Note: Since I was struggling so much with parts of this chapter, I decided to break it in half. That way you guys get this part now and the rest when I get it finished. I'm hoping that will be soon. The Dino Thunder boys are just being uncooperative at the moment.
Chapter 3: Understanding
When Jason saw it was Hayley's number calling him mid afternoon on a weekday, he was instantly worried. She had called him plenty of times in the past. It usually had something to do with Tommy or a project they were working on, but she always called in the evening. For her to call during the day, it meant there was trouble.
"Hey Haley, what's up?" Jason asked.
He knew Tommy wasn't stuck in amber anymore. Conner had called him within an hour of Tommy being freed. He also knew that Trent was now on their side. Conner had called to vent about that as well.
"You need to come up here. It's a mess. Tommy is stuck in his morph. Trent is good now, but Conner can barely tolerate him. Tommy is pushing Conner to be more accepting, but that is making things worse. Conner feels that Trent is still hiding something. It's hurting the team and I'm worried about all of them. Neither of them will listen to me because I've never been there. You have. Tommy and Conner both may listen to you," Hayley said.
Jason sighed. He was fairly sure it was a law of the universe that when dealing with Power Rangers, nothing could ever be simple.
"I have a few things I have to set up here, but then I'll be on my way up," Jason assured her.
"Stop at the café first. You can help me close up and then I'll fill you in on the details," Hayley instructed.
"Will do," Jason agreed.
It was around nine that night when Jason was finally able to get to Haley's Cyber Space. There were a handful of teens still lingering but none of the team was there. He made a beeline for the counter where Hayley was.
"I'm so glad you're here, Jase," Hayley said as soon as she saw him.
Anyone who didn't know her personally would think she was just fine. Those who did, would know that her eyes betrayed plenty of worry as well as how tired she was. Jason suddenly felt as if he should have been up here days before. He went ahead and went behind the counter. He gave her a hug.
"We'll get this sorted out, don't worry," Jason said at a normal volume. Then his voice dropped to a whisper as he said, "I know how to deal with stubborn Reds."
"If you don't mind lending a hand, just start putting chairs up on the tables so we can get the floors swept," Hayley instructed.
"Yes ma'am," Jason said with a smile before going to do as he had been asked.
They both knew that they were being watched by the teens that were there. Everyone wanted to know who this guy was. So Jason decided to just make it simple.
"Ok, I can feel the stares. My name is Jason. I'm an old friend of Hayley's as well as Dr. Oliver's," He said flatly.
It was obvious that they had questions, but Hayley politely told them it was closing time. The handful of teens took the hint.
After they had gotten the place cleaned up, Hayley went into detail for Jason on what had been happening. Some of it Conner had already told him, but it was good to get a more level headed version as well. If there was one thing he had learned over the years it was that the Reds didn't always get the clearest picture. Reds in general tended to be overprotective of their teams. That sometimes meant that emotions clouded their view. Jason was sure that was part of the problem now. Conner was afraid to trust Trent and have his team, his friends, get hurt again.
Confident that he had a full picture of what was going on, Jason headed over to Tommy's place after seeing Hayley to her car. He had a feeling it was going to be a long night.
"Jase, what are you doing here?" Tommy asked in surprise when he saw his best friend standing on his doorstep.
Tommy had seen Jason pull up so he had known it was safe to go to the door despite his inability to demorph at the moment.
"Hayley called," the original Red said.
Because of the helmet Jason couldn't see Tommy wince, but he knew his best friend well enough to know that he had.
"That shouldn't surprise me I guess," Tommy said.
The two men walked down into the command center. Jason had a hard time biting back a comment about it being a secret lair. It was something to tease his bro about later.
"So who are you more worried about, me or Conner?" The black Dino Thunder ranger asked.
"All of you. Conner doesn't want to trust Trent because of what happened before and because he is convinced Trent is hiding something. According to Hayley, Trent wants to prove himself. You want them to get along for the sake of team. This is so different than what happened with you. You were dragged into this totally against your will. You never tried to convince us you were good in order to betray us. Trent did and Conner believed him. His teammates suffered for his trust once before. He doesn't want it to happen again and he feels that you don't understand that," the original Red explained.
Behind his helmet Tommy frowned.
"He's not even giving Trent a chance. You were willing to give me a chance," The black Dino Thunder ranger pointed out.
"Bro, they have very little in common. We had the chance to bond and get to know one another over martial arts. School is the only thing they have in common outside of being Rangers," Jason pointed out.
Tommy hadn't thought of it that way. Having something to bond over would certainly help the younger Rangers.
"They aren't us, bro. Connor may remind you of both of us, but in the end he is a very different person than either of us. Trent is even more so. You can't expect things to go as easily for them as they did for us. It's not fair to them," The original Red lectured gently.
He knew that Tommy just wanted the kids to get along. He wanted it to go smoothly for Trent because he saw himself in Trent's experiences. Jason understood that, but nothing about this situation was the same as theirs had been. Therein lay the real problem.
"You're right. I think I see so much of you in Connor than I just expect him to act like you did. It's not fair to him," Tommy said with a sigh. "How did Zordon ever put up with some many teenagers?"
The original Red couldn't help but laugh at that question.
"I have no idea, bro. None whatsoever," Jason said with a smile.
"Me neither. I wish he was still here," Tommy said.
They shared a moment of silence in remembrance of their mentor. They knew they wouldn't be sitting there if not for him. They wouldn't be the people they were without his influence. It was then that they both realized just how important a mentor could be. Now it was time to put that knowledge to use.