Disclaimer: The only thing I need to say is that I don't own anyone. Well, maybe Damien, but I'm not sure. Someone else's idea might have seeped into my subconscious, and if so then I am sorry. Let me know if he's yours and I'll give you the proper credit. Oh, and on a quick note, Toso Kune Do is pronounced as Toh Soh Kwan Doh. Just FYI.

Shadow from the Past

By White Tiger

Prologue

Just the sight of her made his heart skip a beat. Her long brown hair and soft skin seemed too perfect to be on a normal human being. 'Chill out, man,' he told himself. 'She's just an ordinary girl like everyone else.' But that there was his problem. Every other girl either couldn't understand him or hated what they did understand. It wasn't just the girls, though. Anyone he tried to be friends with just pushed him away. He was always too sensitive or not sensitive enough or didn't have enough competitive spirit in him to compete in the martial arts arena.

'Those people she's near seem so nice, so friendly.' All he wanted was someone to be near, to share things with, to enjoy their company. No one, not even his foster parents, understood what he had been through, what the constant moving was like. It was almost enough to drive a teenager insane. 'If it weren't for martial arts, I probably would've been turned into a sobbing mess years ago' he reflected.

Still, despite her outward beauty, there was something... different... about this gorgeous female. As he watched, diamond-hard armor covered her body, as well as the bodies of her friends. Each one wore a different color, and he could see the traits that they represented.

"Billy, the Blue Ranger," a voice whispered in his mind. He could see the blonde boy's uncanny intelligence and willingness to help his friends.

"Trini, the Yellow Ranger," the voice whispered again. Her skill and precision shone as clearly as her armor.

"Zack, the Black Ranger." The African-American teenager's love for life and constant energy was clear as a bell.

"Kimberly, the Pink Ranger." He felt himself blink. Nothing was registering from her. It was as if something was blocking his mind. This greatly worried him, but the last Ranger appeared before his feelings could greatly concern him.

"Jason, the Red Ranger." A sense of overwhelming strength and friendship consumed him. The boy may have seemed calm on the outside, but he was charged!

"And now," the voice added. "I give you my GREEN RANGER!!" A figure stepped from the shadows that had surrounded him. The person pulled off their helmet, revealing the face of...

"NNNOOOOOO!" Tommy Oliver jolted awake in a cold sweat, his hands shaking and his heart pounding. Breathing hard and trying to bring himself under control, he slipped out of bed towards the bathroom. Passing Billy's room, he was glad that the genius was a heavy sleeper.

Turning on the light, Tommy looked at himself in the mirror. His face was pale and covered in sweat. He turned on the faucet and began splashing cold water on his face, hoping to wash the dream away. It had been like this for three days straight now. Tommy turned off the water and looked at himself in the mirror again. "What is happening to me?" he asked the reflection. "What are these dreams about?"

He didn't know what exactly was going on, but the dreams had started the very night he received his new White Ranger Powers from Zordon. It began the same way each time. He would be back at the Youth Center, practicing for the Martial Arts Expo on that fateful day that he became the Green Ranger. The only problem was, the figure underneath that armor wasn't him. He didn't know how he knew when he never saw the man's face, but somehow he knew.

"I don't know what the heck is going on here," Tommy said to himself. "but I've got a bad feeling about this."

The Past Returns...

The Ninja Spirit Dojo was never crowded when it opened, especially on such a comfortable summer day. Even the earliest classes only started at nine o'clock in the morning, so that gave its owners a good two hour workout before their first students showed up. It was the kind of morning Rocky DeSantos preferred to be awake for.

Unless he was getting his butt kicked.

"C'mon, Rocky! I know you fight better than this!" Rocky was currently sparring against his best friend since childhood, Adam Park, and so far, Adam was winning.

"Am I getting better or are you getting worse, man?" Adam asked as he dodged a spinning heel kick. Rocky had learned to control himself since his accident before the tournament several years ago, and that made him a dangerous opponent.

"No, you've just started to talk too much!" Rocky shot back as his swept Adam's legs out from under him. "And I've had my mind on other things."

Moaning slightly, Adam returned to his feet and tried to stretch out the kinks in his muscles. "Like Tommy's sudden screaming in the middle of the night?"

The night the team had gotten their new Powers, Rocky and Adam took everyone to a local night club to celebrate. Everybody was afraid of getting drunk since they were back on active duty, but Tommy had calmed their fears. He said that he had been to a bar in New York once and had several drinks on New Year's Eve, but woke up the next morning without a single trace of being out partying all night. Something Billy hypothesized had to do with Zordon's Golden Wave during the Countdown interacting with traces of the Power left in their bodies. So, with their anxiety put to rest, the group stayed out and partied like it was the end of the world. Well into the early hours of the morning, Rocky and Adam offered Tommy a place to spend the night since he hadn't found an apartment yet. Everything seemed to be back to the way things used to be, but Tommy had woken both of them up with a loud scream. When they tried to find out what was wrong, he had only shaken his head and mumbled something about repressed memories, then he told them to go back to sleep.

The door to the dojo opened slowly, and a very tired and haggard-looking Tommy walked in. He said nothing, but walked over to the punching bag located near the back and set his duffel bag down. After cracking his knuckles, Tommy slipped off his long sleeved shirt to reveal the white tank-top he wore for working out. Without waiting, he started pounding on the bag.

Rocky and Adam watched in amazement for what seemed like hours. Tommy attacked the bag with a viciousness that they had never seen before. The man before them was not the teenaged leader figure the two were so used to seeing. He was wild, feral, uncontrolled. Even as the sweat poured from his body, stinging his eyes, Tommy kept on punching as if he had some personal vendetta against the sack of leather.

"Whoa, Tommy!" Rocky cried out, trying to calm the White Ranger down by stepping between him and the bag. "Keep this up and you're gonna put a hole in that bag! And it's the only one we're able to afford for the next year or so, so we gotta make it last!"

Rocky's words seemed to calm Tommy down, since he stopped assaulting the bag and finally started to show visible signs of breathing. "Sorry, Rocko," he panted. "Just had to work off a little stress, and you said the place was open if I ever needed a good workout."

Adam sighed. "It's the dreams again, isn't it?" Tommy's head whipped around to give the Black Ranger a red-eyed stare of questioning. "Don't act like we're stupid, man," he said. "You think a guy who's had a target painted on his back since the age of fifteen would wake up screaming in the middle of the night and not draw attention to himself?"

Tommy had to admit, the Red and Black Rangers were intelligent in their own right. They might not have had Billy's technical expertise, but spending a few years in the streets of Angel Grove had taught them a few things about street smarts. Any other person would have dismissed the matter as simple nightmares, but Adam and Rocky knew what being a Ranger did to him. Fear wasn't an issue. As a Ranger he had eaten fear for breakfast. Bad dreams sounded childish compared to the things he had seen.

"Y'know," Tommy gasped, still out of breath. "most people would mind their own business when it comes to matters like this."

"Well, we're not most people," Adam retorted. "We're your friends, man, and we're worried about you. Whatever these dreams are about, it's tearing you up inside. That isn't good for you, man. Whatever it is, you need to talk about it. Just let it out or something." He put a hand on Tommy's shoulder. "We're here for you, ready to listen, ready to help, and ready to find out what the heck's going on."

Tommy brushed the Adam's hand off brusquely. "Thanks, but no thanks. I don't need a set of ears to help me through my problems." He could see the other man start to object, but started talking before anything got out. "I don't care what you think you can do to help because it won't work. I've spent years in New York dealing with things a lot scarier than this..." Tommy paused slightly at that part. Had he really dealt with things scarier than seeing another person wear the Green Ranger armor? Somehow he doubted it. "...so I think I can handle a couple of bad dreams." With that he grabbed his bag and slid his long-sleeved shirt back on, then stormed out the door.

Rocky sighed. "That went well."

***********************************

Kimberly Hart took a sip of the beer sitting in front of her. She normally wasn't one to drink, but the past couple of days had been more stressful than she was used to. Every time she tried to talk to Tommy, he would make up some excuse to duck out of the conversation. It was almost like he was avoiding her. Kimberly took another swig. 'Figures,' she thought. 'He always was the type to hide or act all mysterious if something's bugging him. Only thing is, what does he think running would do for the problem?'

"That's it! Let's get him!" The voice brought Kimberly's head around slowly. She heard several words being exchanged, but couldn't understand what they were saying. 'Probably none of my business anyway,' she mentally muttered before turning back to her beer.

Several crashes echoed through the bar, followed by glass shattering and the curses of injured men. Everyone but Kim was marveling at the obvious desolation of the club. One voice overshadowed the crowd. "What the hell are you lookin' at?! You people are acting like you've never seen a bar fight before!"

Now that voice caught her attention. Turning around once again, Kimberly saw one of the sights she had thought impossible to actually see in real life: tables were upturned, shattered glass was everywhere, broken and bruised bodies were spread about. Standing in the middle of all the carnage, a slightly annoyed look on his face, was Tommy. Looking around to give the crowd another glare, he walked up to the bar and placed a handful of money on it. "Sorry about the mess," he muttered before storming out the door.

***********************************

"Tommy! Wait up!" Tommy turned at the voice, still slightly annoyed at the events which had conspired within the bar. His angry mood subsided, however, when he saw Kimberly running towards him. It was only mild, but enough to allow some semblance of conversation. He had the feeling that there wouldn't be a chance to avoid her this time.

'Well, might as well get it over with,' Tommy thought as Kimberly caught up with him. "So, what'cha need?" he asked nonchalantly, hoping to conceal the nervousness and tension in his voice.

Kimberly instantly caught on to the game he was playing. She had always been good at reading peoples' voices. 'He's faking it! Of all the nerve! What has he got to be nervous about? It's not like he's trying to get back together with the one person he loves most in the world!' She had to take a couple of breaths, mostly to calm herself and to hide that fact by making it look like she was hyperventilating. "Just wanted to talk. We haven't really had much chance, what with our...new job and everything."

Tommy couldn't help but offer a small chuckle at that. 'New job' wasn't exactly the best term to use for being a Power Ranger. After all, it wasn't like they got paid to work from nine to five every day. "Okay, so what is it you wanted to talk about?"

Kimberly folded her arms across her midriff, trying to look as annoyed as she could. "Why have you been avoiding me?"

Tommy blinked. "What are you talking about? I haven't been..."

"Cut the crap, Tommy!" Kimberly shouted out, surprising both herself and Tommy with the aggression in her voice. "Do you think I'm stupid or something? We get our new Powers, meet back up for the first time since Muiranthias, and then you start avoiding just about every single freakin' conversation I'm in! If that's not avoiding someone then I don't know what is!"

The White Ranger abruptly turned around. "I have my reasons, and they don't necessarily concern you," he shot back, hoping to convince her to drop the subject.

She wouldn't give up that easily.

Moving quickly around to his front side, Kimberly reached up to grab his shoulders. "Like hell, they don't concern me! Whatever it is that's bugging you, I want to know what the reasons are! So you'd better start talking, mister!"

He turned around, acting like he was considering what she had said. 'Why should she care?' he thought darkly. 'She broke my heart years ago! Is this her way of trying to make things harder on me?' "Just leave me alone, already!" he screamed.

"Sorry, Tommy. I can't do that," the brunette said softly, with almost a hint of regret in her voice. "We're Rangers again, and that means that our personal problems need to be resolved, and they need to be resolved NOW!!" She grabbed his arm as forcefully as she could.

In a surge of blinding anger, Tommy whirled around, backhanding Kim across the face. The blow knocked her back into an alley wall, surprising both herself and Tommy. Shocked, Kimberly touched a finger to her lips, tasting the copper bitterness of her own blood.

No one moved for a full minute, considering what had just happened. Then, faster than the speed of thought, Kimberly surged forward in a blinding series of punches and kicks. Each one connected with Tommy's face or chest with deadly precision. He rolled with the blows, not bothering to block them but moving enough to ensure minimal damage. He caught Kimberly's hand as she tried to punch him in the face, yanking her around and shoving her into another wall. With a wild cry of rage, she ran at him with a flurry of kicks that knocked him back several feet. He got up again, starting to get angry. Before he could do anything, though, Kimberly flipped backwards, her foot slamming into his jaw and throwing him back into the corner of a dumpster.

Sliding down onto the ground, Tommy gasped out a lighthearted laugh. "Looks like those karate lessons Jason and I gave you paid off, huh?"

Her rage subsiding, Kim immediately rushed to his side. "Oh my gosh, Tommy I'm so sorry!"

"Don't be. I was askin' for it. Guess that's what I get for underestimating my opponent." Tommy stumbled to his feet. "Besides, it's not like you broke anything."

"Well at least come back to the apartment and let me get you cleaned up." She looked at his back. "You've got a pretty nasty cut back here. C'mon. Even Rangers need medical attention every now and then."

Tommy smiled. "Whatever you say, doc."

***********************************

"Welcome to my humble abode," Kimberly said as she and Tommy entered the apartment.

Tommy looked around for a minute, taking note of his surroundings. "What's with all the boxes?"

"We've been moving, duh! It takes a while to get everything unpacked," she explained while she looked through the cabinets for antiseptic. "Now, just sit down on the stool over there and let me take a look at that cut."

The man obeyed, sitting down on a stool near the countertop. He slid his shirt off gently, trying to avoid making the pain worse. Looking at the shirt, Tommy gasped at how much blood he had lost. A few minutes later he heard the same reaction from Kim. "I've had worse," he mumbled.

"Save the macho act for someone who'd believe it, Tommy," Kimberly scolded. She immersed a cotton ball in antiseptic, trying to find where the cut was amidst all of the blood. "Tell me something. After you got the letter," She felt Tommy tense up. This was a topic she knew he wouldn't want to talk about, but the air between them needed to be cleared up. "why didn't you call or anything? I mean, even I thought it was kinda out of the blue. I would of thought it would be a sure thing that you'd want an explanation."

Tommy hissed as the antiseptic found its mark. "I guess," he said tightly, "I just didn't want to believe it was really happening. Let's face it, you wouldn't have thought I would have done something like that, would you?"

She added more antiseptic to the cotton ball. "To tell you the truth, I didn't know who was my friend at the time. Sure, I had a few friends at the compound, but everybody was too interested in winning some stupid medal to care about friendship. Then you guys stopped writing to me. At first I thought it was just a busy period or something. Y'know, Ranger business and all. But after a couple of months I started to wonder."

Another sharp intake of breath. "Oh, man," Tommy whispered to himself. 'Why didn't I keep in touch? If that's how I could have avoided the whole situation...' He let it drop. What he had done in the past was just that. The past. There was nothing he could do about it now. "Well, now that you tell me what's been going on, I just have one question."

"Shoot."

"Who was he?"

Kimberly's hand dropped to her side. "There was no other guy," she whispered meekly.

Tommy turned around. "What?" His tone wasn't really demanding, but it did ask for answers.

"I made him up. Something to make it easier. I saw the way Katherine was eyeing you before I left. She wanted you, and for all I knew you wanted to date her but had too much of a gentlemanly attitude to do it behind my back."

Tommy turned around, placing his hands on Kimberly's shoulders and bringing her slowly to her feet. "Kim, it would have taken more than Dark Specter, Maligore, Divatox, the Machine Empire, Rita, and Zedd combined to take me away from you. That's why I couldn't hurt you on Muiranthias. No matter what, my heart will always belong to you." He placed a finger under her chin, tilting her head slightly upward. "Never forget that."

Their faces inched closer, being pulled by some unseen force. Kimberly could feel Tommy's breath hitch in his throat, either from the scar or from her, she couldn't tell. All she knew was, there was nothing she could do about the animalistic magnetism that was pulling them closer.

Tommy couldn't believe what was happening. He hadn't felt like this in so many years. As Kimberly's lips brushed softly against his, Tommy's heart nearly burst out of his chest. It had been so long since they had been this close! He could feel her heart start to beat faster, too, and the temperature in the room was definitely rising...

"Hey, Kim! Mail call!"

The two broke the kiss, their faces moving apart as Aisha walked into the apartment. The Yellow Ranger stopped as she saw who else was there.

"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" she asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Kimberly scrambled for a response. "Um, no. Tommy and I were just..."

"I got in a little 'accident' at a bar. Kim was nearby and said that her place was close and that she'd be glad to help me get cleaned up," Tommy interrupted.

Aisha looked at the two with a look that said "What do you think I am? Stupid?", but she decided to leave it alone. "Okay, whatever. Anyway, Kim, there's some stuff I'd like to talk to you about." She glanced at Tommy. "Alone, if you don't mind."

Tommy slid his shirt back on. "No problem. I was just getting ready to go." With that, he walked out the door, glancing back at Kimberly as he closed it.

Aisha put her hands on her hips. "Okay, how much of that was true and how much b.s. was he feedin'?"

Kimberly smiled and gave a slight laugh. "Like I'm really gonna tell you!"

"You probably don't have to, girl! If I walked in ten minutes later you two probably would have been all over each other!" Her best friend turned away in embarrassment. "So," Aisha said after a slight pause, "how good has he gotten?"

Kim turned around, shocked. "What would make you think that I would ever..." She stopped as Aisha gave her a look that said an explanation would be given or things would get start getting rough between the two. The Pink Ranger smiled. "It was heavenly!" she practically sang.

"I knew it! I just knew you two were gonna get back together!" Aisha almost squealed. "And the others said it was gonna take more than a week!"

Kimberly gave Aisha a small glare. "There's just one other thing." Her friend stopped acting excited and looked curiously.

"Your timing sucks."

***********************************

Billy studied the printout, rubbing his eyes slightly. "Okay, let's go over this again," he said to Alpha 5. "This machinery is made from a highly unstable alloy that generates massive energy. Now, if we can harness this energy, it could be used to create weaponry of a type and strength never seen before. That is, if it doesn't overload the main power core and the craft's central processing unit." The Blue Ranger took a deep breath before continuing. "Well, I can only think of one solution to that problem. We're gonna need to get a stronger power core."

"I only wish we had access to such a core," Zordon said ruefully from his energy tube. "Unfortunately, the cores we have in storage are the strongest we have. They'll have to do, unless the metal is too unstable to use."

Once again Billy rubbed his eyes, still surprised that his vision had been cured. Cestria's treatments on Aquitar had not only reversed his aging process, they had also healed his eyes so he needed neither glasses nor contact lenses to see. "Okay, if that's all I have to work with."

"I am sorry there is nothing else to offer, Billy."

The young man shrugged. "No big deal, Zordon. Improvising is what I do. Tell you what; I'm gonna head down to Ernie's to pick up a meal. I'll think about all this over lunch, and hopefully come up with something."

"Very well. Good luck, Billy." Zordon watched as the genius pressed a button on his new wrist communicator and disappeared in a flash of ocean blue. 'I only hope that he can think of something fast. Without these weapons, the Rangers will be defenseless against Zedd's forces.'

***********************************

The figure watched intensely as his target appeared in the window. 'She has no clue,' he thought darkly. 'This is almost too easy.' He had been all too happy to take the assignment given to him, especially considering his reward. 'Soon she'll be mine, just like she should have been in the first place. This time, she won't be able to refuse me. I'm not just some martial arts master anymore. Now I'm something MUCH more.' He stood, the sun glinting off the gold shield on his chest. 'Time to see what this suit can do.'

***********************************

Tommy walked through the street, his heart on Cloud 9. 'I can't believe it!' he thought happily. 'There's still a chance for me and Kim to get back together!' The mere thought was so exhilarating that he couldn't wipe the equator-sized smile off of his face. Before his thoughts of happiness could continue, a familiar tone beeped from his wrist. Looking around quickly, Tommy ducked into a nearby alleyway.

"Tommy here. What is it?" he said into the tiny speaker.

"Tommy! This is Aisha! We need your help! There's trouble at Kim's place, and.......AAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!" The scream ended with a barrage of static that filled the communicator's speaker.

"Aisha! Aisha!!" Tommy swore under his breath as he prepared to teleport.

"Designate: Tommy Oliver. Target sighted. Prepare for termination," a metallic voice said from his right.

Turning around, Tommy swore again. Standing before him, blasters from their wrists armed and ready, were about ten of Zedd's robotic foot soldiers, the Robowarriors.

"Great. Talking lackeys. As if dealing with Zedd's standard egotism wasn't enough," Tommy quipped as he summoned his new morpher. "Well, sorry to disappoint you guys, but you'll have to take a number."

With that, he brought the morpher up, slamming his index finger on the button that activated his new Power Coin. "White Tiger, ENERGIZE!"

The White Ranger armor covered his body just as the Robowarriors' lasers started flying at him. Using the armor's enhancements on his natural physical abilities, Tommy ducked and dodged through the barrage. Unsheathing his Power Claws from the metallic backing on his gloves, Tommy slashed through the chest of the first mechanical he came to. Spinning around, he slashed diagonally downward through the head and chest of another. The other eight had circled around him and were taking aim. Noticing this, Tommy leaped up to the rooftop. Seconds later, hundreds of android parts clattered on the pavement. Not wasting any time on words, Tommy immediately disappeared in a flash of white.

***********************************

The whole apartment looked like a tornado had passed through it. Tables were overturned, shattered glass was everywhere, and the boxes were totally smashed. Tommy rushed through the place, his claws slicing through anything that was in his way. "Kimberly! Aisha! Where are you?!" he screamed. His heart was pounding so hard that he almost couldn't breath. Running into the last room, he noticed one thing that wasn't torn or busted. A piece of paper rested on part of the bed. Picking it up, Tommy's throat nearly tore itself apart with a vengeful growl.

Rangers,

If you are reading this, then you know how serious I am. There will be no mistakes this time. I will destroy you, no matter the cost. Your petty skills are no match for my power. You will have the White Ranger come to the warehouse district tonight at 10:00 p.m. Failure to do so will result in the death of my hostage, Kimberly Hart. The Yellow Ranger has been transported to an area where I suspect you will pick her up.

Remember, only the White Ranger is to come to the warehouse district. Any attempts to help him will result in the death of the Pink Ranger. Tonight we finish this.

-Lord Zedd

Tommy crumpled the letter, throwing it down on the floor. For a minute he just stood there, breathing heavily at the thought of Kimberly, his Kimberly, being held captive by that freak Zedd. Tommy almost tore into the room's wall, but decided not to. 'I'm gonna need all my strength for the fight tonight. Better to go ahead and let things build up. No matter what, I will save her. And if anything gets in my way...

'Hell will finally be let loose.'

***********************************

A few hours later, the remaining Rangers stood before Zordon in the Command Center, Aisha included. They had found her unconscious on the beach and brought her back immediately. Her face had paled considerably when she was told the news about Kimberly.

"I can't believe it," the Yellow Ranger moaned. "I just can't believe it. We've never faced anything like this before."

"What do you mean?" Adam asked.

Aisha took a deep breath. "What I mean is, Zedd's brought back a really personal part of Kimberly's past."

"I'm not quite sure I follow," Billy stated.

"It's a long story, but I guess you should know. Still, you might not like what you hear." Aisha had directed the last part at Tommy, almost knowing how volatile he would be on the subject. He nodded at her to go ahead.

"When Kim said that the people at the Pan-Global games were a problem, she wasn't exaggerating. Most of the gymnasts hated her just because she was a rookie in the national area and was kickin' most of their butts. Unfortunately, that was the least of her problems.

"There was a guy by the name of Damien Greene. He was one of the martial artists in the Pan-Global arena." Aisha noticed Tommy perk up at the mention of martial arts, but he kept himself quiet. "Anyway, he felt for some reason that Kim was supposed to be his girlfriend. I don't know and don't want to know what could have been going through his perverted mind then, but Kim told me it probably wasn't good. He had tried to get to her on every level, especially physical. Eventually, he started beating her every chance he got." She noticed Tommy balling his fists up until his knuckles were almost as white as his shirt at that. "After a while, the coaches found out and had Damien arrested. To this day, Kimberly still has nightmares about what he did to her."

Adam cleared his throat after a moment of silence. "What exactly does this have to do with what's going on right now?"

Aisha took a deep breath. "I think Zedd's turned Damien into another evil Green Ranger. He's the one that attacked us today."

"How can you tell?" Rocky asked.

"The way he talked. He gloated worse than Goldar."

"If Lord Zedd has managed to bring back the Green Ranger Powers and give them to another person, then we could all be in very grave danger," Zordon warned.

Tommy mulled over this new information. 'It's almost just what my dreams have been trying to tell me. Another one dons the Green Ranger armor to do evil. Well, this time I won't let the conflict involve anyone else. I'm gonna end that scumbag's life as fast as humanly possible.'

"Aisha, what's Damien's fighting style?" the White Ranger asked.

"Fourth degree black belt in Toso Kune Do. Why?"

Tommy muttered something unintelligible under his breath. "That's the exact same style I use. Looks like I'm gonna have one tough night tonight." He walked over to a console, bringing up a readout of something.

"What are you doing?" Billy asked. When he received no answer, he leaned in and looked over Tommy's shoulder. Checking his watch, Billy noted how much time they had. "You plan to check your armor and powers for the next ten hours?"

The Ranger leader turned to look at him. "No. I'm just running maintenance checks to be ready if anything goes wrong. I'll probably spend most of my time practicing." With that, Tommy turned back to the console.

"I don't think that's a good idea, Tommy," Zordon counseled. "I have been observing all of you for the past few days, and with your recent dream pattern I suggest that you go get some sleep before tonight's battle."

Tommy considered the option for a few minutes. "I guess you're right. I'll need my rest." He turned to Billy. "I want everything checked over. Twice. Fix any glitch you come across, no matter how minor." Alpha 5 came over and led Tommy to the medical bed nearby. After laying down, Alpha pressed a hypospray into his neck. Seconds later, Tommy was asleep.

***********************************

'It's amazing,' Aisha thought. 'Those stars hold so much wonder and beauty, but they also lead to so much evil.' She shivered. It was nine fifty at night, and she was looking up at the sky from the outside of the Command Center. The tension had gotten to be too much for her, so she had decided to take a walk.

That afternoon had been so eventful that she hadn't really had time to consider the events until now. Zordon had told her to teleport back to the apartment and hide nearby so the police could find her. He wanted as few Rangers reported missing as possible. So Aisha had agreed and gone to the police. Following that had been several hours of questioning, mostly about who the attacker might have been or why he had taken Kimberly. Of course she couldn't tell the truth, otherwise the cops would know about the Rangers. So she had to make up most of the story, pleading ignorance on most cases. She hadn't seen Damien's face, not in real life or in pictures, so she couldn't identify him by appearance. Aside from that, nothing much had happened, so the police had told her that she could go.

As for where to go, that was a whole different story altogether. She had teleported back to the Command Center to see if there was anyway to help in Tommy's preparations. Unfortunately, Billy had said, there was nothing else they could do but wait.

Finally tired of the three hours he had been waiting, Adam asked if she would like to run a training simulation with him. They still hadn't checked out the new holographic practice rooms yet, so she had agreed. Rocky had been sent back to cover for Adam during all of their afternoon classes at the dojo. 'Probably for the better anyway,' Aisha thought. 'We don't need the whole group to disappear in the same day. Besides,' she added mentally, 'Adam is way cute, especially with that longer hair of his!'

"Penny for your thoughts?" Aisha turned to see the Black Ranger coming up behind her. "I'd offer more, but I'm kinda short on change," he finished with a smile.

Aisha laughed. "I've just been thinking about...well...the stars." She pointed up at the sky. "When we were kids, remember how we used to just lay on the ground and look up at the stars, wishing we could be out there to see if there was anything else?" She saw Adam nod. "And now...well, now I know that there's something else out there, and I wish I didn't."

Adam knew what she was talking about. Zedd. The worst enemy they had ever faced. He swallowed back the bile that rose in his throat. "Aisha, you can't let one dark spot mess up the whole picture. You might miss something beautiful." He walked up to her, putting his arm around her shoulder to comfort her. "The stars are still just stars. They're the same things they used to be when we were kids. Zedd can't change that."

Aisha shivered. "No, but he can destroy it if we don't stop him."

Adam turned her around, his hands on her shoulders. "We're gonna stop him, Aisha. Remember, we're the experienced ones. We know how to fight. Earth is our home planet, our turf. Plus, we've got a major weapon on our hands."

She looked at him, confused. "And what would that be?"

"Tommy. After this whole thing is over, he won't let Zedd come within fifty miles of Kimberly without slicing, dicing, and shredding him in at least ten different ways," Adam said with a smile.

"I guess you're right," Aisha sighed. She felt Adam shiver against her.

"Brrr. It's kinda cold out here. You wanna go back inside?" he asked.

Checking her watch, Aisha shrugged. "Sure. Tommy should be waking up soon." They turned to go back in.

***********************************

"Okay, let's go already! I wanna hurry up and get out there!" Tommy complained. The anesthetic had worn off, and he was ready to fight.

"Hold on, Tommy," Billy said as he ran the bioscanner over Tommy's body. "I wanna make sure that you're alright. We don't want any unknown side effects occurring during your fight, do we?"

The White Ranger sighed in defeat. "All right." After a moment's pause he asked, "How'd my Powers check out?"

"Perfectly fine," Billy chuckled. He couldn't help but admire Tommy's control. Sure, he probably wanted to rip Damien's insides out with his bare hands, but at least he was being cautious about it. "There. You're all clear."

Jumping up, Tommy cracked his knuckles. "It's about friggin' time!" he crowed. With a flick of the wrist, he summoned his morpher.

"Go get'im Tommy!" Rocky cheered. "Go open up a major can of Whup-Ass on Damien!"

Tommy smiled evilly. "No problem." With that, he teleported out.

"May the Power protect him," Zordon muttered.

***********************************

Damien smiled at the captive Kimberly. He could almost taste the fear emanating from her. "I'm glad you still remember me, Kimberly," he snarled. "Because what you've experienced before is nothing compared to what I'm going to do to you tonight." He coldly caressed the Pink Ranger's cheek, taking delight in her shiver of fear. "Still counting on your White Knight to save you now?" The only response was an icy glare from Kimberly's brown eyes. "Well, you can forget about him. After tonight, there won't be enough of that fool Tommy to fill a matchbox!"

"Damien! Show yourself you coward!" He could hear the White Ranger slam open the doors to the warehouse.

Turning back toward his hostage, Damien leered. "I'll be back. Then we can continue our fun."

***********************************

Tommy studied the layout of the warehouse, looking for Damien. "Get out here and fight me!" he shouted. His morpher was ready to transform him at the touch of a button. All he needed was for Damien to show.

"My, my, aren't we the slightest bit angry." It wasn't a question. It was a statement. Tilting his head upward, Tommy saw Damien sitting on a walkway two floors above him with a grin that made the Cheshire Cat look somber. "And to think Kimberly was attracted to you. What could she possibly see in a wimp like yourself?"

"Why don't you get your ass down here and I'll show you," Tommy growled.

"Oh, very well," Damien said with a yawn. He acted bored, almost as if this sort of thing happened every day. "I suppose we really should get on with this. The sooner I kill you the sooner I can begin my fun with little Kimmie." With a flick of the wrist, he brought out something Tommy thought he would never see again: his first morpher with the Green Ranger Power Coin intact. Damien smiled. "Bring it on."

"Consider it brought," Tommy rumbled. The two warriors activated their morphers.

"White Tiger, ENERGIZE!!" Tommy called.

"DRAGONZORD!!" Damien screamed.

Barely before the armor covered his body, Tommy launched himself at Damien. His Power Claws were unsheathed and slicing like a whirlwind before Damien knew what hit him. Staggering back, Damien whipped out the Dragon Dagger and raked it across Tommy's chest. Sparks flew as Tommy retaliated with a powerful kick to Damien's stomach. The Green Ranger flew back, slamming into a wall. As soon as his feet touched the floor, he jumped upwards and fired a beam of green and black energy at Tommy. The blast hurled Tommy into the opposite wall.

'Man, this guy is tough,' Tommy thought as he struggled to his feet. He saw Damien set down on the floor and begin to charge. 'Tough, but impetuous,' he noted. When the Green Ranger was just within an arm's length, Tommy turned around, back flipped, and planted both feet on Damien's back in a mighty kick which sent him reeling. Flipping back to a standing position, Tommy growled. "Is that the best you've got, you pathetic wimp?"

Damien got up, his fists clenched in anger. "How dare you talk to me like that!" he shouted. "I was winning national tournaments by the time I was sixteen!"

Tommy was unimpressed. "Yeah? Well I've been fighting monsters and saving the planet since I was fifteen, so shut the hell up and fight!"

With a primal shriek of rage, Damien charged again. Tommy ran forward as well, ready to turn his opponent into three different types of french fries. Without warning, sparks flew from Tommy's armor and a loud SKREEEK!!! filled the air. Looking down, Tommy saw the damage that had been done. Part of his armor just below the Tiger Shield had been pierced, and he was bleeding from a cut on his stomach. Turning around, he saw what had caused the wound.

Damien held the Sword of Darkness.

***********************************

"There. Take a look." Billy leaned back as the others gathered around.

"Is that all we can get?" Aisha complained.

"I'm afraid so. Something's jamming our signal, so Tommy's vital signs were the best I could do."

"Um, should his heart rate be jumping around like that?" Adam asked with a hint of worry.

"Okay, recap," Rocky said sarcastically. "We've got a severely pissed off White Ranger who's out to save the girl of his life meeting up with a perverted freak who's planning who knows what for that girl, and the two are starting to pound the living crap out of each other. I don't exactly think he'll be at his calmest point."

Adam paused. 'Whoa. Sounds like Tommy's not the only one pissed about this situation.'

"Calm down, Rocky," Zordon advised. "The last thing we need at this moment is fighting amongst ourselves. I know that most of you are angry about this condition we have been put in, but you must have control. Billy, have you been successful in the construction of your second option?"

The Blue Ranger nodded his head. "Affirmative. I've laid out all the plans. However, construction would take time, and that's something we don't have enough of."

"An unfortunate turn of events," Zordon said ruefully. "How long would construction take?"

"A couple of days, at least. Shorter if we decide to forego the shields and SPI."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Rocky cut in. "Would somebody mind telling us what's going on in American?"

"Well," Billy started, "ever since Zordon gave us our new Powers, I've been working with him and Alpha on construction of our new Zords, which they weren't able to build before Zedd began his attacks. Anyway, the Zords are to be made of a highly unstable metal called Titran X. When used under proper conditions, Titran X will perform with extreme efficiency and power the strongest weapons we can find. I've also programmed in an SPI, which stands for Sentience Program Identity, software that would recognize the pilot and aid him or her in combat situations. Unfortunately, if used in an area with a minimal containment field, Titran X will cause an immense implosion on itself and result in an event similar to a black hole."

The other Rangers just stared. "Huh?" Rocky asked.

"He means that unless we can use the stuff right, we're toast," Adam translated.

Murmurs of "Oh" resounded around him as the others caught on.

"Affirmative," Billy agreed. "But since Damien has the Green Ranger Powers, he could call the Dragonzord out to fight. If that happens while we're still constructing the Zords..."

"We're dead meat," Rocky interjected.

"Correct."

Aisha sighed. 'C'mon, Tommy, don't let us down.'

***********************************

Damien staggered back, barely keeping his grip on the Sword of Darkness. Tommy had just slashed him hard up the abdomen and in the chest. He charged the Sword, ready to defend himself from the White Ranger's next attack.

"Auxiliary armor, activate," Tommy gasped into his helmet. A secondary plate of armor slid down to cover the gash of his stomach. He didn't need Damien to slice him open even worse. Silently thanking Billy and Zordon for helping to upgrade everyone's suits, he charged again. His last strike had sent Damien reeling, and he was going to take full advantage of the opportunity. Leaping high enough to almost touch the ceiling of the twenty foot room, Tommy raised his Claws high above his head.

"Why won't you just DIE?!!" Damien shrieked in both furious rage and edgy panic. He launched a bolt of lightning from the Sword that struck Tommy in the chest. The White Ranger's direction reversed immediately, and Damien could hear the sound of Tommy's body slamming through several floors before stopping.

"Good riddance," Damien growled.

***********************************

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! the alarm screamed.

"What's going on?" Aisha shouted as Billy ran over to the console he had been using to monitor Tommy.

"Shit!" Billy cursed under his breath. "Tommy's flat lined! We've got to get his heart pumping again!" He started pressing several buttons on the unit. "Adam, give me a hand here!" he cried.

Adam rushed over to Billy's side, trying to see what he could do. "What's the plan, Billy?"

"Remember those blood tests I ran a couple of days ago?" the Blue Rangers asked frantically.

"Yeah."

"Well, I didn't just draw blood. I had Alpha implant microscopic robots inside each of us for medical purposes just like this one. In this case, those robots will emit an electrical charge similar to the one used in hospitals."

"So what do you want me to do?" Adam asked.

"Press this button here," Billy indicated a small red push button nearby, "as soon as I say, alright?" Adam nodded. "Okay, charging 100 volts. NOW!" Adam pressed the button, and a tone indicated that the shock had gone through. Looking at the monitor, they saw that Tommy was still flat.

"Charging 150. NOW!" Adam pressed the button again. Nothing.

200. Nothing.

250. Nothing.

300. Nothing.

Just when the Rangers thought that they might lose him, Billy cranked up the voltage again. "Charging 400. Hit it!" Doubtfully, Adam pressed the button.

BEEEEEEEEEEE BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

The Rangers cheered as Tommy's heart started pumping again.

Billy and Adam wiped the sweat off of their foreheads. "Good job, Adam," Billy complimented.

"Thanks," Adam replied. "Now let's just hope Tommy can take it from here."

***********************************

"Ohhhhh," Tommy moaned. "That son of a bitch is really going to pay for that!" He had been partially aware of his heartbeat stopping for a couple of minutes, then starting again. 'I gotta remember to thank Billy for whatever it is he just did,' Tommy thought gratefully. Standing up, he ignored the sparks that came from several pieces of armor that had almost been torn to bits. Looking at his chest where he had been hit, Tommy growled again. The Tiger Shield was useless now. It had been charred beyond repair by Damien's blast. Speaking a few verbal commands into his helmet, Tommy dislodged the shield from his chest and activated more of the auxiliary armor plating. Jumping down to the floor below, he began his search for his opponent once again.

***********************************

Kimberly sat in the chair, trembling with both fear and physical weakness. Damien had just finished his "fun" with her, and now she was bruised, bleeding, and ashamed. He hadn't actually done anything but beat her, but the things he had said were just as bad, if not worse. Then, her last shred of hope had been ripped away: Tommy was dead.

"Rested up yet, Kimmie?" Damien's cold voice pierced the shroud of darkness her mind had been put under.

Looking up in his direction, she saw that he was coming towards her again. 'No,' she thought desperately. 'No, not again!'

Before the Green Ranger could get much closer, a loud CRASH!! snapped his attention away from his hostage. Under the helmet, his face twisted into an expression of hatred, disgust, and fear. The White Ranger was alive!

Kimberly's heart leapt for joy. 'He's alive! He's alive! He looks like hell, but he's alive!' In truth, Tommy did look absolutely terrible. Several places in his armor were busted and broken, while others were not white but the steel gray of the auxiliary armor. What really surprised her was the Tiger Shield that was normally on Tommy's chest. It was gone! These notifications barely made themselves aware in Kimberly's mind as she slowly slipped to unconsciousness with only one thought: 'Go get him, Tommy.'

***********************************

"How many times do I have to kill you?!" Damien roared as he brought the Sword of Darkness in a downward slash.

Tommy parried the blow, following up with a hurricane of slashes, punches, and kicks which pushed Damien back against a wall. Damien tried to bring the Dragon Dagger up, but Tommy drove his Power Claws through the man's wrist, causing him to drop it. "I won't give up until there is no heart to beat, no air to breath, and no blood left to flow through my veins," Tommy growled.

With a mighty cry, Damien pushed forward, causing Tommy to lose his balance and tumble to the floor. The Green Ranger was on him in a second, his sword poised to pierce Tommy's throat. "Then I shall see to it that all of your criteria are fulfilled as you die!!" With that, he pressed the Sword forward with all his might.

With one hand still stuck in Damien's wrist, Tommy could only use his right hand to hold the Sword away. But it wouldn't last forever. His strength was ebbing away, bit by bit. He couldn't keep this up much longer!

*FOCUS, YOUNG ONE* a voice said from out of nowhere.

'What the...?!' Tommy thought with surprise.

*YOU MUST FOCUS ON YOUR OPPONENT. USE HIS STRENGTH AGAINST HIM. LET IT FLOW FREELY*

'What are you talking about?' Tommy thought towards the strange new entity. But there was no answer. 'Great. Just great! What did he mean by "Use his strength against him"?'

Almost in answer to his question, Tommy began to glow a bright white. Damien tried to shut out the light from his eyes as he pushed harder. As Tommy focused, he felt memories flow into his mind. They seemed familiar to him, even though they weren't his. Winning the National Martial Arts Championship, meeting a gymnast in Florida, falling in love with her, demanding that she be his, the beatings he had given her, the stalking attitude he had taken. Tommy realized that these were all Damien's memories! Specifically the ones of when he had become infatuated with Kimberly.

The white glow encompassed the Green Ranger as Tommy concentrated on the memories. They had given him a new will to fight. 'I'm going to tear this slime ball apart!' The White Ranger felt new strength flow into him. The armor plating he had lost was replaced, the Tiger Shield reformed on his chest, and Damien's armor turned to a sickening gray. It was a shade Tommy knew all too well. 'I don't believe it!' he thought. 'I'm draining Damien's power!'

With newfound lightning speed, Tommy withdrew his Claws from Damien's wrist and slashed him across the chest. Leaping to his feet, he continued the assault with a tornado kick, followed by an uppercut that sent the man flying. As Damien struggled to get up, Tommy ran forward. When he was about a foot away, Tommy flipped and planted his foot on Damien's stomach. The blow left a charred boot mark on the Green Ranger armor as both fighters stood up. Tommy bore forward, both sets of Power Claws piercing Damien's shoulders. Whirling around, Tommy hurled Damien thirty feet away and into another wall. In a flash, Tommy was picking Damien up from the floor and ripped his helmet off, exposing a tan face and jet black hair. He wanted to see the man's fear.

"You worthless pile of slime," Tommy growled. "You thought you could beat me? If only you knew the difference between your training and mine. I have been fighting alongside the Power Rangers since high school. I've learned the Powers. You," he shook his head in disgust. "you are nothing but a pawn in Zedd's little game. Do you know what he would have done with you if you succeeded?" The frightened Green Ranger shook his head. "He would have killed you. Instantly. Just like I'm about to do now."

Damien's scream of "NO!!" would echo in Tommy's ears forever as he drove his Claws through the armor and into the man's heart, twisting them so the wound wouldn't close. After waiting a few seconds, Tommy pulled out, with Damien's heart still attached to his hand. Looking at it for a moment, the White Ranger then dropped it on the floor as he let the lifeless form of Damien Greene slide down along the wall.

"You sick pervert," Tommy whispered.

***********************************

Adam looked over the data, not quite believing his eyes. "Billy, get over here!" He tore the printout from the console as the Blue Ranger sprinted to his side. "Take a look at this."

Billy muttered something completely unintelligible and rather profane as his eyes scrolled across the lines of printed material. "What could be causing this?" he wondered aloud.

"The energy source is located in Warehouse 52B," Adam pointed out.

"Get the others together. We need to warn Tommy," Billy said as he went to shut down the Zord program he had been working on.

"But how? Something's jamming our communications in that area."

"We'll have to go in on foot," Billy stated.

"That could be dangerous!" Alpha exclaimed. "If this overload reaches its peak while you're still there..."

"I'm well aware of the risks, Alpha," the genius interrupted. "Unfortunately, Tommy isn't. And he's the one in there with no way to teleport out."

"Exactly," Adam agreed. "He could be injured and need our help. We don't have much of a choice."

"Then I suggest that you move quickly, Rangers," Zordon advised.

"We will, Zordon," Billy assured him. "Let's go," he said to Adam.

"May the Power protect them," Zordon muttered as the two friends headed off to get the others.

***********************************

Stumbling back to the motionless figure of his true love, Tommy cut the ropes that held her and took hold of her limp form. Looking her over, the White Ranger nearly cried at the sight. Kimberly had been bruised in almost every visible area of her body, there was a slight trickle of blood from her mouth, a bloodied scar appeared on her forehead, and her shirt was torn so that it was almost indecent. Forcing himself not to look at her, Tommy picked up the Pink Ranger and spoke the command that would teleport them home.

Nothing happened.

Tommy tried again, with the same results. "Well, I guess we'll have to leave this party on foot," he muttered to Kimberly. Just then he heard a small voice from his personal helmet communication system.

"Tommy! Do...read...?...urgent! Get...there now!"

'Rocky?' the White Ranger thought with bewilderment. 'What's going on?' "This is Tommy. I read you. What's happening?"

"Switch...Two point zero five," the crackled voice of the Red Ranger muddled through into his ears.

Tommy managed to switch the frequency, noticing that there was no static on the connection. "Now would you mind telling me what's going on?" he asked impatiently.

"Place is set to blow," Rocky panted over the microphone. "We're on our way to help you out, but if you don't get outta there fast, you're gonna be blown straight to wherever they're keepin' the remains of the Machine Empire."

'Stupid analogy, but I get the point,' the man thought. "How much time have I got?"

"Five minutes. Billy's uploading a timer to you now."

Tommy cursed Zedd silently. "There's another problem," he said. "Kimberly's here, and she's unconscious."

He heard Rocky swear violently. "That'll complicate things. Look, Billy's got an emergency transport thingy on an alternating frequency so it can't be jammed. Just get to the front door and we'll do the rest."

"Gotcha," Tommy confirmed.

"Oh, we are so screwed."

"Um, Rocky? You said that last part out loud."

"Crap."

***********************************

Adam, Billy, and Rocky ran through the deserted streets of the warehouse district, hoping Tommy would get out to meet them in time. Billy carried with him what looked like a large saucer, and it was slowing him down. 'Let's hope this thing works like it's supposed to,' the genius thought hopefully. 'If it doesn't...' He shook his head. There was no time to think about the negative side of things. Tommy and Kimberly were counting on him, not to mention the rest of the team. Even Aisha, whom he had left at the Command Center so she could keep watch over the whole operation, relied on his success. After all, one Ranger alone couldn't do much against a whole army.

"Billy!" Adam shouted out. "There it is!"

Looking at the building the Black Ranger was pointing to, Billy noticed that it was glowing a sickening green and emitting lightning bolts that struck several of the warehouses around it. "Alright, let's go!" he commanded as they bolted off.

"We're never gonna make it in time!" Rocky screamed over the thundering noise projected by the building.

"Shut up!" Adam screamed back. "We don't have a choice! Failure is not an option!"

"Both of you zip it already!" Billy ordered as he ran. "Save your breath for running!"

The three Rangers picked up the pace, hoping against hope that they would make it.

***********************************

Thunder rumbled outside, signaling that the energy storm had begun. Tommy checked the timer on the display screen of his visor. "Two minutes and fifty seconds. Damn!" He rushed toward the exit of the room he was in, carrying the limp body of Kimberly in his arms. Kicking open the door, he searched for something he knew should be there. After all, it was kind of hard to miss. "Gotcha!" the White Ranger hissed as he spotted the ten foot wide hole he had left in the floor when Damien had blasted him. Running over to observe the trail, he saw a trail of shattered wood and steel marked with several shreds of armor. The holes were also slightly spaced in their pattern. It wasn't a straight line, indicating a slant in Tommy's ascent when he had been forced upward.

"Well, here goes." With Kimberly in his arms, Tommy jumped down through the hole to the next floor down. Landing with a solid CLACK! as his boots impacted on steel, he prepared to do the whole thing again. And so he leapt, floor after floor, again and again, as the timer slowly counted down. By the time he had reached the ground floor, there was only forty-five seconds left.

Setting Kimberly down, Tommy ran over to the front door, finding that it was locked. Swearing again, he tried to pry it open. When that didn't work, he tried to slash through the hinges with his Claws. As soon as the metals collided, energy sparked between them and repelled Tommy. "Damn it!" he screamed again. There was only nineteen seconds left! What was he going to do? What could he do?

"The door's stuck!"

Huh?

"It won't budge!"

Who was that?

"There's no other way in!"

What was going on?

"Then I guess I'll just have to make one!"

With a ferocious CRASH!! the door collapsed. Looking through the smoke, Tommy saw a sight that he would treasure forever. Standing there, Adam's Power Ax in cannon mode, were the other three male Rangers.

"C'mon, Tommy! Let's haul ass!" Rocky shouted.

Picking the Pink Ranger up once again, Tommy ran over to join his friends as the last few seconds of the timer ticked away.

"Teleporting now!" Billy exclaimed.

In a blindingly brilliant flash, the whole warehouse exploded, sending fire into the sky.

***********************************

In five flashes of colored light, the Rangers reappeared in the Command Center. Tommy immediately ran Kimberly over to the medical bed, but Alpha stopped him.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Tommy cried in outrage.

"Tommy, the police have been looking for Kimberly for quite some time. It would be easier to take her to a normal hospital," Alpha advised. "Otherwise, the authorities will continue their investigation and may even begin questioning you and the others, and that could somehow lead to the discovery of your identities."

The White Ranger mulled over his options. "Fine," he submitted. "Just let me take her in, okay?" At Zordon's nod, he teleported out.

***********************************

Fifteen minutes later, Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park, Aisha Campbell, Billy Cranston, and Tommy Oliver ran into the Angel Grove Memorial Hospital. Aisha ran up to the front desk, frantically asking, "Did a Power Ranger bring in a brunette a few minutes ago, about age 23?"

"Yes, I believe so," the nurse on duty replied. "Wait!" she cried as the group turned to go up the hallway. "You can't see her yet. She's in the Critical Care Unit. No visitors right now. You'll have to wait." She indicated a cluster of chairs nearby.

With several groans and complaints, the party of five sat down to wait for news.

***********************************

Two Days Later...

"C'mon, Tommy. Let's go." Billy tried to wake his leader from the daze he seemed to be in. "Hey, Tommy! Wake up, man." The White Ranger turned to look at him. "We're all gonna grab a bite in the cafeteria. You want something?"

Tommy shook his head. "An explanation would be nice," he murmured.

"What?" Billy asked, not quite understanding.

"Sit down." The sandy haired man did so. "There's something that's been bugging me since the fight."

His interest peaked, Billy leaned forward. "I'm listening."

"Something happened during my rumble with Damien. There was a point when he got me on the floor with his sword ready to gut me like a fish. Then, something happened." The Blue Ranger's eyes had taken an interested look in them as he listened. "Some...voice...came from out of nowhere and started talking to me."

"What did it say?"

Tommy shrugged. "Something about concentrating on your opponent's strength and using it against him. Then, the strangest thing happened. I started to have these flashbacks, like I was remembering something. The thing is, those memories weren't mine!"

"Then whose were they?" Billy inquired.

"Damien's. Just from the time period when he started stalking Kimberly. That's when this really freaky light started surrounding the two of us. Damien's armor started turning gray, and my armor was being replaced. As it happened, I grew stronger, until I was able to kill Damien."

"What exactly are you saying happened out there?"

Taking a deep breath, Tommy decided to give his explanation a whirl. "I think...I think that I...absorbed...Damien's energy. I practically drained his life right out of him. When I ripped his heart out," he noticed the other man turning slightly green at that thought, "it didn't beat that long before it stopped. That's when it hit me."

Billy leaned back, the gears in his brain clicking into overdrive. "Well, this is just great," he said sarcastically.

***********************************

Zordon observed the viewing screen, watching the exchange between the Blue and White Rangers. Looking to Alpha, he nodded.

"It has begun."