Sunday, March 22, 2015

2306 - MMPR: The Eighth Coin (2012 Final Edit) - Part 13 CONCLUSION

A note on this final chapter; with the exception of the final "scene" of this chapter, the entirely is a new piece of work that took me years to polish down to a form that I was happy with. I think, in the long term, the stalling of updates of past chapters was due entirely to my fidgeting with the narrative. Out of all the fanfic re-ups and re-edits done, this has been the most drastic, especially with the additional length. (The original version was 10 chapters versus this new version's 13). So, in many respects, I'm happy that this is finally done and hopefully, I'll start filling in the final blank (Zero Hour) in the FF repertoire.

Disclaimer: The author of this document would like to clarify that Power Rangers and its characters is owned by Saban Brands and not the author.


-o-

It was another typical day at the Youth Center when Billy walked it. It seemed like every day was the same when there wasn't an emergency. However, given recent events of the past couple days, Billy was happy for the "same old, same old" routine that had been a normal day uninterrupted by the usual suspects on the moon. He walked towards the usual table where Rocky and friends were eating a quick lunch while studying.

"Hey, guys," Billy said, "What's going on?"

"Last minute study session," quipped Adam, "We've been so busy with the whole coin business this past week that we completely forgot about the algebra test this afternoon."

Billy nodded. "Mind if I join you guys?"

"Have a seat, Billster," Rocky replied as he pulled up a chair. "We could use your brain power here."

Billy slithered his way over to the offered chair and pushed inwards. Almost immediately, he began to pull out a few books and place them on the open spot of the table that wasn't already littered with books, paper, and dirty dishes. He paused short of opening one of his notebooks when he noticed someone missing.

"Where's Kimberly?" he asked.

Rocky tried to mumble answer, but the mouthful of food he was chewing made whatever he said unintelligible.

"Okay," he said, rolling his eyes. "Forget I asked."

Rocky waved his hands, struggling to swallow the last bit of food before speaking out. "Sorry. What I said is that she went to eastside Angel Grove."

Billy cocked an eyebrow. "What for?"

-o-

Eastside Angel Grove was completely foreign to Kimberly Hart, especially since she had never been here on her own and the last time she was here, she was with Trini on a shopping spree. It took her a while to find her way around the district before she stumbled across the only tavern in the area; the same tavern where the Rangers had first encountered the coinbearer. Pushing those thoughts aside, she stepped into the tavern, marvelling at its rather elegant yet simple decor, and asked the barkeep for directions to an apartment building. Soon enough, she found herself on another long walk to the apartment building in question; a place that had surely seen better days after the damage done as a result of the recent wave of monster attacks.

Gently placing a finger on one of the doorbells, she opened the door and walked in as soon as she heard a buzz. Climbing up the steps, she made her way towards the only open door on the floor. Upon stepping through the door, Kimberly surveyed the room; sparsely occupied with only a couple garbage bags and a few paper cups laying about on the ground. She tilted her head towards the bathroom door where she saw Gillian emerging.

"Wanted to say good-bye before I left?"

Kimberly looked down at the floor, nervously fiddling her feet on the ground. Something about this girl irked her in away she couldn't describe... even moreso after recent events.

"Kinda," she said softly. "I never really got the chance to thank you."

"Oh?" Gillian cocked her head slightly as she began collecting things and stuffing them into her backpack. "I thought you did."

Kim shrugged. "Yeah, but still..."

"Forget it. It was nothing," she said, continuing to pack her belongings. "Somehow, I knew I could heal you and I did. It would have been..."

"Didn't think you'd care."

Gillian stopped for a moment and exchanged glances with Kimberly. The two stared silently for a moment before Gillian let out a somewhat strained chuckle. "Neither did I."

Both girls glanced at each other for a moment without saying a word. Kimberly casually glanced towards the window overlooking the city – trying to think of the right words to say – while Gillian fiddled with something in her pocket. A minute of silence had passed before Gillian managed a shrug.

"Well, I'd better get going," she said, finally. "I'm supposed to be meeting your boyfriend in a short while before I left for greater pastures."

Kim nodded in understanding. It seemed obvious to her that Gillian was in a hurry to leave, but she couldn't help herself.

"Y'know, I wish you didn't have to leave," she said, "I was hoping you can stick around. You don't have to be alone all the time."

"What makes you think I'm alone all the time?"

Kim sighed, deciding to just let it out straight. "I know how rough your life's been. Roaming all over the world, trying to find purpose, trying to come to grips with your place in the world, living life without family..."

Kimberly's voice drifted when she noticed Gillian's face grow cold, almost morbid for a moment, at which point the petite girl knew she had crossed a line. She almost expected the stranger to react harshly, but Gillian soon eyed Kim curiously, her sullen mood all but gone. "How did you know about that?"

It took a moment before Kim merely shrugged and shot a wry grin. "I guess that link goes both ways, doesn't it?"

Gillian nodded. "I guess so... but I'm over that, now."

"Are you sure?"

Another awkward silence... more uncomfortable before Gillian managed a half-smile.

"Mostly."

Kim nodded, not wanting to push the subject further. "Well, if you ever want to talk or hang out, you know where to find me."

"Yeah," she said, picking the bag that laid on her bed. "I guess so."

"Take care of yourself, Gil," she said.

With a slight nod and a quick tying of the knot, Gillian slung the bag over her shoulder and started out the door. Just as she opened the main door, she stopped herself short of stepping through, her eyes gazing across the wall in the other hall. Even with her back turned towards Kimberly, she could tell the other girl was looking her way. Probably wondering if she had said anything she shouldn't have. Gillian pondered her next words for a moment before slightly turning her head back.

"You know, in some strange way, you almost remind me of my sister when I last saw her years ago." She began walking out the door, but stopped and added. "Her name was Kimberly too."

Kim blinked as Gillian stepped out the door, not knowing how to respond to that. She didn't have to, as it soon became apparent that she was alone in the empty room, with keys in hand.

-o-

Tommy Oliver found himself waiting along the road near the city limits. He was supposed to meet the coinbearer here in a short while. The others wanted to join him, but he insisted that he go alone. He would have walked, but Zordon, considering this to be crucial to the world's safety, teleported him to the limits instead. Although the two were supposed to decide the fate of the coin she carried – with Zordon supporting whatever decision they make in that regard – Tommy's reasons for this meeting were far more selfish.

He reflected on the past week and the wild ride the Ranger team has gone through; the trip to Edenoi, the constant monster attacks, the revelation of an eighth Power Coin, the hunter that bore said coin, a furious (and failed) assault on the Command Center itself, and the fight with a monster that possessed more power than he saw in a typical monster. And when all was done, it was revealed that the power accelerators of most of the Command systems were heavily strained and another battle of that magnitude were be more than enough to completely wipe out their powers. In spite of that, Tommy wasn't worried. After having been through all that and winning, he knew that the Rangers were capable of taking on anything.

"Sorry to keep you waiting."

Tommy jumped at the sound of her voice and turned to see her standing there with nothing more than a backpack on her shoulder.

"I was wondering when you'd show up," Tommy said. He took a quick glance around before asking, "You plan on walking out?"

"Only for a couple miles," she said, "I've got a ride who's supposed to pick me up down the road, but he has a knack for being late."

Tommy chuckled. He was well aware of what she meant. "So, I guess this is goodbye."

Gillian nodded. "Yeah, I guess it is."

There was a momentary silence between the two, as if both were trying to find the right words. Tommy stopped short of saying something before he noticed Gillian unwrapping her left hand which held the Eighth coin firmly to her hand. He couldn't hide his astonishment as Gillian extended the hand holding the coin to Tommy.

"You can have it," she said, "Do what you want with it."

Tommy gave her a blank stare. "You sure?"

Gillian shrugged. "Figured you might have better use for it."

Reluctant at first, Tommy reached for the coin and picked it up. He glanced at the coin. He thought about what needed to be done with the coin. Do they try and adapt the coin to be used in conjunction with a morpher? Tommy knew it was impossible considering the coin's unique properties. Do they dispose of the coin with archaic means? Tommy rejected that thought immediately; knowing if it were disposed, someone might find it again and who knows how much havoc would be caused. A full power infusion had a slim chance of success, but failure would result in an complete overload of the Grid, and given their current woes, they can't afford such a mishap to occur. After some thought and deliberation, Tommy realized that there wasn't a decision to be made and only one course of action needed to be taken.

"No," he said as he handed the coin back. "Keep it. It's better off."

"Take it, Oliver," she said, almost sounding insistent. "You have a use for these coins. I feel better if it were in your hands."

"And I think the coin's already in better hands," Tommy shot back, much to the surprise of the coin bearer. "Look, you know how to use the coin. You know how to control it. You know its powers better than anybody. And if you're able to hide it from sight for the past three years you've been holding it, then there's no reason why you shouldn't keep it."

The coinbearer shot him a wry smile. "This is your way to sticking it to me after you smashed that table, isn't it?"

Tommy shrugged, trying (and failing) to suppress an amused smirk. "If you want to look at that way... I'd prefer to look at it as a vote of confidence. Whatever that's worth, at least."

Gillian thought about it for a moment, then took the coin back, placed it on her hand, and re-applied new wrapping until she felt the coin was secure. She looked at this Ranger who had proven to be a formidable fighter and a man of reason.

"So now what?" he asked.

"I don't know," Gillian said, "Get on with our lives, I guess."

Tommy nodded. He hesitated for a moment before enquiring. "I guess you're going to try to find this Dulcea person?"

Gillian shrugged. "Part of me says that I should. If NASADA had her ship in storage for two years, then it makes sense that she would still be around somewhere. Biding her time... I suppose." She paused for a moment, glancing down the road before turning back to Tommy. "On the other hand, if she's been missing for two years and nobody spotted her, then it also makes sense that she's either dead by now or simply doesn't want to be found. Who the hell knows?"

"Maybe," Tommy replied, "Until then, we live our lives, right?"

"Right," she replied. She then extended a hand forward, which Tommy accepted. "It was a pleasure to meet you."

"Same here," he replied with a smile. "I only wish you could stick around a little longer."

"Oh yeah, because that went over so well," Gillian chuckled, something that Tommy couldn't really get used to, but it was slowly growing on him. "And I doubt we'll be meeting again. Unless it's in some retirement home somewhere."

Tommy laughed. "Yeah, right. This is a lifetime contract. It's either this or digging up dinosaur bones for a living."

The two shared a hearty laugh for a moment. When both calmed down, Gillian gathered her bag of belongings, slung it over her shoulder, and turned towards the long road.

"Take care of yourself," Tommy added.

"You too" was her last reply before she began her long walk. Tommy held his ground as he watched Gillian walking down the road until she was long gone. Soon enough, Tommy found himself alone on the road out of town, save for the occasional car that would drive by. His mind soon wandered on the past week; so focused on thinking about the past events that he hadn't noticed Kimberly teleporting in from behind him. When she stood next to him, he turned his head to hers, breaking out of his trance.

"And?" she asked.

"She kept the coin," he said with regret, although it was regret that she couldn't stay a little while longer. He turned to Kim. "I heard you ran into her a short while ago."

"She seems friendly enough," Kim replied, "When she isn't trying to kill us, that is."

"Yeah," he said. He took one last glance at the sky. Kim noticed the frown on her companion's face growing.

"What is it?"

"I just have this funny feeling that we're going to meet again," Tommy said, "And that's before the 'lifetime' contract comes to an end."

"Could you stop with that?" Kim said, punching Tommy's arm lightly. "Let's get out of here."

Tommy nodded in agreement and the couple pressed the teleport button on their communicators, vanishing in respective white and pink columns. But not before Tommy was able to let out one comment.

"Were you listening in?"


THE END...

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