My Disclaimer: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and associated trademarks are owned by Saban Entertainment and Disney and I am not claiming ownership.
Author's Introduction: Out of the very depths of my writing folder this story has sat patiently for many, many, many, many years. As with all serious ideas I get (and I get many!) I sat down on a computer and started writing the prologue and then shortly after the first chapter, the second, third and on I continued until I abandoned it for no particular reason. So I've blown off the dust and decided to give this story the light of day that it deserves. Kind of scary as I have no actual chapter summaries or any idea how it will end but I've done it before, so let's do it again!
Setting: The setting is somewhat complex, as the major events that occur are all AU and therefore make anything past the start of canon MMPR Season 2 irrelevant. The reason this story is so AU is because originally it was set up to work into one of my other series and I have since rescued it and turned it into a standalone story.
Rating: M for numerous themes (My writing is pretty consistent in this department so if you're familiar with my other work you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect).
Season: MMPR [AU] / DT [AU] / SPD referenced
Introduction: 11 years ago Earth fell to the clutches of the Zedd Empire. Under the guidance of a resilient teacher, the newly formed Space Patrol Delta Academy and a never ending cycle of volunteer ranger teams, the surviving human race has fended off Zedd's enslavement from within the confides of a fenced-in society; When this barrier is finally destroyed and all hope is shattered, can The Returned gather the lost and remaining to form the last rebellion capable of saving a world already lost to them?
By Chanelle Summer
Sands of Time
The fine grain felt like nothing more than air against the numbed, thickened skin of his palm and he watched it pour out between the slits of his fingers, the illusion of falling sand so powerfully hypnotic that his body slumped lower as though to try and catch it. But just as quickly as his free hand went to intercept the shower of crystallized dust, his bare chest pulled back from the ground below, the heat emitting from it far too much for his naked skin.
He swallowed back the need to verbalize such discomfort, his tongue remaining on the roof of his mouth as he cast his eyes up at the approaching figure.
The dirtied material seemed to drink up her petite figure, her hand shaky as it absentmindedly swept her long, tangled locks over her exposed shoulder.
He would say her name but she would forget it again soon enough.
Kimberly...He thought it distinctly, but the verbalized version became distorted from the uneasiness of his swollen tongue. To clear his throat now would bring on an agony he could not bear.
His face lowered with scathing defeat. "I know, Kim…"
"What are you doing?" she asked him, and he looked up through narrow eyes in time to watch a whisper of a breeze brush against her skin, causing her to murmur.
He felt the scarce wind ever so lightly entice, before it ran off into the distance behind him, lost amongst the backdrop of hell. Squeezing his eyes sharply, he flinched only a little as he felt her hand run over the skin of his shoulder. He was surprised he could still feel anything, yet as much as she couldn't remember her own name or even his most days anymore, her touch was something seemingly imprinted into the very veins that still kept him alive in this place.
Kimberly was the first one from the group to fall victim to this world; this hell. They were prisoners, not bounded by iron shackles, but left to rot amongst the unforgiving terrain of the distant and satanic planet. Tommy had heard Zordon mention its name once, coincidentally enough on the last day he remembered seeing their ranger mentor. The last day he left his home to go to school and the last day he had morphed as the green ranger, ready to take on the latest threat to Earth as though it were just any other day.
"Turacia...A place of barbarous deprivation, where the doomed are sent to exist for all eternity," Zordon had told the six teenagers that day, as the Command Center's viewing globe illuminated with a flash of crimson light, their newest rival taking shape as the wise sage introduced him with unmistakable distress.
Lord Zedd. The Emperor of Phlegethon and the twenty-eighth of the House of Zhept; a towering alien being whose physically ghastly state made opponents crawl with fear, yet his inflated ego and unquenchable temper had led to his banishment to a faraway place thousands of years earlier. Zordon, like many other representatives of the galactic peace movement had been certain the emperor would never be free to flood the galaxy with his selfish reign of terror, yet there he had been before them, not only free from his confinement, but speaking a promise of retribution.
That was the day that had started like all others but had swiftly derailed and Tommy couldn't even recall many of the events from that day. The when, why, how - none of it seemed to matter anymore. All he remembered now was the blood, the crying, the begging and lastly closing his eyes to it all and opening them only to find he was in a totally new world.
The power rangers had lost that day. They'd lost the battle; they'd lost the war and had found themselves banished by the heinous Lord Zedd to the barren and unreachable planet, condemned to an existence of eternal oblivion. Tommy had lost count of years. Time didn't exist in this place.
Whenever he thought of the day that brought them to this place it led him to think of all they'd lost- not their freedom, but with guarantee, the freedom of planet earth. Had he been able to sleep in this place, he swore he would be drenched with nightmares of the destruction of their home planet, of people crying and screaming and begging, just as the rangers themselves had done as Zedd had delivered the final blow securing his victory and their ultimate defeat.
He needed to cry so many times, and yet no tears ever produced as his permanent state of dehydration robbed him of the ability to even bother with complex thoughts most days, let alone relinquish himself to regret and sorrow. He'd watched his teammates handle their exile with tears, anger, fear, disbelief, faith, madness and now with nothingness. As though they'd forgotten why they were even there or where they had come from.
So as Kimberly asked Tommy what he was doing, the green ranger could merely look at his girlfriend with a blank expression, unable to even speak for a moment.
She blinked, her eyes full of questions, yet not understanding his inner turmoil. "I asked what you were doing," she rephrased, carefully pronouncing her words as though he may not have understood her the first time.
He swallowed without thinking, wincing heavily as he felt a shadow creep up behind him, alleviating him from the sweltering heat that seemed to be reflecting onto his bare back.
Tommy carefully stood up, pulling Kimberly along with him as he turned to face their leader. Despite everything, Jason Scott was undoubtedly the strongest of the group, his fists still able to clench as he looked at his best friend with unvented frustration.
Very rarely had Tommy seen Jason lose his temper and he prepared himself for a blow.
"What is it?" Tommy managed to ask him.
Jason's eyes wandered sympathetically at the pink ranger, before leveling on Tommy with a deep comprehension.
"It's Billy…we've lost him," Jason admitted, his voice falsely void of all emotion.
Jason lowered his head a level. "Like Kimberly," he clarified, and the short brunette shuffled a little on the spot, glancing up at Tommy in confusion.
Tommy sighed knowing it were as bad as death. Billy had succumbed to a head injury which had robbed him of much of his memory, just as had happened to Kimberly following the ranger's defeat before their exile to Turacia. While Kimberly's pronounced brain damage had been immediate upon receiving a severe blow to the head, Billy's mental decimation had been a gradual unveiling, taking the blue ranger from scientific genius to nothing more than a mass fragmentation of broken English and forgotten conversations.
"You mean his memory is completely gone?" Tommy asked, unable to believe that they'd lost Billy for good.
Jason's lips tightened. "He doesn't remember his own name, and he couldn't recall any of ours, either."
"Who's Billy?" Kimberly piped up, looking between her two male teammates in confusion.
Tommy sighed, squeezing her shoulder gently in comfort. Sometimes, it became more than tiring having to repeat the same information to her time and time again.
Jason cleared his throat heavily, but as he spoke it seemed it did little to ease his ailing voice. "I guess you had no luck sourcing any water?"
Tommy shook his head and Jason nodded with obvious expectancy, slapping his friend on his arm in a brotherly gesture that was rare in show these days. "We should head back for Zack, Trini and Billy," he suggested, as routine as everything else about this existence was.
Searching for water that they never found; resting as though it rejuvenated them and trying to hold onto the 'old times' as though it would keep them going. As if any of it made a difference.
Tommy had accepted their defeat a long time ago and privately resented Jason at times like these when he insisted that they must continue such pointless routine.
Lord Zedd found a way out of this place, Jason had reminded them time and time again whenever team morale sunk to a deadening low, we might do the same one day and actually have a chance of fighting back- we can't give up guys, Zordon and the world, are relying on us-.
"You okay bro?" Jason cut off Tommy's reminiscing as the three trudged tiredly over the ocher colored sand which burnt at the soles of their feet.
Tommy nodded stiffly, but before he had a chance to form a reply, a familiar voice of calm broke out from the crowd of the doomed up ahead.
"Jason! Tommy!" he heard Trini cry out.
Tommy's eyes instantly darkened and he exchanged a quick look with the red ranger, before breaking into a forced sprint. His hand slipped back to catch Kimberly's and he pulled on her to follow, his eyes searching the gathering for the other half of their team.
"Guys!" Zack suddenly appeared from the right, his hand stretched out and gesturing wildly for their attention. "You will not believe what we just saw!"
"What is it?" Jason asked fervently, as they followed him through the dense mob and out the other side.
Trini was waiting for them beside Billy, her arm lifting up to the canopy of sky above them. Tommy pulled up beside her, the six friends gazing up into the unknown.
"What are we looking for exactly?" Tommy wondered.
"It looked like some sort of explosions," Trini described, her eyes not leaving the heavens. "It's been constant for some time."
Tommy's eyes picked up, as Jason stepped forward eagerly. "Did you manage to see the actual aircraft?"
Trini's eyes lowered, trailing from her pointed finger tip, down her arm before settling on the red ranger. "They didn't look like aircraft, Jason-."
"They were more like zords," Zack cut her off zealously, his comment drawling their eyes to him like a target.
"Zords?" Jason repeated.
Trini nodded, but allowed the black ranger to explain. "One of them was cold and scaly looking…"
Serpentera, Tommy thought to himself.
"The other looked mighty similar to the megazord," Zack continued.
Jason's hand clenched. "I knew it!" he exclaimed, not so much in volume, but with huge force beneath his breath. "I told you someone would come for us."
But Tommy remained conscious of the knot in his throat, his weariness unresolved by the display of their leader. Kimberly's oblivious gaze lingered out to the horizon and he bent his knees slightly, bringing his face closer to her own.
"I can see sand," she whispered fixated.
He felt compelled to indulge her fascination for yet another lost moment of time, before a shatter of sound pained the insides of his temple. Like a reflex, his eyes darted upward, before they slammed shut, burning like a million razor cuts.
Screams to duck and fall to the ground were suffocated beneath the thunder of seeming gravity ripping large chunks of debris toward the ground. The heat from the bare earth below them suddenly felt so welcoming as Tommy lost his balance and found himself on his side, scrambling to pull Kimberly within the deep contour of his body. Her limbs folded without protest and he brushed his lips against her ear, tears springing from the outer edge of his eyes as he waited for the end.
"It's going to be okay…"
Tommy propped himself up only slightly, waiting for the expectant bodies of them all to be crushed by the molten hot shrapnel from the decimated megazord. The sound was almost that of screaming bullets rebounding off an electric fence, and it was at that moment that he saw it.
A force-field. A seemingly invisible wall of energy hovering above them, rippling ever so discreetly as broken metal rebounded endlessly off its armored blanket.
As those around him began to notice what was unraveling in the sky, they rose to their feet, mouths ajar and eyes wide open in disbelief; in memorization. For the briefest of moments, Tommy felt compelled by the irony. That their lives had been spared. That even in this hell, death was not an option available to them.
"WHAT'S GOING ON?" Trini's scream was stretched out in effort, her eyes barely open as they retreated from the flashes of light.
"TURACIA MUST BE ENCIRCLED BY SOME SORT OF ENERGY FIELD!" Jason's voice was above a yell, as his eyes dug into the sand below for relief. "THE MEGAZORD HAS BEEN DESTROYED AND THE FORCE-FIELD IS STOPPING THE WRECKAGE FROM-."
Everything exploded all at once.
Coming up next…here's a brief look at Chapter 1 "The Girl with No Name":
Ethan James' face remained even, but the usual glint of superiority lingered in his eyes. "Actually, I do."
"Great, so why don't you venture back to your little cave-."
"I saw you hit her," Ethan stated in a low tone.