throne room of the Machine King. "I'm here Mondo, now let them go, you've got what you wanted." Mondo rose from his throne and lumbered over to Sheena, laughing and wheezing.
"Welcome home, my Silver Ranger."
Sheena practically snarled at the metal overlord. "Let's get one thing straight, Mondo. I am not yours, nor will I ever be! I will never serve evil, much less worthless scum like you!" Mondo roared and raised his hand to strike her.
"How dare you speak to me that way!" Mondo swung his hand at her, but stopped it an inch from her face. He grabbed her hair instead and yanked her over to him, then hissed, "I think I may have something that will change your mind. Slave! Take her to the lab!" Mondo shoved her away, hanging on to her hair just long enough to cause her to lose her balance. She fell to the floor at Daniel's feet, Silver Ranger Power now! came to her mind, she nearly said the words, but Sheena was startled out of doing it as Daniel roughly grabbed her hair, then her arms, and started to haul her down the hallway to the lab. Mondo and his Cogs surrounded them as they proceeded down the dark passageways.
"Daniel?! What have you done to him, Mondo?" Mondo sounded rather pleased with himself as he answered her.
"Oh, nothing much, I just had Klank give him our standard mind control potion. It works perfectly on ordinary humans. In fact, my dear, it is the base for all of my mind control potions, even the one I used on you. I think you remember that one," he laughed. Sheena strained against Daniel's grip, but it was just as tight as Mondo's hold over his mind. Moments later, they arrived in Klank's lab. Oh no, not here again, I hate this place!! Sheena thought.
Mondo's henchman was busying himself with several vials on a counter, and there was a circular platform off to one side. "Put her in her new home, slave," Mondo ordered Daniel. Before Sheena could react, Daniel shoved her onto the platform. As soon as she touched it, a force field appeared, completely surrounding her. She punched the energy wall, but it didn't give at all. A small speaker was embedded in the floor of the platform, Sheena could hear everything that was being said outside of the force field through it. "You are so trusting, that's a weakness all you humans have." Mondo chuckled and moved to the center of the room. There was a metal table tilted vertically on its pedestal. "Time to see your visitor, child." Mondo turned the table around and Sheena's heart seized up with fear as she saw a human female, half-conscious, cruelly strapped to the table. Her arms were covered from hand to shoulder with cuts and deep purple-black bruises, so many that you couldn't even count them. Her legs had several nasty gashes and bruises as well, many from the straps that cut into her skin. Her face was pale under layers of dirt and grime, but the bruises on her chin that looked like fingerprints were clearly visible. The look of terror and despair she wore was unmistakable.
"Kahva!!!" Sheena screamed. "Silver Ranger Power, now!" Sheena morphed and ferociously lashed out at the force field surrounding her, but though it actually flickered a bit, it did not give. "What have you done to her, let her go!!!"
Mondo's voice even sounded slimy as he ran his hand down the side of Kahva's face. Her head was not restrained, and she was able to jerk away from him slightly. "Oh, I've been letting Klank have some fun testing her, trying to find the perfect way to turn her to evil, to make her my slave. You see Sheena, maybe you won't serve me just yet, but with or without powers, your best friend will! Daniel is already my slave, and eventually, Kahva will be also. But that will have to wait until after Klank has finished his tests on her. Proceed, Klank."
"At once, milord," Klank replied all too gleefully for Sheena's comfort. He made a great show of jamming several IVs into Kahva's arms, ignoring her agonized cries of pain. Some IVs were drawing her blood, others were delivering sickly colored fluids into her system. "Sheena, get Daniel and get out of here," she called weakly as Klank lowered the table back into its horizontal position.
"I won't leave you! Don't give up!" Sheena called out to her. Mondo strode over to the force field holding Sheena with an arrogant swagger.
"You're right about one thing, my Ranger. You are not leaving. None of you are, ever." Then he turned back to watch Klank's continued experiments. Sheena yelled and swore at Mondo and Klank at the top of her lungs for several minutes, but to no avail, Mondo motioned for Daniel to turn off the speaker in the lab that allowed them to hear her. Sheena forced herself to calm down, then she began to hunt for a weak spot in the force field, and after a few minutes of searching found it. The force field was generated from the ceiling, perhaps a well-placed blow would do it... No, not yet, I have to wait until I get the signal. Come on guys, please hurry. Kahva can't take much more. I can't stand here and watch my sister be tortured like this, please hurry!!
* * * * *
Jason and Billy both shivered involuntarily as they solidified somewhere deep within the Machine Skybase. It took a few moments for their vision to adjust for the lack of proper lighting. "I think I liked this place a lot more when I didn't know what it looked like on the inside," Jason muttered. Billy gave a dry laugh and consulted the rough map Sheena had drawn for them.
"If we have time, I can give you a tour of the area I was in, if you'd like."
"No thanks, I'll pass. Think Mondo detected our beaming in when he brought Daniel and Sheena in?" Alpha had teleported them the instant Mondo had opened his barrier to bring Sheena and Daniel to the Machine Skybase. It had been a very risky gamble, but also the only way any of them could break in.
Billy looked around and shook his head. "We would've heard alarms by now, I'm sure. Let's see if we can find that device, we don't have much time - " Billy stopped suddenly, and Jason could hear him suck in his breath sharply. "We were right, Daniel is under Mondo's control. He's taking Sheena to Klank's lab, and Mondo's right behind them."
"That link you two have is amazing, Billy."
"Actually, I heard that over her communicator. Nice to know that it's transmitting constantly like we'd hoped, I didn't have a lot of time to modify hers or ours."
"So our little signal to her should get through also, then?" Jason inquired hopefully.
"Looks like it will. Come on, according to the map, Mondo's main equipment room is three levels up. No indication of where Kahva is yet, by the way. I hope Sheena can find her." They continued on in silence, dodging Cog patrols along the way. They had just made it into the equipment room when Billy staggered suddenly, then frantically yanked his helmet off. As soon as it was off, he pulled an earpiece out of his left ear and quickly closed his fist over it. Even through his glove, an angry voice could faintly be heard. "Remind me to make a volume control for this when we get back, in case we ever have to use it again." Billy had made the earpiece so that he could monitor everything Sheena's communicator picked up without fear of any of Mondo's lackeys overhearing.
"I've never heard her yell like that, and no, you don't want to know exactly what she's saying." Billy looked at Jason, a somber expression crossing his face. "Kahva's in Klank's lab, and based on Sheena's reaction, she's in worse shape than we thought. Klank is 'finishing his tests', whatever Mondo means by that." Billy straightened, an odd look crossing his face. "I can feel Sheena's fear, her fear for Kahva, through our link, but I'm feeling someone else's fear too... I think... Jason, this is going to sound crazy, but I think I'm sensing Kahva too. I think I'm feeling her fear... I'm almost sure of it, in fact."
"How is that possible? You're married and linked to Sheena, not Kahva, right?"
Billy nodded. "Yes, my link is with Sheena, I don't know, maybe I'm sensing Kahva through Sheena, they are linked, apparently. It's the only explanation I have for sensing two sets of fear." Billy paused again, it seemed like he was listening to a voice in his mind. "Sheena's wanting us to hurry, she's not sure how much more Kahva can take." Billy shuddered in spite of himself. He caught Jason's questioning look and answered, "I just got a visual image of the lab, and of what Sheena's seeing. Sheena's behind a force field of some sort, Daniel is guarding the lab door, and - Kahva is in really bad shape. We've got to hurry." Billy put the earpiece back in, then put his helmet back on as Jason started to look around the equipment room.
"What are we looking for?"
"I haven't a clue, but we'll know it when we see it, I'm sure. Kahva and Daniel described a purple funnel as what pulled them in, so if anything looks like it could make that, sing out." The Rangers continued to search the equipment room, knowing all too well that time was slipping away from them, and most likely faster than they had planned on.
* * * *
"Any word yet, Zordon?" Tommy had wanted to go to the Skybase with Billy, but Sheena had made him realize he was needed on Earth, in case Mondo attacked while she was gone. So Jason had gone instead to help Billy search for the device that had brought Daniel and Kahva over. Finding it was the only hope of getting the two of them back to their home anytime soon, since Billy had no idea how long it would take him to build a similar device. Sheena's plan to use Mondo's device, then destroy it so he couldn't use it again had become the only option. If they can find it, and Kahva, and get her and Daniel to it in time. Tommy paced the floor as Zordon finally answered.
"NO TOMMY, WE STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO BREAK THROUGH MONDO'S BARRIER TO EITHER COMMUNICATE WITH THEM, OR LOCATE THEM IN THE SKYBASE. IT APPEARS THEIR ONLY HOPE OF GETTING OUT IS FOR THEM TO DESTROY WHATEVER IS GENERATING THE BARRIER. Zordon stopped for a moment, then continued, I AM PICKING UP AN INCOMING TRANSMISSION FROM ELTAR. ALPHA, PUT IT ON THE VIEWING GLOBE. The little robot did as asked, and a second later the image of Telvok, the planetary government council head of Eltar appeared. GREETINGS, TELVOK. IS EVERYTHING WELL ON ELTAR?
"Greetings, Zordon and Power Rangers. Yes, all is well on Eltar, there is a small celebration planned here to observe the wedding of the Silver and Sapphire Rangers tomorrow, there is a great deal of excitement all over the planet. It is not often that we get to celebrate such a momentous occasion."
"The wedding," Tanya breathed. "With everything that's going on... what are they going to do?" All the Rangers looked uneasily at each other, after Kahva and Daniel had been kidnapped, all thoughts of the upcoming nuptials had been banished.
Telvok must have been able to seen their expressions clearly. "Have I said something wrong? The Silver and Sapphire Rangers are still planning to be married, are they not?" Tommy cleared his throat and explained the situation. "Ah, I see. I will not distract you anymore from your mission then, but there is someone who would like to speak with you briefly." Telvok stepped out of view, and an old man, possibly in his seventies by Earth standards, appeared in the globe. His thick white hair was haphazardly combed, and there was a kind, but concerned look on his face.
"Greetings, Zordon and Power Rangers. I am Master Madas of Eltar. There is trouble?"
GREETINGS, MASTER MADAS. YES, I AM AFRAID THAT MONDO, THE MACHINE KING HAS SUNK TO A NEW LOW. Zordon answered Master Madas' questions as best he could. UNTIL WE CAN BREAK THROUGH MONDO'S BARRIER, OR THE OTHER RANGERS CAN BREAK THROUGH IT THEMSELVES, I AM AFRAID THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO BUT WAIT. Master Madas tilted his head thoughtfully.
"If Sheena's friends have to be brought back to your Earth, instead of being sent back to their home, I may have something they will need. May I have permission to come to your Power Chamber and wait with you?" Zordon and the Rangers readily gave their permission, and shortly after, Master Madas appeared in the Power Chamber. "Now, my new friends, we must wait for the others."
* * * *
"It's not here, wherever it is, it's not here," Billy muttered in frustration. "We're running out of time!" He and Jason had searched every inch of the equipment room, and had found two other smaller equipment rooms, but there was no sign of the device, or anything that looked powerful enough to transport someone from one end of a room to the other, much less across dimensions. "Okay, new tactic here. We have to think like Mondo. He would want to scare a prisoner as badly as possible, especially someone who had never seen him before."
"So the question is, where would he have brought them, had he been able to get them the first time, right?" Billy nodded as he and Jason carefully made their way back into the hallway. "Okay, I'll guess that he would've had them brought to the same place he had you brought to first. Where was that?" the Gold Ranger asked.
"His throne room. That has to be it, good thinking, Jason!" Billy consulted the map once again. "Six levels up, let's go." They ran up every flight of stairs, very nearly being discovered several times as the number of Cogs patrols increased as they got closer to the Machine King's throne room. Finally they were there, and Jason couldn't help but take a sharp breath.
"Man, I can't imagine what it must be like to be brought in here, with no powers to protect you or anything. It's scary enough morphed."
"I don't have to imagine, I know. It's a feeling I hope no one ever has to go through again after we... that wasn't here last time." Billy moved over to a lopsided whirring device that sat near Mondo's throne. There was a purple glow in its center that looked to have a slight funnel shape in its center. "This has to be it," Billy whispered as he took a small pack off of his belt. He pulled out two silver discs and selected one. "Okay, now to see if we can download any information from this thing." Several minutes went by, Billy and Jason lost count of how many times they had to hide behind the throne or the device to avoid being discovered by Cog patrols. Finally the download was finished, and Billy replaced the first disc with the second.
"What's that one?"
"A virus. It'll activate in precisely fifteen minutes. It will start the device and generate the portal, Kahva and Daniel can go through and back to their home, then it will overload and blow up. It's also wiping out all of the files I downloaded, so whatever they used to find Kahva will be gone, Mondo won't have the information to track her down again."
"Unless he starts all over."
Billy tapped his communicator to signal Sheena they were ready. "Let's hope he decides that wouldn't be a good idea. Come on, we've got fourteen and a half minutes before the virus kicks in, nineteen and a half before the portal is formed. And Kahva and Daniel will only have one minute to get through the portal before the device is destroyed..."
"And they're stuck here," Jason finished. "Point the way to the lab, and - Cogs!" Jason yelled. A patrol of half a dozen Cogs had discovered them. Billy and Jason made short work of the metal men, but not before one of them had sounded the alert. Alarms whooped throughout the Skybase. "We've got to get to the lab, Billy!" The Sapphire Ranger grabbed Jason's arm and they ran down the hallways, Billy in the lead, trying to get to the others before time ran out. Billy reached out through his link to Sheena.
We're on our way.
* * * *
Sheena would've paced if there had been enough room in her tiny prison. As it was, she had to settle for shifting from one foot to the other worriedly. Klank had tilted the table Kahva was strapped to just enough so that the two friends could see each other; so Kahva could see Sheena's frustration, and Sheena could see every time Klank did something to hurt Kahva. At least Klank had finally removed all of the IVs from her arms, that provided some small measure of comfort. Daniel had remained impassive at the lab door, standing guard as he'd been ordered. Sheena wondered why his eyes weren't red, as the Rangers had said hers were when she was under the influence of the potion. Maybe that's a side effect of the potion being mixed with Ranger powers. I'll have to ask Billy what he thinks... Mondo's moving over to Kahva drew her attention back to him.
"You know, this wasn't exactly what I had planned for you, my dear. I was looking for someone with power I could use. But then, when I found it, when I found you, I found not only power, I found the Silver Ranger's best friend, gaining me not only power I could use, but a person. Originally, do you know what you were going to do for me, once I found out you were her best friend? You were to have been brought here, placed under my control, and then, right at the end of her wedding tomorrow, you would've beamed in and assassinated her. But before that, you would have stolen her husband. Her last thoughts would've been of loss and betrayal. But something went wrong," he glared at Klank, "and you ended up on Earth, instead of here, where you belong. So I had to change my plans. That fool Shifter was to have captured Billy as a secondary hostage, and also to keep him from finding an antidote to the potion I'm going to use on you. Instead he caught your friend. I suppose Daniel will last a few months in one of my ore mines in the Machine Galaxy. But he did lure my Silver Ranger here, so Daniel, at least, has proven himself useful."
Mondo attempted a smile, but his face couldn't move nearly enough to pull it off. "I really don't want to sacrifice your abilities if I don't have to, my dear. I would like to have them as my tools. Such potential shouldn't be wasted." Sheena yelled something at the Machine King, but the force field muffled it beyond recognition. Mondo snorted at Sheena, then turned back to face Kahva. "Child, I have a proposition for you. Serve me willingly, or Sheena and Daniel both will be my slaves forever! And Sheena will still have her Silver Ranger powers, trust me. You've just arrived on this world, do you want to be responsible for the fall of the Power Rangers, especially when their leader is your best friend?"
Sheena could only watch her soul-sister and hope that she wouldn't fall for Mondo's lies. She needn't have feared. "I wouldn't serve you even if I could, and I won't serve you!" Kahva hoarsely declared. "I don't have any powers, for the last time, I don't know what you're talking about! I have premonitions sometimes, I can't control them, that's it! I'm not a Ranger, I don't belong here!"
Mondo shook his head and chuckled. "You really don't know who you are, do you? I'll take care of teaching you, don't worry child." Sheena pounded on the force field, she could not let Mondo hurt Kahva anymore. She wanted to mangle the speaker, but she didn't, she had to know what Mondo was planning.
"I don't want any lessons from you, you metal creep, and I'm not a child!" Sheena smiled under her helmet. Kahva was terrified, but she wasn't about to give in. Hang in there a little while longer girl, you can do it. Billy and Jason are looking for the device that brought you two here so we can send you home, just hang in there. Sheena didn't know if Kahva could hear her or not, they had not gotten the chance to test the extent of their link, but she hoped that somehow she could hear her. Mondo casually waddled over to the counter where Klank was working and picked through some vials. He found one and then picked up a syringe and filled it with the contents of the vial. He made sure that both girls had a clear view of what he was doing.
He held up the filled syringe and came closer to pulling off a smile this time. "Let me tell you a little story, child," he emphasized the word to intimidate her. "You see this? This is not the potion that your friend is under, this is the antidote for it, this is his only hope for being in control of himself ever again." Kahva cast him a distrustful look that clearly said she didn't believe him. "Oh, yes, I have an antidote, and this is it. You see, the potion I've used on Daniel is very simple and works well on humanoids. I've used it on so many planets to control people, to use them as slave labor to build my empire, I've lost count myself. But sometimes I bring the rulers of those planets out from the influence of the potion with the antidote just long enough for them to see how badly they've failed to protect their people. After that, I put them under again, with that knowledge intact. They are once again my slaves, with the burden of their failure added to their servitude to me!" he gloated.
Sheena shuddered, Mondo had said that potion was the base of the potion he had used on her, and she remembered all too well what it was like to be under it. Who knows how many planets full of people are under that same potion right now? Sheena glared at Mondo. We will defeat you utterly one day, Mondo. This I swear by the Mother Goddess, we will stop you!
Mondo continued brag about his evil deeds. "The real beauty of this is, after several generations of my rule, the potion isn't even needed anymore. The people are used to my rule, and know they have no hope of escaping it. Just like your dear Silver Ranger has no hope of escaping the potion we gave her before. Klank still has some of it right here in the lab, one dose and she is mine once more. So you see, you really have no choice. You will serve me, willingly or not, and Sheena will serve me also, one way or another."
Sheena stood and shook with anger and fear, trapped behind the force field... Just like the first Silver Ranger, unable to help my friends, at least not yet. I can't wait much longer for Billy and Jason. Kahva Kilanye's memories resurfaced, bringing Sheena close to utter panic. Mondo was taunting both of them by taunting Kahva, all they could do was listen to what he had done to whole worlds, listen to what he was threatening to do to Sheena again. Sheena felt her muscles tense up, she could see Kahva starting to work an arm free, she was waking up a bit more from the effects of the chemicals Klank had pumped into her. Mondo seemed not to notice.
But someone else did. Daniel moved from his post at the door and stopped her. "You are a prisoner of my master, King Mondo, you cannot escape," he stated in a flat monotone, roughly strapping her arm back down as Klank sedated her slightly. Mondo laughed and walked over to Sheena's prison.
"See how easily I can hurt your friends, Sheena? They are powerless against me, and so are you!" Sheena snarled a retort back at him, but with his speaker turned off, he couldn't hear her. "Your best friend will work for me, my dear, with or without her full potential abilities. And you'll get to watch the transformation." A wave of his hand had Daniel turning the speaker back on.
Sheena shoved her fear deep down and cut herself off from it. "She doesn't have any powers, let her go Mondo!"
"Oh, she has very special blood, my dear. I'll never let her go."
Sheena raged inside the force field. "You will let her go or I'll - I'll -" Sheena couldn't even think of anything vile enough to threaten the evil king with.
Mondo answered Sheena's threat confidently, "Why, I'll be happy to set her free from that nasty cold table... after she's my slave, and not before!"
"Fat chance, fathead!" Sheena retorted. Sheena hit the force field again, she had to break out of there... I can't let him hurt her anymore! What if my sword can't destroy the force field mechanism? What do I do? How do I stop him? In her heart, she could only find one choice, one answer... You can't control what Mondo does, or who he decides to go after. But you can fight him, you always have that option, Kahva's words came back to her. Sheena felt tears roll down her face under her helmet. Forgive me, Kahva, but I... then she saw a tiny flash on her communicator. Yes!! They did it! Get ready for a big surprise, Mondo! Alarms started to go off throughout the Skybase.
"Klank! What's going on?" Mondo bellowed. Confusion reigned in the lab for a minute as Mondo ordered everyone except for three Cogs and Daniel to go find out who had set off the alarms, Even Mondo left to see if he could find the intruder. Now to get out of this force field, here goes nothing. Sheena heaved her Silver Sword up at the device in the ceiling where the force field was generated, breaking the mechanism. The force field immediately went down, in the next instant Sheena launched herself at the Cogs, making short work of them.
"You cannot escape." Sheena turned as Daniel rushed at her.
"Daniel, don't do this, fight the potion!" Sheena blocked the wild blows Daniel threw at her. I might have to try the Silver Flame on him, but I don't know the effect it will have on a regular human. Then she saw the antidote Mondo had gloated over. Sheena knocked Daniel down and grabbed the antidote, then shot it into him before he could get up and rush at her again. The antidote dazed the young man, then he collapsed on the floor. What have I done? Did Mondo lie about this being an antidote? A few seconds later, Daniel began to regain his senses.
"What... where? Sheena! Sheena, where's Kahva, I -" Daniel's voice choked off as he saw Kahva bound to the table. He paled visibly as the memory of everything he'd done flooded back. "I'm so sorry, oh God, what have I done?" Sheena pulled him up and over to the table and motioned for him to help her free Kahva.
"What you did, you did because the potion forced you to, Daniel. Kahva knows that, I'm sure. And if she doesn't, I'll make sure she finds out before you guys go home."
"Go home? You mean it?"
"Ask them." Daniel looked back at the door to see who Sheena meant. Billy and Jason were running in, and with their help, Kahva was freed in a matter of seconds. "Everything set?"
"We've got about ten minutes before the device activates. Once it does, five minutes later the portal will form to send you two home, Daniel. When the portal forms, you'll only have a minute before the device self-destructs, so you'll have to move fast," Billy told him as Jason gathered Kahva up in his arms. "You're going home." Daniel grinned and shook the Sapphire Ranger's hand.
"That's the best news I've heard since we got here." Kahva stirred then in Jason's arms, and Daniel gently kissed her cheek. "Wake up beautiful, we've got a ticket for a portal ride home."
"Home?" Kahva mumbled. Jason helped her to stand as she looked around the lab. "Sheena?"
"He's right, you're both going home. Daniel will get you to a hospital, you're both going to need a while to fully recover, but yes, you're going home. Tell everybody I said hi, and that I'm okay when you get back." The Rangers took the newcomers out into the hallway, Jason keeping Kahva stable while Billy supported Daniel as the ordeal of the past three days began to catch up with him. Sheena motioned for them to wait outside the lab, then she surprised them by going back in and closing the door.
"What's she doing?"
"I don't know Jason." Billy tapped the side of his helmet and shook his head. "She's turned off her communicator too." A few seconds later their question was answered by a thunderous shout and the sounds of metal crashing, glass breaking and a blaster firing.
Kahva's eyes went wide. "I think I'm awake now," she commented, still clinging to Jason for support. A minute later, Sheena exited the lab calmly. Kahva looked straight at her, a half-smile crossing her face. "Feel better?"
Sheena smiled under her helmet. "Yup... I feel a lot better now," she giggled.
"Hope you broke something for Daniel and me while you were at it." Billy went to the door that was now swinging by a single hinge and peeked inside. He let out a low whistle and laughed dryly.
"She put a hole through the table you were strapped to, a big one. I don't think you can even call it a table anymore. Just think of what the lab would look like if about twelve hurricanes and a half dozen tornadoes happened all at once... You know, I think she broke enough for you two, all the Rangers, and the entire population of Angel Grove." As the quintet made their way back to the throne room, Sheena laughed.
"Well, I really didn't like that lab. The color was all wrong for the decor." Kahva tossed a look of mock disappointment at the Silver Ranger.
"Sheena, I'm surprised at you. You reigned your temper in."
"Sorry, but I didn't have enough time to do the job properly, you know." Her voice turned serious as she studied Kahva's face. She's on the edge of a nervous collapse, she's just trying to hide it. We've got to get them out of here. "How much time do we have left?"
"Five minutes until the device activates, ten minutes until the portal forms."
"Plenty of time -"
"Get them!!!" Mondo's voice shrieked from somewhere behind them. "Bring the girl and the Silver Ranger back to me at once!!" The sound of running Cogs behind them was getting closer.
"You were saying, dear?" Billy asked as he let go of Daniel long enough to kick away a lone Cog who had stumbled upon them. Sheena didn't have time to reply as they fought Cogs the rest of the way into the throne room. A purple glow filled the room, and a wind was already blowing near the device as a funnel began to take shape in the center of Klank's machine. "The device has already activated, the portal will form in one minute!" Billy yelled. "Daniel, Kahva, you have to be ready to step in the moment the portal forms!" Kahva walked over to Sheena, her steps becoming a bit steadier as she progressed.
"It's not fair that because of Mondo we didn't get to spend any time together... but I'm glad we at least had a few hours... 'Blood could not closer sisters make, and time nor distance, can that bond ever break'... we are sisters, Sheena. You'll always be in my heart, in all our hearts." Sheena hugged her soul-sister, a part of her didn't want to let her go.
"I know. 'Together forever, forever together, always and eternity'. If not in body, at least in spirit and heart. Take care of yourself, sister."
"You too, Sheena. Make Mondo sorry he ever messed with the Sisterhood. Billy," Kahva called hoarsely to the Sapphire Ranger. "Take care of her, or I'll find a way to come back and straighten you out, understand?" she smiled at him. Billy laughed and hugged her.
"Yes ma'am. I know better than to mess with the Sisterhood." He laughed at her expression. "Sheena told me about it a couple of nights ago." Jason moved to hug her too while Sheena hugged Daniel. Then Billy and Jason shook Daniel's hand. "Take care, both of you."
"We will," Daniel promised. A metallic sound of disgust came from the entryway.
"Oh that's so sweet, if I were organic, I'd throw up! Get them!" Mondo shouted. "Don't let the child get away, she's mine!!" Suddenly the room was filled with Cogs, then a tentacled monster that looked like Decharger ran in between the device and Kahva and Daniel. It grabbed them both and threw them to opposite sides of the room before blurring into the form of Shifter.
"They will not escape, my lord Mondo!" The portal was now fully formed. Shifter blocked the entrance to it, Kahva and Daniel were dazed, but slowly getting to their feet. "You will surrender, Rangers!" Shifter yelled, then he blurred into the form of one of Mondo's other monsters, Silo. He fired a blast at Jason, who had been fighting his way through a group of Cogs to get to Shifter. The blast knocked Jason off of his feet and left him an easy target for Shifter. "Say good-bye, Gold Ranger!" the monster gloated as he prepared to blast Jason again.
"No you don't!" Billy yelled, tackling Shifter as he fired, causing the shot to go wild and hit the ceiling. Jason unsteadily got to his feet, not hearing the rumble overhead as part of the ceiling started to give way.
"Jason!" Somehow Kahva managed to get to the Gold Ranger and knock him out from under most of the falling debris, but as the dust was sucked away by the now howling winds of the funnel, the others could see that they were both pinned underneath a ceiling beam. Billy blasted Shifter away and rushed to their side, Daniel not far behind him. Sheena joined them a second later, fighting off the Cogs who tried to get near them through the winds and ceiling debris that continued to rain down around them. "Daniel, the portal will close soon, go!" Kahva coughed out.
"I'm not leaving you!" A blast from the area of the machine lit up the room.
"It's too late, the device has self-destructed. We have to teleport out of here." Billy tapped his communicator. "Alpha, Zordon, come in! Anybody, can you read me?" Sheena tried her communicator also, but had no better luck. "Mondo's still jamming, we can't teleport out! Zordon and Alpha haven't been able to break through the barrier!" With a grunt, he finally shoved the beam off of Jason and Kahva. "You two okay?"
"I am, - Jason?"
He nodded and coughed. "Thanks, you saved me."
"If you consider being surrounded by Cogs saved, then you're welcome." As Billy pulled them to their feet, they saw she was right. Short of teleportation, there was no avenue of escape left for any of them. Kahva desperately clutched Sheena's arm. "We have to get out of here, now!" Suddenly the five young people felt something pulling at them, pulling them away from the Machine Skybase. Mondo roared as he saw his captives start to blur.
"Hey, Mondo! I told you you'd let us go!" Sheena called to him.
"I'll get you Silver Ranger!! You haven't seen the last of this, I will get you and your friends!!!!"
"Promises, promises," were her last words as the five young people disappeared.
When Mondo had quite finished spewing oil and smoke, Klank cautiously approached his master. "Sire, I think I found something that might be useful in the future, something in the last set of tests... sire?"
"Tell me later, Klank. Shifter!!"
"Yes, my liege?"
"Go to Earth as one of my monsters, go as several of my monsters, I don't care!! The Rangers must pay for stealing my prize!! The Silver Ranger must pay for defying me, do you understand?! Go!!!" he screamed, rupturing the hydraulics in his throat. Klank shuffled as quietly as he could out of the throne room, Mondo wouldn't be wanting to do anything but use him as a punching can, if he stayed, for some time. He made his way back to his lab, then almost shut himself down. There was nothing recognizable left in the room, what had been the examining table was now a thin metal doughnut. All of his vials were broken, every piece of equipment smashed. Anxiously he crossed to a vault hidden in the near wall, much to his relief it and its contents were still intact. Klank sadly squeaked over the remains of his lab counter, then chuckled as a brighter thought came to him.
"Well, until this is all fixed, I don't have to put up with King Mondo wanting me to do the impossible. Maybe now I can get my oil soak." As he slowly turned around, he saw something burned into the far wall. "What in the Machine Galaxy?" Klank adjusted his visual receptors and stared hard at the graffiti. There were no words, just a large lighting bolt burned into the wall, and the initials "S. D. C."
"King Mondo will not like this, he won't like this at all..."
* * * *
"Why are we in the park?" Jason asked when the pulling stopped. "And that was the weirdest feeling teleportation I've ever had." The five escapees looked all around them. Indeed, instead of the familiar confines of the Power Chamber, they were in Angel Grove Park, almost on the exact same spot where Kahva and Daniel had been kidnapped three days earlier.
"Maybe Alpha and Zordon had to, I don't know, route us differently or something to get around Mondo's barrier," Sheena suggested. "We can ask them later, right now we need to get Kahva and Daniel to the Power Chamber before anyone sees us, they both need medical attention."
"I don't know about the 'routing us differently' part, but I think we're a little too late to teleport back to the Power Chamber unnoticed, look." They all followed Billy's gaze to their left, a group of people on a picnic had already spotted them. Billy groaned as a familiar blonde woman led the charge to the young people, cameraman in tow. "Oh great, it's that reporter again, she's the last person we need right now."
"Can't we just teleport away and not talk to her?"
"Would that we could, Daniel, but that will mean she'll have even more questions later, she's been hounding us almost as much as the Cogs this week," Billy replied. "We'll make it short, trust me. I have no idea what we'll tell her, but it will be short, we don't want to talk to her, she's a pest."
"Gee, sounds like a reporter back home," Kahva coughed. "If I get sick on her designer knock-off suit, think she'll leave you alone? And I'm not joking too much about that." Any reply from the Rangers was prevented as the irritating blonde reporter rushed up, microphone at the ready.
"Power Rangers, we were talking to residents here in the park, asking them if they felt safe from Mondo's attacks ever since - I'll get your names later - these two people with you were kidnapped. What do you have to say to the citizens of Angel Grove?" Kahva could see Sheena's muscles tense up under her uniform.
"We are always here to protect not only the people of Angel Grove, but everyone on the planet. For Mondo to kidnap someone like he did Miss Briton and Mr. Whitley here is an unusual occurrence, but one he will not be allowed to get away with," Sheena replied a bit tersely. The reporter didn't seem to take the hint.
"But Mondo has terrorized the citizens -"
"Excuse me, miss." Surprised eyes turned to Kahva as she stared straight at the reporter, commanding her full attention. "I'm new to Angel Grove, but are you always so rude to people who have saved someone's life?" The blonde tried to stammer out a reply, but Kahva cut her off. Her voice was hoarse and pained, but it still carried strength. "The Power Rangers have been working constantly not only to rescue Daniel and myself, but to continue to protect the Earth. I heard several of the battle reports when - one of Mondo's henchmen would be around where I was held," she stated carefully. "Mondo was rather pleased that you kept interfering with their efforts to fight off his Cogs and save the people by jamming a microphone and camera at them whenever possible. From the description I heard, I must assume it was you, I apologize if it wasn't. As for the reason we were kidnapped, it would seem it was a case of mistaken identity. Surely you remember that about a year and a half ago, I believe it was, William Cranston was asked to go to Aquitar, the homeworld of the Alien Rangers. They had remembered him from his childhood; they met him and many of the citizens of Angel Grove when the planet was under attack and they came to protect us. They became aware of his exceptional intelligence back then, it was why they asked him to go to their planet years later. They have kept track of William, and were very happy to hear that he's getting married tomorrow. To make a long story short, Mondo hates the Alien Rangers almost as much as the Power Rangers. He planned to use William as a hostage against the Rangers, but got Daniel instead. I look like Sheena, so, as I said, mistaken identity. The monster thought Daniel was William Cranston. Now if you don't mind, I for one want to see my friend Sheena, get a shower, and sleep, in that order. Thank you," she dismissed the reporter.
Before Sheena could say anything, her communicator flashed. "Miss Briton, Mr. Whitley, I sincerely hope that the rest of your stay in Angel Grove is more pleasant. Sapphire and I have to go, but your friends have been contacted, they will be here shortly. The Gold Ranger will stay with you until they arrive."
"Thank you for saving our lives, Power Rangers," Daniel shook Sheena's hand. Sheena turned to speak to Kahva but made sure everyone close by could hear her. "Miss Briton, I don't know how long you were planning to stay in Angel Grove, but we are considering hiring a public relations person. I talked to your friend Sheena and she told me about your television background, once you've had a chance to recover, we would like to talk to you about the job, if you're interested. We'll be in touch, take care, both of you." Then she and Billy teleported away. Less than a minute went by before the Rad Bug screeched into the nearby parking lot and an unmorphed Sheena and Billy were running up to them.
"Kahva! Daniel!" Billy cried. He and Sheena caught the two in fierce hugs and started to lead them to the Rad Bug. "The Power Rangers told us they would find a way to rescue you.!"
"They certainly did that. We owe them our lives. And you guys will never believe what the Silver Ranger just did. She offered Kahva a job as the Rangers' PR person. Can you believe it?" Daniel was leaning on Billy for support as he continued Kahva's little routine. "But right now, we're both just glad to be back." The reporter kept trying to call out questions to the young people, but they were ignoring her now, and even the crowd was grumbling at her, little comments of 'Why doesn't she leave them alone', 'They've been through enough' and 'She doesn't care about them, just a story' floated around her. She finally decided the crowd wasn't on her side, or she wasn't going to be able to get any more statements. Either way, she walked away as they reached the Rad Bug. Kahva staggered the last few feet to the car, Jason promptly picked her up.
"How about a ride the rest of the way to your ride, ma'am?"
"Thank you, Gold Ranger." It only took a few moments and they were all in the car except for Jason.
"Take care, all of you," he said loudly enough for the crowd to hear. "I'll meet you back at the Power Chamber," he added quietly, before teleporting away.
It was all Sheena could do not to activate the Rad Bug's full speed right then and there in the parking lot. "Kahva, where did you learn to act like that?"
"Remember that girl Rhiannon from high school?"
"The girl who was going into computer graphics and always went to Star Trek conventions?"
"Yep, that's her. I just went by one of her mottoes: 'Why lie, when misdirection works just as well, if not better?' Daniel was mistaken for Billy, Billy was going to be used as a hostage against the Rangers, I didn't say which ones," she answered Billy's question before he could ask it, "Mondo does hate the Alien Rangers, and I do look a bit like you, Sheena. I never said my likeness was the reason for my kidnapping. So I didn't lie, I told the truth... I just left out a few details."
"You're sneaky, girl, and a better actor than me," Daniel congratulated her. Kahva smiled and leaned against him, her surge of energy had been from the adrenaline rush of escaping; now that the rush was gone, exhaustion was taking over. They were out of sight of any curious eyes by then, so Sheena hit the controls that enabled the Rad Bug to appear at the Power Chamber seconds later. They had barely pulled into the Zord Holding Bay when they were teleported directly to Billy's new infirmary.
"Alpha, I don't know how you got us out of the Skybase, but you teleported us just in time, good work!" Sheena congratulated the little robot. He was already running preliminary scans and Kahva and Daniel.
"I didn't teleport you out, we couldn't break through Mondo's barrier." Zordon's image appeared in a viewscreen in the infirmary.
ALPHA IS CORRECT, WE WERE UNABLE TO PENETRATE THE BARRIER. ACCORDING TO OUR SENSOR LOGS, A PORTAL WAS OPENED ON THE SKYBASE, THEN IT TRAVELED TO THE PARK AND OPENED THERE, TAKING ALL OF YOU OUT OF THE SKYBASE. Billy looked at Zordon in surprise.
"Are you sure, Zordon?"
YES. THE SENSOR LOGS CONFIRM YOU WERE ALL BROUGHT THROUGH A DIMENSIONAL PORTAL FROM THE MACHINE SKYBASE TO EARTH.
"But the device blew up before Daniel and Kahva could go through, how could have a dimensional portal been created?" Billy called up the logs and started to skim through the data. Kahva carefully slid off of the examining table she'd been on after Alpha finished checking her and Daniel.
"You guys can figure out the technical reasons, have at it. As for me, I want to shower, change clothes, then sleep. Is it okay if I go do that?" Kahva directed that last question to Alpha.
"Both of you need to eat and sleep, you're both dehydrated, you more than Daniel, Kahva. But if you're up to it, go ahead. I'll give you an antibiotic once you're through, just come back in here. We also have patient rooms set up now, so you'll both have a quiet place to rest." Tommy showed up in the infirmary in time to hear Alpha's advice, and he handed a small bundle to Daniel.
"You might want to shower and change too. We brought a couple of changes of clothes for you, just in case the plan to use Mondo's device to send you home fell through." Daniel accepted the clothes gratefully, and went over to Alpha to find out where the men's showers were. Tommy motioned Sheena and Billy over. "Mondo's sent down that monster that grabbed Kahva and Daniel, it's trying to wreck some buildings downtown. Jason and the others are already there, but we need to go." Sheena nodded, taking one last look at the two former captives. They are both in rough shape, but Kahva's worse, she's walking a very thin line physically, mentally, emotionally... and she doesn't want to worry anyone. She doesn't want to worry me. She watched Daniel give Kahva a reassuring hug as Alpha brought over her overnight bag. They didn't deserve this, nobody does.
"This one's for Kahva and Daniel. It's morphin' time!"
"Zeo Ranger V, Red!"
"Sapphire Ranger Power!"
"Silver Ranger Power!"
Moments later they were in the heat of battle with the monster, Shifter had been taking various monster forms. Once he saw the Cheetah Zord coming at him, he blurred into the Crystal Carrier. "You must pay for your insolence! My lord, King Mondo, has ordered it!" he yelled at her.
"Sorry, left my cash in my other uniform, does Mondo take credit cards?" Sheena retorted, a hard edge to her voice. "Ultra BattleZord, power up!" Sheena watched the Red BattleZord, Cave Wolf Zord and her own Cheetah Zord change configurations with a grim determination... and felt a consciousness fade. "Kahva?" she asked softly.
Billy was beside her now in the cockpit of the combined Zords. "What's wrong?"
"I think Kahva's unconscious. She and I are linked, maybe even more closely than the two of us, in certain respects. We have to be, it's the only explanation that makes sense." Sheena turned her attention to the faux Crystal Carrier. "Time for Mondo to pay his bill, Shifter!" The battle lasted an hour at the most, but the Ultra BattleZord, with the Zeo MegaZord, took out Shifter at last. The Rangers teleported back to the Power Chamber and powered down. Sheena immediately ran to Alpha. "Did Kahva lose consciousness when we went into battle?"
"Yes she did, she fainted before she ever made it halfway to the showers, how did you know?" answered a surprised Alpha.
"I felt it. Zordon, we need to know exactly why Mondo was after Kahva, or she'll never be safe. Mondo said something about she had very special blood. She kept telling him that she has premonitions sometimes, she can't control them and that's it. Is it possible Kahva has some kind of power she isn't aware of?"
COULD IT BE? AFTER ALL THIS TIME... Zordon considered the possibility. PERHAPS THE INFORMATION STORED IN MONDO'S DEVICE HOLDS THE ANSWER. WE WERE ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT HE WAS SEARCHING FOR A SPECIFIC ENERGY SIGNATURE. BILLY, WERE YOU ABLE TO DOWNLOAD ANY INFORMATION FROM THE MACHINE?
Billy wasn't the only one who caught the hopeful tone in Zordon's voice, but he didn't comment on it. "Yes, it's right here," he responded, retrieving the first disc he had put into Mondo's device. For the next hour, Billy, Zordon and Alpha poured over the contents of the disc, and the information gathered from Alpha's scans of Kahva.
Halfway through the search, Daniel wandered in and reported that Kahva was awake again and had gone to shower. "So, do I need to go shopping for clothes and start looking for a job? I take it that traveling through dimensions isn't as easy as it looked on the TV show."
Billy smiled ruefully. "That might not be such a bad idea. Dimensions that have been created by magic or technology we can usually break into, but naturally occurring dimensions... well, normally you have to find a temporal rift or a wormhole to gain passage. As Klank's device proves, you can make a machine to go through the dimensions, but it's very tricky. From what I'm seeing so far, he made his machine more from guesswork than actual fact. It's a wonder it worked."
"Sounds like maybe it's a good thing it blew up on us. Though if it worked one time, I suppose it would've worked another. Can you build another one?"
Billy cleared his throat. "I think I can make another device to send you back, but it will be a long time before it's ready. I don't know how long, though, that's why we were trying to send you home with -" One of the consoles beeped, calling Billy's attention to its display. Suddenly he gasped, and looked up at Zordon. "Is this what I think it is? Does this mean -"
"Is what, what? What's going on?" Kahva had just entered the Power Chamber, wearing a loose T-shirt and jeans shorts, her hair still slightly damp from her shower. She was pale, there were dark circles under her eyes from lack of proper sleep, and they all could clearly see the numerous cuts on her arms and legs. The bruises on her face were more visible than ever, and Sheena realized to her dismay that the bruising on Kahva's arms and legs was even worse than she first thought. The other Rangers all stared in shock as they got their first good look at Kahva since she and Daniel had been rescued. "I've heard of being 'black and blue all over', but I never thought I'd see someone in that condition," Adam whispered to Tanya. Alpha handed Kahva a glass of water and a capsule he'd had waiting on a tray.
"I was going to take these to you when you woke up, you should go back to bed."
"I'm too restless to sleep right now, but thanks Alpha. What's going on, Sheena?" she asked after taking the antibiotic.
KAHVA, DO YOU REMEMBER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR BIRTH PARENTS? She jumped at the sound of Zordon's booming voice, but calmed herself and shook her head no. KAHVA, BASED ON OUR SCANS OF YOU AND THE INFORMATION BILLY WAS ABLE TO DOWNLOAD FROM MONDO'S DEVICE, WE BELIEVE WE HAVE DETERMINED WHY YOU WERE BROUGHT HERE. YOUR FAMILY WAS ORIGINALLY FROM THIS DIMENSION. OBSERVE THE VIEWING GLOBE, PLEASE. THESE ARE SOME OF THE RECORDS BILLY WAS ABLE TO RECOVER FROM THE DEVICE. A scene where a man was holding up his hands to apparently protect his family from Master Vile's blast played for all to see. The energy seemed to be partially absorbed, then mostly deflected away from them. THAT FAMILY WAS THE LAST OF THEIR LINE. VILE WAS TRYING TO BANISH THEM TO ONE OF HIS DARK DIMENSIONS TO DIE, BUT THE FATHER WAS ABLE TO ALTER HIS SPELL, AND GO TO A DIFFERENT DIMENSION INSTEAD. MONDO WAS ORIGINALLY SEARCHING COUNTLESS DIMENSIONS USING THE FATHER'S ENERGY SIGNATURE. The scene switched to that of a teenage Rita Repulsa firing a blast of energy at a man who was walking to her, but the energy struck a woman who ran in between it and the man. THE WOMAN WHO TOOK THAT ENERGY BLAST WAS MY WIFE, ELYSIA. SHE DIED SAVING MY LIFE. Everyone watched as a small ball of energy, joined by a tiny flash of what might have been a second ball of energy, seemed to leave her body. SHE SENT HER POWERS INTO THE FUTURE, TO BE REBORN IN SOMEONE OF HER LINE. THE MAN YOU SAW EARLIER, WHOSE FAMILY WAS BEING ATTACKED BY VILE, WAS THE LAST OF HER FAMILY LINE. HE WAS HER NEPHEW. Kahva absorbed this information, then gave Zordon a puzzled look.
"Maybe I'm missing something here, but what does this have to do with why Mondo wants me... wait a minute. Are you saying...?"
Zordon nodded at Kahva. HIS FAMILY ENDED UP IN THE DIMENSION YOU GREW UP IN. OUR SCANS OF YOU CONFIRM YOU ARE OF HIS LINE, YOUR SIGNATURES MATCH CLOSELY ENOUGH. Zordon paused before continuing, he didn't want to scare her. THE SCANS OF YOUR ENERGY SIGNATURE SHOW THAT IT IS VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL, HOWEVER, TO THE SIGNATURE OF ELYSIA'S POWERS THAT SHE SENT INTO THE FUTURE. YOU ARE THE LAST OF ELYSIA'S FAMILY LINE, AND YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE POWERS SHE SENT INTO THE FUTURE. Kahva paled even more, and Sheena rushed to support her. NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING THAT ELYSIA WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IF SHE HAD SURVIVED, BUT SHE KNEW SHE HAD TO SEND HER POWERS INTO THE FUTURE, TO BE REBORN LATER IN HER LINE. I TAUGHT THE FIRST POWER RANGERS THAT THEY COULD DO THAT AS WELL, BUT ONLY IN A CASE OF EXTREME EMERGENCY. THE FIRST SILVER RANGER WAS THE ONLY WHO DID SO. KAHVA, YOUR POWERS, WHATEVER THEY TURN OUT TO BE, ARE PROTECTED FROM BEING TURNED TO EVIL. ELYSIA KNEW THAT AS WELL, SHE WASN'T AFRAID THAT RITA COULD USE HER POWERS, BUT THAT THE POWERS WOULD BE LOST FOREVER WITH HER DEATH. THAT IS WHY THEY WERE SENT TO YOU, THAT IS WHY MONDO WANTS YOU. HE MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW THAT YOUR POWERS CAN NEVER BE USED FOR EVIL, BUT HE MAY TRY TO FIND A WAY TO GET AROUND THE PROTECTION YOUR BLOOD HAS. THIS PROTECTION IS PASSED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.
Kahva shook her head, this was a little too much for her to deal with. "So I've got some kind of powers that can't be used for evil, passed down from your wife, but Mondo wants them anyway? I'll tell you the same thing I told Mondo, I have premonitions sometimes, I can't control them, that's it! How could that help Mondo? This is all a little too weird, here." Zordon nodded and smiled sympathetically.
YOUR PREMONITIONS ARE WHAT WE CALL ON ELTAR 'FUTURE VISION'. IN ELYSIA'S FAMILY, THAT GIFT WOULD SHOW UP WHEN THE YOUNG WOMAN REACHED THE AGE OF SIXTEEN. IT SHOWED UP MUCH EARLIER IN ELYSIA, WHEN SHE WAS ELEVEN. THAT WAS TAKEN AS A SIGN TO MEAN SHE WAS EXCEPTIONALLY BLESSED. HER GRANDMOTHER CONFIRMED THROUGH A TRANCE THAT ELYSIA WAS DESTINED TO HAVE ALL OF THE GIFTS, NOT TO BE ONLY A CARRIER OF THEM, THOUGH THERE WAS NO INDICATION AS TO IF ELYSIA WOULD BE ABLE TO USE ALL OF THE GIFTS. NORMALLY, SOMEONE IN HER FAMILY WOULD ONLY HAVE ONE GIFT, AND THE GIFT OF 'FUTURE VISION' WAS FOUND ONLY IN THE WOMEN. Sheena looked from Zordon to Kahva.
"Well, Kahva's first premonition was when she was fourteen, when she saw that a bully was going to push me at the skating rink." Kahva shook her head at that.
"Actually, my first one was when I was about ten, I think, but I don't know if it counts. I'm not really sure exactly what it was. I saw some people in old-looking clothing, and a man with a staff. An older woman was calling him Zared, he -" Kahva stopped as Zordon gasped, but he nodded for her to continue. "He was threatening a couple of boys who were protecting a falcon. A little girl stood him down... I don't remember everything, it's been so long ago, I thought it was just a strange dream back then. The girl treated one of the boys who had been hurt. Then it all switched to a woman waking up in a room full of computers and consoles, then I saw that same woman again, taking a crystal, and she started to glow silver, a costume appeared..." Kahva gasped and stared at Sheena. "I remember her face now, she looked like you, only she wasn't you, but she was wearing the Silver Ranger uniform! The only person I ever told this to was my adoptive mom. She joked that I'd had a 'vision of silver', then told me it was just a bad dream. I never told anyone else, I was afraid they would think I was stupid... I didn't have another one until right before Sheena and I met, then a week or two later, the one of the skating rink... oh God, I am losing my mind." Sheena hugged her, Kahva's nerves were completely shot. Zordon spoke quietly, trying to reassure her.
KAHVA, WHAT YOU SAW WAS THE FIRST TIME MY BROTHER NINJOR AND I MET ELYSIA. I WAS THE BOY WHO ZARED HAD HURT. THE RANGERS KNOW ZARED BETTER AS MASTER VILE. All of the Rangers looked at each other in shock, they had never heard about this early meeting between their mentor and one of their greatest enemies before. THE OTHER IMAGE YOU SAW WAS WHEN I BROUGHT THE FIRST SILVER RANGER, KAHVA KILANYE, TO MY COMMAND CENTER, AND THEN LATER, WHEN YOU SAW HER TAKE THE CRYSTAL, WAS THE MOMENT SHE BECAME THE SILVER RANGER. Zordon's voice cracked a little as he continued. ELYSIA HAD SEEN A YOUNG WOMAN IN A VISION WHO WAS DESTINED TO FIGHT EVIL, AND THAT I WAS TO BE HER TEACHER. SHE WASN'T SURE IF THE WOMAN WAS OUR CHILD IN THE FUTURE, OR SOMEONE ELSE, BUT SHE KNEW THE WOMAN'S NAME WAS KAHVA. I BELIEVE NOW THAT SHE SAW KAHVA KILANYE, BUT I HAD TOLD HER THAT OUR CHILD WOULD BE NAMED KAHVA, I WAS SO CERTAIN WE WOULD HAVE A GIRL... Kahva looked up at Zordon.
"But you didn't have your child, did you? You lost her when you lost your wife, she hadn't been born yet. You would've had a daughter..." She shook her head in confusion. "I don't know how I know that, I just do... this is too weird."
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT WHEN ELYSIA SENT HER POWERS INTO THE FUTURE, SHE SENT THE NAME KAHVA AS WELL. THAT MAY BE WHY YOU SHARE THE NAME WITH THE FIRST SILVER RANGER. AS FOR ELYSIA'S NEPHEW, ONE OF THE GIFTS THE FAMILY LINE HAD WAS THE ABILITY TO ALTER MAGIC OR ENERGY. THEY WOULD ABSORB SOME OF IT, THEN THEY COULD EITHER REFLECT OR DEFLECT THE POWER. THEY COULD ALSO ALTER IT, CAUSE IT TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. ELYSIA'S NEPHEW ALTERED VILE'S SPELL, SO THAT INSTEAD OF BEING BANISHED TO VILE'S DARK DIMENSION, THEY WENT TO YOUR DIMENSION. THIS COULD ALSO EXPLAIN WHY YOU ENDED UP HERE ON EARTH, RATHER THAN AT THE MACHINE SKYBASE. YOU MAY HAVE ALTERED MONDO'S PORTAL WITHOUT REALIZING IT. DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PORTAL?
"I remember not knowing where I was, hoping that Daniel was safe since I hadn't seen him pulled through with me... and wishing Sheena was there, wondering if that was what had happened to her. It kinda felt like I was changing direction, being pulled somewhere, I don't remember anymore, I guess I passed out." Zordon nodded and smiled, while Billy's eyes grew wide and he rushed to check the readouts once more.
I BELIEVE YOU ALTERED THE PORTAL, KAHVA, THOUGH YOU DIDN'T KNOW IT AT THE TIME. FEELING THAT DANIEL WASN'T WITH YOU MAY ALSO EXPLAIN WHY HE APPEARED IN ANOTHER PART OF THE PARK, INSTEAD OF WITH YOU. IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT HIS PRESENCE IN THE PORTAL MAY HAVE AFFECTED ITS ABILITY TO BRING YOU TO THE SKYBASE, MAKING IT EASIER FOR YOU TO ALTER IT.
Daniel grinned and moved over to the shaken girl. "I guess I might've overloaded it, huh?" Kahva laughed nervously, but Sheena frowned as she watched Billy's hands flying over one of the consoles.
"Does this have anything to do with how we got out of the Skybase?" She looked at Billy, who slowly looked up and nodded.
"Kahva," he started as he crossed over to her, "when you said to Sheena that we had to get out of the Skybase, what do you remember thinking or feeling?"
"I just wanted to be on Earth, at the park, the Power Chamber, anywhere, I just wanted all of us out of there, big time. I grabbed Sheena's arm, and we were pulled... no wait, I felt a tingle of something, like a very mild shock, then we were pulled." Kahva's expression matched Billy's as she realized what he was driving at. "You mean, I did that? I opened a portal to the park?"
Billy nodded. "And the power you drew from to do it was Sheena's. She was your 'battery', so to speak. You used her power to make the portal. According to the readouts, what brought us to the park was a dimensional portal. Your portal."
KAHVA, THIS MAY MEAN YOU HOLD THE KEY TO GOING BACK TO YOUR DIMENSION. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO TAKE YOURSELF AND DANIEL BACK HOME. IN FACT, I BELIEVE YOU CAN. THE ABILITY IS IN YOUR BLOOD, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. ALL YOU NEED IS A PROPER POWER SOURCE TO DRAW FROM, Zordon finished somberly.
"We can still go home? That's great! But don't rush yourself, Kahva, you've been through too much lately. But we can go home!" Daniel was plainly excited, but Kahva was as serious as Zordon.
"You can go home," she sighed. "I have to stay here."
"What? I don't understand, Zordon just said that you can open dimensional portals, that you can take us home."
"As long as I have a proper power source to draw from," she reminded him. "While using a Ranger as a power source. If I try to stay, then that Ranger has to stay with us too. The Rangers are needed here, every single one of them. And if I'm a descendant of Elysia's family, then I should've been born in this dimension anyway."
Daniel shook his head. "Then I'm staying with you too. I won't leave you, Kahva."
"You can't stay. You belong back there, you've got a family, friends, a career you were trying to start. You have to go back. I want you to stay, I can't deny that, Daniel. But if you do, then you'll spend the rest of your life as a target, until the Rangers get rid of Mondo. And I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you. At least back home, you'll be safe."
"But what about you? If you stay here, you'll be a target, too."
Kahva shrugged her shoulders, shaking her head. "I don't have anywhere else to go. Daniel, weird as it sounds and feels, this dimension is my home." Daniel started to protest, but he saw the determination in her eyes.
"I don't suppose I'll win if I argue with you."
"I'll go on one condition," Daniel conceded. "You have to visit me, or bring me back here to spend time with you, when you get the chance, when it's a safe time to do it. Because I can't lose you, not when I've just found you." Sheena grinned and put her hand on Daniel's shoulder.
"I think visitation can be arranged." Sheena flashed a grin at her soul-sister. "You would be the one to carry on an interdimensional relationship, Kahva," she teased.
"Has anything ever been simple in my life? Why should I start now?" she laughed dryly.
"Well, I don't know when you're going to want to take Daniel back, but when you do, I'm going too. I have something I need to do back home." Kahva looked from Daniel to Sheena and took a deep breath.
"I feel ok now, rather, I feel a little better than what I did earlier. We might better do it now, before Mondo decides to pull something again. I don't think he's too happy with us at the moment."
"Are you sure you should be trying this so soon?" Tommy asked. To his eyes, she looked far too weak to be doing anything but resting. I'll bet she's only standing right now because of sheer will power.
"As sure as I'm going to get. That, and if I don't go ahead and try now, I'll be too scared to try later. Let's do it." Billy hurriedly charted the path the original portal had traveled for Kahva to use as a map, while Jason retrieved the clothes Daniel had been wearing when they arrived at the beginning of the week for him, apologizing that they hadn't been washed. Quick good-byes were said, then Kahva took Sheena's hand and concentrated - but nothing happened. Several minutes went by and she still had not been able to open the portal.
"I can't do this, I don't know how I did it to start with," she said dejectedly, on the verge of tears. "Daniel, I'm sorry, I've messed up again, I can't do anything right."
Billy crossed over to her and gave her a reassuring hug. "Don't worry Kahva, you just need to relax. Maybe it's too soon for you to try this -"
And then the four young people disappeared.
* * * *
"Where are we? And why am I here?"
"You came along for the ride when you touched Kahva, I suppose. I thought we were going to be somewhere outside, in the park at Richmond." Sheena looked at Kahva, they were in a room somewhere, the lights were all turned off and the curtains were drawn, shutting out most of the outside light. "What happened, Kahva?"
"When Billy touched me, I could see the pathway, I relaxed... and then you thought of home, I heard your voice in my mind. I guess to me, that meant here... wait a minute. We are home, this is my old apartment!" Kahva wandered around the room a few seconds, then turned back to the others. "We'd better get out of here, Jaycynda and Cindy will both have a heart attack if they see you, much less me and Billy and Daniel." A chorus of seven voices and the sound of the front door opening prevented them from exiting the living room. "Uh oh, I think we're too late."
"Let me get something from my room and - Kahva!! Sheena!!!" Jaycynda screamed, then promptly fainted. Kahva couldn't help but grin as she turned on the lights while Sheena and Billy moved to pick Jaycynda up from the floor.
"I think that was my reaction, almost verbatim, wasn't it? When I saw you in the park?" Kahva joked. The owners of the other voices entered at that time, all calling out either Kahva or Sheena's name upon seeing the two girls. It took some time, but the ensemble were eventually reassured that they weren't hallucinating, that Kahva and Sheena were real, and right there in the apartment. Josh was the first to put together a coherent question.
"Where have you been, Kahva? Greg said that you and the David Yost look-a-like disappeared Monday afternoon... now there are two of him? And where did you find Sheena?" Kahva looked at Sheena, then to Jaycynda as she started to wake up.
"Where have I been? Umm, second star to the right, then straight on till the next dimension, maybe?" Kahva paused to smile at the bewildered group. "Look, if Jay promises to stay awake, we'll give you the rough outline. But rest assured, we are real, we are here, and have we got a story for you. I suppose we should start by telling you that Sheena is now the Silver Ranger, leader of the Power Rangers, and this," she indicated Billy, " is the real Billy Cranston, and he is the Sapphire Ranger, and," she paused as Jaycynda fainted again, "this looks like it could take a while. Anybody got a cold Mountain Dew handy? I haven't had one for nearly a week."
* * * *
Tommy nervously paced the Power Chamber floor. "Are you sure they made it back to their dimension, Alpha?" he asked for the twentieth time. Alpha merely nodded this time, a verbal answer would only serve to make Tommy more nervous.
Kat moved into Tommy's path to make him stand still. "Tommy, they'll be all right, relax. Mondo hasn't discovered that Kahva opened up a portal, he hasn't been scanning anything ever since they escaped from the Machine Skybase. They're ok." Tommy listened to her, but didn't seem as convinced as Kat would've liked. Jason tried to reassure him also.
"Mondo isn't going to be doing much of anything except cleaning up the mess with left him. Tommy, they will be all right."
"You should listen to the Gold Ranger, he is right, Tommy," a familiar voice came from behind the agitated Ranger. A familiar figure with long salt and pepper hair bound back in a ponytail and clad in a stately blue robe stepped into view, followed by their earlier visitor.
"Ninjor!" they all sang out, eagerly greeting the Ninjetti master. "Master Madas, is this who you had to go back for, just before we left to fight Mondo's monster? I thought Ninjor was at the Temple." Ninjor laughed and clapped a hand on Tommy's shoulder.
"I was at the Temple, Master Madas must have gone to get someone else." Ninjor turned to greet his brother. "Greetings, brother! Judging by your message, am I to understand that we have a new addition to our family?" As Ninjor was brought up to date by Zordon, the others clustered about Master Madas, his thick white hair even more haphazard than before. "Where did you go? You missed Sheena and Billy, they've gone with Kahva to take Daniel home."
"I felt that the medicine I brought, should it be needed, might need a booster, so I went back to Eltar and got her."
"You'll learn soon enough. Now I believe I have everything, I will wait for them to return." As Master Madas settled down, Tommy fought the urge to start pacing again. I hope they return soon, we've never done anything like this before, and Billy wasn't supposed to go along with them. Hurry back guys.
* * * *
"- And that's about it in a nutshell, guys. I'm going back to the other dimension. I'm like Sheena, I was supposed to have been born there. Daniel belongs here, so he'll be staying," Kahva finished wistfully, as he hugged her. Daniel had gently pulled her into his lap before she and Sheena started to explain things to their friends, they had been talking for nearly two hours now, and Kahva was becoming even more exhausted, the cold soft drink she'd requested sitting forgotten on the nearby coffee table, unopened. Hope she has the strength to get them back, she's awake only because she's forcing herself to stay that way.
"Well, there's only one problem he might have in staying here," Josh said when he found his voice again. "How does he explain where he's been for nearly a week? The police say they think he was kidnapped with Kahva at the arena, but they haven't ruled out the possibility that he was actually the kidnapper. Somehow, I don't think they'll believe he's been in another dimension, held prisoner by a TV kid show villain for most of that time. I'm still trying to tell myself I'm not imagining this."
"Yeah, and Detective Bennett is going to want to know what happened to you," Jaycynda told Kahva. "And to Sheena, because the theory they're going on is that whoever kidnapped Sheena two years ago is the same person or persons who grabbed Kahva and Daniel, if Daniel wasn't in on it. They think that, because the hallway was a wreck like your old apartment was." Kahva and Sheena looked at each other and Daniel, this was something they had known would have to be dealt with, but to hear it put into words brought home the immediacy of the problem. Slowly, grins crossed their faces as the two girls hit upon the same idea.
"Daniel, go put on the clothes you were wearing on Monday," Kahva instructed. "Josh, you still fancy yourself an actor?"
Sheena and Kahva laughed as Sheena ruffled Josh's hair. "Josh, I think what Kahva means is, sometimes misdirection can be a very useful tool."
"Shields up, go to red alert, Mr. Spock!" Kahva giggled. "And after we take care of this, we need to get back to the Power Chamber, you two do have a wedding to get ready for tomorrow," she reminded Sheena and Billy.
Cindy's eyes widened, "You mean you were serious, they are getting married?"
"Yep." Kahva answered. If the young people had any doubts, the kiss Sheena planted on Billy at that very moment blew them to smithereens. Sheena sighed as the kiss ended.
"I wish all of you could be there." There was a pause, then Sheena straightened up, her eyes now the ones to go wide as she turned to Kahva. "I don't know if it's our link, or instinct, but I can feel that smile through my back girl, you're not thinking what I think you're thinking, are you Kahva?"
"I think I am. I can at least try. Question is, if it works, where do we put everybody?"
Sheena considered for a moment. "If everybody can get a couple of changes of clothes and a sleeping bag and pillow apiece, then we could put them in the cabin. Would that be okay, Billy?" The resident genius of Angel Grove stared at the two girls, not quite following them, then realization sank in.
"I think the better question is, are you up to it Kahva? The cabin part is no big deal at all, the getting everybody back home is the hard part." Kahva smiled and hugged Billy.
"Well, I do have two batteries to draw on, and right now I'm so happy, I think I could move the entire Machine Skybase. Daniel?" she turned back to the young man who had come to mean so much to her, "Would you like to come back with us for the wedding?"
Daniel's response was a firm but gentle hug and a tender kiss. "As long as someone can drive me to my place so I can get some clothes and stuff, and a sleeping bag. After all, it gives me that much more time to spend with you!" All the preparations and the wild scheme took another two hours to pull off, but finally everyone had something to wear to the wedding, a sleeping bag, pillow, and anything else they would need for an overnight trip. Daniel was happy to report that misdirection had worked perfectly, after he pretended to get away from his 'kidnapper', which was the disguised Josh, in front of a police seat-belt checkpoint, he had been taken to Detective Bennett. "I just went along with what he already believes, that you were kidnapped by the same ones who grabbed Sheena two years ago, that they were afraid you would remember everything that happened one day. The police believe now that both of you are dead, and that if not for one of my 'kidnappers'," he grinned at Josh, "stumbling onto the checkpoint, I'd be dead too. Turns out to be a good thing the clothes I was wearing Monday didn't get washed, and being roughed up by Mondo's goons helped too. They thought I'd been roughed up by the kidnappers. The hard part was when they took me to the emergency room and the doctor wanted me to stay since I'm dehydrated. I insisted that all I wanted to do was stay with some friends and sleep. That, and a promise to go to my own doctor and to follow his orders set me free." Daniel laughed, he'd changed back into the clean clothes Tommy had given him, Jaycynda had been the one to pick him up at the emergency room to take him back to his place. He had also found an old sleeping bag and had picked out a suit to wear to the wedding. Jaycynda grinned then.
"Yeah, I think I did good acting job too, after all, I'm the one who pretended that Daniel was an old friend of ours from school, which was why I knew him as well as Kahva and Sheena. As far as the detective and the emergency room doctor know, I'm making sure Daniel follows his doctor's orders, and I'm supposed to be delivering the 'bad news' about Kahva and Sheena to all of us. Oh, and I told them that we'd all planned on going off together tonight for a private gathering, a memorial service of sorts, and that we'd planned on this yesterday, so they won't be expecting to see any of our group anywhere for a day or so, so I think we've got all our bases covered." Jaycynda looked around at the group, all were excited and overjoyed at knowing that Kahva and Sheena were alive and well, and at the thought of visiting another dimension. "So what do we do?"
Sheena answered for Kahva, "Everybody hold hands and don't think of anything, empty your minds completely. Kahva doesn't need to pick up on any stray thoughts, she's still getting the hang of this."
"I just hope I can bring everybody over," Kahva said as she stood between Sheena and Billy, holding both their hands. Daniel kissed her cheek before taking his place beside Sheena.
"If you can't, it's okay. We love you. I love you." Kahva smiled, and for the first time, didn't blush at his attention. She looked around, everyone's sleeping bags and pillows were tucked under arms, overnight bags were hanging on shoulders, they were ready to go.
"I don't think we're going to be in Kansas, or Richmond, much longer Toto."
"Josh, get that thought out of your mind right now, or Kahva just might send us to Oz!" Sheena reprimanded him.
"Oh come on, that's just a kid's story."
"And Angel Grove and the Power Rangers are just on a kid's TV show."
"Point taken, erasing brain right now. Sorry," he grinned sheepishly at Sheena and Kahva. Kahva smiled, then slowly exhaled, relaxing her mind and body. This time she could easily and clearly 'see' the path back to the Power Chamber. She felt a very mild shock from both Sheena and Billy, she knew now that this was some of their power, and that she was tapping it. She envisioned the portal opening and surrounding all of them, picking them up, and carrying them along the pathway. She felt them shift away, like an elevator starting, but there was no real defining if they moved up, down, diagonally... and when she opened her eyes, they were once again inside the now familiar Power Chamber. As her friends gaped and gasped, she smiled at Sheena, she had done it!
"Cindy, Jaycynda, Ann, Melissa, Josh, Kenny, Todd... welcome to the Power Chamber, guys," she managed to say before her vision went dark, and she fell into nothingness.
* * * *
"Hey there, pretty girl. You feeling a little better now?" a voice greeted her as she struggled to open her eyes. She knew the voice, where was she? A tightness on the top of her left hand brought back the memories of Klank's lab and for a second she panicked, then she remembered; Sheena, Billy and Jason had rescued her and Daniel... Daniel. That was who the voice belonged to. She finally managed to keep her eyes open and saw him sitting at her bedside, a concerned smile crossing his features.
"What happened?" Kahva pulled herself into more of a sitting position on the bed, she realized that she must be in one of the patient rooms in the new infirmary. "I remember getting to the Power Chamber, did I pass out?"
"Right into Jason's arms, he was standing behind us when we arrived," Daniel chuckled. Kahva groaned, then winced at the tightness on her left hand. There was a bandage there, its placement reminded her of where an IV port would've been.
"How long have I been out?"
"Long enough for a quick infusion of some glucose, Sheena didn't think it would be a good idea if you woke up and saw an IV sticking in you, she was afraid it might scare you a bit. You've been out for a couple of hours. Sheena and Billy have been beating themselves up for letting you transport us over to our dimension so soon, much less letting you transport all of us back here."
"They shouldn't be blaming themselves, it was my choice. I wanted to do it."
"Zordon's been reminding them of that, but they're still blaming themselves, especially Sheena. She'll be glad to know you're awake again. Oh, Ninjor is here, he's been telling Sheena that you're just following in Elysia's tradition of putting everyone else before yourself. So I guess that means you're getting back to normal. Hungry?"
"Starved, but I don't know if I need to try anything solid just yet, maybe I could handle some soup, though." As she started to get out of the bed, Daniel moved to stop her. Kahva noticed that he had a bandage on the top of his hand too. He's had an infusion too. It's because of me he got into this mess. Why do people I care about always get hurt?
"Whoa there, do you think you should be getting up so soon? They can bring us something to eat in here, you don't have to go get it." Kahva smiled wearily at him, she was very tired.
"I want to go in there and tell Sheena and Billy to quit blaming themselves. I'll rest later, I promise." Both Kahva and Daniel were still dressed in the clothes they had changed into after being rescued. "Besides, I'm decently dressed. The only thing shocking about the way I look are all the cuts and bruises..." her voice trailed off as she saw her face for the first time in the mirror over the sink in the room, "and my face." She looked haggard and worn, even more so than Daniel. "I knew I didn't feel good, but I didn't know I looked as bad as I feel. No wonder they're all so scared."
"So you'll stay in here and rest?" Daniel asked hopefully.
"No, it's all the more reason to go in there, at least for a little while. Sheena needs to know not to blame herself, the others need to know I'm okay, and that after I sleep a while, I'll be as good as new. That, and after three days of being cooped up, I've got the urge to move around what I can. Staying still when I can move, while I have enough strength to move, feels too much like confinement. And we've both had enough of that, I think," she smiled at him.
"That, I won't argue with. Just promise me you'll get some rest soon." Kahva smiled and nodded, to be honest, she didn't have much strength at all, but the urge to go back into the main chamber was too strong to resist. She couldn't walk too quickly, so it took them a few minutes, but the former prisoners eventually made their way into the main chamber in time to see Tommy, Jason, Rocky and Billy materialize with armfuls of pizza boxes, paper plates and bowls, plastic cups, soft drinks, three large thermoses and plastic forks and spoons. "Didn't realize the Power Chamber had a phone so you could order take-out," she quipped.
"Kahva!" several voices chorused as Sheena was the first to rush to her and Daniel. "You should be in bed, you need to rest."
"Just like you shouldn't be blaming yourself for my decisions?" Kahva hugged Sheena. "You and Billy and everybody else stop blaming yourselves for what I wanted to do, and I'll get some sleep after a while, ok?" Sheena started to protest, but knew the look on her soul-sister's face all too well.
"I should know better than to argue with you by now, shouldn't I? All right, all right, I give! Come on, if you insist on being up and about, there's a couple of people you and Daniel should meet." Sheena escorted Kahva and Daniel over to where Ninjor and Master Madas stood, the two master warriors had been watching the exchange in amusement. It startled Kahva to hear Sheena call Madas 'Master', but she realized it was because he had been her teacher, it was not a term of slavery. Within minutes everyone had settled on the floor around the main chamber and was digging into the pizza. Two of the thermoses had chicken noodle soup, the other held cool water with a small amount of orange juice added to it for Kahva and Daniel, which they accepted gratefully. Both were starved, but unsure if they could handle solid food just yet. The expressions on Ninjor and Master Madas' faces as they saw pizza for the first time were priceless, but both agreed that it was quite tasty, if odd-looking from their point of view. Kahva became uncomfortably aware of the stares she was getting from her friends as they started to realize just how bad a shape she and Daniel were in, and was about to excuse herself when Sheena started fuss at someone.
"Casach, quit pulling my hair, I'm trying to eat - Casach?!" At that point, everyone caught sight of the six-month-old cheetah cub rolling on the floor behind Sheena, playing with her long hair as if it were a rope. Everyone sitting on the floor except for Sheena, Madas, Ninjor and Kahva seemed alarmed by the big cat's presence, but none dared move. Kahva smiled and laughed.
"Here kitty, kitty," she called.
"That's not a kitty, that's a cheetah!"
"It's still a cat, Kenny, just a real big one, chill out. Here kitty, kitty," Kahva called again, this time standing up and starting to walk over to the playful cheetah. Casach noticed her and promptly trotted over, sniffed her hand, then got up on her hind legs and wrapped her front paws around Kahva's waist. She opened her mouth a bit, showing her teeth and rubbed them against Kahva's side.
"It's gonna bite her!" Ann squeaked. Kahva laughed and proceeded to scratch behind the cub's ears.
"She is Casach, and she's only playing, she's not going to bite me, she's a sweet kitty." Sheena couldn't hold her laughter back anymore.
"Leave it to Kahva to call a cheetah a 'kitty'. And she's right, Casach is playing, though I'm surprised, I didn't think Casach would be this playful so soon with a stranger."
"Casach knows I'm a cat person. Casach," she looked the cub straight in the eyes, "you're a little too big for me to handle you hugging me while I'm standing, I'm a bit too tired right now, so I need you to get down, okay?" Casach tilted her head, closed her mouth and nuzzled Kahva's side quickly before getting down on all fours. The cheetah followed Kahva back to where she had been sitting and as soon as Kahva had settled back down, Casach laid down beside her and started to purr loudly. "You want some pizza?" Kahva asked the big cat. They locked eyes, seeming to understand each other on some level. "Okay, which kind?" A moment later she asked, "Billy, could you pass me a slice of the pepperoni pizza? Casach wants that kind."
"How do you know that?" he asked, handing over the slice requested before he quite realized what he was doing.
"She told me." Startled looks from all except Master Madas and Ninjor were the response to Kahva's answer. "Well, not in so many words, but more like a mind picture, a sort of feeling from her." Sheena gazed at her in wonder.
"Kahva - you realize you're saying you can 'talk' to her, don't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I am, though 'understand' might be a better may to describe it. I didn't exactly have a conversation with her." Kahva was rubbing Casach's stomach now, the cheetah had gulped down the pizza slice and was purring louder than ever. "By the way Billy, Casach liked the pizza, she's thanking you with her purring." Tommy finally found his voice at that point.
"Kahva, doesn't this strike you as odd? That you can understand a cheetah?"
"Yeah, but after everything else this week, this is a nice kind of odd, I like it. That, and 'odd' seems to be the norm in this dimension, so why fight it?"
Master Madas smiled broadly at that point. "Looks like the 'booster' I brought for the medicine is proving to be medicine in and of herself. I think Casach has a new friend." Casach laid her head in Kahva's lap, as if to prove the ki-see master right. Things soon settled back down to normal after Ninjor revealed that one of the gifts some of Elysia's family was rumored to have was the ability to understand some animals. All the young people spent the next few hours getting to know each other, talking late into the night. Somewhere before midnight, Ninjor and Master Madas started to excuse themselves, but Madas stopped as he got to Daniel and Kahva.
"May I please check your injuries, my dear?" he softly asked Kahva. As everyone watched, the kindly old man carefully examined her arms and legs, then checked Daniel. Silently he crossed behind a console and pulled two small gourds out of his pouch he had left there. "This is a very special medicine, given only in serious cases of illness or injury. The reason for that, is because one of its ingredients is water from the Mystic Springs on Eltar. The Springs were destroyed fifteen thousand years ago, this medicine was part of the last batch made before they were destroyed by Rita Repulsa. There is only a small pool of water left where the Springs used to be, so no more of this medicine has been made since that time. These gourds were grown by the Springs back then, they are the only things that can transport the water of the Mystic Springs without the water losing its healing properties. These are the last two doses I have, but you both need them very much. Please, drink, and I think you will both feel much better." Daniel and Kahva started to refuse, saying someone else might need the medicine more, but Madas persuaded them to accept.
Daniel and Kahva thanked him and took the medicine, it had no taste, but it was cool and soothing to their throats. Within seconds, there was a visible change as the medicine started to work on both of them. Daniel's black eye faded considerably, the color returned to his face, his split lip healed nearly completely. The bruises on his arms and legs from fighting with the Cogs over the course of their imprisonment faded almost completely away. But the most dramatic change was in Kahva. The fingerprint bruises on her face went from a dark purple-black to a lighter purple, the color started to return to her face a bit. As the others watched, her arms, which had been almost black from the bruises, healed a great deal right before their eyes. Her upper arms still were badly bruised, but looked much better than before. Her legs also healed quite a bit, some bruises were still present, but their condition was greatly improved. Even some of the cuts that both Kahva and Daniel had borne disappeared, or at least healed considerably. Both former captives immediately felt stronger, and as an amazed Billy and Alpha ran scans on them, it was discovered that neither one was dehydrated any longer. Kahva stood up and hugged the ki-see master. "How can we ever repay you? You've worked a miracle here! Thank you so much," she hugged him again. Master Madas almost seemed to blush at the attention.
"It was the least I could do. Now, neither one of you are completely healed, please realize that. You both need plenty of rest and food to completely regain your strength and to heal the rest of the way, you must not overexert yourselves. It may well be a week before both of you are back to normal, but the medicine has healed the worst of the damage." Sheena got up and hugged her teacher as well, tears in her eyes.
"Thank you Master. You've given me back a new friend and my soul-sister. I don't have the words to tell you how I feel, all I can say is thank you so very much."
Madas smiled kindly at her. "All I did was bring the medicine, my dear. Now, I think Casach may want to stay with Kahva here, she seems rather attached to her." All laughed at that, for Casach had her tail wrapped around Kahva's ankle. "So I will take my leave and return to Eltar, I shall be back tomorrow for the wedding." Ninjor also said his good-byes to the group, promising to be back for the wedding also. Sheena was about to have her friends teleported to the cabin, when Zordon said they could stay there at the Power Chamber for the night. After quarters were assigned, the Rangers all excused themselves except for Billy, with everyone planning to meet at Billy's house for breakfast the next morning at his parents' invitation. Billy and Sheena made sure everyone was settled in before going back to the main chamber, where Daniel and Kahva were talking, and playing with Casach. Sheena knelt at Kahva's side while Billy became better acquainted with the playful cheetah.
"Kahva? Could I have a moment with you?"
"Sure, Sheena. I'll be back, you two," she told Daniel and Casach. Kahva followed Sheena back to her private quarters in the Power Chamber, her curiosity growing with each step. "So what's up? What's going on, Sheena?" she asked as Sheena shut the door to her bedroom.
Sheena sighed and looked at Kahva, studying her improved condition since taking the marvelous medicine Master Madas had brought from Eltar. She nodded, apparently having made up her mind about something. "There's something I've wanted to ask you ever since you nearly fell into our laps Monday afternoon. But I was afraid to, not knowing how long you would be here, if it would be fair to you or not, or if you would think me selfish for asking, when all you wanted that first night was to go back home... And then after we got the two of you out of the Machine Skybase, I didn't think you'd be strong enough. But after what the medicine has done... I have to ask." Sheena paused and opened up her closet door. Her hand froze in the air, she was unsure if she was doing the right thing, but she finally pulled a dark sapphire dress out of the closet. "I got this at the same time as the bridesmaid dresses, everybody wondered why I had an extra one. They assumed I had someone in mind for it, which I guess I did. I guess there was a part of me that hoped somehow, someway, you could be my maid of honor. Will you Kahva? Will you be my maid of honor?" Sheena waited anxiously for her soul-sister's answer. Is she ready for this, am I asking too much, too soon?
Kahva smiled broadly and laughed with delight. "Just try and stop me!!" She immediately tried on the dress. "It's a bit loose, I guess I've lost some weight with everything that's happened. But it still fits, though! Let's go show Billy and Daniel," she suggested, after donning the hose and matching shoes Sheena had also purchased. They went out to the main chamber to show off the dress, only to find that all of their friends were back in there, already dressed for bed, with their robes wrapped snugly around them. They all had their pillows and sleeping bags with them as well.
"Well, since everybody's here, except for the other Rangers, I guess we can tell almost everyone at the same time," Sheena chuckled as Casach got up to sniff the new dress, then went behind Sheena to play with her hair again. "Kahva is going to be my maid of honor tomorrow!" Kahva twirled slowly and carefully, showing off the beautiful outfit, then stopped in front of Daniel.
"What do you think?"
"I think that if there's any dancing at this wedding, that I want the first one with you, gorgeous," he grinned. The dress was cocktail length with a sweetheart neckline and three-quarter-length sleeves that hid the worst of her remaining bruises. Sheena smiled broadly and Billy moved to hug his soon to be 'official' wife.
"I guess the great mystery of 'who's going to be Sheena's maid of honor' is finally solved. The others will get a real kick out of it when they find out." Billy kissed Sheena then, and they lost themselves in it for a while until Todd cleared his throat.
"I think the 'you may now kiss your bride' part is supposed to come tomorrow?" he teased. Melissa grinned as she looked at her watch.
"Well, if the time isn't too different over here, 'tomorrow' is only about thirty minutes away, you know. And the groom isn't supposed to see the bride on the wedding day before the wedding," she added.
"Actually, I think it's that he isn't supposed to see her in her wedding dress before the wedding," Ann chimed in. Billy laughed, he liked Sheena's friends.
"Are you guys trying to get rid of me?" Sheena wrinkled her nose at the group and grinned.
"They can't, I won't let them," she joked. "What are you guys all doing out here anyway? I thought you were all going to bed."
Josh put on his best sad puppy look, "But big sister, we can't sleep, we're too excited!"
"Yeah, Sheena," Jaycynda chimed in. We haven't seen you in two years, Kahva was gone for almost a week, we're in a different dimension and you expect us to sleep?! No way, girl!" Sheena laughed, it was so good to have all of her friends with her on the eve of her wedding. After Kahva changed back into her T-shirt and shorts, Sheena settled down with her friends from her old world. Billy stayed until midnight, getting to know the people who were a second family to his beloved, then excused himself and teleported home. Somewhere around two in the morning, someone noticed that Kahva and Daniel had fallen asleep in each other's arms, propped up against one of the console bases. Josh picked Kahva up and took her back to her infirmary room, while Kenny and Todd got Daniel into his. Neither one of them woke up during the move. Casach took up a post in the hallway between the two rooms. "They make a cute couple, don't they Sheena?"
"They sure do Jay. I wish Daniel could stay here with her, but it's just too dangerous, too complicated for him right now, and he's still got family and friends back home, a career... Maybe one day things will be different so he can come here to stay. She's waited so long for someone..."
"Just like you. I am so happy for you Sheena, we all are. We wish you could come back, but we understand why you have to stay, why Kahva has to stay."
"Doesn't mean we like it," Josh stated softly as he walked up behind Sheena, "but we understand. And I wouldn't dare try to keep my big sister from the man of her dreams, I know better," he joked. Sheena's heart was full to overflowing with love and joy. All of her friends, old and new, were with her, and would be at her wedding. Mother Goddess, you have truly blessed me, thank You so much, I can't find the words, but You know my heart, thank You!
"I love you guys so much!" The friends talked and talked, catching up on two years worth of events. Jaycynda commented on the difference in Sheena, she was stronger, more confident and sure of herself, and the others all agreed that it was a change for the better. Sheena toured the group around the Power Chamber, stopping in the workout room to demonstrate a bit of ki-see to them and explain about the martial art that meant so much to her. Close to five in the morning, everyone finally went to sleep for a little while in the main chamber, but all were up and going again an hour later, rushing to showers and getting dressed to go to Billy's house for breakfast. By eight in the morning, ten excited, and in the case of Kahva and Daniel at least, mildly rested young people materialized a short distance away from Billy's house. To avoid any suspicion, David, with Mr. Trueheart's help, had arranged for two rental cars to transport the group to the house the rest of the way, and Sheena, Daniel and Kahva arrived in the Rad Bug after Alpha teleported it to them. Excitement, chaos and happiness reigned the entire morning as everyone got to know each other and meet Billy's parents and his relatives. A carefully constructed story had been rehearsed at the Power Chamber to avoid any slip-ups in how all of Sheena's friends had been able to arrange to get to Angel Grove for the wedding. Everyone was very happy that Sheena had finally gotten her wish of having her best friend be able to be her maid-of-honor, and that Kahva and Daniel were both strong enough to attend the wedding at all. Kimberly arrived at mid-morning and was introduced to everyone and quietly updated on the events of the week.
By lunch time, things were in full swing as people seemed to appear out of the woodwork. One of Billy's cousins who was supposed to be the ring bearer had gotten sick the night before, so he wasn't able to take part in the wedding. When Master Madas arrived and heard about it, he suggested that Casach could possibly take the child's place. There was some concern when it was learned that Casach was a cheetah, but Madas assured Billy's family that Casach was tame and would cause no trouble. Madas was introduced as an adopted uncle of Sheena's, so no one questioned it when Sheena changed her plans from walking in alone to being escorted by Madas. Ninjor arrived a short time later, as well as Dex and the Treys. All, like Madas, had arrived dressed in Earth clothing, and had temporarily taken more Earth-like names, since the only obvious aliens expected at the wedding were the Alien Rangers. Dex had helped to get the Earth clothes for the others, and Kat, Tanya and Kim disguised the Treys' tattoos with makeup before they made their grand entrance. Casach entertained all by romping about the Cranstons' back yard, acting very much like an overgrown kitten, then impressed everyone as Madas had her practice carrying the ring bearer's pillow. Mrs. Cranston had attached a couple of silver and dark blue ribbons for a handle, so Casach could carry the pillow easily in her mouth.
Eventually the group made its way to the Juice Bar and Gym, which had been beautifully set up for the wedding. White roses and silver and blue ribbons adorned the room, it didn't even seem like the same place. There were white candles in white candleholders, lush green ferns were everywhere. The florists were making the last-minute arrangements, checking to make sure everything was properly placed. On a run back to her car, Kat spotted Stephanie, the girl who had been so enthralled with Tommy's kata a few days before. Only now, Tommy was with the other guys, teasing Rocky about his 'monkey suit', not performing a kata of any sort, and still she was staring at him. "I'm going to have to have a talk with her, looks like," Kat muttered under her breath. She forced a smile at the blonde girl, then hurried back to where the others were getting ready.
As she entered, Kat felt she had an idea of where the term 'bridesmaid' may have come from. All of Sheena's 'maids' were fussing about, getting the bride ready. Sheena hadn't yet put on the beautiful bridal gown once worn by Zordon's late wife Elysia, but even simply hanging, it seemed to have a life of its own, glinting slightly in the light of the room. "Here's the beads, sorry I forgot them the first go around, Kahva." Kahva grinned and took the strands of faux pearls.
"With everything that's happened this week, I think we did good not to forget the bride."
"No way you're going to forget me, ladies! I've waited far too long for this moment to be forgotten now," Sheena declared. She looked over at Kim, who was supervising everyone's makeup. "I'm so glad all of you could be here, I'm so glad this day is finally here! Billy and I are going to be married!"
"Again," Kat, Tanya and Kim all said at the same time, laughing. Kim pulled up a chair and sat in front of Sheena, while Kahva got behind the anxious bride and started brushing out her hair. "Stay still for a while Sheena, or else you'll look like you're wearing war paint, not 'expertly' applied makeup," Kim teased. "Kahva, I'll get you next, we'll see if we can't hide those bruises on your face a little bit."
"Thanks, Kimberly," Kahva smiled shyly. It was taking her a little while to get used to yet another character from a TV show being real, and right in front of her. How did Sheena get used to this? she wondered. "I've never really worn much makeup.
"My pleasure, and please, call me Kim. Man, we're a 'K' club here, Kahva, Kat, Kim... if we had another 'K' name, we'd be driving everybody crazy," the former Pink Ranger laughed. She watched as Kahva deftly wove the faux pearl strands into Sheena's hair as she braided it. "Are you sure you've never been in a wedding before? I've never seen anyone weave anything into someone's hair like that, unless they've done it a lot." Jaycynda, Cindy, Ann and Melissa made their way into the room at that time.
"Never a 'real' wedding, anyway," Jaycynda laughed. "But believe it or not, our quiet little Kahva was in drama in high school and college."
"And if there was a show where someone needed their hair braided, Kahva was the one called on for help. Jay was in 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers' in college, she was one of the brides. The 'brides' had a really fast costume change and had to put their hair up somehow. Kahva was timed, she got Jay's hair braided and pinned up in under a minute. The girl's a miracle worker," Cindy declared. Sheena, makeup now finished, turned to Kahva and hugged her.
"She's a miracle, period. Are you sure you're up to this? Everyone will understand if you're not strong enough yet."
Kahva grinned at Sheena, seeming more like her old self, surrounded by friends old and new. "Yes, I'm doing this, we promised each other, remember? I'm also sure of one other thing."
"That if you start getting all mushy right now, you'll ruin Kim's makeup job, and if you don't turn back around, I'll never finish the last of this braid!" All the girls laughed and continued to get ready, there was nothing that could spoil their festive mood.
* * * *
"Hey, Billy, it's an hour till the wedding, how are you holding up?" Jason called to the young groom. Billy was sitting by a window, staring into space. "Billy? You okay, man?"
"Huh?" he replied distractedly. "Oh yeah, one hour. I'll be ready."
"Billy, what's wrong?"
Billy sighed, then looked past Jason to see if anyone else was nearby. "Mom and Dad got a call from Zack last night. He, Trini and Aisha are all stuck at Heathrow Airport because of bad weather. They said they were trying to arrange another flight from somewhere else, to try and get around it, but..." Billy frowned and shook his head, "They were hoping that Zordon and Alpha could teleport them in, and ordinarily, they could, but not today, thanks to Mondo."
"What do you mean?"
"Mondo's being a royal pain, that's what! He's not only jamming our regular teleportation and communications, but he's put a force field around the Power Chamber, we can't get in. Nothing's wrong in the Power Chamber, it's just that no one can get in or out. The only thing that seems to be getting in is the signal from the little transmitter I've got hidden near the altar. So at least Zordon and Alpha can see and hear the wedding like we'd hoped. At least, I think they can."
Jason frowned, "What about the Rad Bug? It's not tied into the Power Chamber's systems, can't we use it to get in, or get the others?"
Billy's face was crestfallen. "I've already tried that. Tried it right after I found I couldn't contact the Power Chamber, in fact. The Rad Bug just bounces off of the force field. And that was after the Quadrafighters took a few shots at me. Mondo is doing this deliberately. He wants us to try and use the Rad Bug, we're better targets in it. He can't launch an attack with all of us here, I mean, you've got us, the Aquitians are here, so is Dex, and even though the Treys don't have the Gold Ranger powers anymore, they are still highly trained warriors. Mondo wouldn't stand a chance against all of us. But if one of us takes off in the Rad Bug, we're sitting ducks."
"Which means no getting into the Power Chamber for now, or bringing Zack, Trini or Aisha here."
"Exactly. I've not told the others yet, figured I shouldn't bring everyone else down." Billy hit the wall lightly with his fist. "I guess you can't have everything go the way you want it to at a wedding, huh? Look, you guys need to start seating the guests, I promise I'll cheer up. And after the wedding, I'll let the others know what Mondo's done." Jason got up to leave, he hadn't seen or heard Billy this down in a long while. He took one last look at the Sapphire Ranger: the saddest guy in Angel Grove on what was supposed to be the happiest day of his life.
"Maybe something will break loose," he offered. Billy merely nodded and returned to staring out the window. Jason left him and started to wander about the outside of the Juice Bar, not paying attention to where he was going until he nearly stepped on a beautiful brunette in a sapphire blue dress.
"I take it that all is not well on the western front?" Kahva tried to joke.
"Whatever gave you that idea?"
"Oh, just the storm clouds on your face. What's wrong?" Jason quickly explained the situation to her, and soon she was frowning too.
"I just wish that we could do something, you know? But everything's jammed."
"Maybe not everything..."
* * *
"It's thirty minutes until we start, where is she?" Sheena asked for what seemed like the hundredth time. Kahva had disappeared without a trace, all sorts of scenarios ran through the Silver Ranger's mind as she imagined countless ways she could've fallen into Mondo's hands again.
"Where's who?" came the voice she'd been wanting to hear for the past half-hour.
"Where have you been?" Sheena demanded, then hugged her soul-sister. "I've been worried sick!"
"Oh, just taking care of some maid of honor stuff." Kahva grinned rather wickedly, then frowned and rubbed her temples.
"Yeah, I'm okay. I guess this 'shifting' stuff takes more out of you than I first realized."
"That's what Billy started calling it this morning. Unless somebody can come up with a better name, that's what I'm sticking with. Now come on, you're getting married in less than thirty minutes!"
"But what were you taking care of?"
"You'll see soon enough..."
* * * *
Billy stood in his place, Adam beside him, looking out over the crowd. The Justice of the Peace had walked in to signal the start of the ceremony, and his friends were all lined up just out of sight, waiting for their moment to walk in. I really wish Zack, Trini and Aisha could've been here. At least Mondo isn't attacking, if he has any common sense he won't attack anywhere on Earth, he'd have too many of us to deal with if he did. Billy mentally shook his head to clear his gloomy thoughts, Sheena had already picked up on them through their link, he knew, she'd be asking him later what was wrong. Snap out of it, this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life! Mondo wrecked the church, but we're having the ceremony here. He kidnapped Kahva and Daniel, but we rescued them, and thanks to Master Madas' medicine, they are well on their way to recovery, and Kahva can get Daniel home, and their old friends. Everything Mondo's done has failed, except for blocking Zack, Trini and Aisha's way here. They'll see the tape we'll send, and more importantly, they're safe, everybody's safe. Billy kept up the smile he'd glued to his face, he was determined not to bring everyone down. Adam was standing next to him, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Hey, I thought I was the one getting married, what are you grinning about?" he whispered to his best man.
"Oh, nothing much, just looking out at everyone who's here. I think the guest list is filled, take a look," Adam softly indicated the crowd with a slight nod of his head. Billy finally let his gaze roam over the assembly, it was a rather large crowd. Ernie was roaming the back of the congregation, making sure everything was running smoothly. Nearly all of Billy's family had been able to come, and several family friends, some who he had no clue as to who they were. All of his friends were there, even his ex-girlfriends were there, he noticed, spotting Melissa, who was reading lips and had a friend signing to her what she couldn't see, and Marge, Laura and Violet were there too. Even Tamara, who he had met when she'd come as the student head of the World Teen Peace Conference, and had kept in touch with was there, she was currently attending Angel Grove University. The Alien Rangers were all there, sitting on his side, while Ninjor, Dex and the Treys had taken Sheena's side of the room. All of Sheena's old friends were there, excited and happy at their friend getting married, Mr. Trueheart and David Trueheart had chosen to sit on her side as well. Even Bulk, Skull and Detective Stone were there, having picked Sheena's side to sit on also.
Glad they did that, Sheena doesn't know many people here, he thought. He even saw Zack, Trini and Aisha sitting on her side... "What?" he squeaked, barely remembering to whisper. Adam chuckled softly as Billy's eyes went wide. The three former Ranger beamed at him, giving quick little waves. As Tommy made his way up the aisle, he was grinning at the shocked groom. "How did they get here, they were stranded by the storm, and Mondo was watching for the Rad Bug... how?"
"Tommy, should I tell him?" Adam whispered as Tommy walked past.
"He's our 'main brain' as Zack would say, let him figure it out." Rocky was walking up then, his grin as big as the others.
"See someone familiar?" the Blue Ranger mouthed the words to Billy.
"But how..." Billy's whisper trailed off as Jason walked up with a smile that beat all the others cold. A wink was his only reply to the question on Billy's face. "He didn't..." Billy started to whisper again to Adam.
"Well, he did have a little help. They told us when they got back here with them."
"They?" How did he get the Rad Bug started, I still have the keys! Billy was completely floored, he hadn't expected this miracle. The flower girl had just walked up, dropping white rose petals along the way, now Casach was trotting up as the ring bearer. There were a few gasps in the crowd as they caught sight of the cheetah for the first time, but everyone had been told as they came in that there was a wild animal in the ceremony, so no one panicked. Then Sheena's bridesmaids walked in, Kim first, then Tanya and Kat after her, filling in their line, building up to the place where the maid of honor and the bride would stand. Each girl was grinning as much as the guys had been. Then Kahva walked in, causing a few murmurs of her own. Her steps were slow and careful, but not too slow. Nearly everyone gathered there had seen the news report the night before of Kahva and Daniel's rescue by the Power Rangers, and had made their own individual conclusions of how bad a shape they had been in. Billy was relieved when his mom had told him at lunch that most people thought the dirt and torn clothes had made them look in worse shape than perhaps they'd really been in. If they only knew. Master Madas' medicine has helped her and Daniel get close to the condition people had assumed they were really in under the dirt and grime and torn clothes. But we can't hide everything, he noted regretfully. Even though the girls had taken in Kahva's dress, her weight loss was still noticeable. Kim's makeup job had camouflaged the remaining bruises on her face somewhat, but they and the dark circles under her eyes from lack of proper sleep were slightly visible, if you knew where to look. What the people in the congregation could really see was the evident weight loss, a slight tiredness to her step, and the bruises that peeked out from underneath her sleeves. The flowers she carried, however, hid them most of the time, and the worst were hidden under her sleeves, he knew. The neckline of the dress revealed no bruises, the dark hose that the girls all wore hid the ones that remained on her legs. All in all, we're the only ones who really know, and that's how we all wanted it, especially Kahva. Kahva's shy smile grew broad and even impish as she got closer to Billy, then she quickly stole a sideways glance at Jason. That's how they got here!! Billy broke with protocol and gave her a quick hug before she took her position. "Thank you both," he whispered in her ear.
"You're welcome, but we'd better break this up, or people will start to talk," she replied teasingly. Kahva took her place and looked back at the ivy-covered arch they had all entered through. The Justice of the Peace smiled at the bridal party, then motioned for the congregation to rise. The Wedding March sounded, and Billy finally saw his true love in the archway, escorted by Master Madas.
The silvery-white gown shimmered and seemed to glow as Sheena slowly and elegantly walked down the aisle, holding a bouquet of silver-white roses and sapphire-blue geraniums. The very sight of her took his breath away. Her hair had been put into a long braid with strands of faux pearls interwoven with the braid, which was coiled once atop her head, then the rest of it cascaded down her back. Wisps of hair curled around her face, framing her lovely visage, tiny pieces of baby's breath formed a natural tiara. She was wearing the pearl earrings his mother had given her, he spotted them under her veil. His heart felt as though it would leap from his chest with all the love he had for her, she was the most beautiful, loving woman in all the universe... And she is about to become my wife in front of everyone here, we won't have to hide it anymore... What did I ever do to deserve her? I love you, he sent to her. Sheena's smile, and the warmth in his mind and heart told him she had heard him, and not only felt his love, but shared it as well. Billy was so overwhelmed with the magnificent vision standing before him, he almost didn't hear the Justice start the ceremony. The Justice motioned for the assembly to retake their seats, then smiled warmly at the lovely bride standing before him.
"Who accompanies and supports this woman as she makes her journey into the sacred institution of matrimony?"
"Her friends and family, by presence and spirit," Master Madas responded. He lifted Sheena's veil and kissed her cheek lightly, then took his seat. The Justice put Sheena's hand in Billy's, then looked out over the congregation. "Sheena and William have expressed their love for each other and their desire to unite their souls before all those gathered here today. They know that the path of life and love contains challenges. These challenges are not to be seen as stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones. True love and faith guide you on the path of life, and through facing the challenges, love and faith will grow and become stronger. These two souls have chosen to continue their journey together, and today, are honored to pledge their troth before all."
"Billy," Sheena began, "I have loved you from the moment I saw you, my heart is not complete with you in it. You are my life, my light, my joy, you make each day worth living. I will always love you; my heart, my soul is yours, for always and eternity, and beyond."
"Sheena, I cannot imagine my life without you in it. You make me whole, you fill my heart with an indescribable light and joy. I have no words that can express how much you mean to me, that can tell you how much I love you. My heart and soul are yours, for always and eternity, and beyond."
"As much as these two hearts have shown their love for each other, the love of their family and friends is just as important. As they love and support each other, and their loved ones, so must we love and support them. Love, by its very nature, is a gift to be given and shared, and by the giving of it, love grows and strengthens into a bond that cannot be broken." The Justice motioned to a set of three candles behind him. Two were lit, one silvery-white, the other sapphire-blue. "Each of these candles burn brightly on their own, just as the light of these two lives burn brightly as they stand now, separately." Sheena and Billy stepped forward at this point, to each take one of the lit candles. Sheena picked up the silvery-white candle, Billy took the sapphire-blue one. As they moved to the candles, they heard a few stifled giggles from the gathered crowd. After taking the candles, they dared to sneak a peek behind them to see what could be the cause of the laughter. The flower girl, a five-year-old cousin of Billy's, was taking her remaining rose petals and dropping them in front of Casach, who was fascinated by the way they spiraled as they fell. The cheetah was trying to catch them in mid-air with her paws, but having failed that, she was now slapping at them as they hit the floor, quickly pouncing from one petal to the other, being very much like a playful kitten. Sheena saw Kahva shake her head slightly at the friendly big cat, and Casach reluctantly gave up her play and sat by Kahva's side. As Sheena turned back to Billy, she saw that he was on the verge of laughter himself. They both faced the Justice, who was trying his best to stay serious, but a grin was playing at the corners of his mouth also. He cleared his throat quietly and continued, "With the lighting of the Unity Candle, which represents two flames joining together as one, Sheena and William show before all here today that they are joining their lives together." At the same time, Billy and Sheena held their candles to the Unity Candle, which had been specially made for them. It was a dual-colored candle, with the colors silver-white and sapphire-blue twined together in a spiral.
"Together forever, forever together, always and eternity," they said, lighting the Unity Candle, then blowing out their individual candles afterwards. The Justice took their rings from Adam and Kahva, holding the silver bands up for all to see. Sheena's ring had several tiny sapphire stones set flush into the band, while Billy's ring bore a single brilliant sapphire.
"The circle represents eternity, the unending bond that cannot be broken," he said, as he handed the bands to Sheena and Billy.
Sheena put Billy's ring on his hand, "With this ring, I take you as my beloved husband, to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and cherish with all my heart and soul, till death and beyond."
Then Billy put Sheena's on hers. "With this ring, I take you as my beloved wife, to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and cherish with all my heart and soul, till death and beyond."
"Together forever, forever together, always and eternity," they pledged once more in unison, their love for each other shining through their eyes for all to see.
"These two young people have pledged their eternal love and devotion to each other, and have shown this by the giving and receiving of rings, in front of all these witnesses. Therefore, by the powers vested in me by this state, I now pronounce that they are husband and wife. Let no one tear asunder, what true love has brought together this day. William, you may now kiss your bride." There were cheers and giggles as the couple finally ended a kiss that had a few in the crowd jokingly fanning themselves. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. William Cranston."
* * * *
"NO!!! How dare they be happy?! Klank!!"
"Yes, sire?" Klank sighed. Maybe I should apply for a job with Zedd or Rita... no, her screaming is actually worse than the King's yelling. Oh, well, what's another new set of audio receptors? Klank shuffled into the throne room, he'd vainly tried to stay away from his master, but since Mondo had dismantled every Cog unfortunate enough to have ventured into the throne room over the past twenty-four hours, Klank had no choice but to come when summoned. It was the only way to find out what he was supposed to do next. The humans have a saying 'don't shoot the messenger'. Mondo's been shooting them and ripping them up before he even gives them the message to start with.
"Have you made any progress in getting our systems back online? I want to destroy those Rangers!!"
"No, sire, we're lucky that we can block their teleportation and communications at all. The Sapphire Ranger fed a virus into our system that has wiped out or scrambled most of our files. And I can't keep the virus from getting into -" A low-pitched electronic moan interrupted Klank, followed by a flickering of lights. The majordomo checked a monitor near the throne, one of the few still operational. "We've just lost our block. They can communicate with the Power Chamber and teleport again. The force field we placed around the Power Chamber is gone as well."
"At least we were able to keep their former Ranger friends from attending the wedding... NO!! How did they get there?!" Mondo screamed. Klank looked at the flickering viewscreen Mondo was raging at and saw Zack, Trini and Aisha hugging and congratulating Billy and Sheena. "I thought you said they couldn't break our block, if it has only just gone down, how did they get there?!"
Klank cleared his throat nervously, Mondo wouldn't like his theory. "The only way I can think of sire, is that the child has discovered she can open dimensional portals. Remember, her ancestor altered Vile's spell that would have cast his family into one of the wizard's dark dimensions. It is possible that she can open portals, it was one of the things you had hoped she could do for you -"
"I know that, Klank! She should be too weak to do anything though!!" Mondo continued to growl at the images on his viewscreen. Most of his weapons were inoperable, thanks to the virus Billy had fed into his system, his device he had used to bring Kahva Briton over was destroyed, along with the blueprints for it that had been kept on file in the computer. "The child has brought their friends to make them happy, her powers should've been mine. The Silver Ranger was in my grasp, she should've been mine. The Gold Ranger helped them, his powers should've been mine a long time ago. And that irritating Sapphire Ranger, Billy, has single-handedly crippled my forces with a computer virus. You should have discovered that the Sapphire powers had not been claimed, you should have found them for me before he took them! His powers should've been mine too! All of their powers should've been mine to command!! They will all pay, I swear it!! The price must be paid for what they have done, and the Silver Ranger will be the first to feel my wrath!! I will have my revenge!!!" Mondo stormed off, leaving a relieved Klank in his wake.
"At least he didn't yank my arm off again," he muttered to himself. There was an odd silence from the hallway Mondo had disappeared into, Klank wandered down it to check on his master. "Sire? Are you all right, sire?" There was no answer, nor any sign of the Machine King. "I wonder where he went? Sire??"
* * * *
The reception was now in full swing, Sheena had never shaken so many hands in her life, she'd decided. Kahva had been standing beside her in the receiving line after the ceremony, politely smiling, but Sheena could feel her unease. Only Sheena's occasional grabbing of Kahva's arm when she appeared about to bolt, and Casach's taking a post between Kahva and Sheena had kept the girl from disappearing. The big cat had wrapped her tail protectively around Kahva's ankle, her purring had seemed to provide some comfort to the shy maid of honor. She's never been good in crowds like this, when she has felt she was an object of attention. I don't think she realized how many people were going to be here. I didn't realize how many people were going to be here. Some of the guests had tried not to look at the bruises on Kahva's arms while in the receiving line, but most had not been successful, which had made her even more ill at ease. Sheena scanned the crowd for her best friend, and to her relief, spotted her by Tommy and Kat. Everyone was enjoying the food, since the wedding had started in the mid-afternoon, a light meal was being served, but it was still mainly finger foods. As Sheena made her way to part of her wedding party, she could hear Kahva laughing softly. Good, around us, people she knows, she's relaxing a bit again. "How's everything, you guys having fun?"
Tommy, sitting by Kat, looked up at his cousin and smiled. "Everything's great! I don't think anyone's going to forget this wedding for quite a while," he laughed.
"Josh and Jaycynda were here with us, they left to go through the food line again, you just missed them," Kahva informed her.
Sheena grinned, then frowned as she noticed Kahva hadn't eaten anything, and only had a cup of punch in her hand. "Aren't you going to eat something?"
"Later. I was afraid to try solid food just yet, but I might get one of the soft sandwiches later and try it. The punch is nice, not too sweet."
"Yeah, you and Daniel need to take it slow, don't rush yourselves," Kat agreed. She stopped to scratch Casach's ears, the cat had been resting her chin on Tommy's knee for some time now. "Though Casach might be getting hungry, she'd been staring at Tommy for the longest time."
Tommy laughed and petted the cheetah. "Are you hungry, Casach? You want some food?" The cat's only response was a throaty purr as Tommy continued to pet her. "Kahva, is she hungry? I don't know if wedding cake is good for a cheetah, but I'm sure we can find something."
Kahva looked at the big cat, Casach turned to look at her before she even spoke. "Are you hungry, Casach?" They locked eyes for a few moments, then Kahva giggled and shook her head. "No, she's not exactly hungry," she said as Billy's mom approached the group.
"What do you mean, 'not exactly'?" Tommy asked. Kahva shook her head and grinned as Mrs. Cranston reached the young people.
"Sheena, it's time to toss the bouquet, and Billy needs to toss the garter."
"Duty calls," Sheena cheerfully replied. "All single ladies and gentlemen gather around, and that includes you guys," she pointed to Tommy, Kat and Kahva. "Come on, you need to scout out your spots!" Tommy and Kat placed their plates on a nearby chair, but as Kat stood up, she noticed that Casach had yet to take her chin off of Tommy's knee.
Kahva turned back to them, "Casach, Tommy needs to stand, you need to move." Kat could've sworn the cheetah sighed in disappointment. "Oh, by the way Tommy," Kahva tossed over her shoulder as the Red Ranger was finally able to stand, "Casach thinks you're cute."
Kat showed Tommy a mock frown and lightly slapped his shoulder. "Another female staring at you, I swear I can't take you anywhere, Tommy!"
"What did I do?" Tommy hurried to keep up with Kat. I'll never understand women, he decided. He was extra sure of it as Kat kissed him before taking a place in the group of single women gathered to catch the wedding bouquet. I'll definitely never understand women. A cheetah thinks I'm cute?? His attention was drawn to the cluster of women waiting for Sheena to toss the bouquet over her shoulder. Kahva hadn't joined the group, but Kim and Tanya pulled her into their midst, the newcomer now surrounded by past and present Rangers, and her female friends from the other dimension. Sheena closed her eyes and tossed the bouquet in a high arc over her shoulder. Everyone was ready to catch it except for Kahva, so she was quite surprised when it landed on her head, then fell into her hands. Everyone cheered and the girls congratulated her as the guys took their place for the garter toss. Much like Kahva had, Daniel found himself surrounded by his new friends as Billy threw the garter over his shoulder, sling-shot style. The garter bounced between Jason and Daniel, landing in Jason's hands, out of sight of the crowd. He quickly pressed it into Daniel's hand, then raised the man's arm for the crowd to see.
"You didn't have to do that," Daniel told Jason after pictures were taken of the newlyweds with Daniel and Kahva.
"I know, but after Kahva caught the bouquet, it seemed the only right thing to do."
"Thanks, Jason." A slow song started up then, Daniel quickly found Kahva and led her to the dance floor. Billy had been looking for Sheena, but after he couldn't find her, he went to the dance floor with Trini.
Sheena herself had been looking for Billy, but a cold hand on her arm halted her search. "Hello, my dear Silver Ranger. But I suppose I should call you Mrs. Cranston now, right?" a vaguely familiar voice floated to her.
"Zimmer! What are you doing here? How did you get here, the only person I knew of that was coming from Eltar was Master Madas." She looked at the tall thin man, he still struck her as being a bit odd, but harmless enough.
"I quietly arranged my own transportation, I didn't want to create a fuss. I hoped to be able to see you today, I've been thinking about your nuptials ever since we first met at the museum."
"I've been meaning to ask you about that, why did you pretend to be the curator? You must've known I would find out at some point and time that you weren't." Zimmer smiled and explained his reasons, never letting go of her hand the entire time. "Oh," he said, as if a thought had just occurred to him, "I believe that there is an old Earth custom that the male guests are supposed to kiss the new bride for good luck? May I keep that tradition, please?" Sheena studied him for a moment, her stomach jumped and tightened slightly, she almost told him no. I'm being silly, he couldn't hurt a fly. Besides, what harm could a little kiss do? Sheena nodded her consent, and Zimmer softly kissed her cheek. Some part of her mind noted his lips were as cold as his hands. "Thank you, my dear. I wish you happiness with your true love in the future."
After a while, Sheena relaxed a bit, he was odd, but harmless, she was sure. "Oh, I'm forgetting my manners, I should introduce you to Billy, wait here," she urged him. Sheena set off to find her new husband, but stumbled across Kahva instead. "Kahva, have you seen Billy? There's someone from Eltar I want him to meet, you too." Sheena turned back to look where she'd left Zimmer. "Now where did he go? I'm losing men left and right here!" she joked.
"Don't know about your man from Eltar, but I haven't seen Billy since a bunch of us went out to the dance floor, but I think he was looking for you. There's Kat," Kahva pointed to the bridesmaid just a few yards away. "Maybe she's seen him. Hey Kat!" she called to the blonde girl. "Have you seen Billy anywhere?"
"No, not since Tommy and I went to dance, but I'll look for him and let him know his wife is hunting for him," Kat grinned.
"And that she's recruiting reinforcements," Kahva joked as she and Sheena left to continue their search for the Sapphire Ranger. Kat scanned the crowd, she didn't see Billy anywhere. She did spot Tommy and David off to one side, talking and laughing.
"Maybe they've seen him," she said to herself. Before she could go to them, however, a light touch on her arm pulled her attention to a familiar young blonde. "Oh, hello. Stephanie, right? You're in some of Rocky's classes? I'm Katherine Hillard." And I hadn't planned on talking to you just yet.
"Hi, you're right, I'm Stephanie Millar. Umm, can I ask you a few questions? If it's not a bad time, that is."
Guess I might as well take care of this problem right now, Kat thought. "Sure, I've got a few minutes, ask away."
"That guy who escorted you out at the end of the wedding, who is he?"
Oh great, she is after Tommy. "Tommy Oliver." How do I politely tell her to back off?
"Tommy Oliver, hmm. Am I crazy, or is he related to David Trueheart?"
Now this wasn't what she had expected. "Yes, they're brothers."
Stephanie smiled triumphantly at that. "I thought so! I thought at first when Tommy was doing that wonderful kata earlier this week that he was David, until I got a good look at him. David's in some of my classes. Is Tommy a nice guy?"
"Well, yes, he is," Kat answered, not quite sure where the conversation was heading. "Why do you ask?"
"Well," Stephanie started, "I was hoping that maybe he could introduce me to David. I have to admit, I've got a really big crush on the guy, and I'd love to talk to him, but I haven't been able to think of anything to say to him in our classes, I get too nervous to even say hi, so I was hoping that maybe Tommy would make an introduction."
Kat smiled broadly at the girl. "I think I can take care of that, come with me." Kat escorted the blonde over to the brothers and quickly made the introductions. "David, why don't you keep Stephanie company, Tommy, I need you to help me track down Billy, Sheena and Kahva were hunting for him." Kat snagged Tommy's arm and pulled him away before either brother could quite recover. Stephanie gave Kat a smile and small wave from behind David's back, Kat grinned and waved back. The exchange didn't get by Tommy unnoticed.
"Now what was that about?"
"She was staring at you earlier this week when you were doing the ki-see kata because she thought you were David," Kat replied.
Realization dawned a second later. "So she was... hang on a sec, I'll be right back," Tommy told Kat. He quickly stepped back over to his brother, whispered something in his ear, then walked back to Kat, leaving his bewildered brother with the attractive blonde-haired Stephanie. "Got him," Tommy grinned as he returned.
"Payback," Tommy smiled. "I told him that Stephanie was the hungry she-wolf Kahva warned me about Tuesday. And that he'd better be careful, or Kahva would be checking the back of his neck for teethmarks!" Tommy laughed and gave Kat a quick kiss. "I love you, have I told you that lately?"
"Not since just after the wedding, but I won't stop you."
"I love you, Kat. And you don't have to worry about if any human she-wolves or playful female cheetahs think I'm cute, you're the only woman who has my heart." Tommy kissed her again and sighed. "Now, what were we going to do?"
"I think we were going to look for Billy," she giggled. "Oh, there he is! Who's that weird man with him?"
"I don't know, but we'd better let him know that his wife has a search party out for him."
* * *
"Hello there, Mr. Cranston," a cool voice greeted Billy from behind his shoulder. The newly married young man turned and saw a tall, thin man smiling at him. "My name is Zimmer, I met your wife back on Eltar. She wasn't your wife then, naturally, but you know what I mean."
Billy's eyes widened slightly at the mention of the alien world, then a memory came back to him as he shook hands with the odd man. "Oh yes, you're the one who pretended to be the curator of the Power Rangers museum. Why did you do that?" he inquired quietly, so that no one would overhear. Sheena was wrong when she said his hands were cold, he thought, remembering the conversation they'd had when Sheena had returned from Eltar. They're freezing!!
Zimmer smiled apologetically. "She was so beautiful, then when I got a good look at her, I realized she must be the new Silver Ranger. I'm a fan of the Rangers, especially the first Silver Ranger, so I just had to meet her. I was afraid that she wouldn't want to talk to someone who wasn't important. I probably shouldn't have done that, but I had to meet her, I had to make sure she was real." Zimmer shrugged his shoulders and sighed. "You are a very fortunate man, Mr. Cranston. I hope you enjoy your marriage." The strange man shook Billy's hand again and moved away, losing himself in the crowd. Billy shook his head in confusion. Sheena had understated the phony curator's strangeness, he decided. Kat's voice grabbed his attention.
"Hey, Billy! Sheena's looking for you, she's putting together a posse to round you up!" she teased. "Who was that you were talking to?"
"The phony museum curator Sheena met. He has cold hands, he's an odd bird. Seems nice enough though, in a weird way." Billy shook his head and dismissed Zimmer from his mind. "So, I'm being hunted? Show me the way to my wife and I'll gladly surrender."
* * *
"Where is that husband of mine?" Sheena asked herself aloud for the twentieth time in five minutes.
Kahva grinned and shook her head. "I don't know, you've misplaced him quite well -" Kahva stopped in mid-sentence and shivered.
"What's wrong? Are you okay?" Sheena studied Kahva's face, maybe she had been pushing herself too hard by staying so long at the reception.
"I think so... it's just..."
Kahva sighed and tried to put her feelings into words. "Remember back on Tuesday, when I told you I could feel someone's eyes on us?"
"Yeah, it was Mondo, we know from what you and Daniel told us that he had Shifter following us."
Kahva nodded and continued, "Well, Mondo's a machine, so he can't have any feelings, not like an organic being, anyway. Right?"
Sheena frowned. "You'll have to check with Billy on that one. He does seem to feel hatred, that's for sure." Kahva stood still, furrowing her brow and biting her lip.
"Maybe. I don't know, it's just now that I've had a chance to think about it, that feeling I had on Tuesday was more like... I don't know, like someone wanted something."
"Yeah, Mondo wanted you."
"No, it was more like someone wanted you, and I was in the way," Kahva stated. "It was weird, but I realize now that that's how it felt. Doesn't make sense if it was Mondo. And today, I'm getting that feeling again, that eyes are watching us, and it feels like the same thing, person, whatever, but the emotion is different."
"Different how?" Sheena was slightly alarmed now. Who could be after me now, after any of us?
"It's directed at all of us for the most part, I think, it feels like envy. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what it feels like. I can feel it brushing past me even, it's like threads of something cold going right by me."
"Wait, it feels like someone is envious of us?" Sheena asked. Again Kahva shook her head.
"Envious of us, but not you. And anytime I've been near Billy, it borders on hatred. If this is Mondo, he's sending out weird vibes - well now it's gone!" Kahva stood straight and scanned the crowd, but no one seemed out of place. "Who or whatever it was is gone. Maybe I'm overreacting, forget I said anything. I guess I just need sleep, I'm being paranoid." Sheena hugged Kahva as Billy walked up.
"Heard you were looking for me, everything okay?"
"Now that you're here, yes. I wanted to introduce you to Zimmer, he's here, believe it or not."
"I've already met him, he's weird, but he seemed nice enough." Billy stopped to kiss his new wife on her cheek, then looked at Kahva. "Kahva, are you okay?"
"She's had the feeling that someone's been watching us, but it suddenly stopped, right before you came over," Sheena answered for her. "Can Mondo have feelings, even though he's a machine? Maybe she's picking up on him, I'm sure he's been watching, if your virus left him anything he could watch us on."
"Maybe. He is a machine, but not as we traditionally think of them." A quick beep of their communicators caused Sheena and Billy to look for the other Rangers. All over the gym, Rangers past and present discreetly made their way to their usual corner, this time joined by Kahva. "Billy here, what's up?"
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WEDDING, BILLY AND SHEENA. THE TRANSMITTER BILLY CONSTRUCTED FOR US WORKED PERFECTLY, WE WERE ABLE TO SEE AND HEAR THE ENTIRE CEREMONY. THE JAMMING MONDO SET UP BROKE DOWN A FEW MINUTES AGO, WHICH IS WHY WE ARE ABLE TO CONTACT YOU NOW. TELEPORTATION IS BACK ONLINE, AND THE FORCE FIELD AROUND THE POWER CHAMBER IS ALSO GONE. I SPOTTED ZACK, TRINI AND AISHA IN THE CROWD, HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO GET THEM THERE? DID YOU USE THE RAD BUG?
Jason grinned and spoke into his communicator. "It was too risky with the Quadrafighters hanging around, waiting for one of us to do just that, so Kahva and I shifted over to Heathrow Airport and picked them up."
"The only way travel," Zack chimed in. The Rangers laughed and Billy hugged Kahva again in thanks.
"Looks like Mondo's plans to spoil this day were foiled completely, Zordon," Billy declared.
IT WOULD SEEM SO. AFTER YOUR FESTIVITIES ARE OVER, EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COME BACK TO THE POWER CHAMBER. KAHVA, SINCE OUR TELEPORTATION IS OPERATIONAL AGAIN, WE CAN TELEPORT ZACK, TRINI AND AISHA BACK TO ENGLAND WHEN THEY ARE READY TO GO. THANK YOU TO YOU AND JASON FOR GOING TO GET THEM, I HOPE IT DID NOT STRAIN YOU TOO BADLY.
"My pleasure, Zordon, and don't worry, I'm fine. I'll just be resting a lot this week, I think." Kahva answered. Zordon wished them all well, then the group returned to the reception, which continued on for another hour.
* * *
Cold eyes watched the festive crowd, a hatred slowly rebuilding as they watched the happy couple and their friends. There would have to be revenge for what had been done. The surveillance was interrupted by a low growl.
"Hello, foolish one. Why do you insist on playing with fire when you refuse to understand the flame?" The cold eyes turned to behold Master Madas standing behind him, and a snarling cheetah by the ki-see master's side.
Angrily came the reply, "Speak plainly, old man, I have no time for your riddles."
Master Madas merely smiled in return. "Ah, but riddles are all you will receive, for lies are all you can weave." Before a retort could be issued, the ki-see master and his cheetah seemed to melt away, as if they had never been there. The eyes turned back to the crowd with a cold, angry lust. Sheena Devereaux Cranston filled the view of the eyes. "Enjoy her while you can, Billy, for soon she'll be mine, forever! In fact, she partially already is..."
* * * *
In small groups, the past and present Power Rangers, the Treys and Dex, then Kahva and Sheena's friends from their home world quietly left the reception after Sheena and Billy had publicly 'left for their honeymoon'. The Alien Rangers followed soon after, then the wedding party and Daniel and David excused themselves. Only Billy's mother knew exactly where they had all disappeared to: the Power Chamber. She had thought she would have to cover for some of them perhaps, but since the reception had been winding down anyway, no one thought anything of it. Everything appeared perfectly normal, no one knows that my son and some of his friends were and are Power Rangers, she thought, once back at her home. Her husband Eric and her brother John had left to make a final check on the cabin, they wouldn't be back for a few hours. Helen Cranston found herself in her son's room; it seemed so empty now that she knew he wouldn't be coming back, he had his own home now, his own family. "My only child has left the nest. I hope he and Sheena have a wonderful life together, and that one day, having to fight alien overlords is no longer a part of it," she softly said to herself.
"So do I, Mom."
"Billy!" She hugged her son tightly. "What are you doing here? I thought all of you were at the Power Chamber for a more private gathering. Oh, come with me to the kitchen, I made some more chicken noodle soup for Kahva and Daniel, I noticed neither one of them ate much at the reception, if anything. I'll put it in the thermoses you brought back."
Billy laughed. "You're enjoying having someone to take care of, aren't you? Daniel did finally eat something I think, but I'm sure Kahva could use the soup later, I only saw her drink some punch. Kahva will be shifting all of her friends home later, I think Daniel said he was going to get something to eat then."
"Well, this will save him the trouble, he can take the thermos with him. He's such a nice young man."
"And you think this not just because he's my double, right?" Billy laughed. "Mom, why don't you come and give the soup to them yourself? That's why I'm here, I know that Dad and Uncle John are supposed to be at the cabin for a while, so no one will know you're gone."
Helen stared at her son. "You don't mean... you want me to come to the Power Chamber?" Billy grinned.
"Yeah, there's some people you need to meet. Let's get the soup, then just stand right beside me." A couple of minutes later, Billy and his mother left from the house in a blaze of sapphire and white light, materializing a few seconds later in the Power Chamber.
GREETINGS, MRS. CRANSTON. I AM ZORDON, WELCOME TO THE POWER CHAMBER. It took a few moments for Helen to get her bearings, she didn't even notice Jason taking the thermoses she and Billy carried. Then she finally saw the source of the friendly booming voice. A little robot shuffled up to her and shook her hand.
"And I am Alpha-5, it is a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Cranston," Alpha told her. "Billy and Sheena told us all a few days ago that you had figured out his secret identity."
Helen regained her composure at that point. "Thank you, and I hope you aren't mad at Billy or Sheena about the fact that I know. I had suspected it for a long time, but I wasn't really sure until a few months ago."
Zordon smiled warmly at her. DO NOT BE WORRIED, THOUGH I MUST ASK YOU NOT TO REVEAL ANYTHING YOU SEE HERE, NOR TO TELL ANYONE ELSE OF THE TRUE IDENTITIES OF THE POWER RANGERS. Mrs. Cranston readily gave her word not to tell anyone a single thing. WE FELT IT ONLY RIGHT THAT YOU SHOULD GET THE CHANCE TO SEE THE POWER CHAMBER, YOU HAVE BEEN MOST HELPFUL TO US THIS WEEK, Zordon informed her. ALSO, THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO WANT TO MEET YOU. BILLY KNOWS WHERE THEY ARE. Billy grinned and took his mother's hand.
"C'mon, Mom, this way." Helen chuckled at his enthusiasm. She wasn't sure who would be interested in meeting her, but right now she couldn't help but remember being pulled down aisle after aisle at various electronic stores by her son when he was young. He's all grown up now, my boy is a man. I'm so proud of him.. They went down a couple of hallways, stopping briefly at one door so Billy could give her a quick peek at the infirmary he'd set up with the help of the other Rangers. Finally, they stopped at a door, Billy opened it and they went inside. Already there were Sheena, Tommy, David and Kahva. "Mom, David found out about us by accident, but you and he are the only ones outside of Kahva and her and Sheena's friends from their world who know about the Power Rangers true identities. The only ones who know besides former Rangers, the Alien Rangers and the Masked Rider. That's who Dex is, by the way."
"I was wondering who he was. And the triplets?"
"They used to hold the Gold Ranger powers on their planet, the powers that Jason has now. Mom... you were the first born child, right?" His mother nodded, a bit puzzled and overwhelmed by everything. "The Ranger powers almost always go to the first born of each family line. Not every generation has had a Ranger, naturally, but the ability to take the power, should the need be there, has been passed down to each generation. If the need had arisen, you could've been a Power Ranger when you were a teenager or young adult." Billy smiled at the shocked look on his mother's face. "Honest, Mom! Our family line came from the first Sapphire Ranger, Silias. Sheena's came from Kahva Kilanye. Mom, they are here, and would like to say hello."
Helen looked at her son strangely. "Billy, are you telling me we're about to do a seance?"
That is not necessary for those who are descended from the first Power Rangers, my dear Helen, a pleasant male voice sounded almost as much in her mind as in her ears. She finally noticed a glow coming from across the room, that resolved itself into two forms, one male, one female, in ancient clothing. The male floated to her and placed his hand on the side of her face. I am Silias, the first Sapphire Ranger, and your ancestor. It is a privilege to meet the mother of my chosen heir. Helen's jaw dropped, then she recovered her composure a bit and found her voice, hoping it wouldn't shake as much as her knees were right then.
"N-Nice to meet you too - Silias, you said?" The ghost nodded, a friendly smile crossing his features. I can't believe I'm talking to a ghost! Helen thought. The female ghost came to her at that point.
And I am Kahva Kilanye, the first Silver Ranger, and ancestor of your daughter-in-law, Sheena. I am also the ancestor of Tommy and David, for they too are of my son Tilrak's line, who was the first Diamond Ranger. The Diamond powers are with Tommy now, in his role as the Red Zeo Ranger. I am also apparently the namesake for Kahva Briton here, Kahva Kilanye smiled. You can see and hear us since you are all our descendants, Kahva Kilanye turned to Kahva Briton and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Kahva can see and hear us as well, I believe that is because she is descended from Zordon's wife's family. It is truly a pleasure to meet you Kahva, and you as well Helen, it is my honor to meet the mother of my descendant's true love.
Helen nodded respectfully and smiled at the kind spirits. "It is my honor to meet you. Might I assume you were present in some way at the wedding?"
Yes, we were, Silias answered. We were determined not to miss this momentous occasion. The ghosts talked with their descendants for nearly an hour, but Kahva excused herself early on to let the families get acquainted. She roamed the hallways, exploring the building that would now be her home. Zordon had asked her to move in that morning, feeling she would be safer there, and that it would help to make her adjustment to her new world a little bit easier.
"Wonder what it's going to be like here," she wondered aloud. "Wonder where I'm supposed to fit in? What do I do now?" A comforting purr at her knees made her jump, she looked down to see Casach staring up at her. "Casach? I thought you were with Master Madas."
"Actually, I am with her," came the master's amused reply. "What troubles you, child?" Madas saw the flinch Kahva couldn't control at his calling her child, but made no comment on it.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do now." Why am I even telling him this, he'll just think I'm being silly! They always told us to be brave and strong at the orphanage, so why am I such a wreck now? Kahva nearly ran from Madas right then and there, but for some reason, she felt compelled to stay and talk to him. "I thought my life was nice and boring, nothing dramatic, you know? Then my adoptive parents were killed in a fire, Sheena disappeared, and in the space of a week I've been hijacked, rescued, kidnapped and rescued again, then told I've got powers I never knew existed. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I've ended up in a different dimension than what I'm used to. I keep waiting for someone to jump out from behind a bush and yell 'Smile, you're on Candid Camera!' or something." Kahva looked at the kindly old man imploringly. "Don't tell the others please, they've got enough to worry about without me getting all silly and scared on them." Kahva sighed and started to turn away from Madas, but his hand on her shoulder stopped her.
"Sometimes the answers lie not in darkness or light, but in the shadows of the heart," he told her. "You will find your answers, when the time is right. Remember, if you want to receive enlightenment, joy and peace, you must first open the door and let it in. It is there, waiting for you, trust me. Trust in yourself, and you will find the strength to do it." Kahva could've sworn that the man had glowed a bit while he was talking to her. Must've been my eyes playing tricks on me, I'm going straight to bed once we get back from taking everyone home. Madas continued to smile at her. "I think now that perhaps we should return to the main chamber, I believe it is time for good-byes."
Kahva followed Madas and Casach to the main chamber and found that everyone was indeed preparing to say good-bye. The Alien Rangers, Dex and the Treys left first, after saying their good-byes. Ninjor followed soon after, then Master Madas and Casach left to return to Eltar, but not until Casach had played with Sheena and Kahva a few minutes longer. Zack, Trini and Aisha wished the newlyweds well, and said fond farewells to everyone, extracting the promise that if they were ever needed, Zordon would call them. David left soon after, he had made a date with Stephanie for that night to go to the movies. He'd only known her for an hour or so, but he was completely taken with her.
Kahva smiled as David left. "Guess that's how true love is, once it hits, it doesn't let go."
"My brother falls in love every other week, Kahva," Tommy laughed. "Though it usually does take him a bit longer to do it. Hey Jase, are you and Emily still going to that concert tonight?"
"I don't know," Jason shrugged. "We had a little disagreement at the reception. I'm going to call her when I get home, see if we can talk things out." Jason smiled and waved off Tommy's concerned look. "It's nothing, every couple has a bump or two along the way. She's probably already trying to call me so we can talk. Hey," he said, trying to shift the attention away from himself, "You guys ready to go?" he asked Daniel, and Sheena and Kahva's friends. "You look like you're all packed up." Jaycynda grinned as she picked up the thermos meant for Daniel.
"As long as Kahva is up to it, and Daniel doesn't forget his soup, I think we're all ready. Though I wouldn't mind staying a while longer."
"If we stay too long, though, the police might start to wonder where we've all disappeared to," Ann reminded them all. "It's nearly seven now, and our time seems to be the same as yours, we don't want to make things anymore complicated than they have to be. Though I wish we could stay too."
"We all want to stay," Josh chimed in, "but we know we can't. Maybe we'll see you guys another time, though. And can maybe stay longer." Sheena hugged him and smiled at her friends.
"Maybe one day. Helen," she started, "thank you for everything, we couldn't have gotten through this week without you. You are so wonderful!" Sheena hugged her mother-in-law, Kahva and Daniel followed suit, then Billy's mom found herself being hugged by all of Sheena's friends.
"Thank you Mrs. Cranston!" they all chorused, more or less in unison. Helen smiled at all of them.
"If you all do get the chance to come back, just let me know and we'll have a huge cookout at the house." Billy kissed his mother's cheek.
"Will do, Mom," he called to her as she motioned for Alpha to send her back home. After she left, Billy looked at the group that was now holding hands and standing in a circle. "Everybody ready? No one's forgetting anything?" Nods all around assured him that everyone was set. "How about you Kahva? You're not too tired, are you?"
"Nope," she smiled. "I'm ready if you and Sheena are."
"Let's go then," Sheena said wistfully. "See you all later!" she called to the Rangers. Good-byes were quickly shouted back and forth, then they were engulfed by the dimensional portal. Moments later, they all appeared right where they had left from, in the living room of Kahva's old apartment. Everyone dropped their things and scurried about excitedly, Billy had been able to make copies of the wedding video for all of them, using equipment he'd set up specifically for it at the Power Chamber. Jaycynda was the first to pop her copy into the VCR. "What, we've just gotten through this and you want to watch it again?" Sheena teased.
"Well, not right this second, but I think we'll be watching this all night. You're married!! Can you believe it?"
"Yes," Sheena stated simply after kissing Billy. The friends all gathered in front of the television to watch the video, it was a couple of hours later when Kahva, Sheena and Billy said their good-byes to everyone. Daniel hugged Kahva, and kissed her full on the lips.
"Don't forget me."
"I won't, I swear. Take care of yourself, Daniel. Jaycynda?" Kahva called to her friend. "Keep an eye on him for me, okay?"
"No problem. You two," she indicated Sheena and Kahva, "take care of yourselves. And if Sheena's unhappy, Billy," she jokingly warned, "we're going to find a way back to straighten you out!!"
Billy smiled as he, Sheena and Kahva prepared to leave. "That sounds familiar. Don't worry, I think Kahva might beat you to it." After fond farewells were exchanged, the trio shifted again, but to Billy's surprise, they didn't reappear at the Power Chamber, but at a cemetery. "Why are we here?" Kahva smiled sadly as Sheena realized where they were.
"I think Sheena has one more thing to take care of before we go home. This is the cemetery where our adoptive parents are buried. In fact," she pointed to a group of tombstones a few yards away, "they're right over there. Sheena?" Kahva looked at her soul-sister, wondering if she'd been wrong to bring them here. The look on the Silver Ranger's face assured her she'd done the right thing. Kahva and Billy hung back a few steps as Sheena moved in the direction Kahva had indicated.
Sheena walked through the tombstones, heading for one she knew well. Years before, when her mother had died, the town had provided her with a free double plot for her and her husband. They would've given Sheena one as well, but she'd sworn she'd never be buried there. She smiled a little sadly; thinking of how true that was now. With the life I lead these days, I sometimes wonder if there'll be anything left of me to bury in the first place.
At last she came to the double tombstone. She couldn't help herself, she sank to her knees by it, tears she'd blocked for days, since hearing of her father's death, pouring out at last. "Oh, sweet Goddess," she whispered. "I wish I could've been here for you, Daddy. I wanted to be here when you died. I wish you knew I'm all right. I wish you knew what happened to me. I hope somehow you know that I'm happy... that I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life.'
She wept for what seemed like hours. Finally, she came back up to her feet. "I don't think I'll ever be back here. I can't leave... my home for long. I'm needed too much there. I'm a Power Ranger, Daddy. Just like I always dreamed: just like I always wanted. I have love, too: I wish you could meet Billy, you'd love him. He's here with me now. I wish you could meet all my new friends. You teased me for watching the show: now I'm leading the Rangers."
"Farewell, Daddy. Momma. I love you both, and I miss you more than I can ever say." Sheena touched her fingers to her lips, then placed her fingers on the two names. "You always both said you only wanted what would make me happy. May the Goddess bless you both with knowing that I am happier where I am now than I ever was here: except for when I was with you both. We'll meet again: I know this. Farewell: but never good-bye."
A soft crying sound to her right caught her attention, Kahva's parents were buried beside Sheena's, a double plot the only thing between the two sets of double tombstones. Kahva was kneeling at her parents' tombstone. Sheena went to her and hugged her tightly. "I feel like I'm abandoning them. I hope they understand that I can't stay," she whispered after she finally stopped crying. "Did you notice the double plot between our parents' graves?" she asked Sheena. "We all pitched in for one of the plots after you had been gone for a year, as a memorial, but the town wouldn't let us pay for it, told us to keep the money and they gave us the plot. Jaycynda said that they were so afraid that I was dead too after I disappeared, they took the money again to try and purchase the other plot, but the town gave it to them too, wouldn't let them pay for it either. See?" she pointed to a couple of temporary markers, "they've got those up until the tombstones can be placed. Those are our graves. To remember us. But we aren't here with them, we'll be somewhere else..."
"Remember, only our parents' bodies are here now, their spirits are free. I think they'll understand," Sheena comforted her. The two girls stood up and gazed in silence at the graves, each praying silently to God or Goddess to look after the souls of the only parents they had ever known. Billy soundlessly stepped up behind them, draping his arms about them both. After several minutes, the trio reluctantly left as Kahva shifted them all back to the dimension she and Sheena now called home, not seeing the group of eight young people gathered a few yards away. The group slowly moved over to the tombstones Sheena, Kahva and Billy had just left, placing a white rose on each grave, including the two empty ones that were for Kahva and Sheena. Two of the young people looked at the spot where Sheena, Kahva and Billy had last stood.
"Think they'll be okay?"
"I hope so, Jaycynda," Daniel replied. "I really hope so."
a few hours later at the Machine Skybase..
"It's about time you got everything back online!" Klank jumped at the sound of his master's voice.
"Where have you been, sire? After you left the throne room, I looked for you everywhere, I couldn't find you! Are you all right, yer Nastiness?"
Mondo grunted in irritation, "Of course I'm all right, I just had something to take care of, that's all."
Something to take care of that maybe took you away from the Skybase? Klank mused. Where did you go? Sirens blared harshly throughout the Machine Skybase just then, and before Mondo could bellow out an order, a swirl of magical energy appeared in the throne room, resolving itself into the forms of Master Vile and a squad of Tengas.
"What do you mean by this, barging into my Skybase?!" Mondo raged. "I didn't invite you, so leave!"
"Well, now! It seems you haven't changed a bit, Mondo. Still as ill-tempered, ill-mannered and incompetent as usual. The Power Rangers still exist, I even eavesdropped on that sickening wedding they held, in disguise, of course. A disgusting display!!" The grizzled wizard wrinkled his nose in distaste. "And your decor hasn't improved at all, it fact I think it's gotten worse."
"Vile! Who asked for your opinion, I certainly didn't give you one to offer! As for the Rangers, you didn't do any better as I recall. In fact, I believe you ran away whining, something about you couldn't stand it anymore, you were going back home? You're pathetic, Vile!" Mondo turned away from the evil wizard, but Vile stepped quickly in front of him, causing him to stop. "What do you want? Make it quick and get out of my sight!"
"I have a proposition for you Mondo. Revenge. How would you like to work together to get rid of the Rangers, forever?"