How Are We Related Again?
The Not-to-Distant Future
"Bridge!" Z exclaimed, bursting into the green ranger's room, closely followed by Syd. "You'll never guess who we just saw."
"Who?" Bridge asked disinterestedly, looking up from the toast he had been about to eat.
"Guess." Syd commanded.
Bridge shrugged, he'd much rather be eating his toast. "Commander Cruger."
Z and Syd both shook their heads.
"Where's Sky when you need him?" Syd asked with a sigh of exasperation.
"Right behind you." A voice replied. "Why do you want to know?"
"You'll never guess who we just saw going into Commander Cruger's office." Syd said excitedly, as she turned around to face the blue ranger.
Sky rose his eyebrows. "Do I really want to know?"
"Yes." Z stated seriously. "Trust us. You, of all people, would want to know."
"Then just tell me who it was." Sky said.
"He's called 'the greatest ranger ever.'" Syd offered. "You've hero-worshipped him since time began."
"No." Sky said softly. "You're joking. He-He's not here…Not…"
"Thomas Oliver, original Green and White Mighty Morphin' Ranger, White Ninjetti Ranger, Red Zeo Ranger, First Red Turbo Ranger, and Black Dino Thunder Ranger?" Z asked. She nodded. "Yep. It's him. Syd and I saw him walking with some woman and a young boy, into Commander Cruger's office."
"Do you think he has kids?" Bridge asked. "It would be so cool if they came here."
"B-Squad," said Commander Cruger's voice over their communicator's, "Please report to my office immediately."
As one, the four rangers assembled looked at each other.
"Do you think…?" Syd said.
Sky nodded quickly. "Let's go."
A few minutes later, the four found themselves outside of their commander's office, where they joined Jack, who was pacing nervously in front of the door. He looked up when the other four appeared.
"He made me wait until you guys got here." Jack said, as he stopped and knocked on the door.
"Come in." A voice called from the inside, and the door slid open.
The B-Squad rangers stepped into the office, but stopped when they found themselves facing their commander, who had his back to the three people sitting in chairs that were pulled up in front of his desk.
"Rangers," Cruger began, "I'd like you to meet a few people." He nodded at the man sitting before him. "This is Dr. Tommy Oliver. I believe you've studied his history at the academy. And this is his wife, Kimberly Oliver. You've learned about her as well: the former Kimberly Hart. And their son, Luke."
Tommy nodded his head at the five rangers before him, his lips pressed into a tight frown. Kimberly didn't even acknowledge them, a look of shock on her face. As for Luke, he stood up and shook all of their hands. Although not once did even a faint smile appear on his face.
"I have asked you to be here, Rangers, because you were all directly involved in the matter that brings the Oliver's here today." Cruger continued.
"What matter is that, sir?" Sky asked, his tone business-like.
"It isn't a 'matter.'" Kimberly said suddenly. "She was our daughter!"
"…I'm sorry, ma'am." Sky said, looking confused.
"I think I should explain." Tommy said suddenly, looking at Commander Cruger.
"If you're up to it." He replied.
Tommy stood then, and faced the rangers.
"We are here today," Tommy began, pacing in front of the line of five, "Because you recently…apprehended our daughter. Commander Cruger felt it was best for us to hear the news in person, but there are some things that we felt we needed to hear from the five of you, directly."
"If I might ask, sir," Jack said, when Tommy paused, "Who exactly is your daughter?"
A grim sort of smile passed over Tommy's face at that question.
"Then there are still some things I have to be proud of her for." He muttered. "She was ten when she promised to keep my identity a secret." He stopped in his pacing, and stood in front of the rangers with a straight back and an unreadable expression. They all straightened up a bit under his gaze.
"My daughter," He began, he glanced at his wife, whose expression was just as unreadable as his, "Our daughter, is Charlize Renee Oliver. But I'm sure the five of you know her as Charlie." He paused. "Or the A-Squad Red Ranger, whichever one works."
When he said this, identical looks of shock appeared on each of the S.P.D. ranger's faces.
"Charlie is your daughter?" Z asked incredulously.
Tommy's eye gave an involuntary twitch.
"You could say that." He said slowly. "She turned her back on us, though. She abandoned everything we ever stood for."
"Jason was so proud." Kimberly said suddenly, standing next to her husband. "He helped raise her for half of her life. And he helped her train so that she would be accepted here. And then Charlie became the first female red ranger, ever. Jason was so proud of our daughter, but she wasn't thinking about that when she joined forces with the very thing we swore to fight, was she?"
Kimberly paused here for a moment, her expression softening, as if she was remembering something.
"I sacrificed everything for my daughter." Kim said softly. "I already wasn't a ranger anymore, but then I gave up my dream to make sure she would be a healthy baby. I made the hardest decision of my life, just so she could be happy. I gave my baby up so she could live a better life than I could offer. And years later, she was the one who figured out we were related. She was the one who brought this family back together again. And now she's gone!"
With that final word, Kimberly broke out in tears, and collapsed into her husband's arms.
"B-But she isn't dead." Z put in, sounding a bit nervous. "We didn't kill her, or her team. They are just in confinement."
"We just need to know one thing." Tommy told the rangers, over Kim's head. "Was there anything that happened, when you were with A-Squad, that you didn't tell anyone? Anything at all?"
Jack shook his head. "It's all in the report, sir."
Tommy sighed defeatedly.
"Then you may go, Rangers." Commander Cruger told them.
Once they were out of the office, and out of hearing range, Z turned to her teammates.
"Well, that was strange." She commented. "So, Sky, is he still your hero?"
Sky narrowed his eyes at her. "Tommy Oliver is the greatest ranger ever. His daughter has nothing to do with that."
"But she was his legacy." Syd said softly. "Didn't you hear anything Kimberly said? She sacrificed everything for her daughter, and Charlie just turned her back on all of that. How could someone do something like that?"
"I don't get it." Bridge agreed. "Charlie was the legacy of two of the original power rangers. She was the leader of A-Squad, and the first female red ranger. Why would she throw all of that away?"
Everyone was silent for a moment, before Jack gave a shrug of his shoulders.
"I guess we'll never know," He said slowly, "She's going to be in confinement for a long time."
Back in the office, Tommy sighed once the five rangers had obediently left the room. Once the door was closed again, however, he released Kim from his arms and turned back to face Cruger.
"I'm sorry it had to end like this, Doggie." Tommy told him. "Things could have been better."
Cruger shook his head at this. "It's just the way things worked out, Tommy. I'm sorry to see Charlie go, to tell you the truth. She was one of my best cadets, ever."
"And she gets it from me." Kim said, glaring pointedly at her husband, all traces of tears gone from her face.
"And who was the one who raised her for most of her life?" Tommy retorted.
"You're sure you'll be able to get her transport to Aquitar?" Kim asked, turning back to Cruger and ignoring Tommy. "And they won't be suspicious of her or anything? And no one else will know about her?"
Cruger nodded. "It's all taken care of. The Aquitian Rangers were honored to be given the chance to serve with the daughter of two of Earth's finest."
Everything was silent for a moment in the office, until Luke decided to speak up for the first time since arriving there.
"Charlie really didn't do anything bad though, right?" He questioned both Cruger and his parents. "It was all acting, like you planned? Charlie didn't betray anyone?"
Cruger nodded. "Your sister took on one of the hardest missions possible for any ranger; she had to go against everything she was ever taught."
"But what about the rest of her team—of A-Squad?" Luke pressed. "I know they aren't going to Aquitar with her."
Here, Cruger shook his head sadly.
"Unfortunately, Charlie was given this mission because of suspicion's she brought to me." He said. "She knew the others were plotting something. Charlie only joined forces with Gruumm on my orders. As for the others, they'll be confined for a while; they really did do what they were accused of. We set up this meeting to make sure that Charlie didn't let anything slip that she was acting the whole time, when she was around the B-Squad."
Tommy glanced down at his watch now.
"I'm sorry Doggie, but we should be going now. Everyone is coming over to say good-bye to Charlie. But we'll keep in touch."
"Please tell her how proud I am of her." Cruger requested.
Tommy nodded as the Oliver family, minus one, stood up and left the office.
"-And you should have seen the blue ranger's face when mom said that." Luke said, bursting into laughter. "He called you a 'matter' and mom got all up in his face about how you were a real person…and it was just so funny."
An amused grin passed over Charlie's face as she listened to her brother's story.
"Sky…being corrected about something to do with ranger business…" Charlie shook her head, her grin still in place. "Now that is something I'd pay big money to see."
It was the middle of the night, and brother and sister were sitting up talking, reminiscing about their childhood, and, most importantly for Charlie, talking about the day's events.
"Did they seem upset that their fellow rangers had betrayed them?" Charlie asked suddenly.
Luke shrugged. "I think they were a bit overwhelmed at meeting mom and dad, and learning you were their daughter. But otherwise, I think they were just confused about why you would, as dad put it, 'abandon everything we ever stood for.'"
"Dad really said that?" Charlie said, with a raised eyebrow, while trying to keep a straight face.
Luke nodded and Charlie rolled her eyes.
"I bet he's still trying to get back at me for cutting his hair off when I was five."
Luke grinned. "Jason was telling me that story earlier, when everyone else was over. I can't believe dad's hair used to be that long."
Charlie laughed. "Why do you think I cut it off?"
Luke laughed along with her, but when he spoke again he was suddenly serious.
"I'm going to miss you, Charlie." He said. "You know that, right?"
"'Course I know that." Charlie replied. "And Luke, I'll miss you, too. You're my annoying little brother, I have to miss you."
"And you're my bossy older sister, whom everyone thinks is a criminal." Luke shot back cheerfully.
"Hey." Charlie said, holding her hand up. "We're related, aren't we? Maybe that means you're destined to be a criminal, too."
"I hope not." A voice said from the doorway.
Luke and Charlie both jerked around at the sound of the voice to see Kimberly standing there in her bathrobe, looking amused at her children's reactions.
"Jeez! Mom, you scared me!" Luke exclaimed. "How long have you been standing there?"
"So, the blue ranger is really scared of me?" Kim questioned, walking into Charlie's room and sitting on the bed, in between her two children.
"Yeah." Luke said. "Didn't you see his face? Ah, I wish I'd had a camera with me or something."
"Why do I always miss everything?" Charlie asked no one in particular. "First it was dad proposing to mom, and now it's Sky being told off by the first pink ranger."
"I wasn't there when dad proposed." Luke said. "And you got to be at their wedding, so I guess we're even."
"That doesn't count." Charlie informed her brother. "You weren't at their wedding because you weren't born yet."
"I can't believe the two of you are still arguing about that." Kim said, shaking her head in amusement.
"What can we say? We take after dad." Charlie said with a shrug. "We just don't know when to give up."
"I do too know when to give up." Another new voice contradicted from the doorway.
Kim rose an eyebrow at her husband. "Says the man who has been on four different power ranger teams, has had four different colors," She paused, "And has a strange obsession with dinosaurs."
"She does have a point, dad." Luke said. "You are rather obsessed with them."
"Not to mention the fact that, when I studied your history at the Academy, you were always referred to as 'the greatest ranger ever.'" Charlie added.
"Fine, I give up." Tommy said, throwing his hands up in defeat. "You're right, I don't know when to give up."
"Our point exactly, dad." Charlie said. "I mean, come on, look at you right now, for example. Even after you say that you give up, you still won't let the matter just drop."
"Shouldn't you be sleeping now, anyway?" Tommy asked, trying to change the subject.
"I haven't had a bedtime in years, dad." Charlie replied.
"And neither have I." Luke added quickly.
"But still, you should be trying to get some sleep, Charlie." Kim said. "You'll have to up bright and early. The Aquitians said they would be ready to leave by eight."
"And Billy said he'd meet you when you get to Aquitar." Tommy added.
Charlie heaved a fake sigh. "Fine. I'll go to bed, then. Everyone, out of my room."
Kim gave her daughter one last hug, before getting up and walking towards the door, where she grabbed Tommy's hand.
"Night, Charlie." Luke said, standing up now as well.
"Good night Luke." Charlie said, lying down and stretching out on her bed. "And turn the lights off on your way out."
Once Luke got to the door, Tommy and Kim turned around and left. Luke followed close behind.
"Hey, dad, do you think we could repaint Charlie's room once she's gone?" Charlie heard Luke say before he shut the door. "Pink is such a girly color." Then, "Ow mom, what was that for?"
Charlie smiled to herself as she lay in darkness. Her last thought before drifting off to sleep was that she would miss her family so much once she was gone.
The next morning, as promised, Charlie was up bright and early. When she asked where the Aquitians had landed their ship, Tommy replied that it was in the woods, and someone would come to get her when they were ready to leave.
And, soon enough, that time came. When a knock sounded on the wood of the kitchen door leading into the backyard, Kim turned to face the sink so that Charlie couldn't see the tears that were forming in her eyes and Tommy stood up to open the door.
"See ya' Luke." Charlie said, standing up and grabbing her duffel bag from the floor. She wasn't bringing much with her; Billy had said Earth clothing didn't hold up well on Aquitar. "Don't you dare step a foot in my room while I'm gone."
"Why would I do that?" Luke asked innocently.
"Gee, I have no idea." Charlie replied sarcastically, turning to face the sink, and her mother.
"Promise me you'll be careful." Kim said, throwing her arms around Charlie. "I don't want anything to happen to you for real this time."
"I'll be fine, mom. I promise." Charlie insisted. She pulled out of the death grip Kim had her in, and smiled at her. "Besides, if anything does happen to me, it'll finally be your chance to get back at Billy for calling you a terrible mother."
A small smile lit up Kim's face. "I've been waiting years for that to happen." She looked sternly at Charlie now. "But don't think that's an excuse for any bad behavior, missy."
"Mo-om." Charlie groaned. "I'm a responsible adult now. Remember?"
A snort of laughter escaped Luke, and Charlie hit him on the back of the head.
"Bye, mom." Charlie said, giving Kim one last quick hug, before turning to face the door where Tommy was standing.
Tommy held out his arms and Charlie wrapped her own arms around his middle, like she was a little girl again.
"Make me proud." Tommy whispered, echoing the very words he had said to her the day Charlie had left for the S.P.D. Academy.
A smile spread across Charlie's face.
"Don't worry, I will."
Tommy released her and took a step backwards so that he was standing next to Kim.
"Go on." He said, jerking his head towards the door. "They're waiting for you."
Charlie took one last look at the kitchen, and her family, before giving a final parting wave and walking out of the door. Once outside of the door two people who were unmistakably Aquitian met her.
"This way." One of them said, gesturing towards the forest. "Our ship is in here."
Charlie nodded and the three set off towards the wooded area. It wasn't until they were within the protection of the trees that anyone spoke again.
"So, we heard you were related to Thomas Oliver and Kimberly Hart." One of the rangers said. It was the same one who had spoken before, and he had curiosity written all over his face.
"Yeah," The other one chimed in, "So, how are you related to them, again?"
A proud grin appeared on Charlie's face.
"I am their daughter."
a/n-I just want to thank everyone who has been reading since the beginning. And I especially want to thank every single on eof my reviewers, you guys have me helped me more with this story than you know. I really hope everyone enjoyed the epilogue-and the story as a whole. Thanks again, to everyone.