I resisted the hand gently shaking me awake. It was so warm and cosy in bed, I tried to sink down into the layers of sleep, searching for that elusive dream...but suddenly I was awake. Trying to shake off sudden disorientation, I rubbed my bleary eyes. If this was my brother waking me up, he was in trouble.
Suddenly a strong hand was clamped firmly over my mouth. This was not my brother. First I froze in shock, then I tried to pull his hand from my mouth (okay so I automatically thought male, but it was a strong hand). I couldn’t help trying to scream, it was an automatic reflex but the sound was muffled by his hand.
“Hey, it’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.”
Yeah right. I blinked my eyes, trying to get them into focus. Suddenly they cleared, and I was looking into the face of a guy my age, with warm brown eyes and long brown hair tied back in a ponytail. He had a strong, sensitive face, and despite my predicament, I couldn’t help wanting to trust him. The guy looked worried.
“Please don’t scream, you’ll wake everyone up.”
That was the general idea.
“I just need to talk to you - hear me out okay? If you still think I’m a psycho then scream all you want.”
He took his hand off my mouth and I grabbed it (the hand, not my mouth). He didn’t try to stop me, he just stood there and looked at me with those gentle caramel eyes.
“I’m not going to do anything, I promise. If you let me go, I’ll step back.”
I released his hand, and he did as promised. I pulled back the bedcovers and sat up, trying to look calm and dignified. That’s no easy job in blue flannelette pyjamas, believe me.
“How did you get in my room?”
“I’ll explain, just hear me out. You’re in grave danger.”
Yeah from him I was.
“This had better be good” I said.
He took a deep breath.
“I know this is going to sound, well, kind of weird, but I’m telling the truth.”
He had a pleasant American accent, I wondered where he was from. He looked familiar, but my mind was still fuzzed with sleep and I didn’t pursue the thought.
“I’m from a parallel world.”
Oh, so that was where he was from.
“It’s just like yours, all the countries are the same, but on the moon there are these evil guys, Zedd and Rita. They try to take over the Earth all the time, and their latest plot involves you.”
How flattering. The names Zedd and Rita sound somewhat familiar though. Come on brain, wake up!
“They have this crystal that they want to use to destroy us..ah I mean, the protectors of the Earth. The only way to charge this crystal is to use your power.”
I had to say something.
“I have power?!”
“You mightn’t be aware of it, it’s hidden pretty deep inside you” said the guy seriously.
I decided to humour him.
“So what do I have to do?”
“Come with me” he said earnestly. “I’ll transport you to my world, and we’ll protect you until the crystal has been destroyed. It’s too dangerous to stay here, Zedd could come here and capture you at any time.”
Well the guy certainly believed what he was saying. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him from somewhere. My brain started to work, putting the jigsaw pieces together. I suddenly realised who he looked like. But it couldn’t be...
“Is your name Tommy Oliver?” I asked abruptly.
“Yes” he said, surprised, “How did you know?”
He was genuinely surprised. But he couldn’t be...
“Are you the white ranger?”
Tommy’s eyes almost popped out of his head.
“How did you know?!”
Again his surprise was genuine, and I had to face the fact that he was telling the truth. I didn’t want to believe that power rangers existed and that I had some sort of power, because I had been secretly, deep down in my scarcely recognised subconscious mind, fiercely wishing for it all my life. When your deepest wish comes true you always suspicious of it. I was scared to believe that they were true because it would hurt too much if I was wrong. And they didn’t exist, not in my world, but it was comforting to know that they existed on some world.
Okay, so maybe power rangers is a kid’s show and a bit overacted, but the idea of a group of teenagers being the only ones able to save the world from the evil guys had always appealed to me. And the guys in it were cute.
“I’ll explain later” I answered.
“You’ll come with me then?” he asked hopefully.
“Yep, just tell me what I have to do.”
“Okay. Take my hand...”
Yeah, sure, no problems doing that.
“...and we’ll be transported in about 3 seconds.”
My last thought as I left my world was that I wish that I wasn’t wearing pyjamas. How embarassing!
The six teenagers sat at the table in the Angel Grove juice bar, sipping milkshakes and talking. Tommy and Rocky were engaged in animated conversation with Kimberly and Aiesha. Adam sat quietly, listening and smiling occasionally, and Billy sat quietly also, now and then making intelligent observations. All conversation suddenly ceased as their wristwatches beeped the familiar tune. All eyes turned to Tommy, as usual. Rising from the table, the others following, he moved to the corridor of the youth centre, where they were sheltered from prying eyes behind some lockers.
“What’s up Alpha?”
“Transport to the command centre immediately rangers.”
After first glancing around to see if they were being watched, the six pressed a button on their communicators, and disappeared.
The six materialised in the command centre, and turned to the screen where the face of Zordon stared down at them. Alpha 2 the robot pottered around the centre, waving his arms agitatedly.
“Zedd has a new plot to conquer Earth,” began Zordon.
“That’s nothing new,” Tommy said dryly. “What is it this time?”
“He has disturbed the space-time continuim and constructed a portal to a parallel world.”
The teenagers gasped.
“A parallel world!” Kimberly gasped. “I didn’t know they existed!”
“Most interesting” mused Billy. “Theoretically one could bend the space-time relationship in such a way as to gain entry to parallel worlds...but it’s never been attempted successfully.”
“Why does Zedd want to gain access to a parallel world?” asked Adam.
“I have not yet discovered the reason” admitted Zordon. “But Alpha has detected his probes and they are devoted exclusively to the tracking of a human girl. Using the probe’s molecular signature we have established a lock on her. Observe the viewing globe.”
The rangers turned around to look at a large crystal globe. They saw a bedroom, walls postered with dolphins, dragons and other fantastical creatures. A girl about their age sat on the bed, playing a guitar. Her deep blue eyes were glued to the music in front of her, long auburn hair caught back in a loose plait. Her brow pulled into a faint frown as she entered a challenging part of the music.
“She’s pretty,” thought Adam, and as the others grinned slyly at him he realised that he must have spoken out loud.
He blushed furiously.
“What does Zedd want with her?” asked Aiesha.
“I do not know,” said Zordon.
“What’s her name?” asked Adam shyly.
“Kelaya,” answered Zordon.
“Well whatever Zedd wants with her, it can’t be anything good” Tommy said. “What are we going to do about it?”
“Alpha and I will keep a lock on her” said Zordon. “If she appears to be in danger, I will send you to help.”
The others nodded.
“I’m sure Adam won’t mind helping her,” teased Rocky.
“Now don’t tease him Rocky,” chided Aisha, noticing her friend’s embarrassed face.
“He shouldn’t mind helping her, we are power rangers you know. We’re supposed to help people” grinned Tommy.
“Yeah, it’s his duty to help her,” added Kimberly, smiling innocently.
“I would agree that rescuing damsels in distress is Adam’s forte,” agreed Billy, deciding to join in on the fun.
“Let’s go eat something,” suggested Adam, trying valiantly to ignore his friend’s jibes.
“Lead on O rescuer of damsels,” Tommy chuckled.
Adam groaned. This was going to be a long day.
Zedd paced the floor of his castle impatiently. Goldar, sensing his Lord’s impatience (anyone with half a brain could) tried to reassure him.
“Soon the girl will venture outside my Lord,” he grovelled. “Then we will catch her.”
“She had better,” Zedd growled. “I don’t want those pesky teenagers finding out my plan, they will ruin it!”
Narrowing his eyes, (which consisted of red glowing eye sockets) he used his supernatural vision to pierce through the portal between worlds and gaze down on the unaware girl. He gave a shout of triumph.
“Send down the putties!”
Adam opened his eyes blearily. Something had woken him. He glanced at his bedside clock. It read 11.00 pm. What could have woken him at that hour? His communicator beeped again. Adam jumped out of bed, stopping only to pull a T shirt over his black satin boxer shorts before transporting to the command centre. A call at night could only mean that Kelaya was in danger.
Adam arrived at the command centre to find his friends dressed in similar attire, bleary eyed and yawning. Tommy and Rocky hadn’t even stopped to pull shirts over their boxer shorts. Billy was wearing blue patterned pyjamas, Aisha was dressed in a yellow shorts and shirt set, and Kimberly was wearing an oversized pink satin shirt.
“You know, this is the first time we’ve been called up in the middle of the night,” Kimberly commented.
Tommy put his arm around her and smiled slyly.
“You know, this is the first time I’ve seen you wearing something like this Kim.”
Kimberly blushed, then smiled wickedly.
“It’ll be the last time, too.”
“She’s in trouble, isn’t she Zordon?” Adam asked, though it was more of a statement.
“You are correct Adam” said Zordon. “Observe the viewing globe.”
They turned around to see a backyard lit by moonlight. On the lawn stood Kelaya in blue satin pyjamas, long auburn hair loose and flying around as she fought against an army of putties. Though she fought valiantly it was obvious that she was outnumbered. Adam’s heart leaped as he saw her courage, her defiance against things she would have never seen before.
“Not a bad fighter” observed Rocky.
“We’ve got to help her!” exclaimed Kimberly. “That poor girl!”
Suddenly the silence of the command centre was disturbed by a siren. Red lights started flashing.
“Aye yi yi! Zedd has sent out Goldar and he’s destroying downtown Angel Grove!” wailed Alpha.
“He’s trying to distract us so we can’t save Kelaya” said Tommy angrily.
He looked at Adam’s worried face and made his decision.
“Adam, you go save Kelaya and bring her here...” he glanced at Zordon.
“That would be a wise course of action.” Zordon confirmed.
“The rest of us will deal with Goldar.”
Adam smiled gratefully at his friend.
The six, tiredness forgotten, put their hands behind their backs and grabbed their morphers.
“It’s morphin time!”
Turning restlessly in bed, I gave up trying to sleep and rose from the bed, pushing back the bedcovers. There was dead silence in the house, the rest of my family being elsewhere; my two younger brothers at their friend’s places, my mum and dad at a staff dinner. There was something special about being all alone, I liked the silence. Pulling my hair out of my plait and slipping my watch on, I padded out of my bedroom, along the verandah and quietly opened the back door. Slipping outside I stood on the lawn in bare feet, looking up at the stars. It was a beautiful night, the backyard was brightly lit by the full moon. I searched the sky for the Southern Cross but gave up the attempt, I could never find that particular constellation and tonight wasn’t going to be an exception. Shivering a little as a cool breeze blew through my blue satin pyjamas, I glanced at my watch. Time to head inside.
I had gone but two steps towards the back door when a moist, clay-smelling hand clamped over my mouth and pulled me away. My scream muffled, I struggled wildly and managed to twist free. Moving automatically into right back stance (those few lessons of Tae Kwon Do paid off) I gasped as I saw what I was facing. A circle of putties moved towards me, cutting off escape inside. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. These grey, faceless humanoid clay creatures belong on a kid’s show called Power Rangers, not in real life. Okay, so I watched the show, but there’s a difference between enjoying a show and seeing it come to life.
I always viewed them as kind of stupid, easy to deal with, but when you put them in a night setting and you see them moving menacingly towards you, it kind of freaks you out a bit.
“Calm down Kel” I said to myself. “Okay so they’ve got you cornered against the verandah, no big deal. All you have to do is to keep hitting them in that Z brand on their chests until they break up.”
I glanced behind me and realised that what I was cornered against could be turned into my advantage. Quickly, before any putty could reach me, I leaped onto the verandah and stood waiting for them.
The first putty came close to me. Wham! I kicked him in the chest (for standing on the verandah put my foot at the putties’ chest height. The putty fell backwards, landing on another couple. A few more came towards me and I repeated the procedure. I was beginning to think I could handle this, when they finally cottoned on to what I was doing. Two putties on either side of me moved back out of range and leaped onto the verandah, while the rest stood waiting for me on the ground. Damn. The two putties on the right grabbed my arms while the two on my left moved towards me. As soon as they came into range I snap-kicked them both in the chest, pushing them off the verandah. I found myself yelling ‘Kiiya!’ every time I kicked them (something I learnt during my one and only lesson of Karate) and started wondering which Power Ranger I sounded like the most. Probably Aiesha. The neighbours must be wondering what I’m up to. Hey, if putties are real, then maybe Power Rangers are real. If they are, they better hurry up and rescue me.
The two putties still had hold of my arms and I was having trouble throwing them off. Other putties were trying to get onto the verandah, but they didn’t seem to want to hurt me, just pin me so I couldn’t move. Uh oh, that meant they were trying to transport me to Zedd, at least that’s what always happened in the episodes. No way do I want to meet that guy. I just wish I was wearing boots or something, it was hard to kick in bare feet. I brought down my heel hard on one of the putties’ feet, he released my arm and I turned to the other one and punched him in the face, then snap-kicked him in the chest.
“Kiiya!” I yelled with relish, as the putty disintegrated.
My first casualty.
“One down, only ten to go” I muttered.
Looking down at the putties, I decided it was time to get on the ground. But on my own terms. I ran and leaped over the putties’ heads, landing on the ground behind them. No, I didn’t do a little somersault thing like the rangers do, I’m not that good. They turned to face me, and I was struck by a tiny shaft of fear. There were so many of them. Ruthlessly I pushed the fear away. It wasn’t going to help me.
The first one came towards me. I blocked his punch and followed it up with one of my own. He went staggering backwards, and I added a side-kick to help him on his way.
I couldn’t help grinning, I couldn’t believe that those moves had worked, that I had remembered them even. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I caught the hand, holding it to my shoulder and turning around, pulling it down so fast that it should have broken. But I had forgotten that this wasn’t a man, it was a putty. They don’t have bones. I brought my knee up sharply into the putties’ chest, snap-kicking him in the chest again as he fell backwards.
Suddenly I found myself looking up at the sky. A putty had sneaked up behind me and pulled me backwards onto the ground. All the putties started to surround me. Remembering a move that a friend had taught me, I waited until a putty came in range. I caught his legs between my own, crossed mine over and rolled sideways along the ground, sending the putty to the ground, his legs trapped between mine. I disengaged myself and jumped up, but before I could hit him a clay arm slid around my waist and pulled me against him. Flinching from the cold clammy touch, I struggled to free myself, absent-mindedly kicking a putty who had started to move in.
I kicked him so hard that the force of my kick sent me staggering backwards, falling on top of the putty who had grabbed me. But he still kept his arm around my waist, and I found it almost impossible to move. All the putties moved in until I couldn’t see the sky anymore, cold clay hands were grabbing me and holding me still, all I could think of was that I had to keep moving, I couldn’t let them transport me.
Suddenly I heard someone yelling, the kind of sound that accompanies fighting like my ‘Kiiya’. Since I hadn’t heard the putties say a thing all through the fight, it had to be somone else. A Power Ranger? The putties began falling away, I concentrated on the sound of his voice, as it was obviously male. It wasn’t Tommy for I’d recognise his distinctive yell, as I would Billy’s, so it had to be the red or the black ranger. But was it the power rangers of the new episodes or the old episodes? I know, these are pretty weird things to be thinking about at a time like this, but this was a weird situation. I tried to roll off the putty that was holding me around the waist but he wouldn’t budge.
Abruptly the putties fell away and I saw standing before me the form of the black ranger. He was dressed in the black outfit of the Ninjetti that left only his dark eyes visible, so I knew that it had to be Adam.
“Thanks Adam” I said, smiling shyly.
The guy gasped.
“How did you know?!”
Oh that’s right, no one’s supposed to know their identities. But why should he be surprised, they’re on TV, everyone who watches the show knows their identities.
“I’ll explain later” I said hurriedly.
Leaning down, he pulled me away from the putty and was about to finish him off when I stopped him.
“Can I do it?”
“Um, okay, sure.”
Poor guy sounded a bit taken aback. Making my hand into a fist, I punched the putty hard in the chest. He flew apart in a shower of clay fragments. We looked uncertainly at each other.
“Um, what happens now?” I asked.
Adam had pulled his hood down, obviously feeling it was no use hiding his face anymore. His dark hair curled gently around his serious face, and looking into his dark eyes, I felt suddenly shy.
“You have to come with me,” said Adam seriously. “You’re in grave danger.”
I had kind of gathered that I was in danger. I thought about it for maybe two seconds.
“Okay” I agreed.
“You need to take my hand, we’ll be transported to...”
“Yeah, I know, the command centre.”
Adam looked even more shocked. I laughed at his expression.
“Well are we going?”
Shyly Adam took my hand, and I felt a little thrill race up my arm. He pressed the button on his communicator and I felt a momentary disorientation as we disappeared.
Appearing in the command centre, I looked around me delightedly. It was just like it was on the TV, with Alpha pottering around and the face of Zordon floating on the screen. Suddenly the air around me shimmered, and the other rangers appeared, dressed in their suits.
“We were in the middle of fighting Goldar when he suddenly disappeared” said Tommy.
He noticed me.
“Hi, are you okay?”
I nodded, feeling both excited and shy in the presence of people I had only seen on the TV.
“Yeah, thanks to Adam.” I said, smiling.
Tommy and the others looked worried as they noticed that Adam had his hood down.
“You told her your name?!” exclaimed Rocky.
Adam shook his head.
“No! She already knew! And she knew about the command centre.”
I don’t know why they were acting so strange.
“Of course I know about it, I watch you every week. I know that you’re Tommy, you’re Kimberly, Aisha, Billy, Rocky...”
They all gasped.
“Look, would you mind morphing out of those suits, it’s really disconcerting talking to helmets,” I said, taking advantage of their silence.
Stunned, they did as I asked, Adam too. Suddenly I saw an ordinary group of teenagers, dressed in pyjamas. I looked down at my own pyjamas and laughed.
“Now I don’t feel so out of place.”
Tommy turned to Zordon.
“What’s going on?”
“You must expect different circumstances in parallel worlds Tommy” said Zordon, unperturbed.
Now I was confused.
Adam turned to me, his dark eyes serious.
“We are from a parallel world. Zedd constructed a portal through to your world...”
“And tried to capture you,” finished Aiesha. “Now what’s all this about watching us on TV?”
Not for one moment did I disbelieve them, so many weird things had happened to me that night that I was willing to accept anything. I did feel a little disappointed though, as that meant that Power Rangers on my world aren’t real.
“Well, on my world, Power Rangers don’t exist,” I said, struggling to explain. “They are a kid’s TV show.”
“We don’t exist?” said Adam.
“Not as Power Rangers, but the people that play your characters exist. They all look like you, it’s just that all the things that happen to you aren’t real in my world. They are created for children’s entertainment. You know when you had that episode with Ivan Ooze? Well in my world that was made into a movie. Zedd and Rita don’t really live on the moon either.”
Judging from the shocked expressions on their faces, it was going to take a while to sink in.
“So everything that happens to us, our fights with Zedd and Rita, people all over the world watch it as TV episodes?” Kimberly said uncertainly.
I nodded. I hadn’t realised how hard it would be to explain.
“Right. That’s how I knew your names and about the command centre.”
“Most phenomenal” mused Billy. “That the spatial relationships in the space-time continuim could exhibit such differentials in the perceived realities.”
“I know, imagine how I felt when I found that my perceived fantasies were in fact realities in another space-time relationship” I agreed.
Billy looked surprised that I had understood, the others were trying to hide smiles.
“You are versed in spatial relationships?” he asked.
“If I can understand ‘Star Trek’ Billy, I can understand anything” I answered with a smile.
“Another TV show” I explained, surprised that they didn’t have it here.
Suddenly my legs wobbled and I almost fell, had not Adam caught me.
“You okay?” he asked, his face worried, the others displayed similar sentiments.
“Yeah, I think it’s just a combination of tiredness and delayed shock” I said, embarrassed.
Adam eased me down onto a nearby chair (now I don’t remember seeing chairs in the command centre in the episodes) and I tried to get my brain to work. There was something I had missed. Ah, now I remember.
“If the putties were trying to capture me...that means that Zedd wants me. What does he want me for?”
Tommy looked rueful.
“We have no idea.”
“Oh. Well that sets my mind at ease” I said, smiling gently to show I was joking.
“Kelaya, you must stay here until we determine why you are the cause of Zedd’s attention” said Zordon.
“But...what about my family, when they find out I’m gone they’ll panic, how am I supposed to explain it to them?” I asked anxiously.
“When the time comes to send you back, Alpha will bend the time-space relationship in such a way as to send you back to the same time that you left.”
“You can do that?” I exclaimed, surprised. “Then I’d be happy to stay here with you.”
“I’m sure Adam would be happy to have you at his place” Rocky grinned slyly.
I don’t know who turned redder, Adam or me.
“You can stay with me and Kim,” offered Aisha, glaring at Rocky who gave her an innocent smile.
“But how are you going to explain to your parents when they find that they’ve gained a new occupant in the house overnight?”
“They’re not here, they’re on business trip and won’t be back for a couple of days,” Aisha explained.
“We’ll just say that you’re our penfriend from Australia and that you’ve come on a surprise visit.”
“Sounds good to me” I agreed.