Disclaimer: I don't own MMPR, PRZ, PRT, or a partridge in a pear tree. I'm not being paid (darn). Amber is mine, please don't use her without proper consent.
General Zotok's Quarters, Moonbase,
General Zotok looked at the map with the most vile of intents: total distruction. However, it seemed a hopeless feat to conquer such a stubborn race of people. He hadn't the large army that Mondo before him had, so he couldn't attack them in mass numbers. Mondo focused his army and his forces on one target and exhausted himself. Such poor military tactics for such a mighty king. What he had were worn out soldiers that hadn't seen home in eight years, what he had was no way to get home, what he had was a mutiny in the making.
"CRACKEN!" He roared sitting down at his desk, which was little more than just a table and a chair. Soon a wiry soldier came to do his bidding.
"Yes, sir, General, sir." Cracken replied saluting in perfect form. He was always extremely careful with Zotok, because he had a temper that was unpresidented by any other in the entire army. Not even Captain Flarad. For a moment Zotok inspected the poor sargent looking for any flaw. There was none.
"Is there anything that Mondo left that would help us?" The general asked getting up from the chair.
"Well, no, but the previous occupants, Rita and Zedd did leave a monster making machine."
"Was it any good?"
"The monsters were always defeated, sir. They weren't very good at all, sir."
"Can they be improved upon?"
"Our teams have no knowledge with such technology sir, but the hostage, Jarada does, sir."
"Then have her work on it."
"She won't budge, sir."
"Then *make* her budge, Sargent, I don't care how you do it, but do it *now*!!" He roared with a booming voice that was sure to have sent lesser men scrambling for safety.
"Yes, sir, General, sir." Cracken replied, saluting, and in perfect form, exiting.
Jarada's Cell, POW Wing.
Cracken looked at the prisoner, who sat looking at the device of hopelessly useless wire and metal that she hoped to escape with. He sighed. _She never gives up does she?_ he thought.
"Jarada! Zotok has ordered you to improve his monster machine. He wants to send a monster to Earth to conquer it." Cracken told her as Zotok had told him.
"Why doesn't he send himself?" She retorted. Jarada had long since lost her fear of the cowardly sargent.
"If you don't obey me I will use full force on you!" Cracken shouted, his voice rose to almost a perfect scream.
"Wow." Jarada smarted back. She didn't care what Cracken said.
"I'll have it brought to your quarters. If it isn't done by 1800 hours you're a dead woman, got it?"
"Whatever." She didn't care and she went back to her device. Cracken almost felt sorry for her. Even though she was so disrespectful to her, she was still that scared young survivor of a military attack. She clung to long dead hope of freedom with pathetic nievety. That device was her only friend in the world. She even talked to it, which under the circumstances wasn't so unusual. She'd poured everything she had into creating it and she did it with the utmost care. It was almost heartbreaking, that was, if Cracken had a heart, which he didn't. In the military nobody had a heart.
-Amber's Room, Amber's House, Angel Grove
Amber looked at the boxes that lay in neat piles around her room. She hadn't bothered to unpack them because as soon as she did, they'd be gone. They'd been in those boxes for twelve years. Somethings she hadn't bothered to take the tape off the box. Her thoughts raced as to the solution. If she took the offer she was tied here, which she didn't mind, but if she moved what would happen then? If she refused then Earth would be conquered. It was all so complicated, so inconcievably enigmatic.
"Amber, I need you down here for a sec." That was her father, Franklyn.
"I'm busy! You're just going to have to wait your turn!" Amber smapped back at him, stressing majorly. So much was coming down on her so fast. She had to start prioritising things now. Her father now ranked dead last on her list of things that she *had* to worry about. She had to worry about The Rangers, she had to worry about school and Mr. Rowe. She didn't just need to worry, she needed to panic. The phone in her room rang and she picked it up, forcefully snatching it from the cradle. "Yes?" She asked harshly.
"Is this at a bad time?" The boy on the other end asked.
"No, sorry. Just a bust up with my dad. Who is this?" She replied, softening.
"Adam Park. Uh, Mr. Rowe recommended you as a tutor. Would you mind?" Adam asked, a bit shy about asking for help.
"No. When do you want me to help you?"
"Anytime that's good for you."
"When do you have time?" Amber's schedule was still wide open.
"How about tomorrow at three thirty?"
"Thanks." Click. Adam hung up and Amber sat back down on her bed to think.
"Amber!" Her father called.
"Coming!" She screamed back and trudged downstairs.
-Angel Grove High School, Locker 417
Tommy looked at Amber and she had lost sleep, it was clear as day on her face. Her hazel eyes weren't the brilliantly aware ones he'd come to gaze at. Her stature wasn't so strong and fiery. She was worn smooth like a stone in a river. She had been told and she hadn't taken it lightly.
"Amber, you okay?" He asked her, this time not running over her. Amber looked up at him, with almost no understanding of what he'd said.
"Hmm?" Her attention was dulled.
"Are you okay?" He repeated.
"No, I'm not."
"Maybe you ought to go home."
"No." Amber refused flatly. She wouldn't back down from Mr. Rowe. She simply was too stubborn for it. She continued on to class, with no plan for dealing with Mr. Rowe.
-Angel Grove Youth Centre
Adam waited on Amber, and he waited, and he waited. He checked his watch and she wasn't late, technically, but she was cutting it awful close. I was three fifteen. Then she came, just as the clock turned 3:29. Just in the nick of time.
"Hey Amber." Adam greeted her as she sat down. She looked exhausted, but determined not to let anything stand between Adam and his grade.
"Hello Adam." She replied, with formality and weariness evident in her voice. "What seems to be the trouble?"
"All these battles and names and generals and stuff." He replied, his book was opened and he was prepared.
"Why don't we start with stuff? I've had trouble with stuff myself. Stuff just don't like me or you." She had a sense of humor even when it was hardest to have a sense of humor. Adam could appreciate that, and she would need it desperately as a Ranger. They'd had Rocky, but he was gone. Justin wasn't that much of a kidder. Tommy joked occasionally, but he wasn't Rocky. The girls weren't too playful and he wasn't that good at jokes. Billy was WAY too serious for a joke, so the task fell to her, and she wasn't even part of them yet.
"Exactly which part of stuff?"
"How about we start from the beginning of stuff?"
"Do you know what lead up to the Revolutionary War?"
"All those laws that Britain passed, and the acts, and Grenville and Townshend."
"Okay, do you know what the first battle of the war was?"
"Lexington and Concord."
"Good. Do you know what the turning point was?"
"Who got credit for it?"
"You don't need my help." Amber replied preparing for an attack. She had a gut feeling that it was a trap, she could have kicked herself for falling into it.
"You're right, I don't." Adam revealed, and Amber steeled herself. Adam could just see her perch her hands so that she could grab the nearest available weapon.
"Then why did you request my help?"
"I needed to meet with you, this was the only way I could think of." Adam replied, and Amber began to doubt the necessity of her wariness. _Great, a guy wants to ask me out and I'm ready to clobber him over the head with a salt shaker._ "I need to tell you something and I know you told Billy-"
"Oh no, I'm not listening to it!" Amber knew instantly that her being on guard was rightly due the situation. She plugged her ears.
"Please, I'm not going to try to sway you at all, I'm going to explain something so that you might make a more informed choice." Adam knew that you could hear the person even with your ears plugged. Amber unplugged her ears and looked at Adam with a look that said 'Make it quick'.
"These powers will protect you if you get hurt in fighting, if that is something that worries you. However as a Ranger, sometimes you are asked to cancel dates to go fight monsters, drop studying for tests to go protect Angel Grove, and lie to your parents to go morph. I've been ranger a little over two years. It's not exactly all laurels. There is a price to pay for this power, but this power will pay for it."
"Maybe it's just me but I don't see the problem with the last one." Amber joked and Adam had to laugh. _Please, God, let her join. We need her more than anything in this world._ He prayed. Adam really didn't have a religion, but if there was a God, they needed him and Amber.
"Amber, will you. Please, we can't wait."
"I refuse to make that decision right now. I will tell you Saturday Adam, and uh, Gates got credit for Saratoga." Amber said slyly and walked off.
*BBBRRRIIINNNGGGBRINGBRINGBRING* The alarm clock woke Amber with a start. She heaved the thing into the floor.
"Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP! Stupid alarm clock." She drug herself out of bed, and knew that she had to have a decision made. So far everyone and thier brother and thier friend's friend and thier friends's friends's friend was telling her what she should do. At least she'd know thier names. She didn't feel like going to school. Why? Why did it have to be her, why couldn't it be somebody who was well put together, who was smart? She was just Amber. She couldn't be a Ranger. They were asking the impossible. She sorted through what she was going to wear and tried to think about what she was going to do. There was nothing she could do. There was no choice.
She looked at herself in the mirror and frankly all she saw was a loner and a weakling. She didn't see a Ranger, or a hero, or even a decent person. She really didn't like herself at all. What kind of hero was she?
-Command Centre, later that day
Ioah and Nom watched through the globe what was happening to the Rangers. So far danger had not presented itself, mostly because Zotok wasn't at full strength, either.
"She's getting shakier every day, Nom. We've got to do something." Ioah observed. Nom looked the mage, who's blue hair was streaked with white and grey.
"She appears to be struggling with the decision." Nom backed her up.
"What should we do? If she doesn't say yes, we're powerless!"
"At this rate we'll all be dead and gone by the time she decides."
"Nom, you're a robot, you don't age." Ioah said, without realising the consequences of her words.
"Oh." Nom was deeply saddened. He was again reminded that he was a robot. He looked like a human, he acted like a human, he slept like a human, he felt emotions like a human, but he couldn't be real. He couldn't be human like everyone else. He felt so depressed by that fact. He trudged up to his room and looked around at the pathetic accomodations. He had four walls, a bed, a nightstand with pictures on it and books that the Rangers had lent him. That was all. Ioah hadn't much liked him in the beginning, but now she was beginning to enjoy Nom. However, Nom still felt saddened and distraught. "I'm not human. I'm just a robot." Nom began to cry, well, his version of it anyway. His crying was basically just sobbing without the tears. He laid on his bed, face towards the wall and away from the door so that nobody would see him crying. He just wanted to be alone.
"Ioah, what's going on? Where's Nom?" Billy asked, not used to Nom's absense from the main room in the Command Centre.
"I said someting awful and he went to his room. I hurt his feelings." Ioah said, ruefully.
"He has feelings?" Billy was confused, Nom had never really shown any emotion.
"Yes, Billy, he's a Organabot. He's just like a human. Only without the physiological flaws."
"I see." Billy replied. Little did either know that Nom was in his room crying, proof that he did have emotions, and that he was just like a human.
"Would you go up and check on him?" Ioah asked, concerned.
"Sure." Billy consented and went up to Nom's room which he had seen only once before and that was when Ioah first moved in. "Nom?" Billy asked as he saw the poor Organabot lying on the bed, sobbing. His heart almost broke. Poor Nom.
"Go away, please." Nom replied, being very polite considering how upset he was.
"No, something's wrong, Nom." Billy knew how to handle somebody who was upset because he'd been that way for a long time. When he didn't have his powers, he was especially depressed.
"Nothing's wrong." Nom lied, and Billy was shocked that he could lie. He really was human-like.
"Then why are you crying?"
"Go away, Billy." Nom reverted to his previous tactic.
"Tell me what's wrong." Billy requested, sitting on Nom's bed.
"Fine. But I'll bug you until you tell me." Billy knew exactly how to handle this, which was strange since Billy wasn't a social person by nature. "You know, I'll bet it's because you like Ioah and she won't go out with you. Women can be tricky. The key is-"
"I don't like Ioah at all. I hate her! I'm not just a stupid robot!" Nom spewed forth the truth in an angry gush. Billy understood.
"What's so wrong with that? I wouldn't mind being a robot. Wouldn't get sick."
"That's the only advantage! You can't love anyone because you're a robot, you can't have friends or lovers, you watch everyone die and you can't!"
"What's wrong with being immortal?"
"Would you want to live forever?" Nom asked him, and that hit Billy hard. _Who wants to live forever?_ He thought.
"No. I would never live forever."
"You can't commit suicide when it gets really bad and you are like toy to be thrown around. It wouldn't be so bad, but you can feel human emotions and you can feel your heart wrench when you're belittled. I can't die, Billy. I can't live and I can't die." Nom poured out his heart to Billy, and Billy honestly didn't know what to do with it.
"Look on the bright side, you can learn more about everything and you coudl find another like you, who couldn't die."
"There are no more like me. I am the only one."
"How do you know?"
"Have you ever seen another one like me? I've never seen another Organabot in my entire five hundred years of life. What's to keep me from believing that I'm not alone?" Nom was clearly logical in his assumptions. Billy understood that this wasn't just being a robot, but being alone, being on a strange planet, and being with Ioah who could be almost unbearable.
"Faith. There is such a thing as hope."
"That's a human thing, I'm not human, remember?"
"You're more human than you think." Billy replied, getting to the heart of the matter.
"I know excatly how human I am! 0%. Notta, none, zip, zilch, natan!" Nom snapped, refusing to believe.
"If you aren't human, why are you getting upset?" Billy replied, and then left knowing that he had done enough.
Justin was deep in thought about the new Ranger, and his thoughts wandered onto dangerous territory. What if she refused? What if Zotok turned her to evil? What if the unthinkable happened? What if... There were too many variables in this equation to work it and get the out come. Probability was the mathematical term for "it could happen".
"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Rocky noticed his young companion's silence.
"The new Ranger." He replied, earnestly.
"What about her?" Rocky asked for a more specific reply.
"If she'll join, and things of that sort." Justin told him.
"Don't worry, It'll work out in the end." Rocky pointed out the postive.
"I wish I had your out look. So much can go wrong." Justin was still stuck on the negative.
"What's your first thought when you fight a monster?" Rocky asked out of the blue.
"How do I take him out, DUH." Justin answered, reminding Rocky that being a Ranger hadn't totally matured him.
"So you don't worry about what could go wrong?"
"Then why start now?"
"I guess you're right."
"Why start what now?" Tommy asked, joining the two, sitting down at the table. He had caught the tail end of the chat.
"Worrying about the new Ranger." Justin informed him.
"I'd begin to worry if I were you. Adam says she's still about as decided as a chicken with the head cut off." Tommy relayed the news from Adam that came from Billy that came from Tanya. Gossip was inevitable in a group this tight.
"Great." Justin replied, looking as Amber came into the Youth Centre for a workout. She started with a warm-up and the worked her way up. She used to take karate, but had stopped short of her third black belt. She was tired of transferring records from dojo to dojo. So she'd taken a different kind of teaching.
The teaching that she'd recieved was above and beyone karate or even ninja or kung fu. It taught her what the others wouldn't teach a child or even an adult. How to kill, how to steal, and how to hunt a man (or woman) down without them knowing how you were there. She was trained in the arts of being a shadow, and a light. Being the hunter and the hunted. She'd never used the abilities for thier grave purposes. She used them mostly to get out of crowds. Her teacher had told her that she was being taught these lessons, lesson he wouldn't teach any other student, because he was honing her for a great purpose. She'd laugh and say "If I ever stay anywhere long enough to do *anything*". He always maintained that she'd been a great hero. Now she understood.
That didn't matter now. What matter was what she was going to do in the next 72 hours. The fate of her city, her country, and her planet hung in the balance. Most of all she was the deciding factor for which way the scales would tip. She really needed the stress relief that the exercises gave her.
Intently, Justin watched her move her body and shadowbox. She'd close her eyes and move to a melody she alone could her. In her mind she could still see Mr. Wolfe telling her when to move and how. She could still see the training area in the wood behind is house.
"Move to the music! Move! Move like fire, like air, like water, like earth. To the music. Left foot foward! Move like fire, like air, like water, like earth. Fire, and air, and water, and earth! Move! Fire and air, and water, and earth!" He'd shout, clapping his hands as the music moved her. She did as he said and made no mistakes.
"How is she doing that?" Tommy watched as she moved with speed, power, and flawless accuracy. Her hands and her feet moved and she showed no signs of being phased or breathless. Justin walked up to her.
"Hey," He said and the music in her head stopped and she fell to the mat, cursing it and beating it angrily with her fist. She'd lost concentration. Mr. Wolfe had made her do it with him laughing and screaming and carrying on. He'd perfected her and now she wasn't perfect.
"Don't hurt the mat, it didn't do anything. Say sorry." Rocky teased, as Amber arose from the mat, defeated.
"Sorry about it's luck!" Amber returned and they chuckled. "I shoulda known not to do that. I just shoulda known..." Amber walked off, gathered her stuff and left. This wasn't turning out any better than thinking had.