Legal: I do not own Power Rangers, or the associated names, places, events, characters etc. Anything not covered by the above rights is to be presumed to be purely the creation of the author.
Rating: T – May be some mild adult themes, including language and violence.
Zoey rose slowly in the morning, getting out of bed slowly and rubbing her eyes wearily. Things had been tough as of late, and she was pretty much always feeling exhausted. She looked to her calendar and saw the date circled in red, the thing that kept her going through it all. In only three short weeks a new semester would begin and she could start one of the college courses her job with Grid Battleforce would pay for.
"Soon." She said, running her fingers over the calendar. The thought that soon she would finally get the education she was denied by simple economics made all the chemicals, all the headaches, the long hours and early starts all worth it. The laundry job might suck, but it would finally get her where she wanted to be.
She then looked to her alarm clock and saw it was blinking 12:00. Shit, there must have been a power surge during the night. She checked her watch and realised to her horror…"
"Oh my God, I'm late!" She rushed out. She didn't bother to shower, there wasn't much point when within an hour she'd be just as soaked in sweat and grime as everyone else in the laundry. She started struggling into her uniform, stumbling out into the living area of her dorm, where Roxy was sitting, sipping a coffee.
"Zoey?" She asked. "You're still here?"
"There must have been a power surge! My alarm didn't go off!" Zoey screeched as she fumbled around for her things, hopping around as she pulled on her boots. "Shit, this is bad! The Commander said if I was late again, she'd write me up! If I get a disciplinary, I'll need to wait another year for another scholarship!"
"Here, let me help." Roxy said as she went to the counter. "I'll get you some coffee…"
"There's no time! I'll just take some water and a pop tart…" Zoey said as she went to the counter, looking out a box. "Damn it Roxy, you did it again, all the blueberry are…"
Suddenly, there was a wave that washed over her mind, hitting her and causing her to blank out for a moment. Roxy just looked to her.
"…stale." Zoey breathed. Roxy just stared at her.
"You alright Zoey?" She asked.
"I just…" She said a little spaced out. "…I just got the weirdest sense of Déjà vu."
"I'm not surprised. You're on my case about those pop tarts all the time." Roxy chuckled. "You know I hate them."
"Yeah…that's probably it." Zoey said, putting some in the toaster.
"So, how do I look?" Roxy asked her, gesturing to herself.
"You look wonderful as always." Zoey said in an off-hand way, before suddenly pausing. "Shit, this is it, this is your big day isn't it?"
Roxy just squealed a little and nodded.
"In just a few hours I'll be the new Yellow Ranger!" She called out excitedly. Zoey just smiled.
"I'm sorry, I'm really made up for you, really I am." Zoey said as the pop tarts popped out of the toaster. "I'll meet up with you later…I'll message you when I finally get out of the laundry, alright?"
"Sure thing." Roxy told her. "I'll put in a word for you!"
As Zoey left, Roxy watched her go, before going to her bag and getting her communicator.
In another part of the city, Devon woke up, and started to get ready, hoping to make the most of the day ahead. He had another tournament in a couple of weeks, and he wanted to get as much practice in as possible. It was a shame that Mike was out of town at the moment, but he needed to get as much practice in as possible if he was going to beat Southside and get his face mapped as the new character in the latest instalment of Backstreet Brawler.
After showering and getting dressed, he noticed something odd on his bedside table. It was a watch, or at least, it looked like a watch, but he couldn't remember seeing it before. It wasn't terribly ornate or anything, just a simple black band with a black face and a silver rim. He had never really bothered with watches before, tending to use his phone if he really needed to know the time. Not that he ever figured time was that important. He just couldn't remember where he got it.
He strapped it on and headed down the stairs towards the door. His dad was in the living room with some men in suits, looking through some papers.
"Good afternoon Devon." He greeted him sarcastically. Devon just rolled his eyes. It wasn't really afternoon; it was just his dad's usual way of getting on his case about his refusal to go and get a job.
"Really dad?" Devon asked him. "Look, I've got to go…"
"Oh, and what vital thing are you doing today?" Mayor Daniels asked him. Devon just shook his head and walked out the door. He could live without having this same old fight yet again. As he left the house, he saw a red motorcycle in the driveway. He just smiled when he saw it.
"Cool bike!" He said. "I never knew the stiffs dad works with could be cool!"
With that, he walked away, heading for the arcade.
Back at Grid Battleforce, Nate was working in the lab, putting together the final preparations for the big day. He looked to the Neural Aligner and smiled. He felt a hand snaking its way around his waist and a body pressing against his back.
"Is everything almost ready?" Meghan asked him. Nate got the widest of grins on his face. He turned around in her arms, putting his around her.
"Just going over the last preparations as we speak." He told her. "This is what I've been working for my whole life."
"Really? EVERYTHING?" She asked him. He pulled in, giving her a soft kiss. He couldn't believe his luck in finding her. The human experience had somewhat eluded Nate for most of his life. His intellect was such that when he was at school, usually the majority of people he was dealing with were significantly older than him. He'd never really had much time for friends or to figure out things like dating.
Meghan though was like a bolt of lightning. Originally in the engineering department, she'd been moved to the lab. She was possibly the only person who was even close to being as gifted as Nate. Over time though, as they worked together, closer and more intimately, something changed between them.
"Well, you're definitely cuter than Zordon." She said, poking his nose with her forefinger. He chuckled.
"He was a floating head in a jar, so I'd be a little disappointed if I wasn't." Nate replied.
"Well, there's definitely some things you have that are more appealing…" She said as she started to brush her hand just under his shirt. They were interrupted as a cabinet in the corner opened.
"Oh man, I totally needed that!" Steel said as he staggered out of the chamber. "I know I can operate on low power, but there is nothing that beats a good six-hour recharge cycle, am I…"
He tailed off as he saw Meghan holding Nate.
"WHOA!" Steel called out, seeing her. "What is she doing here?"
"What is that thing?" Nate asked. Meghan was starting to step forward, but Nate put a hand across her chest, moving between her and Steel protectively.
"Get behind me!" Nate said as he grabbed a blaster. "What are you? How did you get in here?"
"What?" Steel asked. "Bro, you know me!"
"Stay back!" Nate warned him, waving the blaster in his direction. "Meghan, call security!"
Steel had no idea what was going on. He'd powered down to go into a recharging cycle, but now that he'd woken up, the first thing he'd seen was Meghan standing in the middle of the lab. Not only that, but it looked like Nate was trying to protect HER!
Meghan got onto her communicator.
"Security, come to the lab right away!" She called out as she looked towards Steel. He could see a sinister smirk on her face as the security team ran in. He didn't know what she'd done, but somehow, she was the cause of this.
"Hold it right there!" Cole, one of the security guards yelled at him. "Nate, what is that thing?"
"I have no idea!" He replied. Steel just stared at him in amazement.
"Wait, you don't know me?" Steel asked. "But dude, I'm your brother!"
As he made a step forward to try and reach out to Nate, a shot rang out, hitting him in the chest and blasting him back into the wall. He started to get up.
"Stun blasts don't work!" Cole said as they all started adjusting their weapons. "Stay right where you are, the next one won't be a warning!"
Steel suddenly realised how bad the situation was. Nate, and all the security team didn't know who he was. Meghan had done something to them, something that meant they now thought he was an intruder, a threat to Grid Battleforce!
He couldn't bring himself to hurt them, he knew it wasn't their fault that they now thought he was an enemy. He turned on his headlamps full blast to blind them, before running from the lab. He had to weave past people in the halls as he ran, trying not to hurt anyone that was just trying to protect his brother. He finally managed to get to an emergency exit and ran out into the street. The security team pulled back.
"What was that thing?" Ravi asked. "How did it get in?"
"I don't know, but we can't let anything interrupt the transfer." Commander Shaw stated. "If there are threats infiltrating our base already, we can't get the Ranger Project up and running soon enough."
A couple of streets away, Steel finally stopped running. He managed to find himself an alley to hide in. He didn't need to catch his breath, but he very definitely needed to straighten out his thoughts. He risked a look out into the street.
"I don't believe it. Meghan did something to everyone. No one knows who I am." He surmised as he tried to think of what to do. "Ravi was shooting at me, everyone else was too…did everyone forget about me?"
He started pacing as he tried to think of what to do.
"If everyone's memory's been altered and no one knows Meghan's a bad guy, then she could do anything on the base. There's so much dangerous tech there…she could get them to give her all of it and no one would think anything was wrong!" He summarised. "And were she and my brother…getting it on?"
He just shuddered to think of it.
"So, what do I do now?" He asked himself. "How do I save everyone when they don't know anything's wrong and everyone thinks I'm a bad guy?"
Back at Grid Battleforce Headquarters, things were starting to get back to normal. The security had been tightened, and they were on the lookout for any more suspicious activity. Now that things were starting to calm down though, people could get back to some more tedious but necessary activities.
Zoey was standing in Commander Shaw's office, her hands clasped behind her back as Commander Shaw was pacing.
"Ms Reeves, here we are again." Commander Shaw began, in a low, deliberate tone as she went through the motions, they'd both been through more times than they wanted to admit. "So, what's the excuse this time?"
"My alarm clock shorted out." Zoey murmured sadly. "It didn't go off."
"Your alarm didn't go off." Commander Shaw responded in an exasperated sigh. She tapped her finger to a folder. It was Zoey's disciplinary record. "This isn't good, is it Zoey?"
"Commander, I'm sorry…"
"You were sorry all these times too!" Commander Shaw said, jabbing her finger into the folder. "Ms Reeves, this is completely unacceptable!"
"I know, and I'm sorry!" Zoey pleaded with her. "But I promise I'll do better…"
"You keep telling me that you want to advance, that you want to study and make yourself someone that can help Grid Battleforce make the world a better place, but that's not what I'm seeing in your behaviour!" She ranted. "Your time-keeping is abysmal, your work performance reviews are pitiful, your attendance is barely acceptable and your appearance…"
"Commander." Ravi said as he knocked on the door, coming in. He was followed closely by Roxy, Blaze, Nate and Meghan.
"I'm in the middle of something." She told them.
"Commander, conditions for the Ranger launch are optimal." Nate told her. "We just need you in the power chamber to begin."
"I'll be along shortly." She responded. "I just need to finish with Ms Reeves here…"
"Commander, it was probably my fault Zoey was late." Roxy told her. "I was screwing around with my computer last night and blew a breaker. I re-set it, but I must have forgotten to check all the devices."
Zoey's eyes were sparkling. She appreciated what Roxy was trying to do. Roxy was her best friend on the base, and always trying to look out for her. Zoey tried, she honestly tried to do the right thing and to fly straight, but things just seemed to keep getting in the way.
"That may well be, but this isn't the first incidence…"
"Mom, please." Ravi begged her. "Today's a big day, maybe it's a good day to give people another chance."
Roxy put her arm around him. It was pretty clear what his motivation was to help Zoey, and while he wasn't normally the type to use family connections to his advantage, he was willing to overlook it for Roxy's benefit. Commander Shaw just sighed, stroking her temples.
"Come on, Commander Shaw, not everyone is as fortunate as we are." Meghan agreed, making a point of embracing Nate right in front of Zoey. She could see a little bit of a quiver in her as she watched Meghan holding him. "Grid Battleforce is all about helping out the less fortunate isn't it?"
"Alright." She sighed. "You, Ms Reeves, do not know how fortunate you are!"
"Thank you, Commander." She answered, saluting, before sheepishly making her way out of the room. Commander Shaw just started to head for the door.
"Come on, people, let's get this underway." She stated.
"Uh, we'll be along in just a moment." Meghan told her. "Roxy, Blaze, can you help me with something?"
"I'll see you downstairs." Ravi said, kissing Roxy softly. "Yellow Ranger."
"Warm up the Neural Aligner for me!" She called after him. As they left, she closed the door, before turning towards the others. Blaze was just smirking, staring at Meghan.
"You know, this whole thing is fun, but the way you keep piling it on Zoey, that is just spiteful." He chuckled, looking to Meghan. "You are enjoying this way too much!"
"What can I say? We're already getting to re-write history the way we want. May as well enjoy it and settle a few scores along the way." She answered. "If I get to make blondie's life a complete misery along the way, can you blame me for enjoying it?"
"Yeah, we just need to keep this moving." Roxy told them. "Blaze, did you do your thing?"
"The med lab is sealed for 'quarantine', no one is going to walk in there and find us." Blaze assured them. "Relax, will you? Just enjoy getting to snuggle up to Ravi…"
"Guys, I really think we need to move this along." Roxy told them. "Something weird happened with Zoey this morning."
"Yeah, she slept in for the first two hours of her shift." Meghan laughed.
"No, I mean…when she looked at the pop tarts." Roxy told them. They both just looked at her.
"You want to rush the plan because of pop tarts?" Blaze asked her.
"No, she said she was getting déjà vu." Roxy told them. "It was like…maybe her brain was starting to realise something was wrong with the memories…"
"Roxy, you worry too much." Blaze assured her. "Just think of the fact that soon you'll get to turn Ravi and make him your little digital snuggle bunny for all time soon enough."
"No, we should probably still be careful." Meghan answered. "The robot didn't seem to be affected."
"Steel?" Roxy asked. "He knows?"
"The entire base is on lockdown, if he shows up here, he'll have a couple of thousand blasters trained on him." She assured them. "But it wouldn't be the worst thing to wrap this thing up sooner rather than later."
"Yeah, playing nice?" Blaze replied with a shudder. "I have had enough to last a lifetime."
"Guys!" Ravi called from the door as he returned. "Everyone's waiting on us!"
"Coming." Blaze answered. "Come on guys, let's go make history."
Elsewhere in the city, Steel was wandering around trying to think of what to do. He hadn't tried to call any of the other Rangers. The only reason he kept his communicator was because he needed it to summon his morpher. He'd already figured if his own brother didn't know who he was, then whatever was affecting him would affect the others too. They were all in the base with no way for him to get to them.
He almost walked into someone absent-mindedly as he tried to think what he could do to help.
"Dude, that is an awesome cosplay!" Someone complimented him. "Are you doing promotion for a new game?"
"I'm sorry?" Steel asked him. It was only then that he noticed he was walking past the arcade. He just nodded. "Yeah, sure. I'm uh…a possible new fighter for Backstreet Brawler."
"A robot beetle thing? That would be awesome!" The guy stated. "I'm going to vote for you to be sure!"
As the guy headed back into the arcade, Steel suddenly saw a familiar face, talking with some people outside.
"Devon?" He asked, running over to him. "Devon, Devon! Over here!"
"Hey, dude, that is one seriously sick costume." Devon said, high-fiving him. "How can I help you?"
"You don't know me?" Steel asked him. "We work together."
"Uh…sorry, I think you've got me confused with someone else." Devon chuckled. "I haven't got a job."
"You don't remember me either?" Steel asked. Devon just looked to him.
"Should I?" Devon asked. "Well, cool talking to you, but I have some high scores to beat."
As he walked inside, Steel just stood, completely confused.
"He doesn't know me either. He doesn't even know he works at Grid Battleforce." Steel said sadly. "I'm on my own! What am I supposed to do?"