Author's Note: CyberCam is embarrassing. That's all I have to say.
Never in his life had he ever thought of helping a friend set up cable TV for a guinea pig. Of course, he never thought said guinea pig would be his Sensei. Or even becoming a ranger. But that's life, Shane thought, poking his head under the table that was placed in the middle of Ninja Ops main room. Dustin was crawling in the middle of the table, rubbing a hand across his face, "Ah this is so brutal!" He complained, as Shane checked on how Dustin was doing.
"I heard that," he held up the cable cords, passing them to Dustin when Sensei's voice made them look over.
"Problem, gentlemen?" Dustin scoffed at the question, taking hold of the cords, as he continued their crawl under the table.
Near the entrance of Ninja Ops, Tori and Blake were in the middle of a mock spar. Blake saying he wouldn't take it easy just because Tori was a girl, and Tori playing along, telling Blake not to let her blonde hair fool him.
Shane plugged the cable cords in, patting Dustin on the shoulder when the Yellow Ranger didn't know Sensei was kidding. The miniature TV came to life, showing Sensei's sci-fi marathon he was talking about. Dustin circled back to the habitat cart, leaning over by the TV, "Isn't this a little low tech? I mean, Cam's got like a thousand channels on that thing," Dustin motioned to the main computer that Cam always works on.
Cam came over by the habitat, positioned himself in the middle of Dustin and Shane, leaning over to check everything out. "How many times do we have to go over this? The satellite surveillance system is not a home theatre."
Shane snuck a peek over at Cam, eyes trailing up and down quickly so no one would notice, but something seemed off. Really off.
He didn't have time to figure out what it was when Tori blocked Blake, causing the Navy Ranger to fall to the floor. His hand was entangled in the cords that Dustin and Shane spent so long going through, and when he yanked his hand back, the jumbled mess of cords followed along with him, the cords pulled from their place in the wall, sparks flying, Sensei's TV shutting off abruptly.
Tori's right hand flew to her mouth, trying to hold back laughter while Blake looked back and forth, knowing he did something wrong.
"Well that worked out well." Cam grumbled, Tori looking guilty while Blake came up from behind Cam, quickly telling Sensei sorry, saying he'll help when Cam hit Blake's outstretched hand, saying he'll take care of it.
Shane took this time to really get a good look at Cam's shirt. And it looked normal. It was green, the only thing Cam seemed to wear. There were crazy designs, and usually Cam wore a simple shirt, like the undershirt he was wearing. Shane's eyes continued to look, and once they got to the bottom half of the shirt did he notice something was off. The bottom half of Cam's over shirt… wasn't green. It was more of a red. Or maybe a darker red…
Something fowl settled in his stomach, as he turned away from the sight. He looked at Dustin, Blake and Tori, suggesting they go to the skate park, under the pretense of practicing for his demo. Tori quickly told Shane she had to drop off Blake first, and that feeling in his stomach grew. He asked if she was coming to his skate demo, and she said of course, she would never miss it.
The feeling didn't get any smaller, though. It seemed like Hunter was stealing everything Shane had, indirectly or not.
The pig monster destroyed, the Wind Rangers were able to get out of the alternate dimension. It was Tori who question where Hunter and Blake were, and as if on cue, they flew out of that popcorn bucket, followed by a rain shower of popcorn and… butter?
Shane clasped Blake's hand, and helped him up, shooting a look over at the older Bradley brother, and saw Dustin helping him up. But that wasn't what Shane was looking at.
Hunter was wearing a red shirt, with green in the middle. Even though he was covered in that butter junk, the color green stood out on the red shirt. And was that some more green on the shirt's shoulder?
Shane's mind went back to the previous day, and how Cam was wearing a shirt that had the crimson color on it.
But before he could even make sense of it, the pig monster was back; only bigger. Shane pushed the thought about the two shirts to the back of his mind. They had to defeat the day's monster. He didn't have time to deal with these emotions right now.
Hunter told Shane he and Blake would handle the Kelzaks, and Shane could only agree.
It was a normal training session, Sensei thought they were ready to break a brick made of marble. Cool. Easy. Sensei could do it, after all. Even if hewas a ninja master… in a guinea pig's body.
Hunter didn't look sure Sensei could even do it, and when Sensei did break the brick, Hunter took this time to give it a try. Blake wasn't sure if it was such a good idea, and voiced his thought to his brother.
"If he can do it... uh..." He cracked a side smile, "I'm gonna give it my best shot!"
Shane chuckled to himself, taking the next brick in the pile and setting it up for Hunter to break. He rubbed a hand over the brick, as if smoothing it out and getting imaginary dust off of it before winking at Hunter, and letting the Crimson Thunder Ranger attempt to break the brick.
When Hunter only managed to hurt his hand, Shane couldn't help the laughter as it came. In fact, he didn't even realize Blake hitting his arm as Shane continued to bask in this glorious moment.
"Looks like rodent: One, Thunder Ranger…" At this he turned to Blake, "Zip!"
Hunter held his hand in his other hand, annoyed at the laughter, and put Shane up to the test, "You think you can do it?"
Shane merely scoffed at this, motioning for Hunter to get up so he could do it. He settled himself in front of the brick, fully aware of their green clad bystander watching everything they were doing.
Shane took a deep breath, and slammed his hand down onto the brick. Pain shot up his arm, making him cry out as he held his hand up.
So much for trying to impress Cam with breaking a brick.
Tori, Dustin, and Blake didn't do as well either, it seemed. So they five gathered around Sensei, who let them wait till some of the pain subsided.
It didn't take very long, only Dustin and Blake were left rubbing their sore hands, before Sensei continued on with his lesson.
"You have come far in your training, but you still have a long way to go."
Shane looked down at the floor, his one chance at probably doing the one thing Hunter couldn't, and he blew it. He kicked himself over the head mentally as Dustin tried to make the whole ordeal less than what it was.
"Yeah, but you're like a full on, like, super ninja master!"
A yell from behind alerted them to turn around, just in time to see Cam's right hand coming in contact with the brick, and breaking it in two. Cam looked up at everyone, his expression calm, while Shane could only blink.
How? Yeah, sure, Shane knew Cam could fight, but to break the very brick that only Sensei could break? He looked over to Dustin, disbelief evident on his face, "What?"
Cam blinked, standing up, slightly confused at the reaction he received, "What?"
There was so way, no way Cam broke that brick! "Alright, how did you do that?" An idea popped into his head then, the only logical trick in the book, "Oh ho! You used some laser beam thing, right?"
Cam just shook his head, letting the others get over what he just did.
A thought shot through Dustin's mind, and he quickly voiced it, "Or... you switched the bricks," nodding, he continued, "Oh I saw that at a stunt show once at a movie or theme park!" Out of the corner of Shane's eyes, he saw Hunter nod in agreement and quickly followed suit.
Until Cam picked up one of the broken brick pieces and tossed it over to Dustin, who managed to catch it, but couldn't hold it for long. Dustin got to his feet, letting the brick piece stay where it was, "Okay, maybe not."
Hunter looked at Cam in disbelief, the thought making Shane smile internally, as Hunter voiced his own thoughts, "It's gotta be a trick?"
Annoyed, Cam finally took pity on the group of rangers, thinking that maybe if he let them in a little they could understand, "You just don't get it, do you?"
Apparently, they didn't. Shane held out a hand, as if for a little help, "Get what?"
"Just because someone isn't a ranger, it doesn't make them completely useless." The expression on Cam's face stopping any source of breathing on Shane's part. Not waiting for anyone to answer this, Cam continued, "I need some air." Turning abruptly and walking out of Ninja Ops, leaving a confused team of Rangers.
Tori seemed to snap out of it first, shoving Shane's arm as she followed Cam's retreating form. Shane simply held out his hands, completely confused as the rest of them, turning to look back at Dustin and the Bradley brothers. Dustin, still looking at the main entrance to Ninja Ops, asked Shane, "Do you think he's mad at us?"
Shane, annoyed now, he didn't feel any better when he saw Hunter's confused face, just gave Dustin a typical answer, "Dude, he's always mad at us!"
Blake took this opportunity to voice his reaction, "What did we say?" Both the Crimson and Red Rangers only shrugged as Sensei's voice forced everyone to look at him.
"I fear there is more to this than mere words, Blake."
As Sensei went through the tale about Cam's mother, how she fell ill early in his childhood and of the promise Sensei made with Cam's mother, Shane thought there was more to this story than Sensei was telling them.
"A promise you made when Cam was a little kid? What? That's why you won't let him become a ranger?" Shane's disbelief was evident.
Sensei held out a hand, as if to call for suggestions, "Does one of you have something you'd like to say?"
Out of the corner of Shane's eyes, he saw Hunter about to answer when Dustin beat him to it, "Ah, I'm sorry, Sensei, but that's kinda weak."
Sensei appeared to smile at the statement, but replied, "I appreciate your honesty, Dustin."
Shane took this time to put in his two cents, before Hunter did, "Sensei, you always told us to make our own decisions, right?"
"Yes," Sensei began, "but as a parent there are greater things to consider. It is far more complicated."
"It seems simple enough to me," Blake thought out loud, "You gotta trust your son." He paused, "Sir."
"Cam's the most together of all of us," Hunter began, shooting glances at everyone, "It seems to me out of all people, he'd make a great ranger."
"Perhaps I have been a little overprotective," Sensei mused as something like anger swelled up in Shane's stomach. When Shane said something, Sensei shot it down, but when Hunter gave a suggestion, Sensei was all ears? How lame is that?
Lothor's goons should steal their powers more often, Shane thought, as Cam helped the Red Ranger back to Ninja Ops, and began to focus what happened solely on what Shane's test showed.
A piece of footage showing the monster with their powers alerted everyone, and Shane struggled to his feet, but was quickly pushed back by Cam. He was slightly touched by the concern Cam gave him, but they couldn't just stay back while some freak with a building on his head had their powers.
Cam only nodded, gave them an energy boost for some time, and let the rangers go off to fight.
And maybe it was a good idea to go out and get that ball with their energy, even if Cam yelled at him for using too much energy. It was easier said to conserve energy than to actually do it.
Then there was the Zord fight. Whoever gave Cam the ideas for their power spheres were crazy. C'mon, a scarf? Oh well, at least it had Shane's power of Wind symbol on it, he should be grateful for that.
Except the scarf didn't really do much, they still demorphed and were knocked out of their Zords. It looked as if they were screwed. Really screwed.
Cam was a ranger. Great.
That was all Shane needed. Okay sure they needed help when they were powerless, they needed six rangers to help get their powers out of that weird sphere thing, and no wonder Cam was obsessed with the color green.
The group of now six rangers gathered around the sphere, Shane was well aware that while everyone was turned to their right, Cam was turned to his left, facing Hunter, and he was awfully too close for comfort.
But now wasn't time for that. They had to get their powers back.
The force of the sphere opening shocked everyone onto the floor, but as the strength rushed back into Shane's body; he got up and tested everything out, getting in a fighting stance and throwing a few punches. Who knew? Cam might be looking over to check and see if everyone was alright, and saw that Shane was doing fine.
He didn't. Cam could be seen rubbing his bottom as he fell into the middle of the group, and Tori quickly pounced on the newest ranger.
"Just one question though, Cam." She held her hands out, sizing Cam up with her eyes and arms, "What? How did all this happen?"
Hunter was next in line with questions, sizing Cam up with his own eyes, "You're a ranger now?" while Tori overlapped with, "I mean suddenly you're a ranger?" followed closely by the others jumping in, asking Cam a dozen questions while he just looked back and forth between Tori and Hunter before shrugging all the questions aside.
Even through all the excitement, Shane still noticed the lingered gaze that Hunter gave Cam, while the Green Ranger just tried to get away with not answering anyone's questions.
Unfortunately, the rangers didn't know when to quit, and eventually learned what Cam saw while he traveled in the past.
Shane's response was probably the best received. "Dude, let's talk about Uncle Lothor. Man that's crazy, bro."
"Tell me about it." Cam dipped the sentence in sarcasm, "Nice family tree I have."
"Cam," Sensei began, his voice stern, "Lothor is no relation of ours."
Cam turned around at that, his arms open, "Well how could you say that?"
Sensei continued, "By law, once a ninja is banished, they cease to exist. The one I knew as my brother is a mere memory."
"But don't you think I had a right to know?"
Hunter cut in, before anyone could say anything, "Yeah, we all did."
"Perhaps," Sensei barely gave Hunter a second thought, "But what would it have changed? Would you have battled him any differently?" Cam could only nod at this, Sensei was right, after all.
A beep from Cam's computer alerted the group of five separate monsters attacking at five different locations. Sensei split everyone up, telling Cam to stay and monitor any new attacks. Cam didn't seem up to this suggestion, he was a ranger now, but agreed, clicking a few keys on his keyboard.
As Hunter walked away, quickly joined by his brother, Shane took this time to pat Cam on the shoulder, grinning as he offered what he could, "See you out there." That phrase alone brought a smile to Cam's face, and that was enough for Shane, as he quickly ran off to catch up with the others.
Maybe, maybe it was a good thing Cam was a ranger now. Maybe.
"Woah. That's nasty." Hunter could be seen leaning just in front of Cam, his eyes wide, and complete disbelief on his face. The others joined him, Tori's face soon following Hunter's. "Dude," Hunter backed up a bit as Shane couldn't help but smile at this. Hunter was too scared to get close to Cam. Nice. Hunter didn't notice Shane's smile, as he looked back at Cam's face, "What happened?"
Cam was pressed against a wall of Ninja Ops, his buttoned up shirt left open, revealing what looked like either boils or bug bites. He was sweating like crazy, looking as though he was trying to scratch his back with no sign that it was working, he twitched to the side a bit before answering, "I got a little close to that overgrown sucker."
A collective 'ew' rang out amongst the other rangers, Hunter now leaning back enough that maybe he wouldn't get infected. Shane tried to get as far behind Hunter as possible. He didn't want to get what Cam had, even if he did like him.
More beeping from the supercomputer alerted everyone's attention away from Cam temporarily, a monster grew, and Shane quickly announced they would get the Zords while Sensei asked the Thunder Rangers to take care of the others. Hunter agreed immediately, before Cam's voice called their attention back to him.
"What about me?" His left hand was scratching his right collarbone, what looked like hairy moles were on his knuckles, long pieces of hair sticking out of them. Tori was the only one to ask Cam about it, as Hunter and the others looked too scared to say anything. Well, Hunter looked scared. Shane was too busy laughing at Hunter's reaction to Cam's… problem.
"Uh Cam?" She leaned in a little close, "What's that?"
Cam quickly looked down at his hand, still scratching that one part, before looking back, "Uh… I have no idea."
Tori and Hunter shrunk back, Shane still trying to hold back his laughter and had to look away, so he looked over at Dustin, who appeared to have no clue what was going on, before Sensei ordered everyone out so he could figure out what was wrong with Cam.
They all agreed, Tori still looking at Cam before finally looking away. Cam's groaning as he scratched at his body could see be heard as they exited Ninja Ops.
Okay, so turning into a bug might cause anyone else to not want to be a ranger anymore, but Cam isn't just anyone. Luckily for the rangers, Cam was off doing who knows what, and Tori was the one who came up with the idea. They took a Wind Ninja Academy training uniform, trimmed it with green, and then placed the Samurai symbol on it, and waited for Cam to return to Ninja Ops' main room.
There was a big debate on who was going to give Cam his new uniform, and Hunter was the first to say he should give it to Cam, which lead to Tori arguing that she helped Cam out when the guys were being pig headed and that she should give Cam his new uniform. In the end, Dustin proposed that they would all give Cam his new uniform, as a team. Shane used his Red Ranger status as the one to hold the uniform, and he took a place on Cam's chair as they waited for their Green Ranger.
It didn't take very long.
Cam practically bounced into Ninja Ops' main room, saying something about linking his saber to Ninja Ops so even though he would be out being a Ranger, he could still do his technical duties.
But they barely heard any of that, their grins giving away what they planned. Their grinning affected Cam, who could only smile back, though it was obvious he was confused.
"What? What are you all smiling about?" Hunter and Tori shot each other knowing looks as Dustin and Blake simply moved to the side as Shane turned around in Cam's chair, a green trimmed training uniform in his lap.
Shane couldn't help it, he fell into laughter, standing to his feet with the uniform in his hands as he walked up to Cam.
"Wow. Where did that-?" The Green Ranger could barely hold back his reaction, a smile huge on his face as Shane handed the uniform over.
"If you're gonna be a part of the team, you gotta have the gear." Cam took the gift, holding the uniform up against his body and he checked it out, the smile still on his face.
Sensei gave his own congratulations to Cam, saying how no father could be prouder of his son. Cam nodded at this, before the rest of the rangers crowded around Cam, congratulating him as Cam simply gave a 'Thanks, guys!' in return. Shane held onto Cam's shoulders as he circled behind him, giving him a shake now and then.
He was truly happy for Cam. He was like a part of their family now.
And then Hunter had to playfully smack Cam's stomach. Shane barely saw that, only noticed it when Hunter made a playful shout as he did so, and Shane quickly put in his head that Cam was too busy checking out his brand new uniform.
Yeah. Things were okay.
The day started with a typical training session. Cam was joining them; he was now allowed to join now that he was a ranger. Go figure, huh? Shane was caught between Tori and Dustin, blocking every attack they dished out. Cam ran past them, running up the side of a nearby wall, and leaped off of it, loosing balance on his way down, and falling flat on his back.
A collective cringe could be heard between the three Winds, as they ran over to help their fellow ranger. Dustin reached for Cam's hand, and Shane did what he could, he reached for Cam's arm and helped him get back onto his feet. Dustin could only say how he was going to take points off for that weak landing, and Cam quickly announced he was going to try it again.
Anyone could see Cam was tired, and Shane proposed they quit for the day, even telling Cam straight up that he looked about to fall over. Cam shot back with a 'No!' and that he was fine, when Shane's morpher beeped.
Sensei voiced crackled over the morpher as he requested Cam's help. Cam only sighed, told his father he would be right there, and Shane crossed his arms while Tori gave a simple, "That doesn't sound good."
Cam gave an exasperated sigh as he told the Winds, "I told him to stay away from the supercomputer. I'll be back as soon as I can." He shrugged before running off, streaking back to Ninja Ops.
Tori looked at the retreating form of the Green Ranger, turning back with a worried look on her face, "I'm worried about Cam. He runs the entire Ninja Ops and now he's a Ranger too."
Shane agreed immediately, "Yeah, he never gets any down time."
Dustin nodded when he realized the two focused on him, "Dude's gonna seriously burn out."
The three looked at one another; they had to help Cam get out more. Doing do much couldn't be good for a person.
The idea came when Shane was trying to sleep the night before. They already planned on hitting the beach with the Thunder brothers, and they hadn't thought of inviting Cam, he wasn't a ranger when they came up with the idea, and Shane didn't want to bring up the Green Ranger, when he never seemed to care before.
When he arrived at Ninja Ops with Tori and Dustin, he proposed the idea and Tori thought it was a wonderful suggestion. She was thinking of inviting Cam anyway. They walked into Ninja Ops and spotted Sensei on his habitat cart.
Shane beat everyone to it, "Hey Sensei, is Cam around?"
Tori took over from there, "We're gonna be Blake and Hunter at the beach and we thought he might wanna come with."
Sensei informed the three that he hadn't seen Cam all morning, which was awfully weird. Cam was known for his odd sleeping habits, staying up all night and then waking up earlier than Shane did when he had school.
Dustin came up with the first plausible reason, "Probably crashed out." Shane nodded, it seemed that was the case.
When a 'Hey! What's up!' alerted their attention.
There was Cam. In… baggy cargo pants…? a black shirt, green over shirt… and what that a green beanie on his head? He barely even registered what Cam was saying when Cam began to do some sort of robot dance move as he greeted them.
Tori seemed to snap out of the shock first, trying to process Cam's new dress code, "What… are you wearing?" No, she was still in shock.
Cam looked down at his outfit, which Shane was still trying to get over. Cam never wore any shade of black, unless it was his training uniform. In fact, the only colors Cam seemed to wear, before and after a ranger, was simple green and white. And that one shirt with crimson on it. But Shane didn't like to think about that.
Cam didn't seem to get that they were all shocked, looking back at everyone, "Cool, huh? I got tired of those same old rags so I busted out the phat gear!"
Even Sensei looked shocked at this.
This was too great though. Cam never acted like this. It just… wasn't Cam. Maybe all that being a ranger and turning into a bug finally got to his head. Shane couldn't hold in his laughter, while Dustin still appeared confused, but asked Cam anyway, "We were just going to the beach and we thought you might wanna… come with us?" The more Dustin looked at Cam, the more he thought the idea was just plain stupid.
But Cam didn't seem to realize this. "Dudes!" He walked up between Shane and Dustin, wrapping an arm around each shoulder, while Tori looked on in disbelief. "I'm so down with that! I can definitely get in chilling at the beach with my peeps!"
Tori's dam broke; she could barely get her question out, "Your peeps?" Cam looked over at her, pulling Shane back roughly as he wrapped an arm around Tori's shoulder. The force of the shove made Shane uneasy on his feet, so he missed most of what Cam told Tori, but it was enough on the look on her face that he cracked up.
"Thanks," she seemed to ponder for a moment, "I think."
Cam didn't seem fazed by her confusion, and turned to Sensei, "Gotta bail!" He lifted his right hand in some sort of gesture, "Laters little furry dude!" He turned, not waiting for a reply from Sensei as he told the Rangers to hurry up, totally missed Sensei's shocked expression and the Rangers just shrugging.
Shane should have known something was up when Cam said he wanted to try skateboarding. As for as Shane knew, or any of the others, Cam had never left his computer for long than it took him to eat, and he usually ate in front of his computer, and that would mean he shouldn't be able to skateboard, or surf, or even do motocross.
But he did.
And according to the expressions on the other's faces, except Dustin, they thought there was something wrong too.
Then there was the monster attack. Cam just became a ranger, something he wanted to be since the beginning, and suddenly he wanted to give it up? No way. And then the car thing? Shane wondered why the warning signals weren't going off in his head when that happened. And thanks to Cam, Tori and Dustin were captured and turned into perfume!
When he, Blake and Hunter cornered Cam, he was happy someone else was ticked off as he was. He looked over at the Crimson Ranger, who just had a look of disbelief on his face before following Shane and Blake.
There were two Cams. Shit.
At least there were differences. Cam didn't say 'dude' or anything like that, didn't wear a green beanie on his head or wear baggy clothes, and he wasn't so touchy feely.
CyberCam, that's what Cam called him, liked to hug people at random intervals, though Cam said he shouldn't be doing that anymore. Thankfully, he doesn't, he just hugs Dustin and Shane. CyberCam also doesn't do sarcasm very well, and he doesn't wear the Samurai Amulet that Cam always has around his neck, and he doesn't wear glasses, which doesn't help much since Cam doesn't either when he's fighting.
Oh well. At least now Cam could get out more, what with CyberCam helping out at Ninja Ops. He does look cute on that mini-motocross bike. As Tori said, "Everyone's gotta start somewhere."