Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my world, no money, etc. etc.
New Home New Dangers
It was just another day with Space Patrol Delta, another monster, another bruise. The yellow ranger, Elizabeth Delgado, rolled with an explosion cursing all the pain she knew she would be feeling tomorrow as she impacted the pavement. Recovering, Z pushed herself up and quickly checked on the others. Sydney Drew, the pink ranger, and Bridge Carson, the green ranger, were just getting back to their feet. Sky Tate, the blue ranger, and Jack Landors, the red ranger, were still busily involved in swordplay against the most recent threat to Earth.
If it wasn't for its twin swords and its annoying tendency to fire lasers from its eyes, Z would have been tempted to laugh at the monster, going by the name Implexus. He had given the usual speech about destroying them in interesting ways and helping Gruum take over the world, but the yellow ranger had been distracted by the fact he was bright red and vaguely resembled an upside down blender. But, she thought as she dived out of the way of another energy bolt, this wasn't the time for laughing.
Drawing her blaster, she aimed waiting for a clear shot. Implexus had knocked the blue ranger away, but the red ranger was still battling, exchanging blows with the monster. Jack met the strikes ducking and weaving around the enemy. Implexus was cursing and grumbling threats but Jack simply matched them with some of his own. Unfortunately, the monster was one to back up its words with actions. With a katana charged with energy, the monster got under the red ranger's guard and struck Jack across the head with a heavy blow. Sparks flew off his helmet as he flew backwards into a building.
"Jack!" cried Z. Her concern momentarily distracted her but she soon joined in with the other rangers as they fired on Implexus. As the monster fell back, she dashed over to check on her chosen brother, but he was already back on his feet, though slightly unsteady.
"Time to finish this," he said seemingly unaffected by the attack. With a call to RIC, the rangers used the Canine Canon to incapacitate the monster. A quick use of the judgment scanner and Implexus was contained.
The rangers demorphed with a sigh of relief.
Syd wiped the sweat from her forehead. "That better count as our training for today. I could really use a shower."
"There's no reason we can't still get some training in," insisted Sky. "And that battle just proved how much we need it."
He shook his head. "You know how important training is, Syd."
"Yeah," put in Bridge. "We can't let our fighting monsters interrupt our training to fight monsters." A familiar look of confusion appeared on his face. "Wait a minute…"
The blue ranger quickly interrupted the green ranger before he could go along any further with that thought. "The point is we still have a lot to learn. And I'm sure Jack agrees. Right, Jack?"
Syd put her hands on her hips. "Well, I'm sure Jack agrees that we all could use some rest so we're refreshed for our next battle. Right, Jack?"
"And I'm sure Jack agrees that peanut butter just does not go with pickles. Right, Jack?" Bridge couldn't help adding.
Worried by her friend's lack of response, Z frowned. "Jack?"
"What?" The red ranger gave them a dazed glance. Wincing, he raised a hand to his head, but waved off the concerned looks. "I'm fine. I just think… I… uh…" He didn't finish his sentence as his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed.
Thankfully, the quick reflexes of Bridge and Sky prevented him from hitting the pavement. Holding onto his arms, they gently lowered him to the ground.
The rangers crowded round the crumpled form of their leader their eyes wide with concern. The blackout seemed to be momentary as Jack blinked up at them, his eyes glassy and confused.
"Jack? Are you okay?" asked Bridge who like Sky was still holding onto his arm.
The red ranger's eyes suddenly widened as he took in the bodies hovering over him. "No!" He started thrashing about, pulling his arms free and kicking out with his legs. The others quickly jumped back as he lashed out at them.
Confused, the rangers watched as the red ranger scrambled backwards along the ground. "No, not going to...," he muttered dazedly.
"Jack." Her arms raised, Z moved slowly towards the panicked ranger. "Jack, calm down."
"Z?" Frowning as he gazed into his friend's face, the red ranger stopped backing away. "What…?"
Elizabeth gently laid a hand on his shoulder with a look of intent worry in her eyes. "It's alright, bro. You're safe."
"It must be a delayed reaction from the attack. He probably has a concussion," commented Syd as she carefully knelt down beside him. "Jack, do you know who you are?"
"Yeah," he replied giving a look indicating he clearly thought she was crazy.
"Do you know who we are?" asked Sky deciding it was better to keep a slight distance this time.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Of course, I do, Sky. You're the idiots I have to put up with every single day of my life."
"Do you know where you are?" asked Bridge. He was tempted to read Jack's aura but he wasn't sure how the red ranger would react.
"Sure, we're… um…" Frowning, Jack tried looking around but winced as the blurry world he had found himself in titled when he moved his head.
The others exchanged concerned looks.
"Do you remember what happened?" asked Z.
"Ah…" But Jack had to shake his head, his face contorting in pain as he did so.
"We'd better get him back to headquarters," Sky commanded.
The yellow and pink rangers helped Jack to his feet. Squinting in the bright sunlight, he swayed slightly, and then abruptly grimaced. "Guys…"
Luckily for Bridge, Syd and Z, they correctly interpreted the expression on Jack's face and quickly got out of the way. Sky was not so fortunate as the red ranger threw up on his shoes.
"You did that on purpose."
"Give him a break, Sky," Syd berated the blue ranger. "He's hurt."
Z gently rubbed Jack's back as he finished retching. "Ready to try again?"
"Sure," he replied swaying once more as he straightened up. "Just don't move too fast."
They made their way back to their vehicles, Z and Syd helping the stumbling Jack, who couldn't seem to keep his balance. Bridge and Sky followed with Sky grumbling about his shoes. The trip to the base was not pleasant for Jack. It involved much moaning as he lay in the back of the Jeep trying not to throw up again while the girls kept pestering him to make sure he stayed awake.
A med team with a stretcher was already waiting when they arrived. They quickly transported Jack to the infirmary. The others hurried after not wanting to be left behind, but were stopped at the door by Cruger.
"Rangers, let the doctors do their work in peace."
"But commander…" started Syd.
"You can see him as soon as they're done checking him out. Meanwhile you can give me your report of the battle."
"Yes, sir," the rangers replied reluctantly and they slowly started making their way to the command centre, all except Z who was fixedly looking through the door where Doctor Felix was shining a light into Jack's eyes.
The yellow ranger refused to look away from the scene. "I'm not leaving."
"You can't help him by standing there."
"I'm not leaving him when he's hurt. He wouldn't leave me and I won't leave him."
"Z." Bridge gently placed a gloved hand on her shoulder. "He's going to be okay."
"You don't know that!" she snapped causing Bridge to reel away, but then her face softened. "I'm sorry, Bridge."
"'s okay, Z. We know you're just worried." Bridge turned to Commander Cruger. "Commander, would you really mind if Z and I stayed? I mean you don't really need all of us to give the debriefing. You could if you wanted to, but since we were all there, at least, I think we were all there…"
Doggie held up his hands. "Alright, you and Delgado can stay. Just don't get in the doctors' way."
The green ranger nodded and waved to the Syd and Sky as they left with the commander. Z was still anxiously watching Jack. While the yellow and green rangers waited, they only caught glimpses of the red ranger as the doctors and nurses swarmed around him. They checked his vitals and ran scans, eventually bringing in some special imagining equipment.
Z's arms were crossed, hands sharply digging into her biceps, eyes barely blinking. Bridge wrapped his arms around her shoulders offering comfort, his concern for both of the pair.
Finally, the infirmary staff drifted away leaving only Doctor Felix. Jack had been placed on one of the infirmary beds. He was now clothed in blue hospital pyjamas, a blanket wrapped around him as he appeared to be sleeping. Sensing that this was the right moment to start asking questions, the yellow ranger hurried in without invitation. Bridge followed.
"Doctor…," she began.
Felix held up his hands. "Your friend will be fine." He checked his clipboard. "Cadet Landors does have a fairly sever concussion, but there is no sign of a brain haemorrhage and he is now resting comfortably."
"But aren't you suppose to keep him awake?" protested Z. "What if he falls into a coma?"
"We are going to be waking him every two hours to be sure, but I don't anticipate any problems. We also need to keep an eye on him for the next 24 hours just in case."
The yellow ranger moved around the doctor to stand next to the bed where Jack lay. She took his hand noting the paleness in his usually cocoa coloured features. "I'll do it. I'll stay here and wake him up."
"That won't be necessary. We can handle it and we wouldn't want to keep you from your duties."
"I need to do this." Z looked up at him pleadingly. "He needs to wake up to a familiar face."
Doctor Felix gave her an evaluating gaze. "Alright. He may sleep for quite a while so you're likely to be here through the night. Remember every two hours and make sure he's truly conscious. Ask him questions. Do you understand?"
Nodding, Z pulled a chair over to the bedside and sat down.
"If anything changes, alert one of my staff." Sighing, the feline healer left.
Z was so intent on her brother that she barely noticed as Bridge sat across from her on Jack's other side. They both settled in for a long night.
Jack heard someone calling his name though the thick sludge his mind had become. He decided to ignore it and shifted slightly intending to drift back into unconsciousness, but the movement brought forth a pounding ache in his head. He screwed his eyes tightly against it and tried to dig himself deeper into the bed.
The voice came back. It was familiar and he could feel a hand on his shoulder. He reluctantly raised his heavy eyelids.
The concerned face of the yellow ranger slowly emerged from the blurry mass in front of his eyes. She attempted to put on a comforting smile, but couldn't quite manage. The stress was sketched in the lines of her face. "Yeah, it's me. I just need to ask you a couple of questions."
"Mmngh," Jack muttered unintelligibly beginning to fade away once more.
The red ranger felt himself being gently shaken and made a grunt in protest.
"Where are we right now?"
He blinked and let his eyes do a quick survey of the room. The line of beds and equipment quickly gave away the location. He was somewhat surprised when he caught a glimpse of the green ranger seated beside him. "Infirmary?"
"That's right. Now who is the commander of SPD on Earth?"
Jack didn't even question the oddness of the questions or his current location. He just wanted to go to sleep. "Cruger." He weakly pushed at the yellow ranger's hand on his shoulder. "Leave me alone, Z."
"Okay." Z's voice was already growing distant. "Sleep well, Jack."
The comforting nothing surrounded Jack once more.
The red ranger groaned. Not time to wake up, his mind told him. His head hurt and for some reason, he could smell the cafeteria's weak imitation of Triforian pasta. It made his stomach roll. He groaned again.
He tried to ignore the voice, but another little voice inside his head pointed out that the person talking was Z and Z was important. He opened his eyes. Elizabeth was sitting in what seemed like a familiar position beside his bed. Glancing at the end of the bed, he found the source of the smell. Syd and Bridge waved at him from where they were eating dinner with Sky.
"What's your last name?"
He frowned. That seemed a silly thing to ask. "Landors," he replied.
"What's my last name?"
Z was acting strange, but he was too tired to care. "Delgado," he muttered.
"What's the date?"
Jack let his head shift in a tiny negative response, unable to come up with an answer and already half asleep.
He felt someone gently pat his shoulder. "That's okay, Jack. Go back to sleep."
He happily obeyed.
"Hey, Jack. Jack!"
The red ranger reached up to rub his tired eyes as he woke once more and squinted at the person sitting beside him.
"If computers were edible, what would they taste like?"
"Huh?" Jack's forehead furrowed as he looked at Bridge in complete confusion. He couldn't understand what Bridge was talking about, but that was normal. What worried him was he couldn't understand what Bridge was doing there or why he was in the infirmary for that matter.
"Bridge!" berated Sky from where he sat at the end of the bed playing cards with Syd amongst the dirty dinner dishes. "You don't ask those type of questions."
"What type then?"
"Simple questions," responded Syd. "Specifically the non-Bridge kind."
"Oh, okay." The green ranger turned back to Jack who still felt rather muddled. "Jack, what's your name?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Jack?"
Bridge grinned. "Right. Now, how many eyes do you have?"
"Correct. What's you're favourite colour?"
"Great. I think you can go back to sleep now."
Giving Bridge a look, Jack decided now was definitely not the time to try to figure out the green ranger. He just wanted to get away from the piercing pain that was growing in his head, but somewhere in his fuzzy mind it occurred to him that he hadn't seen Z, though he had a dim recollection of her being there before. With the strong instinct to check on his little sister emerging, he glanced around the room and found the yellow ranger sitting on the windowsill at the end of the room. She was looking at him with a sad expression. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but fell asleep before he could.
A gentle shaking brought the red ranger back and he found himself gazing at a tangle of blond curls as Syd smiled down at him. "Hey. I'm just going to ask you a few questions, okay?"
Jack nodded. He was still exhausted, but he his head was now clear enough that he was starting to recognize the routine though a dull ache remained.
"Alright. What's the name of my favourite stuffed animal?"
"What is the name of my number one song?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "Me."
Syd grinned. "Right. And finally, what do you think of my new nail polish?" She held out her hands and wiggled her fingers so Jack could get a good look at them. They were unsurprisingly pink.
"It's lovely, Syd."
"Thank you," she replied happily.
Glancing around, Jack found that the card games had degenerated over the past couple of hours. Sky and Bridge had built forts out hospital equipment and sheets, and were using the cards as projectiles. But there was no sign of the yellow ranger.
"Where's Z?" he muttered sleepily his face cracking with a large yawn.
"Oh, she just stepped out for a moment. I'm sure she'll be right back." The pink ranger patted him on the shoulder. "Get some rest."
Jack nodded yawning again, but while his body demanded rest, his mind was busy telling him something was wrong. He shifted restlessly for a moment as the two fought. His body finally won out and he felt himself drifting off even as an image of Z's sad face flashed in him mind.
"Name, rank, serial number!"
The command jolted Jack awake and he groaned as he realized who it was.
"Go away, Sky."
"Name, rank, serial number," the blue ranger insisted again.
It didn't look like Sky would be leaving him alone anytime soon so Jack complied. "Landors, Jack. Team leader, B-squad. Serial number… Do I really have a serial number?"
Instead of responding, Sky merely rolled his eyes. Behind the blue ranger, Jack could see Syd fast asleep on the next bed, her arm curled tightly around Peanuts. A glance down the end of his bed showed the remains of the forts and Bridge trying to build a castle out of the cards scattered across the floor. But there was no sign of Z.
"Where is she?" Jack demanded pushing himself up on his elbows. Even that small movement caused him a moment of vertigo, but he was determined to find his sister. "Where's Z?" He swung his legs over the side of the bed then was forced to stop as the room spun.
"Whoah!" Sky tried to gently push the resistant red ranger back into bed. Bridge dashed over to join him demolishing his castle in the process. The two of them managed to guide Jack back down. Closing his eyes, Jack put a hand to his head, the pain from his concussion rearing once more.
"Z is fine," insisted Sky. "She's just needed some time to herself. You however are not fine and need to continue resting."
"No buts. We need you recovered before Grumm attacks again."
"Fine," Jack grumbled in resignation.
"I'm sure she'll be back by the time you wake up again," reassured Bridge.
"She better be." Jack yawned. Exhaustion seemed to continue to pervade him even though he was sure he had been sleeping a long while. Memories of the fight were starting to come back, but he couldn't remember how it ended. He assumed they'd won or the other rangers would have a lot more than him to worry about.
But where was Z? Usually, she stuck to him like glue when he was ill or injured. Had something happened to her? Maybe she didn't want to see him. Maybe she hadn't really forgiven him for being such a jerk when they first started at SPD. The anxious thoughts tumbled through his head leading to anxious dreams of darker days spent with his sister of the streets.
A sudden obnoxious beeping followed by a loud crash caused the red ranger to abruptly sit up as he woke. He was forced to place a hand to his head as the room spun slightly, rubbing his forehead against the dull ache that remained. Searching for the source of the noise, he located a small alarm clock at his bedside which persisted with its annoying noise. A gloved hand suddenly appeared from below the side of his bed and turned it off. Looking over the side, Jack located Bridge laying in a crumpled heap on top a chair on the floor.
"Bridge? You okay?"
The green ranger looked at him blearily. "Jack?" Sudden realization lit up in his eyes. "Jack! What's the first ten digits of pie?"
Jack sighed in exasperation. "Bridge, I didn't know that before I got hit on the head, why would I know it now?"
Bridge scratched his head through his mussed up brown hair. "Um… I don't know?"
"Besides I can guarantee you, I'm perfectly awake though I can't say the same for you. How much sleep have you gotten tonight?"
"Hmm… well I set up the alarm about twenty minutes ago in case I fell asleep, so probably… twenty minutes?"
Jack glanced to his other side where Sky sat snoozing, his head resting on the bed where Syd lay still clutching her stuffed elephant. Somehow the two of them had managed to sleep through the slight commotion. Jack couldn't help the pang in his heart as he realized Z still wasn't there. "Bridge, the others seem to be happily getting their shut eye and you should too."
"But I promised Z…?" The green ranger noted a look of pain flash across his leader's face at the mention of the yellow rangers name. "Sleep. I bet that's what happened to Z. She probably went to the common room to do some thinking, ordered herself some buttery toast and fell asleep as she ate it. Happens to me all the time. I keep waking up with crumbs all over me."
"Sure." Jack nodded half-heartedly and lay back down placing an arm over his face.
Bridge clambered off the floor setting his chair right and sat down. "She was very worried about you."
"And you know how she likes to go off by herself when she's worried?"
The green ranger's concerns over Jack's unemotional responses was interrupted by a yawn.
Jack glanced over at him. "Get some sleep, Bridge."
"I extremely doubt I'll be falling into a coma any time soon, but if it makes you feel better, set the alarm again."
"Alright," Bridge agreed setting the alarm and then leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.
"On a bed!" Jack insisted. "If you fall off again, I doubt I'll be the only one with a concussion."
Bridge staggered over to the bed on the other side of Syd and Sky, and collapsed into it immediately falling asleep.
Jack closed his eyes mulling over what Bridge had said. Maybe Z had fallen asleep. Maybe she just need some time to herself. And maybe she just didn't want to see him anymore. He fell asleep once more dreaming of finding a little twelve year girl hiding in the alley way, not realizing he'd be stuck with her for a long time to come.
The alarm clock began blaring again. Jack really hated alarm clocks. He hated being woken up in general, but he found something excruciatingly annoying about being woken by an alarm clock. He quickly shut it off resisting the temptation to throw it across the room. Glancing around the room, he noticed the others had irritatingly managed to sleep through it, but berated himself for thinking that way. He couldn't believe they had actually stayed up so long to watch over him. He doubted any of them had gotten much sleep that night.
But Jack knew when to make use of an opportunity when he saw one. Silently slipping off the bed, he was glad the room only took a few moments to stop spinning. He grinned but silently cursed as he almost tripped after taking a few steps. He was very thankful none of the other rangers had seen that. With quiet, careful steps, he snuck passed them and out of the room. He had to find Z and he had a good idea where she might be.
Z had her
own little place, a spot she had picked out soon after joining
SPD. It was a little clearing in the forest that often served as an obstacle course during training. She sat with her back against one of the trunks as she watched the sun rising above the treetops. She always had her secret spots to be alone in, but they never remained secret from Jack for long.
The yellow ranger literally jumped up from where she sat turning to find her brother leaning against the tree beside her. He was still clad in the hospital pajamas, bare feet on the dew drenched grass.
"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in bed."
He shrugged. "I think I've spent plenty of time in bed recently, besides…" He sat down leaning lazily against Z's tree. "I thought I might be needed here more."
"But…" Z started to protest, but Jack had closed his eyes indicating he wasn't moving anytime soon. Sighing, Z gave up and joined him. At least the red ranger's normal colour had returned, but she could still detect a touch of pain hidden in the corner of his eyes.
"So, Z," Jack began after a few moments soaking in the sun. "What brings you out here? I kind of missed seeing your face as my rest was constantly disturbed last night. Being woken up by the others just isn't the same."
Z started pulling up the blades of grass by her feet. "I needed some time to think."
"Mmhm," he replied, eyes still closed.
"It's just…" She pulled her knees up to her chest. "What if it had been worse? What if you had been brain damaged? What if you had died?"
"But I didn't."
"But what if…"
Jack put a hand on her shoulder. "I didn't die. I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere."
"But you could." Z ran a hand through her dark hair. "You can't guarantee anything. Here we are throwing ourselves in danger everyday. Either of us could die at anytime and it's my fault."
He raised an eyebrow. "Could you explain that one to me? You must be using some weird Bridge type logic, because I don't see how it's your fault."
"I'm the one who chose to join SPD," she replied gesturing at herself. "I'm the one who dragged you into this. You only joined because of me, right?"
She gazed at him pointedly. "Right?"
Jack sighed. "Yes, but…"
"I never thought about what we were getting into. I never thought about what could happen. I just selfishly put us both in danger, forced you into something you didn't even want to be a part of, because of my silly wish for something bigger. I…"
Jack put a hand on her arm. "Alright, so I joined because of you. That doesn't mean I'm not glad I did."
"Yeah. I mean all these damn regulations take a bit of getting used to and I kind of miss seeing the looks on people's faces as we help them, but I do believe we're doing something good here." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Anyway there were as many dangers when we were living on the streets. We just got used to them."
"I guess so." She leaned against him, visions of darker times flashing through her mind. "We certainly had our share of close calls."
"Right, we survived then and we'll survive now. We'll just have to get used to it. New home, new dangers."
"Home?" Z gave him a sideways smile.
"Yup, complete with deranged family members."
"He's the older brother I never wanted and still don't want for that matter."
Z laughed then stopped in sudden realization. "You did tell them you were coming out here didn't you?"
"I didn't want to disturb their beauty sleep."
Faint cries could soon be heard calling through the forest.
Z smiled at Jack. "Ready to go home, bro?"
Clambering to his feet, he helped her up and gestured towards the base. "Lead the way, sis."
The yellow and red rangers returned to SPD headquarters locked arm in arm, the early morning rays lighting their forms. For now, they were safe and they were home.