Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Saban, who owns Power Rangers, and any characters you recognize. The idea of the Academy is Sparticus', as is the permission for me to use it. The rest is mine.
Writer's note: This came to me after reading Sparticus' Ranger Academy ( www. paladar. com / fanware / room10 / spartacus5. htm - put it in w/o the spaces). This fic will make much more sense if you have read at least the first chapter of it. I think right after that I saw the episodes with Sylvie, when she started blackmailing Carlos. It occurred to me to wonder what might happen to her with this Ranger Academy, and so this is what I produced, with his blessing. It's not exactly cannon - and takes place eight years after the founding of the Academy, so obviously there are things that are wrong. Think of it as a Fan Fiction based off a Fan Fiction, I guess.
Writer's note two: There are a couple of really obscure things in here; one is that there is a reference to one of my favorite bands. Good luck if you can find it!
1: "Follow Your Dreams" - GTR, When the Heart Rules the Mind
Sylvie Larson trailed behind the group she had been with for the last fifteen minutes, taking everything in, trying to remember how to get to each place they had stopped. Her arms were full of stuff: two uniforms, a datapad to study with that had the outlines of the classes, a hard copy of a map of the academy grounds, papers with various codes on them, and the small bag she'd brought for personal effects. Her arms were beginning to hurt, but that didn't stop her from shifting the whole bunch of stuff to one arm and running her fingers over the smooth material of the ivory uniform that lay on top. She was here, in spite of what Geoff had said, and she was going to graduate.
"Sylvie Larson." She snapped to attention and ran a couple of steps to catch up, her cheeks reddening under the disapproving stare of the green-clad Ranger who had been leading the group. "This is your room. There will be a general meeting and introduction in thirty minutes."
"Yes, sir," she said, and stepped to the doorway as the group moved on.
The room wasn't too small, she decided as she walked in, but it wasn't huge, either. Lockers stood at the heads of the two sets of bunk beds, taller than she and about one and a half feet wide. She set her stuff on the top bunk on the left side of the room, carefully laying her uniforms to one side. A table stood against the back wall, with four chairs around it. A terminal sat in a niche in the wall behind it, and a chord - it looked like a hook up of some kind - ran from behind it, the end resting on the table. There was no sign of a keyboard at all.
Sylvie touched the screen and it turned on, bringing up a menu. "Okay," she said, vaguely amused by the whole thing. "Do I touch the screen, or do I talk?" It didn't answer, and she felt rather stupid. She glanced around self consciously, found she was still alone, and touched the screen for the layout of the Academy. The place was big, and she'd gotten lost as soon as her group had left the main hall. The layout popped up with a dialog box: download to personal datapad?
"Oh! Yeah!" She turned and dug through the stuff on her bunk to find the datapad. She plugged it in, once she'd found the port, and touched the "yes" button. A small scale popped up and she watched the short download complete, backed out to the menu to touch the "stand by" button, and retreated to her bunk. Shoving everything aside, she began to study the school layout.
The door opened and a tall girl walked in, surveyed the room, and set her stuff on the lower bunk on the other side of the room. "Hi," Sylvie said.
The girl spun and looked at her, then her eyes narrowed. "Hello."
"Amy." She turned her back on Sylvie, who shrugged and went back to the layout. She looked up occasionally as Amy moved her stuff to her locker, then changed into her uniform and swept her hair up in a bun. Somewhat jealous, Sylvie ran a hand through her own short blonde hair. Now was not the time for that kind of feeling.
The door hissed open and two girls stepped in. One was tall with shoulder length dark brown hair; the second was shorter, with long brown hair held back from her face with a barrette. They checked both sides of the room and looked decidedly disappointed. Sylvie grinned. "Hi. I guess you two wanted to bunk together?"
"Yeah." The taller girl surveyed the room. "Wow. Small."
"Hey, I can change beds, I haven't set up my locker or anything," Sylvie said, jumped down, and gathered her stuff. The two girls exchanged looks, then smiled.
"Thanks," the shorter one said, setting her armful on the lower bunk. "My name is Leia." Sylvie bit back a Star Wars comment.
"You mean, like in Star Wars?" Amy asked, turning around with something of a sneer. Leia nodded and rolled her eyes; Sylvie stifled a giggle. Amy shrugged and went back to whatever she was doing.
"I'm Portia," the taller one said as she set her stuff in her locker.
"I'm Sylvie, and that's Amy," Sylvie said, nodding in the direction of the girl sitting at the table.
"You have ten minutes to get into uniform and to the main hall," Amy told them without turning around again. Sylvie, Portia, and Leia scrambled to change, and Sylvie set her locker combo, stuffing everything but the second uniform in her locker. She took great care to hang that up.
When she turned, ready to go, she found that Amy had already left, and shared a shrug with Leia and Portia. The three of them left the room, but stood just outside their door and stared in shock at the flood of people in ivory uniforms that streamed past. Portia grabbed Leia's arm, and Leia grabbed Sylvie's, and the three of them dove in, following the others. The hall was nearly full when they arrived, and Sylvie strained her eyes to see the figures on the stage. The instructors were on one side, and she picked out Mr. Park and Mrs. Kwan, who had administered parts of her application, but she didn't recognize any of the others. On the other side stood the Rangers she'd met. There was Cassie, Zhane, a pretty blonde woman - oh, wait... Karone - and TJ. It was amazing, seeing them all again, and it brought back the memories she hadn't thought of in a long time. But where was...
The hall went silent as a figure in red stepped up to the podium. Andros, she thought, and it didn't look like he'd loosened up any. Behind him like a bodyguard, dressed all in black and conspicuously not in uniform stood her friend, Carlos.
The shock of seeing him made everything else fade. She hadn't heard from him in years. He'd gotten married when she was twelve; she still had the announcement, as well as the baby shower invitation for her mother, with a note from him for her that had come when she was barely thirteen. Then she'd heard about an accident, and when she'd called the Academy a few days later, they'd told her that Brianna and Harmony were dead, and he was ill. She called back twice a week until they told her he was gone. Gone, and they had no idea, or so they told her, of where, or when he'd be back. Every time she'd called, she'd gotten the same answer. For the last four years, she'd heard nothing. And there he was, apparently guarding Andros from something. He looked stern, as if he'd forgotten how to smile.
Someone touched her arm and she turned to look at Leia, who smiled. "Who caught your eye?" she asked, pulling Sylvie out the door with her. It was over? She looked back to see Carlos standing apart from the others; TJ was already gone.
"Wait, he's done? What did he say?" She couldn't believe she'd missed the whole introductory speech.
"That most of us wouldn't be here in a month, and we were going to wish we'd never come most of the time we were here. Who were you staring at?"
Sylvie sighed. "An old friend. I haven't seen him in a while. It just surprised me, that's all." Staring at him? Oh, great. At least she'd been far enough back that he couldn't have seen her.
"Really? Who?" Portia asked.
Sylvie's mind spun. She didn't really want to get into the whole thing about how she'd met Carlos; it was the most embarrassing thing she'd ever done. Granted, she'd been a stupid eight year old, but please! Blackmailing a Power Ranger? "Just a friend." She shrugged. "I'll... meet you guys back in the room, okay?"
"Are you all right?" Leia asked.
"Yeah, fine. Just in need of think time. I'll see you in a few minutes." She turned down a side corridor and walked down it like she knew where she was going.
In three minutes flat, she was lost. It probably didn't even take that long, but it took her three minutes to notice. She sighed and leaned against the wall. Seeing them had brought everything home for her, remembering the terrifying time in Astronema's Secret City, the terror muted only because she was with the Black Ranger. Then to find out his friend, Andros, was the Red one... She shook her head. She still had nightmares, sometimes, of becoming a data card, of Astronema's face in the window, watching in complete indifference. Pushing herself away from the wall, she tried to retrace her steps. After a minute, she came across a sign that said "Medical" that she was certain she hadn't passed before. That meant people, and that meant directions. She followed the arrow on the sign.
She stepped into the office and into the middle of a war.
"TJ, don't be ridiculous! I am not an invalid! Andros did not say I couldn't leave."
"No, Cassie and Justin did. And right now, they have more authority than he does, by his orders." The large black man stood in the center of the room, arms crossed over his broad chest. Sylvie recognized him, but as far as she could tell, he hadn't changed at all. Well, okay, so he didn't tower over her anymore, but he seemed to have grown bigger, at the same pace as she had. He was just as big as she remembered him.
In front of him stood a slender blonde woman who looked severely ticked. "I'm sick of this! I'm going to go insane in here! I'll even go in a wheelchair if they'll let me, but Teej, I've got to do something!" She was familiar, too; Andros' girlfriend? Yeah, definitely. Sylvie couldn't remember her name.
Someone cleared their throat behind Sylvie, and she whipped around, her face flushing. Andros stood in the doorway, obviously trying not to smile. Behind him, more than half hidden by the closing door, stood Carlos, his back to them. "Can I help you?" Andros asked Sylvie in the stunned silence that followed his entrance.
"Yes, sir. I... got lost, and I'm not sure how to make it back to my quarters from here." Inside she was screaming in panic. I didn't mean to get directions from the head master! Please don't let him ask my name!
He smiled and gave her concise directions, and Sylvie thanked him. On her way out, hand trailing on the door, she paused and looked at Carlos, curiosity waging its own war in her. He looked back at her impassively, with no recognition in his eyes. She'd expected that; she wasn't eight or even thirteen anymore. He turned his head to look into the room, and she caught sight of a scar down the right side of his face, along the hairline. Where had he gotten that?
"Ash, I'm not getting in the middle of this," she heard from Andros, then Carlos reached out and pulled the door from her hand, closing it firmly. She walked down the short hallway to a main corridor, got out of his sight, and ran.
She stopped inside her room and leaned against the wall as the door closed. "Oh, stupid, stupid, I can't believe it, of all the people to run into!" she yelled in frustration.
"Where'd you go?" Leia asked. She, Portia, and Amy all sat around the table, studying something on the computer screen.
"Oh, I got lost." She pushed away from the wall. "The Headmaster was in a good mood; he gave me directions back." She opened her locker and took out the datapad, and, digging into the bag she'd been allowed to bring, her old worn and well loved doll, Delilah.
"You met the Headmaster? Is he as handsome as the images in the front hall?" Portia asked.
"What did he say?" Leia asked, shooting her friend an amused glance. Amy rolled her eyes, looking slightly scornful.
"I wound up in Medical, and he came in behind me. I have never been so embarrassed! He probably thought I was eavesdropping." She crawled up on the bed, set Delilah against the wall, and started up the datapad, opening it to the Academy layout. That was not going to happen again! "I just hadn't had the chance to ask the two in Medical for directions when he showed up," she mumbled.
"Hey, don't worry about it," Portia said. "He doesn't know you."
Yes, he does, Sylvie thought, but didn't say anything to her roommates. She was glad enough that he hadn't recognized her. She didn't want anyone thinking she'd gotten in and graduated because she 'had an in' with the founders of the Academy. She wanted to do it on her own merit, so that no one had a question about it.
That night, Sylvie huddled under the blankets with Delilah. She was glad she'd thought to bring her; the doll had been with her during the most terrifying adventure of her life so far, and she was a comforting presence during nightmares. Especially the ones she expected to have the next couple of days. Not only that, but she kept the secrets Sylvie whispered to her. A great majority of them were about the Rangers.
The next morning, classes started, and Mr. Park's Combat class was first. And she'd thought his part of the application was hard! She wanted so badly just to crash right then, but Strategy was next.
Strategy was taught by a petit woman with light brown hair, who introduced herself as Kimberly Hart. The course outline showed not only defensive strategy, but strategies to look for in the enemy. It included such things as being evil, having a spell cast on you, methods of breaking a spell, etc., and as Sylvie read down the list, she wondered who these things had happened to. There was even a section on monsters, and how to figure out how to defeat them. With a guest lecturer: William Cranston. She figured she was going to like this class a lot.
After that was Teamwork, and watching her roommate Amy, Sylvie wondered how she'd do in there. She didn't seem to be able to warm up to anyone. They were divided into pairs to complete tasks, with the strong injunction from Mr. Scott that this was NOT a competition between groups. Sylvie caught herself casting glances at other groups to see if they were done before she was. That was something to work on, for sure.
Lunch was long enough to relax and make her brain calm down. She found Leia and Portia and sat next to them, across from two guys. "Man, I thought I was in shape," the blond one moaned, rubbing at his upper arm.
"Yeah. My sensei said that Mr. Park was hard, but this is ridiculous," his red haired companion agreed.
"It's going to save lives," Sylvie pointed out. "Not just yours, either."
"Huh. He didn't have this," the first said, waving distractedly at the school, "and he made it fine." Sylvie chuckled.
"Yeah, but he stayed on Earth. I'm Sylvie." She extended a sore arm across the table, and he shook her hand.
"Mackenzie. Call me Mack, everyone else does. This is my cousin, David."
"This is Leia, and Portia."
David grinned. "Nice to meet you ladies. And don't listen to Mack; he likes to complain."
"Where are you from?" Portia asked.
"Angel Grove. My sensei knows most of the teachers here; I guess he went to school with them. He warned me about them," David said.
"Mack?" Leia asked.
The blonde flushed and mumbled something inaudible.
"What?" Portia asked.
David laughed and clapped his cousin on the back. "He's from Oklahoma, and he's afraid everyone will have the bad taste his roommates did, to break into the Theme from "Oklahoma", and serenade him."
"It wouldn't have been so bad if they'd at least known the words," Mack whined faintly, with a sheepish grin. Sylvie laughed.
"I promise not to do that," Leia said, "if you don't say anything about my name. I've heard enough jokes about wearing my hair in buns to almost make me want to go postal."
Mack grinned at her. "Deal."
Science was taught by Cestro, a being from Aquitar, and he was her first look at an alien-looking alien. Monsters she'd seen, but this was not a monster, and Andros, technically, was an alien; so were Zhane and Karone. They just didn't look alien. Cestro's class covered not just science, but different cultures and differences in technology. Sylvie's brain felt full, and she still had one more class.
Philosophy with Mrs. Kwan dealt with other cultures more than Cestro's class. Sylvie's eyes widened as she realized it took in all the little... details of getting along on another planet. Not another country, another planet. It was dizzying, really, and it took her some time to get her mind back on the class. From the look of faintly amused resignation on Mrs. Kwan's face, it was not the first time something like that had happened.
After that was an hour until dinner, and Sylvie went back to her bunk and the layout of the Academy. She'd figured out the night before where she'd gone wrong, and was mapping out ways to get around. "Hey, Sylvie, who was so interesting yesterday?" Leia asked.
"Didn't we go through this?" Sylvie asked, her mind on the map she was making.
"No, you didn't tell us who he was," Portia said. Sylvie turned to look at them.
"He was a friend. I lost my older brother to cancer, and he stepped in to fill the void." She winced slightly. "Then my friend was in an accident, and never came back. I saw him again, at the assembly, and it surprised me." She turned back to her datapad and switched over to her science assignment. They seemed to get the hint and left her alone, turning back to Amy's computer tutorial.