Disclaimer: I do not own either Power Rangers or Star Trek Voyager nor do I make any profit from these words.
Notes: I took liberties with both the Power Rangers and Voyager's worlds in this story. It was written as a form of therapy after a similar experience in my life. Though my experience was of course lacking the magic and the space travel. Sometimes, when you face too painful of an experience, the only way you can even begin to speak of it is in fiction, happening to someone that isn't you. I just posted it here to see if anyone else cared to read it.
Lost In A Code Of Silence
Tommy Oliver sighed as he sat on the park bench. It was well past midnight, but he knew no one would be missing him at home. His adoptive parents were probably passed out drunk hours ago. He just couldn't seem to wind down, tonight. The battle earlier today had been rough, as they all were since Lord Zedd arrived on the moon. Rita was bad enough on her own, but this Zedd character was . . .
Tommy found his eyes drawn to the full moon. Before he came to Angel Grove, he used to look up at the moon and stars and dream about what lied beyond. Rita's spell made his innocent dreams into nightmares, though.
He sighed again. "This isn't helping," he mumbled to himself.
"On the contrary, young Ranger," a voice stated. "I found it very helpful. Putties, attack."
Tommy jumped out of his seat before the creature finished speaking. The latest of Zedd's monsters was barely visible against the backdrop of night. Just great, he thought sarcastically. I'm either on my own with Shadow here, or the others will be bugging me about my night's wonderings.
He dropped into a fighting stance, deciding to hold off on morphing. Maybe he could get out of this without alerting the others. That was his last thought as two dozen Putties swarmed him. He never did see the Shadow again.
Tommy awoke in darkness, chained to a floor he couldn't see. From the way he felt, he assumed he'd been unconscious for several days. The chains rattled as he shifted.
Tommy listened carefully, but heard no one else around. He turned to face the darkness in the direction of the voice. "Hi," he said quietly, for lack of anything else to say. He didn't particularly want to tell just anybody who he was. The prisoners the evil alliance held were just as likely to hate Power Rangers as not. He worked on freeing himself from the chains as they spoke.
There was a long pause, then the voice returned, calmer. "Are you a prisoner here, too?"
"Yeah, I guess so. What's your name?"
He sounded young, Tommy thought. "Are you UAD or PC?"
"I . . . I don't know what that is."
"An innocent," Tommy breathed, not once doubting the boy's words. He explained, as he had nothing else to do. "UAD stands for United Alliance of Darkness. It'd be safe to assume this is one of their places. PC is Peace Coalition."
"Oh." There was another pause, then he asked, "Are you UAD or PC?"
Tommy kinda laughed. "Neither, really. But, I fight the UAD. They're trying to take over my planet." Tommy turned as he heard a sound. "Someone's coming."
A moment later, a light came on in the cell and Goldar and Scorpina entered, followed by a half dozen putties. The putties dragged two people into the room and dropped them on the floor near Geron. Tommy glanced at them, saw they were both conscious, though they were injured, then turned his full attention to the evil warriors before him.
"Green Ranger, you're awake," Goldar sneered.
Tommy smirked at him and said, his voice full of sarcasm, "You're intelligence is improving, Goldilocks. You can tell the obvious."
Goldar growled and stalked towards him. Scorpina quickly stepped between them, speaking to Goldar quietly. She rose her voice as Goldar started around her. "Lord Zedd wants him alive."
"Alive, huh," Tommy replied with a laugh. "You don't have to worry about Goldie here. Nothing in this Universe could make it where he could beat me." He stood up and looked his nemesis in the eye.
Goldar looked at the chains, then back to Tommy. He smiled evilly. "You're beaten, Green Weakling," he growled lowly.
Tommy smiled mysteriously. "Far from it," he said, as confident as ever. He took another step towards Goldar and breathed, "Try it."
Scorpina once again stepped between them, trying to hold Goldar back. To Tommy, she asked, "Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
Tommy ignored her, concentrating on Goldar. "You will always loose, Goldie. I will always be your superior. I defeated you the first time we fought and I will continue to defeat you every time we fight. Nothing will ever change that, Goldie. You're inferior to me."
Goldar lunged at Tommy with a growl. Suddenly, Zedd's scepter appeared between them, throwing Goldar back. "Leave us," Zedd commanded. Goldar and Scorpina hurried from the room. Zedd turned to Tommy and glared at him in silence. Tommy met his gaze with an indifferent expression. For a long time, no one moved or made a sound.
Finally, it was one of the two brought in earlier that shifted, drawing the attention of both Zedd and Tommy. The one that had moved winked in Tommy's direction, then glared at Zedd with defiance. Tommy instantly liked him.
Zedd returned his attention to Tommy. "You've lost, young Ranger. You will not escape here and even if you did, there is nowhere for you to go. And," he took a step closer, bringing him within half a foot of Tommy, "I will not allow anyone to kill you, no matter how much you push. You belong to me."
"My friends will . . ."
"Do nothing to help you, child. They are light-years away, on their worthless planet." Zedd laughed at the look on Tommy's face. "Welcome to my world, Green Ranger."
Tommy forced the shock, and fear, away and replied with a smirk, "You left the 'worthless planet' you've been trying to take over for two years? And this makes it where I lost how?"
Zedd slapped him; the force of the blow knocked him to the ground. Tommy glared up at him. Zedd waited a moment, then knelt beside the boy. "You're mistaken, my boy. The war was never about taking over the planet. It's existence never mattered to me. This was about reclaiming what was taken from me. And Rita is keeping Zordon's Power Punks busy and away from what is mine." Zedd smirked at the confusion on Tommy's face. "Zordon never told you?" he mocked.
He pulled himself into a sitting position, which, due to the chains, moved him away from Zedd. Just sitting up, not backing down. Glaring at the emperor, he spat, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about, and I don't give a damn. Nothing you could possibly say could matter to me."
Zedd slapped him again. He grabbed the boy's shirt and pulled him over to him. "This is how it's going to work, boy," he growled. "You will listen to what I have to say without any of your damned attitude!" He pushed him back, almost gently. Tommy managed, barely, to catch himself and stay sitting up. His injuries from the battle, along with the treatment he was receiving, was getting to him now. He couldn't keep the pain from showing on his face.
Zedd stood, towering over the boy. "I only recently figured it out. You pretend to be older than you are. That made it take longer. Thirteen years ago, my newborn son was taken from my home, by Zordon's men. They delivered him to Zordon, on that useless world he chose to inhabit. He placed you with a human family, then lost track of you somehow. That made it take longer, also. He didn't find you again until Rita gave you the Green Power Coin, and you entered the Command Centre for the first time. At that time, his computer systems would have scanned you and recognized you for who you are. My son."
Tommy shook his head. "No," he breathed.
"I should have seen it sooner, but, as I said, my son is thirteen. You pretend to be four years older. I didn't think to even look at you until recently. The Green Powers should have told me, anyway. They are of my line, destined for my son."
"No, it's not true," he whispered. "Zordon . . . You're the one with no honor. I . . . I don't know how you found out my age, or even that I'm adopted, but it's not true."
Zedd nodded as Tommy confirmed what he already knew. "It is true, my boy. You are my son, Zordon stole you from me. I will educate you on how the son of Lord Zedd should act. You will take your place at my side, son, and make Zordon's failure complete."
"Go to hell."
Zedd slapped him again, and he was once more sprawled across the floor. This time, he stayed down. Zedd looked at him for a moment, then left the cell. Darkness returned.
Sometime later, Tommy stirred. Without hesitation, he began working on the chains that held him. It was over an hour before he managed to free himself. Once free, he slowly made his way over to the three others in the cell, and found they were now chained, though nowhere near as well as he had been. Geron stirred as he worked on his chains.
"It's okay, Geron," he breathed. "I'm getting us out of here."
"Who are you?" one of the others asked.
Tommy ignored the question. "I sure hope you three have someplace safe to go, because if we're really on his world, I don't know anywhere . . . well, anywhere about it."
"We do," Geron answered him quietly as Tommy removed the last chain from them. "We have a ship."
"Good," Tommy breathed. He stood. "Stay close, stay together, and I'll get you as far as I can. Get to your ship and get out of here as quickly as possible."
"Where will you go?" the third one asked as they exited the cell. Tommy recognized him as the one that had glared at Zedd earlier.
"I . . . I don't know," he answered honestly. "Come on." He led them through several hallways until they exited the dungeon. Tommy stopped at the exit and pulled out his morpher. He smiled slightly at the three. "These never work in his dungeons," he explained, then called out his morphing call. A green flash, and the Green Ranger stood before them.
The three men looked at him, then at each other. They followed him as he led the way through the palace.
It was nearly an hour later that they ran into trouble. Goldar, Scorpina, and several other warriors came upon them as they were about to exit the building. Tommy immediately moved to defend the three men.
Geron tapped a badge on his shirt and spoke into it while the other two men fought side by side with the young Ranger. A moment later, the four of them were teleported away.
Tommy glanced around the room the four of them appeared in.
"This is our ship," Geron said quietly. "You're safe here."
Tommy looked at him for a moment. For some reason, he found himself trusting him. "Power down," he breathed, causing his Green Ranger uniform to flash away. He looked at the three that he'd helped escape for the first time in light. All three men appeared human. Geron was the youngest, with a friendly, open expression, that changed to worry and fear as he looked at Tommy. He didn't appear to have any serious injuries. The one that had glared at Zedd with such defiance was a tall, blond man of around thirty, with clear blue eyes that spoke of strength and confidence, even though he looked like he'd been in a fairly severe fight, with several bruises covering his exposed skin. He had a slightly cocky air, but he was currently checking the third man's injuries.
"Go to sickbay, Commander," the blond stated quietly. "That head injury is worrying me, and your pupils aren't dilating evenly."
The Commander left without a word. He was an older man, probably late thirty's or early forty's, with a native American appearance and a tattoo over his right eye.
The blond turned to Tommy and his expression changed to a worried look. He took a step towards the boy, but Tommy stepped back automatically.
"You're injured," the blond said.
Tommy looked down at himself, noticing for the first time the injuries he'd accumulated since he'd gone to the park. "I guess I am," he breathed.
Geron looked at the blond. "Tom . . ." He stopped as he noticed the boy turn at that name, also. The blond, Tom, noticed, too. They both realized at the same moment that they hadn't heard the boy's name.
"I'm Lt. Tom Paris, chief helmsman," the blond man introduced himself.
"Tommy, Green Power Ranger." Tommy closed his eyes against the bright lights and leaned against the wall. Suddenly, his legs gave out on him; Tom and Geron caught him before he could hit the floor.
Paris tapped his comm. badge. "Emergency Medical Transport, three to sickbay."
Two days later, Tommy awoke in sickbay, to the Doctor standing over him. On instinct, he rolled off the bed, away from the Doc, and came up in a fighting stance.
"You shouldn't be out of bed," Doc said, with his usual arrogant manner. "You have been unconscious for the past two days."
"Who are you?" Tommy glanced around the lab, without taking his attention off the Doc. He watched wearily as a young lady approached from across the room. Quieter, he breathed, "Where am I?"
The lady answered. "I'm Kes and this is Doc. You're in the sickbay of Voyager." She paused, as this didn't seem to calm him. "Tom and Geron brought you in when you collapsed in the transporter room, two days ago."
Tommy finally relaxed. "Tom and Geron and . . . that other man that was in the cell. Are they okay?"
She smiled. "They are fine, thanks to you. The other man is our first officer, Commander Chakotay."
Tommy looked down at the med gown he was wearing. "Where are my clothes?"
"Your clothes were unsalvageable," Doc replied. "When you are ready to leave sickbay, we will replicate fitting clothing."
He shook his head. "I need them now. It's important."
The doors to sickbay suddenly opened, causing Tommy to turn defensively towards them. He relaxed as he saw Tom Paris, Commander Chakotay, and Geron enter, though he watched the others with them wearily.
A woman in her late thirty's with red hair smiled at him. "Tommy, Kes said you were awake. How are you feeling?"
"Uh, okay." He felt a little weird being asked that from someone he didn't even know the name of.
"I'm Captain Katherine Janeway of the USS Voyager," she introduced herself. "This is Lt. Commander Tuvok, head of security, Lt. B'elanna Torres, our chief engineer, and Ensign Harry Kim, Ops. You already met Commander Chakotay, my first officer, Lt. Paris, and Geron."
Tommy stepped back as they approached, causing them to stop. "Your doctor won't give me my clothes."
Tom and Geron walked over to him and sat on the bed he was standing in front of. Tommy didn't react to their approach. Seeing that the boy was relaxed with them, the others decided to let them do the talking for right now.
Tom told him, "Your clothes were shredded, and covered in blood. Do you have any idea how badly you were hurt?"
Tommy shrugged. "I've survived worse, and probably will again. It doesn't matter. It's just . . . there's no green on this."
Tom looked at him. "You're not complaining about the medical gown, you're complaining about the color."
"I'm the Green Ranger." Tommy kinda smiled, seeing the confusion on their faces. "You really have no idea what the Power Rangers are."
"We're not from around here," Geron said.
"Obviously. Anyone from this area that could travel between planets would know about the UAD, the PC, and the Power Rangers."
Geron said, "You said the UAD was the United Alliance of Darkness and PC was the Peace Coalition, right? You also said you're not part of either one, though you fight against the UAD."
"Yeah," he replied, distantly. After a moment, he smiled. "Okay, let's see if I can explain this. I'm the Green Ranger, part of a team of six. There's the Red Ranger, Jason, my best friend and team leader. Black is Zack, a great man, full of life. Yellow is Trini, a kind, gentle spirit that would die for her beliefs or kill to defend them. Blue is Billy, the team genius. His inventions saved our lives countless times. And then there's Kim, the Pink Ranger. Kim is the most beautiful spirit in the Universe, and she actually loves me, too." His voice showed that while he knew this, he couldn't understand why. "The colors are basically personality based. There's a lot of other powers possible, as many as there are major personality types and colors in the Universe. We draw on the power of the morphin' grid, the, um, living energy of the Multi-verse, focused through our power coins.
"The main portion of how we tap into the power is in the color. Each color has a different harmonic resonance. The wrong resonance can leave you anywhere from slightly uncomfortable to deathly sick. Therefore, it's extremely important what colors we wear."
Tom walked over to the replicator. "Do you care what style, or just the color?"
"Just," Tommy paused. With a flick of his wrist, he called his morpher to him. "Just this green, if you can."
Tom looked at the coin, then programmed the replicator. Tommy put his morpher away. As Tom brought the clothes over, Geron asked Tommy, "How did you do that?"
"Do what?" Tommy asked, confused. He took the clothes from Tom, already feeling better just touching the green.
"Make that thing appear and disappear."
"Oh. My morpher is stored in a pocket dimension. It's a little too important to leave just anywhere."
"Pocket dimension?" Kes asked. She noticed how he held the clothing Tom had given him. He did seem to be drawing power from it.
Tommy couldn't help but smile at her. "It's a place between dimensions that exists wherever I am. I store those things that mean the most to me there, where no one can take them away. I just concentrate on the item I want, and it's here." He called to him a photo, taken not long after he joined the team, and showed it to her. It showed the six of them, plus Bulk and Skull, in the park. Ernie had taken the picture. Tommy and Kim sat together, lost in each other. Zack was dancing, while Billy and Trini watched. Bulk and Skull were relaxing near Tommy, feeling the most comfortable with him. Jason watched over them all, protectively.
She easily identified each Ranger by the color they were wearing. "Who are those two?"
"That's Bulk and Skull. They're a couple kids that tried to find themselves a place by being bullies, but they're okay. I'm gonna change," he said, standing. Tom pointed out a changing room to him.
When he returned, wearing a green version of the Star Fleet uniform, everyone noticed how much stronger and more at ease he seemed.
Kes smiled at him, handing back the picture. "You all look happy."
"Yeah," Tommy said, looking at the picture. He smiled in remembrance. "We were giving a martial arts class in the park when Rita sent down some putties, her and Zedd's foot soldiers. We couldn't morph to fight them because then everyone would know we were the Power Rangers, so we fought them without calling on the power. Most everyone ran off, but Bulk and Skull fought with us. I think it annoyed Jas, since their being there made it where he couldn't give the command to morph, though I think he saw it for what it was, anyway. It showed there was more to them than most saw. Bulk and Skull are honorable, and if you're willing to stand up for them, they'll do the same for you. This picture was taken not long after we won." He sighed and returned the picture to the pocket dimension.
Geron asked, "Do you know where your world is from here?"
"My planet, Earth, is far removed from the UAD and the PC. Far enough that it should have been safe from them both."
Chakotay questioned, "Is that why Zordon took you there?"
Tommy was suddenly standing, glaring fire at the Commander. "It is not true! I know who I am, where I'm from, and what I am. I don't have to know anyone actually related to me to know that. I will not believe the lies of the bastard that's been trying to destroy my friends and me for over two years." He closed his eyes, forcing himself to calm down. These people didn't know the whole story, they didn't know why he'd feel this way. Calmer, he added, "Zordon is honorable. If it was true, he would have told me."
Doc stepped over to him to do another scan. He touched his arm and started to say something. Tommy jerked away and swirled around to face him. Seeing the doctor, he frowned, then closed his eyes. When he opened his eyes, he said, "You're not here."
"I assure you that I am," the doctor replied to the odd statement.
Tuvok was the first to figure it out. "Tommy, Doc is our EMH, the emergency medical holoprogram. That is why you do not sense him."
He sat on the bed for Doc to do his scan. "A solid holoprogram? Cool, a Blue Heaven. Billy will love . . ." He stopped as it occurred to him that he might never see Billy, or any of the other Power Rangers, again.
Geron smiled sadly. "We're along way from home, too."
The Command staff of Voyager, and Geron, alternated on explaining how they ended up so far from home. When they finished, Doc had the results from his tests.
"You're healing fine, Tommy. You're released from sickbay, but don't do anything too strenuous for the next few days."
Janeway and Chakotay shared a glance. Neither one felt that Tommy should be alone right now. Not with everything he had to deal with and not with how very young he was. Chakotay told them, "We're short on available quarters. Would anyone be willing to share their quarters with Tommy?"
Geron said, "I would, but I already share with Ken Dalby."
"You can stay with me, if you want," Tom told Tommy quietly. "My quarters are large enough for us both."
Tommy stared at Tom with a soul piercing intensity. He liked Tom, even found himself trusting him, but to share quarters with him required more than that. But, even if he only stayed a day, he would need somewhere to sleep. After a moment, he smiled shyly. "Okay."
Tom's smile was almost sad. He'd seen the pain Tommy tried to hide and realized just how much trust the boy was putting in him.
Janeway also saw this. "Tommy?" she said. When he turned his attention to her, she continued, "You're welcome on Voyager for as long as you want to stay. We'll try to find your planet, but unless and until we do, please consider Voyager your home."
At first, Tommy smiled happily, but then his smile fell as the reality of the situation occurred to him. He shook his head no. "You don't know what you'd be getting into. It'd be better if you dropped me off the first chance you get."
"Is that what you truly want?"
Tommy started to respond, but Tom interrupted him. "On your honor," he stressed, knowing enough about the boy to have an idea what honor meant to him. His description of Bulk and Skull said that. "Is it what you want?"
"I -" He couldn't say it's what he wanted. The thought of being left where Zedd could get him scared him to death. He sighed and told Tom, "You know you're as annoying as Jason."
"As annoying as your best friend?" Tom smiled. "I'll take that as a compliment."
Tommy thought for a moment, trying to figure out how to explain to them why they needed to leave him behind. Convincing someone to do what you feared the most was always difficult. "I don't want anyone else dying for me. So long as I'm here, Lord Zedd will be after this ship. He'd kill everyone on it to get me. He's obsessed."
Janeway and Chakotay exchanged glances. Though Tommy kept his face neutral, they could read the hope and fear in his eyes.
B'lanna stated, "It seems to me that the worst thing that we could do to you is leave you on a planet anywhere near him."
"Have you ever seen anyone tortured to death?" He didn't wait for an answer, he could read it on their faces. Except for Janeway and Kim, they'd all seen something close, at least. "How long? Days, weeks, months? How long before you're begging for death just to end it? Zedd can keep you at the edge of death, never letting you die, until you can't remember anything else. He can keep you alive until you die, not from the torture you endured everyday, but of old age. He's had 200,000 years to perfect it." He stopped, reading the shock on all their faces, including the holographic doctor. He closed his eyes, trying not to remember. He'd had first hand experience with torturing someone when he'd been Rita's evil Green Ranger, experience being tortured by both Rita and Zedd, but it was the Green Coin's memories that he was trying so hard to push aside. The Power Coins recorded the knowledge and skills of their possessors, passing them on to future generations. Unfortunately for Tommy, the Green Dragon Coin was last held by Lord Zedd.
Locking the memories away once again, Tommy opened his eyes and found nine sets of sympathetic eyes watching him. "He will hurt you for helping me. Can you afford to take that chance?"
Captain Janeway smiled. "Voyager is not defenseless. I cannot leave a child to . . ."
"I'm not an innocent," Tommy interrupted. He sighed. In telling about Lord Zedd, he'd only convinced them they couldn't leave him behind. He didn't want their deaths on his head, there were too many there already. Slowly, he told them his story, starting from before the Power Rangers.
Silence filled the room. Tommy looked each of them in the eyes. They understood, now. He wasn't worth their worry. He dropped his eyes to the floor. He hoped he'd be able to find a way home from wherever they left him, but he was doubtful. They were in Lord Zedd's territory. There were too many enemies for him to fight alone.
"Tommy." Janeway tried to catch his eyes, but he didn't look up. "We are not abandoning you so your enemies can hurt you even more."
Tommy looked at her questioningly.
Tuvok told him, "You are wrong, child. You might be the only innocent in that fight."
"I hurt people."
Tom hugged him; Tommy almost panicked at the touch and quickly moved away. He backed himself into a wall, eyeing them all wearily. No one moved for a long moment.
Tom caught Tommy's eyes and held the gaze as he very slowly approached the child. Tom gently took his hand, watching for any reaction. When this was allowed, he led the child to a seat, choosing the one slightly further from the others rather than the one that was almost back to everyone. When Tommy sat at his urging, Tom knelt beside the chair. Still meeting his eyes, Tom breathed, "It wasn't you, Tommy."
"Yes, it was." Tommy looked away and dropped his gaze to the floor.
"No." Gently, Tom lifted Tommy's chin until their eyes met once again. "No, it wasn't. They used you." The Oliver's, Rita, Zedd, Zordon - all of them, he added to himself.
Tommy looked at him with a mixture of doubt, surprise, and hope. "That's what Jas said," he breathed.
"This Jason sounds like a smart man."
Tommy smiled, then laughed. "That really sounds like him."
Chakotay asked, "Will you be staying?"
Tommy looked at each of them. They knew the whole truth and they still wanted him to stay. He nodded, shyly. "Yeah, I'll stay."
Captain Janeway smiled at him. "Then, on behalf of my crew, I'd like to welcome you to Voyager."
He smiled. "Thank you. Is there anything I can do? To help out or something."
"In a couple days," she glanced at Doc, who nodded okay, "we'll figure out a position for you. For now, just take it easy. Tom can show you around the ship, tell you how things work. Mr. Paris, take the next two days off and help Tommy get settled."
"Yes ma'am," Tom replied. He smiled at Tommy. "Come on, I'll show you to our quarters."
After they left, Janeway turned to Chakotay. "You said he's thirteen, now?"
"That's what they said in the cell."
"Then, he was only eleven when Rita forced him to do all that," Harry commented.
Janeway nodded. "Wherever he ends up working, I want him with one of us. Keep an eye on him. He hasn't dealt with this yet, and I doubt he's going to tell anyone else about it. He told us because he was trying to push us away."
After Tommy had looked around their quarters, which now had an extra bed, with a divider separating off that portion of the room, Tom said, "It scares you to think what Zedd said could be true."
"It can't be true," Tommy breathed, sitting on the couch next to Tom. "'Cause if it is, it means that my entire life was controlled by someone else, and I'm just a pawn. It would mean the one I've trusted the most sent me to hell with the Oliver's. That he knowingly set it up for me to kill my father, from the time I was an infant." Tommy sighed. "Before I met the Rangers, there was only one person I can remember looking out for me. Larry's cool, but he couldn't protect me. You kinda remind me of him, and Jas."
"Is that why you trusted me enough to share my quarters?"
"Partially." Tommy yawned.
Tom smiled at the thirteen year old warrior. "Get some sleep, kid. I'll show you around the ship tomorrow."
"I'm not a kid. I had to grow up along time ago," he mumbled as he walked to bed.
Tom sighed and whispered, "You're still a kid, Tommy, even with all the shit you've been through. Maybe we can give you a chance to be one, here."
The next morning, Tom found Tommy doing a light kata in the living room of their quarters. He leaned against the wall and watched. A moment later, Tommy completed the kata with a formal bow.
"Morning," Tommy greeted.
"Morning. You know, Doc would probably consider that too strenuous."
Tommy looked at him, confused. After a moment, it occurred to him what he meant. "That's not strenuous at all; only one light kata to wake up. Jas and I would spar everyday. Half our class would bet on the length of our matches, 'cause there wasn't any point in betting on the winner."
"Are you ready for breakfast?"
"We'll eat in the mess hall. I got to warn you though. Neelix's meals aren't all that great."
They walked into the mess hall and started filling their trays. Tommy looked at the food skeptically.
"Ah, you must be Tommy Oliver," Neelix greeted enthusiastically. He patted the boy on the shoulder. Tommy stepped back from him.
"Tommy, this is Neelix," Tom introduced. "I told you about him last night."
Tommy nodded, then smiled slightly at the Talaxian. "Hi, Neelix." He looked at Tom. "I, uh, I'm not really sure how to react to all these people."
Tom smiled and said, apologetically, "We've been out here for awhile. New faces aren't all that common."
Neelix gave him some space, just now remembering Kes's warning not to crowd the boy. "Let me fix you a special breakfast," he said, still smiling. He took the tray and started piling food onto it. When he was finished, he offered the tray to Tommy. Tommy took it and followed Tom to a table.
They sat with Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay. It wasn't where Tom usually sat, but he figured the Captain and Commander would discourage others from bothering Tommy too much. B'elanna and Harry joined them a moment later.
Tommy looked at the food on his tray. "This is edible?"
The others laughed. "Sorta," Tom replied. "Not good, but edible."
He hesitantly took a bite, and made a face.
"You get used to it." Tom took a bite, trying to hide his grimace.
Tommy laughed. "I can see that."
They ate in silence for awhile. Harry asked, "What are you two doing today?"
"Tom promised to show me this 'holodeck' he keeps talking about," Tommy said.
Tom nodded. "I scheduled some time for after breakfast. I made the mistake of telling him he could choose the program."
"I want to see if you have a good dojo."
"Doc said no strenuous activity."
Tommy smiled. "Sparring ain't strenuous."
Harry asked, "What's more strenuous than sparring?"
"What's the difference between sparring and fighting?"
"Rules," B'elanna answered for him.
Tommy looked at her then grinned. "Yes. Sparring has them, fighting don't," he added for Harry. He shrugged. "I don't plan on sparring right now, I just want to know if you have someplace I can."
Tom had a 'why me' look on his face. "Why didn't you say that, then?"
"What fun would that be?" he asked, innocently.
There was laughter around the table. They had the feeling nothing would be the same.
Two days later, Tom and Tommy reported to the conference room for the morning briefing. Geron joined them.
Captain Janeway entered and started the meeting. "Geron, would you bring up a map of the surrounding area?" As he did, she turned to Tommy. "You never did say if you know where your planet is from here."
"I barely know where here is," Tommy responded, somewhat distantly. "Alpha said something, when Zedd first showed up. It was . . . We were kinda distracted at the time, with trying to save all sixth and seventh grade classes he'd abducted. But I heard Alpha tell Zordon . . . 'We should have known Lord Zedd would come, once Rita found us here. Without the Omega Crystal, it would take him one year.' That was one year, almost to the day, after Rita's initial attack."
"What's the Omega Crystal?" Janeway questioned, her tone of voice particular.
"Some sort of power source that Zordon held, until he lost it a few months ago. Alpha said it was the 'original connection to the morphin' grid'."
She nodded, and motioned Tommy to look at the star charts. Geron stated, "This is as complete a chart as we have of this area."
Tommy looked at it, then called a crystal cube from his pocket dimension. He pressed in a panel and a star chart appeared in the air before him. He glanced at it, then back at the chart Geron called up. "Yeah, that's it."
The others gathered around him, looking at the charts. "What's it?" Tom asked.
"See here, here, here, and here?" He pointed out several different constellations near the edge of both maps. "They match. Your charts don't go far enough to find Earth, but it's close." He made a hand motion over the crystal, causing it to illuminate a point not far from the edge in a green glow. "That's Earth."
Geron compared the maps for a moment, then smiled. "It's on our way, Captain."
B'elanna looked at the distance. "It's around a year away."
"Were you held captive by him a year?" Geron asked.
Tommy shook his head. "A few days, at most. I guess Zedd has the Omega Crystal."
"Geron, please update our star charts with the information Tommy has."
Tommy handed him the crystal, after showing him the activation button. Geron left for Stellar cartography.
Chakotay asked, "What else do you have in that 'pocket dimension' of yours?"
"Just my morpher, a few photos, a guitar, and the crystal map. I found the crystal left in the debris after a battle and took it to the Command Centre. Alpha told me it was a blank disk, used for quick mapping large sections of the Universe. I took a picture from my bedroom, just to see."
"What is a guitar?"
Tommy smiled shyly. "It's nothing, just a musical instrument."
"We still need to figure out a position for you," Janeway said. "We decided to send you with the head of section of each area, letting you try all the departments. Lt. Torres will show you around Engineering today." Tommy nodded. Janeway continued: "What can you tell us about this 'Omega Crystal'?"
"Just that. I haven't heard anyone else mention it."
"What do you think this 'Lord Zedd' will do now? Will he come after Voyager?"
Tommy had a distant look in his eyes. After a moment, he responded, "He'll have his forces watching for Voyager. But, he'll go to Earth. With the Omega Crystal, he can get there much quicker than we can, and he knows that's where I'll go. Why waste time and energy searching for a ship when you know where it's going?"
She nodded. "You heard him. Keep an eye out for trouble, continue as usual. Dismissed."
They cleared out, Tommy following B'elanna Torres to engineering.
That night, Tommy went to the holodeck, calling up a small inn he'd found the other day. He sat in the entrance hall and played his guitar, like he did back before he moved to Angel Grove. He paid no attention as the command team entered the holodeck when he started playing a song he'd written not long after he started seeing Kimberly.
(Goo Goo Dolls - Iris)
Tommy nodded in greeting to the command team as he finished the song. He placed his guitar back in the pocket dimension. "What are you doing?" he asked, curious.
"We were on our way to Sandrine's when we noticed holodeck two was in use," B'elanna answered.
Harry continued, "Usually, everyone goes to Sandrine's at this time, so we got curious as to who was in here. When we saw it was you, and that you didn't have a privacy lock in place, we decided to see what you were doing."
"Besides," Tom added, "you're supposed to be meeting us in Sandrine's."
"In five more minutes," Tommy responded. "I haven't had much time to play since moving to the Grove, what with everyone trying to enslave me or kill me."
Chakotay said, "We could stay here, if you don't want to deal with the crowd."
"That's okay. They aren't staring at me so much, now."
"Lt. Ayala," Tuvok said as he and Tommy entered the room. "This is Mr. Oliver."
"Tommy," he corrected quietly. Tuvok and Ayala looked at him questioningly. "Oliver is just a name they attached to me when they stuck me with someone I've often wished I never knew. My name's Tommy."
Tuvok nodded, remembering what the boy had said about the Oliver's. "Tommy will be working with you in Security for the next few days."
Ayala hid his shock at Tuvok actually using the boy's first name, and smiled at him. In some ways, he reminded him of his own sons, waiting back in the Alpha Quadrant. Though in other ways . . . Tommy was much too young to have eyes that old. "It's good to meet you, Tommy. I'm Gregor Ayala. Geron hasn't stopped talking about the young man that rescued him from that world."
"I just got them out of the cell, and the building."
"Regardless," Ayala replied, "you helped my friends. Thank you."
Tuvok watched them for a moment longer, then quietly left the room. After Tommy's shift in Stellar cartography with Geron, Captain Janeway and he had decided to see how the boy would handle working with someone he didn't know. Lt. Ayala was the best choice, as he was good friends with Geron.
A couple months later, the Voyager crew could hardly imagine life without Tommy aboard. He'd worked his way into the hearts of them all, though he didn't realize it himself. The closer they came to Earth, the more Tommy wondered how he could leave. He knew he would always chose the Power Rangers, for they were his world, but it scared him to think about losing what he had on Voyager.
Tom Paris was like the father he never had. He treated him like he'd always heard a dad should, and loved him, and Tommy found himself loving Tom as a father. B'elanna, who was now engaged to Tom, treated him like a son, also. A large part of him wanted to keep them as parents, though he knew he'd lose them in a few months.
Harry, Chakotay, and Katherine Janeway were also like family. Even Tuvok and the Doc. Kes was like a little sister. She was too innocent for him to think of any other way.
Geron, the youngest crewmember besides Kes (whose species actually only lived around nine years, making her middle aged), Gregor, and Geron's roommate, Ken Dalby, were also good friends. It was a ruff start with Ken, for Dalby didn't care that much for Paris, but they all worked past that.
"Hey, Tommy," Geron said.
Tommy pulled himself back from his brooding thoughts and smiled at Geron, Gregor, and Ken.
"You look sad."
"Today's Kimberly's birthday; she's eighteen, now." Tommy pushed the pain away and stood. "You want to see the holoprogram?"
Ken asked, "Are you sure you're up to this, today?"
"No," he answered truthfully. "But, I know my love. The last thing she'd ever want me to be doing is sitting here brooding about her. I may not be able to be with her today, but I can honor the love she gives me."
They walked to the holodeck. Halfway there, Paris commed Ayala to ask if he was with Tommy.
Ken said, "I guess you told Paris what today is."
"And who I'd made plans with," Tommy said. "He seemed worried . . ." He stopped for a moment on that word. He smiled. "Worried that I'd be alone."
"He still was, but I promised him we wouldn't leave you alone," Gregor stated.
They walked a bit further in silence. After a moment, Tommy quietly asked Geron, "I was wondering . . . about Tom. Is that what a father's like?" Gregor and Ken stopped in their tracks, but Geron didn't even blink. After all, he was there when Tommy told his story.
"Oh. I always wondered what it would be like." He punched in the code and let them into holodeck two. They followed him into the program.
The room they entered was a large, open coliseum. The walls were decorated with tapestries and antique weaponry. Marble busts of legendary heroes lined the walls. At the head of the room was a statue of five warriors; the Power Rangers, though without the Green Ranger. They were morphed, but held their helmets so their faces were visible.
"Is this where your team trained?" Ken asked.
Tommy shook his head. "It's a combination of several cultures on Earth, and their legends. The statues and tapestries are all based on heroes from different times."
Geron asked, "Why doesn't the Green Ranger stand with the others?" Gregory and Ken looked at him curiously. Tommy spoke of the Power Rangers often, but he never mentioned a Green Ranger. Of course, he never said which Ranger he was, either.
"I just said it. They're all heroes."
"And the Green Ranger's not, Tommy?"
"Not in my opinion."
Gregor questioned, "Tommy, are you the Green Ranger?"
"Yeah." He walked over to the wall and reverently took down a long sword with a green handle. With a ceremonial bow, he started an intricate kata. Gregor, Ken, and Geron watched in awe, unmoving, until he bowed at the end and walked back over to them.
At the end of Alpha shift, Tom, Harry, B'elanna, Janeway, and Chakotay made their way to the holodeck to see Tommy. Entering the program, they watched in silence as Tommy worked with Geron, Gregor, and Ken, teaching them a simple sword kata.
After a moment, B'elanna quietly said, "Tommy is good. I'll have to spar him sometime."
Geron, Gregor, and Ken turned in surprise, forgetting about the blades in their hands. Ken's blade came within an inch of Geron, but before it could contact, Tommy was suddenly there and had the sword in his own hands.
"Oops," Ken breathed. "It's not real," he defended himself.
Tommy put the swords back in their place. "Safety's ever fail?" he asked quietly. "It's always real. Otherwise, when it's real enough for you, someone ends up dead."
"And you're not a hero, right?" Ayala asked. "Who ended up dead when it wasn't real to you?"
Tommy looked at him for along time with those too old eyes of his. Finally, he said, "You misunderstand. It's always been real for me. It wasn't real for them," he nodded towards the statue of his teammates, "and that's why they lost to me." He ended the program and walked out without a word. Tom and B'elanna quickly followed him.
"Why they lost to him?" Ken Dalby asked. "I thought they were teammates."
Chakotay said, "They are, now. He didn't start out on their team, though."
"The Power Ranger's enemy, Rita, was looking for a warrior that could defeat the team, and he was that good," Geron continued. "She used mind control to force him to fight for her."
"While under her control, he was forced to hurt, and kill, people. He still hasn't forgiven himself."
"And he sometimes wishes they'd killed him," Harry added quietly, drawing everyone's attention. "Like Tom."
Janeway asked him, "What do you mean, like Tom?"
It was Geron that answered. "Tom thinks he should have died in the shuttle crash, and Tommy thinks he should have died for what Rita did to him. That's why they both take on so many dangerous personal risks." He smiled. "Tom hadn't done that so much since Tommy arrived, and he's keeping Tommy from it, too. They're good for each other."
After a moment's silence, they exited the holodeck. To their surprise, Tommy, Tom, and B'elanna were still right outside the room.
"Tommy," Tom breathed as he walked up behind the young man. He'd stopped just down the corridor from the holodeck.
"Go away," Tommy murmured.
B'elanna said, "I don't think you need to be alone right now."
The others exited the holodeck, and froze. Tom and B'elanna glanced at them, then turned their attention to the lost boy in front of them. Tommy didn't show any sign of noticing them at all.
"I'm always alone," he replied.
"It doesn't have to be like that," Tom told him.
Tommy finally turned to face them, unshed tears glistening in his eyes. "Just an instant, a single moment in time. Like an echo that fills the silence and only makes you that much more aware of how alone you really are, leaving you empty."
Tom hugged him tightly, joined only a second later by B'elanna. After a moment, Tom quietly asked, "What happened, Tommy?"
A slight pause, then he answered, "I can't feel her. It's her birthday, I called to her by the Power, and felt nothing." The tears finally started to flow, silently.
Tom looked imploringly at Tuvok.
Tuvok said, "You are still quite a distance from your world."
"Doesn't matter," Tommy replied, pulling away from Tom and B'elanna. He looked at them, tears still running down his face. "We both own the Power. I felt Jas and he's lost. Kimberly's either . . . not there anymore, doesn't think I'm here anymore, or she doesn't want me and is blocking me from her." He slowly sank to the floor, and wrapped his arms around his legs. "My light's gone," he breathed. "Something's wrong with them all and I can't help them, and my light's gone."
Tom sat next to him and gently wrapped his arms around him. They stayed like this for along time, until Tommy calmed down enough to return to their quarters.
It was a week before either one returned to work, and when Tommy was ready to work, they made sure he was never alone.
"Channel open, Captain."
Captain Janeway nodded to Tommy. Tommy smiled at her, then spoke: "Zordon, are you there?"
There was a slight hesitation. "TOMMY, IS IT REALLY YOU? HOW DID YOU GET . . ."
Tommy interrupted him. "It's a long story, but I had some help. I thought we could return the favor."
"OF COURSE, TOMMY. I LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING THOSE THAT HELPED YOU. TELEPORT TO THE COMMAND CENTRE IMMEDIATELY." The connection was cut.
Captain Janeway stood. "Paris, Kim, Torres, and Chakotay, your with us." They were halfway across the bridge before it occurred to them that Tommy wasn't with them.
Tom walked back over to the child. "Are you coming?"
Tommy followed them, almost in a daze. In the transporter room, they asked him the co ordinance. He gave them a set of numbers.
The group appeared outside a nice house. Tommy walked over to the garage and knocked on the side door. A moment later, it opened.
"Hi, Billy," Tommy responded with a laugh as Billy engulfed him in a hug.
Billy finally noticed the ones standing behind his friend. "Who are they?"
"They helped me get home." Tommy hesitated, then explained to them all, "I called Zordon. He seemed . . . off. Has anything . . ." He drifted off, remembering what he'd felt on Kim's birthday.
Billy's smile fell and he wouldn't meet Tommy's eyes. So many things had happened but Billy didn't want to be the one to have to tell Tommy. "Zordon's been . . . different since you disappeared. The, um, the first thing he said when we realized you were nowhere near was that all was lost."
Tommy looked confused, and worried. What if Zedd spoke the truth? He shrugged. "We're going to the Command Centre. Will you call the team?"
Billy nodded. "There's been some cataclysmic changes, Tommy. The six of us will meet you there." He hurried over to his computer to call the others, giving Tommy no time to question him.
Tommy frowned, but motioned the others to come over. "I'll teleport us in. Your transporters would set off the alarms." Janeway nodded and Tommy teleported them.
"WELCOME HOME, TOMMY," Zordon greeted. "COULD YOU TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?"
Tommy started his story, from his wondering in the park that night. As he spoke, the other Power Rangers teleported in behind him, but remained quiet, listening. Tommy ignored them for the moment as he continued his account. After he told what Zedd had claimed, he paused. "I don't know why he thought I'd believe that. We're not even the same species."
"You take after your mother," Alpha 5 said, unthinkingly.
Silence filled the room. Tommy slowly turned to face the little robot. "What?" he demanded.
"Ai, ai, ai."
"TOMMY, IT IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK."
"Oh, really, Zordon. What exactly do I think? Tell me, on your honor, Is it true?"
Zordon hesitated to answer. No matter what he replied, it was bound to make the young Green Ranger more angry, and he knew how dangerous the boy could be.
"Is it true, Zordon?" a strange voice questioned. Tommy turned to the voice. A young man in gold stood with the other Rangers. The stranger smiled at Tommy. Quietly, he introduced himself, "I'm Trey of Teforia, the Gold Ranger."
"YOU ARE MY SISTER'S SON. YOU ARE DESTINED TO BE THE SAVIOR OF OUR PEOPLE, TOMMY."
"It's true," the Gold Ranger said in shock, looking at Tommy in a whole new light.
Tommy heard, but didn't comment. He was too busy looking over the Power Ranger team. Jason, Billy, and Trini were there, along with the Gold Ranger. In Kim and Zack's places were strangers to him. "Where's Kim and Zack?"
No one responded. The new Black Ranger said, "I'm Adam Park. Zack was offered a place in the Teen Peace Summit and I took his place on the team when he left." He didn't offer anymore details, figuring it would be better if they came from his friends.
"Kat Hillard," the girl in pink introduced herself. "I joined about a year ago, when ..."
"KAT!" the older Rangers' exclaimed.
Jason walked over to Tommy. "You might want to sit, bro."
Tommy paled, reading the knowledge in Jason's eyes. "How?" he breathed.
"Sit down, Tommy."
Trey stated, "Kimberly Harte killed herself. She was obviously too weak ..."
He didn't get any further, as Tommy had him pinned to the wall, his arm across his throat. Trey was overwhelmed by fear - not because of the speed or strength Tommy exhibited in totally overwhelming the alien Ranger, but the anger and pain in his eyes. Adam and Kat started to go help their team mate, however the original team members stopped them.
In a deathly whisper, Tommy said, "Don't you ever call Kimmy weak. You don't know a damned thing about her. She's a hero. She saved all of us, the whole world, a lot. Don't dishonor her life by calling her weak." He released the Gold Ranger and walked away from them all. Jason followed him.
"Where is she?" Tommy asked quietly.
Jason answered, "The same place as everyone else that died in this war. I found her, bro. As far as anyone outside here is concerned, she was caught in a battle. Close enough to the truth anyway. This damned war killed her."
Tommy teleported out without a word.
"ALPHA, TELEPORT HIM BACK, NOW!"
"Captain?" Tom said.
She nodded. "I doubt we'll be getting much help here. Go ahead, Tom." Tom transported out. Janeway tapped her comm. badge. "Janeway to Voyager. Four to beam up."
Within the Command Centre, no one even noticed them leaving. "Ai, ai, ai. I can't get a lock on him!"
"JASON, BRING HIM BACK TO US."
Jason gave Zordon an indescribable look. "You have no idea what you did. I can't bring him back to you, Zordon. Maybe Kim could have, if she would have even tried, but we didn't keep her alive. You betrayed him, you betrayed us all." He shook his head. "Tommy considers trust more precious than gold, and betrayal a crime like no other."
"RITA DID THAT TO HIM. REMIND HIM THAT HE SHOULDN'T BLAME US FOR HER SINS. HE IS MY SISTER'S SON."
Trey told Jason, "We can't lose him, Jason. The fate of the galaxy is in his hands. The child of Darkness and Light must fight for the PC. It's his destiny."
Jason responded, "Rita didn't do that to him. She made him less likely to trust, that's all. He gave his trust to us after that. As far as you being his uncle, Zordon, family ties aren't going to help here. He gave you his trust and you betrayed it. Zedd showed more honor than you did. And Trey, I don't give a damned what you think Tommy must do, and he'd care even less what you want after your wonderful way of introducing yourself to him. Tommy is my best friend, my brother. I'll stand by him, whatever he chooses in life, 'til the end of time. I'd die for him. I'll do everything in my power to protect him. From Zedd, from destiny, from you. If I have to choose between him and anything, I'll choose Tommy!" He teleported out.
Kat was the first to break the silence. "Where is he going?"
"To the graveyard," Billy and Trini answered as one. Trini smiled sadly and added, "Tommy went to see his soul mate."
Trey quietly repeated, "Soul mate? Why would someone with his power be attracted to someone weak?"
Billy glared angrily at Trey. "Tommy's right, Trey. You don't know her, you don't know him, and you have no right to judge them. Kimberly is our friend and we don't like you insulting her, but for Tommy, she was his light, his reason for living. You're lucky he's a good man, or you'd be dead."
Jason teleported in as Tommy found the grave, followed immediately by Tom Paris. Neither one said anything as the young Green Ranger knelt at the grave of his love.
"Hey, beautiful," Tommy breathed. "I told you I'd always come back for you, and I did. But this time, you're gone. I always knew we could die at any time. We came close so many times, but I'd save you and you'd save me. I . . . I never thought I'd lose you, my love." He bowed his head, crying silently.
Jason sat next to the Green Ranger. Lt. Paris joined them, sitting on the other side of Tommy. Jason threw a glare his way, thinking the man was trespassing on them. He didn't say anything though, as Tommy seemed comfortable with him.
"That girl in pink," Tommy breathed, refusing to call her Pink Ranger. "She said she joined the team about a year ago. And, I found Zack's grave."
Jason sighed; this was one story he wished someone else was telling, for he knew it would greatly hurt his friend. Hesitantly, he began: "The night you disappeared, we were called to your aide. When we arrived, you were unconscious on the ground, bleeding from several wounds. We were attacked before we could reach your side, though we didn't see an enemy. Goldar and Scorpina teleported down and we found ourselves fighting them and this Shadow creature. A few minutes later, Lord Zedd came down himself, and was looking at you so strangely. He picked you up and stood there, holding you while he watched us fighting. Kim . . . I was trying to figure out how to keep everyone whole and get you away from him, but . . . I'm not the best at that, you know." He'd almost said he wasn't as good as Tommy, but caught himself in time. Tommy would take that to mean it was his fault. Jason was afraid he'd take it that way, anyway.
"Meaning, you're not as good at it as I am," Tommy breathed, knowing how his friend thought. "You're a great leader, Jas. Better than I could be."
Jason smiled sadly at him. It was an old argument. "Kim didn't wait for us. She pulled out of the battle and rushed Lord Zedd to get you. Zedd . . . He shot her with a burst of energy from his scepter. She fell, unconscious. I had Zordon teleport her to the Command Centre and we continued fighting. Zack was injured when Kim ran off from us, and never got full use of his leg back. That's why he took the offer to join the Peace Summit and Adam joined us. But, uh, Zack ended up dying about a month later. Zordon didn't warn us that loss of the Power could do that." He paused. "When we returned from the fight, I went to check on them. Zack had been healed as much as our systems could, and Kim was just waking up. When I told them what had happened, they were both worried about you, bro. But we all thought we'd find you on the moon, or in one of those Dark Dimensions Rita and Zedd are so fond of. If Billy couldn't build something to punch through their shields and teleport you out, we'd go in and rescue you. That's what always happened before."
"But Zedd has the Omega Crystal, now," Tommy murmured. "He didn't have to stay close anymore."
"Exactly," Jason agreed. "And when Zordon told us this Omega Crystal he'd lost could take you a year away for every day you were gone, we knew we'd failed you. Kim . . . she wasn't the same, anymore. I'm sorry I couldn't keep her safe, bro."
"Jas," Tommy sighed.
"You're what, fourteen now?" Seeing the surprise on Tommy's face, Jason told him, "Billy was playing on his computer not long after you joined us. The team got curious about which of us had won the most martial arts competitions and he hacked into the records. Your age was listed, along with some other stuff. It didn't matter, just made us all a little more protective of you. What I'm trying to say is, if any of us had been taken like that, it would have been a failure. But, because it was you . . ." Jason sighed. "Before we were Power Rangers, the five of us made a pact to stay together and protect each other. When we became Rangers, we swore an oath to protect the world. When you joined, the five of us swore to protect you. We'd totally failed you, or Rita couldn't have hurt you like that. None of us had any idea what you went through with Rita, or what you felt when the spell was broken. We could only guess, 'cause none of us had ever experienced anything like it before. We knew we could die in this war, but we swore you wouldn't."
Tommy asked, sadly, "Was it just guilt, then?"
"NO! No, bro. Guilt is why we walk this cemetery so often, or why we spend so much of our time building homes for those people the monster attacks left homeless, or helping out at the local children's home. I admit there was some guilt, but it was only a small, miniscule part of what we felt, and feel, for you, bro."
Tom pulled Tommy into a loose hug. Tommy leaned into the embrace, facing Jason. "What was it?"
"Kim fell for you immediately, bro. The others came to the tournament to watch me, but Kimmy couldn't keep her eyes off you. I suspect she was cheering for you when we fought, too. The others, well, our match convinced the rest of us that we wanted you for a friend." Jason hesitated. Talking about his feelings wasn't something he did. "I was the champion; I never lost. It had to be boring for the others watching me always win those competitions. But with you, I didn't win - or, uh, lose. But, for the first time in my life, I knew that I would lose if it was real. When they announced a tie, I respected your skill. But then, my friends came up and congratulated me, talking about how much they actually enjoyed the fight. We turned to congratulate you, too. That's when the rest of us decided to make you our friend, no matter what."
Tommy shook his head. "You lost me there, bro."
"No one came to congratulate you. No one knew you. I wondered why your family didn't come, at least. It took me awhile to figure that out. Actually, I didn't put it all together until after you were gone." Jason shrugged. "Anyway, we came over and congratulated you. The look you gave us was . . . surprised. No, shocked, like it never occurred to you that anyone would compliment you. But there was something else there, too. You were happy that we'd come over, and . . . hopeful. And, well, you fit us. I don't know what it was, exactly, but we wanted you for our friend. That's why it hurt us so much when Rita made you the Green Ranger. As the Power Rangers, we failed to protect you and we felt guilty. But, our friendship wasn't about the Rangers."
They sat in silence for a long moment. After awhile, Jason quietly said, "I know we're your heroes, Tommy. But, you are ours."
Tommy didn't have any idea what to say to that. Finally, he breathed, "I'm tired, Jas. They want me to be something I can't be. I'd give my life to protect my planet and the team. But it's not about that, now."
"You're capable of more than you think, bro. You have the choice. If you don't want to fight for either side, then don't. As it's in my power, I won't let either side force you into something you don't want."
"Don't Jas. Too many have been . . . hurt already."
Jason looked Tommy in the eye, and read the guilt. "It's not your fault."
"You heard them in the Command Centre," Tommy responded. "This whole fucking war . . ."
"Isn't your fault," Tom interrupted firmly.
"Is about me," Tommy finished quietly.
Jason shook his head. "I heard the story, bro. Even if he did come here looking for you, that doesn't make it your fault. That would make this war Zordon's fault. Zordon and Zedd and Rita, but not you."
Tom kinda laughed. "I told you Jason sounded like a smart man."
Tommy smiled, remembering the day he awoke on Voyager.
"Let's go to Ernie's for a smoothie or something, bro," Jason suggested.
Tommy nodded. He placed his hand against the ground that held his love. "I love you, beautiful," he breathed. He stood, offering his friends a smile. "Let's get out of here."
Jason and Tom stood. Before they could teleport out, several putties, Goldar, Scorpina, and a Nimian warrior surrounded them. Jason morphed and he and Tommy immediately fell into fighting stances. Jason frowned, wondering why Tommy didn't morph. As the dark troops attacked, Tommy covered Tom, who called to Voyager. He tapped his comm. badge, cutting the connection.
"They can't get a lock," Tom told Tommy as he joined the fight.
"No surprise, there," Tommy responded as he knocked a putty into oblivion. "It's one of their favorite tricks."
"Cardassians would do the same thing." Tom kicked a putty coming up on Tommy's back, as Tommy phasered one approaching Tom's back.
"Green Ranger!" the Nimian warrior called. "You will return with us. Lord Zedd has commanded it."
"Zedd commanded it? Why didn't you say so?" Tommy responded, his voice thick with sarcasm.
At that moment, the rest of the Power Ranger team teleported in. Billy and Trini almost freaked when they saw Tommy fighting without morphing.
Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Lt. Torres, Ensign Kim, Crewman Geron, and Lt. Ayala transported to sight, phasers drawn, as the Power Rangers joined the fight. Tom and Tommy worked their way over to them. Jason watched Tommy's actions with a great sense of loss. The Voyager crew didn't hesitate to phaser any putties, or in B'elanna's case, cut them in half with her bat'leth, knowing how they were produced. Before long, only they, the Power Ranger team, and the three dark warriors were left standing. The battle froze, with the three factions forming a triangle facing each other.
Tommy broke the silence. He holstered his phaser and walked towards the enemy, stopping before he got too close. "Leave," he ordered. "Go back to your base, and give this message to your master. Leave me alone. I know the truth, and I don't give a damn. Zedd, Rita, Zordon - No one can tell me who to be. I am Tommy, Green Ranger, a member of Voyager's crew, and a man of honor. UAD or PC - Both sides have tried to use me, neither shall control me. Walk away, and it's over. Push me, and I will kill you."
Trey started towards Tommy. "You can't classify Zordon with them. You are destined to save the PC. You are Prophecy, the child of darkness and light."
Jason, Billy, and Trini were suddenly between him and the Green Ranger. Adam and Kat cautiously backed away from the others.
"Leave him alone, Trey," Trini warned.
Billy added, "We won't let you hurt him, either. No one messes with our family."
"I told you," Jason said. "In a choice between anything and Tommy, this family chooses Tommy."
The Nimian warrior stepped towards Tommy, thinking to capture him. Phaser fire from seven phasers hit him in the head and chest, and he fell. Goldar and Scorpina teleported themselves and the stunned Nimian away.
Jason quietly said, "Billy? Trini?"
Jason nodded, then addressed Trey, loud enough for all to hear. "Billy, Trini, and I are through fighting for Zordon. Tommy's right - our greatest enemy showed more honor that Zordon has."
Adam stated, "Zedd will win if it's only the three of us."
"Zordon has the Zeo Crystal, now," Trini said. "It can power a team. Just make sure anyone he chooses knows that the Powers are required forever afterwards."
"No one else needs buried here because Zordon didn't tell them passing on the Power would kill them," Billy agreed.
Adam, Kat, and Trey teleported back to the Command Centre. Jason, Billy, and Trini powered down and walked over to Tommy, who was standing with the Voyager crew.
Jason asked Tommy, "Who do we talk to about joining you on Voyager?"
"You want to leave Earth?" Tommy questioned.
"We're family," Trini stated. "We have no reason left to stay, and you are every reason for us to go."
Tommy turned to Captain Janeway. "Captain?"
"I never can tell you no, Tommy," she replied with a smile. "How quickly can you be ready to leave?" she asked the three Rangers.
"Oh, we're ready now," Billy stated.
Jason said, "Everything of importance is in our private pocket dimensions."
"No one to say goodbye to?" Chakotay asked.
"Ernie, Bulk, and Skull," Trini said. "But they know we're Power Rangers. We can teleport in and tell them."
"Trini and I had to morph in front of them," Billy added. "You were right, Tommy. Bulk and Skull are some of the best friends we've had."
Tommy heard the sadness in his friend's voice. "Ernie's isn't far from here. We can walk."
Captain Janeway said, "Chakotay and Paris, stay with them. Report back for departure in two hours." The two men nodded, and the rest of the away team transported back to Voyager.
They started the walk to Ernie's.
Tommy said, "Jason told me how Zack died. There's something about that I don't understand. The Green Coin was Zedd's and he's still alive."
Trini responded, "We asked Zordon about that. It seems Zedd was never a Green Ranger. He created the Green Coin from his life energy."
They are of my line, destined for my son, Zedd's voice said in his memories. "Oh," he breathed. They continued in silence.
After awhile, Tommy quietly asked, "What happened, Billy?" Billy just looked at him, confused. Tommy told him, "When Bulk, Skull, and Ernie found out you're Rangers."
Billy dropped his gaze to the ground. "We'd just buried Zack, about a week after we did Kim. We went to Ernie's after the funeral, to talk, to think, to remember . . . to forget. After a few hours, most everyone left. Jason went to the cliffs where you and he always went when things bothered you. Finally, it was just Ernie, Bulk, Skull, Trini and me.
"That's when Rita sent her new warrior, Uriel, down, with some putties. We all fought, but . . . Trini was against the Nimian and he knocked her across the room. So, I morphed. I'm not good enough without it. When Trini got up, she morphed. Uriel retreated."
Tommy stepped in front of Billy and took hold of his shoulders. "Look at me, bro," he commanded. Billy slowly rose his gaze to meet Tommy's eyes. While Tommy always referred to Jason as bro, he almost never used that term with him or Zack. When he did, it meant even more. "First of all, you did the right thing. You chose the vow to protect over that of secrecy. I'd have done the same thing."
"You wouldn't have to."
"Yeah, there's nothing out there that could beat me, huh? When I disappeared last year, it wasn't 'cause I was beaten. I just thought it'd be fun to see what Zedd's dungeon looked like when chained in it," Tommy responded with a sarcastic lilt.
"You're better at defending others than protecting yourself."
He couldn't argue with that. "You're right, Billy. But I have you guys for that."
Jason mumbled, "We didn't do a very good job of it last year."
Tommy looked at the three Rangers and read the guilt in each of them. "Oh, shit," he breathed. Aloud, he said, "Come on. We'll finish this in the Youth Bar."
They walked the rest the way in silence. When they reached the Youth Bar, Tommy ignored all the looks he was getting and walked over to Ernie. He whispered something to him, then made his way over to Bulk and Skull.
"Back room," he told them and the other Rangers.
They entered the back room, where Ernie was waiting for them. After the initial greetings, Tommy told them all, "Sit down. There's something I have to tell you guys." Once everyone was seated, Tommy continued, "Last year, the Power Rangers were cut in half almost over night. But it was not your faults."
"I'm the leader," Jason argued. "I should have . . ."
"Jas, just shut up and listen to me. This isn't easy for me." When Jason nodded Tommy took a deep breath and continued, "Remember when I first joined the team, Rita injected me with that hallucinogenic and you ended up rescuing me from the moon in Kim's zord?"
"Well, the fight where the putty injected the drug into me, it wasn't that intense. The bruises weren't from the fight. The only reason it hurt was . . . was earlier that week, my adoptive father hit me with a two-by-four." Tommy stopped.
Skull nodded his head in sudden understanding. "That's why you reacted like you did when you found out about my father. I didn't even think you liked me, but when you saw him hit me . . . I've never seen anyone so mad before."
Bulk was looking at his best friend in confusion. "What happened?"
"Tommy rushed over, grabbed my father, and pushed him away from me. He told him to never touch me like that again or he'd have to deal with him. He didn't yell, or even hit him. He just stood between us, completely calm, in control. It had to be totally frightening to have that much controlled anger aimed at you, but from my side of it, I'd never felt safer. That's when my father finally let your parents have custody of me."
Bulk nodded in understanding. "That's why you insisted on staying and fighting those putties when you realized Tommy and them weren't leaving. I thought it was because you had a crush on Kim."
"No, I quit going after Kim after that, anyway."
Jason said, "That's why you told us Bulk and Skull were alright, we just didn't understand them."
Tommy nodded, then continued his story. "Zordon knew the wounds weren't caused by the fight, and ended up getting me to tell him. He told me I could come to the Command Centre 'when things get too bad'."
"When things get too bad!" Jason exclaimed. "What the fuck kind of response is that? He should have found a way to get you out of that, not told you . . ."
"Yeah, Jas," Tommy interrupted. "Calm down, bro. He's out of all our lives, as are the 'parents' he chose for me."
"To get you out of the situation would be to admit total failure in his choice of guardians for you," Billy stated.
Skull asked, "Why would your mentor as the Power Rangers have had anything to do with Tommy's guardians?"
Tommy briefly explained. Then, he once again returned to his story, explaining why he was in the park, and why he didn't call for help. He ended with, "I made the choice, guys. You can't do anything when you don't know anything's wrong. Don't blame yourselves for what I did."
No one said anything for a while. Then, Trini said, "We learned from the best, Tommy." Everyone laughed.
Jason commented, "Even if that's not my fault, you're not the only team member I lost."
"Kim and Zack," Tommy stated. "Zordon killed Zack. He didn't want the team short handed while Zack could heal, so he didn't tell you passing on the Powers would kill him. And Kim . . . I love Kim, with every fiber of my being. She's worth dying for and, more importantly, worth living for. She's my light, my soul, my salvation. So, when I say this, you can't doubt it, bro. It wasn't your fault. It was Kim's choice. She . . ." Tommy stopped as the pain overwhelmed him; buried his face in his hands and cried. It was the first time any of them, besides Jason, Tom, and Chakotay, had seen him cry. Tom quickly moved to his side and hugged him to him, rocking gently.
Tommy wasn't the only one crying, though. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
After awhile, Tommy looked up into the eyes of his fellow Power Rangers and repeated, "It's not your fault."
Jason smiled, though somewhat sadly. "I know what she is to you. You wouldn't let anyone get away with causing her pain. I believe you, bro."
When the time for departure arrived, the group transported back to Voyager. Before they left, Tommy called the Dragonzord to him and landed it in the back of the secondary shuttle bay. The others left their zords behind.
They arrived on Voyager at the end of Alpha shift, so Tom and Chakotay had to report to the bridge for the end of the shift. Tommy took this time to show his friends around the ship.
"These are mine and Tom's quarters," Tommy stated as he stopped before the door. He punched in his code and led them inside. Tom, B'elanna, and Harry were sitting on the couch, talking. They looked up as Tommy and his friends entered, then went to Tom's bedroom to give the friends some time alone.
Trini asked, "Why do you and he share rooms?"
Tommy kinda laughed. "Well, they said they were short on available quarters, but the truth is they didn't want me staying on my own. They seemed to think I would isolate myself or something."
The Rangers gasped in fake shock. Jason said, "You, isolate yourself? I don't believe it."
"Yeah, you are so funny, bro. Thirsty?" Tommy replicated him a fruit smoothie.
Billy asked, "Does that teleport it from a storage unit?"
"No, it's a replicator." Tommy showed him how it worked, by replicating his usual banana blueberry smoothie.
He smiled joyously. "This place is . . ."
"A Blue Heaven," Tommy finished with a grin.
Awhile later, Tom, B'elanna, and Harry heard a banging from the other room and went to check it out. They found Tommy and Jason sparring, while Billy and Trini cheered.
"Guys, some help here!" Jason called.
Tommy laughed. "Three against one would make it a little closer to even."
"Let's get him!" Trini yelled as she and Billy joined the match.
They continued the match, with Billy and Trini occasionally trading sides, or sparring each other. Tom, B'elanna, and Harry watched from the side. Some time later, the door chimed.
Tom called, "Enter, uh, cautiously."
Chakotay and Janeway entered, and quickly saw what Tom had warned them of. Tommy saw them enter and called an end to the match. Tommy nodded to the Captain and Commander as he walked over to the replicator and replicated three bottled waters. Without looking, he casually tossed them to his friends, who caught them with ease.
Jason took a drink, then frowned as Tommy rejoined them. "Why didn't you get yourself anything?"
"After the extended length of our workout, we are all dehydrated, Tommy. There are limits to even a Power Rangers' abilities. You should get a drink," Billy stated.
Tommy shrugged. "Not thirsty."
The three Rangers exchanged looks. Janeway and Chakotay both started to speak, however, the children beat them to it.
"Me, either," Jason said, sitting the water down. Billy and Trini sat theirs down, too.
"Not at all," Trini stated.
Billy said, "If it's not going to bother Tommy, I don't see why it should bother me." They looked at Tommy, their expressions completely serious. They stared at each other in silence for a moment, then Tommy shook his head and walked over to the replicator.
"You guys are annoying, you know that," Tommy stated. He took a drink, and the others picked up their drinks again. "And stubborn."
"We know," Jason replied with a smirk. "We did learn from the best, bro."
Tommy shook his head, then turned his attention to their audience. "So, did you find somewhere to stick these annoying friends of mine?"
"We have a couple open quarters on deck six," Chakotay told him.
Janeway said, "From what Tommy's told us about you, I think Billy would be best in engineering. Trini, Tommy told us you are a student nurse."
She replied, shyly, "Yes. I thought it would be a good idea, since my friends kept getting hurt in battle."
"We happen to be short on medical aides. I'd like you working in sickbay. Jason, security."
Jason asked, "What does Tommy do? He hasn't actually told us that." He wasn't sure what to think when the command staff started laughing.
B'elanna replied, "He's one of my best engineers."
"And the second best pilot on the ship," Tom added, throwing his trademark smirk in Tommy's direction, who just laughed.
Harry grinned. "And in Ops."
Chakotay said, "He also works in security, as a med aide, in Stellar cartography, tactical . . ."
Janeway continued, "And if there's trouble on an away mission, he tends to take command, no matter who the ranking officer is at the time."
Tommy shrugged. "You were out of it that time, Captain."
She smiled. "I know, Tommy. And you did a great job," she told him quietly. To the others, she said, "He's one of the best commanding officers on the ship."
"Essentially, Tommy does a bit of everything," Harry stated.
Jason said, "I can't believe it, bro. You're actually showing them what you're capable of."
Tommy blushed. "It's no big deal," he mumbled.
Trini and Billy smiled as they watched their friends. Billy put his arm around Trini's shoulders and she leaned into his side. "You should make him your ship councilor," Trini stated. "He brought our Jason back."
Tommy looked at her, and grinned. "How long have you two been together?"
Billy and Trini blushed. Jason looked at them in shock. "I didn't notice," he murmured.
Billy quietly said, "You have been . . . out of it this past year." To Tommy, he said, "Jas has been blaming himself for everything that happened with the team."
"He's good at that, blaming himself for things beyond his control," Tommy replied.
Jason gave Tommy a meaningful look. "Again, I've gotta say, I learned from the best."
Tommy ignored the comment. "So, how long have you been together?"
"We, uh, sorta asked each other out after that fight where we morphed in front of Bulk and Skull," Trini explained.
Tommy smiled happily as Tom kissed B'elanna, sealing the wedding vows. He stood beside Harry, both Tom's best men. Sometime later, he watched as the new couple snuck out of their party, to return to their new quarters. He also left the party, for his best friend's room. He would be staying with Jason for a few days, while Tom and B'elanna were on their honeymoon. Trini and Billy shared the other room, as they were married the day before.
It seemed everyone was living their dreams. He sighed, and took a detour to the observation deck. Sitting in front of the viewport, Tommy gazed at the stars. They were currently orbiting a planet whose species seemed friendly. He called his guitar to him, and gently strummed the strings. After a moment, he started to play a song, his thoughts on Kim and all their dreams now laying dead with her. He didn't notice Jason, Trini, and Billy walk in, looking for him.
(Long As I Live; John Michael Montgomery)
As the last note faded, Jason, Billy, and Trini sat down next to Tommy. He replaced his guitar to the pocket dimension.
"I didn't know you played," Jason said.
"I don't much. Just . . ."
"You miss her."
"I wrote it to her. Never played it for her, though." Looking at Billy and Trini, he smiled, though still sadly. "Aren't you guys on your honeymoon?"
"We are, and this is where we want to be," Trini stated. "With our friends, family."
Billy asked, "Are you going down to the planet with us tomorrow?"
"Yeah," Tommy responded. He stood and offered them a real smile. "We should get some rest for tomorrow."
The other Rangers smiled, glad to see the mood lift from their friend.
Note - I was having trouble with this next scenes so in order to continue the story, I'm skipping ahead. Below is a short note on what occurred. I plan to try to go back and write this part as well but it might be awhile. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
I also played with the Star Trek timelines so that the ships and crews I wished to write were active at the same times.
Shore leave, Tommy is captured by Zedd. He ends up getting the Omega Crystal.
Tommy's feeling lost, and hurt, after his ordeal. Tom and B'elanna worry about him, and talk to him about it. He ends up promising to get them all home, and seems to leave the depression behind while he works on it with the Omega Crystal.
Voyager dropped out of the Omega bubble.
"We're being hailed, Captain. It's the Enterprise."
"Open a channel."
Captain JeanLuc Picard appeared on the screen, on the bridge of the Enterprise. "I don't believe it," he breathed. Louder, he said, "Welcome home, Captain Janeway."
"Captain Picard," Janeway greeted.
"When I heard about your ending up in the Delta Quadrant, I never thought I'd be the one to see you when you returned. Nor that you would be home so soon."
"We had help with that."
"Captain," Harry Kim interrupted. "There's a flux with the Crystal."
"Tommy," she began.
Tommy was already at the console. "I'm on it," he told her distractedly. After a moment, he ran off the bridge.
Sometime later, he returned to the bridge. Captains Janeway and Picard stopped their conversation as he entered. Tommy said, "I had to get the Crystal off this dimension but it's safe now." It wasn't really necessary to remove the Omega Crystal from this dimension, he just didn't want this Federation getting a hold of it. Without the connection to the morphin grid, none of them would have been able to control it, however he doubted the government would understand that quick enough.
Commander Riker asked the boy, "How did you get the crystal off this dimension?"
Tommy looked at the screen, his expression completely serious. All around Voyager's bridge, the crew was trying to suppress grins, knowing what type of answer the man would get. "By sending it to another," Tommy answered calmly.
The Commander noticed the reactions of the others on Voyager's bridge. "That didn't answer my question."
"Maybe you asked the wrong question." Tommy turned to face Janeway and Chakotay. "You're home?"
"We're home," Chakotay agreed.
Tommy smiled sadly. "I kept my word then." With that, he walked off the bridge.
Paris sat there for a moment, trying to figure out what felt so wrong all the sudden. "SHIT!" he exclaimed when it finally hit him. "Commander, take the helm!"
"Lieutenant. . ."
"Think, Chakotay. Tommy, torture, near suicidal depression, just fulfilled the promise he's been living for."
Chakotay paled, and took the helm. Paris ran off the bridge.
Later that day, Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Councilor Troi, and Lt. Commander Worf transported over to Voyager and met the Command Team, minus Paris and the Power Rangers, in the conference room.
They informed the crew of the war with the Dominion, which was now over, the peace with the Marquis, and other happenings in the Alpha Quadrant. They also gave the good news of the pardons for all the Marquis on Voyager, including Tom Paris.
Finally, Paris entered the conference room, with Tommy and the other Power Rangers. The Voyager Command Staff rushed over and hugged Tommy. Everyone sorta forgot about the Command Staff from the Enterprise.
When they finally gave him some room, Tommy said, "You'd think I went further than our quarters."
"You had us worried, Tommy," Tuvok said.
"I thought Vulcans didn't 'worry'," Tommy replied with a grin.
"We don't; however, I made an exception for you."
Janeway asked, "Are you going to be okay?"
Tommy didn't reply. Jason said, "We came to an agreement."
"What kind of agreement?" B'elanna asked.
Tom Paris answered, "The kind meant to give heart failure."
Trini smiled. "We simply told him that wherever he went, we would follow. 'Til the end of time."
"And you said this when Tommy was planning on . . ." Harry started.
Tommy finished, "Killing myself, yes."
"Would you really have?" he asked of all the Rangers.
"We swore on our honor, so yes," Jason stated. "Of course, we had insider information on this."
Billy smiled. "In the best or worst of times, Tommy would die for us. But because the thing with Rita controlling him, we knew something else. He'd live for us."
Tommy sighed. "So I'll just have to deal with this all. I'm tired of dealing."
"I told you before, bro. You don't have to deal with it alone," Jason said. "You have the Power Rangers on your side, forever. And if you'll just look around this room, you'll see more than just us standing with you. If Zedd does follow us, which he can't for a very long time, we'll all kick his ancient ass again."
"We're family, bro," Billy said. "'Til the end of time." He offered Tommy his hand. Tommy grasped the offered hand, then Trini, then Jason. With a look, Jason invited Tom and B'elanna into the circle. They stepped to either side of Tommy and joined the circle. Tommy looked at them.
Paris smiled. "You're our son, Tommy. We don't care about Zedd. He gave up all rights to you when he . . . did what he did."
"You're son?" Tommy breathed, looking from Tom to B'elanna.
"What do you think we've been doing all this time?" B'elanna asked him.
Tommy actually looked at each person in the room, and saw the worry for him, and the love. For the first time since his torture at his father's hands, he smiled a true smile. Just an instant, a single moment in time. Like an echo that fills the silence and only makes you that much more aware of how alone you really are, leaving you empty, he remembered telling Tom a year ago. "A single moment in time. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it's not so short."
Tom and B'elanna hugged him. After a moment, Tommy pulled away, and turned to the Command Staff of the Enterprise.
Councilor Troi asked, "Do you have a councilor onboard?"
Commander Chakotay replied, "Sort of. Unfortunately for the recent situation, Tommy is our councilor."
"I volunteer my services. The boy . . ."
"Is standing right here," Tommy stated wryly.
She smiled at him. "I apologize, Tommy, I was speaking to the wrong person. It sounds like you've had a hard time recently."
"About fourteen years worth actually but who's counting."
"How old are you?"
Tommy grinned at her. "You wanna see a Power Ranger counseling session? Follow me." He walked out the door, followed immediately by the other Rangers, Councilor Troi, and Tom and B'elanna.
Captain Janeway motioned for the Enterprise crew to follow. "You will want to see this."
"A counseling session?"
"Don't let his wording fool you."
Captain Picard, Commander Riker, and Lt. Commander Worf followed the Voyager Command Staff onto the holodeck, where Tommy's hall of heroes program was running. Tommy and Jason were already deep into their sparring, while Trini, Billy, Tom, B'elanna, and Councilor Troi watched from the side.
"Impressive," Riker said.
Trini grinned. "They're just warming up. Wanna see a reaction?" she asked Troi.
Troi wasn't sure what to think of her expression. "What type of reaction?"
"The type where our Greenman actually shows emotions."
"The program," Billy stated.
"It is incomplete."
Billy returned her grin, and they walked over to the wall, calling up the controls.
"What the hell are you doing, Blue boy?" Tommy called, his back to them.
"Fixing it!" Trini answered.
"There is nothing wrong with my program."
Jason smirked. "That's your opinion, bro. But we know it's not complete."
"Yes it is." There was an edge to his voice.
"Now it is," Billy agreed as the addition flashed into existence. Tommy stopped suddenly, and stared at the statue of the Power Ranger team. The Green Ranger now stood with the others, between Jason and Kim.
Jason, Billy, and Trini watched him closely.
Picard and Riker exchanged glances, seeing the sudden worry in the expressions of Voyager's staff. Worf asked B'elanna about it.
"They've messed with him about the program being incomplete, but they never pushed it," she explained. "This is his hall of heroes. He doesn't think he's a hero."
"Is he?" Riker asked.
"None are more deserving of that honor than he."
"Change it back," Tommy commanded.
"This is the way it's supposed to be, Tommy," Trini said. "The six of us, against all threats."
"This is a hall of heroes. The Green Ranger doesn't belong."
Billy replied, "You're a part of us, Tommy. We'd all be dead if not for you. If any of us deserve a place in a hall of heroes, it's our Green Ranger."
He breathed, "I'm not a hero."
Jason walked over to him. "We accept that we're your heroes, bro. Why can't you accept that your our hero?"
Of all the possible reactions, no one guessed what happened next. A green glow swirled around Tommy, and with a flash, the program terminated. In it's place, they saw Angel Grove, as Tommy's memories replayed for all to see, and hear.
They saw Tommy and Jason in the competition where they first saw each other, and the encounter with Rita that followed him winning. They watched as the spell was placed on him, and almost felt his pain as it seeped into his soul.
Riker asked, "What is happening?"
Trini answered, "We're seeing Tommy's memories. It's a heritage thing, I think."
"We should probably leave. This is too private."
"I agree, number one," Captain Picard said. No one moved.
The evil Green Ranger fought the Power Ranger team, easily defeating each of them.
"But, you held back, bro," Jason breathed, finally seeing what he couldn't when this was actually happening. "You could have killed us, at any time." Jason almost stopped breathing as the next scene appeared.
Billy was walking home from the Youth Center around sunset, when the Green Ranger appeared before him. Billy tried to call for help, but couldn't get a signal through. The Green Ranger simply stood there until Billy gave up on calling help and finally morphed. The fight was quick and painful, for Billy. When it was over, the Green Ranger stood over the defeated Blue Ranger and sneered. 'I'm not going to kill you, boy. You're not even worth the effort.' He was gone as suddenly as he'd appeared.
Strangely enough, Billy smiled at the memory. "She tried to control a Power beyond her," he stated. "Jason's right, man. You could have killed us all, alone or together, at any time. But you didn't, because you were fighting her control. As far as what you said to me, it's nothing I hadn't heard before."
"That doesn't . . ." Tommy began, but Billy interrupted him.
"I know, bro. But you're the one that convinced me I am worth the effort." He walked over to Tommy. "And Tommy? You're worth it all, too. Let go of this, it wasn't you. It's Rita's sin, not yours."
Trini joined them. "Remember afterwards, bro."
"Afterwards? I was broken."
After an intense battle, the Power Rangers managed to destroy the Sword of Darkness, lifting the spell from Tommy, and force de-morphing him. Everything that had happened suddenly came crushing down on him in a single instant. He stayed unmoving on the beach, awaiting the end. He knew it would be soon. After what he'd done to them, why would they hesitate to kill him?
But instead of ending it all, the Red Ranger de-morphed and offered him his hand. Tommy looked at Jason in total confusion.
'You're free, now,' Jason told him. 'We could use your help.'
'My help?' He didn't like how small his voice sounded.
The other Rangers de-morphed and joined them. Billy told him, 'You own the Power, now.'
Kim smiled gently. 'You can fight Rita with us. After what she did to you, you've gotta want to strike back.'
'Vengeance?' The word sounded foreign in his mouth.
'I don't think you're the vengeance type,' Kim said to this as she kneeled before him, met his eyes. 'Not vengeance. Fight with us so she can never do this to someone else.'
That caught his attention more than anything. But he still couldn't believe they wanted him. 'You want me to join you?'
Zack smirked. 'We're running out of different ways to say it.'
'Just say yes, Tommy,' Trini said.
'Please?' Kim added.
He couldn't have told her no for anything. 'Yes,' Tommy breathed, and took Jason's hand.
"You really thought we'd kill you, after the spell was broken?" Jason asked quietly.
Tommy shrugged. "Anyone else would have."
"But you were innocent: None of that was you."
"I haven't been innocent in along time. When has that mattered, anyway?"
Jason sighed. "You know, I really, really hate the Olivers," he said, knowing where Tommy's logic came from.
Tommy called his Power Coin to him. "This took any innocence left in me."
The scene changed again, to a time before any of their births. A dank dungeon, with prisoners chained to the walls and floor. A beautiful woman glared fire at Zedd as he approached her.
They saw only flashes of the torture he put her, and others, through.
Several years passed in an instant, to show the same woman, pregnant, broken on the floor of the dungeon. There wasn't even enough spirit left in her for her to beg for death anymore.
The scene changed, almost the same except it was now Tommy chained in a dungeon with Zedd gloating over him.
As suddenly as it started, the scenes disappeared. Tommy sank to his knees in pain as he forced them to stop playing for everyone. Jason, Trini, and Billy sat at his sides, offering him their Power to stop it.
When he once again had control, Trini asked, "What was that one memory? You weren't there."
"I wasn't," Tommy breathed. "He was."
" 'He created the Green Coin from his life energy'," Tommy repeated what Zordon told the others. "Destined for his son," he added what Zedd had told him.
"Lord Zedd's memories are part of the Green Coin?" Jason questioned, hoping he'd misunderstood.
Tommy looked at him a moment. "I take it the Red Coin doesn't work that way."
Jason shook his head no, as did Trini and Billy.
"That's what . . ." Jason stopped, as he noticed everyone else still in the room. He made a circling motion with his hand, and surrounded them in a soundproof fire red field.
Tommy smiled at him. "You're getting good at that, bro."
"What were you gonna say?"
"It's what you're afraid of, that you'll become like him, because of the Power?"
Tom said, "I guess they decided they wanted some privacy."
"How did he do that?" Riker asked. He seemed to be asking that a lot about these children.
"They're Power Rangers." He shrugged. "That's the best explanation they can give." Tom walked over to the field and said, "Jason, will you let me in?"
The Rangers looked up at him, then at each other.
"How do I do that?" Jason asked. They'd never tried to let a non-Ranger into one of their circles.
"As a team," Tommy answered. He motioned for them to sit in a circle, then hold hands. After a moment, the shield flared, multi-colored, faded, then reformed with Tom Paris inside. The field took on the colors of each Ranger.
Tom shook his head in awe. "You guys are amazing," he told them as he sat down beside Tommy.
None of them replied. Jason repeated his question to Tommy. "Is that what you're afraid of, Tommy?"
Tommy dropped his gaze. "200,000 years of memories. My life, it doesn't even compare."
Tom asked him, "How long have you held this Power, Tommy?"
"I told you, Tom. Over three years."
"And you're still you. I know you've changed in the last three years. Everyone changes in those years. But Tommy, you are not like him. You're not evil."
The Rangers nodded in agreement. "He's right, bro," Jason said. "You may have to fight the memories sometimes but you're stronger then they are. And you'll never have to face it alone. I'm here, Billy's here, Trini's here, and if you'll notice the colors of our combined shield, you'll see Zack and Kim are here, too."
"We may not have as long a life expectancy as you," Billy stated, "but we'll always be with you. And, we don't really know how much the Powers changed us, either. We might all live to see ages beyond our dreams."
"I'm not sure I'm stronger than it," Tommy breathed.
Trini smiled at him. "That doesn't matter, Tommy. 'Cause if one of us isn't strong enough, the whole of us will be. We won't lose you. By our honor, we won't lose you."
Tommy smiled as a great weight lifted from his shoulders. "Friends, family, forever," he swore.
"Forever," the others swore.
After a moment, Tom said, "The others are worried, guys. You think you could drop this shield and let them know everything's okay?"
As one, they released the Power, letting the shield fade. But the feeling of oneness didn't.
"Do you feel that, guys?" Tommy asked, knowing the answer. "I think we just swore ourselves to the same life expectancy." The other Rangers nodded, feeling what he meant.
Tom threw them a questioning look. They replied by silently calling on Power, but not their own. Each one showed the colors of the others.
"We're bound," Jason stated, happily.
Trini said, "We said he wouldn't have to face it alone. We bound the Powers, we bound the souls."
"We'll walk this life together," Tommy stated. "Whether it's a day, a year, or several hundred thousand years, we'll live and die together."
Harry Kim asked, "Does this mean you might wear something besides green?"
The Power Rangers laughed. Tommy told him, "We may be one, but I'm still me."
B'elanna said, "You realize that didn't make any sense to us non-Rangers."
"I bet it made even less sense to the ones that haven't been around you over a year," Tom stated.
"Oh," Tommy said. He thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Can't think of it right now. I think we're a little high."
Trini giggled. "High on life. You think this is what Mrs. Applebee meant?"
"Highly improbable, my Yellow Angel," Billy replied. "I doubt she could even contemplate such a colossal . . . this."
"Our Blue Boy at a loss for words," Jason said with a laugh. "Never thought I'd see that happen."
The next day, Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Lt. Commander Worf, and Councilor Troi, along with Dr. Beverly Crusher and her son, Wesley, transported back to Voyager to hear about the Power Rangers. They met with the Rangers and Voyager's Command Staff in the conference room. Tommy glanced at them as they entered, then turned to Jason.
"Why is it that when they see even a small portion of who we are, they become obsessed with learning more?" Tommy asked him quietly.
"I'd say it's a Power Ranger thing but you're talking about longer that that, aren't you," Jason replied. "I'd tell you why we react that way to you but you'd just look at me like I was speaking Swahili or something."
He grinned and said something. Jason and Trini looked at him questioningly.
Billy shook his head in amazement. "He said, 'I speak Swahili', in perfect, unaccented, Swahili. I couldn't do it."
"Of course he speaks Swahili," Jason said. "It's like the absolute last language you'd ever need, why wouldn't he speak it."
Tommy replied, "First off, Billy recognized and translated it, so I'm not the only one here that took the time to learn it. Secondly, it's not the last language you'd ever need if it's the main language spoken. The Olivers traveled a lot."
Trini smiled. "Jason's just upset because he lost a bet. You'll love it when you see what he lost."
"Who'd he lose to?"
"Me," Trini replied with a smirk. Tommy laughed, knowing what Trini's idea of a bet was.
Harry asked, "You were betting on what languages Tommy speaks?"
"He'd just joined the team and was like a total mystery to us. Now, he's not totally enigmatic." When Jason laughed, Trini added, "I said not totally. And it's a safe bet he's more enigmatic to all of us than he is to you, Redman."
Captain Janeway decided to bring the subject to the reason they were all here. "Rangers, we will be to Terra tomorrow and I'd like to know what happened in the holodeck yesterday before we arrive. Life is likely to get hectic with our official return."
"Our morphin power, life energy, combined and bound together," Tommy answered. "Jas put up that shield, it's something we've worked with before, but only with Rangers inside. Tom came and asked to be let in and we all agreed to that but we'd never done it before. Tom is part of the family, but without the morphin power."
Trini took over. "So, we had to redefine how our shield worked. To do that, we combined our efforts, and ended up combining our powers to power the shield. Then we Spoke."
"We promised Tommy that we'd always be with him, he wouldn't be alone, no matter what," Jason continued. "Words have Power when magic is flowing."
Billy explained, "We swore an oath to stay together forever, while our Powers were combined. It had the side effect of making it possible for Trini, Jason, and me to live as long as Tommy. And, for awhile, I could see the whole morphin grid, the ebb and flow of the living energy of the multi-verse. All this time I've held the Power, I never imagined how vast it all was."
"You could lose yourself in the grid if you're not careful," Tommy stated. "It would overwhelm most just to hold one of the Powers but with all six of our Powers combined . . ."
"All six?" Chakotay repeated.
"Zack and Kim are there, with the Powers they hold. Just because they are dead to this Universe doesn't mean they're gone from the morphin grid. We deal in dimensions. There are some dimensions you can touch physically and some that are only spiritual but all are part of the grid."
Chakotay thought about his own trips among the spirit world and nodded.
Almost hesitantly, Harry said, "I thought you said you couldn't sense her anymore."
"I couldn't alone. But I'm not alone now."
"Our combined Power can touch that which we could never touch alone," Trini stated.
Tommy said, "To hold that much Power within ourselves at all times would burn us out however it will be an advantage in battle."
Jason said, "We have around seventy years to learn how to use it."
"At the most. Realistically, he'll probably find someway to cut the trip at least in half. So figure thirty to thirty five years to prepare."
Tuvok stated, "It would be highly illogical for him to follow you here, as he has an empire. If he leaves it for so long, he would most likely lose control."
"If he returns in defeat, he will definitely lose his empire," Trini stated.
Jason added, "He'd have to admit he, the 200,000 some odd year old warrior Lord and his several thousand year old warriors lost to a few teenagers, one of which can barely be called a teenager." He looked pointedly at Tommy. "Lord Zedd is so not going to admit defeat that easily, it'd be a total blow to his ego."
Tommy said, "Besides we have the Omega Crystal which both sides have killed for before and the Green Dragon Power Coin he created from his own life energy. And more importantly, I'm here."
Worf asked, "Why is your being here the more important reason?"
"Because Lord Zedd is my biological father." Tommy paused, then added, "But Tom Paris is my dad." Tom smiled proudly at these words and not even Worf's next words could make that feeling fade.
"Do you know Paris's history? He has not always shown great honor."
"I know what his records say and I know him. You do not. Before you judge a man, you should know more about him than what people who don't like him report."
Wesley Crusher asked Tommy, "How old are you?"
"Fourteen. Who are you?"
"Oh, sorry. I'm Wesley Crusher. This is my mother, Dr. Beverly Crusher."
"You're about eighteen?"
"Well, yes. I'll be eighteen next week."
"You're freaking the kid out, bro," Jason stated.
"The kid will be eighteen a few days before you," Tommy pointed out dryly. "Are you a kid, Jas?"
Painful memories replayed behind Jason's eyes. The first time someone died during a battle. A young man, years older than them all, was caught in the middle of a battle and lost his life. Painfully, from the look on his face. He'd found the body after the fight was over. The following day, the news spoke about the loss of someone so young, blaming the Power Rangers for the death. He remembered the first time he faced the Green Ranger, and finding out the enemy that defeated him was the man he'd tied with earlier that week. Knowing he'd failed him before they could even be friends. Losing Tommy to Rita again just a few days after he joined them, and rescuing him only after he'd endured torture on the moon. And so many other memories, many involving the young man in front of him. "I don't know anymore, Tommy," Jason answered him seriously. "I don't feel like one. I think we all had to grow up too soon after Zordon decided to mess with our lives."
Trini said, "We turned him down. Did you know that? When Zordon offered us this great chance to die painfully, and young, we turned him down."
"I turned down the Power, too," Tommy stated. "Didn't make much difference."
"No, it didn't. We left, walked out of the Command Centre, into the middle of the desert. Rita sent down some putties to attack us, and we ended up morphin to fight them. Just like that. He didn't give us a choice, and I hate him for it. But, you know what, guys? I don't regret for a moment being the Yellow Ranger." She paused. "I regret that we couldn't save everyone. Like everyone else, I spent a lot of time walking the cemetery, seeing the ones we failed. And it was like hell when it was my parents buried there. But with all the sorrow and loss, I know I'm part of the reason Earth still exists. We saved the world, guys."
"Nor do I regret being the Blue Ranger. Maybe we did lose a large portion of our childhoods but we gained a sense of maturity that many never find in a lifetime and friendships that will last beyond our lifetimes. While the five of us were friends already, we all know that type of friendship doesn't necessarily last and it was Rangering that let us get close enough to Tommy to become his friend. Serving as a Ranger taught me self confidence, which I was lacking before. Maybe if I was a better fighter or if I could figure scientific equations a little faster, the cemetery wouldn't be so large but if I hadn't been a Ranger maybe it'd be larger still."
"If I was a better leader maybe we wouldn't have spent so much time walking the cemetery," Jason stated. "I know every name and how each one died. And I remember every news broadcast especially the ones talking about the promise of youth lost and how it should have been us instead. Talking about people years older than any of us. And the next day, we were heroes again. If I was just better . . . But I don't regret being the Red Ranger. I didn't choose it but I don't regret it for an instant."
Tommy said, "Too many regrets to mention but the one thing in my life I don't regret is being part of the Power Rangers. Even while I listened to the media calling me the worst things they could on local television, I knew that in the eyes of the five people that mattered my life had meaning. I know if the Power Rangers had been anyone besides you guys there would be one more grave in Angel Grove. You guys will always be my heroes. Not as the Power Rangers but you."
"And that, bro, is why you are our hero," Jason stated, throwing his arm around Tommy's shoulders. Trini hugged him and reached out for her husband's hand. The moment all four were touching, a great Power flared around them.
Tommy quickly pulled away from the others, motioning them to distance themselves from each other.
"What was that?" Wesley asked quietly.
"Our combined Power," Tommy replied, sounding out of breath, like he'd been running a long distance. "Okay, guys, first priority . . ."
"Control," Jason stated. "Until we can control this . . ."
"Avoid physical contact."
"As a group, or individually?" Trini asked.
"Please say as a group," Billy breathed, looking at his wife.
Jason smiled. "As a group."
Tommy nodded. "The reaction occurred when all four of us were in contact. Wesley, you felt it?" Wesley nodded. "Anyone else in here feel it?"
"I felt something," Troi stated.
Voyager moved into orbit around Terra. Excitement filled the ship as almost everyone prepared to transport down for the large welcome home party, where they would finally be reunited with their families and friends. The Federation had supplied transportation to everyone.
Tom Paris smiled as his wife went back and forth between excitement at the thought of seeing her parents, both her parents again, and her fear over their reactions to her and her new family.
B'elanna suddenly stopped as she finally noticed Tom's presence. "Where is our son?" she demanded.
"Observation deck," Tom said, leading the way out of their quarters. "The other Rangers are watching over him. Jason said he's playing his guitar again."
The couple entered the observation deck and nodded in greeting to the other three Rangers though their main attention was on Tommy as he began playing a new song.
(Code of Silence; Billy Joel)
Tommy sat the guitar aside and turned to his family as the song ended. He met each of their eyes for a moment. Then smiling he said, "Thank you."
"For what?" Trini softly asked.
"For showing me I could break that code."