First of all I need to thank Mara Macleod for helping me edit and improve this thing. Also, Arigatoo for letting me use some of her concepts for OUT OF TIME.
Second the bio-armor idea comes from BIO BOOSTER ARMOR GUYVER, an anime series and comic book, and now two live action movies in America.
Third I have a list of Japanese swear words. I can send them to you if you ask me nicely.
Fourth the Council of Fire idea come from an episode of SHE-RA, PRINCESS OF POWER.
Fifth and finally, I am doing this story with out the permission of Saban, but the characters I created are mine and please give me the blame if you want to use them. Arigatoo Gozaimasu.
Adolescence, that sweet time when a young person enters adulthood. For the Mirandians, adolescence meant the youth must under go a unique "Baptism of Fire." If the youth survives the dangerous ritual, he will gain the myriad and special Powers that made this race so respected through out the Universe. Usually, the Mirandian youth had elders to guide him through this change. However, on Planet Earth, a Mirandian youth, the only son of Lord Zedd, with long, dark hair and big, soulful, brown eyes, was about to enter this novel Baptism, and he didn't even know it.
Tommy Oliver laid on his bed, lost in a most scandalous dream about his girlfriend, Kimberly Harte, and a can of Reddi Wip.
BEEP! BEEP! The alarm clock yelled in Tommy's ear. Tommy moaned and slapped it. A loud explosion ripped Tommy out of his stupor. His alarm clock was now a pile of molten metal. His right hand was glowing with golden-white Energy. "Nani yo..." Tommy swore. "I gotta be dreamin' still." He scrubbed his eyes with his left hand. He blinked then looked at his hand again. The Energy was still there, stronger and brighter than before. "This can't be right!" Tommy gasped. He jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom. Once there, he grabbed an unplugged electric razor with his right hand. As soon as the razor came in contact with the Energy, it sprang to life. It writhed snake-like in mid-air, then dove for Tommy. "NO!" Tommy still had his right hand stretched out. A bolt of golden-white Energy shot out of his hand and demolished the razor. The smoking remains fell to the floor.
Badly shaken, Tommy made his way back to his bed. On the night stand was his Morpher and Communicator. Using his left hand, the boy activated the watch-like device. "Zordon, I'm teleporting into the Command Center! Somethin's gone wrong!" Tommy cried out.
*TOMMY, WHAT IS WRONG?* Zordon asked the boy he considered his son.
"My hand is Charged with Energy!" Tommy wailed.
Tommy relaxed as he felt the cool tingle envelope his body. He landed in the Command Center seconds later.
"Zordon," Tommy held out his hand. "What's happenin' to me?" The golden-white Energy lit up the dark interior.
"Ai yi!" Alpha-5 exclaimed.
CALM DOWN, ALPHA. IT SEEMS THAT TOMMY IS COMING OF AGE.
"Coming of Age?" Tommy gazed up at the floating head.
YES. HAS YOUR UPPER BACK BEEN HURTING YOU LATELY?
"Yeah, it has. A lot. How didcha...."
TOMMY, YOUR BIOLOGICAL FATHER, AND I COME FROM THE PLANET KNOWN AS MIRANDA." Tommy cringed at the mention of Lord Zedd as his real father. OUR PEOPLE HAVE EXISTED ON EARTH FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND YEARS, IN RELATIVE SECRECY, AS COLONISTS. WE MIRANDIANS HAVE SPECIAL POWERS. WHEN HUMANS DISCOVERED US, THEY REFERRED TO US AS MUTANTS. HOWEVER, A MIRANDIAN YOUTH MUST UNDER GO A "BAPTISM OF FIRE", AN ARDUOUS MENTAL JOURNEY WHERE YOUR SPIRIT MUST LEAVE YOUR BODY AND TRAVEL TO ANOTHER PLAIN OF EXISTENCE, WHEN THE FIRST OF HIS POWERS COMES TO THE SURFACE.
THAT I CAN NOT TELL YOU. YOU MUST DISCOVER IT FOR YOURSELF. IT IS ALWAYS DIFFERENT FOR EACH PERSON.
"What about my hand. I can't go around with it glowing and I can't risk touching anyone or anything." Tommy wailed.
Alpha handed Tommy a black glove. It looked like it was made out of leather.
WEAR THIS GLOVE. IT WILL CONTAIN THE ENERGY IN YOUR HAND AND PROTECT THOSE PEOPLE AND MACHINES AROUND YOU.
"OK. About this Baptism, though. I still don't understand _what_ it is."
THE NATIVE AMERICANS WHO LIVED HERE BEFORE WE CAME HAD A SIMILAR RITUAL CALLED A VISION QUEST. BOTH ARE BASED ON THE IDEAL THAT THE YOUTH MUST DISCOVER HIMSELF AS HE ENTERS MATURITY. WITH US MIRANDIANS, WE MUST DISCOVER OURSELVES AS WE DISCOVER OUR POWERS. Zordon explained.
"Well," Tommy bit his lip. "We have a four day weekend coming up this week and next. Should I do it then?"
YES. NOW GO HOME AND GET READY FOR SCHOOL. YOU'RE IN DANGER OF BEING LATE AGAIN.
"KUSO!" Tommy swore and teleported out. Zordon chuckled at Tommy's chronic lateness. It would be the last laugh he would have for a while.
Once Tommy reappeared in his room, he got dressed, grabbed his book bag, and hopped into his Jeep. He kicked up a cloud of dust as he pealed out of the driveway.
"I'm gonna be late!" Tommy wailed as he pulled into a parking space. "Kusokusokusokusokusokuso!" He swore as he tore through the halls to his locker.
"Tommy!" A female voice called out.
Tommy turned around. He found a shapely teen in a leather mini skirt, green beaded bra and leather jacket facing him. It was his half sister, Akiko Midoriyama, who recently joined the team as the new Green Ranger. "Hey, sis. I don't have time to talk. If I'm late one more time for homeroom, I'll get detention." He panted.
"Don't worry. I covered for you. Zordon and Alpha told me what was happening. I told Miss Appleby that you were not feeling well and were in the boy's room."
"Oh man, thanks sis." Tommy kissed her cheek.
"What are sisters for?" She grinned. "C'mon, let's go." She lead her brother to homeroom. Miss Appleby looked up when Tommy and Akiko entered.
"Hello, Tommy. Are you feeling better?" She asked.
"Yes, ma'am." Tommy slid into his seat.
"Do you think you need to go to the nurse?"
"No, ma'am." Tommy smiled at her. He kept his right hand hidden. He didn't feel like answering any questions about _that_.
"Very well." Miss Appleby continued on with the morning's announcements. Tommy tried to focus on the teacher, but a deep seed of worry was blooming in his stomach and his back was beginning to hurt again.
"Kuso." Tommy whispered. He put his head down on the desk.
Rocky, who was sitting next to him, stiffened his spine and glared at Tommy. He sniffed at his leader and growled. _This isn't Tommy!_ Rocky thought to himself. _He's too alien! He's Changing! Why can't the others see it? Dammit all to hell! They're blind to his Changing! Wait, Akiko knows it! Why didn't SHE do anything! Shit....._ Rocky snarled to himself.
The Red Ranger's sudden animosity towards him wasn't unnoticed by Tommy. _Great, Rocky can tell that I'm different now._ Tommy thought to himself. _I hope he doesn't tell the others. I don't want them to know. I don't think they'll want me to be a Ranger if I'm a mutant._
As soon as the bell rang, Tommy ran to his locker. He didn't want to face his friends right now, especially Rocky. As he pulled his binder out of his locker, Rocky poked his finger, with its nail lengthing into a stumpy claw, into Tommy's already sore back.
"Hey!" Tommy protested. "That hurt, bro!"
"I'm _not_ your bro, who-ever-the-hell-you-are!" Rocky growled.
"Hey, man, what's wrong?" Tommy asked. He started to turn around.
"You're what's wrong, Clone!" Rocky slammed Tommy against his locker. The metal squealed as it gave under the force of Tommy's body.
"Rocky, stop this at once!" Tommy fell into his leader mode.
"Don't tell me what to do, Clone." He grabbed Tommy's right hand. "Why do you wear this glove all of a sudden?"
"Arthritis from an old Karate injury. It started flaring up real bad today. The glove is to keep it warm and give it support." Tommy lied.
"Oh, really, then you won't mind taking it off to show me."
Just then, the bell rang. "I can't. We're gonna be late for English." Tommy pulled out of his friend's grip.
Rocky just growled.
Rocky's low growling continued through out English class, distracting Tommy from Miss Appleby's lecture on Spencer's THE FAERIE QUEENE.
"...And, if you did the reading from last night, then you should know that happened to all of the little Errors, once the big Error was killed by Redcrosse." Miss Appleby looked over her class. "Tommy, what was the fate of the little Errors?"
"Um, they self-destructed." Tommy looked up from his desk.
"Very good, Tommy." Miss Appleby smiled at the White Ranger.
Rocky, however, wasn't paying attention to his teacher. He was totally fixated on Tommy and the blatant lie he had told.
_The real Tommy wouldn't have lied to me! This _clone_ isn't Tommy!_ Rocky thought. A voice deep in his mind, the animalistic side of the Werewolf with in him, kept chanting: Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! KILL HIM!
The sudden rise of the tension in the room could be felt by all. Akiko exchanged worried glances with her older brother. Aisha looked up from her romance novel to stare at her friends, and nudged Kimberly, who was doodling "Kimmie + Tommy" in her notebook. Billy stared intently at Rocky. He could sense, too, that _something_ was different about Tommy, but he didn't see it as a threat. Adam stopped talking with Bulk and Skull as the three felt the sudden sense of trepidation surrounding Rocky and Tommy.
Just then, the bell rang. The students ran out, grateful to be away from the anxiety in that room. As Tommy reached the door, he heard a high pitched screech coming from behind him. He spun around. Rocky had torn his desk in two. He hurdled the jagged pieces at Tommy. Tommy ducked, but the desk made a resounding crash on the door. The Rangers had already left, however, when they heard the first sound of trouble, they ran back in the room. Akiko closed the door and locked it, so no one could accidently get in the way.
Rocky snarled and grabbed Tommy. Tommy could see the Red Ranger's teeth lenghting into fangs.
"Rocky, what is wrong with you?" Tommy asked. He kept his voice as low and non-threatening as he could.
"You, Clone!" Rocky threw Tommy at the window, but Bulk was in the way. Tommy slammed into the heavier boy, and both fell into a heap.
Adam and Billy grabbed onto Rocky, even though, they knew that it was hopeless to try to restrain the werewolf when in a rage. Skull helped Tommy and Bulk to their feet.
"Lemme go!" Rocky howled. "I gotta kill him! He's not Tommy!"
"Boy, Rocky's really lost it." Skull commented.
"Yeah, Rock, what's wrong with you?" Adam demanded.
"He's not Human! He's an Alien Clone!" Rocky restrained himself from harming his fragile human friends.
Akiko stood in front of Rocky, her brown eyes, so much like Tommy's, flashing with seething hatred. "Baka yatte'n ja ne yo! Rocky!"* Rocky growled at her. "Eirian mitai na kao shiyagatte, mukoo e ike!" She swore and back fisted him.
"Dame da! Akiko!" Tommy struggled to stand on his own.
"Demo, Tommy, aitsu imaichi!" Akiko pointed towards Rocky with a sneer.
Just then, Rocky, who like most of their friends didn't speak Japanese, but knew when some one was swearing at them, broke free. He snarled and lunged for Akiko.
"Chikushoo!" Tommy swore and knocked Akiko out of the way. "ROCKY, STOP! NOOO!" Tommy cried as Rocky slammed into him. The two boys fell out the window, two stories above the manicured lawns of Angel Grove High School.
"TOMMY!" Kimberly screamed.
"Let's go!" Billy ordered.
The Rangers ,followed by Bulk and Skull, ran outside to try and help Tommy.
In mid-air, Rocky Changed into his wolf form. He landed not as any canine would, but rather, a grace far more due a member of the feline family.
Tommy hit with ground with a sickening thud. Before he could even think about getting up, Rocky pounced on the fallen Ranger. The wolf reared its head and sunk his fangs into Tommy's exposed neck. Tommy's strangled scream reached his friends as they ran out onto the lawn.
"_Rocky, stop it!_" Billy ordered. Rocky lifted his muzzle, dripping with Tommy's blood, and sneered.
Adam paled and retched, while Akiko swore a blue streak. Kimberly fixated on the shallow rising and falling of Tommy's chest. She started towards her fallen lover, but a beefy hand restrained her.
"Don't go near them. Rocky might attack you too." Bulk whispered. Kim nodded, barely comprehending. Aisha wrapped her arms around her friend.
"Son of a bitch!" Skull swore grabbed his math book, which he had brought with him in his extreme hurry, and beat Rocky over the head with the thick volume. Rocky growled at Skull, but didn't attack him. Skull smelled Human and was there for considered safe, even if Skull was giving the young werewolf a severe headache. The book, however, was chomped in half.
_I have to do this, Skull. This _thing_ isn't Tommy. He's a threat to us. Don't interfere and I'll let you live._ Rocky thought. His mental voice echoed in Skull's brain.
"Keep him distracted, Skull." Billy whispered. He had a vial of blue liquid hidden in his hand.
"What's that?" Bulk whispered.
"A tranquilizer that only effects were-animals." Billy smiled. Then, he raised his voice. "Skull, MOVE IT!" As soon as Skull was clear, Billy threw the vial at Rocky's head. The vial smashed upon impacted, the blue liquid dripping into Rocky's mouth.
"How long does it take for it to work?" Adam asked.
Just then, Aisha called out, "Look!", as Rocky passed out.
Billy skirted Rocky as he rushed towards Tommy. He knelt down and brushed aside Tommy's long hair. The Rangers and Bulk and Skull gagged at the sight of the massive wounds in Tommy's throat. Billy swallowed the scalding bile that welled up in his throat. A few feet away, Aisha vomited in a bush. Adam felt just as sick as Aisha, but he refused to give into his nausea. Akiko glared at Rocky's still form, not giving any indication of nausea. Kim wailed once and passed out. Bulk caught her before she hit the ground. Bulk ignored the gore in front of him and focused on making sure Kimberly was OK.
Skull pulled something black out of his pocket and scurried over to Billy. Skull handed Billy a clean handkerchief.
"Here. You need to keep pressure on that wound." Skull whispered. His voice choked on his suppressed sobs. He turned away and headed into the school. "I'm gonna call an ambulance." He said.
Billy nodded mutely. Tears were flowing freely down his face. The tears splashed off Tommy's already pale face. He moaned softly, and opened his eyes. He looked up at Billy and tried to talk but no words could come out.
"It's gonna be OK, Tommy." Billy whispered softly. He pressed the handkerchief over the massive tears in Tommy's throat. Blood quickly soaked through the black handkerchief, staining Billy's hands. Billy picked Tommy up, letting the dark haired boy rest his head on Billy's shoulder. "Just hang on, Tommy. Help's on the way." Billy murmured. The plantative wail of the ambulance reached Billy's ears. He held Tommy tighter.
Suddenly, Billy was blinded by a flash Silver-Blue lightening. Inside was a vision of beauty; pure white skin, blue-green hazel eyes, and a tumbling cascade of red-gold hair. *As One, Will* She whispered with a soft Scottish accent.
*As One.* Billy repeated.
Suddenly, a tsunami of Blue Energy washed over the boy. _What did I just do?_ Billy asked himself.
Just then, he heard the voice of his leader sounding so young and frightened. _Billy? Help me! I'm lost!_ The White Ranger sobbed.
Billy squinted through the Blue Light and found Tommy's Golden-White Presence. Billy reached out and pulled his leader closer towards him. Before Billy could control Tommy's rate of speed, their Presences collided. The Light became White-Blue as Tommy's intense emotions washed over Billy.
*Cold...So cold...Where am I?...Kimberly, I love you!...I don't wanna leave ya!... Tommy's confused thoughts ran through Billy's mind. Then, other feelings crowded out the helpless thoughts. Tommy's love for his family and friends; the joy he felt now that Bulk and Skull were part of that friendship and the long feud was over; and his intense, passionate love for Kimberly, the only person who would hold his heart. However, there were fear and insecurities lingering in Tommy's mind about his ability to lead the Power Rangers. Billy wiped away his tears. These weren't tears of sadness, but of joy. Now, Billy understood his enigmatic leader and friend in ways he never dreamed of. Billy could feel the complete confidence that Tommy had in him, even when it came to turning over command of the Power Rangers to him. Something Jason would have never done.
_Billy,_ Tommy asked. _What happened? I feel strange. I'm not cold anymore._
_We're One, Tommy, I think._ Billy mused.
_How didcha do that?_
_I dunno. Ask the Angel I saw. She's the one who told me to do it._
_What Angel?_ Tommy asked. Now that the cold Hand of Death had let go of him, Tommy's mind was clear enough to think rationally. He _knew_ that there was something he needed to do. _Now, what was it?_
_You forgot somethin' again, didn'tcha?_ Billy mentally rolled his eyes. "I swear, that if you had an Indian name it would be Brian-Like-Sieve!_
Before Tommy could retort, the two Rangers found themselves standing in the middle of a jungle clearing. A tiny, dark haired boy played at Tommy's feet. Billy looked over his leader. His normal attire of baggy jeans and a white muscle shirt were gone, replaced by a white linen loin cloth, leather sandles with straps that tied around his calves, and ornate gold jewelry, including a belt encrusted with jewels.
_Um, Tommy,_ Billy blushed. _What happened to your clothes?_
_This is what my people wore when we first came to Earth all those years ago._ Tommy smiled as his memory supplied him with the answers. Then, he picked up the little boy. _Billy, please, I need a favor from you._
_Take Shirochi. He's too young to live in my body by himself. If it were only for a little while, I'd let him, but I don't know how long I will be gone._
Billy nodded his head in agreement. With their strong connection, Billy knew all about Tommy's "Baptism of Fire" and the dangers that it entailed. He took Shirochi into his arms. The little boy hugged Billy tightly, then vanished inside of him. Billy gasped as he felt Shirochi make himself at home in his body.
_But, Tommy, how will we know if you're gonna come back or not?_ Billy asked.
Tommy stooped down and plucked a white rose with just the faintest hue of pink tinting its petals. In Tommy's hand, it turned into a glowing rose pendent on a silver chain. _Give this to Kimmie. As long as the rose is open and bright, I am alive and will return. But, if the rose darkens and closes up, then I will have failed in my task and will never return.
_OK. Good luck._ Billy whispered. He and Tommy hugged briefly. Tears started up again in Billy's eyes.
Suddenly, a strong wind roared out of nowhere, stirring up leaves and dirt. The wind picked up Billy and Shirochi, sending them hurdling through space.
"NO!" Billy jerked awake. He looked around in total confusion. He was in an unfamiliar bed in a room he had never seen before. Dark shadowy figures loomed over him. Billy raised his arm to fend off the precieved attackers.
"Shh. It's alright, son." Billy's father pushed him back into the bed.
"Dad?" Billy whispered. "Where am I?"
"In the hospital, son. You've been out for three days." His father ruffled his blonde hair.
"_Three days_? Why? Where's Tommy? And Rocky?" Billy demanded.
"Rocky's in, um, another hospital." His father hesitated. "Tommy's in the bed next to you." Billy's father moved so his son could see other bed in the room.
Tommy looked pale and gaunt. His throat was unblemished, but he was still in a coma. Kimberly had fallen asleep by her beloved's side. Billy felt the pendent in his hand and Shirochi's tiny Presence deep within him. It all came back to him.
Just then, Kimberly twitched in her sleep and fell off the bed. She moaned as she rubbed her sore backside.
"Good morning, Kim." Billy smiled at her.
"Billy, you're awake!" Kim stood up and stretched. She gave her friend a hug. Billy pressed the pendent into her hand. She looked at he and he mouthed: "From Tommy." She leaned closer so that she could hear the instructions. Then, Kimberly let pendent settle between her breasts. The pendent throbbed with a Life Spark of its own.
Billy looked past Kim and saw for the first time that Jason, Zach and Trini were sitting with Aisha, Adam, Akiko, Bulk, and Skull.
"Hey, guys." Billy smiled.
"Well, it's about time you paid us some attention." Jason grinned. Then, the three former Ranger rushed forward to welcome him back to the world of the living.
"How didcha get here?" Billy asked.
"The leaders of the conference let us come home after Aisha called us." Trini answered.
Just then, a nurse came in and announced that visiting hours were over. The Rangers and their friends said their goodbyes to Billy and whispered words of encouragement to the comatose Tommy. Then, they left Billy and Tommy alone. Billy settled back against his pillows.
_Good luck, Tommy._ He thought.
Just as suddenly as the wind storm came up, it vanished back into the Nether regions. Tommy brushed his long hair out of his face and looked around. The jungle clearing was gone. In it's place was a dirty, graffiti covered alley. Out of the corner of his eye, Tommy spied a towering skyscraper with twin turrets on it.
_The Bio-Techno Corporation!_ Tommy thought to himself. _I must be in Metro City. But, Bio-Techno's still in operation. This must be before Hamaza became the 8-Man and shut it down._ Tommy nudged a crumpled cardboard box with the toe of his boot. _Wait!_ Tommy gasped. _Boots?_
He looked down. His Aztec attire had vanished with the jungle clearing. He was now clad in tight, black jeans, with a white dress shirt tucked into it, his old bomber jacket, and black boots that came up to his knees. _I'd freeze my keester off if I hadn't changed clothes._ Tommy grinned to himself. _I'd better talk to Billy when I get back, so he doesn't tell Kimmie about my little Aztec suit or I'll never hear the end of it._
Just then, a high pitched scream reached Tommy's ears. It was coming from the darker regions of the alley.
"I'm coming!" Tommy yelled and dashed into the shadows. He found an elderly man being beat up by five evil looking birds. These birds were as tall as Tommy, maybe slightly taller. They had dark blue-gray feather, sharp beaks and talons. They also smelled worse than anything rotting in the surrounding trash. "Nani yo...?" Tommy stopped short.
"Help me!" The man called out.
"Hey, bird brains, leave him alone!" Tommy ordered. "And, take on someone your own size."
"Awk! Why should we?" The leader sneered.
"Cuz I said so." Tommy fell into a fighting stance. His dark eyes narrowed.
"And who should we take on? Hmmm? You?" The leader peered closer at the interloper.
"Yeah. Try it, beak face."
"Awk! Get him!"
The birds surrounded Tommy.
A thunderstorm had descended over the town of Angel Grove. In the newly constructed zoo, a white tiger and a white falcon looked towards the heavens. A burst of lightning exploded over their cages. When the air cleared, the two animals were gone.
On the moon, Lord Zedd glowered at his minions. Something was going on with those pesky Power Rangers, and no one could tell him anything. Just then, he stiffened.
"No. It can't be." Zedd whispered.
"What can't be, Sire?" Goldar asked.
"A Baptism. For who? Shirochi!" Zedd cried out. _My son lives? But how?_ Zedd thought to himself. Suddenly, a vision came to him. A young man with long brown hair and dark, hazel brown eyes stared at him through a cloud of smoke, like a dream. Then, the boy yelled out "TIGER ZORD!" and became the White Ranger.
_Father._ The White Ranger said in a soft, husky voice. Zedd knew that voice. It was...
_...Tommy Oliver! My son!_ Tears fell down Zedd's face. _After all these years, my son._
Goldar and Finster exchanged worried looks. Goldar's heart sank at the name of the boy he had murdered all those years ago.
Suddenly, Zedd screamed out, "NO!". The red, muscle-like suit he always wore vanished, revealing a man in his mid-forties with long brown hair and large hazel brown eyes. Man that looked like a slightly older version of one Tommy Oliver.
_Good grief!_ Finster thought. _Lord Zedd and Tommy are father and son? Who would have guessed it. But, why is he crying now?_ The small, onion domed monster watched as Zedd fell from his throne, sobbing.
Goldar had vanished from the throne room.
"Kore!" Tommy snarled as he punched the leader in the beak. His glove had come off his hand, so the electric shock sent the bird flying into a pile of garbage. Bits of putrid sludge clung to the bird.
"Awk! Bleh!" The bird coughed. "Get him!"
The other birds jumped on Tommy. One got a punch in the stomach with the electrically Charged fist. It went down in a flurry of smoking feathers.
"Shit." The wounded bird gasped.
"You fools!" The leader screamed. He shook of the rest of the garbage off and flew about twenty feet up. Then, he dive bombed Tommy.
"Chikushoo!" Tommy swore as the razor like beak gouged his cheek.
The leader chortled. He tackled Tommy, sending both rolling across the alley. Sharp bits of concrete and remains of tin cans dug into Tommy's back, while the bird's sharp talons wrapped around the White Ranger's throat.
"Kuso!" Tommy gritted his teeth against the pain. He got his fist between he and the bird and sent off another blast of Energy. The bird flew back, landing against his underlings.
"Get him!" The leader roared again.
The birds cautiously circled Tommy. They didn't want to feel the sting of his Charged fist again. The bird behind Tommy made the first move. He charged the boy, wrapping his wings around Tommy. Tommy elbowed the bird in the ribs. Then, he spun out of the grip. An upper cut with the Charged fist sent that bird spinning into orbit.
"One down, four to go." Tommy muttered to himself.
Just then, one of the birds picked up a long knife that had been tossed in a garbage bin. It was encrusted with old blood and had some sort of electronic attachments on the handle. It looked like it was made to be attached to a human arm. The bird plunged the knife into Tommy's back. Tommy went down with a scream of pain.
"You gottem!" The leader extolled.
Billy rested quietly in Angel Grove hospital. He could feel Tommy's rising distress, but there was nothing he could do to help his friend and leader. Besides, Billy had Shirochi to deal with.
_Billy,_ Shirochi asked.
_I'm sorry, but you didn't want to eat dinner._ Billy reminded the child.
_I want Nana's cookin' and I want CHOCOLATE!_
_I can't get you any chocolate right now. The hospitality shop is closed. Tomorrow, OK?_
_No! I want chocolate NOW!_ Shirochi pouted.
_OK, OK. Um, the vending machines might be working._ Billy got out of the hospital bed and made his way to the closet. He found his wallet in his pants. _Hmm, I have three dollars in change. I can getcha somethin' chocolate._
Billy walked out of his room and stopped dead. Just outside the room were two burly bodyguards. One, "Allen" his name tag read, picked up Billy and carried him back into the room. Then, he deposited the boy on his bed.
"What are you doin' out of bed, Mr. Billy?" Allen asked.
"I just wanted a candy bar from the vending machine." Billy looked sheepish. "What are you doin' here?"
"Me and Paul was hired by your family and Mr. Tommy's over there, to guard you boys in case that crazy Rocky gets loose and tries to kill ya again." Allen answered. "You stay in bed now, Mr. Billy and I'll send Paul to getcha a candy bar." Allen tucked Billy back in bed and ruffled his hair.
"Where is Rocky?" Billy asked.
"In Torence state hospital. Them doctors wanna know why he tried to kill Mr. Tommy." Allen frowned. Then, he straightened up. "I'll have Paul getcha that candy bar. What kind do you want?"
_THREE MUSKETEERS!_ Shirochi called out.
"Snickers." Billy responded. Suddenly, he felt Shirochi kick him.
_You jerk! I HATE Snickers._ Shirochi sobbed.
_That's not nice, Shirochi._ Billy scolded. _Do you give Tommy this much trouble?_
_Only when he's with Kimberly and they're makin' those funny noises in bed together._
Billy couldn't help but blush. _Tommy, when you come back, you and I are gonna have a little discussion._
_I can't believe this is how it ends!_ Tommy thought as he felt the warm stain of his blood spread across his back. Tears flowed down his face.
The birds laughed at the sight of their fallen opponent.
Tommy gritted his teeth angrily at the harsh sound of the birds' laughter. _I'm not gonna go down!_ He vowed.
Suddenly, a flash of lightning ripped through the sky. The bolt struck the alley floor and created a rift in the air. Out of the shimmering tear dashed the tiger and falcon from the Angel Grove zoo.
"Nani yo!" Tommy gasped.
An unseen and benevolent force pulled the startled boy to his feet. Tommy watched in stunned amazement as the two creatures became One. The winged tiger flew straight towards Tommy's chest.
The birds squawked and backed away.
Tommy gazed at the winged tiger. A single word formed in his mind. Tommy took a deep breath and screamed, "TYGOR!"
The winged tiger glowed with a Golden-White Light. It jumped into the air and flew right into Tommy's chest.
The Light surrounded Tommy, its healing Energies penetrating every cell of his being. Tommy felt the fatal wound in his back close up with out a scar. He felt strong, stronger than the White Ranger ever could be. An intense, incredibly sensual joy filled his being. He had never felt like this before.
The intense Light faded into a soft glow. Tommy looked down. He was clad in a bio-armor. It was white-gold and looked soft to the touch, like it had fur on it. "Sugeeguu!" Tommy exclaimed.
"Awk! What the hell just happened to him?" One of the birds cried.
"Who cares. We can still take him!" The leader declared.
The birds rushed the now armored Tommy. The leader lashed out with his claws.
"TYGOR CLAWS!" Tommy cried out. The same Energy which blew up his alarm clock now formed a pair of claws on his hands. Tommy ducked the leader's claw. Then, he used his own claw to disembowel the leader. Three other birds were dispatched in a similar manner. Finally, only one other bird remained.
"I'm outta here!" The bird squawked and flew away.
"Oh, no you're not! TYGOR WINGS!" A pair of white wings came out of the armor's back. Tommy flew after the bird. Once the bird was in his sight, he yelled out; "TYGOR LASER!" A white laser beam shot out of the Control Metal, a round ball of silver metal embedded in the forehead of the bio-armor with the shape of a flying tiger carved in it, and disintegrated the hapless bird.
Tommy landed back in the alley. The bio armor vanished from around his body.
Suddenly, a portal appeared where the rip had been. Tommy could barely make out a voice calling out his name. Tommy straightened up his clothes and entered the portal.
Tommy found himself surrounded by a wall of fire. Inside that fire, Tommy could make out several vaguely humanoid shapes.
:THOMAS OLIVER, SON OF LORD ZEDD?:
"Yes, I am. But, who are you?" Tommy asked.
:WE ARE THE COUNCIL OF FIRE. WE HAVE JUDGED YOU WORTHY OF WEARING THE TYGOR ARMOR AND ALL THAT IT MEANS.:
"Please, Honorable Council, forgive me, but I'm still very confused about things." Tommy blushed.
:THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE SINCE YOU WERE NOT RAISE AS A MIRANDIAN. BUT, IT IS SIMPLE. ONLY HE WHO WEARS THE TYGOR ARMOR CAN RULE NOT ONLY MIRANDA, BUT THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. YOU, TOMMY OLIVER, HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY THE POWERS TO RULE.:
"Me?" Tommy squeaked.
:YES. SOON YOU WILL ENCOUNTER AKUMA. HE IS THE ONE WHO STOLE THE THRONE FROM YOUR FAMILY. YOU MUST DEFEAT HIM AND TAKE OVER THE THRONE THAT IS RIGHTLY YOURS, WHITE RANGER.:
"How didcha know that?" Tommy gasped.
:WE COULD SENSE THE MORPHING POWERS WITHIN YOU. ZORDON MADE A WISE CHOICE IN MAKING YOU LEADER OF THE POWER RANGERS. HE WILL BE VERY PLEASED TO LEARN THAT YOU NOW ALSO WEAR THE MANTLE OF THE TYGOR ARMOR. NOW, CHILD, GO BACK TO YOUR WORLD. THERE ARE THOSE WHO MISS YOU:
"Kimmie." Tommy whispered.
:YES, SHE WILL MAKE THE PERFECT WIFE FOR A GREAT RULER. FAREWELL, THOMAS OLIVER, SON OF LORD ZEDD, WHITE RANGER AND BEARER OF THE TYGOR ARMOR:
"Farewell, Honorable Council of Fire." Tommy bowed in the ancient Mirandian tradition; his right fist when to his chest and then, he preformed a sharp, low bow. Suddenly, he felt himself fall through time to where his body lay, in Angel Grove hospital.
Billy sat up sobbing. He had just had a vision of evil birds stabbing Tommy in the back.
_Billy,_ Shirochi cried. _What's happenin' to Tommy?_
_I wish I knew, Kiddo._ Billy forced himself to stay calm for tiny Shirochi's sake. He blocked out the waves of pain radiating from Tommy's spirit. Shirochi snuggled up against Billy's heart.
Suddenly, Billy had a vision of a flying tiger. He saw the flying tiger running towards him. _Wait a minute! Running towards ME?_ Billy thought.
_I'm not gonna go down!_ Billy heard Tommy's voice echoing in his head.
_I'm seeing this through Tommy's eyes!_ Billy gasped. The transformation and the battle flashed before Billy's eyes, too fast for him to consciously perceive. Then, Billy saw the Council of Fire and heard their pronouncements.
Just as Tommy tumbled through Time, back to his body, Billy passed out.
When Billy opened his eyes again, he noticed immediately that Shirochi wasn't in his body. He looked over at Tommy. The White Ranger was still unconscious, but Billy could sense Tommy's Presence was back where it belonged. Shirochi was also with Tommy again.
Billy laid back down. _I wish you would wake up, Tommy._ He thought. With out Shirochi constantly badgering him, Billy was feeling extremely lonely. The Blue Ranger snuggled under his covers and fell back asleep.
Billy was awaken from his slumber by a loud moaning. It was Tommy, who was thrashing about in his bed, crying. Billy jumped out of his own bed and rushed over to his friend.
"Tommy!" Billy cried out.
Billy's cries attracted the two bodyguards, Allen and Paul, from just outside the door. The two guards held Tommy down while Billy ran for the nearest doctor or nurse.
"What the hell is going on here?" The head nurse demanded as she burst into the room.
"We don't know!" Allen gasped. "He just started actin' up!"
The nurse hit a button on the wall. "DOCTOR CHUNG TO ROOM 572! STAT!" She yelled into the intercom.
A slightly rumpled-looking Korean man ran into Tommy and Billy's room. He had a syringe filled with a clear-yellow liquid in his hand. He pushed the two guards aside and signaled to the nurse. She timidly approached with an alcohol swab and cleaned an area of bronzed skin. Then, Doctor Chung injected Tommy with the liquid. The White Ranger calmed down almost instantly.
"What's wrong with Tommy?" Billy cried. He angrily wiped away the tears that were flowing down his cheeks.
"Tommy's been through a severe trauma, what with his friend trying to kill him, so it's going to be hard for him to come out of his coma. Don't worry, though. He'll come out soon."
Billy's legs gave out beneath him. The adrenaline rush that had sustained him just moments ago was gone. Allen caught the Blue Ranger before he hit the ground. The burly bodyguard laid Billy down in the middle of his bed. Tears were still streaming down his face. _Tommy._ Billy thought.
As soon as visiting hours began, the friends of the hospitalized Rangers, as well as their families, filled the room.
"Billy," The Blue Ranger's father smiled. "I just talked to Doctor Chung and he said that you can go home tomorrow."
"That's great, Dad." Billy whispered.
"What's wrong, son. I thought that you'd be happy to hear the news." His father looked slightly crestfallen.
"I _am_ happy, Dad, but I don't want to leave Tommy alone while he's still in a coma."
Billy's father laughed. Then, he hugged his son. "I understand, Billy. But, just because you're not here physically, that doesn't mean that Tommy isn't in your thoughts. I'm sure that he'd understand if he was awake." His father looked at him. "OK?"
"Sure, Dad." Billy sighed. He looked over at Tommy's side of the room. Kimberly was at her normal place, curled up by Tommy's side; Nana was holding Tommy's hand, murmuring her prayers over him. Tommy's father and uncle were standing near the wall, just staring at the fallen White Ranger. Akiko stayed near Kimberly. The girls had been comforting each other during this time.
Adam edged his way over to Billy. He looked at Tommy and then at Billy. The Blue Ranger understood the unspoken question: Did Tommy survive his Baptism of Fire? Billy nodded an almost imperceivable yes. Adam relaxed and relayed the news to the other Rangers. They sighed with relief. Bulk and Skull, who have been let in on some of the Rangers' secrets, grinned.
Just then, Ernie entered the room with a tray ladened with shakes.
"I thought that you kids would like something to drink. On the house." Ernie smiled. He loved the Rangers like they were his own kids. The heavy set owner of the Juice Bar looked over Tommy with concern. Tommy still looked so sick.
"Thanks, Ernie." Adam said. Ernie put his arm around Adam and squeezed slightly.
During the day, other friends visited and left, each expressing their well wishes for Tommy and Billy. Once visiting hours were over, Billy found that he was too keyed up to sleep. He opened a large book he had been reading. Then, he heard Tommy groan softly. Billy put the book aside and watched, ready to summon the doctor.
Tommy descended through space into the hospital room he shared with Billy. Tommy hovered over Billy for a second.
_C'mon, Shirochi, time to go home!_ Tommy called out. The tiny spirit rushed out of Billy's body and threw his arms around Tommy's neck. As they slipped into Tommy's body, the body of the White Ranger, unaware of the changes in it, started thrashing about. _Kuso._ Tommy hissed as he felt the drug hit his system. He was oblivious for the rest of the day. It would be night before the drug wore off.
Tommy moaned softly as his dark eyes opened for the first time. They blurred then cleared. Tommy looked around. "Billy?" He called out. His voice was weaker than usual. He didn't know if Billy could hear him.
"Tommy!" Billy laughed. He ran over and hugged his friend.
"Billy, where are we?" Tommy asked.
"In Angel Grove Hospital. You have been comatose for five days!" Billy exclaimed.
"Did it really take that long." Tommy whispered. He looked at his friend. "You haven't told the others have you?"
"No. I knew that it wasn't any of my business. If you want to tell them, that's up to you." Billy sighed. He sat down beside his friend.
"Where's Rocky?" Tommy asked.
"In Torrence State Hospital. For evaluation." Billy answered.
"It's wasn't his fault. He could sense my changing and didn't understand it. Hell, _I_ don't understand it." Tommy shook his head sadly.
"But, he did try to kill you." Billy pointed out.
"No, he tried to protect you guys from what he perceived to be a threat." Tommy defended the Red Ranger.
"He knocked you out of a two story window and tore open your throat." Billy reminded Tommy.
"I know. That's the werewolf in him." Tommy answered.
"You're not mad at him are you?" Billy was incredulous.
"No. And, you guys shouldn't be either." Tommy said, then yawned.
"Ok. See you in the morning. I'm going home tomorrow." Billy crawled back into his bed. "And, don't coo in your sleep. It's annoying." He added.
"I don't coo in my sleep." Tommy laughed.
"Do too!" Billy growled. "You've been doing it for five days! COO-COO!" The Blue Ranger mimicked. "You sounded like a pigeon!"
"Do not!" Tommy yawned. "Good night, Billy." He turned over.
"Good night." Billy grinned.
"Coo-Coo." Tommy whispered.
"TOMMY!" Billy laughed.
On the moon, Lord Zedd watched the two Rangers. A new emotion was welling up inside his withered, cold heart: love. The lord of evil didn't recognize it, since he hadn't loved since his son was murdered over 20,000 years ago.
"My son." Zedd whispered. He wasn't in his Bio-Armor.
"My Lord." Finster interrupted his musings.
"What do you want, Onion-Dome!" Zedd snapped.
"Why didn't you tell us you had a son?" Finster asked timidly.
"Shirochi was dead. He was murdered, as was his mother and half-sister. I never learned who did it." Zedd murmured.
The small, white monster looked around with a grin. Goldar had just confided in him about who had murdered Lord Zedd's son.
"My Lord, if you were to find Shirochi's killer, what would you do to him?"
"Kill him with my bare hands. Why?" Zedd glared at Finster.
"I know who the killer is." Finster said.
"Who?" Zedd demanded. "Tell me or I'll make you into a pot holder!"
"It's Goldar. He murdered your beloved and your son." Finster hissed.
Zedd growled and his throne room glowed an ominous red. Goldar, who had been hiding in the many shadows of the throne room, cowarded in terror.
"I'll get you for this, Finster!" He vowed.
Morning dawned clear and cool in Angel Grove. A salty breeze blew off the ocean, carrying with it the scent of autumn. Billy opened the hospital window so that he and Tommy could enjoy the fresh air.
"This is a major bummer." Tommy sighed.
"Being stuck in a stuffy hospital on a nice day like this." The White Ranger answered. "At least you get to go home today." Billy blushed and wiped off his glasses.
Just then, Akiko and Kimberly burst into the room. They were treated to a shock when they found Tommy not only awake but out of his bed.
"Tommy!" Kimberly squealed. She tackled him in a tight embrace. "You had me so worried!"
"I'm sorry, Kimmie." Tommy hugged her back. She looked up at him with tears in her doe-like eyes. Tommy gently brushed the tears away and kissed her. Kimberly wrapped her arms around his neck, weaving her fingers through his long silky hair.
Billy blushed a bright red while Akiko rolled her eyes. Shaking her head, Akiko pulled Kimberly off her brother.
"Hey!" Tommy protested.
"Sorry, bro." Akiko grinned.
"Liar." Tommy sulked.
"Damn straight!" Akiko stuck out her tongue. Tommy swatted at her, but she gracefully dodged it.
"Hey, what's all the noise in here for?" Jason Scott asked as he walked into the room. "I thought this place was a hospital...Tommy!" He gasped when he saw his friend awake.
"Hello, Jason." Tommy nodded his head.
Jason hungrily took in his friend. Tommy looked fine. If he wasn't in a hospital room wearing a tacky whitish-grayish-blue hospital gown, no one would have been able to guess that he had been near death only a scant few hours ago.
"When...how...?" Jason stuttered.
"Last night." Billy answered for Tommy. The strong connection between them was still there.
"Wait until the rest of them hear about this!" Jason exclaimed and ran out of the room to call the rest of the Rangers.
Tommy frowned at the retreating back of the former Red Ranger. "Akiko, how has Jason acted during all of this?" He asked his sister.
"Like he was in charge again. It was pretty bad. He's such a control freak! I mean he wanted know what I was doing every minute I wasn't in his sights!" Akiko complained.
"Now why would Jason think he was in charge again?" Tommy mused out loud.
"Well, you were in a coma and Billy was sick too. He knows that you normally put Billy in charge if you can't lead us. We told him that first thing." Kimberly sighed.
"Lemme guess, he wasn't too happy about that was he?" Tommy drawled.
"No. Then, he just assumed that he'd be the natural choice for leader until you or Billy were better." Kimberly answered. "He just took over. Didn't even ask if WE wanted him back as the leader."
"And now that you're awake and obviously perfectly fine, Jason knows that you're gonna take command again." Akiko said.
"And, he's not too happy about that is he." It wasn't a question.
"No. He's mad, I think, but he's not acting like it. If I didn't know any better..." Kimberly's voice trailed off as she heard Jason's voice coming closer to the room. He had the rest of the Rangers with him. Tommy gave Akiko, Billy, and Kimberly a look that ended their private conversation. Tommy would have to take this up personally with Zordon and Jason later, if things got worse with the former Red Ranger.
Just then, Trini, Aisha, Zach, and Adam ran into the room. They surrounded Tommy in a group hug.
"Welcome back, sleepy head!" Aisha giggled.
Tommy looked around. "Where are Bulk and Skull?" He asked.
"In the cafeteria, getting some breakfast for all of us. I guess we shoulda asked them to get you something too." Aisha responded.
Jason was leaning against the far wall. With the other Rangers' backs towards him, he shot Tommy a chilling look. Tommy's eyes narrowed.
_What are you thinking about, Jason?_ Tommy mused to himself. Then, Tommy's extra-sensitive hearing picked up a strange noise. It sounded like a thousand stainless steel trays being tossed about mixed in with the sound of hospital food hitting human bodies and some assorted swearing.
"Ahem, I think Bulk and Skull have arrived." Tommy said drily.
Just then, in walked the two bullies. They were covered with grey blobs what must be food. However it didn't look or smell like any food that Tommy and the others had ever encountered before in their short lives.
"Eww, what is that stuff, Bulk?" Kimberly wrinkled her small nose at the sour smell of the blobs.
"Well, the lady in the cafeteria told us scrambled eyes, but I don't believe her." Bulk answered.
"I don't think I'm hungry any more." Aisha waved her hand in front of her nose.
"Well, now that's too bad, cuz ole Nana's done fixed you chilen up a good breakfast." Nana smiled as she entered the room with a large hamper. A wonderful smell wafted from underneath the lid.
"Don't worry, Nana, I'll eat her share!" Bulk exclaimed, much to the laughter of his new friends.
"Now Bulky, don'tcha worry. Nana made plenty of food." Nana grinned as she dished out scrambled eggs and cheese, made with REAL eggs and homemade cheese and butter, fresh sausage, toasted homemade bread with Nana's famous strawberry jam, and lots of fresh milk. She heaped each plate with as much food as it could hold. Soon, the room was filled with full, but sleepy teenagers. Even the noise of the doctors could not disturb the napping rangers.
That night, Tommy laid awake in his bed. Billy was home now, so Tommy was feeling lonely. He missed the Blue Ranger's company.
However, Tommy didn't know that he wasn't alone. Hiding in the shadows was an old friend. He was grasping a hard, hospital pillow, waiting for the moment when Tommy was at his most vulnerable. Jason grinned wickedly as Tommy curled up under his covers and fell asleep. Jason bided his time until he heard the soft cooing noises coming from the bed. Then, he pounced.
"Die, you asshole!" Jason snarled and pressed the pillow over Tommy's face. Tommy gasped for air and thrashed about. Jason was strong, but he wasn't stronger than Tommy. Tommy grabbed his assailant's arms and tossed him.
"Jason Lee Scott, what the hell is your problem?" Tommy demanded. Jason growled and ran out of the room.
Jason ran until he came to a pyramid like building in the heart of Angel Grove. He went inside, down to the sub-basement. He entered a large, high tech lab.
"Who are you?" One of the assistants demanded.
"A willing volunteer." Jason smirked.
Lord Zedd watched Tommy fall back asleep. He was alone in the hospital room now, and there were no nurses or doctors near by. That left only the guards to worry about. Zedd focused the energy of his staff on to the guards. They immediately fell asleep.
Quietly, Zedd teleported into Tommy's room. He found his son tossing and turning in his sleep. His blankets were crumpled on the floor, along with his pillows. Tenderly, Zedd straightened up Tommy, replacing his pillows under his head. Then, he tucked the blankets around the sleeping Ranger. Zedd let his fingers run through Tommy's long, silky hair.
"Sleep well, my son, and with out nightmares." Zedd kissed Tommy's forehead and teleported out of the room.
"You're out of your mind!" Akiko screamed at her brother. "Why the hell didcha leave the hospital!"
"Don't yell at me, sis." Tommy sighed. "I'm fine. Staying in that hospital any longer would have driven me bonkers." Tommy had discharged himself from the hospital "AMA", or "Against Medical Advice." He was in the park talking with his sister.
"Tommy, bro, you're NUTS!" Akiko dropped her head into her hands. "And, now you want me to help you get Rocky out of the State Hospital." She rolled her eyes.
"Akiko, listen to me." Tommy pulled his younger sister close. "I know what you guys think of Rocky, but it's not his fault. He didn't know what was happening to me. He thought that I was a threat to you guys, the people he cares about. I'm sure that if he had some kind of warning, he never would have tried to kill me. But, _I_ didn't know it was gonna happen, so how could I warn him? Zordon hasn't exactly been forthcoming about the Mirandian in us.
"Besides, I know for a fact that the state hospital is a dangerous place for a werewolf to be. A few years back, Hazama and I did an investigation into one of those places. Damn, I STILL have nightmares about what we saw in there. We have to get Rocky out, either legally, which will take too long, or illegally."
"I still think you're crazy, bro, but I'll help you." Akiko sighed. "What do you want me to do?"
Tommy looked around to make sure that they would not be overheard, then whispered in his sister's ear.
Later that night, Tommy and Akiko met outside the gates of Torrence State Hospital. Both teens were dressed in black body suits with masks covering their faces. Tommy removed the glove covering his Electrically Charged hand and grabbed one of the security cameras. It shorted out, along with the rest of the security systems.
"Let's go." Tommy whispered. He and Akiko scaled the chain link fence with supernatural grace. Once on the other side, they switched on the night vision goggles that Billy let them borrow.
"What room is Rocky in?" Akiko hissed.
"Top floor, high security area. Room 562." Tommy answered. "Becareful, though. Those security systems are on a different system than the others. I'll have to take it out when we get there."
Hiding in the shadows, the two teens snuck into the state hospital. Akiko gasped when she saw the interior.
"Kuso!"* She swore.
"I thought that this place would be like in those movies. I can't see any raving lunatics chained to the wall or anything." Akiko said.
"Yet another stereotype down the drain." Tommy commented. "I guess that next you'll learn that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny don't exist."
"You mean they don't!" Akiko wailed. A nurse's aide looked towards them. But, she couldn't see through the thick shadows.
"Shh!" Tommy hissed and grabbed her arm. He pulled her into a closet. "You gotta be quiet, sis. We don't want to be caught."
"Is that why you made me leave my Morpher and Communicator at home?" Akiko asked.
"Yeah. _If_ we're caught, there should nothing to link _us_ to the Power Rangers." Tommy whispered. As soon as the nurse's aide left, he and Akiko crept out of the closet and found a elevator that was broken. "Perfect." Tommy said.
"What? It's broken."
"That's the whole idea, sis. We're gonna climb up its cables, so no one can find us." Tommy pried the doors open. Once they were in the broken car, Tommy and Akiko opened the hatch at the top and climbed out of the car. Soon, they were shimmying up the thick cables.
"Oh, why couldn't they have put Rocky on the second floor?" Akiko wailed.
"Darame!" Tommy growled. "Save your strength for climbin'."
"Ok, ok." Akiko grumbled.
The cables were rough and tore through their gloves, cutting their hands. The teens scrambled up the cables until they reached the fifth floor.
"Now what?" Akiko hissed.
"Where is the security's system...Ah!" Tommy grabbed a handful of wires with his Charged hand. A bright flash of light briefly lit up the dark shaft, then died out. "Shall we?" Tommy grinned. He pried the doors open a crack and peered out. The guards didn't even realize that the system was dead.
"Well?" Akiko prodded Tommy in the rear.
"Matte!" Tommy hissed. The guard had left his station with a girlie magazine in his hand. "Now!"
The teens crawled out of the elevator shaft, still sticking to the shadows. Luckily, the elevator shaft was right next to room 562. Quietly, Tommy snuck up behind the lone guard stationed in front of Rocky's room. He gently squeezed the back of the guard's hairy neck, and the guard passed out. _I'm glad that I watched all of those STAR TREK marathons with Billy._ Tommy giggled to himself.
Rocky laid on his bed, eyes glazed over with drugs. He had no memory of almost killing his best friend. The same best friend who was now standing over Rocky's bed, with sympathy and forgiveness in his eyes.
"Rocko? It's me, Tommy." Tommy whispered. "Akiko and I are gonna bust you out of here."
Rocky looked up at his friend. "Tommy?" He asked in a hoarse voice.
"Sh. Quiet, bro. Akiko, hand me his clothes." Tommy turned to his sister. With his sister's help, Tommy soon had Rocky dressed.
As the Rangers were about to walk out the door, the alarms rang out. Flashing red lights washed over the antiseptic white hall ways.
"I thought you took out their security systems!" Akiko snarled.
"I did!" Tommy protested. "They must have brought them back online!"
Suddenly, a horde of guards ran towards the teens, blocking off their original route. Tommy and Akiko grabbed Rocky and ran towards the stair case. They were unable to head down, since more guards were storming up the stairs, blocking off that route of escape.
"Now where?" Akiko demanded.
"The roof!" Tommy yelled.
"HALT!" One of the guards yelled.
"NOT!" Akiko retorted.
"DARAME!" Tommy snarled at his sister.
It had begun to pour while the teens were inside the hospital. Now, the black top roof was slick and filled with deep puddles. The teens could barely see. They slid to a stop at the edge of the roof.
"Now what?" Akiko hissed. The cold rain was shaking Rocky out of his stupor. He looked around.
"What the hell am I doing here?" He yelped.
"Not now, bro." Tommy yelled. Just then, the guards cornered them.
"Do you have any other bright ideas?" Akiko glared at her brother.
"Um...KUSO!" Tommy swore as he ducked a shot from one of the guards. He pulled his sister and friend down as more shots slammed into the roof top. "Yeah, I have an idea." Tommy pulled out his gun and fired a shot over the guards' heads. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!"
Akiko was also armed. She pulled out a Colt .45.
"Keep their heads down!" Tommy yelled. "Don't hurt any of them!"
"But, they want to hurt us!" Akiko responded.
"Darame! Get Rocky out of here! Climb down the building." Tommy ordered.
Akiko dropped behind Tommy and pulled a rope out of her knapsack. She tied it on to the lightning rod and tossed the rest of it over the side. Akiko looked up and swore. In the distance, she could hear thunder and see the forked lightning.
"Get down there!" Tommy yelled. "Rocky, you go first."
Obediently, Rocky climbed down the rope. He was still too confused to question any orders. As soon as Rocky was on the ground, the storm broke over the hospital.
Akiko was climbing down the rope when lightning hit the rod. She screamed as she involuntarily let go and fell onto a rose bush.
The lightning rod exploded, knocking Tommy off the roof. "CHIKUSHOO!" Tommy swore as he tumbled through the air and landed on some near-by train tracks. Bright spots of light danced in front of Tommy's eyes. He sat up, rubbing his eyes.
Suddenly, the large head light of a train filled the White Ranger's blurry vision. Tommy was paralyzed by the bright light, just like a wild animal.
"Ooooh shiiit!" Tommy swore as the train rammed into him. Tommy found himself airborne again. "I REALLY CAN USE A VACATION RIGHT NOW!" He shrieked.
Lord Zedd was awakened from his deep slumber by Tommy's shriek. He ran towards the throne room and quickly located his son. He found Akiko semi-conscious on a rose bush with Rocky sitting near-by, about to wet himself with fear. Then, he saw his son flying through the air, heading towards a slimy old pond.
"Damn." Zedd hissed. With a wave of his staff, he vanished from the throne room.
Zedd landed near the rose bush. Rocky looked up at him.
"Rocky, daijoobuka?" Zedd shook the young Ranger.
"Wha...?" Rocky mumbled.
"Are you OK?" Zedd repeated.
"Akiko, Tommy..." Rocky looked over at Akiko.
The Green Ranger was stirring. She sat up and rubbed her back. "Ouch!" She groaned. "I'm gonna be picking thorns out of me for weeks!"
"Akiko, can you walk? You and Rocky have to get out of here!" Zedd yelled.
"Where's Tommy?" Akiko looked around. "And, who the hell are you?"
"Tommy's in the woods. He needs our help. C'mon!" Zedd ordered.
Akiko and Rocky stumbled after the mysterious man.
Tommy hurled through the air, away from the hospital and towards the woods. He looked down and swore. He was heading right for the old pond. It was stagnate and slimy.
"SHIIIT!" Tommy screamed as he splashed down. The water rushed in his open mouth, choking him. Tommy tried to fight his way to the surface, but his limbs felt heavy and useless. With a silent cry of despair, Tommy gave up and sank to the bottom of the dirty pond.
Zedd lead the two Rangers deeper into the woods until they found the pond. Dropping his staff, Zedd dove in.
Akiko looked at the staff with disinterest. _It looks like Lord Zedd's staff._ She thought to herself. She was too tired to wonder why their mysterious savior would carry Lord Zedd's staff. Akiko and Rocky huddled together at the edge of the pond.
Zedd swam through the murky water. It was foul smelling, like dead and rotted fish. At the bottom, he found Tommy curled up. Zedd shook the boy, but got no response. Tommy Oliver was dead.
Gently, Zedd wrapped his arms around Tommy's waist and kicked off the bottom. He practically shot out of the pond. Zedd laid Tommy on the ground and cleaned the muck out of his mouth.
Akiko looked over at her older brother. "He's dead." She said in a monotone.
"No he's not. Just give him a few minutes to come around." Zedd answered.
"Bull shit!" Akiko snarled. "He fell off the FIFTH floor of a roof, got hit by a train, and slammed into the pond. He couldn't have survived that. No one can."
"No _Human_ could have, Akiko, but you and Tommy are not Human. You are Mirandians." Zedd looked at her.
"Nani yo...Dare da!" Akiko demanded.
Zedd grinned at her. "_I_ am Tommy's father. Not Zordon."
"Lord Zedd!" Akiko screamed. Rocky growled at the Lord of Evil.
"No, children, do not attack me. I'm here to help Shirochi, er Tommy." Zedd stumbled backwards.
"Why the hell should the Lord of Evil want to help the White Ranger?" Akiko hissed.
"Because I wasn't always the Lord of Evil. There was a time I fought on the side of Light and Goodness." Zedd held up his hands in the most non threatening way he could.
"Aw, that's a load of crap." Rocky snapped. "If you were so good then, why didcha turn evil?"
Zedd smiled sadly and looked over at Tommy. The White Ranger was still unconscious, but he was breathing again. When Zedd spoke again, his voice was ladened with the sadness of thousands of years of heartbreak.
"When my son died, it almost killed me. I loved Shirochi in my heart as my son, even if I could not be his father in the eyes of our society. I was the one who found your body, Akiko, and your mother's. Shirochi's was nowhere to be found. I searched the jungles for days trying to find him, hoping that he had been able to escape. Hoping that he would find his way to me..." Zedd sobbed. He pressed his face into his hands and cried. Akiko and Rocky looked at each other in shock. The Lord of Evil was sitting, coated in mud and slime, sobbing in the middle of the woods.
"Zedd, daijoobuka?" Akiko asked quietly.
"Yes, I'm fine, child." Zedd wiped the tears from his eyes.
"And when you didn't find Shirochi..." Akiko prompted.
"I went mad. I left the Earth colony and headed back to Miranda. It was then that I met up with Rita and Goldar. They had heard about Shirochi's disappearance. They told me that they had heard that Zordon had his wife and children killed when he learned about his wife's unfaithfulness to him. They offered me a way to get my revenge against Zordon. They were the ones who introduced me to Akuma. Soon, I was his right hand man." Zedd's dark eyes had a pained look in them as he remembered those dark days.
"So all this time, you never knew _who_ killed us?" Akiko asked.
"Yes. However, I know now. All these years those assholes lied to me. _Lied to me!_ They turned me against my friends." Zedd's voice turned hard and bitter, full of self hatred.
Just then, Tommy came around. He sat up, holding his head in his hands. "Oh, man, what happened?" He murmured.
"Long story, kiddo." Zedd smiled softly and ruffled Tommy's soaked hair. "Now, I need to get you guys home so you can dry off." He stood up, then helped the teens up. He saw Tommy and Akiko's bare wrists. "No communicators, eh? Well, I can teleport you home just this once." Holding the teens close, Zedd teleported to the Oliver house, in the country near Angel Grove.
Tommy stepped out of the shower with a white towel wrapped around his narrow waist. He found Rocky asleep on his bed, dressed in a pair of Tommy's jogging pants. They were too long in the leg and a little tight in the waist for the Red Ranger. Akiko had stolen yet another one of Tommy's green dress shirts. When Tommy started to protest to Zedd, who was standing nearby, Akiko stuck her pink tongue out at him and pulled on her lower eyelid. Tommy growled at his sister.
"If you guys are gonna fight, then do it where it won't wake me up." Rocky opened one eye to glare at the siblings.
In a most unleader-like moment, Tommy wailed; "She started it!"
"Did too, kono shirigaru!" Tommy yelled.
"Guys, Dame da!" Zedd interrupted the fight before blows could be exchanged. "We have something more important to worry about, like what we are going to tell the cops when they come here and find Rocky."
"Well," Tommy grinned. "We do have an idea that just might work..."
When, Rocky woke up the next morning, his mind was clear and he was able to remember everything from noticing the Changing in Tommy to trying to kill him to his hellish stay in a mental hospital. Rocky looked around and found himself in a room filled with 19th Century antiques. A tall figure blocked his view.
"Good morning, Rocko." Tommy whispered. Rocky growled softly. "Please, Rocky, I'm sorry."
Rocky glared at Tommy. "Excuse me?"
"I'm sorry for lying to you, but I didn't know what else to do. Zordon didn't tell me what to expect or anything. I didn't know about this whole Coming Of Age nonsense until it happened to me. I'm still Tommy, your friend. My body might have changed, but my heart and soul are still Tommy Oliver's." Tommy pleaded with the young werewolf.
"Why didcha break me outta that place?" Rocky demanded.
"Because I know what they're like. And, I didn't want to see a friend locked away in such a hell hole." Tommy's eyes were wide and just a little wet.
Just then, Zedd and Nana brought the police to Tommy's room. The officer, a tall, jocular man by the name of Stone, glared at Tommy, Rocky, and Akiko like they were all on America's Most Wanted List. Tommy took a deep breath and exchanged a quick look with Akiko. She nodded a reply.
"Tommy, why is Rocky in your room?" The officer demanded.
"I found him wondering outside my house last night. He looked like he was in shock, so we, that is Akiko and I, took him in." Tommy lied.
"Why? Didn't he try to tear your throat out?"
"No, a wolf tried to tear my throat out. The same wolf that attacked Rocky a few weeks ago. It might have some new form of rabies or somethin'." Tommy said in a calm voice.
"Are you sure that Rocky didn't attack you?" The officer pressed on.
"Are you sure that you have a brain? Well, maybe I can think of a surer yes than that." Tommy rolled his eyes. Stone stiffened up. "Anyway, Rocky didn't attack me and I don't want any charges brought against him."
"Rocky, where are the people who broke you out?" Stone changed directions.
"Dead. In the woods somewhere. They committed suicide and had these acid capsules that broke when they died and melted away their bodies." Rocky sobbed.
Stone paled then spun around. He left the room feeling queasy and confused. He didn't hear Tommy, Akiko, and Rocky congratulating each other. Nor, did he hear the beep summoning the Rangers to the Command Center.
"Zordon, when I worked for Hazama, I learned real quick that laws are to be obeyed only if innocents will not be harmed if I do. If innocents are being harmed, then the laws are not doing their jobs." Tommy stood firm.
I SEE. AND YOU VIEWED ROCKY AS AN INNOCENT?
"Yes. I believe it with all of my heart." Tommy nodded.
VERY WELL THEN.
"May we go, Zordon?" Akiko asked. "Nana's cookin' breakfast."
Zordon couldn't help but laugh. IN A MINUTE. TOMMY, I ALSO WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT A SPACE CRAFT, FAR TOO SOPHISTICATED FOR EARTH RADARS TO DETECT, IS RAPIDLY APPROACHING THE MOON.
"Akuma?" Tommy asked.
"Dammit it all to hell!" Tommy swore.