Chapter 9

Summer sat up in her bed. She raked her fingers through the tangled golden mass of her hair, letting it all tumble down around her bare shoulders. She yawned and stretched, extending her arms outward and arching her back. She smiled at the sensation. Waking up in her own bed, in her own clothes, in her own skin was a wonderous pleasure. She never even considered how good it could feel just to be herself.

Summer took her time in the shower, letting the warm water cascade across her bare form. After she dressed and combed her hair, she found herself wandering leisurely around her room. She twirled about, rejoicing, before slipping on her leather Ranger jacket. She settled it on her shoulders, savoring the sweet feeling of wearing normal clothes again.

As she looked at her own face in the mirror, she couldn't help but smile. Her green eyes had never seemed so comforting. She had never thought about how lovely she looked anymore, but since she had been restored to her own body, she found herself appreciating her life and her physical presence much more.

It had only been a few days since Doctor K had found the solution for reversing whatever it was Tenaya 7 had done to her, but she already found that the memories of the ordeal were fading like a nightmare in the bright light of morning. Reunited with her friends, Summer had feasted, goring herself on apples, bananas, grain cereals and even half a pizza, having not realized until then how long she'd had to go without food. Everyone had been patient, waiting for her to tell them the story.

Between bites of pizza, Summer regaled them all with the stories of what had transpired: The terror of waking up as someone else, being surrounded by enemies, having to fight her way out of the palace and finding her way back home. Summer made a point to tell her friends how much she had missed them and how she had worried about them. She also finally told them all about Andrews, how he had believed in her and trusted her and how her memories of him had seen her through again. They all wished they could have met him. She wished they could have too.

Summer was delighted when her parents came to visit to make sure she was all right. She had missed them as well and was happy to spend time with them again.

They had since returned to their jobs and their lives with promises to visit again soon.

Making her way down the metal stairs, Summer saw welcoming sights, familiar and comforting: Dillon and Ziggy were playing pool, Flynn was working on his big blue truck and Scott was washing his red racer.

Summer joined the boys at the pool table. They were just finishing up and welcomed her to their game.

"You can sing if you want," Dillon offered, chalking his cue.

"That's all right," she told him. "I know you're tired of that song." Although she didn't say it aloud, she was a little tired of it too.

"Oh, c'mon," Ziggy cajoled. "That song saved your life." He shrugged. "I wouldn't really mind hearing it again."

"Thanks," Summer told him. "But I think I'll choose a new song today."

Dillon racked the balls. "You wanna break?" He gave his half-smile.

As Ziggy stepped back and extended his hand in a mannerly gesture. He handed her the freshly chalked cue stick and she bent down to line up her shot. She hammered the cue ball and it slammed into the others, scattering them across the table.

At the satisfying sound of a few balls clacking home into their pockets she straightened and smiled.

Doctor K approached, making notes on her clipboard. Summer held her breath. The Doctor looked up and smiled. "Ranger Series Yellow." She nodded. "It's good to see you well again." As Doctor K walked towards the Ranger Room, Summer sighed in quiet relief. She didn't want to answer any more questions.

The debriefing had taken forever. The Colonel asked her what seemed like a million questions and that was only half of what Doctor K wanted to know. Exhausted as she had been, she understood how important it was; she was the only one of them who had ever been inside Venjix's secret headquarters. Summer wished she could remember where Venjix's hidden palace was located but she didn't know the way back; she had relied on her drone's onboard computer to find her way back to Corinth and Colonel Truman's men blasted it into scrap. There was nothing left to salvage from the burning wreck.

As she moved around and took more shots across the pool table, to the contentment of the boys, they told her a few things about how Tenaya 7 acted. She wasn't kind or helpful. She didn't sing and she hadn't displayed the talent with the stick the real Summer had. Both admitted that should have been enough to make them realize that something was wrong. They apologized again for not seeing it and she had to ask them to stop saying they were sorry, since she had already forgiven them.

Heartfelt though their apologies were, they were getting somewhat wearying.

She supposed she should just be grateful, but she wanted them to know they were already off the hook.

Summer just was glad that everything in her life was back to normal. She was assured by Doctor K that the way Venjix and Tenaya 7 had used the biofield to steal her away had been sealed and that they wouldn't be doing it to any of them ever again. Summer was all too relieved to hear it since she heard that shortly after restoring her and locking Tenaya 7 away, her enemy had escaped from the detention center where she was being held. There was no sign of her anywhere in the city. Summer didn't expect the soldiers to find her and she figured it would be awhile before they heard from her again.

But she had no doubt they would. Some of the Rangers and soldiers lamented the fact that they didn't destroy Tenaya 7 when they had the chance, but Summer knew that it didn't matter; even if they had destroyed that evil robot, she was only a minion. Venjix was the real threat.

Leaving the boys to start a new game, Summer pulled a bottle of orange juice from the fridge. She twisted the bottle open, listening to the sounds of her friends behind her. Dillon and Ziggy were betting who would win the next match and Flynn and Scott were debating something about their vehicles.

Listening to their seasoned arguments and laughter made her feel so content, so safe. She wasn't worried about what would come next because she knew that together, they could handle anything.

Summer smiled as she turned back to look at The Garage, her home, her friends.

Venjix may not be going anywhere… but neither were the Power Rangers.