Hi all. Okay… where’d all my readers go? I had 33 reviews and over 3000 hits to the first chapter on ff.net, and for chapter 8 (with all the tasty Trent evilness, Jason stealing the StegoZord angst and the shippy T/K “sleeping” moment) I have 10 reviews and 310 hits. Anyone still there?? Okay, lucky for you still reading I plan to finish, even if it’s just for me, but it would be nice to hear you’re still out there. Now it’s time to crank up the angst. So with that said, to the story…
Legends and Heroes
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 9: Beautiful Disaster
“What are you doing here?” Hayley asked as Ethan walked into the cave from the back door the following evening.
Tommy turned from where he was working on reviewing a sheaf of papers – either school work or printouts of the information Hayley had gathered on Jason. Ethan couldn’t tell which.
“I couldn’t play another video game. Any luck?”
“Not yet,” she said just when the screen before her began to flash.
Hurriedly she tabbed through the results of her latest test, trying to find out what the computer had found when she gave a little gasp. The system had finally made sense of the conflicting readings that she’d gotten from Jason in his white ranger for. The white dino gem was wrapped up with another power source, and if she had to guess, she’d say that it was evil.
“They bonded…” Hayley said in a stage whisper.
“What?” asked Tommy as his head whipped up to where Hayley sat at the console.
“Jason’s dino gem and this other power source. They are aligned so closely, but with opposite polar energy – one good and one bad. The dichotomy made them bond. That’s why Jason’s gone evil… however this power got to him, be it another gem or whatever, it was stronger than his own gem’s power. Now all I have to do is figure out how to split them, and we can get him free.”
“You really think you can figure this out?” Ethan asked, excitedly.
“I have to, don’t I?”
“Hayley, could you use some help? I could call Billy or Justin from the original and Turbo teams, see if they have any ideas,” Tommy suggested.
“I wouldn’t say no.”
“I’ll help too,” said Ethan, coming to sit with Hayley as she crunched numbers.
“When we have something, we’ll let everyone know,” she stated as she feverishly started scrolling through the diagnostics, Ethan at her side.
Tommy nodded, before he headed to his phone book to call the blue rangers who might help provide the solution Hayley needed to get Jason back.
With the final results of consulting with Billy and Justin, Hayley and Ethan asked Tommy to contact everyone for an early meeting. As everyone arrived, taking up positions around the cavern, Tommy, Kim and Ethan all noted that Conner and Kira had ended up on opposite sides of room, the chill evident between them. It confused all of them, since they knew that Conner was supposed to have taken Kira out on a date the night before. Maybe things hadn’t gone as planned…
“So, we know that something else, another power bonded with Jason’s gem,” Hayley announced, bringing everyone’s attention to her.
“That’s what made him evil?” Conner asked.
“Yes. And now we just have to keep him busy long enough for Hayley to send a specific frequency pulse that will hopefully separate the dino gem’s structure from the other malevolent force mixed with it,” explained Tommy.
“How do we do that? We can’t find him…” complained Kira, as she gave Conner a glare that had nothing to do with Jason.
“Maybe we can bring him to us,” Tommy said with a glance to Hayley, the look being caught by Kim and quickly identified as something heroic and stupid.
“Kim…” he started as she began to move towards him angrily.
“You can’t! It’s too dangerous. We’ve all gone up against him and he keeps beating us. You’ve gone up against Jason like this before, and he beat you… when you were the green ranger, and with Malligore…”
“I have to help him Kim. If Hayley can pull the evil part of him away while I keep him occupied…”
“What? Then you win? What happens if this evil power does get split from Jason like you plan? Maybe it will immediately latch onto the closest ranger. You,” she stated flatly, her voice wavering only enough with her emotion for him that he could tell how deep her feelings ran. “How many times do you have to go through that to realize that you’re too important to risk? The team needs you. The person that should do this is someone that can be sacrificed, someone that’s dispensable; yet someone that understands Jason at his base level, and has been there for him, with him for all of it.”
Tommy watched Kim move closer and closer to him as she spoke. And when she left hanging what she was getting at, he turned red as his blood boiled in anger.
“No! No way in hell are you going up against Jason alone,” Tommy roared, and the teens and Hayley all cringed as they realized Kim’s intent as well as watched Dr. O wave his hand fiercely back and forth.
“Why not? I can handle him…”
“You think you can. You don’t know what it’s like, to be facing your friend like this. When I was evil, I barely kept from killing Jase that day on the beach.”
“But you didn’t kill him. He beat you. Good won out,” Kim insisted, and then pushed on. ”I handled you when…”
“No, you didn’t. I never…” he started, and then trailed off as the old wounds of his evil green ranger days crept up on him.
“You never went after me specifically,” Kim answered for him, grasping both his upper arms even as he had them crossed over his chest. “You always avoided me, because under the spell, you cared about me. The same thing goes for Jason… he’s my brother. I’ve known him longer than you, and been there when you weren’t. We’ve been there for each other… when I left you, when he lost his gold ranger powers; we dealt with the ramifications of being Malligore’s sacrifices together. You have to understand, it has to be me.”
“Are you sure you’re up to this Kim?” asked Hayley from her spot at the console, prompting the purple ranger to turn her gaze to the technical genius among them.
“I have to be.”
Kim turned back to look Tommy straight in the eyes. Finally, a slight nod and his eyes drifting away from hers was all she needed to know that he had accepted her argument. He didn’t like it, but he realized the wisdom of it and had accepted it.
“Alright, what’s the plan?” asked Conner, intrigued at this new twist in the team’s dynamic.
“I go out there, and get Jason to come to me.”
Ethan, Kira and Conner all looked at one another in alarm. Kim was suggesting she become bait…
“It’s the only way.”
“If you get into trouble…” Tommy started, and Kim smiled up at him.
“I’ll call for backup if I need it. Give me a chance to stop him first. Just trust me, okay?”
He nodded, and she leaned up and kissed him softly on the lips, her feet on the tops of her toes to do it. Hurriedly Tommy wrapped his arms around her and held her close as he returned the kiss, deepening it. When they finally broke apart, Kim smiled at him and turned to race for the cave door, leaving Tommy standing there, his heart in his throat in worry and passion as the others gathered around Hayley and the monitor, waiting to see if Kim’s instincts were right.
Standing at the edge of the excavated rock pit Hayley had suggested because of its remote location, Kim stood at the edge and looked out on the gray and black expanse with trepidation. She was hoping that her bravado in the command center was going to prove right… Because Tommy did have a point, she had never single handedly gone up against him when he was evil, and she didn’t know if she really could take him or Jason in that state of mind.
With a sudden sound behind her, all thoughts went flying from her head as Jason flew at her, his white armor in place. She barely was able to move with him, her gymnastic background aiding her in twisting with the force of Jason’s lunge to engage her morpher and land on the dirt below, some twenty feet below the ledge. But the cost to armor herself had meant she hadn’t landed on her feet, and she quickly scrambled to get up.
“Tell you what,” Jason said as he stood from his crouch. “This time I’ll give you a sporting chance.”
With that, Jason laughed menacingly and tossed his Drago dagger in the air, the tip landing in the rocks some feet away from him.
“I hate to do this…”
Suddenly Jason had poured on his super speed and was rushing around Kim like a whirlwind, striking her armor and sending up sparks, knocking her to the ground.
“Looks like you’re down. You should stay there.”
Kim leapt back up and stood in combat ready mode. Then she reached for her pistol at her side, pulling it and leveling it at him.
“Just stay where you are. I don’t want to hurt you, I just…”
“Can’t fight me without a weapon?” Jason laughed, noting Kim’s gun.
“We don’t have to fight Jason. We’re both rangers… friends…” she said as she let the gun fall from her grasp to the ground.
“You’re good. I’m evil. It’s a pretty simple concept.”
“But you’re not really…”
Jason rushed her, landing a devastating punch to her chest, sending her flying backwards ten feet to land on her back.
“Get up,” Jason demanded, hauling Kim from the ground and holding one arm as he punched her in the shoulder and side repeatedly, and then landed a knee to her gut as she attempted to fight back. “Going down. Look what I found.”
Kim struggled to get up, holding her shoulder as she watched Jason advance towards her, a sword like her own suddenly appearing in his hand, reminding her of Tommy and the Sword of Darkness so many years ago.
“Jason, please… you’re not in your right mind!”
“Now, let’s not judge. Especially since I have the sword.”
Launching another attack, Jason sliced the weapon at her, contacting the armor and sending up sparks as it staggered her with its force. Finally Kim stepped forward and caught Jason’s hand in hers, angling the sword to one side.
“This is getting old. Let’s finish this once and for all!”
With that he wrenched the weapon from her grasp and sliced at her again, sending her reeling backwards, again clutching her shoulder.
“Also comes as a handy laser,” he said as he switched the sword to its gun form. “Later, ‘sis’.”
Devoid of any further emotion beside his sisterly reference, he fired repeatedly sending Kim to land on her face on the ground. Her hand clawing on the rocky surface, she shoved herself up, stunning the white ranger.
“It is so not over.”
Calling on the super dino mode without really realizing it, the diamonds along her uniform turned to bone-like spikes. The transformation complete, Kim charged, planning on getting Jason down.
“Stay back,” Jason yelled as he fired wildly at the purple ranger’s advancing form.
Kim crouched and then leapt out, striking Jason’s chest and sending through him bolts of lighting, sending the white ranger spinning in the air to land heavily on the ground.
“Wow… that was pretty impressive,” Kim stated as the spikes disappeared once again.
“You beat me at my own game. Congratulations,” said Jason as he struggled to stand. “Looks like you don’t have to worry about the white ranger anymore.”
As the last word left him, the laser gun fell from his hand and he fell backwards. Kim stared in shock, and rushed to his side.
“Jason! I didn’t mean to… are you all right?” she asked as she lifted him up as much as she could.
Suddenly the white ranger snatched up his pistol and fired, Kim’s reflexes allowing her to twist and have the blast sizzle past her and explode on the rocks behind her. He then landed another kick to her stomach and jumped to his feet, Kim following slowly. She huddled into combat stance as Jason attacked again.
“I can’t believe…”
“And here’s what you get for trying to rescue me,” he said as he fired the laser at her again, sending her sprawling, and as she clutched her chest, he picked up his Drago sword and leveled it in her direction. “You put up a pretty good fight, but now it’s over.”
Advancing on Kim with his sword, Kim was ready to call in the troops when behind them she heard the sounds of an invisportal appearing. With every ounce of strength she had left, Kim kept her head up so she could see Mesogog and Zeltrax approach.
“Don’t let me interrupt,” said Mesogog, and he walked along, hands behind his back in a casual manner.
“Mesogog,” breathed Jason, his defenses coming up in some instinctual knowledge of the evil before him.
“Get out of here Mesogog. You have nothing in common with the white ranger,” said Kim as she struggled to stand.
“Silence!” yelled Zeltrax, hitting Kim with a lightning blast that sent her flying, and when she landed, she didn’t try to rise again.
“Do not speak unless spoken to. Now, we have some business.”
“I have no business with you.”
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll help you defeat the rest of the Power Rangers, and you can be one of my subjects when I rule the planet.”
“I’ll take a pass on that. DragoZord, on-line!”
Above them, the DragoZord appeared from out of nowhere, and Jason tipped his hand to Mesogog.
“I’m outta here.”
With that he leapt upwards and into his zord, flying off. Zeltrax and Mesogog looked at the retreating white ranger in disgust, and then directed their attention to the purple ranger still on the ground. Stepping closer, Kim struggled to get back up as Zeltrax brought his staff down to bear on her.
“Shall I finish her master?”
“No. Our new ‘friend’ seems to have a fascination with this one and Dr. Oliver. I will let her live in the hopes that she will lead us to him again.”
“Very well my lord.”
Kim’s eyesight began to grey out as she watched Mesogog and Zeltrax walk off and disappear again into another invisiportal, leaving her behind and alive. Moments later, the team was there, and Tommy kneeled by her side.
“Kimberly, Beautiful, you okay?”
“Yeah… okay, you were right,” she said mournfully as he helped her to her feet. “I nearly got my ass handed to me.”
“It could have just as easily been me,” he replied, and Kim noted how his hand slightly shook as he held her arm. “But next time… we’ll get him back.”
Nodding, Kim let him lead her back to the bikes, letting the issue drop for now as they headed for the cave. She knew that it was simply a matter of time before they talked… no, it wasn’t over in more ways than one, not by a long shot.
“Look Tommy, I know what you’re going to say…”
Kim was sitting in the command center, letting the man she loved dab antiseptic at the worst of her scratches that she’d gotten even with her armor. Luckily the laser strikes and sword slashes had been absorbed, but bruises still marked her body. She had powered down when they got back, and he had immediately gotten overprotective once he saw the bruises and scrapes.
“You could have been killed Kim. If not by Jase then by Zeltrax. You should have called us in sooner,” he said in a tired voice, laced with emotion.
“I know, I’m sorry. I wanted to try to see if I could reach him.”
“I know. And I know that you thought that you aren’t all that important in the scheme of things, that the team could do without you if something had gone wrong. But you forgot something… I need you. You’re my strength, and I don’t know what I would have done if…”
Without a moment’s thought, she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around him, letting him crush her against him to verify her presence. In her desire to protect him, she’d forgotten how connect they were to each other’s state of mind, and how putting herself into danger had affected him.
“I know. I love you handsome. I promise to be more careful,” she said softly as she leaned back, only their hands still connected.
“Tommy?” asked Hayley, turning from the console, not realizing what she was disrupting. “
“What is it?”
“I got an energy reading at the warehouse on ninth and Main. It looks like a morphing grid spike, but there’s no one there.”
“Strange. Kim, I need to check this out.”
“I’ll come with you,” she started, beginning to get up from her seat.
“No, there’s no one there. If anything happens, I’ll call,” he said simply, pushing her down with a light touch to her shoulder and smiling at her.
“Okay. Be careful.”
“I’ll be fine.”
With that, he took the backpack that Hayley was holding out to him and headed to the door.
In not time, he’d made his way to the warehouse, kicking in the boarded up door to get in. Walking through the dusty building, he stumbled on a suitcase of electrical components with wires to a handheld scanner, much like the one Conner and Kira had used to search for Jason to no avail days earlier.
A sound startled Tommy, and he turned to see Jason standing there, his armor gone and a look of confusion in his eyes.
“Bro?” murmured Jason as he stumbled into a series of metal drums.
“Hold on Jase. I’ve got to get you out of here and back to the command center.”
“Aah!” screamed Jason, his back arching in Tommy’s grip as something ripped through him like it had in the forest.
The power of the merged gems lashed out and sent Tommy flying, crashing into another stack of drums as the evil energy in the gem took over once again, morphing Jason into his armor without his even activating it. Once it encased him, all semblance of the Jason that had been there a moment before was gone, and the white ranger laughed evilly.
“Oh no…” Tommy breathed lowly, his eyes going wide.
“Fight or perish, black ranger.”
Tommy slowly stood and dropped into a battle stance.
“This is not going to be pretty. Dino Thunder, power up!”
Quickly he morphed into his armor, and attacked, the two men evenly matched with staff and sword. Leaping and parrying, they moved around the warehouse floor.
“Come on!” cried Jason, egging Tommy on.
They continued to fight on, even forcing Tommy to climb the metal stairs at one point, and when Jason finally knocked Tommy back towards the metal drums, he broke away to the suitcase full of equipment, engaging a sequence.
“Time to put you where you belong Bro… as part of history.”
“Hayley, Kim!” Tommy yelled into his communicator.
“Tommy?” Kim asked, moving with Hayley to the monitor where they saw Tommy leaning against the drums in the warehouse and Jason doing something near a machine in the same area.
“I found Jason… he’s…aah!”
Jason turned the device at his best friend and without an ounce of remorse, let loose a molten wave of gold colored gel-like material, quickly rising from Tommy’s feet to above his head. In moments, the material hardened to an amber consistency, trapping Tommy within it.
Kim and Hayley watched in horror as he was sealed in the substance.
“Tommy. Come in Tommy,” called out Hayley while Kim stood in shock.
“See you around Bro,” said Jason before he disappeared, leaving his best friend like a statue in the warehouse, and his other best friend nearly in tears in the command center.
Cliffhanger… sorry. But this is where White Thunder ends and goes to Truth and Consequences, which I’ll pick up next week. As I’ve mentioned before, please read and review… it lets me know you’re still out there. And don’t forget, all updates about this fic and any others can be found on my LiveJournal. Thanks - J.