Legacy of Valor – an Always a Ranger Mini Series
Chapter 11 – Nothing Stays the Same
Sky had quickly moved to right his listing ship, directing Sky and Bridge to recall their cadets and support staff. There was work to be done and he wanted it to be accomplished sooner rather than later. Charlie’s path of destruction needed to be cleansed so the SPD could move forward.
The first part of that had been to have Charlie’s body moved off the battlefield and to the morgue.
Z and Jack had said their temporary goodbyes to their former comrades, assuring them that they would not be strangers going forward.
Sam and William had quickly organized the SDP squads to coordinate the cleanup of the facility, directing the support staff to locate and get the cadets resettled, review all the tech and security and contact those organizations and governments that were allied with the SPD to provide a status update. It was a lot to do and Sky wanted it done in under 24 hrs.
And Beth had been given the opportunity to spend more time with her ranger family before they were sent back to their own time…
After a day, Sky was able to confirm that everything was in order and that they were ready to send the Dino Thunder team home. The six member team stood before the SPD leadership and the entirety of the SPD organization which covered the same ground that had been a battlefield less than 24 hours earlier.
“Thank you all again,” said Sky, even as Syd moved to hug Kimberly and Kira before making the rounds with the male Dino Thunder rangers.
“Well we were glad we could help,” Kira answered quickly for all of them, smiling at Conner before he took her hand in his.
“Will everything be okay with the captured former rangers and Morgana’s people?” Ethan questioned, since the Dino Thunder team had been given a place
“Yes. We’ve put in new security protocols to keep this from ever happening again,” Bridge announced, looking to his tech team with pride.
“What about Charlie?” asked Kim, her eyes still haunted by the sight less than 24 hours earlier.
There was a long silence that no one seemed quite ready to break, until Syd took Sky’s hand, in front of the entire parade assembled SPD, making him straighten even further before he squeezed her hand gently before speaking for the first time what he and his command staff had decided only hours earlier.
“She’d been declared MIA a long time back… now it can be officially called killed in the line of duty.”
“But… she tried to kill you all. You’d let her be classified as killed as a member of your SPD?” Conner sputtered, aghast.
“A lot of what happened wasn’t really her fault. We never knew what drove her or the other A-Squad members to turn evil,” Syd explained with a soft, sorrowful expression.
“So we felt it only fair to give her in death what she so desperately wanted when she was alive; the full honors of a ranger,” explained Sky, his eyes serious as he watched the rangers before him digest his words.
Tommy and Kim looked from one another to the rest of their team. Shock, anger and disbelief filled the younger rangers’ faces. The idea that the woman who had tried to kill them, tortured Kim and Beth was being treated like she’d never been a bad guy was just staggering to them.
“So she’s gonna get a pass?” asked Ethan, realizing that what they’d just been through probably would get minimized due to Charlie’s reinstatement.
“We need to heal the wounds in the SPD that her activities have caused. This is a way to do that,” replied Sky.
“So that’s it? Kim and Beth get tortured, your people get attacked and held hostage so you give the person responsible a fancy funeral and call it a day?” growled Conner, his eyes narrowing.
“Conner,” said Kira in a quiet, admonishing tone even as she laid a hand on his shoulder, trying to rein in his anger.
“It’s for everyone’s benefit,” added Bridge, even as he noted how Sky was becoming more uncomfortable with the discussion.
“Guys,” Tommy quickly added, making his team turn to him, “it’s not our decision to make. And for once I’m glad we didn’t have to make the hard decision… we were just the cavalry.”
At his words, Conner briefly nodded, looking to Kira with a tight smile. Ethan and Trent shared a look before they all turned their eyes back to Sky. For the Dino Thunder team, the commander of the SPD looked tired. What they didn’t recognize Sky’s own people did; that he looked to have aged a year in a week. The decision to give Charlie a ranger’s funeral was more about helping them move on from everything that had happened more than it was to give Charlie something she didn’t deserve.
“And again, we’re very glad Beth took the initiative to bring you here to come to the rescue… but…” began Sky, even as he looked to where Beth stood with Sam and the leaders of the SPD Squads.
“It’s time…”remarked Kim quietly, looking to the woman who her daughter would grow up to be with damp eyes.
“This is the part where you wipe our memory, right?” asked Conner with a downcast expression.
“We can’t send you back knowing about any of this. I mean besides the knowledge about SPD and the future, if any of you remembered Beth’s future…” Bridge remarked, noting Beth standing beside Sam, both in uniform albeit with helmets removed; the elite team of rangers, which for Beth only made sense considering her heritage.
Tommy and Kim shared a brief but poignant look. Would knowing that Beth was destined to follow her parents, her uncles and aunts footsteps made a difference in how they raised her? Would they try and block her from that path, knowing the trials and pain it could cause?
It made a lot of sense to send them back without that knowledge. And what would happen would happen, without any intervention.
“Understandable,” commented Ethan as his brain reflected time/space paradoxes and alternate universes.
“So we’re going right back to where you took us from?” Kira questioned.
“Yes. I won’t have any problem doing that,” said Beth, before she turned her head to look to Sky and Syd, getting a smile and nod from both of them.
Beth handed her helmet to Sam before she crossed the feet separating her from her family, crushing her mom in a hard hug before moving on to her father, then to her aunt and uncles. She swallowed hard, thinking of how things would be different for her now, having had this chance to see them like this, fight with them… the bond between her and her family had always been tight, but now the memories of seeing and being with them when they’d been in uniform wouldn’t be just stories to her. They’d be something she’d experienced.
Sam moved forward, handing Beth her helmet and she gave him a smile before she snapped it into place. Behind her she heard Sky take a step forward and knew he had the memory wiping device in his hands.
“Thank you again rangers,” Sky said, before the flash of light hit the Dino Thunder team, clearing the last days from their memory. Once it was done, Sky turned to Beth, “Hurry and take them home.”
Quickly she reached to her morpher and the portal opened up, and this time she allowed it to envelop them all, instead of them walking through it as they had before. Moments later they were all in the bookstore, back to their places and Beth smiled behind her helmet before slipping back through the portal, closing it behind her as she returned back to her own time.
The five former Dino Thunder rangers stood, watching the line continue to slowly move even as Trent kept signing autographs. Tommy’s head swiveled behind them briefly when he thought he saw the flash of a camera but there was nothing there but racks of books. Shrugging he looked back to Kim who was staring up at him.
He nodded. His eyes glanced down at the pile of books Trent was signing. Danger Ranger… there was no doubting what had happened in his life to inspire the graphic novel, even if his fans and the general public would never know. Trent had taken his time as a ranger and made something positive out of it; something that people were identifying with. It made him proud to have helped the young man before him find that within himself.
Yet, if Tommy had to be honest, all of his team had moved on to do outstanding things, keeping the legacy of being a former ranger and making the world a better place. She smiled as he looked to Kim beside him, and her eyes widened a bit as his thoughts spilled ever so slightly through their connection and she swallowed hard, reaching to take his hand in hers.
“Do you miss it that much?” she asked quietly.
“Not really…” he said, even if she knew it was only partially the truth. He wouldn’t be the man she loved if the sense of duty wasn’t still in him. Then he smiled and gave her a wink, “Daily life these days is an adventure in its own right.”
She chuckled at the thought of their toddler at home, and their work with the teens of Reefside – both in the classroom and the gym. Life was more than interesting, yet…
“But helping others… saving the world…” she began, knowing that for everything they did now, their time as rangers had meant saving not just their city but often the Earth and universe.
“We had our time Beautiful. Now we change individual people’s lives every day with what we do. Look at the four of them and tell me that being in uniform means more to the world than being a human being that cares about others, that does what they can to make the world a better place,” Tommy remarked even as he pulled Kim into his side, his fingers curling over her hip.
Kim glanced at Kira, Ethan, Conner and Trent and realized that it wasn’t being rangers that had truly made them into the extraordinary four people they were. It was what they’d gained emotionally from the experience, from the guidance of her and Tommy that had put them on the path that led them to where they were now.
And besides the young people they worked with every day, they had their daughter now that they were raising, helping make her into the best person she could be. At that thought Kim looked back to Tommy and smiled, leaning her head into his shoulder as they both watched the line of people pass by Trent, the pride they had in him, in all of their young former ranger team swelling within.
Once she’d returned, Beth had gone straight to the command center to speak with her commander. When she asked for leave, Sky only smiled and agreed without any argument. Beth nodded her thanks to him. After everything she’d been through in the last week she really needed the time away.
Without any further delay she placed her hand on her morpher, creating a time portal and stepped through it, arriving exactly where she wanted – home.
Looking up at the blue and white house along the edge of the forest she smiled. It had been ages since she’d been able to take any time off, and no matter how much time passed, the place still looked the same. She moved to the door, knocking slightly before walking in. Crossing the threshold she called out, “I’m home,” even as she heard voices in the kitchen and she moved towards them.
“Beth?” said Kim from the kitchen doorway, a smile crossing her face when she heard her daughter’s voice from the living room.
Beth smiled back, noting the difference in her mom from the much younger woman she’d just seen. Grey streaks were starting to sneak into one temple of Kim’s caramel colored hair. Of course it was nothing compared to her dad…
“Hi princess, how are you?” asked Tommy as he moved from behind Kim and started for his daughter.
Beth moved to power down and caught her father in a hug as he moved to her position. The black hair of his youth now was salt and pepper, even through his beard. She hugged him for a long moment before she released him and went to hug her mom.
“What brings you home?” Kimberly asked as she moved to Tommy’s side, placing a hand on his shoulder as she leaned her chin on his arm.
“I needed a break… there were… some problems at SPD and I…” Beth began, moving from her father’s embrace.
Tommy and Kim looked to one another briefly, the silent communication that Beth had grown up with all her life still intact with her parents. She knew that once the words SPD and problems were out of her mouth the rangers within both of them would immediately come to the fore. Decades out of uniform would never dull the sense of duty in legends like her parents.
“You know you can talk to us about anything,” Kim reminded her daughter, catching her hand with hers, and prompting a moment of déjà vu for the younger woman.
“I know… that’s why I came here. But I think you both better sit down.”
Knowing looks crossed the faces of Kim and Tommy. Having been rangers and ended up raising one, starting a conversation with those kinds of words meant something big was about to be said. Turning they moved to the sofa, Tommy instinctively wrapping an arm around Kim’s shoulders even as Beth sat down on the coffee table in front of them, leaning her elbows on her knees as she looked at her parents and took a deep breath.
Talking to them now wouldn’t change anything… and not only did they deserve to know, she needed to be able to talk to them about… everything; the torture, the fear, and Charlie’s suicide… She knew that by talking to them about it that she’d get the perspective and support she needed, because she always had gotten it from them.
All she needed to do was start at the beginning.
“So, you remember Uncle Trent’s first book signing in Reefside? Well, there’s more to the story of that day than that…” she started, sitting before her parents and smiling as she got ready to tell them what they’d forgotten for nearly 24 years.
Okay everyone, I hope you all enjoyed this addition to the Always a Ranger universe.
Author’s Note: Okay, now, for the news… I’ve decided at this point this will be my last fic posting. I have been at this now for 17 years and I have found that I just do not have the time, energy or drive like I used to for fanfic writing. *IF* a stellar idea comes my way I won’t say I wouldn’t come back for a one shot, but the days of long, involved chaptered fic are over. Thank you everyone for all your loyalty over the years. I cannot imagine that this would have been worth it without you all.
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