Her fingers were trembling as she picked up the pencil. She wished this didn't have to be done, but the threat of retribution was too great. "What do I write?" she half-whispered, not wanting anyone else to hear her. Though she wouldn't be here long, she couldn't risk anyone asking unwanted questions.
"This," the dark figure behind her slowly uttered the words and she began to write them. She bit her lip as the cruel, yet kind, phrases spilled out onto the page. (He's never going to believe this. It's just not...me.)
The figure put a hand on her shoulder, and she flinched back unwillingly. "He will believe it, because of how much he loves you," the voice mocked her, and she sighed, returning to the letter. She knew he was right.
Once she had it ready, he gestured for her to rise. "Go mail it," she was told. "Then tell your coach that you're leaving here. Do not tell him where you're going, make up any lie you want. When you have that settled, return here. I'll have your things taken care of by the time you get back."
Kim Hart sighed, bowing her head. "As you command," she agreed. She knew that her life, the life she had always known, was about to come to an end. She literally belonged to the lord of evil before her. As she went out to the mailbox, she fought back tears. She couldn't look back. She had to look forward.
But once she did look back. One time she thought of what had led her to this point. It hadn't been her fault. But it was a point of honor, one not even Zordon would dispute, that she serve this creature. It was a legacy.
It had all begun on her seventeenth birthday. She had received a desperate phone call from her father, someone she hadn't heard from in years.
Kim picked up the phone, wondering who was calling her. She had just gotten off the line with Tommy, and had enjoyed a very entertaining conversation. She would be so glad when the Pan-Globals had been finished so she could go home to stay. The occasional visit, letters, and phone calls just weren't the same as being there.
"Kimmie?" she barely recognized the sound of her father's voice, for two reasons: she hadn't heard it in almost a year and a half, and he sounded absolutely panicky. "Kimmie, are you there?"
"Dad? What's going on?"
Mr. Hart appeared to be trying to calm himself down, but with no luck. "Kimmie, I have to talk to you. You're in terrible danger."
She frowned. "What do you mean?" she didn't understand this, but she was beginning to feel a strange sense of dread.
"Kim, I made a horrible decision. ..but I didn't have a choice. You're in danger. If he comes, he has the right to claim you. I didn't know, my parents never told me...and I should have told you...."
The ex-Pink Ranger frowned. "Dad? Please, talk sense!"
Before Mr. Hart could say another word, the line went dead. Kim stared down at the phone, wondering what was going on, when a hand fell on her shoulder. She didn't have time to say anything else as she was whirled around, and found herself staring into the eyes of a strange looking creature. "So you are the next generation. ..the generation that is mine."
"W..w..what?" she barely managed to stutter the word out as the monocoled creature looked her up and down. "What are you?"
"You can call me Master Vile...or just Master will do."
The truth had slowly come out over the next few days. Vile was the father of Rito Revolto and Rita Repulsa, and after Rita and Zedd had fled Earth, they had come to live with him. They were making plans to return to Earth in a couple of months, but he had decided to come back on his own. Several years earlier, he had forced a young man into a horrible bargain: his life and the life of his beloved would be saved, but in return, the child she was carrying would belong to Vile. The sorcerer had not bothered to use his bargain until recently, and when he had tracked down the young man, he had discovered that her father was that child.
Mr. Hart was too old for Vile's purposes, however, and Vile had been quite angry. Until he had seen a picture of Kimberly on his bedside, and realized this young, strong teenager would be just what he needed. He had forced Hart to reveal Kimberly's name and location, and had went there at once. The minute he had seen her in person, he had known she was a former Power Ranger.
Kim had to serve him now. If she didn't, he would either kill her parents, or those inactive Rangers that weren't close enough for Zordon to protect. Not just that, but her grandfather had agreed to Vile's bargain, and that gave her an obligation to fulfill.
Time and space seemed to warp around her, as Vile took her away from Florida, the United States, and the entire planet. It seemed as if only moments had passed since she had mailed the letter and settled with the coach that she was leaving. He hadn't asked many questions; which she attributed to Vile's influence. He had been doing many things like that, preparing for their departure.
She wondered just what it was he was going to be doing to her. He had told her very little, only that she was going to be recarved into the very image of evil and darkness. She was fairly well convinced that she was going to be fighting the Rangers. All she really felt like hoping for at the moment was that they would find out what had happened, and rescue her somehow.
"We begin now," Vile said as the darkness cleared from her eyes and they arrived in a strange looking place she assumed was his laboratory. "Stand there," he gestured towards a circle in the center of the room. "And remember you are my property."
She was silent as she walked over, sweat stinging the palms of her hand. Thoughts of Tommy couldn't help but fill her mind. (I hope the others are there for him when he gets the letter. And I hope he falls for someone else.) She still loved him, and would with all her heart, forever, but something told her things just wouldn't be the same after this..no matter how it ended.
Master Vile's voice rose in a deep chant from behind her, and she tried not to cower away from the power in it. She glanced briefly down, and saw herself glowing darkly. A thought leaped into her mind.
(I am Master Vile's property. I belong to him.)
Then, darkness overwhelmed her completely. The last thing she was conscious of was falling to the floor.
"Awaken," a cool voice called out to her. "Awaken, my servant."
Her eyes slowly lifted open, and she saw the face of her master above her. "M..master...," she murmured weakly. "I...wh..what has happened to me?"
"Nothing you need fear, my warrior slave," Master Vile smiled visciously. "You have merely been rendered temporarily weakened by the assumption of your new powers."
She glanced down at herself, to see she was encased in black armor from the neck downward. There was not one bit of design to it anywhere, and she saw a helmet near her, with a screaming eagle on it. "Powers?"
"You are the Dark Zeo Ranger," he told her softly. "When I had the Zeo Crystal in my possession, I was able to siphon off enough energy to make these powers for you."
The Dark Zeo Ranger nodded. "As you command, master."
He gestured for her to rise, then smiled as she demorphed. She had certainly changed a great deal in the past half hour she had been unconscious. From her previous five feet two inches, she had grown to six feet four, along with a great deal of muscle and much more powerful bone structure than a normal human. Her short-cut brown hair had extended down to her waist and had transformed to an exotic silver blonde. Her eyes were now a deep gold, with shadows of darkness and evil in them, and slightly tilted now. Her face was more finely chiseled, and her entire body looked like a sculpture of divine beauty.
(As she is. And now for one last touch.) "Do you know your name, my servant?"
The girl frowned, searching her memory. Her blank memory. She had no memories other than the fact she belonged to him, and of the events that had occurred since she had awakened. "No, master. I. . .don't seem to know anything."
"Do not concern yourself," he reassured her. "Your name is Maura Malaika."
She tilted her head to the side, tasting the name. "Maura Malaika. What does it mean?"
Vile's lips...all of them...smiled. "It means 'dark angel'. And that is what you are. An angel of darkness, to destroy those who would bring light."
Maura nodded, the name becoming a part of her. She knew her master would not lie to her. "Thank you, master. I will not disappoint you."
"I know you won't, Maura. Now come. I have things to show you," he took her by the hand and started down a hallway. Master Vile felt as much at peace as someone like he could. His most evil plan was only just beginning.