"Calm yourself, Black Ranger," Zordon replied, trying to keep a level voice in the face of such... anger. "There was no failure on any of your parts."
Seth shook his head until it was lowered to his chest. "I can't say I agree with you, Zordon. If there wasn't any failure, you wouldn't have had to bring us back."
Ogonye looked at the man who had assembled all of them. "Somehow, my new friend, I believe that he brought us back for some other purpose. Something which may give us a way to do that which we cannot at this time. Am I correct, Zordon?"
"Alpha?" Zordon simply said, shifting his eyes toward the little robot, who pressed a button, opening a door into a chamber that shimmered with light that shifted between the six colors of the Rangers.
"Rangers," Zordon continued, "this is the Zord Chamber. Your new Temporal Zords are completed... but each of you must earn them. When each of you enter, you will each be faced with a different guide, taking the form of a Ranger from an alternate dimension. Learn the lesson they teach you, and they will willingly guide you to your Zord. Fail to learn their lesson, and you will be sent back to the Command Center, to bear without a Zord until an attempt can be made again."
"Like a vision quest, then?" Eagle Cloud asked. Deep inside him, he was beginning to enjoy this, even if his leader was white.
"I'll be first, then. After all, this is something my people have been doing for thousands of years." And with that, Eagle Cloud stepped into the doorway, which shone with a red light as he stepped through.
After that, the Rangers easily proceeded through. Ali went first, followed by Ogonye, then Seth, then Lin, and finally Tim. With that, each of their quests had begun....
Eagle Cloud stood in the middle of the desert, faced by a Ranger in green with something shielding his shoulders and odd markings on his helmet. "Who are you?" he asked, immediately preparing himself for an attack.
With that, the Ranger stepped forward and removed his helmet, tucked it under one arm, and extended his hand. "My name's Tommy. And you are?"
Eagle Cloud looked at the extended hand, and left it hanging in the air. "Eagle Cloud."
Tommy looked at him. "Don't trust me?"
"Life taught me not to trust anyone a long time ago. Certainly not a white man."
"Look, Eagle Cloud, let me say something..." And he began to tell the story of how he'd first joined the Rangers, of his being hypnotized into the service of Rita Repulsa, how he'd helped seemingly destroy the original MegaZord of his world... and yet, when the spell was broken, the Rangers, who had no reason to trust him, did so anyway...and because of that, he'd done his best since then to prove himself worthy to them. "Do you see my point?"
"That the other Rangers are trying to prove themselves to me, and because of that, I should trust them?"
"Well...", and with that Tommy smiled, "close enough. Follow me." For some reason, Eagle Cloud felt... almost compelled to follow, and he stood amazed as saw Tommy's Zord morph from a primitive dragon form into a being that was obviously a machine, but still looked for all the world like a Thunderhorse. "Congratulations, Eagle Cloud. You've got your Zord," was all Tommy said.
It was an open plain that Tim landed in. Grass all around him, and only one other person in all this space... someone dressed in a quite different version of his costume... with white diamonds and a weird helmet, but still mostly black. "How about a little practice spar to keep your skills up?" the other Black Ranger asked.
"Gladly," Tim replied with a smile, as he launched a flying kick at this other Black Ranger. Oddly enough, his opponent dodged away, with a move that almost seemed to be a dance. Looking back in surprise caused Tim to twist in the air and land on the ground, hard. Groaning in pain, Tim looked up at the other Ranger. "Nice...move."
"Thanks," came the reply as the other Ranger removed his helmet, revealing a face that looked a bit like Ogonye's, beyond the skin color. "The name's Zack. Tim....loosen up a little bit. You're not just a fighter anymore. You're a Ranger now. Let some of that anger go, and have fun."
Tim nodded as he stood up. He'd been hearing it for years, but somehow... with this Ranger, it seemed to click. "You're right." With that, Zack faded, only to be replaced by... a giant, mechanical Shadow Bird? For the first time in a long time, Tim laughed. "Good joke, Zordon."
Ali's foot touched the ground lightly as she looked around at her surroundings... and noticed the symbols around her... crucifixes, velvet cloths with the symbol of an X crossed with the tail of a P, a loaf of bread and a golden goblet of wine... and a lone monk. In short, this was a Christian church. But... why was she in the house of God for some of her faith's enemies... and where was the Ranger?
Out of nowhere, the shadows deepened. Shadow Beings crawled from the darkness around her, becoming solid and attacking. Problem was, there were too many for her to fight alone, and alone, the very darkness of the shadows terrified her... another Ranger might be able to help, but the rest of her group were off on their own quests, and the Ranger...
Suddenly, it dawned on her what the lesson was. "Help," she said in a voice just loud enough for the monk to hear. Encouragingly, the monk turned out to be another Ranger, one dressed in yellow. When the other Ranger drew her daggers, it allowed Ali to draw on a reserve of inner strength, the same well that had provided her faith in Allah. Together, fighting with and without weapons, the two Rangers drove the shadows back... until the last one retreated.
The Yellow Ranger just nodded. The lesson was learned... so no need even to introduce herself. As she faded out, something new appeared in her place. It was the "Zord" Zordon had spoken of, obviously, but... it looked like a Djinn. "Lesson learned, Zordon," Ali whispered.
Seth crashed hard onto pavement. Had it not been for the fact that he was powered up at the moment, he might have been more seriously hurt. But as he looked around, he could see where he was. He was... back in the battle with Timestorm, right where they'd left off? But... they'd been beamed back, he'd failed... but there was one difference... a Ranger, dressed in Red, watching from the shadows. And that gave him the confidence he needed. "All right, Rangers, we've got one more option... let's call on our Zords."
"But, Seth," Ogonye began, "we don't have any..."
"No, we don't... but maybe if we focus our powers enough, we'll be able to summon Zords meant for us."
And it worked... to some extent. One Zord appeared, anyway... a gigantic, golden knight... that had to be his. The Red Ranger watching from the shadows said nothing but: "OK, that's enough." And with that, the scene faded into something out of science fiction... a virtual reality room?
"Really," the Red Ranger began, "I don't know what I'm doing here, either." He pulled off his helmet, revealing a man with short, dark hair. "My name's Jason, and like you, I lead a team of Rangers. And this whole thing was... well, it was to get you to believe in yourself. After all, if you don't have any confidence in yourself, nobody else will, either." Seth nodded and began walking out.
Ogonye's journey took him to familiar surroundings... or so it seemed. True, the place facing him had all the familiar smells of home... but it was still a city, and not even a city like Seth's... a city where everything was of machines... except for a Blue Ranger.
"I think I see the lesson here," Ogonye said as he looked around, smelled the air, felt the hardness of the ground beneath him. "Were I to survive in this place, I would need to learn to adapt... to find my role in a world not my own."
"That," the Ranger simply said, "and that if you let them and learn about them, machines can actually be your best friend. Really a necessary function when you consider you have a new Zord to maintain."
"What do you...?" Ogonye asked, just before he saw it. There, in blue, was a machine shaped like Shango, one of the gods of his people. Then it truly hit him. For his whole life, he had no exposure to machines other than truly simple ones, for his were a people of nature. However, that he now needed a machine in no way made him less of a warrior... as long as he kept his people's spirit within.
And finally, Lin touched ground in what first appeared to be a temple as she'd recognize it... Problem was, it then started shifting form. And as it started changing, so did she, in her mind... her memories of her family faded, her memories of her home... her memories of everything... until she saw a Pink Ranger in all the changing form. Grabbing a tight hold, she let the Ranger drag her through... and the lesson dawned on her.