ibDisclaimer:/b All persons, places and things in this story (with the exception of Cedar) are the property of
Saban. "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" is the property of Big Idea Productions, and can be
found under "Silly Songs With Larry" at http://www.veggietales.net in .wav or .rm format for your
bAuthor's Note:/b Credit must be given where credit is due, and so I must sincerely thank Katrina G.
MacLean. I have given Cedar a life, a voice, and a personality, but it was she who gave her a form and
a name. br
bTime Frame Reference:/b Late PRT, after the power exchange./I
p The first thing that went through Cedar's sleepy mind was that she was breathing again. It had
been a while since she had done that, and it felt rather strange to her to have air moving in and out of
her lungs like that. Still, it did cause her fuzzy brain to clear up a little and start working again, and she
began to puzzle over where she was and what had happened.
p She felt so stiff! She must have been sleeping for a very long time. And why had she fallen
asleep standing up? This was a mystery, to be sure, but Cedar still felt drowsily certain that she could
figure it out as soon as she woke up completely and started moving again. She slowly stretched her
wings, feeling as if they had turned to stone, they were so stiff and heavy. She gave them a few
experimental flaps, which helped some, but they still felt numb and clumsy, as if they, too, had fallen
asleep. With her eyes still closed - she didn't want to try opening them yet, dry and sleepy as they felt -
she worked the stiffness out of the rest of her muscles with dancelike bends and stretches and twists.
That made her feel much better. Now, if she could just figure out where she was . . .
P She opened her eyes, blinking at the unexpected brightness, and took in the view of a brilliantly
sunny day, a vivid blue sky, and a circle of verdant trees. She seemed to be in a park of some sort.
Then, becoming aware of someone's gaze pricking at her back, she turned and saw two people, human
people. They were staring at her, eyes wide, jaws agape, fingers pointing in mute exclamations of
P "Who are you?" Ceader asked.
p That broke the spell of shock on the two humans, and they screamed for all they were worth.
Surprised, Cedar let out a shriek of her own. That only made the two humans scream louder, if that
was possible, and they took off running at full throttle into the trees. Cedar tore away in the other
direction, pumping her wings to achieve greater speed. Half-running, half-flying, she looked around
desperately for anything familiar, but everything was strange to her, even down to the kinds of plants
that grew here. She was lost, lost on an alien world with people who screamed at her, and she didn't
know how she had gotten there or how to get home. A wave of hopeless terror overtook her, and she
keened mournfully as she hurried onward, thinking only of running and running as far as she could . . .
p Ashley paused for a moment to close her eyes and turn her face to the sun, feeling its gentle
rays warming her skin. It was such a beautiful day, exemplary even for sunny Angel Grove, and she
was planning on enjoying it to the fullest. After all, there was no point in wasting a perfectly good
Saturday. Later, she would join the rest of her fellow Rangers at the Youth Center for lunch, but for
now, she was happy just strolling alone in the park, enjoying the perfect weather and the serenity of
nature . . .
p That serenity was suddenly shattered as Ashley's attention was caught by a sound. Someone
was screaming in mortal terror. Ashley just rolled her eyes heavenward in mild annoyance. She
recognized those screams, and she knew that the people responsible for them found reasons to scream
like that on a near-daily basis.
P Moments later, Bulk and Skull came charging out of the woods, evidently running for their lives.
Their appearance was so sudden that Ashley couldn't get out of the way fast enough to avoid being
bowled over. All three of the teens went tumbling to the ground in an ungainly knot of knees and
elbows. There was a scramble as the three of them tried to disentangle themselves.
p "You guys! Why don't you watch where you're going?" asked Ashley, with understandable
irritation. Having someone as large as Bulk fall unexpectedly on top of her was not the most
comfortable thing in the world.
p "Ashley, you've got to get out of here!" said Bulk urgently. "Skull and I saw a monster on the
p "Yeah!" Skull chimed in. "It had these wings and claws and glowing eyes! Grr!" He slashed at
the air as an illustration.
p At the mention of a monster, Ashley's hand moved reflexively toward her pocket, where her
Turbo morphing key was kept safely hidden. She hadn't been carrying it very long, and she was still
hypersensitive to its presence. Furthermore, Bulk and Skull were the two most monster-prone civillians
she knew. If there really was a monster, chances were good that they'd find it. On the other hand, she
reminded herself, they also tended to blow things way out of proportion. It was possible that they'd
seen something perfectly harmless and misinterpreted it. Still, they must have seen SOMETHING to
make them that frightened.
p "Thanks for warning me," she said.
p Bulk and Skull nodded in acknowledgment, and then continued with their running and
screaming. Ashley watched them go and shrugged. She would never figure those two out.
p Even as she was contemplating that thought, she suddenly heard another sound. It was like a
shriek or a wail, something no human ever could have made. It was so unearthly, and so lost and
frightened that it gave her chills. With one hand touching her key, ready to morph at a moment's notice,
Ashley ran into the woods.
p She hadn't gone far when she came to a small clearing, a sort of rest stop along the nature trail.
The last time Ashley had been there, a statue had been standing on a pedestal nearby, a carving made
from a cedar log depicting a rather abstract bird-creature. Now it was gone. Where was it? Ashley
didn't have long to think about this, however, before a chorus of female shrieks and another one of
those heartrending wails reached her ears, drawing her onward in pursuit.
p She hadn't gone far before she was nearly knocked off of the pathway by a golden-pink
isomething/i that came flying - literally! - down the path and went diving under a large clump of
dense bushes. Up ahead, Ashley caught a glimpse of a group of picnicking girls running away in the
opposite direction. They didn't seem to be hurt, only startled, so Ashley turned her attention to the
creature hiding in the shrubbery. Moving carefully, so as not to startle it, she pushed away the foliage to
get a look at it.
p The creature wasn't exactly at Bulk and Skull had described it, but that was to be expected. It
was hard to see exactly what it looked like, as it was huddled in a tight bundle to hide itself, but its
general appearance was reasonably clear. It did indeed have wings, dainty ones with feathers patterned
in a the muted pink and gold colors of cedar wood, and it was trying to use these to cover itself. It also
had claws, of a sort, but they were only the ordinary kind that you might expect to find on, say, a
sparrow's foot. Its eyes weren't glowing, though. They were round, amber-colored, and frightened.
The poor creature was shivering with terror and making tiny chirping noises, like sobs.
p "Shh, don't be scared," said Ashley soothingly.
P The creature replied with a rapid set of chirps and trills. Ashley listened in confusion. She
couldn't understand a thing the creature said, but she got the distinct impression that it was talking to
her, not just making noise. She almost thought she could pick out a word or two.
p "Slow down," she said carefully, thinking that if she was having a hard time understanding it, it
probably wouldn't have an easy time with her speech, either. "Say that again more slowly, so I can
p The creature turned its head around slowly to gaze at her with a look of amazement on its
feathered face, and Ashley wondered if it had understood her. Then, incredibly, it answered her, slowly
and deliberately. Its voice was heavily accented, but its meaning was clear.
p "Pleece, help me. I am lost. I am frrrightened. Pleece don't hurrrt me. I just vant to go home."
p "Don't worry. Nobody's going to hurt you," Ashley assured the whatever-it-was. "Can you
come out where I can see you?"
P "Don't scrrream," said the thing.
p "I won't, I promise," Ashley replied.
p The bush rustled, and the creature crawled out into view. It wasn't quite what Ashley had
expected. From the glimpses she'd gotten of it, she had formed a mental image of a much-larger-than-
average bird. That, however, was only part of the reality. Though it did have a pair of wings instead of
arms and the head and feet of a bird, the rest of it was close to being human. It wore no clothing, but it
didn't really need it. It had the basic shape of a female human being, but its form was as smooth and
featureless as a child's Barbie doll . . . or, perhaps, an abstract sculpture. At any rate, when she folded
one wing in front of herself, as she was doing now, her front was effectively shielded, while her back
was covered by a cascade of thin, golden-pink feathers that began as a crest on the top of her head and
fell almost to her knees. Its only other adornment was a gold necklace with an amber pendant. A
breeze came up, stirring her feathers and carrying to Ashley a sweet scent of cedar wood. The
bird-thing stood uncertainly before Ashley, waiting to see what she would do.
p "What . . . who are you?" asked Ashley.
P "I am called Cedar. I am an Aerial. I am lost," the bird-woman chirped. "Pleece, can you help
P "I can sure try. My name's Ashley," she said to the creature.
P "Pleeced to meet you," Cedar replied. She held out the longest pinfeather of one wing,
evidently expecting to shake "hands." Ashley bewilderedly did so. Then she touched a button on her
communicator and sent out a call to her friends. T.J. immediately answered.
p "What's up, Ashley?" he asked.
P "Get the others together and meet me in the Power Chamber in about an hour," she replied.
"I've found a . . . something kind of weird in the park."
p "Why do we have to wait an hour?" T.J. asked. "Why can't we just go now?"
P Ashley took another look at Cedar, who was eyeing the communicator with curiosity.
P "I think I need to get it some clothes first," she replied.
p Ordinarily, Ashley would have walked the short distance between her home and the park.
However, there was no way she could bring her fine-feathered friend downtown without attracting
some unwelcome attention. Even with proper clothing, Cedar was going to turn some heads, and a
Ranger had to avoid drawing attention to herself. Given the options, Ashley decided that traveling via
teleportation might be the best idea. Cedar was impressed.
p "Ashley fly fast!" she chirped. "Good trick, that."
p "Miracle of modern technology," Ashley agreed. She hadn't meant much by the remark, just a
bit of idle chat, but Cedar nodded as if something had just been explained to her.
p Ashley opened her front door and stepped inside, cautioning Cedar to stay out of sight until it
had been determined that the coast was clear.
P "Hello?" Ashley called. "I'm home! Is anyone here?"
P Evidently, her father had not come home from work, and a brief exploration uncovered a note
on the kitchen table saying that her mother had gone shopping and wouldn't be back until later that
afternoon. Thanking her lucky stars (Dune Stars?), she brought Cedar inside and quickly shut the door.
P In her room, Ashley began digging through her closet, hoping to find something that her avian
friend could wear. She wasn't hoping for much - Cedar was several inches shorter and a bit thinner
than herself - but her luck was still holding out. Tucked out of the way was a shelf full of carefully folded
garments, faded and outgrown, that were waiting patiently for someone to have the time or inclination to
organize a yard sale. Ashley picked through these remnants and found a pale yellow sundress that
looked like it would fit Cedar fairly well. By a stroke of good fortune, it was sleeveless, making it much
easier to maneuver it over Cedar's wings. Also, the color matched the patterns of dusty gold and soft
rose in her feathers. The bird admired her reflection in Ashley's full-length mirror.
P "Cedar look like prrrincess!" she trilled delightedly.
P "Very nice," Ashley agreed, secretly relieved. She had been a bit worried that perhaps this
creature preferred to do without clothing, but it seemed that Cedar had been almost as uncomfortable
in the situation as a human would have been. Watching the bird pose and preen, it also struck her that
Cedar was not a woman at all, but a girl, perhaps only a little older than Justin.
P "Ve going to see your frrriends now, Ashley?" she chirped at last.
P "That's right," said Ashley. "We're going to try to help you get home."
P "Home," Cedar repeated wistfully. "Hope Mama and Papa are all rrright."
P *iPoor kid,/i* thought Ashley. "Don't worry, Cedar. Everything will be okay, you'll see. Hang
on. We're going to fly again."
P In two bursts of yellow light, one with pink overtones, Ashley and Cedar teleported to the
p The rest of the Rangers were already present and waiting when Ashley arrived. They were a bit
surprised at seeing Cedar, but not as surprised as Cedar herself was at seeing the Power Chamber.
She chirped rapid-fire exclamations at Ashley, but in her excitement, she slipped back into the mode of
speech that was most natural for her, and Ashley couldn't make out a word of it. The other Rangers
p "What is that?" asked T.J.
p "She's an Aerial," Ashley replied. "She says she needs our help."
p "She says?" Carlos repeated. "Is that thing like a bird, or is it, you know, intelligent?"
p "Course bird intelligent. How 'bout you?" Ceadar replied.
p Cassie laughed. "Not only is she intelligent, she's got an attitude! Does she have a name?"
P "Bird name Cedar Vind," Cedar replied.
p "Vind?" T.J. repeated dubiously.
P "No!" chirped Cedar. "Vind, Vind!" She fanned her wings, stirring a breeze that tossed the
P "Oh, iwind/i," said T.J. in understanding. "Why didn't you say so?"
p "Did say so. Human not know how to listen. Bird want to go home vere people pay 'tention."
The words were scolding, but her eyes danced, and her beak was half-open in a bird grin. Ashley
found herself admiring the plucky avian. Here she was, miles from home and family, depending on
strangers whose language she barely knew, and she could make jokes about it!
p "Yo, yo, yo!" a voice interjected, cutting into Ashley's thoughts. "I musta been hearin' things,
'cause I though a heard ya say your new friend here is an Aerial."
p "That's what she says she is," Ashley replied. "Is that a problem?"
P "It ain't possible!" said Alpha. "The Aerials are . . ." He suddenly noticed the frightened look in
Cedar's eyes and decided that this wasn't a good time to be tactless. "Do ya mind if we talk this out
p He pulled Ashley aside, out of earshot from the rest of the group. She followed with a shrug of
P "Now, what were you going to say?" she asked.
P "I was gonna say that she can't be an Aerial. Aerials are extinct. They've been extinct for over
ten thousand years! They were all killed off in the last war, and the planet was torn apart. There's no
way any of 'em coulda survived."
P "Then how do you explain her?" asked Ashley, waving a hand in Cedar's direction.
P Alpha approximated a shrug. "Either she ain't what she says she is, or somethin' seriously
strange is goin' on."
P "Hey! What are you two whispering about over there?" Justin called.
p "Just trying to figure something out," Ashley said, returning to her friends. "Cedar, could we ask
you some questions?"
P "Sure, ask," said Cedar agreeably.
p "Where did you come from?" asked Alpha.
P "From Tien," answered Cedar. "Lived there with Mama and Papa."
P "Well, she's got the planet right, anyway," Alpha said. "All right. If you're from Tien, how'd
you get here?"
P Cedar shrugged. "Don't know. Can't remember. There vas . . . magic, made bird sleep. Vhen
voke up, vas here. Can't remember morrre."
P "Well, I guess magic is an explanation for almost anything," said Justin. "What are we going to
P "Figure out how she got here, and then try to send her back," Alpha replied. "What else can we
do with her?"
P "Pleece, hurrry," Cedar trilled. "I am vorried about my parrrents."
P "We'll do everything we can," Ashley promised. "In the meantime, I'll look after you."
P Cedar managed a small smile. "Thank you."
P "I think I'll stay here and help Alpha for a while," Justin offered. "There's got to be something
can explain all of this."
P "Ashley?" said Cedar plaintively. "I'm hungry."
P Ashley sighed. "All right. I'll take you home and see if we can find you something to eat."
p Sometime later, after Cedar had been given a lunch of sorts, consisting of an apple and two
slices of bread, Ashley discovered that birds had rather short attention spans. Cedar fluttered around
the house, looking curiously at everything in the house, analyzing each object with rapt attention for a
moment or two and then flitting away to whatever else caught her eye. Ashley tagged along behind,
showing her how the radio worked, protecting fragile lamps and small objects from the sweeps of her
wings, and rescuing her from her father's exercise equipment.
p "It's too bad I can't take you outside," said Ashley. "This house wasn't meant for people with
wings, but people would throw fits if they saw you."
P Cedar cocked her head in an expression of avian puzzlement. "Vould it be better if I vas
human, like you?"
P "Well, yeah," said Ashley. "No offense, but the people here are a little leery of aliens."
P "Vy you not say so in first place?" Cedar replied. She shook her head, sending her long crest-
feathers swirling around her face, and flapped her wings. Ashley wasn't exactly sure how it happened,
but somehow, the long primaries of her wings dwindled into long, graceful fingers, and the rest of her
feathers shrank away to reveal human arms. Her short beak receded into her face, becoming a mouth
and a nose. Her round bird's eyes widened into oval human ones, and her crest-feathers became a
waterfall of strawberry-blonde human hair. The bird's claws on her feet became a set of ordinary toes.
She grinned at Ashley, enjoying the human's surprise.
P "What you think now, Ashley?" she asked. Her accent was no longer quite so pronounced.
Perhaps much of how she had been speaking was due to the shape of her beak. Ashley revised her
estimate of the bird's age - in human form, she looked about fifteen.
p "How did you do that?" Ashley replied.
P "All Aerials can do this. It is what we are. Sometimes we are birds, sometimes we are humans,
and sometimes we are both. Is best to be both. Can fly or walk that way. Can speak bird or human
P "I see," said Ashley. "Well, if you'd like me to show you the town, I think we'd better find you
p "Shoes? What shoes?" asked Cedar curiously.
P "For your feet. You wouldn't want to walk around on the pavement barefoot, would you?"
P "Pavement? Don't know that word."
p "Just trust me on this one, okay?"
p Back to the closet they went, and Ashley made another excavation. None of her own shoes
looked right on Cedar's tiny feet, but she finally managed to find a pair of sandals that could be
adjusted to halfway suit her. Cedar was quite impressed with them. They had heels on them that made
her taller, and she clip-clopped around in them proudly, giggling when they wobbled because of the
p They went out. Cedar stared at everything, chattering a mile a minute. She had never seen a city
like this, with such huge buildings and people in such strange clothes, nor had she ever encountered an
automobile before. She pelted Ashley with questions and exclamations until the Ranger finally shushed
her. Her excited voice with its odd accent was attracting the attention of most of the people in the
immediate vicinity, and Ashley wanted to keep a low profile if at all possible, though that looked as if it
might be hard to do with Cedar around. Not only did her speech carry the allure of something foreign,
she was also uncommonly pretty. Furthermore, she wanted to look at everything, and Ashley had her
hands full trying to keep the exuberant Cedar from trying to run out into the street.
P One of the people whose eye was caught by this odd spectacle was Skull. As usual, he was
trailing along behind his friend Bulk like the tail of a kite. Bulk knew exactly where he was going, and
was intent on getting there as soon as possible, and he kept his mind on whatever high-flying plans his
busy mind was cooking up, paying little attention to what was going on around him. Skull, on the other
hand, drifted along aimlessly, letting his gaze and his mind wander. It was thus that he was the first of
the pair to catch sight of Cedar. He saw her coming in the other direction on the other side of the street.
He continued following her with his eyes until she had passed him, and then he continued turning around
and watching her until he was walking backwards. He walked straight into a telephone pole and fell
down, much to the amusement of the onlookers. Bulk, noticing that he had lost his counterpart, turned
around to see what had happened.
P "Skull, what are you doing down there?" he asked, as his lanky friend tried clumsily to climb to
P Skull tried his best to blurt out an explanation, even though he hadn't quite decided how it had
happened himself. "I was just watching that girl, and . . ."
p "Huh? What girl?" Bulk looked around, following Skull's pointing finger. What he saw was a
pretty young lady with astonishing golden-red hair, wearing a faded yellow sundress and oversized
sandals. Ashley was following her, doing her best to keep her on the sidewalk.
P "Wonder who she is," said Skull, watching the two of them as they disappeared into the crowd.
p "Hmm," said Bulk thoughtfully. "Maybe we should investigate!" As a former detective and
junior police officer, he considered it his duty and privilege to know everything about everyone.
p "Aw, she's probably just a . . . country cousin, visiting the big city," Skull suggested.
p "Maybe, but maybe not," said Bulk, with significant emphasis. He was already busy dreaming
up elaborate reasons why this girl wasn't what she seemed to be. "She obviously doesn't have any
money. It could be she's a thief, pretending to be Ashley's friend, and once she's earned her trust,
she'll rob her blind!"
P "Wow," said Skull. "I never thought of that."
P "That's why I'm in charge here," Bulk replied. "Or - here's an idea! Did you see how she was
staring at everything? Maybe she's a spy, infiltrating herself into our society to steal secrets for her
P "Aw, I don't know, Bulkie," said Skull. "Isn't she a little young to be a spy?"
P "Don't you know anything? They hire people like that for spying jobs. Who would ever suspect
an innocent-looking girl like that?" Bulk had already convinced himself that his fantasy was reality, and
nothing his counterpart could say or do would convince him otherwise.
P "Could be," Skull admitted. "But why would anyone want to spy on Ashley?"
P "She probably needs her to be a scapegoat," said Bulk. "That way, if anyone finds out what
she's doing, she'll have someone to put the blame on."
P Skull shook his head. "I still don't know."
P "Of course you don't know, bonehead. That's my job. And I say, we've got an investigation
that needs us," Bulk replied. "Come on!"
P Grabbing his still-confused accomplice by one arm, Bulk began hurrying along the sidewalk,
pursuing Ashley and her friend.
P After a short tour of Angel Grove, Ashley was ready for a rest and a cool drink. Since she had
already made arrangements to meet her friends for lunch at the Juice Bar, she convinced Cedar to
follow her to the Youth Center. As she expected, the other Rangers were sitting around their favorite
table, enjoying their sandwiches and milkshakes. They were surprised to see Ashley out and about, and
were even more surprised when they got a look at her companion.
p "Cedar, is that you?" asked Cassie.
p "Yah, is me!" said Cedar cheerfully. "Ashley showed me city. Is wonderful!"
P "She was ivery/i enthusiastic," said Ashley. "I'm ready for a break."
P Cedar spotted the other Rangers's meals and looked at them longingly. She turned her pleading
eyes to her escort. "Ashley, I'm hungry."
P "Again?" Ashley repeated. "But I just fed you!"
P "Well, I've been doing some research," said Justin. "The Aerials are half bird, and birds have
metabolisms that are a ilot/i faster than humans. You'd better keep some snacks handy for her."
P "Okay, all right," said Ashley resignedly. "Hey, Lt. Stone! I need one vegetarian sub for me,
and one for my friend."
P "Coming right up!" agreed the friendly proprietor.
P Moments later, drinks and sandwiches were served, and Cedar joined her friends in taking their
meal. Instead of actually picking up the sandwich and biting it, as they did, she tore off little pieces and
ate it bit by bit: a bite of bread, a bite of tomato, a bite of lettuce, and occasionally stopping to lick her
fingers clean in quick, preening movements.
P "That's a pretty necklace," Cassie said to her.
P "Hm?" Cedar looked down at the large amber drop that hung at her throat. There actually
seemed to be another crystal inside the first, something that seemed to glitter with an inner fire. "Why
do I have this? This is not mine. It belongs to my father."
p "What is it?" asked Carlos. "Is it important?"
P "Is very important," Cedar answered gravely. "Is called the Crystal of All Times. My father is a
great wizard. He uses it to do mighty magic. I am not supposed to touch it. I do not know why I have it
now. The memory is not there."
p "Hmm," said T.J. thoughtfully. "Could it have something to do with how you got here?"
P "It could," answered Cedar, after a moment of consideration. "One of its powers is to carry the
user across time and space. Also does shape-changes and fire-magic. I saw my father do that, once.
Cast a spell on a monster and turned it ash. Vooosh!" She made and explosive gesture with her hands,
narrowly missing upsetting Justin's soda cup.
P Suddenly, there was a clamor in the hall, and Bulk and Skull made their entrance. Bulk
sauntered along in the way that meant he was up to no good and trying to look casual about it, and
Skull ambled along behind in a way that suggested that he still had no idea what was going on.
P "Better look out. Here comes trouble," Cassie advised.
p "What you mean?" asked Cedar. "What they going to do?"
P "Who knows?" Ashley replied.
P They got their answer as Bulk strolled up to their table.
p "Hi, Ashley," he said. " Uh . . .who's your new friend?"
P "Ummm . . . this is Cedar," Ashley replied. "She's a, um, foreign exchange student. From . . .
Norway." She hoped that would sound plausible enough. She doubted that Bulk even knew where
P "Oh, I see," he said, as if something very important had just come clear in his mind. "Well,
Cedar, I hope you have fun in the U.S." He waved goodbye and hurried away, beckoning for his
cohort to follow and not really noticing when he didn't.
p Freed momentarily from Bulk's observation, Skull went and tried to strike up a conversation
P "Uh, hi," he said.
p "Hallo," said Cedar. "How are you?"
P "Fine, I guess," answered Skull. "How do you like the United States?"
p Cedar looked at Ashley for information, and Ashley gave her a significant nod.
P "Is very nice," Cedar replied. "Not like home. Buildings here are much bigger."
P "Glad you like it," said Skull. "Hey, if you aren't doing anything later-"
P "Uh, Skull," Ashley interjected, "Cedar's really not going to have any time for that. She's not
staying here very long."
P "Oh," said Skull, looking crestfallen. "Well, see ya 'round, then. I gotta go catch up to Bulk."
P "Good bye," Cedar said, and watched him reluctantly leave the Youth Center.
P "Why you make him leave?" Cedar asked Ashley. "He was nice. Who were they?"
P "That was Bulk and Skull," said T.J. "They're not bad guys, but they get into a lot of trouble."
P "Skull," Cedar repeated. "He is warrior, then?"
P Cassie giggled, trying to imagine Skull as an armored warrior, tripping over his own feet and
running from the monsters in terror. "No. That's not even his real name. His real name is Eugene
Skullovitch, and he just shortened it to Skull."
P "Oh," said Cedar. "So he wants to be warrior and isn't."
p T.J. nodded. "I guess that would work."
P Cedar regarded the remains of her sandwich. Her picking and pecking had reduced it to half its
size. "Done with meal. Want no more."
P "I thought you were hungry," said Ashley.
P "I was. Now I'm not," Cedar replied.
P "You didn't eat much," Carlos commented.
P Justin shrugged. "Well, she is a bird. You've got to expect her to eat like one."
p "At home, Mama always left out bread and fruit to eat when we were hungry," said Cedar. She
sighed. "Home . . ."
p "We are the pi-i-rates who don't do anything! We just stay at hooooome and lie arouuuund!
And if you a-ask uuuuuus to do anythiiiiiiing, we'll just te-ell youuuuuu . . . we don't do anything!"
p Elgar was in a good mood. Loudly and off key, he raised his voice in a pirate's song.
P "And I've never been to Moscow and I've never been to Denver, and I've never buried
treasure in St. Louis or St. Paul, and I've never been to Greenland and I've never been to Tampa and
I've never been to Boston in the fall! 'Cause we're the pi-i-rates who don't do anythiiiiing . . ."
p "Would you shut up?" shouted Divatox. She was staring intently through her periscope,
watching the Rangers as they ate their lunch. "I can't hear what they're saying!"
P "But Antie Di, I like this song!" Elgar protested.
P "Well, if you don't stop it right now, I'll have you singing to a different tune!" Divatox replied.
She leveled her nephew a warning glare.
P "Okay, okay, I'll shut up," said Elgar. "Totally quiet, not gonna say another word, lips are
sealed, completely silent, absolutely-"
P "QUIET!" screamed the pirate queen. "Where do you ilearn/i nonsense like that, anyway?"
p "The Intergalactic Association for Annoying Monsters. I'm a card-carrying member." Elgar
held up a membership card for his aunt's inspection.
P Divatox sighed. "It figures. Now, go away and stay away!"
p "All righty!" Elgar tossed off a snappy salute and marched away, singing, "And I never hoist the
mainsail and I never swab the poop deck and I never veer to starboard, 'cause I never sail at all, and
I've never . . ." His annoying voice faded as he drifted down the hall.
P Muttering under her breath, Divatox returned to her spying, just in time to hear Cedar
describing the powers of the magical amulet she wore.
P "Hmm!" said Divatox. "A rare jewel with magical powers . . . that's just my style!I think it's
time for a little armed robbery. Elgar!"
P She waited, but Elgar did not appear. She called again, but with the same results. Finally, she
screamed loud enough to make the chandeliers rattle, "iELGAR, GET IN HERE NOW!/I"
P Elgar came dashing into the room as if he'd been stung by a bee.
P "Elgar, why didn't you come when I called?" Divatox demanded.
p "You told me to go away and stay away," answered Elgar with a shrug.
p "Well, I didn't mean for you to . . . oh, never mind," said Divatox with a shrug - no point in
trying to explain anything to Elgar. "Look here and tell me what you see."
p "A periscope?"
p "No, you dingbat! Look ithrough/I the periscope!"
p Elgar obediently peered through the green lens. "Looks like the Rangers have got a new friend.
Hey, she's kinda cute!"
p "Do you see the necklace she's wearing?"
P "Yeah. It's got some kind of funny orange rock on it."
P "That, for your information, is the Crystal of All Times," Divatox replied, "and I want you to get
it for me."
P "Uh . . . how am I supposed to do that?" asked Elgar. "No way I can get near her with all
those Rangers around."
P "Distract them! Take some Pirhanatrons with you," said Divatox. "It shouldn't be that hard to
get the necklace away from her. Even iyou/i ought to be able to do it."
P "You got it, Antie Diva," Elgar replied. He saluted again and marched away, singing, "And I've
never kissed a chipmunk and I've never plucked a rooster and I've never thrown my mashed potatoes
up against the wall . . ."
p Divatox stared at the ceiling and counted to ten.
p It was difficult to decide exactly what would be the most interesting thing to show and alien
tourist visiting Angel Grove, but after considering their options, the Rangers decided that Angel's Bluff
would be a good bet. Standing at the top of the cliffs on a clear day, you could see all the way to the
ocean, miles distant. Looking in another direction, the sun made the glass and metal of the city shine like
a huge diamond resting casually in the sand and grass. The Rangers thought the altitude might please
their avian guest, and they were not disappointed.
p "How beautiful!" she exclaimed. "Is very much like home. Are cliffs there like these where you
can jump off and glide for miles without moving a feather."
p "I wouldn't recommend trying that here," said T.J. "People wouldn't know iwhat/i to make of
you. They'd have the Air Force and the Wildlife Preservation Society and the UFO watchers out here."
p "Would be fun to fly," said Cedar. "Haven't in long time. Bird meant to fly."
p "Maybe later, when it's dark," Ashley suggested. She stopped to consider the implications of
that idea. How long would Cedar be staying here? Another few hours? Overnight? A few days? A
week? Or . . . what if she never got home?
p If the Rangers had been looking out behind them instead of admiring the view in front of them,
they would have been witness to a rather interesting spectacle. Two bushes, one large and one
somewhat smaller, were making their way doggedly across the grassy plains that topped the bluffs.
Every now and then, they would pause, as if to survey the terrain, and then they would press on. A
closer look would have revealed that they were not bushes at all, but Bulk and Skull dressed in fake
leaves and camouflage gear, carrying field glasses - but any native of Angel Grove could have guessed
p "Why are we doing this?" asked Skull, swatting at a buzzing beetle that was trying to decide if
his foliage was real or not.
p "Somebody has to keep an eye on the spy," Bulk replied. "This is the perfect place for her to
make a move - no people for miles around. She could do anything she wanted to and get away with it if
we weren't here keeping watch."
p "Bulk, I really don't think Cedar's a spy," said Skull. "I talked to her a little while. She seemed
pretty nice to me."
p "That's her job," Bulk replied. "How would she ever find out anything if she couldn't get
anyone to trust her? Now, come on! We've got to get closer so we can hear what they're saying."
p The Rangers didn't see the two bushes approaching. They did, however, see Elgar and the
Pirhanatrons as they appeared out of nowhere.
p "All right, friends and neighbors," said Elgar cheerfully, "I haven't got all day, so just hand over
that crystal thingamajigger and let's get this over with."
p "Can't have it! Mine!" Cedar shrieked defiantly.
p "If you want it, you'll have to come through us!" said T.J.
p "If you insist," Elgar replied. "Go to it, Pirhanatrons!"
p Instantly, the Rangers were surrounded by the copper-green, fishlike creatures who glared at
them with their malevolent golden eyes. However, the team remained calm - the 'trons were nothing
they couldn't handle. Cedar, enraged, transformed herself into a shrieking giant bird and started tearing
at the monsters with her talons and beak or blinding them with her wings until one of the Rangers
arrived to dispatch them. Elgar tried to get near enough to her to snatch the necklace away from her,
only to get his hand jabbed with her sharp beak.
P "Yowch! That smarts!" he exclaimed, hopping around and shaking his injured hand. "You don't
p Bulk and Skull would have been interested to see the performance that was going on, but at
that moment, they were otherwise occupied. The moment Bulk laid eyes on the monsters, he took off
running. Skull also tried to run, but one of his feet got tangled up in his "roots" and he fell flat on his
face. He was instantly pounced on by the Pirhanatrons, who couldn't tell one human from another and
considered them all to be fair game. Skull screamed at the top of his lungs and started desperately
trying to scramble to his feet. Survival instinct took over, and he started throwing his "branches" at the
Pirhanatrons, confusing them enough that he was able to make an escape. Thanking his lucky stars
individually and by name, he ran with all the speed he could muster, hardly caring where he was going,
as long as his feet took him away from the terrible fish-monsters. Unfortunately, his survival instinct did
not tell him that his feet were taking him straight to the edge of the cliff.
p Over the edge he went, his feet continuing to run even though they had run out of earth to run
on. As he realized that he was no longer covering ground, Skull looked around, and then down. He
saw a lot of DOWN directly below him, and the amount was getting smaller by the second. He pumped
his arms and legs desperately, as if he could run on thin air if he tried hard enough, even as the earth
rushed up to meet him.
p "Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!" he screamed.
P Cedar, out of the corner of her eye, saw the unfortunate teen go over the edge. With and
eagle's scream, she swerved in midair and went diving toward him, her wings folded close to her body,
her eyes half closed against the wind, her body seeming to be nothing more than a pink-gold blur.
p Skull, his eyes clenched shut as he awaited the final impact, felt something crash into his
shoulders and felt his body lurch, and his first thought was that he must have hit the ground upside-
down, and he wondered why it didn't hurt. Then he realized that he was still moving, but his vertical
plummet was leveling into a smooth dive. Surprised, he opened his eyes. A very large bird seemed to
have grabbed him and was carrying him through the air. He could feel himself bobbing up and down
with the rhythm of its wingstrokes. Then, surprisingly, he heard the bird speak.
p "Should be careful, human. You don't have vings to fly like bird."
p "You can talk!" Skull exclaimed.
P "Course can talk. Am not stupid."
P With a few more wingbeats, the bird reached the ground and gently deposited her burden.
Then, she, too, landed gracefully on the ground and turned back into a redheaded girl wearing Ashley's
faded yellow dress.
P "Cedar?" asked Skull incredulously.
P "Yah. Is me."
P "You're a bird."
P "Only sometimes," Cedar replied casually. "Better be glad can be bird. You would have made
big mess otherwise."
P "Yeah," said Skull. He still sounded a little shaky, but who could blame him. "You're a bird.
You turned into a bird."
P "Why not?" asked Cedar with a shrug.
P Skull gave her a long, hard stare. "What are you?"
P "I am Aerial. I am what you call an alien, from the planet of Tien. I am lost here," Cedar
P "Oh, an alien," said Skull. "Gotcha. That makes sense."
P "That is good," Cedar replied. "Wouldn't want you to be confused. You are Eugene, yah? We
met at Youth Center?"
P "Uh-huh," Skull replied. Ordinarily, Skull disliked being called by his real name, but he actually
thought he liked the way it sounded when Cedar said it. What ordinarily sounded awkward and nerdy
to him suddenly sounded exotic and sophisticated. It had something to do with her accent, the way she
brushed over the "g": iEuzhene/i.
p "I am Cedar Wind, daughter of Hemlock Wind," Cedar replied. "But you will not tell anyone,
will you? I do not want to get in trouble."
p "I won't tell anyone," Skull promised. "They wouldn't believe me, anyway. Does Ashley know
about this? That you're an alien and not a foreign exchange student, like she said?"
p Cedar thought a bit. Her friends were Power Rangers, and she knew that Rangers did
everything they could to keep their identities secret. It would be just as well if Eugene didn't know they
knew the truth.
P "No," she replied. "Ashley does not know. It will be our secret, okay?"
p "Sure," Skull agreed. He was starting to get comfortable with the idea of Cedar being an alien.
The fact that she had just saved his life probably had something to do with it. So did the fact that she
was the prettiest girl to be nice to him in a long time. "Man, that must be so cool to be able to fly like
p "Is most wonderful thing in world," Cedar agreed. "Is too bad you are human. You don't know
what you missing."
p "I'd like to be able to fly," Skull agreed, "but I'd be too scared. I'm afraid of high places."
P "Why be afraid of high places when you can fly?" asked Cedar. "When you can fly, high places
are best places!"
P Skull couldn't think of a reply for that. There was a moment of silence, and in the silence they
heard voices drifting down from the top of the cliffs.
P "Cedar! Cedar, where did you go? Cedar!"
p "Friends looking for me," said Cedar apologetically. "I should go to them now, before they get
p "Yeah, and I guess I'd better go find Bulk," Skull agreed. "I've gotta think of some way to
convince him you're not a spy or a thief or something."
p "Is that what he thinks? Truly?" asked Cedar in delight. "Is funny! You tell your friend you
capture me, I confess everything. I going back to home, never be spy again. How's that?"
p "Great!" said Skull. "Wish I'd thought of that!"
p "Wish I could be there to see what he does," Cedar replied. "I going to go now, but I will find
you again. Maybe someday I teach you to fly, so you don't have to be 'fraid no more."
P "Wouldn't that be nice," said Skull. "See ya later, Cedar."
p "Bye, Eugene," Cedar replied. Waiting until he was gone out of sight, she quickly shifted back
to bird-form and winged her way up the cliff to her waiting friends.
p "Cedar! There you are!" Carlos exclaimed. "We were starting to worry about you."
p "No problem. All good," said Cedar. "Just got sidetracked by Pirhanatrons . . . how did I
know what they are called?" she added in confusion.
P "Try to remember," Cassie encouraged. "Maybe your memory is coming back."
p "Thinking," said Cedar slowly. "Thinking of . . . great battles. Many Aerials fighting. Remember
father using Crystal to cast spells and burn away monsters. Many monsters fighting on Tien, fighting for
Crystal . . . That's it!"
P "What's it?" asked Justin.
P "Cedar remembers how she got here!" Cedar exclaimed. "There was great war between Good
and Evil, two great generals leading armies, Zordon and Lord Zedd."
p "But that war was ten thousand years ago," said Ashely. "That's what Alpha said."
P "No interrupt! Getting to that," Cedar replied. "My father was great magician, used this Crystal
to do many good things for our people. Great leader, he was. But Lord Zedd, he was jealous of
Father's powers and vowed to destroy Tien if Father would not give him the Crystal of All Times.
Father would not give it up, and so there were many battles. Tien army very strong, but Lord Zedd
have many monsters he send to us. Father is old, and fighting in wars is hard on him. I begin to worry
for my father. I think, if Crystal not on Tien anymore, maybe Zedd won't attack it, and father and
people will be safe. I think this is good idea, so I tiptoe into Father's room and take it away from him.
He has shown me how to use the Crystal for magic, and so I use it to travel far away from Tien. I think
I am going to lead monsters on wild beetle-chase, then come back home and give Crystal back to
father, make monsters think Crystal is lost for good. I am wrong. Monsters find me and follow
everywhere. Finally, I can go no further. I stop on empty planet, use magic to turn myself into tree, so
no one will ever find me. Cedar tree I am for many years."
P "But it would have died a long time ago," Carlos protested. "Even trees don't live ten thousand
P "Know that. Crystal is time-travel magic. Keep me safe, always same age. My spirit live inside
tree. Tree makes seeds, tree dies, spirit live on inside trees. Go on like this for many years."
P Ashley snapped her fingers as an idea struck her. "I just thought of something! There used to be
this statue in the park carved out of a cedar log. It was a statue of a woman with wings and a head like
a bird, but it's gone now. Do you think . . ?"
P "Yes!" Cedar chirped. "Sculptor turned Cedar back into true form, so Cedar woke up. Now
P "But . . . what about Cedar's family?" asked Justin. There was a note of wistfulness in his voice,
and the other Rangers knew he was thinking about his own father, wherever he might be. Like Cedar,
he had been cut off from his family and left to have the Rangers tend to him.
P Ashley sighed. "If what Alpha said is true, they're all gone."
P "Gone," repeated Cedar, looking down at the Crystal. "All gone. After all I did, they still died .
P "Oh, Cedar, it's not your fault," said Cassie. "If you want to blame someone, blame Lord
Zedd. He's the one who did the destroying. You did everything you could to try to stop him."
P "I know," said Cedar. "Please. Leave me here alone a while. I need to . . . think about this a
P The other Rangers nodded respectfully. One by one, they left in silence. Cedar sat down at the
edge of the cliff, her eyes staring far off into the distance while her mind looked into deeper and darker
p Elgar tiptoed carefully and quietly through the subcraft, ducking through the shadows and trying
to stay out of sight until Divatox had time to forget about his mission - and the fact that he had returned
empty-handed. It wouldn't be the first time he had failed miserably on an assignment, but somehow,
that never made her any more accepting of the idea. He was just congratulating himself on giving his
aunt the slip, when a hand suddenly grabbed his collar in an iron grip.
p "Well?" asked Divatox imperiously. "Where's the necklace?"
p "Uh . . . necklace? What necklace?" Elgar replied. "You mean, uh, the one you sent me to get?
I, uh . . . well, y'see . . ."
p "Don't tell me you didn't get it."
p "Okay, I won't," said Elgar. "You guessed, anyway."
p "Oh, why do I even bother?" Divatox relinquished her nephew with a shove that nearly sent him
sprawling. "Get out of here before I decide to be angry at you."
p "Okie-dokie," Elgar agreed. No longer finding it necessary to hide, he ambled down the hall,
singing, "And I've never licked a sparkplug and I've never sniffed a stinkbug and I've never . . ."
P "Argh!" muttered Divatox. She turned around and marched off in the other direction, humming
to herself. Suddenly, the horrible thought dawned on her: she had caught Elgar's song.
p "Elgar, I'm going to get you for this!"
P The Rangers were sitting around on Ashley's front porch, watching the sun head for the
westward edge of the sky and just chatting about things - school and the homework they should have
been doing and weren't - anything and everything to make themselves feel as if everything was normal.
Finally, however, they ran out of things to say except for the most important thing. After a few moments
of silence, Cassie started the conversation.
p "I feel really bad about poor Cedar," she said. "I wonder what she's going to do now?"
P "This has got to be hard on her," added T.J. "Finding out her whole planet's been wiped out . .
. man, I don't know if I could deal with that."
p "And she's just a kid, too," said Ashley. "Her parents are gone. She doesn't even have a home
to go back to. What is she going to do? I can't keep her forever."
P "Do you think we should have left her alone by that cliff?" asked Carlos. "I don't see how she
could want to go on, being the last of her kind, all alone . . ."
p "Carlos, don't say stuff like that!" Justin protested. "She's too smart to do something like that .
. . Isn't she?"
P The question was answered when a dark, moving spot against the sky suddenly resolved itself
into the form of a large bird. It touched down in Ashley's front yard and transformed into the familiar
shape of their friend.
p "Hey, Cedar," T.J. greeted. "Done thinking?"
P Cedar nodded. "I'm going home."
P "What?" asked Ashley. "How can you go home? There's nothing left."
P "Not now," Cedar replied, "but in my time, planet was still there. Will use the Crystal to send
myself back to where I came from."
P "But there's a war going on," Carlos protested. "The planet's going to be wiped out. You
P "Don't know that," Cedar replied. "If the past is changed, it alters the future. If the Crystal stays
with my father instead of being stolen, perhaps it will be all the edge we need to win. If not . . . I do not
want to live when everyone I ever loved is gone. I will cast my lot with my people and hope for the
p "Are you sure you can't stay here where it's safe?" asked Justin, without too much hope.
P "No," said Cedar. "I have to go back. This is not my place. No matter what, I belong in my
own home. Thank you for everything, Rangers, but it is time I went back."
P She hugged each of her Ranger friends. Softhearted Ashley blinked back a tear.
P "Good luck, Cedar," she said. "We'll never forget you."
p Cedar didn't say anything, but simply regarded each of her friends with her solemn golden eyes,
and her gaze said everything. With a flutter of rose-gold wings, she took off and soared out of sight.
p Skull was bored. Now that Bulk had seen the end of his spy caper, he had gone home and left
his sidekick to fend for himself. Skull poked around in his backyard, mulling over the days events and
wondering if it would really be worth the effort to try to find anything else exciting to do. Suddenly, he
felt something grab hold of his shoulders and lift him up into the air.
p "Hey, what's going on?" he shouted.
p "Hi, human!" chirped a cheery voice. "Hang on tight! You're going to learn how to fly!"
P Skull looked up and saw that his abductor was a familiar large bird.
p "Cedar!" he exclaimed.
p "Yah, is me. Told you I vould teach you to fly. Now is time to do it!"
p "I . . . I don't think I want to fly," he said nervously.
p "Too late! Look down!"
p Skull looked. He was already many feet in the air, looking down on his house. It didn't look
quite real from that height, more like something put together out of wood and construction paper. The
whole neighborhood was spread out below him, each house on its own little block of green, like pieces
in a game. Tiny people moved around, just little dots of colors that never looked up to see the flying
man above their heads.
p "Whoa! This is high!" Skull protested.
P "Don't vorry," Cedar replied. "Is all rrright. I've got you. No reason to be afrrraid."
p They flew on. Skull did not slip out of her claws and fall to the ground. When he realized that he
was safe, he began to relax and enjoy the ride. They flew above the whole city, looking down on the
shiny city. The cars in the streets reflected the light like water, looking like rivers running in the streets.
Then they went out of the city, toward the desert, where rising heat rose up from the cooling sands
P "Don't scream now," Cedar cautioned. "Going to drop you."
p "What?!" exclaimed Skull. The next thing he knew, Cedar had let go of him and let him fall.
P "AAAAAARGH!" he screamed, scrabbling at the thin air.
p "That not the way to do it," said Cedar. "Spread your vings, human! Let the air hold you!"
P Skull stopped kicking and screaming. Instead, he spread out his arms and legs, and he did feel
the air resistance pushing at him as the warm updrafts rose from the desert. He wasn't exactly flying,
but he wasn't exactly falling, either. It was just a long, slow glide, like a paper airplane's flight. Cedar
glided along beside him, laughing.
P "See? Told you that you could fly!" she exclaimed.
P "Yeah! This is great!" he cheered. "Wah-hoo!"
P Before he came too close to the ground, Cedar caught him again and lifted him back up. They
flew across the desert, finally landing on top of Angel's Bluff. She dropped Skull gently onto the grass
and then landing beside him, shifting back into her human form.
P "Enjoy the ride?" she asked.
P "Yeah," said Skull, a little out of breath. "I've never done anything like it. Thanks."
P "Velcome," Cedar replied. "Vanted to give you that, as gift. You can be brave now, because
you can fly. Think about it, and remember me."
P "Are you leaving already?" asked Skull in dismay.
P Cedar nodded gravely. "I have to. I vant to be vith my family again. I miss them."
p "But . . . you'll come back, won't you?"
P "I do not know," said Cedar. "Eugene, I am a traveler of time and space. My home is
thousands of miles avay and thousands of years ago. I do not know if I can rrrreturn."
P "But we were just starting to be friends," said Skull sadly.
p Cedar laughed a little. "Ve are frrriends, silly. You be brave for me, and that is how you vill
remember me. Goodbye, Eugene."
P She surprised him by giving him a quick, birdlike peck on the cheek. Then, she suddenly
sprouted feathers and leaped into the air. Skull watched as she sailed off into the sunset until she was
lost in its gold and pink hues . . . and then, briefly, she was visible again as a blink of amber light. Then
he knew she was gone, but he kept standing there, staring at the sunset. A wind blew by, and on the
wind rode a single feather. Skull chased it, jumped up and caught it. It was one of hers, patterned pink
and gold, and still carrying a faint aura of her wild-wood scent. For a long time he stood there, gently
stroking the feather and breathing the sweet scent of cedar wood on the air . . .
PThe End . . . for now.