Author's Notes: Does anyone else recall a time
when we didn't have to trip about disclaimers and all. Ah well, here's
mine then... all characters from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the
Zeo Rangers are not mine, they belong to Saban. This story idea is mine
however and so is the Master and his Boyz.
And now for this: This is my first PRZ story and I wanted to include my two fave characters. I may eventually date back to when Kim was in the show but see I like Tanya... ah well. In any case, all comments would be appreciated. Thanks so much and enjoy....
It was undoubtedly the flu. Even Zeo Rangers got the flu. Or something
close to it anyways. One way or another, he felt sick as a dog and his
friends, subtle as they were, made sure he knew just how bad he looked.
Adam Park stood up and whistled softly, "Man, you look awful. What are you even doing up and around?" He walked across the Juice Bar and went to stand next to his friend.
Rocky DeSantos scowled, "You think I'd miss Kim coming back? Come on, you're nuts." Then he smiled weakly and said, "Besides, her letter saying she was coming home today clearly stated that she would buy me all the food I want."
Adam laughed and waved a hand through his dark hair, "Same ol' Rocky. Come on, at least sit down." He led the exhausted Blue Ranger over to the table where Tanya Sloan and Jason Lee Scott were sitting. Off near the bar area, Rocky could see Billy Cranston chatting with Ernie who was simply nodding every few seconds. Undoubtedly, over the years, Ernie had figured out just how to hold a conversation with young Billy.
"Hey Rocko," Jason said, pushing out a chair with his foot. He smiled warmly and said, "Kim'll be touched that you care so much but you know she's gonna bitch at you."
Rocky sat down and waved Jason off with a slight tilt of his hand. Anything more would have wasted too much energy and he was already feeling like he was about to either hurl or pass out at any moment. "Where's uh, Kat and Tommy? I didn't think he'd miss seeing Kim for anything."
"They're on their way. They got held up in traffic coming back from the basketball game." Billy said approaching from behind. He scowled when he saw how pale Rocky looked.
Rocky held up his hand before Billy could even open his mouth, "I get the point. I should be in bed. And once I say welcome home, I'll go right back to bed..."
"Like a good Rocky?" Tanya quipped good-naturedly. Her eyes twinkled like they always did when she was ribbing someone.
"Sure, sure," he replied, wiping a hand past his brow. He sighed inwardly as he reflected on just how long it had been since he'd been so sick. Forever it seemed like.
Billy still looked concerned, "When did this come on? You seemed fine yesterday afternoon when we went to Justin's Peak." Something was nagging him, poking at his brain but he just didn't know what yet.
Rocky blew out an irritated gust of air between his front teeth, "I don't know. I was tired when I got home and I didn't sleep so well but I guess I just felt sick this morning. It's not a big..." he coughed once, twice and then a third time. Ignoring his friends'concerned gazes, he looked back up at Billy, "What are you getting at?"
Billy frowned, I don't know yet. Probably nothing. It's probably just the flu."
"Right." Rocky said with a half-smile. "Don't worry about it."
* * *
With the sky as beautiful and blue as it was over Angel Grove, California, no one ever would have guessed just what lay waiting in the few scattered barely noticeable clouds. And somewhere, something not quite right whispered, "Won't be long now."
* * *
"Kids, Ernie began hesitantly, "I've got some bad news." He leaned over and placed sodas in front of each of the five teens, "On the house," he said in answer to Jason's unasked question. "Kimberly's plane has been delayed and it will be some time in coming."
Rocky sighed and rocked back in his chair, his fatigue hitting him like a metal hammer, "Well I guess that means I'm heading home for a couple hours."
Adam lifted his eyebrow, "Couple hours? How about the day. When Kim gets in...."
"Guys, you're over...."
"... reacting?" Billy finished, the concern evident in his voice again. He adjusted his glasses, "Perhaps, but just the same."
"If you don't totally want to knock out for the day, why don't you come back to my place and crash for a couple hours. The rest of us can watch some movies or something while we wait for her and while you sleep." Adam offered.
"Sounds like a good idea," Tanya said softly, placing a hand on Rocky's exposed shoulder. The seventeen year old Blue Ranger was wearing a solid blue tank top with his light denim jeans. Instinctively, Tanya pulled her hand away from the heat radiating from Rocky's body. It concerned her but she decided not to mention it... just yet.
"Sure... fine... whatever." Rocky said, giving in. He knew when he had lost a fight. Sometimes having people who cared so much could be a real pain in the ass. Like when you wanted to have fun and they thought you should be sleeping. Sometimes he felt like the baby of the group. Still... they were probably right. It wouldn't hurt to lie down... if only for a few minutes.
"Great." Jason stood up first, "Rocko, did you drive here?"
Rocky nodded slowly, anticipating the next question. "And no, I don't know how I did it."
"Right, I'll meet you guys later at Adam's, okay? I've got one more class to teach." Jason informed them. "One of you should drive his Ford."
Adam nodded his agreement.
* * *
"He grows weaker, my Lord." Terok said softly. After two thousand years, he had learned how to be heard without barely raising his voice. He folded his hands neatly behind his back and gazed up into the face of his master. "What now."
"Patience, Terok. We've waited this long... we can wait a bit longer. If it works, picking off the Blue Ranger will be easy as what it is these Earthlings say?"
"Taking candy from a baby, my Lord?"
"Right, right. Patience, Terok, patience. What young Rocky holds is far more powerful than he or any of the others know. I will not lose that power to inpatience. Is that understood?"
Terok nodded slowly, "Yes, my Lord."
* * *
"How's he doing?" Adam asked, leaning over his shoulder to watch as Billy re-entered the Park family living room. He saw the look Billy was wearing on his intelligent face.
Billy ran his fingers through his blonde hair and sighed, "I suppose it could be just the flu. All the symptoms are there but his fever bothers me. It's rising too quickly."
"What do you want to do?" Tanya asked.
"Nothing just yet. I don't want to over-react. I got him to take some flu medicine that should help him sleep for a couple hours. We'll see what happens then."
"Right. Well might as well see what my parents rented last night."
"Ack," Tanya said, holding up a video. She made a face at it and said, "TrueHeart the Valiant Sails Again?"
Adam shrugged, "Don't ask."
* * *
As often happens while watching a movie, the three teenagers fell asleep on the couch watching it. When the phone rang, Billy, who had the misfortune of lying right next to it, jolted awake, and saw that Adam and Tanya were curled against each other.
"Park residence?" Billy said in his most polite tone. It wasn't hard for him.
"Billy, it's Jason. Sorry, I got held up. Anyway, Kim's plane just taxied in. Apparently she took another flight. Tommy, Kat and I are going to meet her at the airport. You guys coming?"
Billy glanced over at the sleeping pair and smiled, "Yeah, we'll meet you at the Juice Bar in fifteen minutes."
"Right." Jason replied. Billy hung up the phone and then looked back over at Adam. Finally after mentally running through various methods of how to wake the couple up, he settled for the most obvious. Placing his hand on Adam's shoulder, he shook it.
"Wake up," he instructed firmly. Adam jolted awake looking confused and disorientated. It was enough to make Billy chuckle. Tanya came awake far more gracefully and then she set to work flattening her boyfriends'unruly dark locks. "I'll go get Rocky up. Kim just came in."
"Oh, okay." Adam said, still fumbling for his scattered wits. Billy chuckled again and then disappeared from the room.
Rocky was lying just where he's been left on the guest bed. The blanket that Billy had placed over him had been kicked off and the young mans'body was gleaming with sweat. "Rocky?" Billy asked gently, leaning over to get into's his friends'line of vision. He gently shook him, "Rocky?"
Rocky opened his dark confused eyes and gazed upwards. Finally in a dry voice begging for liquid he said, "Oh man, get the oompa whumpas outta my head."
Billy smiled thinly, "How do you feel?"
Rocky quickly evaluated the situation. If they had woken him up after trying so hard to get him to go to sleep that could mean only one thing; the original Pink Ranger had finally come home. Using all of his energy, Rocky sat up, "I feel better. I've got a headache still but honestly, I feel better."
Billy suspected that he was lying but he didn't bother calling him on it. "All right, if you're sure." He extended an arm and pulled Rocky to his feet. "Come on."
In the other room, Tanya had somehow or another brought Adam back to earth and they both seemed ready to roll. As Billy brought Rocky into the room, he simply gave a shrug that said it all... what's the use?
* * *
"My Lord, is it time yet?"
"No, not yet. Soon though. He weakens with every breath and soon defending himself will be impossible. I want him taken away from the other Zeo Rangers when that time comes."
"It shall be done, my Lord."
* * *
The airport was crowded but the seven young Angel Grove teens had no difficulty finding their perky young friend. Especially when she threw herself into Jason's arms.
"I'm so glad to see you," Kimberly Harte gushed, squeezing him tighter. "It's been so long! How long? Hm... too long!"
Jason returned the hug, "Too long," he echoed. Kim broke away from him and began giving the others hugs. She rose an eyebrow as she noticed the way Adam and Tanya held each others hands. Then she grinned. When she reached Kat and Tommy, she smiled at them but it was obvious to Jason that the smile wasn't as full as she meant it to be. _She still has feelings for him. God, this must be hard for her to see him in the arms of her replacement on the team._
"It's so good to see you guys." She kissed Tommy on the cheek and then hugged Kat. Then she gasped, "Rocky, what's wrong?"
He tried to smile but it looked rather odd. Finally he settled for, "Would you believe that I've been in the gym all afternoon and I'm just sweaty and tired?"
"Uh, no." She said, placing the back of her hand against his forehead. "You're burning up. Billy?"
Billy shrugged, "We think it's just the flu. The symptoms are consistent to such an epidemic which makes it highly plausible."
She stared at him for a minute and then laughed and said, "And to think I even missed your technobabble." She looked at Rocky again and then said, "Why don't we get outta here. This place is even giving me a headache. Fresh air will do all of us a lot of good."
* * *
The group had begun to break apart at roughly half past three in the morning with Adam swearing up and down that his father was going to skin him alive. He offered Rocky a place to stay for the night sensing that his friend would want to avoid home in his present condition. Rocky hated worrying his mother.
Rocky smiled, "No, I think I just wanna take a walk on the beach for awhile." He moved his tank top back and forth against his torso as if to get air moving towards him.
"I'm not so sure that's a good idea," Billy said, "I don't think you should be alone right now."
"Really guys, you worry too much." Rocky protested.
"Humor us," Tanya said softly gripping his arm gently. Once again she felt the heat radiating from his clammy flesh.
He rolled his eyes in irritation and looked ready to protest again when Kim said, "She's right humor us... humor me. At least let someone walk with you."
"No, I don't want to keep anyone up with me." Rocky replied firmly.
Kim smiled, "Then it's not a problem. I'm too wired to sleep anyways."
Rocky started to protest again but her look stopped him. "Fine," he consented. "But if she goes with me, the rest of you have to stop worrying, okay?"
Adam laughed, "Sure... fine... whatever."
* * *
"Young DeSantos is away from the other Rangers, my Lord. Another is with him however. "Terok said. He stood before the Master with a black quilt draped over his feathery arms. Terok was a hybrid of man and bird or so he looked.
"Who is with him?" the Master asked, irritation in his normally tranquil, confident and calm voice.
"An ex-Ranger. Kimberly Harte."
"She'll not pose a problem, Terok. Have Demos prepare the portal. Once they are far enough away from everyone, bring them both in." The Master smiled, "Always remember, Terok, the more the merrier."
"Yes, my Lord." Terok nodded before moving off to locate the wizard known as Demos.
* * *
"It's hard," Kim admitted, "Much harded than I thought it would be. The routines are the same and I can handle all that but it's hard being away from my family... you guys."
Rocky nodded, "I know. Never thought I could get so close to anyone like I have you guys."
She smiled and reached down and squeezed his hand. Involuntarily she found herself recoiling from the searing heat. Softly she informed him, "Rocky, I think we should go back. Your fever is getting worse."
He shook his head, "No, I feel fine. Let's go walk in the surf, that'll cool us down."
She dipped her head and chirped, "Okay."
Rocky pulled off his boots and then his socks which she noticed were soaked in sweat and with a small dramatic motion he tossed them behind a rock. She frowned at him. "Bad idea, duh, we'll never find them again." She tied the laces of the boots together and slung them over her shoulder along with hers. After a moment, he took his boots and slung them over his own shoulder. "Do you ever regret going, Kim?"
"Sometimes. Like when I'm really bummed and I just wonder why but then I realize I did it for a reason and I can accept that."
He nodded, "It's weird changing the line-up so much. When I came, I took over for Jason. Trini and Zack left also, replaced by Adam and Aisha. Then Tommy comes and goes and all that. You leave and Kat comes. Aisha leaves and Tanya arrives and now Jason is back. It's real hard to deal with."
"I know. Everytime someone leaves, they take a piece of your heart. I know how it feels but Rocky, you gotta remember that piece is still there."
"Right," He said. And then he coughed. Violently. Kimberly looked up at him startled and scared. He lurched over coughing and fell to his knees, bent over. Kim fell with him, one hand braced against his back and the other holding his chest.
"Rocky?" She asked, softly. deeply concerned. She tried to ride out the coughing wave with him but each hack was scaring her even more. Something told her that something just wasn't right about his illness.
"I'm okay," he gasped, trying desperately to stand up. He finally succeeded to and then he looked up at her. "It's okay, it's okay."
"Like hell. Come on, I'm taking you home." Her voice left little room for argument but that didn't stop him. He pushed her away.
"Damn it, I'm not...." he started coughing again and this time Kim thought she saw something red. As she moved closer she realized what she saw was sleeping down his chin from the corner of his mouth.
"Eww, Rocky, you're spitting up blood." He looked up at her startled and she thought she saw moisture around his eyes. "I'm getting you outta here."
"Not yet you're not, Pink Ranger." A voice said from the shadows of the beach. Both Kim and Rocky looked up wide-eyed but they saw nothing.
"Um, Rocky... did you...."
He nodded slowly. "Yeah...."
She swallowed hard, "Oh boy. Just my luck, I come home for a few days and end up fighting cogs or tengas or something else really stupid like the Twinkie monster."
Something glimmered in the night, "No monsters here, little girl. Except maybe in your nightmares."
"Little girl? As if!" Kim retorted feeling a familiar heat began to race through her veins. She may not have had the power pumping through her anymore but she could still hold her own. She went to a defense posture. "Come on, big boy." Kim taunted.
"Games are not for now, little Kimberly. Our game can wait. We have forever to discover just what makes you tick." The voice replied calmly.
The words combined with the tone sent a chill through Kim's body and she could feel Rocky tremble. He was in no condition to fight but the power might be able to protect him enough to keep him alive should a fight start.
"What do you want?" She asked, placing her body over Rockys'. His protests had stopped and that scared her even more.
"Your time. You will accompany me through the portal."
She scowled, "Yeah, right. Do I look stupid or something. I watch sci-fi and believe me, I've been living it way too long to not know that you don't want to take me to the Magical Kingdom."
"Very astute young Kimberly. I can see now why Zordon chose you. You have no choice though. Come with me now or be taken. I can promise you that the latter will be much better than the former for both you and Rocky."
Instinctively she tightened her grasp on Rocky, "You're not taking him."
"I gotta morph." She heard him whisper faintly. She squeezed his hand tightly in acknowledgment.
"Come out and fight me or are you scared?" Kim taunted, knowing full well that she had to give Rocky time to draw himself up so that he could morph. Somewhere in the back of her head, she heard a voice say, _Oh please Zordon, we could really use some help now._
A figure emerged from the darkness. It was a tall masked humanoid figure wearing flowing black garments. "If it's a fight you want, you shall have it."
"Woah, freakazoid." She announced, prepping herself. Behind her, Rocky stood up. He looked far worse then before, almost a shadow of his normally healthy self. She noticed grimly that the corners of his mouth were stained with blood.
"It's Morphin time." Rocky announced as streams of blue light engulfed him. He swung his arms together and said, "Zeo Ranger III, Blue." A bright blue light flashed and moments later Rocky appeared in his blue uniform. "Back off, Bozo."
The Master laughed, "You haven't the strength to beat me. Not here, not now. Even as you stand there, your body grows weaker. The power can only protect you so far. And now you are in my dimension."
"You talk too much!" Rocky yelled, charging forward.
The last thing he heard before the lights when out was Kimberly screaming his name. As he faded into the warm nothingness, he could still hear the echo of her terrified scream.
* * *
"They just disappeared?" Tommy questioned again, rubbing his eyes for what seemed like the millionth time. He had been woken up just hours after the group had disbanded and he could still hear his bed calling for him.
CORRECT, TOMMY. BILLY AND I BELIEVE THAT ROCKY AND KIMBERLY WERE LURRED INTO A TRAP BY A VILLAIN KNOWN AS THE MASTER. WHAT HE WANTS IS STILL UNCLEAR BUT THIS MUCH IS KNOWN: HE HAS TAKEN THEM TO THE INFINITY DIMENSION. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY IN AND THAT IS THROUGH THE MASTERS'WIZARD, DEMOS. THE ONLY WAY OUT IS FROM THE INSIDE.
"Lemme get this straight," Jason said with an edge in his voice, "We can't help them? Rocky's sick, he can't fight."
I AM AFRAID THAT YOU ARE ALSO RIGHT, JASON. OBSERVE THE VIEWING GLOBE.
The six tired teens turned hesitantly towards the globe. Tanya gasped as she saw a dark creature fell a costumed Rocky in one swipe. The sick Ranger dropped to the sand and his uniform shimmered and then faded away leaving a bruised and bare-foot young man lying unconscious in Kimberly's trembling arms. None of the others had ever seen her look so scared.
Adam wrapped his arm around Tanya to give her support, "We gotta do something. Zordon, is Rocky alive?" There was a pleading tone to his voice that all the others felt.
I BELIEVE THAT AT THE MOMENT HE IS MERELY UNCONSIOUS, ADAM.
"But what it all comes down to," Billy announced, turning towards the others, "Is simple, if we don't find a way to help them and if they don't find a way to escape, they're both done for."
They all glanced up at Zordon but none of them needed him to confirm Billy's words.
* * *
After Rocky had fallen, Kim had given up, refusing to place his life in any more danger. He was hurt and he was sick and the dark creature had assured her that if she further resisted, he would also be dead. She had no cards to play and no real way of knowing if he was bluffing so she had followed him into the shimmering portal still wondering why the other Rangers hadn't come to their rescue.
* * *
"I think I know why we didn't get Rocky's distress signal until it was too late to assist him." Billy announced, chagrin evident on his features. "It was suppressed. The Master has been playing games with us."
"He let us see what he wanted us to see, "Tommy said, anger lighting his eyes.
"Bastard." Tanya muttered. Everyone turned and looked at her with surprise. She offered no apologies or explanations.
* * *
"Rocky, can you hear me?" Kimberly asked, running a shred of wet cloth over his sweaty brow. Their captors had supplied them with some brown stuff that was supposed to be food but looked worse than anything she'd ever seen in a cafeteria. They'd also been so good as to give them water in bowls. As if they were animals. "Rocky?"
"I hear you but that's not all I hear. All the songs from \lquote Willy Wonka', they're all there and many, many others." Rocky mumbled. His voice was barely audible and she had to strain to hear him.
"You gotta stay with me, okay? You and I gotta figure a way outta this hell-hole. I've seen Motel Sixes better."
"Hey, you remember that night all of us spent crammed in that hotel room just so we could check the Eagles concert?"
She nodded and smiled, "I do. That was fun. Think of that if you hafta."
"Okay. Tell me a story."
"Tell you a story?"
"You're supposed to keep me conscious, right? He asked innocently.
"Right, so talk and I'll listen."
"Um, yeah right, whatever. No, you're supposed to talk but I don't want you to waste your energy."
He chuckled but it sounded more like coughing, "You're assuming I have energy to waste. Tell me a story."
"Okay, of what?"
"You decide. Anything."
She smiled, "Okay. Well, I remember last summer when I came home for a few days and Adam and Tanya and Tommy and I went hiking... "
"Where was I?"
She frowned, "Hm... oh yeah, you got stuck working that weekend. Now shush, it's my story." He nodded. She then proceeded to tell hima tale of how Adam had gotten lost in the woods because when he had needed to empty his bladder, he had taken a wrong turn. Tanya had begun to panic until they had called Zordon and he had calmly informed them that Adam had found the main road and was now eating lunch at the local BK. As the story came to an end, she glanced over at Rocky's who eyes had shut.
Her heart leaped to her throat and her body went cold until she saw the steady slightly off rhythm rising and falling of his chest. He shivered a little bit so she curled closer to him to supply him with a little bit of her warmth. And then she drifted off.
* * *
"My Lord, what is so important about the Blue Rangers'power?" Terok asked.
The Master smiled down at his loyal subject. He was a good lackey but it was certainly very difficult to find smart ones nowadays. "The blue Zeo power is the key to the lost power of Nathados. Nathados held the Infinity powers many millennia ago until someone tried to strip them from him. In a panic and betrayed by his own men, Nathados hid his powers and placed the key within the energy of the Blue Zeo Ranger. Only now that it is finally being worn can the Blue power unleash the Infinity powers. I will have them for my very own."
"But why make Rocky sick?"
"Desperation in death. He will help us. Fully charged he would have stood a fair chance against us but weak and vulnerable from the potion we put in the 'fresh spring water' he drank at Justin Peak, he was easy prey. He's young and he doesn't want to die, Terok. I doubt he's ever seen death so close before. He'll help us or he'll wish he was dead."
Terok nodded, "Forgive me, my Lord, for doubting you."
* * *
She could feel him slipping away. He was putting up one hell of a fight but something was eating away at his immune system, savagely stripping away his defenses. "You gotta fight," Kim told him.
Somewhere in the distance she heard a faint whistling, like a door was being opened. It got closer until the door to the cell opened and the humanoid known as the Master stood imposingly above her and her fallen comrade. Instinctively she moved to guard and protect him.
"You will both come with me."
"And if we refuse."
Flatly the Master replied, "He's not my friend and I don't care if he dies."
Just as he expected, Kimberly submitted. How could she ever know that the last thing he wanted was to kill off the Blue Ranger. For now Rocky was needed alive. Of course after the Infinity powers had been attained, well that was altogether another matter.
* * *
"I know what the Master is going after!" Billy announced. He quickly explained to the others and then he added, "Of course Rocky is also the only person who can destroy the Infinity powers."
"So he's gotta do that," Jason said.
"Easier said than done, bro. There's no way we can even transmit a message to him. Our communicators are totally blocked off." Tommy announced.
"Maybe the telepaths on Aquitar could help us?" Kat suggested.
Billy frowned and then shrugged and said, "It's worth a try."
* * *
Kim was practically carrying Rocky. Stubborn to the end, he kept insisting that he could support his own lean frame but she knew better because everytime he tried, he nearly collapsed.
"Where are we?" She demanded to know as the Master stopped them in front of what looked to her like an old run-down building.
"Child, you could never know."
She rolled her eyes, "You see one set of ruins, you've seen them all."
"Let him go," The Master instructed her. Reluctantly she did as she was ordered and Rocky almost literally fell from her arms.
"Blue Ranger, once we enter the temple and stand at the alter, you will call upon your Zeo powers."
"And then what?" Rocky gasped between dry coughs. Kim could see blood seeping down his lips.
"And then you shall understand all. Morachi, hold the girl." The Master instructed. A tall winged creature moved forward and grasped Kim by her arms. She struggled but realized quickly that he far over-powered her.
"Rocky!" She yelled. He looked back at her and gave her a faint smile.
* * *
"Any luck, Billy?" Adam asked glancing over at Tanya who was pacing back and forth like a caged tiger. The others weren't doing much better. They all felt so helpless.
"Not yet," Billy informed him, "But keep the faith. We're not gonna lose them."
* * *
He really could have used her support as he climbed over the ruins of the temple but no, the Master guy who just plain seemed like just another bad guy to Rocky said that the temple of Nathados or something like that wasn't meant for those without the power. When Rocky had muttered that the Master seemed pretty powerless to him, he'd been knocked to his feet. Only the threat of having Kim killed had made him use all of his energy reserves to pull his weary body up.
And then finally there it was. It didn't seem so spectacular and yet the Master was obsessed with the gray stone alter. "Morph."
"Do it or the girl dies."
He nodded, "It's Morphin time." The blue light swirled around him again as he brought his arms together. "Zeo Ranger III, Blue." He felt his body tingle and then all of the sudden he was a Zeo Ranger. "Now what?" He muttered. He'd barely spoken the words before a strange sensation flooded his body. It was joy, it was peace, it was hate and it was fear. Worse though, it was also pain. He screamed with every ounce of lung power he had left in him as the Infinity powers soared through him.
Out in the yard, Kim heard her friend scream and it put all the fury of hell into her. She knocked Morachi aside with a swift kick and then slammed him on the side of the head. Morachi collapsed. Unconscious or dead, at this point it didn't matter. With the speed of an eagle, she moved towards'Rocky's continued screams.
He fell to his knees holding his palms against his temples as all of the conflicting emotions and feelings overtook him. Whimpering, he curled to a fetal position. It was just too much. It hurt too much.
"Rocky, stand up. Relieve yourself of the pain." The Master said to him.
"How? Just tell me how," Rocky begged as a loud pulsing started up in his head.
"Give me the powers." The Master instructed him.
"In your hand, you hold a rod. Yes, it's there." Rocky opened his palm and sure enough it was there. "Wet it with your blood and then with mine and the transfer will end. No more pain."
"No more pain?" Rocky asked weakly.
"No more pain. Not ever again. I promise."
Rocky reached out his hand towards the blade that the Master was welding. The Master nodded and made a clean vertical cut. Rocky recoiled in pain and held his throbbing hand against his chest. The Master made the same cut on his hand but he didn't even seem to notice the pain.
"Now complete the transfer, boy."
"Rocky, no!" Kimberly screamed.
The Master looked up, a single thought in his mind, _Where in the name of Hades did she come from?_
Kim looked at Rocky with large pleading eyes, "No, you gotta fight the pain. He'll kill all of us if you give him the power. Adam, Tanya, Jason, Tommy, Billy, Kat, you... me."
"End the pain, boy. Complete the transfer." The Master urged, seeing Rocky weakening as the Infinity powers continued to swell around him.
"Fight it," Kimberly urged.
The Master looked back at her with blazing eyes. With a sudden, irritated flip of his hand he sent Kimberly hurling back against a wall. She slumped to the ground, just barely conscious and still mumbling, "Rocky, fight it."
Rocky stared in astonishment at her fallen body, "You're gonna kill all of us."
"No... I'm going to stop the pain, Rocky."
"Stop the pain?" He asked again as a bolt of fire rushed through his body.
And then a voice entered his head. It sounded strangely like Adam's. _Only you can stop him, Rocky. Only you can destroy the Infinity power. Destroy it._
"Destroy it, Rocky... " Kim muttered as the lights around her began to blur together. He looked at her and then he decided.
"To hell with the pain. It's time to rock this joint." The words were a lot bolder and stronger than he felt but he'd been a Ranger long enough to know how to get the last word in during battle.
"No!" the Master screamed. Rocky pulled himself to his feet and then placed both of his hands on the staff. Somehow or another, without even being told, he knew exactly how to destroy the Infinity power.
He closed his eyes and focused. On the pain, on the anger and on the hate. The staff began to glow and then it became hot but he held onto it. The Master reached out for him but was pushed back by an invisible force. Instead he could only watch numbly as the Infinity powers began to self-destruct. The temple began to rumble.
"This place is gonna blow," Rocky realized. Using the energy brought on by the adrenaline burst, he delivered a series of kicks to the Master and then moved towards Kim. They wrapped their arms around each others'necks and began to run towards the portal gate, Rocky still clutching the staff.
Once at the gate he looked back, "It's time to end this. Go through first and get everyone clear. I'm gonna blow."
"Rocky, no...." She muttered still trying desperately to regain her equilibrium.
"Just go, damn it, now." He ordered. His body was trembling fiercely under the strain of the powers but he was holding on. Afterall, this was why he was a Zeo Ranger.
She nodded and then leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "See ya on the flip-side." Looking back once more, she threw herself through the portal.
He could feel the anger and pain and hatred coursing through his body. He couldn't control it but he knew that he had too if only for a little longer. Having no idea if he was going to live to see another day, he said a quick prayer and then hurled himself through the portal.
He rolled onto the beach and fell to his knees, still holding the staff above his head. It started to pulse angrily and he knew that it was almost over. Closing his eyes, Rocky DeSantos prepared himself for whatever was to come next.
A quarter of a mile down the beach, Kimberly and the other Rangers watched as their violently ill young friend struggled with the staff. And then it happened. A bright light burst upwards and then it engulfed Rocky. The entire beach shook under it's anger and the light just exploded. It seemed like it lasted forever but it was probably only a few moments.
When it finally subsided, they all looked desperately down the beach to where Rocky was lying sprawled and unconscious on the hot sand. Kim and Adam were the first ones to reach him. Kim pulled him into the water to cool off his body and then she tried to bring him around. "Rocky? Come on... come on."
The others leaned down and added their voices to her plea. He remained motionless. "Come on, "Kim begged, "Fight this. You already whooped Darth Vader's ass, don't let this beat you."
A small smile spread on his voice and he opened his eyes just a little bit. Gasping for air he asked, "Are we on the flip-side yet?"
"Yeah," Kim replied softly, lifting his head, "Yeah, we are."
In the distance, an ambulance wailed as it approached.
* * *
"You're leaving so soon?" Rocky asked from his hospital bed. They had kept him in bed for almost a week and he was sick of it. And it wasn't like he could play Nintendo 64 or anything like that because both of his hands were bandaged. One had been badly burnt and the other had severe lacerations. The rest of him was recovering. He was on antibiotics for the poison he had ingested and docs hoped to release him within the week.
Kim nodded and smiled sadly, "More than enough adventure for any vacation. I gotta get back to a bunch of primadonna gymnasts and one demanding coach."
"Sounds like fun."
"Yeah. Look, they figured out why the Infinity powers reacted so badly to you."
"Oh yeah? Why? Because that's my luck?" Rocky asked dryly, reaching for the McDonalds bag that she had brought him. In it was enough to feed a small army but it would probably only last him an hour or so. Just eating meant that Rocky's mood was improving.
"No, Nathados was not human so he took to the Infinity powers, good and bad. In humans, the bad overwhelms the good. That's why it hurt so much."
Rocky nodded grimly and dropped the cheeseburger back to the bag, "I almost sacrificed everyone so that my pain would stop... "
"But you didn't. Instead you placed your life on the line for all of us. That's a true hero, Rocky. Not to mention a true friend."
"Thanks, that means a lot."
"Good, now I got a plane to catch. I'll be back as soon as I can and then maybe we'll take another walk on the beach, okay?"
"Great, now get some sleep. The others are going to come see you after they drop me off at the airport and I'm sure they'd rather talk to aware Rocky then drugged out Rocky."
He laughed, "Check you later, Kim?"
She smiled, "You got it."