Always a Ranger - Part 29
Luck of the Rangers
By Jeannine Trevizo
Before they knew it, it was closing time at the Cyberspace.
“Alright everybody, time to head home, or wherever you’re going, because it can’t be here anymore,” Hayley announced, and people started for the door. “Ethan, Conner, Kira, can you guys do the closing rounds?”
As teenagers picked up and headed out, Ethan checked that all the computers were shut off, Kira cleaned up the area around the stage and Conner picked up around the sofa. Behind the counter, Hayley was cleaning up behind the counter. When she’d made the final trash run, she headed for the door to lock up when she found a pair of visitors that she let in instead of turning away – Trent and Tommy.
“Hey you two. What brings you by?” asked Hayley, locking the door behind them.
“Just thought we’d come by and socialize. It was a long day,” remarked Tommy, heading through the second set of doors into the café.
“And while today is my day off, I thought I’d come by and see if you needed any help closing,” offered Trent, and Hayley patted him on the shoulder with a friendly smile. The normal Trent was a lot more considerate than his previously evil counterpart.
“Hey Dr. O,” called Conner as he plopped down on the red velvet sofa that usually faced the TV, but now faced a few of the armchairs that had been set up for a poetry reading session.
“Hey there yourself Conner. So, you guys helped clean up?”
“Yeah… it was closing time and Hayley asked us to help, so…” Conner remarked as Tommy took a seat in one of the armchairs across from him.
“That was nice of you guys,” Trent said as he pulled the blinds to the front window, closing off the space from the walkway. When that was done, he headed for the opposite armchair, but changed his mind, choosing to pull up a chair, turning it around to sit facing its back.
As he placed it, Tommy noted that he had set himself apart slightly, and he wondered if the young man would ever fully feel at home with the rangers. As the others finished their tasks and headed towards the sofa, he watched his team, his students with a keen eye.
They were good, and they worked well as a team. But there were times when one of the team’s situation forced the entire team to deal with them. Like Ethan’s curse had.
“Dr. O, you’re not coming to tell me that you found out that the curse really isn’t broken, are you? I mean, I can’t really deal with more bad stuff,” Ethan asked, concerned as he took his spot at the opposite end of the couch from Conner.
“No, we’re pretty sure that you successfully broke the curse. There shouldn’t be anything else you need to do,” Tommy said simply.
“That’s great! I mean, you really were a wreck dude,” joked Conner, reaching across the sofa and poking the African-American youth in the ribs.
“Cut it out!”
Kira sighed and sat between them, effectively creating a break between the two. Looking from one to the other, she tried to decide if she wanted to try and smack some sense into them or just leave them to their immature behavior.
“Dr. O, do rangers always have such crappy luck?” Trent asked as Hayley finally came over, settling in the other armchair and joined the conversation.
“From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty much a tradition,” commented Hayley.
“Don’t start,” Tommy said, looking his co-creator of the ranger technology, and then focused his answer to Trent. “For whatever bad luck you have, there’s an equal amount of good luck.”
From the stares that Tommy ended up getting from the rest of the team, he had no doubt that they expected him to explain. And he really couldn’t blame them. The history of the power rangers seemed to repeat, just like that famous quote… And besides Kim and the occasional visit from his former ranger friends, he was their link to what being a ranger was like.
But every ranger had a different regret… a different bad piece of luck. Just like they had something good that was just impossible to believe could happen to them that made the bad worth while.
“It’s all relative,” Tommy began, tapping his fingers on the arms of the chair. “I mean, we all had things sort of like the curse happen. I remember this one time Kim had this really bad day… but overall, we sort of end up having a really bad thing happen to us, which gets balanced out by a really good thing.”
“How do you mean?” Kira asked.
“Well, for someone like Jason, the worst was probably something like his nearly dying from the gold ranger powers. Or maybe not being able to get the green candle that stole my first ranger powers so long ago. But on the flip side of that, he had the chance… a unique chance to go to the International Peace Conference as a delegate. That’s something that’s just so rare and so special an experience, maybe it all evens out.”
“Wow… all the rangers really had something like that… a really cool thing and an equally nasty thing happen to them?” Conner asked.
“I think it’s safe for me to quote Jason when he used to say that rangers needed luck to do what they did. Unfortunately, you can’t have good luck without bad,” replied Tommy with a half-smile.
Ethan slightly frowned, and then nodded his head, thinking about that. He had so much… the curse really hadn’t been much in the scheme of things. He had insurance for his laptop, so he was getting that repaired, his mom had ended up getting a ride from one of her co-workers, he’d never really liked that shirt anyway, so when he’d chosen to trash it, it wasn’t a big loss, and he had gotten the hover bike…
“You’re right. I mean, I have had such great luck… I mean to have my friendship with all you guys, and Cassidy too, I think what I went through with the Tutenhawken’s curse was well worth it,” Ethan stated, looking at the others around him.
“True… I mean, I would never have appreciated the music deal if we hadn’t gone through all that hell with Trent… no offense,” commented Kira, looking up to where Trent sat.
“None taken,” Trent remarked, even though he shifted in his chair slightly, as if he was uncomfortable. “I feel the same. You guys were there for me after I was able to break the evil spell of the white gem. You accepted me, took me into the team. And I think that evens out the guilt I still feel for when I was evil.”
Everyone looked for Trent to Tommy, noting the look on his face. It was one of understanding, and he nodded as Trent finished. The shared experience was something they and only they could really understand, and there still seemed to be a long way to go for Trent…
“What about you Dr. O?” asked Kira with a knowing grin, “or do we even have to guess?”
There was a round of laughter and Tommy gave them all a deadly stare. It was not easy with them knowing what seemed like everything about him and his life. Especially his love life. Still, the very little ribbing he got from them, coupled with the fact that they all genuinely cared about and liked Kim seemed to cut him some slack. Which in his mind was good, since they’d have to deal with him and Kim together and married soon, if he could get her to say yes…
“In a way, you probably do know… but part of me is shocked at how lucky I was to get a chance to get my PhD. It was something I didn’t do with ranger powers, but on my own.”
“With help,” Hayley reminded him smugly, and Tommy was tempted to throw the accent pillow behind him at her.
“With help. But to answer your question, yeah, I’ve been luckier than I deserve. I have had more second chances… with being a ranger, with Kim… and on the other side, I don’t know how I was so unlucky as to have been picked by Rita Repulsa to be the evil green ranger.”
“You know, I have to say that I had my worst and best luck on the same thing,” stated Conner, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.
“Which was?” Ethan asked, curious
“Becoming a ranger.”
That pronouncement brought everyone up short. Some of them knew of his unease at being chosen, the others did not. Tommy looked over at the red ranger, and met his gaze. The younger man smiled though and Tommy nodded.
“Have you gotten over it?” Trent questioned, curious.
“Yeah… I mean, I can’t do some things I wanted to do, but what I got in the tradeoff is just… wow.”
“What about you Hayley?” Kira questioned, deciding to include the technology wizard.
“I’m not a ranger.”
“So? You still have to have a best and worst luck story,” claimed Ethan.
She pondered answering, and then finally sighed.
“It was actually like Conner’s… it was the same thing.”
“And…” Kira prompted, looking anxious.
“It was meeting Tommy.”
That froze everyone in place. The question running through everyone’s mind was why, and Trent wasn’t shy in asking.
Hayley shifted in her chair, looking uncomfortable. Tommy pinned her with his gaze, and Hayley avoided it. Still, she was over the real reasons why she was uncomfortable about her choice. Still, she should say something. Sigh a sigh, she looked up and glanced at everyone before settling on Trent.
“I was this excessively bright woman, and here’s this really gorgeous guy. Yet he’s still in love with his ex. So any thought I might have had at starting something was gone in like seconds. Yet at the same time, he opened this opportunity… to work on the most cutting edge weapons and vehicles… who wouldn’t take that?”
Kira, Conner, Trent and Ethan all looked from Hayley to Tommy. He frowned slightly, upset that he’d never really noticed that Hayley was an attractive woman who spent a lot of time with him… he should have seen it. But like he’d told Kim more than a few times in the last eight years, he was dense that way.
“I’m really sorry Hayley,” he said, feeling somewhat guilty.
“Don’t be. Besides, Billy’s in my life now… so hey, I got a ranger after all,” she smirked, and the others started laughing.
“Speaking of other rangers Dr. O, any word from Kim? She left for the Olympics already, right?” Kira questioned.
“She said she’d be busy and she’d call when things got settled.”
“When was that?” asked Conner, frowning.
“A few days ago…”
“And she hasn’t called?” Kira yelped, worried. “You think she’s okay?”
“Kira, she should be fine… I mean, she has nine girls between the ages of 16 and 28 that she’s having to help keep an eye on, practices and getting settled at an International sporting event. I’m sure it’s crazy and that she’ll call when she can.”
They all nodded, and Hayley looked at her watch, and swore.
“I have an appointment I’m late for. Come on, let’s send you all off.”
With that, they got up and headed for the door. Kira nudged Conner and looked to Ethan.
“Guess his bad luck was good luck after all.”
Everyone laughed as they all left the building, realizing that being a ranger really did mean you had to have luck.
To be continued…
A/N2: Just so everyone knows, I’ll be posting a little closer to actual events the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for new stories on days other than Saturday. But by the 28th we should be back on schedule.
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