Insert disclaimer here: I own nothing in this story. I don't even own a dragon dagger, though I did bid for one on e-bay once. I lost.
The green ranger slowly regained consciousness on the side of the mountain
The green ranger slowly regained consciousness on the side of the mountain. As the first flickers of light filtered through his black visor, Tommy tried to determine where he was. For a moment, he thought he had woken up in the command center. But the light shining above him was no reflection off Zordon's inter-dimensional warp tube or even a scanning device; it was the harsh afternoon sun beating down on his powerless form.
"I'm still here?"
It was a simple question, but a deep one. And it begged a second question – Why?
Lying against the gravel, barely able to move under his own power, the green ranger had plenty of time to consider the answers.
The guilt struck first, like a front leg snap kick - Quick, dynamic, easy to block and yet so easily underestimated.
Was this merely karmic retribution for the time he spent in the service of evil? His union with the other rangers was born not of trust, but of necessity. He had the coin, he commanded the Dragonzord, he wore the suit. But it was impossible to forget how that power was forged. And it was he that glorified the evil empress, he who nearly destroyed the city, he who ravaged the command center and banished Zordon to another dimension. Perhaps this was Zordon's way of showing vengeance – You left me in the cold void of lapseless space, and I can do the same to you. Or rather, you can do it to yourself.
Despair followed, not with one punch, but with two.
His powers were fading; the dreams of losing them completely were the only competition for the nightmares of almost killing his closest friend in Rita's Dark Dimension. If it was his evil actions that brought him down this ravine, it was his weakness that kept him there. Even though he still wore the suit, he was a powerless shell since the green candle burned out.
Rita had known it. Lord Zedd knew it, and he focused his attacks to drive the point home. The stag beetle, with the ability to siphon power. The octophantom, whose only purpose was to capture him in a magic jar and put him at the sorcerer's mercy. And the other monsters… They were made just strong enough to lure him into battle, so that he would use up what little strength he had left.
That was what the Robogoat was for. The sword of power was just a diversion. And how he hated himself for that. Ever since Lord Zedd arrived, he was far more a hindrance to the team than an asset. He was the weakest link in the chain.
"Zordon, please, put me back in the fight… I can't believe this is happening."
He would always be the first to fall. And fall he always did. This was just another day on the battlefield.
Then anger, a side kick below the ribs.
How he sacrificed everything for the ranger team, regardless of the vulnerability and the physical danger he faced. The monster battles were brutal in and of themselves, but that was only the beginning. How many times had Alpha 5 scanned him for internal damage from crossing dimensions? How many times had Zordon infused his coin and his body with energy, just to survive for one more fight? How many times was he willing to risk absolutely everything?
They had the power at their beck and call. They never watched their strength melt away slowly like dripping wax. They were jaded.
When he fought alone against Goldar and an army of putties for the other five power coins, the other rangers merely watched through the safety of the viewing globe, cheering for him as though this were merely another martial arts expo. He saw their faces just before he passed out on the cold command center floor – they were looking not at him, but at the box he almost died to retrieve. When they lost their powers, it was his responsibility to get them back. When he lost his, no… the responsibility was not theirs. It would never be theirs.
Then acceptance, defeat, like the last jump spinning hook kick that strikes hard against the side of the head, the unbelievable move that sends you spinning out of the ring, both physically and mentally, to crash on the ground below.
The ground… That was where he would stay until the other rangers finished battling the Robogoat, until the city was saved from the brink of the destruction he had helped cause, until someone realized that his powers lasted just long enough, that the fall itself had not killed him and he was still alive at the bottom of the ravine.
Yes, the ground. Was that his place, as a ranger and as a human being? Could this be what Jason meant, all those many battles ago, when he said 'This is where you belong?'
No. He still had a little power left. It was certainly not enough to call forth his Dragonzord. But maybe there was enough left to teleport back… He could do that on his own strength at least.
He was, after all, still there.