Season: Dino Thunder quartet fluff (Ethan, Conner, Kira, Trent)
Summary: Reefside loses power, Ethan loses contact, Trent loses his shoe, and Conner loses a big stick. Kira comes through relatively unscathed--except that Dr. O may never let her housesit again. (G)
Written for: arytra, who totally rocks -- I’m your “secret snowflake,” and I’m so glad! I read every story in your livejournal in the name of “research,” and it was a fabulous experience ♥ I managed to refrain from posting links to ALL of them in my journal, but some of my glee spilled over ::grin:: Thanks for giving me a reason to write more Dino Thunder!
He should have noticed when Trent disappeared. But come on, the guy was a chameleon. Who knew when he was around, anyway? Besides, Hayley’s Cyberspace was one of the only places in town that had power after freak windstorms had torn through the day before. It was busy.
Ethan was totally helping out, too. He was in charge of supervising the electric distribution of Hayley’s two generators--anyone who worked with Power Rangers never had just one backup--to ensure that the lights stayed on while everyone and their sister used every available outlet to charge personal laptops and phones. It was a matter of simple arithmetic: available wattage minus necessary drain equaled a certain amount left over for customer consumption.
He didn’t tell them how easy it was, though. And it wasn’t like the definition of “necessary drain” didn’t change every time Hayley fired up the dishwasher, so he was really kind of an Energy Manager. With benefits. The most important of those being unlimited and unquestioned gadget-charging space behind the counter.
With all of that on his mind, he didn’t think it was a big surprise that he missed Trent’s departure. Trent was running around, getting people stuff or reassuring them or something. He could be anywhere. Ethan noticed when Conner called, so it wasn’t like Trent couldn’t have paged him.
“Hey, Ethan.” Conner’s voice in his ear made him look around for Trent, just out of habit, but his next words didn’t follow. “Notice anything missing?”
What Ethan noticed was the fact that Conner was out of breath. He was talking too loudly, like maybe he wasn’t holding the phone as close as he could, and Ethan immediately forgot the priority list he’d been working on. “Uh, my concentration?”
Conner apparently took this as a complaint, which was fine with Ethan because he had a reputation, after all. “Dude, suck it up,” Conner told him. “Your concentration versus our awesomeness; which is more important?”
Ethan heard another voice in the background, too muffled for him to make out the words but he thought it had to be Kira. “Hey,” he said. “Where’s Trent?”
“Hey!” Conner shouted, not exactly covering the phone before he did it. “He noticed you’re gone! You ever find that note?” he added, in a more reasonable tone of voice that Ethan assumed was directed at him.
“What note?” Ethan looked around automatically, but nothing had appeared on the counter next to him. He reassessed his assumptions about Conner’s current activities, given that Trent was apparently far enough away that Conner had to shout for him. “Where are you, anyway?”
“He noticed I’m gone too!” Conner yelled, and Ethan winced, holding the phone a little farther from his ear. “Sorry, Kira,” he heard Conner add. “I guess he doesn’t miss you.”
“Okay, what’s going on?” Ethan wanted to know. “Why are you all AWOL? And do you have to shout, ‘cause seriously, I might need my hearing later in life when my mad computer skills can no longer support all of us in the manner to which we’ll be accustomed.”
“AWOL?” Conner repeated. There was the sound of a crash. “What are you, hacking a defense database or something?”
“Absent,” Ethan said patiently, “without leave.”
“Oh, no, dude,” Conner replied. “That’s totally you.” There was another crash. “Anytime you feel like joining us, by the way. Kira’s sulking, but Trent and I are flattered you noticed we’re not there.”
“Where are you?” Ethan demanded.
“It’s on the note,” Conner told him.
“And you’re on the phone,” Ethan said. “Since I’m holding the phone, and I’m definitely not holding any note, I think you should answer the question.”
“Hey, Trent!” Conner yelled. “Where’d you leave that note!”
The voice that was probably Kira’s came again, still too indistinct to make out, and Conner yelped. There was the sound of a click, some shuffling, and possibly several more crashes in the background. Or maybe it was just interference.
“Ethan,” Kira said in his ear. “We’re at Dr. O’s. Come fix the generator before our latest prehistoric disaster eats Conner.”
Oh. That explained a lot. Except for the most obvious: “What are you doing at Dr. O’s house?”
“Well, Trent’s eating popcorn,” Kira reported. “So far, Conner’s only managed to destroy a speaker and one screen-like thing we can’t identify. I personally am reconsidering doing any favors for Dr. O ever again.”
In other words, she wasn’t going to tell him until he got over there and magically solved all their problems. Dr. O had skipped town a few days back, off to some academic conference or cultural tour or something that Ethan was pretty sure was a cover for the fact that he had invented a time machine. Dr. O had probably seen this whole power outage coming and gotten out while the getting was good.
He was a little curious what non-morpher-worthy emergency could have called the rest of the team to their teacher’s house. He was a lot more curious what popcorn-worthy activity Conner could be engaged in that had Trent sitting and watching while Kira considered “getting eaten” a distinct possibility. So he shrugged, told his phone, “Be there in a few,” and looked around for Hayley.
It was only when he lowered his phone that he noticed the tiny post-it stuck to the back. Kira called, it said. Meet us at Dr. O’s. T
The door was unlocked when he got there. It was quiet inside, no reassuring electronics hum or uncool music or even lights in the kitchen. Just like every other house. That was weird. Dr. O had enough power under his house to run the entire street indefinitely. Why was Kira talking about a generator?
“Guys?” Ethan called, glancing around as he headed for the basement entrance. “Prehistoric disasters” sounded like something that would be found downstairs. But just in case. “Anyone home?”
He didn’t hear anything, but if they were downstairs, he wouldn’t. Soundproofing. Very handy when the velociraptors got loose. A person could walk all the way around the house--they could sit and have coffee, dinner, or even watch TV and never hear a thing. Until...
“Ow!” Conner yelled, and something went flying past Ethan’s head. He ducked, much too late. The sneaker had already missed him at that point. “Dude, the plant’s got the whacking covered, okay? Whose side are you on?”
“Just trying to help.” Trent’s easy drawl sounded amused. “I thought you could use some more ammunition.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Conner retorted. “Stop helping.”
Okay, not the velociraptors. But that was one bad-looking plant. It looked like Dr. O was trying to breed some kind of giant super mutant venus flytrap. With eight heads. Heads that had really long, arm-like necks. The only good thing that Ethan could see was that it didn’t appear to be ambulatory.
“Hey, Ethan,” Kira said, wandering past with a mug in her hand. “Want something to drink? Juice or soda or something?”
“Yeah, whatever you’ve got,” he said, still staring at the plant. “What is that thing?”
“Who knows.” He could practically hear Kira roll her eyes. “Dr. O left instructions: water twice a day, monitor CO2 levels, never turn off its special light. Oh, and--spoiler alert--it’s that last part that turned out to be a problem.”
“The light went off when the power went out,” Ethan guessed. And the plant wasn’t happy about it. Unless it showed happiness by slamming its giant head-arms into anything it could reach--the bigger the better, apparently. Or maybe it just liked things that moved around. Conner was holding it off with one of Dr. O’s practice weapons, spinning the stick over his wrist and smacking any part of the plant that got too close.
“We have a winner,” Kira declared. “Want to guess why the rest of the lights are on?”
“Think ‘Dr. O,’” Trent advised, waving a handful of popcorn in his direction. It was hard to tell whether it was a greeting or an invitation, but Ethan chose to see it as the latter. As he joined Trent and the popcorn bowl on one of the top-secret, very sensitive, absolutely-no-setting-things-on-this-one consoles, Trent added, “Then think ‘things someone might remind Dr. O not to forget before he went on vacation.’”
“Then think ‘Dr. O’ again,” Kira remarked, sitting down in the chair in front of the console they were lounging on. She folded her legs underneath her and handed a mug up to Ethan. “Pass me the popcorn.”
“Hey,” Conner protested, from the other side of the room. “I thought Ethan was supposed to help me over here!”
“I think you’re doing fine,” Ethan called. “Looking good there!”
“The plant light,” Kira said, taking a handful of popcorn when Trent offered her the bowl, “is plugged into a separate backup generator that kicks in as soon as the power goes out. It’s on a different circuit or whatever from all of this--” She waved her free hand around the basement. “So it doesn’t automatically power everything up the second the rest of the neighborhood goes dark.”
“With you so far,” Ethan agreed, frowning.
“Dr. O forgot to turn it on,” Trent said helpfully.
And now he was with them all the way. “The switch is on the other side of the plant,” Ethan guessed.
Trent smiled. “Bingo.”
Ethan tossed back some popcorn and considered the situation. The plant looked mean, and Conner was hitting it pretty hard, but he didn’t look like he was in trouble or anything. It wasn’t like the plant was advancing on him. Short of destroying some things Dr. O probably didn’t want destroyed, there didn’t seem to be much the plant could do if Conner just stepped out of reach. Ethan assumed he was standing where he was either A) because he was trying to get to the plant’s light switch, or B) he was having fun hitting the plant heads. Or arms.
“Has anyone tried turning out the rest of the lights?” Ethan asked.
Kira glanced up at Trent, who sat up and slid off the console. The room was plunged into darkness a moment later--interrupted only by a yelp from Conner. Not an annoyed shout, but a startled yell that made Trent turn the lights back on. Revealing Conner, wrapped up by two of the giant head-arms with his own arms pinned to his sides.
Ethan grinned. Trent looked away, supposedly hiding his face. Kira just laughed. “I take back what I was just thinking,” she announced. “About how the plant might not have been doing anything when it was totally dark in here.”
“Yeah, great,” Conner said. The big stick he’d been using to hit the plant with was curled up in another head-arm, and Ethan hoped the plant wasn’t going to take any inspiration from him. “How about getting me out of here?”
“Don’t move,” Trent suggested. “Real venus flytraps let their prey go if it doesn’t move.”
“Oh, so if I play possum I might not be plant food,” Conner grumbled. “It just gets better.”
“Hang on a sec.” Ethan got up, skirting the plant’s reach on his way over to the old velociraptor hatching ground. The plant whipped an arm half-heartedly in his direction when he dragged one of the giant habitat lights toward it. “Hey, watch it. This is for you, buddy.”
“It wants its special light,” Kira reminded him.
“It probably wants sunlight,” Ethan corrected.
“Oh, well, I don’t know about you,” Conner complained, “but I’m fresh out. We’re in the bat cave, dude.”
“That’s not sunlight,” Kira added unnecessarily.
“It’s full-spectrum,” Ethan said. “Maybe it’ll distract the plant long enough for us to turn its light back on.”
He flicked the habitat light on without waiting for a reply--then leapt back as every single one of the plant’s eight head-arms swooped in his direction. “Whoa!”
Conner grunted as the plant dropped him, but he lunged for the generator. “How do I get this thing going?” he called over his shoulder.
“It’s Dr. O,” Ethan said, standing carefully just beyond reach while the plant communed with its new love, the full-spectrum habitat light. “It probably has a giant red button that says ‘power’ on it.”
“Close,” Conner said, as another bright light poured across the floor and the plant lifted its weird head-arms toward the ceiling in rapture. “It says ‘on.’”
“Well,” Ethan said, edging toward the habitat light. “Problem solved.” The plant swung toward him as he reached for the light, and he jerked back. “Or not.”
“It has eight heads and it lives in an underground lair,” Conner said, sliding out through the crazy plant rapture and reaching for the practice weapon. “Let it keep the other light.” The plant slapped his wrist just before his hand closed around the stick, and he backed away quickly. “Okay. Keep that too. Hey, learn to use it and we can spar sometime.”
“Do you think he likes that plant better than he likes us?” Trent asked Kira.
“They did look pretty friendly for a while there,” she agreed, accepting another pass at the popcorn bowl. “Maybe we should wear more green.”
“Maybe you should hand over that popcorn and I’ll consider giving Trent his sneaker back,” Conner told them. He was holding the erstwhile projectile in one hand while he waved with the other one, presumably for the bowl.
“It’s all right,” Trent said, smirking up at him. He passed the popcorn anyway. “I’m not planning to go anywhere for a while.”
“Yeah,” Ethan said. “It looks like all the action is here.”
He pretended to flinch when Kira hit him, and she almost pretended it mattered. “Well, thank you for noticing,” she told him.
Ethan just rolled his eyes. “Tell Trent to leave a bigger note next time.”