Author’s notes: A big thank you to my readers. I asked and you confirmed you’re still there. I’d list you all, but that would waste writing time and space. But just know I appreciate your feedback and your being out there, still reading. Also, please note – (I know FF.net has not been sending out update announcements) I update WEEKLY, either Friday or Saturday, so feel assured (unless I say otherwise the week before) that there will be a post EVERY WEEK!
Hi all. So, we’ve fossilized Tommy and kicked everyone in the teeth. What more can we do? Wrap things up. To save Jason, I have to slightly break from canon… not much choice, but I’ll try to go back ASAP. So now, to the story…
Legends and Heroes
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 10: Hanging by a Moment
“It looks like you have more on your plate, Hayley,” Kim said, her tone flat and her eyes dull as Hayley ran the scanner over Tommy’s imprisoned form.
“Is he okay?” asked Ethan, still stunned at the call from Hayley to help bring Dr. O’s frozen body from the warehouse back to the cave.
“This internal scan should be able to tell us more. We’ll figure this out Kim. I promise.”
“I know you will. But in the meantime, we still have Jason to deal with.”
“So, what’s the deal? Is Dr. O frozen or something?” questioned Kira.
“Not exactly. More like he’s fossilized, fused into this amber-like substance.”
“Can you get him out?” asked Conner.
“Too risky. He’s able to stay alive in there, but I hate to think what would happen if I broke him out.”
“A Paleontologist turned into a fossil…” Ethan started, but stopped before he said anything that would make the situation worse.
“Kim, what are we going to do now?” questioned Conner.
“I had an idea, but I don’t know if it’s something that we can pull off,” replied Kim, moving to sit heavily across the way from where they’d moved Tommy’s encased form.
“Any idea at this point…” Ethan remarked with a heavy sigh.
“Can we short circuit the morphers?” Kim asked Hayley, causing everyone to look at her like she’d lost her mind, and what with Jason evil and Dr. O a fossil, there was a good possibility that she had.
“What?” cried Kira, stunned at Kim’s suggestion.
“Kim, our armor, our powers are our only weapon…” Conner added quickly, totally lost by Kim’s thinking.
“We’d be toast!” Ethan exclaimed as he looked around to the others wildly.
“I could…” Hayley started, her mind whirling. “But once that happens, you’re all in civilian mode… oh!”
“I get it, if all the morphers go down, that should include Jason’s too!” Conner stated, finally getting where Kim was going with this idea.
“And once that happens, I think we can either get his gem or at least slow him down long enough that we can send that pulse along the gem’s frequency and disrupt the connection the other power has on Jason.”
“But if that happens, it might dissipate, look for a new host or revert to its original form,” Hayley informed everyone. “I just don’t know how it’s going to react.”
“We have to take that chance. We’re down two rangers now… until we get Tommy out of the amber, we need Jason back,” Kim said with a thick tone.
“I think this could work… I need to fine tune the radius of the pulse to both cut your powers and then pinpoint it to disrupt the evil influence on Jason. I might be ready tomorrow.”
“Good. Ethan, can you help Hayley with the readings on Tommy while she works on the power pulse trajectory? Kira, Conner, why don’t you two head out and I’ll contact you when I have a plan in place to go over with everyone,” Kim stated, her eyes drifting from the team to flicker on Tommy’s petrified form.
With that, Kira started for the front of the cave where the trap door to Dr. O’s kitchen was. Conner, realizing that she was avoiding him yet again rushed up to her.
“Kira, wait a second, will you,” Conner intoned, hurriedly walking after the yellow clad singer.
“Why? So you can not show up again?” she fired off without turning her head to acknowledge his presence.
“Never mind… obviously you couldn’t be bothered to tell me to my face you weren’t coming.”
“But I did…”
However, Kira wasn’t listening, and she pushed past him and out the trap door to Dr. O’s house and through the front door, leaving Conner lost and hurt.
Kim had given everyone the outline of the new plan, and all they were waiting on was for Jason to make another appearance. When his signature was spotted by Hayley as she was scanning the city, she sent out a signal to the team, and they converged on an industrial site where Elsa and Zeltrax were already battling with Jason.
The team arrived on their raptor cycles to interrupt the fight, skidding to a halt.
“Hold it right there!” yelled Conner as he leapt from his bike.
“Great. That’s all we need,” growled Elsa.
“Whoa… how do we handle both the white ranger and Zeltrax and Elsa?” Ethan said in a stage whisper, worried about how the plan could be implemented while they had to protect themselves from the real bad guys.
“Good question,” remarked Conner, realizing Ethan’s concern.
“We’ll make it easy for you!” called out Elsa as she called up an invisiportal and escaped with Zeltrax.
Jason watched as Elsa and Zeltrax left, and turned to the rangers, pointing his sword at them.
“If you had any sense, you’d run too.”
“Dream on!” said Kira, as the team took up battle positions.
“Let’s do this,” said Conner, looking to Kim, who nodded.
With that, they launched into battle, Conner, Kim and Ethan leading with their swords, with Kira using her terra grips. Conner, Kim and Ethan were knocked away and Jason backed Kira up against a wall.
“Had enough?” Jason sneered at the yellow ranger twisting in his grasp.
“Hardly,” she spat out as she pushed with all her strength at the white ranger, barely moving him.
At that, Jason started to bring his sword down on Kira, and Kim panicked. She quickly moved towards where Jason and Kira were fighting and as she did, she attempted to use her power to slow the oncoming blow that Jason had sailing towards Kira’s head.
“Come on Hayley,” Kim whispered under her breath as she moved to intercept the sword, in whatever way she had to.
“Stop it!” the white ranger growled as his sword struggled to advance.
Then, with a flash of bright light, Jason’s sword disappeared as everyone was back in their unarmored forms. His empty fist rushed forward and landed on Kira’s shoulder. Without the deadly blade, the blow merely staggered the yellow ranger, the force of it was less than expected.
Racing forward, Kim put herself between Jason and Kira’s hunched form and raised her hand, slapping the white ranger across the left cheek, hard enough for the sound to reverberate around them.
“Come on Jason… fight it, damn it!”
With the slap and the sound of Kim’s voice, everyone watched in stunned silence as Jason’s eyes cleared for a moment.
Then another white light pulsed through the battlefield, but this time only focused on Jason. His gauntlet sizzled and an arch of lightning erupted from the gem in the center, and a dark essence dripped from the white stone to congeal on the ground. After a few minutes, the gem was purely white again and the puddle on the ground had solidified. Beside him, a dark crystal lay quiet on the ground, and Kim angrily stomped it with her shoe, shattering it into a million pieces on the pavement as she moved to Jason’s side.
“Kim?” Jason asked, his eyes clear but confused.
“Jason… are you okay?” Kim questioned cautiously, her hands going around one of his arms, nearly holding him up when everything slammed into him like a freight train and he staggered slightly.
“I… oh my God, what did I do?”
“It wasn’t your fault. Come on, you know how this works. You got taken over… what you did was under the influence of something that you had no control over.”
“But… I attacked you, the kids… Tommy!”
“We understand,” said Conner, moving to grasp Jason’s other arm, both for support and to acknowledge his words.
“You couldn’t help it, just like Dr. O couldn’t when he was the evil green ranger,” explained Ethan, making Jason look to Kim with a piteous look.
“God Kim… are you okay?” he question, realizing now just what she had been through the last day or so, since his attack on Tommy.
“I will be once we get you back to the command center and Tommy unpetrified. Let’s take this one step at a time. How about we get you home and we can deal with everything after that?”
Jason looked at her, knowing that she was far from fine, but allowed her to escort him to her bike and the five of them rode back quickly to the command center.
“Jason! Kim, you guys did it!” exclaimed Hayley, nearly jumping up from her seat to congratulate the returning heroes.
She stopped herself as she watched them enter the cave, no one seemed like they were interested in celebrating.
Jason shuffled in, Kim at his side and they both gravitated to Tommy’s form in the amber prison as the others followed somberly. The ride back had put each of them into their own silent worlds, and in doing so, too many things had begun to gestate in their heads… and not all of them good.
“Oh bro… I’m so sorry,” Jason whispered, and Kim’s hand clenched on his arm.
“We’re working on getting him free. It shouldn’t be too long, and he’s simply in hibernation inside the amber, sort of like a bear…” Hayley explained to Jason, her eyes watching the white ranger as he leaned on Kim’s petite form.
At her words, his eyes swept the room, watching the others look at him with various expressions… some good and others bad. While the new kids understood he hadn’t been himself, the fact remained that it had been him that had attacked them, him who had hurt his best friends. No matter the supportive words they’d heaped on him after his initial release from the evilness that had enslaved him, he knew that they would have their doubts for a while.
Looking to escape the scrutiny, he slowly moved from Kim’s side and wandered away to take the second seat at the command center console beside Hayley. He hadn’t attached her… had no cause to do so, and he was grateful now for that. It meant that he could talk with her, and hopefully explain himself to her without the other emotions that talking to the others would bring up.
“I can’t be here right now,” Jason said quietly to Hayley as they sat at the console, Kim standing with the others by Tommy’s amber encased body not more than twenty feet from them. “I’ve caused everyone too much pain… I understand now why Tommy wanted to leave when we freed him.”
“That’s only natural. What you went through was very traumatic. But I know that Kim is really depending on you being here to help…”
“I know that. Even though she hasn’t said it outright, I know she was hoping that I’d be able to help with the team while Tommy is… her mind’s going to be here and not fully on the field.”
“I… I can’t. I want to, but…”
“Jason, its okay…” she said as she unthinkingly laid a hand on his arm, and she quickly pulled it back when she realized what she’d done. “I don’t think she’ll hate you for needing to take care of yourself. You taking some time away from here is probably best.”
Hayley dipped her head to keep him from seeing the true depth of her concern in her eyes, and Jason moved to lightly touch her cheek with his fingers. Her head popped up in surprise, and he ran his tongue across his suddenly dry lips. Her breath caught in her chest for a moment as she watched him intently looking at her.
“I’ll be back. Not just to help, to see the commitment to the team through, but… I’d like to see if maybe there’s something here, between us. But before I can ask you to consider seeing me, I have to be sure that I’m being fair to you.”
Grasping her hand tightly for one long moment, Jason released it and stood, moving to where Kim stood, dreading his next words which would leaver her to deal with everything… alone.
“Kim?” Jason started, and his friend swung her head slowly to pierce him with knowing eyes.
“Will you be back at least?” she asked with a slight quiver in her voice.
“Yes. You know I will. I just…”
Kim frowned but nodded. She remembered all too well the pain Tommy had felt after being freed from Rita’s spell. The months of nightmares and nervous starts at thunderstorms. She remembered her own emotional state the weeks following the incident at Muranthias. How she dreamed in vivid detail laughing at Tommy’s caring, outstretched hand. How she had attacked him, Kat, the others. Jason had it twice as bad now. Between that same incident when he’d nearly strangled Tommy at the edge of Maligore’s pit to now… having petrified his best friend.
“I’ll call you as soon as we have him out.”
“I’ll be back soon Kim. You’re strong… Hayley will have Tommy free in no time. Until then…” Jason said with a grimace that Kim knew was rooted in his conflicting emotions about leaving.
“Go. We’ll be okay.”
Without another word, Jason rushed past everyone and headed to the stairs, intent on packing his things and heading home to sort everything out. As he did so, Kira, Conner and Ethan stood in shock and then turned to Kim.
“That’s it? We save him and now he’s leaving?” complained Conner, his face angry.
“Yeah. I mean, after what he did to Dr. O, shouldn’t he be all guilty and want to help out?” asked Kira.
“He needs to get away for right now,” Kim said tiredly, her eyes closing at the flood of emotions rushing through her. “And can you all tell me that you don’t need a little time to get used to the idea that he’s back to being good? That he’s not the same person who just a few hours ago was kicking your asses?”
“That’s… that’s not the point,” argued Ethan, and the others realized that Kim’s statement rang more true than they’d thought. “We could still use his help while Dr. O is fossilized.”
“Yes, but we need Jason whole in the long run more than we need him broken right now.”
They all stared at her, and Kim shook her head. Maybe after a while of thinking about it they would understand. But for now, she didn’t have the energy to keep arguing about it with them.
“Why don’t you all head home. We accomplished what we set out to do…”
Ethan looked to Hayley, and she nodded that he should leave. Giving Conner and Kira a sideways glance and seeing they weren’t moving any time soon, he headed for the stairs to Dr. O’s house. Kira and Conner seemed frozen there, and then as Conner started to open his mouth and reach a hand out to her, she turned her back on him. Frustrated, Conner ran to the stairs and left the room.
Feeling that there was something going on that she didn’t know about, Hayley turned her attention to Tommy, leaving Kim and Kira semi-alone in the command center.
“Kira, do you have a moment?” Kim asked, having finally gotten sick of watching the yellow ranger treat Conner like a bad dog.
“Sure. Does this have to do with Dr. O?” Kira replied and followed Kim as she led her away to the stairs and up into Tommy’s kitchen. The house was now empty, and Kim sat at the table with a sigh, motioning for Kira to do the same.
“No. It has to do with you, and what’s going on with you. I… Tommy and I thought you and Conner were going out on a date the other night. Then, you both arrive the next day and now you can’t stand to be near one another. Did something happen between you two?”
“Nothing happened, that’s just it,” complained Kira, moving to sit heavily on one of the kitchen chairs as she looked at Kim with an expression of unhappiness. “He didn’t show. He called and had Trent tell me he wasn’t coming. I mean, after all his comments about wanting to go out with me, how could he just not tell me in person…”
“So, you called him back once you got the message or went to get an explanation from him?”
“No… Trent offered to take me to the movie instead.”
“And you went?” Kim questioned, surprised.
“I… Trent was being so nice and I felt so horrible about Conner standing me up, I just said yes.”
Kim grimaced. She had hoped that Kira had at least talked to Conner, but from the looks of it, she was going about this without even a word to the man she was interested in dating.
“Have your feelings for Conner changed? Are you interested in Trent instead?”
“I… I was really looking forward to going out with Conner. But when he didn’t show, I just thought maybe I was seeing more in him than was there,” Kira nearly sobbed, her emotions over being ditched finally catching up with her.
“No, you aren’t. Kira, he’s been upset ever since that night, and I know he has tried to talk to you. You need to sit down and discuss things with him. And you need to talk with Trent too. If you don’t like him in that way… you need to tell him so. If you don’t, it will just hurt both of you later on.”
Kira nodded, wiping her eyes with her sleeve, knowing that she did like Trent’s company, but she wasn’t really attracted to him like she was Conner. And the way Trent had opened doors for her at the movie theatre and shared his popcorn with her… he was sending all the signals that he was really interested in seeing her again.
Kira walked towards the lake, having called Trent and asking to meet him there. She found him on a wood bench, sketching.
“Hey. Thanks for meeting me.”
“No problem,” said Trent, folding the notebook and looking up at Kira as she took a seat on the bench.
“I wanted to tell you I had a nice time with you the other night. I really helped me take my mind of… things.”
“That’s great. So… did you think about what I asked after the movie. That maybe I could take you out?”
“Look Trent, it was really sweet that you offered to cover for Conner when he cancelled on me, but… I’m not really interested in dating you. You’re a really great guy, but… I…”
“You’re still hung up on the meathead jock,” Trent said with a bitter tone to his voice.
“Yes,” Kira replied, surprised at Trent’s tone, “and I’m going to talk to him later and ask him about what happened… why he didn’t show.”
Trent looked at her with a wild-eyed expression, and Kira tried to figure out what was going on. As soon as she had mentioned talking to Conner about what had happened to him the night of their date, Trent freaked out…
The young man knew that once Conner and Kira spoke, everything would come out. His only chance to save any chance to keep Kira’s interest was to tell her the truth and hope she would understand his motivation… his reasoning.
“I… I lied to you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Conner didn’t call and cancel. I just told you that so you wouldn’t go out with him.”
“You… how could you?” Kira said, standing as she looked at the man whom she thought was kind and sweet told her that he’d deceived her.
“I… I was afraid that if you went out with Conner that I’d never had another chance to show you how good we could be together. You don’t have anything in common with him, but I understand you. The creative part of you, the part that craves acceptance. You’re a superhero to me, a goddess and I couldn’t just let that… stupid jock sweep you off without trying to stop him.”
“So you lied? You really thought that I’d never find out?”
“I hoped that you wouldn’t even speak with him after he stood you up. But when you said you were going to talk with him… I knew I had to tell you the truth,” he said, his voice nearly cracking on his admission.
“And what if I hadn’t decided I wanted to keep pursuing things with Conner? You were going to start a relationship with me based on a lie? Is that what you wanted? Is that what your father taught you? That when you want something, you do anything to get it?” she accused, remembering Anton Mercer’s near take over of the cyberspace.
“No… I just…”
“I don’t want to hear it. If you couldn’t respect my decision to go out with Conner, then you don’t respect me.”
With that Kira stormed off, leaving Trent behind at the stone bench near the lake as she went to go looking for the red ranger so she could apologize for her behavior.
Kim sat in the dark command center, the only light illuminating the fossilized prison of the man she loved. She walked to his side, pulling up one of the rolling desk chairs he or Hayley had brought into the place and sat down.
Glancing down, she looked at the cordless phone in her hand and sighed. It wasn’t like she couldn’t call her and tell her what was going on… hell, she’d find out soon enough. But right now, she really could use her friend, and she would have to hope that the former yellow ranger was prepared for what was coming her way.
Deliberately jabbing the buttons, she dialed the number that she knew almost as well as Jason’s. After a few rings, she heard the line pick up.
“Hello?” said the exotic voice that Kim remembered hearing that first day of school when she was eight.
“Hey Trini… its Kim. Do you have time to talk?” she said, her eyes flowing back to the amber block before her as she prepared herself to pour forth everything she had been feeling for the last two days.
“Of course… talk to me Kim.”
Kim gave a small smile and proceeded to do just that.
Hey everyone. Thanks for reading again this week. I know that this is a big AU from “Truth and Consequences” but things are different in this world. Next week… more changes. Also, props to my X-Files background for the black crystal’s swan song here. Lastly – a special treat to my AAR readers can be found on my LJ… happy reading, J.