Duty & Honor – Part 4

When You’re Least Expecting

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

There was a collective gasp of concern when Kim passed out after unmorphing. Tommy raced to her side, wrapping his arms around her and lifting her up gently. Almost as soon as he brushed his hand across her hair, her eyes fluttered open.

 

“Beautiful?” he asked, the fear in his voice unmistakable.

 

“You need to stop making me faint,” she murmured, her voice tinged with humor at the irony of her position.

 

“That’s not funny Kim… are you feeling alright?”

 

“I’m a little light headed. Maybe all those long hours at the gym are catching up with me. Of course, getting our butts kicked by the wraiths and that new guy Symax probably didn’t help.”

 

“Yeah, how are we supposed to beat those things, especially with our poster boy for Gold’s Armored Gym too?” asked Conner, latching onto Kira’s hand.

 

“I don’t know… but we’ll figure it out,” remarked Tommy as he helped Kim up, holding her tightly against his side.

 

“They’re so different from Mesogog… they don’t seem much interested in taking over the Earth,” commented Ethan with a grimace.

 

“These guys aren’t interested in the planet, they just want us dead,” remarked Conner tightly.

 

“Let’s take this back to the basement, and I’ll call Hayley for a meeting.”

 

Helping Kim stand, Tommy held her tightly to him. With a frown, he looked her over, but she seemed to be getting better quickly.

 

“Should we get a cab?” Tommy asked Kim, looking at her intently.

 

“No… walking will help clear my head.”

 

Nodding somewhat reluctantly, Tommy accepted her answer. With that, they turned towards the direction of Tommy and Kim’s and started walking.

 

-x-

 

The stick was blue.

 

Kim sat heavily on the toilet and closed her eyes. What it was about bad luck and being a ranger that Jason used to espouse endlessly? She had no idea… heaven knew that Murphy had nothing on Ranger’s Law.

 

Once they’d arrived back at the house, she’d made her excuses and gone straight to the bathroom. It had been simple once she thought of it, and now she was finding out that she had been right. The mornings in the last two weeks where she had been feeling ill; the upset stomach she wrote off as Tommy’s cooking; the over-tiredness that she had written off as a bug and putting in too many hours at the gym. But today’s incident had prompted her to do the math. With everything had been going on she’d lost track of time… 

 

They’d talked about this after the bacherlorette party, deciding that if they were to stop taking precautions, that they’d be happy to be pregnant. As it was, Aisha and Jason had informed them in no certain terms after they’d gotten back from their honeymoon that they were the godparents. They’d laughed about their friends thinking they’d be expecting already, but decided not to think about the possibility. If it was to be, it would happen when it happened, so they’d settled into a pattern with their lives: working and loving and living.

 

Over the last eight months there had been two false alarms, so after the last one, Kim had decided to just stock a home test in the house, rather than her running off to the doctor every time she was late a day or two.

 

But neither time had resulted in a real pregnancy, she’d just been late.

 

So she and Tommy had gone along, business as usual. It was only now, with the looming danger of this new villain over their heads that they had to finally have what they’d been planning and hoping for.

 

A sudden knock on the door sent her head flying up, and she instantly regretted it. After the fainting spell she was still feeling a bit woozy and the sudden movement hadn’t helped.

 

“Beautiful, you okay in there?” asked Tommy’s voice through the door.

 

Her face paled at the sound of his voice. She knew that he would be happy, they’d really wanted to have children, there was no question of that. What worried her was how to tell him, what with the unknown bad guy who had his army kicking their ass up and down Reefside harbor. Still she had to get up and tell him… Sighing, she slowly got up and moved to the door, cracked it open slightly. Her pale face greeted his, and she watched his face fall.

 

“Kim?” he said breathlessly, reaching for her, his fear evident in his voice.

 

“I’m okay,” she replied, smiling at him with a mixed expression.

 

“What’s wrong?” he asked, knowing her too well not to know when she was hiding something.

 

“I… God Tommy,” she rambled, still unsure of how to say it without just blurting it out, so she ended up explaining just that, “I don’t know how to say this… I’m pregnant.”

 

Time stood still as a series of reactions played across Tommy’s face: shock, joy, awe, nervousness and then fear. She watched them all and felt her heart rend as his hand raked his hair and his eyes closed.

 

“Tommy?”

 

“Oh God Kim… this is such… it’s great, I’m so happy, but…”

 

“I know. The timing sucks…” she remarked with a touch of anguish, her eyes threatening to tear.

 

“Don’t say that,” Tommy admonished, reaching to grasp her upper arms as he smiled a bittersweet grin at her. “No matter when this happened we would have had to make adjustments…”

 

“But two months, two *weeks* ago we weren’t under attack.”

 

His mouth took on a dark frown as soon as the words left her mouth and his eyes closed for a brief moment. In that second, Kim worried just what he was thinking. When he finally opened his eyes, she knew whatever was going to come from his lips was going to change things.

 

She had no idea how true that was…

 

“I know… and that’s why I’m going to order you not to go back out there again.”

 

Kim stared at her husband without comprehension. Had he just…

 

“I… Did I just hear you right?”

 

“I don’t want you back out there Kim.”

 

“No way! You need every man right now.”

 

“You can’t go out there again. We’ve been lucky so far, but I get the impression that the next time we meet Symax and those wraith soldiers that it won’t be as easy. Someone could get really seriously hurt out there, and I won’t endanger you and the baby.”

 

“That’s not fair. I’m pregnant, not an invalid…You don’t have the right to tell me I can’t do my job. And you can’t tell me I’m not a valuable member of this team. You need me damnit!”

 

“Kim, you know that I know you’re a damn fine ranger… you always have been. But you’re my wife and you’re carrying our baby. I can ask you to be careful,” Tommy said, his face dark, “but as the senior member of the team I can ground you if I see that you’re not fit. Which I am.”

 

“You can’t do that.”

 

“It’s done. I’ll let the rest of the team know later that you’re grounded. If they call you for anything ranger related, I’ll put them on zord repair duty for a year.”

 

“Tommy…”

 

Before Kim could complete her sentence, the sound of their alerts on their morphing cuffs chimed. Before Kim could move, Tommy started to block her path, and she forcefully shoved his arm away, staring up at him with fury in her eyes at this sudden change in her status. She wasn’t going to let him keep her from finding out what was happening, and if she had her way, the conversation about her staying out of uniform was far from over.

 

“I can still see what’s going on, can’t I?” Kim nearly growled, and Tommy tipped his head back in angry exasperation. He knew that this discussion wasn’t over in her mind.

 

Waving her forward, the two made their way down the ladder to the basement where Hayley and the team all had been going over the latest data on the new threat during Kim and Tommy’s absence. What was on the screen however wasn’t analytical data or footage of the fight or a new threat on the streets of Reefside. It was instead a familiar face that seemed to be waiting for their arrival before they continued…

 

“Billy…” greeted Tommy, his face instantly relaxing at the sight of his, their friend and former team mate.

 

“Hey Tommy, Kim,” Billy said, his familiar form seated behind some kind of control panel on Aquitar.

 

“I assume you got Hayley’s message?”

 

Kim watched her long time friend and caught a slight frown; an expression that might have been passed off by someone else, but she knew that there was something wrong.

 

“I did. I’m glad you contacted me. I would have gotten back sooner, but things have been… hectic,” Billy stated, his voice tight.

 

“What’s happened?” Kim asked, her heart clenching in her chest as she worried what had Billy so upset.

 

“I guess you have trouble of the evil villain kind.”

 

“We were hoping you or some of the other ranger teams might know something…” Tommy explained, even though he knew that Billy had probably already figured out the reason why Hayley had contacted him.

 

“I do. As it was, I was going to call you anyway… to warn you. I guess I’m too late though.”

 

“Billy, come on, you’re killing us here,” Conner spoke up and the former blue ranger’s face went pale.

 

“Billy, what’s going on?” Hayley asked her long-long-distance boyfriend.

 

“The Space Rangers were attacked ten days ago. And the probability is that it was the same being that’s attacking you now.”

 

There was stunned silence as that information was digested. Some of the team were taken aback, others angry. The overall feeling in the room was shock and awe. It was Kira that finally broke the silence, asking the question that needed to be spoken.

 

“TJ? Andros? The others?” asked Kira, remembering the space rangers from Kim and Dr. O’s wedding.

 

Billy looked from Kira and Conner and the rest of the younger members of the Dino Thunder team and then focused on Tommy and Kim. They gave him a look that told him what he wanted to know… how much he should say: they were rangers, and there was no shielding them from the hard truth. Especially if their lives hung on the information Billy had.

 

“Andros and Cassie are dead. They were killed when the ship came under heavy fire, and they didn’t survive the blast when the ship’s bridge was hit. Carlos is in a coma, and they don’t expect that he’ll be able to walk if he comes out of it. Ashley has severe internal damage, and they have her on life support at the moment, but they think she’ll make a full recovery. Somehow TJ came away with more broken bones and ruptured body parts than a person is supposed to be able to live through. They found him alive and still conscious when they located the wreckage.”

 

“Did he know who did this?” Tommy questioned almost breathlessly, still stunned by the deaths of people he knew, people he recruited to be rangers.

 

“Yeah… the guy called himself Xondar. He claims to have killed rangers across the universe. And the Space Rangers were supposedly second to last on his list.”

 

Ethan caught the implication first.

 

“And we’re last, aren’t we?” he blurted out, his eyes wide as all the pieces fell into place for him.

 

Tommy looked from the teens to his wife. The image of Kim’s face brought to mind younger but not simpler days of their friends and the first teams of Earth rangers… and the fear for their friends surfaced immediately. While most of them still had their morphers, not all of them could use their powers without help, and this Xondar guy could eaily catch them all unaware…

 

“Billy, the others…”

 

“He’s only after active rangers, from what TJ got from the open communication from Xondar’s ship during the attack.”

 

“Which is us again, since he’s attacking us!” complained Conner angrily. They wouldn’t be on this crazed alien’s hit list if the thing wasn’t attacking Reefside, making them take up their roles again.

 

“Why is he, it, whatever after rangers?” questioned Trent, and all eyes flew from the young white ranger to Billy, hoping he had an answer.

 

“Tommy, Kim… you’re not going to like the answer… are you sure…”

 

“They’re entitled to hear whatever you have to say Billy,” Tommy stated.

 

“Once I got the information that TJ was able to provide me, as well as doing a full analysis on the footage the ranger’s ship was able to store of Xondar’s ship, I made some inquiries. On Eltar.”

 

“Where’s that?” Ethan asked, suddenly curious.

 

“Kim? Dr. O?” questioned Kira, noting that the couple had gone pale, Kim nearly as white as she had been when she’d fainted earlier.

 

Tommy turned to Kim, the two of them sharing a look that conveyed their shock at this turn of events.

 

“Bill, Tom, Kim, will one of you tell the rest of us what’s going on?” Hayley asked, nervous at the looks of astonishment on Tommy and Kim’s faces and the grim look on Bill’s.

 

“Sorry, I… they…” Billy stammered.

 

“The creator and mentor of the original ranger team was from Eltar,” Tommy finally explained briefly, his hand still wrapped tightly in Kim’s as they tried to figure out the connection…

 

“Zordon, right?” asked Hayley, remembering everything she’d learned over the years about the older team.

 

“Yes,” answered Kim simply, looking to Tommy with her heart in her throat.

 

“I guess they do names on Eltar weird,” Ethan shrugged.

 

“Okay, so we know ho the big bad is and where he’s from. But what does that have to do with this guy, being, whatever killing rangers?” Conner questioned abruptly.

 

“I don’t… I don’t know Conner,” stammered Tommy, his mind racing as he fought to process all he’d been told.

 

“Tommy, that’s part of the reason I was contacting you… I know who he is,” announced Billy through the screen.

 

“Well?” Tommy stated sudden;y, his voice strained and his body braced against Kim’s for the news he knew he wasn’t going to like.

 

“Come on, get to it!” barked Trent, frustrated at the obvious intrigue being played out for no good reason.

 

“From what I could determine from the historical and genealogical records on Eltar… Tommy, he’s Zordon’s brother.”

 

The silence that filled the room was deafening.

 

“Oh God…” murmured Kim, her eyes slamming shut as she fought to process what she’d just been told, Tommy’s arm around her bracing her upright even as she felt as if every bone in her body had liquefied.

 

The room was soundless for long minutes, and everyone looked at each other around the monitor. It made no sense, Tommy thought desperately as he tried to put the pieces together. Why would Zordon’s brother kill rangers… and then the light bulb went off in a near explosion in his head. He had the answer, and it wasn’t a good one either.

 

“The reason he’s killing rangers is because the rangers killed Zordon…” whispered Tommy, nearly crushing Kim’s ribs in his tightening grip.

 

“Whoa, wait a minute,” Ethan hollered, “you killed your own mentor?”

 

“No, it wasn’t us… it was years after the original team was out of uniform. The Space Rangers… Andros did it, he said at Zordon’s request. When the warp he was surviving in was destroyed, the energy released saved the galaxy from a series of evils that threatened it.”

 

“So, his brother’s now hunting us down, what, for revenge?” Conner questioned angrily.

 

 Tommy glanced at Billy on the view screen. That had to be the reason… And it was such a uncomplicated reason too…

 

“Yeah,” replied Tommy simply.

 

“That’s insane. We didn’t kill Zordon! And the whole Space Ranger team didn’t either. How many people has he killed in his quest for revenge?” complained Trent.

 

“Forty rangers dead, another one hundred injured. You’re the last active team of rangers,” Billy offered up, shocking the dino team.

 

“That’s like 24 teams,” commented Ethan in a stunned tone as he did the calculations.

 

“We’re not the only ones out there keeping the world, the galaxy, the universe safe,” Kim remarked sullenly.

 

“You mean we weren’t…” Conner corrected her, and she paled as she turned slightly into Tommy’s side where they clung together, their need for each other at the moment stronger than anything else.

 

“So what do we do?” Kira asked, her hand now firmly grasped by Conner’s.

 

“Billy, do you have any ideas on how we can stop him?” Tommy asked nervously.

 

“I don’t know Tommy,” said Billy sincerely. “I just thought you needed to know what you were up against.”

 

“I appreciate it.”

 

“Take care you guys… Hayley,” Billy said, smiling briefly at the woman he was now involved with.

 

The link snapped shut, leaving the room full of unspoken questions.

 

“So what, its six rangers against this alien psycho on the warpath over his dead brother?” Conner bitterly questioned.

 

“Five,” blurted out Tommy unwittingly.

 

“Five?” asked Trent, looking around to recount the team.

 

Kim suddenly pulled away from Tommy’s side and turned to stare angrily at him. He had hoped the news that Billy had brought them would have changed his mind, but it hadn’t. She stood there, her pain and fury radiating off of her, augmented by this horrible news and directed it at the only person she could… her husband; her love and the senior member of the ranger team.

 

“Kim’s not going back out into the field. It’s… it’s personal,” he stated evenly in his leader’s voice, even as he fought to shake off the feeling of betrayal that he was getting from her.

 

Everyone stared at Dr. O and Kim. The body language between them screamed that they were angry with each other, which was confusing to them all.

 

“Does this have something to do with Kim fainting when we all unmorphed the last time?” Asked Ethan seriously, remembering Kim’s fainting spell following her near collapse after levitating herself and him in their last battle.

 

“Kim’s pregnant. And I’m not letting her back in the line of fire.”

 

There were mixed reactions by the rangers and Hayley to the announcement. Most of them knew that Dr. O and Kim had talked bout having kids, but this… the fact that they were under attack and Dr. O was taking Kim out of battle, even when she wanted to obviously stay with them, leaving them a ranger short was just hard to deal with. The fact that Kim’s reaction to Dr. O’s statement had not been a happy one fueled in all of them the knowledge that the matter was something that was seriously fraying the normally solid relationship of the two senior members of the team and happily married couple.

 

“Kim?” Kira asked simply, moving from Conner’s side to lay a hand on the older woman’s shoulder.

 

“We’re… yes, it’s true, but the whole thing about my not being there with you… it’s not fully resolved.”

 

“The hell it’s not,” growled Tommy at her words, and she spun quickly on him, her finger coming up to point in his face.

 

“We’re not having this conversation in front of them,” she nearly yelled, and her sudden outburst stunned Tommy into silence for a moment. Before he could say anything else, Kim turned back to the others. “You guys should all head home. We’ll meet up soon to talk strategy.”

 

As everyone trooped out, Tommy and Kim stared at one another in the command center, knowing that everything that they’d come to know and rely on had suddenly and painfully changed.

 

Now they just had to see if they could repair the cracks in their relationship that the issue of Kim’s pregnancy had caused before none of them were left alive to appreciate it.

 

-End-

 

tbc…

 

So, did you all see BOTH of these coming? If so, good! And hopefully everything will be falling in place and I’ll do my best to get back on a weekly schedule. If I’m going to be posting in 2 weeks, I’ll let you know. Thanks.

 

GO TO CHAPTER 5

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