Always a Ranger - Part 1

When I Was Sixteen

By Jeannine Trevizo



We won.


Well, at least this round. Not like I didnít expect that the kids would be able to rise to the challenge. The crystals wouldnít have bonded with them unless there was something there to start with.


Of course, after meeting them, I knew that theyíd do just fine. They have the qualities that Zordon was always looking for in new recruits. The same qualities my friends have. Or had in Triniís caseÖ I still wish that sheíd stayed closer to the team before the car accident. But thatís neither here or there.


Walking into the bathroom, I start the shower and begin to strip off the conservative clothes that being a PHD seems to require me to wear. The glasses are something Iím still not comfortable with. I wonder how Billy managed so many fights with his without losing them.


I run my hand through the short hair and stare at myself in the mirror. Youíre not aging gracefully Oliver, I remark to my reflection, remembering the days of long hair and flawless skin, no wrinkles to be seen. Of course, this is what people expect to see when they meet a professor of anything Ė conservative, older, experienced. The last one Iíve been since 18 though. Three years as a ranger in so many uniforms is enough to give you enough experience to choke a horse. Or a Dinozord.


The mirror steams up, so I toss my shorts and head into the hot water. Under the spray I think that Iím too old for this. Kira, Connor and Ethen are the right age, right temperament to take this on. I should just leave them the information they need and get the hell out of here.


Except for two things Ė Iím partially responsible for the dinodrones, and Iím the closest theyíll have to a Zordon. I canít just abandon it because Iím not in the game any longer.


I lather my hands and soap up my shoulders, wincing at the ache thatís there from slamming into the jeepís frame, and realize that no matter how hard I try, Iíll never leave this behind. Just like I told the rangers today, their powers are bonded to them. They have to be destroyed before theyíll be free. But thatís not totally true. No one is ever really free of it once the power touches them.


I finish up quickly as the water starts to cool. The house isnít much, but the location is what I needed it for. The small hot water heater is a small price to pay for a base of operations. Stepping out, I towel of and pad into the bedroom to change to some sweats and sit down at the computer.


One thing is for certain, this is only step one in a long journey with these new rangers, and I hope I know what Iím doing, guiding them like I am. Leading was easy. I could always take one for the team, ground one of them to keep them safe. I donít have that luxury with these rangers.


I fire up the laptop and make sure my internet connection fires up too. The house wasnít really cable ready, so the wiring is a bit weird. I settle into the desk chair and open up my e-mail. A few pieces of spam and a note from the school district on my paperwork. Not what I was hoping for.


I open up a new message and start to type. If I donít share this with someone, Iíll start to go crazy. And of all the people I can share with, one knows this and me better than anyone.


[ Hey Kim,


I know itís been a while. Sorry for not having written sooner. You know me and my memory. Well, I guess I canít use that excuse much anymore, can I? The whole PHD thing has sort of weakened that particular cop-out, I think.


Iíve settled in at Reefside. The teaching position is fine. The principal is a bitch, but there must be something in the job requirement that they need to be bastards of bitches to be a principal. Anyhow, the kids are good, typical teenagers, you know? Seems like forever since we were that young. Of course, when I was sixteen, you and I were saving the world. Nothing typical about that, right?


Look, the real reason Iím writing is some things have happened that are weighing on me. Mercerís back in the picture I think. The dinodrones have been popping up with new programming all over Reefside. And they have some very nasty protocols that I didnít build into them.


I know I shouldnít feel guilty about it. I was just working for Mercer, working on the PHD research when it all happened, but I never thought that it would come back to haunt me. But then, considering everything we went through back in the day, deciding to do into ďdinoĒ research probably should have been a big warning that it wasnít going to be a walk in the park.


So, we have a big bad. Iím not sure who, but Iím sure heíll make his appearance soon.


But thereís more to it than that Kim.


I made rangers.


God, I didnít mean to. Theyíre these three kids from my science class. They were on Ďdetentioní when I ran into the first of the robodinos. They found the crystals that bonded with them, giving them dino powers. So, I didnít have any choice. The worlds was in peril, and they already had the abilities bonded to them, so I made them morphers from the technology Iíve been experimenting with since the robodino disaster.


Now theyíre responsible for the planet.


Youíd think after everything I went through with the teams and Zordon and Zedd and King Mondo that Iíd have left well enough alone. But there I was, becoming the mentor, explaining to them how to be rangers. Theyíve asked me a lot of questions about how I know what I know, but Iíve been sidestepping it.I really donít want to have to admit that Iíve done to them the same thing that was done to me. How Iíve put them on the same long path of service that I canít get away from, even all these years later.


Oh, and they have zords too. Dinozords. I look at the zords, look at the kids and I see us. The original team. Jason, Billy, Zack, TriniÖ you.


The red ranger is named Connor. I look at him and I see Jason and me. Heís serious, but with too much attitude. I figure one good ass whooping and heíll mellow into an okay leader. I know Jason and both did. Of course, the team backing us helped a lot too.


The blue ranger is Ethan. Heís a Zack/Billy mix. If I can just steer him into believing heís better than just being a computer jockey, heíll be a fine ranger. I think about Billy a lot. When I was working on the PHD I remember thinking, Ďwhat would Billy do here?í to solve a problem. I miss him. He was a good ranger and a good friend. I wish he was closer than a few million light years away.


Last is the yellow ranger. Her name is Kira. When I look at her, all I see is you Kim. Sheís a singer. I guess she got put in detention because she was performing on the grounds of the school. She has a pterodactyl zord. Of course, itís yellow, but I canít help but imagine days gone by and you in pink spandex.


God, I miss you.


I know when we got back into contact after Triniís funeral that our lives were going in different directions. Me with my masters, you with the head coaching position at Miami Stateís gymnastic program. We said weíd stay in touch. And weíve done that.


I saw you after the disaster a few years ago with the dinodrones and the DNA experiments. Iíd decided to finish the PHD after all of that, and youíd been offered that assistant coaching position with the US Olympic team. Before I left though, weíd finally admitted that weíd never really fallen out of love with each other.


By the way, did you get the roses for your birthday? I would have come with them, but I was interviewing here for the teaching job and looking for the house. I hope that youíre okay with the fact that I sent pink. I know that itís been a long time since itís been Ďyourí color, but I canít think of you without thinking of you in that color. Unless of course Iím thinking of you without anything onÖ.


Anyhow, I wish you were here. I know that it would be easier being the role model, the mentor if you were. You always made leading the team easier when you were at my side. I know that filling Zordonís shoes will be ten times more difficult. But itís the bed Iíve been made to lie in.


You know, there are times I wish Rita had never made me the green ranger. Never moved to Angel Grove. Then I think of what I would have missed Ė Jason, Adam and Billyís friendship, the teamwork, the saving the world, youÖ and I always change my mind.


Now all I have to do is make sure these new rangers survive their tenure under the helmet, so to speak. I never lost anyone on my watch, and Iím not about to now.


Iím going to wrap up now. Itís been a hell of a week, and us old rangers need their sleep.


Call me if you can, or send back a reply. I really could use your words of wisdom Kim. And if you happen to decide that youíd rather find a job in physical education working with teenagers in Reefside, Iíd be more than happy to give you a recommendation and a place to stay. By the way, I bought a new queen sized bed. Of course, itís a bit big for just meÖ


Okay, I know, pressure, right? Sorry. I love you, and I really want us back together. Is that such a bad thing?


So, Iíll talk with you soon, right? Take care of yourself beautiful.





I hit send before I can talk myself out of removing some of the more incriminating comments in the e-mail. I wrote them, I meant them. Itís been too long that weíve danced around the truth of our relationship. And with the dinodrones and whatever is controlling them out there, it just reminds me that no one, even former rangers lives forever.


I shut off the PC and head fro bed. I have a lecture on matter forming tomorrow, and a whole lot more mentoring to do.


I hope I know what Iím doing.






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