Billy, Trini, and Kim were in the Youth Center when it came. “Hey, Kim,” Ernie said, “I’ve got a letter for you. It’s from Tommy.”
Kim eagerly grabbed it out of Ernie’s hand and ripped it open. She started to read it silently.
“Read it out loud,” Trini urged.
“All right, I will,” Kim said, “Dear Kim, this exile of mine is starting to make me go crazy. If not anything else, I need to see you, one last time. Please meet me at Stone Canyon mall. I can’t stand not seeing your beautiful face anymore. I love you. Signed, Tommy.” At the bottom, it said a time and place to meet him.
“Oh, wow,” Kim said, “He wants to see me? Oh wow. What am I going to wear? Should I wear make up?”
“Kim calm down,” Trini said softly, gently shaking Kim. “You don’t have to dress up for Tommy. Just wear anything.”
“I can’t just wear anything,” Kim said, “Tommy wants to see me. I’ve got to dress up for him.”
“No, you don’t, Kim,” Billy said, but she didn’t hear him.
“I’ve got to go and get ready,” she said, “I’ll see you guys later.” Without waiting for a reply, Kim hopped up and headed out the door.
A little while later, Jason, Justin, and Zack came in. They had been in a game of touch football with three other guys, and had won. “Hey, where’s Kim?” Justin asked, looking around.
“Tommy sent her a letter, and she’s going to meet him, in Stone Canyon,” Billy replied.
“Out of sight,” Zack said, “Maybe she’ll bring him back with her. I know I’ve missed him.” Everybody but Justin, who had yet to meet Tommy, agreed.
“It would be cool to see him again,” Jason said.
When she got to her house, Kim told her mom what was going on. “That’s great, Kim,” her mom said, “It’ll certainly help you to see Tommy again. Tell you what. After I finish mailing these bills, we’ll run down there together, okay?”
“All right, mom,” Kim said, “I was wanting some time to pick out a good outfit to wear anyway.”
“What’s wrong with the one you’ve got on?” Kim’s mom inquired, pointing the the sundress Kim had on.
“I can’t see Tommy in just something plain like this,” Kim said, “I’ve always dressed up for him, on dates and such.”
‘Though, if the date went right, I didn’t have what I had on for long,’ Kim mused, with a smile. She headed up to her room, where she opened her closet and inspected everything she had closely. “Hmm, what to wear, what to wear.” She picked out a beautiful strapless dress that was mostly pink, with splotches of green. “I bet I’d look good in this.” She then started on her make up.
A little while later, her mom called her downstairs. “Let’s go, or it’ll be late when we get back,” she yelled.
“Coming, mom,” Kim said, as she stepped around the corner to go down the steps.
“Oh no, you don’t, young lady,” her mom said, the minute she saw the dress. “Go put a pair of shorts under those, at least.”
“I already do have some on, mom,” Kim said, hiking her skirt up slightly to show white shorts. With that, her and her mom went out to the car. The entire way to the mall, Kim couldn’t help but be nervous. “What if he doesn’t like this dress? Is it too showy?”
“It’s fine dear, and I bet Tommy will love it,” Ms. Ferris said, “Any man that didn’t like you in it would be crazy.” Kim smiled, but was still edgy the rest of the way to the mall.
When she got to the mall, she headed straight for Profits, the store Tommy asked her to meet him at. She was a little early, but was really anxious. Her mom left, to go shopping, while Kim waited on Tommy.
And wait she did. She waited about an hour. “I know he’s bad about being late,” Kim mused aloud, “But he’s usually not this late.”
Unknown to her, Tommy was there. He was wearing black, shadowy clothing so that Kim didn’t recognize him. He had planned on meeting her, but when she showed up in the dress she did, Tommy was starting to doubt whether he should or not.
He finally made up his mind, and stepped up to Kim. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“Hi, Kim,” Tommy said, whipping the hat off. His voice was rough, an unforseen side effect of what he was dying of.
“Tommy!!” Kim screeched, rushing in for a big hug and kiss. Tommy held her tight, not wanting to let go. Kim was doing the same. Neither knew how long they stayed that way, and they didn’t care really. They finally came up for air. “Tommy, you have to come back with me.”
“Kim, I can’t,” Tommy said, “We’ve been over this.”
“Tommy, please,” Kim pleaded, looking up into his eyes. Despite the fact that he was dying, Tommy’s eyes were still bright. “I don’t care if you die in front of me, as long as you’re with me.”
Tommy gently broke away. “Kim, I can’t,” he said, “I...”
“Tommy, I’m pregnant,” Kim blurted out. That got Tommy’s attention immediately.
“Oh, man,” Tommy said, “Are you sure?”
“No, I just said it to get your attention,” Kim said, and meant it. “Tommy, you’re the only man I’ll ever love. Absolutely nothing will ever change that. I’d rather you died, say, in my arms, then by yourself, miles from me.”
Tommy was quiet for a very long moment. “All right,” he whispered, “I’ll drive back with you.” It was then that Kim noticed his voice.
“What’s wrong with your voice?” she asked.
“A little unforseen side effect,” Tommy explained, “Don’t worry about it.”
“I won’t,” Kim said. Impulsively, she gave him another kiss. Again, it was several minutes before they broke for air. She let her hands wander up to Tommy’s long hair, and they were soon entangled. She then noticed that instead of being what it usually is, combed neatly, it was a rat’s nest. “I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but you need a haircut.”
“Yeah, I guess I do,” Tommy said, smiling. “I haven’t exactly been properly taking care of myself.” Kim noticed, because he was starting to get a beard.
“Yeah, I noticed, grizzly,” Kim teased. She appraised his beard, and how it felt when they were kissing. “Definitely comes off when we get home. I’m glad you at least took the liberty of taking a shower.”
“Get home?” Tommy inquired.
“Yeah, you’ll have to stay at my house a few days,” Kim said, “Your family’s off on vacation, remember?” Kim giggled when Tommy smacked himself on the forehead. “Forgot, huh?” Tommy nodded sheepishly.
“Oh, there you two are,” Ms. Ferris said, as she walked up to the pair. “Are you coming back with us, Thomas?”
“Yeah, I guess I am,” Tommy said, “Is it okay if I stay with you a few days, while my family is gone?”
“That’d be fine,” Ms. Ferris said, “What happened to your voice?”
“I think I’m catching a bit of a cold, that’s all,” Tommy lied.
“Oh,” Ms. Ferris said, “Well, are the two of you ready to leave?” Kim and Tommy both nodded. They followed her out to her car. Tommy was parked right next to them.
“I’ll follow behind you,” Tommy said, as he climbed into his car. Actually, it was his mom’s car. His parents had borrowed his truck, so that they could haul stuff with them more easily on the trip.
“Mom, I’m going to ride with Tommy,” Kim called, as she skipped over to the passengers side and slid in.
“All right sweetie,” Ms. Ferris said, “But be careful driving, Tommy.”
“I will, Ms. Ferris,” Tommy promised. With that, they both pulled out and headed towards Angel Grove. On the way, Kim filled him in on what he had missed while he was gone. “So, there’s a new Green Ranger now?”
Kim nodded. “Justin Raynor, and he is just adorable,” she replied, “He reminds me a lot of you, from what your parents told me you were like at his age. But what I’ve heard about his IQ, he reminds me of Billy. He’s only 13, but he’s starting to fit in now on the team. It’s sad, though. His mom died years ago, and he hasn’t seen his dad since just shortly after that.”
“That is sad,” Tommy said, “I feel sorry for the little guy. Is he somewhat getting the hang of the ring?”
“Yep, and you should see him, Tommy,” Kim said, “He has an imagination unlike anything I have ever seen. He’s a really good artist, and is now working on a new costume design for us to run by Zordon, to see if we can use them.”
“I’m glad you guys are getting along so well with the new Ranger,” Tommy said, rather sadly.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Tommy,” Kim said, “I didn’t think...”
“It’s all right, Kimmie,” Tommy said, “Not being a part of the Rangers isn’t as sensitive a subject now like it was the first time I lost my Green Ranger powers. This time, the only thing I had to get used to was that I only had a matter of days, maybe weeks, to live. I’m still trying to cope with that, in some way.”
“You’ve had so much happen to you,” Kim murmured. She gave Tommy a peck on the cheek. They were quiet the rest of the way to Kim’s house. There, Tommy slipped into the bathroom, where he shaved the little bit of a beard he had unconsciously grown at the cabin.
When he got out of the bathroom, he found Kim waiting on him. “And you had the audacity to say that I took too long in the bathroom?” she joked.
“Well, I didn’t want to cut myself shaving,” Tommy retorted, his rough voice softening. He reached out and pulled Kim close, giving her a kiss.
“I’ve missed you sooo much,” Kim said, “Don’t ever go away like that again, you hear me?”
“I won’t, beautiful,” Tommy said, “I’m not ever going to leave you again.”
“Good,” Kim said, “Now, come on. We have to get that rats nest that you call hair straightened out.” At her insistant tugging, Tommy allowed her to pull him to a chair in the guest bedroom. Kim directed him to a chair. He sat down, and she started working on his hair. She had to get a pair of scissors from the bathroom, then she was all set. A little while later, she finished. She stepped back to appraise her handiwork.
“I’m not a professional barber,” she said, “But I think I did a good job.” They went into the bathroom, where Tommy looked at the hair in back. Kim had to admit that, while she loved his long hair, Tommy looked good in the slightly shortened length she had trimmed his hair to.
“You did a great job, Kim,” Tommy said, “It’s been ages since I’ve had my hair this short, though.”
“Yeah, I know,” Kim said, “Well, you’ll grow it back. Besides, I think I like your hair better at this length.”
“You do? Hmm, I think I’ll keep it this way,” Tommy said.
All of a sudden, Kim’s communicator went off. She brought it up to her lips. “I read you, Zordon,” she said, “What’s up?”
“Please come to the Command Center, and bring Tommy,” Zordon said, “Welcome back, by the way, Tommy.”
“Thanks, Zordon,” Tommy said, “We’ll be right there.” Kim grabbed his hand and teleported both of them to the Command Center, the headquarters of the Lantern Rangers. There, they found the other Rangers waiting for them. “Hey, guys. What’s going on?”
“Tommy, we think we’ve found something big,” Alpha said.
“A new power source, bro,” Jason said, “One that has a chance to stabilize your lifeforce, and possibly re-lengthen it.”
“That’s great,” Tommy said, “Where is it?”
“It’s in the Caves of Nodimus, in the G-17 galaxy,” Zordon said, “The new source is the legendary White Lantern Ranger ring. There’s a risk, however. If you’re not the one who’s supposed to bear the ring, it rejects you immediately. If that happens, with your low life force, you’d most likely die.”
“I’m going to be dead soon anyway, Zordon,” Tommy said, “If I have a chance at a happy, long existence, I’ll take it.”
“I had a feeling you would say that, Tommy,” Zordon said, “Prepare yourself to leave A.S.A.P.” Nodding, Tommy turned to the others.
Justin had hung back, while the others had greeted Tommy and told him of the situation. When Tommy spotted him in the back of the group, Justin stepped forward rather shyly.
“You must be Justin, the new Green Ranger,” Tommy said, “Kim’s told me all about how you saved her and the others.” He held out his hand.
“It’s an honor to meet the original Green Ranger, sir,” Justin said, nervously shaking Tommy’s hand.
“Just call me Tommy, Justin,” Tommy said, “And the pleasure’s all mine.” He didn’t mean to be rude, but Tommy’s eyes went from Justin to Kim, who was watching him. He walked over to her, and she threw her arms around him.
“You better come back to me,” she whispered into his ear.
“I will,” Tommy said, “I swear I will.” He gave her a kiss, then broke away reluctantly. He took her hand and gave it one, final squeeze, then turned to Zordon, who was watching on expectantly. “I’m ready.”
“Good luck, Tommy,” everybody said, as he teleported away.
When Tommy felt the nausea of teleportation fall away, he found himself in a brightly illuminated cavern. “Wow,” Tommy said, as he looked around. The walls of the cave looked to be made of a diamond like substance.
“Who has come to claim the White ring?” a voice boomed.
“I am Thomas Oliver Jordan, Tommy for short, former Green Lantern Ranger of Earth,” Tommy said.
“You are the one, but only if you can pass three tests,” the voice boomed again. The walls shook. “Are you ready for the first test?”
“Yes, I am,” Tommy said. All of a sudden, the cave walls melted away, and Tommy suddenly found himself facing a bed. An old woman was strapped to it, with all kinds of machinery hooked up to it. “No, not that.”
“This is the first test, and that is, as you know, your grandmother from your fathers side,” the voice said, “You now have a choice, but listen.”
“She won’t live through the night, even with the respirator,” a doctor said, “You have to make a decision, as to whether you want us to pull the plug or not, and let her die peacefully.”
The old woman turned to Tommy. “Please, help me,” she said, “There’s just so much pain, Tommy. Only you can decide.” Her voice sounded rough, like Tommy’s, but not quite.
“No, I can’t do this,” Tommy said, “Don’t make me decide this.”
“Only you can, Tommy angel,” his “grandmother” said, “Please help me.”
Nearly blinded with tears of grief, Tommy reached for the plug of the respirator. He wrapped his hand around it, and looked to his “Nana” one last time. She nodded one time only, and that’s all Tommy needed. He pulled the plug. The machine wound down and stopped.
“You have passed the first test,” the voice said, “You allowed her to die peacefully, instead of letting her feel the pain of dying slowly. That is one of the things that makes a great leader. Now, are you ready for the second test?”
“I think I am,” Tommy said, composing himself. The scenery changed. All of a sudden, bodies were laying everywhere. Most of the people were dead. Some things that looked like robots were going around, doing something to the people.
“Tommy,” a voice called out weakly. A voice that Tommy fully recognized, as Kimberly’s. He went to her, and found her limp and still in her Ranger uniform.
“Who, or what are those things?” he asked her.
“They’re the Borg,” Kim said, “And they’ve come to assimilate us, God help us all. Don’t let them assimilate me, Tommy. You have to kill me.”
“I can’t,” Tommy said.
“If you have ever loved me, you’ll kill me,” Kim said, “I don’t want to be one of them. One quick turn will snap my neck. You have to, Tommy.”
Tommy knew that she was right. She closed her eyes, as he grabbed one side of her face, and lifted her up to get a good hold on the back of her head. “I love you, Kim, and I’m sorry,” he said.
“I love you too,” Kim wheezed. With that, Tommy pulled and pushed at the same time. With a sickening crack, Kim’s neck was broken. She died instantly, and stood still, never to move again.
“You have completed the second test,” the voice said, “You allowed her the freedom of death, instead of the captivity of assimilation. That is another element that make a good leader. Are you ready for the final test?”
Tommy was so choked up, all he could do was nod. All of a sudden, the scenery changed around him, to the Youth Center. “There’s been a bomb threat, everybody,” Ernie said, “We have to get out of here.” Everybody else panicked, heading for the entrance.
Tommy quickly started to join them, but they found the exit blocked off. “We’ve got to get out of here,” Ernie said, “If only the Power Rangers were here.” Tommy thought about getting Zordon to teleport everybody out, but knew that would mean giving up his secret identity.
“To hell with this,” Tommy said, as he brought his communicator up to his lips. “Zordon, beam everybody in the Youth Center out.” In a flash, everybody disappeared, along with the scenery.
“You have passed the final test,” the voice said, “In order to save everybody, you put aside the ‘Ranger code’. You have learned everything you need to know about being a good leader, and you have earned the ring of light.” With a glow of bright light, a ring appeared on Tommy’s finger. “Prepare for teleportation.”
“Just a moment,” Tommy said, “Who are you? Can I see what you look like?”
“I am Nodimus, the only White Lantern Ranger in the history of the entire universe, until now,” the person said. A hooded figure stepped out. “And you will see what I look like soon enough, White Ranger.” With a snap of their fingers, Nodimus teleported Tommy back home.
Just one thing was on Tommy’s mind, ‘I’m coming home, Kimmie.”