Title: Down the Rabbit Hole
By Jeannine Trevizo
Spoiler: PR:SPD episode "Wormhole" (and insinuates events in PR:SPD episode "History") and the Always a Ranger series. This story is set in the AaR universe between Chapters 25 and 26, before Kim comes to the team...
Author's Note: Since this story is in the AaR universe and assumes the actions in "Revisionist History", the SPD team has already met and worked with the "full" team so they know Tommy and Trent, leading to some slight dialog changes.
Disclaimer: Power Rangers belonged to Saban, then Disney and now Saban again... I'm so confused.
Summary: Time travel can cause confusion, nausea and ass-kicking.
Hi all. I have recently been feeling my muse prompting me to get more writing done and of all the things I have written for the PR fandom, I love and miss the Always a Ranger universe the most. So I am going to go back and check to see which stories there are still left to tell in that universe. So here's my take on "Wormhole". I hope you enjoy, and now, to the story…
Down the Rabbit Hole
By Jeannine Trevizo
Kira, Ethan and Trent were taking a break at Reefside High School during their lunch hour; Kira with her guitar, Trent sketching and Ethan playing a hand held video game. As a loud series of beeps and tones came from the game boy in Ethan's hands he grumbled audibly, turning the heads of his team mates towards him.
"Great. I was just about to defeat the dreaded Maxidrone when his evil ship comes by and destroys all that I've done. Can you believe it?"
"It's just a game Ethan." Kira said even as Trent continued to sketch them from his spot on the grass.
"Yeah, you're acting as if it was real," added Trent.
"What if it is real? What if this game is really an ancient diary telling me about a real event that happened in a distant galaxy far, far away?" he asked, becoming increasingly animated, his eyes widening as he contemplated the idea.
"Ethan, your mind is the only thing that is far, far away."
Trent acknowledged Kira's low blow before Conner's errant soccer ball rolled over to the bench where they were at, Ethan stopping it with a sneakered foot.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Conner asked as he followed his ball to the bench where Kira and Ethan sat.
"Well Ethan's giving us a history lesson on something he learned n his hand held game boy," Kira remarked with continued exasperation.
"All right, you're right, it's not ancient intergalactic history," Ethan admitted, with bit of attitude behind his words.
"Finally," Kira said after rolling her eyes, thinking perhaps he was finally over his insanity.
"But it could be the future!"
"Remember, it's just a game," Conner remarked just as a crack of loud thunder rolled through the area.
Looking up they saw the huge expanse of some kind of ship even as other kids began to scream and run. They found themselves hit by a strong wind and a shadow as the ship passed over them before a bright light followed it before the ship sped up and quickly departed the area. They then looked at one another, mouths gaping as they realized just what had happened.
"Call Dr. O?" Conner asked, still a bit overwhelmed.
"Call Dr. O," replied Kira as Trent and Ethan nodded.
With everyone running, the area around the bench was deserted except for them and Conner didn't hesitate to shove his shirt sleeve down to expose his gauntlet. Pressing the gemstone he called into transmitter.
Within the empty space of his classroom, Tommy ate his lunch while reviewing his lesson plans. When he unexpectedly heard the chime of his gauntlet he swiftly dropped his sandwich to the desk as he swiftly moved to a corner of the room for maximum privacy.
"We just saw… well, a huge ship. It appeared outta nowhere and headed for the coast. Maybe we should check it out?"
"Okay, but be careful. I'll go back to the cave and see if I can learn anything. Keep me informed," stated Tommy.
With that Conner disconnected the line and moved with Ethan, Trent and Kira to figure out just where the ship went even as Tommy stopped by the front desk of the office to let them know he wasn't feeling well and going home for the rest of the day so his afternoon classes could be cancelled or covered by another teacher. If the team was on its way wherever they were going to track down the ship he needed to find out as much as he could for them before things got… bad.
"Okay, the next time you predict the future like this, could you at least make me a pop star," Kira remarked as the four of them trudged up a hill looking for a vantage point to search for the ship from.
"I didn't know it was gonna come true," shot back Ethan.
"We gotta find out what's going on and report back to Dr. O," said Trent.
The teens were all in agreement in that assessment. Dealing with Mesagog and his continual parade of monsters was one thing; an alien spaceship was a totally different kettle of fish. They were all in mid stride when they suddenly found their path blocked by
"Well you found me," announced Zeltrax as he appeared out of nowhere.
"A familiar face," Conner replied sarcastically.
They looked up and saw the contingent of Tyranodrones and knew that their excursion looking for the ship was about to be sidetracked.
"Yeah, great," breathed Ethan, as the four prepared for a fight.
"Rangers, we fight again."
A sudden sound above them brought everyone's attention to the sky. The ship they were looking for was suddenly above them and Zeltrax and his goons were engulfed in a red beam and whisked into the ship.
"Now that's something to don't see every day," said Conner, bewildered.
"Wonder what they wanted with Zeltrax?" Trent wondered aloud.
"Does it really matter? Hopefully they'll take him into space and use him for scrap metal," Kira declared with a bit of an edge to her voice that brought everyone's attention to her briefly.
"Zeltrax is gone and so are they," Ethan stated matter of factly.
"Yeah, but they aren't," noted Conner suddenly as they came across a clearing where the SPD ship had landed, it's doors opened, letting Bridge, Jack and Z out onto the grass.
"Conner, Kira, Ethan, Trent… nice to see you again," said Jack as he strode purposefully towards the Dino Thunder rangers who just happened to be right where Jack and the SPD team needed them.
Trent, Kira, Conner and Ethan walked across the open area, Z moving ahead of them, her scanner in hand. She wasn't getting anything clear yet and she hoped that Jack and Bridge would be there soon with better news. Almost as if she'd called them they showed up from her left flank.
"Hey guys wait up," called Bridge as he and Jack hurried to catch up with Z and the Dino Thunder rangers.
"Any luck?" asked Jack as he and Bridge moved directly to Z.
"We just ran into a couple krybots… we took care of them," said Bridge simply. "You?"
"No, nothing, which doesn't make any sense," said Z disgustedly, "because the trubian energy here is off the chart."
Suddenly out of nowhere Zeltrax appeared, tumbling from somewhere in a hail of sparks and noise, starting both teams who turned towards his arrival, wondering what was going on and how Zeltrax could have been sent… flying like that.
"Hey!" yelled Jack as he saw Zeltrax land on his back then quickly got to his feet to face them.
Then before any of them could take a step Zeltrax turned away from them and raised a hand, lighting flowing from his palm towards something to his right. In a fiery explosion they saw a silhouette and it leaped into the air swiftly, headed towards Zeltrax. In that moment the Dino Thunder team recognized the black ranger uniform.
"Black Ranger," commented Bridge, slightly stunned at the arrival of the Dino Thunder team's older 'mentor'.
"Sorry I'm late," called out Tommy as he faced off with Zeltrax, his team watching in awe even as the SPD team instinctively took up battle positions, "Time to take this to the next level."
"Uh, guys… I think we've got some more company," announced Jack as he looked over Bridge's shoulder to see the approach of Grumm's forces.
Instantly the Dino Thunder team took up fighting stances as they recognized tyranodrones along with the other unidentified bed guys.
"Okay, what are those?" Bridge asked as he noted the other ranger's change in posture at the arrival of Grumm's soldiers as well as some other unidentified creatures.
"Tyranodrones," replied Conner simply, the steel in his voice evident to everyone around him.
"Well, let's look on the bright side," remarked Z as she swept her eyes around, "it couldn't get any worse."
Almost audibly the Dino Thunder team let out a series of quiet groans. If they'd learned anything from Dr O, Kim, Jason and the other former rangers, it was that it always *could* get worse…
Suddenly three of Emperor Grumm's monsters appeared on the field.
"There's our enemy comrades," announced one of the three as they sized up the two sets of ranger teams.
"Guys I think it just got worse," announced Jack as they soon found themselves virtually surrounded by a small army of bad guys.
Once the battle had ended the two ranger teams made their way back to the school, the SPD team having their ship waiting for them there. As if pulled by gravity the two teams split, leaving the Dino Thunder team staring across a few feet at the SPD team.
"Well guys, time to say goodbye," Jack commented.
"So soon?" Conner questioned, looking to his team mates in disbelief.
"Yeah, what's the rush? I mean you're time travelers right? No matter how long you stay you can still get back at the same time," Kira added, wanting more time to visit with these future rangers.
They'd had the chance to meet the past rangers, like Kim, Jason, Adam, Billy and Zack, now…
"Not true. The wormhole is closing. We gotta go," said Z, regret showing on her face.
"I really wish I could stay. I was just born last week and I could meet myself and become my own best friend," commented Bridge, making the others look at him strangely. "Wait, what if I met myself and I didn't like me…"
"We understand, you gotta go," said Trent, glancing around to his team mates. "Thanks guys. This is something I'll always remember."
"Unfortunately we can't let you do that," Sky said suddenly with a regretful tone of voice.
Memories of what the SPD team had said before about wiping memories came back to them and they all paled at the implications.
"You're gonna erase our memories, aren't you?" Kira stated more than asked.
"Yeah, we have to. Knowledge of the future would only change what's meant to be. For better or for worse, it's gotta be like this," Syd said with a sorrowful voice.
"Really? Don't you think we can handle the secret," started Tommy before Commander Cruger moved towards them, some kind of metal object in his hand.
"Say Cheese!" he said, leveling the item towards the Dino Thunder team.
There was a sudden brief flash of light that hit the team… Eyes blinked and heads shook as the Dino Thunder team tried to figure out what was going on… they looked up, still confused and unable to focus their sight.
"School's over. Go home," announced Cruger, his tone brooking no argument as he spoke.
The disorientation allowed for the group to not really comprehend the uniformed group before them or anything other than the nearly direct command that compelled them to obey. The immediately began moving away from them, intent only on doing as they were told – going home.
"Did that dog just talk?" Kira asked as she and Conner moved away from the strange people, Trent shepherding Ethan and Trent behind them.
"Uh, I think so," Conner replied, still confused.
Bridge noted the Dino Thunder team's departure with his own disappointment, "it really doesn't seem fair that they're not going to be able to remember any of this."
"I agree. It is not fair," said Cruger before turning towards his own people, the devise directed towards them, "say cheese."
The flash went off again, this time leaving the SPD team confused.
"Uh, Commander excuse me, I don't mean to sound confused but where are we?" asked Jack as he looked around.
"We're on a mission Jack. Now get in the shuttle and buckle up. We have pre-set coordinates to take us home."
"Sounds good," announced Sky as he immediately turned to the shuttle in question, causing the others to begin to move as well.
The team walked along the high school grounds, eyes darting around in confusion, their focus of getting to the transport paramount even as their questioning minds sought out their location and what was going on.
"Now one last detail," Cruger said as he turned the device on himself. "Cheese."
One last flash engulfed Cruger and he stood there in a stupor for a long moment.
"Are coming Commander?" called Z from near the ship, and Cruger turned to regard her, his mind still reeling.
"Uh, yeah… I think I better," he said before he quickly moved to join the team.
Tommy arrived home with the mother of all headaches.
Right before he'd headed for home, he and the team had been on the school grounds and some… thing had ordered him and the teens away from the school. It wasn't clear in his head what exactly he'd seen and as he'd driven home, the memory had faded even more. As he'd tried to remember what had happened that afternoon the headache had nearly become blinding.
But he knew something had happened, he just didn't know what or how.
Nothing from the afternoon had stuck in his head and it was as if his memories were… scrambled. He leaned his head into his hand and slowly moved to the bathroom to change clothes and get some aspirin for his head. As he picked up the t-shirt and sweats he'd worn earlier that morning for his daily workout he groaned slightly at the movement. Confused he unbuttoned his dress shirt and found bruises up and down his ribcage and along his left hip that he couldn't recall how he got. He was sure they weren't there that morning and he hadn't done anything in his workout to cause them…
Now that he had this physical evidence that something had happened during his missing time he realized that it had to have something to do with the team and more than likely was related to Mesagog or Zeltrax. The fact that he didn't recall any of what had happened to have caused the bruises on his body worried him more than a little. His years as a ranger had given him more than a few experiences where losing one's memory didn't bode well.
He finished changing as he tried to recall what he remembered last. He distinctly remembered the morning, having classes until around noon… then there was a big blank in his memories just past lunch before he recalled driving home from school. Having been under the influence of evil spells that had caused him to lose himself, he wondered if Mesagog might have affected him like that again, but since he seemed himself now, just with some… missing time he dismissed it. Still, there were other possible, yet equally unappealing answers but with the headache pushing at his frontal lobe like a freight train he decided that it was a mystery he wasn't going to be able to answer on his own.
Taking a few aspirin from the medicine cabinet and swallowing them dry he slowly moved to the couch and fumbled for the phone. Maybe calling Kim would help him calm what was now starting to become panic in his chest as he hit the redial and waited as the phone on the other end rang once then twice before it picked up.
"Hey Kim," he began simply, the tension in his voice seeping through without his knowledge or control…
"Tommy," she replied but then she recognized the distressed sound of his voice and then asked concerned, "what's going on? You sound… run down. The kids working you too hard?"
He paused for a moment, wondering how to start what was a confusing conversation for him let alone trying to explain it to her 3,000 miles away.
"No, no, nothing like that. The kids are fine… I was… I just…"
"Tommy, are you okay?"
"I can't remember what I did this afternoon Kim."
His stark admission rattled her, and Kim sat up straighter on her own couch in her apartment in Boston. She could hear the vulnerability and fear in his voice and felt the spike of concern in her chest increase.
"What do you mean Tommy? Please tell me you are joking about that horrible memory of yours…"
"I wish that was the case Kim," he replied as he leaned his head into his free hand even as he eased the phone from his ear a bit, wincing a little at the pain still pounding in his head. "I can't remember anything past lunch today. I've got a splitting headache and bruises on my body I can't account for and I'm… I'm a bit anxious that maybe someone did something to me…"
Old memories of the green ranger hit Kim again with a sudden sinister weight. When Trent had been evil they'd talked about the same issues; how Tommy hated being controlled and felt the guilt for everything he'd done when under Rita's spell. He'd also discussed with her for what probably was the first time how he'd been brainwashed by Prince Gasket while she'd been… away from the team and how that second incident had reinforced his fear of being used by their foes.
"Tommy, you would know if you'd been hit by an evil spell or been forced to do something you didn't want to that there's be some kind of… residue…" Kim reminded him, thinking of the nightmares that had followed his evil green ranger days. "Are you sure that maybe it wasn't just a battle and you hit your head? You could have a concussion based on the headache you say you have and lost some short term memories… "
"Do you really think that with my luck that it would be something that simple?"
"You know it's not like that…"
"Really? I mean I've been controlled by Rita, and Prince Gasket…" Tommy stated, almost heatedly before he trailed off.
"And I seem to remember myself being turned evil too," Kim reminded him, thoughts of Maligore swimming through her memory.
"I know... but somehow I always seem to be the focus of the big bad Kim… maybe Mesogog was trying to turn me but failed. And if so, who's to say he couldn't succeed if he tries again…"
"Don't," stated Kim authoritatively, bringing him up short. "You have been forced to be evil twice and both times the team found a way to save you. You have Trent on your team now that was evil longer than you ever were and is going to be okay. Even if Mesogog found *some* way to turn you, the team, Hayley… *I* would get you back."
At her determined words Tommy felt his heart constrict painfully. She was right… if something happened the team would find a way to help him; they had before when he'd been encased in amber. And he didn't put it past Kim to show up and do everything in her power to bring him back to himself. And if he had to be honest, she was doing that just now by talking to him like this. With a shaky sigh he ran his hand over his face and up into his hairline. The way this woman knew and cared for him would never stop amazing him.
"So I just have to expect to…"
"Be who you are… the greatest ranger of all time and know that you can take whatever they throw at you with the knowledge that not only will you always win, but that you have people who will always be here for you."
"Anytime. Tommy, it's a bit late here and I have early practice… I need to crash for the night."
"Okay, get some sleep. I love you Beautiful."
"Love you too handsome. Be safe."
With that Tommy hung up his end of the line and stood, moving back to the kitchen to get some ice for his bruised side and hoped that in the future he would always remember where all his bruises came from.
So, we're back to the AaR universe! I admit that I was sad to have to do this story without Kim being a ranger (I had so wanted to add in Kim coming to help Bridge and making a Green/Pink ranger joke) but with Zeltrax in the storyline (since he's MIA until the end of AaR) it wasn't in the cards.
Now to review other AaR story options…I realized I had an unfinished Interlude from between AaR and D&H – I may have to look at that ;-) Plus I am thinking about some more AaR/SPD crossovers… So keep an eye out for more one-shots!
Thanks for reading - Ms. J.