Graduated Licensing

At the end of Ziggy's weekly assessment, Dr. K looked up from her clipboard and told him, "You will require a driver's license."

Ziggy opened his mouth to protest, but Dr. K cut him off. "Driving a zord is insufficient, and there will come a time when you will not be able to rely on your fellow rangers for a ride into battle."

"I can drive," Ziggy pointed out. Fresno Bob had given up on Ziggy successfully completing Corinth's licensing examination and had simply handed Ziggy a set of keys when he thought Ziggy was capable enough to drive for the syndicate.

"You need official documentation," Dr. K told him.

Ziggy closed his mouth and frowned. In the short time Ziggy had known Dr. K, he had realized that she had the authority to override the majority of Corinth's law enforcement. Yet, here she was forcing Ziggy to conform to that same enforcement.

The same enforcement that had failed Ziggy all six times he had attempted to obtain a driver's license in the past.

"So, why don't you help me pass, doc?" he suggested, smiling in what he hoped was a winning fashion. He suspected that he already knew what her answer would be but that didn't stop him from asking. She continued to deny that they were friends, and Ziggy planned to pester her until she admitted that they were.

"Ranger Series Green," she started, placing the clipboard on her desk.

"Ziggy," he corrected, automatically.

She continued on as if he hadn't spoken. "Such an activity would be an inefficient use of my time, energy and skill. Ask the others."

"Come on, doc," he pleaded.

She sat down in the chair in front of her work station and glared at him through the space between her two main monitors. "Do not call me 'doc'. I assure you that continuing to do so would be detrimental to your well-being. I will not warn you again."

Ziggy headed towards the garage, but he stopped in the doorway to wave a dismissive hand in her direction. "Whatever you say, doc."

Ziggy found Scott, Summer, Flynn and Dillon by the bar drinking Flynn's homemade smoothies.

"What's up?" Dillon asked. "How was your meeting with Dr. K?"

Ziggy flopped against the side of the counter with a sigh. Flynn handed him a smoothie as he asked, "What did the good doctor tell you this time?"

"She wants me to get a driver's license," Ziggy admitted. "That means I have to actually pass a driver's test."

Scott choked on his drink. "A driver's license? Seriously?" he asked, incredulous. "You're saying you don't already have one?"

Before Ziggy could open his mouth to defend his dignity, Dillon slapped Scott on the back. "Well Ziggy, it looks like Scott just volunteered to show you the ropes."

Ziggy caught Dillon's eye and smiled at the smug look on Dillon's face. "Thanks, Scott," Ziggy said, happy to be on board with any plan that simultaneously annoyed their resident red ranger and got Ziggy one step closer to a passing his driver's exam. "I knew I could count on you."

Scott's eyes went wide. "No. I am not-"

Ziggy interrupted him. "Well, Dr. K did say that you guys should be the ones to help me."

"And you're the one who keeps telling me that you're a better driver than I'll ever be," Dillon reminded Scott.

"No," Scott repeated. He looked to Flynn for assistance, but Flynn simply raised his hands in a 'don't look at me' gesture, so Scott turned to Summer looking for rescue.

She grinned. "I can't think of a better teacher."

Scott sighed and brought his fingertips to his temples. Ziggy laughed, amused at Scott's obvious discomfort, and told him, "Don't worry, Scott. I've only flunked the test six times, so I know the basics like the back of my hand." He held his palm up in front of Scott's face. "Well, now that I think about it, I don't actually know what the back of my hand looks like, but if I did, I'd-"

"Enough already!" Scott interrupted, clearly frustrated. "Fine! I'll help you get your license, but only if you promise to stop talking!"

"Deal!" Ziggy agreed, happily.

Scott glared at him warningly, and Ziggy remembered that he wasn't supposed to speak. He used his thumb and fore-finger to close an imaginary zipper across his mouth, and then ruined the gesture by saying, "No talking. Got'cha."

Scott massaged his temples, then ran a hand through his hair in obvious aggravation and stormed off towards the garage.

"Thanks! I appreciate it!" Ziggy called after him. When he heard Scott groan, Ziggy raised his voice and asked, "Where do you keep your keys?"

Ziggy had known for years that he wasn't Corinth's best driver, but he refused to take all the blame for how badly the driving lesson was going. Scott was a lousy teacher, he had no patience to speak of and he had made it clear that he had no faith in Ziggy's skills even before they had gotten into the car.

"That's the windshield wiper, not the turn signal," Scott growled, clearly unhappy that Ziggy was in the driver's seat of his car, and even less pleased by the fact that Ziggy appeared to have no idea what he was doing while sitting in it.

"Sorry," Ziggy said. In his defense, the interior of Scott's car differed from most cars.

"Are you sure you read the manual?" Scott asked, his tone condescending. It made Ziggy feel like a child.

Ziggy tightened his grip on the steering wheel in annoyance. "Yes," he answered for the tenth time. He had read it, but the manual wasn't exactly as helpful as it could have been because of the way Scott had souped-up his car.

The lesson was going slowly, and when they finally made it far enough that the garage was no longer visible in the rearview mirror, Scott told Ziggy to hang a right. Ziggy glanced down at his hands on the steering wheel, and at the little "L" and "R" he had written on their backs. Scott noticed the letters the moment Ziggy diverted his attention from the road.

"Stop the car," Scott ordered.

"What?" Ziggy asked, turning his head towards Scott.

"This is ridiculous," Scott said, exasperated. "I am not risking my car or my life for this. Stop the car."

Ziggy fumbled with the gear shift and the second he set it to park, Scott leaned over to cut the ignition.

Ziggy ignored Scott, kept his hands firmly planted on the steering wheel, and forced a smile on his face when he commented, "I think that went rather well, don't you?"

"Oh, come on," Ziggy said once they were back in the garage. He walked backwards in front of Scott and Scott did his best to ignore him. "I wasn't that bad."

They both turned when Dr. K spoke. "I see that Ranger Series Green's training was unsuccessful yet again."

Ziggy frowned at her standard unimpressed tone and retorted, "It turns out that our fearless leader doesn't know the meaning of the word 'patience'."

She raised an eyebrow at the comment. Ziggy didn't know whether she disagreed or if she realized she had even less patience with Ziggy than Scott did.

She sighed and turned to Scott. "Ranger Series Red, would you be willing to assist Green once more?"

Ziggy knew that Scott would do it if it was a direct order whether he wanted to or not, but only because a direct order would mean Dr. K deemed it truly important. If there was one thing Scott was good at, Ziggy thought, it was having his priorities straight.

Scott joined his hands behind his back and rocked back on his heels. "I'd rather not," he admitted. "I'd like to remain in one piece."

Ziggy sighed. He wasn't that bad of a driver and they all knew it.

"But you trust him with a zord," Dillon pointed out as he came out of the control room behind Dr. K with his arms already crossed and an unsympathetic expression trained on Scott.

"That's different," Scott replied.

"Admit it," Dillon challenged. "You just don't like people touching your car." Ziggy was sure that Dillon was going to say, "You just don't like Ziggy", but he figured the car thing was just as true.

Dr. K was reading something on her clipboard, and so she appeared disinterested when she addressed Dillon as "Ranger Series Black".

"The name's 'Dillon'," he said.

She ignored him. "You recently obtained your driver's license along with your Corinth Citizen Identification documents. Perhaps you should build upon your camaraderie with Ranger Series Green and take him for a spin in that black deathtrap of yours."

Dillon looked between Scott and Dr. K and then smiled. "It would be my pleasure," he told her and rested a reassuring hand on Ziggy's shoulder.

Ziggy walked up to the driver's side door of Dillon's car. "Thank you for doing this," he said.

"It's no problem," Dillon replied, casually leaning against the trunk. "I should have volunteered from the start."

Ziggy tried to open the driver's side door, but it was locked. Before he could ask for the keys, Dillon looked him straight in the eye. "Ziggy, there's no way you're getting behind the steering wheel of my car."

For a moment, Ziggy was worried that this lesson would turn out as dismally as its predecessors, but then Dillon smirked, held up a familiar keychain and gestured towards the red car parked next to them. "Scott's car on the other hand..."