Disclaimer: Abaranger belongs to Toei. PRDT belongs to BVE/VRP.

Author's notes: I orignally posted this after "Lost and Found In Translation" was announced. I pulled it for clarification and revision, after several people pointed out that I didn't put enough explanation of Abaranger. Hopefully I have now addressed the issue.

This fic is AU (in the sense that "Lost and Found" doesn't exist), and is set past the end of the series.

To This World Or Another
by EstiRose
c 2004

Trent got to the beach and set the umbrella up. This time, he was going to really enjoy his trip to the beach, and the beach party. The evil was gone from his gem and everything was fine.

Okay, except for the psychotic doctor's ghost.

The other man had shown up one day while Trent was studying, and had been appearing and disappearing ever since. He was a somewhat youthful asian man in a long white coat - not a doctor's coat, just... well, a white coat. He spoke English with an accent, and he smiled. A lot. In not a good way. And he knew Trent's name.

He had explained that he was Mikoto Nakadai and that he was from a different dimension. To do some good, he'd said. And he needed Trent's help. Of course, he'd just smiled mysteriously when Trent had asked. All he'd learned was that Mikoto was a doctor... and that he was insane.

"Lovely day, isn't it?"

Speak of the devil. Trent resolutely ignored the ghost, or whatever Mikoto was. If he ignored him, maybe he'd go away.

"I thought you might want to know that your partner is ready," Mikoto said.

Whatever the hell that meant.

"You know," Mikoto said, "I'm doing you a favor."

"You're driving me insane," Trent muttered under his breath, glad he hadn't set up anywhere near anybody else.

"Wouldn't you like to be free from here? To indulge your... artistry somewhere that would truly appreciate you? To have a parter that would never leave you?"

"I'm happy here. I have teammates, and a girlfriend," Trent muttered, hoping that talking to the ghost would shut him up.

Mikoto just grinned.

Trent glared and went to join the action. If he was around other people, Mikoto stopped bothering him.

Mikoto waved and disappeared.

- - -

As Trent was packing up his umbrella, Mikoto appeared again. "Not you again," Trent muttered.

Mikoto grinned again. "It's time."

"Time for what?" Trent asked. He shook his head, picking up his umbrella and passing right through Mikoto.

That, it turned out, was his mistake.

The world flashed white, and then Trent was in some kind of forest. He didn't recognize any of the plants, and he knew that he had survival training. Wherever he was, it wasn't California, or any place that had similar plants. Mikoto was still there, however. "Where am I?" he asked.

"Dino Earth," Mikoto said mildly. "Enjoy your new home."

"You can't...."

But Mikoto was gone, leaving him in a strange place. He got out the GPS he carried around; nothing. "Great." He sat down with his umbrella and the remains of his food, and hoped Mikoto would come back.

- - -

Mikoto didn't come back.

Trent found himself, after a day or so, foraging for food. This wasn't a great place to sustain human life, but somebody had to be about, because he saw signs of intelligent civilization. Soemwhere there were people, friendly or no.

He was just grateful that his parents had insisted on making him take survival training when he was younger. And maybe the natives were friendly, but since Mikoto had called the place "Dino Earth", Trent wasn't sure. Maybe the natives were carnivourous. And he had no idea who this mysterious partner was supposed to be.

He swallowed the scraggly berries he'd found in a bush nearby, washing them down with water. At least water existed. Soon, he fell asleep, the screech of his old Zord echoing in his ears.

- - -

He awoke to find a three-foot-tall version of said zord sitting at his head the next morning.

"Hello," he managed, eyeing it warily. "Great. Where did you come from and where's your mommy?"

The perfect replica of his zord just screeched again, and then something spoke. He looked to see where the voice was coming from, and to his amazement, it was coming out of his morpher. Which was in morpher form instead of bracelet form.

"Great," he mumbled. "Now my morpher is talking, I've got a baby zord on my hands, and I'm going nuts."

He gathered up his few belongings and, still keeping an eye on the miniature zord, carefully began to back away. Once he was out of the clearing he started to walk. And walk fast. Very fast.

Eventually, still having no idea where he was, he settled down and got out more of the berries. He chewed on them, hoping to get enough energy to find the nearest settlement... and hope they didn't find him first.

He settled down. After a while, his stomach began to hurt, and Trent knew that he must have reached the point where the berries were poisonous. "Great." he muttered. He curled up in a ball.

- - -

Trent wasn't even aware he'd fallen asleep. But the screech of the miniature DracoZord woke him up, to find several people, vaguely human, surrounding him. They looked human, asian human, except for odd things below their eyes. One spoke, but Trent couldn't understand. "I'm harmless," he said, hoping that maybe they understood English.

He stood up, hands in front of him, hoping that they knew that he wasn't going to fight back. The members of the group looked at him suspiciously, but he was relatively unharmed as they hauled him towards a village.

- - -

Trent sat down, rubbing his left wrist. It had been the first time since he'd acquired his morpher that he'd been without it. In his own world, it had always teleported back, but here, it didn't seem to have that ability. He didn't know if it was a difference between his world and this one.

He didn't know why the headman of the village had confiscated it, but he had. The guy probably didn't even know what it was, probably considered it pretty. The people of this planet seemed very primitive and very advanced at the same time.

At least he was being fed, even if the people stared a lot. He wished Mikoto would come back - at least he spoke English.

Beside him, the miniature version of DracoZord screeched. It seemed unwilling to leave him. He wished he knew why, other than, at one time, he had been in control of something similar to it.

Trent got up and walked out of the village boundaries. He wanted to see if anyone would stop him, but nobody did, even with DracoZord Jr screeching behind him. "Go away," he muttered, but the mini-zord didn't seem to understand.

What did it matter that he didn't have his morpher? It had been a curse, after all. And he didn't want to call upon his Power ever again. Tommy and Hayley would find him, and he'd be out of here. He'd be away from weird asian people with weird marks on their faces, and away from DracoZord Jr.

Eventually, he walked into a grove of trees, having lost DracoZord Jr. "Finally," he muttered, and used his power to blend in with the nearest tree. He closed his eyes.

"You shouldn't leave him alone," Mikoto interrupted smoothly. Trent opened his eyes, so startled that he lost his blend with the tree.

"What are you doing here? What are those people, and why do I have a three-foot Zord trailing me?" Trent asked the ghost.

"That," Mikoto said, as said mini-Zord appeared in the grove, "is TopGaler. You're his partner, as I was, once. If that idiot Asuka hadn't taken your morpher, you'd be able to talk and he'd be able to explain."

Trent was about to ask who Asuka was, but he remembered the man who had taken his morpher away. "I couldn't understand him the first time, and I don't have a problem with them having my morpher. They can't use it anyway."

Mikoto shook his head and said something to the miniZord. It screeched in response. "Idiot do-gooders," Mikoto said.

Trent got up. "Send me home," he demanded. "I can't speak the language, and I'm not spending the rest of my life here."

"TopGaler can help with the language," Mikoto said mildly. "And once Asuka gets it through his think warrior skull that you're not going to blow up like I did, he should return the morpher. He's honorable that way." Mikoto snorted at that last.

"And what do I do in the meantime?" Trent asked, hoping that someone would find him soon. Someone friendly.

"You have two choices," Mikoto told him. "Either stay out here, and hope your survival skills can keep you alive, or go back to the village. In either case, TopGaler won't leave you. He might even save your life."

"Right," Trent said. "But...."

Mikoto chose that moment to fade out. Trent turned towards the miniZord. "Okay, what do you think we should do?" he asked.

The miniZord - TopGaler, he corrected, screeched and pointed back towards the village. Trent's shoulders slumped. "Too bad I can't ride you," he muttered, starting back towards the village.

- - -

He arrived back at the village before dark, TopGaler coming in behind him. He steadfastly ignored the stares and headed towards where he'd woken up - in a tent with no walls, just a roof. He sat down on his 'bed', hoping that someone might do something soon. At the very least, if he stayed there, maybe Dr. O or Hayley might find him.

TopGaler settled beside him, an impromptu bodyguard. "What's going to happen to you when I go home?" he asked. He presumed that somebody would become TopGaler's partner.

The miniZord screeched. He looked up to find that the headman's wife was coming to him with food.

"Hi," he said to her. She looked at him, looked at TopGaler, and said something to TopGaler. The miniZord screeched in response. She talked more to it. It screeched back. Trent had to watch the whole conversation unfold, and wonder what was going on, except they seemed to be talking about him.

The woman finally walked off, leaving Trent wondering as to the whole conversation. "Great. Now all I have to do is to get you to translate." Except TopGaler couldn't, if Mikoto was to be believed.

A sound made him look up, and the village headman was back, eyeing him warily. The headman reached in a pocket and held out Trent's morpher.

Trent put his hands up. He'd gotten rid of his morpher, now the guy wanted to give it back? "No, thanks," he said, hoping against hope that the man would understand.

The man looked confused, and said something that vaguely sounded like "Nani?"

TopGaler screeched. It seemed to glare at Trent, and then screeched again at the man.

"I really don't need that, really," Trent said, knowing he wouldn't be understood.

The headman just continued looking confused, and put the morpher reverently down on the bed. Trent was left alone with TopGaler once more, who put his nose down on the bed and pushed the morpher towards Trent.

"No, putting the morpher on doesn't help me understand you," Trent said irritably.

TopGaler pushed the morpher up next to Trent's leg, ignoring his response. It put its head up and screeched at him once again. Trent got up, ignoring it. "I'm taking a walk."

He walked off again, deciding that if worst came to worst, he'd figure out how to live out in the wilderness. Or die. Or hope Hayley got him out of there.

"You know, if you put the morpher on and kept it there, TopGaler would start speaking English," Mikoto said.

Trent glared.

"Suit yourself," Mikoto said, smirking. "It's up to you. You can either live with the Dragon People, or die."

"Or get rescued," Trent said defensively. "I have teammates. People that will never let me be stranded here!"

Mikoto laughed. "I don't think you'll find leaving as simple as you think. You're part of this world now."

"Why?" Trent asked. "There's nothing to keep me here. TopGaler can find another partner."

Mikoto examined a pair of sunglasses. "Because if you don't stay, TopGaler is unpartnered... and without the discipline of a partner he'll go wild. There is a reason that his predecessor was trapped in stone," The ghost looked up, still smirking. "To use a phrase, TopGaler doesn't play well with others."

"Why can't I take TopGaler with me when I'm rescued?" Trent asked. He realized, at that moment, that he'd agreed to be partnered with the miniature Zord... and he wondered what his teammates would say when he came back with something resembling his destroyed Zord. Especially when it, as Mikoto implied, was somewhat of a discipline problem.

"You really want to go back to your boring world?" Mikoto asked. "Besides, I think you'll like it here. I think you'll find that it'll grow on you. You'll like it here."

"I'll like it here?" Trent exclaimed. "Do you know something about this place that I don't?"

Mikoto smirked. "Yes. Plenty of things."

"And?"

The ghost faded out. And TopGaler landed beside him. Trent sighed. "Well, partner, I guess we'd better be getting back."

TopGaler screeched. Trent headed back, arriving back as dusk started falling, TopGaler following. His morpher was still where it had been when he'd left - either there was no crime here, or everybody knew better than to steal it. He took a deep breath and put it on. "Okay, TopGaler, time for you to understand English."

The miniZord screeched again. Something incomprehensible came out of his morpher. Trent sighed. "I guess I start teaching you. Starting tomorrow."

He ate his dinner and lay down, tired after his adventure. He wondered if he could eventually tell someone that he needed more to eat than they were giving him. Maybe after he taught his partner English.

Without realizing it, he fell asleep.

- - -

Trent woke up to find TopGaler covering him - or at least his upper body - with one of its wings, just as it had the last night and the night before it. "Come on," he said, "Time to teach you English."

He walked out of the village, making sure TopGaler wasn't left behind, and started naming things in the woods. Then he returned to the village, and started naming things there, catching the interest of the headman. He indicated a pot, used for cooking, and named it. "Pot."

"Nabe," the headman said. Trent looked up suddenly. The headman was sitting there. "Nabe," the headman indicated again. He looked at Trent. "Pot."

Trent smiled.

He and the headman - the Asuka of Mikoto's frequent curses - wandered around, naming things to each other. He thought he was getting some verbs and some adjectives, but he wasn't sure. By the time dinner came around, he was sitting with the headman, trying his first sentences in the Dragon People's language. He just hoped Asuka wasn't laughing inside.

At the end of the day, Trent found himself in his tent, with TopGaler by his side. "I wonder what you felt about today," he mused.

"Good," came from his morpher.

Trent blinked. "TopGaler, is that you?"

"Human, I am learning." The miniature Zord's voice came from the morpher, as emotionless as a computer. He wondered if TopGaler would be that way forever, or if the Zord was just shy.

"Oh," Trent managed. When Mikoto said that TopGaler would learn English, he wasn't kidding. "But my name's Trent."

"I know." It was a statement of fact, nothing more.

Trent shook his head. "I see you're going to take a little getting used to," he said.

"As are you, human," the morpher responded. It wasn't the most scintillating conversation in the world, but at least TopGaler would provide companionship... at least until he got home.

Trent shook his head again.

"You will not leave me, human?" TopGaler asked. This time, it sounded less dispassionate this time. A computer that was afraid of losing its mommy. Or its partner. Or something like that.

"No," Trent told it. "Mikoto told me what would happen. But you might have to come to my world."

"I would miss the sky," TopGaler said. A statement of fact.

"But could you live there?" Trent asked.

The miniZord did not answer.

- - -

"Asuka," Trent asked, many days later, "Why did you take my morpher?" He spoke carefully in the Dragon People's language. His bond with TopGaler had helped him learn the language quickly - no doubt because it was probably one that the original TopGaler had understood. He didn't question it; he didn't question much since becoming a Ranger.

"Because I was afraid that it would explode," Asuka explained. "There was a man... my teammate, Nakadai Mikoto, who had a Minder like yours. It was how my teammates and I lost Mikoto." Asuka gently restrained his daughter from walking away.

"Teammates?" Trent repeated, not sure he'd heard Asuka correctly.

Asuka pulled out a photograph and handed it to Trent. "These are my teammates. They are from your world, AnotherEarth. I think you would call it... Japan."

"Japan?" Trent asked. "You visited Japan?" He studied the picture carefully. There were eight people in there - Mikoto, a stern-faced young man in blue, a girl in pigtails, a man in a yellow robe, a woman in a yellow jacket, a red-shirted young man holding a little girl, and Asuka in some kind of coat.

"I spent a year there," Asuka said proudly.

"Oh," Trent managed. It would explain some things about the village's headman. "Doing what?"

"Making sure the Evorian did not do to your world what it did to ours," Asuka said. He took something from a shelf and showed it to Trent. Trent tried not to gape at the exact duplicate of Dr. O's morpher. Asuka smiled.

"I was my village's chosen warrior," Asuka said. "The Evorian were going to attack AnotherEarth, turn it into a wasteland as they had here." Trent nodded. He'd seen the desert-like area encroaching on the forest where Asuka and his people lived.

"I managed to get through the portal and started calling for those who would hold the power... Emiri and Ryunosuke were the first to answer my call and the call of the Bakuryu. They could not hold the power, could not transform, but the call still reached them because they were needed. Yukito, Ranru, and Ryouga came too, and they became the partners of Kera, Ptera, and Tyranno. We learned later that Mikoto also received his powers that night, something that we would not know until much later.

"Mikoto was the last to join us. He was powerful, but he cared little for his power, only used it to keep himself entertained. But he did not like to be used, and the Evorians brought him to their side, intending to use him. His Minder was unstable, and TopGaler... they were a perfect match for each other. We lost both when his Minder exploded, destroying both the original TopGaler and Mikoto." He paused. "At least your Minder won't explode, our scientists checked it out."

"You should know... I spent most of my time on the side of evil," Trent confessed. Asuka might as well know what he'd let into his village. "Or at least on the side of myself."

"As did Mikoto," Asuka said. He studied Trent, and the morpher on Trent's wrist. "I think we should not be surprised at what our worlds have in common."

"No," Trent agreed. "But eventually, my friends will find me. And TopGaler and I will go home."

Asuka frowned at this. "I'm not sure it's wise for TopGaler to go to AnotherEarth," he said. "The Bakuryu belong here. This is their home."

"Why not?" Trent asked. "I'm his partner, and I don't think my teammates will allow me to stay here. I'm going to get rescued, whether anyone likes it or not."

"They might have to," Asuka said finally. "TopGaler chose you, and chose you here."

"So?" Trent asked, failing to see the connection.

"That makes this your home," Asuka replied. He looked away, and Trent wondered if Asuka was going to do something they'd both regret.

"TopGaler didn't choose me," Trent said. "Mikoto did. Your teammate. He transported me here and told me that I was TopGaler's partner. No questions asked."

"Mikoto is dead," Asuka informed him, though Trent swore the headman had gone pale. "I saw him die."

"That didn't stop his ghost from trapping me here after weeks of driving me crazy," Trent said, hoping that he was getting his point across.

Asuka sat back. "I think you'd better tell me how you got here," he said.

- - -

"So, can you help me get back?" Trent asked, pleading.

Asuka shook his head. "To my AnotherEarth, maybe," the other Ranger said.

"I'll have to hope it's mine, then," Trent replied, hoping that it was, truly, his world. But he knew it probably wasn't.

Asuka nodded. "It will take a while... but I will ask Ptera to see if she can reach Ranru."

"All right," Trent said, the names starting to sound familiar after spending time with Asuka. "She might want to see if there's a Dr. Thomas Oliver teaching at Reefside High School in Reefside, California, first."

Asuka nodded. "In the meantime, you and TopGaler are our guests."

- - -

Trent found himself working on one of the reclamation projects. He wasn't sure why the people were bothering to teach him a trade. Maybe Asuka wasn't having much luck contacting his teammate Ranru, or maybe they did want him here. Maybe Asuka wanted him to be helpful and do something while they tried to get him home.

Or maybe Mikoto was working on everybody's mind and making sure Trent didn't go home.

He was working on a seedling when he heard TopGaler screech. He looked up. "Mikoto," he said, greeting the ghost.

"You know, there's a reason why you're here," the ghost said, hands in pockets.

"If this is about TopGaler, he can be my partner on my Earth as he is here," Trent pointed out.

Mikoto shrugged. "He's not the only reason why you're here."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Trent demanded.

"You'll see," Mikoto said. "But believe me, you're needed more here than you are in your world."

Trent shook his head. "My teammates will never stop searching until they find me."

"Teammates," Mikoto said, looking thoughtful. "Very annoying at times."

Trent nodded. "Yes." He was reminded of how the others had insisted he become one of them, despite his crimes.

"Wouldn't you like to be free of that?" Mikoto asked. "These people don't care what you did. Asuka knows, and he hasn't thrown you out. It's a chance to start anew. Certainly, you have to admit, being among your teammates gets boring after a while."

"At least they accept what they've done. And they'll never stop searching, no matter what."

Mikoto shrugged. "Doesn't mean they'll find you."

"If anybody can, Dr. O will," Trent said.

Mikoto shrugged and disappeared, leaving Trent to return back.

"He means well, Human," TopGaler said through Trent's morpher.

"He has a funny way of showing it," Trent said. "Do you know why he wants me here?"

"Because I need a partner," TopGaler said. "Because Asuka needs a teammate."

"Power calls to Power," Trent realized.

"The gate between DinoEarth and AnotherEarth is closing," TopGaler said softly. "Mikoto seeks to amend his last deeds."

"I wish he'd do it another way," Trent said. "Just because we share the same power...."

TopGaler seemed to nod. "Human, you are a gate between worlds."

That made Trent stop. "TopGaler," Trent said, "Can I get home?" For the first time he'd landed on DinoEarth, he seemed to have hope of going back home again. If he wanted.

He shook his head. Definitely too much listening to Mikoto. Of course he wanted to get home, to Kira and Dr. O, and to Hayley and the others.

"Yes," the miniZord - mini-Bakuryu, more properly - replied. "Do not let Mikoto or Asuka stop you."

"Why would Asuka stop me?" Trent asked, feeling lost. The headman had been nothing but kind to him. "He's willing to help me get home."

"If you are here long enough, human, your Power will start to realign to Asuka's."

"Realign to Asuka's?" Trent echoed. "I wasn't aware it was aligned to anything. Besides, it's a gem, not a Power."

"Human, you are not of this world," TopGaler told him, "But the Power you hold is of this world. As you remain here, that which is not of this world is being purged away. It has started through our partnership, and it will not end until you leave or become entirely of this world."

Trent sat down. "So, eventually, I won't have a DinoGem?" he asked. "I'll have power through this world?" No GemPower, no worries about ever turning evil again... it was tempting.

"It will happen."

- - -

"Human, there is somebody trying to reach you from your world," TopGaler said softly. It had been a few weeks since Trent had discovered that he was slowly becoming Asuka's teammate, at least in terms of Power.

Trent looked at the bracelet containing his Gem in surprise. "But I haven't heard anything from this."

"It is being blocked," TopGaler said.

"Mikoto," Trent said, knowing that the ghost was behind the block.

"And your own energies," TopGaler reminded him. "It is the way of things, human."

Trent shook his head. "I'm not ready to be part of here yet. Any way to get them through?"

"You could convince Asuka to summon Yatsudenwani," the Bakuryu said helpfully.

Trent got up. "I'll try that."

- - -

A day later, he was eyeing a leafy, bipedal crocodile with an old-style telephone on its head. "This'll really work?" he asked doubtfully.

"Yatsudenwani can reach anywhere," Asuka said proudly.

"Here goes," Trent said, addressing the being. "Can you reach through me and call Dr. Thomas Oliver of Reefside, California, in my dimension? If not, Kira Ford, Ethan James, or Conner McKnight, same dimension?"

"I'll try," the being squeaked. "I don't think the boss would be very happy though."

"Just do it," Asuka told the crocodile. "Don't worry about Dr. Nakadai."

"Oh, right," the being said. He handed Trent his receiver, and concentrated. Trent heard a telephone ring.

"McKnight residence," a male voice said. Trent let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

"Conner?" Trent asked. Of all the teammates he could reach, he had to get Conner?

"Trent? Where are you? Do you know Dr. O's trying to reach you?" Conner asked.

"It's a long story, Conner," Trent said, hoping that the leafy crocodile could keep them in contact long enough to reassure everybody he was all right. "Just tell him to keep tracking - my comm's blocked, I'm using some weird means of calling you."

"Okay," Conner said. "Why didn't you call him?"

"This is the only way I could get in touch with anybody. I couldn't choose which one of you to talk to, I was lucky to get you."

"Okay, I'll tell Dr. O," Conner said. The crocodile was making motions.

Trent nodded. "I have to go, Conner. I'll talk to you later, hopefully."

"Right," Conner said.

And with that, the connection dropped. "Sorry, the Boss kinda didn't want that to happen," the crocodile squeaked.

Trent let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding. "I'll talk to Mikoto Nakadai," Trent said. "Asuka, Mahoro, Yatsudenwani, if you'll excuse me?"

Asuka nodded. "Good luck," he said.

"I'll need it," Trent muttered.

Trent walked into the forest, TopGaler, as always, by his side.

"Mikoto!" he called, willing the ghost to appear.

Mikoto appeared out of nowhere, as usual. "You know, you shouldn't have done that."

"Why not? I belong in my world, not here!"

"Not anymore," Mikoto insisted. "Besides, here, you will always have TopGaler by your side. Can you say that of your world?"

"TopGaler I've got forever," Trent reminded him roughly, "Thanks to you."

Mikoto smiled. "Of course," he said. "You two are natural partners. You both belong here."

"I have a father that's worried about me," Trent said. "I have friends, family. I'm not going to abandon them."

"Who said anything about abandoning them?" Mikoto asked. "Yatsudenwani has his uses... among other things, you could keep in touch with those you love... without having to ever return home. Don't you feel smothered by your teammates? Here, you wouldn't have to worry about being smothered. Asuka may be a fool, but he is also practical. He won't smother you."

"Asuka knows this isn't my home," Trent argued.

"And he'd be a fool to let TopGaler go to your world," Mikoto countered. "And what would you do with him in your world, anyway? Here, you can be true partners. Or would you rather see TopGaler in a zoo? In a freak show?"

Trent took a deep breath. "TopGaler and I are partners," he said. "I'll find a way. We'll find a way."

"Boring," Mikoto said. "No sense of adventure. No wonder your Gem had such a fun time with you."

Tensing up, Trent glared at the ghost. "What my Gem forced me to do is none of your business."

Mikoto seemed to be examining a tree. "But it is," he said. "There's some part of you that still feels guilty about what your Gem did. Some part of you that will never be at peace. Your mentor feels the same way, and what happened to him happened years ago. Why not stay here, where you've committed no crime?"

Trent turned away. "I'm not listening to you any more."

Behind him, Mikoto laughed. "But you will."

When Trent turned around, Mikoto was gone.

- - -

Trent returned to the village, greeted immediately by Asuka. "It didn't help," Trent said. "But I don't think he's blocking me from talking to the others."

Asuka nodded. "Mikoto is fond of games," he said. "He is also fond of manipulating people." He looked disgusted. "I'm sorry he's involving you in his game."

"What did you mean to him, Asuka?" Trent asked. "Why's he so determined to keep me here?"

"Me?" Asuka asked, surprised, and Trent regretted not mentioning it to the other Ranger earlier. "I thought he brought you here for TopGaler."

"Well, TopGaler too," Trent said, "But he wants me to stay on DinoEarth. He said something about the portal to your AnotherEarth closing, and that staying here was changing my energies so they were like yours."

Asuka got up. "We must get you back to your Earth. Immediately."

Trent nodded. "I know they're trying on my side."

"Then we must get in contact with them," Asuka said. "Yatsudenwani!"

The leafy crocodile being hurried up to them. "Yes?"

"We need to talk to Trent's friends again," Asuka said, looking determined.

"I really need to get home," Trent pleaded.

"Oh, right!" Yatsudenwani exclaimed. "Right away!"

"Could you try to get Dr. Thomas Oliver this time?" Trent asked. "He's Asuka's counterpart in my world, and if anybody can get me back home, he and Hayley can."

"I can try," Yatsudenwani said, handing Trent his receiver.

"Thanks," Trent said. He listened to the phone ring.

"Hello?" Hayley answered.

"It's Hayley," Trent said to Asuka. "She can help."

"Trent? Is that you? Where are you?" Hayley asked.

"DinoEarth," Trent said. "Can you get me back?"

"We're trying," Hayley said. "We tried to call you, but...."

"It's not getting through, I know," Trent said. "Look, I've got to get home. This weird ghost kidnapped me, and if I don't get home soon, I might be a permanent resident here."

"Is there any way you could set up a beacon to amplify your bio-signature?" Hayley asked.

"I don't know," Trent said. "I'd have you talk to Asuka and his people, but he doesn't speak English. And I don't know if you can trace me through Yatsudenwani."

"Yatsudenwani?" Hayley asked. "What's a Yatsudewani?"

"Well, he kind of looks like a bipedal crocodile with dials for eyes, leaves sprouting on his body, and an old-style telephone on his head," Trent said. "He's a...." He looked to Asuka. "What kind of being is Yatsudenwani?"

"He's a Toronoid," Asuka said.

Trent translated that. "Don't ask me what that means. All I know is that he's a living being and he can telephone anywhere."

"That doesn't help me much," Hayley said.

"I know," Trent said. "What did you say needed to be done?"

"How advanced is the civilization that you're in?" Hayley asked.

"Not very advanced, and very advanced at the same time," Trent said. "If you ask them to do something, they could probably do it."

"Good. Because I need them to find some way to amplify your bio-signature."

"Okay," Trent said. He repeated what she'd said to Asuka.

"We could do that," Asuka said. "We don't have many scientists left, but those we have would surely find a way."

"Thanks, Asuka," Trent said quietly. "Hayley, Asuka says that they can find a way to make you guys able to find me."

"Good," Hayley said. "I'll...."

Someone else picked up the receiver. "Trent, are you all right?" Dr. O asked, sounding worried. Which meant that he was worried. Dr. O worried. A lot.

"I'm fine, Hayley will get me home," Trent said. "I'll just stay here until you guys can get me back."

"We'll get you back as soon as possible," Dr. O promised.

"Thanks. Hayley, please?"

"As I was about to say," Hayley said, "I'll see what I can do to amplify the scan. Keep in touch, Trent."

"I will," Trent said. Yatsudenwani was making motions again. "Got to go, Hayley."

"All right, take care of yourself," Hayley said.

"I will. Bye." Trent hung Yatsudenwani's receiver up. He turned to Asuka. "My friends - teammates - are going to keep searching for me."

Asuka nodded. "And we'll do whatever we can to help them."

"Hey, do you still need me?" Yatsudenwani asked.

"Um... you'd better stay here," Trent asked. "They're going to expect me to call in every so often."

"Okay," Yatsudenwani said. "Hey, I'd better call Ranru if you don't need me right now."

"Sure," Trent said.

"Thanks!" Yatsudenwani said, hurrying off.

Trent shoved his hands in his pocket. "I guess I'm staying here a little longer," he said.

"But not for long," Asuka promised. "As I said, you're our guest until you can get home. I'll talk to Atako about the device to amplify your bio-signature."

Trent nodded. "I guess I'll go spend time with TopGaler."

"He is your partner," Asuka agreed. "I hope that there is room for him on your AnotherEarth. As it is, it is a good thing he is a loner."

"Yeah," Trent agreed. "Though I kind of wonder if Mikoto was right."

"About what?" Asuka asked.

"About there not really being a place for TopGaler to be on my Earth," Trent said. "He's my partner, but if he's going to grow up, where's he going to stretch his wings?"

Asuka gave a brief nod. "You'll find a place. TopGaler has confidence in you, and so do I."

"Thanks," Trent said. "I guess... I guess I'll do something while Atako makes the device Hayley needs."

"I'll go talk to him now," Asuka said.

- - -

Trent held Atako's device in his hands. It was a on a leather thong, obviously meant to be portable. A lot of things in the village seemed to be that way. He placed it around his neck. "Here goes nothing."

Yatsudenwani held out his receiver. Trent held it, listening to the familiar ring tones. "Hello?" Dr. O asked.

"Hi," Trent said. "Tell Hayley that we've got the beacon active."

"I will. Hang in there, Trent."

Trent nodded. "I will. Bye." He replaced the receiver.

Asuka was watching him. "Can they find you?"

"They're scanning now," Trent said. He picked up the seedling he'd been tending. "Hayley's good. They'll find me."

The headman nodded. "How are the plants growing?"

Trent looked at the plants in his work area. "They're in good shape. I just hope that the new fertilizer works, or the desert's going to overwhelm the new planting area."

"I hope it does too," Asuka said. "We need our fertile area to grow. It's so small as it is."

"The Evorian really did a number on it," Trent said. "There's so much work to be done here."

Asuka sat down. "It is, and there are so few of us left... so many of us lost to the Evorians."

"Sometimes I wish I could stay," Trent said. "There's a lot I could do here."

The other Ranger nodded. "But it isn't your home," he reminded Trent.

"I know. That's the problem." Trent put the plant down. "All of you have been so nice to me... or at least the ones I've talked to have. But that's home. But then again, I did do a lot of damage as White Ranger."

"We forgave Mikoto," Asuka said.

"My team forgave me," Trent said. "But sometimes I wonder if Mikoto was right about it not being a bad idea to start over. I mean, I did some evil things to them."

"So did Mikoto," Asuka said, "And he was not ever truly possessed. Not in the way that you tell me you were."

Trent nodded. He watched as his partner landed nearby. The Bakuryu seemed to have developed an independent streak, which was something Trent didn't mind. "I wish Mikoto hadn't forced me here."

"As would I," Asuka admitted. "Though I am glad that TopGaler has a partner."

"I like TopGaler," Trent said. "I'm glad I'm his partner. I wish that Mikoto hadn't forced me into the bond, but...."

"I doubt Mikoto did," Asuka said, interrupting. "Your power is similar to his, therefore TopGaler was attracted to you. And TopGaler had to have liked what he had found to bond with you."

Trent sighed. "For once, I'd like to have a choice on the bonding thing. First my Gem chose me and wrecked my life, and now I'm permanently bonded to a baby Zo - er, Bakuryu."

"It's an honor not to be taken lightly," Asuka said, placing his hand on Trent's shoulder. "And I like you far more than I did Mikoto."

Trent had to smile at that. "I have a feeling that's not hard to do."

"No," Asuka agreed. "I was afraid of TopGaler and Mikoto for a long time. I am glad, this time, that TopGaler chose someone who could keep his passions in check. In a way, I wonder if your return to your own Earth will do him some good."

"I hope so," Trent said. "You know, I've never had anybody really close? My natural parents were great, and my foster dad did a lot for me, and of course I had my teammates later on, but I've never felt very close to anybody."

"Maybe it was that need that TopGaler responded to," Asuka said. "We were afraid when this TopGaler was reborn, that he would run wild and we would have to destroy him. Your bond seems to have calmed him."

"I'll take good care of him, I promise," Trent said. "No matter where we are. I like him. He deserves a good partner."

Asuka smiled. "I'll leave you to your planting," he said.

Trent, nodding, put the plants carefully in a shallow box, TopGaler watching him curiously. "Thanks," he said. He picked up a bag, TopGaler hopping to follow.

- - -

"Hey, Trent!" Yatsudenwani called. Trent got up from where he'd just finished placing a seedling into a hole that TopGaler had helped him dig. "Come back to the village."

"What's happened?" Trent asked, standing up. TopGaler screeched, and Trent knew that both of them were tense. "Did the village get attacked?"

"Um, no," Yatsudenwani said. "But Mahoro sent me to get you. You see, there's these strange people who stepped out of this hole, and we think they're looking for you...."

Trent broke out in a run, TopGaler breaking into flight behind him.

The two of them ran - or, in TopGaler's case, flew - until they reached the villiage. Trent could see TopGaler landing ahead of him. He jogged until he reached the center, trying to crane his head over the gathered crowd.

"Trent," Dr. Oliver was calling, and Trent pushed his way through the crowd. He put his hand on Trent's shoulder. "Are you all right?"

Kira just hugged him.

Trent nodded. "They've taken good care of me, Dr. O."

"Good," Dr O. said. "Are you ready to go?"

"I guess so," Trent said. He turned towards Asuka. "They're here to take me home."

Asuka nodded. TopGaler spoke. "Human, Mikoto is here."

Trent slumped. "Great," he muttered.

"Trent, what's wrong?" Dr. O asked.

Asuka looked confused.

"Let me get my stuff," Trent said, heading towards his tent.

Dr. O and Kira followed. "So, this is where you've been living?" Kira asked, looking around.

"Yeah," Trent said. He started to pack his meager belongings up, hoping to avoid having to explain Mikoto. TopGaler had joined them, looking at the intruders as if he wasn't sure whether to attack them or protect them. "I actually like it here, but it's time to go home."

Dr. O smiled wistfully. "I know how you feel, Trent. New experiences can be exciting."

"How about deja vu experiences?" Kira asked, indicating TopGaler.

"That's TopGaler," Trent said. "Don't be fooled by his resemblance to DracoZord; he's a thinking, living being." He paused, hoping they'd take his next announcement well. "We- he's coming back with me."

He was met by two astounded stares. "He's what?" Dr. O asked.

"He's my partner," Trent said, still trying to pack up before Mikoto decided to show up and be a pain. "He's coming back. He can't stay here."

"Right," Dr. O said, eyeing TopGaler carefully. "How'd you end up with him?"

"It was thanks to a ghost named Mikoto," Trent said. "His power was similar to mine, just the power source was different. His morpher blew up. He's trying to fix things for his teammates, and because our powers were so similar, he brought me here." He decided to leave out the fact that his powers now mirrored Mikoto's better than they did his team's.

"Similar to ours?" Kira asked.

Trent nodded. "I haven't met the rest of the team yet - Asuka, the village headman, is the only one of Mikoto's team here - but from what I can tell, they had powers like ours. Their enemy laid waste to DinoEarth, which is where we are."

"This area doesn't look so bad," Kira said, looking around.

Shanking his head, Trent said, "They've pretty much reclaimed this area. When you guys came in, however, I was working on one of the reclamation projects." He looked out at the village. "There's a lot to do here - and not a lot of people to do it. These people were pretty much killed off." He shook his head. "If Mikoto hadn't kidnapped me, I'd probably have come here. I can do so much good here, and they need me...."

"So do we," Kira said firmly.

"I know," Trent told her. "You guys are my team. It just felt so good to be where nobody knew what I've done. These people like me because I'm TopGaler's partner, and that I'm an extra pair of hands."

"Trent," Dr. O gently told him, "I know how it is to feel guilty about what you've done...."

"It's not that I feel guilty, Dr. O," Trent said, finishing packing his stuff. "It's just... well, I'm going home. I know you guys are worried."

"Just a little," Kira said, hugging him.

Trent managed a small smile and hefted his bag over his shoulder. "I know. I'm sorry to make you worry. If I'd known about Yatsudenwani earlier, I'd have called."

Kira shrugged. "The most important thing is that you get home," she said, hugging him once again, causing him to blush lightly.

"Yeah," he said. He looked once more over his tent, making sure he hadn't forgotten anything. "I guess Dad will want me to start picking colleges or something like that." There was a quaver in his voice, he was sure of that. If it weren't for the fact that it was home, and that he had teammates that were worried about him, he might have stayed.

On the other hand, these people needed him. There was no question about that.

"All ready?" Dr. O asked.

"Yeah," Trent said. He headed off towards the center of the village, not looking back. He had to leave, Dr. O and Kira would expect him to go home, and besides, if he didn't go home soon, Mikoto would show up and who knew what would happen then....

By the time that he and the others returned to the center of the village, most of the village had dispersed, though the villagers were looking at the three of them covertly. Probably mostly at Kira, since both he and Dr. O had both dark hair and eyes. Asuka and Mahoro were still there, forming a vague honor guard, and they'd been joined by Yatsudenwani. Kira and Dr. O were staring at Yatsudenwani.

"Thanks for everything," Trent said to Asuka. "I guess it's time to go home."

Asuka nodded. "We will miss you, but I know what it's like to be away from your own home, people, and culture." Trent wasn't really surprised; the other had spent a year in Japan, and so understood what it was like to be in a place which wasn't home.

Mahoro just smiled.

"Yatsudenwani," Trent said, greeting the Toronoid. "You can reach me, right? If you guys need me?"

"No problem!" the Toronoid said cheerfully. "Don't let The Boss boss you around, okay?"

"Mikoto?" Trent asked. "He hasn't shown up, so I guess he's not going to object." He mentally crossed his fingers. Mikoto could be a bit unpredictable, and he didn't know why the ghost hadn't shown up yet to cause havoc and destruction in his life at the moment.

"Yeah, but you know the Boss," Yatsudenwani said. "Always up to something."

Trent smiled for Yatsudenwani's sake. "I know. But I'm going home now." He turned to face the portal. "You guys ready?" he asked.

Kira grinned. "Yeah."

Dr. O indicated the portal. "Why don't you go first."

Trent nodded, taking a deep breath, closing his eyes, and stepping into the portal.

- - -

When Trent opened his eyes, he was home. Or at least at Dino Ops.

"That was close," Kira was saying, and he heard TopGaler's screech behind him. "I thought that portal was going to explode before we got through."

"The portal did become unstable," Hayley said. "I'm glad you guys came through when you did." Trent shuddered a little, knowing that it had to be Mikoto's parting gift.

"Um... what is that?" Ethan asked, pointing at something behind Trent's leg. Trent turned to see TopGaler standing behind him.

"That's TopGaler," Trent said. "He's my partner."

"No way," Conner contributed. "A three-foot version of your old Zord?"

"TopGaler is not a Zord, he's a Bakuryu," Trent protested. "An intelligent, living being. And we're partners. Live with it."

"Man, I thought my life was weird," Conner muttered.

"You sure this is going to go well with your Dad?" Ethan asked.

Trent shrugged. "He doesn't have a choice. TopGaler and I are partners for life. If he tosses me out because of that... well, at least I have other options." Including, he knew, going back to DinoEarth. But only if he had to.

Dr. O nodded. "But try not to get kicked out, okay?"

"I'll try," Trent promised. "I can't promise, but I'll try."

"Good," Dr. O said. "Now we'd better get you home. Anton's really worried."

Trent let himself be led off, TopGaler following. At last, he was home.

-end


Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger fics
Power Rangers Dino Thunder fics