"Where there's Laughter there's Hope"

By: A J

Disclaimer: I don't own any part of the Power Rangers Franchise. I'm just writing for the fun of it. Enjoy and review.

Author's note: Right after the last episode of Dinothunder ...

A shower of sparks and a brief puff of smoke made Hayley scurry out from under the console. "Well, that's done it," she intoned fatalistically. "This whole bank is fried, Tommy."

The two college friends were attempting to salvage what they could from the wreckage Zeltrax had reduced the Dino-lair to. Attempting being the key word, for the damage wrought had been so maliciously thorough that, thus far, Communications and Tommy's Ranger Archives were the ONLY systems recovered.

"Damn." The oft-repeated expletive gusted out of Doctor Tommy Oliver's mouth in a rush, followed by a couple choice words in Navaho that he'd learned from his brother David. Hayley, who'd known them both long enough to coax the basic translation from him several years before, just tutted him for the unnecessary curse. Zeltrax - or rather Smitty – was ALREADY consigned to a hell of his own creation.

"Alright, so Tracking's down, too," Tommy sighed. "Well, that makes six out of ten systems gone. Let's leave Zord Control and the Analyzer for tomorrow, Hayley; it's already three in the morning. Besides, our helpers should be here bright and early."

The two grinned at each other, Tommy's transforming into a grimace as he stood wearily up from the Archive station. Being freshly depowered was much worse at twenty-eight than at eighteen, and jumping into the salvaging right away was making him ache in places he didn't remember even getting injuries.

An additional spray of sparks showered out of the Tracking bank, and Hayley kicked it, looking back at Tommy with a rueful smirk. "Well, at least the surveillance feeds weren't severed from here, so we have a complete record in Archives of how he managed this much mayhem in the half-hour it took us to return from kicking Mesogog's ass. At least complete to the point of him kicking the chips out of this console, that is."

Tommy's juvenile chortle at her turn of phrase soon gave way to a full wave of laughter as he gave vent to some of the overwhelming emotions left from the past week. When Hayley tried to bring him back from the hysterical brink he was headed for, he just managed to choke out "k-kick the chips … out!" as his only explanation as he fell back into the chair. Suddenly, the last time she'd used that line came rushing back to Hayley, and within seconds, she was as lost as Tommy to the absurdity of the situation.

A long laugh-filled interval later, Tommy spun back to the Archive panel and called up the interlude from three days before, fast-forwarding from when they all had left to the first intruder alert. Hayley came forward to lean over his shoulder, the pair watching as Zeltrax appeared on the screen.

"OPEN IT!" he was screaming at the sad figure he'd dragged along. Poor Elsa Randall, her tenuous grasp on reality frayed to the breaking point, had no choice but to comply. As soon as the portal in the cliff face parted, Zeltrax dropped her like so much unneeded baggage. The camera view switched to an internal monitor, showing Zeltrax swaggering forth.

Drawing even with the camera, he drew his sword with easy purpose, holding it for a moment like a rifle, even sighting down the length of it at the lens. Then, he held one forefinger up before his faceplate, and Tommy and Hayley could clearly hear him say, "Shhh! Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting Wangers!" This momentous pronouncement was followed by several seconds of evil chuckling. Then Zeltrax destroyed the camera.

Tommy hit pause on the playback, then sat back in his seat wearily. "Wow," Hayley said, still leaning on the back of the chair. "I never expected THAT."

"Actually, it's something I kinda hoped to see," Tommy replied.

"Why's that?"

"It means there's still a chance to save Smitty."

Fin … for now.