A/N: This story was started as part of a deal with BabyKitty. This plot is used with her kind permission and, for the most part, written in first person as she would. I can only hope I can do it justice.
Tommy breathed a sigh of relief. The tide of battle was finally turning in their favor. At least he thought it was. The monster rose up once more. He had his hands full battling Tyrannodrones. "Guys! Time to morph!" he shouted to the other Rangers.
He returned his attention to the creatures around him. He just needed a few seconds of breathing space and he could morph as well. He heard the morphing cries of the others.
"Too late, Rangers!" cackled the monster.
Tommy heard the shouts of the other Rangers. "Dr. O!" "Look out!" "No!" Reflexively, he looked over his shoulder. What he saw made his blood run cold. Too fast to dodge, a laser beam was headed for him. It struck him in the head, knocking him back several feet. A sturdy old oak stopped his momentum. He felt his head smack into the firm wood and then the whole world went black.
I cringed as I saw the shot hit him. I didn't really believe in religion, so much, but I did believe in the Powers That Be, as Tommy called them. I prayed that my best friend would be okay as the Rangers took down that bastard of a monster.
Once they had beaten him, I waited for a status report. I held my breath as I watched Ethan, Conner and Kira race to Tommy's fallen form. They traded looks and Ethan triggered his communicator. "Hayley, we're calling an ambulance. I don't think that even Ranger healing can help him fast enough."
"I'll meet you at the hospital" I told him. "Remember the cover story we worked out last week."
"Understood. Ethan out." Just before I shut down the computer in the lair, I saw Kira flip open her cell phone. I was shaking as I hurried up the stairs, through the trap door and out his front door. I locked it quickly and headed for my car, pausing long enough to answer my cell when it rang.
"Hello?" I was impatient to get to the hospital.
"It's Conner. Ethan thought it would be a good idea to have a record of a cell call in case anyone asks any questions." Bless Ethan and Conner. Tommy taught them well to think on their feet.
I closed my eyes and said, "Thanks Conner. I'm on my way. I'll meet you there." Tommy didn't have any close neighbors, but that would be just the time that one of them would jog by and overhear me say the wrong thing. I raced the remaining distance to my car, jumped in and was relieved when the engine roared to life. I backed out of the drive and drove to the hospital as quickly as I dared.
I paced the emergency room waiting area as I waited for the others to arrive. I had begged permission to ride with Dr. O. A few tears and they all thought I had a crush on my teacher who saved my life. I swear, the way Conner told the story, you would think that Dr. O had taken on Mesagog's entire army all alone and saved the three of us single-handedly, defeating the last monster as it took him down.
The EMTs nearly lost him on the way. A few more not quite fake tears had them trying again. Fortunately, they got him back. He's not only my teacher, he's my friend. I was startled when the doors burst open nearby and the red headed storm that is Hayley burst through. She saw me immediately and crossed to me.
"How is he?" she demanded.
"I wish I knew. But, Hayley -" This was going to be hard. "They nearly lost him on the way."
The look on her face became so ugly, I stepped back. I'm a Ranger for god's sake, but I wasn't about to mess with her. She snapped, "They better not lose him or I will tear this hospital apart."
"Whoa, Hayley, calm down. They're doing their best. We just have to give them time." I just don't know if them taking this long is good or bad. Hayley went to the counter to talk to the nurse as I started pacing again.
Would his chances have been better if I had checked on him instead of fighting the monster? Guilt crashed down on me and almost brought me to my knees. I watch enough TV to know that sometimes seconds count. I've seen enough battles to know that the good guys don't always win the first round and sometimes they lose entirely. All it takes is one small screw up and someone could die.
"They're still working on him." Huh? When did Hayley come back?
"Is that good or bad?"
"I don't know, Kira."
"I wish -" Nope, don't go there. Don't say that out loud. Hayley will tell me that it's not my fault, but how do we know?
"Wish what?" Uh-oh. She's giving me that look.
"I wish I knew what was going on in there" I answered, gesturing at the door to the back.
Before Hayley can say anything, the boys arrive at a run. I turn my attention to them. Ethan addresses Hayley.
"Trent is closing up the café. He'll be here soon."
And for now, all we can do is sit and wait.
ANOTHER PART OF THE GALAXY
I'm getting dressed for the day when I suddenly have the feeling that something is wrong - terribly wrong. It's the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you want to know and don't want to know at the same time. I haven't had a feeling this strong in years. The last time was just moments before the evil was destroyed.
I hurriedly finish getting dressed and quickly leave my room. I race through the castle, searching for my companions as the feeling gets worse. Same castle I had when I was trying to conquer Earth - it's my home, but right now, I'm cursing myself for making it so damn big. Well, almost the same. It looks exactly the same - down to the last stone - but it's nowhere near where the other one, the original, was.
Skidding to a halt at an intersection of hallways, I listen for their voices as I try to make up my mind which way to go. Forget it. "Goldar! Scorpina!"
Scorpina pokes her head out of the kitchen, looking surprised. I rarely used their full names anymore. "What's wrong, Zedd?"
"I'm not sure, but we need to find out."
She studies me for a moment. "Well, come in here and tell us what you can and we'll figure it out from there."
"Damn it, Scorpina, we're wasting time!"
"Until we know what's wrong, we don't know what to do." Shut up, Goldar.
Scorpina disappears back into the kitchen, leaving the door open. Fantastic smells waft down the hall to me. Reluctantly, I enter the kitchen as my stomach reminds me that it's time to break my fast. Add that to the churning that's already going on and it's an ugly situation. I sit down next to Scorpina at the counter.
Admittedly, this is one part of the castle that has changed. After we were purged of the evil and returned to our true forms, we discovered that Goldar is an excellent cook. He slides a plate in front of me and a cup of Earth coffee (love that stuff!) before he speaks again. "Now, what's wrong?"
"I'm not sure, I just know that something is."
"Eat" suggested Scorpina. "If nothing else, we can call a few people if necessary."
I eat as quickly as I can, studying my companions as I do. Goldar and Scorpina look good in their humanoid forms. Sometimes I wonder if they wouldn't be happier somewhere else instead of staying here and keeping me company. Today I am grateful for their presence. After I finish eating, I push the plate away. I let Goldar refill my cup and try again. "Okay, something in my gut says that somewhere, something is terribly wrong. I don't know what or where."
"How terribly wrong?" Scorpina looks at me, curiosity filling her brown eyes. They remind me of someone else's eyes, but I can never remember whose.
Grimly, I answer her. "I haven't felt like this since just before all the evil was destroyed."
The two exchanged looks. I've had my fingers in all kinds of things since then and they know that my gut can be trusted. I've saved all our hides more than once because of it. Goldar speaks up. "Well, we've got a good many contacts across the galaxy. Let's put a few feelers out and see what we get."
I groan in frustration. I know that without more information, this is the best we can do, but I'm not happy about it. Finally, I nod in agreement. "By the way, you really need to stop watching Earth TV."
Goldar chuckles and Scorpina giggles. I shake my head and leave the room to wait.