Part 1 – The Gathering
Chapter 1 – Mighty Morphin’ Zeo Homecoming
Written By Pink-Green-White-4ever
Story Ideas By: Pink-Green-White-4ever and Marcus
Last Revised: November 23, 2006
Summary: Just when they thought they’d never have to take up the duty they’d been given so long ago, Zordon’s Rangers get a rude awakening.
Genre: Action, Angst, Romance
Rating: T for now.
AN: Yeah, so, just from the title, you can tell who this chapter is about. Some of these scenes are dream scenes, so if you get confused, just let me know.
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -- Joseph Campbell --
“My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny. -- Elaine Maxwell --
"Accept life, and you must accept regret." -- Henri Frédéric Amiel --
It started like it always did. The sun was high in the sky. The air was thick, making it hard to breathe, let alone move. The smell of grass rose up, tickling her senses. The earthy smell of freshly dug in soil seemed to surround her even as she moved across the field. Only, it wasn’t a field – it was a cemetery. How she could forget that was unimaginable. There were headstones everywhere, situated in neat rows on either side of the path she walked.
The pain in her chest hadn’t lessened in the nearly six years since it first exploded into her life – the loss of a big part of her life would always remain a gaping hole in her soul. She stopped where she always did, eyes glued to the gleaming white casket topped with a spray of white and yellow roses, lilies and tulips. Her eyes filled with tears, which then ran heedlessly down her face. This is where she usually lost control and woke up sweaty and crying.
Somehow, this time was different. The air around her seemed to spark and twirl. Her long brown locks were lifted from her shoulders and her eyes closed at the familiar sensation. “Trini.”
“It’s me, Kim,” a voice softly whispered.
Doe brown eyes snapped open. Those same brown eyes met deeper brown almost black eyes. Tears continued their course, while sobs were muffled behind a delicate hand. “Oh my God! Trini! How?”
“Don’t tell you’ve forgotten already?”
“For a Power Ranger, anything’s possible.”
Tommy’s words; a lesson learned by every Ranger in history. “Trini, what’s going on? You’ve never come to me before.”
A loud sigh was heaved. “Something’s happened, Kim, something you’ve got to stop before it destroys everything we’ve worked to preserve.”
“Trini, you’re scaring me.”
“This isn’t like when we were Rangers, Kimberly. This is a million times worse. You’ve heard of Mystic Force, haven’t you?” the slim, black haired woman in yellow asked her companion.
“Yes.” How could she not have, considering everything that had happened in the last two years to her, in regards to her time as a Ranger and her teammates?
“Go to them. Their mentor, Udonna, will explain everything.”
Kim shook her head in disbelief. “Trini, I haven’t been a Ranger in ten years. Why now? What good could I possibly do them, especially since they’ve defeated their big bad?”
Trini looked at her friend carefully, wondering exactly when her friend had stopped believing. “They need you, Kimberly. They need those experienced in the fight. The battle ahead is going to test everything, and everyone. Besides, someone has requested your presence and I know you wouldn’t want to disappoint him.”
Kim’s eyes filled with more tears and her chest throbbed with an acute pain. The only real father she’d ever had was dead – they hadn’t been able to save him - and now here was Trini, who was also gone, telling her Zordon had specifically requested her to go to the newest bearer’s of his legacy. Guilt, regret, pain, and a yearning a decade old warred within her. “Trini, I like my life just the way it is. Surely you know what’s happened since you passed away? I won’t lose him again, not even to being a Ranger.”
“But at the heart of both of you, that’s what you are. You both were always the center of our team. Rangers to the core, even if both of you were the must reluctant to be there.”
Kimberly sighed, realizing that the yearning to help again was winning over everything else. “I’ll go, but it doesn’t mean I’ll stay and help.”
Trini smiled and nodded. She knew the former Pink Ranger better than that; Kimberly’s nature was to help those who needed it, regardless of her fear over losing her love. Kimberly would help, and in doing so, the original Pink Ranger would find herself again.
“Just remember, we’re always with you. May the Power protect you.”
Kimberly sat straight up in bed, her chest heaving as she struggled to even out her breathing. Turning her head, her eyes landed on the peacefully sleeping form of her fiancé. “Are you alright?” a sleepy voice asked, breaking the silence that had descended when they’d both gone to sleep.
“I just had the weirdest dream,” she murmured, laying back, her head finding the crook of his shoulder.
“Good or bad?”
“I’m not sure,” Kim told him sincerely.
“I’ll be okay. Go back to sleep, you have to get up for class in a bit,” she assured him, wrapping an arm across his chest and twining their legs together.
“Good night, Handsome.”
He blew out an unsteady breath and blinked back what felt like tears. The sight before him was one long burned into memory. The Command Center’s main room surrounded him. The panels and viewing globe were all lit up. Zordon’s warp tube was in its normal position. The only missing elements were Zordon, Alpha, and his teammates.
“Not all of us are missing.”
The tears came full force upon hearing her voice. His mind argued she wasn’t real, but his heart knew different. She was as real now as she had been the last time he’d hugged her nearly six years before. “It’s ok,” she smiled for him even as she moved to hug him. He choked on the emotions raging through him – this was his little sister, one of the two he’d had, and she’d been dead for nearly six years.
“I’m sorry, Rex, so sorry,” she whispered. “I never meant to leave, not like that in any case.”
“God Tri!” he croaked, squeezing her like his life depended on it. The pain was just as sharp, just as bright, now, as it had been when he’d first seen her laying in a casket. He had learned to deal with it, had learned to live with it, but it never went away. Seeing her standing before him now, breathing, smiling, talking, left him feeling as if he’d just lost her all over again.
“Jase, as much as I’d like to say this was just a friendly visit from the family ghost, it isn’t.”
Their eyes met, an understanding passing between them. “What’s happening?” he asked in the tone she’d grown so used to when he’d been in command of the team.
“Something those beyond had hoped fervently never would. You’ve heard of Mystic Force?”
Jason nodded. Tommy had told him all about the new team of multi-colored super heroes. “Yeah. What about them?”
“When they defeated the one known as the Master, a chain reaction started, one that could have dire consequences.”
The former Red Ranger knew Trini would not say it unless it was the absolute truth. If there was one thing he knew not even death could change, it would be Trini’s unwavering need to see that justice was done and that the job they’d been given as teenagers was done. “What do you need me to do?”
Trini smiled. Count on Jason to jump in head first to help. “Go to Briarwood, find the Mystic Rangers. Their mentor will fill in the rest of the details.”
Jason heaved a heavy sigh. After the Red Ranger mission four years before, he hadn’t wanted to get back in the game, especially now that he was engaged, but if Trini said it was important, he couldn’t very well not go.
“Jase, I know you’ve got a life beyond being a Ranger, but if the situation isn’t neutralized, you won’t have a life left to live.”
The former Red and Gold Ranger nodded. “Who all needs to go?”
Trini couldn’t stop the grin that formed on her lips. “I’ve got that covered. Just make sure she goes with you, and you might want to call and talk with our Crane and Falcon soon.”
The burly former Ranger winced, knowing neither of them was going to be happy about this. “Tri....”
“She and I have already spoken – where he goes, she will follow. So will the others.”
He knew she spoke the truth. After a decade apart, the Crane had mended her broken wings and was soaring with her Falcon once more. “I miss you, we all do.”
“I miss you too, all of you. I’ll see you again, I promise.”
With that, the former Ranger leader found himself panting in bed in the dead of night. “Jason?” a sleepy voice asked, even as a hand reached up to rub his back.
“Honey, we have a slight problem.”
Brown met blue, worry vibrating between them. “We’ve got to go to Briarwood.”
“Jason, you’re scaring me.”
“Trini came to me in my dream. We’ve got to go, Kat.”
A delicate hand came up and pushed long blonde hair out of her face. Sighing, Katherine nodded. If Jason was having dreams about Trini, there had to be something behind it. “Alright, we’ll go.”
He tossed and turned in bed, trying to be careful to not disturb Angela, who was sleeping soundly beside him. Sighing, he gave up and got out of bed before slowly making his way out onto the balcony off their bedroom. The weather in Los Angeles was a balmy eighty, but it did nothing to sooth his tortured soul. Something was coming, something that made him jumpy and irritated.
His mind was on his friends and their youthful adventures, as it usually was when he got the foreboding feeling. He hadn’t thought about their Rangers days, not in great depth and detail, since Trini’s funeral. “The others have tried to block it out too, but haven’t succeeded.”
He felt shock ripple around him eve as his eyes took in the ghostly image of his long dead friend. “Trini?”
She smirked. “Don’t look so shocked, Zack. You forgot one important thing – we’re still connected to the Morphin’ Grid.”
“But you’ve been gone nearly six years, why now?”
Trini looked sad and resigned, but seemed to prepare to answer his question anyway. “Because you needed time to grieve, and until now, I wasn’t allowed to. If it wasn’t for what I’m about to ask of you, I wouldn’t have come.”
Zack’s eyes narrowed. “Why do I not like the sound of that?”
“Probably because I’m about to ask an awful lot of you; have you heard of Briarwood?”
The former Black Ranger looked thoughtful before he answered. “Sounds vaguely familiar, why?”
“Because I need you to go there,” Trini started, leaning against the railing. “I’ve already spoke to some of the others, they’ve agreed.”
Trini nodded solemnly. “I’m afraid so.”
Zack looked angry. “Trini, I’ve made peace with my time as a Ranger. I’m with Angela now, I’ve got a job, and I want to start a family. I can’t go.”
The former Yellow Ranger arched an eyebrow at his attempt to say now. “Angela will understand, trust me. The others need your help.”
“Zordon’s requested you be present, even if it’s just to listen to what’s going on.
Zack sighed in frustration. There was no way in hell he could say no to Zordon, especially with the guilt eating at him still over the Eltarian’s death. “Tri?”
“Is he ok?” Zack asked, eyes filling. He needed to know, if only to assuage his own guilt, that their mentor was alright, that he was happy.
“He accepted his fate a long time ago. He’s fine, even if he’s a little worried.”
The former Black Ranger nodded. “What do I need to do when I get to Briarwood?”
Trini grinned, knowing that Zack would not shrug off the duty Zordon had entrusted to him; not now, not ever. “Visit the Rock Porium, pay attention to the staff; you’ll know what to do after that.”
Zack rolled his eyes before he reached out to touch her cheek. He was surprised to feel warmth, even though his fingers passed through her. “I miss you.”
“I know, but I’m always with you.”
He didn’t check the tears that fell as she disappeared from sight. “Zack?” Angela’s voice sounded when she walked onto the balcony.
Turning, he wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her neck as his pain burned bright. “Sweetheart, we’ve got to go on a trip,” he whispered.
“Briarwood. You’re about to get a crash course in my extra curricular activities during high school.” Angela pulled back and looked at him, confused.
He aimlessly walked down the hallways of the palace, his mind on autopilot while his heart was steeped in memories. After nearly a decade on the water planet, he was starting to feel restless, and more importantly, homesick.
He had to admit, though, that he’d started feeling like this almost six years before when he’d gotten the message relayed from Tommy through Andros. The day he’d heard about her death was the day a large part of him had died. He’d simply shut down. While he’d loved Cestria, his heart had always been Trini’s. Even now, with his pending marriage to the Aquitian scientist on the horizon, his heart was with the first he’d ever loved.
He stopped in front of one of the large windows that allowed people to observe the world outside the castle. Closing his eyes, he placed one hand flat on the glass and the other over his heart. “One day, it’ll only ache, and you’ll be able to live and love again.”
His eyes snapped open at the familiar voice. He felt like he was dreaming when he turned and saw her standing next to him, alive and whole. “Tri…Trini?”
“Hello Love,” she whispered, reaching out to skim her fingers down his now wet cheeks. She knew he could feel the warmth of her power even if he couldn’t actually feel her.
“The power of the Morphin’ Grid.”
He nodded and swiped away the tears, even though they were replaced by new ones in a steady stream.
“Why? Why now?”
Trini smiled sadly at him. Like the others, she knew he had issues to deal with, ones that might prevent him from going home, but more importantly from healing. “Because Zordon asked me to come to ask for your help.”
Knowing she couldn’t lie to him, Trini looked deep into his eyes and spoke the truth. “What we feared most has come to pass with the Mystic Force Rangers destroying the Master.”
He closed his eyes, the implications clear. “What do you need me to do?”
Trini smiled at him. “Go home,” she whispered. “Get in touch with the others, and go to Briarwood with them.”
He nodded. “Trini there’s so much I want and need to say to you, and I don’t know how.”
“I know,” she whispered. His bright eyes met her dark ones as she settled her fingers over his lips. “You don’t have to say anything, I already know. I want you to promise me something.”
“Live again,” she told him.
“I know how much you loved me, because I loved you just as much, but fate stepped in. We can’t change that. You’ve got someone else waiting for you, and she’s not here.”
“I can’t just go back and act like nothing happened.”
Trini shook her head at him. “I’m not asking you to. All of you have scars to live with, hurts and aches to mend, but the only way that’s going to happen is if you’re together.”
Billy looked at her, his face a mask of determination and a steely resolve to hide his pain. “I’ll go, for Zordon, but more importantly for you.”
Smiling, Trini lifted her hand to his cheek again. “Billy, watch out for Kim. I have a sense that something’s going to happen to her, I just don’t know what.”
The former Blue Ranger nodded. “I will, I promise.”
“I love you, be safe.”
“Trini…” he murmured, watching her disappear. When she was gone, Billy found himself alone in the hallway, a fierce determination in his heart.
“Billy?” Cestro’s voice echoed down the hallway.
Turning, Earth’s first Blue Ranger faced his Aquitian counterpart. “Cestro.”
“Are you well? You look as if you are going to be sick.”
“I’m fine. My friend, I need to return to Earth, immediately.”
“I do not understand. No distress signals have come from Earth.”
“Not ones you’d receive, no. I can’t explain, but I need to get home, the others need me.”
Cestro nodded, knowing that Billy’s instincts were to be trusted. “Of course. Come, we will prepare a ship for you while you pack.”
“Thank you,” Billy said before tearing off toward his quarters.
The television was turned to Desperate Housewives. The room was dark except for the glow from the set. Rocky was no where to be seen so she was curled in the recliner, a yellow and white throw draped over her. Her eyes kept drooping, but she felt tense, as if something was going to happen. It was feelings like that that made it impossible to sleep.
“Oh good, you’re still awake,” a voice chuckled, shooting her straight into wakefulness.
“HOLY SHIT!” Aisha gasped, staring at the figure leaning over the chair she was in.
The figure chuckled. “Now, now, Aisha, what would Zordon say about that kind of language?”
The former Yellow Ninja just stared at the figure chiding her about her language, a ripple of shock bouncing down her spine. “Trini?”
“How the hell…?”
Trini grinned and shrugged. “Long story. Can we talk?”
Aisha blinked. “I’m overworked, spending too much time at the hospital and at school. I’m talking to the apparent apparition of a dead friend. I need more sleep and a long vacation,” Aisha muttered to herself.
“Sha, shut up for two seconds,” Trini ordered, watching her successor babble. When Aisha stared at her, quietly, Trini continued. “I need your help.”
“You’re dead. You’ve been dead over five years. How could you possibly need my help now?” Aisha numbly pointed out.
“Zordon sent me.”
Understanding, resignation, fear, and something that was uniquely Aisha filtered into the familiar eyes of the once proud warrior. “What’s wrong?”
“We need you to go to Briarwood. Take Rocko with you. You need to find the Mystic Force Rangers and their mentor, Udonna.”
“Trini, tell me,” Aisha all but demanded.
The two Yellow Rangers stared at one another. “I can’t, not until you’re all together. The others are going. I’ve already talked to them.”
“Is it bad?”
“Worse than anything any Ranger in the last fifteen years has faced.”
Aisha swallowed the lump that had lodged in her throat. “Oh God.”
Trini smiled sadly. “The Falcon and Crane are going to need all the help they can get.”
A fierceness leapt into Aisha’s eyes that gave Trini hope. “When do we need to leave?”
Aisha nodded. “Trini…I…”
“I miss you too, Sha. I’ll see you again, I promise.”
Aisha closed her eyes, which filled with tears, after Trini vanished in a crackle of yellow light.
His breathing was even. His concentration focused on expanding his sense. In quiet moments like this, he knew the sacrifices made during his youth were more than worth it in the end. “Let’s hope you still think so after we’re done talking.”
He swallowed, hard, and carefully opened his eyes. Sitting in front of him was a long missed figure. She was dressed in black trousers and a yellow tank top. “Trini?”
“Hi Frog-boy,” she grinned. “What’s cooking?”
“Obviously my brain is if I’m imagining you’re sitting here talking to me five years and some change after I saw you buried.”
Trini shook her head and grinned. Of all the people she knew would be surprised by her visit, Adam hadn’t been one of them. “And here I thought, just once, I’d get away without having one of you burst into tears.”
“I’m not crying. What’s wrong, Trini? You wouldn’t be here for any other reason.”
“I always said you were the most perceptive next to me. We’ve got trouble,” she filled him in.
Adam didn’t look one bit phased by that. “How big and how bad?”
“Biggest and quite possibly as bad as it’s ever been,” Trini told him. “It’s enough of a threat that it has Zordon worried.”
The former Black and Green Ranger nodded, understanding the significance of her statement. “The others?”
“I’ve already talked to a few of them. Has Tanya ever thought of going to Briarwood for a concert?”
Adam remained silent but the sudden rising of his eyebrows told her he was intrigued. “Why?”
“She might find a shop there, The Rock Porium, an interesting place to visit.”
“I’m sure we could do something about that. When do we need to be there?”
“As soon as you can. Have Tanya call Kat, you may find out something interesting.”
Adam watched with a frown as his friend began to disappear. There was a lot he wanted to say and found he couldn’t express. “Trini…”
“Take care of our Falcon and Crane, Adam. They’re going to need all the protection they can get.” The former Ranger swallowed hard, the implications of Trini’s words not lost on him. “Goodbye Adam.”
“Adam?” Tanya’s voice reached him from downstairs.
“UP HERE!” he called through the open door, knowing his wife would be able to hear him downstairs. Tanya’s footsteps echoed on the steps, alerting him that she’d come up to the exercise room.
Tanya grinned. “Aaron thinks it would be kinda cool to go to random towns and visit local record stores, to promote the new album.”
Adam’s brow furrowed. “Really?”
“Yep. My first stop is in the town Briarwood, home of the Mystic Force Power Rangers.”
A smirk erupted onto Adam’s face. Nice one Trini, he thought. “Sweetheart, I have something to tell you, and you may want to sit down for it.”
“It has to do with our trip to Briarwood.”
Soon to be twenty-one-year-old Justin Stewart grinned like a maniac as he finished his presentation for his Intro to Astro-Physics class. The professor looked supremely impressed and the students looked shocked.
“Excellent presentation, Mr. Stewart,” the processor announced. “You obviously benefited from your friendship with the Space Rangers.”
Justin snickered; if his professor only knew the real story behind that. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Alright class, study your chapter reviews. We’ll be having a quiz next class. Dismissed.”
It took Justin ten minutes to clean up his presentation materials. As he did so, the lecture hall emptied. “Billy would be proud of you.”
It wasn’t so much the voices as it was the words that had Justin’s head snapping up so he could stare at the woman before him. “Excuse me?”
Trini smiled and gestured to Justin’s presentation. “Billy would be proud. Next to me, you’re the only one who understood the mechanics of being a Ranger. The others had the mystical, mythical, and magical angles down. You’ve got that and the logistics and mechanics as well.”
“Who are you and how do you know I was a Ranger?”
Holding out her hand, Trini grinned. “Trini Kwan, original Yellow Ranger of Earth.”
She nodded. “And have been for six years this fall.”
“And you’re talking to me why? I never served with you.” That he could accept the circumstances so easily pleased her.
“No, you didn’t. But you were a Ranger, and I need your help. You still keep in contact with Rocky, Tommy and T.J., don’t you?”
Trini nodded. “Then think of what I’m about to ask of you as helping them.”
Justin looked at her and studied her expression. His time as a Ranger had taught him the fundamentals of reading a situation, of reading people’s intentions. Over the last ten years, he’d developed the skill quite nicely. “What do you need me to do?”
“Go to Briarwood, as soon as you can. The others are going too. Everything else will be explained there.”
“What else?” Trini smiled. “And Justin?”
“Thank you.” The former Blue Turbo Ranger blinked in surprise when she disappeared before his eyes.
“Lovely,” he muttered. “Briarwood, here I come.” Grabbing his stuff, he exited the room quickly.
Udonna stood before the Xenotome, searching for answers. It had been several days since she’d been asked to gather the Power Rangers of Earth. So far, she and her charges had had next to no luck. All they’d been able to gather was that the Morphin’, Zeo, Turbo and Space teams had hailed from Angel Grove, California; Lost Galaxy had been on the space station Terra Venture; Lightspeed Rescue was from Mariner Bay, California; Time Force was from Silver Hills, Washington; Wild Force had come from a small town in Colorado called Turtle Cove; Ninja Storm was from California’s Blue Bay Harbor; and the Dino Thunder team had come from Reefside, just a stone’s throw from Ninja Storm. Other than their places of origin, nothing else was publicly known about these teams, at least that they could find.
“Frustrated?” Lianbow’s voice drifted to Udonna’s ears.
“Extremely. How did the library search go?”
The Red Wizard grinned. “Xander found the names of some of the Rangers.”
Udonna smiled. Finally, progress. “Who?”
“Four Space Rangers and five from Lightspeed Rescue.” Udonna’s look told him to continue. “Ashley Hammond, Cassandra Chan, T.J. Johnson, and Carlos Valerte – yellow, pink, blue, and black Space.”
“Dana Mitchell-Grayson – Pink, Carter Grayson – Red, Chad Lee – Blue, Joel Rawlings – Green, and Kelsey Winslow – Yellow.”
“So Titanium, Red and Silver have no identities known to the public?”
“I did some digging on my own. I couldn’t find Titanium, but it appears Red and Silver were from KO-35, an inhabited planet not far from our system.”
“But still no names?”
“No. Nasada has kept it top secret, to protect their lives here on Earth.”
“This worries me greatly, Lianbow. What if we can’t find them before time expires?” Udonna asked, worry etching her features and filling her voice.
Lianbow smiled. “We will, my Love. You must have faith.”
“Zordon’s words haunt me. Are we going about this the right way? Will we succeed?”
The Red Wizard stepped forward and cupped a hand to her face. “Don’t worry. What’s meant to be will be.”