"You got it Ashley.", said Adam as Ashley headed back to her temporary quarters. They were a few hours away from Iocaste where she would be staying for a while. She wondered why she couldn't stay with the other rangers, Kincaid said that it was too risky. They were on constant alert and for the moment she had no powers. "Besides you need a spot where you can keep track of communications where you won't be distracted and two where Crucible doesn't go."
As Ashley walked down the hallway she ran into Cassandra who was heading to the bridge to check on her. "I was just coming up to see how you were doing.", Cassandra said.
"I got tired.", Ashley responded. "I decided to go get some sleep. By the way, we haven't formally met. My name is Ashley Hammond."
"Cassandra Jensen", she said as she shook Ashley's hand. "So what do you think of our rugged crew."
Ashley thought for a moment. "Well the computer watches too much T.V."
"Everyone says that.", said Cassandra and both girls laughed.
Ashley then continued. "I'm glad to see Adam, Justin and even Mackenzie. Mackenzie and I have a history."
"You were teamates right?"
"Yeah. She was trouble, but she had her reasons to be." said Ashley. "Her mom died when she was young and she took it pretty hard.
"Her mom died?", Cassandra said surprised.
"Yeah, it made her want to stop living for a while. She tried to commit suicide a few times. She became anorexic and started to get a foul mouth."
What happend? How did she change.", asked Cassandra.
"Zordon chose her to be the white Astro.", said Ashley. "And he made a good choice."
"She hasn't changed much.", said Cassandra.
"No not much.", said Ashley, and the girls gigled again. Then Cassandra straightened up and asked Ashley the big question.
"What do you think about Kincaid?"
Ashley thought about it for a minute. "He kind of reminds me of Andros a little. He keeps himself detatched from people and he seems secretive as Andros did."
"He is hiding a few things.", confirmed Cassandra.
"He seems nice, but he also seems more haunted than Andros was. Andros wandered through space looking for his sister. But I have no idea what Kincaid is looking for.", said Ashley.
"I think Kincaid is more running FROM something than running to something.", asid Cassandra.
Ashley paused for a second not knowing what to say. Then she spoke again. "Kincaid told me of a saying that he had where he was from. He said it was his state motto. 'With God all things are possible.'"
"That's the motto of the state of Ohio.", said Cassandra. Even though Cassandra was from Kentucky she did visit Ohio once or twice when she went to an amusement park called Kings Island on the other side of Cincinatti. She picked up some travel information one time and learned a few things about Ohio once, especially when she had to do a report about a U.S. state other than Kentucky for a junior high project. "Broaden your horizons", said the teacher. Cassandra broadened them to Kentucky's neighbor.
"Is that important?", asked Ashley.
"It's just something I remembered.", said Cassandra. When Cassandra first met Bruce he told her that Kincaid spent time in a town called Port Clinton which was in Ohio. Then Cassandra saw a milk carton that told her that Kincaid was a runaway and to call Franklin County Children's services. She had a good idea that Franklin County was in Ohio as well. Then he says the Ohio state motto to Ashley.
Cassandra went for the bridge and spotted Alpha. Ashley followed. "Alpha can you do me a favor?", Cassandra asked.
"No problem, Cassandra. Communications are silent."
"Can you cross reference Franklin County with the state of Ohio and tell me what you get?"
Alpha went to the computer and did the cross referencing. It wasn't long before Cassandra had her answer. "Franklin County is the county that holds the capital city of Columbus, Ohio." Alpha said.
"And may just give me an idea where Kincaid is from.", Cassandra said.
"Ai, yi, yi, yi, yi, Cassandra you're not thinking of going there now are you? Crucible still has control of Earth.", said Alpha.
"No Alpha not right away.", said Cassandra. "But at some point I will." For the moment, she thought, there may be someone else I can talk to.
Ashley and Cassandra went over to Mackenzie's quarters. Ashley couldn't believe how big the mobile safehouse was. There was practically a rail system on the thing to get from one end of the place to the other. Fortunately, Mackenzie's quarters were not far awayso they didn't have to take it.
"You sure you want to do this?", asked Cassnadra.
"Positive.", said Ashley. "I love a good mystery."
They knocked on Mackenzie's door and she allowed it to open. Mackenzie sat in a corner reading a book she had.
Cassandra read the title and couldn't believe what she saw. "The making of Forrest Humps:A guide to making porno flics?" she said reading the title.
"Hey, it's something my dad had lying around one time.", defended Mackenzie. "Besides I don't have anyone to film."
"I won't go there", said Ashley. "If I break into Hollywood, I want legit work not something where I share a by-line with someone named Val Venis."
"I agree.", said Cassandra. "Right now I'd like to ask you something Mackenzie."
"Shoot.", Mackenzie said giggling a little at her pun.
"Did Kincaid tell you anything about himself?", asked Cassandra. "Did he give any insinuations about who he was?"
Mackenzie paused to herself. Kincaid told her the story about his "friend" in good faith. She would have hated to break that faith. Even though he technically referred to himself as a different person when they had their discussion, Mackenzie knew he was talking about himself.
"No", said Mackenzie. "He told me about a friend he had who was abused as a kid and ran away from home, but he made no references about himself." In a sence it was the truth. Kincaid made no reference to himself, Mackenzie's speculation was confirmed when she saw the milk carton but nothing more.
"Are you sure?", asked Cassandra.
"Positive.", said Mackenzie. "Maybe you should read the Book of Zordon or something if you want to find out who Kincaid really is." Then Mackenzie went back to her book and read Chapter 6 on the proper positions for equipment.
Ashley and Cassandra left Mackenzie's quarters. "She told us what she knew, but Kincaid obviously confided in her. She doesn't want to break that confidence.", said Cassandra.
"Any ideas now?", asked Ashley.
"Let's take her advice. Let's see the book of Zordon."
The book was still open as the pages continued to turn. Ashley and Cassandra walked in and saw the pages turning. "What's going on?", asked Cassandra.
"Do not fear my child.", said a voice in Cassandra's mind.Cassandra touched Ashley's arm bringing her into the mental confrontation. "The spirits of the night that guide the Night Rangers have allowed me access to read the Book of Zordon in hopes to guide you in the future. There will be many challenges ahead. You will need to be ready for them."
"Serena?",, said Cassandra telepathically.
"Who's Serena?", asked Ashley who was unfamiliar with telepathic contact.
"My spirit guide.", said Cassandra telepathically. "She guides all those who posses the Emerald Ranger powers." Cassandra then turned her gaze to Serena. "Serena, I have come to see if I can find out who Kincaid really is. Will the book allow me to do that?"
Serena closed her eyes as if communing with someone that only she knew of. "Yes the book will commune with both of you. But do not ask of the fate of the Night Rangers yet. The spirits have determined that it is not yet time for that story."
"Why not?", asked Ashley telepathically through Cassandra holding her arm.
"It is difficult to explain,". said Serena. "Please be grateful that the book is allowing some of the story to be shared."
Ashley and Cassandra nodded. "We will.", they thought together.
"Good, now go to the podium and watch the story unfold.". With that Serena left the room with the Book of Zordon sitting on the podium. Ashley and Cassandra opened the book and they found themselves swept into the story from the moment the book was opened.
Mackenzie made her way to Kincaid's quarters. She hoped he wouldn't be too upset when she found out what Ashley and Cassandra were doing. She knocked on the door and Kincaid allowed the door to open.
Kincaid was working on a piece of equipment that looked like a video game system when he noticed Mackenzie coming in. "Hey Mackenzie. What can I do for you?"
Mackenzie waited for a few seconds before speaking again. "It's about Cassandra..."
In a hospital in New Haven Conneticut a miracle of life was taking place.
A husband and wife who were so young, and so in love were awaiting the birth of their second child. The mother fought through the pain and the father offered his support as the doctors got ready for one final push.
The push came and Catherine Lee Kincaid gave birth to their newborn son...Jeffrey Michael Kincaid.
The Kincaid family consisted of Vincent James Kincaid who was the patriarch of the clan. Catherine Lee was the mother. The first born son was Steven David. Vincent Kincaid was a soldier in the Army National Guard. Catherine was the nurse who followed in her mother's footsteps. They travelled from base to base until finally settling down in the state of Ohio. They lived in two regions in this area. The first was a seaside town called Port Clinton where by coincidence Catherine Kincaid's mother lived. The second was in the capital city of Columbus where the Kincaid's finally settled. Jeffrey was four at this time.
Through it all the Kincaid's were happy...for a time.
But when Jeffrey had turned five, the real world started to come in. His father and mother had started arguing and Jeffrey did not know why. He wouldn't for years later.
And what was worse was when a change started to come over the parents. Mr. Kincaid took to physically abusive traits when it came to dealing with his children. More with the eldest son than with Jeffrey. The mother took on more emotional abuse traits trying to control the lives of her family. Whatever she did was considered right and everyone else was wrong.
It came to the point where Catherine Kincaid's will was the most dominant will in the family, and where everyone had to serve her. She had even quit her job to "be with her children", but in actuality, the Kincaid sons were put to work while Mrs. Kincaid "delegated" responsibilities. And all of this before the age of 12.
The Kincaid sons were the ones who did most all the menial work while Mr. Kincaid was not around. Some reasons why the father was not there were for work while others...were not.
The sons did everything the mother ordered them to do. They were the ones who had to prepare the family pool every summer. Steven was the one who mowed the lawn. And Jeffery had to deal with feeding horses that Mrs. Kincaid was interested in breeding.
Mrs. Kincaid did nothing due to complaints of injuries. So for years she did nothing but lay in bed eating ice cream. She could not stand her will being questioned. And as a result the sons were reduced to the role of no more than child slaves in a loveless home. If they fought back, they found themselves the victim of Mrs. Kincaid's wrath.
But even through the abuse of the house the family still had a favorite son. The parents worshipped young Jeffrey and thought he had such potential while brother Steven was considered the failure and put to work the most. Jeffrey had his share of abuse from the family members, but Steven was envious of the attention his younger brother was getting. So he decided that what share of family abuse Jeffrey did not get from the parents would come from him. So unlike the two sources of abuse Steven received, Jeffrey had a third source to deal with.
In a way it seemed like the cycle of abuse was unbalanced among the parents with them favoring the second son over the first, and persecuting the first born. Steven had been on the receiving end of more physical abuse from the father than Jeffrey had. But Jeffrey did receive one beating from his father. A beating that changed him.
One day Jeffrey came home and needed help with a Mathematics assignment. He had always gone to his father with help in this regard since Vincent Kincaid was smart and he always went to him for help.
But Vincent Kincaid was angry from a day at work. He was not up to helping his son, even though he tried anyway. Jeffrey could not get the assignment quite right, and Mr. Kincaid lost his last shread of patience.
And for the first time, Vincent James Kincaid beat his second born, and favorite, son.
Even though it was only the one time, it was enough for little Jeffrey. He crawled into a closet in his bedroom and closed the door until someone cared for him. But for the longest time Jeffrey was afraid of being hurt again...in any manner.
Jeffrey would receive beatings again, but not from the hand of his father. That right came from brother Steven who had started to emulate his father's behavior. And the closest that Catherine Kincaid would come was a few slaps to the face when his sons stepped out of line. Emotional abuse was her stock in trade.
Catherine Kincaid was smart. She was a natural in the art of arguing. She would take anything the sons believed was right for them and twist it so that it was wrong and her view was the right one. No challenges were permitted, and she too had a temper. A temper that she found ways to express without resorting to physical abuse.
When the Kincaid boys were home, she came in and yelled at them about not devoting enough time to their horses, saying that they devoted too much of their time to leisurely activities unaware of the demands she placed on them at home as well as the demands of school so in a fit of rage she went and destroyed the room of the Kincaid sons. To the point where she took on of Jeffrey's favorite comic books and ripped it apart.
The father, the mother, the brother, they had all hurt Jeffrey in some regard, and a little boy grew up afraid of his own family. Afraid of what they would do if he stepped out of line.
But Jeffrey did not have to put up with family abuse alone. He had an extra set available...that came from school bullies that sought to prove how tough they were...by picking on him.
Jeffrey was smart. He had great math ability, as well as an eye for reading. His writing was not the best but he had imagination and intellect which he applied.
Bullies took that as a threat so they would seek out to torment him every chance they got. To the point where good grades were not worth the abuse he was receiving. And since he was getting abuse at home there was no sanctuary for him.
Jeffrey tried to ignore them, but they persisted until they got a reaction. They would not let him leave anywhere, not even for a class until they got a piece of Jeffrey's self esteem and self worth. The bullies were relentless.
The bullies did it all:name calling, embarrassment in the gym, sometimes even assault to the point where they drew some of his blood. And if that wasn't enough, Steven had his own share of enemies and at times they used Jeffrey to get back at Steven. So Steven's enemies became Jeffrey's enemies.
The abuse from both ends took their tool on Jeffrey. His grades started to slip. He could not do math anymore thanks to the beating that his father had given him. English and reading were of no importance since they would just make him a target if he suceeded at an assignment. His mind became clouded with useless information which prevented him from concentrating well.
It came to the point where Jeffrey Michael Kincaid had been turned into a stupid scared little boy wondering where his next sorce of abuse would come, where the next enemy would strike, or if he could even think clearly.
In one of the few moments of peace in the Kincaid household, Jeffrey had taken Karate classes. But the classes brought him no peace. He could not use the Karate to defend himself since the principal did not allow it. If one defended himself or herself then they were persecuted for fighting.
Jeffrey Kincaid could get no justice unless he was a victim. And even then it was only short lived.
Until the moment before his thirteenth birthday where everything came to the crisis point.
One month before Christmas Vincent Kincaid took his sons out on several trips...to lawyers. They were given affidavits to sign testifying as to what type of person their mother was. At the time they didn't disagree so they signed it.
They brothers knew that things were getting heated between the parents, more so than usual. The brothers didn't know what to make of it, until the week after Mr. Kincaid took his two sons to a restaurant, sat them down, and told them...
"Boys, your mother and I are getting a divorce."
At the time Steven and Jeffrey agreed to go with Mr. Kincaid but Mrs. Kincaid would not have any of it. Eventually, Steven went to support Mrs. Kincaid, and Mrs. Kincaid was doing everything in her power to make Mr. Kincaid look like a villian in Jeffrey's eyes...by bringing his father's indiscretions to light.
She accused Jeffrey's father of being unfaithful. One who had been cheating on her and seeing other women. According to Mrs. Kincaid, Jeffrey's father was seeing strippers at night clubs and places where children couldn't go. Many times he had taken those strippers to bed. To pay for the strippers he began to steal money, from the family account...and from his own sons.
She also stressed that the REAL reason that Jeffrey's father was leaving was because he was going to marry another woman and leave his family behind. Jeffrey could not take any more as Mrs. Kincaid toyed with her youngest son's emotions laying guilt on him for loving his father. Many times he went to his room crying.
When the day came that Mr. Kincaid left the family home for good. Jeffrey was not allowed to go with him. His emotions were so torn to shreads by his family's actions he did not know who to believe anymore.
Shortly after the divorce was final, Mrs. Kincaid's story was proven true in one regard. Mr. Kincaid remarried shortly after he divorced Jeffrey's mother.
And the bullies from school had no sympathy for Jeffrey's plight as they continued to attack him in everyway possible...to the point where Jeffrey contemplated suicide.
After a harassment session with a few of the school bullies Jeffrey wrote a suicide note to his teacher saying that he wanted to die. The teacher got scared and asked that Jeffrey be taken to a hospital for medical evaluation. The doctors contemplated that he be institutionalized, but the Kincaids would have none of it. After a few hours of observation Jeffrey was released. But nothing had changed.
The abuse still came. Mrs. Kincaid demanded that her son tell her everything. Jeffrey was reluctant to do so due to the fear that she would twist everything to where she was the right and noble hero while Mr. Kincaid was the evil villian, and everything Jeffrey did would be twisted to where she was right and he was wrong.
At this point Jeffrey had no other option. If he stayed he would be driven insane by an abusive family that toyed with his emotions and bullies who would hurt him for pure pleasure. If he contemplated suicide again he might face time in a mental institution where he would most likely stay until the family couldn't pay for his care anymore.
So Jeffrey Kincaid made the only choice he could. He ran away from home. He stayed on the run from children's services for five months.
In his travels he made his way to his grandmother's house in Port Clinton where Jeffrey stayed as an infant. His grandmother, Elizabeth Corbett, was a sweet lady who Jeffrey leaned on when he needed support. While there he also met Leroy Greene who owned a shootfighting rink with his teenage son Bruce. It was here that Jeffrey turned himself around. He learned to fight again in the style of the no holds barred streetfighters much to the worry of his grandmother. But with the help of the Greenes and Jeffrey's grandmother Jeffrey turned himself around.
Catherine Kincaid tried to take her son back, but Elizabeth would have none of what her daughter would say. "You hurt your own sons.", Elizabeth said. "You've turned them against each other and you drove your husband away. I won't excuse his actions, but you are not blameless either. Get out and don't come back until you prove to me that you love your son as your son and not as who you want him to be."
It was the last time mother and daughter had spoken again for a long time. And for Jeffrey Michael Kincaid, it was the beginning of a new adventure.
But that's another story...for another time...
And with that...the book closed.
Ashley and Cassandra stood before the podium trying to assimilate what they had experienced. They saw everything that the book had to say about Kincaid's past. And they felt the pain of that past as it affected the growth of a young boy.
"No wonder he pushes people away.", said Cassandra tears of sorrow forming in her eyes.
Ashley felt herself crying too. She herself had loving parents who were there for her no matter what. Sure they woul argue but they never put her through what the Kincaid's did, toy with emotions and pressure them into agreement.
Just then Kincaid appeared in the doorway. Mackenzie, Adam and Justin were by his side. "So, what do you think of my story so far?"
Cassandra looked at Kincaid and saw for the first time not the tough gut who pushed people away, but one who was a little boy who was hurt time and time again. Almost a kindred spirit.
Cassandra went to Kincaid and hugged him tight. Kincaid returned the embrace. Ashley joined in the embrace as well. Then Justin, then Mackenzie, and finally Adam as they formed a group hug as they drew strength from each other.
Alpha walked by and saw the group hugging. "May I ask what's going on here?"
"It's a long story Alpha.", said Cassandra, and she invited the little robot into the group embrace.
Meanwhile, the safehouse was approaching Iocaste and the Rangers next adventure.