Ranger Games: A Dino Thunder Wedding
Chapter 3: Testing The Waters
Last Revised: March 16, 2005
Summary: The team learns to deal with the news of Kim’s pregnancy, and all the Rangers must deal with the loss of their leader.
Disclaimer: I don't own PR.
"Who would have ever thought we would find each other again? I did. I always did. It used to be a dream, but now you're here. Right here beside me." ~~ Unknown
P.s. - Ghostwriter I put something in here just for you :)
September 12, 2004
Dana laughed as she looked at the pair sitting in her office. Kimberly appeared calm, though her foot bouncing lightly told Dana that she wasn't without nerves over the exam. Tommy on the other hand, kept shifting his position in his chair, his nerves clearly showing.
"Relax," Dana muttered to Tommy, who smiled sheepishly. "Everything's fine. The baby's heartbeat is strong. It'll be another month or so before we can see about finding out the sex. I've got a list of do's and don'ts for you to follow, Kim, and I want you to get these prescriptions filled. They're prenatal vitamins that you're going to need to take, especially since we have no idea how your Ranger powers will effect the baby."
Tommy shook his head while Kim smiled. "Thanks Dana. Anything else?"
"I'd suggest not using your Ranger powers unless you absolutely have to."
"But..." Kim started to argue then was shut right up when both Tommy and Dana glared at her.
"Kimberly, you're the first of us to become pregnant, we have no clue what having active powers is going to do to your child."
Kim swallowed hard. "Should I relinquish my Dino Gem?" Kimberly asked in all seriousness. Dana looked surprised that the original Pink Ranger would even consider that, but Tommy didn't.
"You can't," Tommy started, watching the two women look at him in confusion. "What I mean is, you can't give your Dino Gem to someone else, it's already bonded to you. The only way to get rid of it is for it to lose its power or for you to die."
Dana blinked. "Well, that certainly narrows down your options, doesn't it?" Kim shared a look with her fellow Pink Ranger. "I expect to see you back here in four weeks. And no Ranger activity unless it can't be helped, do I make myself clear?" Kim nodded, and so did Tommy, before the pair stood up to give Dana a hug. The former Pink Lightspeed Ranger breathed a sigh of relief as she flopped back into her chair once they were out of the room. Smiling, she leaned forward and picked up the phone. Her fingers flew over the number that she knew by heart. Waiting with baited breath, Dana heard the three rings and then the familiar voice.
"Grayson residence, Carter speaking."
"Hi sweetheart," Dana laughed.
"Hi. What's up?" Carter asked as he went about his chores in the kitchen while he talked on the cordless.
"Tommy and Kim were just here," Dana started, listening to Carter cease his movement.
"Alright Dr. Mitchell, what's the 4-1-1 on the legendary Ranger couple?" Carter joked as Dana sat back in her chair.
"While doctor client privilege prevents me from discussing it in detail," Dana told him, smiling. "Being one of their friends and successors allows me to report, oh Red leader, that everything's a-okay. Kim's supposed to be coming back here a few days before the wedding so I can get a look at her before she and Tommy go traipsing off on their honeymoon."
Carter sighed in relief. The entire Ranger family, as it were, was on full alert now that Tommy and Kimberly's secret was out. None of them knew what to expect, especially with the new threat to Reefside and the Dino Thunder Rangers. "That's excellent news. Shall I be expecting you for dinner?"
"Yep. I'm out of here at seven."
"Good, I'll see you then."
The ride back to Reefside was long, but not as long as it had seemed mere hours before. Tommy's eyes drifted every once in a while to the woman asleep in the seat next to him. Kimberly's head was resting on the back of her seat, her face turned toward him, as she slept soundly, something Tommy noticed she hadn't been doing much of the last couple of days. The stress from their enemies, moving, mentoring the kids, and now her pregnancy, had made her restless and unable to sleep.
About an hour from home, the Black Dino Thunder Ranger found his stomach protesting not having anything to eat since much earlier in the day. At the first off-ramp, Tommy pulled into a restaurant for lunch. "Beautiful?" Tommy asked softly, letting his knuckles graze her cheek.
"Hmm?" Kimberly's soft, sleepy voice responded as she stretched and sat up. "Where are we?"
"About an hour from home. Hungry?" Tommy asked, laughing when her eyes lit up.
"Food? Are you kidding, I'm starving!" she laughed.
"If I didn't know you were pregnant, I'd swear you were turning into Rocky." Tommy ducked out his door when Kimberly swung her hand up to cuff him upside the head. Arms folded across her chest, Kimberly glared at him as he walked around the jeep and opened her door. "Come on, Beautiful, you're not the only one who's hungry."
Smiling, Kim nodded and let Tommy help her out of the jeep. Lunch progressed without much incident. The two of them amicably argued about Kimberly's choice for lunch - a double cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, and the biggest chocolate shake either of them had ever seen - they discussed changing the guest room at home into a nursery, and went over plans for the wedding.
"I can't wait to get home," Kim muttered as Tommy helped her into the jeep. "I'm sorry you had to use one of your sick days to go with me."
Tommy silenced her with a glare. "I'm not. You didn't exactly get into your condition on your own, now did you?" When Kimberly flushed and shook her head, he continued. "Besides, I wouldn't have missed you first appointment, just like I'm not going to miss any of your other appointments, for anything in the world."
Kimberly's throat closed with emotion. He looked so fierce just then - like she'd only seen on the battlefield - when he talked about being there for her during her pregnancy. "I love you," she whispered, causing Tommy to look at her with soft eyes.
"I love you, too," he murmured, leaning over and kissing her. Just as he pulled back, horrified screams brought reality crashing in on them. Both elder Rangers snapped their heads toward the commotion, and watched one of their worst nightmares step into view. "Goldar."
Kimberly swallowed nervously, her hands automatically lowering to cover her still flat stomach. "Tommy, I think this constitutes an emergency situation," she muttered.
Tommy's eyes darkened. Around Goldar was a platoon of Putties and Tyranno-drones, and coming into view was Elsa. "Shit." Kimberly looked up at him, watched the resignation seep into his taunt face. "Do not even think of taking any chances, do you understand me?"
Kim smiled brightly. "Have I ever not followed an order, oh fearless leader?" Tommy's look told her now was not the time for teasing. "Same goes, got it? I'd like our child to have a father when he or she makes their appearance in the world." Tommy nodded and the two climbed out of the jeep, racing over to stand before their foes.
"Just the two Rangers we were looking for," Goldar barked.
"Do you never learn, monkey-for-brains?" Kimberly shot back, glaring at him.
"Surrender now and our Lords will let you live," Elsa demanded.
Tommy looked at Kimberly and chuckled. "You wanna do the honors?" he asked.
"No Baby, go right ahead," Kimberly, laughed back.
"We'll surrender when Hell freezes over, until then," Tommy started, bringing his wrist up, just as Kim did. Cautiously, he looked around the parking lot and noticed that it was vacant. That was a good sign. "Dino Thunder, Power Up!"
"Pink Ranger, Dino Power!"
Goldar and Elsa sneered and narrowed their gazes on the two Rangers before them. "She's mine."
"I've been waiting years to destroy Zordon's chief do-gooder," Goldar shot back as he and his battle partner advanced on their enemies. "Prepare to die, Black Ranger!"
"Like I haven't heard that line out of your mouth before!" Tommy snarled, pulling his Brachio Staff out and using it to parry the thrusts of Goldar's sword.
While the two males went head to head, Kimberly found herself facing Elsa. 'Just because you haven't been a Ranger in nearly a decade doesn't mean you didn't retain everything the others taught you' Kim chided herself as she felt the familiar nervousness ball in her stomach. She couldn't ever remember a battle during her original Ranger days when she'd been calm; nerves were all apart of the package. "Ready to die, Pink Ranger?"
"Not anymore than you're ready to stop looking like a wannabe leather commercial!" Kim griped.
"You will not live to see another day!" Elsa roared, charging Kimberly, her sword drawn and shooting sparks of green light.
"Seizmo Bow!" Kim cried out, the new weapon Hayley had created for her forming in her hand. The weight and feel of the weapon was familiar to her, as Hayley had consulted with Billy and Trini about the specifications for her original Power Bow. An arrow appeared magically, which Kimberly launched at Elsa just when the black clad woman was within distance. Instincts that had been honed over the course of three years kicked in, in an instant, allowing Kimberly to continue to shoot arrow after arrow until Elsa had backed off from attacking.
'Let's see how she deals with this' Elsa thought wickedly, closing her eyes and charging her sword. The Pink Dino Thunder Ranger saw what was happening and began back-pedaling to avoid contact with Elsa's sword. When the evil henchman's eyes opened, she lashed out with her sword, the energy beam nailing the startled Pink Ranger - right in the stomach.
Kimberly felt her world tilt as her hands automatically went to her stomach. She heard Elsa laughing, Goldar shouting barbs, and vaguely she heard Tommy cry out her name when she sunk to her knees.
"Z-Rex Blaster!" Kimberly managed to regain her senses for a moment, just in time to see the four teenage Rangers nail Elsa and Goldar with a blast from their combined weapons.
"This isn't finished Rangers!" Goldar hissed as he, Elsa, and the Putties and Tyranno-drones disappeared.
The Yellow Ranger was the first person to reach the Pink Ranger. Kira threw her arms around Kimberly, guiding her to the asphalt, coaxing her to sit down. "Kim?" Kira croaked, her hands automatically going to Kimberly's stomach where a patch of the pink spandex suit was burnt black and still smoking from the impact of Elsa's sword.
"Beautiful!" Tommy cried out, rushing to his fiancée's side, scooping her into his arms. "Kimberly?"
The sound of his voice saying her name snapped Kim from her daze. "I...I'm fine. She just caught me by surprise."
"How's your stomach?" Conner asked impulsively, crouching next to his elder teammate. He and the others had arrived just in time to see Kimberly take a blow to the stomach. He knew, with sickening dread, that the force of the blast could have injured - and dare he say it - killed the unborn child that lay nestled in Kimberly's body, let alone have killed Kimberly, morphed or not.
"It's fine. I don't even hurt," Kim gasped.
"We'll let Hayley be the judge of that when we get home," Tommy growled, scooping Kim off the ground. "Let's power down and get out of here." The six looked around to make sure the parking lot was still deserted before they powered down.
"How'd you guys get here when we're an hour from home and you should be in school?" Kimberly demanded as the three teenage boys hopped into the backseat of the jeep and Kira squished into the front seat with Kimberly.
"Half day at school and we were at Northside High for Conner's soccer game, which is only like five miles from here," Kira supplied as Tommy headed for Northside High School so the kids could retrieve Conner's car.
"Hayley let us know what was up, so we decided to drop in and see if you needed some backup. Guess we timed it just right, didn't we?" Conner asked as Kim nodded.
"Thanks for saving my ass," she giggled. The others laughed, figuring if she was making jokes then she was feeling ok.
"We'll see you at home," Tommy spoke, revving the jeep's motor. "I want to get her back soon so Hayley can take a look at her." The four younger Rangers waved as their older counterparts pulled out of the parking lot.
"I got here as soon as I could," Hayley breathed as she rushed into the lair through the forest entrance. She'd monitored the situation from the cafe, but had been called to run her business during the worst of the incident. "Trent called and told me what happened, are you ok?" Hayley asked Kim.
Kimberly nodded. "I'm fine. Tommy's a little freaked."
"And your Ranger suit withstood the attack?" Hayley asked as she motioned for Kimberly to step into the body scanner. Kimberly rolled her eyes as Tommy helped her move across the room - she was a little stiff, but other than that, she felt fine.
"I had a major black spot on my suit, but other than that, I'm ok. What are you doing?" Kimberly asked as Hayley smiled.
"This scanner is hooked up to the main frame, which means I can transmit the data to my fellow geniuses." Hayley smiled as Kim rolled her eyes. "Billy, Andros, Cam, Kendrix, Cestro, Max, and Dana will receive the information, look it over, and we'll get together online tonight and discuss our findings."
Kim laughed. "Oh great, so I'm a guinea pig now, is that what you're telling me?"
"Shush and let Hayley do what she needs to," Tommy commanded softly, watching Kimberly roll her eyes at him.
"Just hold real still, Kim, and it'll be over in a minute."
When the scanner began to beep, announcing that it was loading the results into the computer, Hayley allowed Kimberly out of the device. "Go upstairs, lay down, and get some rest. I'll call Billy immediately."
Kim sighed. "Hayley, tell him not to worry Trini or the others, please, at least until we know something." Hayley nodded her agreement as she moved to the main computer. Tommy motioned for Kimberly to head for the stairs, which the Pink Ranger did reluctantly.
"So did you guys finally figure out what Kimberly's new powers were?" Jason asked as he, Zack, Trini and Billy spoke with Hayley and Tommy via the video link between Angel Grove and Reefside.
Hayley smiled. "Yep. She's partially telekinetic and she's partially able to do astral projections."
"Explain that to me, please," Zack grumbled, once again feeling like he was sixteen and clueless to the scientific meaning of the geniuses around him.
"What Hayley means is that Kim can move things with her mind, like Andros can, and she can project images, more than likely her own image, to one place while she's in another; like she did in Tommy's dream that night at the arena," Trini supplied as Zack nodded with a better understanding.
Billy smiled. "Do I even want to ask what kind of tests you put her through?"
"I had her concentrate on the Pink Dino Gem, her powers did the rest," Hayley laughed. "The fact that she scared the wits out of Ethan, Trent and Conner and lifted Kira a foot off the ground cemented what we'd already learned about her powers."
The other original Rangers laughed while Hayley and Tommy grinned. "Bro, how you holdin' up?" Jason finally asked Tommy directly, having seen and sensed the toll the events of the afternoon were taking on his best friend.
Tommy sighed then frowned. "Ok, I guess. I'm worried about her. Part of me wants her to sit this new fight out but I know better. Number one, she'd never go for it and number two she'd argue with me until she was blue in the face about her being able to take care of herself. Besides, if she's with me, I can keep a better eye on her, especially since Goldar use to love singling her out and now so is Elsa."
"You need us, give a call. We'll drop what we're doing," Trini told her former fearless leader. When she saw Tommy was about to protest, she started in on him. "Don't give me that, Thomas James, she's just as much our teammate and friend as she is yours and the kids'. We will be there to help, we aren't totally helpless these days."
Tommy nodded and attempted to smile for Trini. "Tri, you're the best, you know that?"
"Yep. Now why don't you go up and look in on Kim while Billy and Hayley and I go over these test results with the others." Tommy waved and then turned to head up the stairs.
Tommy opened the door to the bedroom slowly, not wanting to disturb or scare his fiancée. He smiled when he found her curled into a ball on the bed, a familiar stuffed animal tucked securely in her arms, pressed against her chest with her chin curving around it's head. 'The white falcon Aisha bought her for Christmas' Tommy chuckled to himself. Aisha had bought them all stuffed animals for Christmas that year - a set of six animals each, which had surprisingly resembled their animal spirits. Tommy knew that Kimberly had slept with the falcon almost as much as she had with the dragon he'd gotten her at the AGH Fall Festival when they'd first started dating and with the bear he'd given her when she was in the hospital.
Shaking himself from his thoughts, Tommy quickly donned his pajamas, climbing onto the bed next to Kimberly. "What did Hayley find?" Kim's sleep filled voice asked softly.
"Nothing yet. She's downstairs talking to Billy and Trini right now. Go back to sleep." Carefully, Tommy maneuvered his arms around her, his right hand coming to rest on her tummy.
"We're fine, promise," Kim giggled then yawned. "Can I curl up next to you?"
Tommy smiled. "Always. Come here." With that, Tommy pulled her into his side, his eyes shutting as his world settled back into place.
The Ford Residence
Kira and Trent sat side by side on the front steps of Kira's house after coming back from studying at Conner's. "You're awfully quiet tonight," Trent started, nudging Kira's leg with his own. Kira sighed and looked at him through the corner of her eye.
"Can we talk?"
Trent nodded. "Gotta make it quick, as I have to be home soon." Trent noticed the seriousness of Kira's mood and had to wonder about it. They'd been casually dating since he and Kim had joined the team, but they hadn't gotten very serious. However, Trent knew the young woman beside him well enough to know when something was bothering her. "Kira, what is it?"
"I don't think this is working," she murmured softly, turning pleading brown eyes to him. Trent felt a sharp stab of pain, but it passed quickly. Deep down, he'd known that something hadn't been quite right for a few weeks, now he knew what it was.
"Might I ask why you think that?"
Kira swallowed and stood to pace in front of him. "I like you, I really do, but it's not the same as it was at the beginning of the summer. I love spending time with you, but I get the same feeling around you that I do around Ethan."
The White Dino Ranger raised an eyebrow, noting silently that Conner's name hadn't come from her lips along with Ethan's. "It's Conner, isn't it?"
For the first time since he'd met her, Trent watched the 'Deer in the headlights' look seep into her eyes. "Is it that obvious?"
Trent shook his head. "Not really. If you'd said his name with Ethan's a second ago, I'd have thought nothing of it, but since you didn't..."
"I'm sorry..." Trent raised a hand to her lips as he stood in front of her.
"You have nothing to be sorry for, you're just following your heart," he told her, all the while feeling his own start to break. "If you think Conner's the one, then go for it. Just know that no matter what, I'm here for you."
"Trent." Smiling, Trent pulled Kira into his arms for a hug.
"Go inside Kira, I'll wait until you're in before I leave."
"Thank you." With that, Kira left his arms and bounded into her house.
Trent watched her go, feeling the pressure in his chest as he'd never felt it before. "No matter what, Kira Ford, I'll always love you." Turning, the White Ranger moved to his car and headed for home.
September 13, 2004
Dr. Oliver's House
Kimberly silenly watched the four teens trudge into the lair underneath Tommy’s house. Trent looked out of it, almost dazed. Kira was extra quiet, not even giving her usual greeting to Kim, but merely a nod of her head saying she recognized that the Pink Dino Ranger was even there. Conner seemed absorbed in his soccer ball, leaving Ethan the most alert of the four. “Ethan, can I talk to you in private?” Kim asked and walked toward the stairs, the younger Ranger following her.
“What’s up Kim?” Ethan asked as the pair entered the den.
“What’s going on with them?” she prodded, watching Ethan roll his eyes.
“With Conner, he’s being oblivious like normal. With Kira, I think she’s feeling guilty and unsure of herself and with Trent I think heartbreak about sums it up.”
Kim appeared confused, her facial expression pushing the Blue Ranger to continue. “Kira broke up with Trent last night because she has feelings for Conner, at least that’s what I’ve gotten out of Trent. So far, Kira hasn’t said but five words to any of us all day unless she absolutely had to and Conner being the dumb jock that he is, hasn’t noticed anything weird is going on.”
The Pink Ranger slowly nodded her head, an idea forming in her mind. “Go downstairs and tell Kira I’d like to talk to her, please,” Kim commanded softly, watching Ethan’s eyebrows shoot up before he turned and headed back downstairs. When he was gone, Kimberly moved to the desk behind her and picked up the cordless phone sitting there. Her fingers moved over the numbers by heart, entering the number for a certain former yellow teammate of hers.
“Red Ninja Martial Arts, Aisha Campbell speaking.”
“I’m in need of some advice, oh great relationship sage,” Kim replied cryptically, making Aisha laugh on the other end.
“Shouldn’t that be the other way around, I mean, you’re one half of the legendary couple,” Aisha shot back in amusement.
“It’s not for me, it’s for a certain young lady who’s carrying on the legacy,” Kim spoke, listening to Aisha’s breathing on the other end. The gasp told the Pink Dino Ranger that her former yellow teammate had sobered quickly with the comment.
Kim sighed. “Apparently, she broke things off with Trent last night and now there’s an eerie distance between the four of them, almost like something’s off and none of them want to admit it. I think she could use the words of wisdom from a higher source then her pink teammate. Having Tommy kind of takes away some of the validity of my words, if you get my drift.”
Aisha shook her head on the other end, slumping into the chair behind her in Rocky’s office. Kim had a point, and though Aisha felt like arguing that Kira would have listened to anything Kim said to her, she understood where her best friend was coming from.
Kim smiled when Kira came up the stairs, silently handing the bewildered teenager the phone before she headed back down to the lair, closing the trap door as she went. “Hello?”
“So I hear that you’re in need of Auntie Aisha’s love advice?” Kira cracked her first smile all day.
“How’d you find out?”
“Our favorite pink teammate, but don’t ask how she found out, she didn’t tell me. But that’s besides the point, what’s wrong, Kira?”
The current Yellow Ranger sighed and plopped down into the desk chair behind her. “I broke up with Trent, because I’ve been having weird feelings for Conner since the summer began and now it’s all a jumbled mess and I’m not sure I did the right thing and I can’t tell which way is up!” Kira rushed out in one breath, leaving Aisha shaking her head on the other end of the phone to try and clear out the confusion.
“Ok, one thing at a time. What do you feel for Trent?”
“The same things I do for Ethan. He’s like a brother, he’s one of my best friends, I know he understands me better than anyone, but when we’re together, I just don’t feel comfortable doing all the things couples do anymore.”
“And what about with Conner?”
“Does the fact that I’ve been dreaming about him kissing me every single night, since you guys were here last, give you an answer?”
Aisha chuckled at the blatant display of sarcasm that her other fellow Yellow Rangers often exercised coming from the newest carrier of the legacy.
“Child, you’re more like the rest of us then you’ll ever know,” Aisha mumbled in amusement. “Have you talked to Conner?”
“My first piece of advice is to talk to Conner, tell him what’s going on. Then take it from there, cause he’s either going to want the same things you do or he’s going to flat out tell you he sees you as a sister and teammate, not a girlfriend.”
Kira nodded. Aisha made things sound so simple when in reality they were completely screwed up. The sudden beeping from her wrist brought her attention back to the present. “Sha, I got to run, duty calls. I’ll call you later and let you know what’s going on, promise!”
“Kira, take care, and may the power protect you.” Kira smiled and hung up the phone before popping the trap door open and rushing down to find out what was going on.
Tommy was just getting into his jeep at the high school when his communicator started beeping. “This is Tommy.”
“Haul your butt over to the harbor, the kids need your help,” Hayley told him hurriedly as she monitored the kids’ vitals.
“Here with me, as per Dana’s orders.” Tommy sighed in relief then looked around to make sure the coast was clear.
“DINO THUNDER, POWER UP!”
When Tommy arrived at the harbor, he felt his stomach clinch. The Blue and White Rangers were laying, unmoving, at the feet of the Yellow Ranger, who stood incredibly still. The Black Ranger looked around for their Red leader and found him pinned under the foot of the current land before time reject.
“Brachio Staff! Wind Strike! Full Power!”
Kira’s legs buckled as Tommy’s attack flew past her. “Kira?” Tommy asked in concern. Conner was slowly climbing to his feet as the monster lay still on the pavement, moaning about the attack. “Are you hurt?”
“No,” she responded, shaking her head to clear it. “He had me frozen in place. The guys were trying to protect me.”
“A little help here!” Conner called in a panic as he engaged the monster again. Kira stumbled forward and let loose a Ptera Scream, knocking the monster back away from Conner. Tommy followed up with an energy orb, as did Conner once he’d regained his footing.
“Brachio Staff! Energy Orb! Engage!”
“Tyranno Staff! Energy Orb! Engage!”
The monster blew up without much a fuss, leaving Conner and Tommy to check on their Yellow Ranger. “Kira?” Conner frantically asked, kneeling in front of her. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
Kira looked up through her visor. Even though they were both morphed, she could see the worried look in Conner’s eyes. “I think so,” she murmured.
Conner sighed in relief then threw his arms around her for a hug. When he tried to help her to her feet, he was surprised when he had to catch her because her knees buckled.
Tommy smiled under his helmet at the two when Conner picked Kira up, holding her princess style. While his own fear had yet to settle down, he knew the pair was too lost in each other to be worrying much.
Carefully, Tommy moved over and tried to revive Trent and Ethan. The Blue Ranger was the only one who came to of the pair. “Man, did someone get the number of that truck?” Ethan mumbled, sitting up with Tommy’s help.
“Monster,” Tommy told him, Ethan nodding in remembrance.
“What about Trent?” Conner asked, approaching the pair, Kira still safely tucked in his arms though she was starting to protest more vocally about being able to stand on her own.
“Kira, can you drive your Raptor Cycle?” Tommy asked. The Yellow Ranger nodded. “Conner, help her to her bike. Ethan, help me get Trent onto his. I’ll drive him back.”
The four Rangers went about their appointed duties, then headed back to the lair.
“Everyone ok?” Kim asked when the team entered the lab. Conner was helping Kira, who seemed to still be unsteady and Ethan was helping Tommy carry Trent in.
“Kira’s still dazed, Ethan has a headache, Conner’s got some bruised ribs, Trent’s unconscious and I’m aggravated, what else is new?” Tommy snapped at her.
The look on Kim’s face told the others she was hurt and now slightly pissed. “Thomas James, don’t you dare take that tone with me!” Kim hissed at him, hands on her hips and eyes flaming pink in color. Hayley and the three conscious teens took a few steps back to avoid the wrath of the sidelined Pink Ranger.
Silently, Kimberly stalked over to Kira and checked her out, whispering to her softly to sooth her. “Conner, help me bring her upstairs,” she pointedly told the Red Ranger, then turned to Ethan. “Ethan, go up to the bathroom and get some aspirin for that headache. Hayley, could you please make sure Trent’s alright?”
The steel-edged tone of Kim’s voice brooked no argument from the others, Tommy included. Ethan helped Conner get Kira up to the living room, Kim following them so she could take care of the younger female. Hayley turned toward Tommy after they were gone and gestured for him to lay Trent on the medical table in the corner. “You didn’t need to be an ass towards her,” Hayley told him hotly, wondering what had crawled up his butt. “She was just worried about you.”
“Well, in case the two of you haven’t noticed, I’m capable of handling it.”
Tommy’s words made Hayley snap her eyes to his face. “She has every right to worry. Number one - she’s a ranger, sidelined or not. Number two, she’s your fiancée and the woman carrying your child. You’d better get over your superiority complex and get your head out of your ass before I remind you that she was a Ranger long before you were and she’s the reason the others call you the Greatest Ranger Ever.”
The Black Ranger popped his helmet off and threw it across the room where it smacked into the wall. “Knock it off before I sideline you too,” Hayley threatened. She’d never seen him act like this in all the years she’d known him.
“You have no authority to do that,” Tommy shot back, smirking. Hayley wondered for a moment if Mesogog’s goons, or even Goldar, had cast a spell on Tommy during the battle and she hadn’t noticed.
“Maybe not, but we do.” Conner’s voice silenced Tommy as the Red, Blue and Pink Rangers came down the stairs.
“Team vote, and since I’m leader the decision ultimately comes down to me. Until you calm down, I’m sidelining you. This isn’t like you Dr. O.”
“You don’t even know me, Conner,” Tommy shot back. Kimberly shook her head at Tommy in disbelief as Conner held out his hand for Tommy’s morpher. Tommy took the requested item off, which caused his suit to disappear, and tossed it at Conner, hard, before blowing past the three of them to go upstairs.
Kim sighed in annoyance then turned to the younger Rangers. “I’ll be back in a bit. Conner, check on Kira in a few minutes, would you? And Ethan, help Hayley with Trent,” Kim spoke then turned and fled up the stairs after Tommy.
Quickly and silently, Kimberly hurried through the house, ending up in their room. “Handsome?” she called out, not seeing him.
Rolling her eyes, Kim turned toward the bathroom down the hall. She found him stripping and getting into the shower. Kim rolled her eyes again, shut and locked the door, the proceeded to strip off her own clothes. Carefully she climbed into the shower, finding Tommy with his head under the spray.
“Kimberly, go away and leave me alone.”
“No.” Tommy spun around to yell at her but stopped when he saw the unshed tears in her eyes.
“Beautiful.” Kim gasped softly when he surged forward and wrapped his arms around her petite frame.
“What’s gotten into you? You know I would have never expected this kind of behavior out of you. What’s wrong?” she asked, holding his wet body close to hers.
“I was so scared for them.” he started. “When I got there, Kira was the only one standing. I though for a minute I’d lost them.”
Years of having been with the man she was holding allowed Kim to instantly know what his problem really was - it was more than thinking he’d lost the team - he felt guilty for letting them down.
“Baby, it’s alright. You trained them to the best of your ability. They know how to do their jobs,” she reasoned with him. “You told me one time over the summer that they remind you of the original team, and of the Rangers immediately after. Well guess what? If they are anything like we were, they’ll be fine. We were a damn good team, and still are.”
Tommy nodded, sagging against the shower wall, Kimberly still tucked in his arms. “I worry.”
Kim giggled at him. “I know. You wouldn’t be my Handsome if you didn’t.”
It was Tommy’s turn to roll his eyes. “Think Conner will give me back my morpher any time soon?”
“Maybe after you talk to them like they were adults,” she suggested. “Don’t be mad, he was just doing his job. You know Jason and Rocky would have done the same thing, in exactly the same way.”
Tommy nodded. Both former Red Rangers had often taken it upon themselves - as leader or as second in command - to ground those around them when things got out of hand. It seemed to Tommy that Conner was truly following in their footsteps.
“Beautiful,” Tommy murmured, realizing that the love of his life was naked and in the shower with him.
“Don’t get any ideas, Dr. Oliver. Hayley and the kids are still in the house.”
Tommy groaned his protest, hands sliding down Kimberly’s back to rest on her behind. Silently he pulled her closer to him. “Later?”
Kim laughed. “You bet.” After a few more minutes of cuddling and kissing, the pair got out and got dressed.
“I’ve never seen him loose it like that before,” Ethan mumbled in awe as he, Conner and the newly awakened Trent sat at the back of the lair. Kira was sitting at the computer with Hayley, analyzing their recent battle.
“Are you gonna give him his morpher back?” Trent asked Conner.
“After we’ve had a team meeting and I’ve talked to Kim. She may not have had her Dino Powers as long as some of us, but by default she’s still the senior member of the team.” The others nodded their heads in agreement at Conner’s words.
“And she knows Dr. O better than any of us, Hayley included,” Kira supplied, joining the trio. There wasn’t any room next to them for her to sit so Conner leaned forward and pulled her onto his lap, thinking nothing of how his movements might look to the others. Kira blushed, Ethan chuckled and Trent merely frowned.
“Here comes the legendary couple now,” Ethan commented a moment later as Tommy and Kimberly finally reentered the lair.
“Guys,” Tommy started, standing before the four teenagers. “Look, I’m sorry for freaking out. I was scared that I’d let you guys down and I wasn’t thinking straight.”
The four nodded, Conner’s eyes going to Kim’s for confirmations. “Kimberly, it’s your call; you’re the senior member of the team.”
Kim shook her head in protest, though she appreciated the sentiment behind Conner’s words. “You’re the leader of this team, Conner. My past experience as a Ranger has no weight on your decision.”
“Team vote?” Trent asked. Conner nodded.
The Blue Ranger looked to his mentor and nodded. “Give it back to him.”
“Trent?” The White Ranger merely nodded.
“Kira?” The Yellow Ranger grinned at their mentor and nodded.
“Hayley?” Conner called across the room. The red-haired genius at the computer turned, her eyes narrowed at Tommy before she smiled and nodded.
“I’m taking myself out of this,” Kim started, her hands raising as they protested. “It wouldn’t be fair, considering my relationship with him outside of the team.”
“Conner?” Kira asked, twisting around on his lap to look at him. Silently, the Red Ranger reached into his pocket, pulled out the black and gold morpher, and then tossed it at Tommy.
“I think you owe Hayley an apology as well.”
Tommy nodded and turned. “Hayley, I’m sorry for acting the way I did and for lashing out at you.”
Ethan turned his attention to Hayley and asked, “So what about Kim’s scans from yesterday?”
“It appears her armor, particularly around her stomach, is much stronger than we anticipated it would be,” Hayley informed them. “Billy thinks it may have to do with your bond to the pink gem.”
“So I’ll be ok to battle?” Kim asked, her voice hopeful. She really wanted to be out there with Tommy and the kids; being left in the lair was annoying and frustrating.
“For now. When you start showing, we’re going to have to reassess the situation.”
“Alright! I won’t be drowned in testosterone on the battle field!” Kira cried out in relief.
Kim and Hayley laughed while the guys rolled their eyes. “So, who’s hungry?” Kim asked. All the boys raised their hands, Tommy included.
“I seem to remember having prepared some homemade pizza before you guys got called to duty. It just needs to be baked.”
Kim stood in one of the shadowed corners, watching Tommy train the kids. Ever since she found out she was pregnant, Tommy had nixed her sparring with any of them. Kira and Ethan were going at it pretty good, but it was Conner and Trent that had her worried. Ever since earlier in the afternoon, Kim had been sensing some hostility from Trent where Conner was concerned, and she knew it had to do with Kira. Shaking her head, Kim strode toward Tommy.
“Hmm?” he responded, turning toward her.
“Give me a few minutes with Trent, alone,” she whispered. Tommy nodded. He’d sensed the turmoil as well.
“Trent, upstairs,” Tommy told the White Ranger, who nodded then followed Kim.
“What’s up?” the White Ranger asked as Kimberly gestured for him to sit down on the couch in the living room.
“That’s my question. Why are you glaring daggers at Conner, it’s not his fault that what happened between you and Kira happened.”
Trent had the grace to look guilty at her comments. “I know that, but I can’t help but think…”
Kim shook her head at him. “I don’t think Conner even has an inkling of Kira’s feelings for him.” Trent nodded. “And furthermore, you’re only going to keep hurting if you keep on like this. Trust me, I’ve been there.”
The young man looked up at Kimberly, his emotions displayed in his eyes, across his face, showing in his posture. “I love her!”
“I know that, I was there, remember?” Kim started. “But if you love her, you’ve got to let her go. If you’re meant to be together, it will all work out. You can’t hang onto her like this; it’s bad for her, bad for you and bad for the team. She’s got to figure out where her heart lies. I know it’s only been a day, but you’ve got to start. If you love her, give her heart the freedom to fly and for her to find her place.”
Kim knelt on the floor in front of him when he looked down at his feet. Carefully she tipped his chin up and stared into his eyes. “Trust me on this, Kiddo. I’ve been in your position, remember?” Trent looked into her eyes and saw nothing less than the truth. Kimberly had been through this with Dr. O, isn’t that what she’d told him during the summer when they’d spend countless hours just talking? Swallowing hard, he nodded his understanding. “You’re never going to fully let her go; no one let’s their first love go, but for now, this is what’s best for both of you.”
“Trent?” Conner called, entering the living room as the young man in question helped Kim to her feet.
“What’s up?” Trent asked, hoping to hide whatever was still on his face from his conversation with Kim.
“Everything ok?” Conner asked, genuinely worried for his friend.
Trent smiled at Kim then nodded. “Yeah. Let’s head back down so I can kick your butt again.”
Conner laughed. “Again? Yeah, whatever!” The two boys left Kim alone, laughing, as she heard them teasing one another down the stairs.
“Beautiful?” Tommy called out as he entered their bedroom. The kids had left around nine but he and Hayley had stayed in the lair and finished up some work before Hayley had called it quits. Now Tommy was in search of his beautiful fiancée.
“In the closet!”
Tommy wandered over to the walk in closet and found her sitting on the floor, going through what looked like a bunch of boxes. “What are you doing?” he asked, crouching down to her level.
“Going through my clothes and packing away the more revealing ones. I’m going to have to buy some new ones when I start showing more. I don’t think spaghetti strap crop tops and short shorts are very motherly.”
Tommy chuckled. “Oh how the mighty fashionista has fallen.” For a response, Kim tossed a piece of wadded up lingerie at him.
“I won’t be wearing stuff like that ever again.” At her words Tommy sputtered.
Kim laughed. “I’m kidding, Baby. After this kid is born I know I’ll be pulling my hair out trying to get you to think I’m sexy again. I’ve already resigned myself to that fact.” The Pink Ranger shrugged and went back to sorting her clothes.
Abruptly Tommy pulled her to her feet and tipped her chin up so he could look into the eyes he loved so much. “You’ll always be sexy to me, Beautiful. More so after you give birth to the life we’ve made between us.”
Kim tried to look down but his hand under her chin wouldn’t allow it. Finally she closed her eyes and told him what she was feeling. “I don’t feel beautiful anymore, I already feel fat.”
“Beautiful,” Tommy murmured, leaning in and crushing her mouth with his own. For several minutes the only sounds were their soft moans and harsh breathing. Carefully, Tommy led her back into their room, while still kissing her. Finally, he lay her back on the bed then proceeded to make love to her.
Kim sighed, her head on Tommy’s chest. His arms were wrapped tightly around her while he slept. Kim smiled, thinking about their love making. She knew Tommy had been trying to prove to her he thought she was beautiful. ‘It definitely worked’ she thought in amusement. Careful, so ask not to wake him, Kim burrowed closer to him. “I love you, Tommy.”
September 15, 2004
Kim was puttering around the house, straightening shelves and dusting furniture when the monster alarm went off. Quickly, she raced from the living room to the den and then down into the lair.
As the computers came to life, Kimberly suddenly found herself grateful that Hayley and Tommy had taken the time to show her how to use the system. Punching in a series of keys, Kim began to record a message that would broadcast to the others while she homed in on the problem at hand. “Guys, Monster attack at the Farmer’s Market. I’m heading out now. Come immediately.” With that finished, Kim spun the chair around and brought her arm up.
“Pink Ranger! Dino Power!”
After she was morphed, Kim scrambled out the forest entrance. Seeing how Hayley had yet to modify the new ATV to work for her, she took Tommy’s.
Ten minutes later, the Pink Ranger found herself arriving at the disturbance. The surprise, however, was on Kim. Instead of Goldar or Elsa at the command of the goons, it was Scorpina and the metal tin can Zeltrax.
“Oh, look, the Pink Ranger!” Scorpina teased. “Why, Kimberly, I thought you’d left for your gymnastics career?”
Kim narrowed her eyes at the bug woman. “Gee, Scorpina, and here I thought you’d been reduced to dust along with Zeddie and Rita?”
“In your dreams, Do Gooder.”
Tommy was just sitting down at his desk to begin grading papers and eat lunch when his bracelet chimed and Kimberly’s hurried message played for him. Jumping up, the Black Ranger made for the door, only to have it open to reveal for teenagers. “We know, we heard. Let’s book it before Kim gets hurt!” Conner ordered, snapping them all out of the silence they’d fallen into. Looking around to make sure no one was in the hallway, they morphed.
“Dino Thunder, Power Up! HA!”
“White Ranger, Dino Power!”
“Seizmo Bow!” Kim cried out, smiling under her helmet as the familiar weight of her weapon settled in the palm of her hand.
"Oh look, she's trying to recapture her glory days," Scorpina taunted, causing Zeltrax to laugh.
"Whatever," Kim muttered, and then launched into an attack. Between the two, the Pink Ranger soon found herself vastly out numbered. 'Come on Kim, think!' she chided herself, and then realized she had a couple of surprises at her disposal. Concentrating carefully, even as she shot off arrow after arrow, Kimberly made an image of herself materialize behind Zeltrax.
"What! Two of them!" Scorpina hissed, and then screeched when she felt herself flying through the air. Zeltrax turned to see what was happening and then felt himself flying through the air as well.
Kimberly collapsed to one knee, having over exerted herself in lifting the two goons. 'Get up Kim, now is not the time to take a breather!' she cursed herself. However, even as Kimberly stood, she found herself falling forward, having been hit in the back by Scorpina.
"Kira, help Kim! You three, take Scorpina, Zeltrax is mine!" Tommy commanded of the four teenagers. The Red and Blue Rangers shared a look at the tone of Tommy's voice; it was reminiscent of the tone he'd used when facing Zeltrax earlier in the summer.
"Kim?" Kira frantically asked, rolling the Pink Ranger over onto her back.
"I'm ok," Kim wheezed. "She nailed me in the back when I was least expecting it." Kira nodded and pulled Kim to her feet.
"Dr. O!" Trent cried out. The others turned in time to see Zeltrax lift Tommy by the neck, having batted the Black Ranger's Brachio Staff away.
"Kim!" Kira called out in surprise as her pink counterpart sprinted to the aid of their Black Ranger.
"Seizmo Bow!" Kim shouted, kneeling down on one knee and aiming for Zeltrax's legs. With skills born of years of practice, the Pink Ranger launched a volley of arrows at the monster holding her lover.
Zeltrax howled in pain, his grip on Tommy loosening enough for Conner to use his speed skills to spirit the Black Ranger out of trouble. Meanwhile, on the other side of the battlefield, Kira was watching Kim's back as the Pink Ranger continued to launch arrow after arrow, and Trent and Ethan battled Scorpina. Unfortunately, the White and Blue Rangers weren't fast enough to prevent what happened next.
"Dr. O!" Ethan shouted.
Scorpina had managed to get a hold of Tommy, who was unconscious. "Zeltrax! We have what we came for!" Quickly, the two disappeared with Tommy.
"TOMMY!" Kim's heart wrenching scream tore at the hearts of the four teenage Rangers.
"Back to base!" Conner commanded. Trent and Ethan managed to get Kimberly onto the ATV, with Trent driving, as Conner used his speed to transport the others back to the lair.
Hayley rushed up to Trent when he came in carrying Kimberly. "She's fine, physically," he whispered as he laid Kimberly on the medical table.
"Where's Tommy? I just got the message about ten minutes ago."
"Zeltrax and Scorpina kidnapped him." Conner's voice sliced at Hayley's heart. Her best friend was once again at the mercy of evil. Hayley moved methodically toward Kimberly, looking the Pink Ranger over for any physical problems. Inside, Hayley knew exactly why the Pink Ranger wasn't moving. 'If I'm feeling this bad, I can only guess what she's feeling.'
Jason was just walking in the door when the phone began to ring. Jogging over to the dinning room table, he picked the headset up. "Hello?"
"Jason, its Conner."
"Hey C-man, what's up?" Jason asked, settling into one of the chairs.
"We need your help."
Billy, Trini, Zack, Aisha, Rocky, Adam, and Tanya sat at a table in one of the team's favorite restaurants, waiting impatiently for Jason and Kat to arrive.
"What's wrong?" Rocky automatically questioned when the missing pair arrived. Jason didn't summon the team for no reason, and Rocky himself had spoken to his Red predecessor over the phone – Jason’s tone had brooked no argument from him as to the seriousness of the situation.
"I got a call from Conner this afternoon," Jason began.
"And?" Zack asked.
"Tommy's been captured and Kimberly's on her way to having a serious breakdown."
The rest of the former Rangers stared at Jason in shock. Kat was the only one of them who had already had time to digest the news.
Kira sat on Tommy and Kimberly's bed, lightly stroking Kim's arm and back while Hayley sat in a chair next to the bed, holding onto Kim's hand. Hours of sitting in front of the computers had yet to yield any answers in their search for the Black Ranger.
Conner, Ethan and Trent stood back by the door, not knowing what to do except offer their presence for Kimberly to grasp onto. "This bites," Conner hissed, turning from the scene and storming down the stairs to the living room, Ethan and Trent not far behind him. When the trio entered the living room, they were surprised to see a group of multi-colored figures standing by the front door.
"Who are you?" Trent asked carefully. Ethan and Conner merely smiled. The White Ranger obviously didn't remember the team before him very much.
"We're the Space Rangers," the Red Ranger spoke. The six suddenly demorphed. "Conner, Jason asked us to come. He's gathering the others as we speak."
Conner nodded to Andros. "Dr. O's been taken by Mesogog's idiots, Kim's upstairs having a mental breakdown and the rest of us are pretty much lost as to what to do." Cassie and Ashley immediately broke off from the group and raced up the stairs.
"The girls will help Kim. Now, how about giving us the 4-1-1 so we know what's going on?" T.J. asked.
"Let's head downstairs." The seven male Rangers went to the den then descended into the lair.
Kim awoke with a start when she felt the familiar weight of a hand on her shoulder. "Jason?"
"Kimmie," Jason murmured, pulling her up and into his arms when she started crying. Kimberly suddenly found herself surrounded by her best friends, Aisha and Trini closest to her, trying their best to soothe the tears away.
"Crying isn't good for the baby," Aisha murmured in Kim's ear.
"I want him back, Sha!" Kim cried out, feeling Jason's arms tighten around her.
"I know Kim, I know," Aisha told her, rubbing a hand up and down her back.
Jason pulled back far enough to look into his little sister's eyes. "Andros and the Space Rangers are here. They're down in the lab or back on the MegaShip scanning for him as we speak."
"Kim, hon, you need to lay down and rest," Kat whispered to her, handing Kimberly a night gown; Kim was still dressed in her grubby jeans and t-shirt. When the Pink Ranger caught sight of the shirt, she smiled slightly - it was one of Tommy's undershirts. Nodding in compliance, Kim waited until the girls were the only ones in the room before she allowed Kat and Aisha to help her undress and change into the shirt.
The former second generation Pink and Yellow Rangers volunteered to sit with Kimberly while Tanya and Trini headed down to help Hayley and the guys.
"Look who's finally awake," a voice hissed in Tommy's ear. When the Black Ranger opened his eyes, he nearly fell over in shock.
"Sarah's dead, Tommy. I took over her body years ago."
Tommy swallowed hard. His ex-girlfriend had seemed normal enough when he'd spoken to her last. "I thought I'd let you know your little woman is falling apart without you."
The computer screen next to the table where Tommy was chained flared to life, showing a sobbing Kimberly being comforted by Jason and Aisha. 'As long as the others are with her, she'll be fine' Tommy thought, though his heart ached for her. He never wanted to be the cause of her tears, and now he had been, twice, in less than a week. 'Hang on, Beautiful. I'll be back soon!'
"Ready the machine!" the woman ordered. "When it's ready, throw Dr. Oliver in."
Tommy struggle, which made Sarah laugh. "Tommy, soon you'll see the error of your ways. Until then, how about I leave you to rest while I play with that lovely Pink Ranger who's got her claws sunk into you?"
Tommy watched in horror as Sarah morphed her body to look exactly like Lord Zedd. "KIM!"
Conner slowly came back to the land of the living. He barely remembered what had happened the night before. They'd been searching, well into the night, for Dr. Oliver. 'Dr. Mercer brought us back here when we all started falling asleep' he though hazily. When he felt the warm body next to his move, he nearly freaked out. Looking down, he found Kira snuggled into his side, his arm wrapped around her, and her head on his chest. On the other side of Kira was Ethan, also sound asleep. The three had fallen asleep in the Mercer living room.
"Morning," Trent yawned, padding into the room. He'd gone to bed in his room only after his friends had been settled down.
"Morning. What time is it?"
"About ten thirty. Dad left about an hour ago to help Hayley with the search."
Conner nodded. He noticed something in Trent's eyes, something that had been there all week, and he had a feeling it had to do with Kira. "Trent, what's wrong?"
The White Ranger shook his head. "Just take care of her, otherwise I'll kick your ass."
"What is with everyone?" Conner hissed. "Kira doesn't like me like that, no matter how much I wish it was true! She's in love with you."
Trent shook his head in denial. "We broke up because she has feelings for you, Conner. Giver her some time to sort her issues out."
Conner rolled his eyes. "Why are you so calm about this?"
Trent sighed. "It's like Kim said. If Kira and I are meant to be together, we will be. For now, I have to let her fly free and find her own way. I'm calm because I love her enough to let her go."
The Red Ranger nodded, understanding that reasoning all too well, as it was the one he'd been using since Kira and started dating Trent. "Food..." Ethan moaned as he sat up. "I'm starving!"
"Shh!" Trent and Conner hissed.
Ethan glared then noticed that Kira was still snuggled into Conner's side, sound asleep. "Oh. Trent, man, food?"
"You're starting to sound like Rocky," Conner quipped, receiving a smack on the head from his friend.
The White Ranger laughed. "If I remember correctly, Dad said something about a stack of pancakes, bacon and eggs in the kitchen for breakfast."
Ethan scrambled to his feet and followed Trent further back into the house, leaving Conner alone with the sleeping Kira. The Red Dino Ranger smiled down on his female companion. "Kira," he murmured, nudging her slightly.
"Hmm?" Kira moaned, snuggling even closer to Conner, which caused certain parts of the Red Ranger's anatomy to swell. 'Damn, does my body have to betray me like this every time we're this close?' he asked himself.
"Time to wake up."
Conner chuckled. "I know, but we need to eat then head over to Dr. O and Kim's to help out."
The Red Ranger smiled as Kira's eyes finally opened. She seemed momentarily startled to find Conner's arms around her then her embarrassment showed when she realized she was cuddling him in return. "Sorry."
Conner merely beamed at her. "Don't worry, I didn't mind in the least." Conner helped her sit up then sat up himself. "Hungry? Trent and Ethan are in the kitchen chowing down."
Kira nodded and the two headed deeper into the house, following the sounds of laughter being emitted from their friends and teammates.
Aisha sighed softly, feeling the ache in her heart intensify. Kimberly was barely touching her breakfast, choosing instead to stare at Tommy's empty chair. "She still not eating?" Trini asked when she entered the kitchen for a cup of coffee. She, Billy, Hayley and Andros had spent most of the night on the computers.
"No, and I'm not sure how to get through to her."
"Maybe Conner can," Kira spoke as the teens entered. "She seems to respond to him a bit more then the rest of us.” All eyes turned to Conner, who nodded and shoed them out of the kitchen before he crouched in front of Kim.
"I know you're sick and tired of everyone hovering, but you're not going to do Dr. O or the baby any good if you're sick." Kim looked at him as though she were looking through him. "Kimberly, you're the original Pink Ranger, you're the current Pink Ranger, and I know you're stronger than this, made of tougher material then this. Dr. O and Jason have both said you were always the heart and soul of the team. We can't function without that vital part."
Conner watched as her hands moved to the planes of her stomach, which were just starting to round with the signs of life. In her eyes, he saw awareness and acceptance and steely determination push sorrow aside. "Conner, I'm sorry."
The Red Ranger shook his head in argument. "You have nothing to be sorry for."
"Yes, I do," Kim told him, looking at him finally as if she were just seeing him. "You're right. The team can't function without all its parts. I’m just so worried about him."
"We understand that, because we're worried too, but Dr. O is capable of staying alive until back-up arrives. They wouldn't call him the Greatest Ranger Ever if he couldn't."
"How are you kids dealing?" Kim asked, touching Conner's cheek in affection. She was their mentor now, until Tommy returned to take back his spot. She needed to make sure that she kept that fact in mind.
"We're scared, lost, angry, but we've got hope. We know we're not in this alone," Conner told her. "Have you tried using your powers to contact Dr. O?"
Kim nodded. "All I got was a general sense of where he's at. The last couple of times I've used the astral projection, I've known specifically where I wanted to project to.
"Where is he?"
Conner shuddered. While he and Ethan had only been there once, the other members of the Dino Thunder team had been there many times before, and had filled the two in; it wasn't a nice place to be from what he'd been told. "Guys! Monster alert!" Jason’s voice bellowed from the stairs leading to the basement. Kira, Trent, Rocky, Aisha, and Adam joined Kim and Conner in the den before the seven went down.
"The machine is ready, my Lord," Goldar laughed. Mesogog, Elsa, Zeltrax and Scorpina stood off to the side as a group of putties placed the unconscious Tommy into the machine.
"Throw the switch Goldar!"
Tommy began to wake as soon as the evil energy began infusing his body. Before they new it, a light exploded, revealing the Black Dino Thunder Ranger, fully morphed, but there was definitely something different in his stance. "Master," the Black Ranger addressed the evil Emperor.
The rest of the assembled group gasped in shock. "Welcome back to the darkness, Tommy."