The hot Southern Californian sun shone down on a single level house. The garage door was open, allowing strands of music and chatter to escape. Inside the garage, five teens laughed as they enjoyed a day off from school together playing a new game on a high tech computer. It was called "Wabbit Wars." In which two rabbits, er _wabbits_, fought each other in high tech mechas. In a corner, a sixth teen lurked. He was about 17 or so, with short, curly brown hair and large brown eyes. He was tanned and lithe, built like a dancer. He was silent, watching his friends' fun, but refusing to join in. A perky girl with light brown hair and gold- brown eyes, dressed in Pink, looked over to the shadowy corner.
"Tommee!" She scolded. "Why don't you join us? This new game of Billy's is soo kewl!" She clapped her hands. Her friends, a tall, slender Asian girl dressed in Yellow, a blonde haired boy with glasses dressed in Blue, a tall black boy who always seemed to be dancing dressed in Black, and a boy about Tommy's age with dark hair dressed in Red, nodded their heads in agreement.
"That's OK. I don't feel very comfortable with computers." Tommy lied in his soft voice. _Now. I didn't before I tried to destroy the Command Center._ He added to himself. He sighed and slipped farther into the shadows. He felt better there. In the shadows, no one could see the guilt in his eyes; the eyes of a man possessed by sadness and self-hatred.
The perky girl huffed and stormed over to Tommy's corner. "I said: come and join us!" She pulled on his arm. Tommy was over six foot and the girl was barely five foot, so she couldn't move her friend.
"Tommy, join us. That's an order." Red ordered.
"Jason, I don't want to. I don't feel..." Tommy's voice trailed off. Instead, he looked down at Pink. "Kimberly, please let go of my arm. You've got some skin with my shirt." He smiled softly.
"Oops." Kim let go and blushed. Tommy rolled his sleeve up and winced at the bruise in the shape of Kim's small hands that was forming on his lower arm. He didn't mind the bruise since it was Kimberly who gave it to him.
Jason growled under his breath and signaled to Black. "Let's take 'em, Zach." The two boys marched over to Tommy and bodily picked him up and carried him to the table. Then, they deposited Tommy in a chair with the rest of their friends. Blue handed him a joy stick.
"I'll just watch the rest of this round, OK, Billy?" Tommy pleaded.
"Affirmative." Billy smiled.
Tommy leaned over to Yellow. "Trini, what the hell did he say?" He whispered.
"He said OK." Trini translated.
"Oh." Tommy frowned at the screen.
On the moon, Rita Repulssa watched the teens playing.
"Goldar, you gold plated ninny!" She screeched. "Get over here!"
"Yes, my Queen?" Goldar, a gold space monkey, bowed.
Rita gestured to the scene of Tommy in the corner. "That Green traitor is still feeling guilty about what he did to those Power Punks!" She gloated.
"So he's depressed, my Queen. What good is that?" Goldar asked.
Rita brandished a vile filled with gold liquid. It glowed and sparkled in the crystal vile. "If he's feeling guilty, then this special liquid will make intensify those negative feelings! Then, we will be able to capture Tommy and punish him for his disobedience to me!" Rita laughed.
She poured it into a hypodermic syringe
Kimberly was pressed against Tommy's leg as he played against Zach in Billy's new game. It provided only a brief distraction from his gloomy thoughts. And, Kimberly's soft body up against him was distracting him in ways he wasn't ready to admit to yet. Suddenly, the screen lit up in explosions as Tommy's icon died a fiery death. At the same time, a volt traveled out of the computer and hit Tommy. He fell back, off the stool.
"Shit!" He exclaimed. He dropped the smoking joystick.
"Tommy, I think that the intense heat from the joystick has seared the epidermis layers of your hands." Billy said.
"Wha?" Tommy asked warily. His hands were burning and he didn't want to have to deal with Billy's techno-babble right now.
"You're hands are burnt!" Kimberly exclaimed. She held Tommy's hands in her own. She was right. Both hands were covered in red, angry burns. She leaned over the Green Ranger, who had gone pale. "Are you going to be OK?" She asked.
"Yeah. I just need some air." Tommy ran out the garage door. He sighed as he slid down the side of the garage. He had almost lost it when Kim was leaning over him with her skimpy little top on... Tommy smacked the side of his face to banish those disturbing thoughts. He took several deep breaths. He was shaking and cold, despite the heat. Goosebumps covered his arms. _I'm in shock._ Tommy thought. _I'm just in shock._
Just then, Kimberly joined him outside. She had a first aide kit. She gently cleaned the burns and put a soothing burn ointment on them. Then, bandaged them. "There." She smiled. "All better."
Tommy grinned at her. "Thanks." He said. Kim was still holding his hands. He looked at her, seeing _something_ in her brown-gold eyes. Kim let go of Tommy's hands. He reached up and stroked her check. It was soft and warm and unblemished.
"Tommy." She whispered, moving closer to him. Their lips were only inches apart now. Tommy could smell the rose perfume she wore...
Suddenly, the two Rangers were surrounded by putty patrollers. "Shit!" Tommy swore again and punched a putty in the chest. He found himself surrounded by those blasted putties. The one with the syringe filled with the potion, slugged Tommy in the stomach, emptying the evil contents of the syringe into his stomach. Tommy cried out and fell to the ground.
"Let him go!" Kim screeched and kicked the putty in the groin. The putty squalled with pain and backed away.
Jason and the other Rangers were alerted to the attack by Kimberly's enraged shout. They rushed outside. The putties, faced with four more Rangers and with their mission: inject the potion into Tommy, completed, vanished back to the moon. Kimberly was by Tommy's side while he vomited into a near by rose bush. The Rangers joined them.
"How is he?" Jason asked.
"I don't think he should have had that cajun omelette for breakfast today." Kimberly commented drily. "Seriously," She said when the Rangers looked at her like she had lost her mind. "A clay head rilly hit him hard in the stomach." Kim stroked Tommy's back. He had finally stopped heaving. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
"Sorry 'bout the roses, Billy." Tommy said.
"That's OK. Um, call it natural fertiziler." Billy said as he rinsed off the rosebush with the garden hose.
"Billy, you are full of natural fertiziler...DAMN!" Tommy gasped as waves of pain roared through his body.
Jason looked at the newest member of his Power Team with concern. "Let's go to the Command Center so Alpha can make sure you're OK." The Red Ranger helped Tommy to his feet. Zach and Billy scanned the area then gave the "OK" sign. "Let's go."
The six Rangers teleported to the Command Center is a multi- colored blaze of light.
RANGERS, WHAT IS WRONG? Zordon asked.
"Bunch of putties attacked Tommy and Kimberly. Tommy got hurt." Trini answered.
Alpha-5 teleported a cot from the hidden depths of the Command Center. Jason laid Tommy on it.
ALPHA, RUN A COMPLETE MEDICAL SCAN ON TOMMY. Zordon ordered.
Alpha nodded and lifted Tommy's green muscle shirt. The Rangers gasped when they saw the massive bruise covering Tommy's muscular stomach. Alpha ran the scanner over Tommy, then placed a cloth soaked in a special solution on the bruise. Tommy relaxed as the pain eased up. He closed his eyes, slipping into a light sleep.
unfortunately, the intense pain from the bruise had held the poison in tommy's body at bay. as soon as the pain was gone, it rushed through the green ranger's veins and slammed into his brain. immediately, he began to dream....
he and kimberly were kissing in the command center. they were in their ranger costumes, _sans_ helmets. tommy ran his fingers through kim's silky hair. suddenly, those same fingers were wrapped around kim's throat. tommy watched in helpless horror as kimberly died. he looked around the command center. it was trashed. the rangers' bodies lay scattered about the ruins of the command center. zordon's tube was shattered and alpha lay in a pile of little pieces in the corner.
"no! what did i do?" tommy cried. "oh god! i didn't mean to!"
-murderer! trini's voice floated to tommy.
-traitor! jason accused.
-how could you do this to us, tommy? zach asked.
"i'm so sorry!" tommy sobbed and fell to his knees.
Tommy slid off the cot. The Rangers gathered around their friend. Tommy looked up with wide, unseeing eyes. Rita's spell burned the image of the ruined Command Center into Tommy's mind, blocking out the real world.
"What's wrong with him?" Trini asked.
"Oh God!" Tommy wailed. "I never wanted to hurt any of you!"
"Tommy, what the hell is the matter with you?" Zach demanded.
"Who's hurt, Tommy?" Kimberly asked.
"i never wanted to kill you!" tommy sobbed as the ghosts of the rangers surrounded him with accusing faces. "no." he moaned as kimberly grabbed the back of the large, green flannel shirt he wore over his muscle shirt. he slipped out of it. then, stumbling over the charred hunks of metal, tommy ran out of the command center.
Kimberly pressed the shirt to her lips as she watched Tommy leave.
"What was wrong with him?" Jason demanded.
"I think he was hallucinating." Billy said. "Alpha, can we do a toxicology test on the scanned information you just took from Tommy."
DO YOU THINK TOMMY HAS INGESTED DRUGS OF SOME KIND? Zordon asked.
"Unfortanetly, affirmative." He held up a hand to still the Rangers' protests. "Not willingly. I think that a putty injected Tommy with some drug during the fight. Kimberly, you said that Tommy sustained a serious blow to his stomach. I think the injection was made there."
Alpha skimmed the report from the medical scan. "Ai yi yi yi!" He exclaimed. "You are right, Billy. There is an unaccounted for needle mark on the right side of his stomach. And, there are traces of a drug of some kind present in the hole!"
"Why would Rita give Tommy drugs?" Kimberly asked.
I THINK RITA WANTS HER REVENGE ON TOMMY FOR LEAVING HER SIDE AND JOINING US.
"So, she gives Tommy a drug to make him hallucinate." Jason frowned. "But what was he talking about, him killing people?"
"I think he thought that he killed us. What ever that drug was, it played on the guilty feelings Tommy already had." Trini mused.
"Oh, man!" Zach slapped his forehead. "He was acting really shy today. He seemed really uncomfortable being around us!"
CORRECT RANGERS. YOU MIGHT HAVE FORGIVEN TOMMY FOR WHAT HAPPENED, BUT HE HAS NOT FORGIVEN HIMSELF. HIS GUILT IS EATING AWAY AT HIM. AND, RITA SAW THIS AS A WAY TO GET EVEN WITH TOMMY.
"Poor Tommy!" Kim sobbed into the shirt.
Tommy ran into the dessert until his body collapsed. He fell into the hot sand, drenched with sweat. Large, gold feet stood before him.
"You are mine, now, Green Ranger." Goldar gloated and grabbed Tommy off the ground. Then, he teleported to the moon.
WHOOP! WHOOP! The alarms in the Command Center rang out. The teens looked at Alpha-5. The tiny robot hunched over the computer console, poking away at the myriad buttons.
"Ai yi yi yi yi!" Alpha cried out.
"Alpha, what's wrong?" Zach asked.
"Look at the Viewing Globe!" Alpha pointed to the crystal ball like screen. Tommy's flight into the dessert and his capture by Goldar reflected inside the ball.
"Oh no!" Kimberly wailed. She fell to her knees, hugging Tommy's shirt to her chest. Trini hugged her friend.
"What do you think Goldar is going to do with him?" Jason asked in a tight voice. He had an awful, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
RANGERS, I FEAR FOR TOMMY'S LIFE. RITA HAS ENLISTED THE SERVICES OF DOCTOR ABUNAI.
The Viewing Globe showed a picture of a pale man with gray lips and a long, red, whip like tongue.
"Who is Doctor Abunai?" Jason asked.
"Ai yi yi yi yi!" Alpha threw up his hands. "Doctor Abunai is the former Inquisitor-General of Planet Yunaka!"
"What?" Zach looked from the robot to the giant floating head. "What do you mean?"
RANGERS, DOCTOR ABUNAI WAS USED BY THE CORRUPT YUNAKA-IAN GOVERNMENT TO WEED OUT ALL THOSE WHO APPOSED THEM. THEY USED RATHER HARSH METHODS TO EXTRACT CONFESSIONS FROM ACCUSED TRAITORS.
"Harsh my ass!" Jason yelled. "He's a professional torturer, just like in the Middle Ages here! He's here to hurt Tommy!"
JASON, I DON'T THINK RITA WANTS TOMMY DEAD. SHE ONLY WANTS TO BREAK HIM PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY SO THAT HE WOULD BE OF NO USE TO US.
"We have to get Tommy back!" Kim sobbed. Jason looked at the tiny Pink Ranger. She was normally so cheery and perky, but now... Jason shook his head. Sure he had a crush on her, everyone in the school did, but more and more lately, Jason had begun to see Kimberly as his favorite little sister. And, he hated seeing his little sister cry.
"Kimberly, you really like Tommy, don't you?" He asked gently. Kim nodded, unable to talk. "Don't worry, we'll get Tommy back." He kissed the top of Kim's head then turned to the others. "We need a plan."
Tommy was thrown onto a granite slab. Putties strapped him down. The adrenalin rush from the teleportation to the moon cleared the poison out of his body. The Green Ranger struggled against the bonds.
"I wouldn't try that, Green weakling!" Goldar sneered. "They'll only get tighter and Rita doesn't want to you choke yourself to death before you see the Doctor."
"Go to hell!" Tommy snapped and jerked against the straps. The one around his neck tightened, cutting off Tommy's air. The Green Ranger gasped. "You gold freak!" Tommy growled.
Just then, they were joined by Doctor Abunai.
"Hello, Green Traitor!" Abunai sneered. He signaled to a putty in a nurse's outfit. The putty snapped a headband onto Tommy's forehead. It was dull black metal with red jewels alternated with holes. "How do you like your new headband?"
"Just lovely, but it clashes with my eyes." Tommy said in a wry voice. Abunai chuckled while Goldar growled.
"Such audacity. Goldar, you and Scorpina will guard the door. I don't want us to be interrupted." Abunai rubbed his hands together.
"Yes, Doctor Abunai." Goldar eagerly bowed and left. He had seen Abunai's work before. And, despite Tommy's defection to the side of goodness, he still considered Tommy a team mate and no team mate deserved the treatment Abunai was so infamous for. Feeling just a little bit sorry for Tommy, Goldar left the room, slamming the door shut behind him. Scorpina was waiting outside.
"Now that we are alone..." Abunai pulled on a pair of rubber gloves and side a pair of goggles over his red eyes. Then, he pushed a green button. With a high pitched whine, a ball made of the same dull metal as the headband decended from the ceiling. It stopped just short of touching the headband. Suddenly, needles shot out of the ball, piercing the holes in the headband and Tommy's flesh. Tommy cried out. "You think that hurt?" Abunai was incredulous. "Well, I am very disappointed in you, Thomas. You will find the next hours very unpleasant." Abunai chuckled. "You, claybrain!" He snapped at a nurse putty. The putty saluted. "Throw the switch on my signal." The putty grapped a large, silver lever. "NOW!" The putty pulled the lever down, sending hundreds of bolts of electricity into Tommy. Tommy wailed with pain, arching his back. "Increase the voltage!" Abunai ordered. Tommy was surrounded by an electric glow. He screamed and swore at Abunai, inventing several new words.
Goldar sympathically winced when he heard Tommy's cries of pain. Scorpina lowered her eyes and covered her ears. The two hench monsters were crying for their former team mate.
"Alpha, have you been able to lock onto Tommy's signal?" Jason asked the robot.
"No! It's being blocked by something on the moon!" Alpha said.
"Do you think Tommy is on the moon? In Rita's palace?" Trini asked. She was still comforting the sobbing Pink Ranger.
YES. IT WOULD MAKE SENSE.
"Then we have to get there." Jason paced the Command Center. "Kimberly, how many people fit into your Pterodactyl Zord?"
"Two. Why?" Kim wiped her eyes.
"Because, I'm going to the moon. You're Zord is the only one that flies. I'll use it." Jason slammed his fist into the other hand.
"How are you gonna get Tommy into the Zord? Your costume will protect you, but Tommy won't be Morphed." Zach pointed out.
"Well, you could take along an EVA suit for Tommy. It would protect him for the short time he would be in the vacuum of space." Billy said.
"A what?" Jason asked. He looked to Trini.
"A space suit." Trini said. She pointed to the shiny white suit Billy was holding.
"Oh. OK." Jason took the suit. "IT'S MORPHIN TIME!"
"Good luck, Jason." Zach sighed.
Goldar and Scorpina paced infront of the door. They could still hear the sounds of the ball's electric torture, but Tommy's screams had stopped over an hour ago. They could only assume the worse.
Jason gritted his teeth as he sat in the Pterodactyl's tiny seat. It had been made to fit Kimberly, who was the tiniest member of the team. The Red Ranger's legs were cramped and his rear end was probably bruised by now. He landed the Pink Zord a mile from the castle's bubble of atmosphere. He took a few minutes to stretch the cramps from his legs, then pulled out his Blade Blaster.
"Hang on, Tommy." Jason whispered. "Zordon, I'm going in!"
-MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU, JASON.
Jason didn't acknowledge Zordon's prayer. He found a back enterence that had no guards. He remembered Tommy telling him about that place during his debriefing:
_"There is one place that is completely unguarded. I don't know why Rita never put any kind of sercuity there. That door leads to the basements, where the vortex to the Dark Demension is. There's a lot of junk down there. I think that Rita hasn't had that place cleaned since she got it 10,000 years ago. And, there are Space Rats called Nezumis in there. Those things bite like hell! But, they are tasty once you catch 'em."_
Jason whistled under his helmet when he saw the shape the basement was in. Tommy hadn't been exaggerating when he complained about the mess. A large Nezumi ran over Jason's foot. The Red Ranger shuttered and thank the Power that Kimberly was not with him. She hated rodents, especially rats.
Jason found the stairs, and climbed up them. Using a tracking device Billy gave him, Jason found the room. He sprayed sleeping gas in Goldar's and Scorpina's faces. The two monsters fell into deep sleeps. Then, Jason slipped into the room.
Tommy was laying on a slab of granite, not moving. Jason prayed that Tommy was merely unconscious. The doctor and putty nurse were huddled over a machine, making repairs, it seemed. Jason noticed a thin trail of smoke coming from it. Setting his Blade Blaster on a heavy stun setting, he knocked out Abunai, then switched the setting to normal and zapped the putty.
"Dammit, Tommy, you'd better be alive." Jason whispered as he jerked off his helmet. He laid his head on Tommy's chest. He could hear a faint heart beat and his friend's slow and shallow breathing. "Good." Jason said. Then, he dressed his friend in the EVA suit. "You look like a STAR TREK reject, but it'll keep you alive." Jason laughed. Then, he pulled on his own helmet. He picked up his friend and ran from the room.
"Where do you think you're going, Jason?" Goldar sneered.
"I'm leaving with Tommy." Jason guestered with his Blade Blaster. "Either let us go in peace or I will use force. Either way, we're leaving this junk heap."
"I don't think. Putties, get him!" Goldar waved his sword. A horde of putties surrounded the Red Ranger. "I think that Rita wants you to stay for awhile!"
Jason ignored the gold space monkey and kicked the nearest putty in the stomach. It went down, but was replaced with another putty. Jason knew that he couldn't get bogged down in a fight. He used the Blade Blaster, set on the highest setting, to incinerate all the putties. Using the thick, gray smoke burning putties gave off as a smoke screen, Jason ran to the stairs that lead to the basement. There, he found his door blocked by Goldar.
"You won't kill me, Ranger, because I will kill you first!" Goldar challenged, waving his sword.
Jason backed up, making sure that Tommy was protected. Then, one of the Nezumis ran across his foot and bit his ankle. "Ow! Damn that hurt!" Jason swore and grabbed the space rat. It was actually cute with long, shaggy fur, a round little body and big blue eyes. Until it bared it's long buck teeth. Looking at the Nezuami, Jason came up with a crazy idea. He threw the Nezumi at Goldar's face. The Nezumi clung to the gold monkey's face with sharp claws. Goldar stumbled away from the door, wailing with pain. Jason was then able to run out of the castle and to the waiting Pink Zord.
"Oh God!" Jason moaned once he and Tommy were safe inside. "Where am I supposed to put Tommy! Damn." Jason shook his head. He squeezed his large frame into the petite seat and drapped Tommy across his lap. "Zordon, I have Tommy. We're coming home." Jason signaled.
-HOW IS TOMMY?
"I don't know. He's out. I can only image what that nutty doctor did to him." Jason turned off the radio. "Let's go home, Tommy."
Alpha had the cot ready for Tommy when the two Rangers appeared in the Command Center.
"Hey, Honey, I'm home!" Jason shouted when he materialized in the Command Center. He laid Tommy on the cot. Kimberly pushed him aside and cradled Tommy's head.
"Oh, Alpha, is he going to be OK?" Kim sobbed.
Alpha ran the scanner over Tommy. "He'll be fine. He just needs rest."
"OK." Jason nodded. "Let's take him to his apartment. He'll feel better being there. Kimberly, can you stay with him during the night?" He asked.
"Sure." Kim said. She had slipped on Tommy's shirt during the wait. It came down past her knees and the sleeves were rolled up to the elbows.
Jason picked his friend up. "Let's take Tommy home, Kim." Then, the Pink, Green, and Red Power Rangers teleported out of the Command Center.
A cool, quiet night fell over Angel Grove. In a small apartment on the bayside of town, two of the famous Power Rangers were finally getting the rest that they deserved. Tommy, the Green Ranger, was still unconscious after the heidous treatment he suffered under the "care" of Doctor Abunai. He was suffering mainly from exhaustion. Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, was laying next to him, with his dark, curly head resting on her chest. She was still wearing his green flannel shirt.
A fog horn sounded and Kimberly shivered. She lived in the posh west side of town, far from the bay, far from the bay's poor neighborhoods. She had never heard the fog horn so loud before. She clung tighter to Tommy.
She looked around the darkened bedroom. It was small, like the rest of the apartment, containing only a tiny bed and second hand dresser with a chipped mirrored. The rest of the apartment was furnished with second hand furniture, a worn carpet that had long lost any color, leaving it a worn gray, and surprisingly bright and new looking curtains. Tommy owned a small black and white T.V. that was made for a kitchen counter. He did not have cable or a VCR.
She remembered the nearly empty fridge she found when she and Jason teleported Tommy home and she decided to fix a few meals for Tommy so he wouldn't have to cook. So, she told Jason to take the list that was stuck under a Coke magnet on the fridge and do the shopping. She'd cover the bill.
Kimberly heard Tommy coo softly in her sleep. She smiled and hugged the newest Ranger, then fell back asleep.
A few hours later, Tommy swam back to consciousness. He looked around, but didn't reconize his own apartment at first. Then, he felt a soft pillow under his head that was moving. He moved back so he could see in the faint light that filtered up from the street lights below. The "pillow" was wearing his old flannel shirt. His eyes moved up and he gasped. It was Kimberly.
_What is Kimberly doing in my bed with me?_ Tommy scratched his head. _And, what am I doing here? All I remember is that crazy doctor zappin' me! He must have messed with my mind. Either that or I'm dead. But, if I'm dead, then what is Kimberly doing here?_ Tommy mused. _Hey, she sure looks cute in my shirt, though._ Tommy smiled. He reached out and touched her. Kim murmured and opened her eyes.
"Hey." She smiled.
"Hey yourself." Tommy answered.
"How ya feelin'?" Kimberly stroked his face.
"Fine. Just tired. But, how did I get here?" Tommy looked around.
"Jason went to the moon and got you. You had us all worried about you." Kim's eyes watered as she thought about the day's events.
"I'm sorry." Tommy laid back down, on his own pillow.
"That's OK." Kimberly looked away for a second. Then, she faced Tommy. "I know I should wait until you are feeling better, but I have to know."
"Know what?" Tommy asked, confused.
"Everytime we are together, you always try to get away? Don't you like me? Why do you run away from me?" Kim asked, crying.
Tommy slapped his forehead, then winced. "I'm sorry. Is that what you thought? That I didn't like you?" Tommy lifted Kimberly's chin so that they were eye to eye. "Kimberly, I don't hate you. I-i've never felt like this about a woman before. I didn't trust myself. I was afraid that I'd do something to hurt you." He whiped away the tears with his fingers. They were warm and strong.
"Why?" Kim asked.
"Because, I love you. I know this, but I didn't know if you loved me or even liked me. I didn't want to do anything that could ruin any relationship we might have."
"You love me?" Kimberly whispered.
Tommy didn't answer. Instead, he lowered his head and kissed
her. Kim threw her arms around his neck, showing her love through
that simple kiss.