This whole venture came about very suddenly. I hadn't planned it, I certainly didn't intend it...but it was a ten tonne, neon pink, bouncing plot bunny -- it's a variety that's too hard to ignore. It came upon me when I watched Force From The Future and Something To Fight For (my first Time Force episodes) and it just wouldn't go away until I put finger to keyboard.

This is the result. The first two chapters are full-blown episode interpretations; the rest are liable to be partial episode interpretations (no, I'm not planning on re-writing all 40 TF episodes!).

Any similarities between dialogue from FFTF 2 and my story are purely coincidental (and have come about because I have a flypaper memory when it comes to film and TV dialogue). Saban and company own these characters and events, and believe me; I make no money from this!

With grateful thanks to Ecolea, Ekat, Leathie and Urs for the suggestions, hints and ideas that have made this better.

Please offer feedback -- it tells me how I'm doing!

~*~

Identity -- Kismet

Silverhills CA, June 2001

Wes was bored. Worse than that -- Wes was bored beyond simply being bored. He was mind-numbingly and excruciatingly BORED. The meeting droned on around him -- he'd long since lost the thread of what they were talking about -- and he wished he'd managed to cut this meeting.

"Do you have something to add, Wesley?"

The enquiry from his father made Wes' zoned attention suddenly snap back to the present. "Uh no, sir."

His father looked dubious, but the meeting continued on regardless. Get me outa here! Wes pleaded silently. But there didn't appear to be any acts of God lurking nearby. Just an endless sea of facts and figures, of business strategies and five year plans, of profits and losses and taxes and...

"...thank you for your time, gentlemen."

Wes blinked. Words from heaven! The meeting was over, he was free, he could...

"Wesley you need to pay more attention," chided his father. "This is important."

Wes sighed. "Yes, sir. Is that it for the day?"

His father rolled his eyes. "Yes, that's 'it' for the day. But I expect you to attend tomorrow's session."

But Wes was already on his way out of the conference room. He raced up to his room and hastily changed out of the stuffy 'business' clothes into something more comfortable before racing back downstairs and out to the garage. To his pride and joy: His bike. It was one of the more obvious benefits of belonging to a rich family -- the bike was a top of the line model that ran like an absolute dream. For a moment or two, Wes just enjoyed the smooth, sleek, powerful lines of precision engineering and aerodynamics.


Then he grinned. Sure, it looked good -- but it went better. He rammed on his helmet, mounted the bike and switched on the ignition. The bike roared into life. With a smile firmly in place, Wes put it into gear and rolled out of the garage. Soon he was flying down the highway towards the main city of Silverhills. For an all too brief moment in time, he felt utterly free.

~*~

Wes walked into Ruderbaker's still exhilarated from his ride into town.

"Hi Wesley!"

Wes shuddered at the cooing voice. It belonged to Emmie, one of the many society d├ębutantes that his father had introduced him to in the last few years as 'suitable girls'. They all had about as much personality as a limp piece of celery and were only interested in him because of his father's millions. Emmie was, perhaps, marginally better than most of them -- she did at least go through the motions of a life outside of the society pages -- but still...

He had forgotten she -- and the rest of her little coterie -- were likely to be in the hippest coffee shop in Silverhills. For a moment, he considered turning round and walking straight back out.

"Come say hello," Emmie cooed.

Wes sighed. How did you make polite conversation with people who thought shopping was the most important thing in life? And then his pager went off. For the first -- and possibly only -- time in his life, Wes was glad of his father's insistence on him carrying it. Pulling it out of his pocket, he read the message: Urgent meeting at Biolab HQ -- ten minutes. Be there!

"Uhh, sorry, ladies," Wes answered, finally looking at Emmie and her friends. "Something's come up -- gotta go."

"Aw but you just got here," Emmie pouted.

Wes smiled apologetically, and did a rapid about face. Who'd have thought the prospect of yet another meeting would suddenly seem so appealing? Still debating that, he crossed Ruderbaker's parking lot to his bike. His father wouldn't be impressed by him turning up out of a suit but what could his father expect?

Lost in thought, Wes wasn't paying a great deal of attention to what was going on around him as he mounted his bike. Pulling on his helmet, he went to put his key in the ignition, only to fumble the whole bunch and drop them on the ground.

"Damn."

Wes carefully leaned over to pick up the fallen keys. As he snagged them, someone walked smack-dab straight into him. The impact wasn't hard -- just enough to remind him that he needed to get out of his head and back into the real world if he was planning on getting to the meeting in one piece.

"Oh, excuse me!"

The voice was a pleasant alto; belonging to...Wes craned his neck to see...a slim, dark haired woman in a white -- was that leather or PVC? -- cat suit. She probably hadn't seen him because of the dark glasses she was wearing. Wes realised he was staring somewhat. But she was very pretty...and looked distracted.

"Hey -- sorry 'bout that," Wes answered, waving.

Having retrieved his keys, he started the bike and started to pull away. As he glanced in his rear-view mirror he realised she was apparently now staring at him. It was difficult to tell, given her shades, but Wes was reasonably sure it was him she was looking at. And the distracted look had been replaced by...puzzlement? What the heck?

Wes frowned. Some kind of sixth sense twinged. Something bad was about to happen. Suddenly this meeting at Biolab that he was supposed to be attending paled by comparison. He didn't know what was going on, but he had the strong sense that he HAD to stay in the area.

By now he was out of sight of Ruderbaker's but it wasn't difficult to change course and circle the block. As he did so, loud screams penetrated over the engine noise of the bike. Looking around for the source of the screams he spotted a woman with pink...make that neon pink...hair fighting with the girl who'd walked into him only five minutes earlier. Even as he watched, he spotted two bronze coloured...things sneaking up on the girl.

Without even so much as a thought, he gunned his bike in their direction as the woman with the pink hair...vanished into thin air? Wes dismissed that from his mind -- people didn't vanish into thin air. Then again, girls didn't get blindsided by bronze creatures who then lined up like some kind of firing squad.

He revved the bike and put on an extra burst of speed, just as the two bronze creatures aimed their weapons -- at least Wes assumed they were weapons, although they looked nothing like any weapon he'd ever seen before. The noise of the bike caught their attention and they -- and the girl -- turned.

In the case of the nearest bronze creature, it was in time to see Wes stick his foot out. The bronze thing cannoned into its partner in crime. Wes whipped the bike round and took a moment to assess the situation. The two bronze things had lost all interest in the girl now -- just as well, to judge from the way she was holding her ribs -- and were now staring at him.

"See how you like fighting someone you haven't blind-sided first," Wes muttered, and the fight was on.

In truth, the fight didn't last long. A few good blows and the bronze creatures were on the ground and not moving. He waited another couple of seconds, making sure that they really were done and dusted, before shifting his attention to the girl.

She was staring at him, almost as if he might have possibly crawled out from under a rock. Wes frowned. No -- not quite that. As if she'd seen a ghost. Chalk that up as one more thing that doesn't make sense, Wes decided.

He walked across, intending to ask if she was OK. She just stared at him -- and there was no question about that now; the shades had gone, presumably lost in the fight. Wes shrugged slightly, and pulled of his helmet. But the words 'are you all right' vanished right from his mind as he saw the expression on her face.

Fear. Surprise. Horror. Alarm.

Her eyes flooded with tears and she put a hand to her mouth to not quite stifle a scream.

Wes stared. "Are...you... You look like you've seen a ghost," he concluded lamely. She didn't manage anything coherent in response. Just a string of half started syllables.

"Jen! Are you OK?"

Wes glanced in the direction of the shout and saw three more people; all wearing the same kind of jump suit as the girl -- Jen -- was. Two of them were male and vaguely Asiatic to look at, although one of them had bright green hair. Dye job, Wes noted at the back of his mind. The third was a tall coloured woman.

It had been the woman who had called, but Jen made no response. Her eyes were still firmly fixed on Wes' face, her expression still resembling that of a deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck.

But now the newcomers had reached them, and Wes became aware that the three of them were also staring. The green haired one's eyes widened and a smirk crept across his face. The other Asian just stared.

The coloured woman's eyes widened and she grabbed his cheeks, pinching hard. "Doesn't he look just like..."

"What?" Wes batted away her grasping hands. "What's going on?"

"No, no he doesn't." They were the first complete words that Jen had spoken since Wes had come to her rescue, and somehow Wes got the impression that the other three didn't agree with her assessment.

"Would somebody mind telling me what's going on?" Wes asked.

"Um...sorry...um...thank you..." Jen was back to stammering. "I'm fine now. Um...thank you."

Sure. Don't tell the guy you've just been staring at like he's got an extra head. Outwardly, Wes shrugged. "Whatever." He turned back to his bike. "Well I had a blast, but...I gotta jam."

He could feel them staring at him as he walked back to where he'd left his bike, ticking over. The weight of their combined stare made him feel vaguely itchy as he mounted the bike, pulling his helmet back on, but they didn't seem over inclined to explain what it was all about. Fine -- whatever. Wes pulled away from the plaza and from Ruderbaker's without a backward glance.

Before he could really think about it, he was on the highway, heading for home. He knew that his father would be very annoyed at his no-show at this meeting, but Wes knew he was in no mind to concentrate on the intricacies of the business at the moment. Why waste both their time? No. All Wes wanted to do was get home, grab a shower and erase the last hour of his life.

~*~

"Master Wesley..."

"I know, Phillips, I know." Wes looked at the butler, who was slowly shaking his head in disapproval. "I've just..."

"Mr. Collins was rather concerned when you failed to arrive at the meeting at Biolab."

Wes rolled his eyes. "Well as you can see, I didn't fall off the 'damn bike'. I just...didn't have my pager with me."

Phillips just gave him 'the look' that all parents -- or surrogate parents -- have perfected. The look which says 'just how dumb do you think I am?' "I'll tell him." Phillips leant a little closer to Wes. "But I should make myself scarce if I were you."

Wes sighed. "You're probably right. Thanks Phillips."

The butler smiled. "You're welcome, Master Wesley."

Wes slowly hauled himself up the stairs towards his bedroom. The whole experience at Ruderbaker's had left him very confused -- and more than a little unnerved. And then there was what his father would say as and when he came home. Wes was under no illusions on that count -- there was no way he would believe the flimsy excuse of a missing pager anymore than Phillips had. But what else can I say? Sorry, I didn't go to the meeting because I was saving the life of someone I'm not likely to ever see again who then stared at me like I was some kind of freak? Yeah -- that would go down real well.

In disgust, Wes walked through his bedroom into the en suite bathroom and started to strip off his clothing in preparation for the long, hot shower he was planning to take.

"He looks just like..."

"No he doesn't."

The whole exchange didn't make sense. Wes climbed into the shower and turned it on. It was painfully clear that he had reminded Jen of someone, at the very least. Someone her other friends clearly also knew. Yet... Why would she say he didn't? Part of him wanted to just put it down to women being difficult to understand...except that it wasn't that. He cranked the temperature up higher. It felt like he was staring at a jigsaw puzzle but only seeing half the pieces -- and those pieces he was seeing didn't seem to mean anything either.

"Wesley!"

His father's shout was loud enough to be heard through the door and over the sound of the running shower. That wasn't a good sign. Wes sighed and turned to face into the scalding stream of water. Erasing the last hour of his life seemed better and better all the time.

There was a pounding on the bathroom door.

"Wesley!"

Wes sighed -- a sound easily masked by the running water. "What, dad?"

"That meeting was important."

"I'm sorry, dad."

"You're always 'sorry'...Wesley you have to learn to keep your commitments."

Wes felt like yelling back that he hadn't committed to go to the damn meeting in the first place. Instead he meekly answered, "Yes, sir."

When there was nothing more from his father, Wes assumed that the older man had left. Easily dismissing the intrusion, he turned his attention to washing off the grime and trying to forget about Jen and her friends. By the time he'd finished, the water was barely lukewarm and while he was clean, he'd been rather less successful when it came to dismissing Jen from his thoughts.

Sighing, he turned off the shower and climbed out. After cursorily drying himself with a towel, he pulled on the robe that hung from a hook on the back of the bathroom door and opened the door.

"Ah, Wesley."

Wes' jaw dropped open. The last thing he'd been expecting was his father to wait for him. And even stranger, he looked concerned.

"Dad!"

"Phillips said you seemed to be...preoccupied when you came in," his father began, somewhat awkwardly. "Is there anything you'd care to tell me about?"

Darn it Phillips why did you have to mention that?! Wes just stared at his father, opening and shutting his mouth, saying nothing.

"You can tell me, you know," his father prompted. "I was your age once, you know." And he gave that half-strangled laugh that people give when they're not at ease with a situation. At the back of his mind, Wes thought he might have heard it from Jen earlier in the day.

"Uh, no...nothing's wrong..."

His father looked sceptical. "Are you sure?"


Wes nodded. "Yes...I'm just...tired. That's it -- I'm just tired."

His father still looked sceptical, but to Wes' relief, he clearly decided not to pursue matters. "Well...in that case, I'd better let you...get some rest. Big day tomorrow."

Wes plastered on a smile. "Can't wait."

"Good...good."

Wes watched as his father left the room, then sank down onto the bed. Somehow, between the time he'd got up this morning and now, his life had managed to become extremely complicated.

~*~

A good night's sleep seemed to do wonders for Wes' equilibrium. By the time he got downstairs the following morning, the events of the previous afternoon and evening seemed a long time ago -- some of them seemed almost dreamlike -- and as far as Wes was concerned, that was just fine with him. He wandered into the kitchen to try and scrounge some of the food that was being prepared for the buffet lunch.

"Master Wesley, which would you prefer?" Phillips asked, holding out two grey suit jackets and preventing Wes from raiding the buffet.

Wes turned a critical eye on the two jackets. "How about..." He shot Phillips a grin. "Neither of them."

Phillips rolled his eyes. "But Master Wesley..."

Seeing his access to the food was blocked, Wes turned and headed back out of the kitchen and headed for the study, pursued by Phillips. As Wes turned to face Phillips to tell him that really, he didn't want to wear either of the suit jackets, he spotted someone who looked deeply out of place in the study.

Jen.

Instead of a comment about suit jackets, Wes asked, "What's she doing here? "

Phillips smiled conspiratorially. "Wants to speak to you," he confided, "says it's important."

Wes looked at her, sitting bolt upright and staring straight ahead and was about to ask what she wanted when his father walked in.

"Now, you're not going to be late, are you Wesley?" his father began.

Suddenly, Wes knew he had to find a way out of the meeting. Jen's posture screamed that she didn't want to be there, her actions the previous day suggested that she wanted nothing to do with him. So the fact that she was here now...

"Actually dad, you know what? I'm not going to be able to make the meeting today." His father stared. "I have a date."


"A date?"

"Yes...um..." Wes reached for Jen, but she had clearly been playing more attention to what was going on around her than had been apparent and she was already on her feet. "This is..."

"My name's Jen," she put in. "How do you do?"

"And I had...ah...said that I would take...ah...Jen out today. And you know I should never break my commitments, dad."

For a full minute, Wes thought his father was going to explode right there and then. He finally managed a strangled, "Charmed." before turning on his heel and storming out.

"C'mon."

Wes led Jen out of the house and down to the garage. He swung his leg over his bike, crossed his arms and leaned on his helmet, which he had left balanced on the bike handlebars.

"Now we're even," he stated. Jen just stared at him. Wes rolled his eyes. Been here before -- mind if I don't stay this time? But as he reached for the keys to start the bike up, Jen grabbed them. "Hey! Give me those!"

"I need to talk to you."

Wes just stared at her, waiting. She shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. Yeah -- you don't like it much, either.

"We need your help," she finally said.

"We? Who's we?" Wes asked.

Jen glared, but explained, "Katie, Trip, Lucas and myself."

Presumably they're the other three from yesterday, Wes decided. "OK. You want my help?"

"Yes." From an unseen pocket she produced a strange looking device that almost looked like a silver-grey egg that had been split in half. She reached for his left wrist. "We need you to put on this morpher and activate it..."

"Woa!" Wes leant back to avoid her grab. "What's a morpher?"

Jen sighed. "You wouldn't believe me."

Wouldn't I? "Try me."

There was something of a pregnant pause, then Jen said, "My friends and I are really from the year 3000. We've come here chasing a dangerous criminal and his band of mutants who escaped through time to capture him and take him back with us. We think you are the only person who can unlock these morphers and to help us defeat them."

Wes stared at her. A tiny part of his mind said 'she's telling the truth', but the rest of him was just incredulous. "I believe you."

Jen smiled. "Then..." she started forward.

"Woa -- I believe you're nuts," Wes continued, shaking his head.

For a second, Jen froze. Then, with an expression on her face that would have melted titanium, much less flesh and blood, she flung his keys back. "I knew you wouldn't do it -- you're nothing like him."

She started to stalk away. It was on the top of Wes' tongue to ask who this mysterious 'him' was, when she suddenly stopped.

"Ransik is attacking the city!" Wes stared, wide eyed. There was no one else in the garage, yet someone else had clearly spoken. Even as he stared, Jen turned fractionally and he could see a similar egg-shaped device on her left wrist. Except that hovering over hers was a small head-and-shoulders image of the green haired guy. "Jen, we need you!"

"I read you Trip -- on my way."

Before Wes could say anything, Jen had taken to her heels and fled, leaving him with the sinking sensation that every single word she had said to him was true.

Oh man...

For a long time Wes just sat there, on his bike, watching as Jen raced down the drive, and then continuing to stare after her long beyond his ability to see her.

Someone was attacking the city.

They wanted his help.

Someone was attacking the city.

They wanted his help.

Not his money. Not his father's backing.

They wanted his help.

So why was he still sitting here? It took him all of a minute to force his helmet on, start the bike and head out. They wanted his help? They could have it.

~*~

Wes had assumed it would be difficult to find Jen and her friends in a city the size of Silverhills, but it actually proved very easy: There was a huge swath of damage and chaos through the CBD. He followed the trail, passing hordes of people running in the other direction. Sure enough, it brought him to the battle site -- just in time to see Jen and the others thrown to the ground by...some kind of energy blast from... Looking at the group opposing Jen and her friends, Wes wasn't sure.

He didn't think it had been the woman with the pink hair or the large blue...thing -- and Wes didn't even want to TRY and identify that -- but the other two... One was clearly a robot while the other was a large man wearing lots of black leather and silvery armour and a partial facemask. The bolt looked as if it had come from the man...but men couldn't fire energy bolts.

Even as he was debating that, Wes parked his bike and slipped his helmet off. As the man advanced on the four injured friends, Wes found himself moving towards the scene. The man reached for Jen.

"I have to admire your courage," the man was saying. "But his fate will be yours."

He didn't have time to wonder about the words as the man grabbed Jen and flung her high into the air and across the street as if she was nothing more than a rag doll. Without even thinking about it, Wes darted forward, desperate to some how save Jen.

It was instinct, Wes later decided. It certainly wasn't conscious thought. He found himself vaulting from the sidewalk to the hood of a nearby car, then using the front shocks as a springboard he leapt into the air, blocking Jen's flight. They both crashed to the ground, Jen landing, winded but whole, on Wes.

Wes winced a little as he moved to sit up. That landing had hurt! But it was worth it -- if for nothing else, then for the look on Jen's face. She was staring at him, again, but this time at least she didn't look as though he was either the scum of the earth or the most frightening thing she'd ever seen. She almost looked...no, she did look grateful. Surprised, Wes decided, but definitely grateful.

"So...am I too late to help?" he asked, smiling a little tentatively.

Jen picked herself up, and glanced at her friends, who had managed to also recover. As Wes got to his feet and the other three joined them, he noted that the trio looked anxious. He turned his attention back to Jen, wondering what she was going to say -- wondering if he was going to get compared to this mysterious other person again.

Jen reached into her pocket and produced the morpher. She glanced down at it in her hand then met Wes' gaze and held it out to him. "It's yours."

Wes accepted the device and looked at it for a moment. Instruction manual? Anybody? A movement caught his eye. Glancing up he saw the green haired youth...Trip...mime pressing something against his wrist. Wes gave an internal shrug. Here goes nothing... Gripping the morpher in his right hand, he brought it down on his left wrist.

There was an agonising moment when nothing seemed to happen. Then Wes felt a rush of energy sweep through him, running up his left arm, up his neck and then pouring down through the whole of his body. It felt like nothing he'd ever experienced. But almost as soon as it started, it stopped, leaving what he quickly termed as a background hum of new energy. Startling him out of his cataloguing of the new sensation, the morpher bleeped.

"DNA Confirmed."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? he wondered, confused. Confirmed against what?

"Let's do it," stated Jen, turning on her heel and heading back to the rampaging...whatever they were...almost the instant the morpher bleeped.

Wes found himself following, despite a little voice in the back of his mind informing him that this was comfortably the single most stupid idea he had ever had.

The woman with the pink hair was the first to spot him, as she openly stared. "Daddy, didn't you already take care of him?" she whined.

The man in the facemask just snorted. "It doesn't matter." The man pointed straight at Wes with a sword which -- at least until this moment -- Wes hadn't noticed before. "I destroyed you once -- I will destroy you again."

Wes frowned. "What's he talking about?"

"It doesn't concern you," Jen hissed. Wes wanted to argue with that, but she was already calling out a fresh command. "Ready?"

"Ready!" The chorus came from Trip, Katie, Lucas -- and belatedly Wes.

"Time for Time Force!"

Hesitantly Wes matched the others in the shout, and then followed their example and pressed one of the buttons on the morpher, without knowing why and without knowing what was going to happen next.

The background hum of energy suddenly swelled and surged, and Wes felt himself rip apart. There was a brief yet endless moment of pure, unadulterated terror. Then everything that been torn in two was reformed, differently. And then it was over. Leaving him feeling energised. The whole transformation had lasted barely a second, Wes realised, but what had actually happened? Opening eyes he didn't remember closing, he realised he was looking out at the same street as before -- except through the tinted visor of a helmet.

Reflexively he put his hands up to confirm what his eyes were seeing, and they did, indeed, come into contact with the hard shell of a full head helmet, although it was about as different from his bike helmet as you could get. This one was light and almost absurdly roomy, whereas his bike crash helmet was a close, tight fit -- and heavy with it. The last remaining doubts about Jen and her story vanished in the face of irrefutable proof.

"Man you guys were telling the truth..."

Then Wes was startled out of his introspection.

"Time Force RANGERS?!" the man in black and silver exclaimed. Beside him, the woman with the pink hair snorted fit to burst a blood vessel.

"You won't get away this time, Ransik," Jen vowed.

"We'll see about that," hissed the man...Ransik. "Cyclobots!" He gestured to the horde of waiting bronze creatures who rushed forward.

And there was no time for Wes to analyse what was going on around him. Unlike the previous day on the plaza where he had been the surprise, this time the Cyclobots knew he was there...and in one or two cases, it seemed, knew what to expect from him. The...whatever it was that had just happened to him...seemed to help -- there suddenly seemed to be much more information in the back of his mind, some of it didn't seem to make much sense at the moment, but some of it related directly to fighting Cyclobots -- but it was still a difficult fight.

And yet...he enjoyed it. There was a little voice in the back of his mind screaming: This could get you killed. But it didn't seem to matter. It was fun. It was exciting. It was about as far away from what his father wanted him to be as was humanly -- or inhumanly -- possible. And the more Cyclobots he took down, the more his confidence grew.

As he felled yet another of the bronze...robots, he discovered...there was an almighty explosion that drew his attention. Ransik had long since left the battlefield, but the pink haired woman, the robot and the blue...whale? Frog?...were still present. But all three of them now seemed to be down and injured.

"Give up Nadira," Jen commanded.

"No way!" hissed the pink haired woman...Nadira. "My daddy will beat you." She glanced at the robot. "Frax!"

"Transporting now," Frax answered, and the trio suddenly faded out of sight.

Somehow, in the light of what else had just occurred Wes was more prepared to accept three people...robots...creatures vanishing into thin air. It took several moments for him to realise that the fighting was finished.

When he did, the relief hit him hard, making him feel light-headed and euphoric. He wasn't alone -- both Katie and Trip were bouncing excitedly.

"Ready guys?" Jen commanded. She and the others pressed another button on their morphers. "Power down!" There was a flash of light, and then the quartet was stood in their white jump suits once more.

Belatedly, Wes followed their example, still utterly jazzed by the whole experience. He couldn't contain his excitement. "That was great! I must have taken on a dozen of those...tinheads!" He looked over to see Trip and Katie at his side, smiling and obviously as excited about the fight as he was. "And you guys," he continued, "man-oh-man, you guys are awesome!" Turning to Lucas, he added, "Lucas, how many did you get?"

Lucas just stared, silently and impassively back. Disappointed that he didn't get a response, Wes waved his hand in front of the other man's face, and whistled, desperately trying to get him to snap out of it. Unable to get a rise, he turned, chuckling, and bumped into an angry Jen.

"This isn't a game, Wes," Jen snapped. "We're fighting for our future."

Wes shrugged. "OK...lighten up -- I'm just saying that I can't wait to do it again."

Before he could register what was happening, Jen had grabbed his left arm in a painful hold and twisted it round so that she had easy access to the morpher. "You won't get the chance." So saying, she forcibly removed the morpher.

There was a physical sensation as the background hum of energy suddenly vanished. Combined to the pain in his arm, Wes winced. "Ouch! Hey! What's the deal?!"

Jen released his arm and stepped back. "We needed you to unlock the morphers, and you did it. We don't need your help any more."

Wes could only stare in total disbelief. Jen returned his gaze. "Whatever." Wes shrugged and forced himself not to care as he turned his back on Jen and her friends. He started to walk back to where he'd parked his bike earlier.

As he went, he could hear Lucas trying to reason with Jen.

"You're not being fair to him," he stated calmly.

"I'm keeping him from getting killed," Jen retorted.

Wes wondered if they realised he could hear them.

"He's not Alex," put in Trip.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jen asked harshly. "I know he's not Alex. I can see he's not Alex."

Wes was sorely tempted to turn round and demand an explanation, but something made him hold back. Partly it was because he had no desire to get his head bitten off by Jen, again. But mostly it was because he strongly suspected that he wouldn't get the explanation, even if he asked.

As he finally reached his bike, he realised the voices behind him had died down. A quick glance over his shoulder told him that the others had gone, and with them, his chance of an explanation. What do I care? he asked himself as he pulled on his earlier discarded helmet. But at the back of his mind, he knew he did care. This is dumb -- I don't know them, they don't know me...I just did them a favour. That's all. But it hadn't felt like a favour.


It had felt right.

Just as he had known to stick around at the plaza the day before, he knew this was something he had to do.

Fate, destiny, kismet...call it what you liked, he knew.

As he started the bike up all kinds of new thoughts crowded through his mind and heading the list: I have to get Jen to change her mind about me. Prove to her I'm not what she thinks...

TO BE CONTINUED...