As I stalk off, his words repeat in my mind, over and over. "I don't know who you are, or what your problem is, but you've got to get a grip on your anger."
Control. What does a very young, still brand new Ranger know about me? He tells me I lack control. The words taunt me, haunt my every thought.
Control. Once, I had such control over my emotions. *I* was the cocky young man telling his elders how to behave.
Once I was...much like the Red Ranger.
Now? My rage fuels me.
Three thousand years of blackness, complete darkness, held in the bowels of a planet, forged the rage that put me on this path. Three thousand years with nothing to do but relive the memory of my only son's death. My failure to keep the Lights. My defeat at the enemy's hands.
I had control. Happiness was once part of my life. Joy in living, in defending my homeworld.
I had a life.
Now...all I have left is the rage that burns in me, consumes my every waking thought, crying for revenge.
It is not honorable. Once I had honor. I was a Defender.
*You're too hard on yourself. On him. He's just a kid. And...he's trying to help. Trying to understand you.*
The voice. It keeps me company. It brought me back from the abyss of darkness. It disagrees with me, argues with me.
It reminds me much of the young Red Ranger.
"No one can understand me." I know the words are harsh, but it is how I feel.
*He's right. You fired on the enemy with civilians present.*
I hate that voice. Hate it because I know it's right. "Who made you my conscience?" I growl. "Who even asked for you to be here?"
*You need me...just as I need you.*
There is regret in the voice. It does not approve of me or the way I do things.
*You could've killed someone today.*
I bow my head, my mind going to the memory of my son pulling his miniature sword, charging forward to defend me.... Blasted to death by Scorpius, without even a tremor of regret. With an effort, I clear my mind, and take a deep breath. The voice is right. I was single-minded in my battle today. I only saw my enemy -- the very same enemy who held my son captive while I struggled. The enemy who taunted me as my homeworld lay in smoking ruins around me. The enemy who laughed as I held my dying son's tiny body in my arms.
I harden my heart. "I could not pass on the opportunity to kill my enemy. I will never pass up such an opportunity."
*You're becoming that which you hate.... Precisely what your son was ready to fight against to save you.*
The words cut into my hard heart with the ease of a powered sword.
But the flames still burn. I shake my head, regretful, but determined. "I cannot stop. The Lights must be mine."
*Let them help you. Red Ranger understands you better than you realize.*
The voice hesitates, and I hear pain in its tone.
*He too once lost the only family member he had left. Watched his brother sacrifice himself to save him, just like your son.*
The fires in my soul are quenched slightly, cooled by this voice of reason that shares my being. "Yes," I answer quietly. "You would know." This voice, the very one who gave his life and now shares mine, understands such things. "I cannot allow them to interfere. Not even Red Ranger."
It sounds sad. So idealistic still, this voice. Even after death. Yet, we are drawn to one another, the voice and I. We need each other to survive. "I cannot promise you anything." I sigh. "But...I will not forget today. Or what you have said."
I shake my head and begin to walk again. "I will have my revenge. The Lights will be mine." After a moment, I haltingly add, "But...if it is possible to do so, I will accept the Rangers' presence."
*Thank you.* The voice of my conscience, my alter ego, sighs. *It is a beginning.*
Beginning. How strange that the voice can see it as a beginning, when all I can see...is endings. Conclusions to wounds that have festered three millennia.
*Wounds can heal.*
"Not this one." My heart aches with the grief still. I stare out at the city of Terra Venture, full of life, and hope. Full of people looking for a promised land, a future world where they can make their dreams come true. I feel nothing for them. The heart and soul that made me a Defender was crushed with the death of my son. The death of my world. "Not for me." I turn and walk away, leaving the bright lights behind me.