Author's Notes: Forever Rangers is my attempt at re-creating one of my favourite episodes from the later seasons, Forever Red in Wild Force. I wasn't satisfied with just the half-hour of awesome mesh-ups we got in the episode, and this idea actually spawned off from letting my favourite Pink Rangers meet, which later turned into another idea of having them on Earth battling something at the same time, before it finally rested on this idea. I wanted to give it a darker edge and so tweaked the episode a little, but everything else stays intact. With that said, this story will mainly focus on Tommy/Kimberly and Wes/Jen, although the other standard issue canon pairings will be touched on. This story also acknowledges the first movie as canon, i.e. Ninjetti powers and Dulcea instead of ninja and Ninjor.
Author's Notes #2: I must acknowledge KSuzie's amazing series, The Coins for being a huge inspiration in all its awesomeness as a fan-written story. Thank you for inspiring me to carry on watching where I left off and making me appreciate the mythology of the show with your writing, KSuzie! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own the entire Power Rangers franchise, Disney does now. I'd love for it to go back to its roots, though! Each chapter title will come from existing titles from the series.
Characters/Pairings: From MMPR through PRWF. All canon pairings apply, but as a die-hard Tommy/Kimberly shipper, this story mostly focuses on them, as well as a fair bit with Wes/Jen.
Chapter One: Force From The Future
Saturday, 5 October 2002
San Francisco, CA
Being up before 8 on a Saturday has got to be a crime, the svelte brunette thought grumpily.
Yet here she was, bleary-eyed, groggy and chugging down the coffee like it was her lifeline. It wasn't that she wasn't a morning person – no, too many people have groaned at her perkiness early in the morning far too many times, but Kimberly Hart just wasn't feeling up for it on this particular day. It was a Saturday, dammit! It was the end of a grueling week at work and she had all the valid reasons to stay in, maybe watch some Saturday morning cartoons while she lazed in bed…
But for some inexplicable reason, she just couldn't. There was a nagging sense of the unknown hovering above her head, and most people would call it a sixth sense and go on with their days – but most people weren't former Rangers either. And even those who are former Rangers haven't honed their latent talents either.
Fuck you, Maligore's pit of stupid whatever, she thought and laughed a little about it. Not that she had really discussed the incident or the aftermath with anyone besides Jason anyway.
For him, it's the super strength and the ability to control raw kinetic energy. She knew that he enjoyed having these abilities; something quite reminiscent to the powers he yielded as both a Red and a Gold Ranger. Most people won't understand what the withdrawal of the power puts the user through, but Kimberly empathized completely.
Fittingly, for her, her amplified abilities to read people and situations were actually useful and she liked them, but sensing the future was something she wished she could turn off at the flick of the switch. She couldn't, obviously, but she was sure that something out of the ordinary was going to happen today and she couldn't help but feel uneasy about it.
If there's one thing she learned through the years, it was that there was no such thing as a coincidence.
Monday, 18 April 3001
Time Force: Headquarters
She knew she wasn't supposed to do this.
She wasn't even supposed to retain her memories from the year 2001, but after some very thorough convincing and part of Time Force's nod to a job well done, the team was allowed to remember their involvements in the past and all of them even got big promotions within the ranks.
She should be happy. It was a huge coup and the world as she knew it is truly rid of all criminals. Yet, Jen Scotts found herself yearning for something more. It didn't help that she has to report to Alex everyday, and oh, how the tables have changed from a year ago. It used to be that she saw traces of Alex in Wes, used to be that she had to draw a clear line because Wes was nothing like the experienced officer that Alex is; nothing like the man she'd admired and cared for.
But now she looked at Alex and saw all the what-could-have-been's with Wes and thinking about the entire situation just made her feel like punching a wall, because the both of them come from different times and places and it was just not the right order of things.
Looking at the screen in front of her, she let out a slow breath and shook her head. She'd been tapping into the feeds and monitoring Wes' life, day by day, whenever she can. And if what the history records were saying are correct, then it meant that Jen would no longer be allowed to do that – if only because the mission on the moon would kill more Rangers than ever before.
She looked around the room furtively. No one was around – she was a Captain of the Force now and with that came certain privacies. It also came with a set of responsibilities and the discretion to travel back in time to capture escaped mutants or to straighten out the timeline if there are any infractions.
She knew she wasn't supposed to do it, but logic flies out when the heart is involved, right? Licking her lips nervously, she called out the familiar call to activate her suit and toggled a series of commands on the switchboard, preparing herself for the takeoff as she walked over to her Time Flyer. When she came back, she was going to be looking at an altered future, no matter how minute or how major those changes are going to be. But she couldn't let Wes – and the other Rangers – die on a suicide mission like what they were going to.
And to stop that, she was going to need reinforcements. Thank god she paid attention during all those classes in training. She knew exactly who she was going to go to for help.
Saturday, 5 October 2002
San Francisco, CA
Whoa. This can't be right.
In her time as a Ranger, she'd gone through some really, really weird things. But this? This definitely belongs to the top half of the list. A few moments ago, the earth had started shaking and Kimberly had passed it off like an earthquake; even going as far as to pass off her foreboding feelings for that. But then she looked outside the window and felt her eyes widen.
A flying machine of some sort has ripped open the sky like a portal landed outside her house. In her backyard, to be exact. Her jaw dropped open.
"What the hell?" she muttered under her breath and rushed to the back door, twisting the doorknob and stared at the pink-clad Ranger. With an incredulous look on her face, Kimberly watched as the Ranger power down and step towards her.
"Um…" Kimberly involuntarily took a step back, keeping a clear distance between them. "I guess that depends on who's asking?"
"My name is Jen Scotts, and I'm from the year 3001 – "
"You're kidding," she breathed out, interrupting mid-speech.
"I'm not. I know it may be a little hard to explain but I need your help." Jen was banking on the fact that since Kimberly was one of the first Earth Rangers documented, she'd be able to digest all the time traveling gizmos quicker than when she'd first tried to explain it to Alex. She shook that memory as fast as it attacked and drew a deep breath.
Kimberly furrowed her brows. "Okay, I get all of that. But I don't know what kind of help you're looking for, since I don't exactly have morphing powers anymore."
Just as Jen was going to explain the situation to her, the Time Flyer was sent back through the portal and Kimberly gaped at the sight of it disappearing, her attention diverted for the time being.
"What was that thing?"
"That was my Time Flyer… And one-fifth of the Time Force Megazord," she divulged, and Kimberly took another look at the disappearing portal.
"That is awesome," she said in amazement and daze before laughing, and Jen felt like the peal of laughter was contagious as she cracked a smile of her own.
"Why don't we come in first, I don't want the neighbors to call the police or anything," Kimberly said, motioning for them to get inside the house as she took a backward step. Jen followed behind her into the house, noting the infrastructure and interior design, although her brows were knitted with a frown as the gravity of the situation resided deep in her thoughts.
"You look really worried," Kim commented, covering up the fact that she was sensing waves of mild distress from Jen. Good to know human emotions aren't phased out a thousand years from now! She cracked a smile awaiting the answer from the uniformed woman.
"That's actually what I came to you about," she told her, finally looking Kimberly straight in the eye. Kim was biting her bottom lip without even realizing she was doing it. "The Machine Empire is digging up Lord Zedd's old zord, Serpentera, on the moon."
Kim frowned. "I thought the Zeo Rangers eliminated the Machine Empire. Or sent them back. Whatever they did."
The truth was, she had been keeping track of the Rangers even after she went to Florida, and even with all the horrible mistakes she'd made while she was a naïve, stupid teenager, she still had a soft spot for the past, and especially for the legacy. She was many things in her life, but having been an ex-Ranger, all of these things paled in much comparison. Pan-Global gold medalist, Olympics silver individual medalist, USC graduate, elementary school teacher, part-time coach at the gymnasium, San Francisco Reserve Police Officer… the list went on, and she knew on some level that in a way, she was overcompensating with keeping busy with her life.
"The Zeo Rangers only destroyed the leaders. Some of the generals managed to escape, and if my calculations are correct, they're on the moon right now digging up Lord Zedd's old Zord, preparing to invade Earth."
"And you think I'm able to help you… how?" Kim asked, something at the back of her mind jumping excitedly about the prospects of being able to help again in the Rangering world.
"History records that ten Red Rangers are going to band together with the intent of going to the moon to stop the Machine Empire from acquiring Serpentera, but most of them are going to lose their lives doing so. I need to stop that from happening, and I think you're one of the Pink Rangers who can help me." Jen said, while she fiddled with her chrono morpher, a nervous tick if any.
"But like I said, I don't have morphing powers anymore –" she started to talk, feeling a little letdown that maybe she wasn't going to be able to help when she realized something else with a start. "Wait. Ten Red Rangers? That'll make… from the beginning? All of them?"
"Almost all of them. Only three survived. The Space, Lightspeed and the Quantum Rangers."
With the omission of the titles of the men she'd known were on the mission too, Kimberly was at a loss of words. Please, let her be right and that I'd be able to help, with or without powers. Jason, Rocky… Tommy.
It was never an easy thing thinking about Tommy. They'd cared deeply for and loved each other while in high school and serving as Zordon's Rangers, but when Kimberly left to pursue her dream in competitive gymnastics, the distance was too much for her to handle. Breaking up with him over a letter was not her finest hour, as with lying in that letter about meeting a new guy, but she was slightly comforted by the fact that he was free to pursue a relationship that wasn't unfair to him.
After the incident on Muiranthias, Kimberly wanted to make amends with him. There wasn't a doubt that she still cared a lot for Tommy, but when she saw Kat in his arms, she could see that he was happy with a teammate that was there for him. To her, that was all that mattered; that he was happy. And even if she did want to talk, he was less than pleased at the prospect and had brushed her off at her attempts to, and Kimberly left Angel Grove again, this time a little more broken-hearted than before.
"They're meeting at NASADA's spaceport in less than 12 hours. We'll need to gather the other Pink Rangers here on Earth and join the Red Rangers before they board the Astro Megaship," Jen interrupted her memory trip back to her past and Kim took a deep breath, focusing her thoughts on the mission ahead.
"What about the powers? I know I can't last a fight on the moon like this." Inwardly, she felt like she'd asked this question a million times in the span of ten minutes.
"I don't know much about the details, but when the Zordon Wave occurred, it restored the power in your first power coin," the other woman told her, and Kim was surprised at the revelation. Her Pterodactyl power coin was active? Zordon had given her copies of both the coins she'd held, as mementos right before she left for Florida, and she'd always known that she could morph into the Crane Ninjetti, but never had she thought that a full morph was possible.
Of course, it came at a price… Zordon's untimely demise had been the straw on the proverbial camel's back that convinced Kimberly to move back to the west coast and closer to her friends. The wise sage must have seen this coming. Kimberly suppressed a sob that was threatening to bubble out from her throat as she took a deep breath, and gave Jen a firm nod.
"Then let's get to work. We don't have much time now. I know someone who can get us to all the other Pink Rangers… Except I don't think he's going to be too happy being woken up so early in the morning," she grimaced as she picked the phone up.
Saturday, 5 October 2002
San Francisco, CA
"Yes… Uh huh. It's six in the morning, I know… I need your help. Actually, make that, a lot of people need your help."
"That'd better be a stupendous discernment you're voicing out, Kimberly. What kind of assistance do you need?" The former Blue Ranger growled, and Kim had to stop herself from giggling, despite the situation.
Since the dissolution of his relationship to Cestria, Billy had moved back to Earth and had been making a profit out of his inventions – especially coupled with the advanced technology that he had learned on Aquitar. He mostly kept to himself now, finding that he barely connected with anybody who wasn't a former Ranger. Kimberly was one of the few people he still kept in contact with.
Although he wouldn't tell her, Billy was upset that he hadn't been able to help her and Jason with their developing abilities from Muiranthias. Holing himself up and making new inventions and breakthroughs in science had been his way of coping with his disappointment in not being able to help his dear friends, but the hard truth was that he wasn't equipped with enough knowledge of all the power in all the worlds to do so.
"It's kind of complicated to explain over the phone. Do you think you can work your magic and get here ASAP?"
Billy sighed, rubbing his eyes and grabbing for his shirt. "Alright. I'll be arriving in approximately five minutes."
"I love you. You're a saint. And the best. Did I mention I love you?"
At Jen's questioning gaze but being too polite to ask, Kim put the phone back to its cradle and shot her a small smile. "That's Billy. He's our resident brain. Technical advisor, super genius, all of that. He developed the Turbo powers, actually," she said, sounding proud at her friend's achievement.
"The Blue Ranger who later went to Aquitar?" she asked, and Kimberly nodded while an idea formed in her head and her eyes lit up.
"I bet he can coordinate this Serpentera mission from NASADA! That'll give us an edge, right? I mean, from what was supposed to happen…" Which I'm not going to allow happen. Not if I have any say in it.
"That's a great idea," Jen replied, her own voice growing in excitement. She hadn't even thought of asking anybody but the Pink Rangers before. She was going to change history. Wes wasn't going to die today.
"Jen? Can I just ask something?" She didn't need her abilities to figure out that Jen seemed much happier and less solemn than she'd been when she first arrived, and curiosity got the better of her.
"I thought history shouldn't be tampered with. I mean, if it's recorded in the future that they… sacrifice their lives for Earth, and by no means do I want that to happen, but it happened, right? I mean, if you haven't come back to do this?" Jen nodded, averting her gaze. "So what I want to know is… Why?"
Briefly she contemplated giving Kimberly the company line. Something about it being the right thing to do, that the Rangers are too invaluable to be killed like this, but there was something about Earth's first Pink Ranger that made Jen stop herself from doing that.
"The Red Time Force Ranger," she confessed in a quiet voice.
"What's his name?" Kimberly pressed on, but not in an ungentle manner.
"Wes. He's from this time, and last year my team and I came here to capture a mutant. Wes had to activate the chrono morphers so that we can use them to morph into Rangers." She lifted her arm slightly so that Kim could see the morpher strapped tightly to her wrist. "He matched the DNA signatures left by the previous Red Ranger, from my time."
She figured out how the pieces in the puzzles fit. "And you have feelings for Wes."
"I – " she paused, feeling a little awkward that she was divulging so much in an almost complete stranger, but as weird as it was, she didn't mind so much that the woman sitting opposite her knew about her feelings for Wes. "I do."
Having managed to connect the dots and came to her own conclusion that they had been torn apart by space and time and the regulations, and Jen seemed like a woman who had to abide by the rules and do the right thing, except until now, it seemed like the perfect storybook romance tale but in reality, Kim could feel the faint longing from Jen and in that instant, her heart went out to the other Pink Ranger.
However, before she could say or do anything, Billy's RADBUG had landed in her backyard and she stood up; Jen doing the same. With all the modifications Billy had made to the transport vehicle, it was now looking sleek with a new blue paint job. In other words, it was very Billy. The aforementioned scientist stepped out of the car and raised his fist to knock on the door, but Kim beat him to the punch and opened it first.
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you," she proceeded to give him a big bear hug and he raised his brows, but allowing her to do so before pulling away and looked at her.
"Actually, I'm famished. Do you have any replenishments fit for the most important meal of the day?"
Being cut off from the rest of the world had caused Billy to revert back to his preferred speech pattern, and he found that the Aquitians even understood him better when he didn't have to dumb down his thoughts so that his friends back on Earth could understand him. When he came back, he was pleasantly surprised but not shocked to see that the college-educated friends of his could now understand him perfectly fine, unlike when they were back in high school and they'd needed a conduit in the form of Trini.
"I've got some cereal and milk, I'll get them for you in a sec. This is Billy, Jen," she introduced them to each other, "And Billy, this is Jen. She's from the year 3001. I'll let her fill you in on what the emergency is."
"The last surviving generals of the Machine Empire…"
Saturday, 5 October 2002
The dig had been going on for hours, days; the machines couldn't tell but at long last the location of the great zord that had been left abandoned on the rough crevices of the moon has been uncovered.
"We finally found it!" General Venjix exclaimed, looking at the magnificent outer body of the Serpentera. It had been its plan to avenge King Mondo after he was eliminated, and it knew it could destroy and conquer Earth just like his old King would have wanted. "Guards, keep digging! Zedd was a fool to leave this buried here. His loss, our gain!"
From a cliff plateau, a hooded man stayed crouching, monitoring the dig site with his binoculars, which was recording all that he was seeing at the same time, transmitting to an off-site uplink. Andros let his arm fall to his side as he removed the hood, his brows knitted together into a frown. "It's worse than I thought. They'd almost finished digging it out!"
Standing up, the Red Space Ranger swiveled on his heel, eager to transmit the information he'd just obtained to someone he knew could coordinate a mission to stop a tragedy from happening. His foot caught a few loose rocks, sending them tumbling down the hill, and he looked on in alarm before turning back, putting his hood on and running away from the epicenter of the digging.
As he ran, his hood fell off his head. Turning around, it was to his horror that two of the generals were coming after him on horses. He wasn't going to be able to outrun them, but he had to get nearer to the surface to activate his Galaxy Glider…
"Galaxy Glider, hang ten!"
With a burst of energy, he morphed into his familiar suit with a flip and landed on his Glider, whisking him back to the safety of his adoptive home. He had hoped this day wouldn't come this soon, but it looked like General Venjix had left them with no other choice. The willing Red Rangers would have to come together and put in a valiant attempt to save the world, again.