Legacy of Valor – an Always a Ranger Mini Series
Chapter 6 – Torturous Bonding
“Wait!” yelled Charlie as she realized her folly, causing two of her allies, Xakx, the blue ranger and Knox, the green ranger to pause in mid step, “Xakx, Knox, first we need to strip these two of their morphers. Then you can take them to the containment unit where the command staff *used* to be and lock ‘em in. I’ll deal with them soon enough.”
At her command, Charlie watched as Xakx and Knox removed the pink Dino Thunder morpher from Kim and Beth’s Nova Ranger morpher, causing both women to power down, leaving them in their civilian attire. She smirked as she looked at the two formerly ‘scary’ power rangers, who were now helpless at her feet. They were nothing but human…
Knox handed the morphers over to Charlie and then he and Xakx hauled Kim and Beth up from where they were kneeling on the floor and carried/dragged them down several halls until they arrived at the containment room. Beth instantly recognized the door as being the location she’d directed Ethan and Trent to as the area she believed that Commander Tate and the command staff would have been incarcerated in. Xakx handed Kim over to Knox as he swung the door open, exposing the interior of the divided room. Taking Kim back, Xakx and Knox hauled the two women to the cage at the back of the room, its door wide open.
As they were shoved in Kim stumbled and then turned to watch Knox push in Beth as he slammed the door shut, wrapping some kind of metal cable through the cage wire, connecting it with a complicated looking lock. Beside her Beth tried to lunge for the door even as Xakx laughed, turning for the second door leading to the hallway as Knox let the lock fall heavily on the metal of the cage, a clang echoing through the room as they left, the outer door shutting behind them.
“Damn,” swore Beth as she realized that they’d put a lock on that she couldn’t override and without her morpher she couldn’t time shift them out of the cell.
“We’re stuck?” Kim questioned, pretty sure of the answer before she even spoke.
“Yeah… Well, at least we aren’t dead. There’s something to be said about that,” mused Beth as she turned from the cage door and tried to take a few steps towards Kim when her injured leg buckled under her and she started to fall to the floor.
Instantly Kim was there, team mate and motherly instincts all asserting themselves together as she attempted to catch Beth beneath the arms and the two of them fell together to the floor in a painful heap. Kim grimaced in pain even as she fought a grin at the thought that even in their predicament her daughter, the Nova Ranger, could attempt to joke in the face of danger.
“You know you get that questionable sense of humor from all the years of being exposed to your godparents,” Kim mused as she sat with her daughter, her left shoulder throbbing, the pain nearly debilitating as she now recognized the injury as a dislocated shoulder.
“That’s what you always said but dad told me that I inherited from you. He said your puns were historically bad when you were fighting monsters or putties or whatever…”
“Figures. He would sell me out to save Jason’s hide…” responded Kim with a wry smirk.
Beth grinned at that before she tried to move slightly and hissed at the pain in her leg.
“Sit still. Let me look at that…” said Kim as she slowly pushed aside the burned material on Beth’s left calf with her right hand so she could see the damage. Under the scorched cloth Kim found an angry burn that more than likely was plasma induced. It was slightly bloody and Kim worried about when they’d have a chance to get medical attention, so they needed something in the interim.
Kim looked around as they sat there for something to use to bandage the wound before her eyes fell on a few space blankets that must have been thrown in with the command staff and rangers when they’d been held here. She scooted across the floor and grabbed one with her right hand and then made her way back to Beth.
“Here, if you can rip a strip off this we can bandage this,” she said as passed the blanket to her daughter but couldn’t bite down the hiss of pain that hit her when she shifted her shoulders.
“You okay?” Beth asked, confused.
“Not really. They dislocated my shoulder when they hit it…” gritted out Kim as she worked to focus past the pain again.
“Mom!” cried Beth as she instantly dropped the blanket in her hands and reached forward towards Kim, even as she was waived off.
“What? I had to help you. And once we have your leg bandaged you can help me pop it back in.”
Beth sighed. It was just like her mother to focus on the task at hand rather than her own injury. Quickly she ripped the blanket and looped the material around her burn, tying it off. Once she was done she scooted closer to Kim and used her good leg to brace against Kim’s side as she moved to take hold of Kim’s left arm with both hands. Kim nodded in acknowledgement that she was prepared as Beth took a deep breath in preparation to causing her additional pain.
“One, two, three…” said Beth as she counted down before yanking on Kim’s arm, popping it back into its socket.
Kim muffled a scream that would attract attention that they could ill afford before she moved her shoulder more. However once it was back in place the pain did recede somewhat. At least she’d dislocated it once when she’d fallen in practice during her Pan Global days so she’d been through the process of resetting it before, making this time a little easier.
“Yeah. At least I’ll be able to move it if we get the chance to break out of here. Any ideas about that?” asked Kim as she very carefully shifted her shoulder to confirm that it was in place and was going to stay that way.
“Not from this room. It’s the containment unit and built so nothing can get out…” replied Beth with a sigh.
“Great… I guess we’re waiting for a chance outside of this room… or for a rescue.”
“So, you figure dad and the others got out okay?”
For a moment Kim didn’t reply, her mind clearly recalling the mental and emotional push to run that she’d ‘sent’ when she had yelled at Ethan and Trent. The connection she and Tommy had was underutilized, ignored for the most part, but Kim was certain that her message had been received. She knew it if for nothing else than the fact that Tommy wasn’t sitting in the cell with them. For if he’d known she and Beth had been cut off and captured she knew nothing short of the rest of the team holding him back or her own request to escape could have kept him away. Beth cleared her throat, bringing Kim’s attention back to her.
“You know your father…” Kim began, her mind having finally accepted the truth that her heart had already accepted; that this woman was her daughter, “he has taken on so many evils and won, gotten so many second chances that his *not* getting out would have surprised me.”
“Uncle Jason used to say luck was a ranger’s best friend,” Beth pointed out and Kim laughed briefly before she stifled it.
“Your uncle Jason is certifiable. No ranger in their right mind would ever believe in luck…”
“Says ‘Calamity Kim’?” quipped Beth with a grin.
“Don’t sass me. You may be older than me but I’m still your mother and I will put you over my knee,” replied Kim with a mock stern voice.
The bonding moment between the two was abruptly broken as they heard sounds on the other side of their prison and they went silent, straining to hear and preparing for the worst. When no one opened the door and the sounds disappeared they felt comfortable enough to start talking again.
“So, I am guessing you didn’t expect those former rangers to be the ring leaders of the attack against the SPD?” questioned Kim, trying to put the pieces together in her mind.
“Charlie, the former A-Squad red ranger leader and her whole team had been put into containment cards. They shouldn’t have been able to get out… without help.”
“You think the attack on the SPD was instigated to break them out?”
Beth turned to Kim and nodded. When she had first realized that some of Gruumm’s people had escaped and had taken over the SPD HQ, she had assumed they were looking for Gruumm or one of his generals… not Charlie and A-Squad. But the way that Morgana and Charlie had related to one another when they’d been captured; it seemed that Morgana’s loyalties had changed.
“Yeah. Not sure why it took Morgana fifteen years to do it, but yeah…”
Before Kim or Beth could offer any further thought on the timing or planning of the attack on the SPD HQ there was a sudden burst of noise and the main door swung open revealing the green and blue rangers who had escorted them to their cell earlier. They both were armed and headed straight towards them. Not willing to meet the enemy on their knees or asses both women stood, preparing to face whatever was coming.
“So, Charlie is ready to… ‘talk’,” announced Knox as he strode to the door, Xakx behind him leveling a large blaster… one that Kim knew very well was as heavy as it looked as she unconsciously rubbed her left shoulder, “who am I taking first?”
“Me,” said both Kim and Beth at the same time, causing them to look at one another.
“So eager… you won’t be once Charlie’s done with you. But I think perhaps Nova should come out first…” he replied as he nodded to his colleague while he manipulated the lock in some way, undoing the lock before he came in and grabbed Beth by her upper arm.
“No!” yelled Kim even as Knox hauled Beth towards the door as Xakx pointed the rifle at Kim forcing her to back up towards the concrete of the cell wall.
“We’ll be back for you soon enough pink Dino ranger,” said Knox with a smile that chilled Kim’s bones.
The cell door closed and Xakx slipped the lock back in place while Kim watched helplessly as they drug off her daughter through the main door to God only who knew where…
Beth found herself ‘escorted’ through the nearly empty building, taking the elevator down to the sixth floor. Exiting they walked down the corridors until Xakx pushed open a normally secure door for the research area. Passing a few rooms they finally entered one and nearly slammed Beth into an interrogation chair, strapping her in at the legs, wrists and across her forehead, effectively immobilizing her, even though she still struggled. She realized that she was in the science lab; one that Bridge was using for experimenting with memory enhancement for use in legal trials.
“Bradley, you and Raine know what to do?” asked Charlie as she moved in suddenly from a dark corner of the lab, speaking to two people beside a wall of controls.
“Of course. This is very straight forward. Bridge was very meticulous in his notes,” stated Bradley, who based on his uniform had been the yellow ranger; Raine, the Asian woman coming towards them obviously pink…
Raine connected wires to Beth’s scalp, temples and ripped her uniform jacket open to place two more wire leads to her upper chest.
“So, you know what this machine does?” asked Charlie with a grin, and when Beth said nothing she laughed. “Be stubborn all you like. This technology can be deceptively benign, unless you resist. Then… it can be… unpleasant. Now, how about we start finding out with how a nothing like you ended up taking *my* place as a red ranger…”
At a hand signal from Charlie, Bradley cranked a dial and pressed a series of buttons, and the flow of electricity flooded Beth’s body, and she let loose a short cry before she bit her lip, drawing blood even as she tried to focus on anything other than Charlie’s question. For she knew this was just the warm up…
Pink elephants, blue poodles, Chinese food… anything other than…
A second jolt jarred her attempts to block the answer to Charlie’s question, and suddenly memories flooded Beth’s brain unbidden along with an uncontrolled shout of pain. Thoughts of her parents, of pictures of them in uniform, both old ones from Angel Grove as well as Reefside...
“Legacy… ah, I see…” remarked Charlie as she slid her finger over a panel screen beside the chair that coalesced the memories in Beth’s head into clear images on the screen.
Kim and Tommy’s faces came clearer now, and Charlie stared at them… she recognized the woman in Beth’s memory; she was the other one who they had in the containment chamber. The pink Dino Thunder ranger. Nova had gone through time and gotten her own mother to help rescue the SPD…
“Your mom? Oh Nova… you brought your mommy to help you…” Charlie nearly sing-songed as she walked away from the view screen tapping into Beth’s memories and gripped the Nova Ranger’s chin tightly in her right hand.
“Go to hell…” spat Beth weakly, the energy she was expending to fight the machine was sapping her strength quickly.
“Perhaps… but before then I believe that I should have a chat with your mommy. Maybe she can provide me with some… amusement. I will look forward to wringing information out of her.”
Beth turned her head slightly in the chair and gritted her teeth. She had no idea that forcibly extracting memories could be so painful. As it was she didn’t think she could stand on her own let alone try to find an opening to escape. Finally Charlie motioned to Bradley to shut the machine down. Raine pulled the wire leads loose while Knox unlatched the restraints.
“My dad’s so gonna kick your ass,” mumbled Beth as she was peeled off the chair and Charlie laughed as she waved her people to take Nova back to the cell.
“Bring me back mommy… I’d like to chat with her…”
Kim started for Beth as soon as the door to the cell opened, what seemed hours later, but was immediately grabbed by the arm and dragged away even as Knox all but dropped Beth to the concrete floor, locking the cage door behind them.
With Xakx leading her away, Kim couldn’t help her thoughts; she was concerned about her daughter… and herself. If the way Beth had looked when she was brought back was any gauge, whatever Charlie had planned for her wasn’t going to be a cake walk.
Tommy, she mused internally, a rescue any time would be great.
As Kim was escorted into the room she wondered just what was in store… no matter, she was the pink ranger; she would not bow to human or alien tyrants.
“Mrs. Oliver,” said Charlie faux-cordially as her men pulled Kim inside the room.
“That’s Hart-Oliver… if you’re gonna be all formal,” Kim replied with a saccharine sweet tone that was just this side of sarcastic even as Xakx gripped her arm tighter, making Kim give him a brief look that would have cowed lesser beings.
“But I’d rather we be on a first name basis… I’m Charlie and you are Kimberly, first pink ranger on Earth…”
“So you took ranger history… I’m supposed to be impressed?”
“No… you see I didn’t care much about history until I was named the first female red ranger…”
“And then you promptly went evil, so that sort of negates the whole thing, huh?”
Charlie tempered her instant anger at the dino thunder ranger’s words and then smirked as she stared at other woman. Kimberly Hart-Oliver certainly was living up to the reputation of a legend, no doubt about it. But she still had the upper hand.
“You think you and your perfect daughter are a match for me?”
“Not only do I think that, but you don’t have a clue what you’re up against…” responded Kim, knowing for a fact that the woman really didn’t know the lengths her team and her husband would go to in their efforts to rescue them.
“Well, let’s see, shall we?” Charlie remarked pointing to Knox and Xakx again and indicating they should put Kim in the chair.
As they moved to drag her there, Kim struggled in their grasp as best she could but not as much as she wanted; knowing that another injury to her left shoulder would be a hindrance if they found a way to escape. So it was no surprise when she felt her back land in the chair and was quickly strapped in. The woman wearing a mockery of pink armor came and connected electric leads on her before nodding at Charlie and stepping away.
“So, how about you show me what you think I’m facing, hmm?”
The spike of jarring pain as the machine accessed her thoughts brought sudden tears to Kim’s eyes even as she slammed them shut in an effort to fight the pull of the machine. Somehow her thoughts swerved from what Charlie was asking about and Kim found herself deep in the memories of when she’d fallen captive to Lord Zedd. She didn’t recall the draining machine that Tommy had rescued her from but the feeling of having her power and… soul pulled from her through the machine then had been triggered with this slightly different invasion.
“Not what I was looking for…” remarked Charlie with a wicked grin as a thought struck her. “Perhaps we need to soften you up to get what I want. Bradley, let’s see what Mrs. Hart-Oliver considers… pain.”
A new bolt of electricity struck her and Kim fought back the scream that wanted to break from her throat as every painful and hateful memory hit her in a successive wave. Injuries, falls, attacks by monsters, her power drain, her parent’s divorce, breaking things off with Tommy and then the failure of her relationship with Chris, Tommy’s encasement in amber, her kidnapping on her wedding day, the miscarriage… all of it at once was too much…
She fought to master the pain that somehow went past her mind and into her limbs but couldn’t, finally succumbing to it and passing out from it all.
“Kim…” Tommy quietly breathed even as his eyes closed and he pressed the heels of his hands to his forehead as the sudden sharp echo of pain hit him from miles away.
“Dr. O?” questioned Conner quickly, seeing the way their team mate and mentor had out of the blue called Kim’s name and shoved his hands to his head, as if in anguish.
Breathing deeply, Tommy used every focusing technique he’d ever learned from his years of martial arts to allow him to shove the resonance of Kim’s suffering away. As he did so he acknowledged that by feeling the pain he was assured that Kim was still alive. But the fact that she felt it at all…
Tommy then moved across the room to stand with Sky, Syd, Bridge and Sam and looked Sky directly in the eyes, the pain still visible there to anyone who cared to look.
“They’re torturing her…” he scarcely rasped out, his voice raw, “we need that plan, and now.”
Behind him, Conner, Kira, Trent and Ethan all felt the floor go out from under their feet emotionally as they all recognized that Kim and Dr. O’s connection was channeling Kim’s pain to Dr. O…
Sky nodded solemnly and clasped his hand around Tommy’s shoulder.
“And we have one…” announced Sky, looking briefly from Tommy to the Dino Thunder team, and then to Bridge, Syd and his rangers. “Just hang on…”
-End Chapter 6-
I tried to keep the torture pretty tame, but II wanted to showcase just how… psychotic Charlie has become here, and show once again our heroes connections to one another.
Until next time,
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