Duty & Honor – Part 16
Zack’s Dance Studio opening party
“This place is great!” said Jason, walking around the expanse of the studio in the downtown area of Ventura, right among the stars.
“And the rent is affordable,” remarked Zack with a happy grin. This was the moment of his dreams, and his friends were there to share it with him.
“How many students do you have signed up?” Kim asked, her own smile at the exuberance of her long time friend’s enthusiasm at achieving his dream rivaling his own.
“More than enough.”
“Hey, why are we talking when we should be partying?” asked Rocky, catching Kim by the waist and hauling her out to the dance floor of the studio as the next song started up.
“So, how are you two coping?” asked Jason quietly, noting Tommy’s eyes watching Kim’s dance moves with the former red ranger on the floor.
“Better. Things were bad during the pregnancy and then after the miscarriage. But after losing her for so long, I wasn’t about to lose her over this.”
“There’s still a lot of time for that family yet you know.”
“Yeah, and that’s fine with us,” Tommy assured his friend with all the sincerity in his heart and soul.
“But you still wish it could be now, don’t you?” Jason questioned pointedly, laying a hand on his friend’s shoulder.
“Sometimes. I know Kim feels the same way, but we’ve got responsibility to our duty first, remember?”
“I do. You guys know the meaning of the word better than anyone.”
A few people walked over to join the conversation, and Jason and Tommy looked up to see Billy with Hayley on his arm, along with Aisha, Tanya and Adam. Behind them, Zack was greeting Kat, who had just arrived.
“Did I hear something about Kimberly and Tommy knowing something?” teased Billy.
“Ha ha, very funny you. We were discussing the decision Kim and I made to stay rangers for the moment, at least until another team gets called.”
“You know it could be a while,” admonished Hayley with concern.
“Not likely!” remarked Aisha, who came over and gave Tommy a huge hug, then followed suit with Jason. “How long was there ever a lull in teams? I mean really, I wouldn’t be surprised if before the end of the year some new team landed or showed up and then… you’re good to give me that godchild I’ve been wanting for a while!”
Tommy cuffed her arm, and she stuck her tongue out at him. Everyone laughed knowing that next to Kim, Aisha was the only one that could mess with Tommy like this and get away with it.
Still, she brought up a valid thought, Tommy began to consider before he felt a pair of soft hands wrap around his middle before sliding slightly away as Kim and Rocky walked over to join the conversation.
“Are you harassing Tommy about us having kids again ‘Sha?” Kimberly asked as she felt her husband’s arm wrap around her shoulder.
“Figure I need to keep prodding you. Sort of like all those years where you both swore you were over each other and happy alone,” she shot back, and Kimberly flushed while Tommy fought the guilty look crossing his features.
“Speaking of happy people, what’s the plan man?” Zack asked Billy, who was looking to where Hayley was getting a soda from the cooler on the table next to the food set out for the party.
“I’ve just gotten a job working for Merick Pharmaceuticals and well… I can afford to ask her to marry me now.”
Kim, Tanya and Aisha squealed in surprise, and the guys stood there stunned.
“I never would have thought Billy would get married before me,” murmured Jason humorously.
“When are you asking her?” asked Kim quickly, her tone blissful at her friend’s happiness with the woman whom Kim had come to regards as a friend as well.
“Not sure yet, but when I know, I’ll let you know,” Billy stated seriously, and Tommy moved in to save his friend.
“Alright guys... boy, since Kimberly and I finally tied the knot, you’re just looking to see who’s next.”
“Hey, I have to find a way to make back all the money I lost betting on your love life,” fired back Rocky, sending everyone into hysterics.
“What’s so funny?” asked Hayley, Adam and Kat trailing behind her.
“Nothing. Just betting on the future,” replied Tommy quickly.
“Well that sounds like the makings of a toast,” commented Zack, handing around drinks to everyone. Once there was no one with an empty hand, he raised his glass and everyone followed suit.
“To the future!”
Letter from Kira from Santa Fiero Community College
“Hi Kim & Dr. O,
Conner and I are settling in for our first semester. I hate the dorms already. I’ve taken a part time job at a club nearby as a hostess. I figure I might be able to get a gig there after a little while. With the money from that and with the grant for school, I’m thinking about getting a place.
Maybe with Conner.
I know what you’re thinking, but before you question my logic, well, look how things turned out for you two… We’re just trying to skip the breaking up part.
Anyway, things have obviously been quiet, since my morpher hasn’t chimed once. I look at it and think about the last time everyone was in Reefside, the going away party for Ethan and Trent. It was tough leaving, having us all in different places… I know you both have been through it before with the old team, but it was hard for Conner and me to go. Still, it’s good we decided to leave the area… I know Surfside Community would have been closer, but we both wanted to be on our own… start fresh, so to speak.
I’m gonna close on this and I hope all is well and we’ll see you at Christmas.
Letter from Trent from the School of Visual Arts, NYC
“Hey Dr. O and Kim,
Sorry about not getting back for the holidays, I know you had the spare room available since I sold the house. Anyway, I’ve been asked to come by the Metro Studio Galleries and drop off my portfolio this week. I guess they had a cancellation for one of their shows next month and the dean here was asked to send a few up and coming applicants to vie for the space. It’s a great opportunity. If the gallery owner likes my stuff, maybe I can get the show…
Just so you don’t worry, which I know you do anyway, the lawyers got everything resolved finally, so I’ll be able to access all of dad’s money come spring semester. That will let me get a much better place to live, and I can even not have to live with three sloppy, noisy room mates to make ends meet.
Anyhow, I know I don’t say it, but you guys are my family. I love you & miss you.
“You are cordially invited to the wedding of
Billy James Cranston
Hayley Lynn Thomas
1470 Post St
March 1, 2006
“The news reports are as follows: six brightly colored people appeared in the city today, just as a monster was about to attack the business district. Sources say that this is not the same team of ‘power rangers’ seen before in Reefside, CA. It is expected that this mystery group of heroes will follow in the traditions of rangers here and protect not just the city but the Earth as well. If this is the same team, but with different uniforms, then we thank them again for their continued duty to protect us. This is Cassidy Cornell, KTVX Jacksonville reporting.”
“So, I guess we’re out of business?” asked Kim from her spot on the sofa, the remote hanging limply in her hand.
“Sounds like, although I think we better check this out first…”
The sound of the alarm going off cut the air, and the two semi-retired rangers rushed to the kitchen, Tommy opening the trap door so Kim could rush down, her husband following right behind her. When they reached the console, there was a flashing image on the main screen, requesting connection. With a touch of a button, Tommy opened up the connection and an image appeared. It was a man, but something about him seemed… alien. At his neck, they could see the white of his uniform collar, and lower the red of his designated uniform.
It was the red ranger… but of what team?
“Dr. Oliver?” asked the man before him on the view screen.
“My name is Drax. I’m the guardian of the new Solar ranger team here on Earth. I was told by your former mentor Zordon I should contact you.”
“Zordon? You spoke with Zordon?” Kim spoke up quickly, her arm tight on Tommy’s lower arm.
“Yes. We were following Dalith, the intergalactic terrorist across the galaxy, and his path led here. Before we left his solar system, he suggested that if we arrived here, that you would be a source of information. And that we should let you know that you can stand down.”
“So you’re staying put?” questioned Tommy seriously, his heart thudding in his chest faster than a racehorse.
“Yes sir. We’re the team in residence until a new one is called.”
“So… we’re retired again?” Kim asked in a stunned voice.
“Yes, that’s the gist of it. Congratulations…” Drax said simply, a bright smile on his face. “I understand that you both deserve it.”
“If you need anything…” Tommy began before being cut off.
“We’ll call. Thank you again for everything you’ve done.”
The call clicked off, and Kim and Tommy looked to one another. They had to let the rest of the team know; they could retire the morphers, shut up the basement…
And do other things…
“So… now what?” Kim asked with a spark in her eyes that set off a flame in Tommy’s as their hearts and souls shared the same desire, put aside many months past.
The leer that crept across his face made her grin. And with a mock scream, she jumped and ran upstairs for their bedroom as Tommy lunged at her., chasing her the entire way there.
They’d completed their responsibility. Now they could think about themselves… and their own futures.
“Announcing the arrival of:
Elizabeth Trini Oliver
Born April 14, 2007
Godparents Jason Scott and Aisha Campbell invite you to the baby shower of the decade in Reefside, held at 1993 Valencia Dr.
See you all then.
Tommy & Kim”
Letter from Ethan at MIT
“Hey Dr. O & Kim,
Well, it’s official… I’m graduating 2 years early, and have my first job offer with Boeing for practical applications of my space theory. I’m still scared to death that I’m gonna fall flat on my face, but Billy and Hayley assured me that I can do it. And if not, well… I can ask them where I screwed up.
So, that means if you can make it, there’s going to be a graduation ceremony in January. I know it’s tough traveling with Beth, but it would mean a lot if you could come. Kira and Conner are coming. You heard that he got invited to try out for the summer Olympics? It would be so cool if he got to go. Then he and Kim would be part of this special club! And Kira got that record deal. I know you guys weren’t happy about her leaving school, but she has to take her opportunity where she can.
Anyhow, before I get all long winded and everything, just let me know if I need to get tickets for you guys.
Letter from Kira from her road tour promoting her first album
Conner asked me, just before going to training camp with the US Olympic Soccer team. We’ll be by soon to see you, Dr. O and Beth and show you the ring. It’s so gorgeous! It won’t be for a few months, as I’m going to catch up with him in Beijing for the Olympics and then go back to the last dates of my tour. The last date will be in October in Reefside, and I’m setting aside a block of tickets for everyone. You have to come!
See you in October!
November 24, 2008
Journal of Tommy James Oliver…
“It’s been a wild few years, but things are well… you would never have believed the changes in everyone.
Ethan’s doing well, having a great job and finding that smart guys don’t always finish last. Trent calls when he can. His comic book has just gotten its first printing at Dark Horse, and it sold really well. Kira’s album sold 1.2 million copies, and she’s just wrapping up her tour. She took some time off to meet Conner at the Beijing summer games, where the men’s team won the silver. Seems Olympics runs in the ranger family. They’ve decided to finish school and get married next summer. I have no doubts that it will last – it’s the real deal, just like me and Kim.
The rest of the guys from the old days are doing just as well. Billy and Hayley are really happy, and they’re expecting their first in January. It’s a boy, so there’s a betting pool on the name going on with everyone. Jason’s out here and has started his own dojo, under his former company’s brand. Still, I know it means a lot to him to be the sensei rather than the guy who helps build the studio. Zack’s dance studio is going great. He’s thinking about opening another one in Phoenix, and Kat is considering taking on the role of manager and head teacher there. Of course, her new fiancé probably thinks it would be a good idea for them to settle down, rather than her touring. Adam and Tanya decided to make it official last month, and he’s moving back to LA. I guess they tried to be friends but ended up back together again. Sounds familiar. Rocky’s considering coming here to work for Jason. I accused him of following Aisha, but he isn’t saying anything… As for Aisha has had her animal clinic open in Surfside for just under a year now. She’s been spending as much time dating and working at the clinic as she has been coming over to visit with us.
As for me and Kim… Beth is great, just growing in leaps and bounds. And with so many friends and family… I think she’ll never lack for love. Especially from her parents. I look at her, see Kim’s eyes and my hair and think to myself what I ever did to deserve this. Even all the times we saved the planet, the universe doesn’t seem equal to the wonder of my little girl in my arms.
And as for my soul mate… we’re still in our jobs, getting satisfaction from everything we do, it’s just we seem to be deeper in love every day. Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I could have ever let her go all those years ago.
As I write this, it seems strange to realize that it’s been a year and a half since the Solar Rangers arrived. I never thought we’d have this, that we’d be rangers for a lot longer this time around. But even through we’re not active any more, fully retired like so many of our friends, I think that for certain, the old adage is true – Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger.”
Author’s notes: This has been a great ride and I know that I really enjoyed the opportunity to return to the AAR world for a little while. But now, I’m inviting others in. The anthology project is here! I am inviting authors to take a stab at writing their own stories in the AAR universe. If you’re interested, see my website here: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Orion/1341/anthology.htm
As well, I’ll be focusing my writing attention on an original novel… and trying to use what I learned to write something that a publisher would print and people would buy.
Anyway, again, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all around the PR world!
click the picture to go to the Duty & Honor series page
If anyone wants to e-mail me: