Disclaimer: The Power Rangers belong to Saban/BVE and not to us... unfortunately. *sigh* We can only claim: Aidan, Ayanna, Balin, Kalinda, Riordan, Taro, Duncan, the Parks, and Rocky's family. This was written for entertainment purposes only... the only profit made will hopefully be at least one review.
Aidan fell to the ground, breathing heavily as he stared up at his opponent through heavy-lidded eyes. His once fine silk robes hung from his taunt body in tatters. His curly black hair drooped into his black eyes, which reflected his exhaustion.
His opponent stared down at him, a triumphant grin on her face. "Finally, I'll be rid of you," she said with a cackle, red lightening dancing on her fingertips.
"Never, Rita," Aidan said in a defiant tone, bright red blood staining his lips. "When you least expect it, I shall return. From the dead I will rise and defeat you."
Rita Repulsa snarled as she flung lightening at him, watching in satisfaction as his face screwed up in pain. She kept up the onslaught until his withering form slowed, then stilled. Aidan's eyes met hers one last time before the light in them dimmed and he drew one last breath before staggering, slumping lifeless to the ground. Rita threw back her head and laughed triumphantly.
Across the planet, a woman named Dulcea silently wept. Beside her stood her lover, a sad expression on his face. "Our son is dead," said Dulcea, her voice overcome with emotion. Zordon nodded sadly, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Mother, Father, weep no more, for I bring a message that will give you great joy," said a soft voice behind them. Dulcea turned, her eyes widening as she beheld the figure before her.
"Aidan!" she cried. Aidan stood before them, a blue shimmer encasing his form. "You are not dead!"
"No, Mother, I am," Aidan said sadly. "Rita has killed me. But fear not. There will come a time in the distant future when I shall return to you both."
"What do you mean, son?" Zordon said, confused.
"A child will be born on a warm spring day. His mother will go into labor before her time, whilst hiking in the mountains," Aidan said. "This child shall be my reincarnation. He will be strong in the ways of magic, strong enough to defeat Rita. But the powers will not manifest themselves until his seventeenth birthday."
"How shall we know this child?" Dulcea said. Aidan smiled, a touch of sadness overshadowing his face.
"You will know it here, Mother," he said softly, touching her chest just above her left breast, indicating her heart. Tears sprang to the young man's eyes and he stepped back. "I have lingered too long, I must go."
"Aidan, please!" Dulcea begged.
"I love you, Mother," Aidan said. "I love you, Father."
"I love you, son," Zordon said quietly. With that, Aidan faded away, leaving his parents to ponder his prophesy.
Dulcea started as she came to the Black Ninjetti Ranger. Zordon had sent forth his newest team of Rangers to quest for the Great Power that lay hidden within the monolith on the planet Phaedos, of which Dulcea was sworn to protect. She had performed the Ninjetti spirit animal ceremony on the young teens and was now telling them of their designated spirit animal.
As she looked into the eyes of the Black Frog, she gasped. "Adam? Adam, what's wrong?" she said.
"I'm a frog," the young teen said in a disappointed voice. Dulcea had to bite back her laughter.
"Yes, a frog, like the one you kiss to get a handsome prince," she said, kissing his forehead tenderly.
After the Rangers had received their powers and were settling down for the night, Dulcea, in her owl form, crept close to Adam, who lay sleeping peacefully.
My God, it is him! she thought, her eyes memorizing the contours of his face. She looked around at each of the sleeping Rangers' faces. It's all of them. . .well, almost all of them. . . She looked at the Pink Ranger, wondering where and when the rest of the Rangers would meet their missing member. And then they will all be together again. . .will they realize the significance of Zordon choosing them as Rangers? She closed her eyes, her heart singing with joy, and then she looked back down at Adam. He looks so young. . .but Aidan said I would know. . and I know that Adam Park is the one. . .the one who will bring about Rita Repulsa's demise.
Adam Park awoke with a start, uncertain of what had awakened him. Glancing at his clock, he saw that he'd awoken before his alarm sounded. Scrubbing a hand over his face, he shut the alarm off and tossed the covers aside, swinging his feet off the bed and standing up. As he ran a hand through his mass of black curls, he staggered into the bathroom to brush his teeth.
"Happy birthday, baby," his mom said as she walked past his bathroom. Adam smiled around the toothbrush in his mouth as he remembered that it was his seventeenth birthday.
"Morning, Mom," Adam said after he'd spit out the mouthful of toothpaste. As he stood over the sink, he stared at his reflection. His black, almond-shaped eyes shined brightly and he smiled at himself.
Finishing with his teeth, Adam made his way back to his room, where he dressed in black jeans and a white t-shirt. Going down the stairs, he kissed his mom goodbye before setting off, intending to walk down to his friend Rocky's house. As he walked down his driveway, he glanced over in their neighbor's yard in time to see Ms. Lindner lock her keys in her car.
"Damn," the woman cursed in German.
He was about to call out a greeting to her when he blinked his eyes and found himself back in his bedroom, just finishing pulling on his shirt.
"I made you breakfast, honey!" his mom called from the kitchen.
Adam sprang back from his dresser, looking around his room, a startled expression on his face. "Whoa," he said.
After he'd finished breakfast, he kissed his mother goodbye and walked warily out of his house, glancing over at Ms. Lindner's yard. The young German was just about to close her car door, not suspecting the keys still hung in the ignition.
"Ms. Lindner!" Adam called out.
"Morning, Adam!" she said, smiling.
"You, uh, you're going to lock your keys in your car," Adam said, blushing. Ms. Lindner was a hot dish, with her shapely figure and cute smile. Too bad she was way older than him.
Ms. Lindner glanced back at her car and saw the keys dangling from the ignition.
"Oh, thank you, Adam," she said. "You saved me having to call the locksmith."
"You're welcome," Adam said, though he wasn't sure how he'd known. Shrugging it off, he continued to Rocky's.
"Hey, it's the birthday boy!" Rocky DeSantos said as his best friend walked up his driveway.
"Hi Rocky," Adam said.
"You okay, Adam?" Rocky said, his eyebrows knitting together. Adam didn't sound like himself. He was. . .quiet, more quiet than usual.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Adam said. He couldn't explain it, but he felt. . .different somehow.
"Let's hope Rita doesn't send any monsters today," Rocky said, clapping a hand on Adam's shoulder. "Come on, we gotta get to school." Rocky threw his backpack into his Jeep and jumped behind the wheel. "Think your parents are getting you a car?"
Adam shrugged. "Don't see where they could have hidden it."
"Maybe they haven't picked it up from the dealership yet," Rocky said, smiling mischievously. Adam returned the smile.
"We'll see," he said.
"Happy birthday, Adam!" Katherine Hillard said as Rocky and Adam joined the rest of their friends in the hallways of Angel Grove High School. Adam blushed as the pretty Australian girl kissed his cheek.
"Hey, happy birthday," Aisha Campbell said, coming up behind Adam, who blushed. The ebony-skinned girl handed him an envelope as she hugged him. "You get the gift later," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
"There's more?" Adam said shyly. "I thought the hug was my gift." Aisha playfully punched him in the shoulder as he laughed.
"Happy birthday," Tommy Oliver said as he joined the group. Billy Cranston offered his birthday wishes to Adam and the teens made they way to their first period class.
As their teacher, Miss Appleby, went over the homework they'd been assigned, Adam found his thoughts wandering. He wasn't sure why, but he felt changed, in a way he hadn't discerned yet.
Adam found his attention focusing on the pretty blue sky outside the classroom window and he turned his head toward it, his eyes drawing pictures in the white clouds. The warmth of the sunshine streaming down on him lulled him into a light sleep, his mind drifting.
He was startled to find himself lying on his back in a grassy field, staring up at the sky. But wait, there was something wrong. Instead of the comforting sky blue he was used to, the sky was a dark blue, the clouds pink.
"Look up at the clouds, Aidan," said a soft feminine voice in Adam's ear. It sounded familiar but he couldn't place it. "Tell me what you see."
"I see. . ."
"Adam, are you paying attention?" Miss Appleby's voice melded with that in Adam's dream as he blinked his eyes, bringing himself back to his math class. Miss Applebee hovered over his desk, her arms crossed over her chest, a stern look on her face.
"Um. . ." Adam stammered, his face blushing as he sat up straight in his chair. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"I want to see you after class, Adam," Miss Appleby said, passing by his desk. Adam caught Rocky's concerned glance and shrugged it off, trying to focus on what his teacher was saying.
Rita Repulsa paced the throne room of her palace on the moon. She had awoken that morning, a dreadful feeling settling over her. She couldn't put her finger on what was wrong, but she knew something was about to happen. I bet those Power Brats are up to something, she thought.
"What troubles you, my Queen?" her loyal henchman Finster said. Rita snorted, ignoring him. Then she suddenly spun to face him, startling the timid creature.
"Find me a monster, Finster," Rita said.
"A monster?" Finster repeated.
"Yes, the most dastardly monster you can think of," she said.
"Very well, my Queen," Finster said, bowing.
"And send down those putties to create some havoc," she said.
"As you wish, my Queen," Finster said, leaving Rita alone to brood over her strange feeling.
"Adam, you okay?" Rocky asked as they walked through the halls to their next class.
"I'm fine," Adam said.
"You sure?" Rocky said. "I've never seen you space out in class."
Adam froze as Rocky was talking to him, the hairs on the back on his neck standing on end as he tensed. Rocky stared at his friend as he stopped dead in the hallway.
"Adam?" he said, passing a hand in front of his friend's eyes. "Adam, you're scaring me," Rocky said when Adam didn't respond. "Hey!" Rocky shouted, snapping his fingers in Adam's face. Adam blinked his eyes, the glazed look disappearing from his face.
"What?" he said.
"Dude, you spaced out again," Rocky said. "What's up?"
"I thought. . ." Adam cut off, his face blushing.
"Thought what?" Rocky asked. "Adam!" he cried when his friend didn't answer.
"We were in the park, being attacked by putties," Adam finished sheepishly. Rocky regarded his friend with a strange look as their communicators beeped.
"Guys, get down to the park!" Tommy's voice came over Rocky's communicator. "Putties just attacked."
"On our way," Rocky said, his face showing his surprise as the two friends teleported away.
"How did you know?" Rocky asked Adam after they'd defeated the putties. Adam shrugged.
"Know what?" Tommy asked. Rocky told the other Rangers about the incident in the hallway.
"It's not a big deal," Adam said shyly.
"Yeah it is," Tommy said. "This could really help us in the future."
"Come on, guys," Kat said. "Let's get back to class." Tommy seemed reluctant to drop the subject, but did so at Kat's insistence.
As they walked back to the school, Adam was lagging behind, rubbing his neck. Something strange was happening to him, something he couldn't understand. Something that scared him.
He looked up and saw Rocky and Aisha standing in front of him.
"Are you all right?" Aisha asked, her eyes full of worry.
"Yes. . .I mean, no, I. . .I don't know."
"You should talk to Zordon about this," Rocky said. "Maybe he knows what's going on with you."
"You're right. I'll go see him later." If I should survive this day.
"Hey Kat, want to go with me downtown?" Aisha asked as the two girls walked down the hall. School had just let out for the day and they were standing in front of their lockers, gathering books they would need for homework.
"Sure," Kat said, tossing a lock of hair out of her blue eyes. "What's in town?"
"I have to buy Adam a birthday present," Aisha said, feeling herself blush. Kat smiled knowingly.
"What'd you have in mind?" the Australian girl asked. Aisha shrugged.
"I don't really know," she said.
"Well, I know this really great pawn shop," Kat said. "Me mum found it when we first moved here. They've got awesome stuff."
"Let's check it out," Aisha said. The girls linked arms and strolled out of the school.
"Finster!" Rita's voice echoed through the Moon Palace, disturbing Lord Zedd as he slumbered. He grumbled as he threw back the covers and stepped out of bed, going to investigate the noise.
"Yes, my Queen?" Finster called from his laboratory, where he was busy preparing Rita's monster.
"Do you have a monster ready for me?" Rita demanded, her hands on her hip.
"Oh, yes, my Queen," Finster said. "I believe you remember Duncan, evil warlock." A tall figure appeared before Rita, catching the evil sorceress by surprise. His dark hair was swept back in a long ponytail, his skin pale. His dark eyes stared into hers.
"I am Duncan," he said in a deep baritone.
"Duncan," Rita said, cackling with delight as she looked him up and down. He was dressed in black leather pants and a white frilly shirt. A long black trench coat hung from his shoulders.
"It has been a long time since I have had the pleasure of your company, Empress Rita," Duncan said, taking her hand in his and kissing her knuckles.
"Too long," Rita said, cackling.
"What do you wish for me to do, Empress?" Duncan asked.
"Well, Duncan, your mission is to go down to Earth and wreck havoc on the Power Rangers."
Duncan bowed his head at the neck. "My pleasure, my Queen." With a swirl of his coat, he disappeared in a puff of black smoke.
"What is going on?" Zedd demanded, entering the room. "And who was that?"
"Oh, nobody, Zeddie," Rita said, rubbing her hands together gleefully. "Just the destruction of the Power Rangers."
"How about this, Aisha?" Kat asked, holding up a black woven necklace, with a dragon charm hanging off the end.
Aisha shook her head. "He's got tons of dragon stuff. I want to get him something that's unique." She walked along the rows of jewelry cases, idling running the tips of her fingers across the glass. She wasn't really focusing on the necklaces, bracelets and other trinkets until she felt a tingle of electricity go through her.
Aisha stopped and stared, her eyes widening as she glanced down. There in the case, nestled in black velvet, was the most exquisite stone Aisha had ever seen. She felt drawn to it, almost magically, and instantly she knew it was the perfect gift.
"Kat, I think I found it," she said excitedly. Kat wandered over and gasped as she saw the necklace.
"Wow! I think he's gonna like it."
Later that day, the Rangers were hanging out in the Juice Bar, trying to figure out why the putties had attacked. Kay and Aisha were sitting at a table, watching as Rocky and Tommy sparred. Billy and Adam were discussing Billy's latest invention, Adam forgetting his visions in doing so.
"Aisha, just give him the gift," Kat said with an amused smile on her face. Aisha held a small package wrapped in reddish-orange paper. At that moment, Rocky and Tommy joined them, both sweaty. They quickly ordered drinks from Ernie.
"I don't know if he'll like it," Aisha said.
"What is it?" Rocky asked as he sipped his smoothie.
"It's a necklace," Aisha said shyly. "Kat and I were in the pawn shop today. I was just looking around when I saw it in a jewelry case."
"It's beautiful. The guy said it's made of real gold and has a gemstone pendant."
"Oh, yeah? What?" Rocky asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Just wait and see," Aisha said.
"I think Adam will like it. Why don't you go give it to him?" Tommy said.
Aisha blushed. "He's busy talking with Billy."
Kat glanced over her shoulder, a grin breaking out on her face. "Not anymore," she said. "He's coming this way."
Aisha glanced over her shoulder to see the two boys walking over to the table, laughing and joking. "Hey, guys," she said.
"Hey Aisha," Adam said, turning his smile on her. She nearly melted, then swallowed nervously. She'd known Adam all her life, he was one of her best friends, why did she suddenly have amorous feelings for him? Although she had to admit he was cute, especially when he was asleep. He looks so adorable, she thought, feeling herself blush.
"Here you go, buddy," Rocky said, sliding a large box wrapped in fluorescent green paper over to Adam. "That's from me, Tommy and Billy." He and Tommy exchanged mischievous grins while Billy merely gazed at Adam, his eyes sparkling.
Adam raised an eyebrow as he looked at the garishly wrapped box in front of him.
"Come on, big guy," Tommy said. "Open it."
"I'm afraid to," Adam admitted.
"It won't bite," Billy said. Adam fixed his friends with a disbelieving stare and gingerly began to tear into the wrapping paper. Setting aside the paper, he carefully lifted the lid of the box, a wide grin breaking out on his Korean face.
"What is it?" Kat asked curiously, trying to peer into the box. Adam reached in, laughing as he pulled out the contents.
"Oh, how cute!" Aisha and Kat exclaimed at the sight of the green stuffed frog Adam held in his hands.
"Funny, guys," Adam said, flashing a smile. Rocky and Tommy slapped each other five.
"It was Billy's idea," Rocky said. Adam looked at his best friend in surprise.
"Really? I expected you to be the mastermind, Rocky," he said.
"Nope, Billy beat me to it," Rocky said, slapping Billy on the back.
"Um, Adam," Aisha said. Adam turned to her, smiling softly.
"What's up?" he said.
"This is for you," she said, handing him the box. Adam accepted it, blushing.
"Thank you," he said.
"You haven't even opened it, dude," Rocky said. Kat lightly smacked his elbow. "What?" he asked innocently. Adam gently tore the paper off the box and picked up the lid, setting it aside. He gasped as he stared down at the crystal point shaped reddish-orange stone that lay nestled in the center of red tissue paper. Delicately, he fished it out and saw it hung from a gold chain.
"Wow, it's awesome," Rocky said. "I've never seen such a stone before."
"It's a carnelian," Billy said. "It's a stone of the chalcedony family. The red color is due to iron oxides." He took a closer look at the stone. "You know, guys, in the Middle Ages, carnelian stones were thought to protect from nightmares and magic spells. It's also said that the stone brings luck and supports clear thinking, mental processing, creativity, confidence and courage. . . especially the courage to speak," he said with a wink, hinting at Adam's trademark shyness. Tommy, Kat, Aisha and Rocky couldn't help but grin at Billy's words.
"Seems like the perfect gift for Adam then," Rocky joked. But his friend didn't react. Adam just stared at the stone, fascinated. The moment Adam touched the stone, a wave of familiarity washed over him. He saw a young ebony-skinned woman standing across from him, her eyes alive with happiness.
"Here, Aidan," she said. "Let me help you put it on."
He felt hands take the necklace from his and those same hands brush against him as they lowered the necklace around his neck and fastened it.
"Wow, it's awesome," Rocky said, his voice mingling with that of the woman from Adam's vision.
"I have something to tell you, Aidan," the young woman said shyly, her head dipping.
"What is it, Ayanna?" he heard himself say.
"I love you," Ayanna said before her lips brushed the skin of his neck.
"Who's Ayanna?" Kat asked, confused. Adam blinked his eyes and saw his friends staring at him strangely.
"Um. . ." Adam felt himself blushing and bowed his head. At that moment, Tommy's communicator began to beep. He motioned for the Rangers to follow him outside the Juice Bar.
"We read you, Zordon," he said.
"Rita has unleashed a new monster," Zordon's deep voice came over the communicator. "Teleport to the Command Center immediately."
"On our way," Tommy said. The six friends teleported, a kaleidoscope of colors.
They gathered around the viewing globe as Zordon showed them the scene of Duncan prowling around outside the Youth Center, bolts of red lightening flying from his fingers.
"What is that, Zordon?" Billy asked.
"That is Duncan, an evil warlock," Zordon said. The six Rangers turned to face their leader and Zordon caught sight of Adam's necklace. The pendent caught his attention and he stared closely at it.
It can't be! he thought, shock coursing through him. Aidan's pendent. The necklace was the same as the one worn by his long-dead son. Zordon thought briefly of the prophesy his son had made. Could this be the child he spoke of? He would have to have Alpha investigate Adam's birth.
"What are we waiting for, Rangers?" Tommy said.
"Rangers, you must be careful," Zordon said. "Duncan is powerful in the ways of magic." He cast a guarded glance in Adam's direction, who was staring at the globe.
"We'll be careful, Zordon," Tommy said, nodding. "Rangers, it's morphin' time!"
The six Rangers teleported away, leaving Zordon quietly contemplating the necklace around Adam's neck. He was sure it had belonged to his son.
"Alpha," he said quietly. Alpha shuffled over from the panel he'd been working on.
"I need you to find out where and when Adam was born," Zordon said.
"Yes, Zordon," Alpha said, punching commands into the computer. "Here we go. Adam Lucas Park, born March 24, 1980."
"A warm spring day," Zordon whispered. "Where?"
Alpha scanned the document. "Apparently, Adam was born in the mountains surrounding Stone Canyon where his parents were hiking. He wasn't supposed to be born until some time in April."
Zordon nodded. "Thank you, Alpha."
"You're welcome," Alpha said, watching Zordon ponder over the information.
The six Rangers had teleported to the Youth Center, where they stood in battle stances as their eyes scanned their surroundings.
"Ah, the infamous Power Twerps," said a deep baritone from behind them. "At last we meet."
The Rangers spun to face the warlock Duncan, who snarled at them as he unleashed a stream of lightening at them. All the Rangers collapsed, except the Black Ranger, who stood with his feet apart, his hand up, fingers splayed outward as his palm caught the lightening. His helmet hid his look of pain and concentration as he sent the lightening flying back toward the warlock, the Rangers looking on in amazement.
"Wow!" Rocky said.
"What the-?" Adam stared down at his gloved hand, his helmet hiding his now-shocked expression. A squad of putties appeared to deal with the rest of the Rangers as Duncan pulled himself to his feet. He glared at the young Ranger, who still gawked at his hand in amazement.
"I don't know how you did that, but nobody throws my lightening back at me and gets away with it!" Duncan bellowed.
Crossing his hands over his face, a ball of pure energy appeared between his hands. He flung it at Adam, who cried out as he was hurled backwards. His helmet cracked against a tree and his vision swam before he sank into blackness.
"Adam!" Aisha cried out, her hand going to her head. She fought off the putties attacking her and whirled to see Adam's prone form on the ground, Duncan towering over him, laughing.
"Guys, Adam's in trouble!" Kat yelled. The other Rangers whipped around, Rocky automatically racing to his best friend's side.
"Rocky, get him to Zordon!" Tommy shouted. Rocky tapped his communicator to alert Zordon they were coming, then cradled the unconscious Adam in his arms as he teleported away. The rest of the Rangers followed shortly after.
"How is he?" Rocky asked, looking at Alpha. Since their arrival in the Power Chamber, neither Rocky nor Aisha had left Adam's side.
"Aye yai yai yai. . .he has a slight concussion, but I think he'll be fine soon."
A collective sigh of relief went through the Power Chamber. Rocky put an arm around Aisha's shoulders, pulling her close for a moment, while Kat and Billy just smiled at each other. Tommy watched his friends silently. Alpha's words had taken a heavy load off his mind. The thought of losing Adam -or any of the other Rangers- was unbearable to him. Once again, he let his gaze wander around the room. It was surprising how fast the team had grown so close. Never before in his life, Tommy had felt so. . .attached to anyone, including his parents and Kim. With each moment they spent together fighting monsters or just hanging out at the Youth Center, this feeling grew stronger and stronger. He realized they already were beyond friendship.
Somehow, slowly and unnoticed, they had become a family.
And now one member of this family was hurt. Though he knew now that Adam would be all right, Tommy couldn't help but worry about the Black Ranger. After seeing him reflecting Duncan's attack, Tommy had known something really strange was going on with Adam. And not only with him.
Over the past few weeks, the White Ranger had noticed changes going on with himself. Sometimes, especially at night or when he was at the Power Chamber, he heard familiar voices. He even saw his friends wearing different clothes then they actually did. Once, he even thought he saw Billy with a ponytail. The strangest thing had happened a few days ago. When they had come to the Power Chamber, he had suddenly seen Zordon. But their mentor hadn't been in his tube. Tommy had seen him standing in front of them, the way he must have looked before he was confined to his prison of glass.
But this moment had passed soon, just like all the others before. He remembered the day it all had begun. It wasn't the day his family had moved to Angel Grove, the day Rita had given him the Green Ranger powers, the day he had become the White Ranger. . . It had begun on the day he had met Adam, Rocky and Aisha for the first time. In that very first second, Tommy had immediately felt a strong connection to them, especially to Adam.
A soft voice pulled him out of his reverie. Tommy looked up. What he saw took his breath away. Right in front of him stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She wore a soft pink sleeveless dress, which accentuated every curve of her tall, feminine body. Two slits running up to her thighs revealed long legs with every step she took. Her golden hair hung down to her waist, curling softly at the tips. Her pale - and strangely familiar - face was framed by two thin braids, with leather cords worked into them. A pair of crystal clear blue eyes looked at him, full of worry.
Tommy blinked a few times, and the image in front of his eyes changed. The woman's hair grew shorter, until it fell just a few inches below her shoulders. The braids disappeared, and her dress turned into a Power Ranger's suit. The Pink Ranger's suit to be exact.
"Katherine?" he asked, a little confused about the image he had just seen.
"Are you all right?" she asked and put a hand on his arm.
"Yes, I'm. . .I'm fine," he stammered, not able to shake the picture of his mind. "I'm just. . ."
". . .worried about Adam?"
"Yeah. Aw man, this Duncan guy is so dead when I get my hands on him."
"Get in line," Kat said with a smile. "If Rocky and Aisha should leave a little bit of him for us."
Tommy chuckled softly. Somehow Kat always seemed to know, what he needed, what to say or do to cheer him up.
"Don't worry about Adam. He's a fighter. He'll be up and running again in no time."
"Thanks, Kal. . .Kat."
Kal? Why did I call her Kal? Tommy wondered. He didn't know anybody named Kal. . .especially nobody who looked even a bit like Kat.
Kat. . . She was one of the biggest parts in the mysterious puzzle that once had been his life. The moment she had stepped into the Youth Center, he had felt the same connection to her he had to Billy, Rocky, Adam and Aisha, yet it was a lot stronger. What surprised him even more was that since her joining the team, he felt that everything was how it was supposed to be.
Slowly, the darkness surrounding him was giving way to the light, the silence was broken by soft, whispering voices that grew louder every second. His eyelids felt heavy like lead at first, but he managed to open his eyes. The first thing he saw was a blur of red and yellow. Then a familiar voice reached his ears.
"Adam?" a woman said, her voice full of relief and happiness.
Adam? Who's Adam? he wondered and blinked a few times, trying to clear the image in front of him. Slowly, the red something in front of him turned into a human shape, the shape of a young man.
Riordan? his mind screamed when he recognized the man as his best and oldest friend. Then, he looked at the yellow clad figure and froze. He looked into a face he knew too well. Slowly, without taking his eyes off the young woman, he sat up, reached out and touched her face.
For a moment he enjoyed the feeling of her soft skin against his. As he moved to touch her hair, he noticed it. Her hair, once long and curly, was now straight and barely touched her shoulders. Then suddenly the memories came back. The memories of the last time he had seen the woman he loved more than anything in this world, and he realized that the girl in front of him wasn't her.
He jumped of the cot he'd been lying on and kept it between him and. . .the imposters.
"Stay away from me," he yelled.
Aisha almost cried out with joy, when Adam's eyelids started to flutter. She had to fight back tears, when he finally opened his eyes and looked at her. And then something happened, something she had dreamed of for so long. Adam reached out his hand and touched her cheek. In this moment, Aisha practically felt her heart skipping a beat. Feeling his strong hand against her skin was incredibly wonderful, more than she had ever thought it would. Time and space seemed to vanish. An image came to her mind. An image of her and Adam, walking along the shores of an ocean hand in hand, while the sun was slowly setting. Adam wore his Ninjetti suit, Aisha a precious, light yellow dress. Finally they stopped to watch the sunset. Adam wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing the top of her head and whispering something in her ear.
"I love you, Ayanna."
Ayanna? she wondered, hearing the name for the second time today. Her vision faded the moment Adam broke the skin contact and jumped off the bed.
"Stay away from me," he yelled.
Aisha and Rocky looked at each other confused. "Adam? What's wrong, man?" Rocky asked. Never before he had seen his friend in such a state. Adam looked like a scared, haunted animal.
"Everything is wrong!"
Tommy, Kat and Billy came closer to their friends, wondering what had gotten into Adam.
"This has to be one of Rita's tricks. You aren't here. You can't be here."
"Why not?" Billy asked, confused.
"Because you are all dead!"
The Power Rangers looked at each other, shocked.
"Adam, what are you talking about?" Aisha asked, her face showing a mixture of fear and confusion.
"They killed you! I saw it! I saw all of you either dead or dying."
Duncan, you fucking bastard. Whatever you have done to him, you're gonna pay for it ten times worse, Billy thought, being surprised about himself. He never used neither thought such words before. He'd expected something like this from Rocky or Tommy or even Aisha, after once having heard her curse worse than a sailor could, but never of himself.
From the corner of his eye he could see Kat stepping forward, holding her hands up to show Adam that she had nothing to harm him with.
"Adam," she said in a soft, soothing voice. "Listen to me. Nobody hurt us. When Duncan attacked you, you were thrown against a tree and hit your head. You've been unconscious for the past two hours." Carefully, she stepped closer.
"Kat. . ." she heard Tommy's worried voice say, but that didn't stop her.
"Believe me, everything's okay, Adam."
She reached out her hand. Adam looked at her skeptically.
She looks and sounds like Kalinda, he thought. But Kalinda never spoke with an accent.
He hesitated for a moment, but then he took the hand reaching out to him. . .and pulled the imposter to him in a quick movement, turning her back to him and taking her into a chokehold.
"If anybody moves, I'll break her neck."
"KAT!" Tommy shouted and wanted to leap forward, but Billy held him back, fearing Adam would carry out his threat. He looked at Rocky and Aisha who were paralyzed with fear.
"Oh my God," Rocky whispered, not believing what his eyes saw. This wasn't the Adam Park he used to know.
"Let me out of here," Adam said. "Or. . ."
Tommy saw Kat's eyes, which were wide with fear, but also telling him that she trusted him to make the right decision. He took a step forward and saw that Adam's grip around the Pink Ranger's throat tightened.
"Adam, we're your friends," he said. "Let her go. Please."
For a moment, the young man was tempted to do it. But then, his eyes hardened even more.
"You may look like my friends, but you aren't them. You are imposters, illusions."
"What makes you think that?" Rocky asked.
"HE!" Adam shouted, pointing to Tommy. "The last time I saw him, Taro had a scar on his left cheek. And now it's gone!"
Taro? Zordon thought. By the Powers, it IS him.
"Taro?" Billy asked, suddenly starting to realize what could be going on. But before he could say anything, a voice behind them spoke.
"Let Katherine go. . .Aidan," Zordon ordered.
Aidan? Aisha mouthed to Rocky who just shrugged.
Shocked at hearing the familiar voice, the young man in black let go of his hostage. Katherine dropped to her knees, coughing and gasping for air. Tommy rushed to her side, while Adam just stepped forward to the tube holding the Rangers' mentor and looked at him with a mixture of shock and surprise. Then he said just one word, one word that confused his friends even more, one word that confirmed Billy's theory.
The moment Adam released Kat, Tommy leaped forward, taking her into his arms. She was shaking, coughing and trying hard to breathe.
"It's all right, Kat," he whispered in her ear. "I got you."
After a few second, he felt her relaxing against him, her breathing much easier. Right now he didn't know whose heart he wanted to rip out first: Duncan's or Adam's, but it didn't matter now anyway.
"Are you okay?" he asked Kat. Good question, genius. One of her closest friends just tried to choke her, of course she isn't okay, Tommy chided himself. But then he saw Katherine nod.
"Yes, I'm. . .I'm okay," she whispered, leaning into him for a few seconds. "Help me up."
Gladly Tommy obeyed and helped her to her feet, steadying her with his arm. Then he looked at Adam.
If looks could kill, Adam would be dead ten times over by now, Billy thought. Or better, his body would be dead. He watched Tommy and Kat for a second, noticing how gentle and tender he treated her. For a second, he tried to imagine Tommy's girlfriend Kimberly in Kat's position, but much to his surprise, he couldn't. It somehow seemed. . .wrong to him. He always saw Kat in Tommy's arms. He wondered if Tommy missed Kim as much as he himself did. Then, suddenly, Adam's voice pulled him out of his reverie.
"Father???" Rocky repeated, throwing his hands into the air. "Okay, this is it! Are you sure it was Adam who hit his head? 'Cause I'm starting to think it was me and I'm having a nightmare."
"No, Rocky, it was me," Aisha said. "'Cause I have one hell of a headache now." They watched Adam. . .Aidan, staring up at Zordon.
"Father," he said unbelieving. "What happened to you? Who did this to you? And. . .and where is mother?"
"One question at a time, Aidan," Zordon said, barely able to control his voice. His son was back. "Your mother has become the guardian of the Ninjetti powers on the planet Phaedos."
A look of relief spread across the young man's face. "But what about you?"
"This question will have to be answered later, Aidan. Right now, there are more urgent ones," Zordon said, seeing the looks on the Rangers' faces.
"You can bet your head on that, Zordon!" Rocky said angrily. "You really mean to tell us that Adam is your son?"
"No," Zordon said. "My son's name was Aidan. He was a Power Ranger, one of the first Rangers ever. His mother and I were proud that our only child was given this honor. His fellow Rangers became the brothers and sisters we could never give to him. They faced Rita many times and always won. But then, one day, she. . ." Zordon looked at Adam's. . .Aidan's expression before he continued, ". . .fate turned against them. Rita took advantage of one Ranger being unable to fight. . .she sent Duncan, who killed the first yellow Ranger."
Aisha gasped in horror, while the others just stared in shock.
"How. . .?" Aisha almost whispered.
"The same way he tried to kill you today," Aidan said in a toneless voice, trying to block the image that threatened to come up again.
"You mean this lightning thing?" Rocky asked.
"Yes," Zordon said. "Aidan's mother is a powerful sorceress, but even she wasn't strong enough to protect this poor girl."
Oh Aidan, I wish I could spare you this memory.
Zordon saw the tears in Aidan's eyes and also those in Aisha's. He knew she felt with Aidan. . .and he also knew perfectly well why.
"The Rangers knew in that moment that their final battle against Rita had come. But with Duncan at her side, she was almost unbeatable. One by one, the Rangers fell, until only Aidan remained. He faced Rita. And he lost. But he promised that on a very special day, a child would be born. . .and this child would be his reincarnation. On his 17th birthday his powers given to him by me and his mother should start to manifest."
"Adam," Aisha said.
"That's true, Aisha," Zordon said. "In Adam, my son was born again. And he wasn't the only one."
"Huh?" Rocky scratched his head, even more confused then before, but then Tommy, who was still tending to Kat with Billy's help, revealed the mystery.
"You. . .you mean we all are. . ."
". . .reincarnations of the first Rangers," Zordon finished his sentence.
"It must be true," Aidan said, turning to Tommy. "It would be the explanation why I mistook you for Taro. You look exactly like him."
Tommy gave the boy in front a faint smile. Aidan was a stranger with one of his best friends' face, but yet he felt he knew everything there was to know. Aidan just looked at him with a mixture of guilt and sadness. His gaze traveled to the young woman sitting on a chair. A dark, ugly bruise was starting to show on her pale neck. He took a step forward, remembering the name his father had called the girl by.
The pink Ranger looked at him, but much to Aidan's surprise, there was no fear, only trust and friendly affection. It seemed to him that there was more of Kalinda in her than he had thought. He remembered the pink Ranger he had known. Kalinda could be one of the fiercest fighters he'd ever known, but her heart had been made of purest gold.
"I. . .I want to apologize for what I have done. My parents taught me to never raise a hand against a woman, but. . ."
". . .you were scared."
Aidan smiled softly and looked down. It didn't surprise him that she exactly knew what he had felt. Kalinda had been a telepath with strong empathic abilities. And it seemed to him that these gifts had been passed on to Katherine. He remembered countless times her abilities had been a favor, especially once. . .
Aidan couldn't help it. No matter how hard he tried, for a few weeks now, his eyes had developed a life of their own. Every time Ayanna, the yellow Ranger, appeared in his sight, his eyes refused to look at anything else. Not that it was something he would like to change. . .Ayanna was pretty. No, not pretty, she was beautiful. Beautiful, caring, intelligent, strong. . .she was everything a man could wish for.
Everything I'm looking for, he thought.
"Then why don't you tell her?" a female voice asked from behind.
Aidan closed his eyes and shook his head, grinning. "Kalinda," he said. "How many times have I told you to not snoop around in my thoughts?"
"3,267 times," the young blonde woman answered and sat down next to him on a rock. Aidan shook his head. Sometimes Kalinda was unbelievable. Dead serious in one moment, joking around the next.
"It's beautiful here. No wonder this spot became your favorite place," Kalinda said, looking down at a big, dark forest.
"Yes. It's a wonderful place to think about. . .things."
"Things or people?"
Aidan sighed. "You don't ever give up, do you?"
"I don't even know how to spell it," Kalinda said. "So, why don't you tell Ayanna that you like her?"
"Why don't you tell Taro the same thing?"
Kalinda blushed. "He doesn't even think about me. But I know firsthand that Ayanna can barely think about anything else than you."
"Yes, really. She really likes you. Don't pass up this chance."
Kalinda squeezed his hand, before she went back into the Power Chamber. Aidan turned his eyes back to the stars, making a decision. Then, he too went back inside to look for Ayanna...
END OF FLASHBACK
"Ad. . .Aidan?" Katherine's voice pulled him back to reality. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am. I just. . .remembered something."
Kat saw the sad look in his eyes. For a moment she even thought she had heard his voice in her head, but quickly dismissed this thought.
"I hope you can forgive me for. . ." Aidan couldn't go on.
Kat reached out and touched his arm. "There is nothing to forgive."
A small smile was all Aidan could give for an answer. He stood up and walked over to Tommy, Rocky and Aisha, while Billy examined Kat's neck. The moment Aidan's eyes met Rocky's, he knew the red Ranger didn't take the situation as well as the others. Aidan could practically feel the daggers Rocky shot at him.
"Listen, I. . ." Aidan began.
"Save the breath," Rocky said angrily. "Whatever it is, I don't want to hear it. All I want to hear right now is what happened to Adam and when he will be back."
"I have a theory on this," Billy said. "If it is true that we are reincarnations of the former Rangers, then maybe their souls or a part of their souls is living on in us. So maybe, due to external influences, they could resurface."
"You mean that the hit on Adam's head could have caused Aidan to appear?" Aisha asked.
"And how can we get Adam back?" Rocky asked impatiently.
"That's what I still have to find out."
"Better hurry with it," Rocky said and retreated to a corner away from Aidan. Tommy wanted to go after him, but Aisha and Aidan stopped him.
"Let him be," they said simultaneously and looked at each other surprised.
"He. . .he needs to cool down. It's better if you leave him alone for a while," Aisha said.
Tommy looked at her for a second, but then, knowing that she knew Rocky better than the rest of the team, he just nodded. He sighed, when suddenly he felt something warm on his neck. It was a pleasant, slightly tickling feeling. Somehow he thought he could even breath easier. He enjoyed this feeling, until he heard Aisha's voice.
"Oh my God!" she said aloud and grabbed Tommy's arm, pointing at Billy and Kat. Tommy couldn't believe his eyes. Billy's hand was just mere inches above Kat's larynx. . .and it was glowing in a soft blue light.
Katherine sat completely still, her eyes closed, while her bruise started to fade away.
"Holy cow," Rocky muttered, stepping closer again. "What is he doing?"
"Repairing the damage I have done," Aidan whispered.
Slowly, the glow around Billy's hand vanished along with Kat's bruise. Billy looked at his hand, stunned, then at Kat's throat and back at his hand again.
"How. . .why. . ." he stammered. "Did I do that?"
"Obviously," Aisha replied, still staring at him. With a mixture of curiosity and concern, Tommy knelt down next to Kat and took a close look at her neck. The bruise was completely gone, like it had never even existed.
This is too strange, he thought, barely able to resist the urge to touch the pink Ranger's soft skin or her fragrant hair.
"You can say that again," Kat said.
"What do you mean?"
"That all of this is too strange. That's what you just said, isn't it?"
Tommy stared at her in disbelief.
"Kat, I didn't say anything."
"But I thought. . .I thought I heard your voice. Oh, never mind."
"How. . .how do you feel?" Tommy tried to change the subject.
"My neck doesn't hurt anymore. Whatever Billy did, it was wonderful. It tickled a little, but it felt great, so warm and. . .Tommy what's wrong?" Katherine asked when she saw her leader's face paling.
From a short distance, Aidan watched them. The look on Tommy's face told him that Kat seemed to have read his thoughts. Or maybe he had felt the same thing she had when Balin. . .Billy had healed her. Memories of Taro and Kalinda came back to him. How they always used to be close together, fighting side by side, or just talking in the Power Chamber. And yet they never got a chance. . .
I hope you will have more luck, Tommy and Katherine. And more time on this world.
It hurt a little to watch them. . .all of them. They looked like his friends, but Aidan knew they weren't. Riordan would never have reacted as strongly as Rocky had earlier. He'd never thought about standing up to Zordon like this. And Billy. . .he seemed to be so calm and collected. Balin sometimes had a bad temper and his choice of words often left much to be desired.
And Tommy and Katherine. . .it was obvious that both cherished the strong feeling they felt for each other, but didn't have the courage to confess it, just like Taro and Kalinda. But that seemed to be the only thing they had common. Katherine seemed less self confident then Kalinda had been. And Tommy. . . Aidan saw something in his eyes he had never seen in Taro's. Pain. Insecurity. Doubt. He didn't know what was the reason for this, but maybe he could find out.
"I can't believe this. Please tell me that didn't happen," he heard Billy say. Slowly, Aidan turned around.
"It did happen. And you don't have to worry about it."
"You seem to know more about this, don't you?"
"In fact I do. Balin, the blue Ranger on my team, had the gift of healing. He could heal wounds and illnesses by just putting his hand on you."
"Does that mean, I'm . . ."
"Balin's reincarnation. . .in a way."
"In a way?" Billy asked.
"Yes. Your personalities are quite unlike." Aidan smiled sadly as he remembered some of Balin's outbursts. Mostly they had been verbally, but there were also times he had not gotten out of the way of a physical brawl, which often ended with the other Rangers having to fight along with him. . . or knock him out cold to protect him.
But the young man who was now standing in front of him. . .one look at him told Aidan that Billy was personified gentleness.
"Can. . .can you tell us more about the. . .other Rangers?" a female voice asked. It was the voice he loved so much, one he'd been longing to hear. But at the same he felt like his heart was torn to pieces. He looked at the young woman who was a mirror image of his beloved Ayanna. Aidan could hardly bear to look at her. He knew he should be happy that a part of her was still alive, but the pain of losing her and the memories of the happiest time in his life were just too strong. Tears welled up in his eyes and that didn't escape Aisha's notice.
"What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I should be, but. . ."
He saw the concern in Aisha's eyes, heard it in her voice. It was more than Aidan could take.
"Rangers," Zordon intervened, wanting to spare his son any more pain than he already felt. "If you seek knowledge of the first Power Rangers, the Archive holds all the answers."
"But Zordon," Billy spoke up. "I know the Archive like the back of my hand. There are no files about Aidan and his team."
"That's true, Billy," Alpha said. "Not in the data bases you have access to."
Aisha looked up at their mentor. "Zordon, I don't understand. Why did you keep those files secret from us?"
"Long ago I decided not to let your development as Rangers be influenced by the accomplishments of former teams. Each set of Rangers was different from the one before, and it was good this way. But there was also are more personal reason."
He turned to Aidan. "Those files. . .are a painful reminder of what we have lost. And that I was unable to protect any of them, especially my own flesh and blood."
The Rangers were stunned. Never before had they heard Zordon talking about something so close to his heart, in such an emotional way.
"But father," Aidan said. "What happened to us wasn't your fault. We made the decision to go, and fate made the decision to take our lives. Taro, Kalinda, Balin, Riordan. . . Ayanna and me, we all knew that the day would come that one or all of us wouldn't survive. But that was a chance we loved to take, because we knew it would not be in vain. We knew you would not let it be in vain. And you didn't let us down. I know you believe you didn't honor our memory, but you did. With each new Ranger you recruited, with each new team formed, you gave hope to the world. You never gave up. That was the greatest honor you could have ever given to us."
Nobody could say a word after Aidan had finished. Each of the Rangers was deeply touched by what they just heard. Tears were glistening in Aisha and Rocky's eyes, while Kat just let them flow. Feeling Tommy's hand on her shoulder she turned around. . .and much to her surprise she saw something moist glistening in his eyes. Even Alpha sniffed softly. The only one who didn't seem to be affected was Billy. He was too engrossed in skipping through the files about Aidan's team.
"Hey, guys," he suddenly said. "I think you might find this interesting." When Katherine stepped closer, Billy started to grin like an idiot.
I can't wait for your reaction, Kat, he thought.
"My reaction to what?" Kat asked, but then she saw what Billy meant... and turned ten shades of red.
On the small screen was a picture of a young woman bearing a striking resemblance to Kat, though her hair was much longer. But what made Katherine blush were the clothes her double wore. Or better the lack thereof. A pink loincloth was tied around her slender waist, while her breasts were covered with two broad strips of pink silk, which crossed each other at her neck.
"Kalinda of Eltar," Tommy read out the young woman's name, while Katherine hid her eyes behind her hands.
Rocky let out an admiring whistle. "Nice legs. The rest of her isn't bad either."
He had barely finished the sentence, when suddenly something connected with the back of his head hard. "OUCH!"
"Chauvinist," Aisha said, shaking her head.
Couldn't agree more, bro, Tommy thought. But Kat's looking much better.
Aidan smiled softly at the scene. Back on his team, it would have been Balin making this comment, with Riordan telling him to show more respect to women. He watched the group gathering around the screen, taking in more information about their predecessors. Billy and Aisha seemed to be especially eager to find out more about them. Aidan could only stand a short moment of it, then memories threatened to overwhelm him. Slowly and silently, Aidan retreated to the shadows and headed towards the exit. No one noticed him leaving...
. . .or so he thought. Over the excited voices of his friends, Tommy heard another sound. Footsteps. Leaving. He did a quick head count and noticed that Aidan was gone. While he knew that Aidan needed some time to himself, a voice inside of him told Tommy to follow Aidan. And so he did.
"Tommy, where are you going?" Aisha asked.
"Just taking a quick breather."
As Tommy made his way to the door, he heard Kat chuckling softly and Rocky muttering something.
". . .not fair. That head's married to Dulcea, and I don't even get a date. . ."
Suppressing a laugh, Tommy stepped outside. Though it had become dark outside and he was clad in black, Tommy had no problems spotting Aidan, who stared down on Angel Grove.
"The forest. . .it's gone," Aidan exclaimed. "And all those lights. . .where do they come from?"
"That's Angel Grove," Tommy answered, realizing that the town hadn't even been planned when Aidan. . .in Aidan's time. "This is the town where we live."
"When was it built?"
"Umph. . .no idea. I think sometimes around 1700 or 1800. I'm not sure."
Aidan still stared at the town below them, with a mixture of disbelief and fascination. "So much has changed," he said. He looked around and noticed that the old rock he had always sat on was still there. Gently, he brushed his hand across it, then turned to Tommy. "But yet so much is still the same."
Tommy understood exactly that Aidan wasn't referring only to the stone. "I'm not Taro, Aidan."
"I know." Aidan sank down on his rock. "But a part of him is still alive inside of you. I can feel it. You have got his. . .gift."
"Gift? What Gift?"
Aidan smiled. "Have you noticed any changes going on with you ever since you became a Power Ranger? Can you. . .hear better than before? And see clearly in the dark?"
Stunned, Tommy looked at Aidan. "How do you know that? I never told anybody. . ." Then he realized. "That was Taro's gift?"
"Yes. He had heightened senses. His vision and sense of smell and hearing were incredible. He could hear. . .a daisy falling onto sand."
"So my ancestor was Wolverine, huh?" Tommy joked.
"A wolverine? No, he had long hair, but Taro didn't have sharp fangs and fur." Aidan was a little puzzled by Tommy's statement. Little did he know that Tommy was referring to a famous comic book character.
"How about the others? Did they have any special talents?" Tommy asked, trying to change the subject. "You don't have to talk about them if you don't want to."
"But I do. My father once said 'As long as somebody remembers you, you will never die.' Maybe I can keep them alive this way."
"They were mostly complete opposites of you. Balin. . .he was loud, obnoxious, barely showed any kind of respect to others. And he relied more on his physical strength than on his intellectual abilities, which he had plentiful. His strongest ability was healing wounds and diseases, just like he did with Katherine, but only to a certain degree."
At the mentioning of Katherine's name, Tommy's eyes brightened up a little. A fact that didn't escape Aidan. A soft smile played around his lips. "Kalinda was something special. She was blessed with the gift of a gentle, caring soul, and put other people's needs and welfare before her own. And that was the reason she died."
Aidan swallowed down the lump rising in his throat. "We had successfully entered Rita's palace, encountered some of her minions and defeated them. Or so we thought. One of them had been hiding. Suddenly I heard Kalinda screaming Taro's name. Rita's strongest fighter had apparently tried to sneak up on Taro, wanting to kill him. Kalinda was a strong telepath and empath, so she must have known that. She threw herself in front of the blade."
Tears welled up in Aidan's eyes, as he remembered the brave last act of the young woman, while Tommy turned white. "As I live. . .lived, I never forgot the sight of her lying in Taro's arms, bleeding heavily from a stomach wound. Balin tried to heal her, but it was too late. She had given her life to save the man she loved with all of her heart and soul. And he never knew before it was too late."
"Did Duncan kill her?"
"No. It was a monster in a golden armor who went by the name. . ."
". . .Goldar."
Aidan nodded. "You know him?"
"Oh yes, I do. When I first came here, Rita put me under a spell, which made me serve her and the cause of evil. I never knew why, but Goldar hated me from the start."
"Taro and Goldar were friends once, but Goldar was always longing for power. One day, he sealed a pact with Rita to serve her in exchange for more power. As Taro found out about it, he tried to convince Goldar to return to the side of good, but to no avail. With every day, Goldar's heart darkened more and more, with his hatred for Taro growing stronger and stronger. And then. . .he killed Taro's father, just to hurt him. From that moment on, they were mortal enemies."
"That's why he hates me so much. Because I remind him of Taro?"
"Maybe that was also the reason Rita chose you to serve her."
"She also took Katherine."
"Because of her pure soul and good heart. If she had been able to draw you two on the path of darkness forever, she would have become invincible."
Both young men shuddered at the thought. After a few minutes of silence, Tommy spoke again.
"And the rest of your team?"
"Riordan was the best friend I ever had. We went through good and bad times together, back on Eltar, Phaedos and here on Earth. He was definitely different than. . .Rocky. Riordan was more silent and calm. I cannot remember ever hearing him curse or yell with anger. Not even when. . .when Duncan broke into our headquarters and. . .killed Ayanna."
Once again, the memory of his beloved made Aidan lose his composure, as his voice began to break. After he had collected himself, he went on. "It left a deep scar on his soul, since they had been close too. Though he never said it out loud, he wanted revenge as much as the rest of us. During our last battle, he made use of his power more than ever before."
"What was his power?"
"Psychokinesis. He could move things without actually touching them. He managed to turn our opponents' weapons against themselves. The last time I saw him and Taro, they tried to buy me time to get to Rita and finally end her reign of terror."
"And. . .Ayanna?"
This time, Aidan couldn't hold back the tears anymore. "She was an angel sent from the gods. Kind, gentle, beautiful. . .the only woman I ever really loved. She could change into whatever animal she wanted to be or communicate with animals of all kind. Ayanna was so full of love and life. . .until Duncan took her away from me. . .us."
As he spoke, Aidan's mind drifted away to a time long ago. . .
"You are not coming with us. Period."
"Why not, Aidan?" Ayanna demanded.
"Why not? Princess, you have been running a very high fever for almost a week."
"But Dulcea and Balin healed me."
"Yes, but you are still too weak to fight."
Ayanna turned her head away. Gently, Aidan cupped her cheek in his hand.
"I'm just worried about you."
"I know. It's just. . .the thought that something could happen to you and. . ."
"Do not think about it, princess. Father is coming with us. You know how powerful he is. He will not let anything happen to us." He stroked her cheek gently. "Besides, you have other things to think about."
"For example, convincing Kalinda not to carry her sword on our wedding and wear a proper dress."
Ayanna laughed. "I guess this will take a lot of time to think about."
Now a wide smile appeared on Aidan's face. "And you also have to think of the dress you are going to wear."
"You would not mind me wearing anything at all."
"At our wedding I would, because what is underneath the clothes is only for me to see. I would not mind in our wedding night."
"Aidan!" Ayanna slapped him playfully on the arm.
For a moment they just looked in each other's eyes.
"Only a few more days," Ayanna whispered.
"Yes. . .I can hardly wait. . .maybe I should make time pass faster. . ."
"No, you will not do this, Aidan," Dulcea's voice said from behind. "You know the rule. No messing with time. I do not have to remind you what happened last time you did that?"
"I was five years old back then!" Aidan blushed. "No five old boy can wait for his birthday to come."
Dulcea shook her head and smiled. "Your father sent me to get you. The time has come."
"I understand." He gave Ayanna a soft kiss. "Do not worry too much, princess. I will be back soon safe and sound."
"Be careful, my love. I do not want to become a widow before my wedding day."
"I promise you will not." Then he turned to Dulcea. "Please make sure she rests."
"Thank you, mother." Aidan kissed her on the cheek.
END OF FLASHBACK
"You can make time go faster?" Tommy asked.
"I have inherited the gift of sorcery and magic from my father."
"I see. . .what happened when you messed with the time?" Tommy asked.
"Trust me. . .you do not want to know."
"Maybe." Tommy shrugged. "What happened to Ayanna?" he asked, trying to return to the subject.
"We. . .I do not know for sure. Mother could only tell us fragments. . ."
The battle was hard and fierce. But the Power Rangers under the lead of Zordon gained the upper hand. Even their enemies realized soon, that they were losing.
"RETREAT!" Goldar ordered. "Just wait Rangers. We will meet again soon. And then you will not stand a chance."
"Looking forward to it," Taro said, then turned and looked at his teammates.
"This was too easy," Kalinda said. "Goldar was definitely planning something. I could feel it."
"You mean they were just a distraction?" Riordan said.
"Something is about to happen. I know it."
Aidan listened to her words and suddenly he felt strange. Very strange. And then. . .he felt an excruciating pain, as if something was tearing him apart inside. He started to scream out loud.
"Aidan!" he heard his father scream his name.
"What is wrong with him?" Taro asked.
As quickly as the pain had rushed over him, it vanished, leaving Aidan with a feeling of emptiness and sadness. For some reason, he knew immediately what this meant.
As fast as they could, the Rangers returned to their headquarters. And what they found made their blood freeze in their veins.
"By the powers," Kalinda whispered.
"It seems they left us this day," Riordan said, looking around.
The whole room was left in shambles, the furniture was lying across the room, shattered to pieces. Big holes were gaping in the walls. And amidst the chaos, Zordon spotted something.
Zordon rushed to his wife's side, the Rangers on his heels.
Carefully Zordon took her in his arms.
"Uhhh... Zordon?" Dulcea moaned when she slowly regained consciousness.
"I am here. Do not worry."
"Dulcea, what happened here?" Taro asked, while he and Zordon helped her to her feet.
"Duncan... he somehow got past our defenses... and then..." Her eyes went wide. "By the Powers. Ayanna!"
"What happened to her?" Aidan asked with a mixture of fear and worry.
"Duncan separated us. He took her with him." She pointed to the next room, behind a curtain. Slowly, Aidan stepped forward, when suddenly Riordan blocked his path.
"Aidan, maybe you should not..."
His appeal was left unheard, as Aidan pushed him aside. "Out of my way!"
The young black Ranger pushed the curtains aside and stepped into the room, looking around. The sight presenting itself to him was tearing his heart apart.
He almost flew to her side. Ayanna was lying on the floor, unmoving. Only her head leaned against the wall, in an odd angle. Blood was running from the corners of her mouth. Trembling, Aidan took her in his arms.
"Ayanna," he whispered her name as he cradled her against his chest. "Please, wake up, my love. Talk to me."
He was barely aware of Balin's presence next to him, until the young blue Ranger softly pushed his arm away from Ayanna's chest and held his own hand over her heart. The familiar blue light accompanying the effects of Balin's gift, filled Aidan with hope. Then it suddenly vanished, and Balin looked up at him, a strange expression in his eyes.
"I am sorry, Aidan. There is nothing I can do for her."
Tears welled up in Aidan's eyes, then flowed freely across his cheek.
"No," he whispered over and over again. "Ayanna, my princess, please, I cannot live without you, please. No."
His friends were staring at him in disbelief. Kalinda started to cry, and Taro took her in his arms, turning her head away from the sight of Aidan crying over her best friend. None of them could believe it. Ayanna, the yellow Ranger, heart and soul of their group, was gone forever...
END OF FLASHBACK
Tommy wiped his eyes. For some strange reason, he had clearly seen this in his mind. He could even swear that he had felt Kathe... Kalinda's tears seeping through his clothes.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"You do not have to be. Duncan paid for this. I killed him with my own bare hands... or so I thought."
"What did you do to him?"
"I will not tell you the whole story, just so much that he suffered the same pain my beloved Ayanna felt."
Involuntary, Tommy swallowed. But then, he regained his composure.
"What happens now?"
"We will have to wait, until Duncan makes his next move. Then we will strike."
Tommy sighed, then stood up. "Come on. We better get back inside," he said. "We've got to figure out where you're going to stay tonight."
"I had intended to stay here in the Command Center," Aidan said, looking at him confused.
"What about Adam's parents?" Tommy said. "And school tomorrow?"
Aidan seemed to consider this. "You are right," he said finally. "I must try to be Adam."
The two made their way back into the Command Center, to find Rocky and Billy involved in a heated argument.
"Look, I don't care!" Rocky shouted. "The guy's got Adam's body! For all we know, he could be in league with that Duncan guy! He could have planned for this to happen just so he could take over Adam's body!"
"Rocky, calm down!" Tommy said, his voice authoritative. Rocky turned to see Aidan standing in the doorway of the Command Center and reddened.
"Listen, Aidan and I were talking," Tommy said. "And we've decided that he should try to pretend to be Adam. So, in order for that to work, we're going to have to give him pointers."
"It'll never work," Rocky grumbled.
"And, since you're Adam's best friend, Rocky, Aidan will be spending the night at your house."
"What?!" Rocky said.
Billy nodded. "It's a good idea," she said. "You do know Adam better than any of us, except maybe Aisha."
"And I doubt Mom will let Adam stay over," Aisha said with a smirk.
"Then it's settled," Tommy said, rubbing his hands together. "Aidan will stay at Rocky's and we'll meet tomorrow at school to hopefully come up with a solution to this problem."
"Should I call Adam's parents to alert them of his new sleeping arrangements?" Aidan asked. Tommy nodded.
"And could you try not to sound so. . .um, what's the word I'm looking for?" Aisha said, chewing her lip.
"So much like an adult?" Kat offered.
"Yeah!" Aisha said.
"I'm not following," Aidan said, raising an eyebrow.
"She means you gotta sound more like a teenager," Rocky said. Aidan nodded.
"I. . .will try," he said.
"You can use the communication systems here," Billy said, beckoning Aidan over to the panel. He patched through to Adam's house, then signaled to Aidan.
"Park residence," Mary Ann Park said.
"Uh, hello, Mom," Aidan said, raising his eyebrow at the title Aisha told him to say.
"Adam, sweetie, hi," Mary Ann said. "Where are you?"
"Um, I am at Rocky's house," Aidan said. "I just wanted to call to inform you that I would be spending the night with him."
"Okay, baby, I'll see you tomorrow. Have fun and don't stay up too late. Love you."
"Love you too, Mom." Aidan disconnected the line, his heart heavy as he thought of his own mother.
"Whenever you're ready," Rocky said, scowling.
"Please, Rocky, explain to me this grievance you have with me," Aidan said.
"Look, this is just a weird situation," Rocky said, rubbing his eyes. "I mean, this is Adam's birthday. We were supposed to-" He broke off as he remembered the surprise birthday party they had planned for Adam that night at the Youth Center.
"Oh no, Adam's birthday party!" Kat said, clapping a hand over her mouth.
"Today is Adam's seventeenth birthday?" Aidan said. Aisha nodded.
"We were going to have a party for him tonight at the Youth Center," she said.
"Well, this party will allow me a chance to practice being Adam," Aidan said. "When is it?"
"After the Juice Bar closes," Kat said. "Around six."
"I was the one who was supposed to bring Adam," Rocky said. "Now what do we do?"
"You take Aidan over to your house and teach him how to be Adam," Tommy said. "The rest of us will get the Juice Bar ready. We've got four hours."
"Four hours is not enough time!" Rocky protested. "This is never gonna work."
"Riordan would not have given up so easily," Aidan commented quietly.
"Yeah, well, I'm not Riordan!" Rocky snapped. "I'm Rocky and I say this is a stupid idea."
"Please, Rocky, don't be like this," Aisha pleaded. "Adam is my best friend too and I'm willing to do anything to help get him back."
"There is a reason that all of this is happening," Aidan said.
"Really?" Rocky said sarcastically. "And what might that be?"
"When I was. . .killed by Rita, I returned to my mother and father and gave them a prophecy," Aidan said. "I would be reincarnated in a child born on a warm spring day, whilst his parents were hiking in the mountains. On his seventeenth birthday, his magical abilities would manifest themselves and I would return to seek revenge on Rita."
"So, because of a vendetta you have against Rita Repulsa, Adam gets to have his life invaded?" Rocky said.
"Rocky, can I have a word with you?" Tommy said. Rocky glared at Aidan, ignoring Tommy. "Privately, Rocky."
"Yeah, sure," Rocky grumbled, following Tommy to a secluded area of the Command Center.
"Look, Rocko, I understand where you're coming from," Tommy said. "It was a hell of a shock to find out that Adam wasn't Adam, but Aidan is still a Power Ranger."
"He didn't have to come here!" Rocky said. "He didn't have to invade Adam's body."
"Well, it's happened and now we have to deal with it," Tommy said. "I'm not asking you to have the guy's children, I just want you to get along with him." Rocky scowled, crossing his arms over his chest. "Come on, Rocko. Be a team player."
"All right, all right," Rocky said, sighing. "I'll try to teach the guy to be Adam."
Tommy clapped him on the shoulder. "Thanks, bro."
"Okay, Aidan, let's head to my house," Rocky said, blowing air out through his clenched teeth.
"I am ready," Aidan said, bowing his head. The two teleported away in their respective red and black.
"I hope Rocky doesn't try to kill him," Aisha commented.
"Nah, Rocky wouldn't do that," Kat said. Aisha threw a skeptical glance in her direction. "Would he?"
Part 1 | 2