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Old January 7th, 2014, 11:51 PM   #1
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
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The Unknown Ranger - Season 3

You can check the past chapters, but here's the recap:

David Cranston, younger brother of the Billy the Blue Ranger discovers the secrets of the Ranger Teens. He becomes an unofficial sidekick to the team helping out in major emergencies.

When the Rangers of the planet Daos seek help against their mortal enemies the Gohma, only David is able to go. He helps end the civil war, but the gains an enemy in Akomaru, the last surviving Gohma royal. He returns to Earth with the damaged Thunder zords and ownership of the White Tiger power coin. He works with Zordon to fix the coin and trades it with Tommy to receive the powerless Dragon coin.

With his freshman year of high school ending, David becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding the Tommy clone left in the past. While researching, he is attracted to a giant manhole cover in downtown Angel Grove. He is attacked by Akomaru and the both of them are transported to a parallel world where they, the Rangers and villains exist but things are slightly different. Now Dave must team-up with his archenemy to fight an alternate version of Akomaru with the alternate Rangers off planet, with alternate Alpha and Zordon defeated by some villain named Ivan Ooze.

__________

The city was in chaos. People ran screaming in paniced crowds. Emergency vehicles had trouble getting through all the congestion. There was also Hornitor and Scorpitron parading though the city, occasionally shooting energy beams at random cars and buildings.

Giant monsters must have been a very rare occurrence for Angel Grove in this universe for the people to be this freaked out. Akomaru and I continued to try to steer clear of the danger ourselves, but everytime we did, something would happen right in front of us. A baby stroller needing pulled out of traffic. A car collision with a survivor requiring CPR or a blood wound pressurized. Putting out a woman caught on fire. My natural instincts to help always took over, while my companions instincts of self-preservation kept us on our toes. More than once we thought we saw the Emperor Akomaru of this universe appear near our locations that prompted a necessary retreat.

Night fell, and the continous metal clang of the giant robots could barely be heard from where the two of us finally came to rest. We had both literally been our feet all day, so saying we were hungry and thirsty was by no mean an exaggeration.

"We are not robbing a convenience store!"
"It's not robbing..."
"It's still still stealing!"
"We are also in the middle of a crisis."

"Not that bad a one." I forced Akomaru to make due with a water fountain. Until I heard a small ruckus coming from the convenience store that he had debated robbing.

"Look! I'm not the only one with the idea."

"Yeah! Criminals. Give me that." I took the navigator away from my testy companion and walked up to the store entrance. Two men in masks were forcing the Korean owner to put money in a bag. Before the poor man knew what was happening his two attackers were falling to the ground unconcious. I walked in which startled him even more when he saw I had a weapon. "Got any rope?" Even better, he had plastic restraints. He offered me a reward so I asked for a few snacks. As he gathered some stuff for me, I reconfigured the navigator to wipe out any recording devices for security he may have had. I don't need my face plastered on the news. The owner was already on the phone with 911 when I walked out. Akomaru was a few stores over looking at a window display. "Look at what happens when you do the right thing." I looked down at my precious cargo of various treats. Chips long past expiration date. Cheap skate! "Here!"

Akomaru barely registered my approach even after I threw him the bag. "What an interesting shop. What is a fetish?"

I then noticed what he was looking at. "Gross, man."

"I want that whip. And that thing with all the numerous straps..."

"Please stop now. You can conjure up one when we get back home."

We sat on the hood of a smashed car enjoying our non-healthy dinner. Akomaru quickly began to engorge himself. "You're going to make yourself sick."

"Alien metabolism. I'll be fine."
"Alien food. Good luck with that theory."

We continued silently for a few minutes for a bit of digestion. The cool California night wasn't too bad with the occasional small fire scattered around. I continued to watch the skies, looking for a rainbow of color to appear. The noises of the robots was almost imperceptible from where we were, but we were closer to the docks than downtown where they had set up their perimeter.

"Anything yet?" Akomaru actually seemed interested.

"Nope." I sat there thinking of various scenarios of how the night may end. "If it comes down to it, we may have to confront Ooze ourselves."

Akomaru didn't complain or try to make an excuse. He simply replied, "How?"

"Still not entirely sure. One weapon and no exceptional powers between the two of us doesn't really give us the definitive edge we need to stop anybody right now."

Akomaru was now startled. "You mentioned you had an idea."
"It's risky. A last ditch desperate attempt with no guarantee."
"But it may be all we have?"
"Pretty much."

The sound of sirens which had always been present was starting to get louder. I slid off the car hood and brushed the crumbs off. "I forgot about the cops being called, we gotta go."

"And you were just starting to have such a nice little talk." I spun around quickly as my grip tightened on the navigator blaster. There stood the Emperor just a few feet away, staff in hand. His regal robes were gone and replaced with a Gohma battle uniform. My arm had automatically begun to raise my weapon as it was knocked away by an energy blast from his staff. "That was uncalled for. I just wanted a few quick words before I killed you." It was then that a police car, sirens blaring, did happen to turn the corner near us. The Emperor's shoulders sagged momentarily befored he gave the ground a quick pound with his staff. A shock wave erupted from it, forcing the police car to sideswipe a fire hydrant before crashing into a closed building. "What is with all these interruptions."

Akomaru had by this time slid off the car hood and was standing behind me. I arched my head slightly toward him. "Save the cops. I'll try to handle this." Once again without complaint he followed orders and headed off.

The Emperor casually watched his counterpart head for the wreck. "I still can't quite figure it out."

"What?"
"How he could possibly still be alive after all this time. Or, more importantly, how it could be kept from me."
"Maybe you're not quite as good as you think you are."
"And last I knew you were supposed to be off planet."
"Well here I am. Right here."
"With no other Rangers to back you up. I am so going to enjoy this."

We continued to stare each other down for a few dramatic moments, just like in a western, waiting for the other to make the first move. The moment his staff began to take aim, I played the only card I thought I had.

"DRAGON DAGGER!"

As the weapon materialized in my hand I was just barely able to bring it up to deflect the magical attack. As he tried another attack, I brought the flute to my lips. The diamond shaped energy barrier I created easily deflected the entire barrage. The face off began again as he realized he wasn't going to take me with a ranged attack.

This Emperor seemed rather startled. "Are you not grasping the sheer impossibility of your surviving?"

"I'm doing pretty good so far."

The Emperor charged forward and I responded in kind. I was easily able to deflect his swinging staff, spun around and landed a solid, slashing blow to his back. He stumbled a few steps but recovered quickly for a turn around attack. I was able to deflect those attacks as well, but he was putting much more power into his attacks that made my arms ache. Finally I had to back away to give myself a breather.

Emperor Akomaru shifted his staff in his hands back and forth trying to decide how to attack next. "You really stand no chance."

"Dude, what fight are you in?"

The Emperor furrowed his brow with his decision and pointed his staff at me again. Before I could react an energy blast came from my peripheral vision to knock the staff away. My foe and I turned to see somebody not unexpected but still weird to see.

~~~~~~~~~~

I started this story years ago with a huge arc planned. While it has always rested in the back of my head life has perpetually gotten in the way. But with the new year upon me I realized too much time has passed since I had completed a section, so now I plan to get back on track. But thankfully with the shows continuation and the DVD box sets I have come up with even more ideas to enrich and dramatize the story of my mary sue.
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Old January 11th, 2014, 12:02 AM   #2
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Good start so far
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Old March 29th, 2014, 04:59 PM   #3
GreenDTRanger
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Surprised as I was, his evil royal highness was flabbergasted. He didn't know who to look at, me or the other me. A me with a blade blaster and a Tommy mullet. Oddly enough, I found the mullet itself more distracting than anything else. But the Emperor was starting to panic.

"What is this nightmare?!"

My doppelganger picked up the banter for me. "You know me, I'm just always full of surprises." He slowly began to sidestep closer to me. "I needed someone I could trust to protect the world, who better than my own duplicate?"

The Emperor looked back and forth between us a couple more times before disappearing in a puff of black smoke. Other me lowered his weapon and began to casually look me up and down.

"Where's your beard?"

I was amused. "Sorry, not evil. But what is up with that hair? You could make up a nice Van Dyke for Leonard Nimoy with that excess."

"Clone? Cyborg?"
"Nope, just an accidental traveler here to Earth 2."
"This isn't Earth 2..."
"Yes it is."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is. I breached the dimensions Barry Allen style, so my planet is Earth 1."

He paused at that. "Crap, you're right." Now standing face to face, we weren't sure if we should shake hands or what. He offered an exchange. "This has to be yours." He reached into his pocket and pulled out my communicator.

"Thanks. Yours." I handed him the Dragon Dagger.

"WHAT did you do?" The two of us were now thrown by the return of my belligerent companion. "I told you tapping into these powers could be dangerous."

"And I told you my plan was for a desperate measure."

Now Earth 2 Dave was confused. "Is that Kou?"
"No."
"So that's... and you're friends?"
"Oh God no. He attacked me and we ended up here by accident."
Dave 2 just nodded. "Huh. Dude, that sucks."
"Living hell for almost twenty-four hours."

My Akomaru was looking very huffy but became distracted by something in the sky. He pointed "There."

Both of us Dave's looked to see the six streaks of color across the sky. Dave 2 smiled. "That's a relief."

"They're heading downtown. They can handle the robots. We have to worry about your Emperor."

Akomaru was leery of the two of us getting along so well. I was pleased with his discomfort. "Where have you been?"

"Off planet. Zordon has been helping the Karovan space colonies with their Ranger program. I went to help with some technical matters. I arrived at the Command Center this morning and got the story from Alpha. I've been tracking you all day. Why the Emperor?"

"He's allied himself with Ooze, and Rita and Zedd must be out of the equation for him to do that. If the Rangers defeat Ivan..."

"...he could take advantage of the situation and take over for himself. But could he keep it?

Akomaru added "I'd try it in his place. This is a very advantageous situation and he is exhibiting powerful Gohma magiks. He's clearly a bigger threat than I am right now." He shot me a slightly hostile glare.

Dave 2 intervened. "And if you were to lose?"

"It wouldn't be pretty."

We all agreed that with the Rangers dealing with Ivan, we should try keep the Emperor in check. While Akomaru took point in trying to "sense" his counterpart, I trailed behind with mine. My head was feeling warm, but I wasn't really tired or sick. Dave 2 felt fine when I asked, but not sure what to talk about we ended up discuss recent faves 'Tommy Boy', 'Major Payne' and 'Billy Madison'. It was then that we heard large clanging and animal screams. Colorful robots I had never seen before including two birds flew overhead. Dave 2 was just as impressed. "New zords!"

Feeling more secure we trudged on closer to downtown. Once we both admitted liking 'While You Were Sleeping' is when Akomaru finally pointed "There."

The location was a spire tower that looked like it should be in Seattle or Sydney. I flipped the navigator into blaster mode and used the display to get a better look. Sure enough I was able to angle and zoom just right where I could make out a person. I fired a shot that just barely grazed his shoulder.

Dave 2 was a little startled. "Warning shot?"
I just shrugged. "Okay." Akomaru gave me another dirty look.

Within seconds the Emperor appeared in a plume of smoke. I made a sudden realization. "That totally looked like the Wicked Witch of the West smoke."

Dave 2 agreed. "Yes! I've been trying to figure that out. It's been bugging me."

The Emperor was beyond angry, bordering on pissed. "WHO...?" but the blaster in my hand was literally a smoking gun. "As if defeating you wouldn't be sweet enough, now I get double the pleasure."

Akomaru tried to subtly take a couple steps away but froze when I turned on him. And for a second he looked more scared of me than his other self.

Dave 2 countered his enemy. "You aren't doing anything, and if we have to take you down it'll be that much easier. Dave, lets test that sharing theory of yours."

"Right!"

Akomaru stuttered "What?" but it was too late. Dave 2 had gone into morphing stance and pulled out his morpher, Before activation I placed my hands on his. Together we shouted "DRAGONZORD!" It felt good to feel that rush of power again. Amazing, exhilarating even. I looked at my hands to see the white gloves and green half diamonds. Felt the chest shield. I looked to my counterpart who had morphed as well. His uniform more closely resembled the battle armor that his Ranger team had.

"Are you ready Dave 1?"

I looked him over again. "You look stupid" and with one kick brought him to the ground.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 03:46 AM   #4
GreenDTRanger
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Without missing a beat, I kicked my doppleganger in the abdomen and sent him flying through the air. "I mean seriously, what was going through your head with the costumes? You look like something from a bad sci-fi movie." I couldn't help chuckling as he fumbled to get up. He was barely standing before I summoned an energy ball and sent him crashing through the wall of a nearby building.

An energy blast from behind made me stumble a few steps. I turned to see not one, but two Akomaru's. "This is going to be fun, and I thought I might lose this buzz."

***

Zordon happily looked down on the Power Rangers, proud of their success. Not just saving his life with the Ninjetti powers but once again saving the world. He slowly reached out with his senses, reconnecting himself to the Command Center and the morphing grid. He knew the disturbance before the alarm sounded. It was not going to happen again. "Rangers, a new problem has arisen. Please see the viewing globe." The Ranger teens were startled, their smiling faces now a little confused but they slowly did as they were told. "A David from a parallel world was brought here by an accidental mixture of magic and technology. He also brought along the Akomaru from his reality."

Billy was the first to recognize the name. "From the Gohma?"

"Yes Billy. But this David was unkowingly under a spell cast by his Akomaru. A dark spell that would turn him against his fellow Rangers." The Rangers watched as one Green Ranger blasted another. "When he morphed the spell was prematurely activated. Be warned, this spell unleashes the darkest aspects from a person. This David is a bigger threat than when you fought ours."

***

A split second later I had charged through my chummy enemies and sent them flying back. "If bowling was more like this, it wouldn't suck so much." I kicked the staff out of the hands of the Emperor and grabbed mine by his neck. "You hate me so much, at least let me give you a reason." I started to squeeze. "When you pop, will it be like a grape, or like your grandpa going poof." His face got redder as I squeezed harder.

"Let him go."

I was so focused on Akomaru I hadn't heard the teleport. I tossed him aside as I turned. "Oh look, the knockoffs." I heard a gasp of "wait" and barely noticed the Akomarus disappear. "He's going to regret that." I saw the new gold emblems in their chest weren't dinosaurs but different animals. "Ooh, shiny."

My opposite was the first to talk. "Dave, this isn't you."
"Don't even. We are not the same. You have no idea what I've gone through."
"We can help you."
"Kim, when was the last time you did anything without screaming for your boyfriend to save you?"

***

The Emperor tossed off Akomaru once he appeared in Zedd's throne room. "Unhand me immediately."

"Why did you leave?"
"Why would I want to get involved in a fight between eight Power Rangers when one is more than willing to destroy the others for me?"

Akomaru looked around for the first time. The layout was similar to Zedd's throne room with the chair, fan and balcony, but now the room was made out of brownstone. "We need to stop Cranston. I may need him to get back to my reality."

The Emperor climbed the steps of the balcony and picked up an object on the railing. He smiled and shook the item in his hand. A noise like mouse could heard before he put the item in his robe. "Why? If you're history is close enough to mine then you don't have much to go back to. You could stay."

Akomaru slowly climbed the stairs. "Why would I do that?"
"My family is gone. The only regret I could say I have is that I never knew my twin brother. You are not just a twin, but you are me. We could be a family and restart the Gohma dynasty."

Akomaru stood by his mirror self contemplating for a few moments. "My father once said he kept me around only to replace Kou if it was needed." He then back handed the Emperor so he rolled down the steps. "I am not a substitute! I never will be!"

The Emperor propped himself into a kneeling position and fired his staff. Akomaru was able to dodge and ran for the door next to the balcony. Down hallways and passed corridors, not recognizing anything. He finally ducked into a room and tripped over a basket filled with clay figures. Akomaru rolled to lessen the impact and realized he was in what once was Finster's monster room. No one had been there in a while, but on top of monster supllies and books layed random assortments of weapons. Akomaru quickly picked up a sword, whispered "Thank you Nasty Knight" and readied himself. Within seconds a panting Emperor appeared outside, saw Akomaru and pointed his staff. The energy blast was easy to avoid and Akomaru used it to his advantage. He swung the sword and brought it down on the staff. The staff head hit the ground while Akomaru elbowed the Emperor in the face. The Emperor stumbled back against the wall and was unable to reorient himself before feeling the sword pierce through his chest.

The Emperor looked at Akomaru. "Why?"
"If Cranston could use the Ranger powers here, I should be able to use yours. To get your powers, I needed you to fight me. I am sick of being powerless and dependant on others. I am heir to the Gohma and now I can reclaim my birthright."

The Emperor started to cough dark blood and for a moment Akomaru felt regret. He held the hand of his duplicate. "I wanted to know my Kou too. At least now we know how it would have ended if we had."

Accepting his fate, with the Emperor's dying breath he willingly released his energies. Bright purple energy eminated between their third eyes as the Emperor disappeared in a plume of black smoke. Akomaru reveled in his new feelings, never before had he felt this good in his entire life. He then realised he could hear that squeeking noise again only now it was coming from the empty robes. Akomaru fumbled through them and found a snow globe. And inside was a miniature Lord Zedd and Rita.

Rita's voice was even more annoying in a higher pitch. "Get us out of here!"

Akomaru used his new abilities to shatter the snowglobe and restore the couple to their normal size. "I just did you a huge favor. You can start paying me back by lending me Rita's staff."

***

"THIS IS BEYOND AWESOME!" Never before had I felt so alive! And seven Rangers were sprawled out before me in various attempts at getting up. "Seriously guys, I know your fighting styles. Aisha, you are getting very sloppy." I stomped on a weapon that Billy had tried to use against me. "What is the point of that device? You can jump to the tops of skyscrapers, why do you need help going from the first to the second floor?" The Rangers tried another frontal assault, and totally failed. "This is beyond sad. It's starting to border on the pathetic." I rushed the other me and shut off his morpher, which resulted in his demorph. I felt the power rush again as the power was not split in two. "Now, it will get interesting again." Akomaru materialized in front of me holding Rita's staff. "I am so not scared."

Akomaru shouted to the Rangers. "Distract him. Hold him down if necessary."

The struggle started up again. While fighting Black and Red, I felt something wrap around my ankle. Next moment I was faceplanted into the ground. Pink had used her whip and White, Blue and Yellow used the opportunity to hold me down. While I struggled, I shortly felt the anger seep out of me. The dull nagging headache that I had for weeks was gone and I felt slightly disoriented.

The staff disappeared from Akomaru's hands. "I broke the spell. You can let him up."

As I got up I demorphed. "What happened?"

"Ever since I came to Earth I have been working on a plan to turn you against the Rangers. I had been subtly jinxing and cursing you so that when I was ready I could activate you."

"You were turning me into some kind of sleeper agent."
"It wasn't ready. The Green Ranger powers were once corrupted with Rita's magics so I weaved my spells around your connection to it, to reactivate any residual darkness. Learning about your doppleganger having an even darker history than yourself..."

Dave 2 responded "With your curse, and my darker history as a Ranger, my coin supercharged the spell. Activating prematurely and turning you against us."

I looked around at the Rangers. "Sorry guys, but I was momentarily evil."

Billy 2 was very nice considering. "At least this is over before getting any worse." Tommy 2 said "Yeah, it's been a busy day already." "What now?" asked Kim 2.

"You send us home." Akomaru's answer drew attention back to him. "We can't stay here."

Aisha 2 was also trying to be supportive. "We'll help if we can, but how?" "The Great Power." Adam 2 shocked us by joining the conversation. Rocky followed his reasoning. "For those who possess it, all things are possible."

"Great, the perfect deus ex machina. Please tell me you already have it." The adrenaline rush was gone and I was starting to feel tired.

Tommy 2 pointed to the golden bird on his chest. "Oh yeah, we got it. Stand by each other."

As Akomaru came to my side the Rangers formed a circle around us. I suddenly had an idea. "You guys are already sending us through to another planet in another dimension."

Dave 2 was behind his team, trying to get out of the way. "Apparently. What's up?"
"Back to the Future."
"They can try."

The Rangers raised their hands and their animal emblems started to glow. Six golden shafts of light began to emanate outwards toward Akomaru and I in a way very similar to a Care Bear stare. The light continued to get brighter so I couldn't see, forcing my eyes closed. When I risked opening them again, I was standing in the construction site. Akomaru was right next to me. I looked around and I saw the wand of the Wizard of Deception nearby.

Akomaru began to look around. "Are we back?"
I walked over and picked up the wand. "I think so. Look there." Sure enough, Ivan Ooze's manhole cover was undisturbed. Since things seemed to be okay I decided to push my luck. "Why did you help me?"

"Simple. Those Rangers wouldn't help me alone, but they would help you. You were just a means to an end. Besides, I wasn't ready to face their concentrated powers so quickly."

"Uh huh. So – what now?"
"I'm leaving." For the first time, I think ever, he seemed sincere. "I've blamed you for what happened to my family. I think I'm finally over it. Sometimes things just happen."
I was confused. "Just like that."
"Yes." With a wave of his hand the ancient manhole cover and the cylinder it covered disappeared. "I'll take care of Ivan." I pondered how to respond, even considering thanking him. Then his sneer returned. "I still don't like you and quite frankly don't ever need to see you again." And with that he disappeared.

I pocketed the wand and left the site. I checked the clock at a nearby bank to verify the time. Right day, but we were gone about an hour. My life has gotten incredibly weird. I needed to process some of what had transpired. While trying to decide between needing Ernie's or fast food to help with my thinking processes I heard the familiar sounds of zord combat. While I saw people heading indoors I instinctively headed toward the noise. For some reason, I started thinking about Kou. It was incredibly random and I pushed it aside.

A giant skeleton monster was fighting the Thunderzords. It was accompanied by Stag Beetle, Octophantom, Lizzinator and Fighting Flea. It's incredibly lame how Zedd is recycling all these failed monsters. That's when I realized, they weren't losing. The monsters were getting the upper hand and the skeleton guy was blasting the zords over and over again. Sparks were shooting everywhere. I then saw the Rangers ejected from the zords.

"Guys come in. Somebody respond." My communicator was dead. I looked at the scene in front of me completely shocked. Several more large explosions erupted before the head of the warrior mode White Tigerzord fell off. "NO!" Next came the right arm of the Thunder Megazord, followed by the left arm then head. The Tigerzord fell backwards as the the Thunder Megazord torso now fell. After a few more explosions not a single zord was visible from where I stood. Somehow, I knew they were gone.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 07:32 AM   #5
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Part 4

A few civilians had wandered out of hiding to see what I had. Giant monsters raging in triumph over the destruction of the Ranger's zords. I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief. Couples hugged each other, while one woman was covering her mouth in shock. It wasn't until the monsters disappeared that I was able to shake some sense into myself. "The Rangers will need help." I took a couple steps forward when a bald Asian man stopped me.

"No young man, let the authorities handle it."
"They can't." I pulled myself away from the man and started to run. After about the fifth step I felt a rushing sensation. I stopped and turned around. The group of people I had been by were still there, but were now two blocks away. The group as a whole hadn't noticed but the Asian guy was staring straight at me. I was started to having a bit of a headache, but kind of dull like from ice cream. It had been what, a year since I could remember having one of those. "What the – not now." There was just too much going on and for the second time in two years I had manifested a superpower. I definately had to get out of there now. I ran again, and got another block before the rushing sensation stopped by itself.

The zord battle had extended to the eastern most parts of the city. There was just a single police car beginning to set up a baricade and easy to sneak past. The zord components was a maze of destruction, with small fires, smoke and explosions everywhere. The head of the Tigerzord was upright and the easiest to enter. As I walked into the blackness I had another sense of deja vu, as this was the second time in two years I had been in this destroyed zord. "At least this time it isn't my fault." I poked around as many internal funtions as I could: communications, auto return, any functioning weapons. Luckily I still had my Navigator which had been in my khaki pocket ever since I turned kind of evil on Earth 2. Any kind of constant power systems was non-existent and what little power there was was slowly seeping with each electrical discharge. Something might be wrong with the Power Coins if they can't provide enough power for at least a recall. Even attempting to connect to the Command Center to tap the power core was impossible. "What happened during this fight?"

With some difficulty, I was able to make my way into the head of the Red Dragon. Since it still had the helmet for the Thunder Megazord on it, I had to crawl in through the severed neck. Despite all my efforts (and tiny electrical burns) I ended up with the same situation. My headache started to get worse with the more attempts I tried at fixing it. And the temperature of an early California summer was starting to really heat up the interior. I had been working at this for at least an hour but time was starting to drag and I was really starting to sweat. I'm running out of ideas, and I really need some help here. Seconds later, an emergency icon flashed near an auxillary recall juncture. I was oddly drawn to the sudden distraction and looked around it. There was a small connection port in with the controls, like what I could link my Navigator directly in with the computer systems. That's when I realized, all I needed was enough power to get me to the Command Center. I connected my Navigator to the console, transferred power from it's own personal power source, and hit the recall. Another few moments later I had successfully teleported myself and the Megazord head to the hangar.

Upon transport the Red Dragon head and helmet from the Lion tail had automatically seperated as they were supposed to so getting out was much easier than getting in. A few random pieces of internal circuitry had also made the trip as well and was now scattered all over the hangar. I headed over to a console to find that the Command Center systems were also largely in disarray, but not as bad. The charge of my Navigator was almost depleted so I decided to check in with Alpha and Zordon. I linked the Navigator to the console and transferred the last bit of power it had into the communications. It worked, but the power was immediately rerouted from internal communications to external. I followed the transfer and realized the power was sent to the Viewing Globe. Of course, why have power going to internal communications when they are working on something more pressing and they don't know I'm here.

Since I had already followed the link I was able to successfull reroute a signal from the Viewing Globe. Six giant robot animals were heading into the city, and they looked very familiar. Like the ones on Earth 2. As I looked over some other systems I discovered that the Command Center's main energy core had almost instantaneously stabilized and was noticeably increasing. With the influx I quickly began rerouting as much as I could to the teleport systems to pull out the Thunderzords. It was once I did that I realized how damaged the Thunderzord's morphing grid connection was. Cross checking with the Power Coins, they were almost flatlined. Before I could even ask myself how, I already knew. New zords, new powers, like Earth 2.

Alpha 5 was working quickly on integrating this new power as more and more systems were coming back online. Machinery started whirring behind me as zord recall had come back online. My heart started aching as I saw chunks of metal appearing all over the deck. Making matters worse, they were in so many pieces more was falling out than being put back together with the automated system. I started shunting all the pieces to a lower level to be sorted as it was bordering on hopeless now. But with systems coming back online and the zords returned I could finally review the memory files from the first battle with... Rito. Skeleton guy is named Rito Revolto and – ew, gross he is also Rita's brother. What a family, I don't even want to know about how conception happened.

As I loaded and compiled more of the final battle footage of the Thunderzords I had a feeling of dreading seeing it. This was the last remnants of a now defunct Ranger team who had entrusted me with their legacy. To quote another adventurous teen, this is heavy. With a little psyching myself up, I knew I had to watch it. A final respects type of thing. From what I had seen persoanlly and comparing that with the battle communications, the battle seemed rather standard. They even started to get overpowered, it's happened before, so Rocky called for more power. Ohhhhh, so much combat damaged internal systems in the zords to where they couldn't maintain power. So – why didn't they retreat? Pulling back even for a few moments might have been enough time to get the power relays stable. And the link from the Command Center to give enough power to compensate the failing systems put the CC systems at risk. What?! Zordon warned them about possible destruction of their powers and Tommy chances it!? They were clearly losing and just seconds after that the Command Center recordings stop, probably due to the power accelerator finally going critical. The zords logged an ejection order from Rocky before ending.

"So all of this could have been avoided. If Tommy had just listened to Zordon." I found myself walking through the maze of jumbled machinery. It was then I realized that the hangar machinery was reconfiguring. The hatch doors then slowly began to open to allow the entrance of the Ranger's new zords. They easily docked where six other machines had just resided. The Daos/Thunder legacy was gone. Done. Obsolete. Replaced with the new and improved model. This was most definately not fair, or right. It was just so irritating, and frustrating, and made me so... angry. I felt a rushing sensation course over and outward from my body. All the metal gears, wiring and machinery components lying on the ground went shooting away in a complete circle all around me. Clanging against walls and each other before finally crashing to the floor again. My knees felt tired and I had to sit down. For the second time in two years, I had just manifested some sort of telekinesis. Then there was that weird burst of super speed earlier. Which followed seeing the property of some friends being destroyed by a dumbass who often forgot his water bottle and towels when working out at the Juice Bar. Which is also right after I returned from spending several days on a parallel world with my doppleganger and the closest thing I have to an arch-enemy where I briefly turned evil. "My life is getting incredible complicated."

I was still sitting on the floor when Kimberly found me. She hurried to my side, knelt down and immediately began to hug and cradle me. "I'm so so sorry about this."

"Not your fault." I was enjoying this small bit of comfort only to have it ruined by her boyfriend coming in moments later. Him on the other hand...

"Are you okay, man?"
I wanted to yank his ponytail off his stupid head. All I could do was get up, walk up to him and say "Don't. Talk to me. Ever again." I headed out as quickly as I could because I could feel the anger building up again.


~*~*~*~*
Akomaru stood in the room that he had taken up residence inside Zedd and Rita's palace. He had no real personal affects. And the only books and parchments strewn around didn't belong to him, for plans against Cranston that seemed unnecessary now.

"Well, where have you been?" Lord Zedd stood in the entryway, his visor slightly aglow from the lower ambient light.

Akomaru was still figuring out for himself what he had been through. Now, he just wanted to go. "I've been preoccupied. I'm considering leaving."

"Now is not the time. The Rangers have new powers and zords. We could have – wait a moment." Zedd took two steps closer. "I am sensing a fluctuation connected to the morphing grid." He took a couple more steps, which made Akomaru tense up. "Impossible! You've been near Zordon!"

Akomaru had forgotten about this ability of Zedd's, and was not entirely sure how it worked. There was no point in denying what he experienced, but he didn't have to tell the whole story. "Yes. I was working on a means to... infiltrate the Ranger's Command Center."
"You were succesful?"
"After a fashion, but yes."

Zedd laughed uproariously. "This is perfect!! With the Rangers confident in their new powers, we can sneak in and take them by suprise." During the entire outburst he overly gestured with his arms.

"No."
"No?!?! What do you mean no?"
"These Rangers have proven way too resilient. I should look up my old enemies, see what they are doing."

"What about the Command Center?"
"I could compile a map, I suppose you could have it as final payment for your assistance during my time here." Akomaru waved his hand and a scroll appeared from a flash of purple light. Zedd started to reach for it, but the scroll disappeared in a similar flash. "You'll have to find it first." With a laugh, Akomaru disappeared in a plume of smoke.

Zedd raised his arms in frustration, his visor now glowing bright red. "Why you... I HATE GHOMA!"

~*~*~*~

I spent the first few days of summer vacation in bed, exhausted. I know Billy covered for me every chance he could with the gang and with our parents. Mom and Dad were worried that high school was starting to overwhelm me so I let them think that. While I had informed Zordon and Alpha of my other world visit before coming home, Billy was the only one I felt comfortable talking to. He just 'got' it better than everyone else. He was a little envious of the parallel Earth visit, and understood better as he had both been turned bad and fought evil versions of himself on a few occasions.

When I started thinking about how much I enjoyed being so malicous I felt queesy. That would make me think of Tommy and have sympathy of his becoming the Green Ranger. Then I would think of the Thunderzords and hated him all over again. Kimberly and Aisha both stopped by and attempted to cheer me up, but when Aisha accidently mentioned the Ninja powers I kind of shut down again.

I awoke one morning wide awake from too much sleep. I enjoyed taking a shower because even I noticed how much I had started to smell. After polishing off an entire box of Toaster Strudels without even trying I decided I needed to go to the Command Center. I needed to figure out what to do with the Thunderzords. I teleported to the hangar to check on the status of repairs. As I brought systems online I was suprised to find that no repairs had been made but there had been some changes. The lower levels which were mostly large empty spaces were now off limits, as the terminal stated RECONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS. From what little I could piece together the underlevel below the hangar was being reconfigured into a secondary hangar.

"Hey Dave." Rocky had just entered, he looked kind of nervous and was looking more at the docked Ninja zords than me. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"No, I’m fine, but thanks."
"Good, good." He continued to look around the hangar.
"Can I help you with something?"
"It’s just, you were really upset the other day. About the zords and everything. If I had anything to do with that I’m sorry."

"What! No, no you have no reason to be."
"I was piloting the Thunder Megazord, and all five zords were ruined."
"Rocky, I’ve watched the footage. I can remember a couple instances in the past where Jason was in similar desperate circumstances. You did what you could while outnumbered." Once those words were out of my mouth I noticed I had to give Tommy some of the same slack. Damnit!

He gave a very audible sign if relief. "Thanks, but hey, if you do neep help with the powers and zords maybe you should talk to Ninjor."

"Who?"
"Ninjor. Turns out he’s the guy that originally created the power coins and zords. And our new ones."
"Really." That is interesting.
"Zordon has been wanting to talk to you, but I wanted to first."
"Sure, and thanks for the concern."

As Rocky teleported out, I teleported to the main Command Center room. If Zordon was wanting a more detailed report of my trip I was more prepared to be forthcoming.

"What is it Zordon?"
"David, I must once again state how proud of you I am. Being placed in dire circumstances and once again being triumphant. You continue to exceed all my expectations at every turn."

"I just did my best. Lucky this time it was enough considering what happened over there."

"You were manipulated by powerful dark magiks. The other Rangers have had similar experiences and come through. I have no doubts you can as well. But time may be of the essence now."

"What do you mean? And what is going on under the Command Center? "
"Due to your travels, I feel it is necessary to reveal to you intergalactic matters that I have not disclosed to the others as only you are already aware of certain factors. "

"All right. "
"We were fortuate with the destruction of the Dinozords of your relationship with the Daosians that granted us the Thunderzords. But if we could lose the Dinos, I knew we could potentially lose the Thunders as well. I began looking into various other avenues of assistance. One was to cooperate with the Karovan government on creating a new Ranger program. "

"My counterpart mentioned something like that about doing the same thing over there. Why them?"

"Of my offworld contacts, they are currently more organized and able to help, dedicating much of their research on completion. Not even the people of my home planet have progressed as far in their progress of creating Ranger powers. "

"Seriously? But how does Ninjor work into this then?"
"Monitoring, and even accessing the morphing grid, is difficult but possible. Controling and manipulating it to the extent of what we do to maintain various Ranger powers, weapons and zords is not just difficult but potentially very dangerous. Ninjor is the only sentient being I am aware of who can do it naturally on par with the Morphing Masters of legend. That is why I believed him to possibly be a myth as well until I was able to discover the map to his home. "

"Okay, but that still doesn’t explain what is going on underground."
"While the Command Center is currently very sufficient to our needs, there may come a day when it is unable to protect us in it’s current form. I have already had our automated systems begin construction on newer levels for scientific research and and any other future projects. As you are now aware, Alpha is currently organizing the first construction of a secondary zord bay for storage of the Thunderzords. "

"We need to fix them Zordon. Even if they don’t work they should go back to the Daos Rangers."

"I am in agreement with you, that is why research labs and new material replication units will be made available to you as soon as possible. "

I had to process that for a moment then I began to grin. "Wait a sec. You’re getting me a replicator."

"One to expedite any new work and larger projects like working on the zords. "

My mind was previously downtrodden reflecting on my horrible existance, until now when my geek realizations kicked in. Give me a holodeck, and I will officially be living like Star Trek. "But what now. The Rangers have their new powers and things seem fine."

"Making it the best time to prepare for any future problems. While this current construction is underway it may cause fluctuations in the Command Center defenses. And while these new powers are truely more powerful, they are also more directly connected to each individual Ranger than before. I do not want to rush too quickly and potentially cause harming the Rangers themselves."

"We need to come up with some new security procedures for the Command Center then. And maybe devise a failsafe to protect the individual Rangers from each other so there isn’t so much interconnected damage like when the Dino Coins and Thunderzords were damaged."

"While theses are excellent suggestions, now is a perfect time for you to rest and reacclimate yourself. You have had a very stressful year and undergone a very troubling ordeal recently. When refreshed, return with new enthusiasm and ideas of what could potentially aid the Rangers."

I nodded in agreement, but with these new powers and six new zords what could the Rangers need now? It just came to me. "A Carrierzord.“

"What was that, David?"
"A Carrierzord, like Titanus and Tor. If the Rangers need more help then that could be a quick immediate fix to some problems."

"Agreed, but Ninjor did not create one compatible with theses new zords as far as I know."
"Well, I guess when I get back I’m going to have to pay Ninjor a visit. "
GreenDTRanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2014, 06:12 AM   #6
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 5

Zordon was right, I did need a break. First, I went for a walk on the beach. The wind in my hair, the swell of the waves, the sound of of seagulls being drowned out by other beach bums blaring the soundtrack to Batman Forever which I desperately wanted to see. Ran into Carlos and made plans to hang out with him tomorrow after his morning soccer practice. I even took in a couple games of beach volleyball, which I don’t know why but I am awesome at. Maybe it’s a California thing. Even though I’m only going on 13, I was able to spike on two guys much taller and with much bigger muscles. I didn’t even mind taking the bus routes to get home since I hadn’t taken them for a while.

Mom was a little flustered when I arrived (continuing a long tradition of housewives failing to keep her cooking sherry for just cooking). She let me know she was upset, and that was my bad for not leaving a note or anything. Billy and I had just gotten into the habit of covering for each other, she must have realized I was gone before he could come up with a cover story. We were able to sit down and talk about how I was doing. Just a couple hours of stress reduction had already done me a bunch of good and I tried to express that to her. My final grades had come in the mail and she had been anxiously waiting. My mom was overjoyed at my straight A’s. I was a little worried since my history class is the last of the day and I did tend to miss it alot, but thank you Mrs. Appleby for always offering extra credit to balance everything out. Billy, of course, got a 4.0 with a larger and more difficult course load. How he always finds time to get it finished I will never know. After another shower (by this time I was rank with sand, sweat and ocean) I heard Billy puttering around in the garage.

"So, how are things?"
Billy was initially startled, smiled when he knew it was me and that I was alone, and gestured for me to close the door. "I should be the one asking how you are."

"Zordon told me to take a small sabbatical. I didn’t argue."
"I just want you to know I plan on doing anything I can to help fix the Thunderzords."
"I know, it’s just still a little hard to accept."
"I get it. Have you seen the new powers in action yet?"
"Not on this world. There’s no body armor is there?"
"No - but we do now utilize an interim ninja suit. It’s kind of like a partial morph to fight monster before morphing into a Ranger."
"That could be useful."
"It is, and they come with a complete different set of stealth and athletic abilities."
"All right, first chance I get I’ll check out some footage. But what can you tell me about this Ninjor guy. I left pretty quick but it seeems the Rangers from the other Earth got similar abilities in a completely different manner."
"He lives in an isolated temple out in a desert, with a spacious garden. But oddly, I think he lives in a bottle."
"Like I Dream of Jeannie?"
"Yes, like that."

It was then that the garage door began to open. Dad’s car was sitting there and he gave us a wave before turning it off and getting out. "How are my boys today?"

"Fine" in unison.
"You sure." He came over, threw one arm over my shoulders, gave a strong squeeze and planted a kiss in the middle of my head. "Feeling better? Yesterday you looked pale now you look kind of – sunburned. You got out today?"

"Yeah, and I have plans to hang with a friend tomorrow."
"With who?"
"Carlos."
"The soccer player? Okay, just don’t over do anything."
Billy tried to steer the conversation off of me. "How was your day, Dad?"
"Oh you know, top secret job working on alien spaceships and such. All very fascinating and hush hush." He makes this joke every once in a while and laughs at it everytime. Billy and I just look at each other. I can’t point out to him that it was actually me that gave him that alien ship. Did I ever tell Billy about that? I can’t remember.

"Where’s your Mother? Inside?"
Billy answered. "Yep, our grades came today."
"I hope you both passed."

With that the Cranston men headed inside. The parents gushed about us kids for a few minutes before deciding to do something to celebrate. After a quick debate a pizza/movie night was decided. Mom is a bit of a Disney fanatic so we ended up going to see A Goofy Movie. I liked it just fine, but I don’t get how Goof Troop was popular enough to garner a movie. At the pizza place, Mom asked where Goofy’s wife was and I told her mother’s in a majority of Disney movies are either dead, evil-step parents or not necessary for the story. We came home and I made a realization. We didn’t do stuff like this very much anymore. It was nice. We were being a family engaging in normal activities. The closest we had was Sunday’s after church but now and again that seemed like a chore. That’s when I realized how much time Billy and my extra-curriculars were taking. My best and closest friends I had barely spoken to all school year because I just never saw them. In my own room, I passed out watching a marathon of Star Trek: Voyager episodes since I hadn’t seen much passed the first episode.

Next morning, I felt good. Not tense, or stressed out, just... fine. It was weird that I had gotten too accustomed to a more dangerous lifestyle but all I could do was shrug and decide to enjoy summer vacation. Billy mentioned at the theater last night that Tommy wanted to do some team training but I was not in the mood for it. And Tommy still was not my favorite person in the world right now. Some quick grooming, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toast prepared for the road and I was out the door. I went to the garage to grab my bike and noticed the rather thick layer of dust and cobwebs covering it. Again, I had just gotten into the habit of teleporting everywhere since I was almost always involved in some crisis. I grabbed the handlebars and pushed it into the front yard. I hadn’t seen Mom yet and I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. There was a moving van a couple houses down on the other side of the road and there she was talking to another woman. Mom waved me down.

"This is my younger son. David, this is Mrs. Larson. She’s going to be teaching at Angel Grove High starting in the fall."
"What will you be teaching?"
"I’ll be taking over as head of the math department."

I didn’t like this. What if I have to pull a disappearing act at school? While Caplan and Miss Rodriguez are cool about things if they coincide with a monster attack, this has a better chance of getting back to my mom about Billy and my being missing so often.

"Oh this is my son Troy." A boy came out of the house just then. Dark straight hair, kind of scrawny, not unlike a lot of the other kids I spot in the comic shop. He was followed by a little girl clutching a doll who promptly sat down on the porch. "And that is my daughter Silvy." The boy continued to the uhaul but his mom called for him. He looked down at the ground as he approached, no doubt feeling even more awkward than I did. "These are a couple of our neighbors, Mrs. Cranston and her son David."

"Hi." Again staring at the ground.
I had a feeling my mother was going to pull somthing so I had to get out of there. "Mom, Carlos is going to be waiting for me." Sure enough the second I took a step to leave my mother had stealthily got a vice grip on my arm.

"I was just discussing with Mrs. Larson that maybe you could show Troy around town. Give him a feel for things before starting school."

"Sure, no problem." I’m sure if I showed anyone how red my arm was I could have you arrested for child abuse. Accepting my fate I asked "If it’s okay?"

Troy then looked at his mom, his face did have a hopeful gleam but sounded more like shock. "Can I really?"

"Yes, just be careful and keep your cell phone on you."
"Let me grab my bike." He rushed to their garage and came back moments later. The little girl, Sylvie, had been staring off into space but when she saw her brother running it caught her attention. And when he started wheeling his bike to the road she got up and walked over to the fence and stared.

"Let’s go. First thing you have to learn is the park. Later Mom."
"Oh, yeah, bye Mom."

We were off. My legs got a a little sore a little too quickly from peddling. Boy was I out of practice but I was loving it. Troy was clearly loving it too, even more than I was. "So, what are you into?"
"I’m kind of a nerd. Space ships, astronomy, anything like that. Weird right."
"Not at all. I grew up with all that stuff. My dad works for NASADA."
"Really!"
"Yep. And just last night I fell asleep catching up on my missed Star Trek episodes." I think that was the moment I became his new best friend as we were able to talk Trek through the entire ride through the park. The only times I interupted was to point out certain directions like toward the kiddie play areas, the picnic areas, the outside theater, the lake. When we passed the Centennial statue I accidently let it slip how it got turned into a monster.

"I heard rumors about that stuff. That this town is full of weird things like that. Are they real? Like the Power Rangers for example."
"Oh yes, they are very real. They even introduced a new drill at school just for monster attacks."
"That is kinda cool, though. That there are actually real life super heroes that fight real life monsters. Are they really aliens?"
"The bad guys are definately aliens. There was even a rumor for a little while that the Rangers were aliens, but then they did this TV appearance that kind of implies they are human."
"I think I’d like to see them."
"It’ll happen just wait. They show up in the park all the time."

Not long later we ended up by a soccer field that looked like it was wrapping up it’s practice. It took me a little bit before I spotted my target. As a huddle was ending I saw Carlos turn and head for the bleachers. When he thought no one was looking he kicked over a water cooler.

"Ease up Grumpy Bear, if you want Gatorade instead I can get you one."
Carlos looked up, embarresed that I caught him. "Sorry, but I needed to vent. I got hooked during practice. Ref missed it and when I got up to do something about it I got in trouble."

"It was just a practice, Carlos. Stuff happens, shake it off and let it go."
"But he did it on purpose -... "
"Then be the better person and out play him next time. Now you know that one of your opponents plays dirty, so now you know who to look for. And the guy who is politely picking up the knocked over cooler for you is my new neighbor Troy."

Troy stopped mid-motion when I busted him and Carlos noticed him for the first time. "No, you don’t need to do that. Thank you though." Carlos then took the cooler away from Troy and set it back proper. "Not much of a great first impression is it?" They shook hands.

"It’s fine. How did he come at you? Did he make it look like he was going for the ball or did he go straight for you?"
"From the side, he tried to stay out of my line of sight. You play soccer?"
"Nah, my dad and I used to watch a lot of it together though."

When they started talking about moves, plays, players and other country teams I completely zoned out. But I think Troy had another friend. Two for two so far.

"I got to lug some of the equipment back to the Youth Center as punishment for my attitude."
I turned to Troy. "Another must see place where everyone hangs out at some point. And you can meet the owner Ernie. He goes above and beyond for everybody. School events, sporting competitions, he is a pillar of the community. Everbody loves him."

While Carlos put away the equipment I introduced Troy to Ernie. And not so coincidentally, the gang was naturally training there. Kim was working on the balance beam alone while the gang took turns sparring. I then pointed out Billy to Troy and pointed out the rest of the gang. As I looked around for Carlos I saw his dad come in, talk to Ernie and wait at the counter. The moment Carlos came in his father went straight for him, exchanged a few words and pointed outside. Carlos nodded, and said something before coming over.

"Coach called my parents about what happened."
"What did happen exactly?"
"I might have not mentioned the small fight that broke out after he hooked me."
Troy spoke up. "Just because you’re a striker doesn’t mean you have to take it so literally."
"Yeah." I had no idea what that meant.
"I may be grounded so I have to go. Sorry." He turned and left with a disapproving parent right behind him.

"So, what is there to do in this town on a Tuesday?"
"It is Tuesday isn’t it. I have an idea." And away on the bikes we flew to my favorite video store. I was playing a hunch, and I also knew I might have to do a little groveling. It's owned by the parents of a guy who I considered one of my best friends but have barely seen in what feels like forever. "Hey Mr. Summers!" to the man behond the counter.

"David! Haven’t seen you very much lately for one of my better customers."
"Yeah, school was harder than I thought this year. Is Marcus here?"
"In the stockroom."

Troy was trying not to laugh as we walked to our destination. "His name is Marc Summers, like the guy off ..."
"Double Dare. Yeah, Marcus was fine with the similar name sounding, until this year when upper classmen started throwing toy slime on him. I hear he is a little sensitive about it now." In the back room there was a kid with stawberry blonde, curly hair taking videos out of plastic cases and putting them back into cardboard sleeves. "Hey, stranger."

As he looked up Marcus had to push his glasses back up onto his nose. His voice was very cool when he said "Hello."

"How are things?"
"Fine." No question back and still quite chilly. He’s ticked.
"This is one of our new neighbors, Troy. I think his backyard touches yours." A more polite hello was responded but still distant. I propped up a director’s chair across from him and tried to ready myself for anything. "How many times and in how many ways do I have to apologize?"

He very abruptly dropped the movies in his hands. "Dave, you just disappeared. Not just on me but the whole group. We tried to be understanding, 'cuz you come from a family of geniuses and you were being recognized for it. I was proud of my friend. But everytime one of us wanted to do something or would call, you were always busy or just gone off the face of the planet."

Sometimes even literally.

"And if one of us was lucky enough to spot you, you were always, always with your brother and your upperclass friends. And still too busy for more than a few moments with any of us. You promised to go see Star Trek Generations with me. My sister took me and made out with her boyfriend through the whole thing."

"If it makes you feel better, I didn't get to see it yet."
"No, it's an odd numbered Trek."
"But did you at least get the Enterprise Engineering playset I got you for Christmas?"
"Yes... and it is because of their rarety that I don’t hate you and am just upset still."
"I am sorry about everything. And the stuff I heard about had to suck for you. How do I make this right?"

"The gang was going to go for lunch and hang out with a movie marathon at my house later. Buy lunch, and all snacks, and I’ll be good."
"Done."

Marcus smiled and looked over at Troy. "So what’s your story?"
Troy immediately raised his hand into a Vulcan salute. "I come in peace."
Marcus smiled bigger. "I like you. Start browsing and we’ll wait for the others." As he pushed piles of movies out of his way with his foot to get up he looked to me again. "The others might make you eat a little more crow though."

We had accumulated six movies by the time my gang showed up. To get an idea of Tia, first think of Topanga from Boy Meets World. Now make her half-black and emphasize the supernatural fascination over the hippie stuff and that’s about right. Ajay was constantly being asked questions about his cultural heritage by Tia as she found the gods interesting, ignoring the fact niether him or his parents had been raised in the Hindu faith. Paul was just a dork like the rest of us when we befriended each other as kids, but he was turning into a 90210 teen idol. He wanted to look cool, and tough, and exercised to try and bulk up, but in all honesty in a fight I think Marcus could take him. Adina, physically, could have bullied all of us but she was incredibly sensitive and a talented artist and painter.

Paul was the first to notice me as they came in. "Well well well. Hey stranger." He chose that moment to smooth back his hair.
"Hey Fonzie."
"Oh my god! That’s it! That’s who I was trying to think of who you look like now." Tia said before bursting out into laughter.
"I do not look like Fonzie."
Adina came to his defense. "You know you’re right. That is not a fair comparison."
"Thank you."
"I was thinking more the love child of Danny Zuko and... Kenickie."
Everyone started laughing. Paul wasn’t amused. "Why is everyone making fun of me when it’s him we’re supposed to be mad at."
"Yeah, you should have heard my dad." Ajay invoked a mocking Indian accent "Why can’t you be smart like that David boy. He got skipped grades. He can get into a great college easy."

Marcus had to add his two cents. "He has already agreed to pay for my lunch as penance for being so distant. It might also be fair to pay for all you guys too."

Everyone emphatically agreed with that. I was now starting to regret this reconciliation. "You guys all suck." I then noticed that Troy was hovering back. "Everyone, this is Troy. He is new to our hamlet and I want you to be nicer to him than you are to me." Everyone greeted him one at a time. "So where are we going to blow my entire life savings on one meal."

Tia answered. "My aunt opened up a new burger joint downtown that is starting to pick up some buzz. Maria is already waiting on us there."
"I think I saw it the other day. I didn’t go in but it smelled amazing!"

We were all heading for the door when Marcus started to stall. "Maybe we should pick up some more movies first."

We started to question this sudden change when Troy simply asked "Who’s that?"

I looked and looked back at Marcus. "Has he been giving you crap?"
"Yeah."
Troy was still lost. "Still not sure what’s going on here?"
"That’s Delmar Crandall, Chief of Police’s son. He’s kind of a..." I tried to think of a polite way of saying it but my friends answered instead.
"Jerk."
"Tool."
"Douchebag."
Turns out I didn‘t need to be. "Yeah, that about sums it up." He was with a couple people, but strength in numbers. "Let’s go."

Sure enough he wanted to talk when we left. "Hey look, it’s Karate Kid Cranston." He and his friends began making mocking and obnoxious noises and motions.
Ajay enjoyed the absurdity. "You do know you’re just pointing out how badly he could kick your asses, right."

"Nah, not with that musclehead Jason or airhead Tommy as his teachers. You don’t get into fights."

HEY! I’m the only one that can call Tommy an airhead! He’s my airhead! "You’re just mad Jason wouldn’t teach you, and the bad word of mouth you couldn’t get into the Stewart school or anyplace else."
"Well, dad got me some trainers from the PD to give me lessons. Real fighters with military backgrounds and everything."

I decided not to mention that my uncle that has given me the occasional tutelage is a fireman and Navy Seal, as that would just encourage him. I wanted to politely excuse ourselves when I started to hear a squawking noise. Nonononononononononononononononononooooooooooooooooooooooo! Not freakin‘ TODAY!!!!! Sure enough it was Tengu, or more accurately Tenga warriors here.

One of Delmar’s friends screamed like a girl, the other shouted "Those purple bird things" before they hopped back into their car to hide.

That was a suprisingly smart thing to do, as I enourged it in everone else. "Everyone scatter! Hide!"

Some people went inside, others hid behind vehicles. Delmar decided to prove himself to people he didn’t like by standing his ground. "They’re just giant birds."

I grabbed him by the back of his shirt and threw him off balance and got just enough momentum to drag him into a hiding spot in front of his friend’s car. "Giant birds strong enough to fight the Power Rangers. So stay down and shut up." But unfortuneately, the scream and Delmar’s few seconds of posturing was just enough to get their attention. They landed not that far away. I have to get them out of here. "Hey! If you’re returning something, I hope you remembered to rewind." As they came at me I charged forward, dodging and evading but not attacking until I got past the whole flock. This caused them to start bumbling around and ramming into each other. "You do realize I’m over here now, right." Sure enough that got the Tengas coming at me. I wasn’t that far from the Youth Center, but that would be leading the Tengas to another populated area. So even though it was further I started running for the park as I tapped my communicator. "Alpha, I need help NOW!"
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Old August 13th, 2014, 04:25 AM   #7
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Part 6

I was able to successfully get to the park before turning and taking my stand. The Tenga seemed exactly like the Tengu from the other world so I at least had an idea of what to deal with. A few blocks, a few punches and, yeah, it was the same. Fighting Rita’s putties was hard, Zedd’s were stronger but easier to take down, Tenga were even stronger still. I was wondering how long I could last against them. I was landing some good hits and kicks but was still outnumbered. I backed off to catch my breath and, yeah, I hadn’t made a dent in the flock of birds. I was going to make another request for back-up when a white streak shot past from my left, taking down a Tenga. Then a blue from my right taking another.

I heard Rocky from behind me. "Back off, he’s with us."

I looked back to see a Red, Yellow and Black ninja warriors while two streaks of color turned into a White ninja then a Blue. The Tengas did stop in their tracks before a pink streak turned into a Pink ninja right between us. Kim’s voice came from the new figure. "Don’t you have a break to get back to." The White, Red, Yellow and Black Ninjas flipped and jumped over and engaged the birds.

"So, you guys got this?"
My brother in Blue shooed me off. "We’ll let you know. Now get out of here."

I half-heartedly jogged away until I got to a tree line and turned to watch. Yeah, they got this. And these Ninja powers are kind of cool. Accepting the situation I started to wak off and bumped into someone. It was a pretty blonde girl.

"Are you all right? I saw you running, then those creatures were chasing you..."

The Australian accent threw me for a second. "That’s Angel Grove for you. Stuff like this happens all the time but the Power Rangers are saving the day right now."

"Are you sure I can’t help you somehow?" She was still polite, but there sounded like a slight change in the tone of her voice.

"Dave? You okay?" Marcus was waving at me with Troy and the rest of the gang, coming across the street to me.

"I’m good. I got a life to get back to." Aussie Blondie nodded and walked away.
Troy was the first to ask. "Did the Power Rangers show up?"
"Yep, they’re down there."

They all rushed to the tree line for a glimpse. Sure enough, the Tengas were taking flight away from the six heroes.

"Should we go ask for autographs?"
"Paul, who would believe they came from the real Power Rangers?" countered Ajay.
"Just a thought."
Adina was digging in her purse. "I might have a camera. Tia, do you?"
The six figures then teleported away in their respective colors. Troy was clearly impressed. "That was awesome."

"Yeah, it is." And I was wishing I was with them.
Tia started heading toward the bus stop. "Guys, we need to get going."

The group followed with me trailing slightly behind. Everyone starting talking Power Rangers, with Troy asking questions and everyone voicing their opinions. I just quietly listened while waiting at the stop and on the bus trip into town. We got off to get on a different line when Marcus noticed how quiet I was being. "You all right? Troy secured your bike back at the store."

"Just thinking." My life is different now with a whole different set of priorities and responsibilities. While I was happy for this reconciliation, this was interfering with possibly helping save the world. Had I become some kind if danger junkie? No, just seen and experienced more in the last two years than my entire life before.

After the second bus ride we had to walk to our destination. It was a little harder to think with all the people moving around and Tia had to finally grab my arm and drag me to catch up. Maria was standing outside and gave me an evil look upon approach, but after our recent Tenga attack everybody else was just happy to have me back in the group. She engaged Troy with open arms while slowly warming back up to my presesnce.

A lot of subtle changes had happened to these people I was suprised that they weren’t strangers. Adina had gone to New York to see some cousins and was now obsessed with musicals after seeing one about people with HIV who couldn’t pay their bills. Maria was named after the girl from West Side Story and they had become closer over this shared interest. Paul had been called Apollo by a few cheerleaders and it looked like the name had started to stick. He was considering acting or modeling. We have a retired TV writer in the neighborhood named Tom (his house shares the alley behind mine) but I tried to warn him off as people had started to bother him now that his son was a writer too. While discussing the son, Tia mentioned "I liked that vampire movie he did." Marcus then tried to explain to her how she shouldn’t.

As we were leaving we bumped into Andy Hart, Kim’s brother. While I would consider him a friend, we have never been what could be considered close. We were born the same year, but he was born several months after me and was always in the grade below me in school. He had gone to lunch with his mom and her new boyfriend and was desperate for an escape. He was actually a better bud with Marcus who promptly invited him into the group as well.

I think the French guy dating Andy’s mom was trying hard to ingratiate himself, as he actually offered to pay for a pricey cab ride to get us back to the video store. Andy accepted on our behalf and we crammed our entire party into one. It was a tight fit but the group gossiped about seeing the Power Rangers to Andy.

Upon our arrival, Marcus went to get the movies with Adina asking if he might grab Grease too. ("No need, we own it.") Troy and Ajay grabbed the bikes while I had to follow my remaining friends to a corner grocery store where they continued to fill up a cart with snacks. Andy offered to chip in for joining last minute and my wallet appreciated the gesture. Even with our full stomachs of burgers and fries this was going to last us well into evening.

While I had got to do family stuff yesterday, I enjoyed the friend stuff today. Enjoyed the movie fest (loved the film Clerks, could never watch that at home) and a comaraderie with people my own age again. As night fell, Troy’s mother called him on his cell (the girls were jealous) and I walked him home after everybody gave him their numbers. Troy said he would stop by when he got a little more settled. When my parents asked about my day I gave responses of "good" and "fine". I also knew I had to get back to doing something more productive.

After leaving a note, I went to the Command Center the next day. While Zordon wasn’t enthusiastic about me being there, I assured him that I was there to wrap up a few things. I went to the lower chamber for privacy and reviewed the new Ninja powers like I promised Billy. As I watched my mind drifted about everything that had happened recently. New powers and zords, Earth 2, my completely derailed investigation into clone Tommy, my weird abilities that randomly manifest, Akomaru leaving, getting the Green Ranger powers functioning temporarily. Zordon is great, but occasionally too vague and very sporadic as to his levels of helpfulness. Now I had a new contact who might be able to help with some of these questions. I downloaded all my readings from Earth 2 into the memory core and updated my navigator with reading material. I got the necessary coordinates from the Command Center computer and teleported.

I landed in a desert area with a light breeze keeping off some of the heat. After the Ranger’s travels I was able to land coordinates much closer than when they searched for Ninjor and now knew what to look for. I climbed up a rocky incline until I found a crevasse. I slowly felt down the wall until my hand passed through an invisible wall. While I was starting to heat up from the desert sun, my hand felt cool. I passed through the barrier and found the most perfectly climate controlled garden ever. This place had obviously been originally cleared from the rock face but many changes had made it more habitable. Ornate shrubbery, trees and flowers poked out of the ground in perfectly manicured and kept conditions. It smelled amazing as I walked around on spacious pathways. A fountain that was actually a waterfall drew your attention with smaller geyser type fountains randomly scattered around all over the place. I took a chance and sipped one and it was the best water I had ever had. Found a set of steps near the waterfall and ascended. On the landing I saw other steps that all seemed to connect to where I was, combining into just one final set of stairs going up. This has to be it. At the very top was a set of metal doors that immediately opened as I approached. It closed as I passed but the soft blue glow ahead of me made visibility fine. At the end of the tunnel was a flimsy gate that also opened upon my approach. This small room was adorned with flowing cloth hanging from the ceiling, candles and cushions. But no residents.

"Hello? Ninjor? Are you here?"
"No visitors in over 10,00 years and now I’m Mr. Popular."

The high pitched voice seemed to come from nowhere until I remembered where he was supposed to reside. I found the bottle and looked inside. "Are you in there?"

"Some privacy please?"
"Oh! Sorry!" I immediately turned around and looked away.
"Just kidding."

I looked back to see the ancient mage. He was tall and looked to be made out of blue armor. "Hello, Ninjor. I’m Dave."

"You are another one of Zordon’s warriors. It’s a pleasure to meet you."
"I just wanted to meet you." I trailed off not sure what else to say.
"You seem troubled, is there something else?" He directed me to a cushion to sit. As I sat down I pulled the Dragon coin from my pocket and handed it to him. "I was wondering where this was. I was quite suprised to see Tommy with the Daosian White Tiger suit."

"You know about them?"
"Of course, I helped with their powers and a few others as well."
"Are there others like you?"
"How do you mean?"
"People who can make powers."
"It’s not a simple matter of making powers. With enough advanced technical know how, accessing the morphing grid has been possible by some civilizations for millenia. But you have to be incredibly careful. Manipulating it such as I can took many years of study that few any more can do."

"How did you learn? Are you willing to teach?" I asked hopefully.
"My last student - well he focused too much on the power aspect and enhancing his fighting ability. I'm not eager to do that again after what happened to him."

"You deal with the more mystical aspect of it or technical?"
"I deal with all, and more."
Okay, these were the vague answers I wasn’t looking for. "Well, can you replace this coin?"

"No, I’m sorry. I expelled too much of my own personal energies in the creation of the Ninja powers. And the only reason I was able to create them so quickly was by using the Dino coins as a blueprint and utilizing each Rangers own life energies to create the powers and zords. In order to keep them stable I have connected them to myself and the magics of my home."

"You rushed production and are hoping they don’t break down."
"Exactly. And I have also promised my help in combat as well which can also be taxing."

"It’s very forward of me but I came seeking help. Planning ahead for any more potential problems."
"Sounds reasonable."
"Okay. First thing, I was kind of hoping that you might have a carrierzord laying in wait ready to be used somewhere."

"Again no, the Rangers were desperate and time was running short. I didn’t think to make one."
"What about Titanus or Tor?"
"While their power sources are internally derived, they are still directly connected to their respective zords and Ranger powers. Tor isn’t an option, those powers and zords are gone. And while the suits may look the same for your Rangers the powers are completely different and wouldn’t connect to Titanus."

"What about that?" I pointed to the coin in his hand. "The Green Ranger powers and Dragonzord are still compatible with Titanus."
"This coin has been through too much under Rita’s influence. It needs recharged and her magicks still linger."
"Use this to recharge it." I pulled out the duplicate coin. "One of Rita’s monsters created it to make a new evil Green Ranger."

Ninjor cocked his head and took the second coin from me with his left hand. "Did it work?"
"Well enough clone Tommy fought real Tommy blow for blow. And clone Tommy was able to summon and control the real Dragonzord."

His fist closed around the second coin. "Follow me."

Ninjor headed out into his garden. In one grassy area he got down on his knees and bowed his head. He slowly outsretched both his hands which began to glow black and green. The black energy from his right hand slowly started to ebb down his arm and into his torso. A similar effect happened with the green energy from his left. The colors briefly intermingled again until they went up the opposite arm they came from. It was only after his right hand pulsated green and left pulsated black did I hear what sounded like a whimper come from Ninjor. His left arm began to waver and shake before brief bursts of black energy shot out from his left hand. He opened it and what looked like gold glitter fell from his hand and disappeared in the air. Ninjor then slumped over onto the ground. I hurried to his side.

"Are you okay?"
"I transferred their energies. Rita’s magiks have now been purged from the Dragon coin and transferred into that evil duplicate. I transferred any useable power from it before I destroyed it. This... changes things... slightly..." He was clearly exausted. "I just hope there are no lingering effects."

"What now? What do you need?" I was able to get him standing and he limped over to a stone bench.

"What we need is something that can bridge the gap. Fix this problem and possibly prevent any more future ones. I will reinforce this coin with Ninja powers like the others, but I will have to link it to a user."

"Here I am. Willing and able."
"It won’t be that simple. The powers will be stronger and more stable, and you can use it to morph into a Ninja and full Ranger. But remember, you are doing this for the team to make the whole stronger."

Not being cryptic is he. No, just making me realize something. "I can fight alongside them, or they can use it to power the Dragozord - to link to Titanus and make an Ultrazord. One or the other."

"For now, that is how it must be."
"Greater good and all. I’m ready."
"You are a true hero."
"Yeah, yeah, noble sacrifice. What do I do?"

Ninjor stood and raised his arms in a similar fashion to before. I raised mine to match his. He lifted his face to the sky, I did the same with the sunlight forcing me to close my eyes. I could feel the tingling sensation shooting from Ninjor and the Power coin all over my body. Quickly shooting through my left side and out my right.

"You. You’re different than the other Rangers."
I opened my eyes to see Ninjor looking directly at me. He sounded curious. "In what way?"

"You have demonstrated talents of ability unfamiliar to you."
"Yes. It kind of bothers me."
"Why?"
"At first, I thought it was an accident. The first time it happened I was on an alien planet after all. But now, it has happened twice in fairly rapid succession."

Ninjor looked to his plants, raising one arm this time. A breeze picked up, and quickly became a blowing wind. "When I was young, I realized I had the ability to control the air itself. It set me on the path that eventually led me to what I am today."

"Ease up, Storm. I’ve read enough X-Men comics to not worry about being feared and persecuted. If I have some sort of super power, fine. I just need to figure it out."

Ninjor dropped his hand and the wind stopped. "Speaking of figuring, have you noticed your threads yet?"

I looked down and sure enough, I was wearing a Ninja suit. Identical to the others, except Green and the belt was gold. I grabbed the front to see what my animal totem was, but instead it was a thunderbolt.

"How do I put this... you are not as easily... defineable as your friends. There are forces in the immediate world around you and the larger universe that affect a person at all times. You, are not as easy to categorize. Plus, by doing it this way, the Ninja powers will be more adaptable and changes can be made to them more easily if need be."

"Sure, but what now?
"You’re half way there."
I made the gestures. "I need Ranger Power, NOW!" The morpher materialized in my hands. "DRAGONZORD!"

Sure enough I looked at my hands to see the familiar gloves of the Green Ranger. Only this time they felt mine, truely mine. I looked at Ninjor and he had disappeared. I looked around and found him standing before the main waterfall.

"So what do you do now Green Ranger?"
As I approached him I caught my reflection. What the..?! I looked down, and saw that there were now silver stripes along the helmet on what would have been the dragon’s snout. Changes. Not for the better... but maybe of necessity. To remind me of why I did it. I powered down. "I think I need to start work on the Dragonzord. Get it going."

"Then let’s go."
Before I could say or do anything, a giant whooshing sensation carried me up. I almost lost my footing in the – cloud. I was riding on a cloud. Ninjor stood beside me in an almost surfer like stance. I sat down to make myself at least feel more secure and peered over the edge. We were rising up from the desert and heading for the horizon. "How long did it take you to learn to do this?"

"A while."
"Great."
"Just out of curiosity, what is your power?"
"Oh, uh, telekinesis twice, super speed in one short burst just once."
Ninjor glanced at me. "That is peculiar."
"I know."
"When did they happen?"
"The first time I was on KO-35."
"Their people do have inherent telekinetic abilities. There have been instances of others successfully learning this skill too. The other?"
"After I came back from a parallel world where I got to meet myself."

This time when Ninjor looked at me he didn’t turn right back to looking at the sky. "Really?"
"Yep."
"Did the other you have powers?"
"Don’t know, but he had just come back from a trip to his KO-35."
"The speed?"
"After I got back from the other world. This guy tried to grab me and when I ran, I went zoom."
Ninjor returned to looking to the sky line. We were now passing over water. "Interesting."
"So?"
"So what."
"Any ideas."
"Let me get back to you."
Frustrating, but still more promising than what I would probably get from Zordon.

We gradually slowed down until we were hovering in the middle of the ocean. "I will leave you here."
I didn’t want to panic but still I had to ask. "Where is here?"
"We are directly above the Dragonzord." Ninjor extended his hand to assist in my standing up. I started to pull away but he held firm. "Dave, before you learned of Zordon and the Power Rangers, did you believe in a person having their own internal strength and fortitude. Their own gifts unique to themselves."

"I guess so. But not in the very literal way I live with things now."
"That is a start. Goodbye now."

Within one eyeblink, he was gone. And I was sitting in the Dragonzord cockpit looking out into the dark ocean floor. "He is so weird. First things first, the engine room." While the Dragonzord had only been immobile a short time, I wanted to test the connection between the zord and the reenergized coin. While I had been inside zords numerous times, there was something slightly more eery about the fact that I was on the bottom of the ocean. But I had also been to the Arctic, inside a volcano and off world for these things. I was not as familiar with the internals of the Dragonzord as some of the others due to it’s more infrequent useage but I found the main engine just fine. As I began to access the computer the logs stated that it had been accessed. Fairly recently too. "Did Alpha or Billy come here?" As I perused I found that there had been several failed attempts to download the zords memory core and technical schematics. They wouldn’t need to do that. It was then that I became uneasy, like I was being watched. A little paranoid but I was at the bottom of the ocean. But I still had an urge to leave, leave now. It quickly got stronger and stronger, run and get out. I shut off the computer and turned to leave. All I saw was a black cloathed figure and two bright lights. Then shocking pain.

The entire left side of my face was freezing. This pillow is cold. And hard. My back hurts. And my chest. Holy crap that hurts! I slowly opened my eyes to see a wall of dull grayish green. As I lifted my head off of the metal table I was resting on I realized I couldn’t move my left arm. Turns out I was zip tied to the metal table and my communicator was gone. "Not again." Getting captured sucks. My navigator was gone also. Quick check of my pockets so was the power coin and my wallet. Directly across was a mirror that was no doubt a two-way from the otherside. But there was a phone inbetween the mirror and the door. I stared at the phone, trying to will it off the receiver. Didn’t budge. What crappy telekinetic powers I must have. Super strength would be more handy now.

That was when a huge, overly muscled six foot and infinity inches man dressed all in black came in. It was shocking he fit through the door. "David Cranston, age twelve. Resident of Angel Grove, student at the local high school. Father and mother alive and has older brother."

"And you are?"
"Mr. Cranston, you are going to tell me what you were doing when you were taken into custody."
"What were YOU doing when I was taken into custody."
"Mr. Cranston, you will give me the information I requested."
"I’m not Snapper Carr, I’m not telling you squat." Or Baboo. I’m having too much fun with this.
"Before you were taken into custody you mentioned two names. What were they?"
"If you are asking about names, then you clearly heard what I said. So why do I need to repeat myself?"

He then pounded the table. I didn’t flinch but kept his gaze. He was testing me. He then spoke in a more collected tone. "Mr. Cranston, there is no need for this. You may be involved with dangerous things that you may not fully understand. With some assistance, we can offer you some leniency."
"Wow."
"Wow what?"
"You are such a cliche. I swear I saw something similar to this on Law & Order. Or was it Homicide?" That was going to bug me until I could remember. I was more interested in trying to figure it out than continue with the conversation but he had to keep going.

He leaned in closer, trying to intimidate me. "You will tell me what I want to know."
I wasn’t having it. I stood and leaned at him. No blinking, barely breathing just staring each other down. "Do I need to remind you that I am an American citizen? Being held against my will without due process or being read my rights."

"Not in matters of potential national security." He was getting pissed.
"Then there is the matter that I am a minor being questioned without a parent or legal council being made available to me. This gets back to your superiors you’ll be bumped back down in rank to Tadpole."

"No need for such hostility boys."

I knew that voice. Knew it well. As the mountain in black moved away I finally saw him at the open door. Naval officer Captain William Mitchell. "Uncle Bill?"

******

Took over 10 years but this is my 1000th post. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Unless I don't like it, then I'll just ignore it. It's getting complicated to coordinate 20 years of continuity into one coherent story but I am enjoying the challenge. The DVDs and Netflix have even made me see smaller things or things I had forgotten to expand the story more. So much so I am really eager to get to Zeo, Turbo and Space.

Season 3 is also going to allow me to flesh out characters a little more and do my thing since the multi-arc episodes of this season left much of the Rangers time unexplored.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 05:25 AM   #8
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
While I stared at my uncle, MP Jerk immediately jumped to attention and saluted.

"At ease." Captain Mitchell barely acknowledged it, maintaining my gaze. "This way please."

I lightly pulled on my restraint a few times. Just enough that it could be heard. Mitchell finally glanced at the MP, down to my wrist and back again. A knife appeared in the MP's hand so quickly that I was momentarily startled. Out of nowhere, a large gust of wind sent the large man flying backwards and through the reversible mirror. Mitchell was startled and he sounded more like a concerned uncle when he asked "Are you okay?"

Clearly not. But I answered "Sure."

Mitchell pulled out his pocket knife and showed it to me before extending the blade. He easily snapped the ziptie and warned "Watch for the glass." I then noticed MP guy being helped up by more security. While they were confused, MP guy was clearly disoriented by the triple impact of glass, wall, then floor. Mitchell placed his hand on my shoulder and gently guided me out and down the corridor.

I tried to memorize my surroundings but was more distracted by what I had just done. This was different. Both times I previously moved objects, I felt 'something' (I refuse to call it 'Force') internal with a slight headache as a side effect. First bringing something to me, later pushing stuff away. This was definitely external. I felt the air rustle my hair. As I tacked one more thing on the ongoing list that is the weirdness of me, I saw out the window. Or more accurately, the porthole.

"We're underwater."
Captain Mitchell smiled. "Yes, this was an abandoned underwater research facility I recently had acquired. Why so surprised? I'm sure you've seen stranger."

Touche. But enough about me. "Soo... how's Dana?"
"Pretty good. You know how she is, Little Miss Over-Achiever. You actually inspired her."

"Me?!"
"Yeah, you, with this whole skipping grades thing. She still wants to be a doctor. When Dana found out about you she asked if she could take her SAT and go straight to college then med school."

"Will you do it?"
"Not sure yet. But we discussed it and if she goes the military route she might actually be able to do it quicker."

This was eerily becoming close to a normal conversation. We walked down a few corridors with me following and observing. I was momentarily intrigued by what looked like the main command center but Mitchell continued on. He was almost chipper sounding as he finally stopped. "Just in here."

Despite what was happening I wasn't feeling any apprehension. With the MP sure, but it may have just been that I'm comfortable with my uncle. I hope I can trust you. The room was already occupied. Two people in glasses, lab coats and long dark hair pulled back into ponytails were across the room leading a conversation to three seated individuals. The duo could have been identical twins if they weren't opposite genders.

Upon entrance, Mitchell announced. "Ladies and gentleman, our guest."

The identical duo beamed with joy when they saw me. Shields up! The first man to turn around I didn't recognize with his brown hair and Van Dyke 'stache. The second man I did know but was not really surprised to know he was here. The third was an older woman, her presence was a shock.

"This is an old Air Force buddy of mine, Commander Stanton. You of course know General Norquist from NASADA." Stanton was curious, while Norquist had a slightly smug 'I-know-something' look. "These two are our top researchers Angela and Clark Fairweather." Maybe they are siblings. Or ew, identical married couple. "This lady is-"

"Mayor Carrington!?!"

The Mayor of Angel Grove gave me a polite smile. "Hello young man." Out of everyone here, she was the most composed.

This was becoming another day of suprises. I remained standing at the head of the table as everyone got settled. Stanton, Norquist and Angela seated to my left; Mitchell, Carrington and Clark on the right.

Mitchell started things off. "David, as you know even better than us, Earth is not what it seems."

I was listening but was now uneasy at talking freely here. Mayor Carrington instantly understood. She rested her hand on Clark's arm. "He doesn't trust us. Give him back his equipment." With a nod of approval from Mitchell, Clark quickly got up, grabbed my stuff out of a wall cabinet and set them down.

"I'm starting to get a slight Superman vibe off you, Clark. Keep up the good work." My communicator, navigator, blade blaster, morpher and power coin were arranged in front of me. In a very Clark Kent fashion, Clark almost missed his seat when he went back to sit down. It was so hard not to laugh.

As I reached for my communicator first, Norquist said "Now will you please hear us out David?"

I put my communicator on, then used the navigator to scan the room. No listening devices and no one in the adjacent rooms. I then did a closer scan of the interior. I picked up only seven life signs. Mine was clearly identifiable due to morphing energy. But the sensors picked up a smaller, weaker signal similar to morphing energy coming from Carrington. I glanced at her. She gave me a small smile and tried to subtly raise her finger to her mouth and make it look natural. When she wasn't sure if she succeded she just gave me a wink.

"Okay. Consider me intrigued."
"Thank you," Mitchell continued. "As I was saying, the Earth is not as it is perceived. We now know aliens and monsters do exist. And of what we have seen they are hostile."

In for a penny... "Not all of them."
"You've met aliens? And are in contact with them?" asked Stanton.
"Yes. And technically I work for one."
"That gives you an insight that we desperately need."
"Need for what?"
"Protection."
"That's what the Power Rangers are for."

Carrington's interjected by looking to everyone one at a time. "I can personally attest to the gallantry and success of the Ranger's exploits. I will say without question that I trust them implicitly." She then looked at me straight on. "But you have to admit, there have been a few close calls."

"And I can personally attest to the vast advancements these aliens have over us," added Norquist. My jaw clenched. "As David is no doubt aware, we have in our possession at NASADA an alien space shuttle that we have been studying."

Angela said, "It would be a great deal of help to our ongoing work if you would share that information with us."

"I have said time and again I can't and won't. I told the Green Ranger I wouldn't. And as the world's first line of defense against powerful extra-terrestrials I don't really want them upset with me." Norquist, while I had always liked him, just gained a little bit more of my respect. Looking back to me, he said "My people operate here more in an observational capacity. While our understanding of things is still largely limited, it is more than them."

"Oh, you're here so they don't blow themselves up."
Clark interjected "My people have been making great strides in trying to mimic the powers-"
"No you haven't."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because if you had, you would have blown yourselves up." Everyone kind of glanced around at each other. I began gathering up my posessions. "Let me be frank. You are not ready. Now is not the time to be worrying about a nuclear deterrant. The Power Rangers have proven time and time and time again what they are here to do. Save humanity from something it is not ready to handle. Even when they don't, they just come back stronger. And it is my job to protect them."

"How?" This Stanton guy is just full of questions.
"By preventing stuff, like whatever you're trying to do, from happening."
"And if they should fail?"
"Then I'll be a lot more forthcoming." With everything firmly secured back onto my person I began to reach for my communicator.

Captain Mitchell grabbed my wrist. "David please wait." He was almost desperate sounding.

Being still slightly scrawny, I was able to easily get free. "Not today." I started heading for the adjacent room.

Angela practically jumped from her seat. "What does the watch do? It looks like a microwave receiver but..."

I didn't hear the rest. Upon the closing of the door I teleported out. No need for them to see me do it. I landed inside the Command Center's lower chambers. When I first discovered the place over a year ago I of course had to touch and mess with as much of the equipment as possible. Amongst the tech, I had found a bio-bed with scanner. I hadn't used it since that day but now I'd had enough. I pulled it from storage and set it to scan. I hopped on and let the thing buzz and flash lights. When it stopped I glanced down at the readout. While I am by no stretch a doctor, the machine seemed idiot proof. It said human, healthy, no problems. "And clearly you suck at your job Mr. Machine."

"David. We have been unable to get ahold of you for several hours." Zordon manifested inside a tube in the corner of the room.

I always figured that was what it was for. "Another spectacular day in my overly eventful life." I described my dealings with Ninjor and the quasi-fixed green coin. Then my abduction from Dragonzord by the US Navy and being questioned by my uncle and his cohorts. As we talked, I activated a zord recall on a nearby terminal. "Oh, and I completely skipped how I have yet another unexplained superpower that came out of nowhere."

Zordon was incredibly understanding. "I am still uncertain as to the manifestation of these abilities. The revelation of your identity was out of your control. Unfortunately I do not think it a good idea for you to use the powers if the military is going to be watching you."

"Agreed. Ninjor and I had already decided on that."
"We were lack in the security of the Dragonzord. We must prevent any further transgressions against our equipment."

"Taking care of that right now. Teleporting it and Titanus into the bay." And putting the Thunderzords reconstruction on hold again due to space.

"David, I appreciate your continued efforts, but it might also be a good idea to distance yourself from the Rangers somewhat. Return to the vacation you said you would take."

"I know, I know, but trying to create an Ultrazord configuration program for the new zords is important too."

"Alpha and I will begin on that."
"What about the military? All those people are involved and I have a feeling it could only get worse."

"We must know the extent of what they know. NASADA has always seemed straight forward with us in our communications with them. Military control over Ranger abilities could destabilize political power of this planet in disastrous ways. That cannot be allowed to happen."

But how to stop it? I hovered over Alpha when work on the zords began and offered suggestions before finally being shooed home. I teleported near my house and tried to think of a solution. My cover is already blown, maybe I can use that? I saw Troy with his mom in the Uhaul going down the street, most likely to return it. They both waved and I returned in kind. Real life is trying to drag me back. But after fighting aliens for almost two years I now worried about having to go into conflict with the US military. I walked in the door of my empty house still puzzled. I walked into the kitchen and got a bottled water. I hadn't been there two minutes when there was a knock on the door. I peaked to see a courier. He looked legit but I watch James Bond. Even read a couple of them too.

"Yes?"
"I have an envelope for a David Cranston."
"Just leave it please."
"I need someone to sign for it."
I begrudgingly cracked open the door to see a guy in a legit messenger uniform. Leaving the door latched I had him direct his signing tablet closer to the door as closely as possible. After signing he looked at me oddly. I took the letter. "I'm not supposed to open the door for strangers." The courier just nodded with comprehension and slowly backed away. Alone again inside I slowly opened the letter. All that was inside was a card with latitude and longitude coordinates. Beneath the numbers read: TOMORROW @ NOON.

~

The coordinates were of a stretch of highway outside of Mariner Bay near a rather high cliff. I arrived an hour early to stake out the place, only to find Uncle Bill already there. He was securing a rope to his car and testing the sturdiness. He didn't see the teleportation, but my silent arrival shocked him.

"Dave, I'm alone."
"I know. That's why I'm still here."
"We need to talk and I now realize how things were handled was a mistake."
"Gee you think? My wrist still feels sore. And getting tazed wasn't enjoyable either."
"This is just so unprecedented. I need you to trust me and I'm just not sure how."
"Honesty is good place to start. Quid pro quo. You share, I'll share."

"Yes, good, all right..." He then started to get a little nervous and walked to the cliff's edge. "Do you know where we are?"

"Geographically, yes. I'm more curious as to the why."
"Do you remember a few years ago? When- when you're cousin Ryan died."

I walked closer to the edge myself, praying in the sturdiness of the railing. "Not much. Just that there was a..." It was then that I saw a metal wreck at the bottom of the cliff that could have been a car at one point. "Oh. This is where the accident happened."

Uncle Bill nodded. "Dave, I need to tell you something. Something I have not told anyone because if I had then they would have thought me mad. But you know for a fact there are strange things out there. Can you please give me the benefit of a doubt?" He wandered back to his car and leaned against the hood.

The softening of his tone. The quiver in his voice when he mentioned Ryan. I had NEVER in my life heard Uncle Bill talk like that. A decorated, military officer who used to run into burning buildings to save people was becoming emotional and wanted to share. He told me the story of a rainy night. A car skidding off the road. Trying to hold on for his life to a awkward tree root, holding his daughter as his son dangled from his foot. A yellow monster surrounded by golden light appears and gives a proposition: save the child and lose him or let him die. At first Uncle Bill refused, but his shoe eventually was pulled off with Ryan hanging off it. Only with Ryan falling did Uncle Bill comply with the creature's demands. The monster then disappeared again in the same misty yellow light carrying Ryan's unconscious body. That was as far as he got because I was already hugging him at that point. Uncle Bill squeezed tightly, his body doing dry heaving convulsions as he tried not to cry. When he finally let go he rested his hands on my shoulders and looked to the ground while trying to compose himself. Uncle Bill wiped one of his eyes, gave a quick cough and slowly walked back to the edge of the cliff. Maybe I should try to lighten the mood a little because I want to cry right now. "What are you wanting from me?"

"You are the only person I have ever encountered who knows, truly knows about the bizarre. I need your help."

"That's why you formed that assemblage at your base. For Ryan."
"I've been pursuing any avenue I could. NASADA has the alien tech, but they won't share it. Stanton has contacts at NORAD whose sole purpose is to watch those beings that live on the moon. Carrington has been receiving government aide for Angel Grove ever since the first attack to keep the community going. It started with my son, but now I can see a legitimate purpose for what we are doing."

"Then you find me in a giant alien robot at the bottom of the ocean."
"Actually, I already had something rather intriguing that pointed to you." He reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out a letter. It was the one clone Tommy wrote from the museum.

I took the letter from him in frustration. "I could kill him if he wasn't already dead."

"How is that letter to you? It's hundreds of years old."
"It's a convoluted story involving evil clones, giant rats and time travel."
"Time travel."
"It happens. I see you are less surprised by the evil clone and giant rats though."
Uncle Bill chuckled. "You live an odd life. That is why I need you."
"With what?"
"For starters, do you have that scanning thing?"
"Sure." Tapped my backpack for emphasis.
"Here is where I really ask for your trust."

It was then I realized that rope from before was a repelling rope. "You want me to survey an area years after an alien encounter."

"I'm desperate for anything. Any leads on what took my boy."

"Well, then time is of the essence." I grabbed Uncle Bill's arm and teleported down. Repelling the both of us on one line would take forever. "Okay, did he ever manifest into a full physical form or did he stay all floaty and immaterial?"

Uncle Bill was a little frazzled. "Um, sort of both. Is that how you normally get around?"

"Yeah but we're past that now, I'm looking for alien stuff." I wasn't expecting anything as I looked around. No feet means no walking. Flying could have left an energy trail but after years it would have dispersed. But there was something odd about the car. As I scanned I did pick up some weird readings. Turned out it was coming from under the car. "Uncle Bill, can we ditch the car?" I turned to see him pick up a red toy truck not that far away.

"This. Ryan had this that night."
All that effort to get me here and now he is emotionally distracted. This place is still too much for him. Now I need to play the jerk and keep him focused. "I might have actually found something." It worked. He hurried to my side, toy truck in hand but now forgotten. "Any reason you might need the car for something? Insurance or anything?"

"No. Forensics was done back then and they of course found nothing."
"Stand back." Out came the Blade Blaster and the wreckage was gone in one shot. I then began to scan the ground. There was a definite reading coming off the ground.

"You must have seen and done some strange things."
"You're military. I'm sure you could say the same."
"You weren't at all bothered by the interrogation yesterday were you?"
"Nope."
"Why?"
"Had worse. This evil alien warrior lady wasn't happen that I blew up her boss and ended their attempts at planetary conquest."
"Wow. That Rita lady sounds harsh."
"Wasn't Rita. Different lady."
"How many despots are up on the moon?"
"It was a different planet."
"You went to a different planet?"
"How do you think NASADA got that shuttle?" There was definitely something distinctive that had emanated from the spot.

"What is it?"
"It's an energy signature, consistent with alternate dimension travel. A plane of existence slightly out of phase with our own."

"This is starting to sound too much like science fiction."
"We should be fine. The portal is long closed. But whatever came through had to be very powerful to make a dimension breach through a portal that reads as weak as this one was." Why this location? "The car impact. If this is a fixed dimensional point, and the car impacted it at the right angle with the right force, that could have weakened the barrier more."

"Can you open it?"
"Oh hell no."
"Language David."
"Seriously?" I got a stern look. "Fine, but even if I could, I wouldn't. No dimension is the same. Laws of physics alter. There might not even be breathable atmosphere there."

Uncle Bill didn't like that. "You know the Power Rangers."
"But they don't go looking for trouble. They use their gifts for defense only." I had taken his last shred of hope away from him. "Don't worry. I'll keep looking into this." I returned to his side and teleported us back to the car.

The quiet and stoic manner I usually associated with my Uncle had returned. "Thank you. I feel like I can now start reprioritizing some things in my life. Get this Ranger program going."

"I don't think it's a good idea to pursue this."
"When Rita attacked the Power Rangers showed up. What took Ryan happened before that. What if they return? What if something worse comes down the path? You would not believe what I have investigated in New York and in cities all along the west coast."

"I've been with you so far. But aliens have been coming to Earth for thousands of years. We can't prepare for every contingency. And even if Ryan turns out to be alive, there are way too many inhabited planets to search. That also doesn't factor in alternate dimensions," I pointed to the cliff for emphasis "or parallel worlds. The multiple combinations has infinite possibilities."

"You know a lot don't you."
"When it comes to aliens and other weird things, way more than you."
"I'll take it under advisement. But we can't just shut down the project."
"Shift your priorities. Instead of this rather aggressive offensive you've taken, maybe consider helping and rescuing people if things get bad as you're worried about."

"That's a definite idea."
"I have to get going and hang out with some friends. Please let you're lackeys know that if they get too close I pack a ray gun that can disintegrate stuff."
"Done. But one more question."
"Why not."
"How did you do that thing with my guard?"
"Trade secret." I have no frakking idea. "Let your friends know that I will be checking in on them as well. Now if you'll excuse me I have to reserve tickets for an upcoming superhero movie. You need me, I'll be there in the speed of light"

I know I was more forthcoming with information than necessary. But I didn't give any specifics and I was still able to demonstrate my expertise far exceeded theirs. Now I need to make an appointment with the mayor's office.
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Old January 10th, 2015, 02:45 AM   #9
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 8

Zordon was so right. I needed a break.

I had spent almost two years living out my fantasies but now I needed a slight reality check. Especially since my reality was becoming ever increasingly odd. My life had gone from lame Saturday morning teen show, to science fiction fantasy and was now starting to factor in military intrigue and politics. I find politics boring so enough was enough.

Reconnecting with my friends was a small step in the right direction. Marcus scoured every cheap theater he could find so he could share with me movies I had missed. At least one out of every two or three days I had Troy show up at my door and we would hang until his mother sent his sister Silvy to bring him home for dinner. It was when my group went to see Batman Forever that I realized that Paul and Troy were becoming good buddies also. Good for Troy. He's adjusting well. It bothered me they hadn't gone with a younger actor for Dick Grayson / Robin (I felt confident I could play a martial arts practicing teen superhero sidekick better) and a week later I was bummed by the complete historical inaccuracy in Pocahontas. But the tradition of Disney songs being very catchy continued. We had to go to a record store immediately after the movie so Adina could get the soundtrack.

I hadn't forgotten my promise to Uncle William, I just wasn't sure how to proceed. It was one more problem on top of a slowly diminishing pile. The Green Rangers powers seemed largely straightened out now even if I couldn't use them. Zordon and Alpha had gotten the Ultrazord configuration to work (which I only knew because of the news). I couldn't remember the last time I had gone more than a couple days without going to the Command Center. It felt odd the first week. Staying low key with the military possibly watching me was shockingly easy as Rita and Zedd were being quiet. Attacks still naturally came, but they were definitely coming in a lesser quantity and frequency. If they were planning something, it gave us time to prepare. Then there are the sporadic super powers which only seem to appear when convenient.

During one lazy morning my mind drifted back to the letter from clone Tommy that had outed me to Uncle William. I got a shovel and teleported outside of the Command Center where I had found the markings the month before. This had once been top of my list but had gotten completely distracted from it. As I dug I began to wonder if Billy's ID had been compromised too. I also didn't want to bring it up to Captain Mitchell or Norquist in case it hadn't. I quickly found a very well preserved satchel, and with some digging found several more similar satchels and wooden crates. What is down there? A cursory examination of them had numerous letters, documents and journals of clone Tommy's travels. I gathered up as much as I could carry, reburied the rest and went home. I carefully spread these yellowed pages on my floor completely fascinated. Turns out this Tommy became something of an amateur historian and archeologist, looking into and studying legends and folklore. He spent most of his time along the west coast but apparently also traveled overseas to Japan.

Before I could really dive in, my mother distracted me with a knock at my bedroom door. "Sweety, did you get that letter?"

"No, what letter?"
"It came a few days ago but you were out. I just remembered about it. Come and help me find it."

I carefully stacked the ancient papers under my bed and did as I was told. While Mom looked in the kitchen I eventually found the letter under the living room couch. It was from the Mayor. She wanted to arrange a meeting. I knew I needed to do it but it but didn't want to yet.

"Is that from the office of the Mayor of Angel Grove?" When I had set the envelope down my mother had snatched it up now that she had bothered to read the sender address.

"Uh, yeah. The letter says she heard about me and school and wants to discuss some sort of education initiative or something."

"When?"
"Doesn't say, I'm supposed to call-"

Mother was already looking up the number in the phone book. "This is so amazing. One of my boys having a private session with the Mayor herself. Isn't this thrilling?"

"Yippee." She ignored my deadpan delivery. When I met with the mayor, I had wanted it on a more neutral ground or a place I could control. No such luck. I now had a meeting for the next morning set.

Mom literally spent the rest of the afternoon calling every friend and family member she could think of to pass on my meeting. "My brother was especially impressed."

"I'm sure he was." Again I was ignored. Dad and Billy both offered me some praise when they found out which I just shrugged off. I spent the rest of the day mentally preparing for a battle of wills. I could not be taken unawares again like I had been in the Dragonzord. The next morning, Mother had the misfortune of being the first victim of my tongue when I declined a ride to city hall. As I slung my backpack over my shoulders, she rushed down to tell our new neighbor of my meeting. My annoyance fueled me. After arriving at city hall I only had to wait a few minutes before a secretary ushered me in.

The mayor smiled pleasantly at men. "Hello again, David. I'm glad we can meet on pleasanter circumstances."

I glanced around her spacious and comfortably decorated office. I couldn't be too rude, so I greeted her with "Madam Mayor."

"That is incredibly too formal. I hope that we can be friends, so please, call me Diane."

Still not pacified, I continued to look around for anything.

"You are good, kid. Scan the room, you won't find anything."
"How do you know?"
She beckoned me forward, and in a not quite whisper she says. "I used to be FBI."
"Sure you were." But I took my navigator out anyway to begin the scans.
"No I was."
"And why tell me, a complete stranger?"
"One, nothing I did back then has any real relevance to what I wish to discuss. Two, I've been retired since before you were born. And three, I can tell you know how to keep a secret."

I completed my scan. The room was secure but I detected that similar energy from the Mayor.

"Still getting funny readings from me?"
I nodded.
Diane sat down at a couch alongside the wall and directed me to a chair adjacent to her. "Please."
I complied.
"What do you know of the history of the Power Rangers? I mean besides your allies."
"I... am aware of other teams. Off world."
"Have you looked into it at all?"
"I've never had a reason to."
"Have you ever heard of one called 'Battle Fever'?"
"No."
"Thousands of years ago, the planet called simply Jae was under attack from a being named Egos. Egos had an army of secret followers infiltrating all parts of their society: military, politics, finance, everything. Unable to trust their own people a military officer named General Kurama had their scientists bring individuals to their planet who could fight Egos and not be swayed by him."

I just looked at her. "Even if that was true, how the hell would you know that?"

Diane smiled again. "Trust me when I say I know." She leaned over to the table and pulled a picture out of a drawer. In the photo were five young people. They were wearing Ranger-esque costumes but they had no one central team design. But each had chest emblems that I slowly realized had significance to Earth countries. One was like the Russian hammer and sickle. Another had a shield that resembled Captain America's triangular shield. The middle had a red dot which could mean Japan. Another red, white and blue flag that I couldn't remember because there are several. The last I couldn't place immediately either but I knew it was from Africa. I didn't recognize any of them but the girl seemed vaguely familiar. "This was Battle Fever. Her name was Miss America."

I focused more on the girl and wondered where I had seen her. There was a definite resemblance to the secretary who led me in here but that wasn't her. I glanced back at Diane. Same smile, same eyes, same nose. "What the-" I started doing double takes.

Diane just smiled again. "Ta-da!"
"You were a-"
"Yes, I was."
"Your helmet looks stupid."
"What did I know about costumes. They based the design off of comic books that were brought with me."
"This doesn't make sense. I am aware of at least one team that has been around at least 2000 years. But you're saying that this team, that you were on, predates them by several thousand more years."

"Shall I tell you?" All I could think to do was nod. Diane leaned forward and pressed a button on a call box. "Cancel my appointments for the rest of the morning, and brings in some beverages for me and my guest. Is Pepsi okay? This could take a while."

"Sure."
"The year was 1955. I was eighteen and barely out of high school. My parents were anxious for me to find a husband but I knew I wasn't ready yet. They didn't want to help me with college because they considered it a waste of money for a future wife. I knew I wanted to do something but women's jobs were limited at the time. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a secretary, nurse or teacher for the rest of my life either."

The assistant then came in with glasses, sodas and a container of ice. Not wanting to interrupt the flow this needed to sound legit. "Did you have any ideas of what you would study when you went to college?"

"My parents had kept me rather sheltered. I just wanted to go. To have a life experience that wasn't planned for me by my parents." The drinks were placed before us. "Thank you Maria." I tried to discreetly examine Maria's face and there was a definite resemblance to Miss America in her as well. After the secretary's departure we could get back on topic.

"But how did it happen? Actually leaving the planet."
"I was at a newsstand looking for movie listings in the paper. The wind picked up and this, for lack of a better word, opening began to appear in mid-air."

"A portal."
"People nearby ran in fear, but I could swear I heard a voice saying 'help us' coming from the portal. I took a few steps forward and the wind picked up. I was pulled in. Next thing I knew, I was in a laboratory with four men while we were all covered in papers and magazines from the newsstand. It was like Wizard of Oz, before becoming Star Wars."

I imagined the first time I went to the Command Center. "It's a weird feeling. Knowing your perception of the world has changed. But how did you get there? I've never experienced interplanetary travel like that being instantaneous. That also still doesn't explain how the timeline doesn't match up."

"One of the scientists, while working on creating the powers had also been working on breaching temporal barriers since they had space travel licked. It was wrigged into being used as a teleporter to bring us there, but some calculations were off."

"You were pulled across not just space but time as well."
"Just like a Doctor Who companion."
"Haven't seen it, but I get the reference."
"You see David, you come from a generation that is more familiar and comfortable with the bizarre than mine. We were all afraid of little green martians, not aliens who looked like us. We were uncertain and definitely not trusting of each other."

"Why?"
"I was from the United States. The men who arrived with me were from Japan, Kenya, France and the Soviet Union."
"Holy. Crap. That had to be awkward. The Cold War was going on."
"I know. We quickly realized we were stuck on this alien planet. And all we really had was each other."

"Why you guys though? Why were you so special?"
"We weren't. General Kurama said that a planet was chosen at random and we were asked to help. The teleportation scientist made the final choice."

"Who was the scientist?"
"His name was Zordam, from the planet Eltar."
That couldn't be a coincidence. "What was he like?"
"Very smart, a bit of a know it all."
Not surprised. "Anything else?"
"He became good friends with Den Masao. He was the one from Japan that became our leader. They would tell each other stories from our worlds. Zordam was especially fascinated with the story of Gojira."

Why does that sound HOLY CRAP?! "You mean..."
"Yep." Diane shook her head in disbelief. "Unfortunately, the followers of Egos heard this tale and they started turning their monsters into giants. So Zordam eventually had to create a machine to fight them."

"And it was called a zord after him." My mind was slowly being blown more and more. For the next couple hours, she told me tales of her team and exploits. I interjected on a few occasions to offer my own personal anecdotes. It was surprisingly freeing to openly discuss this with someone who understood the life but had a distinct voice about it. We could have definitely kept talking if we hadn't been interrupted by her assistant coming in.

"Gra...uh, Madam Mayor, we have had numerous accounts of Ranger activity today. I feel you must be made aware." The secretary then looked to me as if I was preventing her from something important.

"It's all right Maria. I've no problems with you speaking freely in front of Mr. Cranston."
"Very well. There was apparently a fight with the purple birds down at the lake."
Billy had invited me to go yesterday, but I had this. "What else?"
Maria glared at me again for being inquisitive. "Not long after, Goldar had a confrontation with that mysterious blue character. The White Ranger was seen approaching the battle in the Falconzord, but not two minutes later, he was seen falling out of the sky and his zord leaving the battle without participating. We then got a notice of another monster attack in the park but no information beyond the confirmation."

This was most unusual considering Zedd and Rita's recent behavior. What were they up to?

"Thank you Maria. Keep me apprised." Diane stood and walked to her desk as Maria left. "We've gone slightly off topic from what I wanted to discuss today. But I hope you can now feel comfortable with the notion that I have no hostile or negative intent toward your team."

"I'd say today was a good step toward establishing some trust."
"Good. Now as you may know we are having another Power Ranger celebration in about a week. While Ranger merchandise has cropped up ever since their first appearance, I wanted you to know that I have been having my legal department working on a way that a singular brand of legitimate products be under one merchandiser."

"But wait, who would control it and get the money?"
"All profits are placed in a trust that is funneled back into the city for reconstruction and humanitarian aid. I can have all documents and finances be made available to you."

This was getting out of my realm of understanding. I may just have to ask Captain Mitchell for his opinion. "It sounds okay."

"Here, this is what I mean by legitimate merchandise." Diane then handed me a CD with a picture of the Power Rangers on the cover. "We had some musicians work on a song for the event. We were able to get several famous musicians to either donate a song or contribute somehow."

It was then that my communicator beeped. It startled me since I hadn't heard it in so long. It also must be bad for Zordon to summon me from my ordered vacation. "I better get going. Something earth shattering may need my attention."

Diane glanced at my communicator. "I won't keep you. You still better leave through the door or Maria will have questions."

I made my hurried departure. Outside, I ducked behind some shrubbery and teleported. I found Alpha rushing back and forth between consoles, as often happened when Alpha began feeling overwhelmed. "And I thought I was going to have a rough day. Alpha, what is it?"

"Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi! Dave, I need help."
"Sure, no problem. What's going on?"

Zordon then began to explain as Alpha started to slow down. '"David, I apologize for bringing you in but time may be an issue. The Crane ninja coin was stolen from Kimberly, Tommy was ejected from the Falconzord before it was also stolen, Ninjor is missing and Goldar has now abducted the Pink Ranger."

I took a moment to try to process that. "Okay. You guys have definitely had a worse day than I have."
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Old May 13th, 2015, 12:53 AM   #10
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 9

Zordon‘s head slowly bobbed up and down slightly. “I am aware of the legacy of ancient Ranger teams, but one on Earth still being alive is astonishing.”

“I know.” I ran another scan over California. No sign of Kim or Ninjor. It was then I finally got my results of a planetary scan. I got excited about a small blip, until I realized that it was coming from Switzerland. “She seems trustworthy too.”

“I am eager to hear more, but finding the Pink Ranger must remain our priority at the moment.”

I was trying to come up with another search parameter to when the Rangers teleported in. "What happened?"

"Nothing happened." Rocky sounded completely dejected as the team removed their helmets. "We fought and before anything could happen it just left."

"Rangers, please report your encounter," said Zordon. "What do you make of this dilemma?"

The team assembled before the time warp cylinder. Tommy started "It was a trick."

"I'm afraid so Tommy. Zedd lured you into battle with Incisorator so you would not be able to help Kimberly."

"Why? He already has her power coin. What does he want with her now?" asked Aisha.

Zordon answered "I can't read Zedd's mind. His intentions are a mystery to me. The next move is his.”

"Oh, man. This is unbelievable. First Zedd steal's Kimberly's power coin, takes the Falconzord, then Ninjor disappears" Tommy was just trying to process everything.

"And now Kimberly" added Adam.

"Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi. What's this Rangers?"
"What is it Alpha?" asked Billy, hovering over the robot.
"My scannerss indicate Lord Zedd has initiated the power infusion to the ancient zords.”
"And with ours down, we're sitting ducks."

Adam looked around at his teammates. "So what do we do?"

Everyone kind of looked at each other for a moment, each one giving our leader Tommy a double take. So I gave my opinion. "We keep looking for Kim until we come up with anything else."

Tommy nodded. "Agreed."
"Billy, I have some search parameters already programmed. I'm going to go see if I can figure a way to strengthen the scanner efficiency."

I lost track of time in the upper chamber above the Command Center. No matter how many configurations I though up I had little success. Billy had expanded what I had started into a dimensional search which he was way more familiar with than I was. Alpha was still monitoring Zedd's zords which were now fully powered. I leaned back in my chair and rubbed my eyes. I take one tiny vacation and everything goes to crap. But where could Kimberly be? Where was she last seen? I accessed the memory records in case Zordon left something out of his recap. Kim was weakened by the theft of her coin. Okay, so she stayed behind… fast forward to Kim seeing someone in distress in the viewing globe.

In the playback I heard Kim say "Tengas have Katherine."

Who is Katherine? I readjusted the scanner to show me the feed of what Kim had seen. A blonde girl in one of the more remote parts of the park on the other side of the lake. Well that isn't suspicious. The Pink Ninja Ranger arrived on the scene but didn't last long before being kidnapped by Goldar. "Where did the girl go?" She was nowhere to be seen. "All right, that is definitely suspicious." But maybe the gang knows something about this girl that might help. I headed back to the Command Center to find some very bummed Rangers. Aisha was leaning against a console with Rocky sitting next to her. Alpha was working the sensors with Billy and Adam looking over the robot. Tommy was pacing when he saw me approaching. I shook my head no.

Tommy looked to the ground for a second before turning to my brother. "Have you been able to get a fix on Kimberly yet, Billy?"

It was then that lights began to flash, like energy discharges throughout the room. That got everyone's attention and got Billy to respond. "We're still trying, Tommy."

As I walked up to the back of the console station a voice sent a chill down my spine. "Please allow me to save you the trouble Rangers." I froze a couple steps away in shock. Everyone in the room turned to look at the viewing globe.

Aisha expressed what we were all feeling in the most polite way "Oh my gosh."
Adam was next. "How'd he get in there?"
"I haven't got a clue" was Billy's answer.

"Your precious Pink Ranger is here with me," bragged Lord Zedd. "I'm having a wonderful time draining all the power out of her body. It's quite a spectator sport. By the end of the day, she will no longer be in the pink. In fact, she'll be history." A visual of an unconscious Kimberly appeared. She was on a rotating table as bursts of pink energy were intermittently leaving her body. Zedd's commentary continued. "See, she's already sleeping quite comfortably, which is nice work if you can get it.

"I demand that you release the Pink Ranger!" Zordon rarely used that tone of voice.

"Silence! The only one making demands at this point is me!

Tommy took a step forward. "What do you want?"

"Teleport me to your Command Center and I will tell you in person."

That drew my attention away from the viewing globe first to Tommy, then to Zordon, but it was Alpha who was the first to respond. "The Command Center is no place for the evil likes of you!"

Zedd was impatient. "Do it now, or risk harm to your precious Kimberly!"

"Zordon, we don't have a choice. We have to. For Kimberly." Tommy voice changed with those last two words.

"I agree with your decision, Tommy. Alpha, you may proceed."

Alpha slowly turned around to work the teleporter. After a few button pushes, the Command Center slowly began to shake. The WHOLE Command Center. I took the last few steps that brought me into contact with the blue console wall for me to brace myself against something. Several large blinding flashes from nowhere lit up the entire room and forced me to cover my eyes. When I opened them where once had been an empty space by the viewing globe was now replaced with a set of stairs. Zedd's throne was on top with smoke drifting around from... somewhere. The throne rotated around as Zedd chuckled from his perch. It was then that I realized this was the closest I had ever been to Zedd. Seen him, oh sure. But never been in the same room with him.

"Greetings, my friends." Zedd had this unusual tone of sarcastic and smug. "Isn't anyone going to ask how my trip was?"

"Get on with it, Zedd. While you sit there Kimberly's life is ebbing away." Now Zordon was impatient.

Zedd just thrummed his fingers on his arm rest and looked around. "Hmm. Not a bad place. A little tacky. When I take over, I'll have my darling wife redecorate it." When he realized he was getting no reaction from his taunting, Zedd leaned forward. "Oh Alpha! You can come out of hiding."

Everyone glanced to see that Alpha was in fact gone, having taken cover behind the console in front of Zordon. "I don't like you-- Ed."

That got a large reaction from the skinless alien. "It's Zedd, you blinking bucket of bolts!" His flailing arms made him look like a large toddler having a fit. "Lord Zedd!"

"Get on with it, Zedd." Tommy was trying to take control of the situation. "What do you want."

"All right, Power Rangers," Zedd rose from his throne and began to slowly descend. "This is your dilemma. You agree to pilot my new fleet of zords and do all my evil bidding, or you can refuse my offer, in which case we can all sit around and have a jolly time watching the Pink Ranger waste away." His ultimatum complete, Zedd stopped on the next to last step.

"I will never let you get away with this." Now Zordon was sounding desperate.

"Save your breath, Zordon. I'm giving the commands around here. Now, I'll give you a moment to make your decision."

The team formed a semi huddle around Tommy. I leaned as close as I dared without drawing too much attention to myself.

Adam spoke first. "Tommy, what do we do?"
Billy answered "We can't let anything happen to Kimberly. She's one of us."

"Tick tock, tick tock," mocked Zedd. "Time is up heroes, or should I say zeroes? Oh, zeroes. That's a good one. So now what did you decide? I can't wait to hear it." He then began to laugh.

The Rangers stood there contemplating their options. "Like we really have a choice in this." It wasn't until after the words were out of my mouth that I realized I had said them. I suddenly felt very alone standing by myself.

Zedd turned to look directly at me for the first time. "You're still hanging around are you? As what, team mascot?"

"And other things. We both know what happened to the last dictator who crossed me."

Zedd threw his head back in even greater laughter than before. "This one is at least amusing. But time is growing even shorter, Tommy. Final answer?"

Tommy gave the only answer he could “We’ll pilot your zords, Zedd.”

“Wise choice, Rangers.” Zedd turned and headed back up the stairs to his chair. “You will report for duty at dusk, with your new master. Me! Get ready for the ride of your lives.” He had sat and his chair began to turn while he laughed. “See ‘ya!” He then disappeared in a flash of lightning and smoke.

I checked my watch. Holy crap! More time had passed than I thought. “We’ve only got a little over three hours until dusk. What now?”

“Billy will continue to search for Kimberly. David, it is getting late. You need to return home.”
“What? Why?”
“You’re parents will be wanting to hear of your morning. And you will need rest in case we need you again later.”

That sounded incredibly plausible, but I also felt like Zordon was trying to get rid of me for some reason. It was then I noticed I had been leaning against the consoles ever since Zedd showed up and was using it to support myself. Yeah, I was shook up. I looked to my brother and gave him his cover. “You were studying late at Ernie’s and grabbed a bite there.” I nodded to everyone else. “Good luck.”

I couldn't go home, not quite yet. I could do a quick recon of where Kim was attacked and head straight home from there. I teleported out while jetting, to see if I could spot the location of Kim’s last fight. Maybe there was a clue. As I made my descent I felt something jostle me and the green energy surrounding me began to flicker. It was then I saw something speeding toward me, mid-air, moving fast. I had no defense when it impacted me. The teleport began to disrupt as I bounced over the lake like a skipped stone, barely landing before the energy disrupted completely. I rolled through the beach and into the grass disoriented from the sand going everywhere.

I was just barely able to orient myself when two figures appeared before me. The were both decked out into black ninja garb, the man’s had a red streak across the chest, the woman had blue. And their aggressive posture clearly showed they wanted to fight. “This is low, even for Zedd. You could have killed me. And the costumes are not very effective in broad daylight.” As I got up I hurt all over and my legs still were wobbly. But I was also a little pissed off. I looked around to see if there was anybody. “Good, no restraint.”

They began to circle me. The woman threw the first punch and I blocked it easily. Then a kick from the man was easily dodged. The attacks continued with intermittent increases in attack patterns. They weren't trying to take me down - they were testing me. I spun away the first chance I had. “I don’t have time for this.” I had to risk morphing. I threw my right arm into the first gesture “Ninja Ranger-” and was immediately blasted backwards disrupting the change. It set me back only a couple steps and I stared as red energy tendrils like living lightning were emanating from the man’s hand. The woman began to circle again as blue lightning began to form in her hand.
“Okay. You guys have superpowers.” And at that moment I wished whatever the hell I could do would start working now. I put my hands up in a feeble attempt to keep a little more distance from them. “Clearly there is more going on here than I am aware of.” Each one of them shot an energy blast my way. By not moving I lucked out by not getting hit. “And you don’t want me to leave. Why?” It was then that I felt my fingers start to tingle, like static electricity. Not surprising considering. But my hands then began to spark before they both erupted with electrical energy. My right hand near the woman was blue and left near the man was red. I couldn't help but being astonished. As I held them before me the energy between the two began to shoot back and forth until my hands glowed with purple lightning. My attackers were startled and now stared at me. “Okay then.” I then quickly raised my hands towards the ninjas and willed the energy away. Both were knocked to the ground by the purple lightening.

I ran for the park tree line hoping for some shelter. It was as I got passed them that I discovered where the park attendees were. Flying kites and having picnics, apparently avoiding the beach after the Tenga attack that morning. I slowed down but tried to get as quickly across without drawing attention. The adrenaline was pumping and I didn't know if I should expect another attack. The purple lightning around my hands had disappeared but I still felt the need to shove them in my pockets.

I was probably looking very paranoid as I looked around non-stop while walking. That attack didn't make sense. Rita and Zedd had never paid me much concern in the past and you would think they would be more focused with having Kimberly, Ninjor, Falconzord and these ancient zords. Unless they needed me for something. Now I did sound paranoid. And how was I able to… I am an idiot. When I was around telekinetic aliens, I got telekinesis. When I was around ninjas with lightning powers, I got lightning powers. After flying through the air with Ninjor, I manifested what had to be some sort of wind power. Someone in the crowd that day I came back from Earth 2 must have had super speed. I can mimic the powers of others, like Rogue except without the touch of potential death. And I don’t know how but have been able to do it ever since my trip to Daos.

I was lost in thought the rest of the way home. I could have been attacked again and not even realized it. I. Have. Super. Powers. And a potentially awesome one at that. Could I mimic all powers? Like the monsters the Rangers face on a daily basis or only certain people? As I walked in the front and smelled dinner cooking did I remember I hadn’t eaten since this morning and my stomach growled with a vengeance. “Mom? Dad?”

“Living room, Sweety.” I walked in to see that my parents had company. “David Cranston, you are filthy!” Mom rose and tried to dust some sand off my clothes.

The blonde lady spoke. “It’s all right Mrs. Cranston, we have a couple of boys ourselves.”

The man added “I can’t remember the last time they were clean longer than an afternoon.”

Dad then rose from his chair to pull me closer to the guests as Mom started to eyeball her Dustbuster. “Dave, this is Mr. and Mrs. Bradley. They came to invite you to attend their martial arts camp.”

Mrs. Bradley extended her hand to shake mine. As our hands got closer there was a very loud pop and noticeable spark that the whole room saw. I jerked my hand away in shock but she was unfazed. “Sorry about that. Happens to me all the time.”

Everyone just laughed it off but Mr. Bradley was now looking at me. “That was a pretty blue color. But I think Dave is more of an, I don’t know, more of a purple kind of guy.”
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Old August 7th, 2015, 05:42 AM   #11
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 10

My decreasing adrenaline level started to rise again. Mrs. Bradley gave her husband a slightly annoyed glance before sitting back onto the couch.

My mother also sat again herself and began to wave me to sit as well. “Actually he’s going through a green phase right now. A friend of his gave him some hand me downs and-”

“Mom, they don’t care.” I grabbed a footstool and placed myself in front of the guests while equidistant from my parents. “So… you run a camp.”

Mr. Bradley answered. “Yes. Actually a friend of ours saw you and was impressed by your abilities. He was unable to make it but we volunteered to come in his stead. Let’s just say you are already not what we were expecting.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Mom was intrigued.

“Oh no nothing like that. It’s just we usually start out most of the students when they are a little younger. But the fact David already has some martial arts proficiency he can probably catch up in terms of curriculum.”

Dad caught onto the phrasing. “I thought it was a camp but you make it sound more like a school.”

Mrs. Bradley continued. “In a way we are. We don’t just teach them martial arts, but meditation techniques, history of the art forms, nature appreciation and even things like herbal remedies. Whatever topics they have an interest or affinity for.”

“Huh. Are they graded on these subjects?” Dad wasn't buying it. He is incredibly open minded about things but they were losing him. Maybe this can be over quickly.

“And how much will this take from his regular schooling?” Whoa, Mom wasn’t trying to get me involved into an extracurricular.

“Well our location is rather far so daily commuting would be difficult at first. Our friend who was to come is much closer in Blue Bay Harbor.” Mr. Bradley hadn’t realized my parent’s tone changed.

“That is still about an hour away on the freeway. No offense intended but that is a bit too impractical. Dave already has responsibilities here that he should focus on first.”

Go, Dad, go!

“We are well aware of the problems of the modern teen. With certain individuals as exemplary as your son, we try to concentrate on certain gifts that they inherently have and teach them focus and mastery of those skills. Even ones they may not know about or have only the barest comprehension of.”

Why does this lady have to sound so rational? And does that skills remark mean powers? Like a ninja version of the Xavier School? Wait, continue to hate them, they knocked you from the sky. But now my interest was starting to increase. “The other guy, the one who was supposed to come. He teaches a different philosophy than yours? How many are there?” A ding from the kitchen ended my questioning.

“My meatloaf is ready, I need to check on it.” Aw Mom, ever polite. Don’t ask them to stay. She rushed out of the room. Dad got up too, but he gets nervous in social interactions without Mom around.

“We should get going anyway.” said Mr. Bradley as he rose, took his wife’s given hand and assisted her up. “Dave, can we have a private moment?”

“It was a pleasure to meet you.” Dad shook their hands and stood there awkwardly.

I stiffly had to lead the guest to the door and escort them outside. I looked at my hands to see if the electric powers kicked back in but they hadn’t. I closed the door anticipating another fight. “What are you doing here really?”

“Your parents really have no clue about this double life you have going do they?” Mr. Bradley sounded almost… impressed?

“No and it is going to stay that way.”
“Let me guess, fate of the world.”
“That is none of your business. Why did you attack me?”

“We definitely need to apologize for that. There is a method of transportation we utilize that is very similar to what you were doing earlier. It is a very advanced skill and we needed to test you.” Why is this lady so nice? “Our friend saw you do it and that is what drew his attention.”

“Do you mean that short burst of speed?” The Rangers have an ability like this with their ninja abilities. Can these people do it for real? What else can they do?

Mrs. Bradley nodded. “There are many skills and abilities that can be taught at our schools. Normally the more practiced the master we can easily locate students and intuitively place the student to the proper principle. Your incredible elusiveness made that difficult. But the manifestation of energy discharges like ours definitely means something.”

“Not to mention long stretches of time where you seemed to just disappear.” Mr. Bradley still seemed impressed.

“You teach a school, this friend teaches one, you didn't answer how many are there?”

“Several but…” Mr. Bradley now seemed to get upset.
Mrs. Bradley placed a hand on her husband’s shoulder. “That is a sensitive subject right now.” She pulled out a card from her pocket and handed it to me. “We understand that you probably don’t trust us. But you have a truely rare and amazing gift. We don’t know what you are doing and but it must be important to you. We can help you train, learn and control abilities you don’t even know you can do.”

I glanced at my hands. “I’m starting to get that.”

“Any questions or you can get your parents to change their minds, just call.” Mr. Bradley reached out his hand to shake mine.

I didn’t want to, but then I remembered that I could knock him on his ass with his own power if I had to. “I should get back to my normal life.” I glanced at my front door and when I looked back to them the couple were gone. “Maybe learning to do that without morphing could have it’s uses.” I put the card in my pocket and started to head inside when I heard a small crash from what seemed to be the back yard. I slowly alllowed my head to slam against the door frame in exasperation. What now? Please let it be the Whedon’s dog trying to get into the trash again. Turns out it was just Billy in the garage. He was moving stuff around. I was relieved until I remembered I shouldn't be. “What’s going on? Did you find Kim?”

“I did. She is in one of Zedd’s dimensions. What happened?”
I realized I still had sand all over my arms and clothes. “Attacked by ninjas. Why aren't you getting her out?”
Billy had a small double take at that but answered. “Rita and Zedd have been watching us pretty close but Zordon says they are distracted right now. We needed a way to take advantage of that by using a way Zedd wouldn't be monitoring or expecting. So we’re using the PortalCom.”

I helped Billy drag both pieces out of their hiding places. “Do you need help with the set up?”
“No, but Zordon wants you stay here.” Both portal stands were close enough Billy was able position himself between them. He grabbed both of them and asked, “Do you mind?” and nodded toward his left.

“Get her out safe.” I then activated his wrist teleporter. With my brother and his machines gone in a flash of blue light all I could do was head inside. Side lined again.

“Where’s your brother?” Dad was already seated at the table when I came in.
“Studying,” I lied.
“Will he be home soon?” Mom was putting potatoes on the table.
“Doubtful.”
“Honey, you’re still all dirty. Go wash up and we’ll start.”
“Sure.” I grabbed some clothes from my room and went to the bathroom. The quick shower was amazing and I realized I was starting to feel really sore from my ninja encounter. And hungry since I hadn’t eaten anything since that morning. I arrived back in the kitchen dressed but barefoot approximately six minutes after leaving it.

Mom passed me the green beans as I sat down. “So, you’ve had an eventful day. First the mayor, now that-- odd couple visiting.”
Dad perked up. “I forgot that was today. A private meeting with the mayor. How did that go?”
Odd. “Fine”
“What did you talk about?”
“Stuff.” Even though my stomach was grumbling at the smell of the food I was finding it hard to actually eat. It was then I noticed both parents just watching me. “Community activities, outreach programs, civic duty stuff.” That wasn’t entirely a lie and I just said it without thinking. Am I becoming too good a liar? “I might be spending some time at city hall planning stuff.” It never hurts to have a potential alibi for future shenanigans.

“Wow. I’m impressed. I guess no martial arts camp then.”
Despite just taken a bite of food, Mom made a noise eager to comment. “That was rather odd wasn’t it. I wonder who those people were. Shall I toss out that brochure they left?”

I was now oddly intrigued. Secret ninja schools have brochures. “Can I take a look at it first? Just in case.”

Dad nodded at Mom. “I don’t see any harm. But Dave, you are going to be a Sophmore this year. Do you think you can balance all this?”

I shrugged. “I can try my best.”

Dinner then transitioned into my parent’s discussing their day. We were about finished when there was a loud knock at the door that was almost banging. Then rapidly pushing of the door bell. Mom was closest so she rose and hurried to the door. “Troy? What’s wrong?”

When I heard my friend’s name I hurried to the door. Troy was looking to the sky and pointing. “What is that?”

I stepped out with him into the front yard. There was a giant floating head over the park. “That would be Rita Repulsa.” The sun was still bright but there was a noticeable temperature drop from earlier. Dusk was approaching. Either they saved Kim and were about to lay down another alien defeat. Or they… I looked at my mom at the door. Both my parents stood there now staring at the sky. I wanted to check in but if theu were fighting I didn’t need to distract them.

Troy tapped me on the arm. “And that?”
I followed his arm. There were five things hovering over the park’s treeline. Are those heads? “Zords, I think.”

“This is so freaking cool!”
“Yeah. Cool.”
“You don’t hink so.“ Troy misunderstood my concern as just being under whelmed.
“You get used to it.” Very rarely did I worry about the gang, but they literally had made a deal with the devil this time. And he was red too. The last time I could remember feeling like this was… right before I found out their secret. It was then that the monster alert went off. “Troy, you might need to go home.”

“Uh, my mom isn’t--”
“Inside.” I started back to my front door and beckoned him to follow. My parents were also waving us in, their faces worried.

We all walked back to the kitchen, Mom sounding more subdued. “Troy, are you hungry? We were having dinner. Please join us.” Troy and I sat down at the table. Everyone was quiet, but both my parent’s were eager to gather provisions together to feed our guest. They loaded up a plate and gave it to him. But once that momentary distraction was over, worry returned to their faces. They sat in their chairs slowly. Mom spoke again, quieter this time. “Do you think Billy is okay?”

“He’s fine!” I didn’t mean to snap at her. All eyes were now on me since I wasn’t sharing their fears. I tried to downplay it. “It’s just Rita. The Power Rangers have beaten her, like, a hundred times. Ugh, I just said like in valley girl speak. Conversation ended there but tension continued to slowly increase. Are my parents like this during every monster attack? I’ve gotten used to it but I also know the whole situation. With dinner finished everyone got up from the table, eager to move and be active. Troy got a call from Paul of all people on his cell phone. I hate dishes but was fine putting leftovers into Tupperware as that didn’t take very long. My chore completed and the others distracted, I hustled to my room. I had to risk it. “Alpha, come in.”

“Yes, Dave.”
“Any news?”
“Tommy got Kimberly out. She’s weak but okay. And Billy was able to reprogram the Shogun zords to our control. They‘re engaging a monster right now.”

I was worried over nothing. Should have known better by now. “That is good news.” I cut the connection and went back into the kitchen. Dad was now standing in the open door way. Troy was gone.

Mom answered before I had a chance to ask. “His mother just got home.”

I joined my dad at the front door just in time to see Troy hugging his mother in their yard. Dad didn’t hesitate to do the same to me, resting his chin on my head. I waved back when Troy‘s mom waved and led her children inside. “Are you always like this?”

“What do you mean?”
“When there is an alien attack. Are you always this -- paniced?”
“I worry about you boys and your mother everyday. A potential alien invasion happening every couple days doesn’t help though.”

I pulled away from his embrace. “What do you think about the Power Rangers?”
“Your mother may see things differently, but I like them.”
“Why?”
“For one thing, their arrival has proven that there is sentient life out there in the universe. And I can’t believe that they are all like that Rita person and her minions. Those robots of their’s show a huge potential in technology that could revolutionize travel and possibly interstellar travel. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I met a Power Ranger once.”

I know. It was me. “Really. What did you think?”
“He was just returning from some space mission. He was polite, but Norquist and I agree that he seemed very guarded, and weary. I guess saving the universe can get stressful. But the moment the world was in danger, there they were to save us. And despite all the weird things that have happened the last couple of years they keep doing it. So I‘m all for them. You‘re the super hero fan, I‘m kind of surprised you would ask something like that when you always seemed so excited by them.”

“It’s just been a very long and complicated day.”

Billy came home not long after. Kim was safe but she still was without a Coin so the Rangers would have to use theirs to enable her to morph. Billy had jury rigged the Shogun zords to operate off of the Ninja coins and Alpha was busy integrating them into the Command Center systems. I went to bed that night feeling somewhat at ease to know that. But the longer I laid there, the more the bruises I knew were forming from the ninja beach fight began to ache. Unable to sleep, I got up and teleported to the Command Center. The lights were reduced but Alpha was diligently working at one of the terminals.

“Dave, it’s late, what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to talk to Zordon about some things. Where is he?” The large tube he resided in was empty and dark.

“Trouble has broken out on a planet Zordon has been helping. He decided to risk a chance to see the situation for himself.”

Considering how bad things were today, they must be even worse for Zordon to risk leaving. “Alpha, I was thinking. If it helps Kim, you should pull energy from the Dragon coin.”

“Thanks but that shouldn’t be necessary.”
“And… just to let you know that I am going back to my sabbatical. Like Zordon wanted.”
“Oh. Okay.”

When I arrived back in my room moments later, I wondered how long it would be before I would be needed back.

~~~~~~~~

“Every time! EVERY TIME!!” Zedd pounded his fist into his throne’s arm rest. Goldar, Rito, Squatt and Babboo took a step back in fear. Rita decided to console her husband.

“Don’t forget Zeddy, we still have Ninjor and the Falcon zord.” Rita fixed a fake smile on her face in hopes of a positive response.

Zedd rose from his throne in anger. “What is the point if they have the even more powerful Shogun zords at their disposal now. We must be more careful about how we proceed.”

“Maybe you need to take a vacation.”

The assembled group in the throne room turned to the mysterious voice coming from the entrance. Zedd descended from his throne and walked half way to the uninvited guest. “What are you doing in my castle Dregon?”

“Count Dregon.” The visitor put added emphasis on the title. “You really tried to one up me on my title. At least I have a legitimate claim.”

“But I earned mine.” Zedd’s visor was now glowing red.
Count Dregon wasn’t impressed. “And see where it has led you. Defeated time and again by a group unevolved humanoids.”

Rita should have been angry alongside her husband, but she was also impressed. Before Zedd could get one upped again she interrupted. “You stil haven’t said why you are here.”

Dregon looked to Rita, and his tone became more polite. “I came as a courtesy. The Masked Rider has decided to try and hide from me here on Earth. I just wanted to emphasize that Prince Dex is mine. Stay away from him, and I won’t defeat the ones you are always fighting.”

Zedd groaned and waved Dregon off with one arm. “Fine. What would I want from a future ruler of a toxic gas planet anyway?”

“In case you have problems making it yourself?”

Rito began to laugh hysterically. “That’s pretty good, Ed. He got you on that one.”

“IT’S ZEDD, you cretin. And as for you Dregon…”

But Dregon was already gone.
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Old October 31st, 2015, 10:35 PM   #12
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 11

The rest of my summer was as unencumbered as my one before the aliens showed up. The Ranger Day celebration and the merchandise was a big hit. The CD was still getting heavy air play among the teen set, with ‘Go Go Power Rangers’ being hummed or sung everywhere. I snagged a full set of Ranger figures plus some baddies but Megazord, Dragonzord or Titanus robots I couldn't get anywhere. I was eventually able to get a Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord but at a slightly jacked up price. I felt bad for Tor because while he was available I couldn't afford scalpers on that one. No one really understood my frustration with this. I didn't either, as I had actually been inside the real things.

Movies, fun on the beach, hunting for nerd swag, just hanging out. Summer was bliss. Troy was fully embraced by my circle of friends and quickly became one of us. His sister Sylvie did not have as much luck in adjusting. She adored Troy and preferred to hang with us. A younger sibling hanging with their older brother and his friends, I was probably the most understanding. When she was allowed she came along, and when not the group made sure Troy got home to spend time with her.

When school started I was more comfortable and prepared as a Sophomore and was slowly finding my niche among my classmates. A few of the bullies tried to give me crap again but I just treated them like I would Bulk and Skull: polite indifference while trying my best not to get annoyed. My advanced classes had a few Juniors and some Seniors so I was starting to get to know more and more people. Turns out Mrs. Larson is a pretty good teacher. One day she was covering my study hall for Applebee and I got to observe that Carlos was a massive brown-noser when he wanted to be. Naturally I gave him crap about it. I still saw my brother every day but the others less and less.

The most disturbing thing was that life in Angel Grove was slowly returning back to something almost normal. Alien attacks still occurred, but they were so infrequent and easily dispatched by the Rangers and the Shogun zords that large amounts of the populace began to ignore them. Billy was auditing a few classes to pad his GPA. Aisha was spending so much time at the animal shelter she was considering veterinarian as a career option. Kimberly was getting really back into her gymnastics and was in better form than ever. Since she was rarely morphing she didn’t really suffer the same problems Tommy went through as the Green Ranger. I had so much spare time I even caved and wrote a letter to the ninja couple who tried to kill me with inquiries about the super secret ninja schools. Now I might have spring break plans. Zordon never communicated to me once. So, I guess, I was out of the club, like Tommy once had been. But the thing that kind of hurt and bothered me the most was no communication from Alpha to even say hi. I also figured if I called in, I might get a lecture from Zordon about it not being an emergency.

As we got into January, Ajay and Marcus were with me poring over a newspaper clipping in a comic book shop. The counter guy (who had his name legally changed to Gandalf Apollo Skywalker, not kidding and I really wish I was) was adamant “This is the genuine article.”

Marcus was excited. “This is so cool.”
Ajay was a little more skeptical. “This is California. Do you know how easy it would be to get a fake newspaper for like movie props? Right, Dave?”

“I don’t know. It would explain that Vanilla Ice song though.” I stared at the old copy of the New York Post. The picture of the four humanoid turtles in the cover photo did seem real. I had seen stranger things so was willing to believe that mutant ninjas did in fact live in the New York sewers.

Marcus elbowed me in the side. “Look at the car outside.”
Ajay saw it just before I did. “Damn, she’s hot.”

A Rolls Royce was parked out front and was clearly not in it’s element. Standing next to it was Maria the secretary. Ugh. “I just remembered I gotta go. I’m supposed to see Paul and Troy at his house.” I grabbed my Wednesday purchases, waved bye and headed out. I turned out the door and kept walking until I was two store fronts down and out of sight of my friends. The car crept up with Maria literally stomping down the sidewalk in her heels. “You could have called.”

“Get in.”
“Pleasure speaking with you again.” Maria already had a door open and I saw an arm beckoning to me. I took a big steadying breath but went ahead and got in. “Mayor.”

“David.”
“Nice ride.”
“It gets the job done.”
“How are things?”
“Surprisingly good actually.”
“That’s good.”
“It is isn’t it? I’m just curious as to why it is so good lately. I thought we had an understanding but I haven’t seen you in over six months.”

“Because I haven’t had anything to tell you. I’ve been on the outs with the Power Rangers ever since our meeting and for all I know you could be the reason for that.”

Mayor Carrington allowed that to sink in, thrumming her fingers on her crossed leg. “Have you spoken to your uncle lately?”

“Just a little around the holidays. No business stuff.”
“It would seem there is a town south of here that is experiencing some sort of an alien invasion of it’s own.”
“What!” This was news to me.

The Mayor pulled out a photo and handed it to me. “Do you recognize him?”
The bug motif threw me for a second. “The Masked Rider. What is he doing here?”
“You’ve met?”
“No, but the Power Rangers met him on his home world of Edenoi.”
“Anything pertinent to share on him?”

Considering our agreement, I found no harm in the request. “Your basic Shakespearean plot. His grandfather is the ruler but his uncle is trying to usurp the throne.”

“And now their conflict has been brought to Earth.”
“So it would seem.” I handed the photo back.
“The town has requested some federal aide to supplement their economy like what we have.”
“You fine with the potential financial loss?”
“David, of course. They need help. It’s just the bureaucratic crap I have to come up with to justify doing the right thing is what is going to be the nuisance.” We sat quietly for a few moments. “Do you really believe I am the reason you are on the outs with the Power Rangers?”

“Maybe. You know how many problems go into saving a planet. They’re the heroes and I‘m the weak link.” I had flip flopped on this: was I Snapper Carr or Rick Jones?

“That can’t be true.”
“Can’t it? One of the rules we were supposed to abide by was not revealing our identities. And more and more people know about me.” And I probably shouldn’t have revealed that either. Wow, I suck.

“I can assure you, for whatever it’s worth, the only one who knows about you in my office is me.”
“And your secretary?”
“She may have suspicions, but I haven’t told her anything incriminating.”
“Can you say the same for my uncle in his secret military under water research facility. Or Norquist or that other guy…” What was his name? It had been awhile.

The mayor was able to contain a small laugh. “I doubt your uncle would do anything to hurt you. And your father works for Norquist so he is probably covering for you.”

“I don’t think he knows.”
The mayor cocked her head. “Seriously?!”
“I don’t think so anyway.”

The car came to a stop as I realized we were outside my house. That was fast. Did we even stop at a light or meet traffic? The mayor leaned forward and placed three fingers on my knee. “You have a lot of things to work through. I am probably the only one you know outside of the Power Rangers who understands that. You work through it. But the game is still going. You need to figure out if you’re playing or retired.”

I got out and watched as the car pulled away. I’m sure there was something very deep going on but I was more wondering why the sport’s metaphor ended the conversation. I headed over to Troy’s house to show him my new comics. I could hear music and when I knocked the door swung partly open. Ominous much? Troy was expecting me but something could be wrong. I was cautious as I went down the hallway and slowly peered into Troy’s room. I was not prepared. Troy and Paul in the middle of the bedroom. Kissing.

I was out the front door so quick I thought I had super speed again. On the front step I realized I still had the ability to breathe. Okay, so I saw something I shouldn’t have. And so what. I had seen more graphic displays of public same sex affection downtown. This is California, while it can still be a touchy subject for the most part no one really seems to care here. I should just be happy that neither one of my friends had been brutally murdered under suspicious circumstances. Maybe I watch too much Law & Order.

As relief came over me I glanced at my house. There was a blonde girl looking at my house’s front from the sidewalk. Yay, a welcome distraction. Maybe Billy has another stalker? I walked over and began hoping she didn’t have a golden image of Billy’s likeness because he didn’t need a second one. “Excuse me, can I help you?”

She turned to me with a look of worry on her face. “Hello, um, I’m Katherine. We kind of met once before. At the park.”

That kind of registered, but the name is what I remembered. “YOU. You led Kim into the ambush. You’re evil!”

I took a couple of steps back, but she reached for me. “No wait please. I need to talk to someone.”

“How about Rita and Zedd, ‘cuz they’re evil too!”
“But I’m NOT, and now Kimberly is hurt and it's partly my fault.”
Now I wanted to smack her. “What did you do?”

This blonde girl was starting to cry. “Rita had me under her spell. Sometimes I can fight it and sometimes it just fades. She just summons me back. I don’t know what to do.”

I‘ve seen what dark magik can do to a person. I‘ve experienced it first hand. I needed to find out about Kim though so I was probably more curt to her than I should have been. “Does Kim know about this?” The blonde, Kat, shook her head. “Then you need to tell her. Come clean. If you need help then you need the Power Rangers.”

Katherine wiped a tear from her face and nodded in acknowledgment. She turned and walked away.

Why did she come to me? Was she wanting me to have all the answers? Know what to say and do to ease her conscience? I watched her go for a little way. I really didn’t know what to say or do. I needed “Mom!” As I entered the house she was coming to the entry way.

“Honey, Kimberly is in the hospital. Your brother is there.”
“I just heard. Can you take me?”

Her keys were already in her hand as she nodded her head to the back door. I dropped my store bag as Mom grabbed her purse. As she pulled the car around into the road, I saw Paul coming out of Troy’s house. I knew if Ajay and maybe Marcus found out there would be weeks of not so subtle innuendo and slightly homophobic but not intentionally mean spirited gay jokes. The girls would pretend to be shocked but remain supportive. Paul would threaten to kick their asses and the gags would diminish but not go completely away.

I didn’t care. The evil space aliens had once again corrupted a human to do their dirty work. Now one of my friends was in the hospital. I needed to know the score.
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Old November 2nd, 2015, 10:23 PM   #13
BlueRangerNick
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I've got to say I'm a new reader to this, I read seasons 1 and 2 and now I'm following along as you post season 3, I can't tear myself away, awesome story!
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Old November 13th, 2015, 12:02 AM   #14
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
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Part 12

Mom was worried. I’ll admit I was anxious as well but I was trying not to get angry over the whole thing. Hitting something in a violent manner would make me happy but wouldn't help right now. Driving, parking, and finding her room seemed to take forever. It wasn't until we got to her room that I started to really worry. Mom knocked and opened the door hesitantly. “Kimberly, sweety.”

“Hello, Mrs. Cranston.” Hearing her voice gave me a rush of relief. When I came in she said, “Hey stranger.”

Mom began to bombard Kim with questions of parental concern. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, just worn out.”
“How did it happen?”
“I was training late last night after hours at the Youth Center and I fell off the beam.”
“Should I call your mother?”
“Tommy already did.”
“Your father?”
“Uh - I don’t …”

I think her dad was living in Florida now, and her brother moved there when Kim’s mom moved to France with the fiancee. I think she has an uncle in town still. I hadn't realized how much pressure Kim was putting on herself about her gymnastics. Then something else clicked. Kim was exhausted and mom was draining her fast so I had to intervene. “Who found you at the Youth Center if it was so late?”

“A new girl. Her name is Katherine.”
“Katherine called 911 for you?”

Kim nodded and closed her eyes for a few seconds. She showed weakness and Mom decided it was time to fuss over her. So Katherine may not have been screwing with me. I saw a flash outside the window. That usually means one thing in this town. I waited a moment to make sure Mom didn't see. While Mom was tucking in Kim I took a look for myself to see the Power Rangers and Katherine confronting a monster with a trash can lid on it‘s head. “Excuse me, I have to go to the restroom.” Kim and Mom both gave me a look when I turned to them. I tried to casually cough and nod my head back a couple times to the window. Kim understood with her own nod.

As I started to leave, Mom stopped me. She pointed to the room’s lavatory. “Dave, there’s a toilet in there.”

I was truly mortified at the implication. “Mom!” The shock of disgust on my face made Kim giggle. Kim gave me a wave to send me out of the room. I was out the door as quickly as I could. We were only on the sixth floor and there was a stairwell not that far away. As I hurried down the hallway the elevator opened and out came Mr. and Mrs. Campbell accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Kwan. They had the usual assortment of flowers, balloons and stuffed animals with get well plastered over them. This was an assemblage I never thought in my entire life I would ever see and they all wanted my attention at the same time. They questions came fast but I could barely keep up. I put my hands up to stop their questions and give an embarrassing excuse. “In a hurry. Restroom. Straight down just past the phones.” As I headed off I just barely heard their conversation.

“Trini was like that all the time,” said Mrs. Kwan
“Aisha does it too. Kids today, what is with them?” commented Mr. Campbell.

Just trying to save the world. I finally saw the stair well and hurried down as fast as I could. I came out and headed back down the hallway toward the emergency room exit. What was I doing? They no doubt had this under control. But as I headed for the door, in came Katherine. She was looking back behind herself and we nearly collided. We both put our hands up to stop ourselves and we both just, for lack of a better description, lingered slightly.

“They told me to go to Kim.”
“Let’s go.” Katherine held firm to my hand as I pulled her back toward the stairs. “At least… I’m getting in… my cardio for the day.” By the time we made it back to the sixth floor I was winded. As we came out the door, I saw a nurse leading my mom, the Campbell’s and the Kwan’s out of Kim’s room. I was tempted to hide for cover but Mrs. Campbell spotted me too quickly. “Stay cool. And you can let go of my hand now.” I tried to compose myself as I headed to the parent’s with Katherine trailing. “Just catching up with an acquaintance of Kim’s.” I still didn’t trust her yet but if the others were fine I would play ball for now. Hey, another sport’s metaphor!

Mr. Kwan said “We were thinking about going to get some lunch and catch up. Do you want to go, Dave?”

“No thank you. Billy will probably be back soon. And Rocky has a car so I can probably catch a ride with them.” I waved bye to the dads while all three moms insisted on giving a hug and a peck on the cheek.

“They seem nice,” smiled Katherine.
“Go near any of them and I will end you myself.” Katherine looked at me in surprise. “You and Tommy aren’t the only ones who’ve been evil.”

We tried to go back to Kim’s room but the nurse who booted out the parents wouldn’t let us through, insisting Kim needed rest. So we just waited until the nurse left, took a few respectable steps in a different direction, before turning and bolting back for Kim’s door. Turns out Kim wasn’t in bed, but sitting by the window.

“Coast is clear. The gang is gone.”
“Get back in bed, you. If that nurse comes back in soon we could get booted from the hospital.” Kim complied while Katherine tucked her back in. I had to check outside the window for myself. “What was it, new monster or old?”

Katherine answered “It was a trash can.”
Kim and I looked at each other and said “New.” I continued “but whose is it: Zedd or Finster’s.”

We debated this, plus the pros and cons of various monsters, until the Ranger’s returned. Katherine didn’t join in the conversation, just leaned quietly against the wall. And as expected the nurse returned. “You can all come back later this afternoon but right now she needs to rest.”

“If you need anything, call us immediately.” I tapped my communicator for emphasis. Katherine went with Tommy and Billy. Since Rocky left his car at the park, I teleported with them that far but decided to walk the rest of the way home. It had been a busy morning and was starting to become a busy afternoon. Maybe I shouldn’t have turned down lunch. As I made it back to my street I saw Troy outside with Sylvie. Sylvie pointed at me. $#!+. I went over even though I had no idea what to say.

Troy was leaning on his fence as I approached. “What happened? You were supposed to be here ages ago.”

“Hospital.” I was so relieved when I said that because it was the complete truth and not a stupid lie. “My friend Kim, had an accident last night.”

“Anything serious?”
“I…” I didn’t know. The extent of her injuries had never been discussed, at least with me there. “Doctors were running tests. Not sure.” Nice recovery.

“Paul had to leave. He had this audition today and he was needing some dialogue help.”
“I hope he wasn’t too tongue tied.” Did I just say that? I tried not to smile.
“He was having some pronunciation problems.”
“So you gave him some oral exercises.” Okay that one was on purpose. I think I had smiled on that. “What was it for?”
“Some Shakespeare thing, I think it was a movie.”
“Like dudes kissing other dudes type of Shakespeare?” Wow, that was not subtle at all.

Troy’s eyes bulged, brow furrowed and mouth slightly opened. There was a definite chill in the air. “You didn’t happen to leave my door open when you stopped by earlier.” He turned away, while shouting “Sylvie, inside!”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. And so what if you’re --” I paused when Sylvie crossed my path “--happy. It’s okay if you want to be happy.”

Sylvie asked her brother “Why aren’t you happy? Is he making you unhappy?”
“Yes, Sylv. Right now Dave is making me very unhappy. Now we need to go in.”
Sylvie wasn’t having it. With one arm encircling her teddy bear, she came swinging at me with the other. “GO AWAY!”

She was actually able to land one hit before I starting blocking her fist my hand. “Please stop that.”

“You don’t tell my sister what to do. Now leave.” Troy grabbed Sylvie by the back of her shirt and started pulling her away from me. Once inside the door was loudly slammed.

Not only was he no doubt embarrassed, but dealing with his own issues. And I poked fun. I was so in the wrong here. I went home, nuked some Hot Pockets, got some Kool-aid and went to my room. I turned on my TV for noise while I ate my late lunch. Other than some news story about a supposed international spy rumored to be in the area, everything else was unremarkable. I laid on the bed not really wanting to process the events of the day. And it all started so well. Oh crap, my comics are still by the door. I’ll get them later. I remained in a state oblivious to the world for at least a half hour. Until nature called. After I took care of that I started back to my room when the actual phone rang. “Hello.”

“Hi, Dave.”
“Kim! What’s up? Shouldn’t you be sleeping or something.”
“I had a power nap and I am already getting anxious. And bored.”
“Couldn’t get a hold of the others could you?”
“They’re busy right now. Rita is trying to pull something already.”
“She’s been busy today.”
“Yeah. But I do need to talk to somebody about something. And you or Billy are the only ones I could really ask?”
“What about?”
“Like, just as an example, do you know what happened with the Sword of Light?”

~~~~~~~~~~~

The Daosian people had initially had some hope of returning to their world at some point, until word had reached them that Lord Zedd had destroyed it in a conflict with Earth‘s Power Rangers. In a need to find settlement for her people, the newly crowned Queen Lin made it her first priority. The planet Shar was originally populated by Daosians trying to escape the Gohma, so when Lin decided to seek it out as a new home it made sense. Upon their arrival the former Thunder Rangers of Daos were shocked to discover a people almost as bad off as they were.

A villain called Scorpius had ravaged Shar thousands of years ago and the populace had never really recovered. The governmental infrastructure collapsed under the dictatorship, and the planet’s defender disappeared after Scorpius claimed the world. Contact with the home planet was lost then, but the ongoing Gohma conflict made it unimportant. The people of Shar were, of course, hesitant to accept any assistance. That is until the former Power Rangers revealed who they were and shared what they had to offer. The financial resources brought by the royal family and surviving traders, technological and agricultural assistance from Eltar and security provided by the Space Patrol Police had gained the Dai overwhelming, if reluctant, acceptance from the Shar.

Kaizu was slowly starting to appreciate Shar. The fact that it had been founded by his people had made acclimating easier. Architecture, children’s songs, ancient stories and legends, even the majority of the food was familiar even after all that time. He walked through the palace gates into an overgrown garden. The palace had been built for Dai royalty for when they moved to Shar, but the royal family’s responsibilities as Rangers had kept them on the home world. The castle had been mostly empty ever since, except for squatters and Scorpius briefly when he was there.

Kaizu saw Ryo on the palace steps talking to the leaders from the few nearby cities, towns and villages. All were eager to get some sort of provisions. He then spotted Lin, squatting down in front of a statue. Kaizu noticed while the statue appeared humanoid it had horns. As he approached, he saw Lin close a personal scanner. “What are you doing?”

Lin glanced briefly at Kaizu before pointing to the base of the statue. “Looking.” She had brushed away some dried and dead grass away already but continued to rub away dirt. Crudely blasted into the base was one word: ZIKA.

“I don’t get it.”
“Someone turned the statue into a memorial.” Lin held up the scanner. “One for a small boy buried about 3000 years ago.” Lin bowed her head and as she did the wind picked up.

Kaizu quickly planted his hands on his head. “Careful, you’ll mess up my hair.” Lin started to laugh, stopped herself and gave Kaizu an annoyed glare. The wind got even stronger. “Okay I’m sorry.” Kaizu walked over to some bushes and picked a few wild flowers. He outstretched his hand to Lin. She took the flowers and placed them on the mound that was only slightly perceptible from the surrounding dirt.

“He would have been slightly younger than Kou.”
“Oh,” said Kaizu, now understanding his mistake. The loss of her cousin was still a touchy subject with her.

“Well, that’s settled.” Ryu happily approached the duo. “The local magistrates are accepting Lin’s claim as royal heir. The cleaning of the palace is well under way. The kitchen’s are amazing.”

Lin stood and turned to him with her arms crossed. “Has Shoji reported in?” The sadness of her voice from moments ago was gone. Her tone was serious, her leader voice.

“He has already left for Karova to get Kou’s remains.”
“Daigo?
“Protecting the incoming food and medical supplies. I hate that he is being forced to use his illusion powers to do that.”
“It’s necessary. There have been two attempts at theft already. We are sharing everything we bring, but it will be done fairly and equally. Follow me.” Lin led the two further into the garden. “Here is where I want Kou’s remains placed.

Kaizu looked around more closely at the statuary. There were many throughout the grounds but he didn't give them much thought. Only now did he realize that there were six more localized statues. The one Lin was standing by was clearly a tiger. He glanced at the other five and had a feeling of pride when he noticed the griffin statue was in good shape.

“Kai, would you look into it for me?” It was clearly an order, not a question.

Kaizu gave a respectful bow. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

Lin turned and started to head for the palace. “Kai,” she paused before turning back to look at her team mates. “I also want a memorial erected for that boy. For him and all the people the Dai left unprotected here.” While this was supposed to be an order, the compassion was there.

Lin headed again to the castle with Ryu following close behind. Kaizu looked at the tiger statue, now saddened and not sure what to do. He went back to the bushes and gathered a handful of yellow flowers and placed them at the tiger statue’s paws.
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Old February 21st, 2016, 03:00 AM   #15
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
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Part 13

As I left the house, Troy was getting groceries out of his mother’s car. He saw me and I automatically started to wave. Troy turned away. It was a long walk to the bus stop and a long ride back to the hospital. Well, maybe I can do Kim some good.

Kim was smiling broadly when I arrived. “Guess what? The doctor says I’m fine and I can go home today.”
“Well, that’s good.”
“Yeah, it is.” Kim patted the front of her bed. “Take a seat. Keep me company until the discharge paperwork is ready.” I did as instructed. “So how are you?”

“Fine. Not bad considering. Definitely better than you.”
“It has been weirder than usual.”
“Weird enough to bring up a mystical sword with a very specific ability.”
Kim began to fidget. “It’s just something I was considering.”
“I get that. But why?”
“I’ve been training with this coach for the Pan Global games.”
“Wow, that‘s amazing. Place good there and you are almost guaranteed a slot for the Olympics.”
“I know, and it’s just--” Kim was starting to get a little emotional, but she was keeping it in check. “When Trini and the guys left, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. They couldn’t pass it up. But none of them had ever really shown much interest in that diplomatic stuff. I thought Billy was a shoe in myself. This… this is what I have always wanted, what I have trained and worked so hard for. And now it is a real and genuine possibility. How can I turn it down?”

“You mean without regretting it for the rest of your life.” All Kim could do is nod. I looked out the window to ponder. This is a tough one. So many things to consider and think over. “Is there anything else you want to talk about instead?”

Kim took a couple seconds before asking “What did you think when Billy told you Santa Claus is real?”

That completely derailed the more important conversation of Kim’s life choices for a good half hour while we had an interesting chat about the events from last Christmas. Sick of being in bed, Kim went over to the window to look outside. We continued to catch up some more until I glimpsed Katherine hovering outside of the door. Maybe there is one thing I can straighten out. “This has been fun, but I better go. See if I can find the sword.”

“Oh. Okay. Thanks.”

As I left the room I spotted a blonde head walking down the corridor. “Katherine wait.” She turned slowly, clutching a large book to her person. I approached not really knowing what to say. “I’m sorry.” Nice start.

“I understand. You want to protect your friends.”

Now I was really lost. I just looked at her and saw her holding the book. Clutching it very close, resting her chin on the spine. She wasn’t really looking at me. She is so alone right now, scared and needing a friend. And I threatened to kill her in jest. I’m batting 1000 today. Damn, another sport’s reference. “The others seem to trust you, so I’ll give it a shot. Just don’t be evil anymore.”

Now she looked right at me. “I promise.”
“Good. I have to go track something down for Kim, so you can stay here and keep her company.”
Katherine smiled and tapped her book. “Okay.” She actually waved as I started to walk away.

After arriving at the Command Center, I started exploring the lower levels. I wasn’t exactly sure where to look but I started with the room where I had gotten the Wizard of Deception’s wand. Just a bunch of boxes of miscellaneous items and enough dust to choke a mummy. The next room was no luck but I did find Billy‘s mirror shield. Third room I found it leaning against a wall after I tripped on a Thunder Slinger. Somebody really needs to organize this place a little better. Resting it on my shoulders I brought it before Zordon.

“David, what are you doing with that Sword?”
“I spoke to Kim. She may be leaving us and she asked me to find this.”
“I was afraid of something like this. It was good of her to be so up front with you.”
“Yeah, at least she can be.”

Zordon just floated for a few seconds before responding. “I can understand your frustrations, but I have reasons for not being entirely forthcoming.”

“You have had 10,000 years to plot and plan for everything the forces of evil could throw at you. I don’t need to know everything but if it involves me, my brother or my friends-- that I would like to know!” My voice had slowly risen while the last part came out as almost a shout. But being angry wasn‘t going to help me here. I let out one exasperated huff through my nose and continued. “Like why you have been shutting me out.”

“Very well. You have always gone above and beyond for the greater good, just like the Rangers. And you accepted this responsibility without access to the powers that protect the others. I have told you this before and could never be more proud. Unfortunately with every triumph that also leads to an increase from the dark forces.”

“That’s my fault?” I was totally offended by that. I swung the sword off my should as if I intended to use it on something. That was ridiculous, so I set it point down and used it like a cane

“No. It is mine. Earth’s presence as a galactic power is becoming noticed, which would not have happened had I not sent you to Daos.”

“The Gohma were defeated…”
“… so Akomaru followed you to Earth. The Rangers defeated Rita numerous times, which drew Zedd’s attention from his concerns in other galaxies. They went to Edenoi and now the Masked Rider has brought his conflict here. And out of all our success, you have demonstrated to be the biggest threat.”

“Me?” That was completely surprising. “You saw Zedd, he thinks I’m a joke.”
“He has first hand knowledge of who you really are. By you defeating an evil regime that lasted over 2000 years you have not gone unnoticed to the rest of the universe.”
“Seriously?”
“The stories of the remaining Daosians and the hero from Earth who liberated them are spreading.”

I was proud, not to mention suddenly curious about what my Dai friends were now up to. But back on topic I finally understood about Zordon‘s concerns. “You’re afraid something worse is coming. Even now.”

“After everything that has happened, how can I not expect the worst?”

In his distant way, Zordon was just trying to protect me. “What now?”

“I have kept in constant contact with as many reliable news sources through out the populated universe. Even now, rumors are circulating about uprisings of various villainous factions. If true, Earth does not need any more attention drawn to it.”

“So you think by benching me, that’s one less player you have to worry about.” Damn, another metaphor.

“While you have proven yourself helpful and resilient, you don’t need to be in direct line of fire for Zedd or any other potential threats if not necessary.”

“I get it. Really I do. But I’m already involved. I’m too involved. You can’t just side line me after everything I’ve seen and done. Tommy may have been fine with that, but I‘m not. I can‘t retire me before I had a decent shot at plate.” Son of a …

“I have no doubt we will have to call upon your talents again, but I do feel that you should focus on your own concerns right now.”

“You want me to go solo?” At first I was bummed. Going all lone wolf separated from the gang. Sidekicks can’t go it alone, unless they “Spin-off.”

Alpha had been working at a console until that last part. “What did you say?”

“I have stuff that keeps popping up, that doesn’t really affect you guys. Or I really need to fix before it involves you too much. Any good spin-off can carry it’s own story and still stay true to the original.” Maybe that’s why I hated the sidekick moniker I’d given myself. I felt better for the first time in a while, like one burden had been lifted off my mind. “If you guys need me about this Kim thing let me know.” I hugged my robot buddy. “I hope to see you soon, but I need to go.”

I was nervous but it felt right. I landed near city hall with one vague but determined goal. I tried to shake off the feeling coursing down my back and arms as I headed to the building. The mayor’s car was still out front so I felt even more sure. Then I saw her assistant coming outside so I made a quick course correction and pretended to use a payphone. Maria spoke to the Rolls Royce driver before heading to what must have been her car. She departed and I lingered in the phone booth for about ten minutes before Carrington came out.

I hurried over and slightly startled her driver. “Madame Mayor!”

She smiled when she saw me. “Hello Dave. How are things going?”
“Terrible, but they could be looking up.”
The Mayor waved to her driver, said “I’ll call a cab” and gestured to a bench next to the sidewalk. “I was just about to call it a day and go for some dinner.”

“Oh, sorry.”
“No no, it’s fine. How are you really?”
“Good. A lilltle pukey but all right.”
“As long as you don’t get anything on my shoes we’ll be fine.”
“I’ve decided that I need to live my life. If I can help out with you, or the Rangers, or where ever, I will do it. I can only do what I am able.”

“Good for you.”
“Thanks.”
“You’re completely clueless how to proceed aren’t you?”
“Completely clueless.”
“This needs to be a longer and more private conversation. Come on, I’ll order a pizza and you call your parents.”

City Hall was so quiet this late in the afternoon. It was not quite evening yet but everyone had already left for the day. It was slightly spooky.

Mayor Carrington dropped her purse on her assistant‘s desk. “I don’t know where Maria keeps the menus. Go to the break room there and grab the plates, napkins, everything. Grab what you want to drink, but I would prefer juice.” She then entered her office.

I did as ordered and sought out the essentials. In the fridge there was a section marked ’MAYOR’ and I found a can of cran-grape juice. I slowly piled everything onto my left arm, to carry it in one trip with the juice in my right hand. I headed to her office door and then realized I hadn’t grabbed myself a drink. I walked straight to her side table and dropped everything off my arm. “Forgot something, be right back.”

“Stop there.”

I didn’t recognize the deep voice with a thick Euro-accent. I instinctively turned around. Standing behind the office door was a man clad all in black, holding a gun to the mayor’s head.
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Old April 15th, 2016, 04:09 AM   #16
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 14

The man in black antagonist stared at me. I tried staring back but my eyes kept drifting back to the gun. "Who are you?" Yeah, right, like he was going to answer.

"Pressed for time."

I tried to place the Euro-accent. "No not 'what', 'who' are you?"

He pressed the gun harder into Carrington's forehead and the Mayor flinched. I finally gave her my attention and she quickly began looking down repeatedly. Huh? I started to look down and saw that she had kicked her shoes off. She was needing... better balance...? I looked back to her and she gave the slightest of nods. Oh, she's getting ready to throw down. She's just waiting on me. Once a Ranger, I guess.

"You should not be here."

I'm pretty sure I smirked at that. "It's not your office, pal. And boy did you pick the wrong target."

Carrington made her move. First she pushed the gun away from her head and elbowed her assailant in the gut. As she spun away, I realized I was still holding the can of juice. I threw it at him. He tried to avoid it but was a little too slow. The can bounced off the side of his head and went flying into the wall. With the bad guy now dazed, Carrington pushed her advantage further and successfully kicked the gun out of his hand. As she went for a punch the man succesfully blocked it and landed a punch of his own into her chest.

While I have had no real firearm training, I absolutely knew him having the gun was bad so I made a dash for it. He saw my movement and turned to me, now also making for the gun. I didn't have time to grab it but with a sliding kick that would have made Carlos proud I sent the weapon flying out of the office. The bad man gave me one quick kick in the back and jumped over me.

I pushed myself up and saw Carrington trying to do the same. She pointed to the door. Sounding out of breath, she croaked "Get him."

I could have had super speed again and not realized as I went zooming out of the office. I just barely made out his form amongst the shadows made from what little light coming in from the setting sun. I charged and lucked out as he started to bend over as my own foot collided into the top of his back. He completely flipped over and I saw that he had found his gun on the floor. I kicked it again, and this time underneath a vending machine. The bad man made a scrambling jump for it and failed. "No toys."

His massive frame began to rise from the floor, his silver hair provding the only contrast to his dark height. "You will lose," came a thick voice.

"Says you."

The shape came at me and I was able to make out just enough movement to evade one, two, three punches. With the third punch I grabbed his wrist and, using his momentum, threw my attacker into a wall. He was successfully able to brace himself from too hard of an impact and quickly spun around. I gave him a kick to the stomach. As he started to keel over, a tornado kick to his head brought him back to the ground. I heard a spitting noise. That can't be good. He charged at me and let out a loud bellow. I was too close and he was able to pick me up with one arm and body slam me into the wall opposite of the one I slammed him into. And it also happened to have a light switch. Ow. As I tried to reorient my balance against the wall I flipped one of the switches. One hallway light came on just in time to see a fist coming at my face. I tried to dodge but my head slammed into the wall for a second time as his fist impacted my cheek bone. I spun with the punch, bracing myself as best as I could when I hit the wall for a third time in only a few seconds. The bad man in black grabbed the back of my head and one arm, probably to slam me again. I started to struggle to loosen his grip. As he tried to regain his grip I kicked off the wall.

I stumbled but stayed standing. I turned to see where my combatant was. He was only a few feet away. This guy was about six feet tall, huge muscles and bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth. "Round two?"

"FREEZE! Stay right there." It was a security guard. With a tazer.

Whoopee, my hero.

Bad man in black shifted his body to the new person. I brazenly took a step in that direction for him to see. He saw and stopped, catching my intent to block him. It was then I heard sirens.

"The police are certainly prompt when a mayor calls." Carrington strolled up to the guard, her movements a little stiff.

The bad man turned and started to run. I did the same before feeling something impact my back, pain coursing through my body, and a disorienting sensation of falling. Next thing I knew, I was laying on the ground with a policeman hovering over me.

"David Cranston, this is Lieutenant Stone. Can you hear me?"
"Yeah, I can." He slowly helped me sit up. Why am I always getting knocked out? How many more do I have before brain damage sets in? When I realized who Stone was I had to ask. "Bulk and Skull aren't here are they?"

Lt. Stone assisted me up. I saw many more police sporadically standing around, seeming to have important conversations. Carrington was speaking to two of them. I was a little disoriented and it actually felt weird standing up but I could stand up independently so that had to be good.

"Are you okay?" asked Stone.
"I'm starting to get used to it."
"Getting shot?"
I couldn't really explain that. "Never mind."

Carrington saw that I was up. She excused herself from her conversation and headed to me. She sped up with outstretched arms. And then came the hugging of concern. I whispered "Watch the back."

"Need an ambulance?"
"Had worse. An icepack would be nice though."

Stone had been nice enough to stand back and give us a moment. The officers in trench coats rudely interrupted. "Madame Mayor, we would like to continue our conversation. And ask the young man some questions as well."

"No. This boy is a minor and without his parent or legal guardian present I will not allow it. If you wish to speak with him, I will contact his parent's myself and they can expect your visit."

The overweight lead detective shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Ma'am, are you trying to impede an investigation?"

"No, I am trying to protect the rights of one the citizen's of my city. As his employer I am looking out for his welfare. He needs to go home now."

"Can Stone take me?" Carrington was right, I did not want to be here any longer.

The second detective was a little more lenient. "Stone, inform the parents of the situation and tell them to expect a visit tomorrow. Are you waving medical attention?"

I nodded. "I've already seen the hospital too much today." I made it only a few paces before the Mayor called out my name.

"Home run. Without a doubt."

Stone then gestured toward the front doors and I willing started walking toward them. We made it to the main entryway when I noticed the flashing lights weren't just from the squad cars. I froze and grasped for Stone's arm. "No press."

Stone was on his radio ordering a car to meet us at the back door. He turned around and I was right behind him. Down another hallway we passed a CSI team examining an open window. Most likely the bad guys point of entry. We made it to the patrol car and were on our way unnoticed within minutes. It was then I noticed it hurt to lean back. So I rested on my arm with my forehead on the window, which felt nice and cool. Stone chatted with the driver but I was oblivious. I don't think I had ever been so happy to see my street. As we pulled up in front of my house I noticed Troy with his mom and sister in their yard. Troy was looking through his telescope, Sylvie was staring to the sky and their mom was eyeballing where I was sitting in the car.

Stone said something about being right back and waiting. I grunted. Troy was now being tapped on the shoulder by his mother and pointing. Troy was now looking this way when my driver got out and opened my door. A hand appeared and I grasped it for assistance out. Turned out, it was Billy's. "So, how was your day?" He was concerned but obviously curious.

I leaned on my brother as he led me up the path. "You know how it is, same old thing just different day." Stone was talking to my parents at the front door. Mom had her hand over her mouth, saw me and proceeded down the front path, and walked past me. Okay then... Dad was thanking Stone and Stone gave him a business card with contact information. Billy led me into the house and to the bathroom.

Billy assisted me with getting my shirt off when I realized it really hurt to raise my arms. Turned around to see massive bruises all over my back and point of impact marks from the tazer. "All right, what happened?"

I was slightly fascinated by all the varying shades of purple on my back. "You first. Potential intergalactic problems are more important."

"Kim is fine, and Katherine got the pink ninja coin back for us."
"That's awesome." I was genuinely relieved. One less thing to worry about.
"Now you."
"Mayor Carrington got attacked and I helped fight him off."
"Was it one of Rita or Zedd's monsters?"
"He was a little more the gun waving, human type."
"You could have been killed today."
"I could say the thing about you."

We had reached a stalemate. So Billy ordered me to my room. My shoes and my shorts were easy to get off, and I gritted my teeth through the pain of putting on a new t-shirt and pajama pants. I happily dropped onto my bed and it was the most comfortable thing in the world. I could have easily fallen asleep but there was a knock at the door.

"Hi."

My ears had to be deceiving me, but my eyes confirmed it was in fact Troy at the door. "Hi."

"Your mom is talking to my mom. Your dad said to give you this." Troy held up a towel and a bag of frozen peas.

I started to rise to get them, but a new wave of pain shooting through my body made me collapse back on the bed. I felt a compression on the bed and an amazing cold sensation on my back. "You are a heaven sent blessing."

"It's nothing."
"I meant the peas."

Troy chuckled but then got real serious. "Did you really fight off a mugger while protecting the Mayor?"

"Something like that." I didn't really want to discuss it any further so a different topic was definitely in order. "I want to apologize for this morning. I wasn't trying to invade your privacy."

"I'm sorry too, I was just embarrassed. Can I tell you something? Something I haven't told the rest of the group yet."

"Absolutely."

Troy slid off my bed and shifted to a sitting position leaning against my night stand so I could see him without moving. He then proceeded to tell me everything: his illness, the severity of his condition, his dad leaving, his mom relocating to Angel Grove so he could see a specialist on a regular basis. When he began to get emotional, I reached out and took his hand. He seem to appreciate this and continued on, finally getting to this morning. "There are probably a lot of things I may not get to do. Get married, fall in love. I don't know if I'm gay or not, but at least I got to have my first kiss with a friend I care about. It's one thing off my bucket list."

I squeezed his hand. "Gay or not, I wouldn't judge. But why tell me this now?"

"Because I could have lost you today, who I was mad at for something stupid. Who has always been nice to me, if a little distant. Who I was rude to and then goes and does this really noble thing. You, my friend, are my new hero."

"You brought me frozen peas, so now you are mine." Our gab fest was interrupted by my dad knocking.

"Troy, you're mother is asking for you. I think Dave needs to get some sleep. I never thought I would ever have to say this, but we have an appointment at the police department in the morning." While Troy got up Dad set down a small tray with aspirin, juice, cheese, grapes and a real ice pack.

Troy saw the tray and grinned. "I may have just been replaced as your hero."

"It was a short reign but you held it with distinction." As Dad removed the now mushy peas, I made a final shout out to my friend. "Changed my mind, it's still you." Troy waved bye and closed the door.

Dad then propped me up to be medicated. "Be glad you got any juice. You're mother is on her third screwdriver."

"Sorry about all this."
"I want to be mad, but you were doing the right thing. Crazy as it might have been." Dad rearranged the ice pack on my back. He then lightly rubbed the top of my back where I wasn't hurt. "I am also proud of you, kid." He stood up and pushed the tray for better reach. "Eat something if you can. You have a busy morning tomorrow."

Hooray.

**************
"How could you let Katherine steal the power coin!" Zedd yelled at his wife.

"Me!" Rita immediately got defensive. "What about RIto? He let her get out of her cell!"

Both evil rulers turned on the walking skeleton and put him on the defensive. "What! It wasn't my fault. Come on, sis, I told you, my neck was bugging me."

"We finally get a significant advantage against the Power Rangers, and thanks to you, they are back to full strength." Zedd flopped onto this throne with frustration and began to rub his brain. "What now?"

Rita gave Rito a dirty look and jabbed him with her staff. "We still have Ninjor at least." She approached her husband and sat on his throne's arm. "What now, Zeddy?"

"I need a distraction. I haven't heard from Count Dregon since he came here."
"Yeah, I see his ship go by every once in a while. But not a single call or boast."
Zedd started to laugh. "Maybe he's having problems conquering the Earth."
Rita joined in. "We at least have to deal with six Rangers. He keeps losing to one Masked Rider."

Zedd looked to the balcony and began to emit his telescopic vision. "Let's just have a look and see."
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Old May 15th, 2016, 08:50 PM   #17
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 15

To say my back was stiff the next morning was an understatement. But I did succeed in getting ready for my first official police interogation. I was fine with it though. I had already had one by the military and that one I almost laughed through. Mom was not pleased about taking me, but insisted after I talked to Billy about sticking to his 'normal' routine. At the station, Mayor Carrington and her less than pleasant assistant were already there.

"Good morning, Mrs. Cranston," said the Mayor. She outstretched her hand to shake.

My mother looked at the hand with obvious disgust but reluctantly shook it. "Mayor." The air conditioning wasn't that cold in comparison.

The Mayor's pleasant face dropped slightly, but came back when she turned to me. "How are you feeling today, Dave?"

Mom answered for me. "He has had better mornings."

Mayor Carrington's genuine smile transformed into a forced smile of politenenss. "Is there a problem?"

"Yes. You put my son in danger."

Maria the assistant interjected. "The events of yesterday were unfortunate and unpredictable. Your son's defense of our elected city official was nothing less than heroic."

Say what!? That sounded almost like a compliment?

"It's okay, Maria." Mayor Carrington's smile had faded. She was all politician now. "Your son wished to discuss something. I was amenable to it. We were then stopped by an individual who was breaking into my office. Your son defended me until the police arrived." Carrington looked to me and her tone softened "And yes, it was heroic." She then tapped Maria on the shoulder. Maria pulled from her purse a small package. "The toy sales were a huge hit so we rushed production on the next ones. We weren't sure which set to go with so we went with the safer option. I wanted you to see the Falconzord prototype."

We were interrupted by the slightly douchey first investigator from last night. My mother grabbed my hand and practically yanked me toward him. No interrogation room, we were led past the front desk, down into an office of their superior, Captain Crandall. He tried to make us comfortable and offered beverages. He asked me questions about the night before. I answered everything as truthfully as I could but altered it slightly so it wasn't a carbon copy of what Carrington said had happened. The only thing I changed was my reasoning to actually go see her. Appeased, Crandall nodded. He opened a folder on his desk and then handed me a photo.

I recognized the face immediately. "This is definitely him." But the picture wasn't of a bloodied escaping criminal pulled from a security camera. He was nicely dressed, like an ID photo. "Where did this come from?"

Captain Crandall placed the photo back into the open file on his desk. "Have you ever heard the name Johan Goust?"

"No."
"He was born in Switzerland. Spent most of his teen years in Germany. When he came of age he entered the military and became an intelligence officer."
"He's a spy."
"Freelance information gatherer. Apparently some foreign power offered him a paycheck he couldn't refuse. INTERPOL has been trying to get a beat on him for years."

Mom looked at the photo and gasped. "He was all over the news." She was horrified. When she finally removed her hand from her open mouth, she franticly started searching her purse for a tissue. "Are we in danger? Is David in danger?"

"I plan on putting a car on your house for a few days as a precaution. But I did receive an interesting phone call late last night from a naval officer named Captain Mitchell. He reiterated that he would be looking into this as well and that you shouldn't be worried."

"He's my brother. That does make me feel better." Mom put her tissue back in her purse with relief. "But how did he know?"

Carrington. Having the police watching the house could be difficult on me or Billy, but I needed some clarification. "So this Goust guy, he's like some sort of evil James Bond?"

Crandall pondered for a moment. "Essentially yes."
"And I fought him to a standstill."
"Yes."
"That is so cool."

Mother gasped at me but engaged Crandall again. "What happens now?"

Crandall stood up. "Goust is probably back on the run by now. There were rumors he was in the area and his appearance at city hall proved it. A government agency will be here soon to take over the investigation. We will keep you informed, of course, if we become aware of anything. In addition to surveillance I will be having officers making random checks just in case. For now, there isn't anything for you to do. You just need to return to your normal lives as best you can."

That was what I was trying to do, and I got attacked by an international man of mystery. I got up to leave, when Delmar Crandall was led into the office by another officer. The officer was incredibly stern. "Sir, your son was caught in another potential 'situation'."

I could probably guess what that meant, but Delmar eyeballed me as if I was the one in custody. "What are you doing here, Brain?"

"Performing his civic duty. Excuse me, Mrs. Cranston, Dave, I need to handle this." The Captain escorted Mom and me out. As the door began to close, I did get to hear "You! Sit! Why can't you be more like your sister? She never does things that could upset me AT WORK."

As we left, my mother tried to walk out with as much dignity as she felt she had lost just being there. I was just relieved to be out too. It was short and the only thing that was revealed is that I can definitely hold my own in a fight while taking a beating.

"Davey." Kim was a welcome sight. "How was your interrogation?"
"So far definately the easiest."
"Mrs. Cranston, hello."

"Kimberly dear, should you be walking around?"
"I'm fine. Oh, and I have my PanGlobal performance tomorrow if either of you want to come. But if you don't mind, I want to talk to Davey."

We waited patiently and waved as mom left. If a car could leave in a huff, my Mom could make it do so. "So, what did you want to discuss?"

Kim beckoned us away from the station to a secluded alley. "In private." She raised her left arm, ready to activate her teleporter.

"I know just the place. Follow me." I activated my own teleportation. We landed a few seconds later in private.
"Where are we?"
"This is one of the lower levels of the Command Center. It's largely operable so it's kind of become my Fortress of Solitude." I set down the Falconzord toy, wandered over to the medical table, set it it to a low setting and got underneath the main sensor bay. "Watch the screen please. Make sure I don't overdue it."

Kim did as beckoned. "What am I looking at?"
"There should be a representation of my body on the screen. I want the pain to stop but there still needs to be physical evidence I was in a fight."

Kimberly watched my scans while I enjoy the healing rays from the machine. I wasn't entirely sure what they were but I was just glad that they worked. Just when I felt I could have fallen asleep Kim turned it off. "It looks like the aching has stopped but the bruises are going to be both colorful and painful." She poked one finger where I had been kicked and, yeah, still hurt.

I gave her a brief but mean look. "So, what exactly did you want to talk about? Is this about you leaving?"

Kim backed off, looked around the room as she pulled her power coin from her pocket. "I had this idea, call me crazy, that there might be something wrong with it. Since Rita and Zedd had it so long."

"You are lucky in this." I hopped off the table and went over to another corner. I pulled a dusty hunk of hardware to one of the consoles.

"What is this?"
I began to hook the corner hardware to one of the primary consoles. "This is something I cobbeled together over the year I spent studying the Green power coin. I know to look for things that Billy might not consider."

Kim walked around the room poking at random buttons as I studied the Crane coin. Despite being in Zedd's posession for months, the coin itself did not seem to suffer any ill effects from being in proximity to his evil. "How have you been feeling lately, especially since yesterday afternoon?"

"I've been okay, sort of blah though. But yesterday I did start feeling so much better."

"It's your connection to the coin. I think the coin was trying to protect itself, but it was trying to protect you too. But the bad mojo from the villains follwed the coin and attacked you too. Now the coin is back with us, the coin is recharging and draining the ill effects from you."

"That's good. RIght?"
"Uh huh." But I did find something odd about the power distribution. The coin should be linked to the morpher, the Ranger, their arsenal and the zords. For some reason the readings said that the Crane had one additional link. The last time I saw something like this was when Billy was cloned and the Triceratops coin split it's power through two operators. And briefly after Rocky, Aisha and Adam got their powers for the first time. "Billy said that it was Katherine that saved the coin."

"Yes."
"So she was the last person to hold it before you got it back."
"Yes."
"Hold on a second. I need to check something." I turned back to the console and pulled up the feed from the night before. Katherine was teleported into the Command Center and I waited until she handed the coin to Kimberly. "There." I backed it up, zoomed and slowed it down. Pink energy cascaded not just from the power coin but from Katherine herself. "The coin is bonded to you... Katherine must have something about her... something similar..." I was thinking aloud but Kim clearly wanted me to give her some sort of solid answer.

"Zordon did say the coin was in the hands of good before we got Katherine out."

I nodded to this information. "It could be... maybe she possesses the crane as her animal totem or whatever, and the coin found a kindred spirit. Maybe the coin expected only it's owner to have it so tried to bond to her. I would have to run more tests to find something more definate. But that energy we just saw, that looked like a power transfer. Just like when Jason, Trini and Zack left."

"That doesn't make any sense. The coin is mine, she was giving it back."

"Yes, but you haven't had physical contact with it in months. Your connection to it could have been getting weaker and weaker every day."

"But what about that sword we needed last time?"

"This is the first chance I've had to really examine one of the ninja coins. They operate basically the same as the dino coins but there are obviously some differences. I'll have to run more tests." I programmed a couple more extensive scans but they could take a while. "You still didn't answer about if you plan on leaving or not."

Kimberly picked up the Falconzord toy and began to fiddle with it. "I just don't know."

"If it's about the team, well, it looks like the coin has already chosen a potential replacement."

"But what about Ninjor?" She shook the toy bird for emphasis. "And the Falconzord."

"We're not giving up on Ninjor. The villains current posession of the Falconzord is only a weakness against the other ninja zords. Which haven't been used since we got the Shogun zords. And now that we have the Crane coin back their options are even more limited." I wasn't sure if Kim appreciated that I had such simple explanations, especially since it was stuff she already knew. "There always seems to be something. Did you give Trini the third degree about leaving or did you just wish her the best?"

Kimberly handed me the Flaconzord toy. "Too bad that little guy can't replace the missing real zord."

I received the toy, realizing Kim was once again trying to avoid making a decision. "You don't happen to have your Pterodactly coin still do you? I would to do some comparitive scans between the two."

"Yes, actually. I started carrying it around again just in case. Alpha warned us about using them but it made me feel a little more secure." She pulled it from her purse and handed it over.

The whole device itself was charred and cracked, with the coin itself fused into the morpher. It also gave me a small pang of hurt to think of the Thunderzords again. I hadn't been in the hangar bay since they were ruined. "Be glad you didn't. Do you not realize how dangerously unstable this could be?" That last bit came out a little too harsh, so I apoligized and gave her back the Crane coin. "I'll go off what I have here. You have things to decide. Bye, Pink Ranger."

Kim still seemed hurt when she teleported away. She has a tough decision to make, and she's trying everything to delay making it. I turned back to the console to continue the work. Turns out I was right, the basic programming for things like the suit and weapons were identical between the two generations of power coins. The capacity for the ninja coin, in terms of power, was much greater but more complicated. The ninja suits were for the Rangers to utilize the speed and stealth. The core charactertics they shared with the dino suits were increased, but anything not programmed for the dinos (like the speed and stealth) essentially were muted. Could some of those traits be reintegrated? I started a few simulations to see what would happen if I juiced more power into those stats.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Captain Crandal was almost livid. "You are grounded, young man!"

"Until when?" Delmar's tone implied he thought grounding was torturous. "Vacations not even over yet."

"Yours is. You are to go home and stay there. Any disobedience or back talk from here on will do nothing but extend this punishment. Is that understood?"

Delmar scoffed in disbelief, but caught himself before saying anything. As he tried to consider stopping for a burger at that place with the awsome fries or getting a pizza, his train of thought was interrupted by a man and woman entering the office.

"Excuse me, but who are you?" Captain Crandel was hoping for a minute to compose himself before the governments agents showed up.

Both guests were clad in identical ensembles: black suits, white dress shirt, black ties, sunglasses. The couple reached into their jacket pockets in perfect unison, pulled out their wallets and flashed their credentials. Which were numerous. They had I.D.'s for multiple agencies: FBI, CIA, INTERPOL, and a few organizations that Crandel had never heard of.

Captain Crandel was dubious. "You expect me to believe that you have sanction from all these agencies."

"We represent a new governmental agency designed to function in cooperation with these other agencies, so yes," said the woman.

"It looks like alphabet soup," mentioned Delmar, his head cocked slightly to see the wallets better. The three adults looked at him. "You know, 'cuz the letters are jumbled and don't spell anything."

The man in black said "That is something else entirely." The woman in black turned her head to her colleague and stared at him. Chastised, the man took a half step back.

The woman in black turned back to Captain Crandel. "The child needs to leave before we can begin."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Turns out when you crank more power from the morphing grid into systems that aren't designed to work like that, either nothing happens or the whole thing would overload like when the dino powers blew up. That was a bummer, but I was figuring out a base line previously unknown as to some of the limits these newer coins had.

I then ran a test to see about enhancing the already enhanced abilities of these powers. I had a marginal success of increasing the durability of the suits to an almost complete imperviousness, like punching Superman. But it was only temporary, and this also had a weird side effect on the pigmentaion of the suits. Maybe Alpha can fix that.

I flapped the wings on the toy Falconzord, wondering what to do now. I really wouldn't mind getting a look at these newer coins, and a closer examination of the older coins and morphers. I really should also look in on the Thunderzords to see how much dust was coating them. That was a depressing thought. So much that I wanted to do, needed to do and I hadn't been here to do anything. And I have barely glanced at clone Tommy's papers. I hadn't even checked to see what else was buried outside. Plus there was the fiasco that was yesterday. I decide to give normalcy a more permanent fixture in my life when events keep popping up to prevent it. I had just given the all clear by Zordon for an extended sabatical and...

"I failed some sort of test, didn't I?" I asked Zordon a few minutes later in the Command Center.

"You merely did as I insisted. There was no 'failure' on your part."
"Why did you keep pushing me away?"
"I felt the time was approaching when there would be another departure from our ranks. As the youngest, it is not fair for you to shoulder responsibilites equal and surpassing the other Rangers."

"You decided to tempt fate and force me out first. Then this stuff with Kimberly happened."
"You said yourself you would be here when needed."
"And you need me still. I tried to leave and I didn't last fifteen minutes in the real world." I then told Zordon and Alpha the events that transpired the evening before. "I can't be in the real world right now anyway. A secret base out in the middle of the desert is a nice place to hide out."

"We must figure out the best way of dealing with this situation."
"I might have an idea but it is risky."
"We trust you implicitly, David."
"Give me a few days to arrange something. We need to focus on Kimberly right now."

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two days later and I was ready. I had given the Falconzord toy to Billy kind of as a joke, along the lines of Kim's suggestion, he actually took it seriously and said it had given him an idea. In that time, Kimberly was still a little hesitant on what to do, but she had convinced me and Alpha to be prepared for anything. Because of this I found myself with Katherine walking in the park discussing her immediate future.

"Rule one: Never use the powers for personal gain."
Katherine nodded. "Okay."
"Rule two: Don't escalate a situation unless forced. And you know for a fact that Zedd and Rita like to escalate things."
That got a chuckle from the Aussie girl. "Yeah they do."
"And rule three: Keep your identity a secret. That one has bitten me in the ass a couple of times."
"What if someone finds out?"
"The current pattern seems to be that we just make them a Power Ranger too." It was then that my communicator started to beep with the prearranged signal. I directed Kat quickly behind some trees. "Ready now?"

"Yes. Time to do some good."

My communicator started a quick countdown and when it stopped Katherine disppaeared in a flash of pink light. "That's one down." I headed back to the pathway that led to the lake. There, Mayor Carrington was sitting on a bench looking over the water. "How are you holding up, Mayor?"

"David, after what happened the other night I think you can just call me Diane."
"Uh... o-kay."
"Were you followed?"
I had been able to easily ditch my police protection. "You were the Fed, you tell me."
Mayor Carrington smiled, rose from the bench and held out the crook of her arm. "Escort an old lady on her evening constitutional." I mirrored her gesture and we headed off with arms intertwined. "What was so important that you wanted to discuss it with me the other night?"

"It's funny. I was given an out and as someone who has had to adjust to normal life, I immediately thought of you. The universe immediately intervened to prevent it. I didn't even have a chance to really consider any other options. Maybe because, for right now anyway, I belong here. Doing this."

"What prompted this decision?"
"Besides the spy guy? A friend of mine just won a gymnastics competition. She's leaving tomorrow for Florida. She's the fourth friend in two years who has left to pursue something that could positively impact the world in a way they couldn't do before. I'm only thirteen, I still don't know what I want to do when I get older. But for right now I can help save the world every week."

"Not to mention the intrigue of international espionage."
"That I will gladly leave to you. I can protect my parents from aliens from space, monsters from parallel universes, intergalactic dictators, mysterious ninjas.... but that..."
"I know. It's a whole new level of complicated and weird."

We walked quietly for a while, but I needed to get something off my chest. "The last few months I got to be normal again. But I don't live in a normal world anymore."

"You back in the game?"
"Never left the game. Was just side-lined. Why did you start this sport's referencing, it has been nonstop running in my head ever since?" My communicator beeped before she could respond.

Zordon's voice boomed from my wrist. "Dave, please teleport to the command center."

I looked around. Nobody. "Okay." I teleported in a flash of green light with Diane in tow. When we materialized the alarms were going off.

"Aye-yi-yi. Dave, what are you doing?"

I stepped up to a console and shut the alrams off. "Zordon, Alpha, I would like to introduce Diane Carrington. Better known as Miss America, from the Power Ranger team Battle Fever. Diane..." I looked to the woman, who was admiring the surroundings but wasn't completely awestruck. "This is Alpha 5 of Edenoi," I said resting my hand on the robot's shoulder. "And this is Zordon of Eltar." I pointed to the floating head.

"Zord -- on?" Diane was testing the name to see if she had heard correctly.

"Welcome Ranger. You are among friends here." I could make out a slight smile on Zordon's face. "I never imagined I would have the opportunity to meet one of you."

"It is an honor to be here. Have you ever heard of..." Diane trailed off, like it was a test.

Zordon's head began to rise and fall in his tube. "Yes, he was a direct ancestor and a great inspiration of mine."

While it was neat to find out this tidbit of personal information, I had to explain myself. "Zordon, I knew it could be risky to bring her here. But with us one more ally down, I figured it might help to have one more in the know. And who better than a former Ranger who actively has been helping us."

"Agreed," Zordon said. "Dave, you have already been acting as a liason between the two and it may be best if you do it more officially."

"Got it."
"Mayor Carrington, I must also request that you keep us a secret."

Diane was shaking Alpha's hand when Zordon had said this. "As I told David once, I understand completely. I will share or reveal nothing to anyone."

"Not even to my uncle or that little cabal that had me questioned." I had placed a lot of faith in her, now I wanted to see if I was wrong to do so. "Or my parents, or your assistant."

"I only got involved to see how their progress has come. Luckily everyone seems to be slightly paranoid about what they are up to. Norquist has kept his arrangement he made with the Green Ranger, nothing about that ship has gotten out that I could discover. Stanton still can't get anything to spot this castle on the moon beyond a few fleeting images a satellite picked up from two years ago. Mitchell's scientists are good, but I say they are at least a couple years off from having anything even remotely close to Ranger tech. Even then it will be several years more before they could properly tap the morphing grid to create Ranger powers or zords. Earth is just not up to that level of technology yet. Right now most of his people are researching myths, legends, folklore, and demonology. As of now, nothing is really happening."

I was actually impressed that she actually knew what the morphing grid was, and that she was being so forthcoming. "So we listen, we learn, we prepare. Any of them could be a great friend or turn foe. We stay vigilant and we should be ready for what comes next. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for a farewell dinner."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Akomaru had grown restless of late. Traveling the universe, practicing his new and expanded powers, these were all decent past times. And annoying as Zedd and Rita and the human boy had been, at least they had provided distraction. He needed some now, and was excited to discover the master of this region of space. He decided to pay his respects, by magically appearing in the dictator's throne room in the M51 galaxy. All though the room was decorated largely with bones and skulls, even Akomaru thought it was over the top.

A curved golden blade appeared at his neck. A familiar female voice asked, "Shall I destroy him, Master?"

"Well hello, Scorpina. Now the great mystery of where you go when not serving Rita has been solved. And I know it has been a little while, but seriously." Akomaru waved his hand, with his attacker disappearing and reappearing against the wall. With another wave of his hand two skeletons reached around Scorpina and confined her. Akomaru approached the main throne and knelt down. "Master Vile, I offer supplication for whatever I interupted."

"As you should, Gohma." Master Vile looked down at the young man through his glasses. Vile swiveled his head to glare at the guard's back into their positions. "Why are you here?"

Akomaru couldn't help but wonder about the large cyclindircal growth the served as the back Vile's head which extended from the sides of his head to his shoulders. And if his perception was hindered or if Vile turned his head too quickly did he often hit his head on anything. "Just passing through. I spent a great deal of recently time with your daughter in the Sol system."

"She still there? She got out of her prison about three humanoid cycles ago. I sent Rito looking for her."
"Her exploits against Zordon and his Power Rangers is ongoing."

Vile's head rotated to look at Scorpina, who had not moved from where the skeletons held her. "I had been made aware of her fighting them, I had no Idea it was still going on. Rita has wasted too much time in that region of space. I may just have to conquer it for her."

Akomaru smiled at the thought. "You may be the only one that can. Even with Lord Zedd joining her, they continue to be ineffective."

Master Vile descended from his throne, every step making a loud thud when his entire weight shifted. "I only know him by reputation, but I haven't cared for Zedd, especially not after he joined the U.A.E. I told Rita not to mix with him. She only did it to spite me."

What Akomaru had started as simple goading was looking more and more like it could lead to something fascinating. "Even with your greatness, what can you do?"

"I know exactly what I will do. Retrieve the Zeo crystal. With it my powers will go beyond unbeatable."

Akomaru was suprised. "The Zeo crystal! You know where it is."

"Of course, it's why I conquered this galaxy in the first place. But the crystal was spirited away to the Caves of Deception. Rita knew this and tried to help her new 'boss' in getting it by setting up headquarters right on top of the cave. I was led to believe failing to get the crystal was why that Zedd fled the Milky Way behind and put Rita in charge of that region of space for him."

"Maybe you should speak to your daughter."

"Maybe. The last word I got from Rita was before her inprisonment and it was about winning some rare coin. Scorpina, prepare my ship." Vile pointed his staff at one of the skeletons and an energy beam caused it to explode. "First to wrap up some loose ends then we can go. I need to conserve my strength for the voyage."
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Old June 16th, 2016, 04:25 AM   #18
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 16

Once again, a person I greatly cared about had left. Once again, it felt like there was something missing from my life. I was bummed for a few weeks but this time I allowed Troy and the rest of my friends to distract me from it. I also felt kind of crappy because it wasn't as bad this time. I think because, as much as I care about Kimberly, it was still only one-third as bad as last time. Two years ago I probably would have freaked out. Tommy, Billy and Aisha had made frequent calls to Kimberly to see about a visit, but she shut them all down. Tommy was especially upset because they weren't together for Valentine's Day aka Kim's birthday.

Troy and I were good again, and I was glad for that. He hadn't told anybody else yet about his illness and I wanted to respect that. To me, this also explained why Sylvie was so clingy. She knew and wanted to be with him as much as possible.

Turns out, Katherine actually is really nice. And she has no qualms at all about asking questions or asking for help learning how to do the job. I do think she was trying to overcompensate though after spending all that time evil and plotting our demise. She joined every group and civic activity possible and attacked them with a fervor I hadn't seen since Trini. But another interesting thing was, even though Katherine had been around since last summer, she still didn't really now Angel Grove that well. She had spent all her time spying on the Rangers and not living her own life thanks to Rita. So now everyone was trying to indoctrinate her into the life of a California teen.

Finding a proper balance was still the only real issue with school, personal interests and super heroics. It took a few months but I slowly was finally able to get some things situated and off my to do list. I cancelled my visit to the super secret ninja sleepaway camp. With a potential international spy maybe lurking around, Mom and Dad wanted me close to home anyway. Maybe this summer.

I was finally able to seperate the wreckage of the Thunderzords into their own distinctive components, the Command Center just didn't have the power or the resources for me to fix them. It was good to know that the Thunderzord assault team was largely superficial damage, and the internal probelms were just fried wires and melted minor components.

I got the Rangers to give me their dino power coins for my research. Only Adam asked for his back and I couldn't think of an immediate reason why not. I was happy to discover the Tyrannosaurus and White Tiger coins were completely fine and popped out of the morphers as if nothing happened. They were just drained of power like the Dragonzord coin had been. The other four were displaying serious damage with severe cracks over them.

I finally dug up all of clone Tommy's research from outside and brought the stuff from home and set them in a storage room all to themselves. The barrels and crates were the least fun but thank Alpha for the teleporter assist. I was able to arrange them in an approximate chronological order but that meant I had to skim most things and gave little of it a proper read through. Thomas, as became his prefered designation, had made contact with numerous people and numerous places that hinted at connection to powers or the morphing grid. Not suprisingly, most were situated on the west coast, but there were several volumes dedicated to traveling around China and Japan. There he had conflicts and exploits with and against great ninjas, samurai and other warriors. I tried several minutes trying to contemplate why a secret ninja clan would call themselves 'the Foot' or what became of the Shiba family that he befriended.

The forces of evil had grown even more silent than they had been before my return to duty. They still sent down a few monsters, mostly to bother Katherine. Since she is an even worse fighter than Billy was when he started we all try to be available. At one point, fully demonstrating the growth he has had as a Ranger, Billy took on a giant size monster solo AND BEAT IT! Jason or Tommy, sure. But Billy?! My big brother Billy!? I lost track of how many times I watched the footage of the Blue Shogun zord smashing Brick Bully. First because of disbelief, then out of suprise, then because I was impressed at how awesome it was.

There were only a few more weeks of school left, and while most of the other Sophomores were in driver's ed the other half were in study hall, so I audited an extra science class from Mr. Wilton. I just taken the final exam and had gone out to celebrate my success.

"We are so proud of you," said Adina as she looked at my test paper.
"You know this stuff just makes me want to hate you more," Ajay commented as he glanced at the paper.

Tia had gotten an after school part time job at her aunt's burger joint, so we had gone there to celebrate my passing. We, of course, had to sit in her section. "Here you guys go."

"Oh miss," Ajay even raised his finger for added emphasis. "Are you sure this is vegetarian?"

Tia smiled but stared daggers at him. "It's a veggie burger."
"Is it organic? Do you know the farmer's who grew the mystery vegetables in this sandwich?"

She cocked her head, smiled bigger and leaned over so no one else could overhear. "Keep this up, I will do worse than spit in your food." As she walked away, she kind of sashayed.

"She can bug me with asinine questions, but when the tables are reversed..." Ajay looked at his burger. "Anybody want to trade?"

Adina rolled her eyes and gave up her club sandwich for the meatless burger. "So what now?"

"I have one less credit to worry about come Senior year. Now I can focus on keeping all my regular school work done in study hall."

"What about the job? How is that going?" Ajay bit into his new sandwich and savored it with closed eyes."

"It's kind of fun actually. I work directly with the mayor and we get along fine. She actually prefers that I call her Diane, which is weird to say. The other day I spoke with the people behind the Power Ranger toyline. The Shogun Megazord toys are coming out soon, and I had to correct them when I saw the final model."

Ajay took another bite, but I still understood his mumbled "What was wrong with it?"

"Somebody had accidentally colored the White Shogunzord pink. They clearly looked at all the photos to get the toy to look right, but then they miscolored it."

Adina acted offended. "Why can't it be pink? Is the Pink Ranger not allowed equal representation on that team?"

"But..." I wasn't really sure how to proceed with this. "...it's supposed to be white."

"Does the White Ranger really need another zord? Oh, I get that it seems that he is the leader of that team, why does he need three when his teammates only get two and the only girly-girl of the group gets one tiny flying robot?"

Where was this coming from? "I... have no say over that..."

Thankfully Ajay picked up in my place. "How do you know the pink one is a 'girly-girl'? For all you know she could be a butch chick."

Adina scoffed at him. "She has a skirt, Yellow Ranger doesn't."
"Well that settles that doesn't it, her gender-oriented costume dictates her personality."

I was fascinated by the exchange between these two. I have had numerous similar debates, but about fictional characters, mostly from comics. But, luckily, this did fall into a possible work related matter that I could relate to Mayor-- Diane.

Tia walked over to offer us refills. Without looking, Adina and Ajay both reflexively said "no." The conversation had now escalated about the disagreement over the importance of famous women in various televised mediums.

Tia leaned over to me. "What are they talking about?"
"I have no idea."

Adina interrupted Ajay's comments on how empowered Charlie's Angels really were by asking "Tia, can I have a to-go container?"
"Same here," added Ajay.

Both of them slid out of the booth and were standing as Tia handed them the boxes for take-out. Both slid their remaining plates of food in the boxes. Carrying on the conversation, Tia walked off with Ajay firing commentary trying to shut down every opinion of hers. This left me alone. "Okay. I guess I'll pay."

Tia came back to my table, glanced around the room and sat down across from me.

"Do you know what the hell that was?" My mind was still spinning.

"Nope, but they have been kind of snapping at each other lately. You know what I think, I think they like each other." Tia reached over and grabbed one of my untouched french fries.

"They have nothing in common."
"Opposites attract. They're already friends and already know a lot about each other." She polished off the fry and reached for another. "So how about you?"

"About me what?"
"Any high school girls catch your fancy?"
"Not really." It was such a weird question, especially since I was only now over my crush on Kim. "I'm younger than everybody and most of the girls go for older guys. You would not believe how many Freshman girls go for Juniors just so they can go to four years of prom."

"Not to worry. Next year all your friends will be in high school and you won't be alone anymore. But you better watch yourself though, because you'll be an upper classman."

I know my eyes had to have bulged. "Check please."

It's just that... I haven't given it much thought before. It's not that I don't like girls because I do. But with helping save the world, school, extra curriculars, spending time with my friends and now a job, having a girlfriend just feels like one more thing I don't need right now. Finding a balance now is hard. I've seen romantic-comedies. I know I will be forced to make sacrifices for her behalf, but what? I am not willing to give up anything I have right now. Sorry, Zordon, I can't fight the forces of evil because my girlfriend wants me to hold her purse at the mall. And while she's probably not the best example, I can't help but think of the hell Angela but Zack through. I'll pass, thanks.

I needed to check in with city hall anyway. I was downtown, maybe a block or two away when I heard the scream. I saw a man in a darkly colored track suit outfit running my way with a purse in his hand. "That does not seem to go with his ensemble." There were a few people around the bus stop, and a couple turned when the scream happened. Otherwise they didn't budge. I set my food box down on the bus bench and waited. As he turned to check if he was being followed, I tripped him. It was almost out of a cartoon. His head bounced off the sidewalk and his forward momentum propelled him forward several feet. Ouch. It was then I heard the hurried klik-klak of heels on pavement.

I had never seen Maria looked disheveled. Her hair was wild and a large assortment of miscellaneous paperwork she had crushed to her chest. She was more than a little surprised to see me. I walked over and grabbed her purse. The snatcher was unconscious and had some road rash on his forehead.

"I've called 911!" said one of the bus patrons.

Great. Like I needed more attention.

Maria grabbed her purse and shoved her papers into my arms. "You were never here. Go. Now."

I grabbed my food and was gone, once again wishing for the super-speed to come back. I slowed down to a speed walk outside of city hall but didn't stop until I made it to Maria's desk. I dropped everything down and tried to steady my breathing. I headed to the kitchenette area and got a bottle of water. As I chugged I heard a woman's voice "Oh, thank God, I'm starving." And there was Diane, already helping herself to my burger. "This is delicious." I closed the fridge door and that got the Mayor's attention. "Dave, where's Maria?"

"Occupied."

"I have a huge meeting in a few minutes. Get her desk situated, and cover until she get's here, okay?" Diane hurried into her office with what once was my food.

"I didn't really need to spoil my dinner anyway." I gathered together the papers into one pile and opened up Maria's desk drawer. Inside was the petty cash box. I realized I could at least get compensated for my food so I dug out my receipt. I filled out a compensation slip and pulled out the petty cash box. Underneath it and lying slightly askew, was a picture of Diane in her Miss America costume. It was the same one Diane had hid in her office, but blown up of just her. Why would Maria have this? Unless she knows about Diane. Either Diane lied to me about what Maria knows, or Maria knows more than she's supposed to. I saw a group of gentlemen walking this way and realized that may be the meeting party. I grabbed the cash, put the photo back, the box back and placed the papers on top and closed it just in time. I opened up Maria's calendar on her desktop to look at the Mayor's schedule and make it look like I was busy.

One of the gentlemen approached the desk, saw me and paused with a funny look on his face. "Excuse me?"

"May I help you sir?"
"Mr. Den is here for an appointment with Mayor Carrington."
"Of course. Please, have a seat." I got on the phone to call Diane. The man continued to look at me funny. "I'm an intern." He was happy with that answer and nodded in understanding before rejoining his party. I glanced over at the Japanese guy who was so important. He was looking at me. Creepy. "Diane, your party is here." I hung up the phone and realized that Mr. Den was now standing in front of me. "She's coming right now sir."

"Thank you," said Mr. Den as he extended his hand.

I shook it, but I was definitely starting to get weirded out. "You're welcome." It probably sounded more like a question.

Diane came out of her office smiling. "Hello Massey." The two embraced like old friends and walked into her office holding hands.

Maria came in a few minutes later. She greeted Mr. Den's associates and offered to get them beverages. They declined and she left them to their conversation. She came to me at the desk and quietly said "The thief has been arrested and a good Samaritan stopped him. Open and shut case." She then stared at me. I was not sure what she wanted. She then nodded her head towards her desk.

"Oh right." I hopped up. As she sat down I realized this is the most civil Maria has ever sounded towards me. In the same quieted manner, I told her "We need to discuss something later." I grabbed my nearly forgotten half-empty water bottle and headed back to the kitchenette. I chugged the last of the water and placed the bottle in the recycling bin. What now? I don't think I'm going to be needed today. It was then that the ground began to shake and everything started to get really dark. There's no eclipse this week or Troy would have mentioned it. I was alone so I tried my communicator. "Alpha, what's happening?" No response, it's like it was dead.

"Dave!" Diane came out of her office with Mr. Den.

"I'm on it." I dodged through confused government employees and headed outside. It was like something was casting a shadow across everything. Everyone around me was confused and looking to the sky. I couldn't see a ship or anything specific that might be causing it. But even as I looked it started to fade. I headed toward the payphone I had used before, it would be more practical than trying to hide in the bushes with active spectators every where. I tried my communicator again. Still nothing. It could be the communications system, the Command Center computers, it could be many things. I decided to risk teleporting. The Rangers were all present and accounted for in the Command Center. "What have I missed?"

"Something disturbing," said Aisha.
Zordon gave a more proper answer. "Master Vile, father to Rita Repulsa has come to Earth."
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Old November 19th, 2016, 01:37 AM   #19
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 17

"Rita has a father?" I was disgusted by the implication. Rito was bad enough.

"I said the same thing," said Rocky.

"David, I need you to begin monitoring the skies for Vile's Skullship." Zordon wasn't kidding around.

"Got it." Seriously, I tried not to think about it because it could definately make me puke. I left the room quickly so no one could hear me start to dry heave, just in case. I quickly headed up to the room above the main chamber. I set the scanner for the moon's current location and an ever expanding search grid pattern from there. I leaned back in the chair. I took a deep breath and realized I was alone. Alone, and doing something quiet and not that difficult. I decided to revel in the silence. I reclined slightly and closed my eyes. I had already had a busy day and I'm betting it wasn't even close to being over.

My long range scan sounded off and I freaked out of my slightly dozing state. After I hit the floor I was wide awake. Had I fallen asleep? I crawled quickly to the console to check the readouts. The Skullship was now hovering around Rita and Zedd's palace and finally come into range of the sensors.

I opened the comm signal to the main chamber to share my find, and realized there was another occupant down there. "Ninjor?"

Kat said something and I missed it. But Zordon was always understandable. "Rangers, the Zeo crystal is one of the most powerful forces in the universe."

Ninjor continued from there. "Thousands of years ago, the people of galaxy M-51 hid it from Master Vile deep inside the Caves of Deception. They then placed a forcefield around the crystal, preventing anyone who is not pure of heart to even touch it."

I left the channel open to hear, but shifted my focus to reading up on this new potential problem called the Zeo Crystal. Zordon then began to recite almost word for word what I brought up on the computers. But what I found intriguing were the amount of cross referenced materials and sub-sections leading to numerous other topics. There were so many categories I didn't know what they were, but the most prominant files were:

CONTINGENCIES
EARTH
GOSEI
HEXAGON
KNIGHTS and RANGERS
LEGENDS
POTENTIAL ALLIES
POTENTIAL THREATS
POWER SOURCES
REPLACEMENT THEORY
SENTAI
SPACE PATROL
TEMPORAL ANOMALIES
UNITED ALLIANCE OF EVIL

But no matter what I tried, I couldn't access any of it. I tried several more times but then suddenly the console shut down. I flicked a couple levers. Nothing was wrong, power had just been shut down. Annoyed, I sought answers from the floating head. The Rangers and Ninjor had left the main chamber.

"What happened?"
"The others left to fight a monster called Blue Globber," answered Alpha.
"That doesn't suprise me. What does is why I was denied access to some computer files."

Zordon contributed "David, the current danger we face now supercedes the research you were doing. And some of those files are private and I do not wish them to be shared. At least not yet."

I wanted to question more, but these were Zordon and Alpha's computers. Not mine. While I didn't like it, I also didn't wanted to accedently access anything personal of theirs either.

"Oh no," cried Alpha. "Ninjor has been recaptured."
I turned to watch the viewing globe. "He's only been free, what, not even ten minutes. For such a powerful being, he really kind of sucks at defending himself."

"We need to prepare in case things get worse. David, Billy was working on a device that could simulate the powers of the Falconzord but also operate as a jamming device to prevent the forces of evil to take control of them. Do you know if it is completed?"

"He was working on something in the chamber where you recreated the White Ranger powers. I'll go see." I accessed the computer and opened the light door. Seconds later I was in the chamber. Every time I came in here I couldn't help but think of Kou. As I looked through the machine pieces strewn about on the work bench my mind wandered to the other Daos Rangers. What had happened afterward, how they were doing now, that sort of thing. It was then that I realized it had been almost two years since it had happened. I haven't spoken to them or sent a message or anything. I wondered if maybe Zordon was in communication with them, since he seems to know just about everyone. It was then that I found the toy Falconzord I had left in Billy's care. Micro-circuitry had been connected to the wings and the central body now had three buttons for inputting codes or commands. "A toy being used to simulate the real thing." Billy and his creativity seemed to have no limits. I started running simulations to make sure that it was working. Everything seemed to be fine, but most of Billy's stuff does. It was then that my communicator beeped. "Go ahead."

It was Billy. "Dave, can you come to the main chamber?"
"Coming now." I arrived to find Billy, Rocky, Adam and Aisha talking. "Where are the others?"

"Infiltrating Rita and Zedd's palace," said Adam.
"Why?"
"So they can get the Zeo crystal," was Rocky response.
"How?"
"Katherine is pretending she wants to be evil," answered Aisha and she clearly didn't like it.

I had no further questions, but Billy gestured me over. I approached the console and Billy turned his back to his friends for some discretion. "I ran home real quick to check on our parents. The Mayor called Mom and now Mom is wondering where you are."

I set the Falconzord toy down on the console. "I better check in." I waved to the others and teleported away. Since the business day was officially over I teleported into a restroom at City Hall. I peeped out into the hallways and sure enough it was largely deserted. I went to the Mayor's office and found that the light was still on. The last time I was in the Mayor's office after hours I got into a fight and got tazed for a second time. I knocked on her door a little nervously. "Mayor Carrington?"

"Dave come in." I entered to find her still with the gentleman from earlier. Diane gestured to her acquaintance. "Massey, this is David Cranston. David, this is my old friend Masao Den." The man stood to shake my hand so I politely obliged the greeting. Diane then got a playful smile on her face. "Off planet he was better known as Battle Japan."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kimberly was more tired than she had been in a long time. She loved gymnastics and had trained her whole life. But even she had to admit that her Ranger duties had made her slightly lacking in some areas, which Coach Schmidt always pointed out. Schmidt was the toughest trainer she had ever had, and he pointed out every single flaw and mistake he could spot. Three girls had already quit, but Kim reveled in it. She acknowledged the criticism in stride, did as corrected and Schmidt had never steered her wrong in the short time she had known him.

"Remarkable."
"What is, Coach?" asked Kim as she toweled off the accumulated sweat off her face. She felt invigorated, and expected Schmidt to tack on a quick mile run to today's training.

"Your performance. The focus, the drive, the determination. You have shown such improvements since coming here." Schmidt had been taking notes on a clipboard, and was now smiling with pride. "How are you feeling?"

"Great." Now Kim knew to expect that run, but then she spotted her father. "Oh, my rides here." She happily waved, grabbed her sports bag and almost ran off. "Same time tomorrow."

Kimberly's father, Dr. Joseph Hart, had been living on the east coast with her younger brother Andy. But when he learned that Kim was moving to Florida, he decided to relocate there as well. While Andy had found New York fine, having spent his whole life in California, he was unprepared for winter weather and was happy to move back to a warm climate.

As Kim left the gym, she enjoyed the momentary blast of heat from going outside, but immediately started feeling like she needed a shower. "Where's Andy?"

Dr. Hart started his car and started glancing at traffic. "Surfing with some new friends. And have you made any new friends yet?"

"Not really." She had already had similar discussions with her father twice before and was not eager for it right now.

"I understand that you didn't want to transfer to a new school with less that half a year left. I agreed to allow you to test out to focus on your gymnastics. Now I'm not so sure that was a good idea."

Kim watched the ocean go by as they drove down the road. "I'm doing fine, Dad."
"All you do is train. Or workout. Your only real socialization beyond me and your brother is a sixty year old man. When was the last time you spoke to Trini or your other friends? What about your boyfriend, Tony?"

"Tommy, Daddy, his name is Tommy."
Dr. Hart just shrugged. "All I'm saying is it's been four months. What about your summer plans, what about going back to school?"
"I was thinking maybe I should take the GED. Get school out of the way."
"Out of the way? When have you had such an attitude about your own education?"
"I'm just not ready yet, okay. I've just had some huge changes in my life. I'm still processing everything and I need more time." Kim was tempted to jump out of the car to avoid discussing this.

The rest of the car ride home was quiet. Kim was happy about being back at their new home until she saw a stranger standing on the porch talking to Andy. She couldn't help but stare. The first time she saw Tommy, she thought he was cute. This guy, was gorgeous. Her father got out of the car to greet the stranger while Kim became immediately aware of the fact that she was both sweaty from training and her hair was blown into a mess from the drive. She wished she could still teleport.

Dr. Hart called to her. "Come on Kim. Get over here."
Now she just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. But she has faced far more intimidating things than attractive men. She smoothed down her hair as best she could, took a deep breath, and got out. As she got closer to this handsome being she began to think her training regime had been tougher than she thought as her legs felt like they may give out.

"Kim, honey, this is our neighbor's son Timothy. I mentioned to them the other day about your school situation and they told me that their son was a tutor. You're a..."

Timothy was looking at Kimberly as much as she was looking at him, and hadn't realized that Dr. Hart was saying. "Oh, I'm a sophomore over at the university. It's nice to meet you."

Kim could listen to his voice all day. She unconsciously extended her hand to shake his. His hands were really strong. She smiled and wanted to say something really cool but profound. She managed "Hi."

Timothy smiled back. "Hi."
"What's wrong with your faces?" interrupted Andy.

Both Timothy and Kimberly were surprised by this, but Dr. Hart intervened. "Andrew, let's go inside and get dinner started. And I can explain what the word 'tact' means." When dinner was ready, Dr. Hart noticed that his daughter and the neighbor boy were still talking and hadn't moved in an hour. He smiled, and decided to let them finish their conversation. It was dark before Kimberly came inside.
GreenDTRanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21st, 2016, 11:51 PM   #20
GreenDTRanger
Bronze Age > New 52
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,344
Part 18

Den Masao's smile evaporated when his past was brought to light. And he was definately confused when my response was "Really?" Masao released my hand to see Diane for explanation.

"It's all right. This boy is my Power Ranger connection. Sorry, Dave, all I have right now is tea." Diane poured some more into her cup. She knows I don't like hot tea, what I need right now is caffeine. I wonder if I could go grab something...

Masao had reclaimed his former seat but was giving me an interested look. "How do you know the Power Rangers?"
Slightly distracted at first, I just repsonded "I work with them."
"Doing what?"
"What I'm needed to do."
"May I ask why?"
"You just did, so I guess you can."

Maseo seemed a little flumoxed so Diane interjected before the back and forth went nowhere. "What happened earlier? What caused that darkness?"

I glanced at Masao momentarily, but if Diane trusted him I probably could give it a try. "Things have, unfortuneately, gotten worse. A galaxy conqueror named Master Vile has shown up to assist Rita and Zedd."

"He conquered an entire galaxy," responded Masao. I wasn't really sure if it was a question or an acknowledgment.

Diane understood. "Why did he come here?"
"Turns out he is what spawned Rita and Rito."
"Family, so it's personal for him. We saw some of the battle from here. The Megazord didn't do so well."
"The Blue Ranger thinks he may have figured a way around it. But we also have another issue with something called the Zeo crystal."

"The Zeo crystal!" This outburst from both Carrington and Maseo was incredibly suprising.

"How have you two heard of it?"
"It was supposedly a major power source," said Maseo.
Diane added "Or some kind of myth, like Santa Claus."

"Turns out both of them are true."
"How do you know?" Maseo was turning out to be very inquisitive.
"Because Santa is apparently really nice." The grown ups just looked at me. "Oh, you meant - gotcha. Don't worry, the White and Pink Ranger are investigating right now."
"How?"
"By infiltrating the bad guys's HQ on the moon. Turns out the Zeo crystal is up there under Zedd's palace."
"Is that wise?"
Okay, I'm not appreciating the questions now. "It was our team leader's call."
"Was there no other options?"
"This seemed the best option at the time."
"I don't agree."
"Well... tough."
Maseo stood up and buttoned his coat. "You must take us to the moon," he said with as much casualness as if that was an everyday occurance.

I looked to Diane. "I don't think 'no' is a big enough response to that."

Diane stood next to her friend. "Mass, what are you doing?"
"We will deal with this Mister Vile."
"Oh really, and how do you expect us to do that?"
Maseo completely missed the sarcasm from her voice. "We go, we study them and plan accordingly."

Diane pointed at me. "The Power Rangers already know the enemy. And are currently acting accordingly."

"We now know what they know, which is not much." Maseo now turned his attention on me again. "Take us to the moon and the adults will take it from here."

Okay, screw this guy. "The situation is handled." And I left before I could forget about respecting my elders.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diane Carrington could not believe what had just happened in her office. "What the hell was that all about?"

Den Masao simply walked over to the recently vacated door and closed it quietly after the departing teen had flung it so hard that it banged against the wall. "Do you think he might be a Power Ranger?"

Despite their years of friendship, Diane felt uncomfortable with the idea of divulging any of David's personal secrets. "He hasn't told me as such. He's has had some extraordinary adventures though."

"You trust this boy?"
"Of course, and right now more than you right this minute."
"Do you miss it?"
"The questions are becoming a damn bit insufferable, Mass."
"That wasn't an answer."

Diane was about as annoyed as the retreating teenager, but the gentler tone of his non-question caught her off guard. The sincerity was visible in his eyes. "I'm not above the occasional daydream of the past. But our time is long over and has been ever since we defeated Egos. I have moved on. You have your businesses, so I know you have."

"The world is not how we imagined it just three years ago. Even then we knew better. But I have learned some disturbing things. Possibly even connected to that spy who attacked you."

Diane was intrigued. "Go on."
"What if I told you, that the existence of the Rangers and monsters has caused a panic all over the world. A panic so severe most countries of the world still deny existences of these monsters and aliens. Even so far as to keep it from their media so as to prevent panic. Here you are in California, and yet I have spoken with people on the east coast of this United States who think it is made up."

"I wish I could say I'm suprised, but why are you so concerned about it?"

"The potential rise of a superhuman arms race has always been a possibility. I have even tried stopping it. Do you remember that company I bought just outside of New York City a few years ago?"

"Yes, the one with the initials I kept thinking was a frozen yogurt shop."

"Techno Global Research Industries. Their scientists had developed a compound that had highly dangerous mutagenic properties. I bought them and tried to discreetly have the substance destroyed. Long story short, two monsters were created and sent into the city. It was apparently handled by some locals and the Mayor's office there has tried their best to hush it up."

"I'm afraid I don't have that luxury here."

"Out of necessity you have been very open. But with that, other places have gone quiet and the super powers research has gone into overdrive. China, Russia, even France are working on their own robots or Ranger type programs. Rumor is that the US military is even trying to."

"Really." Diane tried to then casually reach for her tea. "Are you certain?"

"Just rumors. But it led me to believe that is why a spy of some considerable reputation attacked you. This... supportive attitude with the Power Rangers gives the suggestion of a possible connection."

"A very remote connection."
"As it turns out, a very true connection."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was pissed, thinking all kinds of innapropriate thoughts as I left downtown. By the time I made it to the park, I had cooled but would have momentary flashes of anger. By the time I made it to my block, I was tired, hungry, head throbbing and wanting a nap. A respite was not awaiting me at home.

"David Mitchell Cranston!!!"

Uh oh, the dreaded middle name.

Mom was standing in the kitchen entryway. She was wearing an apron, and there was some sort of smell coming from the kitchen, but the look on her face made me not want to ask questions.

"Where have you been?"
"Downtown."
"There was another monster attack down town today."
"I missed it."
"Then you weren't downtown."
"You can ask the Mayor, ask her assistant."
"I will. But I got a call from the Police Commissioner today. They are pulling your protection detail. Seems you keep evading them."

"Oh, that." That was a relief. Now confident that nothing bad was happening, I went past my mother to get a soda from the fridge. "Those guys really do suck at their jobs, though."

"They were there to protect you and this family."
"It's been months now, Mom. And if that incident with that spy has proven anything, I can handle myself."
"Not all of us are black belts, David. What about your brother?"
"Billy is tougher than you think he is, Mom."
"What about your father and me then?"

I had to pause for a second to respond without hinting at anything. "We'll protect you." I was serious about that, but the over seriousness of my tone was unintentional.

Mom wasn't convinced. "You are the child, I am your mother. It is my job to decide what is best for you." The distinct sound of a car turning off in the back ended the conversation. She walked to the sink, filled a glass of water, then exchanged it for the unopened soda in my hand. She the placed the back of her hand lightly first against my cheek and then my forehead. "You look flustered, you should lie down. I'll call you when dinner is ready."

Well, my good day had gone distinctly down hill. But there is always something so immensely satisfying in going into your room, shutting the door and distancing yourself from the rest of the world. After a quick drink I set down the glass on my nightstand and collapsed on my bed. I don't ever want to move from this spot ever, ever again. I was able to lay there, eyes closed and mind blank for several minutes. Then I remembered that while I was here in my comfy bed my brothers and his friends were trying to save the world from a new, even more powerful force of evil. That didn't mean I couldn't lie here with my eyes closed while I checked in. "Alpha, how are things right now?"

"The Rangers are engaged in a Megazord fight right now. Billy is trying to get the Ninja zords online to help with the fight," responded the robot.

I leaned my head back onto my pillow. Okay, now what? Should I head back to the Command Center? It was then that my father poked his head through the door, knocking as he did so. I covered up my communicator to disengage the signal.

"Dinner's ready."
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