Tanya looked up from her shake as Adam’s bookbag landed on the table. “Hi, Ad--”
“Shh!” He waved a hand in the air between them.
She raised an eyebrow at him, but kept quiet as he ostentatiously craned his neck one way, and then the other. Tanya looked around too, but she didn’t see anything. She raised her other eyebrow at him.
“No Rocky,” he said in a stage whisper. “No Tommy, no Kat, no Jason…”
“Aha,” she whispered back.
He turned around in a full circle to look again--Tanya held back a giggle--then sat down and leaned closer to her. “So…” he said, and Tanya’s giggle transformed to a bit of a quiver in her chest.
“So,” she said, leaning in herself.
There was a sudden loud bang outside the windows. Tanya and Adam grabbed the table as the ground shook under them. Tanya listened. Was that-- “Is that lasers?” she asked.
Adam groaned and dropped his head into his hands. ”Really?” he asked the thin air. “Now? Really?”
Tanya patted him on the head. Then, she headed for the door, knowing he’d be right behind her.
They could deal with feelings later.
The explosions didn’t stop once they got outside and traced the sounds to the alley next to the Juice Bar. They were accompanied by the air just--just sort of opening up, like a pocket, depositing...well, they weren’t Cogs, but foot soldiers were foot soldiers. Tanya heard Adam on his communicator to Billy. She looked out the mouth of the alley for civilians; almost everyone had ducked into the Juice Bar or someplace a little farther away. A few people were frozen in fear, and she beckoned them to safety.
By the time she’d rounded up the stragglers and run back to Adam, the air pocket was trying to expel--was it a robot? A monster? A robot monster? With clocks stuck all over it? She could see and hear some sort of struggle. Half of it hung in midair, but the other half she couldn’t see.
“What is going on?” Adam asked.
“Even for us, this is kind of weird.” Still, it gave them a little bit of room to breathe, since the foot soldiers were just milling around, confused. Well, if they were going to give them time--Tanya lifted her morpher.
“Zeo Ranger Two, Yellow!”
“Zeo Ranger Four, Green!”
The other Rangers appeared around them, already morphed, just as the robot monster came through with an even louder bang than the rest. Someone was following him--grabbing him by the ankle, in fact--and they tumbled to the ground.
“Oh, wow,” Tanya said under her breath. She’d never seen a yellow uniform quite like that, but she knew a Power Ranger when she saw one, too.
“Let go, let go, let GO!” the robot monster shrieked. The Yellow Ranger let go, and he hopped away, almost falling over. “This isn’t how it was supposed to go! I was supposed to have the element of surprise!”
“Sorry to disappoint you,” Tommy said.
Jason shouted, “Now you’ll get to taste the element of defeat!”
The robot monster looked around at all of them in fighting position, including the other Yellow Ranger, and then turned and ran away as fast as its robot monster legs would take it. The foot soldiers ran after it.
“This is really weird,” Tanya said.
“I agree,” the other Ranger said. She pulled off her helmet. She was maybe a few years older than Tanya, with brown skin, dark curly hair falling out of a ponytail and bouncing off her shoulders.
Tanya did the same, and the others followed her lead. “I’m Tanya Sloan, the Yellow Zeo Ranger,”
“Katie Walker. Yellow Time Force Ranger.”
Rocky asked, “What the heck is a Time Force Ranger?”
Katie looked around. “What year is this?”
“Billy!” Jason and Tommy shouted into their communicators in unison.
“She’s a time traveler,” Kat said, hushed. The Zeo Rangers were clustered at one end of the Power Chamber, watching Katie and Billy gesture at each other. For some reason, whatever Billy was saying made Katie laugh.
“We time traveled,” Adam said.
“Yeah, but not, like, professionally,” Rocky said.
Tanya had to laugh at that, and Katie looked over. Billy turned back to his monitors and started muttering to himself, so Tanya felt safe to head over.
“Billy will find your robot monster--”
"Banausicon,” Katie said with a grin.
“Banausicon. And his--Cyclobots?”
“Yeah, he’ll find them in no time.”
Rocky leaned in over Tanya’s shoulder. “And in the meantime you can tell us all about the year 3000!”
“That’s not possible, Rocky,” Zordon said above them.
“I’m sorry, I can’t,” Katie said. Rocky started to say something else, but she put a hand up. “Or the year 2000.”
Rocky looked like someone had told him his birthday had been cancelled.
“I’m sorry,” Katie said again. “It’s dangerous. Anything we do here can change the future. My future.” She looked suddenly solemn, and Tanya stepped forward to put a hand on her shoulder.
“Then we won’t ask, I promise,” Tanya said.
Katie’s face lit up. “I could tell you about my other Rangers, though.”
“Yeah, please,” Rocky said quickly. “Is your Blue Ranger handsome and charming?”
“He definitely thinks he is,” Katie said. Adam burst out laughing and fake-punched Rocky’s arm.
“Who else?” Tanya asked.
“Well, our leader is the Pink Ranger,” Katie said.
Tanya reached back without looking and high-fived Kat. “Tell us everything.”
Tanya had sort of expected Banausicon to be like their regular monsters, but a regular monster would be firing strange devices at them about now, or maybe growing into a giant size while they called for their Zords. Instead, they were chasing him through the warehouse district, Cyclobots littering the ground behind them (well, that was normal).
“Billy says he’s trying to activate his end of the Time Tracer now,” Tanya called out as she kept pace with Katie. “You should be able to follow him back just like you followed him here.”
“And then my Rangers will be waiting for us at the other end,” Katie said.
“Piece of cake!”
Jason and Kat raced ahead of Banausicon, and a quick blast from Kat’s Laser Pistol sealed the door of the building in front of him. He tried to turn and run around the building, but Rocky and Adam held that side, and Tommy was next to Tanya blocking him on the other side.
“He’s activated the device!” Billy said in Tanya’s ear just as a high-pitched noise rang out. Tanya winced, but held her ground.
“You haven’t heard the last of me, Zeo Rangers!” Banausicon shouted.
“Trust me, Banausicon,” Katie said, waving a hand in Tanya’s direction as she leapt for the monster, “everyone’s heard the last of you.”
The air folded around itself again, and for just a minute Tanya could see a green park on the other side, with four other Rangers waiting.
The ground shook again, and then stopped abruptly; Katie and Banausicon were gone.
“My goodness,” Billy said over the comm, and Tanya put a hand over her mouth so he couldn’t hear her laughing. Across from her, Rocky’s shoulders were shaking.
“I agree.” Tommy demorphed, and the rest of them followed. “Back to the Power Chamber to debrief?”
“We’ll catch up with you,” Tanya said. She tugged on Adam’s elbow. “Some of us have a conversation to finish. Again.”
“We do?” Adam asked. Tanya lifted an eyebrow at him. “Yes! We do! Very important conversation! To be had in private!” He activated his comm. “Alpha, Tanya and me to the Juice Bar, please. Just us.”
Their friends’ laughter followed them as they teleported.