“Time to go home.”
By Lucas Harrell
“Man, that jog was just what I needed,” I said.
“Good morning to you too, sweetie,” Kat said, giving me a kiss. “How do you want your eggs cooked, Tom?”
“Fried and the yolk busted,” I said, flopping down on the couch. “It sure has been nice of Lucas to use his cabin this whole time. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here almost two months.”
“I know what you mean,” Kat said, “It still seems like just yesterday when we were in the world ship.”
“Got that right.” Feril came in from upstairs and sat down at the counter in the kitchen. “Didn’t Lucas want to spar with you, Tom?”
“Oh yeah,” I said, “Well, after I eat, I’ll digitize and head towards his house and get it over with.”
“Be careful,” Kat said, handing me my food. “Don’t underestimate him, whatever you do.”
“I won’t,” I said. I ate quickly. “I should be back pretty soon.” I hit the main key on my wrist computer. “Uplink: Lightning Rod.” I digitized and found myself in the cyber realm. “I’ll never get used to that, no matter how long I stay here. Download.” I spiraled back to reality and found myself in Lucas’s bedroom. What I saw there had my face turning red for hours. It was Bea changing clothes. She didn’t have a top on.
“Lucas, is that...” She turned and we looked at each other, shocked. She was topless. I ran from the room. I bumped into Lucas in the hallway.
“Whoa,” he said, “Where’s the fire, Tom?”
“I’m sorry, Lucas,” I said, “I digitized and came here, looking to have that sparring match I owed you, and I...” I couldn’t find a way to finish the sentence.
“Bea’s still in there...” Lucas broke off when the realization hit him. “Oh.”
“I didn’t mean to see her,” I said, “I mean, I would never...” I couldn’t finish the sentence, especially when Bea came out of Lucas’s room.
“Tom,” she said, “It’s all right. You shouldn’t be embarrassed over seeing me like that. I’m not.”
“Nope,” she said, “All right, maybe a little, but only a very little.”
I sighed with relief, though my face was still red. “If Bea doesn’t mind,” Lucas said, “Then neither do I. Come on. Let’s go to the attic. That’s where I set up the mats and stuff.”
“It’s the basement at my house,” I said.
“Yeah, I know,” Lucas said. I mentally smacked myself for forgetting that little bit of information. “I put it in the attic because of two good reasons. One, the basement floor is solid concrete. The attic isn’t. Won’t hurt half as much. Two...”
“Two, he doesn’t even have a basement,” Bea finished for him.
I laughed softly. We walked up to the attic and over to the mats. We both warmed up and then stepped out onto them. We sparred for about an hour. Bea was cheering us on.
“Si-kyahh,” Lucas said, coming at me with a jump snap kick. I moved out of the way and went for a spinning side kick. He moved and went for a weird kick. It looked like it started out as a snap kick, but he did a slight turn to the right at the last moment, turning it into a side kick. I was amazed, and he tagged me gently in the ribs.
“Whoa,” I said, “Where’d you learn that?”
“Would you believe self taught?”
“No way,” I said, “That was an amazing maneuver.” With that, we went back to sparring. I tried the same move, but was a little clumsy, since I wasn’t used to using it in my fighting style. He caught my leg and connected with an open palmed tap onto my ribs.
“Man,” I said, “Two points already? What belt are you?”
“I was a blue when my school closed down years ago,” Lucas said, “I’ve been teaching myself since then. I’ve just about doubled my martial arts skills.”
“Man,” I repeated, “A blue belt giving a second degree black belt a run for his money. And I was surprised over Feril.”
“Well, there’s that,” Lucas said, “And I know your fighting style. I would know better than anyone but you. Plus, I was only a blue belt when I was forced to quit. I’m a lot better now than I was then.
“Man,” I said, “Good points. I should get Feril to come in here sometime. With her unpredictability, she’ll kick your butt. Heck, I barely tied with her when she first showed up.”
“She probably can,” Lucas said.
“Hey Lucas,” Bea called. He looked over, and I took advantage. I put him on the floor with a takedown.
“Hey, no fair,” he said, “Who’s side are you on anyway, Bea?” Lucas was being playful, as always, but Bea had a determined look on her face.
“Sorry,” she said, “In case you were too busy to hear, our wrist computers just chirped.”
“Right,” Lucas said. He hit his communications button. “We read you, S-1.”
“Virus monster, gigamites,” Samurai-1 said, “Cyber sector seventeen. T.J. and Cheryl are out on a double date, so I’ll call Tom and Kat.”
“Tom’s right here, so just call Kat,” Lucas said, “We’re on it.” He let go of the communications button. “Ready?” Bea and I nodded. We hit our main keys. “Uplink: Servo.”
“Uplink: Lightning Rod.” We digitized and met Kat, Feril, and Will in cyberspace. We went and tore apart the enemy and were back in time for supper, which actually wasn’t very long. I went to the cabin with the others, while Bea and Lucas went to his house.
Windell, his stepdad, looked up and saw them holding hands. Lucas was right handed, so he had to slowly eat, since that hand was entwined with Bea’s. He actually smiled.
“I can’t stand this,” his brother, Joe, said, “I’ve been dating girls on and off and you never let them live with us.”
“For one, its just temporary,” Lucas said, “Her living here. Another thing, you’re girlfriends never went through something as traumatic as Bea, have they?”
“No,” Joe said defeated, “But I still don’t like it.” The ate dinner in silence the rest of the time, with Joe sending Lucas dark scowls.
Lucas ignored him for the rest of dinner and went with Bea upstairs into her room. There, he tucked her in. He went into his room and fell asleep.
A few days later, we were all in Lucas’s room, discussing the recent frequency of our fights with Gigatron’s forces.
“He has to run out of new virus monsters soon,” I said, “There’s no way he could have an infinite space database, is there?”
“No such thing,” Will said, “Not even on our world, where it’s a lot more technological.”
“I’ve always thought that those virus monsters looked familiar somehow,” Lucas piped up. “I think I’ve seen them somewhere before. I just can’t think of where.”
“I know what you mean,” T.J. said. Bea and Cheryl nodded.
I was about to say something, when a vortex opened. ‘It could only be one person,’ I thought. Sure enough, Justin came walking out of it a minute later. We all got up to give him hugs and handshakes.
“Welcome, Ares,” Lucas said, “I mean Justin.” We explained to Justin what was going on, and who Lucas, Bea, Cheryl, and T.J. were.
“This is too strange,” Justin said, “I’ve got one question for you, Lucas. Why did M’Giia have to die?”
“Ever heard of the subconscious imagination theory?”
“A little bit,” Justin said, “All right, it’s in Ares computer and that’s how I learned about it. What about it? And don’t change the subject.”
Lucas sighed. “The theory states,” he said, “That the better part of the imagination is in the subconscious part of the brain. When you allow your mind to wonder while you write, if you’re a writer, it allows you to come up with good stories. I just happened to use that when I was writing the fanfic pertaining to M’Giia’s death, just like I do for every fanfic. Before I knew it, M’Giia had died at the hands of... Gasket, I believe. Tall robot with a long sword. I’m sorry, Justin.”
“It’s all right, I guess,” Justin said, “Well, ready to go home, Rangers? I can get us back without a hitch.”
“Sure.” The response was immediate and unanimous.
“It’s been a real pleasure staying here,” I said, “And at your cabin, Lucas.”
“It’s been a real pleasure having you,” Lucas said, “If you ever have a need to visit here, look us up.”
“We will,” I said, “Same goes with you, if you find a way to come to our timeline.”
“You got it, bro,” Lucas said. We all exchanged hugs and handshakes. Then, us Rangers started to get ready to go home.
“Tom, can I speak to you alone for a moment?” I looked up, to find Bea talking to me.
“Sure,” I said, a little uncomfortably. I had a good idea what she was wanting to talk about. We excused ourselves and went into Bea’s room.
“I just wanted to talk about what happened the other morning,” she said. My face turned red. ‘I knew it.’ “Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind, and I still don’t, that you saw me topless, it’s just a little discomforting.”
“Would it make you feel any better for my opinion?” I inquired. I mentally smacked myself for asking such a stupid question. She nodded. “You’re a... let’s just say remarkable girl. That Lucas is lucky. And, if you don’t mind me saying, while I do have a girlfriend, I’d be lying if I said that...” I didn’t know how to finish the sentence.
“You’d be lying if you said that you didn’t like what you saw,” Bea finished. I nodded. She blushed, but looked to be feeling more comfortable. “Thanks. That did help. It puts me a little more at peace with my body, if you know what I mean.”
“I’ve got a good idea,” I said, “Well, we better be getting back, before Kat and Lucas get the wrong idea.” That last part was teasing, and it brought a grin to her pretty face.
“You’re just as bad a tease as Lucas,” Bea said, “I’m pretty sure that you two are each timeline’s version of each other.”
“Or he just might’ve used his personality more into my character,” I said, “Anyway, shall we?” She linked one of her arms through mine and we walked into Lucas’s room.
We went to the cabin and got the few things we had here and went back to Lucas’s. Along the way, Justin picked up his wrist computer.
“There’s no need to explain it,” I said, “We’re about to go home. I doubt we’ll ever need them again once we do. In fact...” With a nod to the others, I took off my wrist computer. So did the other Rangers.
“Right,” Justin said, “Well, we better get going. Who knows what all El Dominos has done while we’ve been gone.”
“Just a minute,” Will said. He turned to Lucas and the others. “I’ve been here the longest, so I think I’ll start out with the goodbyes. Lucas, Bea, Cheryl, T.J, you’ve all been good friends to me these past few months. You’ve taken me into your lives, even knowing that, one day, I would leave to go home. Thank you all. And you too, Samurai-1, for giving me these temporary powers, and allowing me to be a part of something again.”
“You’re welcome, Will,” came the response from everyone mentioned.
“Thank you for being a good friend,” Bea said, “And helping me find out my feelings about Lucas when I needed help doing so.”
“You’re welcome,” Will said, giving Bea a hug. He went and did the same for the others, and stood by Justin, waiting to go home.
Feril stepped up next. “You five have become part of my family,” she said, “After my real family died, I didn’t think I would ever feel like that again. Thank you. And yes, I was even talking about Samurai-1.”
“You’re welcome,” Lucas said, “All of you have become like family to us, too. I know that well enough to speak for all of us.” With all of that said, Feril hugged Lucas and the others, then went to stand with Will and Justin.
Kat stepped up. “I haven’t taken a lot of time to know you,” she said, “But you have became four of my best friends. Or should I say five?” Lucas and his friends all smiled. Kat gave them all hugs and stood with Justin and the others. Tanya, Adam, Shawn and Ashley said quick goodbyes.
I finally stepped up. “I don’t know what to say,” I said, “Lucas, I’ve come to think of you as one of my closest friends. You’ve allowed myself and the others to stay at your cabin for so long, you’ve gone out of your way to make us feel welcome in a strange world, and you’ve gone out of your way to make us feel a part of a superhero team again. I can’t begin to thank you enough. I hope that you’ll beat Gigatron soon and be able to live normal lives again.” I extended a hand, palm down.
Lucas placed his hand on top of mine. Everyone else followed suit, whether they be Ranger, Cybersquad member, or a little bit of both.
“As much as I would hate to interrupt,” Justin said. I nodded, and he opened a wormhole. I hugged Bea and Cheryl while everyone but Justin jumped into it. I shook T.J.’s hand and went to stand in front of Lucas.
“Take good care of yourself, bro,” I said, shaking his hand. “And this team. Especially Bea.”
“I will, bro,” Lucas said. With that, I jumped into the the wormhole. Justin followed right behind me, and it closed up afterwards.