Disclaimer: I acknowledge that I am using concepts and characters from "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" and "Power Rangers Zeo" without the knowledge or permission of Saban Entertainment, Inc. This story was written solely for entertainment value and may not be distributed for profit of any kind. When reproducing this document, all parts, including this disclaimer, must be kept together in their original, unaltered state.
Timeline: This takes place after my first story "Billy."
It was one of those picture perfect spring day. Adam smiled as he walked
up toward Billy's front door. The two boys were going to meet the gang
at the Juice Bar to decide on what they were going to do during the upcoming
Spring Break. Zordon and Alpha had encouraged the trip, saying that the
Rangers needed a break. Besides, if they were needed, they could always
teleport to the Command Center in a matter of minutes.
It had been two months since Billy's near fatal encounter with Mondo and the Machine Empire, and for the most part Billy had made a near complete recovery. Adam rang the doorbell and smiled as Billy's father answered the door. "Hello, Adam. Here to see Billy, I take it?"
"Yes, sir. Is he here?" Adam asked.
Hank Cranston nodded and pointed to the garage. "He's in his lab. Go on back."
"Thanks." Adam turned and headed toward the garage.
Hank smiled as he watched the young black-clad teen head off toward the garage. He was glad that Billy had finally found a close knit circle of friends. There was a time when he was worried about his only son. It had been hard for Billy to make friends, and after his mother had died, he had withdrawn into himself and had gone into a deep depression. His friends had refused to let him to stay there and give up. Slowly, Billy had responded to their attempts and eventually learned to come to terms with his grief.
Although Jason, Trini and Zack had left to attend the Peace Conference in Switzerland; and Kimberly was now involved with her gymnastics and the Olympics trials, the tight-knit group of teens still kept in close contact with each other. Recently, Jason had taken a small leave of absence from the conference and returned to spend some time with his family and friends. Unknown to anyone but the Rangers, Jason had been recalled to take over the Gold Ranger Powers when it was evident that Billy could not.
Of his son's current friends, Hank noted that Adam had an especially close relationship with Billy. He supposed that it was because the two boys had so much in common that they were able to connect with each other. It's almost as if they were brothers, he thought as he smiled to himself. He closed the door and returned to his computer and his own research.
* * *
Adam could hear Billy puttering around as he got closer to the garage. He softly knocked on the door, and when he got no answer, he knocked a little harder. "Come in," he heard Billy say.
"Hi there, Billy. What'cha up to?"
Billy turned. "Hi, Adam. I'm just performing some maintenance on some of the weapons that we've used in our battles. You never know when we might need it again."
Adam watched as Billy put the weapon down. "I hope there will be a day when we won't have a need for those."
Billy smiled. "You and me both, pal."
"The gang's waiting for us at the Juice Bar. You ready to go?"
Billy nodded and smiled. "I just received some very exciting news that I wanted to share with all of you. Just let me tell my dad that we're leaving, okay?"
"News? What news? Did you win the lottery?" Adam said jokingly.
"Uh-huh. You'll just have to wait until we get to the Juice Bar," Billy said mysteriously. "But I promise, it will be something morphenominal."
He turned to shut the lights off. Suddenly, he leaned against the wall and uttered a soft moan. He placed a hand on his forehead and closed his eyes.
"Billy, what's the matter? Are you okay?" Billy turned to see Adam looking at him worriedly.
Billy leaned against the wall, massaging his temples and the back of his neck. "I'm okay. I think. It's just a headache that I have had for a while that I can't seem to get rid of."
Adam stepped over to Billy and laid a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Maybe you should take a rain check on the Juice Bar if you aren't feeling well."
Billy shook his head. "No, I'll be all right." He looked at Adam. "Listen, don't say anything about this to my dad or anyone else, okay?"
"I don't know....." Adam started to say.
"It's just that I don't want to cause anyone a lot of worry over some little headaches. If my dad felt anything was wrong with me, he probably won't let me participate in our trip, and I've been really looking forward to it. Promise me you won't tell anyone? Okay?"
Adam looked at Billy for a minute before he spoke. "You know that I can't make a promise like that," he quietly said. He held his hand up before Billy could protest. "But, and this is going against my better judgment, I won't say anything. Right now. But you will have to promise me something."
"You'll promise me that you'll let me know if your headaches gets worse." Adam looked at him. "And you will seek some treatment if it does. Is that a promise?"
Billy thought for a moment, then nodded. "Okay, I accept your terms. Now, let's go tell my dad we're leaving."
* * *
The popular Juice Bar was crowded as usual. There were many things going on at the same time. In one corner, there was an aerobics class going on. In the other, there were two persons sparring. Along the walls, teenagers were patiently waiting for their turn to use the weight machines.
Recently, Ernie had added a outdoor restaurant to the Juice Bar for his customers. Billy and Adam stood at the entranceway, looking for their friends. Rocky spotted them and waved them over. "Hi, guys," Rocky said as he reached for the other half of his sandwich. "What's up?"
"We almost given up on you two," a pretty blonde girl said, taking a sip from the glass in front of her.
Adam grinned at her. "Yeah, Kat. I almost gave up too. You know how hard it is to tear Billy away from his lab." He leaned over and gave Tanya a kiss on the cheek.
"Hi there, handsome," Tanya whispered to Adam. She patted the empty chair next to her. "I saved you a seat." She waved at Billy. "Hi, Billy."
Billy smiled. He had seen Adam blush at whatever Tanya had whispered to him. He was glad that he wasn't the only one who suffered from that condition. "Hi guys. Where's Tommy?" he asked as he sat down next to Jason.
Kat laughed. "You know Tommy."
"Yeah, I'm beginning to think that if you need him to get anywhere on time, you'll have to tell him to come at least a half an hour earlier," Jason laughed.
"Speak of the devil, here he comes now," Adam said as he spotted a young man with shoulder length hair coming toward them.
"Hi, guys," he said, slightly winded. "Sorry I'm late. My watch stopped and I didn't noticed."
"Don't sweat it, Tommy. We're getting used to it," Rocky teased, a mischievous look on his face. The others laughed. Ernie came over just then and proceeded to take Tommy, Billy and Adam's order.
* * *
As Ernie left to fill their order, Adam turned to Billy. "Now, Billy. Out with it. I'm dying of curiosity. What was your exciting news that you wanted to tell us?" The others, not knowing what Adam was referring to, turned to Billy and waited for him to explain.
Billy paused for a moment and then he smiled. "I've gotten an offer that I would like to put on the table for everyone to consider as a destination for our trip."
"Where?" Tanya asked.
"My uncle has a resort," Billy began. "Jason, you remember it, don't you? We went up there one year to study for our Science finals."
Jason nodded. "Yeah, I remember. It's really beautiful up there."
"Well, my uncle's has offered us the use of a couple bungalows for the Spring Break. That is, if we want them." Billy looked around the table at his friends. They were sitting there, looking at each other. He started to think that maybe it wasn't a good idea. He massaged his temples as he felt a dull throbbing start. "Well, what do you all think?"
Jason suddenly jumped up and clapped Billy on the back. "That sounds like a great plan, Billy. Count me in. It will be great," he said enthusiastically. The others heartily agreed with Jason.
* * *
A few days later, the seven teens met at Billy's house. They were leaving for Billy's uncle's resort early the next morning and had brought their luggage over so that they could pack the van that Billy's dad had rented for them. They were laughing and joking as they packed the van.
"I'm so excited. I don't think I will be able to sleep tonight. I can't wait to get there," Jason said.
"Wow," Rocky teased the girls as he eyed their luggage. "Are you sure that you brought everything that you need?"
"No more than you, wise guy," Tanya quipped back.
Billy smiled. Adam noticed he looked a little tired, and made a note to himself to keep an eye on him. -He doesn't look too well,- Adam thought.
Billy noticed Adam looking at him. "I'm fine. I guess I'm a little tired. Nothing some R & R can't cure. Stop worrying," he whispered to Adam.
Adam nodded, but none the less resolved to keep his eye on his best friend.
Jason looked to Billy. "Would you like to tell them or should I?"
"Why don't you do the honors, Jase?"
Jason looked at the others quietly for a moment, letting the suspense build. "Well, Billy and I had thought about how great it would be to turn this trip into a reunion, so..." he paused for a moment, then continued. "So, we called and invited the rest of the guys and guess what? They accepted and will meet us up at the bungalows."
"Who's meeting us up at the bungalows?" Tanya asked.
"Zack and Trini. Even Kimberly will be able to come. The only one who won't be able to make it is Aisha," Billy explained.
"Is that okay with your uncle, Billy?" Kat quietly said. The others turned to look at her. "I mean, that makes us quite a large group to accommodate."
Billy smiled at her. "I've already cleared it with my uncle. He will be giving us two luxury bungalows that they had just recently remodeled. Because they just completed the renovating, these bungalows weren't going to be available until next month anyway. Anyways, Uncle Andrew is always saying 'the more the merrier'."
* * *
The next morning, the teens gathered at Billy's house at 8:00 a.m. For once, Tommy was there on time, but that was because he had spent the night at Billy's. Hank was up also, and greeted the teens with hot cocoa and muffins. "No need for you kids to leave here hungry," he said as they thanked him.
* * *
Billy gave his dad a hug before getting in the front passenger seat. Since he was the one who knew the way to his uncle's resort, he got to ride shotgun. "I'll give you a call when we get there, dad."
Hank smiled as he watched his son climb into the van. "Good-bye, guys. Have a great time. Drive carefully."
They all waved and said good-bye to Hank. Tommy, who was driving, turned to the others and said, "Everyone ready? Okay, we're off."
* * *
Three hours later, they arrived at Forest Creek Cabins, Billy's uncle resort. "Wow, it's just as beautiful as I remember it," Jason said as he took in the scenery.
"There's Uncle Andrew," Billy said, pointing to a man who had just stepped out of one of the bungalows. The man looked up and spotting the van, waved.
"Monica, come on out. Billy and his friends are here," Andrew called. A attractive, middle-age woman came out of the cabin, wiping her hands on her apron.
Tommy parked the van in one of the parking spaces and Billy jumped out and went over to greet his aunt and uncle. "Hi, Aunt Monica. Hi, Uncle Andrew. Thanks for inviting me and my friends," he said as he hugged each of them.
"My goodness, Billy. You have gotten so big since I last saw you. And so handsome, too," Aunt Monica said. Billy blushed a bright red.
"You're embarrassing the boy, Monica," his uncle said laughing. "So, Billy, why don't you introduce us to all of your friends?"
Just as Billy was about to start making the introductions, he heard a familiar voice. "Don't start without us."
He spun around and saw Zack, Trini and Kimberly coming toward him. He hurried over and hugged each of them. "When did you get here?"
"Just pulled up now," Trini laughed as Billy hugged her.
"Your directions were great. We didn't have any problems finding this place," Kimberly said. The rest of the gang crowded around and there were hugs and kisses all around. Billy's aunt and uncle stood quietly as they waited to be introduced.
"Where are my manners?" Billy said. He turned to his aunt and uncle and started introductions. "Uncle Andrew, Aunt Monica, this is Kimberly, Zack, Trini, Rocky, Kat, Tanya, Jason, Tommy and Adam. Everyone, this is my Uncle Andrew and my Aunt Monica."
Tommy stepped up and shook Andrew's hand. "Mr. Cranston, on behalf of everyone here, we wanted to thank you for inviting us here." The others nodded.
"You all are very welcome," Andrew said. "Please, why don't you all just call us Andrew and Monica. Mr. and Mrs. Cranston just sounds too stuffy."
"Andrew dear, why don't you show Billy and his friends to where they will be staying so they can drop their stuff in their rooms," Monica said to her husband. "Billy, after you and your friends have dropped your bags in your rooms, come back here and we will have lunch, okay?"
"Okay, Aunt Monica. See you in a few," Billy said as he and Tommy followed his uncle into the office.
A few minutes later, the two boys came out and led the group down a path that lead to a glade. There, they saw a number of large bungalows. "Our bungalows are the two on the right," Tommy said, pointing to the two that were on the right. "Cabin 151 will be for the girls, and Cabin 152 will be for us guys."
"So, let's everyone go in and drop everything and freshen up. We'll meet right back here in fifteen minutes and then we'll head back and meet my aunt and uncle for lunch," Billy said.
* * *
"That's a great lunch, Aunt Monica," Billy said as he pushed back his plate.
"Yeah, you're a great cook, Monica," Rocky agreed. "I'm so stuffed that I can hardly move."
"Well, you should," Tommy teased him. "You ate enough for several people."
"I seem to remember seeing a certain someone, who shall be nameless, kept up with me," Rocky shot back, grinning.
"Can we give you a hand in cleaning up?" Adam asked.
"That's okay kids, you don't have to do that," Monica started to say.
"But we'd really like to," Trini said sincerely.
"Go on, Monica. Let the kids do it. We can get a head start on the paperwork," Andrew said as he steered his wife toward the door. "The kitchen is through that door, kids. Thanks."
Kimberly looked around the room. "Well, let's get started."
The early morning rays of the sun filtered
in through the window, falling on the still form lying under the covers.
It stirred and turned over. Billy opened his eyes and slowly stretched.
He looked over and saw that he wasn't the only one up. After stretching
once more, he got up and wandered into the next room. He saw Adam and Jason
sitting quietly by the picture window, looking out at the view of the lake.
"Morning, guys," he said, smiling. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" He walked into the kitchen to start the coffeepot.
Adam and Jason turned toward him and greeted him. "Morning, Billy," Adam said. "It's great. It's so beautiful and peaceful out here."
Jason agreed. "I just love it up here. I can't believe that we have been here for three days all ready. I could stay here forever."
"What's on the agenda for today? Picnic? Volleyball?" Billy asked as he came back into the living room.
"Nope, nature hike, remember?" Tommy answered as he came into the room. "Morning, everyone."
* * *
An hour later, the gang gathered on the front porch of the guys' cabin. On the table in front of them was a map. Billy's uncle Andrew had marked the hiking trails in red for them. They had decided to take the trail that would lead them to the top of the mountain.
"Are we ready?" Tommy asked as he looked around at his friends' expectant faces. They nodded.
"Wagons ho," Rocky yelled. Laughter filled the air as the gang started off.
One hour later....
Adam looked up at the sky as he wiped the sweat from his brow. Ahead, he could see Tommy, Kat, Rocky, Kimberly, Tanya and Zack. He, Billy, Trini and Jason were bringing up the rear. Trini and Jason were deep in discussion about the problems with global warming. He glanced over at his friend Billy. Billy kept rubbing his temples and the back of his neck. His face seemed flushed and he seemed a bit winded.
"Your head is bothering you again?" he said quietly.
Billy looked at him a moment before answering him. "Kind of," he said softly, so the others wouldn't hear. "It's nothing. It's just a small headache. It will go away after a while." He saw that Adam was still looking at him with concern. "I'm okay. Really."
"Did you get it checked out before we left?"
"Adam, I am fine. Stop mothering me. Leave me alone," Billy said. He stalked off.
Adam watched as Billy walked off ahead of him, rubbing the back of his neck. Quietly, he lifted his communicator to his lips. "Alpha, Zordon?" he whispered.
"Hi, Adam." Alpha's cheery voice came through Adam's communicator. "Enjoying your vacation?"
"Yeah, it's great," Adam answered. "Zordon, can you do a favor for me? Is it possible to do a medical scan on someone without them knowing about it?"
"Yes, it is possible," Zordon replied. Adam heard him pause. "Who did you want this scan done on?"
"Can you do Billy?"
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi! What's wrong with Billy?" Alpha asked.
"I don't know. He keeps saying that he is all right, but I just keep getting this strange feeling something's not right," Adam said.
"Is there any reason that you don't want him to know about the scan?" Zordon asked.
"Lately, he's been really testy when I ask him about how he's feeling. I don't want to make him any angrier at me than he is already if it's really nothing," Adam explained.
Zordon thought for a moment. -Adam wouldn't ask me to do something like this unless he was genuinely worried.- He trusted the young boy's instinct. Adam always seemed a little more perceptive than the others. "Alpha, run the scan on Billy please."
"Right away, Zordon."
"Let me know what the results are as soon as you get them, okay Alpha?" Adam requested.
"Yes sir." With that, Alpha signed off.
* * *
Adam fell back in step with Billy. He saw that his friend looked a little tired but was too stubborn to ask the group to stop and rest. He placed a hand on Billy's shoulder. "Hey, Billy. Why don't we stop for a moment? I think I need to take a few," he said quietly.
Billy looked over at Adam for a moment, then gratefully nodded. "Hey, guys," Adam called to the gang. "How about a short breather? I think we all need it."
"Good idea," Zack said, fanning himself. "Man, it's hot out here."
They found a nice grove of shade trees and plopped down to rest. Billy sat down against one of the trees and closed his eyes.
* * *
Fifteen minutes later, the gang started off again. The trail ahead of them started to gradually grow steeper as they climbed higher. The trail also started to get narrower as they climbed upward, until they were forced to walk in pairs. Tommy and Rocky were in the lead while Billy and Adam brought up the rear.
Adam heard his communicator go off. He quickly placed his hand over his communicator and looked around. He breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that Billy hadn't noticed the beeps. He quietly fell back, away from Billy and the group before answering the page. "Zordon, this is Adam. What did you find out?" he whispered.
"This is most perplexing, Adam. Our scanners is picking up that there is something going on in Billy's body but it has yet to determine what it is," Zordon said.
Ai yi yi yi!" Alpha exclaimed suddenly.
"What? What is it, Alpha?" Adam asked, concern evident in his voice.
"I just found the problem. Remember the virus that Mondo injected into Billy a couple of months ago?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
"It has resurfaced. "
"I thought we took care of that when we got Billy the antidote."
"There still seems to be some residue left and that is what is affecting him."
"What do we do now, Zordon? Do I bring him in? Should I tell the others?"
"No, at this point of time, it does not seem to be life threatening. Keep an eye on Billy, though. Contact us if he looks like he is getting worse. Alpha and I will work on stronger antidote that will destroy the rest of this virus. As soon as we can, we will teleport it to you so you can administer it to him."
"Okay, Zordon. Adam signing off." He looked up and saw the rest of the gang but Billy wasn't with them. "Now where did he go?" he said out loud to himself as he started to look around.
He spotted Billy standing near the cliff edge, looking out at the view. -There he is,- he thought. He started to call out to Billy to warn him that he was too close to the edge of the cliff when he saw Billy sway and suddenly put his hands to his head. But before he could say or do anything, he saw Billy slip and topple over the edge.
* * *
Kimberly looked down to her left and shivered as she saw the bottom of the valley far below. _We're really up high,_ she thought.
Suddenly she heard Adam cry out. She turned around and saw him lying on the ground, looking over the edge of the cliff. "Adam, what's wrong? Are you hurt?" she asked as she ran back to him. The others, hearing Adam's cry, came hurrying back. They found him on the ground, looking over the edge in shock.
"Billy...." he yelled. He looked up at the others, panic-strickened. They saw the fear in his eyes. "He was standing right here. One moment he was here and the next moment he... he fell...." He pointed to a still figure lying on a ledge below. "He's not moving and he's not answering me."
Tommy and Rocky looked over the edge. There, about two hundred feet below them, they saw Billy lying on a wide ledge. He was deathly still and his eyes were closed. "Billy, can you hear me?" Rocky yelled.
"Billy, this is Tommy. Can you hear me?" He turned toward the others. "We need to get down there. I think he's hurt. He's not responding."
Jason's eyes widened. He then quickly took charge of the situation. "Rocky, get the rope out of my backpack." Rocky nodded and ran to get the rope. As they waited for Rocky to return, Jason explained his plan to the others. "Trini, Zack and I took a wilderness first aid course last summer, so Trini and I will go down and assess his condition. We might have to get him to medical help ourselves, so Zack, you and the others will make a stretcher that we can carry him in. Tommy, you, Rocky and Adam will anchor the ropes."
"Trini? Will you be okay?" Kimberly asked, remembering that Trini had a fear of heights.
Trini looked over the edge at Billy, and taking a deep breath, nodded. "I will be. I have to be. Billy needs my help."
* * *
Out the ledge, Billy stirred and moaned. He opened his eyes and looked around. He remembered suddenly feeling dizzy and a little weak. The next thing he knew, he was looking up at the sky. _I must have slipped and fell,_ he thought.
There was a dull ache in his rib area. Slowly and carefully, he started to check his other limbs. Pain shot up his left leg. _Man,_ he thought to himself. _I really banged myself up this time._
Taking extreme care not to jostle his leg and being mindful of his ribs, he laboriously pulled himself up into a sitting position. He slowly slid away from the edge of the ledge and leaned against the cliff. His face was white from the exertion and pain, and he closed his eyes and rested for a moment. _I'll just rest a moment,_ he thought. _Then I'll figure out how to get out of here._
* * *
Startled, Billy opened his eyes and saw Jason and Trini looking at him worriedly. "Where are you hurt?" Trini asked him.
"My leg...," he grunted, gritting his teeth as a fresh wave of pain washed over him. "Rib area... hurts too."
After assessing Billy's injuries, Jason took out his Swiss knife and carefully cut the leg of Billy's jeans open. "Lie still, Billy. We'll get you out of here. We'll need to brace this leg before we move you. Trini, go and get the guys to send down some sticks or branches so we can immobilize his leg."
Trini nodded and trotted off to where the others waited. She called up their request to Tommy and Rocky, who then located and sent down two branches. Quickly returning, Trini and Jason expertly fastened the splints to Billy's leg, taking care not to move him any more than they had to and cause him any more pain.
"Trini, go back up and change places with Adam. I'm gonna need help to get Billy back up this cliff," Jason said. "Have them let down three ropes and the stretcher and be ready to pull us back up, okay?"
* * *
Adam returned a few minutes later. "We're all set, Jase." He saw Billy lying on the ground, looking at him. "How're you feeling, Billy?"
Billy smiled weakly. "Gotta watch that first step, man, it's a doozy!"
A thin smile appeared on Adam's face. "I can see that," he joked back. Then he grew serious. "Jeez, Billy you scared ten years out of me."
"Good thing you have ten years to spare," Billy joked. Suddenly, he grimaced and closed his eyes as another wave of pain hit him.
Alarmed, Adam quickly turned to Jason. "Okay, Jase. Let's get this show on the road. What do I do?"
Jason explained to Adam what his plan was. As the others were hoisting Billy up, he and Adam would be on either side of him to keep him from being jostled and bumped against the cliff, possibly injuring him further.
* * *
Adam sat down by Billy as Jason went topside to repeat his plan to the others. "Billy, what happened up there? Was it your head again? The headaches?" he asked him quietly.
Billy stared at him. Adam noticed that his eyes were a little glassy from the pain. "I got a little dizzy and weak in the knees. Just my luck to be too close to the edge when it happened, huh?"
Adam was about to reply when Jason came back.
"Are you ready, Billy?" Jason asked as he checked the rope he had tied around the makeshift stretcher he and Adam had strapped the injured teen into. Billy nodded. Jason could see that he was gritting his teeth against the pain. "We'll have you up in no time." He nodded to Adam. "Let's go."
"Okay guys. We're ready. Take us up slow," Adam yelled up to the others as he took his place on one side of Billy. Jason took his place on the other side.
Immediately they felt the slack in the rope being taken up and they started up the cliff. In no time, the three teens reached the lip of the cliff. Zack, Kat and Tanya took Billy from Adam and Jason and lifted the stretcher up onto the edge of the cliff. As soon as Adam and Jason cleared the edge, Zack, Tommy and Rocky carefully picked Billy up and carried him away from the edge. They shouldered their backpacks and headed back to the cabins.
Later that evening....
Billy opened his eyes as he heard a soft knock on the door. "Come in," he said.
Trini popped her head in. "Hi. Billy. Can we come in?"
"Sure," Billy said, wincing as he struggled to prop himself up to a sitting position. Trini came in, followed by Adam, Tanya, Jason and Kimberly. Adam and Tanya sat down on Adam's bed, Jason and Kimberly sat on the floor, while Trini went ahead and carefully sat down at the edge of Billy's bed.
"We saw your aunt and uncle bring you back earlier. So, what the diagnosis?" Jason asked.
"The doctor said that I was really lucky. I didn't break anything, but I have a severly pulled ligament in my knee. I also have a few bruised ribs, which they taped up. I'll have to wear this brace on my leg for 6 weeks," Billy said as he looked down at the large brace that covered most of his leg.
"Well, we're really glad that it wasn't worse," Kimberly said. They sat in silence for a moment. "So, did you call your dad?"
"Uncle Andrew called him while we were at the hospital."
"So, what did he say?" Adam asked. "Do you have to leave?"
Well, at first, Dad wanted to come up here and take me home to recover, but Uncle Andrew was able to convince him not to do that," Billy said. "We finally convinced dad that I can recuperate here just as well as I could at home. Besides, having my friends around will help tremendously."
"That's great, Billy," Trini said as she smiled at him. "I'm so glad you're staying. It just wouldn't be the same without you here."
"Tommy and the others are preparing dinner right now. Are you feeling well enough to come over and eat with us?" Tanya asked.
Billy shook his head and suddenly closed his eyes. "Whoa," he said. "Remind me not to do that again." He opened his eyes to see the concern on his friends' faces. "Shaking my head just made me kind of dizzy," he hastily explained. "About dinner," he said, quickly changing the subject. "As you can see, it's somewhat hard for me to move around any considerable distance at this particular moment."
"Well, we kind of expected that, so...." Adam began. He got up and walked over to the door. "Since you can't come to dinner, we thought that we would bring the dinner to you. Ta-da!"
He opened the door with a flourish. Tommy and the rest of the gang marched in, carrying in trays of food and pitchers of drinks. "I hope you are really hungry, Billy," Zack said. "Rocky did most of the cooking and we couldn't stop him. We have enough food to feed a small army."
"Hey, what can I say? I come from a big family. I only know how to cook in large portions," Rocky laughed.
"You aren't kidding. It smells great, though," Billy said, eyeing the trays. He looked around the room. "Listen, I think it'll be kind of crowded for everyone here. I tell you what, if someone will help me, I think we can move this outing into the living room."
He laughed as they all got up at the same time to help him. "I don't think I'm in need of that much help, but thanks anyway." In the end, Jason and Adam stood on either side of him, assisting him as he slowly maneuvered himself into the living room. There, he found that Kimberly and Trini gone ahead and had pulled the sofa cushions down onto the floor for him to lie on.
"Well," Billy said as he got settled. "What are we waiting for? Let's dig in."
Two days later....
Billy sat in a chair on the porch. His leg was propped up as he watched the others getting ready to resume their nature hike. "Be sure to remember everything so that you can tell me all about what you saw when you get back," he said to Rocky.
"We will, bro. I'm sorry that you can't come along with us," Rocky replied.
"Yeah, me too. But I'll be okay. I'll just catch up on some light reading."
Tommy came over and glanced at the magazines at Billy's side. "Cell Biology... Science.... You call this light reading, Billy? Looks a lot more like homework."
Billy smiled. "Not to me, Tommy. I find them very interesting."
Jason, Adam and Zack came out just then. "Ready to go?" Jason asked. The others nodded.
"We're supposed to meet the girls at their place," Zack said. The guys started toward the girls' cabin.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay here by yourself, Billy?" Adam asked worriedly. "I can stay if you'd like. I don't mind."
Billy nodded and smiled at Adam. "Of course I will be okay. I have snacks and drinks right here. Besides, you're only going to be gone a few hours. I'll just do some reading and rest up for the barbecue later."
Adam looked undecided for a moment, then nodded. "Okay then, we'll see you in a couple of hours." He hurried off to catch up with the others.
Billy read for a while and before he realized it, he was dozing in the warm afternoon sun.
About an hour later, he awoke. He had a feeling that he was being watched. He looked around and standing near the right side of the porch he saw a little boy looking at him. He looked about 5 or 6 years old, with blond hair and blue eyes. Next to him stood a little girl, about 3 or 4 years old. "Hi," he said to the two children, smiling. "My name is Billy. What's yours?"
"I'm Jeremy. This is my sister Elizabeth," the little boy said. He looked at Billy's brace. "How did you hurt yourself?"
"I fell and hurt my knee," Billy explained. He pointed to the plate of cookies sitting on the table next to him. "Would you and Elizabeth like a cookie? My friend Trini made them. They're really good. Chocolate chocolate chip."
Jeremy came up and sat down on the floor next to Billy's chair. His sister Elizabeth followed close behind. They each took a cookie. "Thank you," Jeremy said.
"Yes, thank you," echoed Elizabeth. She pointed to Billy's leg. "You okay?"
Billy smiled. "Yes, Elizabeth. I'm fine. Are you and your family here on vacation?"
Jeremy nodded. "We're all here for a whole week."
"Jeremy, Elizabeth." An older girl came up to the porch. "You know better than to bother people. I'm sorry if my cousins are bothering you, mister."
"We're not bothering him," Jeremy said. He turned to Billy. "This is my cousin, Missy. Missy, this is Billy."
"Hello, Missy. It's nice to meet you. Your cousins and I were just talking. They aren't bothering me," Billy said.
"Mom's looking for you two. We're supposed to meet the others for lunch. Let's go. It was nice to meet you, Billy," Missy said.
"Thanks for the cookies, Billy. Maybe we'll see you later," Jeremy said as he stepped off the porch.
"Bye, Billy." Elizabeth waved as she followed her brother and cousin.
"Bye, guys. See you later." He watched them as they went down the path before picking up his magazine and start to read again.
Two hours later....
Billy put down his magazine and stretched. He looked at his watch and decided that he had time to take a short walk to stretch his legs before the others got back. Knowing that the others were due back any minute, he left a note telling them where he was going and that he would meet them down by the lake. _No need for them to worry if they get back before I do,_ he thought as he propped the note on the table.
He walked slowly, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the peace and tranquillity of the area surrounding him. As he passed one of the cabins, he stopped as he heard something. _What was that?_ He listened for a moment, trying to identify the sound. _It sounds like someone's hurt._
He looked around, trying to find the source. _It seems like it's coming from this cabin. Maybe I'd better check to see if anyone needs help._
He slowly walked to the front of the cabin and knocked on the door. "Hello? Are you okay in there? Is there anything I can do for you?"
There was no answer to his knock, but now he could hear something that sounded like a muffled scream coming from within. Curiosity getting the best of him, he decided to see if he can see anything through a window.
_After all, someone might need help,_ he justified to himself. He went around to the first window and looked into a empty room. It was the same for the second and third window.
Feeling that maybe he had just imagined it, he looked in the last and final window. He saw a figure lying on the bed. He knocked on the window. "Hello? My name is Billy. I'm from the cabin next door. Do you need help?"
He saw the figure struggle as if to get up and then the sheet slipped off. His eyes widened as he saw that it was a young girl. The girl's hand and feet were tied and she was gagged. She turned over and seeing at him, tried to say something but was unable to. Surprised at the sight before him and forgetting about his injured knee, he took a step back and fell as his leg buckled.
_That girl needs help. I got to call the police,_ he thought. As he struggled to get to his feet, he heard someone call out.
"Hey, boy. What do you think you're doing?" Billy turned toward the voice and saw two men coming toward him. He gulped as he saw them coming. They were huge and looked strong enough to snap a person in two if they wanted to. He winced as he was roughly pulled to his feet by one of the men. "What are you doing looking in our cabin?"
"Nothing," he said, playing dumb as he pulled his arm away. Danger signals went off in his head and he knew that he had to get away from these men. "I'm in the cabin next door. I thought I had heard something but I guess I was wrong. Well, I guess I gotta go." He started to slowly back away, keeping his eye on the two men. Suddenly, he started to turn and tried to bolt, but because of his recent injuries was not fast enough.
"Grab him," one man said to the other. Instantly, both men tackled him, knocking him to the ground onto his back and pinning him to the ground. One of them clamped a hand tightly over Billy's mouth to keep him from yelling. Ignoring the pain from his ribs and leg, Billy struggled to get free but to no avail. He lashed out hard with his good leg and connected with one man's shin. Cursing, the man drew back his fist to hit him. That was the last thing Billy saw before the darkness closed over him.
* * *
The two men lifted Billy's limp form between them and carried him toward the cabin's door. There, one of the men gave a series of knocks. The door immediately opened and they stepped in and shut the door.
"Who's that?" the man who had opened the door asked as they dropped an unconscious Billy onto the floor.
"A liability, you idiot. We found this kid looking in the window and I'm sure he spotted our 'guest'. Where were you, Tony? You were supposed to be watching out so things like this didn't happen," snarled the man that had hit Billy.
"Look Mike, don't get an attitude with me. Mother nature called. I wasn't in there more than a few minutes. I didn't think that I was gone long enough for anything to happen," Tony defended himself.
"Jim, tie up and gag this kid. Put him in with our guest. We'll figure out what to do with him later," Mike said to the other man. Jim nodded and headed off toward the other room.
"Hey, Billy. We're back. Where are
you?" Adam called out as he entered the cabin. He was closely followed
by Tommy, Jason, Rocky and Zack. There was no response. Adam quickly checked
the other rooms. Somewhat concerned, he turned to the others. "Guys,
I don't think he's here. Where do you suppose he went?"
Jason spotted the note that Billy left on the table. Walking over, he picked it up and read it. "According to his note, he decided to take a short walk. He said that he'll meet us down at the lake for the barbecue."
"Well then, now that we have solved that mystery, I'm starving. I don't think I can wait for the barbecue. I'm going to make myself a sandwich," Rocky said, as he headed to the kitchen. "All that hiking in the fresh mountain air gave me an appetite. Anyone else want one?"
* * *
When Billy woke, he found himself lying on one of the beds in a darkened room. His head was throbbing and he hurt all over. His chest felt like it was on fire. He moaned, but no sound came out because of the duct tape that was over his mouth.
He could feel the rough rope that was wrapped around his wrists, bound tightly behind him. But he couldn t feel his hands. They were numb because the circulation had been cut off by the rope. His feet were pressed together, and he couldn t move them apart. So they had to be bound, too.
He heard a noise beside him and turned his head toward it. His eyes widened as he spotted the girl that he had seen earlier. He saw the fear that he himself felt mirrored in her eyes. Suddenly, he heard angry voices arguing in the next room. Something about messing up... Ariel Covington... snatching... ransom....
The realization of the situation suddenly hit him. Oh, God. I've stumbled into a kidnapping, Billy thought. They caught me when they realized I saw them and can identify them.
* * *
Adam looked at his watch for the fifth time in ten minutes. Still no sign of Billy. He was starting to get worried. He should have been here by now, he thought.
"Hey, has anyone spotted Billy yet?" Adam asked as he put the hamburger buns on the grill. They all shook their heads. "I think I'll just run back to the cabin and see what's keeping him."
"I'll go with you, Adam," Trini said as she got up from where she was sitting.
"Okay," Adam said. "We'll be right back, guys."
* * *
His worries grew as they got closer to the cabin. It was obvious that Billy wasn't there and there was no sign that he had ever returned. "Maybe we should look around and see if we can find him," Adam said.
"He probably lost track of time, Adam. You know how Billy can be when he finds something interesting," Trini said.
"You don't understand," Adam said frustratively as he sat down on the porch steps. Trini realized that there was more to the matter than Adam was letting on.
"What don't I understand, Adam?" Trini asked patiently. She saw the worry growing in Adam's face. "Is there something you know that you're not telling me?"
Adam remained silent for a moment, unsure if he could say anything because of his promise to Billy. But his worries got the best of him and he just had to confide in someone. "Did Jason tell you what happened to Billy a couple of months ago? About what King Mondo had done to him?"
Trini nodded. "Jason said that was why we were taking this trip. To relax and have some fun."
"Yeah, it was," Adam said. He took a deep breath before continuing. "Well, Billy hadn't been feeling well lately. He's had a headache for months that he couldn't seem to get rid of. He didn't want me to tell anyone about it. As a matter of fact, he made me promise not to say anything. The last couple of days though, he said that he had also started to feel a little weak. When I asked him if he had seen a doctor about it, he got angry and practically bit my head off," Adam paused a moment. "I finally asked Zordon and Alpha to run a scan on him. Without him knowing about it."
"And...?" Trini prompted.
"Alpha detected some residues from the virus that Mondo had injected him with that the antidote didn't cure. He and Zordon was working on another vaccine to eliminate the rest of the residue and was going to teleport it to me as soon as they could," Adam said. "When I got it, I would then go to Billy and explain what I had done. I'd administer the antidote and he would be cured."
Trini was quiet for a moment. "Was that the cause of Billy's accident a couple of days ago?" she finally asked.
Adam nodded. "I asked him if it was and he just denied it. He said that he just got a little dizzy and weak in the knees. He even made a joke about it." He looked at Trini. She could feel his fear now. "I'm afraid that he's somewhere now and can't get help."
Trini stood up and pulled Adam to his feet. "Well then, what are we waiting for? Let's go and see if we can find him."
* * *
In the dark room, Billy could hear someone calling his name. It's Adam. I got to let him know where I am. Got to hit my communicator button so they can locate me, he thought as he tried to move his numb fingers to press the button. It was when then he realized that he no longer had his communicator. Panic started to set in. Now what to I do?
Then it came to him. He turned slightly so that he was facing the wall. Gritting his teeth against the pain from his ribs and knee, he began to kick at the wall, using the universal Morse code for SOS. He prayed that Adam would hear it and remember the code from the class project they did together last semester.
* * *
Adam stopped. He could hear something that sounded like thumping. Some else was familiar about it too, but he couldn't quite put a finger on it. Before he could get a fix on where the sound was originating from, it abruptly stopped.
* * *
The door slammed open and Mike stormed in. Billy's eyes widened in fear as he saw the anger in Mike's eyes. He grabbed Billy's shoulder and rolled him over abruptly. The momentum caused Billy to roll off the bed and crash to the floor.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Then Mike heard someone outside, calling for Billy. An evil glint came into his eyes. "So that's it. You thought that you'd try to signal your friend, didn't you? You are a bad boy, Billy. We're going to have to punish you for that."
Billy's screams of pain were stifled by the gag as Mike beat and kicked him mercilessly. Tied, he was not able to protect himself from Mike's fists and feet. By the time Mike stopped, Billy's screams were reduced to weak moans.
* * *
Adam met Trini back at the cabin. "Did you see anything?" Adam asked her.
"No," Trini said. "I checked with Monica and Andrew and they said they hadn't seen him all afternoon. I didn't want to worry them for now and just told them that he probably went for a short walk and that's why we haven't seen him yet."
Adam paused for a moment before continuing. "Trini, did you hear something strange?"
"It sounded like something hitting a wall."
Trini thought for a moment. "Yeah, come to think of it, I did. It stopped rather suddenly. I just figured that it was an animal."
"Maybe. I have a bad feeling about this," Adam said. "Quick, we'd better get back to the others."
* * *
Jim came in and saw Mike lifting Billy up and dumping him back onto the bed. Billy's face was bloodied and bruised and he was bleeding from his nose. He was quietly moaning. "What did you do?" he hissed. "No one was supposed to get hurt."
"He was trying to signal his friends. I had to teach him a lesson. I don't think that he'll try that again," Mike stated matter of factly.
* * *
Jason looked up as Trini and Adam returned. "Hey, guys. Here comes Trini and Adam." He paused for a moment as he noted the worried looks on their faces. "Something's wrong. They look worried."
"Adam, where's Billy?" Tommy asked as the pair approached the group. "Did something happen to him? Is he okay?"
Adam looked at all of them before answering, trying to keep the quivering out of his voice. "I don't know. We can't find him."
Zack looked at him in disbelief. "What do you mean you can't find him? He is supposed to be injured, remember? He couldn't have gone too far with that knee of his."
"That's just it. Billy couldn't have walked too far on that injured knee. We're worried that something happened and he can't or is unable to get help. Adam and I looked around the cabin but didn't find anything," Trini said. Her concern could be heard in her voice. "We came back to get some help."
"Let's split up in pairs and we'll each will take a section to search," Tommy said as he stood up and took charge.
Jason glanced at Adam and saw that the teen was standing to one side, looking miserable. He placed his hand on Adam's shoulder. "Don't worry, Adam. We'll find him."
Adam looked up at Jason. "I know," he sighed. "I just keep thinking that if I had followed my original instincts and stayed with him this afternoon, Billy would be here right now."
* * *
The group of teens reassembled back at the picnic site an hour later. They were dejected because they were unable to find any sign of Billy. "It's like he's vanished into thin air," Tanya said frustratively.
Suddenly, Jason and Kimberly came bounding up to the group. "Look what we found, " Kimberly said. In her hand was Billy's communicator.
"Where'd you find that?" Rocky asked.
"In some bushes by one of the cabins," Jason answered. He looked at the others. "I asked Zordon if he could possibly locate Billy, but without his communicator or a morpher, Zordon says that's impossible."
Trini looked at Adam. "Adam, I think it's time for you to tell them." Adam looked down at his feet but said nothing.
"Tell us what? What's up, Adam?" Tommy asked.
"C'mon, Bro. You can tell us," Jason encouraged the young teen. He put an arm around Adam. "What is it?"
Adam realized that he could not keep Billy's condition secret any longer. He began to tell them everything. "I'm sorry that I didn't tell you earlier, guys, but I promised Billy," he said after he finished.
Rocky put an arm around Adam. "It's okay, Adam. I think we all understand."
Jason looked at the others. They all looked as worried as he felt. "I don't like the way this is going, guys. I think we are going to have to let Billy's aunt and uncle know that he's missing."
* * *
Billy aunt and uncle listened anxiously as Tommy brought them up to speed on the situation. "He has been gone for at least 23 hours now. We searched the woods and paths but came up with nothing except for his um....his watch," he finished.
"Andrew, we got to call the police," Monica said, wringing her hands. "We need to get some help out here fast. Billy's out there somewhere. He could be hurt."
"You're right. I'll call them right now," Andrew said to his wife. He saw the worry and fear in his wife's eyes. He quickly crossed the room and wrapped his arms around her. "Don't worry, dear. We'll find him."
* * *
Billy slowly came to. He moaned as the pain in his body assaulted him everywhere. His chest area was extremely painful and he was having a little problem breathing. I think my ribs are broken, he sluggishly thought. He couldn't open his right eye due to the swelling on that side of his face. Vaguely, he became aware of someone sitting next to him, pressing a cool, wet cloth to his forehead. He stiffened and whimpered when he realized that it was Jim, one of the kidnappers.
"Shh," Jim said as he continued to press the cool cloth to Billy's forehead. He looked at the fear in the boy's eyes. "Listen, kid. I'm really sorry that Mike did that to you. He shouldn't have done that. He has a terrible temper and flies into rages very easily." He paused as he watched Billy relax a bit. "For your sake, don't do anuthing to get him mad at you again, okay?"
He looked over at the girl on the other bed. "That goes for you too, girl. When Mike gets into those rages, he doesn't distinguish between male and female. Do you understand what I mean?" The girl slowly nodded her head. Jim then looked back at Billy as he continued to tend to his wounds. "How about you, boy?"
Billy looked at Jim for a moment and then slowly, painfully nodded. His vision grew blurry again and then everything went black.
* * *
Sheriff Samuel Keller arrived an hour
later. He took statements from everyone involved. "What happens now,
Sam?" Monica asked. Her eyes were red from crying.
"Do you have a recent picture of your nephew Billy?" Sam asked. "I'd like to make copies and circulate it."
"Yes, but I am afraid that it isn't very recent," Monica said. "It was taken last year at his birthday."
Adam suddenly jumped up. "Wait a minute. I have one. I'll go and get it." With that, he dashed off in the direction of their cabin. A few minutes later, he returned with a picture frame and handed it to Sheriff Keller. It was a photo showing a group of teens, mugging for the camera. "We took that a month ago, sir." He pointed to a blond teen, standing to the left. "That's Billy."
Sam nodded. He slid the picture out of the frame. "I'll return it to you as soon as I can."
"I have a better idea. Sam, could I see the picture for a moment, please?" Andrew asked. Sam handed him the picture. Andrew took it over to their computer and scanned the picture in. He then enlarged it and centered it on Billy. Soon he had twenty copies printed up. Andrew handed the picture back to Adam, who returned it to the frame.
"Thank you, Andrew," Sheriff Keller said. He turned to look at the couple. "We'll do our best."
* * *
Rocky watched as Sheriff Keller got in his car and drove off. "Man, I can't just sit here. All this waiting is driving me crazy. We got to do something."
Jason agreed with Rocky. "I know what you mean, man. But what can we do? We've searched the area and other than finding Billy's com...." He suddenly realized that Andrew and Monica were still in the room and caught himself just in time. "Uhh....what I meant was, other than finding his watch, we've come up empty."
"You guys, I know that Sheriff Keller is a good man and he'll do his best, but this is a small township and he has a very small staff to help him." Andrew pressed the 'enter' button on the computer again and the printer hummed to life, producing more pictures. "So, we're not going to just 'sit' around. I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to help them out. We'll break up into groups and take and show this picture door to door. Maybe someone saw something and Billy's picture will jar their memory."
A half hour later...
Adam, Trini and Tanya walked up to the door of the cabin. "This is like the fifth cabin that we've been to and no luck yet. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," Trini said, sighing.
"Don't get discouraged, Trini. Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky this time," Adam encouraged her.
"Well, let's find out, shall we?" Tanya said as she rapped on the door.
They stepped back as a big brawny man opened the door. He took one look at the teens. "What do you want?" he growled at them.
Adam gulped, but his worry for Billy gave him the courage to step forward. "We're really sorry to bother you, sir, but we're looking for a friend of ours." He held out Billy's picture. "Have you seen this person?"
"No, never saw him before," the man finally said. "Why are you looking for him? What did he do?"
Trini had watched the man as he looked at the picture. That's funny. She thought she had saw a glimmer of recognition in the man's eyes when he looked at Billy's picture. She heard Tanya answer the man.
"Our friend was hurt earlier this week. He went for a walk this afternoon and hasn't come back and we are getting kind of worried," she said.
Adam was distracted by a movement behind the man. As he looked, he saw another man coming out of one of the bedrooms. As soon as the second man saw Adam was looking at him, he quickly shut the bedroom door. Adam caught a quick glimpse of something, but the door had closed too quickly for him to identify what it was.
"Who's at the door, Tony?" the man asked.
"Just some kids looking for their friend. I told them that we haven't seen him," Tony said.
"Can you come over and see if you recognize Billy, mister?" Tanya asked.
"I guess so," he said. He walked over to them and studied the picture. After a few minutes, he looked up at the teens again. "I remember now. We did see this boy earlier. Remember, Tony?"
Tony looked back at his friend quizzically. Mike ignored his friend's questioning gaze and turned back to the three teens. "We saw him earlier this afternoon. He passed by here and was heading for the lake. Said that he was meeting someone there."
"Yeah, yeah. That's right. You know, now that I look at this again," he said as he pointed to the picture. "It's all coming back to me now. Now I remember him. He's probably down there now."
"Oh, well, thanks for all your help. We'll go check down there," Adam said. "Come on girls, let's go."
"But, Adam..." Tanya started to say.
"Let's go," Adam emphasized. He turned and hurried away. The girls looked at each other and then ran after him.
"Good luck. I hope you find your friend soon," Mike called out after them.
* * *
The girls caught up with Adam and Tanya placed a hand on his arm to stop him. "Adam, what did you do that for? We were just at the lake. Billy wasn't down there."
Adam stopped and turned around to face them. "Did you notice something strange was going on? I got the feeling that they knew more than they were letting on."
"You too?" Trini said. "That's funny, 'cause when that guy Tony was looking at the picture, I could have sworn that he recognized Billy."
"I kind of thought that too," Tanya said.
"There's something else," Adam said.
"What?" both girls asked in unison.
"When that other guy came out of the bedroom, I caught a glimpse of something just before he closed the door."
"What did you see?" Trini asked him.
Adam looked frustrated. "I'm not sure. The only thing that I do know is that whatever it was caught my eye. I've been trying to figure out what it was. It's bugging the heck out of me."
Tanya came up and placed her arm around his shoulders. "You're probably concentrating too hard. Relax, Adam, it'll come to you sooner or later." She gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek.
Adam smiled and hugged her back. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
Trini looked at her watch. "We'd better get back and see if the others have found anything."
Adam nodded and they headed back to Monica and Andrew's cabin. As they walked back, Adam couldn't stop thinking about what he saw.
Just what was in that room?
* * *
Mike and Tony watched as Adam, Tanya and Trini walked away. "Do you think they suspect anything?" Tony asked Mike as he closed the door.
Mike thought for a moment before answering. "I don't know. For their sakes, I certainly hope not," he said as he patted the gun in the back of his waistband.
* * *
Billy lay in the dark room, tears streaming down his face. They were so close! He could hear them as they talked with the two men. He had even caught a brief glimpse of one of them (it sort of looked like Adam), before Mike shut the door.
But there was no way to signal them. After his last attempt to signal Adam, Mike had tied him in such a way that made any movement impossible. Not that he could move very much anyway. Pain coursed through his body at the slightest movement.
Zordon, if you can hear me, help me, please, he silently pleaded, although he knew in his heart that he was beyond Zordon's help because he no longer had his communicator.
Two days later...
It was almost midnight. Andrew looked over at Billy's friends. He could see the exhaustion in their faces. They had been searching continuously for the past two days with little results, but they refused to give up. Right now, they were sitting in Monica and Andrew's living room. Monica and Andrew had insisted that they rest. Monica made some sandwiches for them, but the food lay untouched. No one had much of an appetite.
When they came together earlier and compared notes, the information that they came up with was slim. Jason reported that he had come across some kids who said they had talked to Billy and he had given them some cookies. Adam, Trini and Tanya told them about the men in the cabin and what they had felt from them.
"Maybe they don't like teenagers," Rocky had suggested.
"I don't think that's it. They were acting really weird," Tanya said.
"You know, I don't know why the 'you know who'," Kimberly whispered, pointing to their communicators. "Just morph and rescue Billy?"
"The last battle that we had with King Mondo had slightly damaged the morphing grid. That is one of the reasons that Zordon had suggested that we take this short vacation now. He figured that since we won that last battle, that King Mondo would do what he usually does. He usually lies low for a while after we defeat him until he can think up his next monster," Jason said.
"Yeah, I checked with Alpha and Zordon. Right now, there is not enough energy to sustain us for a long period of time. And with the threat of Mondo still around, and until Alpha and Zordon get the grid back up to full power, we cannot use the power unless there's no other alternative," Adam said. He sighed.
"C'mon, guys. Don't get down. We can do it. Let's put our heads together and we'll think of something," Tanya said encouragingly.
* * *
Andrew sighed and walked over to turn the television on. The news was on. The reporter was talking about some abduction that had happened a week ago and that the police had no clues as to the whereabouts of the young girl.
He walked over to where Hank was sitting. Andrew had delayed calling Hank until the last minute. He wasn't sure how Hank would react when he heard that his only son was missing. Hank had arrived at the lodge two hours later, frustrated and angry. Since then, Hank had maintained a round the clock vigil, refusing to rest. Nothing Andrew said would get him to lie down for a few hours. They had to practically force him to eat.
Right now, Hank sat in the recliner, slumped over and silent. "How are you holding up, Hank?" he gently asked.
Hank looked up at his brother. Andrew could see that his brother's eyes were red and puffy. "I just keep thinking of Billy out there, lying there somewhere, needing help. I feel so damn helpless. I don't know what I would do if...." His voice trailed off.
"Hank, stop thinking like that. It'll just eat you up. Billy's a very intelligent and resourceful young man. I'm sure he'll be okay," Hank said. He gave his brother a hug. Silently though, he prayed that Billy was all right and would be found soon.
Monica came in with a pot of coffee and some cups. Andrew poured a cup for Hank and himself and then sat down. The two brothers sat silently, staring at the television screen but not really seeing it.
Later the next day...
Adam sat a little apart from the rest of the group. He hadn't wanted to stop and was angry when Andrew forced them to take a break, but he soon realized that he wouldn't be much use to Billy if he totally exhausted himself. Andrew had called the Sheriff but was told that the Sheriff had no new developments.
Monica tried to keep everyone's spirits up. "Look at it this way, kids. There's no good news, but there's no bad news either. We have to keep praying and believing that Billy will be found soon, safe and sound. Keep thinking positive," she said.
"Monica's right," Tommy said. "We'll get through this. We need to keep the faith that Billy will be back with us, safe and sound."
As Adam sat there, he found his mind kept going back to the cabin and the men. He found himself pondering over what it was that he saw in the bedroom. Suddenly, his communicator went off. He nodded to the others and silently got up and went into the next room.
"Zordon, Alpha. This is Adam. What's up? Were you able to locate Billy?" he whispered into his communicator, hope in his voice.
"Sorry Adam, we have been unsuccessful so far. We're contacting you on another matter. We now have the antidote ready. We'll be standing by to administer it when you find Billy," Zordon told the teen.
Adam noticed that Zordon had said 'when' not 'if'. He smiled as he thought of the confidence that Zordon had in them that they would eventually locate Billy. "I'll let the others know. We'll keep you up to date," he said. "And Zordon?"
"Thanks for believing in us."
Adam returned to the room and the Rangers gathered around him. Adam quietly told them what Zordon had said. With a renewed spirit, Tommy and Jason went back to the work organizing the next phase of the search. Adam went and quietly sat down next to Rocky as the rest of the teens waited for their assignments from Tommy and Jason.
Suddenly, Adam bolted upright. The thumping! There was something about it that kept nagging him. He kept playing the sequence of thumps over and over in his mind. Suddenly his eyes widened as the realization hit him. I think that was a SOS signal.
"That's it," he said to himself, excitedly. But, where was he at the time?
Maybe Trini remembers. He saw Trini quietly talking to Kimberly. He caught Trini's eye and signaled her over. Kimberly followed.
"What's up, Adam?" Trini said as they sat down next to him.
"Trini, do you remember where it was that we heard that thumping that first day when we were looking for Billy?"
Trini thought for a moment. Then she nodded. "It was really faint from where I was standing, but yeah, I remember. It seemed to be coming from where I thought you were."
"Let's see. I was standing near the cabin that's a couple of doors down from us," Adam paused, as if in thought. "Kim, where exactly did you and Jason find Billy's communicator?"
Kimberly's brow furrowed as she thought. "We found it near that cabin that has the broken green shutter. I remember because I was going to tell Monica and Andrew so they could get it fixed later. Why?"
A light went on suddenly in Adam's mind and he suddenly jumped up. He opened his mouth to voice his suspicions but then quickly closed it again. I need to go check my hunch out first before I tell the others. He turned and quickly headed toward the door.
"Adam, where are you going?" Kimberly asked.
"I want to check out something. Cover for me. I'll be right back," he said.
"Wait, I'll go with you," Trini said.
"No. I can do this faster alone." He saw Trini frowning. "Listen, I just want to check out something. I'll be back in a half hour. Okay?"
The two girls stood there a moment. "Okay, but be careful," Trini finally said. Kimberly echoed the same thought.
* * *
Billy held his breath in fear as the door slowly open. Fearfully, he involuntary shrank back as he saw that it was Mike. A whimper escaped his lips. He felt the pain coursing throughout his body as he involuntarily shrank back. He started to shake as Mike came closer and closed his eyes in anticipation of being hit. Mike had come in from time to time and without warning, would strike out at Billy or Ariel. Tied up, they were unable to defend themselves from his blows. Mike seemed to take especially cruel enjoyment when he hit Billy.
He opened his eyes when he realized nothing happened. He relaxed slightly as he saw that Mike was checking that they were still firmly tied. Billy watched through pain filled eyes as Mike leaned over Ariel. An evil smile crossed Mike's face as he stared at the helpless girl before him. "Not too much longer now, little girl. Hopefully, your daddy will cooperate. If not...."
Ariel shivered and closed her eyes. Mike laughed to see the fear in her face and the tears in her eyes. He then turned and stared at Billy. He shuddered at the evil he saw in Mike's eyes. He suddenly realized that Mike had no intention of releasing them. Not alive.
Jim walked in, carrying something in his hand. Billy and Ariel watched as Jim walked up to Mike. "Is this really necessary? I'm sure they understand the situation now and won't do anything stupid," Jim said as he looked at the two teenagers.
What is he talking about? Billy thought to himself.
"We can't take that chance. There are too many people snooping around. There's too great a chance of being discovered." Mike saw that Jim was still hesitant. His eyes grew hard. "Look, I agreed to doing this your way. Besides, it's just a seditive. It's not going to hurt them," he said, as his eyes narrowed. "Now, do it or we'll go back to my plan."
Jim sighed and started toward Billy. As he turned around, Billy's eyes widened as he realized what it was that Jim had in his hand. His cries muffled by the gag, he could only shake his head at Jim as he came closer, syringe in hand.
Jim could see the silent pleading in Billy's eyes as he came closer, and he paused briefly and glanced at Mike. Seeing that there would be no last minute mind changing, he advanced toward Billy. He sat down on the edge of the boy's bed. He glanced at Billy and saw the fear in the boy's eyes. Billy painfully tried to move away from him unsuccessfully, all the while keeping his eye on the syringe. "I'm sorry," he muttered under his breath. "Believe me, this is the best of the two choices."
He refused to look at Billy as he prepared the site and injected the clear liquid into the boy's upper arm. He saw Billy stiffen as the seditive was injected and then watched as Billy's eyes grew heavy, finally falling into a deep sleep. He sighed and then stood up and started over to the girl.
* * *
Adam approached the cabin warily. There was something about that back room that kept bothering him. He recalled the brief glimpse that he had and, although he wasn't sure what it was that he saw, his intuition kept nagging at him to check it out. As he looked around, he realized that he was near the area where he had heard the thumpings.
He found a spot that was close enough to observe the front door but with sufficient covering so as not to be seen. Soon, two men who stepped out of the cabin, heading toward the parking lot. He recognized one of them as the man who came out the room, but the other was unfamiliar to him. The other man must still be in there,he thought.
He continued to watch the cabin for a while, to see if he could figure out where the other man was in the cabin. Finally he spotted the shadow of the third man in the area where the living room would be. Adam realized that the third man was stationary. He did not see any signs of any other people in the cabin.
Figuring that this was his chance to look around, he quietly walked by the cabin. As he passed the cabin, he scanned the side windows to see if he could see anything but had no luck. The curtains were pulled tightly closed. As he got to the edge of the cabin, he took a quick look around and ducked behind the cabin. He continued to look for a way to look in.
Suddenly, he saw it. The curtains on one of the windows had parted slightly. He quietly stole up to it. After taking another look around and making sure the coast was clear, he took a deep breath, he carefully looked through the window, ready to duck at the slightest movement.
At first, he could not see anything. As his eyes slowly got adjusted to the dimness of the cabin, he could make out that it was a bedroom. He noted that one of the beds was occupied by a young girl. She had her back to Adam and appeared to be sleeping.
Slightly embarrassed about the possibility of his theory being wrong and being accused of being a Peepng Tom, Adam was about to step away from the window when he glanced over at the other bed. There was someone in the other bed. Like the girl, the figure on the other bed had his back to the window also. Both figures had the bedsheets pulled up around them. Adam thought that it was kind of funny, seeing that it was a warm, tropical-like day. Because of the extremely warm weather, he himself was in shorts.
He also thought it was strange for someone to be sleeping at this time of day; being that it was the middle of the afternoon.
Adam stepped closer to the window, straining to look at the figure. There was something awfully familiar about that guy, Adam thought to himself. He strained to get a closer look.
You know, from the back, he kind of looks like.... Adam's eyes widened as a thought came to him. Billy?
From where he was standing, he couldn't verify his suspicions. His thoughts were racing around his mind. Is that Billy? What's he doing there? Why's he just lying there?
Suddenly, he looked back over at the girl. The sheet that was covering her had shifted slightly. He stiffened as he realized that the girl's hands were bound behind her. What the...? What the heck is going on here?
He returned his gaze back at the guy on the other bed. He had not moved at all. This really looks bad. If that girl is tied up, more than likely he is, too.
I have to find out if that's Billy. Adam raised his hand and was about to tap on the glass to try to get their attention when he suddenly heard a sound. He listened for a moment and then crept softly toward the edge of the cabin and carefully peeked around.
The two men were back, carrying bags of takeout food. They seemed to be arguing about something, but Adam couldn't hear their conversation because they were too far away. He ducked back behind the building as they came closer. Somehow he felt that it probably wouldn't be a good idea for them to catch him snooping. Luckily, the men didn't notice him as they went into the cabin and shut the door.
Adam sneaked back to the window and looked in. The two figures hadn't moved at all. He briefly considered going ahead and lightly tapping the glass to try to get their attention, but then ruled against it. With all three men in the cabin, there was too great a chance of getting caught. He could probably hold his own against one, maybe two, but he knew that he would be no match for three grown men.
I got a bad feeling about this. Those two need help. I got to get the others, he thought. He carefully glanced around to make sure the coast was clear. Quickly and quietly he started to move away from the cabin. As soon as he was far enough from the cabin, he started running.
* * *
Rocky spotted Adam coming toward them.
"Hey, Adam . . . Where did you disappear to?"
Zack nodded. "Yeah, where did you go, man?"
All eyes turned to watch him as he stopped in front of them. Winded, Adam sat down on the porch step to catch his breath.
Tanya sat down next to her boyfriend. "Are you okay, Adam?"
Adam looked up at her, nodded and then turned to face the others. "Guess what? You won't believe what I've discovered," he said.
"What? Don't tell me you know where Billy is," Kimberly said. The others looked at him in surprise. This was the first that they had heard about this.
"You know where Billy is?" Kat asked. The gang started to crowd around Adam, waiting for him to answer.
"Well, where is he?" Rocky asked.
"Is he okay?" Zack said. "Why isn't he with you?"
"Whoa, guys. Let's give the boy some room," Tanya said. "And the chance to answer."
"Go ahead, Adam. Tell us," Tommy prompted as they backed up and gave him some room. "Did you find Billy?"
"Yes. I mean, no," Adam stammered. "I mean, I don't know."
"I don't understand. What's that supposed to mean?" Jason asked.
Feeling the pressure, Adam closed his eyes and first took a deep cleansing breath to calm his nerves. He opened his eyes and continued. "What I mean is, that I'm not sure. Let me start at the beginning." He went on to tell them his suspicions and what he had observed when he checked his hunch out.
"I couldn't tell for sure if it was Billy or not," he finished. "Regardless, I really think those two people are in a lot of trouble. We should check it out. They may need our help."
"We were just on our way out to search for Billy," Rocky said.
Jason had been standing quietly, listening to Adam as he told them his story. Finally he stepped forward. "Adam is right, we do need to check this out. I have an idea. Why don't we split up? Kimberly, Trini and I will go back with Adam to check this out. In the meanwhile, Tommy, I think you and the others should continue to search for Billy." He looked at his watch. "We'll rendezvous back here in a hour. Okay?"
Tommy nodded. "Right. Let's go, guys." He and the others picked up their packs and left.
* * *
After the gang left, Jason turned to Adam. "Are you certain of what you saw, Adam?"
Adam nodded. "I'm almost positively 100% certain. I could see the ropes on the girl."
"So, where did you see them?" Kimberly asked.
"They were in one of the back bedrooms," Adam answered.
"Okay then. Let's go check it out then," Jason said. He paused as a thought came to him. "Wasn't that the cabin that had those men you said weren't very friendly?" Adam nodded. "We're gonna need a plan."
"I got it," Trini said. Three pairs of eyes turned to look at her. "Look, they already know we're looking for Billy, right? Kimberly, we'll go to the front door and say that we're checking back to see if they remembered anything else. In the meanwhile, Adam and Jason can sneak around the back and scope out the situation."
"That's a great idea, Trini," Kimberly said.
The boys agreed. "Let's go then," Trini said as she grabbed Billy's picture.
* * *
Halfway to the cabin, the group stopped to synchronize their watches. "Okay, give us about 5 minutes to get in position," Adam said. "Then go to the front door. Try to stall them as long as you can, okay?"
Kimberly gave the two boys a thumbs up sign. They watched as the boys took off into the wooded area around the cabin. Soon it was time. Trini took a deep breath. "Ready?"
Kimberly nodded. "Let's do it." They walked toward the front door of the cabin door and knocked.
* * *
Adam silently led Jason around to the back of the cabin. They crouched behind some bushes to wait for the girls' diversion to start. As they waited, Adam quietly pointed out the window to Jason where he had last seen the two captives. Soon they heard the girls as they walked up to the cabin and knocked on the door. As soon as they heard thegirls engaged the man who answered in conversation, they quietly crept up toward the window that Adam had pointed out earlier. "Careful, there is a total of three men in there," Adam warned Jason. Jason nodded.
Very carefully, they inched up to the window, their senses on alert for sounds that would alert them to any danger. Finally, they were in a position to look into the room. Slowly, they looked through the window, ready to duck instantly if there was any indication of movement.
Inside the darkened room, they could see the two figures in the beds, just like Adam had described. They appeared to be sleeping, their faces turned toward the wall. It was quiet and there was no movement.
Jason was starting to wonder if Adam's imagination had gotten away from him. Nothing he saw so far had indicated to him that those people were in any type of danger. "I don't see anything, Adam. I'm starting to feel like a peeping Tom," he whispered. "Maybe you just made a mistake. I think we should leave."
They quickly ducked down as the door to the room suddenly opened. They heard the door slam and someone moving about in the room. Carefully, they slowly raised themselves up again until they could once more look through the window. They saw a man, his back toward them, leaning over the male figure that was lying on the bed, checking the ropes that bound his hands behind his back. The man then turned the figure over to check his pupils.
Jason's eyes widened as he recognized the person on the bed. It's Billy! From where he was standing, he could see what looked like a few deep bruises on his face. He felt his fury grow in him as he realized that the men inside had hurt Billy. He clenched his fists in anger. He felt like beating the daylights out of all of them for what they had done to Billy.
Stop it, Jason, he told himself as he took some deep breaths. You've got to calm down. You won't do Billy any good if you lose control.
Adam recognized Billy just as Jason did. He was angry too, but was able to keep his anger under control. What had really bothered him though, was that there was no struggle. As a matter of fact, there was no movement from Billy as the man checked him over. Adam could see Billy's chest rising and falling, so he knew that at least he was still alive.
Unable to do anything but observed, they watched the man as he finished checking Billy and the girl that was on the other bed before he left. Jason tapped Adam on the shoulder, motioning him to follow him back to the safety of the bushes. After taking one more look at Billy, Adam reluctantly followed.
"What do we do now?" Adam asked Jason quietly as soon as they reached the cover of the bushes. "They've got Billy. I don't like the way he looks. He looks like he's hurt bad. We can't even tell what condition the girl is in. We gotta get some help. Let's call the police."
"No time for that. It will take the police at least an hour to get here. We need to get Billy out of there now," Jason said. "Let's get back to the others and figure out what to do."
* * *
"Well, thank you for your time, sir. We really appreciate it. By the way, if you see our friend Billy again, could you please call this number?" Trini said as she and Kimberly stepped off the porch.
"I sure will," Tony said pleasantly. "I hope you find your friend soon."
"So do we," Kimberly said. "Thanks again." The two girls started down the path, away from the cabin. "Do you think the guys had enough time?" Kimberly said under her breath.
Trini nodded. "It looks like it. I spotted them a few moments ago, heading back this way," she said quietly. She stole a glance back and saw Tony was still watching them. She turned and putting a smile on her face, waved.
Tony smiled again and waved back. As the girls disappeared around the bend, he turned and went back into the cabin.
Mike watched from behind the curtains of one of the windows as Tony waved Kimberly and Trini. "What did they want?" he immediately asked Tony as he came back into the cabin.
"They're still looking for their friend, Billy. They're checking to see if we remembered anything else about him," Tony said. "They want us to call them if we think of anything."
Mike saw Jim walk by. "So, how's our little guests doing?" he asked Jim.
Jim looked at Mike. He was really beginning to dislike Mike. This is starting to get way out of hand. How did I ever get messed up with him? he thought. "They are fine," he finally said. He turned and started toward his room. "I think I'll do some reading."
Tony watched as Jim went into his room and shut the door. "What's up with Jim?"
Mike shrugged as he watched Jim enter the other room. "Who knows?" He turned back to the window to watch the girls as they walked away.
Suddenly, a movement in the bushes caught his eye. He caught a glimpse of two boys in the bushes by the side of the cabin, heading in the same direction that the girls had taken. He recognized one of the boys as the one who was with the girls when they came around the first time. Realization and anger washed over him as he realized that they had been discovered. "Tony! Jim!" he yelled. "Get in here... Now!"
"What's up?" Tony asked as he came in. Jim came out of his room with the same quizzical look.
Mike told him about spotting the boys. "I think we've been made. We've got to get out of here, fast."
"Hold on, Mike. How do you know that they saw anything?" Jim asked.
"Call it intuition. They may be on their way to contact the authorities," Mike said angrily. "We'll leave as soon as it gets dark."
Jim turned to Mike. "Maybe we should leave those two here and just get out while we can." He cringed as he saw the fury in Mike's eyes.
"I'm not leaving my ticket to a fortune," he snarled. "Besides, as long as we have hostages, they wouldn't dare do anything stupid."
"You're crazy, Mike. You're gonna get us all killed. I want out of this," Jim turned and started to head toward the door. Suddenly, he was violently shoved up against the wall by Mike. He felt the cold steel tip of Mike's gun pressed against his head.
"You can't leave. You're in as deep as the rest of us. There's only one way that you can get out of this deal," Mike said as he pressed the gun to Jim's head. "What will it be?"
Fear shone in Jim's eyes. He's crazy, he thought. "Okay, okay Mike. You win." He breathed a sigh of relief as Mike pulled the gun away from his head.
Mike patted Jim on his shoulder. "You'll see. You're gonna thank me for this later, Jim. You're gonna have enough money to never have to think about it ever again."
Jim looked at Tony. He saw that Tony had realized the same thing that he had; that they were dealing with a person who wasn't playing with a full deck.
* * *
Trini and Kimberly found Adam and Jason waiting for them, looking glum and forlorn. As they approached them, the looks on boys' faces told them immediately that something was wrong. "Well, what did you find?" Kimberly asked.
Adam looked up at them. They could see the worry in his eyes. "They have Billy and this girl back there," he stated. "Those guys have them tied up. They weren't moving. I think they're unconscious or something.
"He had bruises on his face. I think they've beat him," Jason added, his hands still clenched. He was still trying to calm down. "I can't believe these S.O.B.'s beat an injured and defenseless guy. They deserve to be punished." He turned and drove his fist into the nearest tree.
Trini placed a hand on Jason's shoulder and slowly but firmly turned him around. Not knowing what exactly to say to calm him, she hugged him. "It will be all right, Jason. We'll get Billy back, safe and sound."
Kimberly sat down next to Adam. "Now what do we do? Call the police?"
"There's one other thing," Adam informed them. He turned to look at the others. "I think we were spotted."
"What?" Jason exclaimed.
"I saw one of the men at the front window as we went past. I think he saw us."
Jason frowned. "It will take the police at least an hour to get up here. If that's true, then they realize that we know something. They could be long gone before the police even got here. No, we're gonna have to do this on our own." He straightened up. "Let's get back and find the others. We're gonna need a plan, and fast."
"Wait a minute," Trini said. "Shouldn't someone stay and keep an eye on the cabin?"
Jason and Adam looked at each other. Trini was right. Someone should stay and watch the cabin. But which of them was going to stay behind and watch the cabin?
"Look, Trini and I will stay behind and watch. Just hurry back, okay?" Kim said.
Adam and Jason nodded and took off for the cabin.
* * *
Tommy and the others found Jason and
Adam sitting on the porch, pacing back and forth impatiently. "Sorry,
man. We sort of lost track of time," he apologized as they approached
"Yeah, that's the last time we let Tommy keep track of time," Rocky smiled.
"No sign of Billy. Man, I'm really worried. Maybe we should check to see if Zordon and Alpha found out anything," Zack said.
Adam looked up at the mention of Billy. "We... we did," he quietly said.
"Did what?" Tanya asked.
"We found Billy," Jason said quietly. Tommy, Katherine, Rocky, Tanya and Zack looked at Adam in surprise.
Katherine was the first to recover. "What?" she said, wide eyed. "Where?"
Meanwhile, Tommy looked at them. Seeing the expressions on their faces, he suddenly felt a pang of fear. He could feel the tension and worry radiating from his two friends. Suddenly he realized that Trini and Kimberly were no where to be seen. "Where are the girls? Did something happened to them?"
Adam shook his head. "They're okay. They are still back there, keeping an eye on the cabin."
"Why?" Zack asked. He looked at Jason. "What's the scoop, bro?"
Jason first took a few deep breaths to calm himself. "While the girls kept the men busy at the front door, Adam and I went around to the back. At first, I didn't see anything that was out of the ordinary. It just looked like two people who were taking naps. Just as I was starting to think that we should leave quietly, one of the men came in the room to check on the people on the beds.... That's when we saw Billy." He paused, unable to continue as he clenched and unclenched his hands.
One could cut the tension in that room with a knife. "And then?" Tommy asked.
Adam looked up and saw Jason. He could see Jason's anger as the teen recalled the scene in his mind. "It looks like they've beat him, guys," Jason quietly continued. "He had bruises all over and he wasn't moving. Billy looked pretty bad, guys."
He heard someone take a sharp breath. "You're not saying...." Katherine asked.
Jason shook his head as he fought to keep his voice from quivering. "No, he's not. We could that he was still breathing."
"You know...." They all turned to face Adam. "What worries me is the lack of masks. They aren't concerned that Billy and that girl has seen their faces and would be able to identify them. I have this bad feeling that they don't intend to release them. Alive, that is."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's call the police," Tanya said.
"We have no time. Umm, there is one other piece of bad news we haven't told you yet," Adam said.
Rocky raised an eyebrow as he looked at his friend. "One more? How worse can this get?"
"I think they spotted us. If they panic, there's no telling what they'll do. We'll need to do something soon. I don't think that we can wait for the police," Adam said.
Suddenly, the cabin door flew open and Kimberly rushed in. She skidded to a stop in front of the group. Somewhat winded and unable to speak, she placed her hands on her knees as she took a few deep breaths. The panicked look in her eyes frightened Jason.
"Kim, what happened? Where's Trini?" Jason asked.
"She's still back there. She said that I should come back and let you guys know what we found out."
The teens looked at one another with worry. "So, what did you find out?" Rocky finally asked.
"After you guys left, Trini and I decided to see if we could get close enough to hear what was going on in the cabin." She paused as she looked around. "They saw you guys and now they're running scared. They're planning to leave as soon as it gets dark. They gonna use Billy and that girl as hostages."
"That doesn't leave us with much time," Tommy said, as he looked up at the sky. "We need a plan and we need one fast."
* * *
After tossing a lot of ideas around, it was finally Tanya who came up with a plan.
"Look," she said as she pointed to the map. "This is where the cabin is. This is the parking lot where their car is located. Here's the only path that they can take to get to their car." She paused and looked around for a moment to make sure that everyone was following her so far. "We'll split up into two groups. One group will be in front, coming toward them. It'll look like a bunch of teenagers just going out to have fun. The other group will be behind them. They'll stay out of their sight until the precise moment when we spring our trap."
"And that trap is....what?" Kat asked.
"They will be hemmed in between the two groups. We need to make sure, though, that we immobile them quickly and not give them any time to use their weapons. We know for sure that they do have at least one gun," Tanya continued.
"Okay. If everyone agrees, I think we should go with Tanya's plan," Tommy said. "We'll put it to a vote. All in favor, raise your hand." One by one, each teen raised their hand.
"Then it's decided. Now all we have to do is split up into two groups and then figure out who does what," Jason said.
"Should we tell Monica, Andrew and Billy's dad? You know... what we're going to do?" Kat asked.
Rocky shook his head. "That's a bad idea. I mean, the grownups have a right to know, but they would tell us to call and let the police handle it. They would never let us attempt anything that would place us in danger. We would end up sitting around waiting again."
"I agree with Rocky. There's not much time left. We can't wait for the police. We have to move now for this to succeed," Tommy said. "If they get away, we may never see Billy again." Alive, that is, he thought, but he didn't want to say that out loud.
"Kimberly, why don't you go and bring Trini back here so we can let her know what's going on," Jason said.
"But... shouldn't someone be watching the cabin?" Kimberly said.
Jason shook his head. "It will just be for half an hour. You yourself said that they're waiting for it to get dark. I don't think that they'd try to do anything in broad daylight. Too many witnesses."
Kimberly thought for a moment. Realizing that Jason was right, she nodded and headed off to get Trini. In a few minutes, both girls were back. "Other than seeing them walking back and forth, nothing else has happened," Trini reported as she came into the cabin. "It looked like they were cleaning the place."
"That makes sense," Zack said. "They're making sure that nothing can be traced back to them."
* * *
Quickly, Trini was brought up to speed and briefed on the gang's plan. They split up into two groups. Jason, Kimberly, Tanya and Adam made up the first group. They would be the group that would be approaching the kidnappers. Tommy, Kat, Rocky and Zack would make up the other group.
Jason stuck his hand out, hand downward. Smiling, one by one, each teenager stacked their hands on top of his. Looking at his friends, Jason smiled. "To a successful rescue."
"Right," they all chorused.
* * *
Mike checked his watch as he looked out the window. "Three more hours... three more hours, he muttered. Puzzled, both Jim and Tony looked at him. "Just three more hours and we'll be out of here," he said. "One way or the other." Chills ran down Tony's back as he heard Mike speak. Mike's voice had a monotone quality to it. If he had to describe it, it was speaking to someone that was just about to blow.
He turned around and continued to put things into a box. Tony turned to help him. "He's a raving lunatic," Tony whispered. "He's going to get us killed. We've got to get out of here."
"I know," Jim whispered back. "We can't do anything as long as he has that gun. In his frame of mind, he wouldn't hesitate a minute to shoot either of us in the back. Just go along with this for a little longer. He's bound to slip up sooner or later."
"Hey!" Mike said, startling them. "What are you two whispering about?" he said suspiciously.
"Nothing," Jim said quickly. "I was just saying to Tony that I better check on the kids."
"Oh," Mike said. He turned back to look out the window. Jim glanced at Tony once more, then headed toward the bedroom where the kids lay.
They were as he last left them. Two still forms lying peacefully on the beds. If it wasn't for the ropes, they looked like they were just taking a nap. The silence in the room was deafening. Jim crossed over to the bed where Ariel was laying. Satisfied that she was doing okay so far, he turned toward the other bed.
He winced as he touched Billy's face, noting the darkened bruises and cut lip. He noticed that Billy's breathing was a little ragged, so he slightly loosened the ropes that bound the boy. Not enough for Mike to notice, he thought, but enough to hopefully help the poor boy to breathe a little easier. Sure enough, he noticed that Billy was breathing somewhat easier. "I'm really sorry about all this, kid," he said quietly. "I didn't realize how desperate Mike is. This is not going the way I thought it would. I'd try to find some way to free you, but right now I can't see how I can even get out of this." Sighing, he quickly stood up and with one last look at the two kids, turned and left the room.
"So, how are those brats holding up?" Mike asked as he saw Jim close the door to the room.
Jim looked at him. "They're doing okay for now."
"I want you to get another dose of that sedative ready for them and give it to them before we leave. I don't want any trouble from them. Do you understand me?" Mike said harshly.
Jim sat down at one of the chairs. He closed his eyes, unable to face Mike without feeling repugnant. He thought of arguing back, but realized that it would be a lost cause. He slowly nodded his head. "Okay, Mike. Whatever you say," he said wearily.
Zack smiled. "Man, do you know how long it's been since we've heard that?"
Jason nodded. "Yeah, too long." He looked up at the sky before turning to the others. "It looks like we have a couple of hours of daylight left. I think we should synchronize our watches, go over the plans once more and then head on out. Agreed?"
"Right," the others nodded.
A hour later:
The teens were in their assigned places just as dusk began to fall. The waiting began.
Inside the cabin:
Jim and Tony watched as the shadows grew long and disappeared with the light. Mike stepped away from his position at the window and came into the room. He looked at his two accomplices as he turned on the lights. "A few more hours and we're out of here. He walked across the room to the two men. They watched as he stuck his gun in the waistband of his pants. "Hey, Tony, why don't you see if you can scrounge up something for us to eat?"
Tony quickly glanced at Jim as he stood up. "Sure, Mike. No problem."
Mike sat down in the chair that Tony had just vacated. He stared at Jim. "You have the stuff ready?"
"Yeah, yeah," Jim said as he waved his hand toward the table. "It's ready."
"Give it to them now."
Jim looked at him for a moment before answering. "No. What's your hurry, man? We still have some time. Too much of this stuff too soon will kill them." He knew that it was a risk standing up to Mike as volatile as he was, but he would be damned if he would be the cause of those kids' death. Jim shifted uncomfortably under Mike's unwavering gaze. "Don't worry," he mumbled. "It'll be done."
"See that you do. Don't screw it up," Mike said in a low voice.
Two hours later:
"Man, it feels like we've been here for hours. What time is it?" Rocky quietly groaned as he stretched his legs.
Zack quickly looked at his watch. "It has. It's about 9:00."
"I wonder when they're going to make their move," Kat whispered.
Tommy, sitting on the ground next to her, shrugged. Suddenly, he grabbed her arm and motioned for all of them to be quiet. They watched as one of the men stepped out onto the porch and looked around. Even though they were well hidden, they crouched down a little further as the man looked in their direction.
Satisfied that the coast was clear, the man went back in.
Tommy raised his communicator to his lips. "Adam, this is Tommy."
"We read you, Tommy. Go ahead."
"It looks like the action's about to start."
"Got it. We're ready."
"The coast is clear," Tony announced as he stepped back into the cabin.
"Go and bring the car around to the door. Jim and I will take care of them,' Mike said, jerking a thumb in the direction of the room that Billy and Ariel was in.
Tony stole a quick glance at Jim, then hurried out through the front door.
Mike looked at Jim and then stood up, going toward the door to the bedroom. "Well, come on. This will be over soon. Let's get it over with."
Rocky straightened up as he saw the door to the cabin open and watched as Tony step out. "Tommy," he hissed. "One of them is coming out."
"Adam, there's someone coming out of the cabin. He's heading your way," Tommy whispered into his communicator.
"We see him, Tommy," Adam said. He paused. "Jason and I will follow him to see where he's going."
"Keep in touch," Tommy said. "And, guys? Be careful."
"You know it, bro. Adam out."
Adam and Jason nodded to the girls and quietly slipped in behind Tony, giving him enough room so that he would not notice that he was being followed. They followed Tony to the parking lot, where he had seemed to be headed toward one of the cars in the deserted lot.
"Jas," Adam suddenly whispered.
Jason looked at him. "What?"
"We can nab that one. Then there will be one less person to have to deal with," Adam said. He looked at Jason, unable to read his reaction. "Well?"
Jason smiled and gave him a thumbs up sign. "Let's do it."
Quietly they crept toward Tony, keeping out of sight. As they got closer, Adam quietly signaled to Jason to split up and approach him from another angle. Jason nodded and headed off to the right.
Adam continued to creep closer to Tony, making sure to keep the man between Jason and himself. When he felt they were in position, he signaled Jason. Tony was strong, but was of no match against the two boys. He was quickly overpowered.
"What the hell? What do you kids think you are doing?" Tony exclaimed as he was hauled to his feet, held fast by Jason and Adam on either side. His eyes widened as he saw Adam. "You....I remember you. You're one of those kids who came around looking for his friend. What do you want with me?"
"You can cut the innocent act, mister. We know that you and your friends have Billy in that cabin," Adam said.
"And as soon as we round up your friends, you all will be spending well deserve time in prison," Jason said.
"What do we do with him now? We need to get back to help the others," Tanya asked as she, Trini and Kim joined the two boys.
Jason thought for a moment. "I know. Kim, go and appropriate some rope and a gag. We can tie him to a tree and come back for him later."
"Appropriate?" Kim asked, puzzled. "Oh right, appropriate. I'll be right back." She took off down the trail. As soon as she was out of sight, she tapped the communicator. "Kim to Alpha."
"Go ahead, Kim."
"We captured one of the men. We need you to teleport some rope to my location. Oh, we'll need something to gag him also. We're going to tie him up and come back for him later."
"Good work, Kim. Teleporting items now." A shimmering light appeared at Kim's feet and a few seconds later, a roll of duct tape and a length of rope appeared.
"Thanks, Alpha. Could you update the others and ask them to stand by?"
Kim hurried back to where Trini, Tanya, Jason and Adam were waiting with a now subdued Tony. The five teens dragged him deeper into the woods, away from the trail and sat him down by a sturdy tree, tying him securely to it and taping his mouth shut to keep him quiet. Satisfied that he was secured, they started back toward the cabin.
"Now what?" Trini asked. "Does this change our plans?"
Adam thought for a moment. "I have a plan." He opened his com link. "Tommy, do you read me?"
"We've secured our prisoner. I've thought of a new plan. Alpha, we know that Billy and that girl is in the back bedroom. Can you scan and see if you can tell where the other two are?" Adam asked.
"Scanning now. It will take a few minutes," Alpha replied. A few minutes later, Alpha informed them of his findings. "The two are in the front part of the house."
"Thanks. Okay, guys. Here's the plan. Tommy, split your group in two and station each group at one of the side windows. Trini, Tanya and Kim will go up and knock on the door. Watch to see where the other person ends up, Tommy. The girls will knock on the door and tell whoever answers the door that their friend was in an accident and that he sent you to get them. Tell the person that you can show him where his friend is. Jason and I will be hiding on either side of the door and we'll grab the man as he comes out the door. The minute you hear the commotion, Tommy, you guys come busting through the windows and tackle the other person. If we time this right, they won't have time to do anything." Adam paused as he took a breath. "Well, what do you think?"
For a moment, no one said anything. Then Jason stepped toward Adam and clapped him on his back. "Great idea, Adam. Right guys?"
"Right," they all chorused.
"So," Kim said. "Let's get into position."
"Good luck, guys," Alpha added.
Quietly, Tommy and Kat crept up toward the south side of the cabin. They crouched under the window. Tommy held the communicator close to his lips in order to talk and not be heard by the occupants in the cabin. "This is Tommy. Kat and I are in position," he whispered quietly.
Rocky's voice came over the com link. "Rocky here. Zack and I are ready."
Finally, they heard Adam's quiet voice. "We're set too. Well, here goes."
There was a knock on the door. Mike straightened up and looked at Jim who had just stood up. "Well? Just don't stand there looking stupid. Get rid of whoever that is," he said as he too, stood up and backed up toward the bedroom door, resting his hand on the gun that was stuck in his waistband.
Jim glared at Mike, throwing him a dirty look. Then he turned and walked to the door, opening it. Three young girls stood there, worried looks on their faces.
"It's you kids again? I already told you that we haven't seen him," Jim said.
He glanced back at Mike, who was signaling for him to get rid of them. Mike's hand tightened around the gun._Oh this is not good,_ Jim thought to himself. _Mike is going to go off at any time. I'm not getting stuck with a murder rap. I've got to get these girls away from the door._
"I know. That's not why we're here," Kim said.
"We met your friend in the parking lot. He got in a minor accident and he asked us if we could come and get one of you to come out and help him," Tanya said.
Trini saw the suspicion growing in his eyes. "He can't get the car started," she quickly improvised.
"Just a moment," Jim said. He closed the door and turned to Mike. "Did you hear what they said?"
"Yes, I did," Mike snarled. "That idiot. Can't do anything right. Go and help him. Be quick about it. We got to move."
Jim nodded and opened the door again, smiling as he once more came face to face with the three girls. "Okay, kids," he said as he stepped out. "Let's go."
The minute he stepped out, Jason and Adam stepped up on either side of him and grabbed him. All Jim could get out is a startled cry before he was pushed to the ground, face first, arms held fast by the boys.
At the same moment, Rocky and Zack came crashing though one window, while Tommy came crashing through the other, with Kat following close behind. Finding himself closest to Mike, Rocky reached out and grabbed him. Mike struggled and managed to pull away, falling into the bedroom, pulling out his gun as he fell. As soon as he hit the floor, Mike skittered into the bedroom, kicking at the door, practically shutting it.
"Watch out. He's got a gun," Kat yelled.
Mike rolled into the bedroom. Enraged, he jumped up and headed for Billy. "You!" he yelled as he grabbed the semi-conscious youth and shook him. "This is all your fault."
Billy just groaned and struggled weakly against Mike's unrelenting grip. Mike then took out his knife and cut the rope that was around Billy's ankles. With abnormal strength, he hoisted Billy to his feet. Keeping one hand around Billy's waist because he was unstable, he maneuvered the boy in front of him to use him as a human shield.
Just then, the door slammed open. Mike pulled Billy against him and held the gun to the side of his head. "Back off!" he barked at them. "Make a move and I will kill him!"
"Take it easy, Mister!" Tommy slowly stepped forward, holding his hands up. "You don't want to do that."
"I mean it! Back off! Now!" Mike tightened his hold on Billy as he slowly moved forward.
Out of the corner of his eye, Tommy noticed Zack slowly stepping out of Mike's line of sight and closer to the side of the bedroom door. Realizing what Zack was attempting to do, Tommy resolved to keep Mike's attention focused on him.
"Come on, man! You don't want to do anything that you'll be sorry for later," Rocky pleaded.
"He's right, Mister. Please, let Billy go," Kim added.
As soon as Tommy noticed that Kim had distracted Mike, he grabbed Mike's gun hand and applied a move which caused Mike to drop his gun. Quickly, Rocky scooped up the gun and leveled it at Mike. "Okay, that's enough. Freeze, mister."
"Rocky, be careful with that gun," Zack cautioned.
"Don't worry. I will," Rocky assured him. "My dad taught me how to use firearms, Mister, so don't do anything stupid."
Scowling, Mike quickly assessed the situation and realizing that he was outnumbered and that his own gun was trained on him, raised his hands. Tommy motioned Mike toward the couch. "Over there. Keep your hands where we can see them."
Kat noticed that Mike kept looking at the door and realized that he was looking for his other man. "You might as well stop looking for him, mister. We caught him earlier. He won't be coming to help." Mike scowled at Kat and her friends.
Trini, Tanya and Kim came in, followed closely by Jason and Adam, who was holding Jim captive between them.
"Join your friend over there," Kat said, pointing him toward Mike. Jim went over and sat down next to Mike.
As soon as Jim joined his friends, Adam, Trini and Kim raced over to the fallen Billy. Carefully, they quickly untied his hands and gently laid him on his back.
Adam removed the piece of tape that covered Billy's mouth. He leaned down close to Billy's ear. "Billy....Billy can you hear me?" he whispered, his voice close to breaking. "We're here and you're safe now."
Adam smiled as he heard Billy quietly whisper. "Ariel?"
Typical, he thought. Always thinking about the other person, Adam thought to himself.
Trini looked at Kim who had gone over to check on Ariel. Kim signaled that Ariel was fine. "Ariel is fine. You just rest now. Okay?"
"Yes, Billy?" Adam answered.
"Thanks for not giving up," he whispered. With that, Adam felt Billy's body completely relaxed as he fell into the blissful arms of unconsciousness..
Jason came up behind them. "The ambulance and the police are on their way."
The ambulance and police arrived at the same time, right behind Billy's family. His father remained by Billy's side, refusing to let his only son out of his sight for a moment as the paramedics worked to stabilize and prepare him for the trip to the hospital. Billy's aunt and uncle stood off to one side, keeping out of the paramedics way, but close enough to keep a close eye on Billy and his father.
Sheriff Keller had his deputies collect Mike and his men and deposit them in the back of the squad cars. As soon as they were done, the sheriff walked back to where Tommy and the others stood. "You know, what you did here was not a smart thing to do. You could have gotten hurt, or worse," he said, looking at them sternly. He held his hand up as Tommy started to protest. "But you were lucky, this time."
"We understand that, sir," Adam said. "We felt that we just had to do something."
"Have faith in the police and the system. We are trained to handle this type of situation, you know. We would have gotten to Billy eventually."
"We know that you would have, sir," Tommy said. "I guess we had just saw an opportunity and just took it."
The sheriff looked at them for a few more minutes sternly, and then he smiled. "Good job." With that, he turned and walked away.
Three weeks later:
Billy and his dad were on their way home. Billy had recovered enough to be released from the hospital, with some stern instructions from his doctor to take it easy for a couple of weeks when he got home. Hank noticed that Billy was quieter than usual.
"Why so quiet, Billy?" his father asked him.
Billy sighed. "I guess I thought that some of the gang would have been there at the hospital when I was discharged. They said that they would be there when they came and visited me the last time."
Hank smiled. "Maybe they didn't realize that you were being discharged today. Is that all that's bothering you?"
"I guess that I'm also bummed that we didn't get to finish our vacation up at the cabins," Billy admitted. "Not that any of what happen was under our control."
"Well, I talked to your Aunt Monica and Uncle Andrew earlier and they said that anytime you and your friends want to come back up and resume your reunion, they will have the place ready for you all."
Billy smiled. "Really? Do they really mean that?"
Hank laughed. "Of course they did. Have you ever known your Aunt Monica and Uncle Andrew to go back on something that they promised?"
Billy smiled. "I guess not."
"Well then. I guess that's that. Well, here we are. Home sweet home," Hank pulled up to their driveway that lead to their house. "I'll help you in first and then I'll come back out for the bags."
"Okay," Billy answered.
Hank unlocked the front door and stepped aside for Billy to enter. As Billy stepped in, he noticed that the shades were drawn, making the house seem dark and dreary. "Dad, why is the shades drawn? It's kind of dark in here."
"SURPRISE!" The lights suddenly went on and Billy saw all his friends in his living room, with a big sign that said WELCOME HOME, BILLY!
"Wow!" was all that he could manage to say.
"Were you surprised?" Kim said as she bounded up to him, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. The others were close behind.
"Yes, immensely," Billy said, blushing as Trini, Tanya and Kat came up and kissed him on the cheek. The guys came up laughing, clapping him on the back.
"It was all Trini and Kim's idea," Jason laughed.
"Zordon and Alpha send you their best. They're glad that you're okay," Adam said.
"I'm doing much better, thanks," Billy said.
"I bet Billy thought that we forgot that he was coming home tonight," Rocky teased.
Billy's face got a little redder. "No, I didn't. Didn't even cross my mind." He caught his dad's look. "Well, sort of."
"Stop teasing him," Trini said. As she turned back toward Billy, she noticed him started to waver. "Billy, are you okay?" she asked, concerned as she took hold of one of his arms to steady him. Instantly, Adam was on the other side, giving him some support. Together, they assisted Billy toward the sofa. They noticed that he winced slightly as he sat down. Tanya handed him a glass of punch.
"Thanks," Billy smiled as he sat down and took the glass Tanya handed him. "I guess it's been a long day. I just feel a little lightheaded."
"Have you eaten at all today?" Trini asked him.
Billy shrugged. "Not really. I haven't had much of an appetite."
"Maybe we should leave and let Billy get some rest. After all, this is his first day out of the hospital," Tommy said.
"No, please, don't go. I can rest later. It feels so good to be back in the company of my friends again." Billy pleaded. The other teens smiled and they all sat down around where Billy was sitting.
"Well, okay then. Who's ready for some home cooking?" Hank said.
"Just lead me to it," Rocky exclaimed. "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse."
"Would you settle for chicken?" Kat said. Laughter filled the room.
Just then the doorbell rang. "I wonder who that could be?" Hank asked himself as he went to answer the door.
When his dad didn't come back immediately, Billy called out to him. "Who's at the door, dad?"
"Hello, Billy. How are you feeling?"
Billy turned around and came face to face with Ariel Carrington. "Err, hi. I'm fine. How are you? Are you doing okay?"
She smiled. "Yes I am. Thanks to you and your friends. This is my father, Sid Carrington. He wanted to talk to all of you."
The tall, dark handsome man toward Billy, who started to rise to his feet. "Please, stay seated," he said as he shook Billy's hand. "Hello Billy. I just wanted to come today and personally thank you and your friends for saving my daughter and returning her safely back to me and my wife. I hope you are doing well."
"I'm doing much better, thank you, Mr. Carrington," Billy said. "We just did for your daughter as we would have wanted someone else to do for us if we were in that same situation." The others nodded.
"Please, call me Sid. Now, Billy, that's not entirely true. My daughter has been telling me how you were trying to protect her even when you were incapacitated." Billy blushed as Sid went on. "Anyway, as a token of my gratitude, we would like to invite everyone and their families to come spend a week with my family at our estate in Hawaii. All expenses paid, of course."
"Are you sure that you know what you are doing, Sid?" Hank asked. "That's a lot of people."
Sid laughed. "I think we will have no problem accommodate all of you. You'll find that I can be a very stubborn man. I won't take no for an answer. I insist that you and your friends accept. it's the least I can do."
"Then, on behalf of all of us, I accept and thank you for your kind offer," Billy said.
"That's terrific. I'll have my secretary contact you, Mr. Cranston, and make all the arrangements," Sid said as he shook Hank's hand. "And now, we must take our leave. Come Ariel."
"Bye, everyone. See you all soon," Ariel waved as they left.
Three hours later:
Billy sat in the living room alone. One by one the others had left, each promising to come back tomorrow, so that they could map out plans for the upcoming trips. Everyone promised to come, first to Hawaii and later on back to the mountains.
"For the most part, I had fun this past week. I miss spending time together. We'll have to do this more often," Kim had said. The others agreed wholeheartedly.
Adam was the last one to leave. "How are you, really?" he asked Billy, concerned. "Any more headaches? Dizziness...."
Billy smiled. "I'm doing fine, Adam. Really, I am."
"That's good. I've been worried about you for a while now. I'm glad you're feeling better. You will tell me if you don't, right?
"Yes, sir." Billy saluted Adam teasingly. Then he sobered. "Listen, I'm really sorry I made you worry. It wasn't intentional."
"Hey, what's a friend for? But, don't ever do that again." Adam said, smiling as he shook a finger at Billy.
"Keep things like that from your friends, like me. We care a lot about you, Billy. We'll always be there for you. Okay?"
Billy nodded. "Thanks, man."
"Well, it's getting late and I better go. See you tomorrow?"
"You bet," Billy replied.
"Oh, by the way, Zordon and Alpha asked me to give you this."
"What is it?"
"I guess you won't know until you open it, will you? Well, I got to jam. See you later." Adam waved as he walked toward his car.
"Yeah. See you later, Adam."
Billy sat there, staring into the fire that was burning brightly in the fireplace. It felt good that the gang was back together, however briefly.
"Are you still up, son? I thought that you would have gone to bed by now," Hank said as he came into the room, wiping his hand on a dishrag. "You're still recovering, you know."
"I'm know, I'm going, dad, just a few minutes," Billy replied. "I sure had fun tonight. Thanks."
Hank smiled. "Yes, you have a great bunch of friends, Billy. There doesn't seem to be anything they wouldn't do for you, especially Adam."
"Likewise, dad," Billy said, smiling, fingering the new wrist communicator that Adam slipped him before he left. "As the old saying goes, one for all and all for one."