Disclaimer: Power Rangers do not belong to me, they belong to Saban.
I do own Jenny, Seth, Sahsha, Alex, William, Adam, Zarian and Marcus Bulkmeier.
As well as anyone or anything else you haven't seen in the show.
Author's Note: My thanks to all who have helped me is located at the end of this story. And a very special thanks for Joe Rovang's site. I would have made this fic a complete mess if it hadn't have been there for us writers to use. I'd also like to thank whomever it was that came up with the idea of Ninjor being Dulcea's brother. And yes, I was watching 'Interview with a Vampire' when I came up with the idea, though this story is not a crossover of the movie. This by far, has been my favorite fic, and I hope you all like it. In this fic, Phantom Ranger was not fighting on his home planet at the time of CD2D, and there will be some other differences from the way things really happened in the show. I've tried to stay in Saban's time frame, if there are any mess ups, I apologize for them now. If you like this fic, please email me. I love to hear from you.
2099: Angel's Depth, California
I remember the day I met him. I had been scouring the city around the place that had; at one time, been called Angel Grove.
I had seen the pictures of a once peaceful, quiet city. A far cry from the place of now. This place was a city in every sense of the word. Sure, all of the evil was gone, but that was just the evil from other places. The human evil still remained. And had become stronger in the hundred years since the legendary Power Rangers had disband. If they had truly ever existed.
That was my main reason for searching the city of Angel's Depth. I'm a reporter, and I had come upon book; written some seventy years ago, cronicaling the Legend of the Power Rangers. But, most only believed them to have been a myth. There was no evidence that the Rangers had ever really existed. I was looking for solid information and facts. It mainly seemed to come from the very old, who had heard it from their grandparents. Most of this information, I seemed to take for fantasy. So unbelievable it was.
I had been searching for months. Picking up pieces, of the legend, now an then. On this particular day, I happened to be combing the alleys, looking for people who generally thrived on talk of such things. I was talking to a middle-aged vagrant named Marcus Bulkmeier. He was really getting into talking about the Rangers. Spouting stories of his Great, Great grandfather, a great Detective back in 1996; saying that his Great, Great Grandfather had known the Rangers, and had even been friends with them. I caught myself stifling a laugh on more than one occasion. After all, wasn't the Ranger's identities suppose to be a secret? I was just turning over the disk in my recording scanner, when I felt the tap on my shoulder.
At first I thought it was another vagrant wanting to tell his or her story. This wouldn't have been the first time it had happened. But, when I turned, who I saw was not who I had expected to see. He was young, about my age, maybe twenty, if that old. He was about five-foot-ten, with sunblond, shoulder length, hair and pale hazel eyes. He was dressed in black from top to toe. Wearing a long black coat.
He told me that he could give me a first hand account of the Power Rangers. I nearly laughed myself silly. How could someone at his age, possibly give a first hand account of the Power Rangers? They had only been fable for the last hundred years. A hundred years. But, I was curious.
I agreed to meet him at the address he provided me with; at six o'clock that same night. To say that I felt a little trepidation, was an understatement. I didn't know this guy. He seemed sane enough, for these times, but those were the ones we reporters had become the most leery of. But, my curiosity was peaked. I couldn't let this go, and continue to call myself a reporter.
When he left the alley, I pardoned myself to Mr. Bulkmeier; paid him the twenty dollars I promised him, tucking it into the pocket of his shirt. He didn't seem to notice me; as he was so deep into the story of his Great, Great grandfather and the Power Rangers.
Once in my apartment, I gathered everything I would need for the interview: my recording disks, an extra scanner and of course...a gun. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, and I was going to protect myself to the extreme if that was to happen. Soon the trepidation gave way to excitement. I glanced at a clock near my bed. Three-thirty. I had two and a half hours still; before I was to meet this...man. I didn't even know his name. Who was I to ask for?
It didn't matter. Things would work out, or I'd make them work out. It was the way of the reporter.
Finally the waiting had come to an end. I raced out of my apartment, hailed a taxi, and gave him the address that I had been given. He looked at me a little strangely, which made me nervous, but I wasn't going to give up this chance just over the jitters. I sweetened the deal, and he was more than willing to take me where I wanted to go.
A short time later, I arrived at the address. I could see why the driver was nervous, and I could plainly see why I should have been as well. The buildings were dilapidated. Old torn curtains and blinds flapped in the wind through broken widows. It was deathly quiet here. A million thoughts crossed my mind at this moment. Why had he asked me to meet him here, just to discuss the Power Rangers? Why not a safe cozy bar somewhere? Somewhere there would be a great many people to witness what ever he would do to me.
Taking a deep breath, I handed the fare, plus the bonus, to the driver; who's hands shook as he took the money from my hand. Crossing himself, he quickly raced from the area. I watched him go, and noticed for the first time, how dark it was becoming. Quickly I checked the written address, and gazed at the buildings around me.
Finally, locating the building I was looking for, I made my way up the steps to the broken, hanging, glass doors. Steeling my nerves, I pushed past it. It creaked as I brushed against it. I half expected it to fall, but soon it was still. I turned my gaze to the dark empty hallway that stretched before me. A number of closed doors lined its length, and I wondered what things would jump from behind them at me. And as I made my way down the dark hall, I noticed what seemed to be...lockers?, lining the walls.
My need for news drove me forward, regardless of the cost. I gazed at the numbers on the doors as I passed. Some were broken, and hanging upside down, and others were missing, but the outline of them remained on the paint of the doors. Pieces of plaster ground beneath my shoes as I slowly made my way down the hall, alerting anyone, and everything of my presence.
Nearly at the end of the hall, is where I saw a light. There were no doors to this room, so I entered slowly; my hand in my bag, ready to grasp the gun I had hidden inside, if I needed it.
"Hello?" I called. Waiting for some sort of response. Then I heard his voice coming to me from within the room.
"I'm glad you came. I almost thought that you wouldn't, especially when you saw the place. Come in." I didn't see him, as much as I heard him.
"I almost didn't. But, you were offering me something I couldn't pass up."
"A story. A story of the Power Rangers."
"Yes." I followed the sound of his voice. There, in a room lit with several candles, was the man from earlier that day. But this time, he wasn't dressed in black, and there was something about him that made me feel safe, and smile. And it wasn't just the fact that he was smiling. This time he was dressed in a pair of relaxed fit jeans, and a white, long sleeve turtleneck shirt.
I looked around the large room. There was a couple of steps that lead to a spacious floored area. Dark shapes, that might have; at one time, been exercise equipment, lurked within the shadows. Behind me was a long bark and some delapadated stools, and all around us were the remains of dust covered tables, and broken chairs. I started, when he spoke again.
"We need to get started, if we are to accomplish what I have brought you here for." Again I felt nervous. I guess he could tell. He stood from where he was sitting at an old table, and pulled out a chair, and motioned me to it. I made my way to the table, and placed my bag of equipment on it's scarred top. Thanking him, I took my seat, and pulled the things I would need from my bag. My gun within reach, if I needed it.
"Things sure have changed," he said, as he watched me lay out my equipment. "But, where I've been, Earth is still in the dark ages." I was startled by his comment. Where he had been? Speaking of Earth, as if he had been away from it for a long time? I watched as he picked up the recording scanner, and carefully began to turn it over in his hands; glaring at it, like it was some puzzle to be solved. Then he placed it back on the top of the table, where I had set it.
"I don't understand why you brought me here. You said that you could give me a first hand account of the Power Rangers, but you don't look to be older than twenty...at the most." I added. He just smiled, and took his place at the table across from me.
"This place holds a lot of old, happy memories for me." he said, looking around. The place looked like it had been deserted for a very long time. Any good memories would indeed need to be old, quite old.
"I've been watching you, and I have the most wonderful things to tell you. When I am finished, you will see the purpose of me bringing you here. And by the way, I was eighteen. But, that was over one hundred years ago." I nearly lost consciousness right then and there, then I gathered myself, and laughed.
"I'm sorry. But, you're saying...that you are over one hundred years old? I find this just a little hard to swallow. I've heard everything, but never this. This is a new one. Are you some sort of Vampire, Werewolf or Demon..."
"I can understand. I find it hilarious at times myself, but at others...unsettling. I assure you that I am neither crazy, or mad, or even a Vampire or any other horrible thing. I have all my faculties in order. I will start from the beginning, and bring you slowly up to the present. After I have told you my story, if you need proof of what I tell you, I will be able to provide it. But, not until then." I guess he noticed how unnerved I was, because his next statement eased me a bit, just as much as the one that followed sought to undo what the previous statement had done. "I didn't bring you here to bring harm to you. I have never done anything like that in my life, except in self defense and defense of the world...as a Power Ranger."
I guess I was staring at him, as if he had grown a second head. He just smiled and motioned for me to start my recording scanner.
"The year was 1993...and Rita Repulsa, an evil witch, had been released from her capsule, on the moon, by a couple of curious astronauts.
"I think we were in our Freshman year of high school then. It's been a long time. We used to hang out at a place called the Youth Center, this place." He spread his arms, indicating the whole place around us. "This is where it all began. We were hanging out, talking, when suddenly there was an enormous earthquake. People were running from the building, screaming, while me and my friends were trying to hang on. Suddenly, my friends and I, were engulfed by bright lights, and everything around us disappeared. The next thing we knew, we were flying through the air, at a very high speed. When we landed, rather unceremoniously, we were in a room and all around us were computers, covered in flashing lights. And this is when we first met our Mentor Zordon, and his assistant Alpha 5, a fully sentient, multifunctional, automaton.
"The place was called the Command Center. And it would be our base of operation, for the next two years. This is where we were given our powers by our mentor Zordon, who had been trapped in a time warp tube, thousands of years ago by Rita.
"There were five of us then. Jason Scott, a friend I had know for four years, was to become the Red Ranger. Zack Taylor, whom I had known for the last two years, became the Black Ranger. Kimberly Hart, my best friend, the one I had grown up with, was the Pink Ranger. Trini Kwan, whom I knew for as long as I had known Jason, was the Yellow Ranger. And myself William 'Billy', as my friends called me, was to become the Blue Ranger.
"For the next few years, things would change. The Zords we piloted, the villains we fought, and the Rangers we fought with. When it all started, we were a team of five fighting a villain called Rita Repulsa. Within this same year, we picked up a new member to the team. He had fought against us as one of Rita's warriors. But, once the spell was broken, he became an even greater ally. Tommy Oliver, a new student from Stone Canyon, was the Green Ranger. Then that same year, and into the next, he slowly began to loose his power, and then with her magic, Rita stripped it from him altogether. We also gained a new villain. Lord Zedd. He had placed Rita back in her capsule, because she had angered him, by not being able to defeat us, and sent her back into space. But later, Rita would return and team up with him. And together they would become a formidable team.
"That next year, because of the goodness which was in him, Zordon created a new Ranger, and Tommy became the White Ranger, and leader of the team. Shortly after that, we lost three of our original team to the Peace Conferences. It was hard to see them go, but knew it was for the greater good of the world. What they were doing would be just as important as what they had done as Rangers.
"Trini, Jason and Zack were soon replaced by Ayisha Campbell, the Yellow Ranger, Rocky DeSantos, the Red Ranger, and Adam Park, the Black Ranger. We were a team of six again. That same year, Rita returned, and using a magic spell, wed Lord Zedd, and became a source of power to be reconed with.
"Then, the very next year, the villains seemed to have defeated us. An evil interdimentional being, named Ivan Ooze, stole our powers and nearly destroyed our mentor Zordon, and some how, trapped Lord Zedd and Rita. To save Zordon and gain our powers back, we had to go to a planet called Phaedos. There we met Dulcea. She was the guardian of the planet. It's master warrior. A beautiful and strong, intelligent woman. She was more Tommy's type than mine, I wasn't fond of women who could kick my butt.
"She gave us our Ninjetti powers, but to claim our Morphin Powers back, we would have to cross the Neola Jungle, pass the test that were placed before us, and reach the Monolith at the jungle's center. There we would find our new spirit guides, and our powers.
"It was a hard test, but we were determined to get to the monolith. The safety of the world counted on us reaching it. And reach it we did. We fought it's guardians, and was rewarded with our guides and powers. We were still the Morphin Rangers, but we also had the power of the Ninjetti. Our own personal guardians had changed as well, and we had new Zords.
"Tommy was no longer the White Tiger. He was now the Falcon. Adam changed from the Mastodon/Lion, to the Frog. A change he wasn't too happy with to start, but it grew on him. Kim changed from the Pterodactyl/Firebird, to the Crane. Ayisha from the Sabertooth Tiger/Griffin, to the Bear. Rocky from the Tyrannosaurus/RedDragon to the Great Ape. And myself, I found my true guide. And he has been with me ever since. I was no longer guided by the Triceratops and Unicorn. I was now guided by the Wolf."
I was amazed by the things this...Billy, was telling me. I wanted to disregard what he was saying, as ravings of a lunatic. To be able to laugh at the things he was saying. To refuse to believe the things that he was telling me, to say that they were not true. But there was an unbelievable light in his eyes. A light that spoke of things he wasn't saying. And I don't think he would have been able to put those into words. I found myself being pulled into his world. A world of a hundred years ago. A world of magic, and fantasy. Of Heroes who would gladly give their lives to save the world. And as he told me his story, I found myself reliving it with him. Gone was the city of Angel's Depth. Back was the quiet, if monster ridden, city of Angel Grove. And he just kept pulling me deeper and deeper into that world of long ago.
By now, I had forgotten my gun, and what I might need to use it for. And gone was the outside world around us. It was only the Angel Grove of long ago.
His smile remained on his young face. It was hard to believe he was over one hundred years old. But his words were so detailed, that I started to believe him. At least, part of me did, the more sensible part wanted to deny it all. But I wanted to hear more...I had to hear more. I was in this world with him now, and I couldn't leave. His words wouldn't let me.
"We managed to defeat Ivan Ooze, to save the world, and restore our mentor back to his capsule.
"And during the time that followed Ivan Ooze's death, we were proud to accept the help of Dulcea's brother, Ninjor, from time to time.
"That next year we lost Kimberly, and I lost my best friend, to the Pan Global games, and Katherine Hillard took her place on the team. Just the year before, Kat had been one of Rita and Zedd's evil warriors, just as Tommy had been at first. Knowing that she had been under a spell, at the time, made it easier to accept her as the new Pink Ranger, and the fact that Kim trusted her with the powers, helped. Then tragedy struck. Our Morphin Powers were taken from us, for good. The world had been spun backwards by Rita's father, Master Vile. And in turn we were turned into children. We weren't allowed to access the power, because we were too young. And even with the power, we would have been not defense against Lord Zedd and Rita.
"I eventually was able to create a device to try to change us back to our normal age. I thought that the best person to try it out on would be myself. That way if something went wrong, then the others would be okay. It worked. I was returned to my age of seventeen. But, before I could transform the others, Goldar destroyed the machine, and destroyed the Power Coins. Unable to protect the Earth from the evil forces, alone, we had to contact the Rangers from the planet, Aquitar, to help us, until we were able return things to normal. The Aquitian Rangers were more than willing to help us out.
"Zordon told us of another power. And this power could change things back to normal. Undo the things that Master Vile had done. We had to find the Zeo Crystal. Once put together, the Earth would be brought back to rights, and we would have new powers. Powers stronger than before.
"But, I was not allowed to go on the quest for the crystals. The young Rangers had to go. Zordon needed me to stay and help create a device to put them together once the Rangers returned with the shards.
"The crystal had been separated into five parts and sent into different times in the past. The Rangers had to enter a vortex into the past, and retrieve the pieces. Once their quest was finished, they would return.
"The Aquitians and I waited patiently for the Rangers to return. And one by one they did. Then, when Ayisha was to return, she had decided to stay in Africa, to help them, and sent someone else back with her crystal. It was hard saying good bye, but we had to respect the choices that each of us made. Tanya Sloan returned with Aisha's shard. The last piece to the puzzle. I placed it in the device with the others, and immediately things began to change.
"The Earth stopped it's clockwise rotation, and was turned back to it's correct rotation. The next thing we knew, everything was back to the way it was suppose to be. The Rangers were teenagers again.
"Then, within moments, tragedy struck once again. Thanks to Goldar, Lord Zedd's henchman and Rito Rivolto, who just happened to be Rita's brother. They were given instructions to plant an explosive device within the depths of the Command Center. And for once, they were able to succeed in their task.
"The device exploded, and took the Command Center with it. I tried to stop it, I threw myself on the control panels to protect the others. I took a strong charge, which left me unconscious for a short time. When I came to, I was laying on the ground at the base of the cliff where the Command Center once stood. We were all devastated.
"The Command Center was gone, and so was Alpha and Zordon. We rushed to the top of the cliff as fast as we could. There was nothing there but rubble. Searching through the ruble, we found the Zeo Crystal. I told Tommy that maybe we shouldn't touch it, because we didn't know what effects the explosion had on it.
"No sooner had he put it down, when the ground beneath us gave away. We fell for what seemed like forever. When we landed, we were in a corridor. We could hear what sounded like Alpha, off in the distance. We followed the voices, and found a plasma vortex.
"The voice did belong to Alpha, and he asked us to step through this vortex. Tommy went first, then Kat and Tanya together, then Adam and myself. I literally had to pull Rocky through it. We were greeted by a new Chamber. One Alpha called the Power Chamber. Both he and Zordon had survived. And I remembered this place from the time I had accidentally stumbled upon Alpha and Zordon working on the White Ranger. Alpha and Zordon had teleported down to this place as the explosion happened, and teleported us out of harms way at the same time.
"Then it was time to distribute the new powers. But, before Zordon could give them to us, I made a decision that haunted me for years after I made it. But, it was the right choice to make. I felt that I could better serve the team, if I was working with them...on the inside. I would no longer be a Power Ranger. I would remain with the team, but I would be helping them from inside the Power Chamber."
There was great sadness in his eyes, as he told me of his choice, not to be a Power Ranger. He sat, staring down at his clasped hands. I remained quiet, waiting for him to continue. After a few moments of silence, he slowly began to proceed with his story.
"The Power I had willingly given up, would be given to one of the others. And Tanya would become a Ranger. So much was happening to her in so short a time, that I was in awe of how well she was handling everything.
"Zordon proceeded to designate the new Powers to their rightful owners, thus creating a new team of Rangers. Gone were the Morphin Rangers of the past two and a half years. Now, standing before us, in the new Chamber, was the Power Ranger Zeo team.
"No longer in need of the help from the Aquitians, we had bid them farewell, earlier, and let them return to their own planet. And so, this new team would again take charge of defending the Earth.
"I watched, saddened, and yet excited, as the Rangers were given their new powers.
"For Tommy, gone was the Falcon, and Ninjetti Powers, now he was Zeo Ranger 5, Red. His symbol, the star. Adam was no longer the Frog, he was to become Zeo Ranger 4, Green, his symbol, the rectangle. For Rocky, the Great Ape was gone, and he was to be Zeo Ranger 3, Blue. His symbol, the triangle. This was the hardest part for me to watch. Blue, had been my color for the past two and a half years, but I faced it, happy with the decision I had made."
I could barely catch a glimpse of the sadness and loss he had felt all those years ago. I watched the play of emotions on his face, as he continued to tell me his tale. I no longer doubted the reality of what he was telling me. He had pulled me into his world, and I found myself wanting to be able to go back into the past. To be a part of the world of the Power Rangers.
"But, the next given Powers, were so wonderful to witness, that they overshadowed the sadness of the loss of my own. Tanya, who had never been a Ranger, and probably didn't even know of them, was to become Zeo Ranger 2, Yellow. Her symbol, two parallel bars.
"And finally, Kat. Who had found her place amongst us, in the same way that Tommy had, was no longer guided by the crane, she was now Zeo Ranger 1, Pink. And her symbol was the circle.
"The Rangers were back to being a team, but this time there were only five of them, instead of the six we had become so use to. And now, we had a new villain. The Machine Empire. We had always thought that Rita and Zedd were hard to beat at times, but the Machine Empire was harder.
"For the next two years, there would be more changes happening for the Rangers, than there had been in the two previous ones. I graduated that same year. I had earned enough credits that I didn't need to finish my Junior year, or even return for my Senior year. This made the fact that I'd given up my powers seem even worse. I could no longer hang out with the gang at school. And now, I had basically locked myself up within the Power Chamber, always working on one device or another.
"During that time, Alpha and I created the Defender Wheel, to help the Rangers out, and it was also my first chance to travel to the planet Aquitar. Cestro, the Blue Aquitian Ranger, and friend, had been sent to Earth to find me, and ask me for my help. Aquitar was under attack by the Hydro Contaminators. I agreed to help, and time was crucial, so I wasn't able to say goodbye to the team. I quickly gathered the things that I would need on their planet, and Cestro and I boarded his ship, and left for their planet.
"I must say, that my experiences on Aquitar were quite extraordinary. I had always dreamed of going into space, visiting other planets, and seeing if there really was other life out there.
"I guess I didn't need to be able to travel through space to find other life form, after all. All it took was for me to become a Ranger, and I saw more than I ever dreamed there could possibly be.
"But, Aquitar was a little too wet for me. Ninety percent of the planet was covered in water. And the fact that I was even there, was strange. Because I had spend most of my life; and if it hadn't been for Kimberly, and the rest of the team, I still would be to this day, with a phobia of fish.
"Don't laugh. I almost let the team be destroyed because of my phobia. I had to overcome it, so that I could save my friends, and defeat the latest monster that Rita and Zedd had sent.
"I learned a lot on Aquitar. I learned about their culture, and the many species of aquatic life that existed there.
"But, soon, I started missing everyone, even the bullies who had picked on me so insistently: Eugene Skullovitch and Farcus Bulkmeier. So I decided to head back home. And thanks to Mondo, I nearly didn't make it. They tried to redirect my trajectory, and send my ship into the sun, but the Rangers even foiled them in that.
"Soon the time came, when the Rangers need some extra help. I created a new Zord, and it would work in conjunction with the Zeo Zords; the Red Battle Zord, it would need the use of Tommy's thoughts for it's actions. So, for the Zord to work, Tommy had to keep his thoughts focused, telling the Zord what to do.
"It was hard at first. Tommy's thoughts were in turmoil, and therefore, he couldn't focus for the Zord to battle. It was around this time that Tommy discovered that he had a twin brother, whom he never knew existed. David Trueheart had been raised on a nearby reservation, adopted by Sam Trueheart, and raised there. Now that Tommy's mind was no longer in turmoil, he was finally about to concentrate on guiding the Red Battle Zord.
"But, things were changing, but at a faster pace now.
"It was now 1997, and we were presented with a new ally. I had picked up a power signature, that was; incredibly like the Zeo power signature of the Rangers. I was excited. Thinking, maybe, it would be my chance to undo what I had done, and become a Ranger again. I know I was being selfish, but I hadn't realized just how wrong the decision I had made was, until then.
"It was during a battle, that the newcomer arrived. Dressed in Black and Gold, his helmet carrying the trifold emblem, as well as a power staff. We came to know him as the Gold Ranger. We didn't know who he was, where he came from, or where he went. We only knew, that each time the Rangers battled the Machine Empire, Gold Ranger was there to help. Providing help with his Zord as well; Pyramidus. The Zeo Zords would be contained within the structure, the Red Battle Zord attaching to it's back, to become the largest Zord I had ever seen.
"It was during these battles that I would disappear, causing some gossip to spread amongst the Rangers, suggesting that, perhaps, I was the Gold Ranger. This accusation mainly kept coming from Rocky, the skeptic of the group. Little did the Rangers know, I was working on a project that would be there for them when the next change would come.
"Finally, in a way that we least expected, the identity of the Gold Ranger became known to us. Trying to escape the Varox, who had pursued him, he was shot down over the planet of Aquitar.
"The Aquitians rescued him, and immediately contacted us. He was Lord Trey of Triforia. And the Aquitians needed to send him back to us as quickly as possible. The conditions on Aquitar were having an adverse affect on him, and if we didn't get him back soon, he might die. Unable to receive him at the Power Chamber, because of a block, the Aquitians had to set his place of arrival as close to the Chamber as possible.
"We sent the Rangers to the location, to retrieve Trey and bring him to the Chamber as quickly as possible. Once he was safely pulled from the ocean, where the pod had landed, something quiet strange began to happen to Lord Trey. Due to the effects of the water, he separated into three beings. Trey of Heart, Trey of Courage and Trey of Wisdom. And it was because of this separation, that Lord Trey could not hold the powers of the Gold Ranger. He would need to become one individual before he could take back the powers, but until then, someone would have to safely hold the powers, before they were lost.
"As I tried to get past the block, to retrieve the Rangers and the Treys, Mondo sent down an army of cogs to attack the group. Finally, I was able to teleport the Treys to the chamber, as the Rangers continued to fight off the cogs."
I could see a light in Billy's eyes. I could see everything he was telling me, within them. His words, so vivid, I could see the Treys standing before him.
"So, it was these Powers that they offered to me."
"You became the Gold Ranger, then. You had your powers back...like you wanted." It wasn't a question. My smile spread widely across my face. I could feel the joy within me growing; that he was finally able to become a Ranger again.
But, this joy faded, just as I watched the light in Billy's eyes fade. A deep sadness came over him then. I felt my heart sink with his. He looked deep into my eyes...
"No. When I had created the device to take us from our state as children, to adult, I had also sealed my fate. I would never be able to use the powers of a Ranger again. I would never be able to morph, again."
I was confused by his words. My heart ached for him. The thought of never, again, being able to be the thing you most wanted in your life. I felt the tears fill my eyes. So deep was I in my grief for him, that I was surprised when he reached across the rickety table, to wipe the tears from my eyes.
I'd never know such tenderness before. It was like he had been doing it for others, for years. He casually sat back, and continued on with his story.
"I wanted to cry, then, as well. The device I had created had worked, and restored me to my teenage years. But, one the rotation of the Earth was restored to normal, this started a process in my body; that I did not know about at the time, until the Treys offered me the Powers.
"I was aging. The Powers knew this, and they rejected me, knowing that because of the aging, my body was not strong enough to hold the powers, and would probably kill me.
"I didn't want the Rangers to know this. I didn't want their pity, because I didn't know if the process would continue, and if it did, how fast. And they were fighting one of the hardest battles they had fought in their lives as Rangers. They didn't need the distraction. So I kept it to myself, and asked the Treys, as well as Alpha and Zordon, to keep my secret.
"So, after they had delt with the cogs, the Rangers rushed back to the Chamber, in hopes of finding a new Gold Ranger. Tommy thought he would see me with my wishes fulfilled, but all were disappointed when they arrived in the Chamber to find that the Treys still had the powers. I wasn't thinking clearly, my mind a jumble of questions, trying to find answers. The excuse I gave them, was the first thing that popped into my head.
"I told them, that when the Command Center had been destroyed, I had become charged with negative protons. And they refused the powers of the Gold Ranger."
"There are no such things as 'negative protons'." I stated.
"I knew that, but I hoped that they wouldn't. And it seemed as if they didn't. At least, no one ever questioned it. But, we still needed someone to hold the powers, while the Treys returned to Triforia and found a way to become one. Tommy said he knew just the man for the job...."
Once again, I sat back to listen to his story. I checked the disk, quickly changed it, and Billy continued on.
"No one knew who Tommy had in mind. He left alone to retrieve this individual. The rest of us stayed sequestered within the Power Chamber, waiting and watching. Mondo knew we had the Gold Ranger, and he was determined to have the powers for himself. There fore he had placed another block on the Chamber. I could only get teleportation a short distance from the Chamber. It would have to be up to Tommy and the new guy, to make it to that point.
"I think it was unanimous that all of us thought it would be Tommy's brother David, that he returned with. Once Tommy and the 'soon to be' Gold Ranger were teleported into the Chamber, he wasn't who we had all thought it to be.
"Unknown to us all, except Tommy, Jason Scott; former Red Morphin Ranger, had returned to Angel Grove. I was glad to see Jason again, and that he was in the position to be a Ranger again.
"The Trey's offered him the powers, and the powers accepted him. I was disappointed, a feeling I tried hard to him, and again, Alpha was there offering me his support. Always my robotic friend. Before the Treys left, they offered us a black box, containing five small crystal coins. When we accepted them, the coins became new Zords for the Rangers. We wished him luck, and watched him leave, and we congratulated Jason, and welcomed him back to the team.
"Things seemed to be happening more quickly now. Rita and Zedd were spotted again. Trey had sent us the Warrior Wheel, to help us out, and during an expedition to find her parents, Tanya brought to us a new ally. Auric the Conqueror.
"Then things in my life began to change drastically. As it did in the lives of the Rangers. Mondo and Machina's eldest son, and his wife entered our lives after Mondo's destruction. Prince Gasket and his wife, captured Tommy, and tried to brainwash him into thinking he was the King of the Machine Empire, and turn him against us. We were able to turn the tables, and bring Tommy back.
"Not long after this, the aging finally reached it's worse. In a wave throughout my body, I suddenly changed. I was old, and growing ever older by the minute. I could no longer hid it from the Rangers. And I was desperate to find a cure.
"At this time, Rita and Zedd joined forces with the Machine Empire, and began to attack the Rangers in force. The Aquitians were contacted once more, and their services offered. At this time, I was told about a cure that might work. There was a water source on Aquitar, called the 'Eternal Falls' and the water from this place, might be able to restore my age.
"Aquitar was contacted, and soon Cestria, my friend and Aquitian, arrived with the precious water. The little bit of water she was able to bring, started a very slow process, but I would need to return to Aquitar with her, to partake of the amount of water it would take for me to become young again; treatments we called them. The treatments of the water from the 'Eternal Falls' restored my youth."
"And gave you eternal life." I knew it had, he was sitting here infront of me, looking for all the world to be no more than maybe twenty years old, but claiming to be over one hundred.
"Yes, in a sense. I could still be killed, just like anyone else, and I could be wounded. But, I would never grow old, or feel the ailments of age. Whether this was a gift or a curse...I couldn't say. It's allowed me to see all of the advancements in science, and yet...I've watched all those I have loved, grow old and die." There was a deeper, untold sadness in his eyes then. I wanted to ask more, but a single tear, kept me from being so bold.
So, once again, I allowed his words to carry me away to places I've never been, or ever hoped to be.
"Once on Aquitar, I felt as if I'd found a place where I belonged. Cestria and I were close, but nothing more than friends. I think my last message to my friends, telling them that I was staying, and that I'd finally found someone who understood me, was misinterpreted. They thought Cestria and I were together, but in fact, my heart still belonged to someone else.
"While on Aquitar, I kept an eye on the Rangers, to know how things were faring for them. It was in the following week of my arrival on Aquitar, that I was contacted by Zordon, and he made me an offer that I could not refuse.
"It seemed that the Council on Eltar; Zordon's home planet, had been keeping an eye on our progress as Rangers. They had chosen me to come to Eltar, and begin training as a Ranger Mentor. The things that were happening to me, were only ever just dreams that I had, had since I was a child. And now, they were finally coming true.
"Eltar was the most extraordinary place I had ever been. When I first arrived, I thought that I was looking back on the ancient buildings of Rome and Greece, before they began to fall apart. They were unbelievable. And the fact that the sky was an unusual shade of bluish purple, made the buildings look like the purest white, I had ever seen. They almost seemed to glow.
"I didn't have much time to see the sights, for soon after I arrived, my training began. With my high IQ, it was fairly easy for me to breeze through high school, and graduate early, as well as create a fair portion of the Zords and gadgets that the Rangers used. But, what I was learning now, tested my mind so much, that I could barely grasp what I was been tough. And for the first time, I found myself struggling along.
"Through the long days of training, Zordon was able to contact me, and keep me filled in on what was happening on Earth as well as the Rangers. It was truly the only time I had to myself through the long days, for it seemed the days on Eltar seemed quite a bit longer than those of Earth, or Aquitar.
"It was during one such meeting, that I learned that the Gold Ranger powers were having an adverse effect on Jason. I pleaded with Zordon, to talk to the council, and ask them to let me come home for a period of time, to help, but Zordon thought that I would be of more help where I was.
"And he was right. With what I had been learning on Eltar, I was able to help Zordon and Alpha come up with a plan to help save Jason's life, and reunite the Treys, and restore the powers to him. And it worked just in time, though the Machine Empire tried the best they could to keep it from happening.
"Right after that, Zedd and Rita somehow destroyed the Machine Empire, but, being machines, it would only be a matter of time before they were up and running again.
"The Rangers kept a close eye on Rita and Zedd, but they didn't make any moves toward Earth, but the Rangers kept their defenses up. For a while, things were pretty quiet, and I continued on with my training. I learned new ways to fight, think, and amazingly enough, create."
I'd never been one to wonder about other planets or people. If I couldn't see it right in front of me, and touch it, it didn't exist.
At one point I was wondering if Billy was, in some way, transferring these images into my mind? I still don't know, but I laughed it off, and convinced myself that I had a better imagination than I ever thought I did.
I watched as Billy shifted in his seat, placing his hands on the table, leaning forward slightly, as he continued on with his tale.
"The quiet of the Rangers' lives came to a crashing halt. A wizard who had been pursued from his planet, to Earth, by a space pirate named Divatox, landed in Africa. Zordon sent Tommy and Kat after him, hoping to reach him before Divatox did. Once he was found, he was immediately teleported to the Power Chamber to be taken care of. His body dehydrated by the harsh climate.
"Shortly, we heard from Divatox, wanting us to turn this Wizard, Lerigot over to her, in return for our friends she had taken, and Lerigot's family. She had his magical wand, but only Lerigot knew how to use it, to open the porthole to another dimension, where the island of Miranthius existed.
"She had taken Lerigot's family prisoner on their planet, and was using them to get to Lerigot's powers. Our friends were taken as wedding gifts for her future husband, Maligore, who was waiting on Miranthius for her.
"From the accounts that I had received, she had taken Bulk and Skull first, but Elgar; her nephew, messed up their minds, so they were nearly useless as wedding gifts. So, during a visit to Angel Grove, Kim and Jason had been taken while they were scuba diving.
"The Rangers refused to give Lerigot over to Divatox, though they tried to set a trap to gain the return of our friends and keep Lerigot safe. As soon as our friends were released, they and Lerigot would be teleported to the Power Chamber safely.
"But Lerigot had his family on his mind. So when Divatox's men showed up with our friends, dumping them into the water, Lerigot turned himself over to Divatox's minions, so that his family would be safe. The Rangers were helpless to stop him. So, after Divatox's men left, Adam and Tommy swam out to our friends, to find that they were just dummies. Divatox still had our friends.
"Zordon knew that something had to be done. There was no way that they could allow Divatox to reach Miranthius. If she did, there would be an evil unleashed on the universe that we had never seen before. So he made a decision. It was time to present the Rangers with their new powers. And with these new powers, came new Zords. The secret I had been working on, at the time of the Gold Ranger's appearance. The Zeo Rangers were to become the Turbo Rangers."
"So you were completely aware of the changes that would be happening to them?"
"Only the fact that new powers would soon be needed, and that new Zords would be needed as well. I knew nothing of the circumstances that would bring about this change.
"Not only were the Rangers getting new powers, they were also getting a new member to the team. A first time for something like this to happen. During practice for the karate competition, Rocky had fallen and severely damaged his back. Unable to take his rightful place on the team, he handed it over to Justin Stewert.
"Justin had been visiting Rocky in the hospital, and had overheard a conversation between the Rangers and Zordon. Rocky trusted Justin, so he sent Justin to the Chamber, and into the hands of destiny."
"So, what was so unusual about Justin?" I asked. I didn't really understand what would make him so different, that is, until Billy continued.
"Justin was twelve years old. A child. He was intelligent for his age, as I had been. I guess the team was a little concerned about a child being placed on the team. But, they figured that if Zordon believed in his abilities, then they would too."
"If he could become a Ranger, and defend himself, why weren't you all able to become Rangers when the world had been turned backwards, and you had become kids again? You said that Zordon refused to let you morph, because you wouldn't be able to defend yourselves." There was so much to this story that confused me, and just seemed to pass over my head, but this I couldn't understand.
"I'm not exactly sure myself. I know only, that the powers were different. The Turbo powers, somehow, allowed Justin's body to morph into that of an adult, when he morphed into the Turbo Ranger. Where as the Morphin powers would not have. I think it all had something to do with the Turbo powers being stronger.
"To continue. The Rangers were brought into the Power Chamber, and were given the new powers. Tommy became the Red Turbo Ranger, and piloted the Red Lightning Turbo Zord. Adam, became the Green Turbo Ranger, and piloted the Desert Thunder Turbo Zord. Justin, the new Blue Turbo Ranger, and for a kid who wasn't old enough to drive yet, was taught by Alpha how to pilot the Mountain Blaster Turbo Zord. Kat became the Pink Turbo Ranger, and piloted the Wind Chaser Turbo Zord. And finally Tanya, who had been with us for a little over a year, became the Yellow Turbo Ranger, and piloted the Dune Star Turbo Zord.
"Once again, Zordon had a full team to send after Divatox. To save our friends and our world.
"As new adventures began for the Rangers, my training continued, but the reports from home kept me distracted. Here I was, on another planet I had only ever dreamed of being on, and learning things that only Zordon knew, as well as the history of the Rangers. Thousands of years before we became Rangers, Zordon had been one of the first Rangers there were. But, the conditions back home, kept my mind occupied, and I couldn't bring myself to be excited about the things I was learning. It just didn't seem right.
"Finally word came that the Rangers had defeated Maligore, and sent Divatox running. But she would return. Kim and Jason been made evil by the lava in Maligore's pit, but the spell had been reversed by Lerigot and his wife. Rocky was recovering well, but would not be returning to the roll of Power Ranger. I wanted to be there, to talk to Rocky, but I could not. And Lerigot and his family were free, and the world was safe. For the time being.
"Divatox did return, and immediately started making trouble for the Rangers. And Rita and Zedd had dropped out of the picture again. But the council had heard rumors that the Alliance of Evil was brewing something up.
"In the daily reports that I received from Zordon, I learned of the many battles that the Rangers fought against Divatox, and in one such missive, I learned that the Rangers had located two space vehicles, which would be of great help to them. Storm Blaster and Lightning Cruiser.
"Then the day came. Lerigot returned to Earth. His duty was to release Zordon and Alpha from their positions on Earth, as mentor and assistant, a new mentor would take their place, Dimitria, who was new to the roll, from Inquirius. And a new assistant was sent as well, Alpha 6. They were an unusual pair. I had gotten to know them during my time on Eltar. Dimitria could not give a straight answer, they were always in questions. I knew this would tax the Rangers, but they would learn to work with her. But, Alpha 6 was another story. He thought that it would be easier for the Rangers to accept him, if he had a familiar Earth accent to use.
"Why he chose to sound like he was from Brooklyn, New York, I will never know."
I found myself laughing at the thought of a small android talking in that type of accent. Billy looked at me, laughing as well.
"We had some really strange accents during our time as Rangers. You remember me telling you of Dulcea's brother Ninjor? Well, he sounded like the character from a cartoon I used to watch as a child. Duddly Dooright."
I remembered, very vaguely, a cartoon of that name, but I did in fact remember the voice, and the thought of a person, such as Ninjor must have been, using it, made me laugh harder.
We dried our eyes, and I listened, as Billy continued on with his story.
"I was excited to be able to see Zordon once again, as well as Alpha 5. But, this time when I would see Zordon, he would be in human form. For not only was Lerigot sent to send Zordon and Alpha back to Eltar, but he had, had the power to release Zordon from the tube in which he had been imprisoned since Rita put him there.
"Finally, the time arrived and, as I stood in the Council chambers with the Council members, I saw a bright light descend upon the magnificent room, growing brighter as it neared. When the light faded, there, within the shrinking light, stood a tall, slender, aristocratic man. Zordon stood nearly seven feet tall, his skin pale, and his eyes a deep, wise blue. His robes were white, and seemed to shimmer when he walked.
"His voice was deep, and kind when he spoke. This was a far different man that I had known as a Ranger, but he was still Zordon. And when he saw me, he smiled, then took his place at the head of the Council.
"I watched, in total awe of him, as the Council discussed matters that were of utmost importance. About the Alliance of Evil, and most of all, my training. I would now become Zordon's apprentice. A place that I was more than willing to be in.
"But, before my apprenticeship could begin, something of major importance appeared. A Centurion unit, from the future, crashed in a remote part of Eltar, on it's way to Earth. Once he was brought into the city, and checked over by the scientists, it was found that he carried a very important message about the future, and about the Alliance of Evil. It was imperative that Dimitria get the message, but the unit was damaged, and would take some time to repair him.
"The Council approached Zordon, inquiring of him, what should be done. Zordon told them that he would need time to think upon it, and dismissed all but myself.
"Zordon and I had talked at great lengths, about many things, and above them all, was the fact that I missed Earth and my friends. Together, we came up with an answer to the council's problem. The original message would be hidden in a secret compartment within the suite, and a new, fake message would be installed. Just in case something happened.
"The time came to send the unit to Earth. No longer was the Centurions unit's insides made up of wires and gears, it was filled with a heart, lungs, and other human organs. I, was now the Blue Centurion. I would arrive on Earth with the disk with the message, and a special code for Dimitria to access it's information. And in return, I would be able to be with my friends for a short time, until the original unit was fixed.
"It soon became apparent that the council knew something I didn't. I was captured by Divatox, and when she tried to access the message, I was able to produce the bogus message, which she tried to destroy, then I was released and sent to Dimitria.
"When I was finally able to tell them of the message, the bogus one came on by accident. I was having trouble controlling some of the functions of the suit still, but I was finally able to retrieve the disk, and give it over to Dimitria, along with the code. But, this message was for her eyes only, the Rangers were not to know anything of the events of the future.
"It was hard keeping my secret from my friends, and from letting them know I was inside of the suit.
"Soon, I returned to Eltar, and I was replaced with the original unit. He would carry all of the memories of the things that I had seen and done while on Earth as the Blue Centurion.
"When I returned I found that a major decision had been made, regarding the lives of my friends. The Rangers were adults now, and the council had determined that it was time for them to move on in their lives.
"Dimitria was given instructions, and was told that the current Rangers, must find suitable replacements for themselves. It would require tests, to prove that the powers would go to someone worthy of them.
"I was saddened that my friends would not be Rangers any longer. I knew how they felt. Even though I was training to be a Ranger mentor, I still missed wearing the uniform and fighting in the battles, and most of all, the feeling I had when I morphed."
I watched the expressions on his face change, almost like ripples in water. I gazed casually at my watch, to find that it was nearly two in the morning, though it seemed like I hadn't been there long.
Billy must have caught me looking at my watch. He offered to let me go home, and that we would resume our meeting later that day.
"If you're not too tired to continue, I would like to hear more." I stated. Billy smiled, and gazed up at the peeling paint on the cracked ceiling, but he seemed to be looking past it, as if he were looking into a future that I couldn't see.
"The new Turbo Rangers had been tested and chosen, and accepted by the powers.
"Tommy had chosen, and passed his powers onto a young man, new to Angel Grove, named TJ Johnson. Adam had picked a friend of his, Carlos Sanchez. Justin Stewert would remain the Blue Turbo Ranger. Tanya chose to pass her powers onto a young woman named Ashley Hammond. And, finally, Kat entrusted her powers to a young woman, who was also new to Angel Grove, Cassie Chan.
"The new Turbo team was ready to take up the job of protecting the Earth."
I could see the far off look in his eyes, and my heart was beating erratically within my chest.
I wasn't sure, but I seemed to remember having a Great, great, great grandmother who's name might have been Cassie. I wondered, for a moment, if they were the same person. Could my grandmother have been a Power Ranger? And if she had been, why didn't I know? Why would I have always been led to believe that the Power Rangers were nothing more than legend?
I had so many questions, but I could tell by the look on Billy's face, that any of my questions would have to wait.
"These new Rangers, with the exception of Justin, were new to the world of the Power Rangers. Dimitria was trying as best as she could, to help them, but she was still a novice mentor.
"During this time, the Elders of Eltar, had created a special armored battle suit, and they wanted to test it. I told Zordon that I would be more than willing to test it. I had tested so many things on myself in the past, that I didn't even think when I said that I would do it. It was like second nature. Zordon agreed, and talked with the council about it. After a bit of negotiation, they all agreed as well.
"Zordon informed me of Dimitria's dilemma, and asked me to put together new Zords for the Rangers, saying only, that they would need them and my help.
"It took no time at all to put together the Zords. Then I was ready. All I had to do, was don the suit.
"The suit was made from special mineral deposits found only on Eltar, making the suit nearly indestructible. It's only power source, was a large ruby, set into the chest plate of the armor. For the suit and I to work together, I would be physically bonded to the ruby, and thus bonded to the suit.
"By doing this, the suit would be able to perform all that it was intended for. Especially the Stealth mode. I would be able to become invisible again. Something I had only experienced once before, and it had been unsettling at the time, but with the suit, there would be no side effects.
"The bonding was a very intriguing experience. It took less than twenty minutes for me to bond with the ruby. It was like my blood was being replaced with some sort of thick substance. Initially, it was a bit painful, but after doing it a few times, it was no longer painful, and was nearly like it was second nature.
"Once I was bonded to the ruby, and was in the suit, I could hardly tell I was wearing it. I had to check myself over, to make sure that I wasn't standing there, naked as a new born bird." I laughed with him, his laughter was contagious.
"When the time came, I would be able to return to my craft, where the device to unbond me, would be kept. I would unbond from the ruby, so that my normal biological system could work alone, to restore my energy. A process that required nearly two hours.
"Once familiar with the suit, and it's functions, I was once again, on my way to Earth.
"I arrived in secret. The Rangers would not be able to detect me. When I arrived on Earth, I hid Artillitron away in a secret location that Zordon had given me the coordinates for. After that was accomplished, I flew over Angel Grove, to land my ship in a secluded spot in the woods outside of Angel Grove, where I thought no one would look.
"I decided to take a tour of the town I'd grown up in, and being invisible, I would be able to do it in silence. As I made my way down the main street, I cam upon Divatox's goons robing the Bank. I took this opportunity to test the suit, and use my stealth mode to do it.
"By the time the Rangers had arrived, it was all over. I watched them, in their confusion, from a hiding place. I listened, smiling, as the witness' began to describe what had happened, to the Rangers. That was the first time I hear the phrase, 'Phantom'. And it fit well. After that, 'Phantom Ranger' is the name the Rangers referred to me by.
"But, my attention was drawn to the Pink Ranger. I knew her name was Cassie, but just watching her, I was reminded of a different time, and a different Pink Ranger."
I could see the feelings he was feeling in his eyes. Who ever this other Pink Ranger had been, he'd cared for her very much. I sat back, folding my arms, and closed my eyes, letting Billy's words carry me back to that time...
"Later, the same goons were trying to rob the mine out side of Angel Grove. But, this time, I barely finished the job, before the Rangers arrived. I hid just in time. Convinced that I had to be close by, they began to look for me, but before I could get away, I came face to face with the Pink Ranger.
"I was still in stealth mode, but as I moved, there was a distortion that she could see. I held my breath as she reached out to touch me. As soon as she began to speak, I turned and walked away. Realizing how frustrating it had been when the Gold Ranger had appeared during the Zeo era, I let the stealth mode flicker, just enough for her to see me, and gave her the only name I could at that time. "A friend." Then I left as quickly as I could.
"My mind was in turmoil, as well as my feelings. She had brought up memories and feelings inside of me that I had thought were long gone. And yet... I knew she wasn't the same Pink Ranger.
"It was imperative, that they didn't find out who I was. It was left to my discretion to let them know, when the time was right. Until them, I was to help only when needed. I later found out that Dimitria had traced my power signature, and assumed that because it came from Eltar, that I did as well. It was a good thing that they weren't sure enough to check it out, though they would have been told nothing if they had."
"But, you said that Dimitria was from Eltar. Wouldn't she have known of the suit?"
"She was from Inquirius. And only the Elders and Council knew of the suit."
"I decided to head back to my ship, but when I got there I found that it had been found not only by the youngest Ranger and his friend, but also by Divatox. She had placed a bomb on the ship. I had to help the Ranger and his friend first. When the other Rangers finally appeared, it was the first time that any of them, aside from the Pink Ranger, had seen me. Finally, I was able to get the bomb off of my ship before it exploded.
"As I continued to help the Rangers, Divatox sent torpedoes down to destroy my ship. At the same time, the young Ranger's friend was recaptured by the goons. I had to make a choice, the hardest one I had to make. Either save the boy, or save my only way to unbond with the suit.
"I made the only decision that was right...
I hadn't realized that I had been holding my breath as he spoke. I could clearly see him standing there, looking between the kid and the ship. Locked in a personal battle to do the right thing.
I leaned forward, watching the man before me...
"I quickly grabbed up the boy, and shielded him with my own body, as the torpedoes hit their target.
"As soon as the flames died away, I turned, looking at the empty place where my ship had been. I heard voices behind me, but I couldn't make out their words. I moved slowly, toward the empty spot. With a quick movement, I was able to drop the ships shields and stealth mode. As the ship slowly appeared before me, I let out a long breath, thankful that there was no damage.
"I left as the Rangers thanked me. I needed to hide my ship in a different place.
"I didn't stop to realize how well the suit was working. My mind was in turmoil. The old feelings and memories haunting me."
"Did you and this other Pink Ranger, ever have a relationship?" I asked. I felt an unexplainable feeling of 'need-to-know'.
"Except for growing up together...no. She was the cheerleader/prom queen, and I was the nerd and the guy everyone picked on. I stood back and watched her live her life. I was envious at times, but I felt that me being her best friend was enough."
"It was Kimberly Hart, wasn't it?"
"Yes. After she left to practice gymnastics in Florida, I kicked myself for years, for not saying anything to her. But, Cassie sought to take all of that pain away, and she didn't even know it."
"So, where did you go when you left the Rangers?"
"I hid my ship under the streets of Angel Grove. In the tunnels. I made my reports to Eltar, and as myself, I kept an eye on the Rangers, as well as Cassie. It was hard. I had to keep the people I knew from seeing me. So it was a good thing that living on Eltar, I had changed my appearance some, to fit into the society there.
"My skin was darker, from the constant sun light. There were only four hours of darkness a night. My hair was longer, reaching to my shoulders, and I had sported a short, well trimmed beard and mustache. And all of the training that I had undergone, had built up my muscle mass quite a bit. So, I was a bit different from the Billy everyone had seen before.
"For the next few weeks, Divatox kept trying to do away with the Rangers, just like Zedd, Rita and the Machine Empire had done to the previous teams. And I gave assistance to the Rangers several times as well. And in doing so, was confronted with Cassie and my confused and growing feeling for her. And each time it became harder to keep from saying anything to give myself away.
"How I wanted to shout out who I was. I wanted Cassie to know. But, it was not yet time for her to know me."
"Why was your identity so secret?"
"I could not risk Divatox finding out that I was only a mer human inside of the suit. Someone with no powers or special abilities. Besides, if she had found out how intelligent I was, I would pose a great threat to the team. In all of the years I had been a part of the Ranger team, I was always being sought by the bad guys for my intelligence, with the end purpose of using me to destroy the team."
"So that's why you didn't tell her." Billy nodded, and rose from his chair.
"Are you sure you don't want to continue this at another time? I'm sure you must be tired."
"No, I'm fine. Unless you're in need of sleep."
"No, I too, am fine."
"Good, because you've got me just where you want me, and I'm not leaving until you've finished the story." He smiled at me, then looking out the window, he began his story once more...
"I kind of kept out of sight 'literally', for the next few days. I finished my reports to Eltar, as assured Zordon that the new team was doing well. But, my mind was always on Cassie. I felt ridiculous. How could I care that deeply for someone I hardly even knew? It was this thought that confused me the most.
"As I tried to sort through my feelings, I kept a constant watch on Angel Grove. During one of my surveillance's, I noticed a large power spike on my meters. Divatox was up to something again, but this time, it was big. I traced the readings to the woods at the outskirts of Angel Grove.
"When I arrived, I found that I wasn't the only one who had noticed the power spike. TJ was already there, checking things out. But, he had not done so, unobserved. While she made her preparations to send a freeze key to the sun, she sent a Pironitron out to get him."
"What was she planing on doing with the freeze key?" I asked. This was something that I had never come across in the many stories told to me about the Rangers.
"She intended to use the key to freeze the sun. We'd then loose our heat, and our light, sending the world into darkness, while she plundered all of it's wealth." I nodded in understanding, and he continued.
"When the Rangers arrived, I got out of their way, but just far enough to keep an eye on them. Just in case they needed my help.
"They were able to finally destroy the freeze key, but Divatox was smarter than we gave her credit for. She enlisted the help of Clockster. He would be able to turn back time, so that she could stop the Rangers from destroying the key. She had decided on a different use for the key. She'd just freeze the whole Earth.
"Even though Divatox was a bit more cleaver than we thought, Clockster wasn't. Entranced by the beauty of the key, which Divatox had hidden in a cave; he touched it, freezing time. Anyone outside of the Power Chamber, or my ship, fell victim to it's effects.
"When I arrived at the cave, I found the Blue and Green Rangers frozen solid, in their attempt to capture the key. Pressing their teleportation buttons on their communicators, I sent them back to the Power Chamber.
"Unaffected by the key, I took it and disappeared with it, destroying it as I went. Time them became unfrozen, and Divatox was foiled once again. But, waiting for her to return to her base of operation, was her brother Gen. Havoc.
"Between the two of them, they were able to take control of the Turbo Mega Zord, presumably to leave them defenseless.
"Though I had brought Artillitron with me, along with the Rescue Mega Zords, I could not hand them over to the Rangers right away. There were some fine tunings to do, so that they would respond well here on Earth. Knowing that I had to give the Rangers some hope, I went in search of them.
"I found them, all together at the park. A place so familiar to me, that I would never forget it, and it brought back more memories.
"I tried to give them some encouragement. Cassie seemed happy just to have me there, but Carlos was doubtful that I could help them at all. I assured them that there was still one last hope, and that they shouldn't give up. Unable to tell them more, I left them, making my way to the hidden location, where Artillitron awaited; to finish the modifications on the Zords."
Billy moved away from the window, and began to pace back and forth over the torn and scared linoleum of the floor. I waited for him to continue, I wanted to beg him to continue, but I could tell that he was remembering a time, that I may never know, unless he chose to tell me.
He had brought to the surface, in me, so many emotions, that I found myself wondering why it took this one man to give me a reason to feel, and to believe in something again. The Rangers may have been gone now, but with his words, their memories would live on.
I was startled from my thoughts by a gentle, yet firm hand, on my shoulder.
"Are you all right?" Billy asked me. I took a deep breath, and responded that I was fine. Accepting my words, he took his seat across from me, once again.
"I finished the modifications later that same day, and I would present them to the Rangers that next day. And then it hit me. Once I had given the Rangers the Zords; which was my main mission, my work would be done, and I would be required to return to Eltar, right away. And with that came the realization, that I may never see Cassie again.
"I felt lost, almost desperate. I tried to talk myself out of what I was thinking, telling myself that I would be making a big mistake. But, I had too. That's what my heart kept telling me. I immediately contacted Cassie, and told her to meet me at a certain, secluded spot on the beach that night.
"I returned to my ship, hidden beneath Angel Grove, and started the process that would unbond me from the ruby, and thus unbonding me from the suit.
"For the next few hours, I questioned my motives, and what effect they would have on Cassie. But, for every reason I had for not seeing her, I had a dozen reasons to see her.
"As I made my way from my hiding place to the beach, the sun had begun to sink beneath the horizon. I gazed up at the stars, and for the first time, resented them. Up there, amongst them, was my new home. And all of those stars would stand between Cassie and I after the following day.
"I tried not to think of it, as I approached the beach. And all thoughts were gone, when I saw Cassie, sitting alone on the shoreline, drawing circles in the sand. At that moment, I thought I should have just turned around and walked away. But, somehow, she knew I was there.
"Without looking in my direction, she called my name; the name they had given to me. I went to her, emerging from the darkness. When I was standing next to her, it was then that she looked up at me.
"The next few hours that we had together, were the most wonderful moments of my life, and I forgot that I may never have that kind of feeling again. When it came time for us to part, I asked her to keep our meeting a secret, as well as my identity. I assured her that the Rangers would have the help I promised them, in order to keep fighting against Divatox.
"As I took her in my arms, nothing was said of the fact that we may never see each other again. I kissed her then, taking her whole being into me. In that moment, I had never been closer to another living being, as I was with her. Nor would I ever be. That kiss, I have carried with me through time. It had sustained me through wars, that might have made me give up."
Billy grew silent, his eyes closing, as a small tear crept unnoticed, down his cheek. It took all of my strength, to get control over my own emotions.
After a few moments of silence, eyes still closed, he continued on, as if he were trying to picture every little detail in his mind.
"The next day General Havoc attacked Angel Grove with Metalisaurus. The Rangers were doing all that they could, without their Zords, to fight against him and Divatox.
"I quickly donned the suit, bonding once again with the ruby. As soon as the task was finished; which had seemed to take much too long, I found the Rangers location in down town Angel Grove, and went to them as quickly as I could.
"I asked them to trust me, and follow me. I think that maybe they were thinking that I wanted them to leave Angel Grove, because they protested saying that they needed to stay and protect it. I just kept telling them to trust me.
"As soon as I had them convinced to follow me, I located a hidden entrance that would lead to the secret location, nearby. We raced through the underground tunnels, heading to the spot where I had been instructed to hide Artillitron and the new Zords. As we navigated through the various tunnels, the ground above us shook with the steps of Metalisaurus' feet. Dust and rocks sifted down on us as we ran.
"When I got to the place where the Artillitron and the Zords would be, I found that our path had been blocked by falling ruble. I told them that we needed to get through the rubble, for that is where my gift to them was, behind the wall it had created.
"Together we blasted at the rubble. And as we continued to blast, the trembling of the ground above us became stronger. We had just blasted through, and was entering the tunnel on the other side, when the tunnel behind us caved in. We followed the tunnel a bit more, until it opened up into a large cavern of sorts.
"It kind of reminded me of the Bat Cave."
"The what?" I had never heard the term before, so I couldn't even begin to know what he was talking about. But, I was pretty sure that the pictures running through my mind at that moment wasn't even close to what the cavern really must have looked like. So, I let him continue.
"I'll explain it to you some other time.
"As soon as the Rangers saw my gift, their spirits were lifted. I knew that they had millions of questions to ask, but they knew, as well as I did, that there was no time for them. We quickly entered Artillitron, as the ground above us continued to shake. Using the computer system in the Zords, I was able to give them quick instructions on how the Zords worked.
"As soon as we were ready, which took no time at all, I opened the secret entrance, and entered the City from below ground. As soon as we were on the surface, I deployed the Rescue Zords, telling them to remember to never give up.
"They did well that day, against Havoc and his Metalisaurus. I knew it was time for me to leave, and so I prepared to head back to Eltar, and continue with my training. The Alliance of Evil was up to something, or so Zordon had told me as I prepared. I wanted to see Cassie once more before I left. The memory of the kiss we shared, haunting my every thought. But I couldn't. It was imperative that I return to Eltar as soon as I could."
"So, you didn't see Cassie again?" Billy looked at me, with a sort of half smile.
"I did. But, not the way I wanted to.
"As I prepared to leave, I overheard a communication between Divatox and the Rangers. Divatox stated that she had Cassie, and that she would turn her into stone unless the Rangers turned me over to her. The Rangers refused, and said that they had no idea where to find me, or if I was even still around.
"Angered, blinded by rage, I contacted Eltar and the Council, telling them of the situation. Most of the Council was against my staying to help, saying that my prompt return was necessary. But, Zordon understood, having mentored the Rangers for years, and gave me his blessing, stating that I should return as soon as I could.
"I traced the Rangers' power signatures to another dimention, where Divatox and Havoc held Cassie prisoner. But, I arrived too late. My beloved Cassie was already stone. I called her name, forgetting that I had just given away the fact that I knew them outside of their identities as Rangers. But, no one noticed.
"I went to her side, looking at her still, stony form, wondering if there was anything, anything at all, I could do to bring her back. Then a possible solution came to me in that moment. The only solution was the Ruby that gave to me my powers. It would drain some of my own life force to do so, but at that moment I would have gladly have given my life to save her, if I thought it would.
"I took the Ruby from my chest plate, feeling a bit of the separation, like static running through my veins. I passed it carefully over her, as I concentrated on the ruby, willing my life force into her. The Ruby pulsed in my hand, as I watched her stony form begin to take on it's natural flesh and blood state.
"But, before I could cheer in relief, she reached out and grabbed me. It had all been a trick. It never was Cassie. I watched as Havoc took the place of the being who had been Cassie just moments before. I was unconcerned with the ruby at that time. I was more concerned about what they had done to Cassie. As that thought passed through my mind, everything around me pulsed, and then changed. I was teleported, in a split second, onto the Skybase.
"Once on there, I had grown weaker from the life force transfer, and it was nothing for them to push me onto my knees. The ruby had been taken from me, by Havoc at the time of the trap. I needed the ruby to get my strength back. I watched, helpless as Havoc handed the ruby to Divatox, who cheered as she held my life in her hands. Then I saw Cassie, and was relieved to see that she appeared to be all right.
"It wasn't until I saw the concern in Cassie's eyes, that I realized that Divatox had approached me, and was going to attempt to remove my helmet, thereby exposing my true identity. Steeling myself, I prepared for a battle that I may or may not win.
"I held my breath as Divatox reached for my helmet. In that moment, Cassie created a commotion, as she fought to free herself from her captors hold. That distraction was just what I needed. I used what little strength I had left, got to my feet. I saw Cassie's morpher held in someone's hands. I couldn't remember who, I just knew I had to get it from them, and get it to Cassie.
"Concentrating as hard as I could, I kicked out at the hand that held the morpher, sending it soaring across the distance between Cassie and myself, to land in her hands.
"She prepared to morph and help me, but I told her to leave. She hesitated briefly, but left. Now that Divatox's men didn't have a prisoner to control, they quickly lent their help in restraining me once more.
"As they tossed my weakened body into a nearby cage, I could feel my body slowly starting to shut down. If I didn't get the ruby back, it wouldn't be long before my life ended. And that was one thing that the waters from the Eternal Falls couldn't stop from happening.
"As I sat in that cage, all of my thoughts were on Cassie and the Rangers, and what they would be up against if Divatox found a way to use the ruby's true powers.
"For hours, Divatox drilled me for the secret of the ruby's powers, but I refused to tell her anything. I never spoke a word to her. Frustrated by my silence, and determined to get the information from me one way or another, she took me to the site of a battle between Havoc's Zord and the Rangers. She hoped that seeing the Rangers being defeated would get me to talk.
"I was starting to drift off; it was becoming more and more difficult to stay awake. When I opened my eyes again, Cassie was standing on the other side of the bars, calling out to me. As I looked at her, I remembered that just mer moments ago, the thought of allowing myself to die, had crossed my mind. But, I remembered what I had been taught, and what I had told the Rangers, 'Don't give up'.
"Before I realized what was happening, Cassie had unlocked the cage, and was helping me out. There was so much that I wanted to tell her, but the Rangers needed to destroy Melatisaurus, and they needed to know how. I told Cassie to have them create the Rescue Mega Zord to defeat Havoc.
"With a bit of prompting, she returned to the battle. Hoping that I might make it to my ship, and get to Eltar before my life force passed away, I made my way to the underground tunnels, that one hope driving me forward.
"This was the closest that I had ever been to death in all of my 120 years. And it scared me. As I stumbled through the tunnels, I made my last entries, and prepared to send them on to Eltar if my lifeforce began to blink out. I remember the words as if I had spoken them just moments ago. 'Final entry. The Rangers now have their new Rescue Zords. I've lost my power ruby to Divatox. My lifeforce is fading, and soon...I'll be gone...forever...'"
As I listened to him recite; what at the time, he thought would be his last words, I nearly forgot that he had not parished. That he was the living and breathing man sitting before me.
"What were your thoughts at that time? Did you have any regrets?"
"You know, at the time, I would have thought that I would have all kinds of regrets...but I didn't. If I had been able to do it all over again, I would have done it all the same exact way that I had. Regrets weren't on my mind at that time. My mind was on the past, the friends I'd made, and lost contact with over the years. I thought of Kim, and for the first time, I realized that my deep feelings for her were gone. She would always be considered my 'best' friend. My love for Cassie overshadowed everything else. I felt satisfied that she was safe, and I'd allowed myself a moments happiness, before I passed from this world."
"So, your thoughts were only of Cassie?"
I wiped the tears from my eyes, checked the scanning disk, changed it, and motioned for Billy t continue.
"I saw my ship ahead of me, in the dark. The more I struggled to reach it, the further from me it seemed to be. As I reached it, everything started to shut down, and I was engulfed in darkness. I was afraid of it, but at the same time, I welcomed it.
"I don't know how long I lay there, in the darkness. Somewhere in the furthest reaches of my mind, I could hear voices around me. 'Phantom...', '...alive'. I didn't know where they were coming from, or if I were truly hearing them
"Cassie later told me that she and TJ had found me in the tunnels. They telelported me to the Power Chamber, in hopes that Dimitria could, somehow, save me. She told them that without the ruby, there was nothing that could be done. Without it, I would cease to exist. If she had only known just how close to that I really was."
"So, you kept in touch with Cassie?"
"Secretly, for a while, but that will come later."
"Divatox had decided to try and use the ruby to power the stolen Mega Zord. The Rangers were put in a difficult position. They had to fight their own Zord, and in the process, not destroy the ruby, thus insuring my demise. During the fight, they located the ruby, and retrieved it, as well as taking back the Turbo Mega Zord in the process.
"Again, I heard the voices around me, but this time, they seemed far away, and the words were indistinguishable. Then, like the light at the end of a tunnel; I felt a strong surge of power, but it too, seemed weak. I searched for the feeling, in my memory. It seemed so familiar to me, and yet, so alien. As I concentrated, the memories flooded back to me. I finally recognized the feeling. It was the power ruby. And as I felt the happiness of it being back, wash over me, I began to wonder if it was already too late.
"I saw a red light pulsing ahead of me, and I began to concentrate on that far off pulsing, red power. I tried with everything I had, to pull myself toward it. To will myself to live. And suddenly...I was there, and the red light engulfed me in it's power.
"I was alive.
"The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the medical table in the Power Chamber, and the Rangers had all gathered around me, but only one face drew me from the depths of the oblivion I had been in. It was Cassie, standing over me. The relief shinning brightly in her tear filled eyes.
"I looked at her for a long time, not speaking, and wondering if I would ever see her again. My mission was over, and this time, there was nothing that could happen, that the Council would allow me to stay any longer. I would have to return to Eltar.
"Finally, I found my voice, and I thanked Cassie and the Rangers, for the return of my ruby. But, before I could say more, Dimitria made her presence known. She told the Rangers that they had done well, and I agreed with her.
"As I prepared to leave, Cassie stopped me, asking if I was going to leave them. I thought, at first, that she had ment to say, was I leaving her. I wanted to tell her, to scream it from the top of the world, that as long as she was in my heart, I would never leave her, but I could not let our secret be known. So, I replied the only way I could. 'I go where I am needed, and stay as long as I am needed.
"She wanted to know how they could contact me if they needed me again. I turned and looked at her, trying to will all of the love I felt for her into my words. I told her that I would always remember her. I told them that I felt that the Earth was in good hands, and that they were it's best protectors.
"And before I was tempted to give up everything I'd worked for over the past few years, I turned, disappeared, and left for my ship as fast as I could. All of my demons following me.
"Leaving Earth again, leaving Cassie, was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do, but Blue Centurion was back to help the Rangers. He had been on Eltar in my absence.
"My trip to Eltar ended up being the longest trip I had ever remembered taking. My thoughts going back, time and again, to Cassie, and how I should never have gotten close to her. I wasn't concerned for my feelings about her, I was more concerned with how I had left her feeling. What had I done?
"But, I knew she was strong, and she would be all right."
I assumed that this part of his life was the most important part, because he had gone into much more detail about this part, than he had at other times.
"Why didn't you tell the Rangers who you were? And where you were from?"
"To protect them. The Alliance of Evil was looking for me, so it was better that the Rangers not know me, or anything about me. I needed Cassie, but the Earth needed the Rangers more.
"Anyway, once I was back on Eltar, my training resumed, and Zordon told me that it was important that I learn all I could, as fast as I could. The Alliance of Evil was banding together, and the Council still did not know what was being planned. Even though they had the message sent from the future with Blue Centurion. Something had changed. But, secretly, I think the Council did know something.
"Zordon said, that the only thing they knew was that a powerful creature called Dark Specter, was the leader of the Alliance of Evil. And this seemed to concern the Council a great deal. I spent much of my time, over the next few months, training and attending meetings with the Council.
"At first, the Council thought it unwise for me to sit in on the meetings, because I was not a member of the Council as of yet, but Zordon helped them see how important, my being there, was.
"During that time, Zordon allowed me, one time, to send a message to Cassie, assuring her that I had not forgotten her, and that I was fine, and had fully recovered from the incident with the ruby.
"I should have known that the comfort of peace would not last long. A few days after my message to Cassie, all hell broke loose.
"The Council held a special meeting, and as I prepared to attend, Zordon stopped me, and told me that I should stay in the training chambers and practice, that if he needed me, he would call for me. I did as he said, saying nothing of the uneasy feelings I had.
"As I practiced, the Council was attacked by the Alliance of Evil. I can barely remember the names of those who attacked, but I do recall some. They were: Rita and Zedd, the Machine Empire, Astronema with Ecliptor, and there was one more, that I remember very well, he was the most ruthless of all the attackers.
"His name was Darkonda! He was able to nearly destroy all of the members of the Council, and did, in fact, destroy all of the android Rangers that had tested on Earth. From the twelve members of the Council, only three survived. They were Zarian; Zordon's brother, Ninjor, and Dulcea. He even got away with Zordon's Key Cards,"
"Key Cards? What were they?"
"They were cards created by Zordon that held vital information of the location of the Voyager Zords. Zordon had created them in hopes of getting them to the Astro Rangers before the Alliance attacked.
"Any how, in the end, Zordon had been tricked back into his tube and taken away from Eltar. The rest of us Eltarians, had been left for dead. Dimitria had been contacted at the time of the attack. She and Blue Centurion had arrived too late to help save the Council, or Zordon. But, they were able to help me prepare to go after Zordon.
"Of the five 'Phantom' Ranger suits that had been created, only one survived the attack, but there were damages that needed to be fixed, as well as putting together another ship.
"During this time, I seemed to have put a lot of some less important things to the back of my mind. That is, until a transmission was sent, from the Aquitians.
"Divatox had taken the Power Chamber, captured the Space Cars, and the Chamber was no more. This time it had been destroyed for good. The Rangers had convinced NASADA to allow them to use their test shuttle to head to Eltar, to help save the Universe.
"But, transmission with the Rangers had been lost some time ago. There was no telling if the Rangers were alive or...dead."
"So, the Rangers thought that they could help you, once they found out that Zordon had been taken, and the Power Chamber destroyed?"
"Yes, but they had no idea, that it was too late. Those of the Council who were still alive, tried to get things under control, and I was on my way, following all trails that may have lead me to Zordon.
"As I chased the Alliance, I kept in touch with the Council. Dimitria had been placed on the Council, even though she was a novice Mentor, as best. During this time, I remembered the message that the Blue Centurion had brought with him from the future.
"Divatox and the Alliance of Evil, were under the impression that the Council was getting together a new group of Rangers, from the members of the Council themselves, to fight them, and that is why they attacked Eltar, trapped Zordon, and would begin to drain his powers.
"But, the real message was that we needed to keep the Alliance of Evil from finding the team of Astro Rangers, and destroying them. The Astro Rangers would be needed to destroy all evil, as well as Zordon's great powers would be needed. If they destroyed the Rangers and the powers, then the future was doomed to be repeated.
"But, there had only ever been just two Astro Rangers, though one had disappeared during a battle two years before. But the one was a loner, named Andros, from KO-35. When Zordon had been taken, and the Key Cards stolen, the remaining Council members had contacted him, hoping that he would help them find Zordon and the Key Cards.
"He agreed to help, knowing where the Alliance would be holding court. He would find the Key Cards, find out where Zordon was being held, and return to the Council with the information."
"But, if the message stated that there was a 'team' of Rangers, then where were the rest of them?"
"On their way to Eltar, and their destiny."
"The Turbo team?"
"But, wouldn't the Alliance know it when they became the Astro team? And destroy them?"
"You forget, only the Council knew that the Astro Rangers were any real threat to the Alliance. The Alliance did know that they had become the Astro's but to them, they were nothing more than pesky flies, always buzzing around and annoying them. If they had known that it would be the Astro's that would cause their downfall, they would have destroyed the Astro Rangers with in days."
"To continue; I followed Zordon's power signature to multitudes of planets, always arriving just moments after they had left.
"I received word from the Council that Andros had been unsuccessful in capturing the Key Cards, or the where about of Zordon's final destination, but he was continuing his pursuit. And they also relay some good news to me as well. They Astro team had been gathered.
"This gave me hope, once again bringing to mind the message. But, I would be on my own most of the time, in my pursuit of Zordon. The Rangers would have to protect Earth, as Dark Specter had sent Astronema and her master warrior, Ecliptor, to attack it. Hoping to keep the Rangers off of his trail. As well as keep them from coming after Zordon.
"So, days became weeks, then months. I raced from planet to planet, often times the few remaining soldiers left there to deal with me. Slowing down my pursuit by days.
"Then, almost as if by chance, I happened upon the planet Hercuron. And it was there, that I found Divatox, and army of pironitrons and Quantrons. As well as Zordon. As I watched them from the cover of the jungle, I could tell that a goodly portion of Zordon's power had been drained away already.
"I found a secluded spot in the jungle, and quickly recorded a message for the Rangers, and sent it into space to them. This message contained the directions to the location of Hercuron, and my location on the planet. But, as I prepared to send it off, I was attacked by Divatox and her minions. But, during the fight, I was able to pull the trigger to the firing device, and the message was sent.
"Divatox kept the fight going, keeping me from getting to Zordon, so that they could escape with him. As they headed toward the awaiting ship, I broke free of the fight, and headed toward them. As I nearly reached them, a large blast exploded between us, sending me falling back several feet.
"I cleared my head, and looked up to see where the blast had come from. There before me stood Astronema. She ordered the Pironitron and Quantrons to get Zordon aboard the ship as quickly as they could. For reasons I didn't understand, she seemed surprised to see me working alone. But she was pleased that it was so.
"Before I could gain my feet, Astronema took it upon herself to attack me. I fought against her the best I could, but I was tired, and had been in the suit far too long. As the fight continued, Zordon was teleported onto the ship, and it left Hercuron. As it left, Astronima, and most of the minions disappeared as well. But the minions that were left, I continued to battle.
"Then, from out of nowhere, Ecliptor appeared into the battle. With blinding speed, he ripped through me with his sword. I could feel the damage to the suit, as well as to myself. A nearly mortal wound. Lying on my back, I continued to fight him, and I could feel myself growing steadily weaker.
"Just as Ecliptor told the Pironitron and Quantrons to stay back, and I prepared myself, as best I could, to fight him, a rainbow flash of light announced the arrival of the Rangers. They stood between Ecliptor and I, as Cassie raced to my side, helping me to my feet.
"As Ecliptor prepared to make good on his treats, Astronema called him away from the planet.
"Feeling weaker than I ever had, since the incident with the ruby, I tried not to let on to the Rangers that I was in pain, or that I had been badly wounded. The last thing they needed to do, was worry about me. Zordon needed their help more than I did.
"I relayed what I knew of what had happened on Hercuron, and that they had taken Zordon. The Rangers were determined to go after them, but Alpha reported that he had lost the vapor trail, and Astronema was attacking Earth. The Rangers had no choice. Their duty was to protect the Earth, no matter what.
"I know that they were torn. Which choice would I have made? Here they were, so very close to Zordon, and yet, they were duty bound to protect Earth. Unable to decide which choice I would have chosen, if I were in their position, I told them that I would continue to pursue Zordon, and that they should go to Earth.
"I realized that they would need help. I gave Andros a disk, and told him about a ship that was completely unprotected. The Delta Mega Ship. I gave him instructions, that when he was close to it's location, to contact me, and I would tell him how to use the disk.
"I watched as the Rangers, one by one, left Hercuron. Andros remained behind long enough to make sure that I would be all right, then he too, left in search of the Delta Mega Ship
"Once the Rangers were gone, I finally was able to examine the damage that Ecliptor had done to the suit, and to myself.
"The damage to the suit was extensive, but repairable. But my main problem was; the suit was damaged and it would take a longer amount of time to unbond with it. Until that time, I would not know how severely injured I was. But, from the blood I could see, seeping from the hole in the suit, I could tell my injuries were great.
"I knew I had to hurry as quickly as I could. I could already feel my self weakening to the point of blacking out. I needed to get to my ship quickly, but it was some distance away, hidden deep in the dense growth of the jungle. The thought that I might not make it, crossed my mind, so I decided that I would leave a message for the Rangers, for I knew that they would return to check on me. It was the motto of the Rangers. A Ranger would always look out for another Ranger.
"I recorded three messages. The first was to all of the Rangers, telling them that I knew they would return, looking for me, but that I had left to follow Dark Specter. For he had Zordon, and they had to keep searching for Zordon, no matter how difficult it seemed.
"I had to encourage them. For if they did not continue to look for him, then the message that the Blue Centurion had brought with him from the future, would not come to pass.
"The second, and third, I fought with myself about leaving. They were messages for Cassie. The second one told her that I was all right, and not to forget me; and, with hope in my heart, that I would see her soon.
"The third message told her that when it was all over, things would be as they should. I hoped that she would understand it's meaning. Remembering back to the conversation we had that night on the beach in Angel Grove.
"I left the device where I knew they would find it, and began to head to where my ship was waiting for me.
"I made my way, my life force slowly being drained away by the damaged suit, through the jungles of Hercuron, to my ship. As I neared my ship, I finally heard from Andros, that he had found what I sent him to find, the Delta Mega Ship.
"With my failing strength, I tried as best I could, to guide Andros in what to do, as well as keeping myself moving toward my ship.
"I remember hearing Andros say that he had made it to the control room, and ask what he should do next. The very last thing I remembered, before blacking out, was starting to tell him what to do with the disk I had given him.
"When I finally came to, it was dark. With what little bit of a recharge I had gotten from by blackout, I continued on to my ship.
"It took two days to unbond with the suit. With the damages it had sustained, unbonding with it was tricky, at best. I stayed on Hercuron during that time. Once I was out of the suit, I found that I had been deeply wounded, and the sparks from the suit's wiring, where it had been damaged, had caused some slight burns on the surrounding skin.
"There was a deep infection in the wound. The fever soon overtook me, and I was unable to move for days. The whole time, I thought of Cassie, and the messages I had left for her. I also thought of Zordon, knowing that he was getting further and further away from me. I felt like I was letting them all down.
"I tried several times, to get out of my bed, to go after Zordon, but I would black out. Then it was all I could do to drag myself back to my bed.
"Finally, when I could get around, I set the coordinates to where Dark Specter had last been with Zordon. And I began my repairs on the suit.
"I kept in touch with the Council during my time on Hercuron, and they had given me quite a bit of good news. Andros had gotten the Key Cards back from Darkonda, and the Silver Astro Ranger was back. It seemed that when he had been mortally wounded in the battle, Andros had put him in cryo for two years, and he had just emerged. This new now fulfilled the rest of the message. There were now a total of six, Astro Rangers. Now, all that needed to happen, was that, everything else needed to fall into place.
"Time passed quickly after that. And after another close call, and just barley missing Zordon, I asked the Council if they could spare the Blue Centurion, so that he could assist me. They approved the request, and wished me luck. I gave them my coordinates to the planet Zelvion, in the Triconna System."
"So, why didn't the Alliance just kill Zordon? Why contain him in the tube again?" I asked. This question had popped up earlier in my mind, but I just put it aside. But, after all of the talk of nearly finding Zordon several times, I wondered again. Why hadn't the Alliance just killed him?
"Dark Specter was draining Zordon's powers, making himself stronger with them. If they had killed Zordon, Dark Specter would not have been able to use his powers. Besides, Zordon's death would have brought about the final results we needed, to fulfill the message completely. And that part, only Zordon knew."
"And what was it?"
"So, why didn't Zordon say anything before? All he had to do, was tell someone, and all of the deaths could have been avoided."
"H tried to think of other ways to stop the Alliance. And he needed to train me, for my destiny was intertwined with his. Then when things started to get out of control, he called a meeting of the Council."
"That was the meeting that the Alliance attacked?"
"Yes. Zordon must have known something was going to happen. Weather he hoped that the Alliance would kill him, and end it all right then, I do not know."
I more fully understood the great sacrifices that the Rangers and the Council had faced then. I looked at Billy. He sat, hands clasped and pressed to his forehead, elbows on the table.
I dared not ask him more. I could see that remembering it all, was becoming harder on him.
"If this is too much for you, we can stop. I've got enough." I reached for the recording scanner, but he stopped me, putting his hand over mine. I released the device, and he released me.
"I have to tell it all. If not for you, then for me." He tried to smile, and so I gave him one of my own. I relaxed then, and let him continue.
"Shortly after the Blue Centurion arrived, I lost contact with the Council, so I was unaware of the things that were happening on Eltar, or on Earth.
"Blue Centurion and I left Zelvion, and headed for a nearby planet. Zordon's power signature was stronger there, and we decided that we had finally found him.
"Once on the planet, we began to search. Our scans did not indicate where his location was, only that his signature was on this planet. We began a search that stretched on for days. As the signature began to get stronger, it would move away from us. Then it was gone again.
"I was growing frustrated. I did not know if the Rangers were having better luck than I was at that time, and I worried about their safety.
"But, Blue Centurion was always there, encouraging me. Helping me to know that I was doing all that I could.
"I was some time before we were able to find the signature again. This time it was from a planet on the outer edges of the system.
"Abilon seemed quiet and tranquil when we arrived, bit it wasn't that way for long. When we followed the signature, and located it's source; what we found wasn't Zordon.
"It had been a trick, to guide us away from Zordon's true location. Who we did find, was the Machine Empire. I had hope to never set eyes upon them again, but it was time for some sweet revenge. I knew who they were. Their weakness'. But, they had no idea who I was, except a thorn, dressed in black armor.
"We battled for days against them, blocked from being able to get to our ship to find where they had truly taken Zordon.
"Then, the fateful day arrived. Our defenses were weakening, and I knew we could not hold them off much longer. My knowing their weakness', was little help. They must have learned from their past mistakes.
"I was on the verge of defeat. I just wanted it all to end. Mentally, I had given up. Then I felt it, as much as I saw it. A wave of gold light, flowing toward us. I stood, and watched as it passed through me, energizing me, and my soul. It gave me hope, and most of all...peace. As I watched the Machine Empire vanish into dust, I knew what the wave was. The message's prophecy had been fulfilled. And I wept.
"Zordon had sacrificed himself, at last, to the hands of Andros, an Astro Ranger. I could not even begin to understand how Andros felt having to make that decision. I knew how I would have felt, but I'm sure that it was nothing like his.
"Zordon's' death had destroyed all of the evil in this Universe. And those who were changed to evil, became pure and good. Rita, Zedd, Astronema, Divatox, and many, many more.
"But, none of that even began to enter my mind. I had not only lost my teacher, but the man who had been a father to all of us who had ever been Rangers. All over, in the Universe, there would be celebrations, but on Eltar, and for the Rangers on Earth, there would be silent mourning of his passing.
"I did not go, immediately, to Cassie, for I had an obligation on Eltar. Once there, things seemed as if there had never been a great battle for good. People were happy. Children played without a care. The air was filled with laughter.
"As soon as we arrived, Blue Centurion and I headed directly to the Council Chambers, located in the center of the city. There we found the remaining original Council members, with a few new members filling the empty seats.
"I was called to the Council leaders' private chambers. Zarian had taken his brother's place, rather unwillingly. He had called me to his chambers, to discuss with me, about taking a place on the Council."
"What would happen once you were on the Council?"
"My visits to Earth would be few. The majority of my time would be spent on Eltar, reconstructing what we had lost."
"So, did you? Take the offer, that is?"
"Yes. But only because of Zarian's next decision. Not only would I take a seat on the Council, I would finish my training as a Ranger mentor, under his guidance. My mentorship would be carried out on Earth. When the time came, it would become my duty to put together another team of Rangers."
"Why would you need to gather another team? If all the evil was gone?"
"The evil of this Universe only."
"So, you put together the Galaxy Rangers? I thought I had read something about them."
"No. I did not have mentorship over that team, the fell under the watchful eye of another mentor. They were responsible for protecting a space colony that had been sent in search of a new planet to inhabit. My place was here, on Earth."
"So, what team did you put together? And what about Cassie? When did you get back to her, like you promised?"
"Everything will come in time, as far as the Rangers are concerned. But Cassie I can tell you about. Soon after the customary Eltarian mourning period, I was given the okay to go to Earth to see if all of my friends and family were all right.
"When I first got to Earth, things were pretty much the same, except there were no more Power Rangers. The team had disband and went their separate ways. Most of them had gone into a sort of hiding. Trying the best they could to steer clear of the press. So, it was difficult trying to find Cassie. It took me a week to find her. I was feeling as if I had truly lost her. Wishing I had come straight to Earth, to her, after Zordon's wave.
"Feeling lonely, and in search of someone I knew, I headed to my Uncle's resort in the mountains of California. That is where I had found her. I guess she thought the one place the I could find her, that no one else could, was with my family. I had forgotten I had mentioned my Uncle to her that night, so long ago.
"I remember how excited I was when my Uncle told me she was there. I don't think I touched the ground on my way to the cabin she stayed in. I stood outside of the door for what seemed like hours, trying to get the nerve to knock on the door. Here I had battled monsters and the minions of evil, here and on other planets, and I was terrified of knocking on a door.
"Finally, I did knock, and I will never forget the expression on Cassie's face when she opened the door to find me standing there. All I could think of, when I looked at her, was the stolen moment, and the kiss we had shared, before Zordon had been taken.
"In that moment, I knew that I truly loved her, and would love her for the rest of my life and hers. I had never loved anyone, not even Kim, like I did her. And I never would again.
"That night was the happiest we had ever been. We loved each other so fully and completely. That night, we became one. Our lives would forever be together.
"Secretly we married the next day. I asked her to return to Eltar with me, while I finished my training. She refused, but said that she would be here, waiting for me, when I returned.
"I didn't want to leave her. I couldn't bare the thought of being away from her again. I told her that I would refuse the Council's offer, and stay with her. She told me that she couldn't let that happen. That she couldn't come between me and the things I had wanted all of my life. She made me see, that if I didn't finish my training, I would be letting Zordon down. That Zordon had chosen me, and taught me, in hopes of instilling everything he was, into the new team that I would choose. And that everything that Zordon had lived and died for, would be for nothing.
"Then she told me, that she had waited for me this long, she could wait some more, and then we would be together afterwards.
"So, it was with a heavy heart, that I made my journey back to Eltar.
"Five months never seemed like a long time before. Whole years had passed by me without much thought, but the months seemed to pass like years and then some. During that time, the seats of the Council that had not yet been filled, were awaiting the Council to choose who would occupy them, from those who had been called forward by the remaining Council members. Soon, all twelve seats were filled once again.
"The meetings I attended touched on such subjects as, restoring what was left of the damage done on Eltar. At those same meetings mentors were assigned to different galaxies to prepare for a time when new teams of Rangers would be needed.
"And, at the hands of Zarian, I finished my training. A center of command was set up here on Earth for me. Within those walls, I would prepare for the time a Ranger team would be needed. And I would also be able to stay in contact with the Council on Eltar.
"Though there was no need for a Ranger team at the time, I would be called away frequently to assist the Council and other mentors.
"Finally, the training was complete, and I was allowed to return to my beloved Cassie. I had not been allowed contact with her in those five months on Eltar. Zarian had told me that I would need to be able to focus all of my attention's on my training.
"I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms again. To make love to her, and hold her as she slept, nestled against my heart. I knew I would love her forever. No matter what the world beyond our door held for us.
"When I arrived at the cabin, she stood waiting for me on the porch, almost as if she knew I would be there. I grabbed her up into my arms, and kissed her, like she was the only thing that could keep me alive.
"As I put her down, she told me that she had something she needed to tell me. She said this in such a manor, that I thought something was wrong. I began to feel my heart sink.
"She sat me down at a small table in the breakfast nook, and poured me a cup of delicious coffee. Something I hadn't had a taste of for years. But, the cup sat untouched as she silently sat down across from me, her hands placed atop of each other on the table. Slowly she looked up at me, and with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, she spoke to me the words that I never thought I would ever hear. 'William, we're going to have a baby. A daughter.'
"I think she thought I was going to pass out. I looked at her, my eyes wide. Why hadn't I noticed before? The slight bulge in her abdomen. She asked me if I was going to be all right, and all I could do was nod my head. She asked if I was upset, and I assured her that I had never received such wonderful news in my life. Not even when I was told I would be a Power Ranger.
"Cassie came to the Center with me each day, as I worked and worked to get everything up. Cassie helped with the ideas, and the more time she spent with me, the more she began to understand my 'technobabble'."
"Did you ever see any of the other former Rangers, after Zordon's death?" I asked. I noticed that he hadn't spoken much of them after he told me of his time on Eltar.
"I did. We visited each other once in a while. We all had our own lives, and like most friendships do, the visits became more and more infrequent, but we never forgot each other."
"I understand. That's how my own friendships have become. I'm sorry for interrupting, please, go on." I smiled and watched a happiness come over him.
"The time finally came for our first child to come into this world. Of all of the things I had ever been witness to, this was the most miraculous.
"Angelean, was the first of our four children. Two years after her birth, Cassie gave me my first son, Scott. She always said that he looked just like me. Then came Lance and our fourth, another daughter Emiline, but she did not live to see her fourth month.
"Her death started a cataclysm of concerns for Cassie. By now, it was quite evident that the waters of the Eternal Falls had not only restored my youth, but that I would remain nineteen forever.
"Cassie began to question her own mortality, as well as our children's. She worried, that as she grew older, I would not find her as beautiful as I always told her she was.
"At first, I thought her concerns were silly. After loving her, I could never love anyone else. She was the other half of me. Without her my soul was incomplete. But, I soon realized how deep her concerns went.
"Cassie was now forty years old, and I still looked like I did when she first met me."
"What about the waters of the Eternal Falls? Couldn't she have taken it too?"
"She could have. I even offered it to her, but she refused. She wanted to grow old, with our children. To see them grow a normal life, and to be a normal part of it. She couldn't bare the thought of our children growing to look older than she did. And I really didn't understand it, until my children passed the age of twenty, and began to look older than myself.
"It was hard on them, knowing their father would never become an old man. But, they loved me, and never questioned it.
"The years seemed to pass by quickly. Our children grew and had children of their own, and even those children grew and had children.
"The years were kind to Cassie. Her health remained perfect until the last few years of her life. Small ailments slowly began to take over, until she was bedridden. Her long, black hair was peppered white, and the only true signs of age, were the laugh lines around her mouth and eyes."
I watched tears come to Billy's eyes then. I had already stated to wipe mine away.
"She was seventy-four, when her time came. That night, I held her in my arms all through the night. Never letting her go, not once. I refused to close my eyes to sleep. I kept talking to her, stroking her beautiful hair. I wanted to remember every last minute with her.
"When the sun rose that next morning, she was gone. Gone from this world, but not from my heart. And that is where she had been ever since.
"Now you see why I said that being able to live forever was at times, a blessing, and at others, a curse? All the years between Cassie's death and now, I watched my old friends pass away from this life, while I spent my time making trips to Eltar, and awaiting the time for a new team of Rangers to come to pass."
"What happened to all of the former Rangers?"
"When Terra Venture was built and ready. All of the former Rangers were asked to go with them. But all of them steadfastly refused, stating that they wanted to stay on Earth. They had all fought, risking their lives, to protect it, they wouldn't leave it now.
"Jason Scott, former Red Morphin and Gold Ranger, became one of AGPD's finest officers. He married the love of his life, Emily, and had three children. Shortly after retiring, a man he'd helped put in prison was released, and he shot Jason, as he walked in the park. Jason was sixty-four. I guess Angel Grove soon had a new kind of monster to worry about.
"Trini Kwan, former Yellow Morphin Ranger, became a conservationist. She spent years jetting around the world trying to save one thing or another. It took up so much of her time, that she didn't start to settle down, and finally get married until she was in her forties. She never had any children of her own, but she helped raise the two children from her husband's previous marriage. Both died of old age. Trini, I believe, was eighty.
"Zack Taylor, former Black Morphin Ranger, became a great and well awarded, Broadway Choreographer. He hated New York, but he loved his work. He married one of his dancers, and had two kids. He too, passed away of old age. He was seventy-five.
"Kim..." Billy paused, apparently holding a great deal of love for her still. "Kim Hart, former Pink Morphin Ranger, and I grew up together and had been my best friend. She won the Pan Globals, she had trained so hard for. She went on to take the Silver in the Olympics. At age twenty-five, she stopped competing, and became a world renown gymnastic coach. She met her husband when a team he was training, competed against her team. They married, and had one child. A car accident took Kim's life. A drunk driver. She was only thirty-two." I saw a tear slip unchecked, down Billy's cheek. I could see the punishment that eternal life had been giving him. To watch all that you love, pass away before your eyes, while you had to continue to live.
Myself, I would have tried to commit suicide, just to get out of it, but that wasn't something I felt was my right to ask him. So I just listened as he continued his account of the lives of the former Rangers.
"Tommy Oliver, former Green and White Morphin, Red Zeo and Red Turbo Ranger, became a professional race car driver. He took the trophies in the Indianapolis 500, and Daytona. He married Katherine Hillard, former Pink Morphin, Pink Zeo and Pink Turbo Ranger. She went to the Royal Academy in England. But, Ballet wasn't as important to her as she had thought. After a couple of years, she came back to the states and they married. They had two children. An accident ended Tommy's career in racing. They both passed away in old age. Tommy was eighty-seven, and Kat was eighty-nine.
"Aisha Campbell, former Yellow Morphin Ranger, stayed in Africa after her Zeo Quest. She became a professor of Veterinary Science, and even won the Nobel Peace Prize. I think, of all the former Rangers of Earth, she lived the longest. She married and had one child. She died of old age at ninety-five.
"Adam Park, former Black Morphin, Green Zeo and Green Turbo Ranger, took up professional stunt work. He worked in movies with such greats as: Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Ford, Yost, Frank, Bosch, and Cardenas."
"Who were they?" I asked. I thought I should know them, but I didn't remember any actors by those names.
"I guess time really has passed by. It doesn't matter. Adam married another former Ranger, Tanya Sloan, former Yellow Zeo and Yellow Turbo Ranger. She had a great professional singing career until she passed on at the age of seventy-two. She and Adam had two children. Adam died in a stunt accident at age fifty-five.
"Rocky DeSantos, former Red Morphin and Blue Zeo Ranger, worked as an actor for years. He married a young actress. When he was forty, he gave up acting, and took up teaching karate, and opened his own Dojo in Stone Canyon. And like his own large family, Rocky and his wife had seven children. Both passed away of old age. Rocky was ninety.
"Justin Stewert, former Blue Turbo Ranger, finished school, went on to college, and became a lawyer. He ran for President of the US. He would have been the youngest President ever, but on the night of his election win, he was assassinated. He was thirty.
"Ashley Hammond, former Yellow Turbo and Yellow Astro Ranger, married Andros, former Red Astro Ranger. They went back to KO-35. Ashley and Andros had five children. She started teaching school to the children, while Andros helped rebuild and reestablish the planets society with the help of some other people who had lived there. He also had the help of Zhane, former Silver Astro Ranger, who married Andros' sister Karone, who had once been Astronema. They had three children. About ten years after they went back, I heard that Andros had become the leader of KO-35, with Zhane as his second in command. Ashley lived to be seventy-two, Andros was ninety and Zhane was ninety-one.
"TJ Johnson, former Red Turbo and Blue Astro Ranger, played professional Baseball for four or five years. Then he went on to win the elections to become the Senator of California. He married a nice young woman while he was in office, and they had three children. He passed on of old age. He was seventy-eight.
"Carlos Sanchez, former Green Turbo and Black Astro Ranger, became a professional soccer player, and later retired to become the leagues coach. He married, but never had any children of his own, but he and his wife adopted two. He too, died of old age. He was seventy-nine.
"So many of the former Rangers had wonderful long lives, and some were cut short before their time. I had always thought that if we were killed, it would have been while we were Rangers, battling the forces of evil. I found it painfully ironic, that we would die living out our normal lives."
I watched as Billy wiped away at the tears on his face. I found it hard to believe myself. Here, these people had risked their lives everyday, fighting things even a normal man wouldn't have survived, and they did. Just to die a the hands of other humans, or in accidents. It made me really think about how things have become here in Angel's Depth.
"So, you waited to put together a new Ranger team. Who did you finally put together?"
"No one yet."
"There hasn't been a need...yet."
"So, I guess that's the end of your story then, for now that is?"
"Yes. But, I did offer you proof, if you'd like, of the things I have been telling you." I looked past him, to the window. The first rays of morning were beginning to intrude into the candle lit room. I hadn't realized that time had passed so quickly during the telling of his tale.
"Sure." Billy helped me to gather my things. Then, when I was ready, I watched as he raised his arm up, and spoke into a device that looked just like a watch.
"I'm brining a visitor with me, shut down the alert system."
"Sure thing, William." Came a response from somewhere on the other side of the communication. And the voice was very familiar. I looked at Billy.
"What do you need an alert system for?" I asked. I knew it was a stupid question the moment I asked it, but I couldn't help it.
"The system recognizes the DNA of a programmed individual. If someone enters that is not programmed into the system, or their DNA has, somehow, been altered, in even the smallest way, the alarms will sound."
"Oh." Was the only response I had.
That's when I felt the strange tingling sensation come over me. It was like the feeling you get when you've had your arm or leg fall asleep, and then the blood starts to circulate again. 'Pins and needles' my Mom used to call it. Then suddenly, the room we had been in, was gone, and I was surrounded by a brilliant white light. Everything was quiet, then I felt my feet touch the ground, and I started to fall.
"Whoa. Teleportation takes a bit of getting used to." Billy said behind me. I could feel his hands gripping my arms.
As my head cleared, I began to look around, and was awed by everything I saw. I had never seen so much technologically advanced stuff before, in my whole life. At least, not all together in one place.
"Welcome to the Power Core." Billy said with a flourish of his arms.
There were computers everywhere. Screens of all shapes and sizes covering the walls. Maps of the world, and some from other worlds; I could not even begin to guess, were created electronically on other screens. The computers lined the front wall of the room, and ran along each side. One huge screen adorned the whole wall above the computers. A couple of sealed doors were on either side of the room, and the back wall was lit by a rainbow of colored lights.
The place was magnificent. Never, in my wildest dreams, could I have believed that such a place like this ever existed. I turned at the sound of someone entering the room.
"Jenny, this is the Blue Centurion. And this is,"
"Marcus Bulkmeier?" I was surprised to see that man I thought was a vagrant, standing before me.
"Miss Jenny. Here is the twenty you gave me." I stood; stunned, as he placed the bill in my hand. Then I starred at the cop looking robot before me. This was the Blue Centurion? The one Billy had been telling me about? I had seen him patrolling the streets of Angel's Depth. I looked to Billy, a question I had been meaning to ask, suddenly brought to the forefront of my mind.
"Did you ever find out who created Blue Centurion?" I watched as Billy and Blue Centurion looked at each other.
"Yes. I was the man who created him, and sent him into the past. But, this time, it was unnecessary. Things were and are, as they should be.
"Marcus? The stories you were telling me,"
"Were true. All of it." I returned his smile.
"Jenny, come with me. I'd like to show you the museum of the Power Rangers." Billy took my arm, and lead me to the back wall. As we came into the lights, the back wall disappeared. For a moment, we were in total darkness, then one by one; along the walls, lights began to come on. Illuminating cases of...uniforms. Ranger uniforms, and pictures.
I walked slowly to the first lit case. Inside were the uniforms of the Astro Ranger team, and their weapons. Before me, was the proof that what Billy had been telling me was true. Pictures of each of the Rangers was placed next to their uniform. I had only been able to imagine what these people looked like, but now, they were real. And below each picture, was their names. Andros, Zhane, TJ, Carlos, Ashley and Cassie. I stared hard at the last picture.
So, this was the woman who had love Billy until she passed away. The woman who even now, resided in his heart? In some ways, she looked familiar.
I moved to the next case, and there were the Turbo uniforms and their weapons. All of these uniforms had two pictures beside each one. Tommy/TJ, Adam/Carlos, Justin (he was the exception), Kat/Cassie and Tanya/Ashley.
Next, were the Zeo uniforms and weapons. Beside them were the pictures of: Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Kat and Jason.
Beside these three cases, was pictures of the various Zords that they had piloted, as well as picture of the various people who had helped them from Morphin to Astro. Dulcea, Dimitria, Ninjor, Auric, Masked Rider, Lord Trey of Triforia, Lerigot, the Aquitian Rangers and Alphas 5 and 6. But, in the center of all of these was a picture of the man who had given his life for peace. Zordon.
I looked away from this display, when several lights came on, lighting up the largest case in the room. I walked to it, looking at all of the uniforms and weapons within.
I looked around at the different cases. "Which one is the Phantom Ranger uniform that you used?"
"I keep it in a different room, for when I need it." As he spoke, another door, that I swore wasn't there before, slid open to reveal a suit of Black armor. It was unlike any of the uniforms in the other cases. The others resembled little more than spandex. But, this uniform was armor. The helmet looked like something a jet pilot might wear. It was amazing.
I looked at Billy, then back to the huge case before me.
There, I saw: the Green and White Morphin uniforms, as well as the Ninjetti uniform. Tommy's picture was next to them all. Next was the Red Morphin uniform with it's Ninjetti counterpart. Beside them was two pictures Jason and Rocky. Then there was the Pink Morphin and Ninjetti uniforms, again there were two pictures, Kim and Kat. Now I came upon the Yellow Morphin and Ninjetti uniforms and two more pictures. Trini and Aisha. A little further down, were the Black Morphin and Ninjetti uniforms. As well as two more pictures. These were of Adam and Zack. And lastly, the Blue Morphin and Ninjetti uniforms. And as I looked at the pictures of a young, bespecled, Billy, and read the name under the picture, everything became clear to me.
"William James...Cranston." I turned to face him, tears springing to my eyes. I pointed to the wall across from us, at the picture of Cassie Chan.
"She was my Great, great, great Grandmother, and you,"
"Your Great, great, great Grandfather." He finished. I stood there, stunned. I had never seen a picture of my 3x Great Grandparents, except a few of my 3x Great Grandmother when she was a child.
"Why now?" I didn't know what to say. All this time, I'd been a part of the Ranger legacy, and I never knew it. "Why all of the secrecy?"
"The secrecy was for all my family's protection. And, as for the 'why now?' I think you should meet some people first."
I pulled away from him when he tried to take my arm. I don't know why I did it, but his smile never wavered. He must have understood my confusion and slight anger.
He lead me from the museum, and again we passed through the lights, to stand in the main chamber of the Power Core. But, where we had left Blue Centurion and Marcus, now stood five teenagers. Four boys and one girl.
I looked from them to Billy and back. A thought began to creep into my mind. Could I even dare to hope?
"Jenny, I'd like you to meet Sahsha Oliver, 3x Great Granddaughter of Tommy and Kat." Sahsha shook my hand. She was tall, about five foot nine. Her pink clothes brought out her dark hair and eyes. She looked just like Tommy.
"This is Alex Taylor 3x Great Grandson of Zack Taylor." Alex was a handsome man, with a beautiful smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He was of average height, and was dressed in white.
"This is William Conner, he's the 3x Great Grandson of Kimberly Hart." As he introduced William, a tall, muscular young man came forward and took my hand. He had sable colored, short hair, and deep blue eyes. A silver earring glinted in his left ear. He stood about six foot and wore a pair of black jeans and a gray tee-shirt.
"This is Adam Park III. 3x Great Grandson of Adam Park and Tanya Sloan." As I looked at Adam, he looked exactly like his 3x Great Grandfather. In every way. Dark green was the color of choice for his wardrobe.
"This is Seth Scott. 3x Great Grandson of Jason Scott." He was a man of average height, but very well built. His short blond hair was spiked, and a gold hoop hung from his left ear, setting off the green glint of his eyes. He was dressed in reds.
"And this everyone," Billy began, as I looked at the group gathered before us, "is my 3x Great Granddaughter, Jennifer Cranston."
After the introductions had made their rounds, everyone grew silent.
"Why have you brought us here?" I asked, as I faced Billy, my 3x Great Grandfather. He stood across the chamber from us, his arms crossed over his chest.
"Recently, there has been a new, evil force working it's way toward our galaxy. I've had to go to other planets to help them prepare their defenses. At times I've had to, once again, don the Phantom Ranger suit, to do so.
"As a matter of fact, I have just recently returned from a meeting on Eltar. The Council had informed me that now is the time to put together a new team of Rangers, my team.
"I've brought you all here, because I have been watching each of you, as you grew to adulthood, and you all have shown your worth, in the choices and actions you have made in your lives.
"I now leave it up to all of you to decide; do you accept the honor of becoming a Power Ranger, or do you decline, and wish to continue on with your lives? What ever choice you make, I will understand, and honor."
I looked at the others, strangers to me, and yet, I felt a familiar kinship to them all. Destiny, one might say. My very soul was singing.
"We'll do it!" Seth Scott said, stepping forward. Every bit a leader, as his 3x Great Grandfather must have been.
"Good. You are to become my Phantom Rangers. Seth, you will be Phantom Ranger, Red. Alex you will be Phantom Ranger, White. William, you will be Phantom Ranger, Silver. Adam, you will be Phantom Ranger, Green. Jenny..." I could feel him looking at me. I looked up into his eyes, "...you will be Phantom Ranger, Yellow." I was a Power Ranger. When my quest to find out about a myth called the, Power Rangers, I never thought I'd find out that they were real, let alone be given the chance to become one. "And Sahsha, you will be Phantom Ranger, Pink.
"You are all the next generation of Power Rangers. There are only three rules that you must follow. 1) Never use your powers for personal gain. 2) Never escalate a battle unless you are forced to. And 3) Never reveal your identity to anyone.
"Your first duty, as a Power Ranger, is to help protect other planets and galaxies against the evil. Then, if the threat comes here, your duty is to protect Earth no matter what."
Billy moved to stand infront of each of us. In his hands, he held a large, black box. Slowly, he opened the lid, to expose, to our view, six silver rings; each baring a colored stone at it's center. Billy held the box out to each of us, and as we each accepted the appropriate ring, we looked at them more closely, and could see symbols carved into the stone.
Seth's symbol was the Sun, Alex's was a Super Nova, William's was the Moon. Adam's ring was carved with the symbol of a Comet. Mine was carved with the symbol of a Star, and finally, Sahsha's symbol was a Satellite.
That was when I noticed, for the first time, the ring on Billy's finger. A black stone at it's center. On it, was carved an image, like that of a whirlpool. The Black Hole.
"All you need to do, is stretch out your hand, then quickly pull it back, calling out your new identity, as you do so. When you pull your hand back, you will place your hand, in a fist, over your heart, the rings will do the rest."
We looked at each other. Strangers, united for one purpose; our destinies.
Then, like Billy had instructed us; together we held out our hands, brought them back calling out our new identities, and placed them, in a fist, over our hearts. I watched in fascination, and a little fear, as the stone in my ring began to glow a brilliant yellow. Then the light slowly began to engulf my arms, and then began to travel over the rest of my body, encasing me in Black and Yellow. Within a matter of seconds, the process was complete. I reached up, feeling my armor and the helmet on my head, and yet...it seemed as if I were wearing nothing at all. The armor had no weight, and the helmet didn't obstruct my view in any way. As a matter of fact, it seemed to enhance everything. Sight, hearing...
I finally looked up at the others, and there before me stood a Red, White, Pink, Silver and Green Ranger, clad in similar armor to that of Billy's Black armor of the Phantom Ranger. Except ours had a base of black, but each armor plate was our significant color. And, at the center of each of our chest plates, was our colored stones, our symbols floating within them. The White Ranger had a Diamond, Ruby for the Red Ranger, Amethyst for the Pink Ranger, Onyx for the Silver Ranger, Emerald for the Green Ranger, and mine was Amber.
"What about you?" I asked Billy. He had a uniform too.
"Unlike you, unfortunately, I cannot morph, it takes me some time to bond with my suit, but I will be able to help you when you need me. So, each time that you go to battle, I will bond with my Ruby, so that if you need me, I will be ready." His smile was one of pride. It was an amazing look. And still I was in awe that this man, before me, was my 3x Great Grandfather. He looked to be my age. But, I could not doubt the things he told me, any more than I could doubt that I was standing here, surrounded by Rangers. The proof was all around me, I was the proof. I returned his smile, though I knew he couldn't see it.
"It's time Rangers. A small planet is under attack, and needs your help. This will be your first mission."
"What? You're not coming with us? How are we suppose to know what to do?" Seth asked, stepping forward in his Black and Red armor.
"Just like I knew what to do, when I first became a Power Ranger. The Powers will tell you what you need to know." I assumed that Seth understood, and accepted Billy's words, because he said nothing more.
"Are you ready?"
I don't know why we did it, but it felt like the right thing to do. One by one, we placed our hands out, each one of us placing his or her hand atop of the other. And as we did this, the words flowed from us, "Power Rangers!"
I decided to place these words on paper; as my aging eyes grow dim. Hoping, beyond all hope, that the legend and legacy that is the Power Rangers, will never, ever disappear from the Earth again. To become a thing of myth.
I dedicate this to the memory of all of the Rangers who have gone before me, most especially, to my 3x Great Grandfather, William James Cranston. He was finally able to join his one true love, Cassie, once again. He died honorably, in battle for peace, and good. He is finally at rest from his life. And his legacy will live on, in my children, and those who will follow, to become the next generation of Power Rangers.
Special Thanks: I would like to thank all of the people on the messageboard who have responded to my many questions dealing with this story. A special thanks to my friend, ZeoViolet, who helped me with the third message the Phantom left for the Rangers, as well as Jennifer, who both have listened to my various gripes about this story and other things.