Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. Thanks go out to Ellen Brand for allowing me to use parts from Fathers and Sons for this story. Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline. In relation to the show, this would take place between the end of Zeo and the start of Turbo.
Fathers and Sons
"I'm telling you he's hiding something."
Adam sighed and tried to make himself comfortable. Sometimes he resented his father's detective skill, although it would not take a genius to notice how different things had been recently. In recent months the combined attacks of Rita and Zedd, and the two distinct factions of the Machine Empire had had the Rangers fighting at the most inappropriate times. Their injuries had increased and the signs that they had been fighting were becoming more obvious. Often the Rangers had been forced to fight without morphing and were on the verge of physical exhaustion. That was why Zordon had suggested that they spend the next day - thankfully a non school day - relaxing.
Part of the problem was their powers. The Morphin powers they had used when they were first Rangers had had additional bonuses such as accelerating the body's metabolism to promote better healing and development of muscles so that they were better suited for their powers. The Zeo Crystal was just energy though and did not have these unexpected but extremely welcome side effects. And as their bodies were not healing as quickly as they had before and the high they had felt when morphed was now short lived like a sudden burst of adrenaline, the regular skirmishes were taking their toll on the Rangers as their friends, school and now parents had noticed.
Adam had been unfortunate earlier in the day and had spent a few minutes on the receiving end of a collection of Putties. They had attacked his back and legs mercilessly and left him with severe bruising. Suffice to say it had limited his movement and he had to constantly mask the pain he felt when shuffling about. He had told his parents he had been sparring too hard, but it was obvious from the look on his parents' faces they had not believed him.
He tried to turn over without groaning. His back was still painful and lying on it was all but impossible. At the same time that was the position he preferred to lie in. It was a no win situation.
"I don't know," he could hear his father say. "It could be a gang, or drugs, or something."
That was his dad, suspect the worst and act accordingly. He wondered if he told them whether it would make things easier. His promise to Zordon had ruled that out, which was probably a good thing.
It didn't help that his relationship with his father was a long way from what could be deemed perfect. They rarely talked and when they did it usually developed into a one-sided argument with Mr Park doing most of the talking. It wasn't that Trevor Park was a bad man, far from it. He was a dedicated police officer, a kind and caring husband and a firm-but-fair father. The problem was that Adam had come to realise during his time in Angel Grove that Trevor Park would never approve of his son's membership of a certain team of super heroes.
Not that Detective Park hated the Power Rangers. He like everybody else appreciated their efforts to save the world from those forces, he knew Angel Grove's finest couldn't handle. But at the same time he constantly pointed out how new villains were drawn to where the Rangers happened to be. He thought of them as hot dogging college students who practically invited further attacks with their antics.
In a way Trevor was correct. New villains did seem to favour Angel Grove, but the reason had little to do with its guardians and a lot to do with the collection of Ley Lines that ran beneath the city. The swirling mass of energy drew invaders like a candle attracts moths. And the threat of such attacks had resulted in the Power Rangers. But of course explaining that would be impossible without revealing his secret. The secret that threatened to tear their family apart.
The day had not gone well as far as Adam Park was concerned. He had spent the early part of his day on the receiving end of a lecture from his father. He wasn't sure exactly what his father was accusing him of; Detective Park didn't seem to know either and had jumped from subject to subject in the hope that his son would react and give something away. All it all it had been both awkward and strangely comical. By the time it was over neither was sure what had been accomplished except that Adam's resentment of Trevor reached an all-time high.
It was late morning that both father and son were forced to leave suddenly; Adam had needed to go to practice while Detective Park had been called to a break in. Trevor made his excuses and left. After complaining bitterly, Adam soon followed.
He had half walked, half ran to the park when he was confronted by Putties. The battle escalated rapidly and Adam had been forced to morph. He hadn't had time to contact Zordon although he did wonder why the Grid Master had not called in the others. A sharp blade spun towards him, knocking him aside before he could reach the battle.
"I know what you're thinking Adam, but I didn't go to all the trouble of getting you alone just so your friends could interfere," Scorpina told him, blade resting against his neck. "That's what happened last time, remember?" She briefly changed into the disguise she had worn when she had attempted to seduce the then Black Ranger. Adam had only narrowly avoided her clutches, thanks to Aisha. She looked over at oversized Putty almost intelligent Putty, what she had come to think of as Captain Golem and gestured for them to switch opponents. "You'll like him," she confided. "Mistress Repugna made him from Rita's Super Putty."
She leapt into the air again, her blade at the ready, and this time there was nothing to stop it from colliding with Green Zeo's neck. Nothing, except the Zeo Power Hatchets he raised in the nick of time to misdirect the weapon. The two continued to battle, Scorpina pressing her advantage and easily maintaining the upper hand as the sparks flying from Adam's uniform could attest. The two of them grappled as Adam's weapons vanished and he made a lunge for her stinger blade. All the while Captain Golem was attempting to land as many cheap shots as possible.
Finally though Scorpina teleported away from the battle, leaving Adam to struggle with the golem monster.
"Trevor, you'd better take a look at this," Detective Park's partner said.
Trevor sighed as he turned his attention to where Rick Winslow was standing with more excitement than he normally showed during a monster attack. He moved to the window and glanced out. He was surprised by what he saw. A Power Rangers was engaged in a battle with Scorpina and an oversized Putty. At least at first glance it resembled a Putty, but a closer look revealed it was made from darker lumps of thick clay. They were both on the defensive.
Then Scorpina and her accomplice attacked the Green Zeo Ranger and seemed to regain lost ground. Trevor frowned, was that a smile on Scorpina's face. He had his answer moments later as she disappeared, leaving Green Zeo to his fate.
The Putty thing that he later learnt referred to itself as Captain Golem had a good right hand. His punch sent Green Zeo back to the ground with enough force that the ranger's reactive armour had burnt away a section of ground to cushion the landing. Green Zeo stood back up shakily and Trevor was impressed that despite the blow he had taken, he seemed willing to keep fighting. Green Zeo and the Putty grappled, the latter grabbing onto the Green Ranger's arm and holding him while winding up for another punch. Green Zeo was already reacting though, using the Putty's grip as a counter balance as he swung his legs around to deliver a firm kick to the top of its eye socket.
Trevor groaned when the monster recovered from the sharp kick and pitched the Ranger ruthlessly across the park and into the city's streets. The Green Zeo Ranger had not stopped flailing through the air until he had plunged through the side of a delivery van, incinerating the contents for good measure. The driver scrambled out and Trevor was relieved to see he was alive if rather confused about whether collision with a Power Ranger was acceptable on his insurance policy. The collective police force had by now moved to the end of the street and had started clearing civilians. The Ranger couldn't seem to find which way was up as he struggled to shift the burnt remains of a toilet roll from his uniform. Trevor took all this in, but knew how dangerous things had become. The monster was now in highly a populated area of Angel Grove instead of the park.
"I think it's going to kill him," Rick commented as Trevor continued to watch. The monster had grabbed the fallen Ranger and had wrapped its enormous hands around his neck.
"Shit!" Trevor exclaimed, pulling his gun and racing out the door. Captain Golem had given up strangling and was standing on Green Zeo's chest, successfully preventing him from catching his breath. As much as Trevor disliked the Power Rangers, he certainly didn't want to see one die; he would hate to deal with the paperwork associated with such an event. Trevor raised his gun, silently praying that if the monster lacked something that he could hit with his bullet, his shot wouldn't hit the Ranger he was trying to save.
Green Zeo heard a shot, seemingly a hundred miles away, and all at once, he could breathe again. He looked up to see his father in a classic shooter's stance, his gun trained on the mutated Putty.
"Freeze, ugly!" Trevor yelled. "Detective Park, AGPD! You're under arrest for attempted murder! You have the right to remain silent. If you refuse the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law!"
If his throat hadn't hurt so much, Adam would have laughed at his father's reading the Miranda warning to a monster. As it was, though, he worried about the monster's reaction. Looking around, he spied Rick Winslow, his father's partner, beating on an invisible barrier that seemed to keep him out of the way.
"Foolish human!" the monster cried, drawing Green Zeo's attention back to it. He noticed the gaping hole where the bullet had wormed its way through, tearing out even more clay for the exit room. Had it bee one of Rita's standard Putty Patrollers, the bullet would have stopped, but this was one had been created using Rita's Super Putty.
The result was a hard exterior and soft center. In this case that had allowed the bullet to cause more damage. "I am above your petty human laws. And when my mistress takes over your pathetic world, those laws will cease to exist!"
At that point Adam realised that he was no longer staring at something that resembled a mutated Putty. Its body had shifted, taking on a stonier appearance and a slightly orange tinge to its pink body. He also decided that if this monster had thrown him around so easily, it would make short work of a human.
"Not if I can help it, Bub!" Adam growled, hurling himself at the monster. The impact knocked the mutant off balance and stopped him in his tracks. With the knowledge that this was indeed a Putty albeit modified by magic, Adam used what he remembered from his early days as a Ranger in battle. First he tried a kick to Captain Golem's chest in the hope that it had been a Z-Putty with the obvious weakness. When that failed, he reverted to swift and frequent blows to encourage the cowardice Billy had once mentioned that all Putties exhibited.
"Zeo Power Punch!" he called with a blow aimed at the head.
A familiar noise left Captain Golem as its skull cracked and fell away. Beneath his helmet Adam's eyes widened as he saw the residual magic that had been waiting for release. The monster reverted to a normal Putty and crumbled, as the spell was unleashed at the Ranger and his unsuspecting rescuer.
"You okay?" Trevor asked as he approached the exhausted Ranger.
"Yes, sir," Green Zeo puffed, getting to his feet.
"Where are your friends?"
"That's a good question." Green Zeo responded. Where were the others and why hadn't Zordon summoned them?
He looked around, wondering why the spell had failed to hurt them. Then they both felt a sudden pull as they were jerked into darkness.
Trevor Park woke up on something soft, for which he gave thanks. Taking stock of himself, he found all body parts more or less intact, and his .38 lying by his side. Beside him, the Green Zeo began to stir.
"Ohhh," the Ranger moaned. "Where's my stomach?"
Trevor chuckled, levering himself into a sitting position. "In about the same place as my lunch, I think. What happened to us?"
Sitting up, Green Zeo performed a quick status check on his body parts. Finding nothing broken, he looked at Trevor. "We've been teleported, sent through some sort of dimensional warp. We could be on another planet, or another dimension. It's not one of Zedd's, though," he added thoughtfully.
"How can you tell?" Trevor asked, looking around him.
"Too much life," Adam replied, also examining their surroundings. They had been dropped into a clearing in an incredibly lush jungle. Around them, they could hear small animals rustling in the underbrush.
"What can we expect to run into here?" Trevor asked, scanning the perimeter of the clearing. The Ranger shrugged.
"Almost anything. Remember, I don't know where we are, and some of these other planets have some very interesting wildlife. Other than that, it's your ordinary jungle. I don't think it's too different from one you'd find on Earth." He looked at his companion and sighed. "Look, I'm sorry I dragged you into this. With your opinion of the Power Rangers, this can't be much fun for you."
"How'd you know about my opinion of the Rangers?" Trevor asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Everybody knows your opinion of the Power Rangers," Adam replied. ~And everything else for that matter!~ he silently added.
Was that bitterness in he heard in the Ranger's voice? Trevor was surprised to think that the thoughts of one man were that important.
"Hmm. Well, I wish I was home eating dinner right now, but I could have been stuck with worse. So could you, for that matter. I'm not completely inexperienced with jungle fighting."
"Vietnam?" Green Zeo asked casually, curious. His father had never mentioned a military career before.
Trevor shook his head. "Too young. Not by much, but too young. No, when I got out of college, I spent a couple years in Delta Force. An antiterrorist unit. They trained us for almost every kind of fighting. I spent a couple years there, got out and went into the Police Academy."
"Well, if you've got that kind of training, I'm glad to have you along, sir."
Trevor's eyes narrowed again. Something about the Ranger's voice was bothering him. And why keep calling him "sir?" Suddenly it clicked. "You can't be more than eighteen!" Trevor cried.
"Close. I'm seventeen."
Trevor's jaw dropped. This kid was Adam's age, and he was fighting monsters? "That's pretty young," Trevor managed. "Are all the Rangers teenagers?"
"Yes. I'm not the oldest, but I'm close. It's not so young, really. We can die for our country at eighteen. Why not for our planet?"
"Eighteen's pretty young to be facing monsters."
The Ranger laughed humourlessly. "Tell that to the kids who go to war. At least for us, the monsters look like monsters. Out there, they can wear anybody's uniform and anybody's face. Even your own."
Trevor was speechless. From the news reports, he'd formed an impression of the Rangers as show-off college-age kids, hotdogging for the cameras. He had not expected a boy Adam's age, with more wisdom than he ought to have. Sighing, he changed the subject. "Come on. We'd better get moving if we want to find out where we are. I say we follow that stream over there."
Green Zeo nodded. "No objections here." Rising, the two slipped silently into the underbrush and were quickly swallowed up.
After hiking through the dense jungle for a few hours, the Green Zeo Ranger suddenly noticed a column of smoke rising above the trees. "Look!" he pointed. "That means people!"
Trevor nodded, his eyes narrowing. "But are they friendly?"
Green Zeo chuckled. "The odds are pretty good. Rangers are respected throughout the galaxy. Unless we've landed on a world totally under some tyrant's thumb, this Spandex suit should get us through without a problem."
He chose not to mention that despite his uniform, he lacked the usual aura some races associated with Rangers and was unsure what anyone would think if they noticed him. He decided to keep that to himself.
Shrugging, Trevor gestured for him to lead the way. After a few more minutes, the two crested a rise and saw a village below. The houses, which seemed to be some sort of woven grass, were burning, causing the smoke that Green Zeo had sighted. Men on horseback were riding around, torching the homes, terrorising the people, and laughing uproariously.
On the ground was a woman who had been tied and forced to watch as the horrific actions continued. Suddenly, the Green Zeo Ranger stood up.
"I can't just stand up here and watch this."
"You're not going to barge in there, are you?" Trevor asked. "We have no idea what's going on."
"I have a responsibility to protect the helpless, and these people seem to fit. You don't have to come, but I could use your help."
"Oh, hell," Trevor sighed, getting to his feet as well. "If you're going to get yourself barbecued, I might as well come along for the ride. What's the plan?"
"Well, you're the stealth expert, so I'll distract them, and you take them out. There are only eight of them."
"Only," Trevor grumbled, but hid himself to wait for Green Zeo's diversion.
Trevor had expected a brush fire, an animal stampede, almost anything. He had not expected the Ranger to walk directly into the middle of the camp and announce his presence. That was exactly what the kid did, however. Making his way down the main drag of the village, he yelled, "Hey!" The riders' heads swung around, their attention fixing on Green Zeo.
Trevor could not understand what the men were saying, but one word that they kept repeating obviously meant "Ranger". The leader silenced them with a wave of his hand. Turning back to Green Zeo, he said something that obviously translated to "What do you want?"
"As a holder of the Black Morphin Power and Green Zeo Power, and as a Ranger/Apprentice to Zordon of Eltare, I hereby order you to leave this place and these people in peace."
The leader's only response was a growl. It was unintelligible to Trevor, but the Ranger seemed to understand it well enough.
"If that's the way you want things, fine. I will make you leave this village, if necessary. I challenge you to honourable combat. One on one, your men don't interfere." The leader seemed to consider this. "Unless you're afraid," the Ranger needled.
The leader's face-hardened. He barked at his men, obviously commanding them to stay back. Then he turned back to the Ranger and dismounted, a twisted leer on his face. The two began to circle each other, looking for openings.
Trevor wasn't worried about the kid; he knew the Green Zeo could take care of himself. It was the seven goons on horseback that held his attention. If the Green Zeo dropped the leader, the seven would attack. If not, the men would return to sacking the village. Either way, he had to take out the leader's back up while they were preoccupied with the fight. Luckily, they had dismounted to watch more easily. He estimated that he could take out three before they spotted him. That left four that he might have to fight hand-to-hand. He could only hope some of the villagers would join in.
Making his move, Trevor sneaked up on the closest goon, quietly pulling him back into the underbrush. A few quick blows, and the man was unconscious before he could make a sound. A couple of handy lengths of vine trussed him up nicely.
Three more fell to similar tactics. Trevor was beginning to get disgusted with his enemies' lack of alertness when one of the last three spotted him and cried an alarm. The three rushed him at once, actually doing him a favour. They were so clumsy and unable to work together that they got in each other's way, making his job easier. He knocked out two, but found the third a much more proficient fighter. Behind him, he could hear villagers cheering, probably for Green Zeo. Finally, in a last desperate strategy, he fell to the ground in a move Adam had taught him, placing a foot into the solar plexus of his charging opponent and flipping him over. The man hit the ground and did not move.
Rising, Trevor saw that Green Zeo had also finished off his opponent, and was now tying the unconscious man up. Several villagers were binding Trevor's sparring partners, and still more were dragging the other four out of the brush. Looking at the eight men's dirt-spattered uniforms, Green Zeo cocked his head.
"Red, white, green, black, blue, purple, yellow, and pink. Oh man." Kneeling, Green Zeo pulled a medallion from around the leader's neck. Faintly, under a few years of dirt and grime, was an engraving of an ape. "They were Rangers," he breathed. "Rogue Rangers. I think I'm going to be sick."
Trevor stooped to untie the prisoner and then knelt near him. "How do you know they were rogues? I mean, the Green Ranger - the other one - wasn't he put under a spell or something? I'm pretty sure I remember that from the news."
"No," the female prisoner said, causing Trevor and his son to look at her. "If they were enspelled, they'd still have their powers. The powers-that-be only strip Rangers of their powers when they've done something awful, broken the rules of their own free will. Gone rogue."
"I don't remember a Purple Ranger," Trevor commented.
"We didn't have one. Purple was the one colour coin we didn't have. I'll explain later. Here comes the headman of the village." Green Zeo stood, brushing grime off his hands. Trevor could no more understand this man than the last one, but it was fairly obvious that he was thanking Green Zeo for coming to their aid. Apparently the woman also understood although she seemed to be having problems from the way she placed her hand against her right ear.
"It was my honour, sir," Green Zeo responded. "I was glad to help."
The man spoke further, and in reply, Green Zeo shook his head. "No thank you, sir. We can't stay, I'm afraid. We're lost, far from the world we live on."
"And just what world would that be?" the woman asked.
Now he had a good chance Adam looked her over. She was dressed in a grey bodysuit, which appeared to have some extra padding. Those areas not coloured white, such as the shoulder pads were dark blue. On the right side of her chest was pinned a silver badge marked IGPF. She had retrieved a black belt complete with a weapon and had strapped it to her waist. Now she was carefully shifting through the pockets of the rogues' leader.
"Earth," Adam replied. "Are you looking for something?"
"Great!" she muttered and followed that with some words that Adam assumed were harsh curses while ignoring his question. "Trapped on a planet with no supplies, a group of restrained rogue Rangers, a pirate ship waiting for them to return, no supplies and only a Ranger from a back water planet for company, and a civilian."
"Look," Green Zeo broke in, beginning to get annoyed. "I may not be seven thousand years old, like some Rangers, and I may not be from the center of galactic society. But I have joined the Zeo Rangers in countless battles against the Machine Empire, a threat which is certainly not child's play!" His declaration, intense but not loud, finally drew her attention. Making sure he kept it, he stepped forward, using his height to emphasise his words. "Now, I don't know anything about these pirates, or anything except that we have to get back to our planet. I assume you're some sort of police officer, other than that..."
She nodded, a slight smile on her face. She waved him over to a chair at a nearby table and the two sat down.
"Inter Galactic Police Force, but you can call me Lieutenant Haim. I like you..." Green Zeo jerked his head to indicate his father and a look of understanding crossed her face. "Ah, the big secrecy thing. Green -- Zeo? then. You have backbone. I'm sorry that I was so rude, but you have to realise how embarrassing this is. I'm supposed to be an experience operative, and they took me down like I was a rookie."
She finished her search and emerged with a small device.
"Aha!" she proclaimed. "With this in their possession they could have accessed any prison in the Council's domain. I hope you'll forgive my outburst, you're much younger than any of the Rangers I've dealt with in the past. Rangering isn't exactly for children, or even teenagers, really."
Adam nodded. "Zordon told us once that he chose teenagers because we were old enough to be good fighters and responsible about the use of our powers, and young enough to accept new things easily. Plus, since we weren't adults, our lives would not be as totally disrupted by the need for secrecy. That's the one thing I've never understood, though. The villains all knew who we were, so why did we need to keep our identities secret? None of the other Ranger teams we've met or heard of had to."
"The need for secrecy is unique to your type of world, it's true. You see, Earth is much younger than most of the worlds in the galaxy. As a result, its culture has not developed as far as, say, Eltare's. Exposing the people of Earth to galactic culture all at once might result in disaster. Zordon had himself posted on your world to protect it in case an evil ever threatened that was beyond your people's ability to defend against. The posting of a Ranger team is the only interference from our culture allowed."
Adam nodded again. "That makes sense, thanks. I don't really know that much about the IGPF. What do you do, exactly? What separates you from Rangers?"
"Politics," she answered. "Simply put the powers-that-be don't trust large groups that they don't directly control. The Masters of the Morphin Grid while certainly dedicated to the light, do not necessarily support the Council. So other groups were formed to limit the influence of the Grid Masters and the Council passed a whole bunch of decrees stating the separation of powers and situations in which their forces could override the authority of Rangers.
Rangers are basically military in function and are not limited to Council controlled worlds. They defend worlds against invasion and annihilation. Trying to take over the Universe is not actually against the law, so the two sides are allowed to fight to the death. The IGPF is a police force dealing with criminal activities such as piracy, slave driving, smuggling, etc. The IGPF can chase a criminal to any world within the Council's jurisdiction. If we wanted to go outside that area, we would either need the permission of the planet's ruling body or go under cover."
"And the Riders are?" Trevor asked. Adam already knew the answer having met Dex during a trip to Edonoi.
"The third little group. They're not military like Rangers and apart from their home world they don't have a fixed location. At any one time there can be over five thousand Riders, more if you count the ones that have limited themselves to local issues. Officially there are limits due to magical and technical reasons. Each Rider is given his or her own sector of space to cover and is pretty much charged with maintaining peace, order and justice within those areas. They can fight crime or repel an invasion. They are totally independent from the Council, the Rangers and about a half dozen lesser organisations that would love to say they share the prestige of Grid Masters and Riders.
Generally speaking though it works like this: Rangers protect, Riders hunt and the IGPF works as a legitimate police force. If either of the groups I mentioned, actually managed to capture an enemy and could find some illegal activity to charge them with, then rather than destroy him you would turn him over to us to be taken to stand trial. Otherwise you'd have to make do with war courts like Zordon used to imprison Rita. In spite of the Council's leadership, there is great deal of cooperation among the three groups. There has to be; the universe is just too big for one group to handle alone."
"Well I guess we should help you restrain these rogues so you can round them up later and then get you somewhere where you can call for backup," Green Zeo suggested. He turned to the tribal chief and asked: "Is there a wizard or Grid Master around here who might be able to help us?"
The man spoke at great length, at one point bringing a scroll from his hut and showing the Ranger something. When the Ranger nodded, the headman gave a sharp command, and two of the younger men brought out what appeared to be backpacks, stuffed with equipment.
"He says that there is a place of great power, the Maze of Shilratha, to the south of here. It's marked on the map," Lieutenant Haim translated. "Although their shaman senses no evil about it, no one who has entered has ever returned. This could mean that inside is a gateway to somewhere else. Maybe we can use it to get home."
"And the packs?" Trevor asked.
"Repayment for our services," Green Zeo told him. "They contain the food and equipment necessary to reach it. Apparently the maze is several days' walk from here."
"Great," Trevor groaned. "And Eileen - that's my wife - was going to make meatloaf!"
"She makes good meatloaf?"
"The best. You should see my sons put it away. It's the only food that Adam can eat six servings of."
Green Zeo chuckled and turned back to the headman to make their goodbyes. He noticed Lieutenant Haim look from him to his father and guessed she had worked out why he had been so secretive. He shrugged it off. Then, loaded with the packs, an Angel Grove policeman, IGPF officer and Green Zeo Ranger began to hike towards the Maze.
After they had hiked in silence for a while, Trevor finally decided to ask the questions that had been bothering him since they left the village. "What was all that about, the Black Morphin Power? And who or what is a Grid Master?"
Green Zeo sighed. "The Morphin Grid is an ancient subset of the power that runs throughout the universe on a metaphysical plane. Its power can be good or evil, depending on which "side" of the grid you draw from. The Rangers drew from the light side of the grid through our coins, and used it to morph into our old forms. There never was a Purple Morphin Ranger because we never found the coin. Rita, who uses evil magic, probably draws from the dark side of the grid; Lord Zedd relies on a similar type of magic although I doubt it is really the Morphin Grid."
"And the Machine Empire?"
"They don't draw from the grid at all. As machines, they have no connection with the metaphysical energies of this universe. They are apart from it, and draw their strengths from other things. For this reason, we need the Zeo Power, which does not draw on the Morphin Grid. You know the old Earth legends, which state that magical power can be turned aside by cold iron? Well, that has its base in the fact that Iron alone, of all things on Earth, possesses insulating properties that allow it to deflect Morphin energy. The Zeo Crystal is not magic, strictly speaking. It's a science of energy fields and circuits. That's why we don't need words to morph anymore. We still talk most of the time, simply because it's easier for us to morph if we have words to focus our energy. The words themselves no longer trigger the transformation, though.
"The Masters of the Morphin Grid or Grid Masters as they prefer to call themselves -- they really love it when people call them Morphin Masters because it allows them to bask in the glory of their ancestors, but they are far from achieving that level or power or respect -- are those who have mastered the arts and techniques used in the service of their colour. The different colours symbolise the different disciplines. Blue are scientists, Red are warriors, Yellow are healers, and so on. The Purple Rangers are sort of larcenous, but honourable. My colour, Black, are artists and musicians. I would have been equally at home in Black or Yellow, but certain constraints made me the Black Ranger."
Trevor nodded. "That's what you meant about Black Morphin Power. But if you're a Zeo Ranger now, how do you still hold the Black Power?"
"The powers are not mutually exclusive. It's like studying both kung fu and karate. It's hard and time-consuming, but it can be done. Our Power Coins were destroyed in battle, destroying our ability to morph. The Power is still part of us however, and cannot be taken away by evil. I am still Black Ranger inside, even though I cannot take on the outer form."
"So why do you have two different Ranger colours?"
"The Zeo Powers uses a different colour symbolism than the Morphin Powers. I'm Green under Zeo philosophy and Black under Morphin."
"The way those people looked at you, it was as if you were -- oh, what's the word? My younger son, Franklin, loves sword and sorcery novels. There's a special type of warrior -- a paladin! They looked at you as if you were a holy knight, a paladin."
Lieutenant Haim chuckled. "In a way, I suppose that's what he is. These people recognise the Power in their lives. To them, it's almost a religion, although that's not quite right. It's a principle, a philosophy, like Tao. It doesn't really have religious connotations. Its defenders are well respected. In return, they defend the weak and helpless, no matter where or who they may be."
Green Zeo nodded and Trevor was somewhat taken aback. He had not realised what a great responsibility being a Ranger was, or how conscious of it they were. He was beginning to suspect that he had sorely misjudged these teenagers.
"Perhaps while we're on our way," Lieutenant Haim said, "you could explain to me why you two are here? Last time I checked Earth was not known for its holiday packages to other worlds."
Adam sighed and started to tell the tale about how he had arrived at the park, the attack and the trap.
"It could have happened to anyone," Lieutenant Haim said as they neared a clearing.
Green Zeo nodded, but then held up a hand and signalled for his companions to get down. Just through the break in the trees were the pirates that had brought the rogue Rangers to the planet.
"We need to stop them from taking off," Lieutenant Haim said. "They got the drop on me last time."
Green Zeo looked at her thoughtfully, then his eyes fell on her weapon.
"How many are there?" he asked.
"Six," she answered. "They set down here to refuel and sent those rogues out to pillage."
Adam nodded and worked out a strategy. "I'll take out the ship," he said, "Detective Park can handle any guards... He can look after himself Lieutenant Haim... and you stun them as they come out."
The others nodded in agreement of his plan while Adam worked on putting it into action. He charged across the ground, using his speed to avoid the shots aimed at him. When he reached the ship he flicked out his Zeo Sword and sliced off the landing skids. A few pot shots grounded the ship without rendering it beyond repair. In the meantime Trevor had subdued some of the resistance and Lieutenant Haim had stunned the captain. When they were tied and a radio had been located, the three parted company.
Lieutenant Haim could wait the few weeks it would take to get a ship, but had told them it would take too long for them to get home from where she was going. Instead Adam and Trevor decided to press on for the maze. As they did Trevor wondered just how much he had to learn about these Rangers.
"Come on," Green Zeo called, breaking into his thoughts. "A few more miles and we'll make camp for the night."
Staring up at the unfamiliar stars above them, Trevor Park sighed. "My wife is going to be having a cow over my whereabouts."
Green Zeo shook his head. "Time passes differently when you travel the dimensions. I think that time in this one is longer than time in ours. On our world, we probably won't be missing more than a day, if that. Besides, the Rangers will tell her what happened to you, and will reassure her that they'll bring you back. She'll be fine."
Trevor sighed. "I hope so. I hope I get to see her again. I've really got a great family -- but you don't want to listen to an old man ramble on," he cut himself off.
Green Zeo chuckled. "Old? You're what, forty-five? That's hardly old. Besides, I'd like to hear about your family. You obviously love them very much."
Smiling slightly, Trevor nodded. "Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you. My wife is beautiful, smart, and tough -- very tough. She had to be. Her father was the Korean equivalent of a ninja. He taught all of his children martial arts, and some of the things he had picked up from US Marines who were in the area. She's accustomed to taking care of herself, and is deadly with almost any kind of weapon.
"My older boy, Adam, is the quiet, sensitive type. He doesn't let anyone push him around, though. He became interested in martial arts as a young boy, when the other kids picked him on. Now he's even teaching me a few things. Adam's smart, but he's so shy. Sometimes too shy for his own good. He'd known his current girlfriend for months before he asked her out. I don't understand him at all, but I'm very proud of him
"My younger son is Franklin. His nose is always in a fantasy novel of some sort, unless he's taking kung fu from Adam. Franklin - nobody calls him Frank except Adam - he's the most knowledgeable authority on role-playing games in Angel Grove. He's a good kid, but sometimes his head gets stuck in the clouds.
"Anyway, that's my family. So what about you? Is there someone back home who'll miss you? Not to pry or anything."
Green Zeo laughed. "Oh yes. I have a family back home, and of course the Rangers will miss me. Still, we all knew this could happen, and we've all made arrangements to take care of things. If anything happens, my family will know what happened to me."
"Y'know," Trevor smiled, "I'm a very stubborn man. It's hard for me to admit when I'm wrong. I'll admit it now, though. I was wrong about you Rangers. If you were my son, I'd be very proud of you."
"Thank you, sir," Green Zeo replied gravely. "Your respect means a lot to me."
Trevor chuckled, but did not respond. Still, he wasn't very surprised. The kid reminded him a little of Adam, and Adam had always wanted and needed the respect of adults. The Green Zeo didn't seem to be much different. Thinking about this, Trevor lay back on his bedroll and stared up at the brilliant, alien night sky.
Green Zeo and Trevor were standing outside the entrance to the Maze of Shilratha when Green Zeo's communicator toned.
"Hello!" the wristband squawked. "Hello! Green Zeo, do you read me?" Green Zeo couldn't believe it. He had thought he'd never hear Alpha's voice again. Quickly he pressed the "transmit" button.
"Green Zeo here. Man, I'm glad to hear from you."
"Is Detective Park all right? Do you know where you are?" That was Zordon.
"I wish," Green Zeo sighed. "Detective Park is fine. He's even revised his opinion of the Power Rangers. We're the good guys now."
"I apologise for not detecting the attack earlier," Zordon told him.
There was very little to say; it was not often that someone managed to sneak an attack past Zordon's warning system. "Listen, Zordon, do you know anything about the Maze of Shilratha?"
Zordon's familiar voice boomed from the communicator. "Indeed I do. It was a training ground for the wielders of the Morphin power. At its center is the Eye of Shilratha, a gem of great power that will enable you to get home. First, however, you must reach it. This will not be easy, as teleporting in is impossible and the traps were made lethal when the maze was closed."
"Why was it closed, Zordon?" Green Zeo asked.
"Because Shilratha's Rangers were turned to Darkness and stripped of their powers. The Masters wished to make sure that no evil person could ever access the Eye again."
Green Zeo turned to Trevor. "Are you up to this?" he asked
"Sure thing. This is the most fun I've had in years," Trevor replied sourly. "Let's go." Slowly, the two made their way into the maze, unsure of what they might find.
Tired, Trevor leaned against a wall to catch his breath. "I feel like I'm stuck in 'The Goonies,'" he grumbled. "Collapsing floors, falling rocks, even the occasional, extremely clichÃ© closing-in wall trick! What next?"
"Don't ask," Green Zeo chuckled. "You probably don't want to know." Silently, Green Zeo thanked whatever Powers existing that of all the people to get swept up in this adventure with him, his companion had been his father. Between the two of them, they had had the necessary skills to bypass each trap. Trevor had shot the switch that stopped the walls from closing in, Green Zeo had been able to vault off the collapsing floors before they fell, and they had both spied the trigger stones for the falling rocks. Now, the corridor before them looked clear, but neither of them was foolish enough to trust appearances.
Cautiously, Green Zeo picked up a rock and rolled it down the hallway. Nothing happened. He gingerly took a step forward, then another. Still, nothing appeared. Suddenly Trevor's hand shot out and grabbed the Ranger's shoulder in a vicelike grip.
"Wait. I hear something." Picking up a somewhat larger rock, he dropped it straight down. The weight and pressure caused spikes to shoot up from under the stones. "I heard them setting themselves," Trevor explained. "Come on. I'll set them off and you can shoot them with that pistol thing you carry."
In this manner, Green Zeo and Trevor managed to reach the center of the maze. There, they found the Eye of Shilratha floating in an energy field. "With that, I can power up my communicator enough to teleport us home," Green Zeo whispered. Trevor simply nodded, awestruck by the sight of the gem. The Eye was a hunk of topaz approximately the size of a man's head, glowing with a soft, golden light. As Green Zeo reached for it, there was a crackling noise. The two men whirled to see a woman standing behind them.
"I thought no one could teleport in here!" Trevor cried.
"She's a hologram," responded Green Zeo. "Who are you, what do you want?"
"I want the Eye, of course," replied the woman. "As to who I am, surely you remember me, Green Zeo. You did incinerate me a few months ago."
Adam's eyes widened. This was not good; Mistress Repugna was too powerful to take on alone. ~What is she doing here? Zedd I could understand, but her?~
"You're not going to get it," Trevor growled. "There's no way either of us would let a creep like you at so much power."
"Ah, you're so sweet, but Detective Park, I believe I have something that you'll want to make a trade for."
"What?" Trevor asked, in his deadly "interrogation" voice.
"This." The hologram changed to show a scene of Adam, struggling with a vine creature. He fought bravely, but was soon overwhelmed. "The choice is yours, Detective," her voice continued. "I can release your son, but then you would owe me a special favour. Say that gem for example."
"Adam," Trevor whispered in a pained voice.
Green Zeo looked at his horrified father. Repugna had hatched a truly fiendish plot this time and despite her words, the gem meant nothing. If his father agreed to her terms, he would owe her a favour. Adam didn't like to think what paying that favour would cost them. Trevor had no way of knowing that his son was standing beside him, and according to Zordon's rules, he couldn't be told. She was betting that Trevor's dislike of the Rangers and love for his son would win out over his honour. The frightening thing was that Green Zeo couldn't be sure that the villainess was wrong.
"You can't give her that stone," Green Zeo said quietly.
Furious, Trevor whirled on the younger man. "That's my son! I can't just leave him to become bird bait!"
"Would he want you to give up that stone?"
"Yes! No -- I don't know. I only know that if I don't, my son will die."
Green Zeo shook his head. "No, she won't. She isn't holding Adam prisoner. It was an illusion."
"And just how do you know that?"
"Because I'm right here, Dad." Slowly, Green Zeo removed his helmet. Trevor Park gaped as his older son's familiar face stared back at him.
"ADAM? You're a Power Ranger?" Adam nodded. "How long has this been going on?"
Adam laughed. "A while now Dad. Right after we moved to Angel Grove."
"Was a Power Ranger," Repugna corrected. "This was a no win situation. Either I gained the Eye or you found out your precious son was one of the people you hate. And now he's broken Zordon's little rule he's bound to be stripped of the Power."
Trevor shook his head. "I don't hate the Power Rangers. Yesterday that plan might have worked. But I know this Ranger and I know Adam. Besides, I could never hate my son." He turned to Adam and grinned. "Fathers are always the last to know. I wish you hadn't lied to me, but I understand. I'm glad you're all right. Let's go home."
"And you're wrong about me," Adam stated. "Zordon put those rules in place because he was afraid the original Rangers would abuse their powers. He wouldn't strip them from me for breaking a promise, especially when it was for a selfless purpose."
Adam nodded at his father, and the two men laid their hands on the Eye. Forming their wish, they instantly disappeared and were on their way to Earth, and the Power Chamber.
"So how do we do this?" Adam asked as he walked up the path, closely followed by his father.
Detective Park smiled at his son, feeling the weight of the newly fabricated communicator on his arm. It seemed that in the days they had spent on the jungle world, which he now realised had accounted for less than eight hours on Earth, they had taken the time to talk and while there were issues to be resolved, both he and his son were prepared to work on their relationship. After all, as had been asked many times by many men in Trevor's position: what kind of father did not support his son?
"We're late for dinner," he finally answered. He winked playfully. "Just leave your mother to me."
Adam turned the handle and both men entered, neither sure whether they would rather be back on that jungle world facing who knows what. At the smell of supper cooking though both agreed they would rather be on Earth. Despite Mrs Park's annoyance there was definitely no place like home.
End of Part