Legal: I do not own Power Rangers or the associated characters, places, events etc. Anything not covered by the above rights should be presumed to be purely the creation of the author.

Rating: T - mild adult themes

In the SPD base, deep within the city of Corinth, Boom was standing in line at the mess hall, looking around at the trays of food on display, trying to figure out what to have. He had already spent the whole of the morning on the test range with Kat's latest weapon, and was looking forward to at least another twelve hours on shift. His overalls were scorched in places, and he smelled faintly of burning hair, but he hadn't bothered to shower or change. He preferred to spend that time choosing between the options on offer.

"For pity's sake Boom, we're all waiting!" The D-squad cadet behind him in the queue snapped at him. "We're meant to be in the holo-trainer in half an hour!"
Boom just took a step back, allowing him and the rest of D-squad to pass him, all quickly making their choices. Boom wanted to take a little time over this choice though, he was sure this would be the only chance he'd get to have a proper meal and not a snack from the vending machine or replicator before he went off shift.

He considered the pasta bake. It was cheesy pasta, reminding him a lot of the macaroni and cheese his mother made when he went home for thanksgiving, but it was stirred with tuna, and topped with crumbled potato chips and baked in the oven, making the sauce thick and creamy, with a crisp topping.

Unfortunately, that was available on the same day as the sloppy Joes. The tray of meat looked so tempting and smelled wonderful. He was almost tempted to go right for that as well.

Finally, his attention was drawn to the chicken curry. The spices created an aroma that played with his mind and reminded him of his last day off, almost...well, now that he thought about it, he couldn't remember the last time he had a day off.

"It looks like his brain's about to overheat." One of the D-squad joked, causing a little laugh. They didn't care that Boom could hear them. "Twenty bucks says steam comes out of his ears in about twenty minutes."

"I doubt it'll take that long." Another giggled. "I'd say it'll only take five."

"You know, I think that's unfair, I'm sure there won't be any steam." The ringleader replied. "He doesn't have a brain to overheat."

They all laughed, causing Boom's temper to flare up. His face got a little red, and his grip tightened on his lunch tray. He knew that he was something of a joke on the base. Everyone was well aware of the fact that he had flunked out of Ranger training months ago, something that was still occasionally a sore point for him. Kat had realised he had a flare for technology, albeit a slightly rough and unrefined one, and had recruited him as her assistant. However, he hadn't even had an easy ride there.

He tried his hardest, he honestly did, but his enthusiasm got the better of him at times, and he made mistakes. After he had blown up the lab one too many times, even Kat's patience had worn out. He had been sent off-world to train in an engineering course, largely to get him out of her hair, but everyone noticed the vast improvement in his performance. That still didn't stop him occasionally messing up when his enthusiasm exceeded his abilities and experience. It hurt his feelings that he was shown such disrespect, but in no small part, that was because sometimes he felt as useless as others made him feel.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Kat standing behind him.

"Boom, I need a complete diagnostic on the Delta Runners and the SWAT Flyers by the end of the day." She told him. "Birdie has me working on something, and I really need a little breathing space."

"No problem." He told her dutifully. Kat just smiled at him and nodded.

"I knew I could count on you." She said with a grin. Boom just approached the counter with a sigh realising his lunch break had just turned into a working lunch.

"I'll just take the ham and tomato baguette." He told the counter assistant, putting his tray away. She handed him his snack, and he handed her the money, before turning and walking away.

The D-Squad leader stuck out his foot, tripping Boom and causing him to stumble. Everyone laughed as Boom turned back to them.

"You should watch where you're sticking your feet Baxter." Boom told him.

"Why, does it stop you playing fetch for Kat?" He teased him, standing up. Baxter stood, head and shoulders over Boom. A ripple of laughter rolled through the room as he said this. He whistled, like he was calling a dog.

"Here Boom, sit Boom, roll over Boom." He carried on.

"I don't have time for you Baxter." Boom snapped as the others laughed at him. "I have work to do."

"Please, what do you really do around here?" He asked, gesturing to his charred clothing. "You make great target practice, but what else do you do?"

"I do a lot of important stuff for Kat." He replied. Baxter just laughed in his face, before coming nose to nose with him.

"You really believe that, don't you?" He asked him, standing over him menacingly. "She only took you on because she felt sorry for you."

"Shut up Baxter!" Boom snapped back, beginning to become flustered.

"Witty comeback." Baxter said sarcastically to a few more laughs. "You're the biggest joke on the base and you don't even know it."

He gestured to himself and the rest of D-Squad with a self-satisfied smirk.

"We'll be Rangers some day." He told him. "What are you going to be doing?"

Boom didn't answer, instead storming out of the room to a chorus of laughter. He knew that people didn't take him seriously. He didn't himself at times; he knew he had made more than his fair share of mistakes. That didn't mean to say it didn't hurt when people rubbed his face in it.

Getting back to his own "office", in truth just an equipment cupboard that Kat had allowed him to erect a workbench in to give him somewhere to call his own, he threw himself down onto his chair, a broken office chair that Doggie asked him to throw out when one of the castors broke off, only for Boom to harvest it for his office, and took a large bite of his baguette, chewing it intently, before putting the rest down and turning to his laptop to begin the diagnostic. He paused as he heard a knock on the door. Jack poked his head around the door.

"Um...Boom, do you have a minute?" He asked him. Boom just sighed and waved him in.

"What can I do for you?" He asked.

"It's my Delta Blasters." He informed him, putting them down on the table. "Individually they're fine, but when I used them in combo mode, I felt a bit of a jolt."

"A jolt?" Boom asked him. "Could you be more specific?"

"It was like an electric shock." He told him. "I felt it through the suit."

"Why can't you give it to Kat?" Boom asked him. Jack sucked his teeth a little and shook his head.

"Let's just say it's had some unsanctioned workouts." He replied. "I'd rather she not know about it."

"It sounds like a short in the coupling mechanism." Boom told him, putting the laptop aside and taking the blasters. "You'll find them in your locker before dinner time."

"Thanks, Kat would have skinned me alive." Jack replied happily, high-fiving him. "I don't know what Cruger would have done."

He left, at which Boom got to work. Despite the fact he was occasionally accident prone, and often served as a test subject for weaponry, he truly was a gifted engineer. He worked quickly on the weapons, only stopping when he heard a knock on the door. He looked up, seeing Sky there.

"Bridge did it again." He groaned, tossing a strange toaster/alarm clock hybrid on the table, which fired out a black slice of what he presumed was meant to be toast as it landed. "When will he learn not everyone wants toast at every hour of the day?"

"You want your clock back?" Boom asked him.

"That would be perfect." Sky groaned. "Thanks Boom."

Boom put it aside. He had found himself having to do such work before. Bridge was as much of a techno freak as him, but he had a bizarre obsession with adding a toaster to everything he made. He knew it would only take him a few minutes to get the alarm clock back to its original state.

He continued to work on Jack's weapon, finding the short. He started his soldering iron heating up as he heard the door again. This time it was Bridge.

"Boom, do you have a copy of 'Ultimate Upgrades'?" He asked him. "I kind of lost mine when I was working on Sky's alarm clock."

Boom pulled out a drawer on his desk, taking out a copy and handing it to him.

"Actually you left it in the corridor." He reminded him. "You did a handstand to figure out what you wanted from the candy machine and forgot to take it with you."

"Cool, thanks." Bridge replied, turning and leaving the room. Bridge just smiled and went back to work, beginning to sort out the wiring on the weapons Jack had left him, when he heard a slight whimper. He looked up and saw Syd and RIC entering.

"Boom, do you have a minute?" She asked him, playing with her hair and giving him a little pout. It was a cute display, one that he found a little funny. He didn't have the heart to tell her she didn't need to flirt to get him to do as she asked.

"What is it?" He asked.

"I was just playing catch with RIC, and he seems a little off." She told him. "He's really sluggish, and he doesn't seem too happy. I think he's sick."

Boom didn't bother to correct her that strictly speaking RIC couldn't be "sick" since he was a robot, instead just whistling and tapping his leg, calling RIC to heel. RIC made his way around, but his ears were down, and his head and tail hung low. He moved slowly.

"Well he does seem a little buggy." Boom commented. "I guess there are some teething problems with the new software Bridge and I installed. I'll take a look at him."

"Thanks Boom." She replied, leaning across the desk and kissing him on the cheek. Boom gave her a slightly goofy grin and waved her off.

"It's nothing." He replied, before gesturing RIC to the corner to wait his turn. He finished with Jack's blasters, and was about to re-start his task for Kat when he heard the door yet again. This time it was Z, and she was uncharacteristically sheepish, looking around like she was trying to get away with a major crime.

"Boom, could you do me a huge favour?" She asked him.

"That depends." He replied. "What needs fixing?"

Z looked around to make sure no one was watching, before reaching inside her jacket and pulling out a lump of plastic.

"I must have dumped my jacket on the floor, I didn't see it." She told him. "I accidentally stepped on Syd's MP3 player."

Boom let out a low whistle as he observed the damage.

"It'll take a while." He commented. Z slammed her hands down on the table, her eyes flashing in panic.

"Boom, Syd hates me enough as it is because of the laundry incident. If she finds out about this she'll kill me!" She implored him. "Please, tell me..."

"If I start now, I could have it finished by lights out." Boom told her. "I have the codes to every room on the base. Just keep Syd out of the room between 10 and 11."

"Oh thank you, I will, I'll keep her busy." Z assured him in a relieved sigh. "You're the man Boom, you're the best!"

As she left, Boom found himself unable to stop smiling. Despite the fact he had a full workload between his diagnostics for Kat and his little side-jobs for the Rangers, he was happy. Despite what the others had said in the canteen, he felt important. He might not be the Base Commander, or the Technical officer. He wasn't the Red Ranger, or even a Ranger at all, but he played his part. He couldn't help remembering a story his father once told him.

During the Space Race, an official from NASA paid a visit to Cape Canaveral. When he got there, he found a man sweeping the floors in the corridor. When he approached him to check if he had clearance to be there, he asked what he was doing, to which he simply replied, "I'm helping to put a man on the moon."

Boom wasn't the most important man on the base, and he definitely didn't have the most glamorous job there, but he knew he had his part to play. He might not be in the field fighting Grumm's forces, but when all was said and done, he was helping to bring him down.