Duty & Honor – Part 11
The apparition standing before Tommy and Kim nearly brought them both to their knees. It had pushed Kim over into her normal shocked faint. As Tommy held her against his side tightly, he felt his knees wavering. He knew that Zordon was dead. Every ranger knew that…
How the hell could he be here in front of them? Why? How? Tommy was at a loss.
“TOMMY, KIMBERLY… I REALIZE THAT MY APPEARANCE IS SOMEWHAT STARTLING,” came Zordon’s normal, nearly booming voice from the man-sized figure centered in the white light that had finally toned down to a soft glow.
Beside Tommy, Kim started to wake, her eyes fluttering open as she fought to push herself fully to her feet. The man before her… the image of a man bathed and wrapped in the cocoon of light looked like Zordon… but that made no sense.
“Zordon?” Kim murmured in a stunned tone, her mind fighting to awareness as she stood beside Tommy, holding his hand tightly.
“YES KIMBERLY. AS I STATED BRIEFLY TO TOMMY IT IS I. I APOLOGIZE FOR SHOCKING YOU AS I DID. HOWEVER I NEEDED TO REACH YOU URGENTLY WITHOUT ANYONE BEING ALERTED TO MY PRESENCE YET.”
“But, Zordon… look, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt right this minute,” stated Tommy simply as he let Kim ease away from him as they both stared nearly dumbfounded at the apparition before them. They both were still uncertain… “We were informed that you died. You sacrificed yourself to save Earth and the galaxy from the forces of evil.”
“Then… how can you be here, alive or something like it…” he asked his former mentor.
“THE TIME WARP I WAS SUSPENDED IN WAS DESTROYED, AND I WAS DESTROYED WITH IT IN MY TRAPPED FORM… BUT THE PART OF ME THAT WAS MY ESSANCE WAS DRAWN TO ANOTHER PLANE.”
“Wait… you mean you died and, what… came back?” Kim asked quickly, following Tommy’s train of thought as if it were her own, since it nearly was.
“NOT EXACTLY KIMBERLY. WHILE MY TRAPPED FORM FROM MY WARP WAS DESTROYED, AND MY ENERGY, MY SOUL WAS FREED TO LEAVE THIS PLANE OF EXISTANCE. SO, IN A SENSE, I DIED. YET I FOUND MYSELF BEYOND THIS GALAXY, ALL GALAXIES I KNEW OF TO A PLANE BEYOND WHAT WE KNOW.”
“Wait, you mean you went to heaven or something like that?” asked Tommy in shock.
“IT COULD BE INTERPRETED LIKE THAT I SUPPOSE. HOWEVER THE WAS MUCH TIME I WAS UNAWARE OF ANYTHING BEYOND ME. IT WAS ONLY RECENTLY, I BELIEVE THAT I CAME TO HAVE FORM OR THOUGHTS OR SPEECH AS I DO NOW.”
“Then… how are you here? Why are you here?”
“I WAS SENT TO AID YOU ONCE AGAIN. AGAINST A FORCE THAT I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR,” Zordon said with a cracking voice that neither had heard from him since the days of Kim’s collapse from her stolen crane coin so many years past.
“Xondar,” Tommy stated matter-of-factly. “So, you know Xondar is here?”
“YES. I WAS SENT BACK, GIVEN BACK MY FORM SO I MIGHT FIX THIS.”
“Given back your form? So, someone helped you come back from… that higher plane?” Kimberly questioned, still feeling lost.
“YES, I WAS BROUGHT BACK, PUT TOGETHER AGAIN IN A FORM THAT COULD SPEAK SO I COME TO YOUR AID AND RIGHT THIS WRONG XONDAR HAS PERPETUATED ON THE GALAXY.”
“So, on some other plane someone or some… thing…” Tommy jumped in, trying to see if he was understanding this all correctly.
“THE PRIESTS OF OLIN,” offered Zordon helpfully, his face looking at his chosen warriors with fondness as they asked these questions amid their confusion.
“Right, the Olin… they fused your being back into another warp?”
“I NO LONGER LIVE IN A WARP TOMMY. I AM NOW EVOLVED… MY NATURAL STATE IS ENERGY, RATHER THAN HAVING A BODY, AS I HAD WHEN I HAD BEEN TRAPPED IN THE WARP, I AM NOW MADE UP OF ENERGY, SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE WARP. IF I HAD NOT BEEN IN THE TIME WARP, MY BEING WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE BEEN REINCORPORATED AS YOU SEE ME TODAY.”
“Wow,” murmured Kim, staggering back slightly to find one of the outcroppings of rock that the teens used for seats, nearly falling onto it as she sat heavily. “This is… a lot to take in.”
“I REALIZE THAT KIMBERLY. I ONLY HOPE THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCEPT MY RETURN QUICKLY, AS I REALIZE THAT THERE IS NOT MUCH TIME.”
“Time for what?”
“TO PROTECT YOU FROM MY BROTHER’S FINAL MISSION.”
Silence filled the room.
“So you know that he’s been trying to kill the ranger team here for weeks. But did you know that he’s killed dozens of rangers before coming here?” asked Kim plaintively, as she pushed herself back up to stand before Zordon’s image.
“I KNOW…. THE OLIN WERE ALERTED TO THE DISRUPTION IN THE FLOW OF POWER WHEN THE FIRST RANGERS WERE SLAUGHTERED. YET IT TOOK TIME FOR THEM TO GIVE ME BACK WHAT I HAD LOST. TIME THAT REGRETFULLY COST MANY RANGERS THEIR LIVES.”
“What about the space team? That was just weeks, a month or so ago. Couldn’t they, you…” she questioned with so much pain evident in her voice that Tommy couldn’t help but circle her shoulders with his arm.
“I DID ATTEMPT TO SAVE THEM, BUT I WAS NOT IN TIME. IT TAKES CONSIDERABLE FORCE TO TRAVEL, EVEN MADE OF ENERGY AS I AM NOW. I FOLLOWED XONDAR HERE, AND WAS HOPEFUL THAT THE TEAM IN RESIDENCE COULD HOLD XONDAR OFF LONG ENOUGH FOR MY ARRIVAL. I HAD NOT EXPECTED TO FIND EITHER OF YOU…” he said, and Kim and Tommy realized that he was just as surprised to see them as they were to see him.
“Well, the call came, and…” mumbled Tommy, looking from the being that had given him his sense of responsibility to Kim, who had stood with him as a ranger for so long, who was his ranger equal in so many ways.
“I AM NOT SURPRISED TO FIND YOU HERE HOWEVER, HAVING BEEN PUT IN THE SITUATION TO ANSWER THE CALL. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FINE LEADER TOMMY, ONE OF THE BEST RANGERS I HAVE EVER KNOWN. AND KIMBERLY, IT DOES MY HEART GOOD TO SEE YOU RETURNED NOT ONLY TO THE DUTY OF A RANGER BUT IT SEEMS TO TOMMY AS WELL.”
Kim blushed slightly, dipping her head before raising it again to glance at her husband and team mate before turning her attention to the being who had helped the first Earth rangers survive, succeed and thrive as both rangers and as people. He had been so like a father to her in many ways, and his offer to her to be a ranger had led her to Tommy. She owed him more than she could say.
“So, what do we do? How do we stop Xondar?” asked Tommy suddenly, breaking the moment and bringing them back to the dangerous situation at hand. “He may know who Kim and I are now… not just faceless rangers, but rangers who once served you. And that means he could be more dangerous than he’s been before.”
“THERE IS A WAY… BUT IT REQUIRES A DANGEROUS JOURNEY TO GAIN ADDITIONAL POWER TO AUGMENT YOUR CURRENT POWER.”
“It always comes down to a quest, doesn’t it?” Kim sighed with a small grin shot towards Tommy.
“Ranger standard operating procedure,” he joked back lightly. “We need to call the rest of the team… If we need to do this, then it’s only fair that you explain it to us all at the same time. Especially if it involves any risks.”
Kim and Tommy looked to one another again, knowing that it always was about risk…
“A TRUE LEADER’S DECISION. GATHER YOUR TEAM, AND WHEN YOU ARE READY, YOU MAY CALL ME AND I WILL RETURN TO EXPLAIN YOUR TASK.”
The air felt thick for a moment as the light that had been there before them, surrounding Zordon’s energy/human form grew bright momentarily, and then disappeared, turning the room back to its normal lighting. Quickly Kim moved forward, Tommy right behind her as she moved to where Zordon had stood, almost believing that she had been dreaming.
Yet it wasn’t a dream.
On the floor before them, a small clear cylindrical crystal, reminiscent to a fragment of the Zeo crystal lay. Tommy picked it up and felt the power thrumming inside the glass structure. This was their way to summon Zordon back.
He fought not to start laughing hysterically.
Zordon was alive and he had a plan.
Maybe they could win against Xondar after all.
As Kira, Conner and Ethan Shambled into Dr. O’s class Friday morning, Tommy looked anxiously at them before they took their seats. Kira nudged Conner’s elbow and nodded her head in their teacher’s direction. Conner noticed the urgent look in Dr. O’s eyes, and knew that it had to do with something other than schoolwork.
The class drug by as Tommy handed out his graded finals, commenting on the skill of some answers and the lack of others. Then he let them all have some non-study time, allowing most of the seniors to discuss the upcoming senior’s ball just before graduation. Cassidy made sure that everyone knew that she had been asked by a few popular guys, and had turned them down because they didn’t want to rent a limo for just the two of them.
Ethan, Kira and Conner did their level best to ignore the discussion, more out of curiosity as to what Dr. O had to say than disinterest in the dance. Conner had been planning the evening unbeknownst to Kira for a while, but had gotten sidetracked with Xondar. He needed to see if Ethan was going to ask some one so they could maybe all go together.
Before Cassidy could finally turn her questioning mind to Kira’s obvious disinterest in the social event of the year, the bell rang, marking the end of class. Everyone hurriedly grabbed their books, looking forward to mingling with other people and getting one class closer to the end of the school day.
The three rangers however hung back, waiting until the room cleared out before making their way to Dr. O’s front desk. When he looked to the door to make sure that it had closed and they were alone, he divulged his urgent news.
“I need everyone at the basement immediately after school. Bring Trent with you if you have to. Once everyone is there, Kim and I will explain what’s going on.”
They nodded, not questioning what they knew was their mentor’s unspoken command, and the underlying importance of it. With Xondar out there, ready to strike, whatever Kim and Dr. O had to tell them had to mean that maybe this whole thing was coming to a close.
Looking to the clock, they quickly exited the room, knowing that the next few hours would be slow as they waited to find out the truth.
That afternoon, Tommy nearly beat several of his final period students out the door. He was in the parking lot and in his jeep faster than if he’d used Conner’s speed powers. He drove home, noting that Kim’s new Honda Civic, appropriately tinted a metallic rose was already parked out front. Behind him he saw Conner’s red Mustang in his rear view mirror, and figured once Randi got to the Cyberspace that Hayley would join them. But her presence wasn’t required immediately. The four other members of the ranger team… that was another matter.
He quickly parked and headed inside, leaving the door ajar for the others. He found Kim pulling up the trap door in the kitchen, and she turned to smile at him as he entered.
“They’re right behind me,” he told her without her asking, and she nodded.
“I hope they handle this better than I did,” she remarked with an embarrassed grin.
“Aw, come on Kim… you’re getting better about it you know. You didn’t faint straight away when you saw me trapped in that amber cocoon, did you?”
“Hey, we’re here, so what’s up?” asked Conner as he strode in the door, Kira behind him, holding his hand followed by Ethan and Trent.
“Yeah, this has been making me curious all day. Couldn’t focus on half of what Ms. Robinson was talking about I class this afternoon,” Ethan remarked.
“Did something happen with Xondar?” asked Trent, moving up to stand beside Kira in the middle of the living room.
“In a way. Let’s go downstairs and we’ll do our best to explain,” stated Tommy, pointing to the front door, which Ethan quickly closed and locked, as they’d done before when they wanted to make sure that they weren’t interrupted in the middle of a ranger meeting.
Slowly everyone climbed down the stairs, taking up their usual places around the basement as Kim and Tommy stood near the open space at one side of the cave-like area where a dinosaur fossil poked out for the wall.
“Okay, well, we brought you here because we do have news. We were contacted yesterday by… and ally. And they have a way that we can beat Xondar,” stated Tommy as he turned to Kim, who handed him a crystal that she’d had in her hands since coming down into the basement command center.
“So, what’s the plan? We have new zords or something? Oh, maybe a new weapon?” asked Ethan excited at the prospect of a new gadget.
“Not exactly. We don’t know all the details ourselves. We wanted to have you all here to hear what we need to do before any decisions were made.”
That brought several of them up short. They were used to Dr. O or Kim being the ranger authorities. They knew so much more than any of them ever would. The idea that they wanted to have everyone make a decision on whatever was going on worried them in varying degrees.
“Well, we’re here, let’s get the show on the road, I guess,” insisted Conner, standing a bit taller even as he wondered what was in store for them.
Nodding, Tommy turned to the crescent of empty space behind them and carefully set the crystal down, the tube shape facing upwards. Almost instantly, the object began to glow, and he backed up quickly to stand beside Kim as the room began to glow.
As the light increased, the younger rangers quickly shielded their eyes, and the room seemed to shudder as something appeared slowly in the center of the light. Finally, after long moments, the light began to dim, allowing them all to lay their eyes on the first mentor of the Earth power team.
The four teens stood frozen, their minds trying to process the existence of this glowing man standing before them. They gaped in awe as their older counterparts stood in mute appreciation of the being before them. He looked familiar… as if they knew him. Like Xondar, but… different.
“That’s not Xondar, but he looks so like him… who?” murmured Trent, trying to figure out the puzzle before them.
Tommy started to move forward to say something, but the yellow ranger, ever quick on her ranger history jumped in first.
“Oh my God… that’s Zordon! From Dr. O’s tape!” Kira said in a startled tone, grabbing Conner’s arm forcefully as she looked to Kim for confirmation.
“But he’s dead. That’s why his brother wants us wasted!” exclaimed Conner in his usual brash way.
“I WAS DEAD, YES RANGERS. BUT NO LONGER.”
“Whoa! So, you’re like back from the dead? That’s wild,” Ethan announced, his enthusiasm outweighing his natural surprise at this new twist on the ranger roller coaster.
“So, what can you do for us? Are you going to sweep in and get your brother to go home or something?” asked Conner pointedly.
“NO, FOR I DOUBT THAT EVEN MY APPEARANCE WILL SWAY HIM FROM HIS COURSE AT THIS MOMENT. IT WILL BE UP TO YOU, RANGERS, TO FIND A WAY TO STOP HIS MADNESS AND BRING HIM TO THE REALIZATION THAT HIS HUNT IS IN VAIN BEFORE I MAY REVEAL MYSELF TO HIM,” Zordon explained at length.
“And how do we do that Zordon?” questioned Tommy finally, asking the question that had bothered him since his mentor’s return the evening before. “Our dino gem powers can’t take on Xondar’s forces. We just barely have been able to gain a draw.”
“THERE IS A POWER THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO BATTLE HIS FORCES AS EQUALS. BUT GAINING IT WILL BE MORE DIFFICULT THAN ANYTHING YOU HAVE YET FACED.”
“He doesn’t know how hard it was to take down Mesogog I guess,” remarked Conner, gaining him a dark glare from Trent.
“YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAVEL TO THE PLANE WHERE I WAS RECONSTITUTED. THERE, THE OLIN PRIESTS WILL TEST YOU TO GRANT THE BOON OF NEW, ADDITIONAL POWERS. ONES THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO FIGHT MY BROTHER’S ARMY AS NO OTHER CAN. THE QUEST WILL BE HARD, BUT IF THE POWERS CHOSE YOU, IF TOMMY CHOSE YOU THEN YOU MAY SUCEED.”
“So what will this new power let us do?” Kira asked simply.
“YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SLIP
INTO THE SPACE BETWEEN THE ATOMS, WHERE THE A’ILISH MAY GO.”
“A’Ilish?” thought Kimberly as she mentally shuffled through their new adversaries before realizing what Zordon meant. “You mean the wraiths? They can become intangible… they’re the A’Ilish?”
“YES. THEY ARE A UNIQUE RACE, WITH THE ABILITY TO WALK BETWEEN ATOMS. BECAUSE THEIR FOES CANNOT, THEY CANNOT FIGHT THEM.”
“But we used the power of the gems to make them solid, but it got harder and harder after a while,” explained Tommy, trying to let Zordon know they had found a way, albeit briefly of fighting the A’Ilish.
“YOUR WILL IMPOSED ON THEM THE CRYSTALLINE NATURE OF YOUR GEMS. BUT IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE YOUR POWERS BECAME TOO WEAK TO CONTINUE THAT COURSE OF ACTION. THE ENERGY YOU WIELD IS NOT MEANT TO DO THAT AND THEY HAVE FURTHER ADAPTED THEIR POWER TO SLIP BETWEEN THE SUB-ATOMS OF YOUR GEM’S POWER.”
“So, now… when we get this new power, we can do the same?”
“YES. AND IN DOING SO YOU MAY ENTER XONDAR’S SHIP, WHICH NOW IS IMPENATRABLE.”
“How do we get to this Olin place anyway?” asked Trent, nervously shifting from his left foot to his right, and back again.
“I WILL GIVE YOU THE ENERGY TO TRANSPORT THERE. ONCE YOU HAVE PASSED THE TESTS REQUIRED OF YOU, THE OLIN WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THIS ADDITIONAL POWER, AND RETURN YOU HERE.”
“And what exactly are we facing there Zordon?” asked Kim worriedly, her eyes glancing from Tommy to the teens.
“YOUR WORST FEARS,” answered Zordon gravely.
Eyes darted around the room as they realized just what they might be up against. But they had no real choice. They had to go and face whatever the Olin wanted them to deal with, or there was no defeating or stopping Xondar.
“When do we go?” Conner said for everyone and found Ethan, Dr. O and Kim all smiling at him, while Kira took hold of his hand tightly, and Trent nodded in agreement.
“I CAN SEND YOU NOW. THE POWER OF THE MORPHING GRID IS WITH ME. I CAN TELEPORT YOU ACROSS THE DIMENSIONS TO YOUR DESTINATION.”
Tommy grasped Kim’s hand and they moved forward as one, followed by the others.
“Let’s go then,” he said, taking a deep breath and bringing himself up to his full height as he prepared for the familiar but forgotten sensation of teleportation.
“Cool. Road trip,” joked Ethan as the six rangers felt themselves go tingly as they were enveloped in the colored energy of Zordon’s teleportation beams, with their next stop being another plane of existence.
Author’s Notes: I just want to a. make clear that I endorse or advocate no specific belief in regards to religion, reincarnation or an afterlife. I am using the resurrection of Zordon for my story purposes only. b. I’d like to thank the fan base that I was starting o think went home and was watching TV or reading something else rather than my off-posting-schedule work. It’s gratifying and humbling to know you’re out there and reading. You make this worthwhile! (and no – this is the only post this weekend… no April Fools here.)
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