Ranger Games: A Dino Thunder Reunion
Chapter 6: A Maze Of Memories
Last Revised: May 17, 2004
Website: A Blast From The Past
Rated: PG 13
Ship: Tommy/Kim, Jason/Kat, Billy/Trini, Aisha/Rocky, Trent/Kira/Conner, Adam/Tanya
Summary: After some of the Rangers, old and new, are eliminated from the Games, the remaining ones stumble upon a secret that will help them fight Mercer and Mesogog. And we see the introduction of the White Ranger
Disclaimer: First, I do not own Power Rangers, Saban and Disney do. Please don't sue me.
Author's Notes: Hi! ::ducks in coming projectiles:: I know, I know, it's been a long time since I updated...I wanted to wait until White Thunder was over and I had to tweak this chapter quite a few times.
A quick shout out goes to Jang the DEFENDER and Lessa Solarem for being my beta-readers ::gives them a round of applause:: The two of them really helped me with this.
Also, this Chapter is my alternate take on how the DT team found out about the White Ranger.
Just so you know, it won't take me a month to put out the next chapter, promise. So, without further ado, nearly a month and twenty-two pages later, here's chapter 6!
"When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew" - From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
One Week Before
He felt nauseous, his skin was clammy, and he couldn't get the cursed band off his wrist. 'Dad, what did you do to me?' he thought of the thing in his father's office, the thing that had sent him to some weird place, where this band had attached itself to his arm. After that, he couldn't remember much of anything. Something about Power Rangers...
"Look what we have here," a sickeningly sweet voice called, causing him to turn.
"Who are you?" he asked, his vision blurring as he saw double of the woman before him and his throat suddenly going dry. There was a ball of fear in the pit of his stomach.
"Someone who can help you," she grinned evilly as he dropped to the ground, unconscious, the new powers having finally caused his body to give out on him.
After the Rangers had escaped, the newly morphed Pink Ranger stood to the side of Mesogog's throne, watching him lash out at Elsa and Zeltrax. "You two are incompetent," he growled at them. "I suppose if I want something done right, I'll have to send my Rangers."
"Ranger, my lord," the Pink Ranger spoke, watching as Mesogog smiled.
"No, my dear, Rangers. Come forth, my White Ranger!" he called out, and watched as his Pink Ranger stiffened when the White Dino Thunder Ranger walked forward. "Allow me to introduce you to my White Ranger."
The Pink Ranger nodded curtly to her white counterpart. The last time she'd seen a White Ranger had been...shaking her head, she let the memory dispel. 'No use thinking about that now, you have a job to do' she thought as she eyed the male Ranger.
Only the moon and an occasional blast of lighting lit the room. She stood next to the window, eyes staring out at the expanse of island and ocean before her, her gaze blank.
Physically, she was the embodiment of everything she'd ever fought against.
Mentally and emotionally, she was still the bright, pink light that Zordon had chosen as a member of his original team. The same pink light that had helped, on numerous times, bond the power team together in the face of their greatest challenges.
As Kim struggled to regain control of her physical body, to get rid of Mesogog's influence over her, she felt her new partner enter the room. "What do you want?" her voice hissed as her counterpart stood next to her.
"To get to know my teammate, my counterpart," he fired back. He didn't want a teammate, but Mesogog had talked him into it. Besides, she was something to admire when she wasn't in uniform, like now. She wore a pair of white short shorts, a black sports bra and a pink tank top.
Kim turned to glare at the white clad man before her. She still hadn't seen his face, as he hadn't let go of his powers since she'd met him earlier. As his comment reached her ears, she snorted in amusement. "Sorry Dino Boy, I work alone," she muttered as he reached out, grabbed her arm and spun her to face him.
"You speak treason," he growled as she shot him a look.
"I speak the truth, I speak my mind," she told him as she wrenched her arm out of his hold. "You just remember, I was a Ranger when you were still in grade school, don't mess with me!" she hissed before she stormed out of the room.
"So it's true?" Tanya questioned as Hayley entered the lair. All of the Rangers rescued from the Island Fortress were staring at their new friend in confusion.
Hayley nodded. "Trent and Principal Randall are missing, and now everyone thinks Kira, Conner and Ethan are too." The entire city was in a panic over the mysterious disappearances of the four teens and their principal. "Not to mention people are starting to talk about Tommy's sudden leave of absence."
Justin grunted at that. "Let them talk, it's not the first time."
"No, it's not," Cam spoke, his voice that of reason. "But it could ruin Dr. Oliver's career and reputation. Hayley, what are we to do?"
Shaking her head, the frustrated woman turned toward the former Green Samurai and shrugged. "There's nothing we can do. I talked to Tommy this morning after he had time to digest the news about Kim. He wants all of you to head home."
"No." All eyes turned toward where Carter and Dana stood near the stairs.
"What do you mean no, Carter?" Hayley asked. She watched as the former Red Ranger looked down at his girlfriend, who nodded, and then watched him look up at her, his eyes full of determination.
"While the others are doing what they need to with Mercer, we're going to rescue Kim. Dana and I aren't leaving until she's safe."
Tanya watched the scene unfolding with a ball of fear in her stomach. These young former and current power holders were determined, each and every one of them, to save their friend. "It's too dangerous."
"In case you've forgotten," Dana pointed out, a smile lighting her face. "There are four other Rangers besides you and Justin. You have a full team."
"You never asked for this fight," Justin started until Carlos started laughing at him. "WHAT?"
"Did any of us ever ask to become Rangers?" Carlos asked as all of the Rangers shook their heads. "Exactly. We never asked for this, but we've made do with what we've been given. We've struggled through personal and professional problems, but the constant we've always had has been being Rangers. It gave us a family, even if we were all on different teams."
Dustin smiled and jumped in. "Carlos is right, man," he started. "Jason, Zack, Trini, Billy and Kimberly were given the choice to accept or to decline, and I'd like to think that their actions resulted in the standards that each of us have followed over the years. They set the stage, whether directly or indirectly for all of us to be together."
T.J. and Lucas smiled. "I think what Dustin and Carlos are trying to say is," Lucas started as he grabbed everyone's attention. "Is that, powers or not, we're here to help any way we can." Wes, Alyssa, Danny, Maya and Damon nodded in agreement.
Tanya's gaze went to every face in the room. Each burned with the passion and strength and hope that formed the Ranger legacy; that formed Zordon's legacy. "Are you all in agreement with this?" Tanya asked. All the others nodded while Justin protested.
"Tanya, you can't be serious about letting them go with us!" When Justin saw his older friend's face, he knew he had lost long before.
Hayley merely watched the Rangers, and smiled through the tears that pricked the back of her eyes, thinking back to one of the many conversations she'd had with Tommy about the being who had given five earthlings the power to protect their planet. 'I can only imagine how proud Zordon would be of the ones he chose, and the ones they chose' she smiled, swiping her eyes with the back of her hand before turning to get working on the computer end of the plan she knew Tanya was forming.
"It's settled. Those of us with powers," Tanya started, her stance allowing no arguments. "Will go and free Kimberly if all possible, those of us without, are to go join the other Rangers and inform them of the situation. Agreed?" When the Rangers nodded in silent agreement, Tanya turned to Hayley. "Hayley?"
"Already working on it."
The two girls moved along slowly, the only light coming from the evenly spaced torches lining the walls. "Trini, I should have told you this earlier," Kira started as the pair found themselves with a fork in the maze.
"What Kira?" Trini asked, turning to smile at the young Yellow Ranger.
"I hate mazes," she whispered as she Trini stopped. The older girl nodded. "They make me feel so enclosed in. I can't even go through a corn maze during Halloween."
Trini nodded and turned to face her young friend. "I'll let you in on a little secret; all of us have fears like that. Mine is heights," Trini informed Kira, the latter watching the far away expression that stole over Trini's face.
"Let me guess, Rita took advantage of that on more than one occasion?" Trini laughed.
"Yep. Had to climb a mountain to save the others, freaked the hell out of me," Trini spoke, pointing toward the left. There were strange noises coming from the right. "Did you know Zack's scared of spiders?" Kira smiled and laughed. "Billy's scared of fish. I'm not completely sure what Jason's scared of, but Kimberly has had problems with spinning wheels since we became Rangers."
"Spinning wheels? Like the ones used to make wool?" Kira asked as Trini nodded.
The two walked down another long corridor and found themselves at another crossroads. "Yeah. We were doing a play, can't remember if we were freshman or sophomores by then, but Kim borrowed her grandmother's spinning wheel because we needed it. Rita basically cast a spell on it."
Kira cringed. "That doesn't sound like fun."
"It wasn't. Even Tommy's got fears," Trini spoke. "I think his biggest, other than losing Kim again, is probably having our enemies turn him to the side of evil again."
Trini nodded. "Tommy started out as the Evil Green Ranger, and if memory serves correct, Jason mentioned something about him getting kidnapped as the Red Zeo or Turbo Ranger...but my memory's kinda fuzzy on that."
Kira was silent and thoughtful for a moment. "I can't imagine Dr. O being scared of anything."
Trini stopped, her gaze serious as she looked to Kira. "We all have fears, it's a natural part of who we are. Now, come on," with that, Trini stepped forward, only to be thrown back against Kira.
Both girls landed with a thud, eyes darting up to see what was standing in front of them. A group of Tyranno-drones weaved back and forth, not attacking, but not retreating either. "Just what we don't need," Kira muttered as the two stood, only to have the Drones surge forward.
"Let's rumble," Trini huffed as she and Kira blocked the on-coming attacks.
Conner watched Jason creep along the darkened hallway just in front of him. Neither had said a word since they'd entered the maze; neither had to say a word, they seemed to instinctively know each other's thoughts. Finally, the silence got to Conner. "Jason?"
"Hmm?" the ex-ranger asked as he stopped in the hallway, his gaze turning to take in Conner's weary stance.
Conner looked at his predecessor, the original Red Ranger, and for a moment felt the world tilt. How in the hell was he supposed to live up to not only Jason, but also Rocky, Dr. O, and every other Red Ranger that had come before him? "Conner, what's wrong?" Jason asked, watching the emotions clearly show on Conner's features.
"Do you ever regret becoming a Ranger?"
Jason raised one eyebrow at that. There were lots of things he'd either done or hadn't done in his life that he regretted, but was being a Power Ranger one of them? "Honestly?" Jason asked, Conner nodded. "Right this instant, no. If you'd asked me that a few years ago, the answer would have probably been yes."
Jason's smile was a wry one. "A couple of years ago, my life had absolutely no meaning, I had no goals. I thought that because I'd spent the best part of my high school career battling space aliens and going to a peace conference that I'd lost those special things like making new friends and figuring out what I wanted out of life." Jason stopped, his expression one that told Conner he was back in his memories. "Right now, I like who I am, I like that I spent the best years of my life fighting for what I believe in. I may have not made very many new friends, but as a Ranger, I have a group of close knit friends that I couldn't see I had until they'd been taken from me. I served two terms as a Ranger, Conner, both at Zordon's request, and I don't regret a single minute of it. I don't think I'd be who I am if I hadn't."
Conner nodded. In a strange way, he understood exactly where Jason was coming from and what he was talking about. "Do you regret giving up your soccer dreams for being a Ranger?"
Conner blinked. So Dr. O had said something about those first few months to the older Rangers. "At first I kind of did, but as things have progressed, I think I've finally figured out that while I love soccer, I love making a difference in the lives of complete strangers even better. Besides, who says I can't still play soccer when my time as a Ranger ends."
Jason laughed. "You've learned that lesson a lot earlier then some of us," Jason spoke. Conner knew immediately that the former red and gold Ranger was talking about himself, Trini, Zack, and Kimberly.
Smiling, the pair took a step forward. Just as they did, Jason cried out as the red beam along the floor connected with his ankle. "JASON!" Conner cried, watching his partner hit the floor.
"Conner, WATCH IT!" Jason hollered, as both boys saw the redness of the laser beams. "DAMN!"
"Jas, you alright?" Conner asked as he crouched down. The younger Ranger swallowed hard when he saw the blood oozing from Jason's left ankle and onto the floor. "You're bleeding," Conner murmured, stripping off his red flannel shirt and leaning forward to help Jason tie it around the wound.
Jason winced when Conner wrapped the flannel around his ankle, but knew that the bleeding needed to be stopped before they could continue. "We're stuck here, look how many lasers there are." Jason's words lanced through Conner, making the young Ranger nervous.
"With my speed skills, I might be able to get past them."
"Yeah, but I'm not any where near your level, Speedy," Jason pointed out as Conner nodded. "We're gonna have to take this slow and easy, and pray there aren't any more surprises waiting for us up ahead."
Conner grimaced. "Fat chance of that happening."
Aisha glanced at Billy nervously. He'd been pretty talkative for the last couple of days, and now he was stone cold silent, a fact that was making her nervous. "Billy?" she whispered as he turned to look at her. He looked to be deep in thought, but smiled that unique Billy-smile when he saw the worried expression on her face.
"I'm alright Aisha, just thinking about the possibilities," he whispered, reaching out to grasp her hand. Aisha smiled up at him, squeezing the hand that was giving her comfort. The pair hadn't been extremely close as Rangers, but they had one thing clearly in common - their shared friendships with Kimberly.
"What do you suppose he's gonna throw at us?" Aisha bit her lip when Billy's expression darkened.
"I don't know." As soon as the words left Billy's mouth, the hallway where the two stood suddenly filled with a green gas. Quickly, the made to cover their mouths and noses, but the gas was already affecting them. In a few seconds, both dropped to the ground, unconscious.
"Adam?" Rocky asked. The hallway they were in was dark; there were no lights to guide their way.
Rocky heard the grunt and the thump, signaling that Adam had walked into the wall. "What Rocky?" Adam grumbled.
"You ok?" Rocky ventured as Adam sighed.
"Not really. I just ran into a wall. I'm a little sore now," Adam all but whined. "What do you think they're gonna do to us in here?"
"Frog-man, your guess is as good as mine," Rocky spoke before the torches along the wall flickered and they saw the green gas filling the hallway.
Adam had no time to protest as he and Rocky dropped to the ground, unconscious.
Tommy smiled in the dark. Kat's hand was clutching his own, her palm sweaty and clammy. "Nervous?" he asked her softly.
"What do you think?" was the sarcastic reply before Kat punched Tommy lightly in the arm. He chuckled as they crept down the hallway they were obviously in. "Tommy?"
"Hmm?" he asked, his senses alert but his attention on the woman clutching his hand.
"Do you think we're ever gonna escape being Rangers, or being associated with them?" Kat asked, surprising Tommy with her question.
Tommy mulled over that question for a few seconds. "Probably not. You know the old saying: once a Ranger, always a Ranger," Tommy murmured causing Katherine to sigh. "Why?"
Kat took a deep breath, not sure if she could voice her thoughts with words. "Because I wonder if we'll ever get normal lives. We've all given up so much, and even though there have been other teams after us, it seems like the twelve of us keep getting called back, time and again." Tommy could hear the frustration in her voice, along with the fear of their situation.
"I mean, look at you! You've been through four different Ranger colors, more than a half dozen Zords, and as many teams, but to top that all off, you've created Rangers!" Kat pointed out, causing him to wince at the near accusation in her voice. "Look at Jason, he's been red and gold, been captured by Divatox and turned against us and next to Kim, was the first one without question to agree to come here for this. Are we ever going to get a chance to be normal?"
Tommy had no answer for her. He had been about to say something when the two of the suddenly heard a hissing sound, followed by a peculiar smell. They had no time to react, as they were soon unconscious on the floor.
"I hate waiting," Ethan muttered as he paced back and forth in front of the maze where his friends were. He and Zack had been waiting for them for nearly a half hour now, and every minute that ticked by brought them one step closer to losing.
Zack could see Ethan's thoughts playing across his face clearly. It was pretty evident that the Blue Dino Ranger was having a problem waiting, and that the younger Ranger didn't think their friends were going to make it out in one piece. "Ethan, have a little faith," Zack told him. This was usually Kim's job, giving the pep talk to someone when things were the bleakest. Zack took a deep breath, hoping he could do the same. "You've got eight veteran Rangers inside, and your two friends, they'll make it out in time."
"Zack, they've only got an hour and a half left!" Ethan pointed to his watch. He'd set it to time them the minute the doors had shut and Mercer had walked away from the maze laughing.
"I know that, and a lot can happen in an hour and a half, trust me," Zack commented as one of the doors suddenly slid open.
"We've got an incoming transmission," Hayley informed Tanya, who was sitting at the console across from her.
"GUYS!" Tanya called up the stairs, causing the others to come down to see the incoming message. "Go ahead Hayley."
"Carter? Dana? You there?" the girl on the screen asked frantically.
Carter and Dana smiled before laughing. "Go ahead Kelsey," Dana told her yellow dressed friend as the group gathered around the screen.
"Where have you guys been?" Kelsey demanded as Dana grimaced.
"Long story. Do me a favor, do you have our morphers?" Carter cut in, watching Kelsey give him the 'DUH' look.
Nodding, Kelsey reached out in front of her, holding them up. "Yeah, we finished making the adjustments to them this morning. Why?" Kelsey squeaked when the two morphers disappeared, reappearing on Dana and Carter's arms a second later. "What's going on guys?"
"We're helping some friends. We'll be home as soon as we can, all right? Don't worry," Dana told her, watching Kelsey nod before Hayley ended the transmission.
"That makes eight of us," Carter started as Tanya smiled.
Turning back to the computer, Tanya brought up the game plan she'd been working on. "Now that Carter and Dana have their morphers, we're going to have to realign this," Tanya started. "Dana, you, Dustin, Alyssa, Danny and T.J. are to go help the others. Cam, Carlos, I want you to stay here and help Hayley. Carter, Maya, Damon, Wes, Lucas and Justin are coming with me to hopefully free Kim."
The group nodded to Tanya, understanding their assignments. "Let's move," Justin muttered as each group broke off.
"GUYS!" Zack and Ethan called when a squad of Tyranno-drones pushed Jason, Trini, Conner and Kira out of the maze door, disappearing when the four fell to the ground.
"Oh man!" Ethan muttered as he checked on Conner and Kira, who were just starting to come to.
Zack was frantic. He'd checked on Trini, who was semi-conscious, but Jason was bleeding and he wasn't moving at all. "JAS!" Zack cried, shaking his former leader and one of his best friends.
"His ankle," Conner muttered as Ethan helped him to a sitting position. Zack's eyes instantly went to Jason's ankles, where he saw Conner's shirt wrapped around one, and soaking with red liquid. Zack's heart jumped into his throat before the first aid skills he'd learned asserted themselves. Carefully, Zack undid the shirt and saw the hole going directly through Jason's ankle. Eyes wide, Zack turned to look at Conner.
"Laser. Tried to stop the bleeding, but then we got jumped by Mesogog's goons," Conner's face scrunched up when he remembered the fight. Even though Jason had been injured, the former Red Ranger had kept fighting, not willing to leave Conner on his own against the Dino-rejects.
Both Kira and Trini had regained consciousness enough to move toward Zack and begin helping him with Jason. Kira peeled off the button down she wore over her tank top, handing it to Zack who wrapped it and Conner's back around Jason's ankle. "Is he gonna be ok?" Kira murmured when she saw the looks Trini and Zack were giving one another.
"Without medical attention, probably not," Zack muttered, seconds before a familiar whirling sound was heard. All eyes moved to the entrance to the arena, where a group of five now stood.
Dana wasted no time running to the fallen Rangers. "Who are you?" Trini asked as Kira shot Dana a surprised smile.
"Dana Mitchell, Pink Ranger, Lightspeed Rescue," Dana murmured as her attention immediately went to Jason's leg. "He's pretty banged up, isn't he?"
"T.J. Johnson, Red Turbo and Blue Space Ranger. This is Danny Delgado, Black Ranger, Wild Force; Alyssa Enrile, White Ranger, Wild Force; and Dustin Brooks, Yellow Ranger, Ninja Storm. Tanya sent us," T.J. informed the group, who smiled sadly. "How bad is Jason?"
Dana grimaced. "T.J., this is bad, he's gonna need to go to the hospital," she murmured when her fellow Ranger bent down next to her.
"We have a fully functional infirmary on premises," a new voice called, causing the Rangers to stare at the newly arrived man. Those who knew him, glared, those who didn't were weary of him.
"THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" Trini raged at him, her eyes burning with a fire that made Mercer shiver slightly.
"No, it's his own fault, Ms. Kwan," Mercer started. "If you'll follow me, I will show you to the infirmary."
"Dana, Danny, Zack and Trini, take Jason. The rest of us will wait for the others," T.J. told them, watching Danny stride forward and help Zack lift Jason. Trini and Dana followed the trio as they went toward Mercer.
Billy groaned. His head was spinning and he felt out of place. When he finally managed to open his eyes, he found he was not in the dimly lit hallway with Aisha, but in one very empty Command Center. Blinking rapidly, his mind started to think of the possibilities.
"Welcome Billy," the robotic sounding voice nearly brought tears to Billy's eyes. Struggling to his feet, Billy looked around the room for the owner of the voice, but found no one.
Suddenly the lights flickered off and on, and when they stopped flickering, Billy saw that not only was Alpha standing in front of him, but also Zordon's face had appeared in his time warp tube. "Alpha? Zordon?"
"Welcome, Blue Ranger."
"You good for nothing replacement!" the words were hissed, causing Aisha to shudder. Slowly, her eyes opened, the face in front of hers blurry for a moment before it cleared, revealing what Aisha could only begin to describe as a fire-breathing, very pissed off Trini Kwan.
Aisha's face showed her alarm at Trini's attitude. "Don't look so shocked, you upstart!" Trini growled as Aisha blinked at her. The Trini she knew had never, ever treated anyone like that. "I want my powers back, brat!"
Aisha's mouth dropped open when she took in where exactly the two of them were - the deserted Thunder Zord repair bay. "How?" Aisha gasped in shock.
Adam slowly brought a hand to his head, which was throbbing with a low, insistent headache. Of course, the constant pounding of metal in the room wasn't helping any. "Look who finally woke up!" the voice jeered.
Opening his eyes, Adam saw Carlos sitting across from him. Confusion set in as Adam's head snapped from side to side, looking around the room. "How did I end up in the Turbo Chamber?"
"I brought you here so we could have a little talk, Bro," Carlos growled as Adam looked at him like he'd mutated into one of Rita or Zedd's creations from back in the day.
"Carlos, what's wrong?"
Carlos laughed. Adam winced as his younger friend's voice came out sinister sounding. "Wrong? You dare ask me what's wrong?" Adam nodded. "YOU RUINED MY LIFE!"
Rocky blinked once, blinked again, and then did it once more. He was staring at the open casket, staring at the face of the body in the casket. All of sudden, he felt his stomach churn. Before he could relieve himself of the contents of his stomach, Rocky overheard the conversation being held not far from him. "Who's that?" a girl murmured.
"Rocky DeSantos, the one who gave up his position on the team so Justin could become a Ranger in the first place," another person, this one a guy, spoke scathingly.
"Oh, you mean the guy who killed Justin?" the girl questioned darkly.
Rocky's eyes widened as he stared down at Justin. "Oh God, Justin," he murmured as he looked down at his once lively young friend.
Kat stood staring at the group before her. She wasn't quite sure what was going on, but she knew the group before her well enough to know that they were pissed off, and for some strange reason, it was directed at her. "This is all your fault!" Aisha yelled as the teenager in yellow paced back and forth in front of Rocky and Adam.
"If you hadn't taken Kim's power coin, none of this would have happened!" Rocky accused. Kat's mouth fell open. One minute she'd been standing in the hallway of the maze clutching Tommy's hand and the next minute she'd found herself back in time nearly eight years, standing in a private waiting room at Angel Grove General Hospital.
"Rocky's right," a voice, darkened with deep emotions floated across the room to Kat's ears. Turning, the blonde Australian found herself facing Tommy Oliver, looking the same way he had the day she'd met him. "Because of you, because of your actions, my girlfriend is lying in a hospital bed, fighting for her life!"
Kat could only stare at Tommy. 'This isn't how it happened!' she thought as she shook her head back and forth in denial.
"It is done, my Empress. Zordon's Power Rangers are dead! Killed by your Green Ranger!" Goldar roared as Rita's evil laughter and celebrating shocked Tommy out of his stupor. He looked down at what he was wearing, and instead of his khaki pants and black tee shirt, he was dressed in his first Ranger uniform.
Rita sashayed over to him, wrapping her arm through his as she stared up into his visor. "A job well done, my Green Ranger!" she laughed in that voice of hers that sounded like nails on a chalkboard. Tommy could only stare at her and nod. "Now, we start making plans for taking over the Earth!"
Tommy could only watch as Rita and her minions danced around the throne room of the moon palace. 'No!' his mind screamed as he tried to digest what had happened. 'This isn't how it ended!'
T.J., Alyssa, Ethan, Conner, Kira and Dustin sat in a semi-circle, watching the maze before them for any sign of life. "I hate waiting," Ethan murmured grouchily as the others nodded in agreement.
"What's going on?" Kira questioned as the group watched six colors - white, pink, black, red, yellow and blue - start to shine from the walls of the maze.
Conner looked over at the former Turbo/Space, Wild Force, and Ninja Storm Rangers and asked, "What does it mean?"
T.J. frowned. "Those are the six of the original Ranger colors," he started.
"All except Green," Alyssa pointed out as the others nodded.
"How much further?" Maya looked to Tanya who was looking down at the map in her hands.
"Not far. Two hallways up and one hallway to the left," Tanya spoke as she motioned for the others to press up against the wall as tight as possible when a guard walked past.
Justin, Lucas, Wes, Carter, and Damon stood not far behind the two girls, waiting for Tanya's orders. "Let's go!" Tanya muttered as the group surged forward into the next section of hallway.
The White Dino Thunder Ranger paced back and forth in his new quarters. Why had he agreed to work with the reject from The Land Before Time? 'Because he can help me get this thing off my arm!' the man in the white suit scolded himself. A thought struck him though - couldn't the current Power Rangers do the same? Obviously, they didn't march around in their Ranger uniforms every minute of every hour of every day, did they?
"You're thinking too hard," the voice, an annoying one of the female persuasion, commented as the White Ranger turned to see the intruder to his quarters. The figure decked out in black vinyl grinned evilly at him.
"Not something you'd know too much about, now is it?" the White Ranger fired back, watching the smirk disappear, replaced by a scowl.
Stepping forward, Elsa narrowed her gaze. "You can control the powers, you know," she started, watching him tilt his head to one side as he stared at her. "All you have to do is will the suit to disappear, just like you will your Zords to you."
"And if I do that, how do I get them back?" he fired back.
"The same way you let them go." So saying, Elsa turned and strode purposefully out of the room, leaving the White Ranger to ponder what she'd said.
She sat in the dark, in the corner of her quarters, barely breathing. She'd heard the commotion outside her doors some moments before. She knew Tanya and the others had come to rescue her. 'Why am I hiding in here?' she asked herself, knees drawn to her chest, head buried in her hands. 'Because you're afraid to face them after letting yourself fall again!' her mind reasoned as she heard the sounds of battle near her doors again.
'The Kimberly Hart I know wouldn't be cowering in the corner, frightened of her friends. The real Kimberly Hart would be doing all she could to break the hold Mesogog had over her and she'd be striving to save her friends!' her mind and heart fired back at her.
The glow started out small and then burst into a roaring nova as Kim felt the invisible barrier that had been surrounding her body suddenly crack into pieces. "Hang on guys!" Kim whispered as she pushed herself to her feet and lunged for the door, her morph blazing around her when she rushed through the now open doors and into the hallway, hoping to find her friends.
Tanya and Justin stood in shocked silence as they stared at the figure shrouded in white. "A White Dino Thunder Ranger?" Justin queried as the White Ranger chuckled and stood before them.
"Welcome back, weaklings," the White Ranger hissed, eyeing the seven Rangers before him.
"Where's Kimberly!" Damon growled as he and Maya dropped into defensive stances. Carter, Wes, Lucas, Justin and Tanya following them.
There was a sudden commotion, followed by the hallway hatch opening, revealing a panting Pink Dino Thunder Ranger. "Right here," Kim gasped when she saw her friends. Her body moved of it's own accord, settling next to the White Ranger. "You shouldn't be here, Rangers."
The seven-person team looked at their friend in shock. Kim sounded so different, not like she had the last time they'd see her and not quite like she had when she was normal. "Kim, let us help you," Tanya nearly begged, her heart going out to the first generation Ranger. "We're your friends."
"This isn't your fight," Kimberly murmured as the group dropped back, their stances showing their confusion.
"TRAITOR!" Elsa roared as she entered the hallway with a group of Tyrano-drones. "Both of you are traitors! Tyrano-drones destroy them!"
The ten drones surged forward, engaging the seven outside Rangers as both Kim and the White Ranger looked on. "I will finish you off, Yellow Zeo Ranger!" Elsa growled as she shot forward. For some unexplainable reason, the White Ranger's hand shot out, connecting with Elsa's chest, stopping her in her tracks. Kim looked on in shock, her body tingling. She didn't have complete control of herself yet.
"She's mine!" the White Ranger hissed, tossing Elsa off in Carter's direction as he turned to face Tanya. "Let's go, Yellow."
Tanya nodded. "You're on," she whispered as the two began to circle each other amidst the commotion in the hallway.
The others finished off the drones and either helped Carter with Elsa or turned to watch the White Dino Thunder Ranger and Yellow Zeo Ranger duke it out, one on one. The White Ranger managed to get close enough to Tanya to grab her arm and fling her back into the wall, causing her to sink to the floor in a daze. "Time to finish this!" the man in white growled just as he unhooked the saber at his side and conjured forth the powerful magic arrows that were his signature.
"TANYA!" Justin yelled in utter horror as the twelve arrows flew from in front of the White Ranger, making a beeline for the fallen Yellow Zeo Ranger.
"NO!" All eyes watched on in shock as a horrified Pink Ranger dashed forward, taking all twelve arrows in the back before they could come in contact with Tanya's fallen form.
Tanya stared, wide eyed, as Kimberly's morph dissipated, the power leaving her body, causing her to tumble to the ground. "KIMBERLY!" To Tanya, the sound of her own voice seemed so unfamiliar, like it wasn't her screaming at all for her fallen comrade. "NO! KIM!"
The injured Pink Ranger managed to shoot her gaze up to Tanya's helmeted head. "Go!" she hissed through the pain.
"We're not leaving without you!" Wes called as he tried to make his way past Elsa, who Carter was still fighting, and to Kim's side.
"No, you have to go!" Kim coughed, blood pouring from her cracked lips. "Tanya, taken them and go! That's an order!" Kim cried out as her body started to seize up and glow a pinkish-white.
Without warning, the White Ranger surged forward and scooped Kimberly off the ground before signaling to Elsa to retreat. Before the Rangers' very eyes, the trio disappeared down the hallway, leaving them gaping in shock. "NO!" Maya screamed in rage, slamming a fist against the wall as despair engulfing her entire body.
Billy stared up at the floating face of the being that had chosen him, at the tender age of fifteen, to help his friends save the world. In all the time Billy had known Zordon, not once could he ever remember the look on the sage's face ever being this way. Zordon looked down right angry. Alpha 5 stayed in the corner across the room, muttering and shaking his head at the Blue Ranger. "Do you know why we've called you here, William?"
Billy blinked. Zordon had never called him by his entire first name, ever. "No Zordon, I don't. Will you please explain to me my reason for being here?"
"It has come to my attention that recently, you've been misusing the power I entrusted to you."
The grim look on Zordon's face was only eclipsed by the shocked look on Billy's face. He'd never used the Power for anything other than what Zordon had specified it be used for. "Zordon, I've never betrayed the Ranger Code, you know that!" Billy protested.
"The evidence states otherwise," Alpha finally spoke, causing Billy to swing around to face the small robot.
"Alpha!" Billy gasped in shock. "What evidence? I've always done just as you asked of me, both of you!" Billy's gaze flew back and forth between Zordon and Alpha 5, his brain trying to process exactly what was going on.
Zordon's face was a mask of stone as he stared on at the Blue Ranger. "The punishment for using the Power for personal gain is for it to be stripped from you. William Cranston, you are charged with breaking the sacred code of the Power Rangers. How do you plead?"
Billy didn't know what to think, didn't know what to say. 'This isn't real!' Billy's mind argued with him. Taking a moment to calm down, though he was faced with losing the Power he knew he'd lost some years before, Billy started a deep observation of the Command Center.
His carefully trained eye caught the sight of missing objects, panels placed on the wrong consoles, the distinguishable insignia that was on Alpha's chest appeared different. Billy finally realized that he wasn't in fact in the Command Center, with Alpha 5 and Zordon, as he had known them. "This isn't real. I know I never broke the trust Zordon had in me when it came to being a Ranger."
"Surely you jest!" Zordon bellowed.
"No, I don't. Alpha's lightning bolt insignia is wrong, the panels on the consoles are switched around, the devices I designed during my time as the Blue Morphin' Ranger are no where to be seen," Billy's face turned from upset to elated. He wasn't in the real Command Center. "But most of all, the Zordon I know wouldn't get upset like you are, just like he wouldn't not allow me to tell my side of the story. This isn't real."
And just like that, Billy found himself standing in the hallway of the maze, glowing the unearthly blue that had always accompanied his Ranger powers. Looking over, he saw Aisha still sprawled on the ground thrashing back and forth in the throes of whatever nightmare had descended on her. "AISHA!"
"I WANT MY POWERS BACK, NOW!" Trini roared as Aisha backpedaled along the floor until her back was straight against a wall. Aisha was still trying to digest what was going on with Trini.
"Trini, you gave me your powers when you went to the Peace Conference!" Aisha protested as the former Yellow Ranger stalked toward her.
Trini's eyes narrowed. "No, you tricked me into giving up my spot on the team!"
Aisha shook her head in disbelief. She hadn't even known Trini before the latter had entrusted her with the Yellow Ranger powers. "Trini, listen to me!" Aisha begged, ducking and rolling out of the way as one of Trini's fists came flying at her face.
"I did once, and ended up losing all that was important to me!"
Aisha finally found herself lying on her back, staring up at Trini who was preparing for another strike. "Trini! I didn't even know you when you passed your power to me!" Aisha hollered, eyes closing tightly as she waited for the strike to come. "You're the one who chose to go to the peace conference! You could have come home at any time and rejoined the team!"
"AISHA!" Billy's voice pulled her from the nightmare that she'd been in. Blinking rapidly, Aisha discovered that she was once again in the hallway of the maze with Billy, except this time she was glowing with the Yellow of the power she'd carried for nearly two years.
"Billy?" Aisha gasped out as her friend crouched next to her and helped her to a sitting position.
Billy smiled at her. "That must have been some dream," Billy commented dryly. He knew all too well that Aisha had been having the monster of all nightmares, just like he had.
Aisha shot him a death glare. "Try nightmare, and from the look on your face, you had one too."
"Zordon and Alpha accused me of misusing my powers." Aisha's eyes widened as Billy nodded.
"Trini accused me of taking her power, of tricking her into going to the Peace Conference and she wanted her powers back."
Billy looked at Aisha in shock. Trini had chosen to go, had chosen to give Aisha the power all those years ago. Trini had trusted Aisha, just as Zordon had, to carry on with the Yellow Ranger legacy. "Aisha, you know Trini wouldn't..."
"That's why I woke up. I know Trini would never accuse me of those things. The Trini I know chose to go to the Conference, knowing she'd be doing the same thing she had as a Power Ranger, even if in a different way. Just like you know Zordon would have never accused you of misusing the power he'd entrusted to you."
Billy nodded then looked down at his watch. "We've got ten minutes to find our way out of here!" Surging to their feet, the pair dashed off into the semi-lit center of the maze.
Adam stared on in utter disbelief as Carlos continued to go on and on about how becoming a Power Ranger had ruined his life - all the missed opportunities to play professional soccer that he had to give up, all the dates that he couldn't go on, how he'd been cut off from his friends in school when he'd had to go into space. "And you know what, Adam, ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!" Carlos snarled as he spun around to face Adam, who was tied to a chair.
"Carlos, listen to me," Adam's voice was steady, betraying nothing of what he was feeling inside. Was he really responsible for destroying Carlos' life?
"Why should I? The last time I listened to you, my life slipped right out of my fingers as I was forced into a duty I should have never had to do!" Carlos accused.
Adam nodded. "But that's just the point," Adam started. "You were given the chance to decide what you wanted - you could take the power and do good with it or you could ignore the call. You had every opportunity to walk away when Dimitria offered you the Green Turbo Powers."
"This is all your fault!" Carlos roared again, this time his hand flying out and connecting with the wall next to Adam's head.
"You can't blame me for your choices, Carlos. You knew what you were taking on when I handed you the Turbo Morpher," Adam informed him, trying to keep a level head even though Carlos had managed to scare Adam witless. "As far as the Space Ranger powers, I wasn't even around when you chose that."
"You started this all!"
"No, you chose to be a Ranger. I trusted you with the duty. I knew you could handle it."
"Whatever!" Carlos fired back, his hand shooting out to strike Adam.
The blow never came. Adam found himself sitting on the floor only a few feet from where Rocky was. "ROCKY!"
He felt sick. The scene before him was almost too much to bear. Even with the death and destruction he'd seen everyday as a Power Ranger, to see his young friend, lying silent and unmoving in the casket broke Rocky's heart. "Oh Justin!" he groaned as he looked down at the mop top headed kid who'd been given more responsibility then he should have ever had to know.
"This is all your fault, you know that don't you?" Rocky whirled around and stood face to face with...Justin?
"But?" Rocky started as he looked from the boy in front of him to the casket behind him. "How?"
The Justin before him laughed. "Haven't you ever heard of ghosts, Rocko?"
"Oh God, Justin, I'm so sorry!" Rocky groaned as he watched the evil glare cover his younger friend's face.
"You should be!" Justin hissed. "You ruined my life! You put your responsibilities on my shoulders and look what happened! I'm DEAD!"
Rocky stood there, his face shrouded in horror. Here Justin was, standing in front of him as a ghost. He knew the figure before him was spouting off this and that, accusing Rocky of heinous crimes but the one thought that Rocky couldn't shake was that this didn't feel real. It felt surreal. "I'm dreaming" Rocky started, closing his eyes. He knew he was dreaming. He'd just seen Justin before going to Mercer's stupid tournament. Justin was with Tanya, safe and alive.
"What do you mean, you're dreaming! I'M DEAD!! AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"
"NO!" Rocky roared, his eyes opening. Instead of their normal brown they were a blazing red. "Justin's safe, he's with Tanya, and he's not eleven anymore. He's nearly nineteen, and he knows the perils of having the power! He's the one who volunteered to take my place on the Turbo team!" Rocky growled. The world started to spin for the former Ranger, until he felt himself start to hit the ground.
"ROCKY!" Adam's voice snapped Rocky from the dream.
Sitting up quickly on reflex, Rocky sat against the wall nearest to him, his chest heaving. His eyes took in the scene before him. Torches lit the hallway now, but that didn't surprise him nearly as much as the black glow that surrounded Adam, who looked on in worry. "Rocky?"
"Adam, how much time do we have?" Rocky asked suddenly, pushing his experience dealing with the dream accusations to the back of his mind, instead choosing to focus on the task at hand. He and Justin were going to have a sit down heart to heart when they saw each other next.
Rocky nodded and hurried to his feet. "Let's move!" The pair nodded once and then shot off down the hallway, both of them glowing, red and black respectively.
Blue eyes widened in shock as Tommy flung magazines across the room. Billy was the only one of the other five in the room who even dared near the extremely angry White Ranger. Kat could only stand near the wall and watch, as Billy talked to Tommy in hushed tones. The look on her best friend/ex-boyfriend's face told her enough not to even attempt to try and explain how she ended up in the past when she'd been in the maze with him in what she presumed was the future.
"Katherine Hillard?" a nurse asked as she entered the room, six pairs of eyes turning toward her.
"Y-yes?" Kat stuttered, relieved that someone had intervened.
"Ms. Hart would like to speak with you," the nurse gestured for Kat to follow her. She quickly looked over at the others, who were all standing there in shock that Kim would want to see Kat of all people before Tommy had even had a chance to see her. Gulping, Kat quickly stepped from the room, her long legs keeping an even pace with the nurse.
The room was filled with balloons, flowers and get-well cards. The window shades were thrown open, allowing sunshine to brighten the sterile setting. "Kim?"
The petite brunette laying comfortably on the bed turned her head toward the sound of her name, smiling when she saw Kat. "Hi," Kim quipped.
"Five minutes, Ms. Hart," the nurse sternly warned before she left the two girls to themselves.
Kat walked toward the bed, just as nervous as she had been the first time she'd made the walk. Her mind immediately went back to when this had originally happened, the same fear she'd felt then seemed to explode in her now. Would Kim be mad with her? Would she ever be able to be friends with her? "Kat, what's wrong?" Kim queried as she sat up on the bed, making room for Kat to sit on the edge.
Quickly, Kat forced back the fear and the tears that were welling in her eyes. "Can you ever forgive me?"
Kim looked at her in shock, blinking rapidly. "There's nothing to forgive. You saved my life," Kim started.
Kat shook her head, her gaze lowering to her lap. "Kimberly, I'm the reason you're here." When Kat looked up, Kim was staring at her in confusion. "I'm the one who stole your power coin, then gave it to Lord Zedd and Rita."
"Kat, I forgave you a long time ago for that," Kim murmured. Kat looked at her in stunned silence. It seemed Kim was the only one who was acting as though she were in the present with Kat. "Are you ever going to forgive yourself for that? We're friends, best friends, I never blamed you at all for what happened when Rita had you under her spell."
Kat's eyes filled with tears. "I know, you've told me that a million times since it happened, but I can't help but think..."
"Katherine Hillard, I trusted you enough, even after everything that happened, to continue on in my stead when I left the team, did I not?" Kat nodded. "I gave you the power to fight Rita and Zedd, I trusted you to continue on with the Pink legacy when I knew it was time for me to move on. If that didn't convince you that I forgave you for everything, I don't know what will."
"Kim..." Kat smiled and then felt everything fade from around her, until she found herself in the middle of the hallway, her hand still tightly grasping Tommy's. "I'm back!" Kat noticed Tommy's body was thrashing, as though he too were experiencing something unpleasant. "TOMMY!" Katherine never noticed she was glowing pink, her signature Ranger color.
Tommy stood on the balcony of Rita's lunar palace, listening as the self-appointed Empress of Evil and her big baboons made plans to take over Earth. How the Rangers could have been beaten was beyond him...how time had been turned back and changed was also beyond his comprehension. Jason had destroyed the Sword of Darkness, which ultimately freed him from the spell Rita had put him under.
'You destroyed your friends!' he thought bitterly. Hadn't Goldar said so only some time before? 'But that isn't how things happened!' Tommy yelled to himself. Jason had freed him, then he'd joined the team, eventually losing the Green powers then becoming the Mighty White Ranger, and then the red Zeo and Turbo Rangers.
"Problems, Tommy?" Goldar hissed in his ear. The Green Ranger turned to stare at the gold plated monkey in disgust.
"What do you want?"
"You realize you destroyed the most powerful fighting force in the universe today, don't you?" Goldar's smile and taunting only served to increase the hurt Tommy had. "I was there, you did a magnificent job. Especially making the Red and Pink Rangers suffer. Jason looked so helpless as your tortured Kimberly before you killed her. It took all the fight right out of him, but not anymore then finding out it was you who was the Green Ranger."
Tommy's thoughts drowned out what Goldar was babbling on about. He remembered all too clearly when Kim and he had gotten into the verbal confrontation in the hallway all those years ago. The look on her face as she realized who he was turned his stomach even now. She'd looked so horrified and then so scared...Kim...
It was then that Tommy realized what was truly going on. Hadn't he just been in the maze, with Kat, trying to get out in time to save Kimberly from Mesogog's clutches? "This isn't real," Tommy muttered in disbelief. "This isn't real! I didn't kill my friends; they saved me before I could harm them further! And then I became the White Ranger, Kimberly's white knight. And I've been the Red Zeo and Turbo Rangers, and now I'm the Black Dino Thunder Ranger."
Goldar watched Tommy in confusion as he muttered on and on about being several different Ranger colors. "This isn't real! I'm supposed to be saving Kim!"
Goldar lunged at him, his sword raised high. Before the familiar weapon could be brought down on Tommy's prone form, he woke to the sound of someone's sobs. "Tommy! Dammit! Tommy get a grip! WAKE UP!"
Tommy opened his eyes, hazel meeting bright blue as he saw Kat looming over him, her hands on his shoulders, shaking him awake. Tears fell incessantly from her eyes as Tommy sat up. "Kat?" he softly asked as she lunged at him, wrapping her arms around him.
"TOMMY!" she sobbed in relief when his arms enfolded her in his embrace, a hand running in soothing circles for a moment. "We don't have much time left," Kat started as she pulled away from him, her tears finally ceasing.
"Come on, we've gotta go," Tommy started as they got up and ran down the hallway in the direction they'd been going in before the nightmares had begun. As the pair left their nightmares behind, neither noticed that Tommy, like Kat had, started glowing a color, his the unearthly bright White that had signified his most powerful Ranger form.
The former Blue and Yellow Morphin' Rangers swung around as they rounded a corner and found themselves face to face with Rocky and Adam.
"Rocky! Adam!" Aisha sighed in relief as the four grouped together and then started heading back down the way that Aisha and Billy had been heading.
Adam swallowed hard as they sped around a series of corners. "Is it just me, or did we all have weird dreams in here?"
"Try nightmares!" another voice, this one belonging to Katherine, quipped, as the group of four ran into Tommy and Kat, who were standing at what could only be described as the end of the maze. "Any ideas?"
"This is the end, shouldn't it open?" Rocky asked. Aisha rolled her eyes then reached out and smacked him lightly on the arm.
Billy took a step back, eye balling each of his former teammates. "Guys, we're glowing!" Billy started as the each looked down at their own bodies and then at each other.
Tommy nodded, his mind racing faster then he thought possible. "This has to mean something," Tommy started, wracking his mind for an answer.
"But what?" Adam asked as Aisha suddenly let a smile spread across her face.
"What always happened when we started glowing?" Five blank stares met her question. "Oh come on! We haven't not been rangers all that long, you guys can't tell me you don't get this!"
"Sha, you're scaring me," Rocky told her, point blank. Shaking his head, the former Red and Blue Ranger knew his girlfriend was obviously losing her mind.
Shaking her head, Aisha did the first thing that came to mind. "THE BEAR!" she cried out, watching the others jump back in surprise when the familiar yellow suit of the Yellow Bear Ninja appeared on Aisha's slight form.
"Of course!" Kat laughed. "THE CRANE!" she called out, sighing in relief when the familiar pink uniform engulfed her.
As the guys called on their ancient animal spirits, they felt the rush of power that they had thought was lost to them forever suddenly roar to life.
"On three," Tommy spoke as the others lined up with him in front of the door. "One, two, THREE!"
"What the hell?" T.J. gasped as the door to the maze slid open and six multicolored figures rushed out, each glowing with their signature color.
Ethan, Conner and Kira gaped at what were obviously six ninjas. "Oh my God!" Dustin croaked as the six waiting Rangers stood and faced the six Ninjas.
"Tommy?" T.J. questioned when he got a good look at the man in white. "Rocky? Adam? Aisha? Billy? Kat?" T.J. spoke each of their names, watching as the six let their powers go, shifting to civilian form.
"What was that?" Kira demanded to know as Tommy shot her a look that was a cross between a smirk and a smile.
Taking a step forward, Tommy stood before his three teammates. "That Kira," he started before he caught her full attention. "Was the power of the Ancient Ninjetti, a power we received when we were about your age. Where are the others?"
"Jason was injured," Conner started before Alyssa nudged him none too gently in the ribs.
"He got hurt. Dana, Danny, Zack, and Trini went to the infirmary with him to make sure he was ok. The rest of us were supposed to wait here for you," Dustin informed them.
"Any word from the others?" Adam asked, his worry for Kim, Justin and Tanya overriding his common sense.
None had a chance to answer the former Black Morphin and Green Zeo/Turbo Ranger as a familiar whirling noise sounded, accompanied by Anton's entrance. When the six former and current Power Rangers turned, they were greeted with the sight of Anton Mercer glaring at two Zeo Rangers, two Time Force Rangers, two Galaxy Rangers, and the Red Lightspeed Rescue Ranger. "I don't think I like this one bit," Rocky murmured as the others nodded.
"Come, my friends," Anton growled. "I'm sure you're in need of rest and would like to see your injured comrade, as well as speak with your guests." Turning, Anton quickly strode back the way he came, all nineteen of the others following him wordlessly.