This is what the traitor gets for serving Zordon instead of me. Me, the one who gave him those powers, who made him into a warrior instead of a wimp. And he has the nerve to betray me!! The dark sorceress grumbled mentally as she watched the candle drip. Well, she was going to deal with that. If Tommy wouldn't serve her, then he wouldn't serve anyone as a Ranger. She'd take his powers, and if she could, she would take his life along with it.
"My queen!" she whirled suddenly at the sound of Finster's voice. It was filled with a sudden fear that she had seldom heard from the tiny Vigrak before. "Look!"
Rita glanced down to the Dark Dimension where Tommy was fighting with Goldar, and her eyes widened in shock. The Green Ranger had seized hold of Goldar's sword, and in a move she had never seen, not even in all her years, he whirled past the monster, seizing the Green Candle and slamming the blade down to the ground as hard as he could in the same motion, activating it's teleportational ability.
"No!!!" she screamed the single word out as she saw them arriving back in Angel Grove. This couldn't be happening!"
Tommy only grinned. He had no intentions of letting Rita steal his powers, and he wasn't going to stand around here and talk with Goldar all day either. His friends needed him badly. "See you later, Goldar!" with a touch on his communicator, he vanished straight to the Command Center. He had something he wanted to take care of first.
"Here, Alpha," Tommy handed it to the little robot. "Rita was trying to drain my powers from me." Quickly he told Zordon what had happened, and the wise wizard nodded.
"It is good you thought quickly, Tommy, but your friends are still battling the Cyclops monster. You must go to them at once."
The sixth Ranger nodded himself, and pulled out his Power Coin. Glad I didn't have to lose this, he thought as he morphed. He couldn't imagine being anything or anyone other than the Green Ranger.
Goldar flinched and cowered, wishing he'd been quick enough to get Tommy before the Ranger had gotten to the candle, or that the silly human just hadn't thought about anything but his own escape. I will have my revenge, he promised himself even as he made his escape from the throne room, Rita's screeching voice following behind him. I will have it somehow!!
In the main room, Rita calmed down after a few moments, and stared at Earth and Angel Grove. She wasn't overly surprised when the Rangers sent Cyclops packing in pieces, and she honestly didn't care either. Another plan was already starting to form in her mind, and she wanted to think about it. Finster, Squatt, Scorpina, and Baboo watched in silence as she left the balcony and headed to her private quarters.
"You think she's going to send another monster?" Squatt wondered as the door to her rooms slammed shut. The other henchpeople only shrugged. Rita tended to be very unpredictable at times. It was possible that this was one of those times.
She couldn't recall just when it was she had begun to think of him as more than just a friend and teammate. It was as if she always had considered him that. But he had yet to ask her out to do anything outside of Ranger activities, and she was seriously beginning to wonder if he liked her at all.
"Good thinking, bro," Jason congratulated his friend on the way he'd gotten out of that situation. "I don't know if I could've thought that fast."
The Pink Ranger added her congratulations and good wishes to her friend, but she hoped that there wasn't any hint of anything other than that in her voice. It was as if he were going to ask me something by the lake. Then Goldar had to interrupt. I wonder if he were going to ask me out to the dance Saturday.
"Well, now that we don't have to worry about you losing your powers," Zack's eyes were dancing suddenly, and Kim's head jerked up at the tone in his voice. "Are you going to finally do what you've been trying to do for the past day or so?"
Tommy went pure white for a moment, then blushed a severe red at the look all of his friends were giving him. Slowly, he looked over at Kimberly. "Kim," he walked over to her, and he had never went to any battle with more reluctance and joy than this put together. "Would. . .could we talk somewhere. . .alone?" the slight emphasis he put on the word sent chills of joy down her back.
"Sure," she breathed just loudly enough for it to be heard. Alpha seemed almost to chuckling as he teleported the two of them to just outside the Command Center. Even with the recent defeat of Rita's plan, they didn't want to take any chances that she had something else up her sleeve.
The Purple Ranger's weapon, twin blades of feather-lightness and unparalleled sharpness, cut through the Tenga Warriors like butter. Master Vile might be her father, but she would never serve him. She would fight forever for good. Rita Roln, Purple Ranger, would always be a Power Ranger, would always be a warrior for good. Never would she fall to her ancestor's dark ways.
A tear almost shone in one eye, but was quickly wiped away. She would never have used this coin if this scheme to destroy Tommy's powers hadn't failed so quickly, or if it hadn't failed at all. Indeed, she had meant to destroy it to be certain Zordon didn't remember it's existence and try and gain a seventh Ranger. But now I have no other choice.
With a deep sigh, she spoke the words that had been unsaid for over twenty thousand years. "I, Rita Repulsa, once Rita Roln, denounce and renounce this Power Coin and all that it stands for, goodness, purity, the battle for right and what is just in the universe. I serve the darkness, now and forever, and this Coin has no owner."
A serious internal wrench marked the loss of the power. She hadn't been able to morph in eons, this was merely an official declaration of it, denying the Coin and the responsibility that had once come with it. Now it was dormant, and she almost felt another tear as it faded just a little.
It won't be like this for long, she decided. All I have to do now is find someone else. For a moment, she wondered if it would be worth it. Another human who would serve her because of a spell. . .another human who would have their spell broken as soon as Zordon figured out who they really were. . .another human who would betray her and turn to the light. Did she really want to go through all of that all over again? This time she didn't even have another candle with which to try and threaten her prospective second evil Ranger.
Then with a firm shake of her head she dismissed all the doubts. The only reason Tommy had failed was because of the destruction of the Sword of Darkness, which Zordon had known about. If she could bind the spell to her chosen human with a different sort of focus, one he didn't have any idea what was like, then there would be nothing he could do to stop her.
She smiled wickedly, and slid the Purple Power Coin back into the resting place it had remained in for so long. Not even her henchpeople knew of it. Of all those who still existed, only two knew she had once been a Power Ranger herself. One was herself, the other was her father. Both had sworn never to speak of it, but for different reasons. Vile was ashamed of having had a daughter who had once been a Power Ranger. She hadn't wanted anyone trying to bring her back to the light.
With a swish of her skirts and a cocky grin on her ancient face, Rita Repulsa, Evil Queen, headed back to the balcony. She had a search to conduct.
"Tommy, will you go with me to the dance Saturday night?" she asked.
"Kim, will you go with me to the dance Saturday night?" he asked at the exact same moment. The two of them looked at each other in shock, then both bent double with laughter for several minutes.
It was Kim who recovered first, and her brown eyes danced with glee and relief. "Yes, I will!" she giggled. "But only if you will too!"
"I will!" Tommy replied just as fast as he could. He'd never had any idea it was going to be like this to ask her out! His entire being filled with a great light like the sun itself, at the very thought of Kimberly Hart being his date. He felt as if he could take on everyone right now, Rita and her entire foul crew, all the monsters she'd ever made, everyone, single-handedly, and win!
Kim wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug, something she'd wanted to do for a long time, and wasn't disappointed when he returned the embrace just as tightly. Though they weren't as indestructible in their human forms as they were when morphed, a bit of the toughness did tend to leak over, and for that she was glad. Tommy was strong. But that very strength was one of the many things she liked about him.
"This is fantastic," he murmured into the depths of her hair. "We're going to be going together."
The Pink Ranger leaned against him, smiling, ticking over couples in her head. Billy and Trini are going. I thought I was going to faint when I found that little tidbit out. Trini actually asked him. And he actually said yes! About darn time. Zack's going to be going with Angela, once he asks her like a human being and not a lovesick dog. Jason. Her thoughts ran straight into a snag there. Jason still didn't have a date.
"Tommy," she glanced up at the young man. "Would you happen to know any girls who are available for Saturday?"
The Green Ranger looked back down at her and grinned. "I thought you were going with me!" he teased, and she swatted playfully at him.
"That's not what I meant! Jason needs a date!"
Tommy tilted his head a little. He'd been to a few dances since joining the team three months earlier, and he couldn't really remember Jason having a date for any of them. "Doesn't he usually go stag?"
"Yeah, but I think it's high time that boy had a girlfriend!" Kim had just realized that the Red Ranger was the only one of them who wasn't romantically linked up at the moment, and she fully intended to fix that. "Well, do you know anyone?"
Her date thought for a few moments again, running through a list of the girls he knew and which of them might possibly be good enough for his best friend. Suddenly, he knew. "Yeah, I think I might know someone. But how do you think he'd react to a blind date?"
"Not very well," Jason had a tendency to want to design his own lovelife, and while that was all very well and good, it was not want Kim wanted right now. She wanted to set him up, and to see him happy and dancing at a dance for a change! Even if it were just something for a few hours, she thought it would do him good. Her red friend had been alone for too long, she decided.
It was just then when an idea sparked into her mind. "I've got it!" she giggled briefly. "Tell your friend to meet us by the punch bowl at eight o'clock, and we'll sort of conveniently leave her there with Jason. If we get really lucky, things will just take their course, and they'll talk at least!"
Tommy thought it over quickly. He knew Jason wouldn't be overly fond of a set-up date, and the girl he was thinking about, Ravenna Sutton, wasn't either. But something like what Kimberly was suggesting could just be what they needed. "I think that'll do just fine."
"Uh, Your Evilness?" it was Baboo, and she delivered a scathing glance to him at once, daring him to have something important to tell her. "What are you looking for? Maybe we can help."
She snorted derisively. "You idiots help? You've got to be kidding. Unless you happen to know where a female warrior is." Rita looked at once at Scorpina. "A human female."
All of them just sort of looked at one another, and their queen rolled her eyes. She hadn't expected anything less. Or more. Quickly she turned back to the RepulsaScope, and back to the endless search through Angel Grove. She wanted to have herself an evil Ranger before nightfall.
"Hey, Tommy!" she glanced over to him, and he was a touch surprised, at always, at how tall she was. She was one of the few females, indeed, one of the few people who could look him in the eye. "What's up?"
"Are you busy Saturday night?" he asked, wincing internally at how that sounded. It was almost as if he were asking her out, and that wasn't his intention at all.
Ravenna, or Raven as most people tended to call her, raised one eyebrow. She knew perfectly well Tommy had had his eye on Kimberly Hart for three months now, so whatever he was asking about couldn't be for a date. He just wasn't her type, anyway, so if he did ask her, she fully intended on letting him down easily. "Why?"
"You know there's going to be a dance at Ernie's then, right?" Tommy kept going when she nodded. "Well, one of my friends sort of needs a date, and I was hoping you could at least talk with him then. Maybe see if. . ."
His words trailed off at the expression of calm fury on her face. "You know I hate blind dates, Tommy. I told you about the last jerk I had to deal with like that!"
"I know, I know. But this isn't a date, this is just you talking with a friend of mine!" he protested. She glared at him for another moment, then sighed.
"All right. But only for one night, and only because I owe you one," she declared. Tommy nodded, though he hadn't intended on using this to clear the debt between them. "When should I 'run into' you guys?"
"That girl that's with the traitor," she growled to Scorpina. "As soon as she's alone, take down a troop of Putties and see what she's like in a fight."
The gold-garbed warrioress bowed her head quickly. "As you command, Empress," Scorpina declared. "Do you wish us to take her captive if she proves worthy?"
Rita shook her head. "I'll deal with that myself. All I want you to do is make certain she's what I'm looking for."
Silently, all of them turned back to the balcony, waiting and watching for the moment when this new warrior would be alone. Rita's blood pulsed at the very thought of corrupting her. Ravenna Sutton, you will be mine.
Like finding a decent dress. I hadn't really planned on going, but I don't want to look like a ragbag. She thought back, trying to recall if she'd ever seen this 'Jason' before. A memory flashed through her mind, of being at the Youth Center and seeing Tommy and another boy sparring. The other had been even more muscular than Tommy, and just as good a fighter. Maybe I could pick up some new moves from him. The fighting arts were never far from Raven's mind, for a variety of reasons. Just living in Angel Grove was one of them, but also she just plain liked them. Karate was one of her three greatest passions, the other two being composing poetry and playing music.
Humming softly under her breath she headed out of the gym and towards home. She had a dress in her closet that her grandmother had sent her that might be good enough. She barely noticed that she was the only person out right now. On a late Tuesday afternoon, that was rather unusual, but she didn't worry about it. A monster attack had ended just a couple hours earlier, and she surmised people still hadn't gotten out in any major force by now.
"Human!" the harsh voice startled her out of her thoughts suddenly, and she looked up to see a female in golden scorpion-like armor there, complete with a contingent of Putties all around her. "Putties, attack!"
Raven didn't bother wasting time with either thinking or asking why she was getting attacked. The training her sensei had drilled into her took over and she was ready when the clay creatures charged her. With a quick foot sweep and hand strike she took care of two of them, at least knocking them temporarily out of the way. Scorpina didn't bother taking part in this, her goal was merely to watch and judge.
That was what she did, watching and almost taking notes on Raven's fighting style and skill. Scorpina nodded to herself. This young girl wasn't quite as skilled as Tommy or Jason, or anywhere near as good as she herself was, but with some training that could easily be changed. Scorpina hoped that Rita would let her do the training, she was beginning to already form a respect for this fighter.
"That's enough!" she finally cracked, when Rita's unspoken command surged through her. The Putties, those few that hadn't been defeated by Raven's smooth moves, fell back, and the girl turned warily to watch them.
"What was this all about?" she asked, still ready to fight if necessary. Scorpina only smiled darkly.
"You will learn, girl. You will learn." With that for a parting line, Scorpina vanished.
Raven frowned as she was left alone, then picked up her bag, which she'd dropped rather early on in the fight. Her back muscles ached a little; she'd strained them during her earlier practice, and this fight hadn't helped matters that much. She flexed it a little, then headed home, thinking only about laying down for a while and within a few steps, forgetting all about the attack.
"How, Your Majesty?" Finster squeaked. Rita had never recovered from a loss so quickly before, in his experience. It always took her at least a day or so to calm down before she could do anything else. Instead, she was working on something new the exact same day: within hours, actually.
His mistress chuckled gleefully, and twisted her hand. A silver pendent gleamed from it suddenly, with a raven etched upon it in gold. "This will be how, Finster. I'll cast a spell upon this so when she wears it, she will become my complete and willing slave! It doesn't show up as magical on any scanners, and she won't ever take it off."
"Excellently done, my queen!" Squatt and Baboo cheered at her, but she ignored them. They never said anything worth listening to at any rate. She glanced down at Earth, then touched the pendent with the tip of her staff. In a flash of purple light, it vanished from her fingertips and appeared down in Raven's bedroom. When the young girl saw it, she would at once be consumed with the unremitting desire to put it on, and when she did: Rita would have her.
Raven sighed. Having a name like Ravenna is bad enough, but at least I've got most of the people around here calling me Raven, which is a lot better. But I've got to come home to hearing my full name. She plastered a fake pleasant smile on her lips. "I'm not that late," she said quietly. "Where's Jennifer?"
"She's coming home late from work," her stepfather, Joe Banks, told her. "You're supposed to get dinner done for her."
Oh, it's so nice that I get told of this BEFORE I head off to the gym to work out, so I could have ALL this time to do it in, too. "All right," was all she said out loud. She had no intentions of saying or doing anything that would get either her stepmom or stepdad mad at her. It wasn't that they would hit her or anything. She simply didn't like to have to listen to hours upon hours of lectures about how she didn't appreciate all that she was given.
Silently she hurried inside and ran a mental check over what could be easily made. As she watched the water for the macaroni boiling, her thoughts began to feel inexorably tugged back to her bedroom. I think I left something I need in there. ..she frowned briefly, then turned the heat down and headed back to look.
"What is this?" she murmured it softly, not wanting Joe to hear her. Neither of her stepparents would appreciate her letting the dinner be ruined for something as trivial as a feeling. She stared in confusion at the silver pendent that had somehow shown up in her room. It's so beautiful. And it even has a picture of a raven on it. I wonder where it came from.
Even as she was thinking that, she reached out and picked it up, settling it around her neck. The minute the clasp was fastened, she felt a strange purple mist rising in her mind.
"You are Ravenna Sutton, my slave." Rita stated firmly, and Ravenna nodded. Rita knew perfectly well this girl hated her actual name, and didn't care one whit. "Take this."
The evil queen tossed the Purple Coin towards Ravenna, who caught it reflexively. "Morph."
Ravenna lifted the Coin up, and called out a single word as powerfully as if she had done it for years. "Apatosaurus!" She rippled briefly, then a morphed Purple Ranger stood in front of Rita. The armor was the same as the other Rangers, but with the helmet bearing the outline of a apatosaurus on it, and no shield, unlike the Green Ranger. Rita nodded quietly. It was good to see this color back in action again.
"When you return to Earth, be certain that no one knows that you now serve me or that you are the Purple Ranger," she commanded. "When I am ready for you, you will attack the Rangers, and show them no mercy. Your predecessor, the evil Green Ranger Tommy Oliver, failed me. See that you don't."
Ravenna bowed briefly, returning to her human form. "I will not, mistress." There was not a flicker of emotion or surprise that Tommy was a Ranger. "The Rangers will learn the folly of opposing you."
"That they will," Rita agreed. "Now, I have some instructions for you, and some information. Listen carefully."
Rita smiled darkly as she began to lay out the ideas she'd had while waiting for Ravenna to come to her. She knew she was going to enjoy this little plan far more than she had any other.
The dance is in just a couple of days. He glanced briefly over to the table where the others were sitting. He could tell that Tommy and Kim were up to something; it was in their nature. Billy and Trini were studying together, and from their closeness, he guessed that there was probably more to their studying than a simple desire for knowledge. Zack was watching Angela, as he usually did, and she was pretending to ignore him. Wonder if she'll say yes. Their relationship was somewhat shaky, since it was the next thing to impossible for Rangers and non-Rangers to date on a regular basis. Getting jerked away to save the world was a definite drawback.
That was one of the reasons he himself had never bothered to date since they'd gotten their powers. Before then, he'd went out a few times with various girls, but none had ever really meant anything to him. Since accepting the responsibility of leading the team he hadn't dated once though. They're going to try and set me up with someone, I know it. Jason knew his friends, and just as he knew that Tommy and Kim were up to something, he could figure out fairly easily that it was getting him a date for the dance in some fashion. It was just the way they were.
I wonder if I should let them. It almost seemed as if fate were saying 'no' when his eye was caught by the Youth Center door swinging in and a young woman entering the room. His heart almost stopped at the sight of her. Tall and willowy, with a ponytail of bright red hair and eyes as purple as amethysts, she moved with the grace of a martial artist. Around her neck hung a silver pendent with the design of a bird of some kind etched into it; he couldn't see it that clearly from where he was. She glanced around the room with a casual air, and smiled when she saw Tommy. I think I'd better go introduce myself. If they're friends, it would be rude not to say hello. Even as those thoughts went through Jason's head, he was grabbing his towel and heading over to where the girl was just coming over to where the others were sitting.
"Hey, Raven!" Tommy waved to the girl merrily. "I didn't know you were coming here today!"
"I didn't know you'd be here, either," Raven replied with a smile. "I thought I'd drop by, though. I don't get over here that much, you know."
The Green Ranger nodded, then glanced around. "Raven, these are my friends, Zack, Trini, Kim, Billy, and Jason." He motioned to each one as he named them, and was surprised to see the looks Raven and Jason were already giving each other. "Guys, this is Ravenna Sutton, she and I go to the same gym, when I'm not working out here."
"Call me Raven," she smiled. "It's nice to meet all of you."
Various expressions of greetings were exchanged, then Kim asked, "Do you go to Angel Grove High? I don't think I've seen you there."
"Yeah, but I don't think I've got any classes with any of you," Raven pulled herself up a chair and sat down. "I've seen you cheering at some of the games, though. I've never really been into that sort of thing."
Billy glanced to her. "What are you interested in, Raven?"
"Karate, among other things," she replied quietly. "A few other things. What about you?"
Jason said nothing as the others fell into conversation, discussing the things they liked doing. His eyes were drawn almost at once to the necklace Raven was wearing. He could see the design on it better now, and without thinking, asked, "What's that on your necklace? Some kind of bird?"
Raven reached for the necklace, touching it briefly. "A raven. It was a gift from someone with an unusual sense of humor." She smiled briefly.
"It's very pretty," Jason smiled suddenly himself. "Raven, you know about the dance Saturday night, right?" When she nodded, he took a deep breath. He could see Tommy's face out of the corner of his eye, and the expression on it was one of intense shock. Jason took a tiny bit of pleasure in what he was going to do. "Do you have a date for it?"
The redhead smiled briefly, a merry light in her eyes. "As a matter of fact, I don't. Are you asking?"
"I am," Jason felt a blush rising for no apparent reason. "Would you like to go with me to the dance?"
Raven smiled. "I would be honored."
Tommy and Kim glanced at each other; the last thing the Green Ranger had expected was for his friend. . .either of them. . .to actually wind up going to the dance together instead of meeting up there. Maybe this'll work out better, Tommy thought. Guess we'll just have to find out.
"Since we're going to be going out, it might be a good idea if we got to know each other a bit better," Billy winced briefly at the words Jason spoke, so similar to ones he'd said to Marge some time earlier. That particular date hadn't ended very well, though the dance afterwards had been very fun.
Raven nodded. "Perhaps we could take a walk? I've got a clear schedule for the rest of the day." Her eyes danced for a moment, and Jason couldn't remember the last time he'd seen this beautiful.
"Sounds like a great idea." He stood up and held his hand out to her in a gallant motion. "Shall we go?"
The redhead took his hand. "We shall." Hand in hand, the two of them headed out of the Youth Center. Tommy stared after them.
"Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that." He murmured, slight confusion filling his eyes. "Guess we don't have to worry about Jason having a date for the dance at all now!"
Kim grinned. "Now all we have to do is hope that Rita doesn't get in the way!"
"Purple Ranger?" Goldar's gruff voice came. Rita waved for him to look down on Earth and see her finest creation yet. "I see. What are your orders for me, my Empress?"
Rita chuckled. "Raven is luring the Red Ranger out into the open. You and Scorpina take a platoon of Putties down and make a large show of trying to capture the both of them. Jason will probably beat the tar out of you, but I don't care. I want her to be in a position to carry out the next phase of my plan."
"Might I be permitted to know what that is, my empress?" Goldar asked, peering through her RepulsaScope down at the park where the two teenagers were walking. It looked as if they were talking, probably about. ..well, whatever it was that such creatures talked about.
The dark empress smiled coldly. "Not just yet. You'll see when she pulls it off. Look, they're all alone now. Go, and don't mess this up!"
With quick bows and in their customary flashes of brilliant light, Scorpina, Goldar, and the Putties Finster had just finished making vanished on their mission. Rita glanced at her monster-maker. "You did make the item I told you to, and give it to her, didn't you, Finster?"
"Oh, yes, indeed, my queen!" the white-furred craftsman bowed quickly. "All she has to do is use it, and the Red Ranger will be under her spell!"
Rita smiled, turning back to the RepulsaScope. This promised to be a most amusing little comedy.
"So, what else do you do?" he asked. "Have you ever scuba-dived?"
She shook her head. "I've never really liked the water," the distaste in her voice made it seem more as if she hated the liquid element. "Have you ever been hang-gliding?"
"That's something I've never done. Do you?"
Raven giggled. "Nope. I was just wondering if you did. I've thought about it, but it's something I've never tried."
"Have you ever tried something like this?" Jason groaned inwardly at the harsh voice of Goldar as he, Scorpina, and a pack of Putties materialized out of thin air not that far away.
"Raven, you'd better get out of here, I'll take care of these things!" he shouted, waving her back. Raven only smiled bleakly.
"I haven't taken all these years of karate just so I can run off like a fluff-brain, Jason!" her words were punctuated by a sharp bold 'ki-ya' as she leaped into the nearest Putty feet first.
Jason muttered things that no teenager of his age and general background should have known, but said nothing out loud as he was swung into the battle as well. He kept an eye on Raven as she leaped back and forth between Putties, knocking them down on a fairly regular basis even as he did. All he could hear from her were various harsh battle cries, and he didn't even bother with his usual banter with Goldar.
However, unheard by him, conversation was taking place between Raven and Scorpina. "Do you have everything ready for the next phase?" the golden warrioress spoke swiftly and softly as she and Raven mock-battled, with just enough savagery to it to make Jason think they were truly intent on defeating one another.
"Of course. This attack should give me a perfect opening for it too," Raven's lips thinned briefly. "I will not fail the Empress."
"See that you don't," Scorpina punched Raven in the stomach quickly and hard, knocking her right against Jason's back. The Red Ranger turned around just in time to catch her, and glared at the evil warrior standing just a few feet away.
"You'd better not have hurt her!" he hissed, momentarily overwhelmed by the thought of one of their enemies harming a civilian.
Scorpina only laughed as Goldar and the remaining Putties circled around her. "See you next time!" were her parting words, and then only the two of them remained there. Jason glanced quickly at Raven, whose eyes were shut, and paled.
"Raven? Raven?" he almost thought he might have to risk taking her to a hospital or even the Command Center, when her eyes slowly opened. "Are you all right?"
She blinked a little, starting to sit up. "Yeah. I'm all right, I think I just got the wind knocked out of me for a bit." She looked over at him, and smiled suddenly. "Did you fight off all those things?"
"Well. . .," the unexpected jolt to his ego sent thrills down Jason's spine. "They didn't stay long after that one bumped you into me."
Raven smiled, looking directly into his eyes. "You deserve a reward after that." Before he could protest, or indeed say anything at all, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer to her for a very hot and passionate kiss. Jason was almost certain that he felt steam coming out of his ears when she pulled away, and it was absolutely impossible for him to take his eyes off her. "Such a big, strong hero you are," the redhead purred into his ear, rising to her feet as she did so. "Don't you agree, Jason?"
"Sure..." His head felt foggy and disconnected, he wasn't quite certain just what was going on, but he knew that he liked it. "Whatever you say, Raven."
Raven smiled, stepping a little away from him. "I think we've had a long enough walk. We've still got a couple of days until the dance, however, and we should really get to know each other better. You're not busy tonight, are you?"
The reply almost seemed to drift out of him. "No. . ."
"Good. Pick me up tonight at seven, we can go out to a movie." She issued the order, for that was what it was, with a crispness that seemed out of place for a person of her age to use with someone she'd barely met. "Something loud and noisy with lots of gunplay, preferably." Jason just nodded to answer her, and Raven smiled. "Now, go back to your friends and tell them all about the marvelous time that we had. I don't think you need to say anything about that little dust-up we had with the Putties, either. It's not really important, is it?"
Another shake of the head, and Raven smiled. "Run along now," she motioned him back towards the Youth Center and watched quietly as he headed out of sight. Casually she slipped a tube of lipstick out of her purse and gently reapplied a coating. This is very useful make up. One kiss and a human male will do just about anything I suggest. And every time I kiss him, the hold gets stronger and stronger. Queen Rita is brilliant. A wicked gleam in her eyes, Raven headed back home. She was starting to truly enjoy being evil.
"Tonight will be the night, my empress," Raven knelt in front of Rita quietly and calmly. She had been chafing under the restrictions the evil queen had lain on her about not just not revealing her identity, but not appearing as Purple Ranger to do anything. "The kiss I give Jason Scott will wipe away all his ability to think: except for what I want him to think."
Rita cackled wickedly. "And what you want him to think is what I want him to think! Has he shown any signs to his friends yet?"
"Not that I know of," she reported. "I don't spend time with him constantly, of course, but from what I've observed from a distance, they don't notice anything different about him at all."
"Excellent." Rita approved of that. "Now, this is the plan for tonight."
"So, you're really excited about going with Raven, huh?" the Green Ranger asked. He couldn't remember when he'd last seen Jason this excited about. . .anything!
The Red Ranger smiled, running a comb through his hair. "Yeah! She's so sweet!"
His teammates exchanged indulgent glances at the tone in his voice. Tommy himself had never quite thought of Raven as 'sweet', but they'd always talked at the gym. He'd never considered her 'dating' material. Maybe Jason saw something in her that he didn't. "Well, I wish you two the best of luck. Man, I can't believe Kimberly said yes!"
Zack rolled his eyes. "Are you kidding? I'm surprised she waited this long for you to ask her!"
"You're a good one to talk!" Jason grinned. "I'm surprised Angela said yes to you. How long have you been chasing after her?"
"Doesn't matter, cause I caught her!" The Black Ranger chuckled, sliding smoothly to his feet. "Now if we don't hurry, we're going to late picking the ladies up."
Jason glanced down at his watch and gasped. "You're right. Come on." Kim, Trini, Angela, and Raven were all getting ready at Kim's house, and the entire group would be going together. Jason grabbed his keys. "What are you waiting for!?"
"I am so excited!" the bubbly pink-clad girl giggled. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time!"
"I know," Trini smiled. Kim had seldom shut up about how much she liked Tommy and wanted to do more than just be his friend and teammate. She had fallen head over heels with him the moment she'd seen him, and Trini heartily approved. The two of them would be very good for each other.
Angela smiled herself, flicking a comb through her hair. "I can't believe Zack actually stopped being so full of himself to ask me."
"Do you like him?" Kim turned to the other girl. "I mean, honestly Angela, he can be sort of annoying at times, but he's really a nice guy."
The girl ducked her head. "I know," she murmured. "He just keeps trying to impress me so much. It kind of gets on my nerves, and I snap at him."
Raven chuckled. "I have noticed he tends to go overboard at times. But do you like him?"
Angela was quiet for a few moments, her brow furrowed. "I don't know," she said honestly. "He does make me laugh. But I don't know if that's enough." She lifted her head at the sound of a car outside, and smiled. "I think the guys are here."
Kim peeked briefly out the window and caught her breath. "Oh, yeah." She murmured at the sight of Tommy getting out. "Everybody ready?" A quick glance showed her that everyone was standing up. She herself wore a tight hot pink dress, while Trini wore an almost duplicate in yellow. Angela had on a black dress with slightly high heels, while Raven had on a deep violet tunic-like outfit with dress pants beneath. She'd categorically refused to wear a dress, no matter what. "Come on, let's go wow them!"
She, Trini, and Angela headed out the door, not noticing Raven lingering behind. Her eyes glinted momentarily as she pulled her lipstick out of her purse and applied a generous coating. "Watch out, Jason," she murmured softly. "Tonight. . .you're mine."
Then she went to join the others.
"Jason, please remember to breathe," Billy advised, watching how his friend was practically drooling over his date. Then the Blue Ranger caught sight of Trini, and every brain cell in his head decided at once to take the night off.
The exact same thing was happening to Tommy and Zack as they stared at their dates. It was with great effort that the Green Ranger started to speak. "Y..your chariot awaits, ladies," he bowed gracefully towards the limousine the boys had all pooled their cash to rent for the evening.
"Then shall we go?" Kim grinned as the four of them swept towards the long car, with the door being held open by the attentive chauffeur, and they began a night that they would never forget.
"This is incredible!" Raven breathed. She'd attended a few dances in her time, but this seemed to be the best. For a moment, she wondered if that was because she was going with Jason, then reality asserted itself. The only reason she was even there was to finish the final part of Rita's current plan. That would take place soon enough.
Jason tugged on her hand. "Come on, let's dance!" Even as he spoke, the band's music began to change to something much softer and sweeter. She didn't put up any form of fight as she was spun out onto the dance floor, and hoped he didn't notice when she stiffened momentarily.
Purple Ranger, are you ready? Rita's voice rang in the vaults of her mind as she and Jason danced. Yes, Empress. I simply have to kiss him once more, and then he will belong to you.
Excellent. You will know when to do it. Don't fail me.
I won't, Empress.
Then the sense of Rita's presence was gone from her, and she was still dancing with Jason. She smiled briefly, leaning her head against his broad chest. I would never be here now if it weren't for my empress, she thought. For that alone, I owe her everything.
Jason had no such thoughts. All he was thinking about was how sweet and soft she felt in his arms, and how excellently they were both dancing together. He felt as if he had possibly waited his entire life for her.
Not that far away, Tommy and Kim were also dancing, staring up into each other's eyes. Neither could believe this was actually happening, that they were at this dance together, that they just were together. So many things had tried to get in their way, but al had failed. Kim's fingers wrapped warmly around his hands, her heart soaring. Tommy felt as if all the darkness that had hovered over his life since the moment Rita had chosen him had finally dispersed. She had tried to exercise one final power over him, and it had failed. Maybe it was time to go on with his life, to stop being so caught up in his own misery.
A few feet away from them, Billy and Trini, Zack and Angela, were also dancing. Everything was absolutely wonderful. Everything was absolutely perfect. It was a moment they knew they would remember for all time.
Of course, when the Putties, Goldar, and Scorpina appeared a few moments later, they always remembered that too.
The clay warriors at once spread out, throwing tables and chairs around and terrorizing the people. Jason, Zack, Trini, Kim, Billy, and Tommy all felt at once the sharp urge to do something about this. They couldn't risk their secret identities. But there was something they could do.
"Come on, get out of here!" Zack urged Angela and a group of civilians towards the nearest exit. "Those things are trouble!"
Angela started running, then stopped when she saw her date wasn't with her. "Zack?" she saw him a few steps behind. "Come on!"
"I've gotta find the others," she knew he was fanatically loyal to his friends, but wasn't this going a little too far!? She was about to protest, when a pair of Putties leaped in between the two of them. Angela made a quick decision: if Zack was going to risk his life like that, he could darn well do it without her! Quickly she turned and ran to catch up with the other group of people who were clearing out of the Youth Center as fast as they could.
The Black Ranger turned around, trying to find his friends. Billy and Trini hadn't been far from him when the attack had started, but in the confusion, he'd lost track of them. A hand on his shoulder almost caused him to send the owner of it half way across the room.
"Whoa, bro!" Tommy, with the other Rangers behind him, put up his other hand in a gesture of peace. "Everyone's out of here now. We can take care of this." He delivered a deadly glance at Goldar, who had been amusing himself by snacking on a handful of peanuts and shooting out the occasional laser blast from his sword. "Let's do it."
The Red and Green Rangers at once launched themselves towards their enemy, while Kim and Scorpina faced off, leaving Billy, Trini, and Zack to deal with the Putties. Tommy glanced over at Jason, noticing a faint touch of lipstick on his lips, and couldn't help but grin despite the battle. "Wild guess, Raven planted one on you?"
"Oh, yeah!" Jason's eyes sparkled. "I swear to you, Tommy, that girl can kiss!" He proved he could kick, too, as he threw a powerful crescent kick into Goldar's stomach. The monster staggered back briefly, then growled at them both.
"You Rangers are about to face up to Rita's newest warrior!" he proclaimed. "And you're going to wish you'd never seen her!"
The Putties had been dealt with by now, and as Scorpina came over to Goldar, the Rangers quickly regrouped. Tommy frowned. "New warrior?" he didn't like the sound of that. Not in the least.
"Why, me, of course, Rangers," a sultry voice spoke. Someone they had never seen before casually strolled up between Goldar and Scorpina, laying her hands familiarly on their shoulders. Her entire body was swathed in purple Ranger-armor, with the design of an apatosaurus on her helmet. "Purple Ranger, Dark Warrior of Rita Repulsa, at her service."
Jason growled; they'd had more than enough problems with the Green Ranger, they didn't need another one around gumming up the works. But there was something about that voice. . .he could feel his hackles rising suddenly. "Who are you?" he hissed.
They could almost feel the smile under her helmet. "Myself." She replied simply. "Why don't you come over here, Jason? I think we have quite a lot to discuss, you and I."
"Oh, you've got to be kidding!" Kim laughed. "Why would. ...Jason?!" the Pink Ranger stared in disbelief as her leader slowly walked across the trashed room to stand beside Purple Ranger. "Jason, what are you doing!?"
The Red Ranger didn't even look at the others as the evil Ranger slipped between the other two evil warriors to put an arm around his waist. "What should we discuss?"
"Jason!" Tommy's voice was almost a shriek. One of the last things he wanted was to have his best friend in Rita's clutches! "Don't listen to her! What about Raven?"
There was no response as Purple Ranger traced her gloved fingers gently across her captive's earlobes. "I don't think he's listening, Green traitor." She laughed. "Shall we go?"
In twin blasts of fire, then a paired flash of red and purple, the four of them vanished, leaving five very confused Power Rangers behind.