Over the Earth floated the Machine Skybase, home of King Mondo, Queen
Machina, Prince Sprocket, and uncounted numbers of Cogs and monsters. It
was also where Master Vile was now visiting, and had been off and on for
the past month.
The arguments had also been going off and on for the past month. The two villains both hated and despised each other, but they hated the Power Rangers even more: especially the leader.
Mondo shouted, "You know, if you had only gotten rid of that first Silver Ranger instead of keeping her, we wouldn't have the problems we have now."
"Oh really?" Vile yelled back "Pray tell, whatever gave you that idea?"
"Well, Sheena would never have had the Silver Ranger powers sent to her for one thing."
Vile shook his heads. "The powers would have been given by Zordon to someone from Kilanye's family line, if Sheena hadn't have gotten them, somebody in her family would have. Moot point, Mondo."
"Unless you could have turned her evil, which even if you had, she wouldn't have survived long from what we found. And also, if you had properly gotten rid of Elysia's family line, we wouldn't have this Kahva Briton running around. She wouldn't have ever been born."
The ruler of the M-51 Galaxy snapped, "Don't remind me of Zordon's dead wife, or her family. They kept me from getting the power of the Mystic Springs, they interfered with my plans..." He paused suddenly. "What did you say? 'From what we found'? What are you talking about?"
Mondo explained. "While I had Klank and my Cogs looking for evidence of Elysia's family line and what happened to them, we found the first Silver Ranger's body still locked in the tower in the palace."
Vile looked thoughtful. "The body is still there? I'd forgotten about that. Perhaps I can still use the first Silver Ranger after all..."
"What do you mean?" Mondo grinned; this had the makings of an excellent evil plan already.
* * * "Oof," was all Adam could say as Sheena easily threw him to the ground again. She grinned as she let him back up.
"Want to spar some more?" she offered. "I'm just getting warmed up."
Adam shook his head. "No, thanks, I've had enough!" he grinned as she helped him back to his feet. "You are dangerous, Sheena!"
Sheena grinned, and off to the side, Billy sighed happily at that. "That smile of hers is dangerous enough!" he whispered to Kahva.
Kahva only smiled in return. Even after a month, it was still hard for her to believe that after a two-year-separation, she was back with her best friend: and that they both lived in a universe that was only shown as a TV show where they'd grown up. She watched as Sheena began one of the more difficult solo ki-see katas.
"Just think, Tommy," Rocky poked at his friend. "One day, you'll be able to do that... but first, she gets to pound it into you!"
Tommy watched as his teacher and cousin whirled around the secluded region of the park they were in. He swallowed as Sheena went into a series of moves he would have taken a bet no human could do and survive, and actually made it look easy. As he glanced over to check out the others' reactions, he saw Billy: who was quite literally staring with his mouth wide open!
Kahva glanced over at the gaping Sapphire Ranger, and a quirky grin that had become familiar to the Rangers over the past month appeared. She pulled at his arm a little bit to get his attention.
"Open your mouth a little wider Billy, I think I can see my old dimension in there!" Kahva grinned, then reached over to physically shut his mouth. She glanced over at Sheena. "Sheena, I don't think you should be doing anymore ki-see today, at least not in front of Billy. He's drooling!"
"Ewww, don't make him drool!" Tanya was torn between laughter and mock disgust.
Kat agreed. "It's not a pretty sight!"
"Yeah, it does cut down on his cuteness quotient, somewhat!" Kahva giggled.
Sheena stopped her workout and sat next to Billy, planting a gentle kiss on his lips as she did so. "Even drooling can't make me love you any less, Billy," she smiled. "But you might get a few less kisses if you don't stop!"
Billy blushed and stammered a touch incoherently as Sheena flopped onto the grass, staring up at the clear blue skies overhead. "I hope we're not needed for anything today," she mused. "It's just too beautiful a day to waste it fighting monsters."
The others all nodded agreement. On a day like today, it was just too hard to believe that above them lurked an evil overlord, just waiting to get his hands on the world they all called home.
* * * "Just what is this plan of yours, Vile?" Mondo wondered. His uninvited, unexpected, unwelcome, and extremely powerful houseguest and ally had revealed very little of whatever might be going through that ancient brain of his.
"First I'm going to do some spying on the Rangers," Vile told the Machine King. "I'll be back when I am done."
"I could show them to you," Mondo offered. "No need to go down to Earth and risk ruining whatever your plan is, if they should see you."
"They won't see me," Vile sneered. "But have some of your Cogs ready if any of them get close to my hiding place; I'd rather not risk too much in this expedition."
Vile paused dramatically, gathering his power around him, the vanished in a puff of black smoke and a horrendous stench of sulfur. "Blasted wizards and their special effects," Mondo grunted as the smoke cleared. "I wonder just what he's up to?"
* * * Vile appeared on Earth not too far from where the Rangers were relaxing in the park. He took up a position behind a tree and observed them, wondering just which was the new Silver Ranger. It had been a while since he was on Earth, and there were three girls there he didn't know at all. "If I had known about that blasted Billy's wedding, I would have gotten to Earth before he was leaving on his honeymoon, so I could've gotten a better look at his bride," he muttered to himself. He knew she was a brunette, and tall, but that was it. Master Vile studied the three unfamiliar young women from his hiding place.
One was dark-skinned, in yellow; she was probably the Yellow Ranger. "They do seem to dress in their Ranger colors quite a bit, for some reason," he said softly to himself. The other two... he couldn't see one, her back was to him. He looked at the one he could see, examining her as closely as he could without moving from his place of concealment.
Long dark hair, dark eyes, olive complexion. She looked a little familiar, she tickled a memory from long ago, could she be the one? Who does she remind me of? Perhaps he should have taken Mondo up on that offer; the Machine King had controlled the Silver Ranger for a time, he would know what she looked like.
"Hey, Sheena, want to spar a bit?" It was the Blue Ranger, Rocky, making the offer. "Karate, not ki-see!" All the others laughed at that, it was apparently some sort of joke to them.
The girl whose back was to him stood, shaking out hair that fell to her knees. The other brunette stood as well, and one of them spoke, but now neither faced him, so he had no idea which. "Sorry," one of them said, "but Tommy and I need to put Kahva through her paces with the quarterstaff." Tommy stood, and after a minute or two, the three of them started sparring with quarterstaffs. "Remember, Cogs are not honorable fighters, they will gang up on you," came that female voice again. "That's why you have to learn to defend yourself against more than one attacker. You have a weapon that can keep them at bay, use its length to your advantage." There was a continued clashing of wood against metal, at least one of the staffs had to be metallic, Vile noted absently. The girl whose hair was almost waist-length tripped up the taller girl, knocking her down. "Nice move, Kahva." That's the one who talked earlier, the one the Blue Ranger called Sheena, she's the Silver Ranger, she must be! The girl on the ground lashed out with a swift kick and sent the other girl's quarterstaff flying over to the tree Vile hid behind. "But don't let your guard down so quickly!" she warned in a light-hearted tone. She stood up and turned, and finally he saw her face. He clenched the tree trunk in rage, as a face he'd last seen still and slack in death, now sparkled with life and light and love.
"No," he whispered to himself, his talon-like fingers digging deep into the tree. "Her powers... and her face! She's the mirror image of Kahva Kilanye! I should've destroyed that blasted ancestor of hers when I had the chance!!"
He stared, hate and rage boiling up inside of him like even he'd never known before. "I will use this new Silver Ranger to destroy all the others! But not until I've had my own revenge on her for the humiliation her ancestor made me suffer! There will be a reckoning, Sheena Cranston, and you will know suffering the likes of which no one has ever dreamed of!"
* * * Kahva chuckled a bit and went to pick up her staff from where Sheena had kicked it. As she did so, she noticed something odd on the tree. "Looks like claw-marks," she mused. "Hey, Sheena!" she called out, turning. She stifled a sudden scream however, as she saw about a dozen Cogs between her and the Rangers. Sheena, already morphed, had begun to fight, engaging two Cogs at the same time. Kahva whirled into battle, knocking into a Cog with her staff.
"Kahva!" Sheena smashed one Cog into a tree. "Be careful!"
Kahva fought strongly, but the Cogs had a tendency these days to concentrate on her, since her powers weren't suited to fighting. She wasn't being overwhelmed just yet, but it was plain it would only be a matter of time.
* * * Vile watched from his vantage point in the trees, keeping a sharp eye on the two women who had, it seemed, returned from the past to foil him and his plans yet again. The Silver Ranger is the fighter of the two, just like her blasted ancestor. But this Kahva Briton isn't, she's like her ancestor Elysia, she even looks a bit like her, that's why she seems so familiar to me. Determined, loyal... but not a warrior, she's not used to battle. Perhaps I can use that to my advantage at some point.
The Cogs were doing well, even against the morphed Rangers. Kahva especially was having a hard time of it. Then Sheena began to move and fight in a pattern he knew well, having seen it used before against his warriors.
"Ki-see!" he snarled. The outrages just kept piling up! Her movements were trained precise, and smooth, showing not a hint of hesitancy or doubt. He knew of only one person who could have trained her in that ancient art. He watched her for a few more moments, and almost felt fear, realizing that her moves spoke of a skill that fell just short of ultimate mastery of the art.
"So, you have your hand in this new Ranger's training as well, Madas?" Vile muttered, half to himself, half to the old master. "She is no master, though, and thus will have no defense against what I have planned for her."
As Vile watched and altered his plans to accommodate what he now knew, the tide of battle below was shifting. The Cogs were little more than scrap metal, and Sheena had fought her way to Kahva's side. There she remained until the last Cog was sent flying away. He listened carefully to the after-battle conversation, hoping it would provide more clues for just how, where and when to set and spring his trap.
* * * "Silver Ranger, power down!" Sheena demorphed and looked at Kahva. "You all right?"
"Yeah," her soul-sister nodded, a little out of breath. "I'm also very grateful for all the training you and Tommy have been drilling into me lately."
As the others closed ranks around them, Sheena smiled. "Hey, I guess Mondo still hasn't learned that it's a bad idea to mess with the Sisterhood!"
Kahva grinned. "You know, I don't think any of our old friends from back home would believe what had just happened if we had to tell them about it."
Sheena agreed. "Yeah, Josh especially. I still don't think any of them quite believe in where we are and what's happened to us."
"Do you blame them?" Billy spoke up. "It was hard for us to believe where you came from, and we're more or less used to magic and spells and other dimensions."
Rocky nodded. "I mean, I can't imagine us as characters on a TV show."
"Don't knock it, Rocky," Billy smiled. "That show did more for me than you can imagine!"
Sheena laughed as she wrapped an arm around Billy and gave him a kiss. "Quite true Mr. Cranston, quite true."
Kat looked up from where she was checking over the picnic they'd been enjoying earlier. "The food's ruined, guys, the Cogs did that much at least."
"Oh, well, I guess Rocky had eaten too much anyway," Sheena teased as she went over to help put the rest of the remains in the basket. "They did him a favor, he would've gotten sick from too much food." As they worked, the conversation returned to what it had been before the sparring had seriously started.
"What was it like seeing the Kilanye farm, Sheena?"
Sheena smiled a little at Tommy's question. Of them all, he was the most closely related to the near-legendary first Silver Ranger, except for she herself. "It was beautiful," she sighed gently. "The Command Center ruins were too, in a weird sort of way. Even the graves couldn't take away from the dignity of the place."
Sheena nodded at Tanya's surprised look. "The graves of our ancestors, the first Rangers. They're all inside one large tomb."
"Everyone's?" they all more or less chorused.
"Well, no," Sheena shook her head slowly as she remembered. "There was a marker for Kahva Kilanye, but no real grave."
"Why's that?" their Kahva asked. She had an interest in this; she shared the name of this ancient warrior.
"Probably because they never recovered her body from Vile's palace," Billy said almost absently. Sheena nodded her agreement.
"How do you know?" Jason wondered.
"Kahva Kilanye told me herself a little over a year ago, while I was Mondo's prisoner," Billy shrugged.
"I have it from her memories," Sheena added. They looked at each other suddenly, the same idea occurring to them both.
"Her body was never recovered from Vile's palace," Sheena said softly.
"And Vile's palace is on the moon. Earth's moon. Our moon," Billy continued. Tommy had picked up on what they were thinking of.
"It's been fifteen thousand years. Could there be anything left?"
"We can find out," Sheena suggested. Billy nodded briefly, as did Tommy. All the other Rangers and Kahva were in various stages of confusion, however.
"Would someone like to clue us in?" Rocky almost demanded.
"Kahva Kilanye died in the tower prison of Vile's palace, which became the palace Zedd and Rita used while they were here," Sheena explained quickly. "Her body was never recovered from there, so maybe it, or remains of it might still be there. We're going to find out if it is, and if we can, we'll give what's left a decent and proper burial on Eltar, or whatever the usual method of giving respect to honored dead is there."
"You guys are going to the moon?" Adam raised an eyebrow. Sheena, Billy and Tommy all looked at each other.
"I guess we are."
"Count me in."
Sheena looked at Kahva in surprise. "Kahva? You want to go? You want in on this?"
"You'd better believe it," she smiled. "Look, I share her name for whatever reason, and I've heard so much about her from you and Zordon and Billy... well, you combine all of that and I really feel I need to go. Now that you've brought the idea up, I'm drawn to it." Kahva shook her head at Sheena's concerned frown, she knew what her soul-sister's objection was going to be before she could voice it. "Look, it's been a month since everything happened, I've long since recovered. And we're going to the moon, not the Machine Skybase. If we sneak in, Mondo won't have a clue we're there, we can find out if Kahva Kilanye is there, and if she is, we teleport out and take her home to Eltar." Sheena still didn't seem quite convinced. "Sheena," Kahva stated, her stubborn streak coming to the fore, "unless you can find a legitimate reason for me not to, I'm going. You're not going into a battle, for Pete's sake, you're going to an abandoned palace! Abandoned, empty? The only threat to me up there is what the dust might do to my allergies." Kahva stared right into Sheena's eyes, at five feet nine inches tall to Sheena's five-eleven, she was one of the few females who could pull it off. "I'm going. No, no, no," she stopped her, "I'm not one of the Rangers, you can't order me to stay. If anything starts getting weird, I promise I'll teleport out so I won't be in the way of what you guys need to do, but I'm going. End of discussion."
Sheena vainly tried to come up with a reason for Kahva to stay on Earth, but she was right, the palace was abandoned, it should be safe. Billy's shaking from trying to hold in his laughter didn't help any. "I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again. I should know better than to try and win an argument with you by now, shouldn't I? All right, you're going too, but only if you promise to high-tail it out of there if we end up tripping over a nasty surprise, ok?" Kahva grinned and nodded, Billy and the others could hold their laughter back no longer. Sheena shook her head and draped an arm around Kahva's shoulders. "Am I ever going to win an argument with you?"
"Yep, you will. When I let you." The young people finished clearing up the picnic remains, laughing over the rare defeat of the Silver Ranger, blissfully unaware of the evil eyes watching them from hiding.
"So, you're going to try and find Kahva's body, are you?" Master Vile glared at Sheena and Kahva, then smiled nastily. "Oh, my dear little naive child, you're going to wish you had decided to stay here on Earth, for I've a plan that's going to destroy your precious Sheena, and trap you and Tommy and Billy on the moon, forever. You'll get to rot away with the first Silver Ranger, knowing the last one is dead."
* * * "So that's the plan, Zordon, we're going to teleport to the moon and see if Kahva Kilanye's remains are there," Sheena explained. "Just me, Tommy, Billy, and Kahva." She glanced over at her soul-sister; it was obvious the Silver Ranger wasn't completely thrilled with having Kahva along with them.
"Sorry Sheena, I'm going if I have to shift myself there," Kahva told her. Sheena sighed.
I WOULD SUGGEST RUNNING SCANS OF THE PALACE BEFORE TELEPORTING, RANGERS. Zordon advised. RITA AND ZEDD LEFT IT UNOCCUPIED, BUT PERHAPS NOT UNGUARDED. IT WOULD BE BEST TO CHECK BEFOREHAND.
Billy nodded. "He's right; I'd rather not teleport straight into some old trap they've left behind. I'll get started on the scans right away."
Sheena sighed dramatically. "Kahva, let me guess: in the time it takes Billy to make sure it's safe for us to teleport up there, I won't be able to persuade you not to come, will I?
"Sheena, you couldn't persuade me not to come if you had the time from the day Kahva Kilanye was born till now!!!"
"I can dream, can't I?" Sheena and Kahva both giggled at that. Kahva turned serious suddenly as she remembered something from the park.
"Sheena, just before we got jumped by those Cogs, I saw some claw marks, or something that looked like claw marks on a tree near where we were," Kahva told her softly. "Something could have been there watching us."
Sheena looked worried. "I don't like that. If Mondo's got some new monster spying on us, I want to know about it."
She looked over to Billy to ask him to scan the park for any monster traces, only to fall silent when she saw how busily he was scanning and checking. I won't bother him, she thought. I can do this without a lot of fancy machines.
She beckoned to Tommy and told him what Kahva had told her. "I'm going to go check it out. I'd ask Billy to do it from here, but he's busy. I can check this out alone; I'll call if anything serious comes up while I'm there."
"I don't like the thought of you being there alone if Mondo is plotting something," Tommy told her.
"I'm a grown Ranger, cousin, and," Sheena smiled at Kahva, who was standing by Billy now, "to quote my sister over there, 'I'm going, end of discussion'. Besides, Kahva will know if anything happens to me faster than the sensors will anyway!"
Tommy smiled at her. "The way you two are linked, it's just as tight as what's between you and Billy, isn't it?"
Sheena nodded. "But differently. Billy and I are linked through destiny and love, Kahva and I are linked through friendship." She glanced over at her friend and husband. "I'm going to go check those claw- marks out, I'll be back soon; let them know where I am."
"Ok." He watched as Sheena teleported out. He wondered briefly if the claw marks Kahva had seen had anything to do with what they were planning to do. Nope, couldn't be...
* * * "I take it you've seen Sheena?" Mondo said almost dryly as Vile reappeared in the Skybase. The old wizard was fuming as he materialized.
"Why didn't you tell me she looks just like her blasted ancestor?!" Vile roared.
"I offered," Mondo reminded him evilly. "YOU were the one who said you wanted to see her for yourself."
"Oh, never mind," Vile shook his main head. "I learned what I needed to, three of the Rangers and their little friend Kahva are going to my old palace on the moon."
"Why would they go there?" Mondo wondered. Vile relished telling him of what he'd overheard, and Mondo nearly spit up oil in disgust. "Those foolish humans and their sentimental ways! How could they have kept this planet from me for so long with them?"
Vile didn't know. "And it gets better: the Silver Ranger is leading them on the way there!"
Mondo did his level best to smile, but to no avail. "It could be quite interesting if they teleported in, only to find a few hundred of my Cogs there!"
Vile groaned. "Mondo, is that your answer to everything?"
"What do you mean?"
"Throw a few hundred Cogs at it!" Vile snarled. "Sheena is nearly a master of ki-see, and she's more than capable of taking down your entire Cog army if she ever becomes a master of it. Overwhelming the Rangers is a good idea, don't get me wrong, but if you weaken them beforehand, you save on troops, time and effort!'
"Are you going to tell me this grand scheme of yours, then, Vile?" Mondo glared at him. "Or are you going to wait till I fall apart from old age?"
That might not be a bad idea! Vile mused. I'll humor the old machine for now, though. He's good for comic relief if nothing else! And his Cogs could be useful, in the right place and time.
Out loud he said, "A few of your Cogs will wait inside the Lunar Palace for my signal. Once I give it, this is what they'll do."
Once he'd outlined the plan, Vile examined the Earth again; he needed to know something more. A cold, cruel smile curved over what passed for his lips as he saw Sheena in the clearing, examining the tree he'd damaged while on Earth. Without another word; he returned to the twirling planet below.
* * * Sheena arrived at the clearing, near where the attack had begun. She glanced around carefully, testing the area with all her senses as Master Madas had taught her. She heard nothing but the birds, saw nothing but trees and grass, could smell only the sweetness of early spring flowers. Once her normal senses were satisfied, she closed her eyes and opened up her other senses, the spiritual part of her that training in ki-see had amplified.
There was something here, all right, she thought as she quietly moved through the clearing. It was watching us. Wish I could tell more. But that's it, it was just watching. Strange.
Sheena came to the tree Kahva had told her of, it had five parallel claw marks in it. She touched one of the marks; it was like nothing she'd ever seen or heard of before. She quickly ran through a mental list of all the animals she could remember, both from her self-training as a witch and from Master Madas' lessons on Eltar. No, none of them matched these markings, whatever they were.
As Sheena examined the tree, a sudden wave of dizziness swept over her. She had to hold onto to the tree to keep from falling down. She took several deep breaths, invoking ki-see control and discipline. A sudden hand on her shoulder startled her.
"Sheena?" It was Kahva. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." That was a mistake; it was next to impossible for her to lie to either Kahva or Billy. There were some drawbacks to almost literally sharing a mind with two other people.
Kahva frowned at her. "I know something happened, I could feel you getting dizzy."
"That's just it," Sheena shrugged. "That's all that happened. Nothing to worry over. You were right though, there was something or someone here watching us. I can almost smell the reek of evil."
Kahva couldn't help but giggle at that. "Excuse me, 'The reek of evil'? Sheena, you do get a little melodramatic at times!"
Sheena laughed a touch. "Job hazard, I am a writer after all. Has Billy found out if it's safe to go to the palace yet?"
Kahva nodded. "Apparently it's a good thing I'm going to be coming along. I'm going to be needed, I do believe."
Sheena frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Billy will explain things. Come on, let's go back before the others send out a search party." With no more than that, the Silver Ranger and her best friend teleported back to the Power Chamber, not hearing the soft, self-satisfied chuckle floating from the shadows.
"Thank you Sheena. Sleep well tonight, my dear."
* * * Once again, Mondo had to clear the smoke away as Vile teleported back to the Skybase. I'm going to have to get an air exchanger to get rid of his stupid smoke! Perhaps after I have the Silver Ranger back in my grip, I'll force that husband of hers to build me one, just before I lock him away forever. Mondo was glad for once that he couldn't really smile, because he wouldn't have been able to hide the one that would've covered his face at the thought of making Billy work for him. If I forced him to work for me, I wouldn't need Klank anymore, Billy could make all my inventions and monsters, just like I considered making him do over a year ago. No doubt he could find a way to turn that child Kahva Briton to my will.
Mondo contentedly let his mind roam over various scenarios. The four people I can do the most damage with, all in one place at one time... Sheena as my ultimate warrior; Billy as my inventor; Tommy as another warrior, a field general, but more importantly, leaving the Rangers leaderless with both him and Sheena gone. And dear little Kahva, we have yet to find out just what all you can do. You're full of surprises child, and they will all be mine to control. Mondo was so busy happily daydreaming, that he almost didn't hear Vile's gloating. With a silent groan, he forced himself to listen to his over-dramatic houseguest. He didn't even notice Klank eavesdropping from the entryway.
"My plans have already begun, and there is nothing the Rangers can do to stop them!" the wizard cackled. Vile was strutting like a mutated peacock, obviously well-pleased with himself. Klank shook his head in disgust, just out of the view of Mondo and Vile.
How many times have I heard that before? Klank wondered as he watched the two old minions of evil plot. Who knows, maybe with the two of them working together, they'll actually get it right this time. Klank crept a little further into the throne room, he wasn't about to be left in the dark about their evil plans, not if he could help it. He watched as Mondo tried to take some control of the planning back from Vile.
"What have you done, Vile?" Mondo glared.
Vile laughed at the mechanical overlord. Can't stand not knowing, can you? "I've merely begun the process that will lead to the Silver Ranger's capture." Vile couldn't contain his evil mirth. "Soon she'll pay for her ancestor's humiliation of me."
Mondo nodded eagerly. "When you have her, bring her here, Vile. I've waited over a year to have her back where she belongs: serving me. Nothing will prevent it any longer: not the other Rangers, not her husband, not that infuriating Kahva Briton... nothing!"
Vile smiled cruelly. Quite true, Mondo. She will indeed be taken, and there's nothing that can prevent it. But we'll see just who she belongs to when it's all over. I have an old score to settle with her bloodline: a very old score. The two old rivals retired to Mondo's war room to plan, a single goal uniting this unholy alliance: the capture and control of Sheena Cranston.
* * * "Okay Billy, what's going on? Can we teleport there or not?" Sheena asked as soon as she and Kahva were inside the Power Chamber again. Kahva's comment about it being a good thing she was going troubled her. Hope that doesn't mean what I think it does.
"Well... maybe, maybe not," Billy turned to her. "My readings indicate that a normal teleport won't get us in. There's a shield of some type up that prevents our regular teleportation energy from entering," he sighed, shaking his head. "I guess Rita and Zedd didn't want anyone messing with anything they left behind."
"That's kind of worrying," Sheena pointed out. "I guess it's their equivalent of locking up when they go out, but it also makes me wonder if they might have left any nasty little surprises behind in case someone did get in."
"How are you going to get in?" Adam wondered.
Kahva looked a bit self-conscious as Billy glanced at her. "Kahva's shifting should be able to bypass their blocking and get us in undetected. As far as I know, there's no kind of shielding that exists that can block dimensional teleportation when it's being done mentally, instead of by mechanical means."
Sheena looked at her oldest friend. "So that's why you said it was a good thing you'd be coming!"
Kahva nodded. "No more arguments now, Sheena. If I don't go, you guys don't get in, it's as simple as that."
Sheena laughed and shook her head. "Apparently something wants you to come with us, and I've never argued with fate... much!!"
"I'll keep scanning and checking to see if there's another way," Billy told them. "I might be able to break through the barrier, and if I can, normal teleportation will do nicely."
His wife nodded. "I'd prefer it, I think we all would prefer it, if Kahva didn't have to shift us there."
"And why is that?" Kahva asked a little testily, her defenses rising. She couldn't believe Sheena was still trying to stop her from going!
"You know how shifting tires you out," Sheena told her quickly, she had intended no insult. "If you're tired from taking us up there, you couldn't shift out if there's a trap or something. And if shifting's the only way in, it could also be the only way out." Sheena's mind flashed back to her wedding day, when Kahva had brought the two of them and Billy back from taking their old friends back home. She had promptly passed out, without the good fortune of someone catching her before she hit the floor that time. Kahva had slept for nearly twenty- four hours straight after that, needing to recover from both the shifting and her imprisonment. When she finally woke up, she did feel better, but had a massive headache.
And her first premonition in this dimension. She warned the Rangers of a group of Cogs waiting to ambush Adam after his last class at Angel Grove University, and they had reduced the metal men to scrap metal by the time Adam came upon them. Mondo hadn't been happy with that at all, and had vowed revenge.
The Silver Ranger looked at the older girl whose life had been turned so upside down by the metal overlord. Can't you see I'm worried about you, sister? But Kahva's jaw was firmly set, and a look Sheena knew all too well burned in her eyes. Sheena had never had it directed at her before, though. "Sheena, I am going, and if you want to get up there, it's going to be courtesy of me. That's all there is to it. Billy can keep looking, but whether he finds a way for normal teleports to work or not, we are going."
Sheena was stubborn, but she also knew a losing battle when she saw one. "All right," she relented. "When do you want to leave?" She glanced around at the others who were going on the trip with them.
Tommy's answer was, "I think we should wait until tomorrow, so we can give Billy time to explore all the options." He was worried about Kahva too, but not as much as Sheena, he trusted Kahva to know her own limits. And I know I want to be fully rested if we do run into something up there that isn't friendly.
Kahva shrugged. "I can go whenever, I'd prefer some rest first, though." She grinned at Sheena, letting her know there were no hard feelings. "I'm stubborn, but I'm not crazy. Not that crazy, anyway," she chuckled. "Besides, a good night's sleep would probably be best for all of us."
Billy smiled and nodded. "Tomorrow would be best. If there is any other way in, I should find it by then. And I should be able to get an idea of where any booby-traps might be. If we can avoid them, our trip will be that much shorter and any possible risk reduced somewhat."
Sheena nodded in agreement, then looked at the others. "Think you guys can handle being without us for a while tomorrow?"
Jason smiled. "I think we can take care of things, and if Mondo attacks, Kahva can just shift you right back here, right?"
Kahva agreed. "It will be a little rough if we have to come back very quickly, but I can do it."
Sheena couldn't help smile a little at the determination in her eyes. She may not be a Ranger, but she's got the heart of one. "Ok, then it's settled. Tomorrow morning, we shift up to the moon, and find any and all remains of Kahva Kilanye," Sheena nodded sharply. "We bring them back and take them to Eltar for a proper burial."
"And until then?" Rocky asked.
Sheena shrugged. "I don't know about you guys, but I've got a novel back home that needs to be seriously worked on. Let me know the minute you find out anything different, if you do, Billy."
Sheena was about to leave when Zordon spoke. HOWEVER YOU REACH THE PALACE, RANGERS, BE CAREFUL. IT WOULD NOT BE UNLIKE RITA AND ZEDD TO HAVE LEFT SOME TRAP OR MONSTER BEHIND, SHOULD SOMEONE BE ABLE TO ENTER THEIR OLD HOME.
Zordon was speaking to the entire quartet, but his gaze rested the longest on Kahva. SO MUCH LIKE ELYSIA, SHE DOESN'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO HERSELF, AS LONG AS SHE CAN HELP HER FRIENDS. BUT WHY IS SHE SO DETERMINED TO GO? he wondered. He knew there had to be something more to it than just the fact it was something Sheena wanted to do, so that made Kahva want to go too. I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS, AND YOU HAVE MY BLESSING, BUT IF DANGER ARISES, YOU MUST ALL RETURN HERE IMMEDIATELY. REST ASSURED THAT NOTHING CAN HARM KAHVA KILANYE ANYMORE, IF YOU HAVE TO RETURN WITHOUT HER BODY. HER SPIRIT IS SAFE AND FREE.
Only Billy caught Kahva's slight shaking of her head. She didn't say anything aloud, but he could just barely read her lips. Then she was looking at Zordon again as if it hadn't happened at all. Sheena's voice broke into his thoughts, and he turned back to his scans, whatever was bothering Kahva, he'd find out later, he promised himself.
"We'll be careful, Zordon," Sheena smiled. She tapped her head lightly. "It'll be a quick job, I've got my ancestor's memories to guide me straight to where she was... is... whatever. We go in, get out, and we're back home before anyone knows we're gone!"
* * * "Arrgh!!" Sheena tied back her hair in frustration for what seemed like the hundredth time. No matter how much she tried, she couldn't pull her thoughts together on the novel, she just couldn't focus. "A newborn babe could write better than this," she muttered as she deleted the last five pages she had typed in. Sheena sighed, made sure all the changes she did want to keep were saved to disk, then walked out onto the back porch of the cabin.
The view was breathtaking. The cabin was situated on two acres of woodland, not far from the mountains. A few hundred feet away was a sparkling blue lake, teeming with wildlife, just like the surrounding woods. Sheena knew that there were other homes across the way, but like theirs, they weren't immediately visible from anyone's back yard, so you had the sense of being all alone with nature. Uncle John had assured them they had the best view of the lake of anyone, and the open back porch had become her favorite spot to sit and relax. She walked over to a large rocking chair and settled in, untying her hair and letting it fall where it willed. She closed her eyes and rocked slowly, letting the back and forth movement become a part of her, letting herself become part of the peace that surrounded her home.
Sheena, you need not worry about her, she is well now. Her strength and health are returned, and she is better able to defend herself now, thanks to you and Tommy.
"But why does she want to go so badly? It could be dangerous."
She goes because it is just as important to her as it is to you. She is drawn, she has said as much.
You have to ask her. You have to accept that she may not know herself. You have to accept that she does not take the danger lightly. She loves you, she does not do this to hurt you.
"But she might get hurt. I can't stand the thought of that happening."
She could get hurt at anytime, so could you, and not because of a monster attack, or a trap. Any of you could sprain an ankle playing basketball, or hiking. A virus could make any of you sick. Any of you could have a car accident. There are some things you cannot control, Sheena; once you accept that, you can better deal with the outcome.
"I don't know if I can let it go that easily, Sheena. I'll try."
Don't try, just do it.
Sheena sighed, perhaps she should have formed her circle before talking to her inner spirit, she wasn't as calm as usual after having the quiet conversation with herself. I can't let it go, I have to stay in control of things, if I lose control, I might lose someone. Images of a fateful night six years earlier flashed in her mind, Sheena shivered and banished them. No, I'm not going to think about that again. It's over and done with, I can't change it. She took several deep breaths, and felt her emotions settle a tiny bit. One thing her inner spirit had said was undeniable: Kahva wouldn't be so insistent about going if it didn't mean a lot to her as well. "If it wasn't so important to her, she would never have said a thing, except to volunteer to shift us there once Billy found out we couldn't get in normally," she said to herself, rising from the rocking chair and tying her hair back once again. "I'll find out why tomorrow, right now I have a novel to work on." And an empty house, I hope Billy comes home soon.
* * * Vile watched Sheena through Mondo's viewscreen for several hours. She had worked on her computer, then had gone outside to sit on the back porch of her home, then had gone back inside to work on her computer again, seemingly a little more at peace. It was getting late, he was beginning to wonder if she would ever go to sleep. "No matter, my plans can't be stopped now." He and Mondo had sent some Cogs to hide in different places in the Lunar Palace, and to reactivate the barrier Zedd and Rita had left there to block teleportation energy. All of their old booby-traps were functional, at least the ones that the Cogs hadn't already tripped.
Vile turned off the viewscreen and left to retire to his guest quarters. "It's only a matter of time, Silver Ranger, only a matter of time. Pleasant dreams..."
* * * Sheena reluctantly turned off her computer after saving her work. She had finally gotten some good ideas down, it was only a couple of pages, but she had finally gotten them out of her brain. But it was nearly midnight, and she had to get some sleep if she was going to be anywhere close to being up to full speed at the Lunar Palace. "Billy, where are you?" she softly asked to the now- darkened home office. She went to their bedroom and changed into her nightgown, hoping for the oh-so-gentle voice that always lulled her to sleep to come drifting over her shoulder, hoping for his breath on her neck. Instead, she climbed into an empty bed, her thoughts still a bit troubled as she drifted off into a lonely, fitful slumber...
"Sheena!" It was her dad's voice, strangled with fear. She ran towards him, only to stop in panic as she saw him pulling something small and dark out of the dryer, of all places.
"Sh... Shadow?" her voice shook. It was Shadow, the small black cat she'd loved and cared about so much. She'd only had Shadow a few months, but their bond was strong.
"She's dead," her dad said flatly. "She got trapped in the dryer, and she's dead."
Sheena stepped back, her eyes filling with tears. "Daddy... I left the dryer open after I checked it last time!!! She must've crawled in there before I turned it back on, it's my fault!!"
"Yes, it is," he told her coldly. "You should've been more careful."
"More in control," she whispered to herself. "Oh, Shadow..." Tears fell down her cheeks as she looked at the still form of her beloved friend...
"We've got to find her, there's no telling what T. C. is up to. Where did Kenny say he last saw them head to?" Sheena was worried, Kahva had taken such a risk by going with T. C., but they all knew that the troublesome girl was up to something, and one of them going with her was the only way to find out what it was. They all still hoped they could turn T. C.'s life around. "Why did Kahva have to be the one to go? She hasn't slept in twenty-four hours at least, she didn't eat at the party, she only drank some punch..."
"Yeah, I saw T. C. get it for her," Jaycynda agreed, scanning the rain- slicked streets for any sign of their friend. "Kenny said the last he saw of them, they were heading for the bridge, he and the others are going to meet us there. I hope T. C. didn't take her to Randy's, he lives out that way, last I heard. Randy hates the two of you."
"Jay, it's been almost four hours since they left - T. C. got the punch for Kahva? Was this before she got so sleepy?"
"Before and after, she got about five cups for her, I think." Jaycynda sat up straight in the car seat. "You don't think T. C.-"
"I do. We've got to find her!" Then they were at the bridge, and Kahva's car was barreling at them on the wrong side of the road. Sheena slammed on the brakes, Kahva's car swerved, then vaulted the guard railing, landing precariously on it, rocking back and forth. T. C. and her boyfriend Randy piled out of the car; Randy's drug buddy Carl was beating on something in the back seat, then he ran away from the car that was tilting more and more towards the rain-swollen river. Sheena saw a figure lying in the back seat just then.
It was Kahva, and she wasn't moving. Her face was bloody and her clothes were torn. Carl was high, and looking for a fight. He attacked Sheena, keeping her from getting to Kahva. The car plunged over the railing with her in it. "Kahva!!!" Sheena screamed. Carl laughed maniacally.
"Lookie, lookie, it's sinking! Cool!!" Sheena rounded on him with a vicious punch, then tore into him, no holds barred. Josh, Kenny and Todd were running up, but they were too late to stop Sheena. She was out of control.
"YOU KILLED HER!!!!" Sheena pounded Carl mercilessly, ignoring Josh's cries for her to stop. Carl just kept laughing, right up until he stopped breathing...
The Silver Ranger waited outside the human Billy's house, he would have to come home soon, and when he did, he would be her master's. A column of white light appeared a few feet away, and her prey had arrived. He was tired, and had no Ranger powers, she knew. He would be such an easy target. She caught him completely by surprise, she ripped his communicator from his wrist and ground it into several tiny pieces under her boot heel, leaving the remains lying on the driveway. She ignored Josh's cries in her mind for her to stop, and she took her captive to the Machine Skybase.
"I have the prisoner you commanded, my lord Mondo," the Silver Ranger spoke. "Have you a preference for his disposal?" Her lord commanded her, she obeyed his orders. She savagely threw the human into a cell, then she contacted the Power Chamber, breaking into their communications just as her master had instructed her.
"Watch Rangers, as I destroy your friend." Despite the voice in her head begging her to stop, she beat her helpless captive till he no longer moved, his heartbeat forever stilled...
Kahva Kilanye was in the tower of Vile's palace, a prisoner, beaten and battered. "I must see how injured I am," Kahva muttered; not seeing Sheena a mere foot from her. Sheena watched as Kahva demorphed and staggered with weakness.
"Kahva, don't give up, this is your destiny!" Sheena had never thought she would urge someone to their death, but for Kahva to live would bring on horrors unimaginable.
Kahva took a deep breath; and prepared to summon her Silver Crystal. Suddenly she froze in place. "No, no, no, my dear girl, we've got much more interesting plans for you than death."
It was Vile. He entered the room with several putties; Sheena tried to fight them, but it was as if she were a ghost. "MUCH more interesting plans!"
Sheena screamed; she knew what Vile had planned for Kahva, and as she stood, unable to affect anything, Vile waved his hand once. Kahva stiffened, then as Vile snapped his fingers, she relaxed. A cold light lit her eyes.
"How may I serve you, Master Vile?" she asked. Sheena stared, feeling something inside of her she instinctively knew was her Silver Ranger powers fading. Then she herself was vanishing, slipping away as if she never existed.
"You must gain control, Sheena," a familiar voice whispered. "You must be in control..."
"Let them go - Adam?!" Sheena shouted, not believing her eyes. They were all speechless at the sight of a second Adam holding Kahva prisoner. He laughed cruelly at the confused Rangers, the Cogs were dragging Daniel over to him. In a mere moment, Kahva and Daniel were gone. Sheena had failed to save her sister... again.
"Let her go, Mondo, she can't help you!" Sheena pounded on the force field, trying to break free. "Silver Ranger Power!!" she cried again, but the power abandoned her, she was powerless here in Klank's lab. She had no control. Mondo turned to laugh at her -
And Sheena was looking at herself, morphed, holding a needle at least a foot long, the needle part itself as thick around as a pencil, the tip ended with a burr. It was dripping a neon green poison, and the Silver Ranger was holding it over Kahva's arm. "Don't do this Sheena!! Fight the potion!" Kahva yelled as loudly as she could to the Silver Ranger. "Sheena please!! I don't want to serve evil!"
"Kahva!! That isn't me, I'm over here, can't you see me?! I'm in this force field, that's not me!"
"Sheena don't, please!!!" Kahva screamed first in terror, then in agony as the needle the Silver Ranger carried plunged into her arm. Daniel was standing by her, pale and emotionless.
"Welcome Kahva, to the world of evil," he said tonelessly. The Silver Ranger helped the older girl off of the table she'd been strapped to. Kahva walked over to the force field and smiled coldly at Sheena.
"I can see why you didn't want me to serve evil, Sheena. You knew something I didn't: it feels so good..."
The Silver Ranger was fast, impossibly fast. She teleported down to Earth, kicked and punched all of the Rangers into a daze before they could morph, then kidnapped Billy and Kahva, taking them back to the Machine Skybase. Sheena could only watch helplessly as she saw herself, morphed, dragging Billy and Kahva down the dungeon hallways by their necks, not caring how badly it hurt them, how much pain she caused. "Stop!" she yelled at herself, standing in her own way. The Silver Ranger passed right through her with the two vainly struggling prisoners, as if Sheena didn't exist. The Silver Ranger tossed the captives into a cell, locking the door behind her. She removed her helmet and dropped it to the floor. Sheena saw her own face then, she was staring into her own eyes. They were a cold green, as if carved from ice. The Silver Ranger was doing this willingly, she was not under Mondo's control in any way, shape or form.
"You have to stop her, you're the only one who can." Sheena turned to the voice, it was Josh again. "Stop her Sheena. Stop yourself, you have to get control." Then the image, or whatever it had been, of Josh disappeared. Sheena turned back to face herself: unmorphed Sheena against fully-powered Silver Ranger.
"Guys, try to get out of here, I'll distract her!" Sheena yelled to Billy and Kahva.
"You don't seriously think they can hear you, do you? You're NOTHING!!" the Silver Ranger told Sheena. "I can't believe I let you be in charge of us all these years," she spat at the helpless young woman in contempt. "But I'm in charge now, and I'm going to have some fun. Sit back and relax... you certainly can't do anything to stop me." Then Sheena was sucked inside herself, trapped in her morphed body, and could see the sheer terror in Kahva's eyes as she pleaded with her for mercy.
"Sheena, fight it!! Fight the potion!!"
"There isn't any potion to fight, I'm doing this BECAUSE I WANT TO. Now shut up, weakling child!!" The Silver Ranger backhanded Kahva into the wall, she fell to the floor, stunned. Sheena could only watch from inside herself, helpless to stop herself. She had no control.
"Sheena please, don't do this!" It was Billy imploring her to stop now. "I love you, don't do this! It's not too late, Sheena!" Sheena could feel her lips form into a cruel sneer as she punched Billy full-force in his stomach, sending him to his knees. She could feel what the Silver Ranger felt as she lashed out with a devastating kick to Billy's head. He toppled to the floor, unable to move. The Silver Ranger produced two long, jagged chains, then yanked Kahva by her hair and dragged her to the center of the cell. She dropped the captive girl face- first to the floor, then roughly bound her wrists and arms behind her back with one of the chains, coldly ignoring Kahva's cries of pain as the serrated links bit into her flesh. The Silver Ranger continued on with the chain, running the length of it down to her ankles, binding them tightly. She rolled Kahva onto her back and ran the chain through one of four eye hooks embedded in the floor, then brought the chain back up and wrapped it twice around Kahva throat, making it difficult for her to breathe. The Silver Ranger fastened the end of the chain to a second eye hook in the floor just a foot past her head; Kahva was pinned down now, unable to move. She gagged her before she could speak, then with the other chain quickly bound Billy in the same fashion to the floor, just two feet away from Kahva, to the other pair of hooks.
"Sheena, please," he croaked, desperately trying to breathe normally. The Silver Ranger placed her knee on his chest, compressing it for several torturous moments before she laughed and gagged him.
"Sheena doesn't live here anymore. I am the Silver Ranger." Sheena tried to wrest control of this dark side, but it was as if she wasn't in there, wasn't inside herself. "Don't do this!" she yelled inside her mind. The Silver Ranger's voice, her voice, mocked her.
"Don't do this, don't do this... you're even more pathetic than they are. Watch, learn and feel what you've been missing by not letting me be in control all this time." And powerless to stop herself, Sheena watched.
"Do you two know what I'm going to do next?" the Silver Ranger asked Billy and Kahva. They couldn't respond, the chains around their necks were too tight, they could barely whimper through the dirty gags. "What, can't guess? Or cat got your tongues? I'm in a generous mood, I'll tell you." She knelt between the helpless prisoners, toying with Kahva's hair. "I'm going to blow up the Power Chamber, with all the Rangers, Zordon and that stupid bucket of bolts Alpha-5 all inside. But before I blow up your friends, you get to watch how I'm going to kill the two of you. You'll get to watch each other die, isn't that wonderful of me?" She produced two knives, an onyx-handled one in her right, which she held over Kahva's face, and a sapphire-handled one in her left, which she rested on Billy's throat. The blades were impossibly sharp; she slowly drew a thin red line across their throats simultaneously, then proceeded to continue it down the center of their chests, their clothing providing no obstacle. She ended the lines with a sudden downward thrust. A quick twist, and the blades were out, the Silver Ranger casually tossed them away. "I didn't hit anything vital, you're both such crybabies," she scoffed at their agonized tears of pain and betrayal. "You're not to die just yet. Now, let's see, where was I? Oh yes, how you're going to die. Well, it's going to be slow, very painful, and you're both going to be begging me to end your lives. Now, who wants to be first?" She giggled with glee at their shocked expressions, partially hidden by their gags. "Come on, don't be shy, everyone has to die sometime. Though your deaths are going to be more... inventive, more creative, than most. Hmm, inventive, creative. Billy invents, Kahva's creative, well now!! I just might have a few ideas, here. Wanna feel how much they hurt?"
The Silver Ranger stood up between them, the Silver Sword appearing in her right hand, Billy's old Power Lance in her left. Sheena could feel everything she felt.
The Silver Ranger LOVED what she was doing. Sheena could taste imminent death as the Sword and Lance plummeted down, both aimed just above Kahva and Billy's hearts. Her screams finally broke through and mixed with Kahva and Billy's, overpowering the Silver Ranger's laughter at impact...
"NOOOOO!!!!!! STOP IT!!!!!!!!"
Sheena fought against the arms that held her tightly, lovingly, didn't hear the soft voice in her ear that was trying to soothe her. Several minutes passed before her screams collapsed into tears, and she realized that Billy was holding her, rocking her back and forth on their bed, gently smoothing her hair. When she could breathe more or less normally, she dared to speak his name. "Billy? You're here? You're..."
"I'm alive. I got home about twelve-thirty, you were already asleep, I didn't want to wake you. I wish I had now, you've been thrashing and screaming for almost two hours, I couldn't get you to wake up." Billy's face was as pale as Sheena's, she knew without asking that he had seen every single part of her nightmare. Both of them glistened with a thin sheen of sweat. Sheena leaned against her husband's chest out of exhaustion, and to reassure herself that it was whole, unmarred. To reassure herself that the heartbeat she heard wasn't her own terrified one, but his strong one, full of life and love.
"Billy? Can we go to the Power Chamber? I want you to scan me. I have to know if there's any trace of the mind control potion left in my blood." Billy nodded. They dressed silently, then teleported away.
* * * Vile's alarm went off, and he rushed to the throne room to turn on the viewscreen. He watched as Sheena Cranston suffered through a violent nightmare, then eventually woke up in her husband's arms. Not too long after, the couple teleported away, no doubt to the Power Chamber. "Oh, you poor thing, did you have a bad dream?" he chuckled. "You haven't seen anything yet, girl."
* * * "Thank you so much for doing this Billy. I know this seems crazy, but -"
"You don't have to explain it to me, I saw the nightmare too. If it were me, and I'd been through what you've been through, I would want to be scanned too." Billy smiled and lightly kissed Sheena's forehead as he drew a tiny amount of blood from her, then as the computers checked it, he ran a scanner over her. "Trust me, you're not crazy. You just have loud nightmares, I guess you could say."
Sheena paled at that. "Oh, Billy... do you think I woke Kahva up? I've picked up on her nightmares over this past month, do you think she saw mine tonight? I've got to apologize to her if I did." A sleepy voice from the doorway answered her fears.
"Sheena?" Kahva was standing there, barely awake, in a peach-colored, sleeveless cotton nightgown that skimmed the floor. She had managed to pull on a matching robe, but it wasn't quite on her shoulders. Her hair was a bit sleep-mussed, she was slightly disoriented, her voice still soft from sleep... Billy couldn't help but grin. If Daniel could see her now, he wouldn't ever leave this dimension, she's adorable! Perhaps Kahva was linked to Billy through Sheena; she seemed to become aware of his presence at that very moment, for she clutched at her robe and pulled it more securely around her. "Did you have a nightmare?" Her eyes still weren't quite focused, she could only keep them partly open. She swayed as she stood, and Sheena moved to steady her.
"I did, I'm sorry I woke you." Kahva nodded at her, still not quite fully awake.
"Is okay," she slurred out, turning to leave - and stepped smartly into the wall. "That wasn't there before," Kahva stated in confusion. "Where'd the door go?" Sheena quickly ushered the sleepy girl back to her quarters before she hurt herself. A few minutes later she returned to the infirmary, a grinning Billy waiting there to greet her.
"She's asleep again, she wasn't really awake at all when she stumbled in here. I'm going to have to apologize to her in the morning... when she's coherent."
Billy's grin blossomed into a smile as he chuckled. "You know, Kahva's cute when she's half-asleep." Sheena wrinkled her nose and lightly punched Billy's arm. "Ow!" he laughed.
"Keep your eyes off of my sis, Billy-boy!" she teasingly frowned at him, then laughed. "And Kahva wouldn't think she's cute when she's not quite awake. As a matter of fact, I can remember Josh accidentally waking her up at my place one night, they and Ann had all crashed there after a concert. I do believe she growled at him. Of course, the fact she had a roaring headache might have had something to do with it," Sheena grinned at the happy memory, then quickly looked down to hide the clouds in her eyes at the other memory that came with it. That was two days before she graduated from high school, two days before the accident...
Billy smiled and quickly kissed his wife, not seeing or simply not commenting on the change in her eyes. "I'll keep that in mind." A beep from the computer called for his attention. "Here we go."
"Nope. If there's anything of the potion left in your system, I can't find it. Sheena, don't worry, Mondo doesn't have you under his control, you're free."
"I hope so. That nightmare..." Sheena paused as Billy turned off the lights in the infirmary, then they left to return to the main chamber. "Kahva saw the whole thing, but she wasn't sure at first if it was her nightmare or mine. I wish I could keep my nightmares from her, she has enough of her own."
"I know. For a while there, I was picking up on hers through you. Do you think she'll ever talk to us about everything that happened up there?"
Sheena shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe one day. She doesn't talk much about her feelings, she never has. She just always helps everybody else deal with theirs." The couple stopped outside of Kahva's quarters; a soft, anxious sound floated to them from behind her door. "She's having a nightmare now." They quietly entered her room to find the young woman mumbling in her sleep. The bedsheet had been kicked off, and her left arm was moving, as if trying to push something or someone away.
"Should we wake her?" Billy asked.
Sheena shook her head. "Let me see if I can calm her without doing that, she needs to sleep." She caught her friend's hand in the air, patting it softly. "It's ok, you're safe..."
Kahva's mumblings became clearer. "I won't help you get Sheena, I won't..."
"Shh..." Sheena spent the next few moments softly talking, trying to soothe the troubled sleeper. Kahva finally stopped mumbling and laid still, the nightmare banished. Billy pulled the bedsheet back over Kahva, gently tucking her in, then they slowly and soundlessly left her room. "At least they aren't as bad anymore. Could you see any of that one?"
Billy shook his head no. "Not much, it looked like Mondo in the throne room, then in the lab." He hugged Sheena reassuringly. "It's just going to take time, your nightmares lasted for a few weeks, as I recall."
"Yeah..." she agreed, her voice distant. Billy pulled her a few feet further away from Kahva's door, then at last found the courage to ask Sheena the question all of the Rangers had wanted to ask for the past month.
"Sheena, you told us about your other friends... but... why didn't you tell us about Kahva? The guys all said you started to at the Juice Bar that day Mondo brought her and Daniel here, you started to tell me about her that afternoon, but why didn't you say anything before then? Why wait so long?"
"I don't know if this is going to make sense."
Sheena sighed, casting a look back at Kahva's quarters. "We've always been very protective of her, even though she's the oldest of us all. She's been picked on and left behind so much in the past... It almost felt like if I talked about her, back when I first met all of you, that by doing that, I'd lose her. I know that doesn't make sense, but it's the only way I can explain it. I can't lose her, Billy. If anything ever happened that separated us forever, I don't think I could take it. The last two years were rough enough, knowing they were all alive, but I couldn't see them." Sheena sighed and leaned against Billy, he enfolded her in his arms as she found herself staring at Kahva's door. "She really is my sister. I don't know, I guess I kinda felt that if I shared her, even if it was just memories, that she could be taken away from me. I can't let that happen, I won't."
Sheena turned and looked at her husband. "A month ago, I guess I finally realized that talking about her wouldn't cause me to lose her, it would keep her closer to my heart. If Mondo's scans hadn't interrupted me, I would've told the others at the Juice Bar that morning, and you would've been there to hear about her too. Am I making any sense at all?"
Billy smiled and nodded. "I think I understand. That's why you're so scared about her going to the Lunar Palace with us, isn't it? It's not that it might be dangerous, but the thought of her being so far away from the Power Chamber. If she were only going out of town, you'd be just as scared. Sheena, I promise you. None of us will ever let anything happen to Kahva or you. And none of us will ever leave you. Together forever, forever together, always and eternity." He pulled her close to hug her, placing a soft kiss on her lips. "Face it, you're stuck with us!"
"Can't think of anyone I'd rather be stuck with."
"Come on, we've got a big day tomorrow, let's go home."
Sheena grinned mischievously. "Race you!" she called out before teleporting away in a blaze of silvery-white light.
"Hey!" Billy started to follow her, but stepped back to Kahva's room. He peeked in and saw she was still sleeping soundly. Silently, he padded over to her and bent to lightly kiss her cheek. He backed out of the room, shutting her door soundlessly behind him. "Sweet dreams, sister." Then he followed his wife home.
* * * "All she had to do was tell me it was a family thing, and I wouldn't have intruded." Kahva's face showed her guilt, she had wanted to find out why Sheena had been so against her going to the Lunar Palace. "I would've backed down in a heartbeat."
Billy tried to reassure her, the others hadn't arrived at the Power Chamber yet that morning. Kahva had found Billy going over the last scans of the Palace, but there had been no new information to find. "She knew how much it meant to you. You do share her name, for whatever reason. Sheena couldn't deny you this any more than she could deny Tommy the chance to go. It's almost like a family thing with you too." Kahva remained unconvinced and still feeling bad.
"I wish she would've told me though, said something! I want to go so bad, but I never wanted to make her feel uncomfortable."
"Sheena realizes that it means as much to you to go as it does her, even if you can't quite explain the reason. You've got just as much right as anybody to go there, and she knows that. Even though there is the possibility of something happening, no matter how remote." Billy looked Kahva squarely in the eyes. "It's not that it's a family thing; she's worried about something happening that would cause her to lose you. Losing you would hurt her too badly."
Kahva considered his words carefully. "You're sure that's the reason?"
"We talked about it this morning. Sheena never got back to sleep after her nightmare."
"Nightmare is a mild term. I saw it all, I don't think there are words for what she dreamed. All those memories were so twisted, none of those things happened exactly like she dreamed them... and killing us slowly because she wanted to... Sheena would never do that. She'd go the way of her ancestor before ever serving evil like that willingly." Kahva turned her head slightly as she heard the others teleport in all at once. "So she's worried she might lose me, huh?" Billy nodded. "Well then, I'm just going to have to not let her lose me then. Losing a sister is simply not allowed in the Sisterhood," she grinned.
After everyone had brought up to date on the scans, and Billy told them he had one last set to check, Kahva grabbed Sheena and pulled her away to a room she had found in the Power Chamber. It looked like a small outdoor garden, but all of the plants and animal sounds were computer generated. "Where did this room come from?" Sheena asked. "I don't remember this being here."
"I don't know, I stumbled on it about a week ago. There's so much in the place that we don't know about, it is designed to be as self-efficient as possible, after all. I guess little things like this are for the time when things outside are really bad... if they get that bad. It also keeps me from getting claustrophobic," Kahva laughed.
"You've never had a phobia in your life, girl," Sheena grinned.
"Heights." Kahva nodded yes at Sheena's disbelief. "Though it's mainly when I'm on a ladder, or near the edge of a ledge when I get the fear, no matter how irrational, that I'm going to fall. Speaking of fears..." Kahva looked at her soul-sister, hoping she'd be able to get Sheena to talk. "What you dreamed last night didn't happen. Look at my throat: no scar. There aren't any scars anywhere, and Billy will tell you the same I'm sure, if you haven't checked him to reassure yourself already. Sheena, you would never hurt any of us that way, you would never serve evil willingly, especially not in that way. That is a fact."
"I hope you're right. Kahva, if anything ever happened that took you from me forever, or if anything happened to Billy or the others..."
"Risk is part of being a Ranger, they all know that. You know that. You just have to realize there are things you can't control."
"But you're not a Ranger, you were yanked into all of this, you weren't asked if you accepted the risks -"
"Sheena... Sheena, the moment I said I was going to stay in this dimension, I was accepting the risks. True, I'm not a Ranger, but I know Mondo would still like to get me, he'd like to try to find a way around the protection that's evidently in my blood. He'd love to use me as a hostage if nothing else, because of what it would do to you. Sheena, I accept the risks." Kahva sat down by the artificial pond and put her hand into it. It was wet and cool, as if it were real. "I know you're worried about me going to the Lunar Palace, I talked to Billy this morning. I thought that maybe the reason you didn't want me to go was because it was a family thing, but according to Billy, it's because you're afraid of what might happen up there. Is that right?" Sheena sat down next to the older girl and nodded. "I can't explain why I feel the urge to go, but as soon as you started talking about the graves, and that there was only a marker for Kahva Kilanye, I felt pulled to the Lunar Palace. As soon as you decided to go, I couldn't resist anymore, I had to go. But if it is going to cause you this much pain... I won't go, if Billy can find another way in. And knowing Billy, if he works at it long enough, he'll find a way around the barrier, or find what is generating it and how to deactivate it. It's up to you, I'll do whatever you decide. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you, Sheena."
Sheena looked straight into Kahva's eyes, she could see the longing to go to the Lunar Palace shining in them, she could feel it in her heart. She would almost swear there was something else there too. Must be my imagination. But there can be no doubt, she wants to go very badly. A part of her has to go. Billy's calling for them over the intercom interrupted her thoughts, they hurried back to the main chamber.
"I still can't find a way through the barrier," he announced, "though I may have found where it is being generated from. But to find a way to deactivate it will take time, a lot of time. As of right now, normal teleportation will not work." His gaze rested on Sheena. It's your call.
Sheena looked at Kahva, who was standing at the back of the group. Her expression and thoughts mirrored Billy's: it was Sheena's decision to make. Whether we go now or later, she's still going to feel pulled, drawn to go. But she meant what she said, she will stay if I ask it. Sheena took a breath and looked at the ensemble. "Then we shift in. I can't stand the thought of Kahva's body, whatever's left of it, still up there. Billy, tell us what we need to take and we'll get it, then we're out of here." As Billy organized the few items they would need, Sheena looked at her group: Husband, cousin, soul-sister... it was a family expedition. The closest people to her would all be with her in the palace. I've got to keep control of everything up there, I can't lose any of them. I won't.
* * * "What more are we waiting for, Vile?" Mondo was definitely not used to waiting this long for anything, and it had only been a day. If he could feel sensations like a human, his hands would have been itching with his desire to have the Silver Ranger under his control again.
"The trap can't be sprung until they are in the palace, Mondo," Vile pointed out once more. "We have to wait."
"I hate waiting," Mondo whined petulantly. Vile groaned softly to himself; why had he ever allied himself, even temporarily, with this metallic fool? I must have been out of my mind to join forces with this metal nincompoop. But his Skybase is a good launching point, his Cogs will be useful... if I can just stand his incessant whining a little while longer.
"Soon Mondo, soon," Vile tried to reassure him. Soon... yes, soon I will have the revenge I've waited fifteen thousand years for. And to think, Sheena's best friend will help me get it!!!!
* * * "Is everyone ready?" Sheena glanced at Tommy, Billy and Kahva, receiving nods from them all in return. The quartet were all dressed for the occasion; blue jeans, hiking shoes, since Billy had warned the night before that they would most likely have to deal with quite a bit of rubble, long sleeved shirts and flashlights at the ready. Billy was carrying a small scanner that would hopefully warn them of any traps, and would also keep a record of their path. Tommy shouldered a small backpack which carried a stasis generator. Though the unit wasn't even quite as big as four bricks tied together, it was powerful enough to produce a field that could surround a human body. Any remains they found would be kept intact in the field until they could return them to Eltar. Tommy had his customary red bandanna tied over his hair, Kahva had her hair pulled through her normal grey baseball cap. Sheena's hair was simply tied back in her usual ponytail; Billy had toyed with a baseball cap himself, but now it lay off to the side on a console, completely forgotten. The only apparent weapon was Kahva's collapsible quarterstaff she slipped into her pocket; Tommy, Billy and Sheena would have weapons if they morphed. It had been decided that morphing would be a last resort, though. Billy's scans had indicated that morphing energy could be easily detected by sensors planted throughout the palace. As they made a last round of checks on their equipment, the other Rangers stood to one side in the Power Chamber, watching them prepare to go. "All right, everybody stay on the alert, call us if anything goes haywire. Jason, you're team leader until we get back." Jason nodded, promising to call if there was trouble.
Kat gave Tommy a quick kiss on his cheek for luck, and Jason couldn't resist giving Kahva a hug. Billy and Sheena shared a short, loving kiss, then Sheena nodded, indicating they were ready to go. GOOD LUCK, RANGERS, was Zordon's farewell as they all joined hands and Kahva prepared for the shifting. BRING HER HOME, RANGERS. SHE HAS BEEN THERE TOO LONG. A greyish portal formed around them, and they were gone.
Seconds later, the four of them stood in a dusty, cobweb filled throne room. Sheena looked around carefully, all of her senses on guard and alert. "Ok, so far so good," she half-muttered. Kahva was shaking her head from the shift, she leaned on Billy for a minute to steady herself, then she was fine.
"Man, this place has changed," Tommy glanced around, remembering how it had looked when he'd been there to take the Zeo Crystal from the caves underneath their feet now. There were broken bricks, pieces of rusting metal, and half-rotted boards strewn all about. "Talk about run-down."
Kahva sneezed as the dust irritated her allergies, then wiped her nose. "Wish I'd brought extra allergy pills," she sniffed. "But this isn't as bad as pollen."
"You're going to be ok, though, right?" Sheena looked worriedly at her soul-sister.
Kahva nodded. "I told you I would be, remember? If anybody feels like kicking up a dust cloud though, warn me first," she smiled. Sheena returned the expression, then closed her eyes, concentrating and remembering. It wasn't that easy, with the memories of her nightmare still trying to crowd into the front of her mind, but she managed to do it.
She opened her eyes a few moments later, and glanced down towards the floor, then up towards the towers. "It's up that way. Down that hall... I think... Kahva was mostly unconscious when being taken to the cell, I'm hoping the memories are clear enough for me to follow them."
Sheena started to lead the way through the dusty palace, not voicing what was going through her mind. It was only a nightmare... only a dream... none of that happened the way you saw it... remember that...
But she couldn't forget it.
* * * "Are they there yet??"
"Mondo, if it will make you feel better, you could go down to Earth and just grab them yourself. Of course, you would most likely be destroyed, but it is your life." Vile shook his heads in disgust. I thought Rita's whining was bad, he tops her!! Then an alarm sounded, clamoring for his attention. It was all he could do to keep Mondo's hands off of the console long enough so he could see what he'd been waiting for: they were there.
"How could they have gotten so far without us knowing about it?" Mondo nearly screamed.
Tricky child, aren't you? Vile smiled inwardly, he had to give the girl credit. Kahva Briton had brought them all there without triggering a single alarm. And you're all so clever, you've avoided all of the traps so far. No doubt that irritating Billy has scanned for them. But you can't avoid them all. Aloud, he said, "It matters not how long they've been in there, the point is they are there. It is only a matter of time now, Mondo. Contact your Cogs, whichever ones that are left. Tell them to be ready to spring our trap, and to try not to spring anymore of Zedd and Rita's, while they're at it."
Mondo yelled for Klank and ordered him to send the word. Vile looked out the main portal in the throne room and gazed at Earth's moon. Your friend has brought you to me, Sheena Cranston. Now prepare to meet your fate.
* * * The trip through the palace was stirring up memories in Sheena that she would have preferred remained hidden; not just of Kahva Kilanye's imprisonment and death, but of other things. As a ghost, her ancestor had spied on Vile frequently, for her own amusement at watching him bemoan his constant defeats by her companions. The few victories he achieved netted him prisoners, most of which had been sent here to rot away. The grief, hate, sorrow and pain they had experienced had permeated the walls of the palace.
Kahva Kilanye had 'absorbed' the emotions present in this place, since her body was still there, and passed the memories of them onto Sheena when her descendant had taken on the powers of the Silver Ranger. Now, as Sheena walked through the palace, it was all she could do not to be sick at the memories of pain and madness that filled her.
"Sheena?" It was Billy. "You all right?"
Sheena paused for a moment. "Y... yeah." She hated the stammer that overtook her at times, when these memories threatened to overwhelm her. She wondered for a moment what it would be like if that happened. She shook her head; that couldn't happen, she had control of those memories. "I'll be... I'm fine."
Kahva looked at her. Why don't I believe her? The older girl wished for a moment their bond allowed her more than the occasional glimpse into Sheena's thoughts, or knowing her soul-sister's emotions. She could tell Sheena was minorly worried over something, but just not quite what it was.
"The door's locked," Tommy said from up ahead of them. They'd followed a long series of hallways and corridors to reach what Sheena's secondhand memories told her was the way to the tower prison.
"Great," Sheena muttered. "Let me take a look at it." She headed over to take a look at the lock, while the others spread out through the hallway to explore, looking for any clues or nasty surprises. Tommy was checking the far wall, staggering slightly as a section of the floor moved under his foot.
"Be careful guys, the floor's in bad shape in spots," he called out. Sheena stole a glance at him, he seemed to be stepping out of a depression in the floor. That's odd, she thought, a slight tingle running up her spine. She turned back to the lock, but as she examined it, a soft click sounded. She glanced back again to see a section of the wall sliding back, just behind Tommy. No!!
"Tommy, get back!" Sheena yelled. Tommy looked around and saw the opening in the wall. He moved towards Sheena quickly, but stumbled over some of the loose bricks that were all over the place. A robot with a large, wicked axe in hand, emerged from the small alcove revealed by the wall. It lurched towards Tommy, swinging the axe ferociously. Tommy backed up, only to ram his foot into a small pile of loose bricks, pinning it.
"Oh great," Kahva muttered as she ran towards him. "This isn't good at all. Guys!" she yelled as she instinctively threw up her left arm to protect herself and Tommy from the robot's attack. In one smooth, practiced motion, she pulled her collapsible metal quarterstaff out of her pocket with her right hand and extended it to full length, barely managing to block the robot's swinging axe. She stifled an oath as the axe cut into her left hand, she didn't have a good grip on the weapon with both hands just yet.
Kahva managed to keep the thing at bay as Billy and Sheena pulled the bricks from around Tommy's trapped foot. Once he was free, Sheena glanced over at the robot, then somersaulted towards it, transforming the move into a powerful ki-see kick as she did so. Her blow took the thing's head off, and was followed by a strike from Kahva to its torso. Unable to withstand the double assault, the robot collapsed in a heap on the rough floor.
"This should keep it from bothering us anymore," Billy said as he rolled the metal menace over and ripped out several wires from its back. Kahva grinned wryly as she kicked at the thing.
"Look dude, don't mess with the Sisterhood, you got it?" She squeezed the quarterstaff in her hands in a precise manner, and it collapsed back into its traveling length, a mere six inches. "Billy, this quarterstaff is great, I don't know how you make this stuff!"
Sheena took a quick breath, "Kahva, your hand." Sheena glanced over at Tommy, then pulled his bandanna off his head and bandaged Kahva's left hand with it. "Sorry cousin, but she needs this more than you do right now."
'It's ok," Tommy smiled. "We should've brought a first-aid kit. Thanks Kahva, that thing would've sliced and diced me before I could've morphed." Kahva smiled shyly as he gave her a one-armed hug; though she was comfortable around the Rangers, she still wasn't quite used to their attentions. "You're getting better, you aren't running away this time," Tommy joked.
"It was going after you."
"I meant from me."
"Oh," she said, realization hitting her. "Well, as long as you don't bite, why should I run from you?" she giggled. They all chuckled at that, releasing the tension that the sudden attack had brought.
"Ok, let's get moving," Billy said, after a quick examination of the cut, before rewrapping the improvised bandage. "It's a nasty cut, but nothing serious, I don't think it will need stitches. Just a good cleaning and some antiseptic when we get back. Keep the bandage on until then and you should be okay."
"Yes sir, Dr. Bill," Kahva laughed and gave him a mock salute. Then they all turned their attention back to the door Sheena had been checking.
"The door's still locked," Tommy pointed out. Sheena grinned a little.
"I can take care of that," she said. And with a kick that rivaled the one she'd just used on the robot, Sheena took down the locked door. "After you, dear sister!" Sheena smiled.
Kahva grinned and stepped through, then caught her breath and stopped short. "She's here," she breathed, eyes wide as she seemed to scan the walls for something: or someone. "Don't tell me you can't feel her Sheena."
Sheena couldn't, she had pulled up short just as Kahva had. They were facing a stairwell that led upwards in a spiral fashion, old unlit torches held in sconces every few feet along the stone walls. This section of the palace was made of solid stone, and smelled of age and death. "Up there," she motioned, tearing up the stairs, with Kahva right on her heels.
Billy couldn't tell who was more drawn, and it frightened him a bit. His mind went back to what Zordon had said the day before - that Kahva Kilanye's spirit was safe and free - and to the words only he had seen their Kahva mouth silently. Billy wished he had asked her about that now, remembering the words as he and Tommy hurried to keep up with the young women.
No, I'm not free.
* * * "It is time, Mondo!" Vile laughed. "They sprang the trap at the base of the tower, they've entered it by now, I'm sure. I shall go there now, tell your Cogs to wait for my command!" Vile disappeared in his standard smoke and sulfur, leaving Mondo in his wake.
"Don't forget Vile, Sheena is to be brought here! Vile!!" Mondo called after him. Grunting, he motioned for Klank to alert the Cogs in the palace tower, then turned his attention towards Earth. "No time like the present for a monster attack, I always say. They're leaderless, they won't be able to stop me. Get ready to meet your doom, Power Rangers!"
* * * "Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!! There's a monster on the loose near the Youth Center, Rangers!" Alpha yelped.
CALL SHEENA AND THE OTHERS BACK ALPHA, THEIR MISSION WILL HAVE TO WAIT, I AM AFRAID. Alpha frantically pushed buttons on the communications console as Jason crossed to him.
"I can't contact them, Zordon! There is a communications shield up around the Lunar Palace, it wasn't there before! I can't get through!" Alpha pulled up the image of the monster on the viewing globe quickly, then continued his efforts to contact the four young people on the moon.
"What do we do now?" Rocky asked Zordon. Their mentor didn't immediately answer. Jason was staring at the monster on the viewing globe; an old, familiar feeling tightening into a knot in his stomach. We're going into battle, and I'm leading again. It's been so long, do I still have what it takes? The others' voices brought his attention back to the matter at hand.
"I'll bet Mondo did this deliberately, he must know that we're down three Rangers," Tanya muttered.
"Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't," Adam tried to reassure her.
"Or he's already captured them," Kat added softly, voicing their common fear. Jason turned back to the others, answering Rocky's question himself.
"We don't know that, and we don't know for sure that Mondo even knows they're there. Though I agree with Tanya, he's doing this deliberately. Mondo never does things without some reason or other. Alpha, keep trying to contact the others, see if you can find out where they are, and try to bring them back. See if you can deactivate the teleportation barrier. Meanwhile," he looked at the team, "whether we're at full force or not, we've got a job to do. Let's get him!" Hurry back soon, guys, he urged his comrades on the moon. I've got a feeling we're going to need you.
* * *
"There she is." The four young people stood just outside of a single cell near the top of the tower prison. Other cells were further down the hallway, but this one was the only one with the door wide open: with Kahva Kilanye's body lying inside. Sheena hesitantly moved to the form lying on a bed of straw. "Kahva Kilanye, blood of my blood, ancestor to me and my cousins, it's time to take you home." They all bowed their heads for a few moments in respect to the great warrior whose body lay before them, perfectly preserved. When they all looked up again, Billy was the first to break the silence as he scanned her body.
"There's no decomposition whatsoever. It's as if she died moments ago, not thousands of years ago. No doubt a spell of Master Vile's." Billy indicated the heavy iron door they had forced open to reach the floor of cells. "He obviously didn't want any prisoners to escape from here, or anyone to reach them without his permission. That door didn't open very easily." He started to speculate further, but Sheena's awe-struck voice stopped him.
"Can we move her?" Sheena softly asked. She was almost afraid to approach the body; she had seen the spirit, had seen her memories of that last day, possessed the memories of her entire life... but to see her lying there, almost as if asleep... it was wondrous and a little scary all at once. "Can we break the spell?" She didn't notice Kahva moving closer to the body at first.
"I think so, I just need to finish the scans to be sure. The stasis generator should do the trick."
"Sheena look," Kahva said, pointing to Kahva Kilanye's rings. "She has the exact same rings you do, and they haven't tarnished with age. Even the straw is okay." Kahva moved her hand to barely brush the dead woman's hands, folded solemnly in death. "And her - ah!!" she cried, her body shocked rigidly straight.
"Kahva!!" Sheena screamed. The girl was transfixed by the corpse, her body immobile, as if held by an invisible force. "Billy, what's happening to her?!" Sheena could feel her own heartbeat speed up with fright. What do I do??
"I don't know! Energy readings are going haywire in here, I can't get a fix on anything!" Then just as suddenly as Kahva's body had frozen, it relaxed and she sank to her knees beside the corpse. "Kahva?" Billy tentatively asked, placing a hand on her shoulder as he began to scan her. "Are you okay?"
The young woman looked up at him with eyes that were not quite her own. "She is, and so am I. You are still so much like my Silias, Billy."
Open-mouthed, the three Rangers stared at the familiar form of Kahva Briton as she stood up, appearing as normal as usual, except for one slight difference: the voice was that of Kahva Kilanye. "Thank you all for coming here. Now perhaps, with your help, I can go home and rest."
* * * The Rangers' fight was not going well, Mondo's monster was keeping them at bay if not actually beating them. "We need the others!" Jason growled as he fired lasers at it from Pyramidus. The monster could be taken down by the Zeo MegaZord, or the Ultra BattleZord, he hoped, but they needed their absent comrades to assemble those fighting machines. "Alpha, any luck in breaking through to them?"
"Ay-yi-yi, nothing yet, Jason," Alpha replied. "I'm still trying, though."
"Keep it up, Alpha," the Gold Ranger encouraged the robot. "We've got to get some help down here."
"I'll do my best," Alpha sounded confident, but Jason wasn't sure how much of that was real and how much was just to make him keep his mind on the battle at hand. Things had definitely changed since the days when he'd led the Rangers. He had to admit; Sheena was the one to lead them against the Machine Empire. She had a gut-deep understanding of their metallic foes that he couldn't quite get a grip on.
Get through that shield, Alpha. We need them back here: and not just for this fight.
* * * "K-Kahva?" Sheena stammered. She knew that voice, just as surely as the others did: it was unmistakably the voice of Kahva Kilanye. "If you're joking around, tell me now."
"I usually saved bad jokes for the heat of battle to relieve tension, my descendant," she answered. "Reach out with your senses, and tell me who I am." Sheena did, reaching out with gut instinct, talents honed as a witch, and as a student and near-master of the art of ki-see. A few moments later, she looked at the body of her old friend in awe, trying to hide the tinge of fear in her voice.
"Kahva Kilanye? It is you, but - but... where's our Kahva? I don't understand -"
"She is here, this is not something either of us expected, she most certainly did not expect this, I can assure you. I had thought I could contact you through her, she is exceptionally sensitive, but this - possession, or channeling, if you will, was not what I had in mind. But it is the only way I can talk to all of you, I have become too weak to do it on my own."
"Is Kahva okay? Can we still talk to her?" Tommy asked. "No offense, but this is..."
"Unnerving, I believe would be a good term," Billy supplied. "And a bit troubling, Kahva hasn't been here all that long..." Billy looked at Sheena helplessly, he didn't want to offend the great warrior. Kahva Kilanye spoke before Sheena could find her voice, however.
"I understand, Billy. The suddenness of this must have looked frightening. Here," she said, and closed her eyes. A few moments later, she opened them, and the light in the eyes looked more like Kahva Briton. "Sheena?" came her voice. It was not as strong as usual, but not weak either. It was as if she were mildly sedated, but not so much that she couldn't talk. "I'm sorry, if I had known, I would've warned you. I was just so drawn, I didn't realize the pull I felt was her talking to me until I brushed her hand... her energy is so low, we have to get her out of here."
"We will, trust me. Are you all right?" Sheena hadn't heard Kahva sound drugged like this except for once before: in the hospital after the accident, and it scared her. She clamped down on her fear, her friend and her ancestor came first. Kahva, one of them, if not both, seemed to sense that, and Kahva Briton's voice became a touch stronger.
"I'm all right, it just takes a lot to... keep her, maintain her. Only one of us can really be dominant at a time, we don't have enough energy for both of us to be here at the same time. Vile's spell keeps her from her rest, we've got to take her body home to Eltar. Only then can she rest. The last warrior of the past has to be put to rest in peace, or her spirit will be lost forever." Kahva's voice still sounded a bit drugged, but the urgency was clear: she could feel the spirit's pain, it was a part of her.
You shall return, Sheena, when the first and the last of the past come home here to Eltar, you shall return, Master Madas' words came back to Sheena. This is what he meant, it has to be. "Kahva, one of you, please tell us what exactly what's going on here." The older girl closed her eyes again. When they opened, the light in them was again that of Kahva Kilanye.
"I am sorry to cause you such distress, Sheena." Kahva went over to her and hugged her, trying to calm her. "I used most of the rest of my energy to see you at your wedding, and to talk to you afterwards. I had thought that I would be able to cross over after that, but the spell Vile has placed on my body ties me here too strongly. I no longer have the strength to break its hold. The spell must be broken, and my body put to rest on Eltar for me to be free."
"I think that just removing your body will do the trick, Kahva," Billy stated, after checking his scanner. "The energy I'm reading around your body only covers this floor of the prison. We won't know until we try, though."
"Why didn't you say something?" Sheena asked. "Why didn't you tell us what Vile had done to you, to your body?"
Kahva sighed, a touch of sadness in her voice. "I didn't want to worry you, Sheena. You had just gotten married, you were finally getting to show to everyone how much you loved each other. I did not know, perhaps I did not want to believe how much my power had been drained. After I realized I couldn't leave, I did not want to bother you with my troubles, you all had gone through so much." She looked back at her body, then turned again to Sheena. "I decided to quietly stay here, I had accomplished my task: you were safe, and had claimed your birthright by becoming the Silver Ranger."
"What changed your mind?" Tommy gently asked.
Kahva sighed once again. "I decided to try and visit all of you, or try to appear to Sheena at least, one more time to say good-bye. This was yesterday, while you were all in the park. You started to talk about home, Sheena, and I wanted to see it myself so much... I nearly left then, I had tried to appear to you, but found I did not have the strength. But as I started to leave, I found I could contact Kahva, though I was so weak, it was only on a sub-conscious level, she wasn't even aware I was talking to her. She only knew that once you decided to come here, she had to come also. That was me asking her to come. I knew that my only chance of being freed was to try and contact you, to let you know where I was, if you couldn't find me yourself. Your friend is the only way I have of talking to you now, though I had thought to only relay my words to you through her, not possess her. I never intended to do that. I needed to talk to you, to help you take my body home, if you were able. And to warn you also."
"Warn us? Warn us about what?" Sheena's senses were on full alert now. Having an outside danger to focus on helped her to shove down the memories this place was dredging up.
"There is an old evil in this place again. Who or what, I'm not exactly sure yet, but I have felt it brush through the halls, I felt it when I tried to talk to you yesterday in the park..." Kahva seemed to be listening to a voice only she could hear. "Yes, yes, you are right... Kahva says that she saw some claw marks on a tree in the park, and thought perhaps someone was watching you. You agreed with that Sheena, and you were both right. Something was there, watching all of you. If I were stronger, I might have been able to find out who or what it was."
"Speaking of strength," Billy cautiously broke in. "Kahva is the way we got in here, she shifted us in. Even though she uses one of us as a 'battery', of sorts, it still takes a bit out of her to do it. There's a barrier up Kahva, we can't teleport through it normally. Is Kahva still going to be able to get all of us out of here? Is she going to be strong enough?"
Kahva Kilanye tilted her head in a way that was eerily like the way Kahva Briton would, and for a moment, they all thought they would be talking to their friend again. But it was Kahva Kilanye's voice that answered them. "She says she'll be okay, but she is giving me so much of her personal energy, she may not be okay later. I'm trying not to draw on her anymore than I have to." Sheena frowned for a second, then her face brightened as a thought hit her.
"What if you had another energy source? Can you absorb energy? If you can, you could absorb some from me, then you wouldn't have to draw on Kahva so much." Kahva thought it over and smiled.
"It's worth a try." She took Sheena's hands in her own, and a moment later both women glowed with a faint silver light. It lasted for only a few seconds, then they released each other. "Thank you Sheena," Kahva Kilanye's voice was stronger, clearer, and very grateful. "Kahva can rest some now. We must not tarry here too long though, the evil has gotten stronger."
"Do you know who or what it is, yet?"
"No, Tommy. But I am sure of one thing. If we stay here long enough to find out, we may not be able to leave, ever."
* * * "You have your orders. When I signal you, you will activate the trap. Do not let any of them escape." Master Vile watched as the Cogs hurried to take their positions. "I don't care what happens to the others, but the Silver Ranger is to be trapped alive, is that understood?" The Cogs all nodded their understanding and left to do the evil wizard's bidding. Vile strode through the ramshackle hallway, littered with broken bricks and rotting wood. "Such a waste, this was a grand place in my day." Then he smiled. "And it will be once again: after I have my revenge."
Vile stiffened and looked up, as if he could see through the stone ceiling. "So, you're still here Kilanye, you haven't faded away. Strange that your presence should be so strong... It matters not where you are drawing your strength from, it will do you no good. I will have my revenge on you, by destroying your chosen heir. Then you will watch her friends rot away up here... in fact, I think I'll let your body get a head start on them. Then you can roam the old halls for all eternity, knowing how badly you've failed." He waved his hand absently in the air, then cackled. "Funny how quickly fifteen thousand years can catch up with a corpse."
* * * "Sheena, what's wrong?"
It was Kahva Briton's voice that spoke this time. Kahva Kilanye had been telling Billy how her body was withstanding the energy of the stasis generator, and all was going well so far. But while Kahva Kilanye temporarily had re- entered her own body, Kahva Briton had been herself, and had been watching Sheena closely. "N-nothing's wrong. Just a lot of old memories, that's all." Kahva shook her head at the girl.
"I've known you for too long to believe that line, Sheena Devereaux Cranston. What's wrong?"
Sheena smiled and tried to put her off. "Nothing is wrong, you worry too much." Any further interrogation from her friend was delayed as Kahva turned to Kahva Kilanye's body, as if the spirit had spoken aloud. She touched the warrior's hand, stiffened slightly, though not as much as she had the first time, and Kahva Kilanye's spirit entered her.
"I believe the stasis generator will work just as you planned, Billy," she said. As she and Billy continued to work over her preserved form, Sheena found herself staring at the fifteen-thousand year old body, lying so pale and peaceful in death. Memories from a month earlier that she had been fighting surged forward again, and instead of the first Silver Ranger's body lying in the cell, she saw the form of her friend, Kahva Briton, lying on Klank's insidious laboratory table, strapped down, and in pain... so much pain... She could see her friend's face, deathly pale even under the dirt and grime from her imprisonment, her chest scarcely rising and falling with each breath... She could see her eyes, full of fear and despair... and feel her own defeat at hand, trapped helplessly behind Mondo's force field, unable to rescue her friend, seeing no avenue of escape for her friend, save one.
"Sheena," Kahva Kilanye's voice brought her back to the present. "Please, tell us what is bothering you. There is no shame in honesty, sharing does not make you weak."
Does she know? Both of them? Sheena wondered. She could feel both Kahvas looking at her, she could feel their concern. She considered putting them off again, but with the memories so overwhelming, she could no longer keep the guilt inside. "He won. He beat me."
"Who?" Tommy looked at her, puzzled. "What do you mean, what are you talking about?"
"Mondo won a month ago. He wanted me to surrender to him before he would let Kahva go: and I surrendered to him. It's only because of Billy and Jason that he never found out." Sheena's eyes came dangerously close to filling with tears. "You weren't there, he was killing her! He claimed he wasn't, but I was there, I saw what he and Klank were doing, they were killing Kahva! She couldn't have lasted much longer with everything they were doing to her... I didn't know of anyway to save her, except to surrender to Mondo. I was about to say the words, when Billy signaled that he and Jason had accomplished their mission." Sheena looked at Kahva, shame covering her face. "I should've chosen your path, death before serving Mondo, but if I had, he would've killed her. I didn't know for sure if I could break the force field..."
"Sheena... Sheena," Kahva softly spoke. "If I had been in the same position, if it had been Silias, or one of the other Rangers or a friend or stranger in that situation, I may have done the same thing. I chose death over serving Vile because I knew my friends were safe, and that by denying Vile my servitude, I could keep them safe to fight another day. If they were still his prisoners though... I dare say my choice probably would have been different."
"It's okay, Sheena," Tommy assured her. "We would've understood if you had made that choice then, we understand now. Mondo put you in the worst position possible. The important thing is you're not under his control."
"And we rescued Kahva and Daniel, they're both safe," Billy added. "It's okay Sheena, you don't have anything to worry about, or to be ashamed of. We love you. I love you, remember that." Sheena half-heartedly returned her husband's embrace, plastering a small fake smile on her face.
"Yeah... listen, I'm going to check down the hallway, make sure there aren't any nasty surprises waiting for us, and to see if there's another way out down that way, just in case we need it." Before Kahva Briton could resurface in her body, Sheena was gone.
"She's not dealing with this too well," she said, looking after her soul- sister. "She's got nothing to be ashamed of, I wish I could make her see that. It's not her fault what Mondo and Klank did to Daniel and me." Tommy placed a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
"She's got to want to talk about it, you can't make her. She'll be okay."
"I hope so. Let's get the generator set up and running, we need to get out of here. We can both feel the evil here, it's getting stronger." The three young people worked quickly and quietly for a few minutes, and just as Billy was about to activate the generator, Kahva stiffened and took a sharp breath.
"What's wrong?" Billy moved to her, thinking to steady her. But when she looked at him, it was Kahva Kilanye once again.
"He's back. I can feel him, Vile's back!"
* * * "I don't believe this!" Mondo stared into his viewing screen. He watched as Sheena confessed to something he had never dreamed of, had never expected had happened. He'd done it! He'd broken her, and hadn't even known! If it hadn't been for the Sapphire and Gold Rangers having the worst timing in the universe, he would have had her back!
"Sire?" Klank was near the throne, he hadn't been paying attention to the screen.
"I had her! She was going to surrender!" Mondo laughed. "This is priceless! I had her a month ago, and now I will have her again!"
He watched as Sheena left the others, heading down the old hallway. Mondo smiled evilly. "Not much longer, my Ranger. Not much longer at all. You are mine already, you just haven't figured it out yet.
* * * Adam fell back from the fight, letting Tanya fire Zeo Zord II's lasers at the creature. "We've got to do something, this thing is wearing us out!"
"There's still been no luck getting through to the others," Kat reported. "We're going to need their help, that's all there is to this!"
"Man, I hope they're all right!" Rocky groaned as Mondo's monster nearly picked his own Zord up. Only his quick maneuvering managed to keep him from a very nasty accident. "This is happening at the absolute worst time!"
"I think that's Mondo's plan," Jason sighed. "I think he knew they were going somehow."
"How?" Adam wondered.
"Who knows?" Jason shrugged as he fired another batch of lasers at the creature. "It's just a feeling I have."
* * * "Ay-yi-yi, Zordon, I still can't break these shields, I don't know what the problem is!" Alpha wailed in frustration. The little droid ran around the Power Chamber, seeking endlessly for some way to shatter the barrier around the moon palace. The Rangers needed Sheena, Tommy and Billy in the fight, and something must have happened for them not to be back yet. It shouldn't have taken this long to get everything done.
KEEP TRYING, ALPHA. Zordon told him. WE HAVE TO GET THROUGH TO THEM.
"I'm doing my best, Zordon!" Alpha told him. "But this is harder than any shield I've ever seen before!"
* * * I failed them, and I failed myself. I know that, even if they don't. Sheena walked down the hallway, half checking for another way out, but mostly involved in her own mournful thoughts. If I didn't love them both so much, I swear I think I'd ki -
She stopped that thought in its tracks as a cold chill ran down her spine. No. I didn't think that. I didn't feel that. I couldn't have. I'm not like that anymore, I'm not evil, I wasn't even evil by nature, it was forced on me! That was only a dream last night, it wasn't real!
Sheena didn't like the images that the dream had conjured up in her. She shook as she realized there was a part of her that lived only to fight, to kill, to hurt others. Most of the images in her dream had been memories. Twisted, warped memories, but things that had happened nonetheless. But the last part: where she had tortured and slowly killed of her own will Billy and Kahva, the two people closest to her in all the world... that had shaken her to the core. She could still taste the sweet power and control her dream dark half had reveled in as she drove the Silver Sword and Power Lance into them.
She couldn't honestly tell herself it hadn't attracted her, in a perverted sort of way. To have such perfect control of herself, to know and accept herself for all she was, was what Sheena had longed for since the first moment Klank's potion had burned its way down her throat. Though she had only known part of herself before then, hadn't known her ancestry and the power that slept within her, she had still been able to control herself, and no one had ever controlled her.
Until that horrible moment when the Cogs had appeared in her apartment, taken her to Mondo, who'd sent her to Klank's lab... the potion... the draining away of her memories and her sense of self, something... something had split within her, she remembered the pain of it. When she'd awakened from the semi- coma the potion had put her into while it changed her, she had known only evil and destruction and battle. That part of her ruled until Billy had called her by her real name, until his voice of love and strength had given her a way back to herself, to what and who she wanted to be.
But you liked being evil, didn't you? a small, insidious voice whispered in her mind. You liked not having to worry about anything but what Mondo told you to do. You want it now. It was freedom... ultimate freedom: and you loved it.
"No," she whispered. "It was slavery of the worst kind, because I couldn't even think my own thoughts! All I knew was what he wanted me to know."
No pain. No regrets. No sorrow or grief. Nothing but power. Nothing but control.
"No love. No joy," she replied to whoever or whatever it was. "Nothing but hate."
Sheena stopped and leaned against the wall, trying to get control of herself again. She closed her eyes, only to see repeats of the nightmare images replaying on her closed eyelids. Tears coursed down her cheeks, tears of shame and pain. He beat me, and I don't even know anymore if I ever really wanted to stop working for him in the first place! A part of me... a part of me didn't want to stop, because a part of me wants to kill forever. And that's a part of me... that must never gain control.
"SHEENA!" The strangled, fearful voice was that of Kahva... Kahva Briton, her friend, her sister. She was in danger. Sheena was running back towards the tower prison almost before the first echo of her name had faded. Boiling out of everywhere it seemed, all around her, all around them, were Cogs.
* * * "We've got to get out of here!" Tommy yelled above the din. The Cogs had tried to prevent him from morphing, but he had eluded their grasp, they didn't get his Zeonizer. Others had tried to capture and gag Billy before he could morph, but Kahva, he was sure it was Kahva Briton, had whacked at them and kept them away from Billy long enough for him to morph: but at a price. She was lying on the floor, she had taken a blow to the head. He could see Sheena running to them, a fierce scowl crossing her face. "Hurry, Sheena!" Movement to the side caught his eye, Kahva was up and fighting again. That was quick. Hope she can still get us out. "Where are they all coming from?" he yelled to Billy. He didn't get an answer, he hadn't really expected one.
Mondo had a hand in this, Sheena thought. She could see Billy and Tommy had already morphed and were keeping the Cogs away from Kahva Kilanye's body. Kahva Briton was fighting as well, her quarterstaff extended to full length. The teaching part of Sheena's mind noted her soul-sister was fighting with more than her normal skill; probably Kahva Kilanye was helping some, without fully taking over. But when she reached out to sense her sister's mind, she could only touch her ancestor's. Kahva Kilanye had taken over completely, Kahva Briton wasn't conscious. You'll pay for that Mondo, you hurt my sister!! Sheena's anger continued to build.
"Silver Ranger Power!" She morphed and pulled the Silver Sword out, slicing through three Cogs in the same motion. Their metallic structure couldn't stand up to her blade, forged from the purest metals in the universe and cooled in the Mystic Springs of Eltar, which had still retained some of their magic, even after their destruction.
"We're about ready to go, just get back here, and we can leave these metalheads here!" Billy called to her. He hasn't sensed the change, she realized, but maybe Kahva Kilanye can use Kahva's power to get us out. I just have to get to them is all. Sheena nodded and started towards them, carving a path through the Cogs. But for every five she dissected, ten more seemed to take their place. Sheena fought with all the skill and strength she had in her, then slowly noticed she was being forced farther and farther away from the others. No, I have to get control, I have to get to them! Sheena's anger and frustration ran higher, she couldn't even focus enough to use her ki-see training, she was merely brawling fiercely with the Cogs.
"Sheena!" Billy caught her gaze with his own, and she could feel his fear and panic as even more Cogs surged up between them. The foot soldiers seemed to be concentrating on Sheena, on keeping her away from her friends. As she realized that, a strange sort of berserker rage filled her.
"NO!" she screamed, demorphing suddenly. The others stared, not believing what they were seeing. A lone Cog had pulled out a small, hand-held device with a tiny red light on top of it, his hand hovered over the toggle switch under the light. His action drew her attention to the unfortunate Cog. "NO!" she repeated, grabbing him and throwing him into a full dozen of his brothers. The device flew out of his hands, landing near Billy, the little red light flashing. They could all feel a slight vibration in the room, but it was the powered down Silver Ranger who held their attention. "NO!!" Sheena yelled savagely a third time, and with a kick that put what she'd used to knock the door down at the bottom of the stairs to shame, she knocked another batch of Cogs against a wooden pillar. The impact knocked it down, and a strange, low rumbling sound filled the tower.
"Sheena!" Kahva Kilanye cried out. "Calm yourself, you're losing control!'
That was entirely the wrong thing to say at that moment. The nightmare, the memories being there conjured up, knowing that they knew her shame now, the Cog attack, all combined into a blinding red rage that sent her plowing into the Cogs that surrounded her. They fell back before her near-insane attack, but she kept following them, wanting only to tear and shred and render them into nothing but useless pieces of scrap metal.
Mortar and stone began to fall around them as the ceiling began to cave in. The pillar the Cogs had destroyed by falling into it had apparently held up part of the roof, and with it gone, a cave-in was beginning. Sheena didn't notice, the only thing on her mind was causing Mondo the largest Cog repair bill in history.
* * * "Sheena!" Tommy called after his cousin as he tried to fight his way towards her. "Sheena, what's wrong with you?!" Sheena wasn't listening, he could see tears in her eyes and on her cheeks, and a horror in those eyes that dwarfed anything he'd ever thought could come from her. He suddenly wondered what Billy and Kahva were feeling, both were linked to her...
He turned, only to see that the Cogs had left. They were all surging after Sheena, who was obviously having the time of her life destroying them even as the roof fell around her. At the twin looks of sheer panic on Kahva and Billy's faces, he turned back to see the ceiling collapse all around Sheena, and she was lost behind a pile of rubble and wood that had once been the ceiling.
"NO!" he screamed in strange echo of her previous cry. "No, it can't be!" She can't be -
"Tommy," a consoling voice floated over his shoulder, a comforting hand following it. It was Kahva Kilanye, still in Kahva Briton's body. "Tommy, Sheena lives still. If she were dead, I would have sensed the releasing of the Silver Powers."
"She was insane," Billy whispered brokenly. "Something... something drove her to insanity, or so close to it, it makes no difference. I could feel the pain inside her, and I couldn't help her. I tried... but she was pushing me away, I don't think she even noticed I was 'speaking' to her."
Kahva Kilanye was quiet, thoughtful. Is she listening to an inner voice? Maybe our Kahva? Tommy wondered. Why hasn't our Kahva resurfaced yet? "It was the same with me, she was pushing everyone and everything away. And now I can't feel her at all, but she's alive. I'd know if she were dead, we both would, Billy. So would Kahva. But something is wrong with Sheena, something I can't help. None of us can. Whatever it is, she has to get through it: on her own."
* * * Vile watched invisibly as the Cogs drove Sheena away from the others, and into what looked like a frenzy of madness. He was almost impressed as she dismantled Cog after Cog with her bare hands. "My, my, my," he muttered under his breath. "I can see why Mondo wants to control her so badly; I had no idea there was such rage in her. I like it."
He spared a glance for her companions, who stared in shocked helplessness as Sheena quite literally ripped Cogs apart. A low, vicious chuckle escaped him. "So, you fear for her sanity? You have no idea of what is to come for her. It will get worse... much, much worse... for her, and for you all."
He had no more time to indulge himself in tormenting them, even if they couldn't see or hear him at the moment. He had work... No, he corrected himself mentally. It will be a pure pleasure to destroy her once and for all. After all, the end of the Silver Line is fifteen thousand years overdue.
* * * "Sheena, please wake up!" the gentle voice urged her back to life. "Oh, if those things killed you, I don't care what it takes, I'll get them back!"
Sheena's eyes flickered, and for a moment, she believed the past twenty- five months had been nothing but an incredibly real dream. For the face she woke up to simply could not be in the universe she'd claimed as a home; it wasn't possible without Kahva, and Kahva was... Kahva... where was Kahva? She couldn't quite remember, the last thing she'd seen was the Cogs being all around them...
She sat up and groaned as her head spun a painfully merry dance. "Easy, Sheena," her friend told her. "You got hit pretty bad."
"I'll be okay," she told him. "I've got to find the others; Kahva, Tommy and Billy are still around here somewhere."
"They'll be okay without you for a while," he reassured her. "You need to rest still."
"I'll be fine," Sheena said harshly. "My friends need me."
"No, they don't," he told her just as harshly. "They can make it out of here without you. That's what you want, for them to be safe, right?"
Sheena was taken aback a bit by his sudden attitude shift. "Yes, of course, but I want to get out of here too! Hey, wait... how did you get here, Josh? Kahva hasn't been shifting without telling us, has she?" she teased a trifle.
Josh looked back at her sadly. "No, she hasn't. Mondo brought me here. I've been here about two days, I think. I can't keep track of time."
Sheena went chalk-white. "You've been here... and I didn't know? But..."
Her old friend sighed. "I think he's planning to get all your old friends, Sheena. But he could only get me to start with, I don't know why. He said something about keeping me here so you and the other Rangers wouldn't find out what he's planning so soon."
The Silver Ranger nodded almost absently, then regretted it as a sharp pain shot through her skull. "That must be why the Cogs were here; I'm glad I found you... you found me... whatever happened."
"I found you," Josh smiled, that old familiar smile. She knew it well. "Those Cogs were dragging you from under some rubble, I managed to get you away from them, and brought you down here."
Sheena glanced around, taking in where they were. She shivered as one of Kahva Kilanye's memories surfaced yet again; this was one of the cells the first Rangers had been held in during their imprisonment by Vile, in the lower regions of the palace. Silias' cell... Not the best choice you could've made, little brother. But at least Vile isn't here now.
* * * Tommy looked anxiously at the resting form of Kahva Briton, her eyes closed, breathing slow and relaxed. When she opens her eyes, who are we going to get? Will Kahva be conscious, or will Kahva Kilanye still have to stay in control? Just before she had sat her borrowed body down on the stone floor, the first Silver Ranger had told them Kahva was unconscious from the blow she'd taken, and that she had taken over the young woman's body to help them in the fight. It was frightening, because it meant the fifteen thousand year old spirit had used up nearly all of the energy she'd absorbed from Sheena, and they weren't sure if she could use Billy or Tommy's. So she had sat down to rest, so they both could recover. Billy had powered down and was dealing with the events the only way he knew: he was trying to find out just what had caused the cave-in, and if there was a way to get through or around it. Tommy walked over to him, hoping there was a way he could help. I hate this, I feel useless! He looked at his communicator, they'd found out after the fight that they couldn't contact the Power Chamber. Mondo's sent a monster down, I bet. He's predictable that way. Send a monster when they're not at full strength. Hope the others are doing ok, we're going to be here a while, I think.
"Any change?" Billy asked without even looking up from his scanner. He'd heard Tommy approach, and as he looked into the demorphed Red Ranger's eyes, he could feel his worry.
"Not yet, she - they - man, this is confusing... are still resting. I hope they're going to be okay. Any news here?" Billy nodded, a tight, grim smile covering his features.
"This was a trap from the start. Kahva said she sensed Vile, right before everything went nuts. I'm willing to bet that he was the one who left those marks on the that tree in the park. He spied on us, knew what we were planning, and set this trap. Look here," he said, calling up the summary of the scanner's log of their trip through the palace for Tommy to see. "There have been Cogs all over the place, trying to mask themselves, but the scanner did pick up on their energy as traps. We avoided areas that showed up as traps, thereby avoiding the Cogs. They didn't start moving until the hallway before that last room we were in."
"Where the robot was," Tommy finished. Though he didn't have the link with Billy that Sheena did, he had known Billy long enough to realize they were feeling the same thing: Kahva Briton had been hurt trying to help both of them, and that wasn't easy for them to accept. Tommy looked at their friend sitting on the floor and sighed. "She's pretty tough. After everything that has happened to her this past month, she still fights Cogs if they show up around her, she's shifted some of us out of a couple of tight spots, she gave that robot a hard time downstairs..."
"And she kept the Cogs away from me so I could morph. And what thanks does she get? A cut hand, knocked unconscious, and Sheena's missing. She doesn't know it yet, but when she wakes up, she'll know instantly." Tommy moved to place a calming hand on Billy's shoulder, the Sapphire Ranger was shaking slightly with frustration and anger. "It's not fair, she's not a Ranger!"
"That sounds like Sheena talking," Tommy smiled a little. "No, she's not a Ranger, but she would make a good one, I think. But there aren't any other Ranger powers floating around, as much as I wish there were."
"If wishes were horses, then pigs could fly," Billy recited the old rhyme. "Yeah. Like we keep trying to tell Sheena, Kahva knows the risks, and she doesn't take them lightly. She avoids battle whenever she can, so she won't be in our way. Still doesn't change the unfairness of her getting hurt when she's helping us." Tommy couldn't disagree, he felt the same way. After a few moments, Billy spoke again. "I think Kahva's shifting us in here did just what it was supposed to do, it kept us from being noticed for most of the time, right up to just before the robot. We must've tripped a silent alarm, because the log shows the Cogs moving shortly after that. They got into place and waited to ambush us."
"Waited for a signal from Vile. He would've been able to trap all of us together if not for the cave-in."
"No, that was deliberate too. Look here," Billy pointed to the remains of the wooden pillar. "For one thing, this wood is too new. It was put in here recently. I found what looks like part of a stone pillar in the rubble, I believe it was the original pillar. And for the other," he said, picking up the remains of the device one of the Cogs had held, "this looks to be a remote control for a detonator. Remember that rumbling sound? The wood pillar is charred in places, like it was burned,"
"From an explosion. And the Cogs were trying to keep her away from us, it looked like. They wanted Sheena, all of this was to get Sheena... why? If this is Master Vile's doing, why?"
"That's the million-dollar question. And there's something else to consider. We fought Cogs, not Tengas. That can only mean one thing: Mondo and Master Vile are working together."
* * * "No progress yet, Zordon," Alpha reported. "I can't break through the communications barrier, or the teleportation barrier." Alpha sounded more worried than usual, and his tone did not slip by Zordon.
WHAT IS IT ALPHA? WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND? Alpha sent his readings to him, and Zordon didn't like what they showed anymore than Alpha had. Jason's voice over the communications speaker brought their attention back to the planetside emergency.
"Zordon, Alpha, this thing is wearing us down! Any luck yet with the others?"
NOT YET JASON. WE STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CONTACT THEM, OR BRING THEM BACK. ALPHA HAS PICKED UP ON STRONG SURGES OF ENERGY, THOUGH. SOME OF THE SURGES ARE MECHANICAL, SOME ARE SURGES OF DARK MAGIC.
"Dark magic? As in Rita and Zedd's old traps?" Kat's voice broke in.
WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT YET, KATHERINE. WE ARE STILL PICKING UP THEIR LIFE SIGNS, THEY ARE ALIVE. Jason knew his old mentor too well, he could tell Zordon was holding something back, but didn't want to worry them in battle. Surreptitiously he tapped into the Power Chamber's sensors and scanned the information Alpha had discovered.
"Keep us posted, Zordon. If we have to take the Zords to the Lunar Palace, we'll do it." Jason signed off and looked skyward briefly. The information he'd read replayed in his mind: the Silver Power had fluctuated wildly, then shut down. And a separate life sign, Kahva's, had been gone from being identifiable to something not quite hers. "Let's take this thing down, guys!" Jason called to his teammates in their Zords. We've got to beat this thing and find a way to get up there, something is seriously wrong. As he fought alongside the other Rangers, his mind kept going back to his friends on the moon, wondering what was going on, and if they would be able to help them in time.
* * * "Billy?"
Both Rangers looked up from their searching at the sound of Kahva's voice - their Kahva. "You okay, Kahva?" Billy asked as he rushed to her side, Tommy on his heels. She smiled, her voice was subdued, still sounding drugged, but more so than before.
"I was afraid the Cogs had gotten you, but right before I passed out, I could feel Kahva trying to take over. From what she tells me, she was able to, and you were able to morph."
"Thanks to you. Are you okay?" he asked again, but she still didn't answer. Billy wondered if she was coherent enough to understand him.
"And Sheena's in there," her smile fading with her voice. "I messed up. I should've backed off, I should've picked up on how uncomfortable my coming along made her..." Before Tommy or Billy could reassure her, her eyes closed, then reopened with the light of Kahva Kilanye.
"She didn't mess up!! Sheena understood she wanted to go, understood completely the reason why once you were channeled. Kahva's the whole reason we got as far as we did, her shifting us into the palace kept us from being detected for so long. She helped me, she helped Tommy -"
"But she wasn't able to help Sheena. I'm trying to help her understand, Billy," the first Silver Ranger told him. "But she knows what I saw now, and it hurts her as much as it did us when it happened. She's still feeling that maybe things would have turned out for the better if she hadn't come. It's more from not being able to help Sheena right now, I think she's understanding a little better, though she feels a bit helpless right now."
"We all do. Billy and I haven't been able to find a way around the cave-in yet." Tommy studied Kahva's face, the spirit's voice was weaker than before. "Are you going to be able to stay?"
"I don't know, I think maybe so, but I'm being pulled away by something..." Kahva's eyes shut and reopened, their Kahva's drugged sounding voice was back, and filled with urgency. "I'm losing her, something's pulling her away. She's fading... her body..." This time when Kahva's eyes closed, they didn't reopen. Billy paled, then stared hard at the body of Kahva Kilanye.
"Has he?" Billy grabbed the scanner and quickly checked the corpse. "Vile's removed the spell, the body has started to decompose, get the generator Tommy!" The Red Ranger grabbed it from the pack he'd carried it in, it had been forgotten in the fight, and the search after the cave-in. A minute later Billy had it running, a soft hum emanating from within it. "Decomposition halted, there's not much damage, thank goodness."
"Thank you Billy, Tommy. If my body perishes here, my spirit will be trapped in these walls for all eternity; I won't have the strength to contact anyone, not even the Rangers who passed on after my death, much less leave this place." Kahva Kilanye was back, her voice a little stronger, and now with a different kind of need to it. "Please sit, there is much you need to know, and I may not have time to tell you later. Most important right now is rescuing Sheena, but there are things both she and Kahva need to know. I'm trying to have Kahva rest now, she'll need her strength later to shift you all out."
"Are you sure you're up to this?" Billy asked, but he and Tommy still sat down as she had requested.
"I am sure that I need to tell you both, and that you need to tell Sheena of this. I will make sure Kahva has the knowledge." She paused, as if gathering the strength to accomplish one last mission. "As you know, one reason Kahva felt drawn to come here is because I was asking her to come. She didn't know that I was asking her, she only knew that she felt she needed to come. But she would've felt that way even without me, for our families are connected."
"Yeah, she and Sheena are as tightly connected as Sheena and I am. I'm pretty sure I'm even connected to Kahva through Sheena, though we haven't really tested that theory."
Kahva shook her head. "It goes beyond that Billy. When I was young, not yet a teenager, during the time Master Vile was trying to kill all of Elysia's family, to get back at them and Zordon, I helped two of Elysia's great-nephews escape Vile's men. Their father, her brother Seth's son, was very grateful, he told me that our families would always have a very special connection. So you see, because of what happened back then, Sheena and Kahva are drawn to each other through their blood. But I don't think even Elysia's nephew suspected a connection this strong would ever be made. He did say we would always know each other though, by our rings. Look at my hands, both of you." Billy and Tommy turned to look at the corpse preserved in the generator's field, looking at the rings on her hands. Just like Sheena, she wore two silver rings, one on the forefinger of each hand. On her right there was a ruby, encircled by hearts, on the left, a moonstone with stars, a crescent moon, and a comet.
Billy frowned, "But Kahva doesn't have rings like that."
"I know, that is a mystery. I know from being here in her, with her, that she doesn't remember ever having rings like those. There are many things about Kahva that remain to be discovered."
"Billy may be following you here, but I think I'm a little lost, Kahva... man, this is weird, both of you here like this is a little too much for me to keep up with."
"It's all right Tommy," Kahva Kilanye assured him. "The rings are a symbol not only of the Silver Power, and the first-born female in each generation of the Silver Line, but of a bond of friendship made long ago, between myself and Elysia's nephew. Between our families. I have even been helped by Elysia herself."
"What? She died before you were born, what do you mean?" As he had been over a year ago in Mondo's dungeon, Billy found himself fascinated by Kahva's story-telling. The look on Tommy's face told him he was thoroughly engrossed as well.
"In her spirit form, she was able to know I was searching for my chosen heir. Elysia knew I couldn't be there at the moment of Sheena's birth, that my attentions had to be with another of my line to see if my heir would be there, so she was present at Sheena's birth. She wasn't strong enough to stop Vile, but Elysia, without Vile's knowledge, was able to use most all of her remaining energy to alter Vile's spell. She made sure that Sheena ended up on the same world as her own descendants, not in one of Vile's dark dimensions. She was even able to make sure she would be on the same continent her line had lived on, which ended up placing Sheena and Kahva only a few hundred miles apart from each other. She knew it was only a matter of time before their blood would draw them closer." Billy and Tommy stared wide-eyed at each other, the unspoken question that had haunted them for a month had just been answered. Deliberate action, not chance, had put the girls in the same dimension, and so close to each other.
"Elysia found her last descendant, your Kahva Briton, the one the essence and her gifts had gone to," Kahva continued, her voice getting softer, slightly weaker from the effort of telling them what they had to know. "Sheena and Kahva were by that time, and by happy accident, in the same town." Kahva smiled slightly at Billy. "Sheena has also had a trial, similar to yours, Billy, to determine if she were truly worthy of the Silver Power, though she does not realize it. It was after Sheena's trial that they met. They've been friends ever since. They would've been friends even without their blood, I know this by being here with Kahva now, and because I know my heir. They truly are soul-sisters, that will never change. Blood could not stronger or closer sisters make. Please, tell Sheena of this, and do not let Kahva blame herself for what has happened, which is what she is doing now. This could not be helped. I needed her here, and she also had the right to be here, even if I had not needed her. Be ready to help Sheena deal with her demons, I fear she too is blaming herself for things she cannot control." Kahva sighed tiredly, her voice sounding with all fifteen thousand exhausting years of searching for her chosen heir. "Now, we must both rest for a few moments, I must not draw too much of Kahva's energy, for she is giving it too willingly to me. We will both need to be strong, for we both sense something cold and malevolent here, it is Master Vile, I'm sure of it. Billy, Tommy... you must find Sheena, and quickly." With that, she closed her eyes, and both Kahvas rested.
"I only hope we can find her," Billy said softly.
Tommy looked at Billy, "What did she mean, 'the one the essence and her gifts went to'? What essence?"
Billy shrugged, for all the answers they had now, it seemed they had been left with even more questions than before. "As she said, there are many things about Kahva to be discovered. I get the feeling that's going to be one of them. Come on, let's see if we can find a way around the cave-in. Like Kahva said, we've got to find Sheena." As they resumed their search, Billy reached out mentally, hoping to somehow contact his wife. He kept it up, even though he received no answer from her.
I love you Sheena, and I'm going to get you out of here.
* * * Sheena glanced at her friend. Her head ached horribly, she hadn't been feeling well to start with. A night filled with nightmares and no sleep did nothing for her state of mind. Then nearly going insane and getting hit with a half-ton of stone and mortar, after already being mentally tormented by the confession she'd made about Mondo beating her...
"Sheena?" Josh asked gently. "What's wrong? You look worried."
"I'm concerned... Tommy, Kahva, Billy," she'd already told him of their mission. "I need to get to them."
"If they're still alive," Josh said darkly.
"What do you mean?" Sheena stared at him. "They're still alive. I'd know if they weren't."
"How?" he raised an eyebrow. "How could you know? How can you be sure?"
"I'm linked to Kahva and to Billy," she explained. "We're a part of each other. I'd know if they were... if anything had happened to them."
"Then try to sense them, to reach them, or whatever it is you do," Josh suggested. Sheena took a beep breath, closed her eyes, and reached out with all her heart towards Kahva and Billy. All the blood drained out of her face as she met only darkness with her mind.
"I can't feel them," she whispered, turning away from Josh "They're not... there."
Behind her, Josh smiled thinly, then said, "They were there when you brought the ceiling down on that other room. They're probably dead.
"That would be why I can't reach Kahva or Billy," Sheena whispered. Her heart ached with a sudden pain. Her sister, her husband, her cousin... dead. How? It... it's my fault. "Because I lost control."
Josh nodded. "Sheena, you aren't needed here anymore. You've killed your whole family. Do you think the Rangers will want you back now?"
Sheena was in a state of shock. Her head throbbed and she couldn't seem to think straight. She could hear that small voice in her mind again, insidious and hateful. All you've worked for in this world is gone. Everything is gone that kept you here: your love, your sister, your cousin. The Rangers won't want you as one of them, much less their leader, once they find out what happened.
"Sheena," Josh's voice was low and persuasive. "Mondo's going after our other friends. They need you to protect them, like you couldn't me, or Kahva, or any of the others."
Sheena wasn't consciously listening, but her friend's voice sunk into her brain and heart. "I tried to help them."
"You failed from here," she heard him say. "But at home, you could protect them."
Sheena struggled with what he was saying. She could still hear the voice. There is nothing here for you. If you remain here, you know you will go to Mondo in the end. Your true heart is evil, and you know it. The only chance you have is to go home. Back to the world you grew up in. You may... and will... turn to evil in the end, but you will still have saved your so-important friends... maybe...
"No," she hissed under her breath, more to the voice than to Josh as she turned back to him. "This is my home. This is where I belong."
"Are you so sure?" Josh asked suddenly. "Your whole family here is dead. Zordon will strip you of your powers once you return, if you return. If you go home, you can keep your powers and your friends. They're all you have left.
Sheena deflated visibly. She knew Josh was right. She'd killed her friends, her family, and all because of her loss of control. She sank to the floor and buried her face in her hands, sobbing. "Josh... how can I face the other Rangers? Jason, Adam... oh, sweet Goddess, Kat... how can I tell her Tommy's dead?"
She was practically screaming as she spoke. She collapsed back into tears, and found Josh there, as he had always been, the shoulder to cry on. She leaned against him, crying with all her heart. "Oh, Josh," she whispered brokenly. "I can't leave... but I can't stay either."
"You're not needed here, Sheena," Josh whispered into her ear. "You are needed at home, though."
Sheena nodded. "How can I get home, though? Kahva's... Kahva's dead... I am certainly not going to ask Mondo to build me a device to send me home, either!!!"
'I think I have a way," Josh smiled a little smile.
* * * "This is taking too long!" Billy exclaimed softly. To him, it seemed like they had been searching the rubble for hours on end, trying to find a way through it or around it. Or better yet, some sign of Sheena. But he and Tommy hadn't been able to find anything, and the scanner Billy had been using died minutes earlier, its power pack having been damaged in the fight and subsequent cave-in.
"You can still sense her though, right?" Tommy asked hopefully.
"Yes, but..." Billy sighed. "Every time I try to contact her, it's like I'm being shoved back, pushed away from anywhere she might be. I don't have the strength or ability to force my way through. Whatever it's going to take to reach her, I don't have it. All I know is, ever since she woke up, she's been in pain, a lot of pain. And she's extremely upset, but it's not so much physical pain, or physical upset, it's something mental, emotional. But unless I can reach her, or Kahva can," Billy looked at the still apparently resting form of their friend, still under the control of Kahva Kilanye's spirit, "I don't know what that something is. It's what is keeping me away, I'm sure of it, it's keeping me from 'speaking' to her." To admit he couldn't contact his own wife, the love of his life, was nearly heartbreaking for Billy, only his determination to find her kept him together.
Tommy clapped a hand on Billy's shoulder. "We're going to find her, no matter what. I promise you that, Billy." Tommy looked at the stone and mortar wall they had been searching. "We've been at it for nearly a half-hour, any ideas on a new approach?"
"That's all? Seems like an eternity," Billy sighed. "We can't get around it, we can't get over it, our only option seems to be to try and go through it, unless there's another way around it, such as access from downstairs. That may be the only way we have of getting to her, if she's not under the rubble..." Billy's voice trailed off, he couldn't bear to think of his wife trapped under the huge pile of stone and mortar. "No, she's not under the rubble, I refuse to believe she's under this stuff. She's on the other side of it, somewhere."
"Maybe we should morph and blast through." Billy shook his head at Tommy's suggestion.
"Only as a last resort. We don't know how unstable the roof is now. If we start blasting away at the rubble, we could bring the whole roof down on our heads." Kahva stirred just then, and all thoughts of searching were temporarily banished as they rushed to her side.
"I still cannot contact her, neither one of us has been able to. We are being blocked by something evil," she softly said. Though it was Kahva Kilanye talking, Billy could've sworn he heard a trace of Kahva Briton's voice slip through. If she's right, and we are dealing with Master Vile, it looks like he's trying to finally get rid both Silver Rangers at one time. What are we going to do?
Perhaps one or both Kahvas could sense him, for Kahva Kilanye spoke ever so softly, but firmly to Billy, "We will find her, Vile will not claim Sheena or any of us as his prizes. But you, Kahva and I are all being blocked from reaching Sheena." Kahva sighed, she couldn't hide the fatigue in her voice anymore. "My strength is limited since my body is still here; if there were another, one who wasn't... perhaps they could get through to her."
Billy's eyes widened at that suggestion. "Another ghost? But who? I mean, who else could be strong enough to get through to Sheena in the mental state she's in right now?"
Tommy couldn't help but shiver at the thought of another ghost being called. "How could we get it here anyway?"
Kahva looked him squarely in the eyes, this wouldn't be easy for the Red Ranger to hear. "There is only one who has both the strength and the desire to help, I believe, and you must call him, Tommy."
"Huh? Me? Why me?"
"As Sheena is my most direct descendant, you are his. My son, Tilrak: the first Diamond Ranger. You must call him, Tommy. He may very well be our only hope."
"I don't know if I can do that, I - I don't have Kahva's ability to channel someone... do I?"
"Not exactly, no. But you are the only one who can contact Tilrak. We can help you contact him, and with your help, bring him here. You will not be channeling him as Kahva is channeling me, but you will provide his anchor. He is also Sheena's ancestor, I believe he is the only one who can get through to her." Kahva said no more, the choice was Tommy's. He trembled slightly at the thought of calling the ghost. What if I can't do it? He looked at Billy and Kahva, his resolve immediately strengthening. I have to do it, I have to try. Four people need me to try, Billy, both Kahvas, and Sheena herself.
"What do I have to do?" Kahva Kilanye and Kahva Briton took turns telling Tommy what to expect, with Kahva Kilanye doing most of the explaining. Billy excused himself to check out the floor below, still hoping to find another way to the other side of the cave-in. Several minutes later, blaster fire caught their attention, then the sound of running footsteps. Billy ran back in, morphed, shoving the heavy iron door they had all entered through earlier closed. A chorus of angry mechanical voices could faintly be heard through the door, kicking and scratching noises soon followed.
"If you're going to call Tilrak, do it now! We're trapped, and I don't know how long that door will hold the Cogs off." He was winded and alarmed, even the wolf design on his helmet seemed anxious. Tommy morphed as a precaution, then sat down beside Kahva on the floor.
"Let's do it."
* * * "No, I can't do it," Sheena shook her head suddenly. "Even if Zordon takes my powers from me, it's only right. If I caused their death, then I don't deserve to be a Power Ranger."
Josh gritted his teeth. This wasn't going to be easy, it seemed. "Sheena, it was an accident. You were out of control; I understand that, I've known you for years. Zordon only thinks about what's best, or what he thinks is best for the team. If you caused the death of two Rangers and your soul-sister, then he won't let you be a Ranger. He'd rather there be no Silver Ranger than a murderous one. He'll not only kick you out of the Rangers, he'll shut you off from everybody. He may even find a way to take the cabin from you." Josh stared hard at her, his eyes showing only coolness. "And how are you going to explain everything to Billy and Tommy's parents? Have you thought about how they are going to react, knowing that you killed their sons? What will David think, you've killed his brother!"
Sheena shook for a moment. She tried again to reach the others, hoping they were just unconscious, injured, but alive! Once more, she reached only blackness. A tear made its way down her cheek as she remembered her dream from the night before. It had been a warning, one she hadn't heeded. She'd lost control, let her dark side take over, the part of her that only wanted to destroy: and it had cost her the lives of those she loved.
"Sheena?" Josh laid a hand on her shoulder. "Please, come home with me. I have a way to take us both back to where we belong."
Something about that was wrong. Something about what he was saying was wrong, but Sheena couldn't put her finger on it. Her head felt like a thousand jackhammers were inside, all pounding at top speed. She could barely begin to think in the first place, much less figure out what was going on. All that was really getting through to her was that Josh was her friend, he'd never lie to her or try to hurt her.
"I... I don't know," she whispered. "My head hurts so much! Something's wrong with me, I shouldn't be hurting like this..."
"You probably got hit on the head when the ceiling fell in," Josh stroked her head gently, trying to soothe her pain. Sheena relaxed into the minor massage, and slowly the headache eased just a trifle. "You're going to be all right... as soon as we get you home."
Sheena nodded, wincing as the pain flared through her head at the movement. "I want to go home, Josh. How can we get there?"
Josh gently pushed her into a sitting position against the wall and moved out of her sight. While he was gone, Sheena closed her eyes and wept a few quiet tears for those she loved. How could this mission have failed so badly? They were just coming up here... to... what were they up here to do?
"What does it matter?" she mumbled under her breath. "I'm going to go home... I've been here too long... lost what I loved..."
A few moments later, Josh was back with her. He had a small device in his hands that beeped and flashed rather nicely. Wonder how he got that... does it matter? She smiled a little. "How is that going to get us home?"
Josh smiled and pointed it at the doorway to the cell they'd taken refuge in. A push of a button later, and a strange greyish portal was there. "Cool!" she smiled. "And that's going to take us home?"
He nodded. "Right to where you belong, Sheena. Right where you belong."
* * * "Isn't there anything we can do to stop this thing?" The Rangers were being forced back step by step by the monster.
"Jason, can you fly the Phoenix Zord like you did back when we had to beat Decharger?" Adam called out. "If you can, we can form the Zeo MegaZord and blast this thing to pieces!"
"Why didn't I think of that?" Jason muttered under his breath. "Good idea Adam, I'll be back!" I'm supposed to be leading, but I can't even think of something as simple as that! I've been out of this too long as a leader, I'll be so glad to hand the reins back to Sheena. I hope they're all right.
He was rolling back to the Power Chamber in moments, and took a few extra seconds to sneak another look at the data they were getting on what was happening. The readings on Sheena's Silver Power were so low... he shivered to think of what must be happening up there. He spared a glance up to the sky, to where he could see the moon, just barely visible in the afternoon sky.
"Whatever's going on, Sheena, you can deal with it. I know you can. We all love you, girl." Something prompted him to whisper those words of encouragement, he had no idea why. But he did know it made him feel better as he headed back out in the Phoenix Zord.
"Time to kick some machine butt!" he announced his return to the fight. "Let's do it, guys!"
* * * Mondo watched the viewscreen, evil anticipation filling his metallic heart. It was amazing. Vile had done it! He couldn't wait to see how the look of pain that now gleamed in Sheena's green eyes would change to betrayal when she found out her 'friend Josh' was bringing her not to that other universe, but straight into the Machine Skybase!!
Then... oh then, how betrayal would turn to servitude as he broke her already weakened will and she once more was his willing slave. She had defeated several dozen of his Cogs; he now had a much better idea of just how destructive she could be when properly used.
The first thing she'll do is prove to her so-worried friends that she's still alive... but they won't like it very much when they see her again! That will change, of course. I think I'll have her give them the potion herself, to drive home how completely she serves me. By this time tomorrow, I will have my ultimate warrior, my field general, my inventor, and who knows just how many different things Kahva Briton will be able to do, if Klank can work around that protection in her blood? I think I'll have her saved for last, maybe breaking her down will make things easier. The last to go will see her fellow captives go before her... oh, the pain that will cause!! Oh yes, I will have them all, they will all be under my command... they will all be MINE. And all thanks to MY Silver Ranger...
* * * "Tilrak. Tilrak Kilanye," Tommy whispered the name over and over again, reaching out with untrained senses. Oh, man, this isn't going to work! How could it?
You would be surprised, descendant. You would be surprised. He looked up at the warm voice in his mind. Hovering above him, semi-transparent, was the spirit of a man. He appeared to be in his late thirties or early forties, with a great sadness in his eyes, and what appeared to be a uniform that vaguely resembled Tommy's own as the White Ranger. Awed, Tommy slowly took off his helmet in a show of respect to the warrior, catching Billy doing the same thing out of the corner of his eye.
Words were failing the Red Ranger. "I... uh... well... ummm... Tilrak Kilanye, I presume?" Tommy stared. The ghost smiled briefly.
Indeed I am. You have called me for a reason, I believe?
"Uh, yeah, we... umm... I did," Tommy could only keep staring, he'd never really believed it would work. But now, his own ancestor was standing... or floating... just above him!
"Tilrak, my son," Kahva Kilanye spoke, staring up at the spirit. "It is I."
Tilrak stared in his own turn, in what could only be sheer shock. M- mother? How can it be? How is it you are... are you alive? What is this body you have? What is happening here?
"This body is not my own, but I am graciously being allowed to use it temporarily. Hopefully I can explain this to you later, but for now our time is short, and you are our only hope." Kahva Kilanye swiftly explained why they had called him there, and what they needed him for.
Tilrak's expression turned from friendly warmth to cold hate. Vile seeks to destroy another of my blood? The one my mother died to send her powers to? This will NOT be! I will not let it happen!!
Tilrak faded away. Billy stared at Kahva. "He hates Vile. He hates Vile worse than anything I've ever seen, I could feel it in his voice."
Kahva nodded. "He lived and died hating Vile, for it was Vile who took his father and sisters from him, who forced me to send him to Edenoi to grow up, who I died to escape, whom he died fighting. There is nothing he wishes more than to destroy Vile utterly for all time."
"And we just sent him to help Sheena." Billy looked nervous suddenly. "In the mental state she's in... my God, what have we done?"
Kahva stared sadly at the pile of rubble, but in her eyes flickered the light of a faint, desperate hope. Billy and Tommy weren't sure which Kahva whispered the words.
"The only thing we could do." Tread softly, Tilrak. More than just Sheena's life hangs in the balance...
* * * "Are you ready to go, Sheena?" Josh asked, helping her to stand. She glanced at the portal, then back at her friend. She knew there was something wrong here, but what was it? Something just out of sight, just out of awareness, was warning her of something. "Your friends at home miss you, you know. Things haven't been the same since you left."
"Really?" She smiled a bit; she had missed them all so much. Her friends here... they... they were gone. Her heart spasmed with pain as she thought of Billy, Kahva, Tommy... all gone, all dead, all thanks to her. Oh Goddess, what have I done? I've broken Your teachings, I've killed my friends, my family... Josh tugged at her, drawing her attention back to him.
"Yes really, it hasn't been the same. We've missed you." Josh guided her towards the portal, it was almost as if he were dragging her... like the Cogs had...
Sheena stopped in her tracks. That was what was wrong! She remembered, they'd come up here to get Kahva Kilanye's body, and Cogs had attacked them. The hit she'd taken to the head when the roof had caved in must have given her partial amnesia, how could she have forgotten it?
"Sheena?" Josh looked a bit confused. "What's wrong?"
"I have to go back up there. Back up to the tower," she told him. "I'll leave here later, I've got to at least get Kahva Kilanye's body back to Earth, so the others can send it to Eltar for a proper burial. I can do that much at least."
Josh gritted his teeth in outrage. "They already took it back," he told her quickly. "They were able to teleport all the bodies back, now they're looking for you: to take your powers from you."
Sheena went white. How did he find that out? She hadn't wanted to believe him, not deep down. But... did she really have a choice now? Josh wouldn't lie to me...
Stop this outrage!!!!! A glowing, furious transparent figure appeared above them both. Sheena stepped automatically in between it and Josh; she'd allow nothing to harm her friend.
"Who are you?" she asked, ready to morph at a moment's notice. "What are you doing here?"
Sheena Devereaux Cranston, Silver Ranger, I am Tilrak Kilanye, your ancestor, and the first Diamond Ranger. The spirit stared at her in fury and a touch of wonder. Vile walks these halls, he is with you now, he seeks to destroy you, descendant of my mother and myself!
"Don't believe him, Sheena, this is some trick of Mondo's," Josh whispered to her. "He did something like this when I first got here, trying to make me think you were dead. If we can get through the portal, we'll be safe, it won't be able to follow us home."
Tilrak glared at Josh. You fill her heart and ears with lies! You are not her friend nor even one who will be a friend! You... you...
The spirit's eyes glowed a bit, and then in unalloyed rage launched an attack at Josh, screaming in wordless fury. Sheena pushed Josh away, and snarled, "Leave him alone, he is my friend! You're nothing but some trick of Mondo's! Leave us alone, stop impersonating someone of my blood!"
Tilrak turned to her, still furious. If you will not listen to reason, you may listen to force. Forgive me, descendant.
He plunged towards her and a moment later, was within her. Sheena stiffened as once again something tried to take over her will. "NO!" Her throat was raw from the primal scream that erupted from it. Hate and rage and pain filled her, from an outside source this time, not the endless tide of emotions that seemed to be within her at times.
And all of it directed at one person, one being. Whoever, whatever this was, they existed only to do one thing: destroy that which they hated.
Sheena couldn't take it anymore. "Get out of me!" she snarled, forcing the ghost away with all her might. Tilrak took shape again, and if he had been alive, he would have been breathing heavily with shock.
You are strong, Silver Ranger, and I am glad of that strength. I will not, cannot harm one who shares my blood, my mother's power, and my mother's features. I have seen why you believe he who wears this guise of friendship. I cannot help more than this: remember your powers: all of them.
He faded away a moment later. Josh put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "You got rid of it, Sheena! You saved me."
Sheena turned to him, disbelief warring with concern in her eyes and heart. "He... said you weren't you..."
"Who are you going to believe, Sheena? Your best friend or a trick of Mondo's?"
At that precise moment, a pain tore into Sheena's head that drove her to her knees. Josh held her until the agony passed, then helped her back up to her feet. "Well, Sheena?"
She glanced at the portal, shoulders slumped. "I want to go home, Josh."
* * * Tilrak shimmered back into being in the tower prison. Tommy looked hopefully up at him. "Well?"
She is alive, but in pain greater than you can imagine. Vile has woven a spell about her that plays with her mind and memories, and she believes you are all dead, slain by her carelessness that brought the roof of this place down. Her heart bleeds with pain and confusion and shame. I... I fear I did not help her, I was overwhelmed with rage when I saw Vile with her.
Billy, Tommy and Kahva Kilanye all echoed the same phrase. "Vile is with her?"
Disguised as one she trusts and cares for. She does not know it is he, and he has drawn nearer to convincing her to cross a dimensional portal with him. She believes it will take her back to where she grew up.
"Vile would never do that," Billy breathed, wanting nothing more than to rush to Sheena's rescue at that moment. "He must have something else in mind."
"You're right," Kahva Kilanye spoke. "If he has joined forces with Mondo, his plans could be many. To trap Sheena for the Machine King, for himself, or who knows what else? Vile has sought out the Silver Line in every generation, some have barely escaped his evil, some have not."
"And we all know why Mondo wants her," Tommy sighed. His shoulder twinged in remembered pain; Sheena had done serious damage to the Rangers while under Mondo's control a year and more earlier.
I did what I could, my friends, Tilrak glanced at them all. But my rage overwhelmed my good sense. If I had been able to control myself... then perhaps Sheena would be free now.
"There's no need to beat yourself over the head, Tilrak," Billy advised. "Sheena's going to be all right; we have to believe that." I just wish I could convince myself of that. I need to get to her. She needs me. Sheena, I love you! Oh please, hear me, Sheena, we're all alive, we're all with you! Always!
Tommy looked down; if only he could help more. He'd only come because Kahva Kilanye was his ancestor as well; he was glad he had come for that alone, to 'meet' her once again. If only the rest of it hadn't happened... Sheena, cousin, friend, we're here for you. We need you, you need us, and we're always there for each other. That's what being family's all about... remember...
Within her own body, a spectator to the events transpiring, Kahva Briton reached out again for her sister, her friend, the only family she had in this world. She could feel something pushing her away, but it wasn't as strong as it had been before. It is Vile, Kahva Kilanye whispered to her. And more of his energy was going towards subverting Sheena's mind and memories to his will... he didn't have it to spare to block them. Keep fighting, Sheena, you'll make it! You've got the strength to do it! Don't let him win! We love you!!
Kahva Kilanye could feel Sheena's strength fading in and out. Kahva Briton and Billy were linked to Sheena, but in some ways, at some levels, Kahva Kilanye was Sheena. They shared blood, power, looks, memories. Sheena was herself, her own person, as was Kahva Kilanye, but their bond was far, far stronger and deeper than anyone suspected. If she had been in her own body, tears would have glowed in her eyes for the pain she knew her descendant was feeling now. As it was, she held those tears in, concealing even their existence from Kahva Briton. Remember what you are, Sheena, remember who you are! The power lies within you to break free of his spells, as it was to free you from Mondo's control! You are the Silver Ranger, you are my descendant, my heir, and I love you as none other in the cosmos can! Be strong!
* * * The Zeo MegaZord surged towards the monster, sword in hand. With one devastating blow, the creature collapsed, defeated at last. Jason took a deep breath, he had thought the fight would end. "We need to help the others now," he told the Rangers quickly of what he'd learned. "If we can."
Jason opened a communications link to the Power Chamber. "Is there any change in anything?" he asked.
NO, JASON. Zordon reported. THE BARRIER IS STILL UP, BUT WE ARE WORKING AS HARD AS WE CAN.
Jason closed his eyes as they returned to the Zord Holding Bay. Whatever's going on up there, you can handle it, Sheena. I have faith in you, my friend. You always said I was the best leader of the Rangers. That's not true. You are. You'll bring them all back safely. I know you will.
Adam stared at the moon. His best friend, his best friend's wife, Tommy and Kahva, all were in danger up there. There had to be something they could do, some way to get to them, bring them all back safe. Do your best, Sheena, you always have and will. We believe in you. We all do, you have to know that. I know you know that. Come back soon: all of you.
Rocky, for once, wasn't in the mood for a joke as he took in what was going on. Wish I could be there to help them. I don't know what I could do, but I'd feel better than just standing here, doing nothing. They need our help up there, and there's nothing we can do! I just hope Sheena can get through whatever's happening to her up there. I hope they all can.
Tanya closed her eyes, hoping against all hope that their friends would make it back. I want to be there with them, but we can't get through that shield. If Billy were here, he could do it... of course, that's part of the problem, he's one of the ones up there! You guys had better make it back to us, we need you all.
Kat fought back tears as she heard how Tommy, Kahva, Billy and Sheena were trapped in the palace. They couldn't be sure just yet of what was going on up there, but according to what they were able to figure out, the odds were fairly good Mondo was working with someone... but who and why were a mystery. Come back to me, Tommy. We haven't gone through all this just to lose you to some dumb Cog or whatever's up there. I love you. I'll love you forever. Sheena and Billy said it best. Together forever, forever together, always and eternity. That's how long I'll love you. Don't you dare leave me.
As one, the Power Rangers' thoughts turned to their friends on the moon. Their hearts filled with love and need.
And somewhere, someone heard them.
* * * As she and Josh headed for the portal, Sheena stopped once again. Something... something was teasing at her mind. Something else she couldn't put her finger on. Something she couldn't place. Something she had to deal with before leaving. Can it be? I have to be sure...
"Josh," she said softly. "Just a moment."
"What is it now?" His voice held an edge of impatience to it. "The longer we stay, the more likely it is we'll be found. Do you want to lose your powers, lose everything?"
"I... I feel something... I... maybe one of them is alive. Maybe Kahva... Billy... Tommy... one of them... could be alive." She reached out again, and this time the darkness was fading, falling back, one of them, maybe more was alive...
Then the darkness slammed down again. Sheena reeled in surprise, nearly falling over she was so shocked. "Wh... what was that?" she murmured. I know there was something, is something...
"It doesn't matter," Josh told her. "Let's go!" He had her by the arm again. Sheena shook it off and turned to the portal.
"All right, little brother," she sighed. It wasn't worth the fighting, she was too tired to resist. It seemed the darkness took her strength every time she tried to get past it. "Let's go home. Come on."
Josh smiled. "I'm coming, Sheena." Sheena stepped towards the portal, relief at giving in filling her. She was going back with her 'little brother'... going home.
She stopped where she stood. "What did you just say?" She turned back towards Josh, raising an eyebrow in query.
"I said I'm coming, Sheena." Josh looked at her curiously. Sheena nodded.
"Yeah. That's what I thought you said," Sheena backflipped away from the portal, landing near the back of the cell and didn't take her eyes off him for a second. "I don't know who you are, what you are, but I know who you aren't! You're not Josh!"
"You're confused, Sheena," he stepped towards her. "Of course I am. Who else would I be?"
"I haven't any idea," she told him, beginning to concentrate on something. "But the real Josh never calls me by my name when I call him 'little brother'. He calls me 'big sister'. You're an imitation: a good one, I'll admit that much. But not perfect."
Fire burned all around Sheena for a moment, a gleaming bright silvery fire that burned away the spell he had used to keep her from realizing the inconsistencies and lies he'd kept feeding her. "My ancestor Tilrak gave me the clues I needed to realize the truth. He hates Vile, and he attacked you. He must not have been fooled by your illusion. He told me to remember my powers, all of them, and one of them is this: the Silver Flame, to burn away all evil that I don't want associated with me!"
"Josh" hissed and a black glow surrounded him suddenly. A moment later, Master Vile stood before her, a sword in one hand. "You'll never escape here alive, Silver Ranger!"
Sheena stood frozen suddenly, her heartbeat accelerating to nearly twice its normal rate. She could feel the others now, could feel both Kahvas and Billy and Tommy all alive and all worried over her. But in front of her stood her familial enemy, the one who'd forced her into another dimension, who'd torn her away from her birth-family, who'd tried to deprive her of her birthright, who'd forced the death of her ancestor, who'd killed many of her family. She could only stare in shocked helplessness.
Vile charged at her, and though Sheena couldn't move consciously, she'd been trained too thoroughly in ki-see not to defend herself. A quick lateral thrust of her hand pushed the blade away from where it would've pierced her heart, though it did cut deeply into her shoulder. Sheena spat out an oath, then kicked Vile away from her, morphing in the same moment.
"If you want a fight, you're going to get it!" Sheena told him. "There's fifteen thousand years of my ancestors who have a score to settle with you, Vile!"
"Some other time!" Vile snarled, and was gone a moment later. Sheena shook her head, clearing the last cobwebs from her thoughts. In the sudden silence, she could hear the faint sound of Cogs from higher up.
"The guys need me," she muttered to herself as she headed towards them at a full run. "Time to do my job."
* * * "They're breaking down the door!" Billy yelled, he and Tommy pulling on their helmets at the same time. Tilrak floated near his mother's body, unable to fight without a body, but ever alert, in case he could help somehow, some way. Kahva Briton was once again in control of her own body, with Kahva Kilanye just close enough in her mind to help in the coming battle. "Kahva, get behind us, don't let any of them touch Kahva Kilanye's body!"
"If they want her, they'll have to kill me first," she gritted out, the fire in her eyes showing she meant every word. "We are ready," both Kahvas said, both of their voices sounding together clearly for the first time. The effect was slightly chilling, Billy shoved down the shiver that threatened take over his spine. Though he couldn't see Tommy's face under his helmet, the tiny vibration in his shoulders told him it had affected him the same way. A sudden double explosion surprised them, one came from the doorway, which was now a molten mass, the other from the cave-in. "We're surrounded!" Kahva Briton yelled, her own voice the only one sounding this time. Cogs were pouring in from both entrances now. "I don't see Sheena in there!"
That means they've taken her away, she's been somewhere else all this time... If Vile has harmed her, I'll rip him apart with my bare hands!! Billy launched himself at the nearest three Cogs, taking them down in one fell swoop. "What have you done with her?!" With the battle begun, they almost didn't hear one Cog answer Billy's question.
"She is the prisoner of the great King Mondo and Master Vile," it stated in a metallic monotone. "You are their prisoners also. Surrender, resistance is -"
"SHUT UP!!!!!" Kahva screamed, viciously decapitating the unfortunate messenger with her quarterstaff. The battle waged on, the three young people quickly surrounded by a growing Cog scrap pile as they fought on, driven by the need to find Sheena. But the Cogs kept coming.
Tommy risked a glance at his friends; Billy was struggling with a full dozen Cogs, Kahva fending off nearly that many herself, holding true to her promise: if they wanted Kilanye's body, they would have to kill her. He could tell by the fighting style that Kilanye must be supplying the moves and direction, but they would soon be overwhelmed. He couldn't watch any of them a second longer, as he found himself nearly buried by over a dozen Cogs. We can't last much longer... We tried, Sheena, please forgive us... So busy was he fighting the swarm of Cogs, he didn't feel the slight warm nudge in his mind... just before his world went black.
* * * "You had her, how could you let her escape?!" Mondo lumbered after the dark wizard with a speed Vile would never have thought possible. He whirled and pointed his sword at Mondo's throat, drawing the mechanical overlord to a screeching halt at its tip, still covered with some of the Silver Ranger's blood.
"Don't you dare to insult me, you metal misfit! How was I to know everything about her friends from that other dimension? I saw her dreams, I twisted them, I gleaned what information I could from them, and in one month I came closer to destroying her than you have in thirteen!! You claimed all along to be the expert on her, 'I could show you this, I know that' - phagh!!" he spat. "I, at least, have drawn her blood personally, if it were not for that blasted Silver Flame stunning me for a few seconds, I would have drawn more!!! Can you say the same? Have you dared to try and fight her? I think not!!"
Vile threw his sword off to the side in disgust, not noticing it nearly taking Klank's arm off. As the two overlords continued to blame each other for their failings, Klank carefully swiped off Sheena's blood with a rag, then pocketed it discreetly. If we ever do get her again, I want to make sure she can't possibly break the spell of the potion again. This sample of her blood should give me what I need. Klank watched his master and the overbearing wizard arguing, neither one willing to concede that they had both underestimated the Silver Ranger, and the love her friends had for her. Maybe I should also try something other than the potion, something she wouldn't expect... ah, that's it! I must tell King Mondo of this idea - when Master Vile isn't around. King Mondo wants the Silver Ranger for his own: and I will not fail him by letting Vile find out about what I have in mind.
Mondo cast a look at the viewscreen, cheered by the sight of the Red and Sapphire Rangers being overwhelmed by his mass of Cogs. Kahva Briton is holding up better than I would have thought, how is that possible? It matters not, she will fall, she is about to right now, then those two Rangers will crumble. In minutes, they will be MINE. "Vile," he said aloud. "Perhaps we still have a chance at our prize. Sheena will do anything to keep her friends from being hurt, I've come close to breaking her before," Mondo stated with satisfaction, remembering Sheena's earlier words in Kahva Kilanye's cell. "My Cogs will capture her friends, and we will have our prize." All I have to do is have Klank strap Kahva Briton down to his examining table again and Sheena will break once more! Maybe I'll even have him do the same to Tommy and Billy, but by threatening Kahva first, Sheena will do what she did a month ago: surrender. And this time, there will be no one to stop her from becoming MY Silver Ranger again: this time forever. With greedy eyes, Mondo and Vile watched the battle in the tower, each tasting their own sweet victory they knew was at hand.
* * * "They just keep coming!" Tommy heard Billy cry out. I'm not unconscious then? But why is everything black? It took the Red Ranger a few moments to clear the cobwebs. The reason everything was black was because he had over a dozen Cogs on top of him. I can't get them off me, I don't have the leverage... The warm nudge to his mind that he'd barely noticed seconds before came again, stronger this time.
"This is no time to lie down on the job, dear cousin," a welcome voice sounded in his ears. In less than five seconds, Sheena pulled the Cogs off of Tommy and hauled him to his feet. "We'll all catch a nap later, I promise."
"Sheena? But how -"
"Answers later, Tommy. We've got to help Billy and Kahva!" Tommy smiled at his cousin under his helmet, then unleashed a ferocious double-kick at a Cog trying to sneak up on her.
"What are we waiting for, then?" The cousins fought their way to Billy next; pulling, punching and kicking Cogs every which way. Sheena reached him first, yanking a Cog off of Billy's back that was trying to choke him. Billy whirled as he felt the Cog leaving his back, fists balled and ready to attack his new threat. Sheena casually caught his hand in mid-air, sparing a moment to chuckle slightly.
"Is that anyway to greet your wife?"
"Sheena? Sheena!! You're safe, I - "
"Wahoo!!" an excited shout came from behind Billy. "You stupid Cogs have had it now, the Silver Ranger's back in town!!!" Kahva was spinning and kicking and whacking Cogs with all her remaining strength and Kahva Kilanye's skill. Her voice revealed her fatigue, but you couldn't mistake its defiant tone: she wasn't going down without a fierce fight, and the sight of her soul-sister had given her a tremendous emotional boost.
Sheena grinned at Billy. "Can't let her and Tommy have all the fun."
"Lead the way, my love." Sheena and Billy fought their way over to Kahva, Tommy had reached her a few seconds before. The four young people slowly reduced the number of Cogs surrounding them, gaining some breathing room after several long, exhausting minutes. They finally got a chance to stop for a few precious seconds when the incoming Cogs found they were hindered in getting to their prey because they had to climb over the forms of the Cogs who had fought before them. "Kahva, I think now would be a good time to shift us out of here," Billy said without even looking behind him at the girl.
"Thought you'd never ask," she replied after a pause that lasted a few seconds too long. Billy turned and looked at her, she had sunk to her knees by Kahva Kilanye's body, winded and pale. "Everybody ready?" They all nodded, gathering close. She's not got the strength, she's fought the Cogs too long, it took us too long to get all together! Billy thought frantically. Even before Kahva could try to shift them out, Billy tapped his communicator, but they still couldn't get through Mondo's shield. "Let's go," Kahva managed to get out, clasping Sheena's hand.
Billy watched as a shadowy grey circle started to form around them, a sight familiar to the Rangers now. Please let her be able to hold it... He watched as it grew large enough to surround them all - then vanished. "I can't keep it long enough," Kahva gasped. "I need a couple of minutes to regroup." The Sapphire Ranger immediately pulled out his blaster and fired off three precisely aimed shots at the ceiling outside of the cell. Stone and mortar cascaded down on the Cogs attempting to scale over their fallen comrades, burying them: and also effectively sealing off the young people from any other exit.
"Think that will hold them off long enough?" Sheena asked, still holding her sister's shaky hand.
"It had better." A slight rumbling sound from overhead drew their attention. "But I may have started a chain reaction, I don't know how long the ceiling is going to last now. But it was the only way to keep them off of us." Billy knelt by Kahva now also. "Take a few seconds and try again, you can do it."
"No we can't," Kahva Kilanye's voice came this time. "We fought for too long, we've used too much of her strength and my own, there were so many Cogs... if only I were stronger, could give her a boost... I'm sorry Sheena, you wouldn't be here, none of you would, if it hadn't been for me."
"Hey, there are some things you don't have control over, and one of them is me." Sheena flashed a small smile. "Tilrak could tell you that, I'm not easy to try to control."
Kahva smiled, then a wild hope dawned on her face. "Tilrak... yes, that's it! Til, my son, you are much stronger than me, if you could help Kahva, give her the strength she needs, she could get us out of here. Can you do it?"
Tilrak floated silently above them, considering his mother's words. If she can receive me, yes, I think I can.
"Trust me my son, if anyone can, she can." Before the others quite realized what was happening, Kahva Kilanye's spirit left Kahva's body and reentered her own lifeless one, Tilrak entering Kahva even as his mother left. Kahva Briton stood abruptly, eyes wide with a wild, fiery strength and power.
"We're leaving," she stated flatly, pulling Billy and Sheena up with her, and the portal formed, opened and took them away in the space of a heartbeat. Scant seconds later, the first of the remaining Cogs broke their way through the wall of stone and mortar that had kept them from their intended prisoners. It had enough time to realize the young people had escaped with the first Silver Ranger's body before the ceiling caved in, filling the cell.
* * * "Ay-yi-yi, Zordon, they're back!" Alpha cried out happily as the familiar grey portal formed in the center of the Power Chamber. The Rangers backed out of the way as their friends took shape within it.
AND THEY HAVE HER BODY, Zordon smiled as he recognized the still form. It had been so long... so very long...
As the portal faded, a transparent form rose from within Kahva Briton and hovered near them. She crashed to her knees as this happened, too weak to stand. "Last stop, Power Chamber, everybody off and out, the Kahva Express is done for the day," she joked faintly. Sheena immediately demorphed and knelt by her soul-sister. "My brain cells are singed..." she mumbled softly as Alpha shuffled over to check the weary girl.
"Who or what is that?" came Rocky's strangled voice, staring at the waiting ghost. It looked an extremely little bit like Tommy, more an attitude than an actual physical resemblance, and it seemed so sad... And why did it come out of Kahva? What happened up there? He didn't need to look at the others to know they were just as surprised and puzzled as he was.
"Rocky," Tommy said as he demorphed, "and everyone else, meet my first ancestor, the first Diamond Ranger, Tilrak Kilanye. He was a lot of help to us up there."
No, I wasn't, Tommy. Tilrak shook his head. I let my hate for Vile overcome all else.
"And if you hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to free myself," Sheena looked over from where she was helping Alpha tend to Kahva. "It was the very fact you hated, that you could hate, that clued me in to what was going on. Vile said you were one of Mondo's creations, but they can't hate like that. Only something alive... or once alive... can do that."
As Alpha reassured Sheena her sister would be all right after some rest, the Silver Ranger headed over to where her ancestor still hovered. "I also felt something else Tilrak, when you were within me. I felt your love: for me, for your mother, for all of our family line. Love isn't even remotely possible for something of Mondo's." Shadows crossed her eyes. "Believe me. I know."
Billy pulled Sheena into an embrace and tilted her head so she had to look at him. "Sheena, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You know that."
Sheena sighed deeply. "Yeah, I know." She felt an incredible rush of relief fill her as she said the words. She realized now she did not have anything to be ashamed of. Mondo didn't have her, he would never have her again. She kissed Billy, then turned back to the others. "Once we've all had a chance to get cleaned up and changed, and when Kahva's up to it, we're going to Eltar." Sheena grinned as she finally got a good look at Billy and Tommy's hair. "You're both grey-haired now, you know."
Billy smiled and brushed some of the dirt and dust out of his hair as Tommy chuckled and started to do the same to his. "So are you. Kahva's the only one with part of her head covered, but her ponytail is completely grey." Billy looked at the cap he'd started to wear before they left, still lying on the console. "Remind me to wear a hat next time."
"Will do." Sheena smiled, then her eyes flicked to Kahva Kilanye's body, preserved in Billy's stasis field. "It's time to put my ancestor to rest... after fifteen thousand years." You're going home, Kahva Kilanye. You're going home.
* * * "This isn't happening!" Mondo and Vile stared incredulously at the viewscreen as Sheena and her friends shifted back to the Power Chamber. "You lost them all, Vile!"
Vile hissed in return, "I lost them? It was your Cogs who didn't get in there fast enough, who didn't stop Sheena from getting to them so they could leave!"
"This is all your fault, Vile! If you'd just kept Sheena down in that prison a little while longer, even if she had realized your lies, we would at least have them prisoner! But no, you had to run just because she threatened you with 'the vengeance of fifteen thousand year's worth of her ancestors! HAH!!! Some all- powerful evil wizard you are! Scared of ghosts!"
"I didn't see you charging in there to attack her!!! The Rangers tear through your Cogs as if they were rusty toasters, and all you do is sit up here and moan over it!"
"Hah!! All you did was wound Sheena... in the shoulder, that won't even take her out of the action for long!"
The arguments went on all throughout the night.
* * * "Kahva?" Tommy called softly through her room door.
"Come on in." Tommy stepped quietly into the young woman's room, getting his first good look at it since she had moved in. Photos from her old world were all over the place, in frames on her desk and dresser, hanging on the walls. They were accompanied by several photos from her new world, she had a picture of everyone, he was sure. Oddly enough, there were only three pictures that she herself was in, one of her and Sheena from the other dimension, one of her and Daniel taken at the wedding, and one of her and Daniel with Sheena and Billy after the wedding. Kahva sat up on her bed and watched Tommy; she had taken a few moments to rest after freshening up and changing clothes.
"Lots of pictures," he said, picking up the one of her with Daniel. "I don't see one of the whole wedding party, I know you were in that one too."
"Haven't found a frame I like for it yet. I don't look that good in pictures anyway, but I am going to find one for the wedding party if it kills me. We took one here of everybody too, I've got to find a frame for it also. I want those two pictures with all of us up in frames in here somewhere. And you didn't come in to talk about my pictures, Tommy. What's up, are we almost ready to go?"
"Almost." Tommy suddenly wasn't sure if he should even be worried about the young woman, she seemed to be all right. "Are you going to be okay? I mean, it was pretty rough up there."
"I'll be fine, we're teleporting to Eltar, not shifting, after all," she assured him with a smile. The Red Ranger wasn't sure how to ask his next question, how to get the answer he wanted. Is she really okay? Before he could try to ask it however, Kahva spoke up again. "Tommy? Can I ask a really big favor from you?"
Kahva sighed, staring at the photo of her and Sheena from their old world. "Teach me to fight. Please?"
"Fight? You mean you want to work even more with the quarterstaff?"
"That's not exactly what I had in mind. I definitely want to keep up my training with the staff, but I want to learn hand-to-hand combat too. Maybe judo, since I know a couple of self-defense judo moves already. But what happened today proves I have to learn something, and quickly."
Tommy shook his head in mild protest, kneeling at her bedside. "Kahva, you did fine up there, and besides, we can protect you, you don't have to learn something like judo -"
"No I didn't, and yes I do have to, Tommy. The only reason I held up in the two Cog fights was because Kahva took over my body while I was unconscious in the first one, and she pretty much did the same thing in the second one; she guided and directed every single move. She might as well have had full control. Mondo's not going to take it easy on me just because I'm not a Ranger, I'm more of a target because of what he thinks or hopes he can do with me. You guys can't be with me all the time, I might not be able to get out of your way all the time, and I can't count on a friendly warrior spirit to be floating around, ready to possess me and help me fight. I've got to be able to defend myself better, and I've got to build up my stamina. I can't count on a spirit to give me an energy boost in an emergency, either."
Tommy started to protest, he didn't like the idea of a non-Ranger thinking they had to fight, that they had no choice, but he realized instantly that unfortunately Kahva was right, she didn't have a choice. Mondo wasn't about to give her one. For as long as the metal overlord existed, he would be after her, to use as a hostage, if nothing else. "Tommy, the only reason we got out of there was because of Tilrak. My shifting ability is more mental than physical, but so much of my physical strength was gone after the fighting, and trying to maintain Kahva's spirit, I nearly lost her so many times, her energy was so terribly low... but the mental part, that was the hardest. When I got Sheena, Billy, Jason, Daniel and myself out of the Skybase a month ago, and did all that shifting then, I was physically exhausted and drained, but I was still pretty strong mentally. To be honest, it was the only way I could do all the shifting, I had just barely enough mental strength to focus and do it. If I had been physically stronger back then, it wouldn't have drained me as much, I wouldn't have fainted as much. But trying to maintain Kahva today, that drained me physically and mentally, I didn't have the physical strength to compensate for the mental drain. Tilrak gave me the energy boost I needed, he's the whole reason we got out." Kahva took Tommy's hands in hers, her eyes pleading with him for help. "Tommy, I need to be a better fighter, and I need to build my overall strength. We were lucky today, we can't count on luck to be with us all the time. I know now, more than ever, that I certainly can't count on it. I know Sheena, she'll think I'm pushing myself too hard, help me convince her, please Tommy?"
How can I when I'm afraid you're pushing yourself too? Tommy thought. But the look in her eyes showed him the truth of her words. No matter how much they all hated it, Kahva had to become a better fighter. "Okay," he sighed. "But don't push yourself too hard, getting hurt won't help you at all. As for judo, I think Jason would be the better one to train you there, that's more his strength than mine. We'll talk to him about it after we all get back from Eltar. Come on, the others should be ready by now." Tommy spotted Kahva's overnight bag by the door and picked it up for her, the girl following right behind him. "And you're stronger than you think, Kahva," he told her as they made their way to the main chamber. "That cut on your hand should remind you of that," he said, pointing to his bandanna still wrapped around her left hand. "It may have been the combined attack from you and Sheena that took it out, but you fought off that thing all by yourself for almost two minutes, did you realize that? It took Sheena and Billy a while to get my foot free. Don't sell yourself so short." Kahva slowed a tiny bit, absorbing that tidbit of information. Nearly two minutes? Surely I didn't fight it that long. As they entered the main chamber, Kahva spotted Jason immediately; he took her bag from Tommy and guided her into the room, placing his free arm about her shoulders. I still have to learn how to fight better, I have to get stronger. I just hope if I start training with Jason that Emily will understand. I think she thinks I'm trying to come between her and Jason or something, she's been acting so strange around me lately. Kahva banished the thoughts from her mind before Sheena could pick up on them, all this could wait until later. I wonder what Eltar is going to be like?
* * * "What is the name of this town again?" Kahva asked. Jason still had an arm about her shoulders, but like her, he was drinking in the sights of the Eltaran town. Kahva had to slip away from Jason in order to keep pace with Sheena, who was leading them all through the town.
"Ladiska!" her sister merrily called back over her shoulder. Of them all, Sheena was the only one who had ever visited Eltar, and she was almost like a little girl as she showed her friends around while the Council of Eltar made preparations for the long-delayed funeral of Kahva Kilanye. She literally bounced down the street leading to the Power Rangers Museum.
"Oh man, she loves this place," Tommy observed to Kat as they watched the Silver Ranger run ahead of them. Sheena had changed just a little since the events on the moon. Before leaving, she'd almost seemed as if she'd been hiding something from them all. Now they knew what it was, she'd told the rest of the Rangers just how close Mondo had come to causing her to serve him a month previously. It had come as a surprise to them all, but no one blamed her. They all knew how much she cared about Kahva, and as Tommy had put it, "Even if it had happened, we would have found some way to get you and her and Daniel away from him. But it didn't, and it won't, so don't worry over it." Sheena finally had forgiven herself, it appeared.
"What makes you think that?" the Pink Ranger asked dryly. As they drew closer to the Museum, people began to crowd around them a bit, asking for autographs. Kat turned to Tommy, "You know, I think I finally understand why we're not supposed to let anyone on Earth know who we are! At least onereason why, anyway," she giggled.
Tommy glanced over at Adam, who was beet-red at a few comments apparently directed towards him by a rather attractive Eltaran lady and her young daughter. "I think so too. Hey, where's Billy?"
"There he is," Rocky gestured a little ways ahead of them, to where four very attractive young women had the Sapphire Ranger surrounded and were oohing and ahhing over him. "Uh-oh... I think the real question Tommy, is, where's Sheena?"
Just as Rocky asked that, they saw Sheena, eyes flashing, heading over to her trapped husband. Just loudly enough so the women would hear her, "Excuse me ladies, but my husband and I have to be moving along now."
The women turned around, and at least one of them had an almost challenging expression on her face, until she saw just who had spoken. The other Rangers got the definite feeling she was about to say something rude to Sheena, who simply pinned her with a gleaming green gaze. "May I help you, ma'am?" the Silver Ranger said calmly.
"Ummm... no, thank you," the woman replied, hurrying away. Billy stared at his wife.
"How did you do that?" was all he asked. Sheena giggled.
"It's a female thing," she told him as she wrapped a firm arm around him. Kahva chuckled and Billy blushed as they both clearly heard Sheena's next thought. Any females who want to get a hand on you, Billy, are gonna have to go through ME: and the only time I'll fight dirty is if I'm fighting for you.
* * * "...And in here is where the history of the Rangers, from the beginning to the present is displayed, we pride ourselves in keeping everything up to date and extremely accurate." The museum guide smiled with pride and nervousness all at the same time. "This is truly an honor, we have never had all of the Rangers of any generation here at one time before, if you find anything that isn't correct, please, let us know. The curator, Alacor Polanyi, will be here as soon as the Council Of Eltar brings Kahva Kilanye to the Great Rotunda here in the museum, to lie in state. Please enjoy yourselves," she said, then bowed and left the Rangers and Kahva to explore on their own. In the museum, they received the same looks they had out on the streets, but in here, the citizens kept a respectful distance, allowing the Rangers to roam freely about in peace.
"Sheena?" Kahva quietly asked.
"Can I go the Council Building and find my room? People are staring, and it's driving me crazy," she whispered.
"Yeah, I know, but it's not everyday that they see Power Rangers -"
"No, they're staring at me; I don't know why, and it's a little scary. I'd expect it if I were a Ranger, but I'm a nobody, why are they staring at me so strangely?" Sheena stopped short at that, she had the advantage of having visited Eltar before, and she had warned the others they would be recognized. She hadn't thought of what Kahva's reception, if any, would be. Now, as she looked at the people milling about the museum, some quietly approaching the other Rangers for a moment, then leaving them in peace, she noticed for the first time what Kahva meant. Some of the people were staring at Kahva, and whispering amongst themselves, a few pointing at her as subtly as they could. It was hard to read their faces, but it seemed they recognized her as well, or thought they did.
"I don't know, but come on, you'll like the museum. Here, come with me, there's something you should see. Maybe there won't be as many people at this particular exhibit." Sheena waved to Billy as she ushered Kahva into a less trafficked area of the museum. After a few minutes, they reached their destination. "Here we are. This is the section on Zordon, they also talk about Elysia here, and the Mystic Springs." Kahva's previous unease seemed to disappear as they read the plaques, and listened to the narrator's voice on the hidden loudspeakers at each part of the exhibit. They told of how Zordon and Ninjor had started their training at such a young age, of their first meeting with Zordon's wife to be, Elysia, and of her family's own particular history. Her sacrifice to save her husband was viewed as a pivotal act in not only Eltar's history, but in the universe's history as well. Zordon's survival enabled him to form the first Power Rangers, and they had thwarted evil time and again ever since. There was a hologram of Elysia with Zordon near the end of the exhibit, and Sheena couldn't help but gasp. She knew from what Billy and Tommy had told her that Elysia had worn the same rings she did, that the first-born female in each generation of the Silver Line wore, and that they were a symbol of the connection between the two families. What surprised her were the similarities in Kahva Briton's and Elysia's appearances. Both olive-complexioned, both dark- eyed and lovely. Elysia's hair was shown shoulder-length and dark auburn, while Kahva's was nearly waist-length and so dark brown as to be nearly black, but with dark auburn highlights. Her eyes were a darker brown than Elysia's as well, a dark chocolate color that would seem black if the young woman were angry, which was a rare occurrence. I've seen her mad, but hardly ever angry. That's another way she and I are alike, we don't like to lose our self-control. But that's something we both have to learn: we can't control everything. I know I have to learn. Kahva usually stays so quiet, doesn't talk about her feelings... Sheena broke that thought off there, one day she would get Kahva to talk, really talk: she just had to wait for the right moment to draw her soul-sister out.
"I think the reason they might be staring is either because of how much we look alike, or most likely, because of how much you look like Elysia. You're not a duplicate of her like I am of Kahva Kilanye, but you do look like Elysia, more than I realized. You look like you could be her daughter, or granddaughter." Sheena studied Kahva's face. "I believe that anyone who has seen this part of the exhibit and looked at this hologram will know you to be of Elysia's line."
Kahva sighed, looking at the image of her ancestor who had sacrificed so much for so many, who had sent her powers into the future so they could be used once again to defend against evil. "I guess so. What's this?" she wondered out loud, spotting a plaque mounted on a granite boulder. The boulder was placed before a beautiful mural of a peaceful, sparkling springs, the waters surrounded by an exquisite meadow. "The Mystic Springs," she read, bending over the plaque. "This must be what it looked like before Rita destroyed it. It says that this boulder is from there."
As they stepped closer, the narration began, just as it did at every exhibit in the museum. A gentle voice told them of how Rina and Melantha had discovered the Springs, how they came to be named and aligned. They're honest about that, Kahva noted, having read the history of their discovery back at the Power Chamber a couple of weeks earlier. They don't gloss over what Melantha did and tried to do. Elysia's first meeting with Zordon and Ninjor was talked about again, and the accidental discovery by Elysia of how to transport the magical waters without their losing their power. After another minute or so, a hologram of two young adults appeared on the mural, making them seem to sitting at the water's edge. The narrator's voice grew even more respectful, if that were possible. "Zordon and Elysia were blessed with the conception of a child by the banks of the Mystic Springs, and were given this knowledge by the Springs itself, as well as the Prophecy Of The Child."
"What? 'Prophecy Of The Child'? I've never heard about this," Sheena found herself whispering to Kahva. Before her best friend could reply, a different voice took over the narration, presenting the Prophecy.
"In thanks for the service your family has given, the sacrifices made, and the bond that cannot be broken, we tell you that you have been blessed with a child this day, in this place of peace. Elysia, your child, and the children of your line that will follow, will be forever joined with us, they are a part of us and we a part of them, lifeblood and lifeblood, just as it was with Rina, so shall it be with you and your line. Your family and kin will always have the protection we have freely given, but you and your line are our blood, and we are yours, joined together forever. Remember this: there will be a trial of sorrow and pain, death and non-life. When lifeblood joins lifeblood, the circle will be complete, and a new dawn will be seen. The Child will have returned to right the wrong, bringing what will be dead back to life. This we promise you, Elysia and Zordon. Your sacrifice and loss will not be in vain, rather it will save those who are to come. You will know this time, by the return of the first and last of the past yet to come."
Sheena shivered at the haunting Prophecy, Master Madas' words floating back to her: "You shall return, Sheena, when the first and the last of the past come home here to Eltar, you shall return." I thought that maybe he meant us bringing back Kahva Kilanye's body, when I thought about his words this morning, but now... now I'm not so sure. What does this Prophecy mean?
"I see you have found the exhibit of your ancestor, my dear," came the narrator's voice, but from over their shoulders this time. Sheena whirled about, as startled as Kahva, to find a kind-faced man, most likely in his late forties or early fifties by Earth standards, looking straight at Kahva. "Elysia's features betray your lineage, my dear. I am Alacor of Eltar, though I am more commonly known as Alacor Polanyi, curator of this museum. I am of Melantha's line, from her brother's family. Zordon said your name was Kahva Briton, if I recall correctly?" He was matter-of-fact and straight to the point, but in a gentle manner, not a threatening one.
Kahva hesitantly took his outstretched hand and shook it. "Y-yes, I am. Umm, you're of Melantha's family line?" She relaxed quickly as she stared deeply into his eyes. Sheena was amazed at the sight of them, their faces spoke volumes in the span of seconds. There was trust, belief, family recognition and love flowing between them; on some instinctive level, they knewthey were family, though distant family, without anyone having to tell them so.
"Yes, just as you are undoubtedly of Elysia's," he smiled in return. "It is good to finally see you face to face, cousin."
"Yeah, I guess we are sort of distant cousins," Kahva laughed lightly. "I'm sorry, I'm being rude, I haven't introduced Sheena here."
"There is no need to apologize, I was the one who interrupted the exhibit, I startled you. It is an honor to meet you, my Lady Ranger," Alacor bowed to Sheena.
"Please, just call me Sheena. And it's my pleasure to meet the realcurator this time. I think the man who posed as the curator last time was just a fan who couldn't think of any other way to approach me." Alacor nodded and smiled.
"Apparently so, Sheena. Please, let me restart the narration, have it pick up where I interrupted it." Alacor went to the side of the exhibit and pressed a hidden button. As he rejoined them, the narration picked up the last line of the Prophecy, then continued with the first narrator's voice. It told of Elysia's sacrifice, and the formation of the first Power Rangers years later.
"For thousands of years, it has been thought that all of Elysia's family died in Master Vile's purge, but recently, an heir apparent has come forward. Whether or not this heir proves to be true, or possibly the Child of the Prophecy, remains to be seen." Alacor paled and immediately went to shut off the narrative, then proceeded to shut down the exhibit itself. Sheena couldn't tell who was more shaken, the curator, or Kahva.
"I am so sorry, that narration was to have been updated last week. We have had - interference - by well-meaning, but in my opinion, misguided and close-minded..." Alacor took a breath and smiled tightly. "There are some on the Council of Eltar who have been slow to accept that you are the last of Elysia's line, my dear, even though the scientific evidence provided by Zordon has been quite clear. I'm afraid that his hesitance in one detail has caused them to ignore what has been proven to be true, and rumor has started to spread."
"What are you talking about Alacor?" Sheena calmly demanded, clenching and unclenching her hand behind her back, hidden by her hair. "Kahva is the last of Elysia's line, her energy signature proves it. What hesitance? Zordon told us Kahva is of Elysia's family."
"Yes, of that there is no doubt, her energy signature and her blood prove her heritage." Alacor paused, casting an uncomfortable look at Kahva, who judging by her appearance, wasn't feeling much better than he. "Elysia told her brother Seth in a message that she was going to send her powers into the future, so they could be used again to defend against evil. She also told him she would try to send the essence of her and Zordon's unborn child with the powers; for she had finally understood the Prophecy. She felt their child was the one the Prophecy spoke of. But when Seth tried to talk to Zordon after Elysia's death, and tell him of what Elysia had done, Zordon wouldn't talk to him, he couldn't bring himself to talk of Elysia at all, it hurt him too much. I understand that it was only your discovery of Elysia's diary rods, Sheena," Alacor looked at her, "that sparked him to look at the message she left him so long ago."
"But one of the rods was damaged, and some of the information was lost. We know from it that Elysia sent her powers into the future, but nothing about an essence," Sheena replied. "Elysia found her last descendant, your Kahva Briton, the one the essence and her gifts had gone to," her ancestor had told Tommy and Billy. Sheena looked at Kahva, she was plainly in shock.
"You're saying... that I'm not me, I'm somebody else. That's what you think, isn't it?" Kahva softly asked her new-found cousin.
"Kahva, what has been believed for quite some time now, is that Elysia was successful in sending the essence of her unborn child into the future along with her powers. But you are who you are. Kahva," he took both her hands in his, "Elysia and Zordon's child had been in her womb barely two months. It had not developed a consciousness, but a few traits had formed, tiny things, like maybe the way you tilt your head, a few very small things like that. That is the way with Eltaran children. It carried their blood to you. But the one thing she tried to make sure the essence did carry, if nothing else, was your name. Any convictions you have are your own, someone else's have not been forced on you before you were even born, trust me. The essence merely strengthens, maybe even augments your personal beliefs. It is a part of you, it doesn't control you or anything like that. Had you been born without the essence, you would still be who you are, the daughter of your birth parents. The essence makes you Zordon and Elysia's child, but you are still the child of your birth parents as well. Elysia did not believe that one life should be erased, a life that was meant to be, simply so another life could come forward. She told Seth in her message that the essence would find someone of her line that should have had a child, but for whatever reason, had not been able to. Then the essence and her powers would go to them, hopefully carrying a name she cherished with them, and ask her descendant if they would receive the powers and essence."
"Ask them?" Kahva shook her head, things were getting a bit too complicated for her comfort.
"Perhaps 'ask' isn't the right way to describe it. The essence would make itself known, the descendant would feel its presence, and know of this. Seth and his family made sure that all of their relations, and those of us in Melantha's line as well, knew of what Elysia had done, so when the time came, if the essence and power came to one of them, they would know it, and know why it had come to them. We have kept the knowledge of Elysia's act alive for fifteen millennia. My family has always known through the years that the essence and power had to go to someone of Elysia's line, the Prophecy is clear on that. But after her nephew's family, Seth's son's family, was attacked by Vile, we feared the line had been destroyed. But we had always hoped... Kahva, I believed in my heart as soon as Zordon sent your image to us that you were the last of Elysia's line, I didn't need the tests and scans to tell me you were my cousin. Telvok has acted as an impartial judge of the evidence, and has decreed that you are the last of Elysia's line. Until the Prophecy has been fulfilled, however, there is no way we can prove you are the Child of the Prophecy, but he and I have been fighting to have your rightful mention entered here in the museum, that which we can prove, at least. But certain heads have taken Zordon's previous belief that all of Elysia's line had perished thousands of years ago as being written in stone, and not even his assertion of who you are has swayed them. They are the ones who scripted that last of the narration, but Telvok and I had ordered it changed, I don't understand why it -"
Any further explanation by Alacor was interrupted by the hurried arrival of the guide who had greeted the Rangers earlier. She curtsied to Sheena, then seemed to see Kahva for the first time and gasped, sinking to one knee in a deep bow. "The Child, she is here -" Kahva's eyes widened in alarm, but after a sharp look from Alacor, the guide immediately stood up. "I'm terribly sorry to intrude; the Council of Eltar has set up Kahva Kilanye's body in the Great Rotunda, but they are arguing over what ceremony to perform, they are not adhering to what you said had been agreed on at the Council Building -"
"If you will excuse me Sheena, Kahva." Alacor took off after the guide, plainly irritated by the Council's shenanigans. Sheena started to follow him, but stopped when Kahva didn't follow. "Kahva? You okay?"
"I need to be alone for a minute, you'd better go see what they're up to. Kahva didn't want a lot of arrogant and silly pomp and circumstance." Sheena nodded, if anyone knew besides herself how the first Silver Ranger felt about silly frivolity, it was Kahva. Sheena's ancestor had left the knowledge of what she felt comfortable with in a funeral service with Kahva Briton as a precaution. Looks like my ancestor was right, bureaucrats can be so stupid sometimes...
* * * Even if Sheena hadn't known immediately where the Great Rotunda was, the arguing voices would've easily guided her there. Besides Telvok, there were twelve other Council heads, and they each had at least one aide with them, fussing about and catering to their wishes. Alacor was trying to settle them down, but even with four of the heads apparently on their side, Alacor and Telvok couldn't get the others to shut up and listen. The other Rangers were there already, Tommy looked like he wanted to punch one particularly obnoxious Council head, a pug-nosed fellow who seemed to be the ringleader of the dissent, though not all of those who were in disagreement with Telvok and Alacor were necessarily completely on his side either.
"I must insist on having the orchestra play as her coffin is borne by the Council Honour Guard to her final resting place here in the center of town," he was saying as Sheena approached.
"She wants to be buried with her comrades," Telvok tiredly stated, he'd apparently been having this particular part of the argument several times over. Sheena impatiently shifted from one foot to the other for a few minutes, then angrily, but in a controlled manner, broke in.
"Excuse me," she called, waiting until she was sure she had everyone's attention. "I thought the arrangements were clear, my ancestor requested to be buried with her teammates, and for the ceremony to be a simple one." Sheena ended her statement with a gesture to her ancestor's body, lying in state in a simple, but beautiful glass coffin.
"Yes, my dear, I'm sure she did," the pug-nosed man replied. Several in the crowd gasped at the hint of disdain in his voice. This was the Silver Rangerhe was talking to!! "But you see, with someone of your ancestor's great prominence, certain protocols and traditions must be followed..." He continued to prattle on, naming various things that should be done this way and that, each glamorous item conspicuously having him at its focal point. No one noticed Kahva Briton silently entering the Great Rotunda at first, until Telvok's aide spotted her staring at Kahva Kilanye's body, transfixed. As the conceited Council head continued to come up with more grandiose ideas, she soundlessly walked over to the coffin, her silence hushing the crowd. Even the Council head stopped speaking, his mouth hanging open in shock as she lifted the coffin lid and gently touched Kahva Kilanye's hand. Kahva Briton stiffened, closed her eyes, and when she opened them, the spirit of Kahva Kilanye was in her, but hovering just outside of Kahva's body this time, to prove to everyone present exactly who was speaking.
"If I weren't already dead, your foolish nonsense would have killed me long ago," the spirit scolded the Council heads who had been bickering back and forth. She glared in particular at the pug-nosed Council head, a disturbing sight to the man, for though Kahva Kilanye's spirit form moved about and made eye contact while hovering just outside of her host's body, Kahva Briton simply stared straight ahead, emotionless and unblinking. "I made my wishes perfectly clear to my descendants," she indicated Sheena and Tommy, "yet after listening to my chosen heir you have deliberately ignored them. The frivolous arrangements you propose, Councilor," Kahva nailed him with a withering stare, "are suitable for a king, queen, or self-important overlord, of which we thankfully have none here on Eltar. If you wish to honor me, then honor my wishes, otherwise the Power Rangers will take my body this moment to where my comrades rest and they will bury me within the hour." The dissenting Council heads all stammered apologies except for the pug-nosed one, who seemed to be struck speechless. "Thank you. All I wish is to rest in peace with my friends, my body has been kept away from home for far too long."
The first Silver Ranger turned back to her body, but didn't miss the man's whispered comment to a councilor standing next to him. "As if this display of magic is supposed to make us accept this pretender," he hissed, trying to regain face with at least one other person on the Council. "She does not wear the rings!" The warrior spirit turned back to him and actually floated to him, while Kahva Briton remained motionless. "One last thing, Councilor," Kahva Kilanye said looking straight at the obnoxious man. "You are from Teltrich, are you not?"
"Well, yes, of course." Faced with the legendary first Power Ranger one on one, he seemed rather small and less sure of himself.
"I thought that the symbol of one from Teltrich was their miss-mated eyes, usually blue and green, or green and pale gold?" she inquired.
"My Lady Ranger, that was a genetic defect that has disappeared over the last thousand years," he replied.
"I see," she nodded. "So does the lack of miss-mated eyes make you any less a native of Teltrich?"
"Most certainly not, they were merely a symbol!" he declared indignantly.
"Then how dare you judge another by their lack of owning a mere symbol of their heritage, when like you, they are undeniably who they are?!" Kahva Kilanye was clearly angered by the way he had regarded Kahva Briton. "To insult her is to insult her family, who has served our world greatly, and sacrificed so much. You insult Zordon; if not for him and his brother, there would never have been any Power Rangers, and we would most likely be living under Master Vile's tyrannical evil rule this very day. To insult her is to insult my chosen heir, the leader of the Power Rangers, who is her soul-sister. And lastly, to insult Kahva Briton is to insult a young woman who I am proud to call my friend. I suggest you do not do it again." With that, Kahva Kilanye turned back to Kahva Briton, smiled and placed a hand on her face. "Thank you, Kahva Briton, daughter of Elysia, and Zordon, my mentor and friend. I am proud to share my name with you, and honored. I shall rest now, we both need to save our strength." A moment later the spirit was back in her lifeless body, and Kahva Briton swayed by the coffin. Jason rushed forward to steady her; after a few seconds she had her bearings again.
"You're welcome, and the honor is mine, Kahva Kilanye," she softly told the body of the great warrior. "I need some air," she told Jason, her face slightly pale and hands trembling. They had barely made it to the other Rangers before the Council heads were all clamoring about whose fault it had been for dishonoring Kahva Kilanye's wishes, but it didn't take long before the arguing turned to Kahva Briton's status. Most of the heads seemed to finally agree that she was of Elysia's line, at least, but while some immediately proclaimed her as The Child, the pug-nosed man and a few others proclaimed her a witch and charlatan. That did not sit well with Sheena at all, being a witch herself, and she was about impart a few choice words of her own at the inconsiderate few when Kahva bolted from the Great Rotunda. Sheena caught up with her before she reached the exit of the Museum. "Why are they doing this, Sheena?" she asked, her voice on the edge of tears.
"I don't know, I'll straighten things out, Telvok and Alacor will help -"
"Listen to them! They're putting all these fates and destinies on me, trying to stamp a mold on me... they don't know me, crap, I don't even know myself right now! I'm not the pretender, sorceress, savior, God or Goddess they're trying to make me out to be. I'm Kahva, why can't I be just Kahva? Why isn't that enough for everybody, why do I have to be something else?!" Before Sheena could say a word, her soul-sister bolted out of the museum, badly shaken and confused.
"Kahva, wait!!" Sheena was about to follow her when several young girls seem to come out of literally nowhere, all begging for autographs. Sheena cast a despairing glance after Kahva's retreating back. She wanted to go after her, but the girls were so insistent, and she remembered how she would have acted at their age if she'd met a real Power Ranger...
Her shoulder was twinging seriously by the time she finished signing autographs; Alpha had wrapped it well and put something on it to make it heal faster, but Vile had cut deeply into her with that sword of his. She still shook a bit at the memory; if Master Madas hadn't trained her like he had, she would have been spitted on that blade, and she knew it.
"Why Sheena, imagine meeting you here!" She turned to see Zimmer standing a little away from her as the autograph hunters scattered, chattering happily among themselves. She smiled a little as she went over to him.
"Hello," she nodded her greeting. "I rather expected to see you around somewhere, you said you were a fan of my ancestor."
"And now you've brought her home to be put to rest at last," Zimmer smiled at her. "Thank you."
Sheena shook her head. "My cousin, husband, and soul-sister were the ones who really did everything, I was... occupied." Nearly losing my mind and following the eternal enemy of my family into the Goddess only knows where!
Zimmer shook his head. "The whole mission would have never happened if you hadn't wanted to go in the first place, my dear Sheena. It is thanks to you that she has come back to Eltar." He reached out to pat her on the shoulder, and inadvertently touched her wound. Sheena spat out a few swear words as pain lanced through her again. "Sheena!" Zimmer looked at her, concern in his pale blue eyes. "What's wrong?"
"My shoulder," she winced, and told him in a few short, bitten off words what had happened with her and Vile in the Lunar Palace's dungeons. Zimmer's face twisted with disgust and rage as he listened to her.
"Truly Sheena, if I ever meet Vile, I will do all within my power to make him suffer for this injury to you," he promised her. "I can, and will, however, make certain that you don't have to suffer from it."
"What do you mean?" she asked; the pain was easing off now, and she relaxed a little. Zimmer said nothing, only reached over to carefully unwrap the bandage. She stared as he laid his hand on the wound and whispered a long series of words she couldn't understand or hear properly. When he removed his hand, her shoulder was as sound and whole as it had ever been. She flexed her shoulder, rolling it back and forth, without a hint of pain.
"Thank you!" She stared at him in amazement and gratitude. "Thank you so much, Zimmer!" She threw a quick hug around his neck and a kiss on his cheek. He seemed as surprised as she was when she stepped away. "Come on, I want you to meet the other Rangers!"
Zimmer shook his head. "I have other commitments at the moment, though I will be in attendance at the funeral. I will not miss the opportunity to see Kahva Kilanye at rest at last, after so many thousands of years. I am glad to have been of service, Sheena, and perhaps after the funeral, we will speak again."
Sheena nodded as she heard Billy calling her from within the museum. She turned to wave at him, then turned back. "Zimmer, I - where'd he go?" The space he'd occupied only moments before was as empty as Master Vile's soul. "That's strange." She looked around, trying to see if he were around anywhere.
"Sheena?" Billy asked as he joined her. "Is something wrong? Where's Kahva?"
"I think she went back to the Council Building, she was really upset. I'm going to go there and see if she's okay, I'm worried about her." Sheena quickly filled Billy in on what Kahva had told her.
"Come on, she might not want to talk, I've noticed that about her, but we'll at least be there if she changes her mind," Billy suggested. "Hey, your shoulder!"
Sheena smiled a touch. "You're not going to believe this. Zimmer showed up and healed it! Then he just sort of... disappeared." Billy raised an eyebrow; he still had a touch of uneasiness about the strange man.
"That was nice of him." Billy glanced around, and saw no more sign of Zimmer than Sheena had. "Let's go find Kahva, she could probably at least use someone to talk with, if not to."
Sheena nodded, and they headed for the Council Building. Neither noticed the chilling pale eyes watching from hiding, or the self-satisfied smile that spread across the greedy face the eyes were set into. "Well now, who would ever have thought that I would owe thanks to Master Vile? You've made my goal that much closer, I really must thank you... on the fifth of never, that is. I'll be seeing you again soon, Sheena my dear. You are mine now, I need only to claim you."
* * * Tanya stretched, yawned and opened her eyes. "Tanya." It was Tommy's voice urging her to wakefulness. "Your turn to stand guard."
The Yellow Ranger got to her feet. All the Rangers, along with the Council's Honour Guard, were taking turns keeping watch in the Great Rotunda over Kahva Kilanye's body. The watch had been instituted not only because of the honor due to the great warrior, but just in case Mondo or Vile tried anything at the last minute. "I'm ready," she said. Tommy's shift had just ended, and now it was her turn.
As she headed towards where the coffin was being kept, she heard a soft voice ahead of her. She hurried her steps to see who it was, no one should be there at that time of night, especially not now, of all times! As she was about to enter the Rotunda, a barrier stopped her cold. "What's this?" she murmured. She couldn't see it, but it was as solid as steel. I've got to get in there!
"You were my love and my life for so long, Kahva," the voice spoke. "And now you are gone. You were the one I wanted for so many long years, but now I cannot have you."
Whoever was speaking sighed. Tanya couldn't see who it was, they were only a dark figure hovering by the coffin. She couldn't move beyond the barrier, but she could plainly hear what was being said. "Though I cannot have you, there is another now. She will be mine very soon, very soon indeed."
The figure turned; all Tanya could see were eyes that burned with a strange, almost unholy light. He, she, or it, bowed mockingly to her, then poofed into nothingness. At that same moment, the barrier vanished as if it had never been. She ran into the room and quickly checked on the body and the other guard; everything was just as it should be.
"Did you see who that was?" she asked.
"Who are you talking about?" the guard raised an eyebrow. Tanya did a double-take, had she been the only one who saw the person?
"Nothing," she said, taking up her guard position, ready to morph at a moment's notice, should it be needed. Maybe I was just seeing things. It is late, and I am still kind of tired. Even so, they didn't do anything. It's nothing to worry about. The funeral's tomorrow, we just have to guard her until then. Then it'll all be over with.
* * * "I can't believe I actually wasted my time working with that metal misfit!!!" Vile's ship sped through space, he had not taken time yet to sit down, instead he had paced from one end of his spacecraft to the other, his Tenga crew doing its utmost best to stay well out of his reach. "If not for his bumbling, I would've destroyed both Silver Rangers, Tommy, Billy, and the last of Elysia's line!! I could have caused Zordon so much pain..." Vile had reached the bridge of the vessel yet again, but instead of continuing his pacing, he stopped in front of the main viewscreen. With a single bellow from the evil wizard, a Tenga rushed to pull up a visual image of Eltar, so Master Vile could see what was happening on the planet he'd tried to take for his own so long ago.
If he hadn't been so angry still at King Mondo, Vile might have actually shivered at the sight of Eltar's planetary defenses, not to mention the massive gathering of galactic warriors for the side of light and good. He watched as first Sheena, then Kahva Kilanye herself dressed down some of the Council heads. He had to laugh, he'd dealt with pompous bureaucrats himself, he rather enjoyed the sight. Then he remembered just who was doing the dressing down, and he roared, smashing the screen with his fist.
"One day, Sheena Cranston, one day..." Vile closed his eyes and invoked a spell that would let him see into the future, though only twenty-four hours ahead. Would that Melantha and I could have aligned the Mystic Springs, I could have spawned children who could see into the future easily, with no limitations... "NO!!!!!" he screamed in rage as the spell showed him a familiar face, then the funeral of Kahva Kilanye, and the events immediately after. "The outrages keep piling up!!! How dare they be happy?!?!"
Master Vile raged about the bridge, breaking so much equipment it was a wonder his ship didn't shut down, or spin helplessly out of control. Tengas scrambled to keep the ship flying, and to keep themselves alive. They knew all too well what would happen to them once back home in the M-51 Galaxy. "I willhave my revenge, Sheena Cranston, on your and your friends!! Perhaps I'll simply appear and take your husband straight from your bed one night, or go to your precious sister or cousins..." Vile finally settled into a seat on the bridge, much to the relief of the Tenga crew, and contented himself with dark fantasies of all the different ways he could slowly and extremely painfully kill the Power Rangers and their friend Kahva. His heads smiled as he came up with a different excruciating demise for each one of them, and toyed with the order of their deaths in his mind.
The Tengas sighed with relief when they finally got back home to Vile's palace, he was in a much better mood by that time: he only blasted half of the crew into singed feathers upon their return.
* * * The sun was just peeking over the eastern horizon when Sheena woke up. For a brief moment she felt a little fuzzy-headed, something that seldom happened in the mornings, then as she remembered what was going to happen today, she leapt out of bed. Though funerals were generally considered somber occasions, to her this one was a cause for joy. Her first ancestor would be properly laid to rest, where she belonged, after a hundred and fifty centuries.
She at once began her morning ki-see exercises, loosening her taut muscles. Her shoulder felt fine, a pure marvel of muscle and control. She hadn't had any idea that Zimmer could do anything like that, and she was grateful to him for it. Billy turned over, woke up, and saw her graceful movements.
"Mmmm... that's a beautiful sight to wake up to," he told her. She chuckled and continued her workout, ending it with their usual passionate morning kiss. "Morning, gorgeous."
"Morning, yourself," she grinned. "Today's going to be very unusual," she reminded him. "It's not every day a fifteen thousand year old warrior is laid to rest with her teammates: who are our ancestors."
Billy nodded. "Come on, we've got to be ready in just a few hours, and in spite of how good you look like that, we need to be ready when everyone else is."
Sheena shot him a sly glance that spoke volumes, then planted yet another kiss on him. Something was stirring her up for romance, she didn't know what. But before things could get out of hand, she managed to pull her mind back to business. "You're right, let's get going. The funeral's scheduled to begin at noon." Before dressing, she checked a small console set into the wall for any messages that might have been left for them. There were three; one was letting them know that Tommy's brother, David Trueheart, had been able to be teleported to Eltar by Zordon and Alpha, he had arrived first thing that morning. The second was that the transmission back to the Power Chamber was working flawlessly; Zordon and Alpha would be able to witness the entire ceremony without any interference. The third message sent a shiver down her spine. Master Vile's ship had been spotted on the fringes of Eltar's space, but it had not stopped. Sensors showed it had continued on to the M-51 Galaxy. Good, she thought. I don't want anything to spoil this day. My ancestor, you will be at rest very soon.
The next few hours flew by, as the Power Rangers and everyone else in Ladiska made preparations for the most somber and the most joyous occasion celebrated on Eltar: the long-delayed funeral of Kahva Kilanye.
* * * "Today at last, we lay her to rest in the same tomb her companions, the first Power Rangers ever created, sleep in. Through the bravery of her descendants, Thomas Oliver and Sheena Cranston, and that of William Cranston, through the skills of Kahva Briton, last direct descendant of Elysia Carlon's family line, she has been brought home at last. Now, we welcome her at last to her place of eternal peace," Alacor spoke quietly. As he said the last sentence, everyone turned to see the current Rangers proceeding in, headed by the Silver Ranger. Each one of them was morphed, but helmetless, as they carried in the coffin. Sheena caught Kahva Briton's gentle smile and returned it, spotting Tommy's brother, David Trueheart sitting protectively behind her. Glad he could come too, he deserves to be here as much as the rest of us. Her soul- sister was seated next to Telvok; she could feel the joy racing through Sheena's heart, and shared it: Kahva Kilanye was home.
Everyone there had known that Sheena and Kahva Kilanye were mirror images of each other, but no one had really noticed it until now. The same proud look of the warrior was on both faces, with the only difference between them being that Kahva Kilanye was dead.
Soft music was being played; music that a recalled memory of her ancestor's told Sheena was a ballad composed by Dalien Kilanye, in honor of his beloved wife on their wedding day. In those days, that had been an Eltaran custom, to write of the love of one's life, on the greatest day of one's life. Tears of pride and joy flowed down her cheeks as she heard it, and she could feel, in some strange way, how very appropriate this felt to her ancestor. As they came to the tomb, Alacor spoke again.
"Today we put you to rest, Kahva Kilanye. You served Eltar well, at great cost to yourself and your family. We have no words grand enough to thank you, but hope that this ceremony and this place of eternal sleep will suffice."
Almost as one, everyone there stood up and saluted the coffin as the Rangers opened the door to the crypt and entered. There was a strange sense of solemnity in the air, mixed with an odd joy. Alacor continued. "We place to rest next to your beloved Silias Spartus, the first Sapphire Ranger."
Billy set his part of the coffin down as his ancestor was named. "We place you to rest next to Tilrak Kilanye, your firstborn son, the first Diamond Ranger." As his ancestor's name was spoken, Tommy released his hold gently on the coffin. "We place you to rest next to Caleen Radsha, the first Gold Ranger." Jason next put the coffin down. "We place you to rest next to Linon Aranon, the first Topaz Ranger." Now Tanya released the coffin. "We place you to rest next to Shada Spartus, the first Tourmaline Ranger." It was Kat's turn next. "We place you to rest next to Pliona Kadid, the first Emerald Ranger." Adam set his down. "We place you to rest next to Dilras Kadid, the first Ruby Ranger." Rocky was the last to put the coffin down. "With your companions and family, may you find rest at last, after fifteen thousand years of waiting. And now, Sheena Cranston, Silver Ranger, chosen of your ancestor, would you seal the tomb, and preserve your ancestor and her companions for all time?"
Sheena waited until the other Rangers had preceded her out of the tomb, then stood in front of the door to it. "Sleep well, Kahva Kilanye, and rest in peace at last. You, of all people I know or have heard of, deserve this. I will do all within my power to bring honor to your name and to the Silver Powers you have entrusted to me. I love you." With that, she shut the door, locked it, and then quietly removed her gloves, letting Billy hold them as she prepared to seal it. Two young boys poured hot wax over part of the lock, then stepped back as Sheena slammed her clenched fists into the wax. Her two rings glowed briefly as she did so, and the wax hardened into a permanent seal at once. She quickly brushed the wax off her hands, wincing at how hot it was. She turned back to Billy, slipping her gloves back on.
"That was not something I'd like to experience again," she murmured. She glanced at Billy, intending to say something else, when the expression on his face caused her to turn around. Her jaw quite literally dropped open as she saw eight shimmering forms emerging from the tomb. The other Rangers had almost the precise same expression on their faces as she and Billy did. Sheena had to look around; the pompous Councilor looked honestly as if someone had hit him in the head with a large board. Serves him right, she couldn't help but think.
The ghosts of the first Power Rangers each floated to their descendants. Sheena found herself looking into a face as like her own as her reflection. Thank you, Sheena, Kahva Kilanye told her. Now that I am returned to my home and laid with my companions, my strength has returned to me, to say this final good- bye. You have done well, and will continue to do so. You are my true descendant and heir. I am very proud of you.
* * * Silias was before Billy. It has been a long time, Billy, the first Sapphire Ranger smiled a trifle. I knew I had chosen well in you, recent events have only proven me correct. Wisdom and knowledge will always be the greatest weapons against evil, as are strength and courage. You have these qualities, and more. You have done great honor to my powers, to our family line, and to the legacy of the Power Rangers. I thank you.
* * * Caleen was in front of Jason, the spirit had motioned for the Treys to join them. Once they had, she spoke. Jason Lee Scott, I am Caleen Radsha, your ancestor, she told him, a smile touching her ancient features. I too, placed my life on the line more than once in the defense of my comrades, as you have done. I am proud to claim both you and Lord Trey of Triforia as my descendants.
"Wh-what?" Jason and the Treys looked at each other; this was a surprise even to them!
You and he are both of my blood, she explained. Some two thousand years after my death, one of my family line moved to Earth, while another moved to Triforia. How else do you think you are both able to wield the Golden Powers?
The former and current Gold Rangers could only stare in shocked speechlessness at their mutual ancestor, then finally Trey of Wisdom managed to say, "We welcome you as long lost kin, Jason of Earth. It is good to know that the courage, strength, and honor of the Golden line began with such a brave woman: and continues into you this day."
"And in you," Jason managed to return. "Thank you."
* * * Pliona came to Adam. So, little frog, you now bear the Emerald Crystal, the Emerald Ranger's spirit laughed gently at the expression on the Green Ranger's face. You have great wisdom, and it shows in all that you do and say. He glanced over to where Tanya and Linon were staring face to face. She loves you very much, Adam, as you love her. Don't forget to let her know that.
"I... I won't," Adam stammered. "Wow... I've always honored my ancestors, but I never thought I'd actually meet one of them!"
It is a surprise for me as well, but Kahva insisted, and even after fifteen thousand years, I haven't gotten out of the habit of jumping when she gives a command, Pliona chuckled. None of us have, actually.
* * * "Tilrak, it's... good to see you again!" Tommy looked at his ancestor, who had faded away from the Power Chamber shortly after their arrival back there the day before. "I wasn't sure what had happened to you."
I thought to take up my rest again, and did so for a short time, until Mother called us all forth to meet you all. She said she has something else to do, but won't say just yet what it is. She always did know how to keep a secret.
"I wonder what it is?" Tommy glanced over to where Sheena and Kahva were speaking. "Maybe it has something to do with Kahva Briton? We still don't know that much about her, you know." His brother David joined them at that moment, he himself in awe of their ancestor. Tilrak smiled and touched his shoulder in greeting, filling Tommy's brother with the warmth of family love, then turned to answer Tommy's question.
You know more than you think, and there is much that will be revealed soon. But that, too, is not for me to say. Tilrak smiled at his descendant. Thank you, Thomas Oliver, for bringing my Mother home. She has been away for far too long.
* * * "Wow! You're Linon!" Tanya gazed in sheer awe at the ghost before her. Her ancestor nodded.
At last we meet, Tanya Sloan. Your friendship is very important to many people, as your love is the very center of Adam's existence. This is something you must never forget; love is all that stands between us and despair.
"What do you mean?" she wondered. Linon smiled and touched her shoulder gently. She felt a tingle of love and respect flowing into her from where the contact occurred.
You will learn in due time. I am so very proud of you, Tanya. You left what was known and familiar to you, to go into a strange situation, directly into fighting a war that meant nothing to you at the time. That is the true courage of the Topaz Ranger, and of my family line. You have done me proud.
* * * "Shada?" Kat said softly, looking at the ghost before her. "It's an honor and privilege to meet you."
As it is for me to meet you, Katherine. Of all who have borne the Tourmaline Crystal, in its various guises throughout the eons, you are the one I am the most proud of. You rose above the specter of your introduction to the realm of the Power Rangers to truly achieve your destiny, as one of them, and I have watched over you with pride from the spirit lands.
"Thank you," was all Kat could say as the ghost caressed her forehead gently. "I never really thought about being descended from you before, not until we got here, anyway."
That is understandable. You are a true warrior of the Light, and that is what matters, nothing else. I am honored to call you descendant and the Pink Zeo Ranger.
* * * Rocky was almost in shock at seeing Dilras before him. He'd never believed in ghosts, not really, and seeing Kahva Kilanye in the Power Chamber back when they'd been trying to help Sheena while she was under Mondo's control had nearly blown his mind. But this was his very own ancestor, the first Ruby Ranger, floating in front of him as large as life, er, death... whatever!
It truly is hard to know what to say when faced with the ghost of one's first ancestor, isn't it? Dilras chuckled a little, and Rocky nodded.
"It's good to meet you, though," he told his ancestor. "I've been sort of wondering what you were like ever since we found out about you and the others."
I am like anyone, Rocky. I was born, I lived, and I died. Like me, you now carry the Ruby Crystal into battle. It is your duty and destiny to fight evil, and to cheer all around you with your laughter and jokes. A good laugh is as important to a battle as the right battle plan, and though you are as much a warrior as any of your companions, at times a joke can be just what is needed to win the war. Remember this, my descendant.
"I will," he nodded. He glanced around at the others, to find they had all apparently finished their conversations with their ancestors. The eight ghosts returned to just outside the tomb, then all turned to Sheena, who stood with Billy's arms wrapped about her.
Sheena Devereaux Cranston, you have returned to us our leader, our friend, and our strength. There is nothing we can do or say to repay you for this, and we can only hope you know how grateful we all are to you. Linon told her. All the other spirits nodded.
This, then, is the best we can do. I asked the others to join me because even now there are some things I cannot do alone. This is one of them. Kahva Kilanye joined hands with the other spirits and they formed a circle. A great light shone from the center, and from that light there stepped two figures, not dressed in the ancient garb of the deceased Rangers, but in modern Earth-style clothing. The Rangers and Eltarans all looked confused as to who they were, but Sheena ran straight for them. Kahva Briton had never looked happier as she saw this, either.
"Who are they?" Tommy wondered. Kahva smiled, her heart filled with Sheena's happiness, and her own for her soul-sister..
"Her parents. Her adopted parents, anyway."
"I thought they were dead!"
And as for you, Kahva Briton, you have earned this as well. May you be blessed with the love you so richly deserve. The light flared, and once again two people stepped out, dressed similarly to the first pair. Kahva's eyes filled with tears, and she raced to them as fast as Sheena had for her adopted parents.
"Mom, Dad," she whispered. "You came."
* * * "Momma, Daddy," Sheena stared at them both, drinking in the sight. "Oh, I've missed you more than I can say!"
"Sheena," Mr. Devereaux looked at her with open love in his transparent eyes. He was a tall, handsome man in his early forties, who looked on his adopted daughter with sheer pride. "Sheena, so this is where you've been all this time."
"Daddy, I'm sorry, I wish I could have told you!" Tears of love and sorrow mixed in her green eyes. "But I didn't even know I was going to be brought here, if I'd had the time, I would've -"
"It's all right," Mrs. Devereaux reassured her. "We know, and I've been with you ever since you came to this world."
"Momma?" she looked at her mother's ghost in disbelief.
"When you were being pulled into the vortex that brought you here, you felt arms of love and warmth around you, did you not?" Sheena nodded; it had been those arms that had kept her from fearing too much during the horrific transition. "That was myself, as well as Kahva Kilanye, protecting you from fear and fright."
"You know Kahva?"
"Yes, we met in the afterlife," Mrs. Devereaux smiled lightly. "She is much like you, Sheena, and as proud as she is of you for becoming the Silver Ranger: your father and I are even more proud of you: for fulfilling your destiny, following your dream, and never forgetting the pride and honor we tried to teach you when you were growing up."
'How could I, Momma? To do that would have been to forget you, and I'd never do that!'
Her father smiled. "We know. We love you, Sheena. Now, where is this young man you've married? I believe I'd like to meet him!"
Sheena turned to beckon Billy over to them. He joined them, a little afraid now. He'd met ghosts thousands of years dead without batting an eye, but to meet those so 'fresh' was a bit disconcerting. "Young man, you have made my daughter the happiest she has been in her entire life. I wish we had known you were 'real' while we were alive, it would have been good to meet you then," Mr. Devereaux told him.
His wife nodded. "But now we have met you, and even though I thought for years you were just some character on a TV show, I can honestly say now, my daughter could not have made a better choice if she'd had the entirety of creation to choose from. Welcome to the family, Billy."
"Thank you sir, ma'am," was all Billy managed to say. The two ghosts reached out jointly and touched first Sheena, then Billy's foreheads in blessings. Sheena's voice choked as she said, "I love you Momma, Daddy. I love you more than I can ever say. Thank you for everything."
"We know, Sheena," her mother told her. "And we're glad you're so happy now. You never belonged in the world you grew up in, and now you're home. Release that last shred of guilt from your heart, and truly belong to this place that is your home."
As her mother said that, Sheena felt the last little touch of shadow in her heart vanish, the last remnant of the guilt that had plagued her since coming to this world. It had been lifted a little when she'd visited their graves, but now with their blessing and love, she was free to truly name this universe, of all in the cosmos, as her true home. She'd barely noticed out of the corner of her eye Kahva's joyous reunion with the spirits of her own adopted parents, who were now approaching. Sheena turned as Kahva Briton and spirits of her parents came over to them. Kahva was smiling, but there was a sad edge to it that only someone who knew her well could ever have spotted. Billy can't see it, but I can, I can feel it. What's wrong? Either Kahva didn't or couldn't hear her, for her smile never wavered. Or she's not going to answer me. "Mr. and Mrs. Briton, I'm so glad you could come too!"
"It is our honor and pleasure, we have missed you both greatly. Your parents feel the same way we do, we have always considered you to be as a daughter to us, as they have Kahva. We are proud of the both of you." Sheena moved to talk to the Britons, while Kahva reunited with the Devereauxs. Billy looked from one set of spirits to the other, the love and happiness he could feel from Sheena was immense, he was certain Kahva's was in there as well, joining with Sheena's and his. They didn't get to say good-bye, now they can, and they know their parents understand. Billy stole a look at his fellow Rangers, they were all on the verge of tears themselves, but they were tears of joy, not sorrow. He noticed David standing with Tommy, he'd quite forgotten that Tommy's twin had been teleported by Zordon and Alpha to witness the ceremony as well. He could have just as easily been the Red Ranger, he deserved to come too, Billy thought.
Sheena lowered her voice slightly as she spoke to Kahva's adoptive parents. "Kahva seems a bit sad, I thought this would make her happy. Wasn't she happy to see you again?"
Mr. Briton smiled sadly and nodded. "She was, but something has upset her. She was happy to see us and the Devereauxs, but -"
Mrs. Briton placed a comforting hand on Sheena's shoulder. "I think that maybe everything that's happened has been a bit overwhelming for her, and you know she's never been comfortable in crowds, where she felt she had to make conversation or was a topic of conversation. I wish that little man," she looked at the pug-nosed Councilor, "would quit talking about her. She's been through enough, you all have."
Her husband looked a trifle sadly at Sheena. "We have to go now, Sheena, but we wanted to talk to you and thank you. You've helped our little girl through so much, she couldn't have had a better sister. Thank you, my dear."
Mrs. Briton smiled and nodded. "We love you like a daughter, too. Take care, Sheena, and be safe." She looked up over at Sheena's parents, they had just finished talking with Kahva.
"We have to go now," Sheena's father said, as he and his wife moved back over to Sheena, Kahva following with them, her smile still fastened to her face. "But you'll see us again one day, I promise. You've got a long life ahead of you, and live it well, Sheena Devereaux Cranston."
"Silver Ranger, leader of the Power Rangers, and beloved wife of Billy Cranston, the Sapphire Ranger," her mother smiled. "We love you."
"I love you, too, Momma," Sheena said. Kahva walked over and reached out to her parents, tears threatening to spill over as she and her parents bade each other farewell. A moment later, every ghost there vanished into the void from which they'd come. The other Rangers approached at that time, the group of friends losing themselves in hugs and excited chatter. After a few minutes though, Sheena noticed something amiss. Or rather, someone missing.
"I thought Kahva was right here, where did she go?" she asked Billy when she didn't see her soul-sister anywhere. "Where did Kahva go, wasn't she with Jason?"
"She was right here beside me - where did she go?" he said, scanning the crowd. The quiet young woman was nowhere to be found. With the sadness and unease she had felt moments before in her sister fresh in her heart, and the report of Vile's ship passing through Eltaran space hours before still in her mind, Sheena looked around, worry creasing her face. Surely we would know if he turned back around... no, it's something else, please Goddess, let it be something else. Sheena quickly split the Rangers up into search groups, even Telvok and Alacor joined in.
"We've got to find Kahva."
* * * Kahva half-walked, half-stumbled through the woods, not knowing or really caring where she was going. All she knew was that she hurt; her heart felt like it was tearing apart. It's not fair!! her mind screamed. They were so real, I could touch them, they were solid, I held them... and it gets yanked away after only a second?! I would rather have not touched them at all!! The tears she'd been holding back finally spilled out, she could shed them here without anyone seeing her, asking what was wrong. "Why couldn't I hold them longer?" she cried out loud. "Why do they have to leave?" All she could think about was how much it had hurt the night they were murdered. The doctors wouldn't let her touch them, then went one step further and wouldn't let her see their bodies, saying it was for the better, because they had been burned so badly in the fire. Kahva sank against a tree and kept crying, she couldn't stop. The girl was very glad no one could see her, she didn't want to talk to anyone, she didn't think she could. "Why?" she asked the sky. "Just give me a clue, why?" There was no answer, only the sounds of the nearby wildlife and the slight breeze winding its way through the trees. As she stared at a small animal that resembled a fox squirrel from Earth, there was a warmth in her mind, and a voice, or voices wove through her senses.
We did not want to hurt you, we thought if you could hold us one last time that it would help, somehow. We knew you were hurt by not being able to say good-bye.
"All I wanted to do was touch you, why wouldn't they let me touch you, see you?"
They were trying to protect you, our bodies were badly burned. Maybe that was wrong, but what is your last memory of us? How do you remember us?
"I remember you full of life and love, living every day with joy. I always thought I had beautiful parents, because you both loved everyone so much, and loved each other."
Then hold that memory close to your heart, and know that we loved you from the moment we saw you, and we will always love you, for all eternity. We will not say good-bye, for one day we will all be together again. Here, we are together, and there is no pain for us. Do not worry, we know why you couldn't be with us when we passed, and we have never blamed you or anyone.
"I love you, Mom, Dad. I just wish you could stay."
We know dear. We wish we could too. Always remember that we love you, and we are proud of you. We love you, Kahva... The voices faded and the pain in Kahva's heart eased a tiny bit, she understood why she couldn't have held them longer... though the understanding really didn't make it hurt any less, just made it a little easier to deal with.
Slowly she pushed herself off of the ground, wincing as she placed a bit too much strain on her injured hand. Billy had been partially right, the cut wouldn't need stitches, but it was deeper than they had first realized, and the tiny spot of flesh blood on Tommy's bandanna told her it was bleeding slightly again. She looked at her surroundings, she couldn't hear anything except for the wildlife and the breeze once more. Everything else was silent and peaceful. "Wish I could say the same for myself," she muttered quietly, flexing her hand. Kahva roamed aimlessly through the woods surrounding the tomb area, unable to really think of anything except how alone she was. No real family in either world left, except Sheena. If I ever lose her, I think I'll lose my mind. She stopped in her tracks at that moment, then gave a dry laugh of self-disgust. "Haven't lost my mind just yet, but I've lost myself in the woods. Way to go, stupid," she chided herself. "It's a wonder Sheena or anybody else has ever wanted to be your friend." Kahva looked around, trying to remember the way she had come, she had to get back before anyone realized she was gone, she wasn't up to answering questions. She had lost the trail she'd followed however, and was hopelessly lost. "Great, just great! Now what?" A faint flicker several yards ahead caught her eye. "What's that?" she wondered softly. She didn't know why, but it was almost as if it were beckoning to her. "Can't get anymore lost than I already am, lost is lost. Okay light, what do you want?" she asked as she followed it deeper into the woods, not hearing the faint calling of her name far behind her.
* * * "Kahva!! Kahva, where are you?" Sheena called yet again. She was still on the planet, Sheena was sure of that, at least. She was also sure that the girl's emotions were on what she could only describe as a roller-coaster ride. Even Billy had picked up on her upset through Sheena by now, though it had seemed to ease a tiny bit. "Billy, you and Tanya take the left fork, Tommy, Alacor and I will take the right, keep in touch," she reminded, pointing to her communicator. Wish Kahva had one. Billy's going to make one for her as soon as we get home, that's all there is to it!
"Don't worry Sheena, we'll find her," Tanya reassured her. "If something upset her, she probably just went walking to clear her mind. There's a chance she's already back at the tomb, wondering where we are."
Sheena smiled, but she knew Tanya was just as worried as she was. All of them were worried. As they split up, Sheena noticed that she, Tommy and Alacor had picked up a couple of stragglers: the pug-nosed councilor, Arvid someone had called him, and two other councilors. At least one of those three was on our side before my ancestor told them off. Wish that irritating one hadn't come along though, he's the last person Kahva needs to see when we find her. Please let her just be walking around somewhere, please...
"Do you have any idea if we're heading in the right direction, Sheena?" Tommy asked. He hadn't been able to pick up Kahva's trail anywhere.
Sheena forced herself to relax, to reach out with her senses, all of them. "I think... I think I feel her over this way," she pointed to her right. Alacor's face blanched first with fear, then with hope. "What is it, Alacor?" Strange reaction for him to have.
"If you're sure, and she is over there... There's a wasteland there, it's not exactly the safest place in all of Eltar for her to be, the ground is littered with jagged rocks and hidden fissures. But perhaps... This way, we'll get there faster," he said, tearing down a smaller path at full speed.
"What's gotten into him?" Tommy called to Sheena as they ran pell-mell down the narrow path after the curator. The councilors were huffing and puffing far behind them. Hope they don't get lost. "He just said if she's in the wasteland that it's not really safe, but if I didn't know better, I'd say he hopes she is there." A scream in the distance set them running down the path as fast as the wind, tearing past Alacor.
* * * After who knew how long, Kahva found she was no longer in the woods, but in a dry, rocky, stony region that seemed to be the heart of barrenness. Everything here was ashen grey, or what wasn't, was scorched black and smelled of sulfur. Rocks and boulders littered the broken ground, charred and petrified logs were scattered all about. A few small, shallow pools filled indents in the stone here and there, but gave no life to anything there. One pool was larger than the others, nearly three feet across either way; it was also the most shallow. Kahva carefully picked her way across the hazardous landscape, trying to follow the light to the pool.
"You brought me here for this? Why?" she asked the light. It didn't answer, she hadn't really expected it to. "Now I have lost my mind, I'm talking to a floating light!" She almost turned back right then, but as she looked around, she couldn't help but wonder what this place had looked like once. "Surely it hasn't always looked like this," she mused. Another step and she was sliding out of control, speeding towards the pool - and the ground dropped from under her.
"Help!! Somebody help me!!!" Kahva screamed as she fell. Somehow she caught her hands on a boulder and stopped herself in mid-air, her feet dangling over open space. She risked a glance down and immediately wished she hadn't. Slowly, she managed to pull herself back onto solid ground, and only after catching her breath did she dare to look again into the fissure. It wasn't that deep, not quite twenty feet, perhaps only ten, but the bottom was filled with jagged rocks that would have injured her far worse than the fall would have. She gulped and pushed away from the edge, forcing herself to calm down. "I told Sheena I hate heights. The thing that makes them so bad is the falling!" Kahva picked herself off of the ground, stepping even more carefully now, not knowing if there was another fissure waiting to swallow her. The fall had served one purpose, she was nearly at the largest pool, nestled in a small ravine. A few cautious steps later, she was at its edge, walking around it, trying to keep her balance on the multitude of loose rocks that surrounded the water's edge.
"Kahva!" Tommy's sudden yell startled her as she walked around the little ravine, and as she whirled about to look for him, she failed to see her foot coming down on a loose rock. She screamed as she slipped and fell to one side, her left hand, then the rest of her, splashing in the pool. Tommy, Sheena and Alacor all raced up as she got to her feet, Tommy reaching her first.
"Where have you been, you had me worried sick!" Sheena called out as Tommy picked the girl up out of the pool, most of it water now on her, or sinking into the ground. "Don't do that again, I didn't know what had happened to you... oh Kahva," she said, wrapping her soul-sister in a hug that didn't allow the girl time to catch her breath. "Are you ok? You look like you fell pretty hard," Sheena asked, worry in her eyes.
"Well, I'm wet," she managed to say with a slight smile once Sheena released her. "Tommy, honest, I did shower this morning, I don't think I needed another one. Well, I didn't until I fell part-way into that hole over there. Be careful, this place probably has more of them." Alacor had been standing back from the young people, and relayed her warning to the councilors who had finally reached the edge of the wasteland.
"That's it, I've already decided, Billy is going to make you a communicator just as soon as we get home, even though you aren't a Ranger. It's too dangerous for you not to have one," Sheena declared.
Kahva grinned at that. "You mean it's too nerve-wracking for you to not be able to contact me." Her grin turned to confusion as she flexed her left hand. "My hand... it feels... strange."
"Let me check the bandage," Tommy offered, already taking her hand.
"It's not a bad kind of weird though... it tingles. It's... kind of... nice, actually." Tommy was unwrapping the bandanna he'd left on her hand. As it came off, Tommy's face filled with shock..
"Ummm..." he stared at something. Kahva glanced down. "What is it, Tommy?" Then she stared also: the cut on her hand was gone. Her hand was healed and whole as if the injury had never happened. Alacor came over to examine it with trembling hands of his own, Tommy telling him how deep it had been just the day before. A startled gasp from Sheena drew all their attention away from the vanished cut for a few moments though. "Sheena, what is it?" Tommy wondered.
"Guys, is it just me, or is everything turning... green?" Sheena stared around them. They all looked up to see verdant green grass springing into existence all around them, and crystal clear water springing up from almost everywhere. Flowers grew and blossomed, filling the air with the scent of roses, jasmine, jonquils and countless others, banishing the smell of sulfur forever. In less time than it takes to tell, they stood in the middle of a colorful, bounteous garden the likes of which none of them had ever seen before. Alacor smiled at Kahva as the other search parties found their way to the wasteland, witnesses to the miraculous rebirth..
"Remember this," he quoted the Prophecy. "There will be a trial of sorrow and pain, death and non-life. When lifeblood joins lifeblood, the circle will be complete, and a new dawn will be seen. The Child will have returned to right the wrong, bringing what will be dead back to life. This we promise you, Elysia and Zordon. Your sacrifice and loss will not be in vain, rather it will save those who are to come. You will know this time, by the return of the first and last of the past yet to come." Alacor turned to see that none gathered there could question what had happened. "The Prophecy has been fulfilled," he proclaimed. "None can doubt you anymore, you truly are the Child of the Prophecy, Kahva Briton. The Mystic Springs are your lifeblood, as you are its lifeblood. The first; you, and the last; Kahva Kilanye, of the past have returned to Eltar. The circle is complete, we now see the new dawn."
Kahva spied the floating light at the edge of the crowd just then; if she didn't know better, she would say that it seemed rather satisfied with her. She was only dimly aware of Alacor's next words: "Welcome home."