A/N: Now, let it be known that I loved PRDT. All the characters captured my heart, and as is now obvious, my mind. However, the one thing I found lacking, in fact, the only thing I've ever found lacking with Power Rangers, was emotional depth. And come on, it was a kid's show. Of course there wasn't going to be much. But Tommy Oliver is a Power Ranger legacy (can you tell I'm a Tommy girl?), and I always felt that PRDT could have done so much more, been so much more. So, I took action, filling in those thoughts we couldn't see, creating a few extra scenes we didn't know about, and adding a touch of realism to it all. I can only hope you all enjoy.
Day of the Dino Pt. 1
His feet pounded against the concrete floor as he raced through the compound.
How the fuck did Mesogog get in here? There are over fifty safeguards on this place to keep unwanted guests out. More importantly, how the Hell am I getting out of this mess?
Tommy Oliver, former Zeo Ranger, current palaeontology grad student, ducked around a corner and watched as five or six Tyrannodrones raced past him. A few moments later, he scrambled for his cell phone, quickly dialling a number and keeping an eye out for more unwelcome visitors.
"Come on, Anton, pick up!"
His only response was a dial tone. He snapped his phone shut swore under his breath. Trust Anton to be in a business meeting when he was fighting for his life against Mesogog. Seriously, the man had been ignoring him for nearly a month now! He took a deep breath and forced himself to be calm. He could feel the Power stirring within him and he clenched his fists.
"It's Morphin' Time! Zeo Ranger V, Red!"
A flash of light later, the Red Zeo Ranger stood in Tommy's place.
"I'm sorry, Anton, but this has to be done."
The Red Ranger raced down the corridor until he found a nondescript metal door with a keypad at the side. One hand went to his laser pistol, while the other typed in the access code. The door opened to reveal a small room with computers, servers, and other large machinery.
"Here goes about three hundred thousand dollars worth of research," he sighed as he began blasting everything in sight. Knowing the sounds of destruction would attract the Tyrannodrones and probably Mesogog, Tommy summoned his Zeo Sword and kept it at the ready. Sure enough, a few moments later, he heard they pattering of several feet and Mesogog's yell of "Find him!"
Twirling his sword in almost forgotten pattern, he stabbed sharply into the generator, the power source for the entire island. He poured as much of his Power into it as he could. Arcs of red energy raced out along the nearby wires, short-circuiting the wires and causing explosions on any devices they touched.
"At last," rasped a familiar voice, "You have nowhere left to run!"
Tommy whirled around and dropped to a defensive stance. Great, this was exactly what he needed. At this rate, he was lucky if he made it to the next sunrise. Ducking, punching, and kicking, he lashed out against the Tyrannodrones as they converged on him. He helped create these; he knew how to destroy them.
Just then, the generator behind him exploded, the shockwave sending him, Mesogog, and the Tyrannodrones flying out of the room and into the opposite wall of the corridor. With reflexes and endurance honed by about two decades of martial arts, four and a half years of which he spent as an active Power Ranger, Tommy pulled himself back up and began running down the corridor again. He had a minute and half, perhaps two, before the entire island was blown sky high.
He grunted as a wave of pain raced through him, a result of holding his morph too long. A thick beam of red energy circled his torso and raced outward.
No! I can't drop out of morph now! Just a little further!
Tommy dropped to his knees as his Zeo powers faded, leaving him back in his civilian clothes. He pulled himself back up and continued searching for the exit.
The corridors exploded and crumbled behind him as he ran. The ground shook under his feet as the island's structure disintegrated. And just to keep things exciting, a horde of Tyrannodrones surrounded him. Mentally cursing, Tommy readied himself for battle. He might not have his Ranger powers anymore, but that didn't mean he couldn't fight.
When I started researching how to combine technology with dinosaur DNA, this was not what I was planning to create! Ugh! I think I heard a rib crack. Come on, you stupid Tyrannodrones, hurry up and die so I can get off this island!
Finally, he found himself standing at the cliffs at the edge of the island. Five seconds left.
Jump in the ocean, or get blown up with the island, like the Tyrannodrones? Without further thought, he jumped into the water.
Swim, you moron! Swim unless you want to get killed by falling debris! Tommy mentally chided himself and forced his fatigued limbs to move. Behind him, the island, his home for so long, sank in an angry inferno.
Several hours later, Tommy pulled himself up onto the rocks along the mainland coast. By his estimation, he was somewhere between Blue Bay Harbor and Reefside. Tossing away the piece of driftwood he used for the last legs of the journey, he sprawled out on the solid, dry, unmoving ground. His breathing was ragged, limbs numb and throat parched.
God, this ground was quite possibly the greatest creation in the history of the universe, he was never getting up. Ever. Except the Dino Gems forming an uncomfortable lump under his hip needed to be taken to safety, and he had - to call the Coast Guard? Lightspeed? Jason?
Using the single-mindedness and drive that made him such an excellent Ranger, he forced himself to breathe, measuring his breathing to keep himself from falling asleep, and pushed himself up. The world swayed around him, colours fading in and out.
He reached into his jacket's internal waterproof pocket, pulling out his mercifully intact phone. He dialled a number and waited for an answer.
Tommy managed a weak smile. "Hey, Hayley. I need a ride."
"Alright, sure thing. Where are you?"
"Umm… Somewhere on the coastline between Blue Bay Harbor and Reefside. There's black rocks and…" Tommy forced himself to move and look at his surroundings, "Uh… There's a small copse of trees about 300 meters away and road… No signs, though."
"… WHAT! Tommy, how the Hell - You know what, ever mind, you can explain once I've found you."
"Thanks, Hayley." The world shifted again, and Tommy blinked as vision was suddenly filled with bright blue. What…
Right. He was on the phone with Hayley. And apparently horizontal again. "Hayley, if I don't - if I'm not - I need you to call Lightspeed. And the Coast Guard."
"Just hold on, Tommy! I'll be there as soon as I can," Haley said, panic in her voice.
"Mhmm…" Tommy's arm went lax, his phone skittering away. Darkness crept in from the corners of his vision, and his eyes fluttered shut.
Hayley clenched her fists, knuckles white as she sat outside Tommy's room in the ER, listening to the nurses note down vital signs and rattle off her friend's condition. Hypothermia, dehydration, thoracic bruising and sharp force trauma to the head.
Pale and lax and unresponsive.
What the Hell had happened to him?!
She looked at the phone in her lap, ready and waiting to make a call, the number already dialled. All she had to do was hit the call button.
There'd be no going back if she did.
She hit call.
"Jason Scott speaking."
"Jason? My name is Hayley Ziktor. I'm a friend of Tommy Oliver and Billy Cranston's cousin. Tommy was just admitted at Reefside General Hospital, and I think you might be needed here."
"What?! Is he alright? What happened?"
Hayley could feel the pressure in her sinuses building. "He's - he's unconscious. Hypothermic and dehydrated. The doctors are handling it for now, but you really need to be down here. The root of all this isn't something that can be treated at a hospital, especially not around here. It's something you have far more experience with."
"Excuse me? I'm not sure what you mean… Hayley, right?"
Hayley swallowed and decided to be blunt. "I'm worried his use of his Zeo powers is killing him."
"How – how do you – who are you?!"
"I told you, I'm Billy's cousin. You didn't think he could just leave the planet without telling anyone, did you? He and I have always been close, he told me about the Rangers before he left. I met Tommy in grad school a while back and we hit it off. He filled in some of the gaps for me.
"Please, I've never seen him like this. I found him passed out on the beach twenty minutes from Reefside, beat up and half-drowned."
"I'm on my way," Jason replied curtly. "I'll get there as fast as I can."
Hayley let out a shaky breath. "Thank you."
There was a pause before Jason's voice returned, lighter and falsely cheerful. "Hey, don't worry, Hayley. Think of it this way: you've joined the ranks of those of us who've had to sit at the idiot's bedside worrying if he'll make it after he'd gone and pulled some stupid and ridiculously powerful stunt."
Hayley chuckled weakly. "That isn't funny, Jason."
"Ow. Yeah, my friend doesn't think so either. I'm heading out now, keep me posted."
"Of course." Hayley ended the call and buried her head in her hands.
Jason resisted the urge to swear when he saw his best friend lying on the hospital cot, wires and an IV line attached to him, ghostly pale and so vulnerable. Hadn't they done this enough times already?! Kat gasped softly beside him, pressing a hand against her mouth. As veteran Rangers, especially ones that had gone through more than one set of powers, they were able to sense the Power and its effects in others.
Tommy, to put it simply, was barely hanging on, surviving on the very last dregs of his Zeo powers.
"Jeez, bro," Jason muttered to his best friend's prone form, "Here I thought seeing you after destroying Serpenterra was bad. But I guess your Zeo Crystal had a couple years to recharge back then, as opposed to a few months. What exactly was so bad that you had to morph?"
Tommy didn't respond.
"How is he?" Kat asked Hayley.
The redhead shook her head. "No change. The doctors say his vitals are stabilising, though. We won't know more until he wakes up."
Jason turned away from Tommy's body. "Any idea what happened?"
"He asked me to call Lightspeed and the Coast Guard… Lightspeed hasn't been able to contact Dr. Mercer or the Beta Island, and the Coast Guard's on it's way to check things out."
Jason rubbed his hand over his face. "Dammit, Tommy…"
Jason placed one hand on Tommy's chest and the other on Tommy's forehead, his eyelids lowering his concentration. Zordon had instructed him and a few of the other Rangers on how to read the life signs of other Rangers through the Power, in case of emergency on the battlefield.
A few moments later, Jason's eyes snapped wide open and he stumbled away from Tommy, looking wildly between his friend and the machines monitoring his life signs.
"I don't - this is impossible."
"Jason, what is it?" Kat demanded.
Jason turned to her, brow furrowed and expression tight. "He has no life force."
"The Power's there," Jason replied, "Every single thread of the Power he's borne is there, and way more than I've seen in anyone besides active Rangers."
Hayley's brow furrowed in confusion. "But he's not an active Ranger right now, right? Otherwise, he wouldn't be… like this." She gestured vaguely at Tommy's still form.
"No, he's not." Jason turned towards Kat. "Kat, you served with him the most recent. Can you…"
Kat nodded, quickly mimicking Jason's earlier position. A few moments later, she had the same reaction. "It's not there…" she whispered in horror, "His life force isn't there!"
"But he's alive!" Hayley protested, "All his vital signs are normal, he just needs to wake up!"
Jason shook his head. "I've seen a lot of weird things when it comes to Tommy and the Power, but nothing like this. Zordon would know -"
Jason's expression clouded over as Kat dropped her gaze. Zordon would know, but Zordon was gone.
"I have no idea what to do."
Tommy woke to the sound of beeping and the smell of antiseptic. A hospital…? Yup, there were electrodes attached to him and an oxygen monitor attached to his finger. He turned lethargically to see an anxious red-haired woman sitting beside him.
The redhead promptly rose and pulled him into a hug. "You're okay! You're okay… God, we were so worried. Don't you EVER scare us like that again, Tommy!"
"Gah - Hayley!" Tommy sputtered. "Wait, we?"
Hayley stepped back, and Tommy was pulled into another hug, this time by a familiar blonde. "Thank God," Kat murmured into Tommy's shoulder. "Thank God."
Tommy stilled, his arms coming up to rest on Kat's back. "Hey. I'm okay, Kat. I promise."
"Yes, because that's going to convince me," the former Pink Ranger retorted.
Tommy managed a weak smile, and reached for Hayley's hand as well, squeezing gently. His entire body was one giant throbbing hotspot of pain. He hadn't hurt this much since his Green Ranger powers started fluctuating after the incident with the Green Candle. Only his most intense and brutal Ranger battles came close to comparing, he'd had fully functioning Ranger Powers to ease the burden back then.
They separated, and Tommy looked at the monitors around him.
"So when can I go home?"
"Not any time soon," a male voice replied.
Tommy's eyes widened as Jason Scott entered his room. "… Uh… Hi, Jase."
Why did I not see this coming?
Jason rolled his eyes crossing his arms. "Jesus, bro, can you go ten minutes without scaring the crap out of us?"
"To be fair, Serpenterra was a couple months ago," Tommy pointed out.
Jason looked distinctly unimpressed. "I just got off the phone with Lightspeed. Coast Guard just found the wreckage of the Beta Island."
"The Alpha Site?"
"Running as usual. It was only your group that was… affected."
"What happened, Tommy?" Kat asked.
Tommy looked sheepish. "Uh… Basically, a mutant dinosaur tried to kill me and steal the power source for a future generation of Power Rangers."
"… Come again?!"
Tommy sighed, and went through a longer run-down of what had just happened to him.
His friends stared at him.
Jason picked the bridge of his nose. "Only you, bro. Only you. I can't wait to see Lightspeed's response."
There's probably going to be a lot of yelling over property damage.
"Tommy…" Hayley said hesitantly, "Since this happened, do you really think we should…"
Tommy's eyes widened and he made a quick jerk of his head, trying to stop her before Jason noticed.
No luck. "You should do what?"
Tommy's shoulders slumped and turned towards Hayley. "Do you have them?"
Hayley nodded, pulling out three coloured stones from her purse, and handing them over to Tommy.
"These are the Dino Gems," Tommy explained, "Power-imbued from the meteor that crashed into Earth and took out the dinosaurs. Ryan and I found them a while back, left them in the care of Lightspeed. And now, they're starting to activate."
"You've gotta be kidding me!"
Tommy shook his head faintly. "Sometime soon, I'm going to be teaching a whole new group of people to be Power Rangers?"
"It's too dangerous, Tommy!"
Tommy's brow furrowed. "What are you talking about, guys?"
Jason and Kat glanced at each other and Jason rubbed his hand over his face. "Tommy… You have no life force."
I'm sorry, what?!
"What do you mean?!"
"Jason and I both checked, Tommy," Kat said quietly, "Neither of us can sense any life force within you."
"Your Power's there, a Hell of a lot of it, in fact," Jason continued, "But underneath that… nothing."
Tommy shook his head. "That doesn't make sense. I'm alive - pulse, breathing, everything. Hell, I swam from the Island to the coast of California, and didn't have driftwood for that long."
"YOU DID WHAT?!"
Did I not mention that part?
"Tommy Oliver what the Hell -"
"Which just goes to prove that I'm fine," Tommy said over Jason's furious hiss, "Better than fine, actually."
"But the Island's - How did you even manage that, Tommy?!" Hayley demanded, horrified.
"The Power, mostly," Tommy replied, "There's no other way a human could have managed that, especially not in my condition."
"Exactly, your condition-"
"Jason, I have to do this."
Jason stared at his best friend, distraught and helpless. How many times were they going to do this?!
"Look, whatever's happening to me with the Power - I think it's a good thing. I wouldn't be alive right now without it. And the Dino Gems, it's - I have to do this, Jase. It's like they're calling me."
"They probably are," Jason said tiredly, "Jesus, Tommy, I'm going to die before I'm forty with all the heart attacks you're giving me."
August 11, 2004:
Tommy adjusted his glasses - once a nervous habit he used to tease Billy about, and now his own - and gazed around the throngs of students entering the gates of Reefside High School. It was his first day as a science teacher… What was he thinking? He had a PhD in Palaeontology; he didn't know how to deal with teenagers! Shaking his head to clear it of his musings, he joined the crowd and headed towards his classroom.
A woman with short black hair and glasses came up beside him.
"Dr. Oliver," she said, "I'm Principal Randall."
"It's nice to meet you," he replied reaching out for a handshake. "It's your first day, too, isn't it?"
She ignored his hand and flipped open a folder.
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
"Yes, and I'm still trying to figure out why a doctor of Palaeontology would come all the way to Reefside to teach science to teenagers," she drawled. There was a predatory gleam in her eyes.
Tommy shook his head, smiled, and replied, "Guess I'm looking for some peace and quiet." Well, no. I came here to find my Rangers, but I can't exactly tell you that.
Randall stopped outside his classroom with and incredulous expression on her face. "So you became a high school teacher." Snapping her folder shut, she continued, "That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, now does it, Dr. Oliver?"
Dr. Oliver. It still felt odd being called that. As for the peace and quiet, after being a Power Ranger, blowing up an island, fighting dinosaur-robot-crossbreeds, and building Power Ranger equipment, high school was horrifically mundane. Except he couldn't tell his boss that, either.
Time to divert the conversation.
"Y'know, I was thinking, maybe we should get together. This way, you can kind of fill me in on what you expect of me."
Randall scoffed, her eyes glinting menacingly, "I expect you to make it hard for them, painful, if at all possible. If they smile, you know you're doing something wrong. Now, I'm off to find my first truant. We'll talk later."
Did she just check him out before walking by? Tommy's brow furrowed slightly. Well, there was a teacher as vastly different from Mrs. Applebee as humanly possible.
He entered his classroom to see it full of students in the midst of… a paper airplane fight? Part of him wanted to laugh, but he knew he had to play the part of a teacher. Ducking as a very oddly designed craft flew by him, he called out, "Guys, settle down! Get in your seats, please."
Immediately, his eyes fell on two students. A yellow-clad girl with dirty blonde hair wrote in a notebook, her lips forming soundless words, and her head lightly rocking to a beat only she could hear. A blue-clad African American boy typed on his laptop, closing the device when he saw Tommy.
Tommy strolled to the front of the class and looked at all the students.
"I'm Dr. Oliver, and this is First Period Science." Evolutionary Science, Tommy. You're off to a great start.
"Before we start, are there any questions?"
A girl with pale blonde hair immediately thrust her hand up into the air and gave Tommy and winsome smile. Surprised, Tommy called on her.
"Cassidy, Cassidy Cornell," the girl said.
The class groaned behind her. Ah. One of those types, then. The girl ignored them and continued, "Dr. Oliver, as you may know, I'm the anchor and field reporter for our school TV station."
He did not actually know that, and he resisted the urge to laugh at the class' repeated groan. This time Cassidy did acknowledge the groan briefly. Crap, I know that look. Here comes the third degree. She bulldozed on, "Anyway! I'm sure our viewers are wondering, well, you don't really look old enough to be a teacher."
Cassidy's eyes flicked up and down Tommy as she spoke, taking in his professional, yet casual attire. Tommy groaned inwardly and adjusted his glasses, an exasperated smile flitting about his lips. You have gotta be kidding me! Age of consent, guys! He saw the yellow-clad girl hide a smile behind her long hair. Oh yeah, laugh it up.
"Devin! Are you getting this?"
"Cassidy," Tommy interrupted, "I promise you, I am old enough, so let's put the camera away."
He raised his voice over Cassidy's irate "You missed it!" to Devin and continued, "For now, let's talk about you guys, and what you expect of yourselves for this class, because that's what's really important."
He was surprised to see his students look up at him, suspicion, curiosity, and surprise in their eyes. Seriously, what kind of science teachers had they had before this? As he looked around, a niggling sense of absence caught his attention. There was an empty seat by the front, and the students around hadn't encroached on the space.
"Is someone missing?"
"It's Conner McKnight, sir," Cassidy replied, eager to please, "He's probably out on the soccer fields."
"I see. Well, I'm sure one of you can tell him what we covered today. Now, let's start with a K-W-L. How many of you know what that is?"
A few people raised their hands. He called on the blue-clad boy. "Name and answer, please."
"Ethan James. A K-W-L is a three-part list where you record what you know, what you want to know, and, at the end of the course, what you learned."
"Very good, Ethan. Now, as you're all seniors, I'm sure the K-column will be very full," Tommy said as he began writing on the chalkboard, "So, what do you know?"
He called on the yellow-clad girl.
"Kira Ford. Last year in Physics, we learned about electricity and magnetism."
"Alright. Yes, you in the back…"
By lunchtime, Tommy was left with the same sense of accomplishment and relief that he felt back when he made the first working predecessors of the Tyrannodrones, or when he'd shaved off another second on his time around the racetrack.
Tommy checked his phone to see Kat's caller ID. "Hey, Kat."
"Tommy! So how was your first day of school?"
"It was pretty good, actually. I can see why you became a teaching assistant after graduation."
"How are classes?"
"Pretty big load, but at least they're all in the morning. I've got my first faculty meeting after lunch."
"Oh, wow. What kind of classes?"
"Evolutionary Science, Earth Science, Earth Science, and a joint science and statistics class RHS is trying out for college credit, which is double-period."
"Wow, that is pretty loaded for a newbie teacher."
Kat was cut off by a faint knocking. "One sec, I think there's a student at the door."
"No problem. Take care, Kat. Tell Jase I said 'hi'."
"But of course."
Tommy ended the call leaned back in his chair, relaxing. He flipped through his lecture notes for the next day.
Tommy answered his phone again. "Hello."
"Hey Tommy! How's your first day of teaching going? I've already got a couple girls down at the café gushing about how 'hot' the new science teacher is."
Tommy groaned. "Hey, Hayley. Ugh, I can't believe it! You have no idea how creepy it is when half your female students are staring at you like you're a piece of meat."
"I'm sure. Anyway, I just wanted to check in; I've got to go deal with the lunchtime crowd. Are you going to stop by after school? I'll keep the girls away from you."
"Ha ha. No, I was going to head over to the museum outside of town. I'm pretty sure the time will come soon."
"Oh? That's great!"
"Why don't you sound enthusiastic?"
Tommy sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "They're kids, Hayley. How can I ask them to drop everything and save the world?"
"Tommy… If I remember correctly, you were only a kid as well when you were called. Don't worry about it. I know the Dino Gems will choose wisely."
"Yeah, you're right. Thanks, Hayley. I'll let you go now."
Tommy ended the call and mused on his students. There was an innocence about them. They hadn't seen, truly seen, the horrors of battle, and known the dangers that Angel Grove did. And placing your life on the line for the people of your city? Not a chance. He didn't want to take that away from them.
After the faculty meeting ended, Tommy returned to his classroom and gathered his papers and briefcase. As he walked down the corridors, he spotted Principal Randal coming towards him. Funny, she was wearing a new set of clothes. Oh, right… She must have been outside during the sprinkler incident. The question was, what did she want with him? Smile and put on your happy face, Tommy.
"Dr. Oliver! How was your first day?" she asked.
"Oh, the kids were great. No problems." The faculty meeting, on the other hand drove him up the wall. What happened to the good old days when teachers taught because they liked kids and wanted to pass on their knowledge?
"Good, you're going to be seeing a lot more of them," she remarked as they walked up the stairs, "In detention."
"Ah, mind telling me what I did?" he joked.
Randall rolled her eyes. "No, you're in charge of it today."
Uh, slight problem with that.
"Ah, no, actually, I have plans to go to a museum outside of town. I-"
"Perfect! Bring the little monsters with you! There should be sufficient torture for them."
Museums are not torture; why do people always think that?
She stopped in front of the three students he was supposed to supervise. His breath caught in his chest. How had he missed this before? Conner McKnight, dressed in red. Kira Ford, dressed in yellow. Ethan James, dressed in blue. Red Ranger, Yellow Ranger, Blue Ranger. He could sense an… emptiness… in them, as if they were waiting to be filled… filled with the Power.
Oh, this is going to be so much fun. Makes sense why Ethan and Kira were the first ones I noticed in class.
He blinked as Randall walked away. Hopefully he hadn't missed anything important. He swallowed and turned to the sullen teens standing against the wall. Taking off his glasses, he asked, "So. You guys like museums?"
They probably made a very odd picture as they trooped to his ride. In fact, all three teens gaped at his black jeep.
"What did you expect," he chuckled, "An '87 Buick? Strap yourselves in. The museum's about thirty miles inland."
Conner immediately called shotgun, while Ethan and Kira rolled their eyes and took the back seats. As he drove down, his eyes periodically drifted to the three teens in his car, feeling the Power - or rather, absence thereof - more strongly. Eventually, Conner blurted out, "Dude, stop looking at us. We're not going to do anything."
Tommy's lips twitched. So he'd been caught out. He replied, "Conner, don't call me 'dude'. As for not doing anything, you three are the only ones who managed to get detention on the first day of school. The last people I knew who did that were the school bullies at my old high school."
He broke into a grin as he remembered Bulk and Skull. He'd last seen them before the Serpenterra mission, and they had been in more than a little awe at seeing him decked out in a suit, staying at a five-star hotel, and working with the brilliant Anton Mercer. Noting the teens' curious expressions, he explained, "Bulk and Skull spent most of their time sitting in detention, harassing other students, and getting food all over themselves."
"Getting food all over themselves?" Ethan asked.
"Yeah, I can't tell you the number of times they fell headfirst into a trashcan. At some point, they got into their heads that women liked men in uniform and joined the Junior Police Force."
Tommy broke off and sniggered as he ran through several choice memories he had of the pair. He continued, "They drove Lt. Stone up the wall. They now own a small café in front of the Hilton outside Angel Grove."
"Wow," Kira said, "Well, we're not like that. I'm just here because Principal Randall said I needed 'written permission to perform on school grounds'."
Tommy glanced back at her via the rearview mirror. "Huh. That's odd. I'd figure she'd let it slide; kids who play an instrument are a lot more likely to get into a good college."
"That's what I said!" Kira exclaimed. "And then she said that I wasn't college material!"
That… does not sound entirely appropriate?
"Dude, Randall is totally hardcore. I heard she worked in a prison before coming to Reefside," Conner added.
Tommy laughed. "Yeah, that one was floating around the Teacher's Lounge, too. But her credentials are obviously legitimate, since the school board has approved her. So what are you boys in for?"
"She reamed me out for playing soccer this morning. So unfair," Conner groused.
Tommy raised an eyebrow and replied mildly, "It is state law that you attend your assigned class during the school day. Ethan?"
"She thinks I had something to do with the sprinkler incident."
"Maybe. But there's no proof!"
"Apart from you being the only student to carry an umbrella and not be surprised when the sprinklers went off and the code for the sprinkler systems stored on your laptop," Tommy retorted.
"Hey! How did you know I had code for the sprinkler systems on my laptop?'
Tommy grinned. "I didn't, but thank you for proving my suspicions correct."
Kira giggled, while Conner crowed, "Dude, you got owned!" and Ethan whined, "Aw man, that was so not cool!"
A companionable silence fell over the group as Tommy continued driving. For a brief second, he almost thought he saw a Tyrannodrone at the side of the road, but he pushed the thought away. The island had been completely destroyed. As they veered off the exit, Conner asked, "So… why are you going to this museum, Dr. O?"
I want to check on the Dino Gems and prepare the Dino Morphers in case you three are the next generation of Power Rangers. I also want to check the Morphing Grid to see if the Dino Gems have activated.
"One of my colleagues has an exhibit there: Parasaurolophus walkeri and psittacosaurus mongliensis. It's more about the recovery method than the specimens themselves, though. I told him I'd check it out."
All three of them stared at him blankly. Tommy chuckled abashedly. "Sorry. Palaeontologist moment. I'm just doing a friend a favour."
"You could have just said that," Conner muttered. Just then, Ethan said excitedly, "Whoa! Check out the T-Rex!"
There was something frighteningly familiar about that statue. It looked so real.
Wow, I have been spending way too much time with my nose buried in academic journals. Okay, how do I ditch the kids for a bit?
They got out of the jeep and walked up to the front… which was chained shut.
"That's weird," Tommy muttered. The museum's website had said they'd be open 9-5 for the rest of the month.
"Oh well, no museum for us," Conner said with a fake sigh.
"Great! Let's go home," Kira agreed.
Not so fast. I still need to get downstairs and check on the Dino Gems. You three can roam around the land, for all I care.
"I'll tell you what, why don't you guys have a look around the grounds. If any of you guys find anything prehistoric, I'll cancel detention for the rest of the week." Because I want to deal with detention even less than you do, trust me.
"Sweet," Ethan replied.
"I'm going to see if I can find someone who can tell us when they're opening up." It's much easier to get underground through the museum than by falling into a pit somewhere in the woods.
The teens left, and Tommy went around the chain posts to the museum's glass doors. He read the sign, "In case of emergency, call Anton Mercer Industries?"
"Anton Mercer? That's impossible!"
Anton Mercer was missing. Hell, he was the one who had to make the call when his friend hadn't contacted him two days after the island blew up. If Anton really was back, why hadn't he said anything? Tommy felt a pang of hurt. Why hadn't his friend called him? Was he that upset about the island? No, Anton wasn't the type to stay silent about something he was upset over. If Anton were really angry, he'd have said something.
Anton… what's been going on with you these past years? Why didn't you call me - What was that?
For a moment, he could have sworn he saw a Tyrannodrone out of the corner of his eye. Something was seriously wrong here. He shook his head and started walking back to his jeep. Three steps later, he froze.
The T-Rex statue was missing.
A pit of dread formed in his stomach. "Where did…"
His brow furrowed and he instinctively took a few steps back. Turning around, he saw a strange shadow on the ground. It was almost shaped like a… dinosaur head… Oh.
He looked up to see a very alive T-Rex roar at him. The T-Rex leaned over so that its razor sharp teeth were less than a foot away from Tommy. It huffed maliciously, almost as if preparing to taste an exquisite meal. The ex-Ranger immediately tensed and launched a kick at the beast's nose. It backed off in pain and roared angrily.
Oh great job - Kick it and make it mad. Way to forget everything you learned in college about dinosaurs. Seriously, how did you survive so long as a Ranger?
He ran towards his jeep, leaping into driver's seat and locking the door.
"Great, yeah, lock the door, Tommy. Real good," he chastised himself as he fumbled for his keys. You're in a topless jeep, locking the door doesn't make any difference!
"Come on," he snarled as he started up the ignition. Don't you dare fail on me now! When the jeep finally started, he shifted gears into reverse and floored the accelerator. Righting the jeep, he shifted into drive and sped away.
Here's to breaking several traffic and safety regulations more than my career's worth! Come on, T-Rex, let's see how well you do on the highway!
Tommy glanced back to see the dinosaur head-butt his jeep and found himself veering off course. Foot on the accelerator, faster, faster! Where is that overpass when I need it?
There! After an incredibly tense minute of speeding, he spotted the overpass. Hopefully, at the speed they were going, the T-Rex wouldn't. In fact, it most likely wouldn't given the position of the dinosaur's eyes and its focus on Tommy's jeep. He drove under and swerved to a stop when he heard the telltale sound of metal hitting concrete. Getting out of his jeep, he knelt by the head of the fallen dinosaur.
Oh, the Universe had to be messing with him.
No! No no no! All this stuff was supposed to have been destroyed! Please, let there be some mistake! That cannot be the technology Anton and I were working on all those years ago… But I know that circuitry; I designed it. Anton? Did you create this? Why would you send it after me? Or did Mesogog survive?
God, please not Mesogog.
A chill crept up Tommy's spine. Power Rangers. The Dino Gems, the Dino Morphers - he knew this, the Power Rangers were coming soon, and they wouldn't appear unless there was serious danger.
Another thought struck him. The Tyrannodrones! They really are here! Shoot, and I sent the kids out into the woods!
He ran back to his jeep and headed back to the museum. He wasn't disappointed. A group of Tyrannodrones was moving into the forest.
"Hey, you scaly freaks! Stay away from my students!"
The Tyrannodrones turned to him and he readied himself for a fight. Kick. Punch. Block. Duck. Kick. Kick. Watch out for that – ow! Roll away. Jump up with an uppercut. Was that a scream?
A few minutes later, Tommy was slightly out of breath and malfunctioning Tyrannodrones lay around him. He blinked and nearly missed the green light that sucked them up.
What the Hell? Never mind. I really hope Conner, Ethan, and Kira are alright.
He jogged through the woods and found them together a little ways in.
All three of them immediately put something in their pockets. The Gems. He could feel an energy building in them, his own Red Power starting to stir. But the Morphing Grid was still; they hadn't connected with the Power yet.
"Are you guys alright?"
"Well uh-" Kira began, but Ethan interrupted, "Yeah, couldn't be better." Conner just nodded in agreement.
Wow, you guys are horrible liars.
He looked at them suspiciously, asking, "Nothing out of the ordinary happened?"
Come on, give me an in so I can explain what happened and get you all out of her.
"Nah," Ethan replied, making a face, "Just a regular hike in the woods. Lots of furry little creatures."
Or we could do this the hard way.
"And a few scaly ones," Kira muttered.
Thank you, Kira. Now, I know you had to fight off a couple Tyrannodrones. I'm impressed you're unharmed.
"So," Conner said, trying to divert his suspicion, "Did you get into the dino exhibit?"
Dino exhibit? Oh, that. I should probably talk to Michael and let him know that I saw his exhibit a week ago.
"Ah, still working the kinks out. We'd better get you guys back. Come on." I'd rather not meet more of our new friends and have to explain to you how I can fight Tyrannodrones so well and why I'm not afraid of them.
He stopped when he noticed the lack of footsteps behind him. The teens were whispering amongst themselves a few feet back. Subtle, the teenagers were not.
Okay, we weren't either, and it is still a miracle no one at Angel Grove High besides Principal Kaplan confronted us about it.
"You guys coming?"
As he dropped them off back at the school, much sooner than he should have, he said, "It's been a little over an hour since school ended, so you should be able to catch the late bus home, if you need to."
He watched them walk away, using the next few seconds to calm himself down again. He needed to get home and check the video feed to his lab under the museum. On the ride home, he marvelled at the weather and the breeze rushing through his short hair.
Why would anyone want to taint this?
He opened the door to his home and gave his living room a cursory glance. Nothing out of place, that was good. Allowing the door to swing shut behind him, he opened his briefcase and pulled out his laptop. Checking the sensors around his home revealed that there had been no intruders, not even animals.
"Better activate maximum security levels," he murmured to himself, "So pretty much no one with evil intent can get in without being electrocuted. I really need to remember to thank Andros the next time I see him."
He pulled down the jaw of one of his favourite dinosaur models and the rug and floorboards rose up.
Home sweet Dinolair. First things first, check the morphers.
The morphers were still safe. Tommy had to laugh at himself. He had planned to work on the morphers at the museum, but in the end, he had forgotten them at home. After all these years, he still hadn't been able to get rid of his forgetful nature.
Just then, the lights flickered, alerting him that someone had entered his property. Sure enough, he heard a muffled "Dr. Oliver?" from upstairs.
Was that Conner?
Oh good. Teenagers are breaking into my house in the middle of a crisis that could get them killed. There goes any doubt that they're going to be Rangers.
The trapdoor flipped open, and Tommy slid back into the shadows. His ire peaked when Ethan James and Conner McKnight stepped down. Future Power Rangers or not, he did not want to deal with two teenaged boys right now. Especially when they broke into his home uninvited! As they gawked at their surroundings, he stepped up behind them. Ethan's "It's the same place!" told him that they had definitely been to the lab under the museum.
His jaw set, he said, "If you're looking for extra credit, you're in the wrong place."
A/N: Whew, that was long. 25 pages long, to be honest. I have episode two written, most of episode three, half of episodes four, five, and six, and then a few more scattered scenes. Updates will be slow.
Aside from that, please leave a review!