Disclaimer: I still don't own Power Rangers or Stargate Atlantis.
A/N: Do not expect all chapters to be this long. Also, remember the Power works differently, in part because Justin has Eltarean style training, and in part because it's the Pegasus Galaxy, everything is weird. The end part of this chapter is...well, I don't know how to put it in words, but it's that moment when you have to talk, or everything falls apart. I do like Ferretti though.
Justin sat his tray down and watched T.K. and Jenna as they walked over to join him. He rubbed his wrist idly as they slid their trays onto the table. For a brief moment, Jenna's eyes turned pink, while T.K.'s hair took on a distinctly reddish cast. He pulled his hand away like he'd been burned, then covered the gesture by reaching for his drink. It wasn't the first time he'd seen those auras, had gotten better at hiding his discomfort from his friends when he did see them. That didn't mean he liked them.
"Ready to go exploring?" T.K. asked as he picked up his fork and poked at the eggs.
"I hate to say it," Jenna said, "but I hope it's not that adventurous."
"Yeah," Justin said, "we get enough of an adventure eating breakfast."
T.K. glared at him, "You eat anything, Justin."
Justin shrugged, "I have an intergalactic stomach, I get it from my dad."
"But your dad was an Earthian," Jenna said, "at least, that's what I thought you said."
"He was," Justin replied, "but I have a half-brother who is Kerovan. And Zhane is infamous for eating the inedible."
"How much longer are you planning to be eating," Ferretti asked as he joined them.
"We'll be done before Justin," Jenna began as T.K. saluted.
"Easy, Lieutenant," Ferretti said, saluting back.
"Are you going to eat your oatmeal?" Justin asked, reaching his spoon for T.K.'s bowl.
"Go ahead," T.K. replied as he picked up his toast. "You eat it every time."
Jenna slid her bowl over in front of Justin's tray, "Apparently, Justin has a thing about oatmeal."
"I missed it on Eltare," Justin said, between bites.
Ferretti stared at Justin, "I've never seen anyone enjoy army oatmeal before."
Justin looked up as he reached for T.K.'s bowl. "On Pemlah, the local delicacy is…" he stopped, "I don't want to ruin your appetite." He pushed T.K.'s bowl away, "I just lost mine."
"Are you sure you don't want any oatmeal," Ferretti asked, pushing Jenna's bowl closer.
"No," Justin replied, he pressed a hand to his stomach. He really didn't need to think about stuff like that when he was eating.
"Justin, want some extra oatmeal," John asked, putting his bowl on the table.
Justin bolted, because he really didn't want to look at any more oatmeal. He stumbled down the hallway and leaned against the wall, closing his eyes.
Flames filled the air, roaring so loud that he couldn't even hear his detector going off. He coughed, took a breath through his nose and almost gagged on the smell of burning flesh. The detector began to vibrate and he held it closer to his face to study it. A gust of air hit part of the fire and it roared. He ran forward, barely missing being cooked. He rounded a wall and found the girl. She was pulling on the arm of someone buried in flaming rubble. Her large brown eyes were closed as she screamed something, probably mother. He hesitated, and the ceiling collapsed.
"Justin," someone snapped, and a stinging paint brought him roaring out of the memory.
He grabbed the person that hit him with a yell and threw him away, his foot helping to give the person height along with the distance.
He blinked, and saw gray-blue walls, not smoke. He smelled the ocean, not flames, and John Sheppard was picking himself up from the wall across the corridor.
"Nemeste!" He snapped, "Are you all right, Major Sheppard?"
"Yeah," John said, rubbing his neck.
"What happened?" T.K. asked.
"If I didn't know better," John said, "that looked like a flashback?"
Justin frowned, "It was nothing," he shoved off the wall and started down the hall, wanting to just get away.
"Justin," T.K. shouted.
Justin turned, "Sorry," he said, "Red or not, I'm at your beck and call today." He turned and entered the transporter, picked a glowing dot a random and followed his ears to a balcony. He stood there in the wind, letting the sea blow away the memories of smoke and violence.
He closed his eyes, and blue light filled him. He opened his eyes and stumbled back from the balcony, "No!" He shouted, and then took a deep breath. Clenching his hands, he glared at a power he couldn't see with his eyes open. "I'm retired. I'm Hela'denar'i," He flung his hands out, "What do you expect of me? Haven't I done enough, haven't I given up enough? Haven't I lost enough people?"
Justin spun to find Ferretti standing there, "What?" He asked, he brushed a hand over his cheek and stared at it, surprised at the tears.
Ferretti stepped out on the balcony, "The first time I went through a Stargate, we had no clue what would happen." He leaned on the railing, "We didn't even have a clue what waited for us. All I knew was that some crazy Air Force officer and a scientist who couldn't see straight because of his allergies were taking us somewhere we didn't know we'd come back from. Less than half of us came back and we left the scientist behind with his wife. A year later, we went back for Daniel, the scientist, and our third mission was to rescue captives from Daniel's planet, Abydos, including his wife, as well as a Marine. I was unable to go on that mission; I was injured when those glowy-eyed bastards grabbed Shaire and Skara. My best friend went on that mission, and his body came back but his mind didn't."
"What do you mean?" Justin asked.
"They're called the Goa'uld," Ferretti replied, "and they look a lot like snakes. Except they wiggle into your ear and wrap around your brain and take over. The only way you'd know someone was taken would be when their eyes glowed."
"Oh," Justin said softly.
"Kowalski was one of them," Ferretti said. "We were able to stop him from leaving."
Justin bowed his head, eyes closed, and then he turned to look at Ferretti, "Were you together?"
Ferretti looked at him, "Ever heard of Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"
"No," Justin said, "at least, probably not in the way you're saying it."
"In ninety-six, they passed a law regarding gays in the military called 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and it essentially boils down to if you ever get caught in any form of a homosexual relationship and you're in the military." Ferretti hesitated.
"You aren't anymore," Justin supplied.
"Yes," Ferretti agreed.
"I think they tried that," Justin said, he frowned, "Yeah, they did. The Power Rangers teleported onto the middle of the Senate floor and told them that the law was not only a bad law, but it was a pointless one. It was this big television news story for weeks. It was the only time the Rangers got political. At least, until this last Earth team showed up. They were created and funded by the government." He tilted his head, "It was so funny, I got tapes from the Astros, there's this group called Westboro, they showed up and tried to protest a Ranger battle because of the Rangers' opinions on things like homosexuality, and then had to get rescued, by the Rangers. Carter Grayson, their Red, told the Westboro leader afterwards that if they ever protested anything Ranger related he had authority, not just from Earth's Senior Rangers, but from Eltare to arrest them for violating intergalactic law."
"I've heard of Westboro Baptist Church," Ferretti said dryly, "They have this habit of protesting military funerals."
"Damn," Justin muttered, "makes me wish the three laws didn't apply."
"Three laws?" Ferretti asked.
Justin glanced behind them, making sure no one else was out there, and then held out his wrist, "Watch the band," he said brandishing the blue band. He twisted his wrist down, then up, and mentally summoned the Turbo morpher. "Rule One, never reveal your identity. I used to be a Power Ranger, a long time ago. Rule Two, never use your powers for personal gain, and Rule Three, never escalate a battle." He twisted his wrist again, "It's Powered, and I still have the key that activates it."
"But you won't use it?" Ferretti said quietly.
"I was twelve years old, and my mentor was in the hospital with a damaged spine," Justin couldn't look at Ferretti. "I snuck in and found out that my mentor, my mentor, and his friends were the Power Rangers. He caught me sneaking out and decided that I should be the fifth Ranger. They were on their way to free two former Rangers and Rocky couldn't go."
"So he sent a twelve year old child in his place," Ferretti said.
"Zordon agreed and Alpha helped me deal with the Zord," Justin replied. He smiled slightly, "It's a good thing you don't need a license to drive a Zord."
"And a Zord is," Ferretti prompted him.
"Giant robot," Justin said, "ours were cars. They could shift between a standard size and gigantic."
"I still can't believe they thought a twelve year old could fight," Ferretti said.
"The Rangers did at first, but, they didn't really have a choice. Zordon sent me, so I was a Ranger." Justin replied, "Besides the Power protects us. Back then, when I morphed, I went through a sort of forced puberty, it was weird. I don't really remember much of the morphing though. Zordon, he was our mentor, and liaison to other worlds among other things. I know the older ones thought of him as a father-figure. They were my first team and they were graduating high school and looking for their own replacements. After Zordon went back to Eltare, it was easier for them to break the team and hand off the morphers than to accept me. The second group was fifteen and sixteen year olds. They couldn't accept a Senior who was younger, not really. In the end, I gave them an easy out."
"An easy out," Ferretti replied.
"The Power Chamber was blown up by our enemies," Justin said, "while we were inside. We were going into space, for help, for new powers, whatever. I got them into the base, and I could have followed them, it wouldn't have been easy, but I would have. They thought I was staying to be with my dad. That's when they met Andros and he gave them the new morphers."
"Breaking the team again," Ferretti guessed.
"Yeah," Justin said. "Andros was mortified when he found out. It's not done, you don't poach teams, especially cross-planetary teams like the Astros became. He never even asked if they had a fifth, he just handed off the morphers. It's part of the reason I have a weird relationship with the Astros. It's better than it was, I did eventually forgive them." Justin toyed with the blue band that hid his morpher, "But it was their sixth that cemented the deal."
"Yeah?" Ferretti asked.
"Before my parents married, my dad met an alien Ranger, Katanya; she was looking for Zordon, but was being hunted by the Varox, a group of vicious bounty hunters. She crashed into this lake where my dad was fishing, and he helped her get back to Angel Grove. Along the way, they had drunk, angry sex." Justin grinned, "His name is Zhane, and he's the Silver Astro Ranger. He's great, you know. I always wanted a big brother and Zhane was exactly that. He's the one who got me my training on Eltare and looked out for me after Dad died."
Justin sobered and flicked the morpher back into view, "When Divatox destroyed the Power Chamber, the foci for the Turbo Morphers was destroyed as well. We, the Turbos, had these two allies who took the form of sentient cars, Lightning Cruiser and Storm Blaster. Storm Blaster and I have a weird bond; I can understand him even though he doesn't talk. The Astros were in trouble, and Storm Blaster came for me. He gave me a new Turbo Morpher that was fully charged. After Zordon died, I decide that I was retired. No more missions, no more battles, I'm done. I'm tired of being shot at, getting crushed and fighting with broken bones, not to mention getting blown up. I've broken two teams."
"So don't morph," Ferretti said, "Major Sheppard says he doesn't want you off world."
"Major Sheppard won't have a say in the matter," Justin replied. "The Power's here, as strong and as ancient as it is back on Eltare. It didn't bring me here, I don't think, but now that it has me, it wasn't something from me. T.K. and Jenna are part of it. I don't know who the others are, but I don't doubt that we'll find them, and a foci. I know how to build morphers and Zords. It was Zordon's final request to me, to learn. For some reason, your people are getting the Power."
"Are you going to fight," Ferretti asked.
"I will if I have to," Justin said, "but not as a Power Ranger. I'm retired."