AN: Hey guys. Here it is, the first chapter of the new year! I know I said this chapter was going to be the one where Kim left, but I completely forgot I had this chapter before hand. The next one for sure! I promise. I'm typing it up right now. If you guys could read the AN at the end of the chapter, that would be great! If you don't, then you'll miss out on some important info.
Thanks to my beta Alana! Always making sure that my writing isn't atrocious and grammatically correct! I owe you big!
Chapter 16: Conversations of a Group
~ ~ ~ Saturday 6:30 p.m. ~ ~ ~
The elevator door opened and both women stepped out, whispering quietly to each other. They were trying to figure out how best to tell the others about the changes that would soon come their way. As they walked into the room, they saw that the other rangers were talking to each other, trying to decide something. They were all seated in a circle around a coffee table that had a couple of movies displayed. The options were Air Force One, Stephen King's The Langoliers, Look Who's Talking, From Duck Till Dawn, Jurassic Park, and Pretty Woman. The girls joined the group, jumping into the conversation as if they had been there the whole time.
"So what are we gonna watch?" Kim asked, leaning over Tommy.
"Hi Kim. There you are. We're trying to figure that out. All of us have different ideas at the moment." Adam said.
"Well, I don't know about you guys, but I for one, have had my fill of monsters. Lord knows you guys deal with them more often than I do, so I imagine it's the same for you. My vote's on Pretty Woman or Look Who's Talking." Kat said, looking over Aisha's shoulder at the selection of movies.
"I think we could all use a good laugh. I say we watch the comedy." Tommy said. The others nodded their heads in agreement. After picking up the movies, the group made themselves comfortable on the pull-out couch. Tommy put the movie on and went to sit next to Kim. Once the movie finished, they all made their way to the cafeteria to make dinner.
"So what are you guys in the mood for? I was thinking pizza or pasta." Kim asked.
"Pasta!" Rocky and Aisha said rather loudly.
"That sounds great." Tommy spoke, seeing that both Billy and Adam nodded in approval. Aisha, Rocky, and Kat stepped into the kitchen to help while the rest went to set up the table. While Kat made the pasta, Aisha and Kim made the alfredo sauce, and Rocky grilled the chicken that would go with the pasta. Knowing how much Rocky and Tommy ate, the girls made sure to make enough food to feed a small army. They brought out a huge pasta bowl, a container that had the home made sauce, and chicken bits on a plater and placed it on the center of the table.
"This looks delicious." Billy said, savoring the past already.
"Yeah, thanks for this awesome dinner guys!" Adam smiled hungrily.
"No problem. I figured we'd like some good food instead of junk." Kim said.
"Alright everyone, dig in!" Aisha said ecclesiastically, pouring some sauce on her pasta. They spent the next half hour enjoying conversations between themselves while devouring their food. Once dinner concluded they sat around for a bit, letting food digest before deciding what to do next.
"Let's play Scrabble." Adam suggested, not really wanting to exert himself after eating two plates of pasta. Billy and Tommy agreed with him, shaking their heads in approval of the idea.
"I think we should play Twister!" Rocky spoke happily.
"Yeah! That sounds like fun!" Aisha and Kat shouted at the same time. The girls looked at each other and laughed at their similar train of though. They all looked at Kim.
"Looks like you're the tie breaker Kim." Adam said smiling.
"Uh...how about we play both? A couple rounds of Scrabble first, to let the food digest and then Twister." A chorus of agreement greeted Kim's ears. They walked to the elevator and pressed the button that would take them down a floor to the break room. They pushed two tables together and set up the first board game. Scrabble was up first. The group played three rounds, with Kim, Adam, and Billy each winning one. After this, Twister was the next game up. Everyone knew hilarity and humiliation would be bound to happen. Once again, they played three rounds, Kat and Kim never playing at the same time – due to their flexibility as a dancer and gymnast respectably – in order to be fair to the others. Kim took the first turn at the spinner, with everyone else removing shoes and other items of clothing or accessories which would only get in the way. The first round came down to Rocky vs. Tommy. They were both trying to outdo the other, with little success at managing to trip each other up. Finally, Tommy slipped trying to get his left foot on a blue dot behind his right hand while trying not to fall on top of Rocky. Rocky stood up and did a victory lap around the room.
The second round was pretty much the same, except for Kat and Kim switching places and the end of the round going to Kim. The last round was a battle of the sexes, with Billy and Kat being the last two left. The guys were cheering Billy on while Aisha and Kim rooted for Kat.
"Alright guys, lets see if you can do this." Kim spun the spinner and waited to see what she would call out, "Left hand...RED!" Both Billy and Kat had their backs to the red circles. They tried in vain to reach out and touch the circle. Both fell, Kat on top of Billy, to the shock of the rest of the group. Kat and Billy groaned, not really trying to move as the rest laughed at the situation. Finally Adam reached out and helped Kat up so Billy could sit up.
"That was very exhausting. I haven't felt this tired and sore since we first became rangers."
"I know what you mean. I though I had gotten over the flexibility due to dancing, but I guess not. I'm sure I'll pay for it in the morning." Kat chuckled. What went unnoticed by the others when Billy first spoke, was the worried glance between Kim and Tommy. Kim knew she'd have to tell the others soon or else it would end up bad. Tommy just nodded his head, letting her know it was time. He made his was to her and stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders as a way of support.
"Guys...there's something that I need to tell you guys." Kim said nervously. The others looked at her with confusion and made themselves comfortable on the floor.
"What's up Kim?" Aisha looked worried, not knowing what to think.
"You guys know how Coach Schmidt is here looking for gymnast to train for the Pan Globals? Well, he uh...he offered me a spot on the team." Kim looked at them with a nervous smile. The group stared blankly at her, not sure how to react. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they all jumped up and hugged her all at once.
"Great job Kim!"
"Way to go!"
"Thanks guys. I really appreciate it." She smiled at them, her nervousness not abating. The others noticed too but didn't say anything. "However, that's only half the news. There's a slight problem with this situation. Coach Schmidt said that once the team has been formed, he would be taking them back to Florida to train them." Kim looked anxious after saying the last part, not really sure how the others would react to this part of the news. Tommy turned to glance at Kim and saw how nervous she was.
"Whoa..." Adam was the first to speak, his tone evidence of being thrown off guard by the news.
"Whoa is right. I mean, who would have thought...Kim living in Florida!" Billy spoke, a huge smile on his face. Kim blinked, not quite processing what Billy said.
"Yeah, I mean, can you imagine, sunny beaches, amusement parks, girls!" Rocky said, chuckling at Kim's disbelief. Aisha punched him in the arm before speaking up.
"You are going to let us visit right?" she raised one eyebrow as she asked this, challenging Kim to say no.
"Uh..yeah, of course!" Kim broke into a grin. "Thank you guys." She turned to look Billy in the eye, "Billy, thank you for understanding." Billy just nodded.
"That's what big brothers are for Kim. I know you've dreamed of this for a very long time. And this is a once in a life-time opportunity. There's no way you could miss this chance."
"I was so afraid of what all of you would say. Especially you Billy. I didn't want to leave you alone here."
"And why would I be alone?" Billy's tone indicated he was curious to understand his friend's train of thought.
"Because," Kim sighed and looked down at her hands, "because if I left, then it would mean you'd be the last of the originals. I didn't want you to be sad because of that."
"Don't worry about me Kim. While I may be sad that I'll be the last original ranger, I will never be alone. Not as long as there are rangers around. These guys are here with me so they'll keep me company." Billy stood up and walked towards Kim. Both hugged each other strongly before letting go. The others soon followed and each gave Kim a hug. Tommy hugged her last, giving her a kiss and whispering into her ear.
"See, I told you they would be happy for you." Kim could only nod as emotions flooded her. She was a little teary eyes. After a minute, she smiled and wiped her eyes clean.
"Thank you guys. You have no idea how much this means to me."
"We do know. That's why we have nothing but love and support for you. We all wish you the best and we know you'll make us all proud." Adam said.
"Now, what do you say we celebrate the good news with a really good dessert?" Rocky suggested. The group laughed at his antics but readily agreed. They grabbed a few pints of ice cream from the freezer, some whipped cream, and toppings before heading back to watch another movie and then calling it a night.
~ ~ ~ Sunday 5:30 a.m. ~ ~ ~
They had all managed to go to bed around midnight, each to their own rooms. While everyone was slumbering away, there was one ranger already up and about...sort of.
Kimberly was already busy training since she hadn't done so yesterday. She and Zordon had already come up with a rigorous schedule in order for her to catch up on years of missed training. Starting this week, Mondays and Wednesdays would be devoted to training her mind and developing her mental powers. Tuesdays and Thursdays would see her focus on her physical powers, while Fridays and one day of the weekend would be used to develop her healing abilities. After each training session there would be a small break before starting up combat training for the rest of the day.
As it was Sunday, Kim decided to work on her healing abilities. For about an hour she discussed the concept of healing herself as well as others. She and Zordon would also have a lesson for the day on a specific healing ability. Once Zordon was sure that she had the hang of it, he summoned different creatures form the forest for her to heal. Each creature was different and had various wounds for her to practice her healing on. By the end of the session, Kim was exhausted but filled with a deep sense of pride for what she had accomplished. Zordon was also quite proud of her.
"Excellent Kimberly. You have made incredible progress today. If you continue with this schedule of training, you will be all caught up in no time. I am sure you will make a powerful healing one day."
"Thanks dad. I'm so tired but so energized at the same time. I can't wait to learn more about the rest of my powers."
"That is good. This will be all for today in terms of your powers. Rest up for a bit and have some food before starting combat training. We'll pick up on this training tomorrow." Kim nodded in agreement.
"Have you prepared everything for Friday?"
"Yes. Everything is set and ready to go." Kimberly sighed. Although she knew it was for the greater good, she couldn't help but feel deeply saddened by what would happen in the next few days. Noticing how sad she was, Zordon decided to cheer her up.
"I have a gift for you. When you get a chance, go to the Zord Bay and head over to the garage. Enter ZCRANE as the code to open the door." Kim looked the confused. "However, I must ask you to keep this from the others. Your gift has been made especially for you." Kim had an idea of what her present was but opted to wait and see for herself.
"You should have done that dad. But thank you."
"It is no problem. Now you might want to keep combat training short today. The others will wake up soon."
"Okay. I'll probably only do an hour of training, so I'll stop around 9:30."
"That sounds good. Just call for me when you're ready to leave. Do you want me to set up for the first three training levels?"
Zordon set the training levels accordingly and left to take care of other business. Kimberly began her own routine. The level started relatively simple, with 25 putties attacking her. Each level increased the number of attackers while decreasing the time limit. After an hour, was soaking in sweat but felt completely satisfied. Beating up a couple of putties was also an excellent way of getting rid of her anger and frustration. Closing her eyes and focusing, Kimberly concentrated on contacting Zordon through their mental link.
"Dad. I think I'm done for the day."
"Okay. Are you ready to leave?"
"Yes. I was wondering if it was possible for me to try to go back on my own today."
"If you feel you are ready, then go ahead. Remember that if you need any help, I'm right here. Just ask and I will help you."
Kimberly nodded and closed her eyes. She focused on the link that she learned to recognize, the bod that tied her soul to her body. She imagined that link to be a rope. She pulled this rope slowly, going back into her physical body little by little. Making sure she was completely in her body, Kim slowly opened her eyes to see the ceiling of her room in the Command Center. She sat up and noticed that she was indeed covered with sweat. I guess even I'm gonna get gross even though I don't do anything physically. Getting out of bed, she grabbed some clothes and a towel and jumping in the shower. Letting the spray of warm water hit her, she began thinking about how she was going to carry out her plan on Friday.
As far as everyone knew, she would be going to Florida to train for the Pan Global. Coach Schmidt and the girls would be leaving this evening. She had asked him if she could have one more week to decide what she would do. Coach Schmidt agreed but said that if she didn't have an answer by Wednesday, he would replace her. She accepted the deal and said she would have her answer by then. She told everyone else that she was leaving on Friday in order to give herself a few extra days to settle all of her affairs. Kim realized that eventually she would have to explain why she never competed or where she disappeared to since leaving Angel Grove that Friday afternoon. However, that was still far off into the future, so she didn't focus on it too much.
She stepped out of the shower and decided to ask for Zordon's opinion on her plan.
I wanted to talk to you about what's going to happen on Friday.
Okay, why don't you come to my room. We can talk here in private.
I'll see you in a bit then. Drying her hair, she put on her shoes and headed to the elevator. Once inside, she opened a hidden compartment and placed her thumb on the touch pad. She felt a small prick and she knew that her blood was now being analyzed to make sure she had permission to go to Zordon's room. After removing her hand, the compartment closed and a beeping sound emanated from the speaker accepting her blood as that of Zordon's heir. The elevator whirred into motion, slowly taking her past the Zord Bay to a chamber, whose existence was only known by three individuals in the entire universe. And even if other knew about this room, only those with Zordon's blood could access it.
While Alpha had already taken care of adding Kimberly to the system, there was also a built in safety measure in case others needed to access the room in case of an emergency. Zordon had blood samples of all his rangers and their names were on a list of pre-approved people allowed to enter his room. Once both the ocular scan and the blood analysis were complete and they passed, the hidden compartment would open that would allow them to enter his chamber. But for now, only Kimberly was on the approved list.
When Kimberly stepped out of the elevator, she was greeted by Zordon's chamber which was as large as the first floor. Currently, three of the four walls were lined with books from floor to ceiling. She made a mental note to have her father tell her more about these books on a later date. The fourth wall, which was directly opposite the elevator doors contained Zordon's warp tube with a small podium in front of it. Kim found Zordon reading a book, the pages seemingly turing themselves of their own accord. Zordon looked up when the elevator doors opened and smiled upon seeing Kim's reaction to his room.
"Hello Kimberly. How was your training?"
"I think it went well. I finished level three in fifteen minutes. I'm going to start level four tomorrow."
"Excellent. What did you want to talk to me about?"
"I've come up with a plan on how to tell the others about Florida. But my main concern is what's going to happen once I return as Kimana."
"As you know, the other rangers believe you will be on a plane to Florida and they will want to come back here and regroup for the weekend. I will do my best to help them move on and adjust to the new changes with the team." Kim nodded in agreement, believing that the others would need help and support from their mentor to come to terms with these changes. "I believe you should remain in your room for the remainder of the day. Give them some time to settle their emotions before seeing Kimana again."
"But won't Kat be using my room?"
"Yes, but we'll probably make arrangements for her to move in on Saturday."
"So what's going to happen the rest of the weekend?"
"While I could put you in one of the guest quarters, you should have a room here that is all yours. That's why I've decided that this will be your room from now on. As you know, I don't require much in terms of personal items. Alpha will arrange everything so that you will be comfortable here."
"But..I can't take your room. It would be better if I just stayed in one of the guest rooms. I won't be here for very long anyway."
"Nonsense. I insist. This will be your one day anyway. Why no start making it yours now?" Kim frowned but agreed. "Excellent. Alpha will get anything you need. You are free to do anything you want in terms of decorating and furniture choice." Kim smiled in appreciation.
"So what is going to happen the rest of the weekend? I mean, I could stay here until it's time for me to go if I have to."
"You are free to do anything you want during that time. Beginning Saturday, I'd like you to continue your training. Since you will be focusing solely on this now, I think mornings should be dedicated to combat training and the afternoons for your abilities. Your evenings will be spent learning the history of my planet as well as Phaedos. Along with your history lessons, you will also learn more about the responsibilities you will be taking on once you assume the throne." Kim smiled, looking forward to learning more about where Zordon comes from.
"Sunday will be a hard day for both of us. Though I do not yet know when, at some point you will be taken to Phaedos to begin your training with Dulcea and Ninjor." Both Zordon and Kimberly were saddened by the though of separations. They had only just begun familiarizing themselevs with their new bond and didn't want to leave each other.
"I understand. I just hope I can do this."
"I believe in you Kimberly. Your training is of the utmost importance. While I have taught you much, you need someone who will focus on you completely. I am needed here and thus I can not dedicate all of my time to you alone, though I deeply wish I could. There are also things which you must learn that I can no longer teach. Do not doubt yourself Kimberly. You are ready for this. If you do not trust yourself, trust in me and my judgement. I believe you are ready for this and I know you will quickly surpass any and all expectations." Kim looked at him and at that moment desperately wished she could hug him. She was so grateful for Zordon's trust and belief in her.
"What will I be able to take with me?"
"Anything you feel you need. You will have your own room and personal area to do whatever you wish."
"Okay." She wanted to shed tears, emotional about leaving her home to a place she did not yet know well enough to be comfortable. Zordon noticed this and understood how she felt.
"Look at it this way – the quicker you complete your training, the sooner you'll come home. Do not forget, Eltar and I will be waiting for your return. By the time you finish, I will be able to return home and announce you as my heir. You will meet the rest of your family and I will teach you more about our people." Kim liked the idea that she would have a family waiting for her when she returned. She knew things would be hard from now on, but she had many reasons to succeed.
"Dad, can I ask you for a favor?"
"What is it?"
"I know you might not agree to it, but I feel that it will help me immensely. I don't know if I will be able to handle al of this on my own. It's not that I feel as if I can't talk to you or those helping me. It's just that I need someone who isn't tied to any of this, at least not directly. Someone whom I can talk to and won't just tell me to be patient. I'm going to need a friend with whom I can talk to about other stuff, not just training. Is there anyway I can ask someone to be there when I need them?". Zordon had a feeling that Kim was asking for permission to have Trini involved in this.
"I understand what you are asking, but you must comprehend the dangers that will come with knowing about all of this. I need not worry about you because you have powers and thus you can defend yourself. If you bring in someone else, they will be in the same dangers as you, but unlike you, they will be helpless."
"Well, what if this person wasn't a civilian?"
"Who did you have in mind?"
"I was actually thinking about asking Kat." Zordon was surprised at Kimberly's choice.
"You would like for Kat to be more involved in all of this?"
"Yes. I feel a very strong bond with her, especially since she's going to be sharing the power of the Crane."
"I see. Perhaps this can be done. Let me think about it and I'll let you know when I've made a decision."
"Okay." Kim truly hoped that this could happen.
"Was that everything you wanted to ask me about?"
"Yeah. I think I'll go have some breakfast and see who else is up and about."
"Very well. I will see you later today. If not, then tomorrow."
"Bright and early!" Kim smiled asa she headed back tot he elevator.
"Kimberly, may I ask you something?" Kim stopped as she reached the doors and turned around.
"Sure dad, anything."
"Why Katherine? I thought you would have asked for Trini. After all, you grew up together and are very close. I had started thinking about the possibility of having to provide any type of protection for her, though I haven't yet come up with anything."
"To be honest, I had thought of her first. But I knew that she would be in more danger now than ever before if she were to know the truth. While I do love her like a sister and I trust her with my life, I could never intentionally risk her life. She's my sister in everything but blood and I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to her." Kim looked pained at the thought of something happening to Trini because of her. "Kat on the other hand has you and the other rangers to fall back on. And because we're going to be sharing my powers, I will know if she's in any danger and come to her if I need to." Zordon looked at Kim, just the tiniest bit in awe of her response.
"I understand. I shall let you know the moment I come up with anything."
"Okay. Thanks dad. See you later." Kim got into the elevator and pressed the button to the cafeteria. She smiled at Zordon as the doors closed, glad that he was okay with her choice. Zordon stared at where Kimberly just stood, never more proud of her than at that very moment. He was amazed at her maturity and wisdom. Now more than ever he would make sure that he could grant this request for Kimberly. He would work twice as hard to protect Kat, if only for Kimberly's sake.
AN: That's it for this chapter. I swear the next chapter will be about the day Kim leaves. This is also the last full chapter I had written down. I think that I'll crank out more chapters now, since I'll be typing directly as opposed to copying things from paper to computer. I also have some serious issues in my personal life that I'm taking care of. This is both good and bad for you guys because that means I have more time to write but I could also stop at any given moment for a long time. But if things end up on a good note, then everything should be good for both you and me. *crosses fingers* Here's hoping!
Thanks to all of you guys who've been adding this story to your favorites. It really means a lot.
Also – I know that a lot of people are going through some serious trouble due to all the natural disasters and storms happening all over the world. I hope that all of you are okay and that your families are doing well.
I'll update as soon as I can guys. Don't forget to review this chapter!