Author's Notes: In this timeline, T:APRM does not happen. This is the first story in my Ranger of Light series. If you like this, please let me know. This has been a really hard fic for me to write.
And a special thanks to my online friend, Jennifer Hart, who is also a PR fanfic writer. She helped me make some tough decisions on an important part of this story. And thanks to Cynthia for posting the fics. Have fun reading. :)
American Desert: 1779He could hear them coming. Their voices echoed in the canyon around him. He turned listening for the direction. It didn't matter. They wouldn't catch him. Not this time. But, he had to be quick. They were getting closer.
Stripped of all his clothing, he sat before the fire and began to chant. The smoke of the fire circled above him, like a serpent; watching him. The chant was quickening, and growing. Soon the smoke began to climb higher, forming a column, with him in the center.
Unseen eyes watched him from their hiding place. The Heratron must not be allowed to get a hold of the powers. If I must, I will stop him myself. But for now, I will only watch until my help is needed to intervene.
The soldiers could hear him.
"He's just around the bend. He's ours now!" The group spurred their horses forward. They had their prize in sight.
The Lt. turned and looked at the arid earth around him. Desert spread before him for as far as he could see. Why would anyone, or anything wish to live here. There was nothing but sagebrush, and dirt. Just at that moment, the wind began to pick up. Dust swirling around him.
Shielding his eyes from the blast, he caught something out of the corner of his eye.
"NO!" He watched the column rising toward the clouds. He had to stop him. They couldn't loose this power. He needed it to rule this pathetic little world. And what the idiotic humans didn't know, wouldn't allow them to stop him once he had the power.
Quickly he followed his men toward the column.
He could feel a tingling centering in the middle of his chest, and begin to radiate from it out to the rest of his torso, and into his limbs. As the tingling reached the tips of his fingers, he felt himself begin to rise. He was no longer sitting, but he wasn't standing on his feet either. But, the chanting didn't cease, it became stronger.
Suddenly he stopped. There was an ethereal breeze spinning around him, accompanied by a bright light that surrounded him, and yet seemed to emanate from him. He opened his eyes. The irises glowing an intense green. He looked down upon the men approaching him.
When the soldiers entered the canyon, what they saw, was not what they were expecting to see. The horses reared, tossing some of the less attentive from their saddles. The others gripped the pommel's of their saddles, and held on; their eyes wide with shock.
Before them, at the center of the column, floated the shapeshifter they had tracked for months. And yet, he was not the same man. He was Walking Wolf, and yet he was much more. They almost didn't hear the arrival of the Lt., as they watched the sight before them.
"It's too late Walking Wolf! I want the power, and I want it now!" He looked around at the dumbstruck expressions on his men's faces. They were useless to him now. It didn't matter, they had served their purposes.
"Oh, it's just the beginning. If you had been allowed to kill me, I would have only become stronger than you could have possibly imagined. Now I separate the power, and myself. I send it out through the ages, into two hundred years from this moment. At that time the powers and I will be united once more, I will be reborn; to become the greatest power to every exist." The old man's voice took on an other worldly tone.
But, the Lt. stayed his ground. He wouldn't let this happen. He needed those powers.
"It is the end old man. I will not let you do this." He raised an unfamiliar weapon. It was small, thin and completely silver. This weapon was nothing like the slow, and unsure flint lock pistols of the time. This was a killing weapon. Plain and simple.
With quick aim, the Lt. began to shoot his own men, one by one. To stunned to run, each watched the others before him fall, until only the Lt. was the last man alive. He had gotten out of them what he needed, now he didn't need them anymore. After he had dispensed with the soldiers, he took careful aim it at the figure floating within the column. "This puny world's weapons wouldn't be able to stop you, but I'm not from this world, and neither is this weapon."
"For hundreds, NO...thousands of years, I have been hunted by those stronger than you, for the power. They failed. What makes you think that you can do, what no other has done?" Walking Wolf's eyes grew brighter, the light reaching out for the Lt.
With nerves of steel, the Lt.'s finger slid along the smooth planes of the weapon, and touched the trigger. A thin beam of red light streamed from the point of the weapon, and entered the column of light...only to be absorbed by the enternal light within.
"Ha, ha, ha!" Walking Wolf laughed at the Lt.'s futile attempts. Once again the chanting began. So loud, that the Lt. had to cover his ears.
Suddenly, a single glowing, blue line split Walking Wolf's body down the middle. The light began to grow. In a blinding flash, Walking Wolf was gone. In his place stood a large wolf, and above it floated a bright glowing ball of light.
At last the column disappeared. The ball of light shot quicky, away into the sky, leaving the Lt. alone with the wolf.
The Lt. looked at the wolf before him, realizing that this creature was nothing like the other wolves he had ever seen. From where he stood, the Lt. could tell that the wolf would come to his mid-chest, as it stood on all fours.
Quickly, he gazed around him. The column wasn't there to absorb the light. It was just him, and the wolf. He raised his weapon. The wolf bared it's teeth. The Lt. pulled the trigger...
Angel Grove, 1997
Billy shot upright in his bed. Sweat beading his brow. He quickly gazed around at his surroundings.
Home. He was home.
Breathing deeply, he swung his feet over the side of the bed, and held his head in his hands.
How many did this make? The same dream over and over again. What did it mean? And each time he had the dream, it seemed to last longer, to give Billy more information, before he woke up. Taking a deep breath, he left his room and entered the Construction Core.
Billy had made his home here, since he and Zordon had agreed with a plan that would allow Billy to create new powers and Zords for the Rangers. But, it all had to be kept secret from them, until they had been tested, and found ready for the new powers. They didn't even know this place existed. Billy didn't even know until Zordon had aproached him about new Zords and a great secret.
The Construction Core bore a remarkable resemblance to the Power Chamber, but here, Billy worked alone on the new Zords. Of course there was a place for Zordon to make his quick visits. And once in a while, when he needed the help, Alpha would teleport in to assist him.
But, at this time, he was alone.
Billy walked bare footed across the cool Core floor. He was dressed in his sleeping clothes, that consisted of a pair of gray sweat pants, and a dark blue tank. His hair was slightly mussed, and his eyes felt blurry without his contacts. But none of that mattered at the moment. He needed to talk to Zordon.
Billy walked to the consoles surrounding the Core's main floor. Quickly, as if he had been doing it all of his life, he set the coordinates in the teleporter, then, with a flick of a button, his white signature beam left the Construction Core.
As soon as Billy's signature white teleportation column entered the Power Chamber, the alarms began to blare. Billy quickly rushed to the consoles, trying to shut off the alarms. All the time muttering to himself, "How could I forget?" They had set up the alarms to recognize each of the Rangers bio-rhythms, so that no one, not even an impostor could get in. They then had created a special device that Billy would wear on his person at all times; that the system would recognize as Billy's bio-rhythm.
So lost in thought, was he, that he had forgotten to grab it from the nightstand, before teleporting in.
"Intruder, intruder! Aye, yi, yi!" Alpha cried as he quickly emerged from his recharging spot on the far wall. When he noticed who stood at the controls, he immediately began to calm down. "Oh! Billy? What are you doing here?"
"I'm sorry Alpha, Zordon." Billy said looking up at the face of Zordon, who now filled the once dark capsule. "I just needed to talk to you Zordon."
"HOW MAY I HELP YOU BILLY?"
"I've been having the dreams again. They are not so bad that I would call them nightmares. But, they are the same, night after night. And each time that I have one, the dreams proceeds further that it did the time before." Billy sighed. The feeling he had when he had awoken, was still with him. "I know this might sound crazy, but...is it possible that the Crystal of Nightmares is still around? I know that Jason destroyed it back in the cave a couple of years ago." Billy looked truly concerned about his dreams, and the fact that the Crystal of Nightmares might still exist. Zordon really felt that was all it was; just dreams. But, Billy was always level headed, and could reason out any complicated problem.
Zordon would do what he could to dispel Billy's worries.
"I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE, BUT WE WILL CHECK FOR IT'S ENERGY SIGNATURE IN ALL OF THE PLACES THAT WE CAN."
"I'll help Zordon." Billy stated as he neared the controls.
"No need Billy. I have already started the process." Alpha stated. "Just relax, and the results should be in, in just a few moments."
"Thanks Alpha, and thank you Zordon." Billy began to pace frantically, back and forth before the consoles. Every now and then, he would gaze over at the computer readouts.
"BILLY. WOULD YOU MIND TELLING ME WHAT YOUR DREAMS HAVE BEEN ABOUT? AND HOW LONG YOU HAVE BEEN HAVING THEM?" Zordon queried. Billy stopped, looking down at his bare feet. Slowly he turned to face Zordon.
"I've been having them everynight for almost a week. And the dream...it's a really long time ago. Two hundred years, I think. There is this old Indian Shaman. He has some kind of...power, that one particular soldier wants. This soldier is not human, but he has taken on human form and identity.
"To keep the soldier from getting the powers, the Shaman, who is also a shapeshifter, separates his being into two different parts. One part is a ball of light, that disappears into the sun, and the other part...is a wolf.
"The soldier killed his own men, and when he tries to kill the wolf, the wolf...
"I don't know what the wolf does after that. I just remember seeing the wolf growl and bare his teeth. But, I wake up confused and shaking, as well as covered with sweat." Zordon could see the fear and anxiety, plainly in Billy's eyes. He could well understand why Billy would think that the Crystal of Nightmares could still be around.
"I have the read-outs, Zordon." Alpha said as he shuffled over to Billy with the pages in his hands. Trembling, Billy took the pages from Alpha, and carefully looked them over.
"Nothing." Billy replied. He felt a little disappointed that there wasn't an easy answer for the dreams. But, happy that the Crystal of Nightmares was truly destroyed.
"DO NOT BE CONCERNED BILLY. DO YOU THINK THAT THE NIGHTMARES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT ON BY THE STRESS YOU HAVE BEEN UNDER THESE LAST FEW MONTHS?" Zordon questioned.
"It could be, Zordon." Billy said as he handed the pages back to Alpha and paced away from the computer consoles. "I hate lying to the Rangers."
"I REALIZE THAT IT WAS HARD MAKING THE RANGERS BELIEVE YOU WERE AGING, AND THAT THE ONLY HELP COULD BE FOUND ON AQUITAR; THAT YOU WANTED TO REMAIN THERE WITH CESTRIA. THAT WAS THE HARDEST PART. NOT ALL OF THE RANGERS WERE WILLING TO BELIEVE THAT YOU WOULD LEAVE THEM; AND LIVE ON AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLANET. IT TOOK A LOT OF CONVINCING.
"THE AQUITIONS WERE WILLING TO HELP IN ANY WAY THEY COULD. CESTRIA WAS THE MOST HELP OF ALL. IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR HER, AND HER IDEA, THE RANGERS WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED ANY OF IT. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE RANGERS' TRAINING WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST.
"BUT, THE FACT REMAINS, BILLY, THAT THE RANGERS ARE NOW BEING TESTED. THEY HAVE NO ONE BUT THEMSELVES TO RELY ON NOW. NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE TO FIGHT THE BATTLES, THEY HAVE TO SHOW; EACH ONE, THEIR OWN LEADERSHIP SKILLS. THEY ALSO HAVE TO DO FOR THEMSELVES WHAT YOU HAVE SO SELFLESSLY DONE FOR THE PAST YEAR.
"WHEN THEY ARE READY, THEY WILL RECEIVE THEIR NEW POWERS. HOW ARE YOU COMING WITH THE TURBO ZORDS?" Billy sighed. It was hard to swallow everything Zordon had told him. But he knew Zordon was right. These new powers were stonger, and more important. The Rangers needed to be tested. To make sure that they are truly the ones ment for the power.
"I'm still working on Red Lightning, but the others are ready when you are Zordon."
"WHY DON'T YOU TELEPORT BACK TO THE CONSTRUCTION CORE, AND GET SOME REST? THINGS ARE FINE." Billy nodded his agreement, and pressed the buttons on his communicator.
"Sleep well, Billy." Alpha said as the white light began to engulf Billy's form.
"Thanks Alpha, Zordon." It's nearly three a.m. I guess I can squeeze a couple more hours of sleep in. The flash of light grew brighter, shot toward the top of the Power Chamber, then was gone. As so was Billy.
"Aye, yi, yi Zordon. I hope that Billy will be alright."
"HE WILL BE ALPHA." Even as Zordon watched Alpha take his place to finish recharging, he felt something familiar about Billy's nightmares niggling at the back of his memory. But, no matter how he tried, he couldn't bring it forward.
But, glancing around, he realized that he had never been this alone before. In the past, when he felt lonely, all he had to do was track down the group at the Youthcenter, and the loneliness was gone. But not this time. He then realized that only one thing would help him this night; as it had so many nights before. "I hate lying to the Rangers at any rate. I'll be glad when the testing is over, and everything is back to normal. Well, as normal as a Ranger's life can get." Billy said, laughing to himself.
He made his way across the darkened Construction Core's main control room, to the private quarters he now called home.
Billy's father had decided to take a job offer, and moved back to Illinois, shortly after Billy's return from Aquitar. It seemed strange. He had lived in Angel Grove as long as he could remember. But, his father had always told him of the times in Illinois, before his mother had died. In a way, Billy wished he could have gone back with his father. But, he had work to do with the Rangers, and he wanted to attend AGU in the fall. His father agreed to let him stay, and had bid him farewell.
It had been hard seeing his father leave, but Billy had agreed to e-mail his father at least once a week, if not more. And he had kept his promise, knowing how his father's schedule conflicted with his own, and the time difference.
Speaking of time differences....
Billy entered his chambers, and glanced at the illuminated clock on the nightstand, next to his bed. Three-fifteen AM. "Kim should be checking her e-mail after practice." Billy said as he took a seat infront of his computer.
Typing in a few commands, and clicking the mouse, he logged onto the Internet. Quickly he checked his mail. It was empty. Well, it should be. The only people who knew he was even on Earth, was Kim and his father. Then, pulling Kim's e-mail addy from the address book, he composed a quick message then clicked the send button.
Billy patiently waited for a response. "You've go mail." A voice stated from the two computer speakers. Billy opened the message. "I'm here..I've got about fifteen minutes before I have to leave for my classes. I'll be waiting by the phone in the hall. Kim." Billy logged off, and picked up the receiver.
He pulled Kim's phone number from his memory. He'd had a lot of practice lately, needing the number to talk to someone human. Kim had been the only one he'd been able to talk to since his sudden, and unplanned 'departure' to Aquitar. He listened patiently as a silence followed his dialing, then the phone began to ring.
"Billy?" Billy smiled at the familiar sound of her voice.
"Yah, it's me Kim."
"Are you all right? You sound depressed. It's not another of those horrible dreams, is it?" Kim asked, concern filling her voice. Billy smiled.
"I'm fine. And yes, I did have another dream. I panicked thinking that the Crystal of Nightmares hadn't been destroyed, and had Zordon and Alpha check for any traces of it. But, they found nothing."
"Of course not Billy. Jason destroyed that thing a couple of years ago. Remember?"
"Yah, I remember, but I just had to be sure. Kim, these dreams seem so real. There's got to be something going on. It's been every night for nearly a week. I've never dreamt like this before. Zordon seems to think it's being caused by the stress of having to pretend to be somewhere I'm not; lying to the Rangers, so that they can be tested for new powers."
"New powers, huh? I know it's hard for you Billy. But, I'm sure that Zordon knows what he's doing. He'd never do anything to bring harm to us. And he's never lied to us before."
"You're right. I just needed to hear a friendly voice tonight. So, when are you going to make a guest appearance in Angel Grove?" Billy asked, as he leaned back in his desk chair. The memory of the dream starting to fade.
"I don't know." Kim said hesitantly. "I don't think I can face Tommy, yet. I don't think he can forgive me for the letter."
Billy remembered the day Adam read the letter to Tommy. Billy wanted to die...
He had loved Kimberly, from a far, for as long as he could remember. They had grown up together. She had been his friend since the day they started school. She lived just across the street from him for most of their school years. He watched her blossom into a lovely young woman. A far cry from the gangly youth she had been. Knock-kneed, braces and brads. How he missed those days. Chasing her with worms, and her, putting bows and ribbons in his hair.
When it came time for high school, he thought that he might dig up the courage to finally ask her out on a real date. Sure, they were always doing things together. But, always as friends. He almost had found the courage one year, but that's when Tommy came to Angel Grove. Kim had confessed to him how much she liked Tommy, and after the Green Ranger fiasco, Kim was dating Tommy, and Billy was still loving her from afar.
Unknown to anyone, he had spent two days crying the day Kim left for Florida. His chance with her, gone. Then when the letter came, he was elated that she had broken up with Tommy, but it was soon crushed when she had said that she had found someone else. The pain on Tommy's face nearly mirrored his own. He and Kat had taken Tommy up to the lodge, to go skiing. He didn't know then weather it was to help Tommy get over the letter, or to help himself get over it. He'd nearly died that day.
"Tommy has forgiven you. He has a good relationship with Kat now. They are just casually dating, but they care about each other a great deal." He could hear Kim sighing on the other end.
"That's good. I want him to be happy."
"He is." Billy heard a vague voice in the back ground.
"Oh, I've go to go. I'll be late for class. Everything will be all right. Take care Billy. Catch you on the flip side. Bye."
"Bye, Kim." He heard her put her end down, and the line was flooded with a low buzz. How he wished he'd had the nerve to tell her that he loved her. She was the reason all of his other relationships with girls hadn't worked out. He would always love Kim, but he would be happy for her, as long as she was happy. He tried to smile, but failed miserably at it.
He sat the receiver back into it's cradle. He had never felt lonelier. He had hoped that talking to Kim would help, and it did, to a point. But, it made him realize just how alone he really was. He wished he could talk to Adam. "And Kim thought she missed the guys?" At least she didn't have to see them every day and not be able to talk to them, and let them know you were there. Zordon had been reluctant in having Alpha install a viewing screen in the Core, but Billy had been insistent, and Zordon had finally relented.
And the hardest time came shortly after he, supposedly, left for Aquitar. The Gold Ranger powers that Jason had taken on, had suddenly taken an adverse affect on his body. He was beginning to die. Billy argued with Zordon to, "Please let me come to the Power Chamber and try to help Jason. He's my best friend. I can't just stand back and watch him die." Of course he had lost the battle with Zordon, but, sometimes even losers win.
Zordon had asked Billy for his help, but on one condition. He had to stay at the Construction Core. He had agreed.
Billy didn't sleep for days as he tried to come up with a way to re-unite the Treys into one being; so that the Gold Ranger powers could be transferred back to them, and thus, saving Jason's life. And in the end, he had come up with the solution, and had saved Jason's life. He kept monitoring Jason from time to time; even now, to make sure he was all right. He'd thought about sneaking out to see Jason a time or two, but he was bound by his honor as an X-Ranger, that he would stay in the Core. How he wished this was all over, and that he could believe what Kim had said about everything being all right, he missed his friends.
With a deep sigh, Billy clicked off the lamp on his desk, and made his way to his bed. He was really tired. The Zords had been hell to work on the day before. So, it had been past midnight before he convinced himself to go to bed. Even now, tired as he was, he wasn't sure if he wanted to sleep, knowing that the dreams would return.
He couldn't explain why they bothered him so much. It's not like they were terrifying. But, he was afraid. Afraid of something he couldn't understand, or explain. "Billy, you've been alone in the Construction Core way too long." He made his way through the dark to his bed. Reluctantly, he laid down and gazed into the darkness around him.
He felt around in the dark, ontop of the night stand. Finally his had brushed against the familiar object. He gripped it's firm smooth, flat surface. His CD Walkman, his only companion in this place. Carefully, he lifted it from the nightstand, to place it next to him on the bed.
Feeling for the ends to the headset, he untangled the cords, and
slipped the headset on, and placed each earpiece carefully in place. With a
flick of a button, the relaxing rhythms of U2 flooded his tired mind. Sleep
flittered on the edges, until...finally, it over took him. Sending him into a
welcomed, dreamless sleep.