Legacy of Valor – an Always a Ranger Mini Series
Chapter 3 – Making a Plan
After being pointed by Sam in the direction of the ‘personal waste facilities’ Kira, Conner, Ethan and Trent, who had all been at the book signing much earlier than Tommy or Kim, had taken a brief ‘bathroom break’; the end result being their leaving Dr. O and Kim alone with Nova and Omega, i.e. Beth and Sam, in the main part of the auxiliary command center.
After using the facilities the younger members of the team had regrouped, pausing outside the entryway to that main ‘war room’, observing the sight before them where the four rangers, two in uniform and three of whom were related, were beginning the strategy session for rescuing the SPD.
“So, this is… beyond weird,” commented Kira even as Conner wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “Beth is like a year and a half old and here she is… older than us and probably even her own parents.”
“You think this is the strangest thing ever, after everything we’ve seen and done?” asked Ethan skeptically, his mind automatically filling with moments that had perplexed the team when they’d been in uniform.
“I guess not…” she replied honestly, fighting down a sigh as she realized it was true.
“It’s too bad we don’t remember the instances where we were in the future or helped them in our time,” Ethan added his eyes lighting up a bit. “Then I bet a lot more of this would make more sense.”
“Or we’d be a lot more confused,” remarked Conner, making Ethan shrug beside his friend and former red ranger leader.
They continued to stand and stare as Kim leaned ever so slightly into Dr. O as they reviewed whatever Beth had pointed out on the table they were gathered around. Thoughts of Kim’s fainting spell at Beth’s revelation fresh in their minds made her simple action of closing the distance between her and her husband than much more telling.
“How do you think Dr. O and Kim are holding up?” questioned Trent, who even though he hadn’t taken Kim and Dr. O up on their offer to let him stay with them, be his guardians after Anton died, he still felt… familial and protective of them.
“You mean the fact that their toddler daughter is some kind of special ranger leader who came back through time to ask for their help to save an entire ranger organization? Well, if Kim’s fainting spell didn’t clue you in I would get that it’s probably as well as you’d expect,” Conner pointed out, recalling the look on Dr. O’s face when he dropped to his knees to ease Kim up off the floor after Beth’s ‘surprise’.
The younger rangers nodded in understanding. They were all overwhelmed by the fact that the Nova Ranger had come to them for aid in the first place; Beth’s revelation in regards to her identity had been overwhelming for them. For Dr. O and Kim… the implications and emotions tied into that had to be off the charts. But they all had a job to do, and from the looks of it from where the four of them stood by the door, father, mother and daughter were doing what they all seemed to be good at – compartmentalizing their emotions and focusing on the task at hand.
Finally Conner took a deep breath, gathering up his courage and pulled his arm from Kira’s shoulders, instead holding his hand out to her. She took it immediately and he took a step into the room, Kira a half-step behind him as he started towards the foursome around the table. Trent and Ethan unconsciously paused a moment before following the red and yellow rangers into the proverbial fray.
Around the table Kim, Tommy, Beth and Sam stared at the floor plans displayed within the war room’s computer screen table as they discussed the layout of the SPD headquarters. Kim and Tommy were doing their level best to focus on nothing more than the job, which was proving more challenging than they expected.
“Couldn’t you time travel back before the raid and warn them?” blurted Kim suddenly, recalling the fact that her… daughter had just come decades into the past to recruit them… couldn’t she have gone back to alert the SPD people?
“I considered that, but there are a few problems. I don’t know exactly when the attack occurred so I can’t go back to the exact moment to help. If I went back to just before I left to look for Sam I would have to tell them what was going to happen, and leaving that knowledge behind... well, there are rules to space/time travel and I’d be breaking the most important one. I have no idea how that would change things. I might not find Sam, the attack might change times or intensity… right now having your team here to help fix things in the now is the least damaging to the time stream,” Beth answered with a heavy heart.
Sighing Tommy ran his hand through his hair and noted both Kim and Beth watching him with some humor. They both recognized the expression of his frustration with the slight hand movement. Quickly he yanked it down and rested it on the table again. It was bad enough to have Kim scrutinize him with that kind of knowing look, but having his adult ranger daughter pin him with it was more than unnerving.
“So, do we have any allies inside the headquarters we can make contact with?” Tommy questioned, turning the conversation back to the rescue.
“We’ve tried making contact as soon as we arrived back in this time and narrowly missed being caught ourselves. All the active duty rangers - A and B squads, are unresponsive. More than likely they stripped them of their communicators and morphers.”
“Which begs the question, do any of them have the same capabilities as you?” Kim asked, her comment directed to Beth.
“No. Mine’s the only one. Sam had one but it never worked right. Later they decided to leave it with the senior member of the A squad only…”
“So you’re the leader…” surmised Tommy, slightly surprised.
“Of the current, active team, yes,” she replied with a slight blush of embarrassment as she dropped her eyes.
She may have worked hard to earn her position but there had always been part of her that felt that she had to be even better than the best. People expected it once they knew of her parentage. She was ranger legacy. Plus there was still the fact that she recalled that day when she and her dad had fought over her decision to join SPD; she had spent the last 10 years trying to prove to him that she had chosen the right path.
“But you aren’t a red ranger,” spoke up Conner as he, Kira, Ethan and Trent rejoined the strategy session.
“I was once. I got an upgrade. It happens, right?” said Beth, looking directly at her father, memories of stories about a white uniform and a lion handled sword filling her head.
“It does. But we need to focus on the situation in the SPD HQ right now,” Tommy admonished.
“Of course,” responded Beth, suitably chastised.
“What’s the facility like?” queried Kira, her hands landing on the table edge as she leaned across the surface, trying to understand the blueprints there.
Conner, Trent and Ethan joined her a second later, scanning the images across the table, which they now realized contained a view screen that changed from aerial satellites images to blueprints to heat and motion maps.
“Its seven stories, with a separate building for barracks. Since the barracks are in an undefendable space they are more than likely housing everyone inside the main SPD building,” explained Beth as she pointed to the areas as she noted them.
“What about the force of … Gruumm’s people? And how about the SPD’s personnel? Who’s in the building besides your ranger team that we can add to our team once we get inside?” asked Tommy.
“We don’t know exactly how many of Gruumm’s people are inside, but I think it might be a dozen or so… there weren’t a lot of them left after our last battle with him. As for our own people, there are about 100 recruits, who range from age 10-22, maybe twice that number of tech staff and other personnel. But they’re all going to be pretty much non combatants,” Sam began, wanting to clarify that they had civilians to protect and rescue as well.
Tommy clenched his hands tightly at the number of foes potentially in the building. If Sam was right, eight versus twelve odds weren’t bad at all…
“There are some others we can rely on for aid once we get to them,” Beth interjected quickly, recognizing her father’s worry by the look on his face and the fisting of his hands. “Commander Sky Tate is the man in charge. I would expect Gruumm’s allies have him under heavy security, but if we can reach him, his people and the ranger teams we will have more than enough help.”
“Who else will be with him besides the ranger teams?” asked Ethan.
“His second in command and wife, Sydney Drew-Tate. Also Bridge Carson, he’s head of advanced zord tech,” added Sam.
“And that’s helpful how?” Kira questioned, genuinely curious as to how these senior ‘paper pushers’ could help them.
“They all were rangers at one point. Commander Tate was a blue then a red ranger; Syd pink and Bridge was green,” stated Beth.
“And I guess we’ve worked and fought with them too?” Trent questioned, already knowing what the answer would probably be.
“Yup,” said Sam with a grin.
“Great. I would really like to remember things I supposedly did,” Conner said with a grimace.
“Sorry about that – SPD policy when interacting with the past… like I mentioned earlier; can’t screw up the time continuum and all that,” Beth said by way of an apology.
“Wonderful. So how are we supposed to rescue everyone if at least one group of them is more than likely under tight security?” questioned Kim aloud, the situation just looking more and more complicated.
“I’ve been thinking about that during our discussion and I believe I have a plan of attack…” Beth said, her hands starting to move across the map, changing the view before them with the swipe of her fingers.
“That sounds *so* like someone we know…” Ethan remarked in a stage whisper, making Trent, Kira and Conner burst out with a short spate of laughter before stifling it quickly when Dr. O gave them a very unsubtle glare.
The image on the screen changed back to a blueprint style, and she cleared away several floors of the building’s schematics until she could run her finger along a long, winding set of parallel lines that cut through the building. As she did so it turned yellow, marking a path that led from outside the building and into several larger rooms on the fifth and seventh floors.
“This is an auxiliary air induction unit that feeds air into the command center. If we can short circuit the fan blades,” Beth explained, pointing to three separate points along the pathway, “we can probably get in that way… unmorphed of course.”
“You think we can get past any guards along the perimeter of the building and then use the air ducts to sneak inside?” questioned Tommy, incredulous.
“I do. I think it’s our best chance.”
There was a long pause as the Dino Thunder team considered the matter. Going into a potential battle zone unmorphed with no way to know what was waiting for them on the other end was risky. Any number of scenarios could await them once they were inside the cramped airway tunnel.
“There’s no better way? Heck, at this point I’d be down with taking the sewer,” groused Conner.
Beth turned her head and caught Sam’s eyes. He’d kept his smarts from the time he’d spent on the streets for the less than savory world ‘outside’ of SPD. His upbringing was so opposite to Beth’s that she sometimes forgot that it could offer them different insights.
“Well…” he began, and critically appraised the map, using his finger to change the view to a larger schematic of the whole of the SPD grounds.
Everyone waited with baited breath as he considered their options. He knew that there were other ways into the headquarters but with eight of them, Beth’s entrance was the fastest and easiest to get to. Once they had rescued the people and beings within SPD they could bust their way out through more conventional exits. But they needed one point of entry rather than the two Beth was noting, and he marked the different route on the map with his finger, lighting the path in blue.
“Truthfully I can’t see any options that are better… if we try any kind of direct route we’ll be cut down or caught before we get 50 meters into the complex. As much as I hate to go in without already having our suits on before we get to the best end point,” Sam said, noting where the air duct dumped into a large storage space on the fourth floor that they could use as a staging area and location to power up before taking on their opposition, “I think we have to take the stealth approach via the air ducts.”
“Okay, so we can power up on the fourth floor and then go rescue your people,” indicated Trent grasping the plan quickly.
“We’ll have to split up from this location,” remarked Beth, her brow furrowing slightly. “The fifth floor would be the only place large enough for all the staff to be at with any kind of security. Sky and the command team, along with the rangers would be in detention on the seventh, where the security would be the tightest…”
“Okay then… we get inside, split up and rescue everyone. Sounds like a plan to me,” stated Ethan, even as he turned to the black ranger, the ‘de-facto’ leader of their group when it wasn’t Conner to see what he thought. “Dr. O?”
Tommy recognized Ethan’s look; he wanted to hear that he was okay with this plan. He turned to look to Kim first, who gave him the slightest of nods in his direction, indicating her approval with whatever he decided. Turning back to the others he gauged the rest of the team’s opinion, seeing thumbs up from Trent and a nod from Kira. Conner stayed silent, his eyes drifting away from the black ranger and reviewing the diagram before them on the screen. Then he looked back and gave his former teacher a determined look even as he seemed to stand just the slightest bit taller as he straightened up, the casual slouch gone as he slipped into his role as a red ranger.
“So, when are we leaving?” questioned Conner, cutting to the heart of the matter and indicating his agreement with the plan in one simple phrase.
“As soon as you’re ready,” suggested Beth and when no one offered any dissent, she nodded her head before taking a deep breath, reaching for her teleportation device on her wrist, knowing that very soon they’d be breaching the defenses of the SPD…
-End Chapter 3-
I hope you are all enjoying the banter with our heroes and their grown up leader daughter. Being Kim and Tommy’s child I can’t imagine her not being scary smart, tactician, yet with a deep emotional need to rescue her friends…
Thanks for reading – Ms. J.
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