Race Against Time
Prologue: The Return of B Squad
Last Revised: November 20, 2005
Summary: Its 5 yrs. post Endings Pt. 2, and the infamous former B Squad are invited back to the Academy to celebrate Cruger's reassignment to General and head of SPD HQ and Sky's promotion to Commander, but something goes awry, and they have to race against the clock to save one of their friends before it's too late.
Ships: Syd/Sky, Bridge/Z, Jack/Ally, Cruger/Isinia, Kat/Boom
Rating: T, for now
It was scary for her, to be standing in front of this massive building again. Once upon a time, it had been home for her, had been her first real home. And two years ago she'd been reassigned to the brand new SPD Academy in New Zealand. She hadn't seen this building in two years, and yet, it still looked the same.
"Why the pensive look?" a voice asked, breaking in on her thoughts. Turning her head, Elizabeth Carson looked over at her husband and smiled. "You're not scared are you?"
"No, Bridge, I'm not. It just amazes me that I haven't been here in two years and it still looks exactly the same," she told him, squeezing the hand she was holding.
"The outside looks the same, Z, but there have been massive changes inside, or at least they were scheduled to happen when I was here last."
Bridge had been back to the New Tech City SPD Academy several times over the years; more often then not to help the new Ranger teams that had come after them adjust to their new zords, which he, Kat Manx and Boom had personally created, and to visit with the new head of SPD on Earth, Commander Schuyler "Sky" Tate.
Their visit this time was to celebrate Sky's new appointment to Commander, and the appointment of their old Commander, Anubis "Doggie" Cruger, to General and head of overall SPD operations galaxy wide. It wasn't so much of a surprise that both Doggie and Sky had been promoted. No, what was surprising was how long those new appointments had taken. Both were completely dedicated to SPD, had given their all for the galaxy wide police organization, and it had taken a long time for those of higher rank to realize and acknowledge that.
"You think the others are coming?" Z asked, biting her lip as she and Bridge entered the Academy. She desperately wanted to see their former leader and their Pink Ranger. She hadn't seen Jack for nearly two years, and Sydney, she hadn't seen Sydney since the year after they defeated Gruumm, when the Pink Ranger had unexpectedly departed SPD without a word to anyone, let alone goodbyes.
Bridge shrugged as they made their way toward the security desk. "I talked to Sky a few days ago. He said he'd spoken to Jack, but didn't know definite plans yet. As for Syd, Sky wouldn't even talk about her."
"If Jack comes, it won't be for long. Ally's due in a few days, he won't want to miss her going into labor."
Jack Landors, former B Squad Red Ranger and leader of the famed SPD Earth B Squad Rangers who had defeated Gruumm, had married his longtime girlfriend Ally a year and a half ago, and now the two were expecting the birth of their first child, a son, in mere days.
"Can I help you?" the security guard asked, and then looked up from his desk. "Lieutenant-Commander Carson, welcome back to New Tech City."
Bridge grinned. "Hi Mark. Z, this is Mark Carter, he's a B Squad graduate cadet. Mark, this is my wife, Lieutenant Elizabeth Carson."
"Welcome to SPD Ma'am," Mark nodded to Z, who laughed.
"I've been here before, just not for a while."
Mark looked confused until he realized where he'd seen Z before. "You were the B Squad Yellow Ranger, weren't you?"
Z nodded and grinned impishly. "Correct the first time. Commander Tate's expecting us."
The guard nodded and handed Bridge the clipboard. "Just sign in, and then you can head up to the Command Center. I assume you remember where that's at?"
"Unless things have changed that drastically, then yeah, we do," Z teased him.
"No Ma'am, the Command Center's location is still where it's always been, a fact Commander Tate argued with Dr. Manx over for a few weeks."
Bridge and Z shared a look. They couldn't imagine Kat and Sky arguing about anything, especially something like that. Once they were signed in, Bridge and Z nodded to Mark and then made their way up the escalators into the bowels of the Academy.
"Can I help you?" Mark asked, looking up. A young African American man in a pair of black slacks and a red long sleeved sweater and a beautiful, and very pregnant, Caucasian woman in a black and red dress were standing before him, hanging tightly onto one another.
"I'm here to see Commander Tate," the man spoke, stepping away from the woman.
Mark's head snapped up as he stared at the legend who was grinning down at him. He knew all about Jack Landors. Next to the Commander and the Commander's father, Jack Landors was one of the most legendary of Red Rangers to have served at SPD.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Landors, I didn't recognize you at first," Mark apologized.
"That's alright, it's been a few years since anyone saw me around this place," Jack told him, trailing off as he turned his head so he could get a better view of the lobby. Not much had changed, except the lighting. Any and all scars from the fight with Gruumm, Broodwing, A Squad or the Troobian forces were gone. The only memento in the lobby that remained from that fateful day five years ago was a statue over in the corner.
"We have a cadet coming down to show you up to the Command Center, but it'll be a few moments," Mark explained.
"That's alright," Jack grinned, eyes landing on the statue. "Mind if we look around down here until then?"
"Go right ahead, Sir."
Jack reached out and took Ally's hand, leading his very pregnant wife over to the statue. Both of their eyes filled with tears when they saw what it was. Standing there, in bronze, was the B Squad in their Ranger gear – Jack in red, Sky in blue, Bridge in green, Z in yellow, and Syd in pink. Standing on one side were Kat, Boom and R.I.C. and on the other was Cruger, holding the Shadow Saber up, Sam dressed in his Omega Ranger uniform and Piggy peeking out from around Omega.
The former Red Ranger reached out a hand and traced the plaque that stood before the statue. "In honor of those who stood in harms way, and protected this planet and countless others from destruction, this statue represents the courage, honor, and valor of those who stood for good on that momentous occasion, and is in tribute to the legacy that they were a part of. May no one forget the heroic deeds accomplished that day."
"Oh, that's a lovely tribute," Ally murmured, wiping her tears away before reaching up to wipe away Jack's. Even though he had walked away from SPD, Ally knew the academy and his time spent as a Ranger still remained a large part of who he was, inside and out.
"Sky told me he'd put one up, I just didn't think it would be this classy," Jack grinned, and then turned when he heard someone calling out his name.
"BOOM!" Jack grinned, and at Ally's nod let go of her hand to rush forward to hug the other man.
"Welcome back, Jack," Boom grinned, and then smiled as Ally approached them a bit more slowly. "Are you two ready to head up?"
"Yeah. Say Boom, when did the statue go in?" Jack asked as the Academy's resident tech tester escorted them up the escalators and toward the command center.
"Sky and Cruger had that put up right before Bridge and Z got assigned to the new academy two years ago." Jack looked surprised but didn't say anything.
"So, who's here already?"
"Counting you and Ally?" Boom asked as the trio walked along the corridors. When Jack nodded, Boom continued. "Everyone but Syd."
Jack looked disturbed by that comment. Syd had left shortly after he had, but he had always thought that Z and the others kept in contact with her. "Where's Syd?"
Boom stopped and looked at Jack sadly. "No one knows. After she left SPD, she dropped off the face of the Earth. I don't think even Sky's heard from her since."
The former Red Ranger felt the nearly forgotten fear form into an icy ball in the pit of his stomach. They had been so close in the end, all five of them, that even when he'd left, the others had visited, until they all just couldn't get together more than once or twice a year. And now that he thought about it, Jack realized, none of them had ever mentioned where Syd was.
Looking in his mirror, Sky Tate sighed and tugged at his new uniform jacket for the millionth time. It looked a lot like his old uniform, except it held no color affiliation like it had when he was the Blue and Red Rangers. There was a badge on his left side and on the right, an SPD pin. Under the pin was a small array of pins – one blue, one red, and one silver – the first two to signify that he'd been a Ranger, and the last to signify his new status as Commander of SPD of Earth.
When the knock on his door sounded, Sky jumped. "Come in!" he called out, tugging at the hem of his jacket even as he turned to see who wanted to speak to him.
Dr. Katherine Manx entered, smiling widely. "Sky, they're here."
"All of them?"
"Doggie and Isinia just landed. The others are waiting for you at the shuttle pad."
Sky nodded and bit his lip then looked down at his hands. "Did she show?"
When the new Commander looked up at Kat, he saw the sadness in her green eyes. Shaking her head, Kat swallowed hard. "No."
Sighing, Sky nodded and motioned for Kat to exit. He followed her out and the pair made their way to the shuttle pad to receive General Cruger and his wife.
"General On Deck!" Sky barked out as those who were apart of SPD saluted when Anubis and Isinia exited their shuttle. Jack and Ally stood off to the side and out of the way as Sky, Bridge and Z moved forward to welcome their guests. Cruger shook hands with Bridge and Sky, and hugged Z briefly before he and his wife turned and spotted Jack and Ally.
"Jack Landors," Cruger spoke, a smile lighting his face and his eyebrow rising. "To what do we owe this pleasure?"
Jack smirked and stepped forward, his arm coming up as he saluted Cruger has he had five years ago when he'd been under the big blue dog's command.
"We're here to celebrate your and Sky's promotions, SIR!"
"Welcome back," Cruger told him before turning to stare at Ally. "Ally, how are you feeling? Sky told me you were expecting."
Ally grinned and stepped forward. "As fine as I can be, General Cruger. We're expecting any day now."
Cruger nodded and turned to Sky. "Shall we?"
Sky motioned for them to move toward the inside of the academy.
"Wow!" Ally gasped when the party of nine moved into the Command Center. Since Cruger had left two years before to start in on his formal training as head of SPD, Sky and Kat had been running the base and had made numerous changes to the Command Center. The first had been a security measure so that only personnel with clearance could get in. The second had been the overall change in atmosphere of the Command Center. A lot more lighting, better computer screens, and an array of other changes had been made to make it easier for those stationed in the Command Center to deal with their shifts.
"Dang, it certainly has changed in here, hasn't it?" Jack muttered, looking around in awe.
"Change is good," Sky grinned, teasing Jack about the lesson they both had had to learn the hard way. "Welcome to the new and improved Command Center, designed by our very own Dr. Manx."
Before anyone else could say anything, one of the current Rangers rushed over to Sky. "Commander Tate!"
Sky turned abruptly and nodded. "Go ahead, Claudia."
"Sir, we're receiving an urgent message over a classified channel!"
The former Blue and Red Ranger moved toward the main console, the others looking on. Bridge, Kat and Boom immediately moved forward as well, hoping to help Sky and Claudia.
All movement in the Command Center stopped instantly when Sky let out a strangled cry at the name that came over the transmission. "GIVE ME COORDINATES!" Sky bellowed in command, his heart jumping into his throat.
"Claudia?" Kat nearly hissed, swinging around to stare at the current Yellow Ranger.
"I can't get more than a general fix on it!" the Yellow Ranger cried softly, seeing the way the rush of emotions had dropped over those gathered, particularly Sky.
"KAT!" Sky struggled with his composure, even as he looked to Kat for answers.
"The closest point of origin I can give you is somewhere in the…"
When Kat's voice trailed off, the others all snapped their gazes to her face. Kat looked terrified by what was flashing on the screen before her.
"Kat?" Boom prompted, coming to touch her arm gently.
"It's coming from the M51 Galaxy."
Every person in the room paled at the name Kat uttered.