Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I intend/desire to make any money off the Power Rangers/Super Sentai concepts and characters presented in this story. They are fully the property of their respective owners and are used with loving respect. Furthermore, this story utilizes concepts borrowed/adapted from Chris Claremont's run on X-Men.
Author's Note: This story takes place in the Crimson-verse, between Bleeding Crimson and Burning Crimson, a couple days before the Dino Thunder episode "Wave Goodbye." What is presented here is my idea of what the Power is and how it manifests as Rangers. This is the underlying concept for the Crimson-verse but also factors into all of my other stories to one extent or another. Call it Tricksterwolf's Power Physics 101.
Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Oliver finished updating the settings on the monitoring program Haley had designed and put the mainframe into nighttime standby. As he stood he thought that he, Kim and Haley would need to talk about the best time to reveal to the new Rangers that the owner of their favorite hangout was also the designer of their morphers and much of the technology in the Lair. It would probably be a bit more of a shock than today's introduction to Kim. Tommy glanced one more time at the computer screens, which is how he caught the reflection of the flash of light behind him. Instinct kicking in Tommy spun around in a defensive ready stance. What he saw made him drop his defenses and exclaim, "For the love of . . . don't do that!"
"Sorry Tommy," Brandon Loksen, Champion of the Phoenix and Crimson Ranger replied with a smirk. "You usually don't jump like that when I drop in."
"Well, bad choices have never been in the process of biting me in the ass quite like this before," Tommy responded ruefully.
Brandon sighed internally. Jason had warned him that Tommy would be in "guilt mode." He also realized that he should have seen this coming; a White's purity of conviction also gave them an overactive sense of responsibility, and Tommy was the poster child for that aspect of his Color. All this despite the fact that no one considered what happened on Mercer's island to be Tommy's fault. Mercer had been fully vetted by the Chosen and they had yet to figure out where this Mesagog had come from. Out loud Brandon said, "Sorry about that. I tried to give you a few days to settle into the role, but now that you're a Mentor, there are things you need to know."
Tommy relaxed a bit, but now seemed confused, "Mentor? What are you talking about?"
"You mean to tell me that Kim hasn't made some remark to the effect of calling you Zordon Jr.?"
Tommy turned pink, "Well, no . . . it was the first thing out of her mouth once I told her about the kids. But . . ." He looked at Brandon, his expression becoming concerned, "You can't be serious."
Brandon moved to the side of the room and retrieved one of the small rolling workbenches as he spoke, "I am completely serious. A team of completely inexperienced Rangers has manifested, all of whom are still juveniles by the standards of their species . . . the Power provides for a Mentor to guide them, and you're it. Your Power aura is laced with Violet energy."
"Aaand, you've lost me."
Brandon smiled and gestured for Tommy to sit. He spun the computer chair around and sat as Brandon pulled a small, blocky object with a silver base and a crystalline top out of his jacket and placed it on the workbench. "Okay, remember what Zordon taught you about the Power?"
Tommy still looked confused, but responded, "Yeah, that the Power is the force created by all life in the Universe."
"Which is true. However, what Zordon taught you it the Ranger need-to-know version. Essentially he inducted you into the . . . well, for want of a better way of putting it, the Eltaran religion of the Power."
Tommy seemed to consider that for a moment. He could see Brandon's point. Rocky was the only one of Zordon's Rangers that still practiced a Terran religion, at least in any form that a would be recognizable to someone from Earth, and even then how he seemed to conceptualize it internally reflected far more Zordon's teachings than Rome's. "So, there's more to it?"
"Yes, and that more is important for a Mentor to know, because it will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your Rangers and how to guide them to achieve their potential. Now, you being you, oh Christmas Ranger . . ."
Tommy interjected, "I wish you guys would stop calling me that."
"Oh, it will happen eventually," Brandon responded with a knowing smirk. He could see how the Violet energy was overlapping Tommy's core White. He couldn't be sure when, his ability to see a Ranger's Power aura didn't make him clairvoyant about a Ranger's destiny, but he was certain that relatively soon Tommy would be Mentoring from inside the suit . . . which made this lesson all the more vital. "But as I was saying," he continued, "you having held several different colors and served on several different iterations of a Ranger team will probably find some of what I'm about to tell you familiar."
Brandon touched the device on the workbench and it began to glow. An instant later a hologram was projected above the table depicting a central circle, a ring outlining that, all against a larger circle that diffused out beyond the ring. The innermost was divided into sections of red, blue, and yellow. The second layer was divided up equally into nine bands of color, each clearly defined from the other; red, blue, yellow, pink, black, green, white, violet, and amber. The final layer glowed and scintillated with all the colors in a swirling mass. "Okay, this is the Power," Brandon indicated, pointing to the larger circle. It's everything Zordon ever told you, plus more. Not only is it the manifestation of the life energy of the Universe and the source of our powers, it's where the essence of a Ranger comes from."
"Every living thing has a connection to the Power. In sentient beings this connection is stronger because it links them to multiple aspects of the Power, although in individuals that turn to evil, especially those who actively follow the Darkness, this connection becomes suppressed. However, in beings that have Ranger potential the connection is much stronger than normal, to my eyes a tangible glow."
"To your eyes?"
Brandon smiled, "Remember how I saw everyone's Geki, their animal spirit, back in high school?" When Tommy nodded he continued, "Well, part of my training as the Phoenix Champion was to take that skill further, to actual see a being's Power aura. That's how I know you're a Mentor now."
Tommy leaned back and crossed his arms, "Okay, how?"
Brandon smirked, "I'll get to that in a minute, the rest of this is important." Brandon now pointed to the next layer, "Now, this next layer you should be familiar with, Zordon would have taught you this part when you took over the team."
Tommy leaned forward again, "Yeah, that should represent the Universal Morphing Grid, the Power in its usable form." Brandon nodded and Tommy continued, "So, the circle is the team grid."
"Which for your team is . . .?"
"The interconnection between the Gems, reinforced by the morphers."
"Like with the Zeo Crystal." Tommy nodded and Brandon said, "Now, something to understand before we get into the next part is that all Rangers relate to a specific Color, called their Core. This feature of a Ranger is immutable, part of who they are, but a Ranger may not always be wearing their Core into battle." Tommy looked confused again and so Brandon asked, "You've been Green, White, and Red twice . . . which one felt the most you? Which is the one that, no matter what, you still have to have near you?"
Tommy didn't even pause to think, "White."
"Exactly. White is your Core. You've layered Red and Green over it, and now that you've taken on the Mentor role a new Color is becoming what's called the Manifesting Color."
Brandon reached out and touched the object again. A similar hologram popped up, but this one featured three concentric circles. Again the innermost was divided into sections of red, blue, and yellow. The second layer featured green, pink, black, and white. The outermost was divided between violet and amber.
"Within the Morphing Grid there are nine Colors. Each Color represents a specific dynamic." He touched the innermost circle and it expanded. "Red, Blue, and Yellow . . . called the Primes. It's not surprising that a race that has such a surprisingly large portion of its population with Ranger potential would consider these the primary colors. No Ranger team can function at full capacity without all three being present . . . Wildforce is an example of this; the Orgs were rapidly overcoming their abilities until they found Cole." He highlighted Red, "Red is the Warrior. They are the consummate leader; the one other Rangers instinctively follow." When Tommy gave him and incredulous look, Brandon clarified, "Now, like all the Colors, there is a negative aspect . . . some Reds have difficulty accepting what they are and therefore question their ability. Others have the opposite problem; they have no difficulty accepting their role, but then try and take the weight of the world on their shoulders."
Tommy smirked, thinking of an example for each side, his current Red and Jason respectively. He also realized that he had a tendency to take on everything when he was Red. Seeming to read his thoughts Brandon commented, "Nope, it wasn't Jason's influence when you were a Red that made you act that way. Our Core defines us, but for those who wear other Colors, those exert a certain influence." Tommy nodded.
Brandon continued, "Then we have Thinker, otherwise known as brilliant Blue, so called because this Color is defined by genius, although not always as Terrans would think of it. Blues tend to be technical or strategic geniuses, but they can also manifest as problem solvers, people who experiences flashes of inspiration that provide unique answers to problems. However, they tend to be socially isolated or awkward due to their intelligence or way of seeing the world."
Tommy thought of the various Blues he had known and found that this explained some of the changes he saw in Rocky under what he now understood to be the influence of the Blue Zeo crystal, as well as giving him some insight into his new Blue Ranger.
"Last of the Primes we have is Yellow, which is the Empath. Yellows understand the emotional dynamics of a team and find ways to help the team deal with their feelings."
Tommy snorted, "I don't exactly see Kira filling that role."
Brandon smiled knowingly, "She will. Each Yellow finds his or her own way of doing it. Trini was sneaky, Aisha was blunt, and Tanya was sarcastic, but they each filled their niche."
Tommy chuckled, "I think Kira's style is violence."
With a cocked eyebrow Brandon agreed, "That may be true. It may be exactly what your team needs. On the flipside though the problem with Yellows can be that they focus on everyone else so much that they don't deal with their own feelings, until they explode. Thankfully, so far the bad guys have always been on the receiving end of such explosions."
Leaving Tommy with that thought Brandon expanded the middle ring of the hologram. "These are called the Balancing Colors; they either fill in the blanks in a Ranger team or provide necessary aspects as a team expands beyond three Rangers." The ring separated into the four colors as Brandon manipulated it. He poked Pink and it glowed, "You should be most familiar with this one, Heart."
Tommy could immediately see it from his years with Kim and knowing Kat, but he couldn't help but comment, "Makes Kim's birth name seem like a bit of bad TV writing, doesn't it?"
"Your wife, your funeral," Brandon replied with a smirk. "Regardless, Pink is the heart of the team, it's emotional core. On the flipside," Brandon winced and now Tommy smirked as he accidently invoked Kim's high school catchphrase, "Pinks can be too emotionally open, led by feeling even when they should be thinking. They also have the hardest time adapting to the fighting aspect of Rangering because of the detachment it can require. However, once they do . . . watch out whoever gets on their bad side." Tommy just nodded in agreement.
"Next we have Black, which is considered Foundation, meaning a Black Ranger keeps a team grounded."
"Wait, how exactly did Zack keep the team grounded?" Tommy asked incredulously.
"Because how Blacks fill that role is very team, and even circumstance specific and this is often the nature of the downside of the Color. Zack grounded the team by being the clown, finding mirth in the otherwise overwhelming situation the team found itself in during those first days. However, it meant he was viewed as a clown and often had to fight, even with all of you, to be taken seriously when the need arose." Tommy blushed with embarrassment as he realized Brandon was right about how Zack got treated at times.
"Adam, on the other hand, was the calm center during the upheaval of the team change and the changing threats. Of course, to do this he had to play a passive role and be viewed as a passive person."
"But he changed so much over the years."
"Yes, especially once he became the Green Ranger," now Brandon highlighted Green, "which is its nature. Green is called the Transformer. Green Rangers are either the source of or subject to great change. Oftentimes both. Of course, like all change this is often painful and can isolate a Green Ranger from the rest of his team."
"Don't I know it," Tommy said ruefully.
"It hasn't all been bad."
That stopped Tommy's oncoming brood cold. Yes, he still had a lot of bad memories and guilt associated with being the Green Ranger, but becoming a Ranger had also given him Kim, his Ranger-family, and even a career path he probably wouldn't have followed without his exposure to the original Zords and the fossil-filled caves below the Command Center. "True."
Brandon smiled, "Okay, now this one's important, because this one is you . . . White, aka Purity."
Tommy raised an eyebrow, "Purity?"
"Perhaps a better translation into English would be as a title . . . Paladin." Tommy seemed to sit up a bit straighter as Brandon continued, "White Rangers are pure of focus and will and possess a highly honed sense of justice and balance." Now Tommy was smiling smugly. "However, you are also prone to an over-active sense of responsibility, with related unnecessary guilt as well as possess a tendency to charge headlong into battle with evil without always considering all your options other than stomp evil." Tommy's smile faded a bit.
"Is that the real aspect of the Color, or are you just busting on me?"
"Both." Brandon smiled mischievously and Tommy rolled his eyes. "Seriously though, White is the rarest of Balancers. In fact, thus far you are the only true White Ranger on Earth."
Tommy asked with surprise, "What about the girl from Wild Force."
Brandon shook his head, "Manifesting versus Core. Alyssa's a Pink. So, behaviorally she has aspects of a White, but her Core motivations are based in Pink."
"Alright," Tommy continued standing up, "then what's this final ring? You said something when you got here about me having aspects of Violet energy?"
"Yes, I did." Brandon now expanded the outermost ring. "These are called the Guardian Colors. These Colors are borne by those who stand outside the framework of the team in some way . . . if they are even tied to a team. They also almost never Manifest openly. Violet rarely, Amber only two or three times in all of recorded Ranger history, which covers thousands of years. Amber is called the Outsider, and is borne by stand alone Rangers or those odd sixth or seventh Rangers that pop up from time to time. Metallic Rangers and Rangers who are known by a name rather than a Color designation are usually Ambers. The Quantum Ranger is an Amber. They bring immense power and a unique perspective to a team, but because of that they are often difficult to integrate into team dynamics."
Tommy snapped his fingers, "Like Jason when he held the Gold powers? Everything was awkward and felt forced, but the minute he no longer had them that all went away."
"Exactly, Ambers need to stand apart otherwise the unique perspective they bring gets lost."
Now Tommy leveled Brandon with a gaze, "So, now we're finally to Violet, which you claim now relates to me."
Brandon smirked, "No claim here, it's just a fact." Tommy arched an eyebrow and Brandon continued, "Violet relates to you now, because Violet is also called the Mentor and people who put together and guide Ranger teams tap Violet energy. So, that's why I'm seeing Violet tinge your Power aura."
"But I didn't actually put together the team!"
"Maybe not intentionally. I know you had the gems and morphers slated for you, Kim, and somebody from the original team . . . but you also know full well that the Power plays it as it will."
"I don't know about me and Kim, but at least some more experienced folks . . ."
Before Brandon could respond Kim spoke up from the stairs up to the house, "As if his guilt would let him hand a morpher to anyone else to deal with this . . . especially after he saw the Tyranodrones."
"Hey . . . I . . .," Tommy tried to sputter out a defense.
Brandon hugged Kim and commented, "I'm impressed, I didn't even hear you come down."
Kim smiled, "Well, you know us Cranes, light as a feather."
Tommy was still trying to manage a retort, so his wife decided to rescue him, "Anyway, getting back on track . . . Violet is the Mentor?"
Brandon played along, "Yes. Which means even I often have no warning who Violet will claim, as it is also very rarely someone's Core. In fact, I know of only two beings in all of Ranger history who were Core Violet. One was a Pheadosian Ninjetti by the name of Tremis, and she's the one who figured out how to create a local Morphing Grid and brought the first Rangers into existence."
Now Tommy collected himself and said, "And the other was Zordon, wasn't it."
Brandon smiled sadly, "Circle gets the square. In many respects Zordon was who he was because he was Core Violet."
"So what does that mean for me?" Tommy asked pensively.
"That I was right and you are Zordon Jr," Kim responded with a smirk before Brandon could get a word in.
"Kim!" Tommy cried indignantly.
Kim strode over to her husband and kissed him on the forehead. "Hey, it's not a bad thing." Tommy started to glare at her so she continued, "Can you think of anyone better to be compared to?"
That question seemed to mollify Tommy and Brandon took the opportunity to jump in, "As to what it means . . . the same thing any color means. While philosophers argue, and they do, about how much of a Ranger or Mentor's actual consciousness becomes part of the Grid, what is incontrovertible is that the essence of their knowledge is there. So, just like Zordon taught us about being a Ranger applies; trust your instincts, trust the Power, they will provide. Everything I've told you here is just to provide context for all of that . . . and it fulfills a promise I made to Zordon."
Both Kim and Tommy asked, "Promise?"
"Yeah. Before the attack on Eltar at the start of the War I got to spend some time with Zordon and one of the things he told me was that he knew that one day at least one of you would be called by Violet. You see, Zordon had to learn a lot of this on the fly, in the midst of Zedd's attacks while trying to cobble together functional Rangers. So, he asked me that if he wasn't able to if I would teach this stuff to whomever of you got thrown under the bus first."
Tommy leaned forward and rubbed his face with his hands, "So, who won the bet?"
Kim, moving towards Brandon responded over her shoulder, "No one . . . we all agreed that it would be you." Tommy groaned as Kim turned to Brandon, "So, I know you don't eat much anymore, and that it's really not a huge trip to you, but before you head all the way back to Eltar would you join us for dinner?"
"Love to," Brandon responded with a smile which turned conspiratorial, "Plus, then we can spend some more time picking on Tommy." Tommy groaned again as Kim and Brandon laughed.
After a pleasant dinner that involved a lot less harassment than threatened and Brandon had teleported back to Eltar, Tommy again entered the Lair. Crossing from the stairs to the workshop area he pressed a hidden switch on one of the storage cabinets, which slid forward away from the wall, revealing a small room behind it. In this room stood a lone pedestal under a light. Tommy picked up the object that had rested on that pedestal and stared at it for several minutes before finally speaking, "Am I really up to this Zordon?"
The crystalline shard of Zordon's tube did not respond. As always, the light played in it in a kaleidoscope of colors, but no answers were forth coming. However, just as Tommy set the shard down he could of sworn he felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice he couldn't be sure was there or just in his imagination whisper, "Yes."