”We'll be there." Adam replies. The suspense is killing him. "I hope I can keep cool for another hour." he thinks.
He sees Alex coming down the hall finally, engaged in an animated conversation with Skull. Skull?!? The laughing pair catch Adam's eye--he's not smiling. With one last out-of-earshot joke, Skull shrugs, gives Alex a light punch in the arm and then turns down another hallway.
”Hey!" Alex's face lights up as she gets to her locker.
”You and Skull looked chummy." Adam says, trying to keep the envy out of his voice.
”Oh, yeah. Inside joke. Eugene...." Alex explains.
”Eugene?!?" Adam is concerned that they are on a first name basis now.
”Sorry, 'Skull' to you. Personally, I've been referring to him as 'Dr. Frankenstein' recently."
”She's given him a pet name now, too?" Adam thinks. The look on his face tells it all.
”Adam," Alex says putting her hand onto Adam's strong bicep, "Euge...Skull is my lab partner in Anatomy class."
”I knew that." Adam says, trying to save face.
”Anyway...." Alex continues, tickled that Adam might be jealous of Skull of all people, "We've been dissecting rabbits this week. At first, I was totally grossed out but after you get over it, it's pretty fascinating. We were cutting the skin and tissue away from around the neck today to uncover some of the major arteries and veins. You should see the trachea--the windpipe--it's so fragile. We were following the carotid arteries up the sides of the neck...." Alex stops when she notices that Adam is turning the same color as his shirt--green.
”Sorry," Alex apologizes, "I forgot that science isn't your thing."
”No, I like science--just not the dissecting part."
”You should see Eugene in class. He thinks he's George Cloony or something--snapping his latex gloves and saying, 'Scalpel...retractor...internal paddles'--like we have any of those."
”I can imagine."
”We had a pretty good time today after Eugene got serious. He's really good at dissection. And then, he weirded out on me."
”What do you mean?"
”I just complimented him, that's all. I said that all of those years playing piano have given him deft and skilled hands. That he would make a great surgeon. He turned red, laughed, and then weirded out on me."
”No wonder. I recall that I had a similar experience the first time you complimented me."
”You don't think that he thinks....No....That's ridiculous."
”Probably. When a pretty girl compliments you...."
”Oh, dear." Alex sighs, resting her forehead against her locker, "So he probably thinks our study session tomorrow at the Youth Center is....oh, dear."
”A date." Adam has to laugh, no longer feeling intimidated.
”What have I done? I feel sorry for him. I don't want to hurt his feelings but, he's not my type."
”Your type?" Adam teases.
Alex gives him a devilish grin, "Yeah. I like strong, dark, and handsome guys...in green. Someone that can really sweep a girl off her feet. Know anyone like that?"
”Hmm? How 'bout....ME!" Adam says, throwing his arms around her waist and lifting her off the floor. Alex squeals as he swings her around several times until they are both getting slightly dizzy. He gently places her back on the floor and kisses her. "Let Skull find his own girlfriend."
”Amen to that." Alex agrees.
The teens quickly part as the Principal walks by. Public shows of affection are not permitted at school.
”Leave your books behind. We're going for a ride." Adam's eyes light up as he becomes refocused.
”I don't know, Adam. I really need to study for my Calc test tomorrow."
”Trust me. You want to come." Adam replies. What if he can't convince her. The whole plan will be ruined. He knows something that will make her want to come. "I'll let you drive."
”Your motorcycle? Your baby?" Alex takes the bait.
”Once we get to where we're going." Adam stipulates and thinks, "Surely she can't do too much damage to herself or the bike out there."
Alex looks at her Calculus book one last time, and then crams it back into her locker and slams the door.
”Let's go!" she says.
The pair climb onto Adam's sleek, shiny, green motorcycle out in the school's parking lot.
”Hang on tight." Adam instructs as he revs up the engine. Alex is happy to oblige. Soon they are tearing off, out of the city. Adam's bike isn't as powerful as his Zeo Cycle but it still has a lot of get-up-and-go. Alex closes her eyes. The rush of wind around her is invigorating and deafening.
”It's as if we are almost flying." Alex thinks to herself. When she opens her eyes, she realizes that she has no idea where they are. She keeps looking around for signs but doesn't see any.
As if Adam had read her mind, he begins to slow down. He pulls off the road and parks next to a cactus. As the dust settles, he removes his helmet. Alex chuckles and smoothes down some of his wayward curls.
”Where ARE we?" she asks.
”The desert." Adam deadpans.
”Obviously." Alex says, gesturing at the large cactus.
”I like to come out here to ride and to be alone to think." Adam clarifies.
”So this is where you slink off to." Alex says and then adds more seriously, "Thanks for bringing me here. It's gorgeous. What a great place to go hiking."
”And to ride."
”Speaking of which...I plan to hold you to your promise."
”Okay." Adam says reluctantly, while getting off the bike.
Alex decides to press her luck, "Can I try by myself?"
”Only if you take it easy. Remember what happened last time?"
”C'mon, that was just a minor ding. I fixed it."
”Minor ding?!?! Zordon chewed my butt out later that afternoon."
”Yes--for taking the Zeo Cycle out for a pleasure ride, for letting you drive it, for letting you wreck it, and finally for both of us riding in an unmorphed state."
”But we were in the middle of nowhere. And that white collar is itchy." Alex justifies.
”That's why I broke down and bought my own bike. So I can ride it anytime I like and in any clothes I like."
”And you are so kind and generous to let your wonderful, careful, safe girlfriend drive it." Alex shovels while gently pushing Adam away from the bike and sliding forward on the seat.
”Take it easy, okay?"
”Yep. Right-o." Alex replies nonchalantly while starting up the bike. She over-revs the engine.
”EASY!" Adam says loudly. Alex gives him a thumbs up and tears off. "Easy!" he repeats but she doesn't hear him. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all." Adam wonders aloud and then calculates how many private karate lessons he is going to have to teach to pay off his debt. "That's if it's still in one piece after Alex is through with it."
Alex lets out a whoop as she flies through a small grove of cacti. ”What a rush!"
Adam is quickly becoming a small green dot.
Adam's communicator sounds.
”This is Adam. What's up?"
”Adam, it's quarter after four. Where are you?" he hears Rocky's voice say.
”Alex is taking the bike for a spin."
”Are you nuts? You know what happened last time."
”Don't remind me. I'll try to flag her in. We'll be there soon. I promise." Adam waves at Alex as she returns. She waves back but keeps on going past him. Soon she notices him waving and jumping up and down.
”Uh, oh. What'd I do this time?" she thinks and pulls up. She slowly removes her helmet, and braces for a lecture on speeding.
”Having fun?" Adam asks.
Startled, Alex replies, "Uh, yeah. It's great. Wish I had one. I'm not likely to get one in this lifetime though, as long as my father has his way."
”I have another surprise for you." Adam says, helping her off the bike, "This way." They walk a couple of hundred yards further into the desert and then Adam stops. He pulls a green bandana out of his pocket.
”I have to blindfold you for the rest of the way." he says.
”Trust me, Alex. Would I let anything happen to you?"
”No." she answers unconvincingly as Adam ties the bandana over her eyes.
”No cheating. You can't peek." Adam says taking her hand, "I'll walk you there."
”Where is there?"
”It's a surprise." Adam says and then adds an "OW!"
”You're cheating. Put your force field down in front of you."
”How'd you know?"
”Because I smashed my nose into it when trying to see if you could see out the bottom of the blindfold."
”Trust me." Adam repeats.
”Okay." Alex says and releases the field. She tucks the image into the back of her mind incase she needs it again quickly.
Adam takes her hand and leads her through the desert. She hears a bleep and then feels a strange sensation. She never stops walking but can tell that she is somewhere new. A coolness brushes her cheek and everything is pitch black. Alex decides to "lift" the bandana for a peek.
”No peeking." Adam says as if he knew what she would do, "Stand here." He releases her hand. Alex stands in the cold silence for what feels like eternity. She begins to feel a panic slipping in. When she can't stand it any more, she calls out.
”Adam?" her voice echoes, "Adam? Where are you?" her voice cracks a little at the end. She feels a sudden sense of warmth beside her and jumps when someone takes her hand.
”Who's there?" she asks but no one answers. This is not Adam's hand. This hand is smaller and the fingers are thinner, more delicate. She doesn't care anymore and places a force field in front of herself for protection. She is stopped and left alone again.
”Adam? This isn't funny anymore. What's going on?" She hears a soft hooting sound and thinks, "This has to be a trick. Machina is up to something."
”That's it!" she yells, "I'm peeking!" Alex rips off her blindfold and strains her eyes in the darkness. She constructs a full shield around herself for protection. The soft hooting continues--almost like a purr. Alex gasps when she sees two golden lights illuminating the blackness--eyes! She takes a protective stance and braces for the unknown.
The lights suddenly come up.
”SURPRISE!" everyone yells and Alex wonders if she is going to pass out from shock.
”Happy Birthday, Alex!" Trini says, holding a large cake decorated with pansies and purple candles.
”You guys scared the hell out of me." Alex says, able to laugh at herself now.
”Sorry." Adam says taking her hand and leading her to the others, "Come blow out your candles so you can inspect your present."
The teens join in to sing "Happy Birthday" and even Alpha attempts to sing along. Alex blows out the seventeen candles on her cake in one puff.
”Happy Birthday, Alex." Kat says, giving her a hug.
”Now WHAT is that?" Alex says gesturing at the huge robotic owl behind her friends.
”Your Zord." Billy says and leads her to a lift. Everyone follows.
”My Zord? MY as in MINE?" Alex stammers.
”Yes, Alexandra." Zordon's voice booms through the docking bay, "You have proven yourself to be worthy of your own Zord. Billy has worked on it for the last month, especially for you."
”Billy, thank you!" Alex gushes and gives him a hug.
Billy seems embarrassed by the attention and demures, "Not just me. Trini helped me do the final touches."
”Thank you too, Trini!" Alex gives her newest friend a hug.
”Well, let's see the big secret then." Tommy says as everyone crowds onto the lift. Soon the group are at the giant owl's head.
”How do we get in?" Tanya wonders aloud.
”Alex's Power Coin will activate the sequence, but the door will not open without her verbal command. It's sort of a built in safety device, to guard against problems that we have encountered in the past." Billy explains.
Kat looks down ashamed of her past deed, when she stole Kim's Power Coin and Zord.
”So what do I say? Open sesame?" Alex hams.
”No, call her name." Trini says.
”HER name? Since when did we start naming our Zords?" Rocky asks.
”Her name is Artemis." Trini says, ignoring Rocky's comment, "I took the liberty of naming her for you. Go ahead, Alex. Give it a try."
Alex clears her throat and says in a small voice, "Artemis?" The owl's eyes glow golden once again.
”Welcome, Purple Ranger." she replies and opens a door that was undetectable before. Soon everyone is in the cockpit.
”WOW!" is the only thing Alex can say.
”This is so cool!" Tanya comments.
”Wow!" Alex repeats looking around amazed.
”Billy let me do the test flights." Trini says, "Have a seat here, Alex. Let me show you some of Artemis' capabilities."
Trini and Billy both think about when they used to be active Rangers. They mourn their loss of power only to each other but put on a stiff upperlip for their friends. The last couple of days, the two had been inseparable--trying to get the present done in time. They had reminisced about the old days and talked about the future. Billy loved to spend time with Trini. They had so much in common. She was the only one who didn't become bored when he talked indepth about his latest invention. She seemed to hang on to his every word. It was as if they were meant to be together.
”I wonder if she feels the same way?" Billy thinks, glancing over at Trini who is instructing Alex. "She's smart. She's funny. She's beautiful. Why would she want to date someone like me though? Ritchie is much more handsome and charming. I can talk about science until the cows come home but I always sound like an idiot when I try to be romantic."
He had almost kissed her the other night. The pair were working closely on one of Artemis' control panels. He had felt a spark when they touched hands while reaching for the same tool. At first he thought it was just static electricity but then realized that the spark was in his heart, not just his fingers. He had tried to work up the courage to kiss her the rest of the evening. He even had several great opportunities to do it, but he chickened out every time. He was still kicking himself over it.
”Are you okay, Billy?" Adam asks softly. He notices that his friend has been staring at Trini the entire time with big cow eyes. "No way." he thinks, "He's falling for her. Maybe I could suggest a double date? He's too shy to ask her point blank."
”Huh? Oh, yeah." Billy says, snapping back to reality, "So do you want to take her for a spin, Alex?"
”I want a piece of that cake first." Alex says to be polite. She's dying
to fly but doesn't want to be rude to whomever made the cake.
Billy pulls a small table of supplies out of nowhere and the group has an impromptu party in the hanger.
”So Zordon, why did you decide on an Owl Zord for Alex?" Tommy asks between mouthfuls of Kat's delicious chocolate cake.
”It was Billy who decided on the owl. His persistant dreams about Alexandra prompted the invention." Zordon explains.
Billy winces. Zordon's command of the English language was great, but not perfect. He sees Adam bristle.
”Let me clarify that a bit." Billy stammers and Rocky and Tommy elbow each other, "It wasn't THAT kind of a dream." Actually, one was but that could easily be explained: She was new to the team, her psi powers had just been uncovered, the metabolic changes his body was going through.... "I dreamt that Alex and I were walking through a dark forest when we heard a screech. Something was headed toward us. I ran but Alex stood frozen. A small owl dove for her. I yelled a warning but she didn't move. The owl swooped down, bared its talons, and raked them across Alex's cheek."
”Ow." Alex says, rubbing her cheek and then catches herself doing it.
”After that, every night I kept dreaming about this stupid owl. I dreamt about working on an invention--and I'd see the owl. I dreamt about working out at the Youth Center--and I'd see the owl. I dreamt about fighting in the Wolf Zord--and I'd see that damned owl. Finally, I told Zordon about it. He was convinced that it was a sign, so I began constructing the new Zord. A month later...here we are."
Adam has seen Alex continuously looking over her shoulder at her present. He knows she's dying to give it a try. "We should get out of here so Alex can fire Artemis up."
”Alex, you need to morph to be able to use Artemis effectively. The amplifier in your helmet has been modified to work on Artemis as it did in Adam's Zord." Trini instruct while the others begin to clear away the party supplies.
”IT'S MORPHIN TIME!" comes out more like a squeal than a command. Trini bites her lip to keep from laughing. "Power Ranger 6, Purple!" Alex continues and transforms.
”I love it when she does that." Adam comments to Billy.
”Hey, Artemis! Let's go for a ride!" Alex yells from the owl's feet. Artemis opens her door and a purple streak of light enters. The others teleport into the Power Chamber.
”Alex, can you hear me?" Billy checks.
”Artemis operates just like the other Zords. If you can fly Adam's Zord, you can fly this one. They only difference--you can do everything verbally instead of manually. Have fun."
Billy goes to cut off their link but Tanya grabs his hand.
”Hold on for a second." she says.
”Tanya, that would be eavesdropping." Billy says.
”No, we're just making sure that she's okay." Tanya justifies.
”Yeah." Kat adds, her curiosity peaked.
”Okay, Artemis. Let's see what you can do." Alex begins her commentary unaware of the eavesdroppers, "Check thrusters."
”Thrusters on line." Artemis' calm, slightly deep feminine voice answers.
”Weapons on line."
”Permission to over-ride command."
”The hanger door is currently closed." The Power Chamber bursts into laughter.
”Yeah, I knew that. Just checking." Alex says, "Open hanger door."
”Hanger door opened."
”Engines engaged." Artemis replies with a burst of power. Soon all Alex sees are blue skies.
”Initiate manual over-ride." Alex says and feels the controls responding to her touch. She increases their speed and let's out a whoop.
Again there is laughter in the Power Chamber.
”I think Alex is addicted to speed. She acted the exact same way the first time she rode the Zeo Cycle by herself." Adam informs his friends with a chuckle.
”I think..." Kat starts and then stops as Alex starts her monolog again.
”Artemis, this is the greatest. Finally, my own Zord. Mine, mine, mine...all mine! No more sharing! Don't get me wrong, I love Adam..." Alex starts.
Adam turns slightly pink and the guys harrass him some.
”But he's kinda a Zord Hog, if ya know what I mean."
”Hey?!?" Adam says, as his friends laugh at his expense.
”Between his Zord and his bike, I think I come in third. I wish he'd give me half the amount of attention he spends on those. Wonder what I'd have to do to refocus his attention. Hmm. Maybe I could...."
”Uh, Alex. How are things going up there?" Adam slams the button to make contact before Alex can continue that thought.
”I wish I hadn't agreed to this." she thinks, "I wanna go test out Artemis some more. Okay, one hour with Eugene and then I can go. Work before pleasure." she chants to try to convince herself.
Alex enters the Youth Center and hears Skull's voice. The conversation causes her to stop.
”Where are you going dressed like that, Skull? A funeral?" Bulk says while slapping Skull heavily on the back.
”No, as a matter of fact, _I_ have a date."
”With who? That weird Freida chick?"
”No! A real date--with Alex." he brags.
”In your dreams, Skull. Hello..." Bulk knocks on Skull's head, "She's dating that geek Adam, moron. What could she possibly see in you?"
Skull sighs and thinks to himself, "Bulky's right. Why would anybody want to go out with a goofball like me?"
It breaks Alex's heart. As much as she wants to set Skull perfectly straight on their non-existant relationship, it makes her mad that Bulk could be so cruel. "What kind of friend says such an ugly thing?" she thinks to herself. Then she makes up her mind.
Bulk is still laughing at Skull's expense as Alex arrives. Bulk gasps in surprise.
”Hi Eugene!" Alex says giving him a big smile, "Sorry I'm late. Hope
you didn't think that I'd forgotten. Oh, Hi Bulk. So, Eugene, do you think
you could explain which arteries are the ones carrying the oxygenated blood
to the brain again to me? I can never seem to keep them straight." Alex
lies, grabbing Skull's elbow and leading him to a table. Bulk stands gawking
Time slips by slowly. Alex nonchalantly glances at the clock again. "Only fifteen more minutes to go." she tells herself silently.
”So, the carotid arteries are the ones that we are most concerned about. A block there would shortly cause brain death." Alex says rhetorically, looking up to see that Skull is staring at her AGAIN. "Right, Eugene?" she adds to bring him back on task.
”Uh, yeah. A block in the carotids and your brain is soon toast."
”Okay." Alex thinks, "I gotta tell him. This has gone on too long."
”How's studying going?" Bulk suddenly barges in.
”Great." Skull replies dreamily.
”If it is okay with you. I think I am going to pack up a little early. I have...uh...somewhere I need to be." Alex says.
”Looks like your date isn't going too well." Bulk whispers loudly to Skull, "Told ya that she wouldn't want to hang out with you."
”You could walk with me to the park, if you want, Eugene." Alex says with a sweet smile though she is burning inside.
”Great...I'd like...I want...sure." Skull stammers as they gather their books.
”Later Bulk." Alex adds icely as the pair leave.
Again, Bulk is speechless.
The pair walk through the park at a leisurely pace. Alex is trying to
figure out how to lose Skull so that she can teleport to the Power Chamber.
”Perfect." Queen Machina purrs, "She's alone--none of those other pesky Rangers anywhere in sight. Send down the Cogs with our latest creation."
”But your Majesty," Clank protests in his thick brogue, "Lampry won't work without a constant supply of human blood."
”Precisely you idiot! That's why she'll make the perfect host. Once
Lampry takes over her body, he'll be able to take over her mind, and then
we'll destroy the Rangers once and for all!"
”Eugene...we need to talk." Alex says, wondering how to break it to him gently. The pair stop and face each other, "We...I mean...I..."
A flash of light temporarily blinds them and Cogs appear on the scene. One has a huge metal worm-like creature wrapped around its neck like a feather boa. Only this boa has teeth--sharp, metal ones.
Alex swears under her breath. She can't morph, so she puts both of her hands behind her back. She pushes a button on her communicator--a distress signal to Zordon. Then she pulls her hands up in front of herself in a fighting stance.
”What do you want?!?" she yells defiantly, trying to buy some time until the other Rangers arrive.
”A host." a metallic voice says, while unwrapping its boa, "For LAMPRY!" It throws the monster at Alex. Alex instinctively throws a force field around herself when she sees the monster coming. It sparks as it hits her force field and deflects...onto Skull! The boy screams in pain and terror as the mechanical jaws dig into his back.
Purple costume or not, Alex grabs Lampry's tail physically and mentally and pulls.
”Let him go!" she yells between clenched teeth.
Blood is beginning to seep around the entry site. Skull is still screaming madly. Alex feels her own blood curdle as Lampry begins to dissolve into Skull's body. Lampry's tail slips through her fingers and is gone. Skull falls heavily to his knees and crumples over.
”Alex, Help me!" he pleads.
Alex stands in horror, powerless to stop the transformation. Skull emits a groan and Alex sees small, metal plates erupting through his skin.
”He's becoming a cyborg!" Alex realizes.
Everyone turns to see the Rangers flipping into the park.
”What's going on here...Miss?" the Red one asks.
”My friend was attacked by a monster which is turning him into a cyborg. You gotta help him." Alex says generically.
”Pink...Yellow Rangers. Take...this guy to Zordon. We'll take care of the Cogs." he replies.
”Right!" the two girls say in unison and step toward Skull.
”Machina orders a retreat." one Cog informs the others, "Bring Lampry back to base."
A rip in the sky opens and begins to swallow up the Cogs and Skull.
”Oh no you don't!" Rocky lunges for Skull, but he disappears anyway, "Man!"
Alex looks distraut. ”Guys, I feel so bad. It's all my fault. Eugene just got in the way." Alex says close to tears.
”It's okay, Alex." Adam says coming close to her, but not touching her in case they are in view of any onlookers. "It's not your fault."
”Yes, it is." Alex replies. "I threw up a force field indiscriminately. Lampry ricocheted off it and hit Eugene. I should have 'caught' Lampry when I had the chance. Now Eugene is possessed by that creature and it's all my fault."
”C'mon Alex. It was reflex. You didn't do it on purpose. We'll save Skull, don't worry." Kat tries to console her.
”It could have been worse. It could have gotten you." Adam says as his skin crawls thinking about it.
”What prompted you to hang out with Skull, Alex?" Tanya wonders aloud.
”Yeah," Rocky adds. "You seem to be spending a lot of time with Skull lately."
”I don't think I like what you are insinuating, Rocky," Alex's eyes flash with anger.
”Looks like Skull is Alex's latest charity case," Rocky says to Tommy.
”He is NOT a charity case!" Alex can feel the color rising in her face. "Eugene is a genuinely nice guy when you get him away from Bulk. But you wouldn't know that because you are so closed-minded, Rocky!"
”ME?!?! I'm closed-minded! Please...." Rocky leans forward aggressively.
”Cool it, you two!" Tommy yells at the pair, grabbing Rocky's shoulder and pulling him back a few paces. "We have more important things to discuss than Alex's friendship with Skull."
Adam has remained silent during the whole conversation. Luckily, his mask covers his face. Otherwise, everyone would see how torn he is. On the one hand, he is impressed by Alex's caring, empathetic nature. On the other hand, he can't help but feel slighted that she is defending Skull so vehemently.
”Let's go back to the Power Chamber and see if Zordon has any suggestions," Tanya suggests to break the foul mood.
Alex looks around to make sure that no onlookers see her and the whole
group teleports out of the park.
It's obvious from the looks on their faces that Billy and Trini have no suggestions on how to free Skull.
”Rangers, this is a most unfortunate situation," Zordon's voice rumbles and Alex shrinks smaller and smaller in guilt. "This is Machina's first foe not made out of metal. We must handle this crisis very carefully."
”WHAT are they doing?!?!" Billy suddenly interrupts.
Everyone rushes over to the viewing globe to see a band of Cogs entering a building.
”What could they possibly want over at Angel Grove Technologies?'" Kat ponders aloud.
”OHMYGOD!" Trini blurts out.
”What?!?!" Everyone asks. Trini is not one to panic normally.
”They must be after the dermal replacement tissue I was just reading about. Skull's autoimmune system must be fighting Lampry's metal plates. If they could encapsulate the plates in AGT's synthetic dermal tissue then...." Trini trails off.
”There is no hope in getting Skull and Lampry separated," Billy is the only one who has followed her conversation.
”Excuse me?" Adam asks meekly, afraid that he is the only one that didn't follow.
”If Machina can wrap Lampry's metal plates in AGT's fake skin, then Skull's body will be tricked into thinking that it is his own. Right now, his body realizes that the plates are foreign bodies and are fighting against it," Trini explains in more detail.
”Then we'd better get over there quick. Back to action!" Tommy commands.
A row of colorful Rangers stand in front of the doors of Angel Grove Technologies. Co-workers at AGT are screaming and running by them.
”Let's do it guys!" Tommy leads the way in the door.
”Now where could they be?" Tanya asks.
”Shh." Tommy says and everyone falls silent.
The Cogs soon give themselves away.
It is soon apparent that the Cogs have no idea what they are looking for either. A series of crashes leads the Rangers right to them.
”Looking for something?" Adam says tapping a Cog on the shoulder. It turns around to receive a powerful punch from Adam. Soon he is in a heated battle with several of the Cogs.
”Tanya...Kat...you guys take the left wing," Tommy instructs and the girls head down the long passage way.
”Alex..." Tommy begins.
”No, not Blue Boy, anybody but Blue Boy..." Alex thinks.
”Damn." Alex swears under her breath
”You two take the right wing."
”That's okay, Tommy. I'll handle it," Alex replies to his order.
”Alex, we act as a team."
”I don't need a chaperone. I've got my brains to protect me."
”Well, take some brawn with you to be on the safe side." Tommy gestures with his thumb to Rocky.
Alex grumbles a few more choice words under her breath and vacates the scene quickly, hoping to lose Rocky in the process. After several minutes of solo searching, she finds a door labelled "Dermal Research Center".
”Bingo!" Alex says, finding that the door was left unlocked as the occupant made a speedy retreat. She begins hunting around in the laboratory. She has no idea what the contraption looks like either. She soon hears something coming down the hallway. She picks up a monstrous book and "hurls" it at the door as the intruder arrives.
Rocky barely ducks in time to keep from being decapitated by the book.
”Hey! Watch it, Alex!" he says out of breath while slamming the door closed, "Cogs are on the way!"
”Then why didn't you keep running down the hall, genius?" Alex berates Rocky, "Instead you just successfully lead the whole pack to us. Geez!"
”Well, brainiac, you find the skin junk and I'll take care of the Cogs," Rocky replies back, leaning up against the door to keep it closed. The door moves up and back as the Cogs try to enter. Rocky comes stumbling forward as the door suddenly flies open. He turns around quickly and begins picking off the Cogs one at a time.
”Trini! I'm in the Dermal Research Center, but I don't see anything that looks like what you were talking about. What does this thing look like?" Alex says into her communicator.
”HIYAH! HIYAH!" Rocky yells and two more Cogs fall.
”I'm not sure," Trini replies back, "See if there is some kind of refrigerator around. I bet it's in there."
”When you find it, teleport it back to the Power Chamber. It will be safe here," Alex hears Billy's voice interrupt.
”Right, Alex out." she replies and spots a large metal door that must be a walk in refrigerator.
”HIYAH!" she hears Rocky yell again. Alex jumps over a Cog as it comes flying across the floor in several pieces.
Alex enters the refrigerator and shivers. She looks around, trying to quickly decipher the scientist's chicken-scratch handwriting.
”Yes!" Alex says as she see a glass tray with some almost translucent substance on top in long strips. "Ooh, I bet that's the fake skin. Yuck. Billy, come in."
”Prepare to teleport fake skin junk back to the Power Chamber."
”Teleporting DERMAL REPLACEMENT TISSUE..." Billy corrects, "Now."
The tray disappears out of Alex's hands. Alex strides out of the refrigerator confidently, "Hey, Blue Boy, time to go....OUCH!"
In her cockiness, Alex didn't notice the Cog hiding behind the refrigerator door. It slams into her as she reemerges into the lab. Alex stumbles forward, hitting her helmet against the scientist's work bench.
”HIYAH!" Rocky destroys the last Cog around him and comes to Alex's rescue, "Are you okay?"
”I'm fine!" Alex growls back, humiliated that Rocky had to help her, "Let's get the others. Billy and Trini have the skin junk." She weaves a little as she storms out the door.
”You're welcome!" Rocky replies sarcastically and then follows.
”So, what'd you think, Dr. Kwan?" Adam asks Trini.
Trini pokes at the large purple welt forming on Alex's forehead. Alex winces.
”You're going to have a nice bump there, Alex; but otherwise, I think you're going to be okay," Trini diagnoses.
”You probably lost a few brain cells though," Adam replies gently kissing the spot.
Alex winces again and growls under her breath, "Luckily, SOME of us have a few to spare."
”Excuse me?" Rocky replies, knowing that that barb was meant for him.
”Nothing," Alex replies in a sickly sweet voice and adds sarcastically, "Don't know what I would have done without my 'brawn' along."
”What are you talking about, Alex? I saved your butt remember?" Rocky storms over to the trio.
”Do I need to draw a picture for ya, Blue Boy," Alex gets in Rocky's face, "If you hadn't led the Cogs right to us, none of this would have ever happened."
”If you hadn't ditched me, I wouldn't have had to come looking for you," Rocky stares down menacingly at Alex.
”Both of you, SHUT UP!" Billy yells uncharacteristically to break the two apart. "What has gotten into you two?"
”Rocky has been plucking my very last nerve today," Alex tries to reply calmly without much success.
”Alex is on some ego trip lately and I'm sick of it," Rocky adds his own complaint.
”Look! We've got a crisis on our hands," Tommy says putting a hand on each of the warring parties' shoulders. "You've got to put your petty differences aside, Rocky."
Alex smirks as Tommy dresses down Rocky.
”And you, Alex, need to start being a team player. Stop showing off." Tommy reprimands and Alex's smirk disappears.
Trini, always the peace keeper, steps forward, between Billy and Alex. "We have two problems to deal with: How to keep Skull/Lampry under control, because you can count on them growing. Machina doesn't have an original bolt in her body. And, how to separate Skull from Lampry after we contain them?"
”Why don't 'The Brains' work on the second part," Rocky gestures to Trini, Billy and Alex, "And the rest of us will plan how to kick this monster's butt."
”It's not a MONSTER. It's Eugene, remember?" Alex replies angrily.
”Yeah, whatever." Rocky blows her off and heads towards the planning table.
”I'm out of here," Alex walks away in disgust.
”Don't need her anyway," Rocky grumbles under his breath loudly.
”Alex, Alex wait," Adam tries to reason with her but the door closes first. "This is great. We really don't need this now."
”If she'd stop acting like such a spoiled brat...OW!" Rocky replies as Tanya elbows him HARD.
Tanya knows that Rocky is only adding more fuel to the fire. Instead she calmly suggests, "Adam, why don't you go talk to Alex. Go smooth things over with her."
”Yeah," Kat adds because Adam doesn't look convinced, "Turn on the ole Park Charm. Give her 'The Look'--women can't resist the 'The Look'."
”Always worked on me," Tanya adds.
”And if all else fails...cry." Kat says.
Adam gives her a "no way" look and then breaks into a smile. "I bet
I know exactly where she is."
Adam walks down the long corridor to the Docking Bay, practicing "The Look" incase things get desperate. He was partly correct--Alex was there. Only she had high-tailed it out of the area in Artemis once she got there. She was still smarting from Tommy's embarrassing reprimand in front of the other Rangers and couldn't stand facing anyone right then.
Adam sighs, "Take two." He teleports out of the Docking Bay.
Alex sits in front of Artemis, poking at a crudely made fire with a stick. Her helmet sits overturned in the sand where it was purposefully tossed. She watches the sun slip away into the night.
”Should I be flattered that Rocky lumped me in as a 'Brain' with Billy and Trini? They are so much smarter than me. I'm just a 'Brain' by accident," Alex throws a small pity party for herself. "I don't want to be a 'Brain'. I can kick butt as well as the rest of them. Especially now that I've got you, Artemis." Alex pats one of Artemis' giant talons affectionately. Artemis hoots softly in response.
”You're welcome." Alex replies.
A stick suddenly flies into the fire and ignites. Alex jumps to her feet and starts looking around for her helmet. She swears under her breath at her own carelessness.
”Intruder," Artemis says and her eyes light up and start scanning the area.
”Show yourself!" Alex commands, constructing a full shield around herself for protection and grabbing her poking stick. She can't seem to locate her staff currently either.
”Easy! It's me, Artemis," a familiar voice says, "I thought I'd find you here."
”Welcome, Zeo Ranger 4," Artemis replies. An unmorphed Adam walks into the fire light, hands up in peace.
”What do you mean sneaking up on a girl like that? You're lucky I didn't bean you," Alex tries to say seriously.
”With that twig? Please," Adam teases and does a fast kick that breaks her stick in half.
”Hey! That was my poking stick!" Alex teases back, feeling the tension melt away.
”Want to talk?" Adam says more seriously, stepping closer to her.
”No," Alex says flattly and takes a step backwards.
”C'mon. Have a seat. We'll just sit here and...think together," Adam sits down on one of Artemis' talons. "C'mon Alex, you sit there and I'll sit here. No talking. Only thinking."
Alex reluctantly sits down and starts poking the fire with her extremely shortened stick. "Wish we had some marshmallows."
”Shh. No talking. Only thinking, remember?" Adam teases.
”Oh, stop," Alex playfully swats at Adam and the two engage in a mock fist fight. Soon both are laughing and fall over the talon and into the sand. Knowing that he is broken through her defenses, Adam gives her "The Look". Alex sighs, defeated.
”Why does Rocky irritate you so much?" Adam asks now that the time is right.
”Cause he always underestimates me. He doesn't think I can stand on my own. He thinks that I'm some brainiac that should stay cooped up in the Power Chamber and be protected."
”I have NEVER heard Rocky say anything like that."
”He doesn't have to. His actions speak volumes. It's obvious that he doesn't want me on the team."
”How'd you come to that conclusion?"
”Like today, he wanted to ship me off with 'The Brains', remember?"
”Only you would take it as an insult instead of a compliment."
”That wasn't a compliment."
”Yes, it was."
”I want to be part of the team too."
”We've been trying to do that, but you keep blowing your teammates off."
”No, I don't."
”You blew off Rocky today at AGT."
”That's different. I wanted to be with you."
”I'm flattered that you think of me as your knight in shining armor...."
”I wouldn't go that far."
”But part of being on a team is working with everyone on the team, not just your favorites."
”But you're so cute in your form-fitting, shining, green armor," Alex replies matter of factly and scoots against Adam, looking up into his dark brown eyes, "It's hard not to be prejudice."
Adam is beginning to find it very hard to remember why exactly he came to the desert. He looks down at Alex, "You don't look so bad yourself." He pulls Alex in closer to him.
”Ouch!" Alex exclaims and rubs the knot on her forehead protectively.
Adam remembers why he came. He kisses her gently, "Sorry. So are you going to try to patch things up Rocky now so you can be part of the team?"
Alex grumbles an "okay" not thrilled about having to swallow her pride.
”Good, because you were being a royal pain in the ass," Adam replies uncharacteristically.
Alex sits back startled; but the more she thinks about it, she knows he's right.
”C'mon. Let's go put your toy away and go home. I'm beat." Adam says, standing up slowly and stretching.
Alex begins to put out the fire.
”I'm glad that you came out here," Alex says when the fire is out. The full moon allows her to see Adam almost as clearly as the fire light.
”Told you that this was a great place to come to think."
”And to make up." Alex says and stands on her toes to kiss Adam. Artemis' eyes light up the area. "Artemis!" The lights go back out.
Adam laughs loudly and starts looking around for Alex's helmet and staff.
”So, will you let me pilot her home?" Adam asks hopefully.
”Nope." Alex replies, locating her helmet and shaking out the sand.
”Now who's being the Zord Hog?"
Alex starts to say something in return but quickly stops. Adam shrugs his shoulders.
The next day, everyone reconvened in the Power Chamber. Alex was the
only one missing. She remained at home, practicing in front of her mirror,
how to apologize to Rocky without losing face.
Everyone looks up as the warning sirens go off. Out of habit they look into the viewing globe but know exactly what it is.
”As we suspected, Machina has decided to unleash Lampry on Angel Grove. She is probably angry about yesterday's battle and has decided to make Angel Grove residents pay the price," Zordon concludes.
”Let's do it!" Tommy yells.
”ZEO RANGER ONE, PINK!'
”ZEO RANGER TWO, YELLOW!"
”ZEO RANGER THREE, BLUE!"
”ZEO RANGER FOUR, GREEN!"
”ZEO RANGER FIVE, RED!"
”Where's Alex?" Billy asks Trini.
”At home, I think," Adam answers.
”Typical," Rocky snarls.
”Cut her some slack, Rocky. She'll be there," Tanya says before Adam
has a chance to.
The Zords are on the scene in record time. Kat and Tanya fire from their
stationary positions around the giant-sized Skull. They are careful not
to hit him directly though. They are attempting to alter his course and
make him leave the city.
Alex doesn't hear her communicator beep. She had taken it off before her shower and left it sitting on her bed. She continues to practice her apology speech in her bathrobe in her bathroom.
”Where is she?" Billy says frustrated.
”She's home. Why isn't she answering?" Trini replies equally irritated.
”I don't know. I'm going to go get her," Billy says preparing to teleport.
Alex doesn't see the white light that enters her room.
”Ahem, Look, Rocky, I'm really sorry about the way...No...Rocky, I know that we haven't always seen eye-to-eye...No...." Alex keeps practicing.
Alex whips around to see Billy standing in her bedroom holding her communicator. She looks down assessing her attire and pulls the short robe around herself a little tighter.
”What are you doing here?"
”Why didn't you answer your signal?"
”I didn't hear it...Is Eugene back?"
”Yes and in large form. Morph and I'll send you Artemis right away."
”Right! I'm on it. IT'S MORPHIN TIME! POWER RANGER 6, PURPLE!" Adam's Taurus gently butts Skull to move him away from a currently vacant school. Skull roars in rage, stumbling away as planned. Tanya shoots over his head again to keep him moving. Skull reaches out his right hand towards Tanya. More plates erupt through his skin and a cannon forms in place of his hand. Tommy's Zord screetches above Skull's head. Tommy knows that Tanya is vulnerable sitting in her Zord, but can see Rocky rushing to her aid. Skull fires at Tommy instead.
”I've been hit!" Tommy says frantically into his communicator that is icing over.
The Falcon Zord falls like a rock out of the sky. Rocky is able to break his fall slightly. In the process, Skull lines Tanya back in his sight. He fires again.
”Guys, I'm down...." Tanya's transmission ends suddenly as she becomes frozen too.
Kat fires repeatedly to gain Skull's attention before he gets Rocky too. It works and Adam comes rushing to back up Kat's Zord.
Skull laughs at their futile attempt and takes both of them out in a single shot.
Adam's final transmission is "Where's Alex?"
”I'M HERE!" Alex replies frantically, but it is too late. Artemis back-wings in front of one of Taurus's eyes. Alex can see Adam frozen to his chair. "Rocky! Help me!" she sends out a distress call to the Sphinx.
”I can't right now," the Sphinx has grabbed one of Skull's legs and is pulling him backwards.
Skull whips around trying to shake the Zord loose. His other foot slams into Taurus, which in turn rams Kat's Zord and the pair go sliding into the other pile of Zords. Rocky loses his grip and goes careening off to the side. Skull goes on the offensive and comes after Rocky, prepared to fire. Rocky scrambles to right his Zord. Skull raises his massive foot to step on Rocky. Artemis screams and dives for Skull's face. He ducks to miss her. This gives Rocky the chance he needs. The Sphinx rights itself and heads back towards the other Zords.
”Bring him a little closer, Alex," Rocky instructs.
”Rocky, watch out. He's got you in his sights!"
”Just a few more steps. NOW!" Rocky and Skull fire at the same time. Rocky's blast hits an electrical pole which falls onto Skull. Skull's shot hits Rocky before he can reset his coordinates. Rocky joins the ranks of the frozen.
Skull bellows at the shock and stumbles blindly backwards, thankfully
away from the Rangers. Some of his plates have shorted and he retreats
some to fix the damage. Lost for what to do, Alex decides to retreat also.
”Billy! Trini! What are we going to do?" Alex yells while running into the Power Chamber, panting out of breath.
”I don't know. This isn't good." Billy says, flicking buttons, doing an analysis on their last battle.
”Forget about the Zords. Can you teleport the others out?" Trini suggests.
”We can't. In their frozen state, if we try to teleport them out, we may leave part of them behind. You know, stuck to the seat." Billy clarifies.
”Ooo." Trini grimaces, thinking about the consequences of being defrosted with several layers of skin left behind on your chair.
”We need a plan quick." Alex panics.
”Let's pool our resources." Billy suggests.
”Well, we still have two Zords--mine and the Red Battle Zord. But we are down to only one Ranger." Alex surveys.
”No." Billy corrects, "Three Rangers. Right Trini?"
”Yeah." Trini's face lights up and then darkens, "No. We can't Billy. Without our powers, a bad blow could be a fatal blow."
”That's a chance I'll have to take." Billy says heroically.
”You?!?!" Alex gasps.
”Trini, you and Alpha prepare the Med Lab for the Rangers. Alex and I will go contain Skull and Lampry." Billy takes charge.
”Right." Trini bursts into action.
”Alex, rip the amplifier out of your helmet. I'll charge up Artemis
to make up the difference. I need that piece if I am going to be able to
control the Red Battle Zord." Billy orders while leaving the room.
Trini returns from the Med Lab just as Alex gets the small piece out of her helmet. She hears Trini gasp and looks up.
”Billy?!?!" the pair say in unison.
”It feels great to be back in the saddle." Billy had removed his old armor from the glass vault and donned it. "I thought that this would afford me a slight bit more protection than street clothes."
Even without the power, the wolf on his chest piece seems to glow. The girls continue to stand in awe. A tear begins to form in Trini's eye--she is estatic, envious, and terrified all at the same time. She knows that Billy is taking the ultimate risk.
”Got that piece ready, Alex?" Billy says to snap everyone back to reality.
”Here it is." Alex hands him the piece slowly, still wondering if this is a good idea.
With a few minor adjustments, Billy is soon ready to go.
”Let's go Alex! Time to give Lampry a little taste of his own medicine!" Billy says with a gleam in his eye. The gleam that has been missing since he gave up his powers to Tanya.
”On your command." Alex defers to Billy, letting him bask in the limelight for once. She teleports to the docking bay. Billy prepares to put on his helmet.
”Please be careful. Things aren't the same. You could be hurt..." Trini gulps and chokes out, "Or killed."
”I AM coming back. You be ready." Billy answers, touched by her concern. He starts to put on his helmet again and stops.
”Oh, what the hell." he thinks and makes a confession, "Trini, incase
something does happen. I want you to know that I have loved you since the
very first day that we met. Thank you for being a part of my life." He
gives Trini a very large kiss and teleports out.
Skull/Lampry has repaired himself and is squashing cars right and left on his way back to the frozen Rangers. A deafening screech distracts Skull for a second as Alex and Artemis reappear in front of him. Skull swats at the annoying metal bird like a mosquito.
”Watch as I destroy your friends!" Skull's cyber-like voice bellows. He holds out his hands and watches the metal plates multiply through his skin once again. They come together to form a laser cannon this time.
”One shot and they're done for, Alex." Billy's voice echoes through Artemis' cockpit.
With another screech, Alex dives Artemis right for Skull's massive face. "Forgive me, Eugene." she says and then pulls Artemis up sharply. Her talons rake across his face.
Skull roars in pain and stumbles backwards. The Red Battle Zord grabs him from behind and they struggle as Alex circles above. A hand-to-hand battle ensues and Skull is able to free himself from Billy's grip. Skull swings the Red Battle Zord in front of him. Skull's hands change form again--back into the ice blaster. He aims and fires at Billy.
”NOW!!!" Billy yells into his head piece.
Artemis descends between the pair and begins to back-wing furiously.
”Maximum power, Artemis!" Alex yells, as she sees ice beginning to form on her controls.
”Auxillary power being diverted to wings." Artemis replies calmly and beats faster.
”It's working!" Billy yells back.
Skull is beginning to freeze from his own ray. Then curiously, he begins to shrink.
”What?!?!" Everyone says.
”Billy...Alex...come in." Trini says, "Skull's shrinking. His blood must be slowing down in his veins because of the cold. Lampry can't live without a constant flowing supply."
”Of course!" a light comes on in Billy's head, "When he is back to normal size, teleport him to the Med Lab. Keep him on ice until we get there. What ever you do, DON'T let him defrost again."
”Race you back to base!" Alex challenges Billy, while hovering infront of his cockpit.
”You're on!" Billy's voice answers and she sees him give her a thumbs
Billy comes to a screeching halt into the docking bay. He removes his helmet and rushes down the ramp. He is preparing to teleport to the Med Lab when he sees Trini waiting for them. She is wearing her old uniform and has her helmet tucked under her arm. Billy gasps. Trini looks down shyly, not positive that she doesn't look foolish.
”Thought I'd join in the charade too." she says.
”Wow. You still look great." Billy says running a hand through his tussled hair.
The pair stand looking awkwardly at each other for a few moments.
”Maybe I shouldn't have made that silly confession before I left." Billy silently begins to doubt himself.
Then Trini throws her arms around him and kisses him back. "I love you too, Billy." she whispers into his ear.
Alex sees the pair's embrace as she lands.
”Alright!" she cheers to Artemis, "Man, I hate to break this up."
Trini and Billy have a more platonic pose as Alex disembarks.
”Nice duds, Trini." Alex comments as she reaches them.
”I wanted to dress the part today, too." Trini says shyly. "Plus, I needed to conceal my identity. We've all got to wear our helmets, otherwise our secret is out of the bag. Skull is still in there, you know."
”You're right." Alex realizes and everyone places their helmets back
”Alpha, the Rangers are coming." Zordon warns Alpha in the Med Lab.
Trini and Billy smile inwardly as they hear themselves being referred to as "Rangers" again.
The trio stare at an almost frozen Skull. His breathing is shallow and his pulse is weak.
”Zordon, how can we separate Skull from Lampry?" Billy asks.
”I'm afraid the only way to defeat Lampry is to permanently stop the flow of blood to him."
”You mean...we would have to kill Skull?" Trini gasps.
”I'm afraid that we have no other choice, Rangers."
”Zordon, we can't. That would be murder." Alex says mortified at the thought.
”Then Eugene must remain frozen forever."
”We can't do that either. What about his family? His friends?" Billy asks.
”What friends?" Alex thinks. She remembers how ugly Bulk was to Skull during their study session. Then she has an idea.
”I got it!" Alex yells, "Start thawing Eugene out, slowly."
”Are you nuts?!?!" Trini asks.
”I'm going to kill him!" Alex replies triumphantly.
”You can't!" Billy protests.
”Trust me." Alex says, "I'm going to kill Lampry, but not Eugene."
”Trust me." she repeats, afraid of telling her plan aloud, "Just do it."
Trini slowly turns up the knob and Skull's breathing and heartbeat increase. Billy grabs an arm to restrain him.
”Lampry..." Alex says in a sing-song fashion, "Come out, come out, where ever you are." Alex removes her gloves and puts her hands side-by-side, thumb touching thumb. She glides her fingers gently over Skull's exposed neck. Skull begins to twitch and turn as Lampry begins to come back to life.
”Hold his head still Bi...Blue Ranger." Alex catches herself. She rests her thumbs on the indentation at the base of Skull's neck, right below his Adam's Apple. She fans her fingers out on the sides of his neck until she locates the carotid arteries.
Skull gasps and strains for air.
”She's blocking his windpipe!" Trini says and then realizes Alex's total plan, "And the flow of blood to his brain!"
Alex remains silent to stay focused on her task. She has put a mental block on both areas, only allowing a miniscule amount of blood through at a time. She doesn't want to kill Skull, but just wants to make Lampry think that his host is dying. "How long can I keep this up until I do permanent damage?" Alex wonders to herself.
”C'mon Lampry!" Alex taunts aloud, "This host is dying and you with it. Why don't you come out and play with me! Turn him on his side, Yellow Ranger."
Trini obeys and the three see that the sore on Skull's back is beginning to reopen. Lampry has decided to leave through his entry point and pokes his head out. Billy and Trini choke down the bile forming in their throats.
”There you go." Alex continues to taunt though the nausea she feels is almost over-whelming. "Come and get me!"
Lampry springs out of Skull towards Alex. Alex releases her block on Skull and stumbles backwards to get out of Lampry's way. He latches onto her leg but can't penetrate through the armor of her suit.
”Get it off of me!" Alex screams, brushing wildly at the monster.
”Stand still! I can't get a clear shot!" Trini orders, removing her laser pistol. She fires, hitting Lampry's tail. He releases Alex and wriggles on the floor like a fish out of water. Trini continues to blast him until all that is left is a piece of charred floor. Alex continues to brush the area, gasping for breath. All of her hair stands on end from fright. Her friends can't see the tears of terror rolling down her face inside her helmet.
Then Skull gasps for air. Everyone refocuses their attention.
”Zordon, run a scan on Skull to see if there is any lasting brain damage." Billy says.
A green light scans Skull's body from head to toe.
”Good news, Rangers. Besides the entry wound on his back and the lacerations on his face, Eugene seems to be unharmed."
”Man! That's my fault too." Alex says remorsefully, "I'm sorry, Eugene."
”You had to do it, A....Purple Ranger." Billy justifies.
”Alpha, can you regenerate skin tissue in those two areas?" Trini asks.
”Of course I can." Alpha replies.
Skull groans and starts to open his eyes.
”Eugene...you've been in a ....well....accident. You're going to be alright though." Alex says gently while taking one of his hands.
”Rangers, we need to defrost the other Zords. The other Rangers should be cold but no long term damage done." Zordon instructs.
”You two go ahead. I'll stay with Eugene. I'm sure that all this is a little overwhelming for him." Alex says. The others nod and teleport out.
”Where...where am I?" Skull mumbles softly, "Who are you?"
”You are in the Med Lab of the Power Chamber. I'm...the Purple Ranger." Alex feels kind of silly referring to herself as that.
”Wow! A Power Ranger--up close and personal!"
”Alpha is going to repair the wound on your back and the lacerations on your face in just a minute. There shouldn't even be a scar left after we are done." she says optimistically and then adds, "I'm sorry about your face. I'm to blame."
”How?" Skull says and then winces as he touches the talon marks on his face.
”Artemis--my Owl Zord--and I did it to you. I'm sorry, but you had to be stopped. Don't worry. Lampry is gone. We completely destroyed him." Alex says surveying the burnt mark on the floor, just to be sure, "You are back to your old self now."
”Wow." Skull says in disbelief and relaxes back trying to take everything in. He remembers bits and pieces of the whole ordeal. He begins to ask Alex questions and by the time the repair is done, he knows the whole story--well, almost.
”Eugene Skulovitch," Zordon calls out his name.
”Yes?" Skull glances around wondering where the voice is coming from.
”You are now healed. We will be teleporting you home now."
”Wait!" he says, sitting up to look Alex in the face mask, "Thank you, Purple Ranger. For everything."
Alex takes one of Skull's hands in both of hers. "You're welcome." she gives his hand a squeeze. After she let's go, Zordon teleports Skull away.
Alex gives the whole ordeal one last thought and then lets out a sigh. She removes her helmet and leaves it on the gurney. Her communicator bleeps.
”Alex?" she hears Adam's voice and she smiles.
”How are you?" she asks urgently.
”I'll be there right away."
”I'll be waiting."
Alex walks into the Power Chamber at a brisk pace. The other Rangers are wrapped up in blankets and Trini is handing out cups of hot tea. Alex spots Adam and makes a bee line to him.
”Are you okay?" Alex asks, taking one of Adam's icy hands. His lips are tinged with blue.
”A little chilled, that's all," he says with a smile. He pulls Alex to him and wraps the blanket around the pair of them. "Ahh, a nice, warm 98.6."
”I hope you love me for more than just my body heat," she teases.
”Well, at the present..." Adam teases and pulls her a little bit closer.
”I have to hand it to you guys," Rocky says between gulps of tea. "The Brains kicked some serious butt today."
Adam grimaces and prepares for another confrontation. To his surprise, Alex doesn't break his grip and try to strangle Rocky.
Instead she replies, "Thanks, Rock."
Everyone is silent. They obviously predicted the same scene that Adam had thought of. Only Billy and Trini have sly grins on their faces, proud of what they accomplished today.
Alex takes a deep breath and continues, "I want to apologize to you, Rocky, and to everybody else for the way I acted earlier. I learned a valuable lesson today on teamwork, working with Trini and Billy. Next time, I'd like to try my new skill out with the rest of the Zeo Rangers. I'm sorry I let you guys down today."
”You didn't let us down," Kat comes to her defense.
”Yeah, Billy told us how you finally separated Skull from Lampry," Tommy adds.
The memory gives Alex the willies and she shivers despite herself.
Tanya gives Rocky a hard glare -- hoping to jog his memory about the conversation the two of them had the previous evening. Rocky catches her eye, shrinks a little, and mouthes an "okay". Plus he didn't want Tanya elbowing him again. He was still sore from the last time.
Rocky comes closer to Adam and Alex. He clears his throat and looks around a little bit to find the right words.
”Um...Alex..I'm sorry about what I said too. Can we call a truce? Friends?" Rocky asks, holding out a gloved hand.
”Friends," Alex says with a smile. She shakes his hand and then feels silly for being so formal. She steps out and gives Rocky a friendly hug, "Friends."
Rocky smiles, "Hey, you're right, Adam. She is warm."
”Get your own human space heater, Rock," Adam jokes and pulls Alex back
The following day, Skull and Alex sit in the Youth Center still trying to master the same lesson as last time. They still aren't getting anywhere either. Skull's staring has stopped, but now he won't shut up about his recent adventure with the Power Rangers.
”Really...," Alex says, trying to fake interest while reading the Anatomy chapter.
”It was so cool, I got to see the inside of the Power Chamber and this robot named 'Beta' worked on me," Skull yammers on.
”You mean, Alpha," Alex unconsciously corrects him.
”Yeah, Alpha," Skull replies and then it hits him. "How'd you know that?"
Alex kicks herself and scrambles to find an excuse.
”'Cause I told her," Rocky says coming up from behind. "Bulk told me and I told Alex."
Both Rangers secretly pray that Skull had infact told his story to Bulk. He must have because Skull looks convinced. Alex sighs with relief as Rocky sits down. Mouth parched from monopolizing the conversation for the last twenty minutes, Skull starts to take a drink of his smoothy and realizes that he has already finished it.
”I'm gonna get another one. You guys want a smoothy?" Skull stands up.
”No, thanks," Rocky and Alex reply.
Skull heads towards the juice bar and sees a couple more people that haven't heard his great story yet.
”Thanks for saving my butt a minute ago," Alex says with a smile. "You sure can think on your feet."
”Thanks," Rocky replies to the compliment with a smile. "I know I'm not the smartest member of our team, but I can shovel the B.S. pretty good when push comes to shove."
”Who's shoveling B.S.?" Tanya says from behind the pair.
”Hey guys!" Rocky greets the other Rangers and they all pull up a chair.
”Skull was just over here recanting his latest brush with the Power Rangers," Alex explains.
”If I hear that story one more time...." Kat says with a groan.
”Everytime I hear it, it gets bigger and bigger," Tanya adds.
”Well Alex, you will at least be glad to know that Skull no longer has a crush on you," Tommy says with a wicked grin.
”Good," Alex and Adam answer in unison.
”I heard that you have been replaced," Billy adds.
”Replaced?!?!" Alex replies.
”I overheard Skull telling a group this morning that his new love interest was the Purple Ranger," Trini grins.
”Oh no!" Alex says gently beating her head on the table.
”Yeah, the version I heard said that the Purple Ranger kissed Skull before he left the Power Chamber," Tanya adds.
”I did not...I mean she most certainly did not!" Alex rebuts.
”Obviously she didn't or Skull wouldn't be telling Alex the story," Rocky replies in a low voice so no outsiders will overhear. "He'd be over here drooling on you if he really knew."
”Knew what?" Skull catches only the end of the conversation. "Hey Adam, did I tell you about my recent adventure with the Power Rangers?"
Thanks, Rain for inspiring another story. He was the one that said, "I'd like to see the individual zords do battle for once." As always, your comments and suggestions are welcomed. You can email me at AkikoKF@aol.com. : )