Kahva walked quietly through the woods near her parents' farm, heading off to meet her best friend. She was fuming a bit; her younger sister had been being completely and utterly annoying that morning, teasing her.
"Kahva's got a boyfriend!" she'd grinned, chuckling over Kahva's discomfort. Finally, she'd slammed Olina up against a wall, glared right into her eyes, and threatened the destruction of every doll the eight-year-old possessed if she didn't shut up that minute. She'd gotten away from the farm right after that, she hadn't wanted to stick around and deal with her parents' anger for treating Olina like that.
"He's not my boyfriend," the ten-year-old muttered under her breath as she headed for the neighboring farm where her friend lived. "He's just a friend. He's not even the kind of boy I like!" She paused for a moment. "Except as a friend."
She flushed red briefly as she remembered that boyfriend or just friend, he was the first boy she'd kissed. It had just been a child's dare, it had felt more like kissing her brother would have, she suspected, but it had still been a kiss.
Kahva paused for a moment, stopped beside a cool spring to wash her face in. She didn't dare let her friend see how red she'd gotten, or he'd tease her unmercifully. She took a deep breath as she relaxed, then chuckled softly. "He wouldn't tease me. He never does, no matter what. He treats me almost like I were a queen."
For a moment, she found that unutterably strange. That someone, anyone, would treat her with such mixed friendship, respect, and distance. Then she shrugged, that was just his way. He'd been like that for as long as she'd known him, and that had been most of her life.
"Kahva!" She glanced up at the familiar voice, but saw nothing. She smiled, he was playing one of his jokes again. He liked to hide from her, to see if she could find him. She always could, and this time was no exception. She turned to the elderberry bush a few feet from her and chuckled.
"You're in there!" His laughter was enough of an answer, and she could see him starting to come out of the bush...
"Sheena!" Someone was shaking her hard. Sheena opened her eyes and looked around, she was down by the lake near the cabin. She glanced over to see Tanya standing next to her, a worried look in her dark eyes. "Sheena, you were sleepwalking, it took me a few minutes to wake you up."
The Silver Ranger shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs that threatened to crowd in there thick and fast. "I've never done that before," she muttered. "What did you want, Tanya?"
Tanya frowned. "Don't you remember, we were going to be sparring over at the Youth Center. In fact, we were supposed to be there two hours ago."
Sheena glanced at her watch; indeed, she was two hours past the noon sparring session. She shivered a little as the two of them headed back to the cabin. I've never slept-walked in my life. Well, I guess there's a first time for everything. Wonder what I must have been dreaming about, I don't remember anything...
Tanya stole a look at her friend; she'd had nightmares before, but in the year and more she'd known her, she'd never known Sheena to sleepwalk. Billy hadn't known where she had gone, he'd thought she'd been taking a quick nap; she'd been up with nightmares again the night before. Luckily they hadn't been bad ones, neither Kahva nor Billy had picked up on them. But they were enough to ruin her sleeping.
Tanya counted herself lucky, Sheena hadn't gone far. But the look on her face had worried the Yellow Ranger, Sheena had been absolutely expressionless, something they'd never seen before. I hope she's all right; the very last thing we need is for Mondo to be up to something again. He hasn't done much besides send the occasional monster for two months now, he's got to be up to something. And when Mondo's up to something, that means trouble for everyone. Especially for Sheena. * * *
Ice blue eyes burned with a fiery lust as he watched Sheena leave the lake and follow the Yellow Ranger back to the cabin. "Yes, the spell is working perfectly, you don't remember a thing, my dear. And you won't, because I can't have you finding out about me just yet," he muttered under his breath. He stared after the dark-haired woman until she disappeared from his sight. He didn't dare follow her, to be spotted now could ruin all his plans. I've been waiting fifteen thousand years for my opportunity, I can wait a little while longer. Very clever, Kahva, to give your memories to your chosen heir... but you cannot defeat me that easily. Sheena will NEVER discover who I am: until she is mine. And by that time, she will love only me, for all eternity.
He could hear the sound of the cabin door opening and closing, no doubt there was a joyous reunion taking place between Sheena and her present husband. Yes... I can wait... * * *
"Tanya went to look for her, she thought she saw someone by the lake that might be Sheena," Billy told Jason over the phone. He paced a bit nervously; the last time he'd seen Sheena had been when she'd gone to have a brief nap several hours earlier. She'd asked him to wake her up when Tanya got there to drive them over to the Youth Center, but when the Yellow Ranger arrived, Sheena hadn't been in their room.
"I hope she's all right." Jason sounded a little bit down in the dumps, despite the kind words. Billy picked up on it, and asked what the problem was. "Nothing... well... Emily and I had another fight, that's all."
Billy bit his lip, Jason and Emily had been fighting a lot lately. She didn't like the amounts of time he spent with his friends, especially with Kahva. "You going to be okay?" was all he could think to say as he heard footsteps outside.
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Jason told him. "I'll get things straightened out with her."
"Good," Billy smiled, turning to the door. His smile turned into a huge grin as Sheena and Tanya entered. "Look Jason, Tanya just got back with Sheena, if you need to talk or anything, let me know, okay?"
"No problem, Billy," Jason managed to inject a couple of extra notes of cheerfulness into his voice. "See you around." Billy frowned slightly at the phone. Maybe one of us should talk to Emily ourselves... no, that would be interfering, and might make things worse between them. What's gotten into Emily lately, anyway? It's not like Kahva is after Jason, she loves Daniel.
Once he'd hung up, Billy ran straight over to Sheena and wrapped her into a warm hug, smiling both with love and relief. "Where were you? Why didn't you tell me you were going somewhere?"
"Because I didn't know," she said a touch dryly. "From what Tanya told me, I was sleepwalking."
"Sleepwalking?" He looked at her, an eyebrow raised. To the best of his knowledge, she'd never sleptwalked!
"I know, I've never done that in my entire life. I guess anything's possible, though," she touched his face gently. "Even miracles of love."
They were about to kiss when Tanya cleared her throat suddenly, reminding them they had an audience. "Um, I hate to interrupt this romantic moment, but do you feel up to that sparring match, Sheena?"
Sheena nodded. "Let me get my things, and I'll be right along." She shrugged a little. "I'm not going to let one little sleepwalking incident ruin my afternoon!" * * *
"Well now, this is interesting." Safe in his Skybase, Mondo the Machine King had been watching the Earth with bored eyes, until the young woman he still considered to be his Silver Ranger had wandered out of her home. He'd sent half a dozen Cogs down to attack her just to see something happening, he knew she could demolish them rather easily. She had approached them calmly, not bothering to morph...
And she had walked right past them, as if they hadn't been there! They had started to follow her when Mondo had them called back up to the Skybase before that blasted robot Alpha could detect them on his never-ending scans. Sheena was behaving strangely, and Mondo wanted to know why, without the interruption the arrival of the other Rangers would have surely brought. Sheena had wandered about the landscape, finally stopping by the lake near her home. Mondo was intrigued as he watched her pause to wash her face in its waters, then seem to look off into the distance: totally unaware that the Yellow Ranger, Tanya, had just arrived. It had taken a couple of minutes, but she had finally awakened Sheena, who seemed not to know how or why she was at the lake. "So this is the phenomenon called sleepwalking: and this is the first time she's even done it here, maybe the first time she's ever done it in her life. If she ever has before, she doesn't recall..." A plan formulated in his mind as he watched Tanya and Sheena climb into Tanya's car to go to the Youth Center, a mildly concerned Billy waving at them as they drove off. "Now if someone will just ask that child Kahva Briton if she has ever known Sheena to sleepwalk; I need to know everything I possibly can about this, turn it to my advantage somehow... Yes, Sapphire Ranger, worry about your wife, and enjoy every moment you have with her," Mondo warned the image of Billy on his viewscreen. "Because once I've seen enough, once I have the right moment in my hands, your wife will be mine. My Silver Ranger will be here with me, to do my bidding... and the first thing I'll have her do is kill you slowly, for spoiling too many of my plans for far too long. Then she will destroy your friends, one by one... yes, I think I'm going to enjoy this," he chuckled softly to himself as Tanya and Sheena joined Jason and Kahva at the Youth Center. "Now, somebody just ask the questions I need answers to, so I can reclaim my ultimate warrior..." * * *
The first thing Kahva noticed when Tanya and Sheena entered the Youth Center was the slightly worried expressions on their faces. Jason had been talking to Billy on the phone over something, but he hadn't told her what it was. Now she had an idea, something was obviously wrong with Sheena. It wasn't serious, she knew that already, for the link that bound her to Sheena would have told her if it were so. But whatever it was concerned her soul-sister, therefore it concerned her. A quick glance told her Jason had also been distracted by their arrival. Quickly he called a halt to their sparring, and they ended with a bow; student and teacher to each other.
"Okay Kahva, that's enough for now," Jason told her. "We'll do some more later. I want to talk to Sheena and Tanya once they're done with their match."
"No problem," she nodded. So do I. I want to know why I couldn't 'feel' Sheena for almost two hours! I was just about ready to call the Power Chamber and find out if anything was wrong with her! I'm glad she's ok, but I don't like that two hour hole we had, not one bit.
They headed for their usual table after a quick shower, then watched as the Silver and Yellow Rangers started sparring. They were using karate, not Sheena's extremely dangerous ki-see. No one on the team... indeed, no one on the planet could match her in that art. Sheena wasn't even a master yet, and all of them were rather curious as to what would happen when she achieved that status.
"She's good," Jason observed. He'd taught Sheena in karate before she'd taken up ki-see and still trained with her on occasion. Kahva nodded; it was amazing to see her soul-sister performing like this. I can remember when she was so clumsy she couldn't move without knocking over a few dozen things and people. This world really is where she belongs; she fits in here perfectly. I wonder if I'll ever fit in as well. A spectacular leap and kick by Tanya brought applause from them both, and Sheena as well, who had just barely managed to tuck and roll underneath it. Kahva sighed to herself, she was very far away from having anything like the fighting skills of her friends. She was getting better, stronger... but she still had a long way to go. Sometimes I wonder why they keep me around, they have to watch out for me so much still. I've got to get better, I have to... wonder what it would've been like had I been born, or whatever part of me is the essence of Elysia and Zordon's child, had been born over fifteen thousand years ago. Would I be the same person back then as now, or would there have been only the one of us, the essence, in the past? Though supposedly there is only one of us, but blended from two... man, I wish Alacor had been able to give me some more answers about that.
The spar finally ended in a draw, neither of them was able to completely defeat the other. Kahva grinned at them as they grabbed towels and left the practice mats. I can't imagine not knowing them, any of them, or my friends in our other world though, I love them all too much. Maybe that's why they keep me close, not just to protect me, but because they love me too? I had a second family back home with my friends and Sheena, perhaps I have truly been blessed with a third... if so, thank you Lord! She brought herself out of her musings as Tanya and Sheena joined her and Jason at the table. The first thing out of the Gold Ranger's mouth wasn't his usual cheerful greeting, but, "Sheena, I didn't know you were a sleepwalker."
Kahva's eyebrows shot up into her hair. "She isn't!" she blurted out. "You've never slept-walked in your life! Heck, none of us have," she added. "Only thing that even comes close was when Josh was talking in his sleep that one time. Something about trying to get all the sardines in their tuxedoes. Bad reaction to cough medicine the doctor prescribed for him one time," Kahva explained, smiling at the confused looks she was getting from Tanya and Jason. "He was talking all out of his head until they changed the prescription the next day."
Sheena laughed at the memory, then frowned slightly as her mind returned to what had happened earlier. She sighed and nodded. "I know. I've never even come close to doing anything remotely like this before. I guess anything's possible; it worries Billy, though." And me, too. The Goddess only knows what could have happened if Mondo had seen me sleepwalking. Guess I got off lucky this time. Hope it doesn't happen again.
"How did you know she had been sleepwalking, Jason? Did Billy call you?" Tanya asked.
"Actually, I had called him while you were looking for Sheena, he hung up after he saw you guys coming back to the cabin. Then after you left to come here, he called me back to let us know you were on your way." Jason reddened just a tiny bit. "I was supposed to call him back when you got here, to let him know you had arrived, I'd better go do that before he gets too worried. I'll be right back." Kahva's eyes followed Jason as he went to the pay phones, only to be offered the use of the Youth Center's phone by Emily. After calling Billy, he talked with Emily. Whatever he said must have cheered her, for she followed him back to their table, where Tanya and Sheena had been discussing Sheena's sleepwalking episode.
"Billy knows you're here," Jason told them, not being able to go into much detail with Emily right at his elbow.
"Your husband really worries about you, doesn't he, Sheena?" Emily asked in a pleasant voice, not even bothering to look at Kahva.
"With everything that happens in Angel Grove, and what happened to our friends before our wedding, he's been very protective, I guess you could say," Sheena admitted. No one knew quite what to say after that, but Jason quickly jumped in to fill the lack of conversation.
"Umm, Kahva, can we schedule our next sparring session?"
"Not anymore for today, however," Emily warned in a sweet voice that was too good to be believed. "Jason is going to take me out for a romantic dinner for two. It has been a while since just the two of us have been out, it's been too long." With a smile that could freeze someone's blood, she stared straight at Kahva. "He's so sweet, isn't he?" Only Sheena caught Kahva's hand moving slightly to her waist.
"He's a very good friend, that's true. I'm sure you guys will have a great time," Kahva smiled back, her voice kind and neutral, completely void of any of the ill will Emily's had held for her. A sudden beeping from Kahva's waist caught her attention. "Whoops, that's me, the station must need me for something. What with King Mondo being so quiet lately, I've not had to do any PR work for the Power Rangers, so they've been able to use me for other assignments. I'll see you guys later!" Kahva grabbed her bag and waved good-bye to all of them, including Emily. She was nearly out of the door when Sheena caught up to her.
"I'll walk you out," Sheena offered. When they had reached Kahva's car, Sheena grabbed her arm and pulled her up short. "All right, the station didn't call you, you set off your own pager, why did you do that?"
Kahva sighed, taking her arm out of Sheena's grip and putting her bag into the trunk of the car. "Yes, I set off my own pager, but I'm sure the station can use me for a shoot somewhere. As for why, I'd think that would be obvious. Emily hates me. She hates me, and me being anywhere near Jason sets her off. It's my fault she and Jason have been arguing lately, I think she thinks I want Jason or something. The sooner I got out of there, the sooner her hackles would go down, so I set off my pager. It was the easiest way to get out without having a long conversation about it... so Jason wouldn't say anything, and then they get into another argument. He wouldn't tell me, but I'll bet that's why Jason called Billy the first time, when Tanya was looking for you. I'd be willing to bet the Power Chamber that they had another argument, and most likely it was about the session today with me." Kahva shook her head at Sheena's frown. "I'm not running, I'm avoiding setting off an argument. If Emily sees me as a threat, then I have to find a way to show her I'm not. Sheena," Kahva bit her lip as she climbed into her car, "decide who you think on the team also has judo as one of their strengths, and let me know. If they've got the time, I'll train with them, if not, I'll stop trying to learn judo, just stick to working with you and Tommy on the quarterstaff. The further away from Jason I am, the less he and Emily will argue, it's as simple as that. And if the arguments stop altogether, then we'll know for sure what the problem has been all along: me. Look, I'll see you and Billy tonight at the cabin for dinner if you guys are still up for it. I'll call to make sure. See ya, sis!" Before Sheena could protest her leaving, Kahva was gone.
"Man!" Sheena kicked at the pavement, irritated at her inability to solve the problem. "Just when she was starting to relax around everybody again after that stuff on Eltar..." Sheena sighed and turned to go back into the Juice Bar. One of us needs to make Emily see the light, but how? How do we do it without causing more problems? Billy, I hope maybe you will have some ideas tonight, I like Emily, but this jealousy bit is getting out of hand...
Kahva watched Sheena go back into the Juice Bar in her rear view mirror with a heavy heart; she didn't like leaving like she did, but the sooner she was gone, the better. "I know you want to make everything better, sister, but you can't fix everything. And this is the only way I know to get things back on track between Emily and Jason." She fought back the tears that threatened to well up in her eyes as she drove the few minutes it took to get to the TV station from the Youth Center. I like Emily, I want to be her friend! Why do I always screw things up? Once at the station, she found that they didn't need her for a shoot, but they did need help with editing, then with putting together the two newscasts that night after one of the producers called in sick. Kahva managed to lose herself so deeply in the work, she missed her dinner with Sheena and Billy, not getting back to the Power Chamber until very late. A note on her bed in Sheena's handwriting greeted her. "Missed you tonight. Everybody is still on for the park in a couple of days, and I mean everybody, so no excuses, Kahva. We'll get things straightened out with Emily somehow. Love, Your Sister." Kahva smiled a little at the note as she prepared for bed. That's just like you; you've got your own problems, but you're still worrying about me, trying to look out for me. Thought that was my job, I am two years older than you, Sheena. I think you forget that, sometimes. I just hope you're right about Emily. But if staying far away from Jason is what it takes for them to get back on track, then that's what I'm going to do. * * *
Sheena ran a brush through her hair, humming softly to herself as she did so. The one problem with having knee-length hair was she had to brush it on an extremely regular basis, or it would tangle up badly. As she encountered one particularly stubborn knot, she jerked at it, growling a touch under her breath. A gentle hand took the brush away from her and she felt a gossamer-soft pair of lips caressing her cheek.
"Let me do that," Billy told her. "You've had a rough day."
Sheena protested, "It was just a little sleepwalking, Billy! That's not so rough!" She didn't take the brush back from him though, as he started to carefully work out the tangle. She sighed; it was these simple pleasures that made the fight against Mondo so worthwhile. That, and knowing it was because of them that others could share these pleasures, or similar ones.
Billy brushed quietly, his mind half on the luxurious wealth of hair attached to his beloved wife, half on the sleepwalking incident. That worried him; and the chance Mondo might have seen her doing it worried him even more. He had just barely managed to keep himself from teleporting wildly to the Power Chamber to start scanning for her once they'd realized she was gone that afternoon; if Tanya hadn't seen Sheena he most certainly would have done it.
I guess I worry too much about her. But old habits are hard to break, and I've worried about her since the first moment I saw her. I still can't believe we dreamed about each other all those years, and neither of us knew the other one was real. I love her so very much; I don't know what I'd do without her.
Sheena taking the brush firmly away from pulled Billy's attention back to reality. He realized she hadn't had a tangle in almost five minutes; the brushing was over with. She smiled at him. "What were you thinking about?"
"You," he told her, smiling. "But you already knew that."
Sheena giggled, she had known that. But it was fun to ask anyway. As she put the brush away, she felt a warm tide of love wash over her from their linked minds. At the same moment, she felt Kahva's laughter, and intense desire to be left out of what they all knew perfectly well was coming next. They'd managed to figure out a way to block her connection to Sheena at necessary times, and as Billy pulled his wife closer to him, Sheena just barely managed to remember to do that.
Hours later, Billy lay watching Sheena asleep in his arms. His heart was so full of love it didn't seem real at times. He traced a gentle design on her forehead, then kissed it. "I love you, Sheena," he whispered. "Thank you for coming into my life."
He closed his eyes and was asleep himself in a few minutes. So deeply did he sleep he didn't notice half an hour later when Sheena's eyes flew open and she slipped silently out of bed. Had anyone been there to see her, they would have noticed her normally alive and sparkling green eyes were dark and shrouded in sleep still. She quietly left the house and began to walk, no longer Sheena Cranston, but someone else... someone else altogether. .someone who was... * * *
"Kahva!" She looked up as her father called her name. The young girl ran towards him, laughing and smiling. Her mother was standing next to him, indeed, all of her family was there! Even her aunts and uncles and all their children were there. She couldn't help but be happy, today was her eighteenth birthday.
"Happy birthday, Kahva!" her cousin Jandar told her as he gave her a warm hug. All the other relatives were clapping her on the back, hugging, kissing, and wishing her the happiest of birthdays.
"Thanks, everyone!" she smiled, today was already the happiest day she'd had in all her life. Her best friend had asked her to come by later that day; he had a special birthday present for her, he said, one that would be utterly unlike anything she'd ever received before.
A throat clearing brought her attention to one of her oldest aunts. "Yes, ma'am?" she asked, turning to Aunt Sarda. The old woman smiled gently at her.
"Kahva, I have a very special birthday present for you. I'm going on a round-the-world tour of Eltar, starting tomorrow, and I want you to come with me. We'll be gone just about a year," she told the startled teenager. "Do you want to come?"
Kahva's emerald-toned eyes were wide with shock. "Around the world? Oh, this is incredible! I've always wanted to travel like that!"
"I know," her aunt laughed gently. "That's why we're going."
She literally squealed in delight as her parents gave their consent for her to go. "Oh, I can't believe this!" Suddenly her head came up sharply, and she remembered something. "I'll be back in about an hour, I've got to go tell the good news!"
Before anyone could say anything, Kahva was off like a streak of lightning, heading back to her best friend's house. Her heart thudded with joy as she ran, she was going on a round the world trip! For a whole year! Oh, she'd miss her friends and family, but she would write them, and she'd be back. As she dashed up to the front door, she was laughing with joy, he would be so happy for her, she knew it in her core... * * *
In between one step and the next, Sheena was herself again. The dream that had filled her mind was gone, as if it had never been. She stood on the front porch of the cabin, hand raised as if to knock. She lowered her hand, a bit confused. "What's wrong with me?" she whispered. "I must have been sleepwalking again."
She hurried inside, locking the door behind her. Heart pounding with nervousness, she crept back into the bedroom, to find Billy still asleep. Thank the Goddess for that, I could have never calmed him down if he'd woken up to find me gone. I'm not sure if I can calm myself down after that. I'm just lucky I got back home in one piece. Anything could have happened out there. I'm glad it didn't.
Sheena slipped back into bed, wrapping Billy's arms firmly around her as she did so. She leaned against the pillows, managing to conceal her worry from her own mind. She didn't want Kahva or Billy to pick up on it, they both had their own problems. She smiled lightly; she knew what they'd both say if she told them that. "Your worries are our worries, Sheena." She'd heard it plenty of times from both of them. Well, this was one thing she wouldn't bother them with.
She was asleep again so fast that she didn't even notice the all-too-familiar form of Klank watching her from outside the window, or hear him muttering in his awful Scottish accent, "Ye canna count on your husband to keep ye safe forever, Sheena. King Mondo will have his warrior back." * * *
"So it has happened again." Mondo kept his greedy metallic eyes on Sheena as she slept once more. He had sent Klank down to watch her the moment he'd seen her rise from her bed, her eyes dark and distant. He wondered what it was that could be causing this, and a foul hope festered within him that it was something he could twist to his own advantage.
He mused over what he'd overheard earlier in the day. That earlier sleepwalking experience had been the first time Sheena had done it. Something, he didn't know what, was happening to her. He peered down to observe her again, she was sleeping peacefully now. "Rest while you can, Sheena. Before too long, you'll be my ultimate warrior once again: and there will be no turning back ever again for you."
Almost as if she'd heard him, Sheena turned in her sleep, and a brief flash of fear and pain crossed her face. Mondo chuckled to himself; things were going to work out just perfectly. * * *
Kahva sighed, approaching their usual spot for having picnics and sparring in the park. I don't want to be here, Jason is going to be here, and if Emily finds out, she'll go ballistic! She'll think I'm after Jason, why did Sheena insist I come today? Kahva sat down on the ground, leaning against one of the large, majestic oak trees. "Guess she doesn't want me hiding," she muttered to herself. "And if I hadn't come, she would've hunted me down and dragged me out here. Oh well, maybe I'll get lucky and Jason won't be able to make it."
"Talking to yourself?" Kahva nearly jumped out of her skin as the Gold Ranger came up from behind the tree. "Mind if I join you?" Kahva offered neither protest nor invitation; Jason shrugged and sat beside her anyway. Long moments passed before he broke the uneasy silence. "Talk to me Kahva. Why haven't I seen you in two days? You haven't called to set up another session, when I've gone to the Power Chamber you've avoided me, what have I done?"
"It's not you," Kahva quickly assured him. "It's me. I've caused too much trouble for you, you're better off if I'm not around you."
"Ah, so it is Emily that's at the bottom of this. Has she said something to you? What was it, I'll set things straight."
"No, she didn't say anything to me, not directly... Jason, I've seen the way she acts around me, and you two have been having so many arguments lately... I'm not blind or deaf, Jason. She sees me as a threat, or interference of some sort. Maybe she thinks I'm after you or something, I don't know." Kahva looked Jason straight in the eyes for the first time. I can understand at least part of her concern, he is handsome, and so very loving to those he cares about. But my heart is with Daniel, why doesn't she believe that? "Face it, the less you're around me, the easier things will be, you guys won't fight as much."
"Kahva, it isn't you that's causing our arguments -"
"Oh really? You can't tell me that you two haven't been fighting more often since I arrived in this dimension, Jason. I've asked Billy and Tommy both, they don't remember the two of you arguing like this before, or this often."
"Because I never told them before." Jason stared at the ground, waiting for that little bombshell to sink in, and gathering his nerve to talk about what had been going on for some time now. "We've had little arguments before, every couple does. But Emily started having problems dealing with how much time I spent with my friends long before you showed up. This was going on before we ever met Sheena, in fact. Granted, we've had more of them lately, and..." Jason tried to stop himself from saying it, but Kahva's piercing gaze made him tell the truth. "Yeah, okay, she has thrown the time I spend with you in my face quite a bit. But I don't spend that much more time with my friends than I did before. She's just using you as an excuse, in my opinion."
"Are you sure?" Kahva wanted to believe him, she'd missed his company and humor. She didn't like having to avoid any of her friends, period.
"Yeah. Man, I thought she would get over this, but... I guess I was wrong." Jason was the one sighing now, finally releasing his frustration. "What do I do to get through to her? I call her all the time, but most of the time when I do, especially lately, she acts like she doesn't want to talk to me. I'll ask her out, a week, even two weeks ahead of time to go out on a date, she turns me down two out of three times. But on the occasional time I say I can't go out, and she knows I'm supposed to be going somewhere, like a karate meet, or something with my family or school, even stuff that I've already invited her to, she goes off on this 'you don't have time for me, you don't care about me' trip. What do I have to do to make her understand?" Jason caught the guilty expression on Kahva's face; it hurt to see her blaming herself. "I didn't even tell her you were going to be here today when I invited her to come out with us. I didn't mention your name at all. She turned me down flat, so it can't be you that is making her act this way. Even if it was, you haven't done anything, you're not to blame for this Kahva. I don't know who or what is, but it isn't you."
Kahva seemed to accept Jason's assurance, at least he hoped she did. "Have you tried talking to her? Telling her how you feel?" she inquired.
"No. I'm scared to, I'm afraid she'll take it the wrong way. I love her, but I hate the way she's acting. I don't try and keep her from her friends, why is she trying to keep me from mine?" Jason rubbed his face, hoping to hide how upset he was.
Kahva's hand on his arm nearly made him do something he rarely did: cry. "Talk to her. Be tactful of course, but be honest. Tell her how you feel, and ask her how she feels too. There's got to be a reason she's acting this way. Maybe she's afraid of sharing you, or maybe she's unsure of her heart, it could be any number of things. But you two have to talk things out."
Jason nodded and smiled at his older friend. "I will, but on one condition. You stop avoiding me. Whatever is wrong between Emily and me, I won't have it interfering with our friendship, or any of my other friendships. Besides, I still need to work with you on your judo training," he grinned, trying to lighten the mood. Before he could extract that promise from her however, most of the other Rangers arrived, calling a halt to their conversation.
"Good, you showed up!" Sheena laughed at Kahva a little, smiling. "I was almost afraid I was going to have to go hunt you down!"
"Wouldn't want you to have to do that, would we?" Kahva chuckled. I knew she would have!! Do I know my sister or what? Ever since Kahva had returned from Eltar, Sheena had gone out of her way to keep an even sharper eye on her soul-sister.
As the two of them smiled at each other, the other Rangers, except for Adam and Tanya who would be joining them later, were setting up the picnic area and spreading out the food. Kat slapped Rocky's hand lightly. "Stay away, that's for later!" she warned him as he tried to tear into the food. He pouted a little.
"Oh, come on Kat, just a little taste?" he begged. Kat shook her head. "Please?!" He was almost on his knees; it was hilarious to watch. Kat finally relented and handed him a small sandwich to keep him quiet.
Various conversations held sway between the Rangers as Sheena gave Tommy more instruction in ki-see, and Jason and Rocky practiced their own martial arts together. When the girls finally called everyone together for the actual picnic, Rocky fell on the food as if he hadn't eaten for a week, at least.
"I don't believe I've ever seen anyone eat that much!" Kahva's eyes widened a trifle as she stared at the Blue Ranger gulping down his food. "I didn't think it was possible."
"There's a whole lot in this world that's possible," Sheena giggled. The teasing of Rocky continued, along with other small talk. When they were all together like this, it seemed so hard to believe that King Mondo, Master Vile, or any other galactic villain even existed. At one point Kahva wistfully wished that Casach, Master Madas' playful cheetah was there, commenting on the big cat's love of pizza. That brought another round of teasing as they all took bets on who could down a slice faster: Casach, or Rocky. As the laughs and giggles died down a little, Jason glanced at Kahva briefly, then finally found his nerve and asked something that had been on all their minds since she'd returned from Eltar two weeks after they had. Her mention of Casach had provided on opening, and now was as good a time as any to get her to talk about it. She'd restored the Mystic Springs, fulfilling an ancient prophecy, and had stayed there for a while after the Rangers had returned home.
"What was it like those two weeks on Eltar?" Though they'd all been there before, only Sheena and Kahva had spent any extended length of time on the alien world. Sheena had spent her time training in ki-see, but Kahva had stayed there for a totally different reason.
Kahva thought before answering; some of what she'd learned she wanted to keep to herself for now. "Well, it wasn't all fun and games. A lot of people kept looking at me and treating me like I was some sort of 'returned from the dead' person, or godling's scion, or something. It was really creepy, some people even acted like I was a deity or grand wizard of some sort, that I could heal by touching someone or looking at them a certain way... Other people, I think, were scared of me. Maybe they were afraid I would turn out to be evil, or maybe it's because my origins are so tied to Eltar's past, when they were just starting to have to deal with Master Vile and Rita, maybe it brings back bad memories for them, I don't know. But Master Madas taught me some meditation techniques to help me deal with it though, and they've worked fairly well." When I use them. I've been neglectful lately, maybe they can help me figure out a solution to Jason's problem with Emily, I need to use them more regularly.
"How did it help?" Kat wondered, her voice breaking into Kahva's thoughts. "The meditation, that is."
"Well, that wasn't the only thing that helped, but what it did was -" Kahva was interrupted as Tommy screamed out the one word guaranteed to stop any conversation dead in its tracks.
They were all on their feet in a second, morphed and ready to tear these machine invaders into scrap metal. "You idiots have the absolute worst timing, do you know that?" Sheena yelled as she raced towards them ahead of the others, she'd never forgotten how they'd lured her away from the others in the Lunar Palace's tower prison room, nearly causing her death and theirs. Billy was hot on her heels, his vendetta with them was nearly as great as her own.
"Come on, we can't let them have all the fun!" Rocky giggled as the rest of the Rangers went into battle. Billy glanced back suddenly, remembering Kahva, and called out, "Teleport back to the Power Chamber!" She was about to go, when one Cog suddenly sprang up to yank her communicator off her wrist and smash it. He received almost definite proof he and Kahva shared a link of their own somehow, when he felt the surge of rage coming from her as she pulled out her staff and extended it to full length.
"Do you know how much trouble those things take to make?" she growled as she smashed into them with almost as much fury as Sheena was a few dozen feet away. A few long moments passed, which seemed more like years as they fought across the small clearing. Sheena glanced around as she slammed the last Cog near her into a tree and into several dozen parts, and saw Billy and Tommy were both being overwhelmed. Luckily they were close enough to each other so she could help them both, and she was on the way there in a flash.
"Tommy!" Billy cried out. "This isn't going well!"
"You're telling me!" the Red Ranger growled as he just barely managed to push another Cog off to one side. They seemed to be congregating on the two of them, the other Rangers were doing well, but Kahva was being held prisoner by a Cog now. She certainly wasn't making it easy for the robotic warrior though, another Cog was rushing to help his metal cohort. Sheena will be able help her, Tommy thought, then he caught a quick glimpse of his cousin.
She was standing in the middle of the clearing, still morphed, but he got the intense feeling of utter confusion and disorientation coming from her. Three Cogs ran right past her, being chased by Jason, and she completely ignored them! That was so unlike Sheena, he wondered for a second if that even was her! He spared enough of a glance to notice Rocky and Kat were heading over to Kahva, doing their best to help her, but they were having to fight through the clump of Cogs surrounding where Kahva was being held captive. He saw the girl fight a flash of panic as she railed at the Cogs, "Let me go!!" Tommy's stomach knotted as he realized that only Sheena was close enough to help Kahva in time, but the Silver Ranger was immobile.
"Sheena?!" Tommy screamed at her. "Sheena, what's wrong, what's going on?" He couldn't even be sure if she'd heard him, if she did, she didn't show it in any way. He couldn't believe his eyes; Sheena was utterly ignoring the danger to Kahva! He would have taken a bet she would have ignored danger to Billy, before doing that to Kahva! Come on cousin, snap out of it! They're going to get Kahva this time if you don't!! Even the Cogs seemed to wonder just what was up with the Silver Ranger.
"Kahva!" It was Jason, who had just realized the Cogs were starting to drag Kahva away. Sheena seemed to come out of her trance or whatever it was in that moment, and realized what was happening to her soul-sister. Tommy actually winced as he saw Sheena start to run towards the Cogs; he knew what she was going to do next, and if she was in time, those Cogs didn't stand a chance.
But what Sheena did was nothing compared to how startling Kahva's own next move was. Sheena and Tommy both recognized it, but also knew they hadn't had a thing to do with her learning it. Kahva ki-see punched the two Cogs holding her, slamming them together with all her strength. "I told you tin brains earlier, let me go!!" she yelled fiercely. The move wasn't pretty, but effective, and the Cogs seemed a bit 'dazed', if that was the right phrase to use on metallic creatures, but they weren't out of it just yet. That took Sheena's move to do: a magnificent running leap over Kahva's head, which turned into a double back-kick that removed the Cogs' heads from their shoulders and sent them flying a good fifty yards into the trees. The rest of Mondo's warriors took that as the cue to leave in defeat once more.
Kat was over by them a second later, asking Kahva, "Where'd you learn how to do that, I like that move! Is that something Tommy, Sheena or Jason taught you?"
"She didn't learn ki-see moves from us, Kat," Tommy declared. "I'd like to know where you learned that too." Kahva knelt on the ground, catching her breath and helping Billy find the scattered remains of her once fairly-new communicator.
As the Rangers demorphed, Kahva told them, "That's the other thing Master Madas taught me that helped me deal with everything. It took me so long to get the hang of the moves, I couldn't think about anything else!" she laughed tightly, looking at Sheena. Her face voiced the group's question without a need for words: What happened to you, Sheena?
Sheena was leaning against a tree, pale and shaking a bit. I can't believe what happened; I just totally zoned out in that fight, and because of that, the Cogs could have kidnapped Kahva! Goddess of Light, what is happening to me?
"Hey, what's going on here? Did we miss something?" They looked up to see Tanya and Adam joining them. It was all Sheena could do at that moment not to either break down into tears or break out into laughter. She just wasn't sure which was more appropriate at the moment. * * *
Blast you Mondo! he raged. How dare you try to harm my love?! He had arrived in the park just in time to see Sheena 'sleepwalking', as the humans called it, in the middle of a battle with Cogs. He knew perfectly well what was happening, and could not risk these episodes continuing much longer. He had been very relieved to see Sheena snap out of her trance-like state, even if it did mean she ended up rescuing some girl he didn't care about. It must have been that maid of honor person, I wish I could've heard what the Gold Ranger called her, or could have gotten a better look at her, I feel power around her, old power... She could be trouble for my plans, whoever she is. He shook himself out of his thoughts as he realized the Rangers and their friend were about to leave, they had just been joined by the Yellow and Green Rangers. I can't let Mondo get you, Sheena, you are mine, not his! I can't stop Kahva Kilanye's memories, but I can alter my spell.
He concentrated for a few moments, then smiled grimly to himself as the Rangers and their friend teleported away. There. It's done. Instead of keeping you from those memories that are resurfacing in your dreams forever, you will only be kept from remembering what you've dreamt until this dream cycle has terminated. You will live the memories out in your dreams until they end. Then after this cycle is over, I will have to find a new way to keep you from remembering me. But at least you will not be 'sleepwalking' anymore, you will not be vulnerable to Mondo once the cycle has ended. That was his only regret, that his spell had somehow triggered Sheena's sleepwalking - but were it not for the spell, his plans could have come undone. Months of work ruined... But it had to be done, it is not quite time to claim her, not just yet...
He stared at the spot where the friend of the Rangers had stood, her back to him the entire time, partially hidden from his view by the bushes he had been spying from. Who are you, what do you look like? You had better pray that you don't interfere with my plans, little one, or you will pay the price. Anyone who keeps me from my prize will pay, that is a promise!! * * *
"So what's the verdict?" Sheena tried to sound nonchalant; she didn't feel ill, all her faculties were clear as far as she could tell. Hope my sleepwalking isn't because of some spell. But if it is, how? When could I have been around someone who could have placed that kind of spell on me, and I not remember something odd happening somewhere? Or for Billy or Kahva not to have picked up on someone finding me and doing that? Sheena watched as Alpha and Billy worked over the data from the scans they had run on her, swinging her legs idly as she sat on the examining table, waiting for the results. Kahva had taken to pacing back and forth, and Tommy wasn't much better, they had already bumped into each other three times. Jason finally caught Kahva's arm and pulled her to him, massaging her shoulders before she could protest. Kat followed his lead and grabbed Tommy, hugging him, and rubbing his back every so often. Tanya and Adam had commandeered a corner with Rocky, staying out of the way as best they could.
"Okay," Billy started, finally breaking the tense silence. "According to the scans, there's nothing wrong with you Sheena, other than perhaps a lack of sleep. There's no indication when we compare our last regular scan of you with this one that there is any kind of spell or potion in your system. No viruses, bacterial infections, nothing. You're as healthy as can be."
Sheena smiled in relief; she had felt just fine, but hearing her husband confirm it was a great load off of her mind. "I could have told you that," she said as she hopped off of the table and into his arms. "Now I think you need to check Tommy and Kahva for bruises, they been bumping each other like crazy with their pacing."
"And wearing a track in the floor," Rocky joked. "Think we should make them repair it?" Kahva's response to that was to stick her tongue out at the Blue Ranger, but both she, Tommy and Billy wore similar frowns.
"That still doesn't tell us why she zoned out in the battle," Tommy reminded them all. "Face it, we're lucky things ended up in our favor this time." Sheena shivered at that. One second she had been fighting Cogs, then in the next second to her, she'd seen Kahva being dragged off by Cogs. Finding out that she'd been 'zoned out' for nearly a minute in the middle of a battle, and that Kahva had been captured in that short time span was frightening.
"I guess it's from that lack of sleep Billy mentioned," she guessed, casting a worried glance at her soul-sister. I can't lose you because of a few restless nights, I won't! "Maybe if I get some decent sleep, that will take care of it."
"Maybe so. We can put you on some mild sedatives to help you get to sleep, if we have to," Billy suggested. Sheena wrinkled her nose at that; she didn't like taking medicine if she didn't absolutely have to. "In the meantime, we'll have Alpha keep a tight lock on you in battle, and running scans on you during that time as well. If it's a lack of sleep we're dealing with here, then we shouldn't have anything to worry about, unless it gets more serious."
"And what if it does?" Tommy asked. "You can bet Mondo saw what happened today, that's probably the whole reason he tried for Kahva with all of us around. He saw Sheena was zoned out, and since she was the one who could've gotten to her the fastest, he probably figured Kahva was an easy target. If it happens again, he may get braver and try for both of you next time," he finished with a worried glance at the two girls.
"Let's cross that bridge when we get there, I mean, it's just a lack of sleep, Tommy," Sheena tried to reassure him. Or am I trying to reassure myself? "Alpha, how about keeping a tight lock on Kahva too, just in case it does happen again? If I zone out in a fight, and we're both there, get us out right then, before Mondo can try anything."
"Sounds like a good idea, and I'll try to stay close to you so we can shift out, in case he blocks our teleportation system," Kahva added. "Doing that is almost second nature for him, it seems sometimes." Sheena could still hear a hint of worry in her voice, though. "I'm going to have to do it until Billy can fix my communicator anyway, so that's a habit that won't be hard to start." Billy and Sheena both heard her unspoken wish very clearly. Wish I didn't have to depend on one of you to shift, it takes a Ranger from where they are needed, and makes me a burden when I can't teleport. You guys don't need a burden in a battle!
Sheena walked over to her soul-sister and gave her a reassuring hug. "We're going to get through this, and you're not a burden," she whispered. To the others she gave a smile and a bit of bravado. "One of these days, Mondo is going to realize it's a major mistake to mess with the Sisterhood."
"Can't happen too soon for me," Kahva responded.
"Me either," Billy added. "It can't happen soon enough for all of us. We haven't had much time to spend together or by ourselves, except for the past two months that he's been a bit quiet. Personally, I'd like a longer vacation from the bad guys than that. Now," he said, moving over to Sheena, "how about we work on getting you some of that sleep you need, sweetie?" Everyone teleported out over the next minute or so, with Tommy being the last to leave.
"See you at the Youth Center tomorrow, Kahva?" When she didn't immediately answer, he moved to place a hand on her shoulder. "Kahva? You okay?"
"Hmm? Oh, I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"Where were you just then?" Tommy gave her a concerned look. "Maybe it's not just Sheena we should consider sedating a little; are you getting enough sleep yourself?"
Kahva smiled a little. "I'm not zoned, Tommy. It's just... am I the only one who felt confusion coming from Sheena in the fight?"
Tommy sighed and frowned. "I'm glad you said something. I was beginning to think I had been the only one to feel it. But it was vague, I can't describe it. What did you feel?"
The older girl weighed her words carefully, trying to describe the flash she'd felt from Sheena. "I'm not too sure, I couldn't think about it too long, the Cogs were kinda vying for my attention," she stated, her voice not hiding her dislike of Mondo's metal men one bit. "But for a second, it was as if... as if she thought she was somewhere else, it was right at the start of when she zoned out, I guess. Then when she 'woke up', for an instant, it was almost like... like she was surprised we were fighting Cogs."
"Like she had forgotten who we were fighting, or the fact we were fighting?" Tommy didn't like that possibility at all.
Kahva shook her head. "No, she expected to be fighting." She shook her head again, then looked up at Tommy. "This is going to sound crazy, but... I think maybe she expected to be fighting someone, or something else. That doesn't make sense though."
"Maybe she felt that way because of zoning out? Could that be it?" Kahva and Tommy tried to puzzle it out a few minutes longer, but the only thing they gained were matching headaches. "If there is a next time, you and Billy have to try to reach her, we have to try to figure out if she's dreaming, or just what is going on in her head. Something tells me that's the only way we're going to find out what is happening here."
Kahva nodded her agreement. "I just hope it's nothing serious." And for the first time, Kahva could almost clearly hear Tommy's mental agreement. "I heard you," she breathed. "I heard you in here," she said, tapping her head. "You do have a link with Sheena, you've got to. And through her, a link to me. It's like what I heard was being filtered through something, but I still heard you... well, felt would be a more accurate description. It was more emotion than actual words, you're not as clear as Billy is to me. I mainly get emotions from him, but sometimes there are a few clear words. I think he's picking up more on my emotions, if not actual words, every single day. I know he's seen some of my nightmares. But this is the first time I've felt you at all."
Tommy's eyes widened at that, for a fleeting second he thought he might have felt Kahva's emotions too, but it had been so faint, he wasn't sure. "All four of us really need to work on this, work on strengthening the links."
"Definitely," Kahva agreed. "I'm positive I felt your emotions just then. Tommy," she placed her hand on his arm, her voice more urgent now, "if Sheena zones out again, you need to try and reach her too, or see if you can sense what she's thinking or feeling. You might be able to pick up on something that Billy or I might miss. With three of us trying, that should improve our chances of figuring this out." Tommy sighed and hugged Kahva, walking her to her quarters. After she closed her door, he simply stood in the hallway for a while, lost deep in thought, then he finally teleported out, hoping that she was right, that together they could figure it all out. Please let us all be worried over nothing, please... But as he materialized in his bedroom, he couldn't shake the feeling that what was happening could be a big problem not only for Sheena, but for all of them, if they didn't figure it out soon. * * *
"Scared you, didn't I?" Mondo gloated at the replayed image of Sheena in the park in his viewscreen. He'd sent the Cogs down mainly as a test, to see if Sheena's recent sleepwalking had dulled her fighting skills any, or slowed her reaction time. It hadn't in the least, and the Machine King was still not sure if that was a good sign or a bad one. But then in the middle of the battle, she had frozen, apparently unaware of anything going on around her. Mondo decided to take advantage of her distraction and use the opportunity to kidnap Kahva. "I nearly had that child, when did she start to learn ki-see? It doesn't matter, I'll just have to use more Cogs to capture her. She's not on the level of the Rangers, but she is becoming a better fighter. Perhaps her powers have strengthened in this time as well..." Mondo considered launching an attack the very next time he could find the girl alone, preferably when Sheena was sleepwalking again, and kidnapping her, but decided against it. "Not yet," he told himself. "Wait until you have Sheena in your grasp, under your control, then have her kidnap the child. Yes..." he laughed, pleased with his plotting. He would gain control of Sheena, then Sheena would kidnap her best friend. "Once I have them, I'll have my Silver Ranger kidnap that irritating Billy and Tommy, I'll put them under my control, and then the whole planet will be mine for the taking!!"
"I've heard that before," Klank muttered from the shadows where he had been watching his master. Unfortunately for him, Mondo heard his audible lack of faith. Klank was rewarded with a blast from Mondo's staff, which sent him flying through the foot-thick wall he was in front of and into the next room.
"Never question my judgment, never, do you understand?!?!" A faint squeak from Klank seemed to satisfy the Machine King as he turned back to his viewscreen. "All I need is for Sheena to sleepwalk again, and she will be mine, just as she was always meant to be." * * *
"This is awesome, Sheena! I don't know how you come up with this stuff," Kahva praised her best friend. The past four days hadn't been disturbed in the least by any attacks from Mondo, or repeated episodes of sleepwalking by Sheena. She had gotten a good night's rest each night, thanks to a mild sedative that Billy had put her on. This night was going to be the first one without taking it before bed though, as a test. Kahva had come over after pulling a late night at the TV station to check on her, and ended up doing something she hadn't done in nearly two and a half years: she was reading a rough draft of Sheena's latest novel, critiquing it and checking it for consistency. Kahva sighed happily as she put down her hard copy. "It's been way too long since we've done this; stayed up late, pulled apart one of your stories, and put it back together again."
Sheena stretched and saved the editing they had done on her computer. "I know, the last time was so long ago... about a week before..." Her voice trailed off as the memory came back.
"Before you 'left', before you were transported over here by Kahva Kilanye," Kahva finished for her. "What ever happened to that novel anyway?" she asked, trying to change the subject a tiny bit. She'd seen the flash of sadness on Sheena's face, and wanted to keep her cheerful, not melancholy. Maybe we need to try and go home for a visit soon. We're planning to go in about four weeks, but maybe we need to push it up a bit. We both miss the old gang... and I miss Daniel, too.
"It became the first one I sold here in this universe," Sheena grinned, her face brightening, much to Kahva's relief. "I just realized, you've never seen it."
"Well," Kahva smiled back at her, "I guess I can forgive you this once. After all, we have been kind of busy these past... what, three months or so that I've been here? Things have been hectic on occasion. Just don't do it again, young lady," she jokingly warned.
"Yes ma'am!" Sheena laughed, showing a smart salute to her sister. "Here," she said, getting up and removing a book from the nearby bookshelf, "I've always kept this copy put up just in case... in case I found you, or found a way home again. Read the dedication. I've also got copies for everyone else back home too, we need to give them theirs when we go back to visit." Kahva took the book as if it were a fragile treasure, which for her it was, and opened it with great love and care. A few moments later, she smiled and read the dedication Sheena had written for it aloud.
"For my friends, who I miss with all my heart. Without them, I could never have gotten this far. For my soul-sister, who I miss with all my soul. She is a part of me, and a part of this work; without her, it could never have been written. One day, we shall all be together again, and that shall be the happiest day of my life. Love, Sheena." Kahva closed the book, tracing the elegantly scripted title on its cover. "Love's Journey," she murmured. "You finally named it."
"Yeah... One title that has really fit a huge part of my life, though I didn't know it back then." Sheena sighed and smiled a bit sheepishly. "I even autographed the book for you... well, I autographed everybody's, but I did something a little different in yours."
Kahva cocked an amused eyebrow at the young writer, then reopened the book, flipping a page past the dedication. She found a message just for her there in Sheena's beautiful handwriting. "The journey of love begins with a single step: the first step as a toddling babe to a parent's outstretched arms, then we continue on through life to other 'first' steps: first friends, best friends, first loves, lasting loves... Once in a while, we are blessed to take a step on our journey that leads us to a kindred spirit, a brother or sister of the soul, one without whom our lives are not complete. You are that sister, my dear Kahva, and I thank The Goddess every day for the gift of your love and friendship; for giving me a true soul-sister. As you once wrote, 'Miles away, or standing here, the heart will always keep us near. Heaven or Fate, who can say, just what brought us together that day. Blood cannot bring us any closer. It is our hearts and souls, we find, that keep us forever in each other's mind. Time will flow as the tides, but it is love that will cross the divide. Blood could not closer sisters make, and time nor distance, can that bond ever break.' I love you Kahva, never forget that. Please don't ever forget me. We are sisters for all time, and I firmly believe that we will be reunited one day. Love, your Sister... Sheena." Kahva closed the book, tears close to falling down her face after she'd finished reading the message Sheena had left for her. One look at each other and they both cried, holding each other until their tears ended. "Sheena... I could never forget you, never. Before I met you, the only family I had was Mom and Dad, but I still felt so alone... I never had any friends at the orphanage, but when I met you, I found more than a friend."
Sheena smiled as she grabbed a box of tissues for them both. "Now we know why we met like we did... we know who made sure we would both be in the same dimension, on the same world, at least: Elysia. We know that even without our families being connected in the past, we would've been drawn to each other, we would've been friends anyway."
"I know... it's comforting to know that we weren't pulled together only because of our ancestors, you know?" Kahva stopped as she spotted a quick slight frown cross Sheena's face. "What? What wrong?"
"It's... it's kinda what you just said. I've wondered for some time now if Billy and I would've been drawn to each other without the influence of how Kahva and Silias felt for each other."
Kahva hugged her soul-sister close. "Something tells me you two would've found each other anyway. But you don't need to hear that from me, you need to talk to Billy about it. But trust me, you two were made for each other, regardless of the bond between the original Silver and Sapphire Rangers." The current Silver Ranger nodded; that was what she wanted to believe, it was what she was trying so hard to hang on to right now. So many things had felt out of her control over the past few months: Kahva's being dragged to this dimension with Daniel at Mondo's order, their subsequent imprisonment and mistreatment... The attacks that had followed after her honeymoon with Billy; where Mondo had been intent on grabbing her, or Kahva, or both of them... Vile's attempt to capture her when they had gone to the Lunar Palace to retrieve Kahva Kilanye's body, and the events that had followed which caused Kahva Briton to stay on Eltar for two weeks after the first Silver Ranger's long-deserved funeral... The past two months had been a bit of a 'vacation', as Billy had put it, but with the break, Sheena's nightmares had returned in the past month, she'd barely been able to hide them from Billy and Kahva. Now the nightmares had been replaced with sleepwalking. Why is all of this happening? Why can't I keep things under control? Just then, Sheena felt Kahva's eyes on her. Oh no, what has she picked up on? What do I do, what do I tell her? Sheena waited, if Kahva had a question, she'd ask it quickly.
Sheena wasn't made to wait long. "Sheena, what's bugging you?" After getting no answer, Kahva pressed on with her interrogation. "I know you've been trying to block me, and probably Billy for about a month now at night, sometimes. Nightmares again?"
"Yes," Sheena finally admitted. Kahva had been sure of it anyway, so there was no use in trying to hide it. "But in the past several days, they've disappeared, I haven't had a single one."
"And in the past several days, for the first time in your life, you've started sleepwalking. I don't like the timing of this, Sheena."
"It's just a little sleepwalking, Kahva! I haven't done it in four days now, it's over with! You guys worry too much," Sheena tried to persuade her friend. But Sheena didn't like the timing any better than she did however, and Sheena was determined to hide at least some of that feeling from her soul-sister. Sharing minds does have its drawbacks...
"We're your friends, it's our job, comes with the territory," was Kahva's snappy reply. "Sheena... Tommy and Billy and I have been working on something. We've been working on the links. Maybe it will help us figure out what's going on when you're sleepwalking, if it does happen again."
Sheena wasn't surprised at that announcement, they had been talking about working on the links for some time now. But one of the people involved in the testing did surprise her a bit. "Why Tommy? Has he been picking up on me?" Great, someone else to know how little control I have on things right now. Maybe that's a good thing though, Tommy would most likely be the first one to pick up on any signs that I'm not fit to lead, if things get that bad. I can't let them get that bad, I won't! I have to get control back of things, I have to. I wish those old dreams would go away though.
"Actually, I picked up on Tommy's emotions for the first time four days ago, and he thought he felt me too... Sheena? What old dreams, what are you thinking about? Don't turn away from me, I clearly heard all that just then." Sheena's shoulders slumped, there was a definite disadvantage to sharing a mind with other people, especially when one of them knew you as well as Kahva knew Sheena. Kahva steered Sheena to the couch and sat beside her. "Sheena," she started gently, "I know how you hate not being in control of things that affect you, and those you care about. But you have to realize you can't control everything, none of us can. You have to let it go sometimes, and just do the best you can, you know? And believe me, from everything I've seen since I've been here, you are most assuredly fit to lead the Rangers." Sheena smiled a little at the older girl's reassurance. "And there is absolutely nothing wrong in talking to anyone about what's troubling you, there is no shame in it whatsoever. It's a sign of wisdom, of knowing when to seek help."
"Who taught you that, Master Madas?"
"He reminded me, but I've been telling you that for years, Sheena," Kahva replied. "If there's anything you need to talk about, grab me, or one of the Rangers, and talk to us, please?" Sheena finally nodded a promise, and after hugging her, Kahva asked, "Now what's this about old dreams? What were you thinking about?"
Sheena bit her lip, she wasn't quite sure what she had been going through herself. "I think I've been dreaming of some of Kahva's life lately... or maybe I've just been thinking about it, I don't know exactly. I don't even know when I've been dreaming, or thinking about it specifically, I just know that I have for a while now, ever since my nightmares went away. I wish I could remember just what I've been either dreaming or thinking about, maybe I would know then when I've been doing it. I know this doesn't make any sense, but I can't describe it any better than that."
Kahva furrowed her brows in contemplation. "No, it does make a certain sense... could you have been thinking, or dreaming of Kahva's life while you've been sleepwalking?" Could we finally have a clue about what's been happening here? I've got to talk to the others about this. Sheena shook her head though, a small frown crossing her features once again.
"I don't know what I've been thinking, or doing, or dreaming when I've been sleepwalking."
"Hmmm," was all Kahva said as she mulled it over for a few moments. "Maybe with Tommy, Billy and me all trying to sense something from you when you sleepwalk, if you do it again, we can figure out if you are dreaming about Kahva during that time."
Sheena nodded, it made sense for them to try that. "And if I am thinking, or dreaming, of her life when I'm sleepwalking... what does that tell us?"
Kahva yawned, looking at her watch. "I don't know, but maybe we will figure that out once it happens, if it happens. Girl, do you realize it's one in the morning?"
"Yeah," Sheena chuckled. "We really haven't stayed up this late together in a long time. You've been up for nearly twenty hours straight though, you should go to the Power Chamber and get some sleep."
"What about you? Billy isn't home yet, he must still be working at the university on that research project he got corralled into."
Sheena grinned. "He was rather happily 'corralled' into it, as you put it. Something about genetic markers. Look, don't worry about me, Billy should be home before too long, and I'm about to fall out myself anyway."
"What, you fall asleep and miss the triumphant return home of your knight in shining sapphire armor?" Kahva teased. "It would be a shame for you to miss that, you know. I guess I should get going - oh, I've got the picture for you, let me fish it out of here..." The older girl made for a comical sight as she nearly dove into her backpack for the photo, Sheena couldn't help but giggle at her. Kahva's head exited the bag with a mock frown which quickly changed to a smile as she held aloft a stiff cardboard envelope. "Here it is. I've got copies for the others too, but I wanted your opinion first."
Sheena took the envelope and shook out the eight by ten photo of all the current Rangers in full uniform, holding their helmets at their sides. Sheena stood in the middle of the group with Tommy to her right and Billy to her left, the other Rangers and Alpha fanned out to either side. "Breaking that darkroom you, Billy and Adam set up in rather quickly, aren't you?" the Silver Ranger laughed. "The picture is great, Kahva, I don't think you have it in you to take a bad shot."
The other girl grinned, then pointed out Rocky and Tommy specifically in the picture. "Explain something to me," she requested. "If Tommy has the Diamond powers, and Rocky has the Ruby, then why is Tommy the Red Zeo Ranger, and Rocky the Blue? That's been bothering me for a while now."
Sheena chuckled at that. "Believe it or not, I asked Zordon the same thing not long after I joined the team. The Zeo Crystal fragments, which were in the past the Power Crystals, lost their hold, for lack of a better term, on specific colors over the years. When the current members claimed their shards, they took on the primary color in their own personal aura. Their Ranger colors are not the only colors in their auras by any means, with some of the Rangers, their primary color is primary by only a slim margin over the others. But each shard had it's own specific power resting in it, and could only be claimed by the person or persons it was meant for. That's why both Aisha and Tanya could've taken the Topaz, we discovered last year they were very distantly related. But Tanya is actually a more direct descendant of Linon Aranon than Aisha is."
"And that's why both the Treys and Jason could have been the Gold Ranger, they're all descendants of Caleen Radsha, but the records show Jason is actually the more direct descendant, I think I understand now." Kahva digested everything for a minute or so, then gave her soul-sister a puzzled look. "Wait just a minute... Rocky's primary color is blue? But that indicates logic and planning, and he's so impulsive -"
"He can be very logical... when he wants to be. Rocky is the light of our little group, he's the jokester when we need it. But when logic and careful planning are called for, he can be just as serious as Billy," Sheena assured her. Kahva laughed at the thought of a serious Rocky, but had to admit Sheena was right, he could be logical... when he wanted to be. Kahva stayed just a few minutes longer, but then went out to her car and called for Alpha to teleport it and her to the Zord Holding Bay. Sheena watched her leave, then made her rounds through the cabin, making sure everything was turned off, except for one lamp turned on low near the front door, so Billy could have enough light to see by when he got in. "Please come home soon, Billy," she thought as she drifted off to sleep. * * *
Billy crept into the cabin quietly, the last thing he wanted to do was to wake Sheena up, if she was asleep. Silently he padded through their house, leaving his briefcase in the living room, shedding his clothes in the bedroom. A look at the clock told him it was nearly two in the morning, they had both had a long day. Kahva had called him on his communicator after she had gotten back to the Power Chamber, letting him know that Sheena would most likely be asleep when he got home. I hope she is, she needs a good night's sleep without medication, if she can get it.
The full moon outside of their home shone through their bedroom window, casting its light upon his slumbering wife as she lay on her side. She was more beautiful every time he looked at her, and Billy never grew tired of looking at her. Slowly, silently, he slipped into their bed and snuggled up to his love, tenderly kissing her lips, cheek and neck in turn, gently caressing her bare arm and pulling the bedsheet up a bit over them both. "Sleep well, beautiful," he softly whispered in her ear. She murmured something in her sleep, a smile on her face as she did so. A good dream tonight, Billy happily thought as he lay beside her, falling asleep himself even as his head touched the pillow. She deserves a good dream... * * *
Kahva was nearly asleep when a wave of amorous feelings washed over her. Billy's home, and he's getting in bed with Sheena, she knew. The feelings were hazily returned by Sheena to her husband. She's asleep, Kahva realized. Kahva stretched and turned in her bed, sleep was such an inviting thought at nearly two o' clock in the morning. She tried vainly to stay awake, to see if she could determine if Sheena was dreaming about Kahva Kilanye, but couldn't stay awake herself. As sleep claimed her, she thought she felt something shutting her off from Sheena a bit, but the troubling feeling was lost in her own deep slumber. * * *
Kahva wandered down the street, her heart pounding with joy. She had been having so much fun on this trip; she was so glad Aunt Sarda had taken her along. Oh sure, she missed her parents and her friends, especially her best friend. But she was picking out some very nice souvenirs for them all.
She glanced over her purchases one more time, detailing them all out in her mind. The history book for her brother, he loved the past; the bolt of silk for her mother, she could make the most beautiful gowns from it. She smiled a little as she saw the tiny carved horse she'd picked out for her youngest sister; Olina loved horses, and longed to be a warrior one day.
She stumbled suddenly as someone bumped into her, causing her to drop everything she had. "Oh, I'm sorry," a young male voice said. She started to pick her things up, with the stranger helping her.
"It's all right," she reassured him. Their hands touched briefly as they both reached for the little horse, and Kahva found herself looking into the warmest pair of green eyes she had ever seen. Her heart literally stuttered as she kept looking; she didn't ever want to look away. He was too perfect, simply too perfect...
"It was my fault, I should've been looking where I was going. I'm sorry, ma'am." Even his voice caused her heart to pulse with joy. Kahva didn't want him to stop speaking, ever.
"It's okay," she told him. "I'm Kahva Rhaydra."
"Dalien Kilanye." * * *
"Mmm, wha-?" Billy awoke with a start, but couldn't quite get his thoughts focused at first. "I thought I was..." Billy mumbled to himself. Somewhere else, but where? Eltar? That doesn't make sense, unless Sheena was dreaming about Eltar, or if Kahva was. Must've been Sheena - Sheena? As his eyes cleared, Billy placed his hand where his wife should have been lying beside him, but she wasn't there, the bed was cool. "Sheena?" he softly called out. There was no answer in the room. "Sheena?" he called again, louder this time. His heart chilled after a quick look at the clock, it wasn't yet six. "She's never up this early," he muttered, quickly slipping on a pair of sweats and a T-shirt. He ran about the cabin, calling her name louder and louder, but still he received no answer. Billy dashed outside, yelling for her at the top of his lungs, hurrying to the lake, checking everywhere she could have possibly gone to, but Sheena was nowhere to be found. He tried several times to raise her on her communicator, but got no answer. He finally teleported to the Power Chamber, a dread fear clawing at him as he called the other Rangers in, and sent a wake up call into Kahva's room.
"Hey Billy, what's up?" Kahva asked with a yawn, stumbling in dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. "It's not quite six o'clock, what's going on? Where's Sheena?" A wave of troubled emotions from Billy washed over her; part worry, part something else that she couldn't quite put her finger on... but it felt oddly familiar though.
Billy's answer cut into her thoughts just then. "That's what I don't know - yet. Sheena's missing."
That woke Kahva instantly, and in a second she was helping Billy with the scans he was running, trying to find Sheena. As the other Rangers teleported in one by one, Alpha explained the situation to them, and all wore the same worried expressions. At one point, Billy thought he had found her when he finally got a lock onto her communicator, but only the communicator teleported into the Power Chamber when he brought it in.
"She would never take this off when she's out on her own," Tommy said, fingering the communicator. "It's a little wet, morning dew, maybe?"
"It's a little cool, too," Adam commented, taking the device from Tommy. "It still works though, and there's so sign of it having been forcibly removed." Adam put the communicator on his own wrist. "The latch isn't broken either."
"So Sheena took it off out in the middle of - where did you teleport that from, Billy?"
"The park, Kahva," Billy replied a bit snappishly as he continued to scan for the Silver Ranger. Kahva flinched at his sharp response, but said nothing as she continued to assist in the scans. "The middle of the park, how could she have gotten all the way out there? Our cars are still at the house, and the logs here show that no one used the teleportation system after you got in early this morning. She was either picked up, or she walked out there," he guessed. Billy stopped himself there, he'd seen Kahva's reaction to his tone of voice. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like that Kahva, I'm just -"
"I know," she quietly answered. "I'm worried too."
"I don't think she would be catching rides in the wee hours of the morning, so she must've walked. How long would it take for her to get there?" Kat asked, breaking the slight tension. Billy rarely snaps at anyone; this has him scared silly! What hasn't he told us?
"A little over three hours to get to where I picked up on her communicator, going at a steady pace. I've tried to sense her, to contact her mentally, but it's like she's not there... She's not dead, I refuse to believe that. She's still alive, wherever she is." She has to be, I can't have lost her in the past four hours, I can't!!
Kahva nodded and went over to Billy, giving him a reassuring hug. "I can't sense her either, but I think we would know if she wasn't... with us anymore."
Billy returned Kahva's hug as they waited for a new set of scans to come in. "Something else guys," Billy sighed, the worry evident in his voice. "None of her clothes are missing, except for the nightgown she was wearing last night. I'm afraid she might have been sleepwalking again."
"When did you find out she was gone, exactly?" Tommy asked.
"I woke up at about a quarter to six, and she wasn't in bed. I searched everywhere in and around the cabin before I called you guys and teleported in here to start the scans. If it hadn't been for that dream I think I had, I might still be asleep right now. Her side of the bed was cold, she's been gone for a while." Tommy clapped a hand on Billy's shoulder, assuring him that they would find his wife. Kahva frowned a bit at the Sapphire Ranger, she was getting those troubled feelings from him again, and now she knew why they felt so familiar: she had them as well.
"Billy," Kahva spoke up, "What dream did you think you had? It's bothering you, I can tell that just by looking at you, I don't have to sense it from you. Maybe it has something to do with Sheena's disappearance, maybe not."
"A dream?" Rocky asked. "Isn't that grasping at straws, Kahva?"
"Absolutely," she agreed. "And I wouldn't even be asking if it wasn't for the fact that I think I had a dream too, and when Billy's call woke me up, I was just as confused as he was when he woke up this morning. That, I did sense from you Billy when I walked in here, that when you woke up this morning, you almost expected to be somewhere else. That feeling is still gnawing at you even now." And me too, what's going on with us? she wondered. "Tommy," she asked, turning to the other male Ranger she now apparently had a link with, "did you wake up from an odd dream too, but you can't quite remember what it was, or where you were in it? I'm trying a gut feeling here." Tommy nodded and answered her.
"Yeah... I think I might have been dreaming about Eltar." At the surprised looks on Billy and Kahva's faces, he rushed forward with the feeling he had awoken with. "It felt like... this is going to sound crazy, but it felt like I was seeing home, but before it was my home... but it wasn't my house here on Earth, it was the Kilanye farm on Eltar. That's all I remember though. Could it mean something?" All three of them knew without another word that they had all had some kind of half-dream at least, about Eltar, about the Kilanye farm.
"It might... if Sheena is sleepwalking... and she's dreaming about Eltar," Billy answered.
"But why would she be dreaming about Eltar? Why would she be dreaming about a place she's only visited once? Correction: twice, we all went there after the funeral," Jason pointed out.
"We're missing something, there's a piece of the puzzle we don't have yet..." Billy said to no one in particular. "Okay, let's say it isn't coincidence that we," he indicated Tommy, Kahva and himself, "all had at least part of a dream about Eltar this morning. Tommy says he specifically saw the Kilanye farm. As for myself, I just have more of a feeling that I was dreaming about Eltar, but I don't remember anything more than that. Kahva?"
Kahva sighed, sorting through her thoughts carefully. I'm missing something, something right in front of us, what is it? "Last night, when you got home, and just before I fell asleep myself, I got two sets of feelings from you guys. One was very clearly you, Billy," she said with a glance at him. "The other was from Sheena, but..."
"But what? You've gotten this from us before, Kahva, when I've kissed Sheena good-night, I don't mind it being said out loud," Billy urged her. "Be specific, it could help us find Sheena, and figure out what's going on."
"Okay," Kahva replied. "I felt very amorous feelings coming from you for Sheena. That was the first set. The second set I normally get is from Sheena, of course. But last night, they were fuzzy, it was almost as if they weren't from her, but I know they were. Then right before I fell asleep, it felt like I was being cut off from her, but I was so out of it, I was falling asleep right as it was happening. Then this morning when your call woke me up, I felt confused, I expected to be on Eltar for some reason, but I don't know why... but it had something to do with Sheena - no, it had something to do with Kahva Kilanye! Billy, Sheena told me last night before I left that she had the feeling she's been either dreaming or thinking about Kahva Kilanye, her life or something like that for the past several days. She doesn't know when she's been thinking or dreaming about her though, she only knows that she has. She's not sure if she could be dreaming about her life when she's sleepwalking, but could that be what has been going on?"
"It might be, and with us linked to her, we're starting to pick up on it now," Billy replied, his alarm building. "I don't like the timing of this at all."
"That's just what I told Sheena last night," the older girl informed him, telling him quickly about their conversation. "She doesn't like the timing either. I'd be willing to bet though that she is dreaming of Kahva Kilanye's life when she's sleepwalking, it makes sense after what we've all felt this morning."
"But why are you only picking up on it now, and so vaguely?" Tanya asked.
Billy bit his lip before he answered. "The only guess I have is that maybe her dreams, if that is what is going on here, are becoming clearer and more intense."
"And the dreams are so real, she's sleepwalking, sort of acting them out in her sleep?" Tommy guessed. "If so, that might be a clue."
Billy shook his head at that. "She might be acting something out, but how can it give us a clue when she doesn't remember anything? Any luck yet, Alpha?" The little robot shook his head, softly muttering to himself in distress. Sighing, Billy turned back to the others. "The past few days, it's like she's not even herself anymore."
"Maybe that's the key," Kahva mused, a thoughtful expression crossing her features.
"What do you mean?"
"Billy, see if this sounds logical. If Sheena is acting out something from the past, from Kahva Kilanye's past, could she be acting out Kahva herself?" At the Sapphire Ranger's nod, she continued. "So maybe when that's happening, she really isn't herself, in a manner of speaking, so maybe the way to sense her is to try and sense Kahva Kilanye, not Sheena. Could that work?"
Billy paced for a few moments as he mulled Kahva's reasoning over. "It's worth a shot, I guess," he shrugged. "You're probably the best one to try it though, since Kahva has actually possessed you before."
"He's right," Tommy agreed. "I may be her descendant, but my link with Sheena is weaker than yours and Billy's, and I don't have the practice yet."
"Okay, I'll give it a shot," Kahva said. "Hope this works."
"It's the best theory we have until we get more clues," Billy urged her. "And Sheena's counting on us, even if she's not herself right now." Kahva nodded and closed her eyes, reaching out for first Sheena one last time, then after failing to pick up on her, she reached out for anything that felt like the first Silver Ranger. She stood stock still, a hand clenched on a nearby console to keep her steady, it seemed. A few seconds later her eyes opened with alarm.
"I just tried reaching for her as if she were Kahva Kilanye, not herself, and I think I found her. She's... getting ready for bed with her husband Dalien at their home: the Kilanye farm. I tried 'talking' to her, trying to get her to realize she's Sheena, not Kahva, but I couldn't get through." Alarms went off throughout the Power Chamber, and a second later, Billy confirmed their worst fears.
"Cogs have appeared in the park - and the sensors show they are close to their apparent target: Sheena." * * *
Klank nervously worked at his newest invention, another teleportation scrambler. The Power Rangers had always managed to find a way around or through his past scramblers, but he needed yet another version for his king's plan to work. No doubt that dottering Alpha-5 will be working on a way to break it as soon as he realizes what is going on, or that infuriating Sapphire Ranger will be. Just once, I would like for him to be brainless!!. No matter, they can break through this scrambler's interference too, for all I care. Just as long as they don't break through before it has done the job.
"Klank!!" Mondo bellowed from somewhere down the hallway. "Make sure those Cogs don't damage my prize, or I'll have your head!"
"Yes, sire," Klank sighed. "Same old threats all the time," he muttered under his breath. "But he can and will do it, which is why I will finish this device... now," he stated with satisfaction. "You!" he shouted at the Cog nearest him. "Go to the park, that is where the Silver Ranger is. Grab her, but don't damage her. Take this," he said, placing the device in the soldier's hand, "and as soon as she is your captive, activate it. It will keep the Rangers from stopping you from bringing her here. Contact us as soon as you are ready to come back, the scrambler will prevent us from locking in on you until we receive your signal. Those are your orders, now go!!" The Cog stiffly saluted and teleported down to the Earth moments later with its troops. I'm going to have fun turning your wife evil again, Billy. And this time, she won't be assigned to capture you, she will be coming after you to kill you. * * *
"Ai-yi-yi!!" Alpha shouted. "There is something blocking teleportation, I can't bring her here!" The Rangers stared at the viewing globe in fear as the Cogs quickly surrounded Sheena and two of them grabbed her. Another had activated some sort of device as soon as Sheena had been within a few feet of them, but they now seemed confused as she refused to fight them. In fact, she seemed to be trying to dance with one of them. Her sleepwalking-influenced behavior was delaying them.
Hope she buys us enough time. "It's morphin' time!" Tommy shouted. Moments later, the Rangers teleported out and were in the park fighting the Cogs. "Sheena, wake up!!" Tommy yelled at the top of his lungs. Billy was fiercely fighting his way to his wife, calling out to her frantically. All of the Rangers were yelling for her to wake up, to morph and fight back, but to no avail, she was too deeply lost in her dream.
"Alpha's almost broken through the interference," Kahva's voice came over Tommy's communicator. "He just needs a few more seconds!"
"We'll give them to him!" Tommy shouted his promise, punching a Cog who had been trying climb his back. The Red Ranger fell into his ki-see training, rapidly dispatching one Cog after the other, getting closer to his cousin with each toss and punch. He reached for her arm as she turned to look at him, "Wake up, Sheena!" he shouted again. Just as her eyes might have locked onto him, she vanished in a purple, cog-shaped ring with her captors.
"No!!!!" Billy cried. "We almost had her, no!!" His shout rang through the park, coldly empty with the battle over and lost. Tommy went to his old friend and placed his arm about the Sapphire Ranger's shoulders.
"We'll get her back, I promise you that. Let's get back to the Power Chamber, everybody." Please let her wake up soon, there's no telling what Mondo might try while she's still asleep! We're going to get you out Sheena, but please wake up! You have to be able to fight back against Mondo, please wake up, wherever you are!! * * *
Kahva ran up to her best friend's house and knocked, smiling when he opened the door. His eyes widened in surprise; she knew he hadn't expected her. "Kahva? I thought I had heard you were back!" He came outside and hugged her warmly.
"I missed you!" she smiled as she hugged him back. "I missed everyone! It's so good to see you again!"
"So, tell me, how was your trip?" he asked. She hoped he liked the two surprises she had in mind for him.
She smiled and laughed with joy to be home again. "Oh, it was wonderful!! I saw so many places and things! I bought something for you, too!"
"Really?" He looked so happy at that thought. "You didn't have to do that, Kahva, having you back home is present enough for me!"
She smiled; she liked the way he looked when surprised. "You're so sweet," she laughed lightly as she pulled the tiny statuette out of her pocket. "This is it."
"What is this?" he examined it carefully. "It isn't an animal I recognize, but it is beautiful, like you."
Kahva felt so happy; she was home at last! "The artisan I bought it from calls it a 'cheetah'. It's from one of those backwater worlds that haven't made space contact yet."
He chuckled a bit. "Some of those worlds sound rather quaint. I wonder if we'll ever see any of them."
She shrugged. "Who knows." A quick glance at the sun told her it was almost time. "Oh, I've got someone who wants to meet you!"
"Really?" he raised an eyebrow. "Some of your family in for a visit, or a friend you met on your trip, by any chance?"
Kahva glanced over her shoulder as Dalien joined them. "Not exactly." As hellos were exchanged between the two, her friend spoke to Dalien with an edge Kahva had never heard before.
"Kahva has told me much of you," Dalien said. "It's an honor to finally meet her best friend."
Her friend nodded. "I presume you are some relative of Kahva's?" he asked. Dalien smiled as Kahva took his hand gently.
"Something like that," he said. "I am Dalien Kilanye."
"Please congratulate us." Kahva almost froze for a second; something told her that everything was going to change when she made this announcement. "Dalien and I got married."
Her friend stared, wide-eyed. "You what?"
"We're married," she repeated, holding out their joined hands to show off the matching wedding bands. Even her parents hadn't been this surprised!
"Married?" His voice even grew colder, and he no longer would look at Dalien. "You got married on your trip? I thought it was just to see the sights of Eltar."
Kahva nodded a bit. "It was a little sudden yes, but it was love at first sight," she smiled a little, remembering the way she'd first looked into his eyes. "Dalien picked out that cheetah; he saw it before I did, and showed it to me. When I saw it, I knew it was made for you."
He shook his head and handed it back to her. "No. It fits you more than me. I hope you enjoy your time together."
He was about to walk away, when Kahva stopped him with a hand on his arm. "Are you upset about something I've said? If so, I'm terribly sorry," she apologized, hoping to make him feel better. "The day I left, you said you were going to ask me something. What was it?" She hoped that by getting him to talk, she could find out what was wrong and set things right.
"Yes," he looked almost coldly at her, that had never happened before. "And yes, but it appears I made a mistake by waiting."
She frowned. "What were you going to ask me?"
She didn't get a reply she'd expected. "You break my heart, you leave me for a total stranger, then present him to me and expect me to be all smiles and happy? Kahva, I said I waited too long to ask you my question, that should tell you what it was!"
Her eyes widened in shock. "You're my friend, my best friend, that's all we've ever been!" She'd never had any idea that he felt like that towards her! He gazed straight into her eyes.
"How can you say that? I've given all of my heart to you, I would have given more if you had not rejected me when we were younger, but still I loved you! How can you stand there and say that to me? I love you, I am the only one who will ever really love you!" He pointed with hate and anger at Dalien. "He will never be able to love you as I always will!"
Dalien could only stare in shock, he had never imagined something like this would happen when he and Kahva came here! They had thought her friend would be happy for them, and friendly to Dalien. His immediate hatred for Dalien left the young, newlywed farmer speechless. Kahva however, could speak, and did. "I can say it because it is true. We were just friends."
He shook his head. "You are mistaken. We were always meant to be together, that is why we have been together for so long! If you hadn't left a year ago, you would know that, and you wouldn't have so foolishly married him!"
Her voice grew stern. "I do not love you. You are my friend, and only my friend. That is all there has ever been, or ever will be between us."
"So be it!" he snapped. "If you wish to throw away your life on him, then go ahead. But know this, Kahva, that I am the only true love you would have ever had, and the only one you ever will have! I will have you one day, and you will see the error of your choice! And if not you, then I will have one of your descendants. I am a wizard's apprentice, after all, I can extend my lifespan to far beyond that of a normal human. I have all of time to wait, Kahva. And I will."
A cold chill ran down her spine, but she didn't lose her resolve. "You will never have me or any of my descendants." She watched in horror as her oldest friend became her enemy, and the foe of generations yet unborn. "By all the gods I swear this."
He almost seemed to smile, and she knew in that moment he had turned forever to the side of evil and dark magic. "You can't stop my love, Kahva, and nothing you can do ever will. You may resist me, but your descendants cannot resist someone they've never met before! I will have one of them, perhaps more, and you can't stop me! Enjoy what time you have left together."
He left, and this time she didn't stop him. Something within told her that this had just altered the course of history on Eltar, and other worlds, forever. * * *
Sheena wandered through the park, completely unaware of everything around her, all thoughts fixated on the far-gone past. The memories that dominated her thoughts were those of a young woman in love, not a battle-seasoned warrior. Her eyes flickered for a bare moment as the dreams coursing through her brain shifted, bringing up new images, new memories of a time and place long gone. * * *
"Kahva, I love you," Dalien told her, running his hands through her thick masses of hair. "From the first moment we bumped into each other on that street, I loved you."
She smiled as she kissed him. "It took you that long? I think I was born loving you and just had to wait to meet you!"
"You say the sweetest things," he smiled as feather-light kisses created a trail of fire down her neck. Kahva moaned in delight, then pulled away as she saw someone coming up the pathway to their farmhouse.
"Ma'am, is your name Kahva Rhaydra?" the person, who was carrying a package, asked when they were close enough.
Kahva shook her head. "My name was Kahva Rhaydra, but I'm married now."
He held out the package. "This is for you; a late wedding present I was told."
"I wonder who it's from." Dalien paid the man and watched him leave as Kahva unwrapped the strange gift. Inside was a glittering silver bracelet set with twin black onyxes.
"Oh, it's beautiful!" She slid it onto her left wrist, smiling in delight. "I've got to find out who sent it so I can thank them!"
Dalien picked up the box and looked inside. "Here's a card," he handed it to her. "Does it say who it's from?"
Kahva read it, her eyes widening in horror, then glowing with anger and disgust. She crumpled the card up, then jerked the bracelet off her wrist and dropped it to the ground. "I never want to see that thing again!" she hissed. Dalien stared at her.
"What is it? Who sent it?"
"HE did!" She didn't have to name him; they both knew who she meant. "The card said, 'You cannot protect all your family forever. Wear this to remember me by, my true love, and know that one day, I will have you or one of your bloodline.'"
Dalien held her tightly as he stepped on the bracelet, crushing it to powder. "He won't," he promised her. "I won't let it happen."
"Neither will I," Kahva swore. "No matter what it takes, I will protect my family, all my life and even into my death." * * *
Sheena wandered to another part of the park, oblivious to the fact she'd unfastened and dropped her communicator in the cool grass behind her. So deeply involved was she in a dream involving Kahva and Dalien Kilanye she didn't notice when the Cogs surrounded her, or when her friends came down to try and help her. She never even noticed when she was dragged through the teleportation circle by the metallic warriors, and could not hear the anguished scream of her husband as she vanished from his sight. * * *
Mondo watched with evil glee as the Cogs dragged the semi-comatose Silver Ranger into his dungeon. He'd finally caught her outside and alone during one of her sleepwalking sessions and now she was his prisoner again. At a snapped command, the Cogs began chaining her up against the back wall of a cell. Sheena was easily forced down to her knees and her wrists were quickly shackled; the Cogs were puzzled by her lack of resistance. The chains trailing from them were pulled behind her and down slightly, then fastened securely to the cold metal wall, keeping her arms out to either side. Her arms had just enough slack to move a little, she could reach out in front of her if she wished, but she would still be held in a kneeling position: which was exactly what the metal overlord desired.
"Well now Sheena, how do you like your new home?" Mondo chuckled a little. Sheena's dream-filled eyes didn't change in the slightest at his taunt. "Silver Ranger! I am talking to you, answer me!" The Machine King glared at his majordomo. "Klank, what's wrong with her? Why won't she wake up?" I can't very well frighten an unconscious human! They can't fear what they aren't aware of!
"I dinna know, sire!" Klank backed away from his master a bit, not wanting to risk his displeasure yet again for something that wasn't his fault. Sheena reached out a hand, a small smile softening her dreaming features, as at the same time, Mondo leaned closer to her, screaming at her.
"Wake up, Sheena!" he bellowed, furious she wasn't fully aware of her predicament and cowering in front of him in fear. "I order you to wake up now!" Unexpectedly, her hand delicately touched the side of his face, and she murmured a tender endearment into his ear. "What?!" Mondo had no idea what was going on inside her dream-filled mind, but he did not like it one bit!
Sheena's eyes suddenly flew open completely, the dream-haze shredding like mist. As she saw who was in front of her, she threw herself back as far as she could and screamed fit to shatter her lungs. Mondo nodded to himself, well pleased with her fright.
"That's more like it!" he declared. "Welcome back to your rightful home, my Ranger. It's about time you woke up. Comfortable, my warrior?" he motioned towards the chains that held her to the wall and kept her kneeling on the floor.
Sheena glanced around, confused and sickened by the fact she'd caught herself touching her worst enemy! Caressing his face, even! "W... ho... how did I get here?" I've been captured. But how? Last thing I remember, I was in my own bed at home!
"You really should do your sleeping in bed, my Silver Ranger," Mondo chided her. "But since a bed seems to be too luxurious for you, I'm sure you'll find the floor in this cell to be much more to your liking. That, and Klank's lab table!" He liked the way she went so completely pale at the mention of the lab. I shall not wait any longer, she is to be mine to control! "Cogs, take her to the lab at once!" he ordered. He'd wanted a chance to show her new home before having her sent to the lab, now she had finally seen it and had reacted the way he wanted her to: she was terrified! He glared at her as the Cogs pulled her up to her feet. "And Sheena, I'm a married robot. I don't think my dear Queen Machina would like you flirting with me!" he laughed demonically. "Do your tests, Klank! I want the potion to be given to her as soon as possible!"
Sheena might not have been certain how she got there, but she knew perfectly well she wasn't going to stay there if her friends had anything to do with it! She fought with the Cogs as hard as she could, despite still being chained. "Get your hands off me!" She managed to slam one Cog into a wall before being jerked to the floor by the chains still on her wrists and held by a half dozen of the unfortunate Cog's robotic brethren. She was quite literally dragged kicking and screaming into Klank's lab. * * *
"Chain her to the table!" Klank ordered, a malicious grin on his semi-movable features. There was nothing he liked more than to hurt humans, this human and her 'soul-sister' in particular.
"You'd better let me out of here, you metallic scrapheap!" Sheena warned as she strained against the chains with all her might. He laughed a little.
"Oh, I will," he promised. "After I do a couple of tests here. You're not going to break the hold of this potion, Silver Ranger!"
Sheena glared at him. "Oh yes I will!" I swore once I'd never be evil again, and I will NOT break that oath!
"What's your Earth saying?" Klank thought for a moment. "I think it's, 'dream on', isn't it? Keep dreaming, Sheena! That's how we were able to capture you so easily, you know. Your husband must be so sick with worry!" His eyes glinted with evil glee as he prepared the tests. Now that he was aware of Sheena's Silver Flame power, he'd be able to concoct a potion that even it wouldn't be able to deal with! Klank ignored his lab subject's mutterings as he selected the necessary tool for his first test.
"My dreams," Sheena sighed, closing her eyes. "My blasted dreams. Kahva Kilanye, if this is your doing, why?" I don't even remembering dreaming, but I know must have been, it's the only answer, why is this happening? She was distracted when Klank shuffled back over to her.
"You know, Sheena, I have to thank you in a way," he grated. "When you destroyed my lab after you rescued the child, I couldn't do any work for King Mondo for a while. I actually got a vacation!" he laughed. "And with the repairs, I got such lovely new equipment too! I really hope you don't convert too easily, I want to test out some things on you I didn't get to try out on Kahva. I think you will find them most painful, I hope so anyway. Promise to let me know if they hurt?" he laughed as he returned to his work.
Sheena growled something nasty in his general direction, then returned her gaze to the ceiling. She sighed a little. I really hate this place. I don't know if I hated it more that first time or now. Then I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I only knew it was going to be bad. This time, I know what's going to happen if the others don't get me out of here, and 'bad' doesn't describe it! She tried to see what Klank was doing, only to find she couldn't move her head enough. Great, just great. Sweet Goddess, I wish I knew what was going on in my own mind. I don't understand this at all, why am I sleepwalking and zoning out like I have been? Oh, wonderful, here comes the walking toaster again. Somebody, anybody, make him go away!
Klank stood by her with a needle that was all too familiar to the Silver Ranger. "I'm sure you remember this, my dear," he said unnecessarily. "It's just like the one I used on you almost a year and a half ago. As a matter of fact, it's even more similar to the ones I used on your dear friend Kahva, too! She's probably half out of her mind with worry as well! If she only knew..."
Sheena did her best to move away from him, hampered as she was by her chains. "Keep that thing away from me!"
"Now hold still," Klank laughed. "As if you had a choice. It is time for the first step of you retaking your rightful place as my master's slave warrior," he laughed as Sheena jerked away. He held her arm still as he drew out the blood he needed. "My, but you and that child are so scared of needles... I must say, I find your fear rather enjoyable. It's no use fighting, Sheena," he told her. "You belong to King Mondo now, and nothing you can do will keep you from fulfilling your duties. I'll let you wonder about what those might be." Klank shuffled back to his work bench to start the analysis of her blood.
"If I get lucky," Sheena growled, "one of them will be dismantling you!"
Klank laughed as he returned to his work, and Sheena turned her gaze back to the ceiling, suddenly very tired. Without even realizing it, she had slid back into the dream-state. * * *
"Buried deep within us all is a power that waits to be unleashed," Zordon told her. "There are many ways to tap this power, which manifests itself in different forms for every person. This meditation technique should enable you to find your own unique power, Kahva."
She nodded towards him as he showed her the meditation room. "Thank you, Zordon," was all she said as she settled within it. Ever since the loss of her family three months earlier, she had been plagued by nightmares and visions of their death. Zordon hoped this meditation would soothe her mind and give her access to an inner power she would need in the future.
Kahva closed her eyes and began the journey within herself. She winced in remembered pain as she once more saw the death of her husband, the burning farm, and felt the pain of the wounds within herself. She watched the scenes over and over, until she could do so without her heart shattering in two.
As she did so, she felt a strange strength beginning to build up within her. She looked deeper within, deep into the very core of her soul, and was surprised to see something there: a flame. Burning strong and fierce, it seemed somehow to be the very core and essence of purity. She approached it carefully, reaching out to touch it. Instead of burning her, as she had half-thought it would, it felt warm and soothing on her fingertips.
"What is it?" she wondered. Even as she spoke the question, she knew the answer. She knew what it was capable of doing, though not why. Something tugged at her mind, a desire she barely understood. Kahva smiled a little, and plunged her hands into the flame.
The Silver Flame. The words burned deep into her mind, and she smiled to herself yet again. She had done more than find the inner peace and strength she had sought. She had found the weapon that would aid in the shaping of her destiny. * * *
Sheena was jerked out of her dreams as she found herself being unchained from the lab table. Her mind cleared quickly, though she still had no idea of what she'd dreamed of. Thank you so much, Kahva Kilanye, she thought dryly as she was dragged by Cogs back to the dungeon. She glanced briefly down at her nightgown and shook her head. Another one I'm going to have to get rid of. Guess wandering around half the night and spending the Goddess only knows how long chained to that table, plus however long it's going to be until I get rescued just isn't good on the clothing. She fought down the 'if I get rescued' thought that threatened to dash her hopes. I've got to stay positive, I've got to stay calm, I've got to look for a way out... oh Goddess help me, I hate this place!
She was shoved rather unceremoniously back into the cell, and was once more chained to the wall and forced down on her knees. Guess this is Mondo's way of feeling superior. He certainly needs all the help he can get. She looked up to see she was surrounded by roughly forty or so Cogs. Oh, this is just WONDERFUL! I can't break these chains even if I morph, and if the team teleports in here, they're heading straight for a trap! Her heart sank as she saw one Cog activate what appeared to be a forcefield generator. Mondo isn't taking any chances this time, looks like.
Sheena took several deep breaths, trying to calm her almost completely shattered nerves. She had a little room in her chains to move, not much, and was able to draw herself up some. Finally, she managed to work her way into a slightly more comfortable sitting position, which did a bit more for her state of mind than the humiliating kneeling. Sheena sighed deeply, eyes on the three rings she wore. My friends will come for me, she told herself over and over. They will come.
It was going to be a long day, she sensed. A very long day indeed. * * *
The Rangers arrived back at the Chamber to be greeted by the sight of Alpha and Kahva hunched over the consoles, trying to locate Sheena. "Any luck?" Tommy asked hopefully. His heart fell as Kahva's sad face briefly turned to him in a silent reply.
RANGERS, Zordon answered for Kahva and Alpha, KING MONDO'S COGS HAVE TAKEN SHEENA TO THE MACHINE SKYBASE, KAHVA AND ALPHA ARE TRYING TO LOCATE HER EXACT POSITION NOW. BUT MONDO HAS PUT UP A FORCEFIELD AROUND THE SKYBASE, WHICH THOUGH OUR SENSORS CAN PENETRATE IT TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, WE CANNOT TELEPORT ANYTHING IN OR OUT OF IT.
"Or anyone," Kahva added softly. Several long minutes dragged on, interrupted only by beeps from the scanners and the sound of anxious bootsteps as Billy paced back and forth across the chamber's floor. "Got her!" Kahva finally shouted. "She's in the lower regions of the Skybase, the dungeons, no doubt. We can't get a precise reading on her though... what the heck was that?!" Kahva's voice was filled with worry as she and Alpha worked even more frantically over the controls.
"Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!!!" Alpha wailed. "Rangers! Mondo has put up another forcefield around the area where we found Sheena's lifesigns. We can't get any kind of reading on her at all now, there's too much interference from the two fields combined!"
"Why would Mondo put up two fields?" Kat wondered. "He knows we've never broken through his main field before, so why has he put up two fields this time?"
Billy had pulled off his helmet by now and was going over the readings Kahva and Alpha had been working with. "The second field is much smaller than his main field around the Skybase, and I mean much smaller. It's maybe as big as this chamber, if that big. Correction," he said, after a second check of the scans, "I would say it is only as big as a very small room..."
"Or cell?" Adam finished for him.
"Exactly," Billy nodded grimly. "Maybe not even that big, there's too much interference to get a precise size measurement. Mondo doesn't want Sheena to get out of her cell, or us to find a way in, that's for sure. With the two fields up, we can't get a good enough reading to lock down her exact location, and if these readings are any indication, the smaller field is too strong for any of us to break through morphed."
"But Kahva could get us in easily, right?" Tanya asked. "There's nothing that Mondo has come up with that can block her shifting, it's a simple matter of getting in, finding Sheena, shifting into the smaller forcefield to get her and then shift out. Rescuing Sheena is easy, let's do it!" Tanya knew she was over-simplifying matters, of course, but it would be child's play, so far as they knew, for Kahva to shift in with one or more of them and get Sheena out. The answer seemed obvious.
"Yes... she could..." Tommy frowned, it was so easy... too easy. "Billy, Kahva, Alpha... check and see if you can pick up on how many Cogs are in or near that smaller forcefield. Minutes later he had the answer he'd been dreading: Cogs were all around that smaller forcefield, far too many for them to fight through for a quick rescue, from what the scans seemed to show. "He's counting on us to shift in there after her, he's laid a trap for us if we try. We can't get in that way."
"We have to get her out of there Tommy, Mondo's going to try and turn her evil again, he's promised to do just that countless times! We can't leave her there, I won't leave her there!!" Billy's voice was anxious, fearful, and hid none of his desire to rush up to the Skybase at that very moment to rescue his wife. Kahva was at his side, her eyes told Tommy she would take either Billy or all of them to the Skybase, no matter what the risk. There's got to be a way to do this, Billy's right, we can't leave her up there in Mondo's clutches... But if we all shift to that second forcefield, we're practically committing suicide, or worse, handing ourselves over to Mondo to be his slaves as well. That won't help Sheena at all.
"Suggestions?" Tommy asked. Long moments of silence passed as no one had a ready answer other than to go straight in and hope for the best against impossible odds. Tommy tried to figure out the Machine King's evil plan. "Okay, Mondo's expecting us to go in right after her, he has to be. No doubt the first thing he'll do is to try and get Kahva, so that we won't have a way out, and to make us surrender. Kahva, you're not a Ranger, I can't ask you to take a risk like that, Mondo would love to find a way to turn you with your powers intact just as much as he would like to have any of us working for him. It's too dangerous, I can't ask you -"
"Then don't, because I'm going anyway," she told him. "I'm not looking for a fight, I don't ever want to see the inside of that orbiting, overgrown sardine can again, trust me. But unless there's a miracle, it looks like I'm the only way in or out right now, and I'm not about to leave Sheena up there, not if I can help it." But Tommy could feel the dread coming from her, it matched his own. No matter how hard they fought against all those Cogs, the odds were they would be overpowered before the rescue could be completed. "But I don't know how we can get the element of surprise back, when it's plain Mondo's expecting us."
"Then maybe we shouldn't go there," Rocky ventured. All eyes turned to the Blue Ranger; all of them thought that Rocky might have taken leave of his senses for the moment!
"What?! 'Not go there'? Surely you aren't suggesting we leave Sheena up there?" Jason asked.
"Nope," Rocky answered.
"Then just what exactly are you suggesting?" Tommy inquired. Rocky laid out his plan, and the others quickly agreed, it was their only other option. They spent the next hour and a half laying out every single detail, planning for every contingency they possibly could. It was risky, filled with plenty of opportunities for Mondo to capture any or all of them: and it could go wrong at any moment. But it just might work... Tommy mused. "Can you do it?" he asked Kahva after the plan was mapped out.
"Yes," she said. If she had any doubts, she was shoving them down firmly. "Sheena needs us."
Tommy made the decision. "Then let's do it." * * *
Sheena sat quietly in the forcefield, curled up. Her knees were drawn up to her chin as she rocked back and forth. She was glad Mondo didn't understand human psychology well enough to know how vulnerable she felt with just her thin nightgown on, too. The one thought going ceaselessly through her mind was "What happened?"
Once again she tried to reach out to Billy or Kahva, even Tommy if she could reach him. But so deep did the fear run in her, it was of no use. "What happened to me?" she muttered to herself for the thousandth time. "One minute I'm at home, sleeping, then I'm here, staring at Mondo's ugly face," she dropped her head a little, tears coursing down her cheeks. "Billy. Kahva... Tommy," she tried one again to touch the minds she knew and loved so much, only to once again fail. She just couldn't calm herself down enough to communicate with them.
She glanced up briefly. She was still surrounded by Cogs, and saw the faint glitter of the forcefield around her as well. It was so close to her, if her chains were a little longer, she could've touched it, the field was so small. It extended only about four feet in front of her, and maybe barely five feet above her head. Even if she could somehow break her chains, she wouldn't be able to get anywhere near her cell door. She sighed a little, looking back down. They'd better hurry. I don't know how much longer it'll take Klank to get that new potion mixed up. If he gives me that, I don't know if the Silver Flame can destroy it this time. I don't want to be evil, I don't want to hurt my friends again!
"Well now, what do we have here?" She looked up to see Mondo and Klank standing just outside the cell. A cold chill ran down her spine as she realized her greatest fears could've come true already. If they were there, then the potion could be too. ..it would all be over. . .
Klank chuckled a little. "The Silver Ranger, I believe, my liege."
I'm not going to let them know I'm afraid. They won't have THAT satisfaction, if nothing else. Sheena would have stood up if her chains had permitted. "The Rangers are going to get me out of here, Mondo!"
"Oh, really?" the Machine King laughed at his prisoner. "The forcefield around you isn't the only one I have up, my dear. The Rangers may find where you are, but they won't be able to get in to you, or get you out!"
Sheena came as close to getting to her feet as she could, glaring with unabashed hatred at this monster that threatened everything she held dear. "I'm going to disassemble you bit by bit, you moronic mass of metal!"
"You've made that promise before, and you still haven't carried through! I don't think you can kill... not without being evil, or insane, that is!" Mondo sneered. Sheena took a deep breath, she knew well what his intentions were.
Klank shuffled a bit closer to her. "But you soon will be evil, Silver Ranger! Who would you like to kill first? Your irritating husband or that annoying little friend of yours?
"I will never be evil again! Never! I'll die before that happens!" she swore with all her heart. Mondo's metallic laughter sounded yet again. It was a sound she had come to hate over the last year and a half.
"Then it's settled! You will be evil again my dear, because I have no intention of letting you die first! You are my killing machine, and your return to my service is long overdue!"
Sheena hissed, "I am not a machine, much less a killing machine, even less one for you!"
"That's why we're here," Klank told her. "To make you what you were meant to be! There's a few more tests I need to run on you, Sheena, just a few more things to make certain you never escape the control of the serum! Oh, it's a serum now, not a potion. The stronger dosage requires direct injection into a human's bloodstream!"
"Like I wanted to know that," Sheena shuddered even as she wisecracked; not another session in the lab, she thought. That place had figured in her nightmares for months after she'd burned the potion out of herself, and had cropped up again after they had freed Kahva. "Take those tests and shove them up your metallic behind, sideways and sharpened!"
"Now that isn't being very nice to poor old Klank!" Mondo admonished her. "You should learn to control your temper and behave, Sheena!"
"And the same goes to you, tripled!" she growled. She wanted nothing more at that moment than to run her Silver Sword through him in so many different pieces, the only thing he could be recycled for would be paper clips!
Mondo sighed. "Now you've gone and hurt my feelings!" He pretended to have emotions very well: for a heartless machine. "I'm offering you the chance to be the greatest warrior in the universe, and you're turning it down flat, I'm very disappointed in you, Sheena!"
"I'll do more than hurt your feelings once I'm out of here!" she promised.
"Is that your final word on the matter? You are determined to not be my warrior?" Mondo's eyes glinted cruelly in the dim light of the dungeon.
The captured Silver Ranger shook inwardly at the implication in his voice. What is he up to? He can't seriously be contemplating accepting any kind of refusal from me! Nonetheless, Sheena nodded, she would not give in to this metallic spawn of evil. "Yes. You are the ultimate scum of creation, and I'd work for a cockroach before I'd even consider considering working for you!"
"Well then, I suppose I shall have to make my 'offer' to someone else, then. Klank, who would you like to turn evil first, Sheena's husband Billy, or that child Kahva Briton?"
Sheena would have leapt to her feet and gripped the cell bars if her chains and the forcefield had permitted it. "Keep your slimy mitts off them!"
"I can't, my hands aren't slimy," Mondo said dryly. "If you will not turn, then they will, I promise you. And Klank will make it a most painful conversion, believe me!"
"I never did get to finish experimenting on the child! Perhaps I'll turn her first, then Billy?" Klank was already gleefully planning things. "Maybe I'll even have them strapped down to tables placed side by side, so they can watch each other helplessly! Oh yes sire, that would be so lovely!" Klank was even clapping his hands happily now, much to Sheena's horror.
"And of course, you'll not be left out, my dear!" Mondo laughed at the pain evident in her eyes. "You'll get to watch as well, I give you my word!"
Sheena's green eyes spilled over with tears. "Don't you dare touch them!" I can't let them be hurt. Not like this, I can't! She took a deep, shuddering breath. She knew what she had to do. She'd fought against it for so long, had come close to it months earlier, but now... there was no other way. Forgive me, Billy, Kahva, Tommy. Everyone. I'm sorry. "M... Mondo," her voice broke halfway through his name.
"You have something else to suggest?" Mondo chuckled low and evilly. "You know what I want, Sheena. It's either that, or my Cogs will drag your husband and best friend up here the first moment they step outside of the Power Chamber!"
Klank looked at his master, darkly pleading. "I didn't bruise the child nearly enough last time, please don't keep me from finishing my work, my liege! I want to cause the girl and the Sapphire Ranger to go through so much pain, please, your Highness!" he begged.
Sheena closed her eyes; there was no way she could do this and look at Mondo at the same time. "If you leave Billy and Kahva alone, you... can turn me evil... I won't fight you. Just leave them alone."
"Now that's better," Mondo said approvingly. "Klank, go get your equipment, you have a Ranger to convert for me! And Sheena... you have my word, I won't touch Billy or Kahva!"
Sheena glared at him, a touch of the fire in her spirit showing through. "If you do, good or evil, I'll take you apart so fast your head will spin!"
"No, I won't touch a single hair on their heads... because you will kill them for me!" Mondo cackled evilly. "If I can't control them or use them, then I want them dead! You will be their executioner!"
Klank would've been smiling if he could have fully. "That's so very thoughtful, your Evilness! They will be killed by family, not a total stranger, that is so kind!" He started for his lab as Mondo nodded.
"I thought so!" Mondo gloated with a grinding laugh.
Sheena shook her head, eyes blazing with fury. "No! I don't care what you do to me, no matter how evil you make me, I will not kill the people I love!"
"That's what you think," Mondo reminded her. "I saw what you did in the Lunar Palace two months ago, Sheena. Face it, you're a natural killer: and now you are once again my killing machine!"
Cold despair gripped the Silver Ranger as she remembered the sheer madness that had engulfed her in the Lunar Palace. I can't go through that again. I'll lose my mind for certain! Alarms suddenly sounded everywhere. Mondo glared at his chief servant. "What's that? Klank!!"
Klank ran to a control panel on the wall to check the alert, and immediately regretted what he saw. "It's the Rangers!"
The Rangers! Hope filled her soul again as she heard that. They came for me! I knew they would!
Mondo screamed, "Well, don't just stand there, get the serum and come back down here and give it to her at once! Where are they? How did they get through the forcefield?"
"They're in the throne room, your worship," Klank sounded puzzled. "I'm not sure how... my liege, the child Kahva Briton is with them! She must have gotten them in!" He quickly ordered reinforcements into the throne room, then headed up the steps and to his lab. I must get the serum, or King Mondo will have my circuits!
"Hey Mondo!" Sheena laughed, her hope and courage restored by the arrival of her friends. "That offer I made to be evil: forget it!"
He glared at her. He had counted on a rescue attempt, had even partially expected for them to use Kahva's shifting ability... but the throne room? What are they doing, Sheena is down here! It doesn't matter, I shall defeat them no matter where they are, and as soon as Klank gives her the serum, I'll have Sheena attack them! "I won't forget it. I never forget a promise, Silver Ranger, quite the contrary: I always collect on them. The Rangers made a mistake, they should've come directly here to get you out, not to my throne room! By the time they fight their way here, you will be mine! Your first assignment will be to capture Kahva so they can't escape! Then you will defeat them, starting with the Red and Sapphire Rangers!! Those are your orders, my Silver Ranger, prepare to carry them out!"
As he headed out for the throne room, Sheena shivered. "Never," she swore to herself. "Never again will I serve evil, no matter what." She glanced over to the door, her brow furrowed in sudden thought. "Why did they do it like that? Why the throne room, it would make more tactical sense to come straight here, in spite of the Cogs..." Her thoughts trailed off suddenly, and she smiled, realizing what they must have in mind. "And Mondo wonders why he can't beat us!" she laughed to herself.
She took a deep breath and looked around, a tiny thread of doubt running through her mind. "I hope I'm right. If I'm not, or if they're too slow... the next time I see them. . .," she deliberately forced her thoughts away from that possibility. That wasn't going to happen. She'd die before it did.
Just like her ancestor. * * *
"Hello, we're here," Kat called out, her voice echoing in the oddly empty throne room. The Rangers and Kahva had shifted in ready for immediate battle, with Billy and Jason stationed on either side of Kahva, Jason having his arm wrapped tightly around her waist, and Tommy positioned in front of her. They knew she would be a target, and they were acting as her shield. All the others had circled themselves around the four, but their precautions seemed to have been unnecessary as there were no Cogs, Klank or Mondo to shield her, or defend themselves from. "Where's our welcoming party?" Kat joked tightly.
"I must've forgotten to call ahead and make reservations, shall we leave and come back again, to see if we'll get a better greeting?" Kahva inquired in the same tone. Being in the throne room again was bringing up memories she had thought were buried for good. Jason still had a tight hold on her, he could feel her trembling, but he made no comment. He hugged her reassuringly instead, which seemed to calm her a bit. If the others had seen her shaking, they gave no sign.
Tommy relaxed just a tiny bit after assuring himself that there weren't any Cogs lurking in the shadows. "No, I think we'll just change this from a party crash, to a surprise party."
"Delivered from us with a vengeance," Billy stated firmly. He scanned the room for a minute, then stopped and pointed to a small door behind the throne. "That seems to be where the energy source Alpha picked up on before we left is located. If it's what we think it is, then we go with 'Plan A', guys." He pulled a small pouch from his belt and silently ran over, Tommy and Adam right on his heels. They readied themselves on either side of the door as Billy yanked it open - but no one was on the other side. "All clear," the Sapphire Ranger breathed. Everyone clustered around Billy as he found what he was looking for, a rectangular-shaped console about a foot wide and deep, and three feet tall. It whirred and creaked painfully, it was hard to believe this rickety machine could be part of what was causing them so much trouble.
"Is that the master control for the main forcefield?" Tommy asked quietly.
"Yes, and it's also hooked up to the internal sensors. Destroying this won't keep Mondo from tracking our movements, but it will hinder him quite a bit, at least for a few minutes. It will also take the main forcefield down for a few minutes until the backup controls kick in." Billy paused to pull a small box out of the pouch, it was black with a matte finish, so a stray light couldn't glint off of it and betray its location. The box wasn't much bigger than a ring box, and once he had placed it on the console, it was very hard to detect in the low light of the room. Billy tapped the side of the device and then motioned for everyone to exit the room. "It will go off in ten minutes, and the main field will be disabled. I don't know how long the main field will stay down, so as soon as the console blows, teleport back to the Power Chamber, guys."
Tommy nodded, then looked around at the still empty throne room. "I can't believe we haven't been 'welcomed' yet." Kahva agreed with him as she slowly wandered about the room. Even though it had been a few months, the throne room still bore scars from her last visit, the ceiling showed several patches from where it had partially collapsed on her and Jason.
She did her best not to let her voice shake as badly as her knees were, "I know, I can't believe I'm actually wishing to see a Cog, several Cogs, even. This plan won't work if they don't hurry up and find us here. Ten minutes won't last very long."
Adam moved towards the main hallway, looking for patrols. "Well, we knew that most of his Cogs seemed to be stationed around where the dungeon is, and where Klank's lab was, and the equipment room, right? Mondo wasn't expecting us here, a room that is so far away from the dungeon, which is why we shifted in here. That, and hoping that the power source Alpha detected was the forcefield master control."
Kahva gave a dry laugh. "I guess I shifted us in too well, then?"
Tommy headed for the hallway, intending to join Adam before he wandered too far away from the group. "I'm not complaining, it gave us time to set the bomb without anyone finding out. Since that," he pointed at the room they had all exited, "is the master control, when it blows, we've got our way out clear. That saves you a shift, Kahva. Thanks to that and you, we can go with Rocky's first plan. And there's still the backup plan if -" A loud banging noise from the hallway drew their attention to the spot where the Green Ranger had last been seen.
"Hey tinsel-brain!" they heard Adam's voice ring out from somewhere down the hallway. "We're wrecking the throne room and you can't stop us!" he taunted in a sing-song voice. An energy blast greeted his challenge and lit up the hallway. "Missed me, missed me... and I don't want you to kiss me!" Seconds later Adam ran back into the throne room, grinning under his helmet. "Think I made him mad enough?"
A blast hit the archway Adam was standing in, sending metal and stone raining down on him. Tommy yanked him out of harm's way as alarms clamored throughout the Skybase. "I think so... 'missed me, missed me'? Adam, you have the strangest sense of humor sometimes."
"Hey, it worked, didn't it?" he answered cheerfully over the alarms. Then his voice turned serious. "Okay Kahva, it's time for you to hide behind the throne until we're ready for phase two." The dark-haired beauty nodded, already rushing to her hiding place. Just as she hid, the throne room started to fill up with Cogs. Tommy waited just long enough for the first of them to see all seven Rangers gathered there, then he screamed out a wild battle cry. Billy, Adam and Tanya all moved to their places near the throne, while the other Rangers moved further out into the room, effectively scattering the Cogs. Well-placed blaster shots from Rocky brought down more of the archway to the main hallway, just enough to slow the Cogs down as they entered so the Rangers wouldn't be completely overwhelmed.
"Let go of me!" Kahva's voice rang out from behind the throne. Adam dashed around the throne to see a Cog with his arm wrapped around the girl's throat. Before he could act, Kahva pulled out her quarterstaff, extended it, and rammed it into the Cog's stomach, all in one move. Free from his hold, she then held the staff like a baseball bat and leveled a blow at the robot's head, knocking it off cleanly. "There goes the Cogs not knowing I'm here," she groaned, rubbing her throat. Another Cog spotted her then, and managed to call out an alert into a wall panel before Tanya took him out.
"He just alerted Mondo that you're here too, Kahva," Tanya informed her and Adam. Billy ran over at the news.
"You okay?" he asked the elder girl. At her nod, Billy looked at his team. "Sounds like we need to move phase two up a bit," he decided. He called into his communicator to Tommy. "They've spotted Kahva, we're going to have to leave a little early."
Tommy nodded his acknowledgment from across the room, he was wearing the earplug Billy had devised for Kahva and Daniel's rescue so he could hear the progress of the second team without the Cogs hearing their plans on an open communicator. Tommy spared a glance at a tiny timer he was wearing on his wrist and motioned for them to go. "Okay, here we go," Kahva said as soon as Billy, Tanya and Adam insured any Cogs nearby either couldn't see them, or if they did, couldn't make any reports to anyone. A small greyish portal appeared as Kahva held Tanya's hand, and they were gone without a single Cog seeing them leave.
Tommy spotted the portal out of the corner of his eye and smiled grimly under his helmet. Seven minutes before the console blows. Good luck guys. * * *
"Mondo must love the cold," Kahva muttered as they appeared in the dungeon. The chill was already triggering goosebumps on her bare arms. Or is it my memories? I remember this part of the dungeon, I remember being dragged through here several times. "Remind me to at least wear long sleeves on my next visit... not that I want to come here ever again." Tanya and Adam voiced quick, soft assurances, using her same half-joking tone. But Billy remained silent. As Kahva touched his shoulder, she discovered to her surprise that he was shaking. "Billy? You okay?"
After a moment he turned to look at her. "This is the holding area, where I was held a year and a half ago, where Sheena brought me at Mondo's command... where Kahva Kilanye appeared to me and told me Vile had sent Sheena to another dimension... we know the whole story on that now, we know about Elysia's part in it, how she made sure Sheena would end up where you were... " Billy had to pause as memories flooded back from his imprisonment. I can't lose her, I can't! We barely got her back to herself the last time Mondo controlled her... I won't lose you Sheena, I won't let Mondo have you! The mix of memories and emotions washed over him, engulfing him, and flowed to Kahva clearly, more clearly than anything ever had before from him. Sheena... Please don't let us be too late, please God, please! "I'm sorry, I'm rambling, I..." Billy's voice cracked, he couldn't put his feelings into words.
He didn't have to. Kahva hugged him, trying to send comfort through the link they had. "We're going to get her out before Mondo gets control of her this time, Billy. We're going to find her... but I need you to help me lock in on her." Billy took a deep breath and nodded, letting his fears and bad memories flow out of him. Together, their minds and hearts searched for Sheena... and both young people staggered from the impact of finding her. Hang in there, we're coming! "Klank's gone after the mind control potion, she's this way," Kahva rushed ahead of the others, Billy right on her heels. She nor Billy had ever felt such fear from Sheena before, it dwarfed their own by far. Less than a minute later they found her, still clad only in her thin, floor-length, sleeveless nightgown, sitting on the cold, hard floor of her cell, shivering from the chill, fear... and the wild thrill of hope at seeing her husband and friends miraculously charging in to rescue her. Kahva could feel Billy's anger swell at the sight of his wife chained to the back wall of the cell, forced to sit on the icy metal floor. "Sheena!" Kahva called out, running over to the cell door. It was then her turn to freeze up as her own memories overwhelmed her. This is where Daniel and I were... Nightmarish images flooded her mind, Kahva gripped the bars tightly to keep herself steady. No, I can't think about that, I can't, I won't! She coldly forced the past out of her mind, the Rangers hadn't seemed to pick up on her hesitation. "Where the keys to the cell?" she asked.
"Right here," Billy answered. "Move." Kahva obeyed without a second's thought, then turned to see Billy draw out his blaster. "Close your eyes, Sheena," he cautioned, everyone else was far enough away as not to be temporarily blinded by the bright energy blast. A moment later the lock melted under the blaster fire and they could get into the cell, but the forcefield prevented them from getting any closer to her. "Where the forcefield coming from?" Billy asked, looking for its source.
"On the wall, back behind you, Billy. There's a control panel there," Sheena answered. Her voice was shaking in spite of her efforts to stay calm. "Hurry, Klank's gone to get the mind control potion, he'll be back any minute!"
Billy turned and spotted the panel immediately. "This requires a code to activate it and deactivate it," he gritted out.
"Can you figure out the code?" Tanya asked, ready to charge to Sheena's side as soon as the forcefield was down.
Billy growled as he hit the wall with his fist. "There's too many combinations, and not enough time!" Adam started to go over to his friend to assist in breaking the code, but was stopped cold by a wild howl from the Sapphire Ranger, which was followed by a ferocious, earth-shattering punch leveled directly at the offending panel. Billy was showered by a geyser of sparks for several seconds, then the light show ended with a defeated hiss from the panel, a thin wisp of acrid smoke rising from its remains.
"I think it's dead, now," Adam said softly, placing a hand on Billy's shoulder. "Feel better?" he asked, without a trace of humor. He had never seen Billy so angry before.
But Billy's wrath had been spent with the punch, and he was back to his usual calm self. "Yes, except I think I messed up my hand a little," he replied. "That wasn't too smart, was it?" he asked no one in particular.
Kahva chuckled, her own tension eased as she felt Billy's emotions return to somewhat normal levels; normal for the situation, at least. "No, but effective. The field's down, let's get working on these shackles. Do you know where the keys are, Sheena?" she turned to ask her soul-sister.
"Klank has them, and I don't want to wait for him to come back to get them," the Silver Ranger answered. Tanya pulled out her own blaster, adjusting the controls to emit a fine beam, motioning for Adam to do the same.
"We don't need Klank," she assured her friend. "Keep an eye out," she said to Kahva and Billy, continuing on with the rest of their plan.
Pulling off his helmet, Billy paused just long enough to kiss his wife before taking his post at one end of the hallway. "I love you," he breathed as their lips parted. "We'll be home soon, don't worry," he assured her. Sheena's eyes shone brightly as she whispered an endearment to her husband. She watched as he put his helmet back on and kept guard at one entrance, and Kahva the other, her quarterstaff at the ready.
Minutes later, an explosion from several levels above drew all eyes to the ceiling. "That should be the main field going down," Billy stated. He checked his timer with a quick glance. "It's been ten minutes already, we've got to hurry." A beep on his communicator in the next moment drew his attention. "Billy here."
"We're teleporting out, have you found Sheena?" came Tommy's worried voice. He was out of breath a bit, and the sounds of Cogs squealing in the background told them that the other Rangers had their hands full.
"We've found her, just as soon as we've got her free, we're heading out too," Billy informed the Rangers' second-in-command. "Go ahead and go Tommy, don't wait for us. If Mondo blocks teleportation again, Kahva can shift us out." They could all hear Tommy give the command to Jason, Rocky and Kat, seconds later their friends were teleporting out to the Power Chamber as planned. Billy cast a reassuring look at Sheena from under his helmet, sending all his love and comfort to her through their link. "Soon it's going to be our turn to leave, don't worry," he told her.
"I'm not worried," she lied a little. Sheena knew they would get her out in time... at least she hoped they could. These shackles are even stronger than I thought, it's taking so long for Adam and Tanya to burn through them with their blasters. She forced herself to breathe normally, to stay calm, having only a small amount of success. The mere thought of being under the influence of the mind control potion was enough to nearly send her into a fit of sheer panic and terror. They're going to get me out, they're going to get me out, keep it together girl, they won't let Klank give you the potion, you've got to stay calm. Stay calm... stay calm... Sheena shook herself mentally, chiding, You're the leader of the Power Rangers, for Pete's sake, get a grip! Soon Tanya had one of her wrists freed, then Adam shortly had her other one released from its shackle. "Thanks guys," she murmured gratefully, standing up with their assistance. "Ouch, major case of pins and needles here," Sheena groaned slightly as she moved her legs, trying to get the feeling and circulation going back into them. At least my voice isn't shaking as much as my nerves anymore, thank Goddess!
"We can take care of that back at the Power Chamber," Billy said, starting to move over to her. He didn't see the movement in the shadows just behind him.
But Kahva did. "Billy, behind you!" she screamed, just before a metal hand grabbed her from behind. "Let go!!" she yelled, striking blindly with her staff. She succeeded in knocking away the one Cog, only to face five more rushing at her, and several more behind them. "We've got company!" she warned over her shoulder. She tried to move to the others, but more Cogs had come in through the entrance Billy had been guarding, effectively cutting her and the Sapphire Ranger off from Adam, Tanya and Sheena.
"Alpha, teleport us out now!" Adam shouted into his communicator, fighting off Cogs at the same time. "We're under attack!"
"Teleporting n-" was all they heard before a familiar tug pulled at them all too briefly. Adam tried to raise the Power Chamber again, but it was no use. They all knew what it meant: Mondo's forcefield was up again, and their only way out was for Kahva to shift them.
"Kahva, we need you!" Sheena yelled, forcing her arms and legs into action against their attackers. The Cogs had already surrounded the girl, and Sheena's heart seized up as she realized it was only a matter of time before her soul-sister would be captured, and her friends and husband wouldn't be far behind unless they could pull off a miracle. This is all my fault, if I hadn't slept-walked, they wouldn't be here, none of us would, sweet Goddess help us! Sheena tried to call upon her power, but her panic was too great, she couldn't concentrate long enough to morph. Alpha, Zordon, somebody break through that field and get us out of here, please!!
"Dinna let them get away!" floated down the corridor, a command voiced with a horrid Scottish accent that sent chills flying uncontrollably up and down Sheena's spine. Her blood froze at his next order. "Capture the child, she is their only way out!" With that, Klank shuffled into the room, a long, nasty needle glinting in his cold hands, an all too familiar sickly-green fluid seeming to glow inside of it. Not that, not that, not that!! ran through Sheena's mind over and over as the growing number of Cogs encircled Billy, cut Tanya and Adam off from Sheena, and after knocking away her quarterstaff, a full half-dozen made Kahva their first prisoner.
Sheena was all alone, defenseless, and an easy second catch in her panicked state. Klank chuckled with a harsh, metallic grinding sound as he confidently strode over to his intended victim. "Hold her arms out!" he commanded the five Cogs who held her firmly. "It is time for our King Mondo's Silver Ranger to return to her rightful service as his master warrior! Watch, power wimps!!" he taunted the Rangers, who were still fighting the Cogs that were keeping them from Sheena, "and say good-bye to your leader!"
"Leave her alone!" Billy and Kahva both yelled. "You're not going to get away with this!" Kahva warned hoarsely. One of the Cogs had wrapped its arm around her throat tightly, and was nearly strangling her. Sheena's eyes threatened to fill with tears at the sound of her old friend's promise. Mondo is going to order me to kill her, then Billy, then who know what he'll make me do to Tanya and Adam and the others... Mother Goddess, I can't live like that, I can't kill the ones I love! Please help me, somebody please help me!!
Breath that reeked of oil and grease blew into Sheena's face, drawing her full attention to Klank and his potion. "You might as well relax and accept your destiny, Sheena. It will hurt much less that way." Klank cast his gaze over the scene in the dungeon. Sheena was being held right in front of him, Kahva was securely imprisoned in the grip of four Cogs, her quarterstaff nowhere in sight. Billy was still trying to fight his way through a dozen Cogs, and just over that number had surrounded the Green and Yellow Rangers, keeping them from coming to anyone's rescue. It was a pleasant sight indeed. "Now then, I think I shall inject the potion... here," he said, selecting a spot on Sheena's left arm.
"No!!" Tanya screamed. We can't let this happen, not again! What? Tanya nearly lost her balance as her boot came down on something rounded. Kahva's quarterstaff... A desperate plan formed as she scooped up the weapon, twisting it so it would collapse. Breaking free from the Cogs surrounding her and Adam, Tanya shut everything else out and focused in on a single goal.
The next seconds seemed to stretch into infinity as the Yellow Ranger took a precise, careful aim, then hurled the compacted metal staff at its target: the needle in Klank's hand. Sheena could feel the cold, thick, rounded metal tip of the needle press against her flesh, could feel its downward path, wanting to close her eyes so she wouldn't see it actually break her skin, but unable to pull her horrified gaze away... then suddenly the staff was there, and the needle flew across the room, shattering as it smashed into a wall, the sinister potion flowing onto the floor. YES!!! was all that ran through her mind as time seemed to return to normal. Klank howled, outraged as he tried to salvage some of the potion. The metallic screeching of Cogs soon blended with his wails as Tanya kicked and punched away the Cogs holding Sheena prisoner. Billy let out a victorious shout and broke away from the Cogs around him, rapidly dispatching the unfortunate soldiers that stood between him and Adam. Adam rushed over to help Tanya get rid of the Cogs that remained around her and Sheena, while Billy dashed over to Kahva, kicking away one of the Cogs holding her. Kahva then ran backwards into the wall behind her, slipping free of the hold two of the Cogs had on her, to forcefully slam the one who had his arm around her neck into the wall. Completely free now, she used a ki-see move on the two she had just escaped from, clearing her path to her friends.
"Kahva!" Tanya yelled, seeing more Cogs spilling into the room behind the brunette. The Yellow Ranger extended the quarterstaff, ready to fend off any Cogs who came near Sheena, while Billy and Adam extended their hands to Kahva, pulling her to them. Finally all together, Kahva gripped Adam's arm tightly as they all held onto each other, then she opened the portal to send them back to the Power Chamber. Tanya had the last view of the dungeon, and saw a satisfying scene: nearly three dozen Cogs were lying scattered all about the floor, more than that were running in, tripping over their fallen comrades. Klank was cursing the loss of his serum... and as the room blurred, she could see Mondo lumbering into the dungeon, spewing oil, smoke and sparks as he realized he'd been tricked: and robbed of a prisoner yet again. * * *
"Where are they?" Jason paced back and forth in the Power Chamber, his worry evident with every step he took. Mondo had put a teleportation barrier up almost at the exact moment Alpha had tried to teleport the other half of the team out. Their only way out was Kahva, and if anything had happened to her... he clamped down on in his fears, they were going to be all right, all of them! Come on guys, you've all got to be all right, you've got to be! The Gold Ranger took small comfort in the fact that the others waiting with him weren't any less worried... a very small comfort.
Tommy helplessly glanced from the viewing globe to the computer consoles, wishing he knew half as much as Billy did about them, maybe he could break the barrier then. What do I do? The plan went the best possible way we could've hoped for, we were able to take out the main forcefield temporarily, saving the time it would've taken for Kahva to shift them back to us, then shift all nine of us out of there, they were able to find Sheena quickly, she hadn't been given the mind control serum yet... Or had she? The possibility that Sheena could've been left purposefully in the dungeon to capture the rescue team, or worse, turned his stomach. Tommy felt the blood drain from his face at that thought. A second later, Kat's comforting arms were wrapped around him, soothing words being whispered in his ear. Don't invite more trouble, he told himself. Stay calm, if Sheena had been under the control of a serum, Mondo would be gloating by now, or you would've felt it, you do have a link of sorts with her, don't you? Kahva is going to shift them out of there, they will have Sheena, it's going to be all right... He sat up suddenly as a familiar grayish portal opened in the middle of the room. Out of it appeared Kahva, Billy, Tanya, Adam, and... "Sheena!" He had never been so happy to see his cousin! Oh thank God!! was all he could think as he caught her up in a joyous bear hug.
For a few moments, everything in the Power Chamber was a complete madhouse as they crowded around the rescue team, congratulating everyone. Sheena, who was still having a little bit of trouble standing, made her way over to Tanya and wrapped the Yellow Ranger in a powerful hug. "Thanks," she breathed. "I owe you my freedom, Tanya. That was an awesome throw you made!"
"You're welcome," the younger woman smiled. "That serum's shade of green just does not go with silver very well, there was no way I could let Klank put it in you." Adam gave his thanks to Tanya in the form of a kiss that rivaled some of Billy and Sheena's, but everyone was far too happy and relieved to tease anyone about such shows of affection.
Finally, Rocky cleared his throat to grab the group's attention. "Would someone like to tell us just what happened there?" he wondered. Before anyone could start speaking, however, Alpha stepped up.
"Not until I've checked Sheena out to make sure she's all right," the little droid insisted with a gentle authority. Sheena leaned against a console, letting Alpha scan her, and trying to work the kinks out of her legs. In the calm after the happy storm of reunion, Billy, Tommy and Kahva exchanged anxious glances, trying to decide just who should broach the subject first.
Kahva found her voice first. "Sheena," she spoke quietly. "We think we might know what's been happening to you. It's just a theory, but we think it might explain everything."
The Silver Ranger looked over at her soul-sister. "What is it?" She was thankful her voice didn't betray the nervousness and fear she still felt, that she knew she'd be feeling for a long time to come. I came so close today. If it weren't for Tanya, I'd be killing my friends now, instead of having them help me. I have to find out what's going on inside my own mind, and any theory they have is bound to help! At least I hope it will...
"We think that when you sleepwalk or zone out, you're sort of reliving parts of Kahva Kilanye's life," Billy explained. "You have her memories in you, and somehow they're dictating your dreams, and causing the sleepwalking and zone outs."
Sheena almost said something, then closed her eyes and thought carefully for a few moments, doing what she could to remember the dreams. Finally, she shook her head in defeat. "I don't know. I can't remember anything about them, I just know that I am dreaming something. It could be about my ancestor, I just don't know." Sheena sighed, "All I have for sure is a feeling that I've been dreaming or thinking about her in my dreams, but that's it, just a feeling. I wish I knew if it was right or not."
Alpha finished up his scans and gave his report just then. "You're in your usual great health Sheena, except you need to rest, and a shower wouldn't hurt anything, either!" The Rangers chuckled a bit at that, and Sheena nodded, coming completely to her feet.
"And that's what I'm going to do! I'm going to go home, take a shower, sleep, and deal with my dreams tomorrow!" she decided. Billy put a quick and careful hand on her shoulder.
"That might not be for the best, Sheena," he told her gently. "Mondo's going to be very upset with us for rescuing you, and you know he's sure to have every resource he has ready to grab you again the first chance he gets."
Her eyes narrowed, flashing with a sudden anger. Surely he can't mean... "That's a fact of life Billy, you guys were dealing with that long before I got here. Are you going to tell me I can't even go to our own home now?" I can't believe this, he's serious! Sheena didn't even try to hide her thoughts or feelings from Billy or Kahva, and even Tommy felt her ire. But her cousin and sister only looked at Billy in response to Sheena's emotions.
Ooops! Billy thought briefly. Tread carefully here... Then ever so gently, he continued, "For now, yes. It's not just Mondo, either. We have to figure a way to stop those memories from overwhelming you and causing your sleepwalking and zone outs. You're vulnerable to Mondo until they stop, you know that, sweetheart." He winced as he felt the flare-up of fear in her again.
"We're just trying to help you," Tommy put in his own opinion. "All we want is for you to be safe."
"It's only until we stop those memories and dreams," Kahva whispered, knowing Sheena would hear her. "Hopefully it won't take long." The three people closest to the Silver Ranger had made their stand, now it was up to Sheena. She knew they wouldn't keep her against her will, but they felt so strongly about this, she could feel their emotions so clearly... I don't want to cower away from Mondo, but I am vulnerable if I sleepwalk, what do I do?
Sheena said nothing for a few minutes, turning her green gaze on each of them. In each face she found the same things: concern, care, love, worry. It was the love that got to her most of all. Sweet Goddess, how did I luck out in finding all these people who care so much about me? Finally she sighed. "All right, I'll stay here at the Power Chamber. But I still need that shower, and some real clothes! Or is that too dangerous?" There was a mocking lilt to her voice as she pinned Billy with a glance. Billy cocked an eyebrow at Tanya, Kat and Kahva, who were already teleporting away to the cabin to get a few of Sheena's things.
"No, I think we can arrange for that!" the Sapphire Ranger grinned a bit as he stepped over to Sheena and held her close to him. Only she heard what he whispered thickly into her ear. "I came so close to losing you today Sheena, I don't ever want that to happen again. Ever!"
"Me neither," she replied, leaning against him. "Oh, Goddess, I love you so much, Billy. I couldn't stand hurting you. I'd die first." She turned her face up to him, their lips meeting in a sweet and passionate kiss. No matter what Mondo tried, Sheena knew in her heart that her friends and her love would always be with her, to help her, as she helped them. Take that, Mondo! The Silver Ranger is free, and will be forever! * * *
Mondo glared at the space occupied only minutes earlier by his Silver Ranger. "How dare those Rangers rescue her!" he bellowed. "How dare you let them get away, Klank!! Why didn't you simply knock the child out, then the Silver Ranger would've been mine, the whole world would have been mine! This is all your fault, they escaped and you did nothing but stand there and let them!"
"I'm sorry, Yer Majesty, I won't let it happen again!" Klank cowered away, fearing for his very existence. In all the centuries he'd served the Machine Empire, he'd never seen Mondo so angry! Then again, they'd never been quite so close to having everything the Machine King had wanted, only to have it all torn away from them. All I needed was a fraction of a second more, just a fraction! A mere millisecond! Curse you, Yellow Ranger!! I will have revenge for this, against you, and all of the Rangers!! "I beg yer forgiveness, milord!" Please don't let him have me recycled, please!! This wasn't my fault!
"Oh shut up, Klank!" Mondo growled. "I've heard enough of your whining for one day! Get out of my sight!"
Klank didn't bother waiting around for anything else to be said, he simply fled as fast as he could. Mondo lumbered back to his throne room, where he could see the Earth, and glared at it with all the hate in his mechanical form. "Rest while you can, Sheena... because the very next chance I get, you will be mine, forever." * * *
He listened to the muffled sounds of the Machine King raging in his throne room with great satisfaction. He had been about to try to rescue Sheena himself when the alarms had clamored throughout the Skybase. Several minutes later, he heard the news he'd been hoping for: the Power Rangers and their friend, who he had only heard disparagingly referred to as 'child' so far, had freed his beloved Silver Ranger at the last possible moment. Saves me from having to risk my plans, if she had seen me here, rescuing her, she might have guessed that I'm not her friend. Most likely she wouldn't have, she would have been too grateful, but later... Later, there would have been questions, and she might have guessed the truth before I'm ready to claim her. His cold eyes narrowed in the shadows as he mulled over what little he'd been able to hear. She's still in the memories, the cycle hasn't ended yet. Oh Kahva, how it must frustrate you to know that you can't come to her now, that the spell I've placed on Sheena prevents you from appearing to her until it ends! And even if you could, there's another spell, one placed long ago, that keeps you from telling her or anyone about me anyway, unless Sheena learns who I am. I intend for her never to find out the truth, believe me. You're just a helpless spirit, unable to do a single thing... Kahva Kilanye, you should have accepted my love long ago, now your heir will pay the price of your foolishness.
He pulled himself further into the shadows, one thing still bothered him. He was certain he'd felt power, old power coming from the mysterious girl who was the Ranger's friend back in the park, and he'd felt that same power here again in the Skybase. Who are you, 'child'? he wondered yet again. It doesn't matter, there's nothing you or anyone can do to keep me from claiming the woman I desire... He chuckled darkly to himself as he teleported himself away with a slight flexing of his magic. No, nothing at all... * * *
"How's your hand, Billy?" Kahva asked while they waited for Sheena to come out of Kahva's quarters. It had been decided to put a spare cot in there so that Kahva could be right with Sheena at night, in case the Silver Ranger slept-walked again. Jason and Rocky were setting up another room for all of them to take turns staying in to help keep watch over their friend. Adam finished scanning Billy's hand at that moment and answered for the Sapphire Ranger.
"It'll be fine by morning, it's a good thing he punched out that panel while morphed, instead of powered down. He could've broken his hand, otherwise. As it is, he's only jammed it up a bit." Adam chuckled a bit and clapped a hand on Billy's shoulder. "You could have just blasted the thing, you know."
"I know," Billy admitted ruefully, then grinned. "But punching the thing felt so good!" Billy hugged Kahva then, "Good work up there girl! I don't think the Cogs have realized you're becoming a better fighter yet, or that you can shift more quickly now." Billy looked at her with a bit of concern, studying her face. "Any headache from the quick shifting?"
"Not this time," she assured him. She was a bit surprised that she didn't have a headache, but over the few months she had been in this dimension, she had gotten stronger, slowly but surely, and shifting didn't tire her out as much as it had at the beginning. Tommy had been worried she wouldn't have been able to shift the second team back to the first if they hadn't been able to take out the main forcefield, and then immediately shift all nine of them back to the Power Chamber. Glad our first plan worked, we didn't have to find out the answer to that question this time. But I don't have a headache at all, I'm not too tired... I could've done it if I had to. I actually could have done it! Knowing that, and feeling that for once she wouldn't have been a burden to the Rangers, but a help, made her feel much better about herself than she had in quite some time. But as Jason came over to congratulate her as well, that good feeling rushed out of her. If only I could set things right between Emily and Jason just as well. She shoved any bad thoughts and feelings out of her mind before Sheena and Billy, or possibly even Tommy could pick up on them. Jason and Rocky came in to announce that the second set of quarters had been set up, joining in the continuing minor celebration.
The overall good mood in the Power Chamber continued until Tanya rushed in, "Where's Sheena?" Seven pairs of eyes locked in on the Yellow Ranger, all conversation instantly silenced.
"She isn't still getting a shower?" Kahva asked. Please, not another zone out, not so soon!
"She had just finished and I heard her getting dressed. She asked me to throw away her nightgown that was ruined at the Skybase, and when I came back, the door to your bathroom was open, and Sheena wasn't in there. I've checked the infirmary, the workout room, where is she?" Tanya fought hard to keep from panicking, but as the young people looked at each other, they knew they all shared the same fear: Sheena was sleep-walking again.
"I'll check the Holding Bay," Adam called over his shoulder. Rocky rushed off to check the lower levels, Kat and Tanya ran to check the private quarters. In seconds, everyone had scattered throughout the Power Chamber, trying desperately to find Sheena.
Fifteen minutes later, Kat ran back into the main chamber, thinking she had seen a flash of Sheena's long hair disappearing around a corner... to find that she had seen Kahva instead. "Any luck?" she asked the older girl.
"Not yet," she replied before dashing over to Alpha. "Don't tell me the internal sensors still can't pick her up!" she pleaded.
"Ai-yi-yi, Kahva! She's moving so fast through the Power Chamber, it seems I'm just a few seconds behind her each time I pick her up," the little robot wailed.
"It's not your fault," Billy called out as he ran in from another entrance. "Our internal sensors were never designed to track one of us moving so quickly in here, only intruders, and our defenses are so strong -"
"We never thought we'd really need them. Looks like you've got a new project Billy, once we get our current problem solved," Tommy chimed in from behind Kat. "I checked all the upper levels, I couldn't find her either.
"I thought I had seen her, but I had spotted Kahva instead," Kat said. "Where could Sheena be?"
"Maybe we need to think like Kahva Kilanye here," Kahva suggested. "If Sheena is reliving her past in her mind, then let's put ourselves there too. Kahva was the leader of the first Rangers, and they were fighting to free Eltar from Vile's tyranny. So she'd be what, checking on any reports they might have been getting in, maybe planning out their next move?" she guessed.
"There you are!" came a voice they had been wanting to hear for the past several minutes. "I've been looking all over for you."
"Sheena!" Billy nearly shouted, running to hug his wife.
He never got the chance though. "Silias, I've been looking all over the Command Center for you, have you been able to get any information on Vile's troop movements yet?"
"What?" was his befuddled reply. Sheena seemed not to notice as her gaze rested on Kat.
"Shada, have you been able to find out anything from the last village Vile plundered?" Kat couldn't even try to reply as the Silver Ranger's eyes rested on Tommy. "Tilrak? Til, why are you here, it's too dangerous for you to be on Eltar right now, you know that! You should be on Edenoi, where it's safe. Zordon, why did you bring him here now?"
YOU ARE SHEENA CRANSTON, NOT KAHVA KILANYE, AND THAT IS TOMMY OLIVER, YOUR COUSIN, NOT TILRAK KILANYE, Zordon answered, trying to break through to her. But Sheena seemed not to hear him, either.
"Tilrak being here, he shouldn't be here, it's too dangerous," she muttered to herself over and over, not looking at any of them now. "Wait a minute, Tilrak here? That's not right, he isn't supposed to be here now, not yet, something's wrong..." Kahva caught the confused look on her soul-sister's face and rushed to her, clasping her arms.
"Sheena wake up, you're sleepwalking, or whatever, again! Wake up!" she pleaded, hoping her voice could break through where the others hadn't been able to. The other Rangers all ran in at that point, having been alerted by Alpha and Billy. Sheena looked at them as if to say something, then turned back to Kahva in confusion.
"Elysia? No, you're dead, you can't be here, you can't, Zordon told me how you died, he didn't tell the others, but he told me... You're dead, you're dead..." her voice trailed off, unsure.
"Sheena, I'm Kahva, not Elysia, you're Sheena Devereaux Cranston, wake up!!" she shouted, keeping a firm grip on the girl's arms. Long seconds passed as Sheena's eyes gradually cleared, then locked onto Kahva's.
"What... what's going on - Kahva, ease up on my arms, will you? I'm not going to fall or anything... I don't think." Kahva did as requested, but still held her sister's arms. "I was drying my hair, how did I get in here?"
"You don't remember anything?" Kahva asked. At the shake of Sheena's head, she told her what had just transpired in the main chamber. "You seemed to snap out of it when you thought I was Elysia. But I think it started when you called Tommy 'Tilrak', it was like you started to realize he shouldn't be here, there, wherever your mind was."
Sheena rubbed her temples, her head hurt so much from just trying to remember anything, no matter how small... but she couldn't, and ended up leaning on Kahva for support. "All I remember is asking Tanya to throw away that nightgown, then after I got dressed, I started to dry my hair... Sweet Goddess, what is happening to me?" After a few minutes, Sheena's nerves were settled enough that she would allow Kahva to lead her back to their now-shared quarters to finish drying her hair. As Billy watched his shaken wife and Kahva leave, he sighed and slowly sank to the floor, leaning his back against a console podium.
"What am I going to do if we can't stop this? What is going to happen to my wife?"
No one, not even Zordon, could give him an answer. * * *
"I wish I knew something else we could try, Billy. If only we could find out what triggered these dreams, then we'd be that much closer to a solution," Kahva said, rubbing her eyes. The past two nights had been rough for everyone, but especially for her, simply because of being in the same room with Sheena. Though she thought she was hiding it from the others, Billy knew from the surveillance camera that had been temporarily set up in her room, Kahva had only gotten perhaps a couple of hours of sleep each night... and Sheena hadn't gotten much more, what with her zone outs and sleepwalking occurring much more often, and each time the incident was a little more intense. Yawning, Kahva stiffly got up and started back for her room. "I'm going back, we've almost got these things timed now, she should be zoning out again within the next two hours." He tried to stop her, but found his movements dulled from a lack of sleep as well.
Tommy was in better shape though, even if not by much. Catching her arm, he stopped her from leaving the main chamber. "No you're not, not just yet, anyway. You haven't eaten anything all day, and neither have you, Billy," he stated, nailing both of them with an authoritative look. "I also know, as well as I'm sure Billy does, that you've hardly slept the past two nights, and you," he pointed a finger at Billy, "should know that you can't think clearly if you're only getting about four hours of sleep a night yourself." Of the four of them, he'd probably had the most sleep... barely. "I know better than to try and run either of you to bed right now, though," he admitted, stifling a yawn of his own.
"You're not going to order us to bed, or sedate us?" Billy half-joked.
Tommy gave a dry laugh. "I know better than that. No, my vote is a quick hop out for take-out from Ernie's. Bring it straight back here, the four of us will eat, then whenever Sheena zones out again, we go at it again. But no matter what we do, you two are going to eat something whether you like it or not."
"What about Sheena?" Kahva asked. Footsteps down the hallway kept Tommy from answering, though.
"What about me?" Sheena asked. "What's going on?" Before Tommy could answer, Sheena went over to Alpha. "I need to go out for a while, Alpha, how about -"
"Whoa there, 'go out'? Where are we going?" Billy asked.
"Not 'we', me, Billy. I want to go for a walk... alone. I just need some air, and I'll only be gone for a few minutes, so don't worry about it. Alpha -"
"Sheena," Tommy stepped over to his cousin, saving Billy from the reaction he knew she was going to have from what they had decided on two days ago. She's not going to like this, but it's for her own safety... "Sheena, that's not a good idea right now." He could feel the muscles in her arm tighten as he laid a protective hand on her. "If you want to go somewhere, it needs to be with one of us."
"It's only for a few minutes, Tommy! You act like I'm a moving target or something. Five minutes outside alone is not going to kill me." Her voice had become tighter with each word, and wasn't inviting challenge.
Tommy wasn't going to back down however, steeling himself for something he had hoped he wouldn't ever have to do to any Ranger, much less his own cousin. "You are a moving target Sheena, as long as you're zoning out, you are a target, and you know that. If you want to go outside, you have to take at least one of us with you."
"Or else what?"
"Or else you don't go. It's for your own safety, you know that. Please Sheena, either stay here, or let one of us go with you."
"For your own safety, for your own safety... I am sick of those words!! I want out, and I want out alone, Tommy, I want to get some air alone! I'm going, whether you like it or not, I'm only going to be gone for a few minutes. Alpha -"
"No!" Tommy shouted with a bit more volume than he had intended. Heaven help me, I never thought I'd have to do this, but she's not thinking straight! "Silver Ranger, as of right now you are relieved of command, and as second in command, I'm temporarily taking over the Rangers. You are ordered to remain here in the Power Chamber, unless you are willing to let at least one of us go with you, until we can stop your zoning out." Sheena opened her mouth to protest, but Tommy cut her off. "That's final, Sheena. If it were me, or any of the others, you'd do the same thing, and you know it. Until we can stop or control your zone outs, you are in danger from Mondo, and possibly from your own actions." He braced himself for an argument, but instead, Sheena angrily turned on her heel and headed back the way she'd come. "Where are you going?"
"Nowhere!!" she shouted. "If the wardens care to let me have recess, I'll be taking a nap in my cell! The matron knows where it is."
Kahva fought back a sob, a physical blow couldn't have hurt her worse. She didn't mean it, she didn't, she's just stressed... don't cry, Sheena's the one with the hard time right now, you have no right to feel hurt, you can't cry, Kahva! She kept her arms tightly folded though, to hide her clenched hand, to hide her fingernails pressing into her palms to keep from crying. Billy started to run after his wife, but Kahva shook her head. "Don't. Sheena isn't going to listen to any of us right now, not until she calms down a little. Tommy," she looked at the now-current leader of the Rangers, "did you have to do it like that?" she asked softly.
"I didn't want to... but she didn't leave me any choice, did she?" Tommy hugged both his friends, then hastily typed in a note on a console, where Sheena would be sure to find it if she came back into the main chamber before they returned. "Come on, let's go get that food and bring it back here." Which has now turned into a peace offering. I hope you'll forgive me when this is all over, Sheena. I didn't want to do this, but we can't risk losing you. You mean too much to all of us. * * *
I did not come here for this, why me and why now? Jason shook his head tiredly, Emily was refusing to listen to anything he said, and what little she would listen to, she was twisting to suit her own purposes. "I've only been trying to help Kahva, Tommy and Billy help Sheena stop her sleepwalking, that's all, Emily!" Jason explained yet again. "We all have, it's not just me -"
"Yeah, right. You're just doing it to spend more time with Kahva, you're using Billy's wife as just an excuse! Why don't you just go ahead and start dating Kahva, or have you started that already?" Emily accused angrily. Billy, Tommy and Kahva walked up just in time to hear that last part, and while Tommy made sure Kahva didn't immediately bolt from the Juice Bar, Billy moved to defend Jason.
But Jason had had enough of Emily's baseless accusations. "Look, I've never complained about how much time you spend with your friends, I've never accused you of seeing someone behind my back! I've trusted you completely ever since we started seeing each other, but you've been jealous of my friends from the very beginning, long before Kahva, or even Sheena moved to Angel Grove! If there's a problem here, it's yours, not mine!! I love you Emily, but I love my friends too; I don't know why that's so hard for you to understand and accept. I won't sacrifice any of my friendships just because you can't handle me having people I care about just as much as you." Jason couldn't look at his girlfriend anymore by then. "If you've ever really loved me, you'll have to take me as I am." Emily simply stared at Jason in open-mouthed shock, then ran out of the Juice Bar. Only then did Jason realize he'd had an audience as Billy laid a hand on his shoulder.
"You okay, Jase?" he asked cautiously.
"Yeah... no... maybe, I don't know. It's been something that's been coming for a long time. I guess I'd better go after her. You guys taking a break?"
"Yeah," Billy answered. "Two days straight of trying to link with Sheena while she's zoned, and nothing. We're only going to be here for a few minutes though, just long enough to get some take-out, and then we're heading back in. Are you sure you're okay?"
Jason slowly nodded as he started to leave. He could see the worry on all their faces, worry for him, worry for Sheena... What aren't they saying? Something's happened, I've known Billy and Tommy far too long not to see it in their eyes. But they don't want to put it on me. When are things going to be normal for any of us? He simply sighed, this wasn't the time or place to ask his questions. Later, I'll ask them later. "I think I will be. Don't worry about Emily, it had to be said sooner or later." Jason stopped and stared at Kahva for a few moments, wanting to hug her, reassure her she wasn't at fault. But with what had just happened, and in front of so many people, he didn't think it would be right just then. He settled for laying a hand on her shoulder. "It's not your fault, this is something between me and Emily, it is not your fault, don't blame yourself." At her reluctant nod, Jason left to find Emily.
Tommy guided Kahva to a seat by Billy at the bar. "He's right, you know. It isn't your fault."
"Yeah, if you guys say so," she replied, sounding unconvinced. "This just hasn't been our day, has it?"
Tommy thought back to their request, which had turned into an order to Sheena, for her to stay in the Power Chamber for her own safety. "No, it hasn't." * * *
Sheena prowled around the lower levels of the Power Chamber, grumbling to herself as she did so. I can't believe they ORDERED me to stay here! Goddess of Fire, they haven't let me out of here even for a MOMENT since we got back from the Skybase! It's been two days, and I haven't seen the sun, or felt the wind, or even slept in my own bed! She sighed deeply. And it's for my own safety. I am so SICK of those three words 'my own safety' !! For my own safety I have to stay locked up in here like I'm a prisoner!
She shuddered away from that thought, it stirred up associations she most certainly did not want! She took a deep breath. "I'm getting out of here, if only for a few minutes, whether they like it or not!"
The Silver Ranger stormed up to the main room of the Power Chamber, and glanced around, suddenly realizing how quiet it was. "Zordon, what's going on?" she asked, hoping that Mondo hadn't attacked. If he had, dreams or no dreams, zone outs or no zone outs, she was going into battle!
THEY LEFT A NOTE FOR YOU, SHEENA, he glanced towards the console where Tommy had typed it in. Sheena... We've gone to get some food for all of us at Ernie's, we won't be gone for more than just a few minutes, hope you're up for pizza. I'm sorry I yelled at you, I didn't want everything to end in an argument. Please understand, we only want you to be safe, you're not being punished or anything like that. After all of us eat something, if you still want to go for a walk, we'll all go to the park, or maybe the lake at the cabin. Zordon and Alpha can keep a continuous lock on us and get us out at the first sign of trouble. We love you, Sheena, please know that. Tommy. Sheena nodded absently, smiling as she read it. She glanced up at Zordon.
"They've gone to get pizza," she told him. "I'm going to lie down until they get back."
I WILL INFORM THEM AS SOON AS THEY RETURN, THEY SHOULD BE BACK SHORTLY, Zordon assured her. SHEENA, TOMMY WILL STEP DOWN SO YOU CAN RESUME LEADERSHIP OF THE RANGERS AS SOON AS WE HAVE YOUR 'ZONE OUTS' UNDER CONTROL, OR STOPPED COMPLETELY, THIS IS NOT A PERMANENT SITUATION, I PROMISE YOU THAT. Sheena simply nodded and left the main chamber, heading back for Kahva's quarters long enough to run a quick brush through her hair They're all so worried about me, I shouldn't have snapped at them like that, but I can't stand being cooped up in here any longer! I'll just slip out to the park for five minutes, that's all, and I'll be back before they know I'm gone. I can usually figure out when a zone out session is coming, I think one's going to happen this afternoon, I'll get back to the Power Chamber before that happens, though. I'll be fine! she told herself. And when they get back, the first thing I'm going to do is apologize to Tommy, he is only doing what I would be doing, were the situation reversed. Then Billy and Kahva... I could feel their concern, I felt how much my words hurt them, I definitely need to make amends.
Sheena quickly ran through the Power Chamber to the Zord Holding Bay, knowing she could teleport out of there using its systems, and be back before Alpha or Zordon would notice anything wrong in the main chamber. There are advantages to having lived here for a solid year, and needing to sneak out every so often, she chuckled silently to herself. Seconds later, she was gone in a flash of silver teleportation light. Five minutes, that's all I need, five minutes won't hurt anything... * * *
"One extra large pizza and four extra large fruit smoothies, on the house," Ernie said with a broad smile, presenting the take-out food to Billy, Tommy and Kahva. "You guys are some of my best customers, it's the least I could do," the kindly man told them as he politely refused to take their money. "Tell Sheena I hope she's feeling better soon."
"Thanks Ernie, you're the greatest," Kahva said gratefully, giving him a hug. Ernie blushed and went back to his other customers at the bar, waving to the young people as they left. "He's always so worried about everyone."
"That he is," Tommy agreed. As they rounded the corner of the Youth Center and prepared to teleport back to the Power Chamber, Tommy spied Jason leaning against the back wall of the building. "Speaking of worried... look, you guys head back to the Power Chamber, I'm going to check on Jason here, I won't be long." Tommy caught the guilt-stricken look that flashed across Kahva's features as she spotted the sad Gold Ranger. "What happened in there is not your fault Kahva, don't blame yourself, okay?" She only nodded to him half-heartedly just before she and Billy teleported away. Tommy sighed, Just for once, I would love for everyone's personal lives to be absolutely perfect. For forever, if possible, but right now I'd be thankful for a single day of sheer, undisturbed bliss. "Jason? Want to talk about it?" he asked as he reached the first leader of the present-day Rangers.
For several long moments, Tommy wondered if Jason would answer him at all. Finally, he asked, "Why can't she understand I can love many people, and that is not a threat to her and me? It's not like I'm in love with every single female friend I have, I'm in love with Emily... at least, I think I still am. When she acts like this... I don't know if I even know her anymore." Jason looked at Tommy, his dark eyes pleading. "What do I have to do to make her understand? I came out here to apologize to her for raising my voice, but she wouldn't even listen! I can't handle much more of this, Tommy. Maybe... maybe I should end it. I don't know, what do I do?"
"I wish I could give you an answer for that one, Jase, I really do. If it is really love, if it's meant to be, things will work out somehow. I know that must sound pretty silly and stupid right now, but it's what I've always believed. Give her a little while to calm down and think things over, and for you to think things over, then try talking again, see what happens then." A few moments of silence later, Tommy looked at the drink in his hand and offered, "Smoothie? It's a new one that Ernie's made, strawberry-kiwi. I can get another before I go back to the Power Chamber." Before Jason could answer, Tommy's communicator sounded out its all too familiar six-tone beep. "Tommy here, what's up?"
"Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!!" Alpha wailed. "Tommy, it's Sheena, she's disappeared! Kahva and Billy have already left to try and find her, we think she went to the park! Our sensors show a teleportation from the Holding Bay a few minutes ago to the park, that's where they are!"
"Jason is with me, we're on our way," he said, tossing the smoothie into a nearby trashcan. We should never have all left the Power Chamber! Please don't let Mondo find her before we do, please! * * *
"Do you think Sheena will like what we brought her?" Kahva asked, forcing a slightly more cheerful tone into her voice as they arrived back at the Power Chamber. Billy nodded.
"I think so." He glanced around to see the note Tommy had left still typed into the console. "Has Sheena seen this yet, Zordon?"
YES BILLY, AND SHE WENT BACK TO KAHVA'S QUARTERS TO LIE DOWN UNTIL YOU RETURNED. THAT WAS FIVE MINUTES AGO.
Billy looked down the hallway, Sheena had almost always run out to greet him when he had returned before. Guess she hasn't woken up yet. She must really be tired. "I'll go see if she's ready to eat yet."
Kahva nodded as she put the pizza box on a console and absently glanced over the readouts. Everything seemed normal in the Power Chamber, the scanners, the defenses, the teleportation... What is this? She was about to take a second glance when Billy came rushing back up the hallway from the private quarters.
"She's not in your room!" he said, his voice half-strangled with fear. "I looked everywhere around there, she's not there!"
Kahva took that second look at the teleportation controls, they clearly showed a teleportation to the park almost five minutes earlier. "Sheena's teleported to the park," she said, showing Billy the readouts. I should've stayed behind, I should've kept a closer eye on her! "We'd better get there, in case she has another zone out, she's due at any time within the next hour or so," she advised.
Billy glanced quickly at the viewing globe, then swore. "Cogs have just appeared on the other side of the park, and they're heading to her last known location. We've got to get to her first!" * * *
Klank stared down at the Earth, then whirled around to where King Mondo was muttering various evil plans he had in mind for the Rangers. "Yer Majesty, yer Majesty!" he exclaimed. "The Silver Ranger is out alone in the park, away from all the other Rangers!! I'm picking up her lifesigns, and only hers, she is most definitely alone somewhere in the southern region of the park!"
Mondo was alert at once. Finally!! "Alone, you say? Excellent, Klank! Send down the Cogs at once!"
"Yes, your Evilness," Klank promptly replied. His hands hesitated though, as an unpleasant thought crossed his processors. "Er, sire, what if the Rangers show up when she's attacked?" Klank was already calling for the Cogs as he raised this possibility, though.
The Machine King thought for a second, then with a sinister growl, "If they show up, then this is what you shall do, Klank!" he instructed, and Klank found himself laughing evilly. Look out, Silver Ranger, you're coming back here, and this time, you're never leaving again! I do hope the Rangers like our little surprise, if they show up... and I just know they will: they're so predictable that way. * * *
Sheena wandered through the park, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine immensely. I really needed this time out, she thought as she leaned against a tree. Can't stay too long, though. One of those blasted zone outs should be... her thoughts drifted off as a powerful shiver went through her. "No," she whispered, sensing what was about to happen. "No, not now... they were right, I should've stayed in the Power Cha-!"
She was taken by the memories so fast, she didn't even have time to notice the Cogs running out of the woods a few hundred feet away from her: and closing in fast. * * *
The Power Rangers appeared in the village of Orn, looking around alertly as they did so. Caleen cracked her knuckles ominously. "So, Vile's men are supposed to be here?" she asked.
Silias nodded. "The reports all say this is his next place of attack, if he hasn't done so already."
Linon was looking everywhere. "He could very well have," the Topaz Ranger said. "This place is way too quiet for my taste."
"I'm sure if you asked nicely they'd make some noise for you," Dilras wisecracked, earning a glowering look from Linon. Shada glared at them both harshly, and Kahva cleared her throat, taking charge of her tense teammates.
"Let's check around, see if we can find anyone who lives here, or any of Vile's troops." Kahva stopped dead in her tracks just then, her eyes widening suddenly as she spotted something in the dust. "Well, I think we've found evidence of their troops. Look."
The others gathered around as she pointed out a half-dozen rough, jagged footprints. "Vile's troop's tracks, all right," Silias nodded. "We've all seen them before." Kahva was the only one who noticed Linon flinching a little, but said nothing about it.
A cough from Pliona drew their attention away from the tracks. A young woman was standing a few feet from them, staring at them with wide, awe-filled eyes. Kahva turned, tossing her hair aside as she did so. As their eyes met, the woman shook her head in amazement. "No... it can't be... you're dead!"
"I'm not," Kahva whispered. "Olina... is that really you, little sister?"
The woman nodded, running to the leader of the Power Rangers and catching her in a joyous hug. "It's me, Kahva. I've missed you so much!" * * *
"Sheena!" Kahva called out the moment she and Billy got to the park. Fortunately, Alpha had teleported them fairly close to her, and for the moment, there wasn't a Cog in sight. "Sheena, there's Cogs nearby, you've got to come back with me to the Power Chamber!
She turned towards them as they ran up to her and smiled. "Olina... is that really you, little sister?"
Kahva stopped in her tracks and stared, heedless of the Cogs that were now running out of the woods behind Sheena. "Olina? What are you talking about, Sheena?" Oh, that's bright, she's trapped in one of those memories, and I'm asking her what she's talking about! Brilliant, Kahva, just brilliant!!
"Capture the child and the Silver Ranger!" Klank had appeared a few feet away, and was screaming out orders to the Cogs. "Neither of them is to escape this time!"
Billy morphed even as he put himself between the Cogs, and Kahva and Sheena. Sheena smiled warmly at him, saying, "Olina, I'd like you to meet my friend Silias, the Sapphire Ranger."
"Olina?" Kahva repeated the name. "What the heck are you talking about? Sheena come on, remember who you are! You're Sheena, the Silver Ranger!"
Sheena nodded. "That's right, I'm not dead. I'll give you the details later, but first let me introduce you to my friends." The other Rangers were teleporting in, already morphed and battle ready. Sheena looked at them and smiled, but clearly, she was seeing the past, not the present.
"Ummmm... sure... Kahva..." Kahva Briton said a bit nervously, her eyes on the Cogs already fighting the other Rangers. Oh boy, I hope she snaps out of this soon! I've got to get her out of here! "Let's go this way," she said as she started to try to pull Sheena away from the advancing threat of the Cogs. We've got to get clear... I hope her zoning out doesn't mean I can't shift her, we hadn't considered that possibility! I can still feel her Ranger power though, we should be okay, we just need to get clear!
Sheena smiled a little. "Olina, this is Shada, Dilras, Pliona, Caleen, and Linon. We're the Power Rangers."
Kahva nearly growled in frustration as the 'introduction' continued. We don't have time for this! she groaned. Tapping her communicator, she called, "Alpha, teleport us back! Alpha?" Great, Mondo is blocking us already! I have to shift us now, there's no other way! "I'm shifting her back to the Power Chamber!" she called out to Billy.
Just as Kahva started to open the portal, Cogs broke through the line of Rangers, surging up all around her and Sheena both. Sheena's eyes narrowed as she pulled out of Kahva's grasp, breaking the connection and destroying the half-formed portal. "Rangers!" she called out, in a voice of pure command. "Looks like Vile's troops are here! Fan out and attack, they must not be allowed to bring more harm to this village!" Sheena was already running into the midst of the Cogs as she shouted the command; lack of sleep kept Kahva from being able to keep up with her. In a few scant seconds over a dozen Cogs had surrounded Sheena, effectively cutting Kahva off from her.
I don't believe this! Kahva tiredly sighed mentally as she extended her quarterstaff and started to fight her way back to Sheena. "Someone please tell me that her fighting them is at least better than her totally ignoring them!" she called out, taking out a couple of Cogs in the process.
But no one could say anything of that nature as the Cogs closed in all around them. Sheena fought them, though what she thought they might be in her zoned out dream state was anyone's guess. Kahva fought just as well as she ever had, despite her serious lack of sleep and Sheena's strange, distracting shouts of "Olina, get out of here, you're not a warrior! You can't fight Vile's men!"
Kahva was almost close enough to grab Sheena and shift back to the Power Chamber, when over half a dozen Cogs suddenly surrounded her. "You can't have her!" Kahva yelled defiantly, toppling one Cog with her staff before another blasted her weapon out of her hands. Kahva treated him to a roughly executed, but effective ki-see punch and throw in return. But she was weaponless and tired, and before she could do anything to retrieve her damaged staff or reach Sheena, a Cog grabbed her from behind, shoving a gag in her mouth before she could cry out for help. Four other Cogs grabbed her and despite her best efforts, they soon had her arms and wrists bound tightly behind her back, then wrapped more rope around her waist and chest, pinning her arms to her torso to prevent her from wriggling free of her bonds. Then they set to work binding her legs at her knees and ankles, though they lost one of their number to a fierce ki-see kick in the process. Kahva couldn't cry out, or move so much as an inch, as two of the Cogs lifted her into the air and celebrated their catch. She could feel the tight, coarse ropes already starting to cut off her circulation. Sheena!! she cried out mentally, but her soul-sister couldn't hear her. Tommy, Billy, help me!! she screamed, hoping that one of them could hear her before it was too late. * * *
Kahva Kilanye fought Vile's men as fiercely as ever, knocking them down and sending them flying every which way, one after the other. A voice, scared and in danger tickled at the back of her mind, and as she turned, she could see Olina being tied up cruelly by Vile's men... then Olina suddenly changed into Elysia, Zordon's wife. Elysia? It can't be, Elysia is dead, she can't be here... Then suddenly, Sheena was herself again, and where the park had been peaceful before, she was now surrounded by Cogs, and Kahva Briton, her soul-sister, was being cruelly bound and gagged. Two Cogs lifted the girl into the air, celebrating their catch, then they tossed her into a large net, wrapping it about the helpless girl several times. Sheena started to run towards her sister, when a Cog pulled her hair...
Kahva Kilanye was fighting Vile's men, and they had her sister Olina. No!! You can't have my sister!! She fought Vile's troops, snarling as she cleared the way to where she'd last seen her sister. I'm coming, Olina! Vile is not going to harm another of my family, I swear it!! * * *
Tommy, Billy, help me!! Kahva's scared voice sounded clearly in Tommy's mind for the first time ever and froze him in his tracks, sending cold shivers of fear down his spine. A look to his left showed him Billy was having much the same reaction. They scanned the park for her, and saw their friend helplessly bound and gagged, and being wrapped up in a large net in addition to those bonds. We're coming!! he answered her plea, hoping she could hear him as he and Billy started fighting their way to her. "Rangers! The Cogs have Kahva!!" he shouted.
Kahva felt a surge of hope at Tommy's yell, then her stomach knotted as she saw Sheena stalking towards the Cogs that held her captive. Sheena was staring at them, a cold, harsh expression on her face, touched with fear... and... confusion? Oh man, what's she seeing now? Or do I even want to know?
"Leave my sister alone," she said in a soft, dangerous voice. "You, of all people, leave her alone," the unmorphed Silver Ranger growled, staring directly at Klank. The robotic majordomo stared back at her, then effected what was the closest thing to a smile that he could.
"Bring the child to me!" he ordered the Cogs, who immediately started dragging Kahva over to him. "Take her to our King!" Klank made a rather grand, exaggerated gesture with his hand and a cog-shaped teleportation circle formed, waiting for the Cogs to take their prisoner through it to the Skybase. They squeaked and clattered triumphantly, tossing Kahva back and forth amongst themselves, taking their time in hauling their prisoner to the circle. That proved to be an almost fatal mistake for them, as not only did Sheena run towards Kahva, but Tommy and Billy headed for the bound girl as well, the rest of the Rangers not far behind. This isn't going exactly as King Mondo planned, dream state or no, the Silver Ranger does NOT look happy! He thought everyone would be distracted with trying to save the child, and would ignore Sheena so we could grab her. Instead, they're all converging over here, including Sheena! Klank nodded to a couple of the Cogs, and they raised Kahva up into the air over their heads. No matter, my King's plan will still work! With a quick motion, he ordered the Cogs to throw Kahva at Tommy and Billy. There, that should do it, Klank thought confidently.
But their throw was short, and Kahva landed several feet away from Tommy and Billy on the ground with a bone-jarring thud, the wind knocked out of her with an audible whoosh. Kahva coughed and gasped desperately, trying to get her breath back, but her constricting bonds and the gag hindered her efforts. Billy's eyes widened in alarm under his helmet as he realized that the gag was gradually being pulled further into her mouth as she tried frantically to breathe normally. She's going to choke if we don't get her free soon!!
Sheena's path suddenly curved away from Klank, and she ran over to Kahva, scooping the defenseless girl off of the ground, holding her tightly. "Oh Olina," she whispered, her face scrunched up as if in pain. "I couldn't let him hurt you!"
Kahva tried to say something, anything, but was halted by the gag in her mouth and the grip of steel Sheena had her in, which was impeding her efforts to get her breath back. Klank looked around at the Rangers converging from everywhere on the two young women, all ready for battle.
"Cogs, back to the Skybase!" he ordered finally. "We can do nothing more here today, but we will be back, Rangers!" King Mondo's plan should have worked, he's not going to like this one bit! he lamented to himself as he and the Cogs teleported away.
"Kahva?" Sheena's voice was so soft, and so confused. Her soul-sister looked up at her, hoping the dream/zone out had finally ended, and Sheena was back to normal. When their eyes met, Kahva saw Sheena's own eyes, own soul, looking back at her.
But only for a moment, which faded all too quickly. As it did so, Kahva actually saw Sheena's existence fade, and Kahva Kilanye's memories resurge into full force. This isn't happening! Wake up Sheena, please, you're crushing me!! she yelled mentally, struggling for air.
As the Cogs and Klank vanished at last, Tommy came over in time to hear Sheena say, "Olina, don't you dare move! Your arm is hurt badly, you need to see a healer!" As if to keep 'Olina' still, Sheena gripped Kahva even more tightly, which served only to deprive Kahva of air even more.
Kahva had at best a few scrapes and bruises, nothing that could possibly require a doctor, as far as he could see, but she needed to be freed from her gag and bonds, as well as Sheena's iron grip. Tommy reminded himself he was more or less dealing with his ancestor here, not his cousin. "Kahva," he said, touching her shoulder. "Let's take 'Olina' back to the Power -, umm, `Command Center'. We can get her looked at there." He nodded as the Rangers all closed ranks around the two young women, noticing Tanya had retrieved Kahva's blast-damaged quarterstaff. Billy's going to have to make Kahva another one, that staff is history, he thought sadly. With Tanya's arrival, everyone was accounted for.
Sheena looked up at Tommy, nodding. "Good idea, Dilras." She got to her feet, still holding Kahva closely against her. She winced a little at something, but didn't let go of Kahva for so much as a second. The Red Ranger could tell their friend was almost turning blue from lack of oxygen as they all teleported back. * * *
"You can let go of her now, Sheena," Adam said, trying to take the still bound, gagged, and gasping form of Kahva Briton out of the Silver Ranger's arms. Even with Tommy and Billy's added efforts, Sheena wasn't letting go of the girl, and Kahva's eyes were starting to glaze over ever so slightly.
"Perhaps we should try a crowbar?" Rocky suggested half-jokingly as he stepped up to try and assist them.
"You don't know how tempted I am right now," Tommy muttered. She won't wake up, and Kahva can't even begin to try to breathe right until she does! "Sheena!" he almost barked the name out. "Sheena, you are not Kahva Kilanye!"
"Of course I am!" she retorted with an irritated frown. "Who else would I be? Where's Alpha, Olina needs attention," she continued on, ignoring the very robot she was looking for even though he was less than two feet away from her. But the light in her eyes had flickered for the briefest of moments.
"He's right beside you, and you're Sheena Devereaux Cranston!" Kat told her, hoping Sheena would snap out of the zone out. "Our friend, our leader! One of the modern Rangers, not your ancestor! Sheena, wake up!!" But the light that was their friend wasn't there anymore, and Sheena seemed not to hear any of them.
This isn't working, what do we do?! Billy wondered. Suddenly, he stopped trying to free Kahva from his wife's arms, stared at Sheena for a few moments, then took a deep breath. "Kahva Kilanye," he said, and the inflections in his voice held all the love he held for Sheena. The Rangers collectively held their breath as she turned to him. "Sheena," he called her by her real name as he took her hand. "I love you. Come back to me, please. I care about Kahva Kilanye, she founded the line that led to the woman I love, but it is you I love, you my sweet Sheena, my beloved, my life, and my wife. We need you, come back to us, please."
Tears quivered in her eyes for a few moments as the light in them changed back to normal, then Sheena was finally herself again. "I love you Billy," she whispered. "I zoned out again, didn't I? I should've stayed in the Power Chamber like you guys told me, I should've listened - what is going on... Kahva?" she asked, finally realizing she was holding the nearly unconscious bound girl, and holding her far too tightly. "Oh Sweet Goddess, Kahva, what happened, what am I doing?" she asked even as Tommy and Adam took the girl out of her arms, carefully laid Kahva on the floor, and set to work freeing her with Rocky and Jason's help. The first order of business was to cut away enough of the net so they could remove her gag. Once it was out, she gasped and coughed convulsively while they continued to hack away at the net and her bonds.
Billy wrapped his arms around his wife, raising her chin gently and kissing her on the lips. "It's all right," he told her. "Everything worked out okay, it's going to be all right."
"Do you remember anything?" Tommy asked while cutting off the last of Kahva's ropes, knowing it was a futile question even as he did. Sheena shook her head, watching as Jason helped the now-freed Kahva sit up, holding her as she continued to fight to breathe normally, her body spasming uncontrollably with the effort.
"Last thing I remember clearly was being in the park, walking. I could feel the zone out coming on this time though, I knew it was going to happen, but I couldn't teleport back in time. Then I think I saw Kahva being tossed around by Cogs... I think I remember looking into Kahva's eyes too, for just a second," she shuddered. "And then I was here. What happened?"
It didn't take them too long to catch her up on the basics of what had happened, but it looked like it was going to take quite a while for her to calm down. "Blast it, if we can't figure out what's going on, and how to stop it, I'm going to lose my mind!" she snapped. And I'm going to lose someone I love, oh Kahva, please forgive me! she sent to her soul-sister. Kahva had finally managed to start breathing almost normally by then, though she was still coughing a bit. A gentle, tired smile and nod told Sheena she was more than forgiven, that Kahva knew Sheena hadn't been in control of herself during the battle in the park. But even the knowledge that Kahva's only injuries were a couple of bruises, skinned knees and elbows, and her temporary loss of breath, couldn't ease Sheena troubled mind. The Silver Ranger sighed sadly, yawning.
"You need some rest," Billy told her. "You go take a nap, we're going to do some more research, and see if we can figure out how to help you." He kissed her gently and pushed her along to the bedroom. I love you, sweetheart. It's going to be all right, Sheena, I promise, he sent to her as she left the main chamber. How can you be so sure? * * *
"Thanks, guys," Kahva finally got out, once her breathing had returned completely to normal. "I would be in the Skybase right now if not for all of you," she shivered, then went into a coughing fit. Her lungs were still a little oxygen-starved, but the coughing was fading fairly quickly. Jason gently hugged her and continued to hold her as she recovered from the battle. Her face fell as she saw Tanya place her damaged staff on a nearby console. Billy could fix it, she hoped, but she would be weaponless until he could. Or until he makes me a new one, those stupid Cogs messed it up pretty well. What else can go wrong? Jason's voice broke into her mind then, and all thoughts of broken weapons vanished.
"Are you sure you're all right? You should go lie down too," he gently urged her.
Kahva shook her head at that suggestion. "Not yet, we don't have time. There can be no doubts about it now, Sheena is reliving Kahva Kilanye's memories for some reason. That zone out happened quite a bit sooner than we had expected," she stated, looking up at Tommy and Billy. "We've got to figure out what she's seeing and fast, I've got a bad feeling about all of this."
Tommy nodded his agreement. "You're right there, things are speeding up, and that, combined with a lack of solid sleep is impairing Sheena's thinking and judgment." At the raised eyebrows and questioning looks he got from the others, Tommy quickly told the rest of the team what had happened before Sheena had snuck out to the park.
"You had to relieve her of command? Oh man, I thought something had happened when I saw you guys at the Juice Bar," Jason said as he helped Kahva get up off the floor, keeping her steady while she worked the kinks out of her limbs from where her circulation had been stopped by the ropes. "You know, I think Sheena is more scared than she's letting on, and usually she doesn't show us even this much of what she's feeling."
"That's certainly true," Kat agreed, then moved to help Jason catch Kahva as she lost her balance while trying to walk out the rest of the cramps in her muscles. "You really should lie down too, they went into overkill with the way they tied you up out there. Let us take you to your quarters," she suggested.
Kahva reluctantly nodded. "Yeah, they did, didn't they?" She started to let them lead her out, but suddenly stiffened and turned back to Tommy. "They did overdo it!"
"What do you mean?" Adam asked, looking from Kahva to Tommy. "They didn't want you to get away, they weren't taking any chances at all, so yeah, they would go overboard with the ropes and net."
But Tommy caught her meaning, and found Billy already calling up the record of the battle, he had reached the same conclusion. "You're right about that, they didn't want Kahva to escape... but they didn't want Kahva this time at all, not really, they only wanted Sheena." Tommy pointed to the scene Billy had already frozen on the viewing globe. "They were taking too much time dragging Kahva to their teleportation circle, they were celebrating too much. They wanted us to rescue Kahva, or at least focus our attention on her - so they could grab Sheena and take her away before we realized what was going on!"
"I was a distraction," Kahva finished for him.
"I'm sure if they could've taken you as well, they would have, but yes, you were meant to be a distraction. When the Cogs threw you, they probably meant for you to actually hit Billy and me, but their throw fell short. Still though, even without hitting us, it would've worked, we were distracted from Sheena for a few moments, something else went wrong with their plans..." Tommy's voice trailed off, there was a piece of the puzzle missing.
"Sheena was what went wrong," Billy realized. "They didn't expect Sheena to go after Kahva, they must've expected her to be just as oblivious to what was going on this time as the last time they attacked us in the park, when she zoned out then. When Sheena grabbed Kahva, they didn't know how to deal with that, and we were all too close by for them to try and get her by then. Whatever Sheena was reliving was close enough to reality for her to both fight back against them, and spoil their plans in the process."
"What was Sheena seeing?" Tanya wondered out loud. "She called Kahva 'Olina', she thought her arm was hurt, what was she seeing?"
"One way to try and find out," Billy replied. He immediately set up a search in the Power Chamber's database for the name 'Olina', and after a minute, he was rewarded with the few records the search could find. "Olina Rhaydra Zyon was Kahva Rhaydra Kilanye's younger sister. She married Kyloc Zyon, and they owned and ran a livery stable in the village of Orn on Eltar. Wait... this last record on Olina mentions a battle in Orn." Billy called up the visual record of the battle, the picture was not completely clear and the audio had a bit of static throughout. "A result of age, and that these records were transferred from damaged diary rods," Billy explained. They watched the record, and Sheena's behavior suddenly made a lot more sense... but the date of the record bothered Billy. Why is that date so familiar?
"I wonder if Sheena's, or rather Kahva Kilanye's memories, are going in the order they happened in," Rocky mused aloud, off-handedly.
"That might be a good thing if they are," Kahva said as she started to head for her quarters, unassisted, to lie down finally. "Maybe once they run their cycle, all this will end, and things will go back to normal." As the girl disappeared into the hallway, her and Rocky's comments sent shivers down Billy's spine. He called up a very specific record, and quickly checked the date on it. That's why the date from what happened at Orn is so familiar... Billy's stomach knotted as the possibilities ran through his mind. If the memories are going in order, what's going to happen when this one hits? * * *
Instead of lying down, Sheena powered up Kahva's computer as soon as she got to their quarters. It was hooked up into the Power Chamber's computer system, and in a matter of moments, Sheena had pulled up the recording of the battle in the park. What didn't they tell me, they were glossing over the details, what happened out there? How did the Cogs get Kahva, why was I holding her so tightly? What is going on in my mind, or am I simply going insane? Sheena sat quietly and watched the battle replay on the computer screen, careful to keep the volume on the speakers turned down low enough so the sounds wouldn't escape from the room. She saw Billy and Kahva run up to her, then the arrival of the other Rangers to fight off the Cogs that were rushing towards her. She saw Kahva try to shift her out to safety... and saw how she herself had destroyed the portal by pulling away from her soul-sister's grasp. Another second or two and she could've had us here and safe, and the Cogs would never have gotten a hold of her, if only I hadn't pulled away... She watched Kahva bravely fight the metal menaces, though her movements were obviously slowed by fatigue. Sheena realized then just how little sleep any of them had gotten over the past couple of days and nights. She watched the Cogs capture her sister, watched as one roughly shoved a gag into her mouth, watched as four others bound her cruelly, then lifted their helpless prisoner up into the air as if they had been hunting wild game, and were returning home victorious with their prize. She watched them wrap Kahva in a large net, watched them tossing her about carelessly as if she were a rag doll... They had her right at the teleportation circle... They threw her at Tommy and Billy?!
Sheena couldn't watch anymore as she saw herself scoop Kahva up in a protective, but crushing hug. This is all my fault, I should never have left here, I knew why they didn't want me to go out alone, I knew they were right, but I did it anyway! Five minutes, Sheena, you thought five minutes wouldn't kill you, and it didn't... but it nearly cost you your sister! You fool, you didn't think... Sheena was so upset at herself, she didn't feel Kahva Kilanye's memories as they surged up and took control of her one last time... * * * Kahva slowly moved about in her quarters, the medication she had taken was wearing off, and the pain of the injuries she had suffered in Orn was returning in full force. "But the pain is worth it," she thought, "because Olina is still alive." She thought back to what had happened less than a week earlier, a reconnaissance mission which had turned into a minor battle... * * *
"Olina... is that really you, little sister?"
The woman nodded, running to the leader of the Power Rangers and catching her in a joyous hug. "It's me, Kahva. I've missed you so much!" Kahva laughed as she swung her sister around in a merry little circle, a joy ringing in her voice that they heard all too rarely. "Whoops, I'm so sorry!" the woman apologized with a giggle as her swinging feet hit one of the young men in his leg.
Kahva smiled and set the younger woman down. "Olina, I'd like you to meet my friend Silias, the Sapphire Ranger," she introduced her sister to Silias, who teasingly limped over to the young woman.
"Nice to meet you," Olina smiled. "I'm so sorry about your leg, I guess we got carried away."
"I think Kahva is the one who carried you away," Silias laughed. "Or around, rather. Don't worry about it, there's no harm done. And it's nice to hear Kahva laughing, we don't hear it from her often enough." Olina's smile grew even more radiant as she nodded to Silias, then turned back to her long-lost older sister.
"Thank the Gods, we all thought you were dead, we had heard about the attack on the farm... But you're here, you're alive! Wait a second," she paused, as her sister's words started to sink in. "Silias, the Sapphire Ranger?!"
"That's right, I'm not dead," Kahva grinned. "I'll give you all the details later, but first let me introduce you to my friends. Olina, this is Shada, Dilras, Pliona, Caleen, and Linon," she introduced the others in turn. "We're the Power Rangers."
"YOU?! You're a Power Ranger?!" Olina's eyes went wide in surprise. "Obviously there's a lot you're going to need to tell me!" she exclaimed happily. Her eyes clouded a bit as memories resurfaced. "When you died - when we thought you all had been killed..."
"Kahva!" Linon shouted. "Vile's men!!" Everyone turned and looked in the direction Linon was pointing. Nearly thirty of Vile's heartless soldiers were running and riding back into the village, sending the few people who had dared to venture out of their homes and businesses scrambling frantically back into the them, hoping for some small measure of safety.
"Rangers!" Kahva called out in a voice of pure command. "Looks like Vile's troops are here! Fan out and attack, they must not be allowed to bring more harm to this village!"
"Didn't they do enough to us last time?!" Olina asked no one in particular. Already she was running towards a livery stable, grabbing a pitchfork to defend it with. "You can't have our village!!" she shouted defiantly, waving her makeshift weapon at any of Vile's men who dared come close.
"Olina, get out of here, you're not a warrior! You can't fight Vile's men!" Kahva shouted.
"I will not let them destroy what little Kyloc and I have left!!" Olina yelled in reply, jabbing her pitchfork at the soldiers who were now trying to loot whatever goods or animals that were left in the stable. Then everyone was too busy fighting to see what was happening to anyone else, as thirty soldiers turned into fifty, with more that could be heard in the distance, spreading their terror throughout the streets.
Kahva was fighting a full dozen of Vile's men, too angry to morph, when a sudden scream pierced the air. Kahva spotted a clump of soldiers laughing lustfully as they dragged a helpless prisoner away from the stables and down the street. Slowly fighting her way through the soldiers, she at last caught a glimpse of who the prisoner was: Olina. "No!! You can't have my sister!!" She fought Vile's troops, snarling as she cleared the way to where she'd last seen her sister. "I'm coming, Olina!" she shouted. Reaching the corner the soldiers had disappeared around, "Vile is not going to harm another of my family, I swear it!!" she muttered under her breath.
"Bring her to me!" an eerily familiar voice sounded ahead of her. Kahva looked for its source; she could see another eight soldiers between her and Olina, it was taking another two soldiers to drag Olina along, and they had their hands full with handling her. They stopped in front of a helmeted figure on horseback, their commander evidently. Kahva rushed to free her sister, but the eight soldiers in front of her blocked her way, forcing her to fight through them if she wanted to reach Olina. "Well, well, what have we here?" came the voice again, leaving no doubts that the figure on horseback was the one in charge. A faceplate hid his features, but the voice... "I've heard it before, but where?" the unmorphed Silver Ranger thought as she fought one soldier after another.
"A fine specimen for the great Master Vile," he gloated at Olina. "Too bad you aren't pretty enough to be given the honor of being one of his house slaves, or concubines."
"Considering what that idiot thinks beauty is, I'll take that as a compliment!" Olina retorted.
But if her remark irritated the commander, he gave no sign. "Teranoc!" he shouted. A scaly ink-black monster, roughly ten feet tall with jagged six inch long talons, yellowed fangs, blood-red eyes and powerful-looking wings seemed to appear from nowhere to kneel before him. It growled some kind of reply, waiting for orders.
It didn't have to wait long. "This one is to be a field slave," he declared. "Take her to our Master's stronghold for immediate assignment." Then he looked intently at Olina, fiery ice-blue eyes nearly glowing from the shadows of his helmet. "If you're lucky, you will only have a month left to live; the life of a field slave is very harsh... and short." Olina gave a sudden start of recognition then, as the monster grabbed her arms tightly. She ignored the beast, all of her attention was on the commander.
"YOU!! I don't believe it, you work for Vile?!" she shouted in disbelief. Then she laughed at him, determined to be defiant no matter what. "Kahva had better taste than I thought then, if this is what you've become, you piece of diseased horse crap!! No wonder she never wanted to have anything to do with you after she came home with Dalien! You aren't worthy to have EVER been her friend!"
The commander growled in hate-filled recognition, then with an angry gesture, he ordered Olina bound hand and foot. "I know you now, Olina Rhaydra, and you will pay for your insolence, and that of your sister for ever daring to reject me!" He raised his hand to give another order, this time to the monster, when a voice he'd thought long dead stopped him cold.
"Leave my sister alone," Kahva said in a soft, dangerous voice. There were only two soldiers remaining between her and a clear path down the street to her sister. Her voice, not yet raised, still shot clearly over the distance with the force of a laser blast. "You, of all people, leave her alone," the unmorphed Silver Ranger growled, staring directly at the commander. She knew him now: the former friend who had promised harm to, and possession of, her descendants one day.
"You're alive?" he breathed, his voice soft with remembered lust and desire for the first time in years. Then it went hard again in an instant. "Olina shall be the first to feel my wrath for your betrayal, Kahva Kilanye! Teranoc! Run her through!!" he ordered the monster, who immediately whirled Olina around by one arm, breaking it with a sickening snap as his talons sank into her flesh. He threw the helpless, bound young woman down into the middle of the street, and everyone could see the sickly, pale yellow poison dripping from his talons. Olina was already slipping into shock from her broken arm and the poison, her body shaking uncontrollably. Teranoc beat his powerful wings, and with an ear-splitting screech flew into the air, then started a powerful dive, his talons stretched before him like spears, ready to spit his victim upon them.
"NO!!!!!" Kahva screamed as she kicked aside the last soldier in her way, then bolted for her sister. There was no time to morph now, all she could do was scoop her sister up into her arms, using her own body as a shield as the hideous monster's talons sank into her back. "Oh Olina," she whispered, her face scrunched up in terrible pain. "I couldn't let him hurt you!" she whispered. The commander roared in outrage, he had wanted the monster to kill Olina, not to harm Kahva!! She turned her head just in time to see him launch powerful bolts of energy from his fingertips at Teranoc, disintegrating the beast in seconds. "Silver Ranger Power!!" Kahva cried out, and she was treated to a gasp from the commander as she morphed right in front of him.
"You?!" he breathed in shock. The arrival of the other Rangers stopped him from saying anything more, other than orders for his men to retreat from the village, and shouted promises of more destruction from Master Vile. Dilras rushed over to Kahva, trying to get her to release Olina so they could examine the injuries of both women.
But Kahva seemed not to notice the others or her own perilous condition, all her attention was focused on her younger sister. "Olina, don't you dare move! Your arm is hurt badly, you need to see a healer!" she told her trembling sibling.
"Kahva," the Red Ranger said gently, touching her shoulder carefully. "Let's take Olina back to the Command Center. We can get her looked at there."
That seemed to get through to their leader. "Good idea, Dilras." She got to her feet, still holding Olina closely against her, wincing a little at the shooting pain in her back. Moments later, they were back in the Command Center, and Kahva was calling for Alpha to treat Olina, still ignoring her own injuries. So focused was she on her sister, she didn't notice Silias injecting her with an antidote for the monster's poison, after doing the same for Olina. Neither did she notice him sedating her... * * *
"No, Silias doesn't consider it to have been a minor battle at all," she smiled a little to herself. "But he's not putting it into the perspective of total injuries, he's only thinking about mine and Olina's. He's so sweet..." Kahva indulged herself for a few moments, letting her mind recall every line and curve of his face, the sparkle in his eyes, the soft concern in his voice when he would check on a teammate... and the slightly different inflection that same voice took when he checked on her, how tender it would become... "He is truly a wonderful man," Olina had observed during her two days in the Command Center.
"That he is," Kahva had agreed.
"So tell him you love him," her younger sister urged. "I know you all too well, sister dear, you are in love, whether you want to admit it to yourself or not." The two days the sisters got to spend together were some of the happiest that Kahva had known in a very long time. Then right before leaving, Olina had shared one last secret: she and her husband Kyloc were expecting. "We think it will be a boy," she joyfully said. Then a sad look crossed her features as she looked at Kahva. "I'm sorry, here I am gushing about my child to be, when... Oh Kahva, the lies we were told, your terrible loss..."
"Go on," Kahva gently urged her. "It's okay."
Olina took a deep breath, then continued, "Ziras tried to tell us that it was a pack of marauders from the mountains that killed you, that he tried to save all of you - but we knew better. I knew better, I remembered you saving those two boys from Vile's men years ago... something told me that what happened at your farm was by Master Vile's hand. Not many people remember he was on Eltar back then, when we were little, but I do. Then when I found out Ziras was working for Vile, I knew he'd been lying about the marauders." Olina stopped, a cautious hope crossing her features. "If Ziras lied about you being dead..." her voice trailed off. As much as she wanted to know everything, she was almost afraid to hear it.
Kahva smiled sadly, she knew what the question was without it being asked. "I lost them all, including the child we were expecting. I lost them all, except for Tilrak. He's on Edenoi, where he'll be safe. He's to be the eighth Power Ranger now that he's old enough, if he chooses to accept the Diamond Power." The two sisters hugged each other, finally able to grieve together over their shared loss - and gain, as they had found each other again, against all odds. "I'm so glad you're safe, I didn't know what might have happened after the attack on the farm... Oh, Olina..." All too soon, it came time for them to bid each other a tearful farewell. "Be safe, my sister."
"Be safe, my sister, Kahva Kilanye, Silver Ranger. I love you." And Olina had been teleported home to her anxious husband. Now, two days later, Kahva was all alone in the Command Center, except for Zordon and Alpha, unable to fight with the Rangers until her injuries had fully healed. The Rangers were fighting Vile's newest monster, the fierce Harvox, a five-headed dragon-like creature that spat blue flame. She watched on the Crystal as her friends fought without her. Suddenly, the Harvox vanished, as did the Rangers. They had been in their Zords, unable to form Megazord without her, but now the machines were still and unmoving. "Zordon, what's wrong?"
"The other Rangers have been captured by Vile, Kahva," Alpha-2 reported. "He overrode the protections we had on the Zords and teleported them to an unknown location. There is also a message coming through for you."
"From Vile?" It wasn't exactly a question.
"Put him on the globe." She watched, eyes cold, as Vile appeared on the large crystal which was their viewing globe. "Surrender to me, Silver Ranger, or your friends die."
"What terms?" she asked through tight lips.
"No terms," he grinned. "Unconditional surrender, in one hour, or your friends die: starting with the Sapphire Ranger."
His image faded. Kahva looked calmly at Zordon. "I'm not going to surrender. But I can't let them die either."
THEN WHAT WILL YOU DO, KAHVA?
"Free them." Her eyes, heart, and voice turned to steel. "Find them Zordon, and teleport me to them." She paced the Command Center nervously until Alpha reported finally that he had found them.
"It will be dangerous, Kahva. You are still weak, there is no guarantee that even you will come back."
She closed her eyes as Alpha spoke his warning. Zordon had told her she was the strongest Ranger, more powerful than all six of the others combined. She wasn't feeling very strong at the moment, though. She thought of Silias, her closest friend, whose heart and mind she knew as she knew her own. She bit her lip.
Her closest friend? Who was she kidding? She was in love with him, and he with her. After ten years, she'd fallen in love again. She grinned to herself. Vile would not take her love from her a second time.
"Silver Ranger Power!" She morphed, then looked at Alpha. "I have to do this. Teleport me there now."
"Good luck, Kahva." The little robot went to the teleportation system and began to program the coordinates.
MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU, SILVER RANGER, Zordon said.
"I'll need it," she sighed. As the Command Center vanished from her sight, she had the same feeling she'd had when looked at the farm that last time: that she would never see this place again. * * *
Kahva wearily made her way to her quarters, thinking to herself, I'll just sleep for a little while, only an hour at the most, we have to find a way to stop Sheena's zone outs, we have to! She opened the door, fully expecting to see Sheena sound asleep on her bed, but instead the other young woman was seated at the computer, a sad, but determined look on her features. Even as she entered the room, Sheena was morphing for some reason. Oh no, now what? "Sheena?" Kahva asked tentatively, pausing by the cot she'd used so little over the past two nights. "Sheena, can't you sleep? Do you want me to ask Alpha to get you something?" she asked hopefully, easing her way closer to the other girl. Please don't let this be a zone out again already, please!!
But it was. Sheena turned slightly at the mention of the robot, and the haze in her eyes was all too frighteningly familiar. "I have to do this. Teleport me there now."
Kahva felt the blood drain from her face even as she yelled into her communicator, "Shut down teleportation now!" She rushed to reach Sheena, but fate begrudged her the extra second she needed.
"I'll need it," Sheena sighed, the last words Kahva heard her say before she disappeared in a flash of silvery-white teleportation light, and Kahva crashed headlong through the space her best friend had just occupied.
"What happened?" Billy shouted as he ran into the room and saw Kahva lying on the floor. As he picked her up, her eyes told him the very thing he had feared would happen had come true: Sheena was lost in another memory.
Sheena was gone. * * *
"Klank!" Mondo shouted. "KLANK!! Get in here now!!" Can this be? Could it be this easy?
The poor majordomo obeyed as quickly as his battered frame would allow, he considered himself to be quite fortunate to be functional at all. His master had not been pleased at his failure to carry out the plan to capture Sheena, and had demonstrated that displeasure rather violently. "Y-yes, yer High Exalted Evilness?" he squeaked out, carefully stepping over the Cog parts that hadn't yet been cleared away by the Cogs Mondo hadn't torn apart in a fit of anger.
But instead of having to dodge more blows from his King, Klank found himself being ushered quickly to the viewing screen. "You said you thought that Sheena might actually be dreaming about her ancestor, and acting out certain events in her dream states?"
Klank was surprised at the question, until he saw the scene unfolding in the screen. Thank the Great Assembler, I've been given one last chance!! "Yes, King Mondo. And I would say this proves it, as she's fighting thin air."
"Yes! She's mine!!" Mondo laughed, then ordered a squad of Cogs to capture, and then imprison the Silver Ranger in a specific location. Once that was done, and with surprising ease, he noted absently, Mondo teleported himself over to where his prize was locked up. "Jam their teleportation, but only for here. I don't want them to get anywhere near my prize," he told Klank over their communications link. "Then break into their systems, I have a message for them... Their leader is about to become my slave," he rumbled happily. Oh yes, she is mine now... and the Earth will soon follow!! * * *
"That's all she said, and then she teleported out," Kahva reported. Billy had taken her back into the main chamber while Alpha and Adam frantically tried to pin down Sheena's exact location. Tanya took over attending to Kahva, handing her an ice pack to put on her forehead from where she'd hit the desk, diving after Sheena. "Thanks, Tanya," she said gratefully. "I'm sorry, Billy, I was too slow, if only I'd gotten in there a few seconds earlier -"
"It's not your fault, Kahva," Billy assured her, already taking his place at the console by Alpha and Adam. "Got her! She's in... the Lunar Palace??" Billy stopped and quickly double-checked his readings. "Confirmed, that's where she is. And of course you-know-who already has our teleportation blocked to and from there."
"Teleportation, shemeleportation," Kahva replied, putting down the ice pack. "He can't stop me from shifting us in there, let's go get her!"
Billy started to say something to the older young woman, but he never got the chance. The viewing globe crackled and hissed, then the visage of King Mondo filled it completely. "Good afternoon, Power-less Rangers!" he cheerfully gloated. "Missing something... silver?" Mondo moved aside then to reveal Sheena locked up in a cell in the Lunar Palace. She was slowly pacing in the small space, leaning against the wall for support. She staggered suddenly as she powered down, as if she were in a great deal of pain, but there were no apparent injuries that they could see on the globe. "Sheena is going to serve me as my ultimate warrior, just as soon as Klank brings over my mind control potion and gives it to her. Your destruction is at hand, fools!!"
"I will not serve Vile, I cannot... I won't hurt my friends," Sheena muttered to herself, seeming not to notice Mondo. Mondo merely snorted and resumed his gloating.
"Enjoy this last glimpse of your wife, Sapphire Ranger. The next time you see her, she will be fighting for me!!" Mondo acted as if he were going to shut off the communication, but stopped and struck what could've passed for a smug expression, if his face could've moved more. "And before you consider using the child to shift into here to rescue your leader, you may want to take a look at downtown Angel Grove." With that, the communication crackled away. Adam and Alpha were already scrambling to see what Mondo could have meant by his last words, but Billy had gone stark white from the moment they'd heard Sheena speak.
"There's Cogs everywhere in downtown Angel Grove," Adam reported. "Mondo knows we can't let them hurt anyone there, or tear the place up. He's doing this to keep us from going after Sheena - Billy?"
"She's dying," he whispered hoarsely. "Sheena is in Kahva Kilanye's last memories now, you heard what she said about Vile, and serving evil." Billy's voice shook with a fear he dared not express. "She's remembering Kahva's last minutes before she gave up her powers to the future, and her life, to keep from serving evil."
"We'll split up then. Billy, Kahva and I will shift to the Lunar Palace," Tommy said, after a quick look at Kahva to make sure she was up to it. As if I could stop her anyway, he thought, as the determination in her eyes told him she would shift them no matter what the cost.
As much as I would like to order her to stay here and rest, I can't, she's not a Ranger, and we need her too badly right now, if we're going to have even the slightest chance of rescuing Sheena. "It's going to take all the rest of you to handle Mondo's Cogs," he told the other Rangers. "Alpha, keep working on breaking down Mondo's barrier around the Lunar Palace; the second you break through, teleport us all out of there."
"Right, Tommy," Alpha replied, then teleported the other Rangers, already morphed, to downtown Angel Grove.
Tommy then turned to Billy. "You don't think that Sheena..."
Billy could only stare at the globe which now showed his other teammates fighting the Cogs in Angel Grove. "I don't know if she will give up her life like Kahva Kilanye did. All I know is that I don't want to find out. We've got to get her out of there and out of this dream state before the memory goes that far." Tommy and Billy morphed then, and Kahva took Billy's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze before she shifted them to the Lunar Palace. Don't leave us Sheena, Billy sent, hoping somehow his love could hear him. Please don't leave me... * * *
Sheena wandered through the vaults of her own mind, lost and alone and very scared. She knew now what the others had only suspected for a fact: she was reliving Kahva Kilanye's memories. Every single part of her was trapped within them, except for this tiny spark that was still herself. This must be the part of me they could reach, the part that once contacted, could snap me out of the memories. But why am I only aware of myself now? And why, since I am finally aware, can't I wake myself up? Why can't I stop this?! As long as her mind and body were governed by the memories of her ancestor, she was trapped deep within herself. She couldn't feel Billy, Kahva or Tommy, couldn't touch her powers, and had no idea what was going on within her own mind.
Please, make it stop, she whispered. Mother Isis, Lady of All, guide me and give me strength in this. Help me to find the reason for this, to find the way back to myself.
There was no reply from above, but from somewhere the Silver Ranger felt a tremendous upwelling of strength and courage. She would make it through this, she realized. Somehow, she would make it through.
Of course, that didn't do her much good sometime later, when she felt herself dying. * * *
Mondo stared at the semi-conscious Silver Ranger, metallic eyes glinting with evil. She hadn't even acknowledged his presence, or that of the half-dozen Cogs circling around her to make sure she didn't even try to escape. He searched back in his memory for what she was probably reliving. As it occurred to him, he almost frowned. Those last hours Vile had Kahva Kilanye, that has to be it, he concluded. How appropriate it is then, that I have imprisoned her in Silias Spartus' old cell. Too bad she isn't conscious right now, I could use that information to torment her with as well! Mondo found he could not gloat over his victory just yet, though. Knowing what had happened in the past wasn't giving him enough comfort to do that.
"You had better not die, Sheena," he growled to the oblivious woman. "I have gone through far too much trouble to get you, to let you escape me as your ancestor escaped Vile. I'm not going to have that wrinkled old wizard laughing at me! Live through your memories, then awaken to your eternal servitude to me! I command it!!"
"Never serve evil," Sheena whispered, in response to the memories flowing through her mind instead of the monstrous Machine King less than five feet from her. As Kahva Kilanye checked herself for injuries, coming to the dreaded conclusion, Sheena Devereaux Cranston's breathing grew more and more shallow. Mondo laughed to himself, then growled.
"Klank had better hurry with that potion," he declared. "I will have her in my service for all time, and there is nothing anyone can do about it!"
He didn't notice the ice blue eyes in the shadows, lit with a fiery lust and hate. I don't think so, Mondo. I think you're going to get a fairly nasty surprise in a very few minutes. A silver surprise. Then the eyes, and their owner left before anyone could stumble upon their presence. But Mondo is right about one thing, Sheena... You had better not die... Not before I can claim you... * * *
"Okay, we're here, now where is Sheena?" Billy stifled a yawn as he, Tommy, and Kahva appeared in the Lunar Palace. It hadn't changed much since their last visit there, except for the utter collapse of the tallest tower, legacy of that same visit.
The timing on this could have been a lot better, Tommy thought as he glanced back and forth, on the alert for Cogs, monsters, Sheena, Mondo, or anything else that might show up. We're all worn out, and Kahva doesn't look so good. "Are you all right?" he asked softly. She would be their only way out if Alpha couldn't break through the teleportation barrier, and if something was wrong with her... Don't even go there, Tommy Oliver, don't invite more trouble than you already have!
"Headache," she told him, touching where she'd hit her head on the computer desk, diving after Sheena. And being short on sleep doesn't help either. We've got to get Sheena and get out of here! "I'll be all right, the important thing is to find Sheena."
Billy nodded as they started to move slowly through the hallways. They hadn't been able to pin down Sheena's precise location, other than the dungeons in the palace. Rather than shift straight there, they'd arrived just outside that area, hoping to avoid any nasty surprises Mondo might have set up. Now, they had to slowly make their way through to wherever the Silver Ranger was. Billy closed his eyes briefly, sending his thoughts forging ahead, trying to connect to Sheena. "Anything?" Tommy whispered after a moment. Billy shook his head.
"She's trapped in Kahva Kilanye's last memories," Kahva reminded them. "We just have to hope..." Her voice trailed off, none of them wanted to face what could happen when those memories reached their end.
For a few silent moments, they prowled through the dungeons, quiet as could be, until they reached a long stretch of cells. Billy reflected for a moment on what Kahva Kilanye had told him several months ago, then sucked in his breath. "This is where the first Rangers were held prisoner," he whispered. "And this is where Sheena is."
Tommy's eyes narrowed as Billy spoke. "Let's find her, then," the Red Ranger spoke quietly. "Before Klank gets here with that potion."
Unspoken among them all was the hope that he hadn't beaten them there. * * *
Mondo watched, Klank by his side, ready to inject the mind control potion the moment Sheena emerged from the dreaming trance. His majordomo wasn't certain just what effect the potion, mixed with whatever had caused Sheena's dreams and zone outs, would cause, and Mondo wanted absolutely no slip-ups on this. He would have the Silver Ranger once and for all, no going back, no matter what happened. "How much longer, Klank?" he rumbled. "I'm tired of waiting, wake her up and give her the potion already!"
"Sire, I can't do that," Klank said, shuffling back a bit as he did so. He'd been through enough damage that day, more than enough! "I dinna know how to break the cycle of dreams she's in!"
Mondo raised his staff, about to blast Klank, when suddenly three figures ran into the cell. "Ah, the Rangers!" He turned his attention to them then, for which Klank was profoundly grateful! It was safe to say the majordomo had never been so glad to see the forces of good arrive. Someone for King Mondo to beat on besides me for a change, thank the Assembler! Three someones to keep him from hitting me, thank you!!! "So glad you could join us!" Mondo's gloat brought Klank's attention back to the situation at hand.
"Let Sheena go, Mondo!" Billy hissed, eyes more on the comatose woman lying on a pile of rotting straw than on the King of the Machine Empire. "You are not going to control her!" Oh, please, God, let her still be free! Let Klank not have given it to her yet!
Kahva stayed behind Tommy and Billy, trying to remain unnoticed as she slipped closer and closer to Sheena. If I can get to her, then the guys can get to me, and we can all get out of here! Her plan didn't quite work however, as the Cogs noticed her and charged, joined moments later by several more of their clanking companions. Kahva was hard-pressed to defend herself as she was quickly being surrounded. Man, I need a weapon, I really wish I had my quarterstaff, broken or not!!
"Sheena!" she heard Billy cry out, and spared a glance to see that the Silver Ranger had stopped breathing. Oh God, no!! Don't let this happen, please, don't let it happen! Why?? WHY??? Even as her heart dropped in despair, Kahva took out a sword-wielding Cog, claiming his weapon for her own. We're too late!! Despair quickly changed to anger, which she channeled into every kick, punch and slash she leveled at any Cog nearby. You're gonna pay for this, Mondo!! her mind screamed at him. If it kills me, you are going to PAY!!!
Mondo's triumphant, grating laughter rang throughout the room. "The Silver Ranger is gone! I would have preferred keeping her as my own warrior, of course, but this is just as good! Now Harvox, come out and teach these Rangers a final lesson! Show them that they cannot win against King Mondo!"
Out of the shadows lurched a dragon-like creature Billy would have given a great deal never to see again. Once more he was facing the Harvox: but this time, Sheena wasn't going to be taking out the monster to save him. This time, he was facing the monster with Tommy, and his precious Sheena was locked up in his ancestor's former cell, her eyes closed in the sleep of death. For you, he sent, even though he knew she wouldn't hear him ever again. The Sapphire Ranger growled under his breath, his heart breaking even as he did so. "For you, Sheena," he whispered. "I love you."
Chaos took over then. Kahva was kept busy with Cogs, while Tommy and Billy did their best to deal with Harvox. Mondo and Klank stayed to the side, enjoying the battle that would soon give them three new prisoners and potential slaves. The fighting continued as the three humans fought hard, and bravely, pushing themselves past their exhaustion with sheer will-power, and a need to avenge the young woman they loved so dearly. The battle consumed everyone's attentions...
Every last one of them ignored the pile of straw where Sheena lay... * * *
Kahva Kilanye emerged from her body, and looked around. It was all over, and it was all just beginning at the same time. She chuckled to herself as Vile entered the tower prison, roaring in outrage over her death. Her ghostly eyes narrowed as he cast a spell to preserve her mortal form, to be forever untouched by decay as long as it remained there in the cell, or until he removed the spell himself. He would likely have some foul use for her body, but there was nothing she could do now but wait and watch. At least he would never have control of her soul, he would never be able to use her to harm the innocent. He could never use her to harm her friends... or her love, Silias. Her friends were left with life, Vile with an enspelled corpse and defeat. But for herself, there was nothing left but the wait.
So many long centuries to wait. She closed her eyes and mentally traced her family tree as it would spring from her grandchildren. Her granddaughter would found the line that would lead to her heir, she could sense that. And there... shock filled the warrior.
"Fifteen thousand years," she whispered in amazement, though none was there who could see or hear her. "So long to wait."
And wait she did. She watched as her family spread across first the planet, then to other worlds, other galaxies... and finally... as the time passed and drew near... forced to another dimension. Kahva Kilanye watched in heartbroken agony as years later, back in this dimension, history almost repeated itself: and the Silver Ranger served evil.
Then, with the help of the last descendant of the Sapphire line, descended from her own love Silias Spartus, Sheena Devereaux shattered the control of evil, and won back her freedom, joining the true Power Rangers at last. At that moment of freedom, Kahva granted her not only the powers of the Silver Ranger, but all her own memories, in a desperate attempt to save her from a fate an ancient foe had planned out for her.
Then a year and a half later, something happened. The memories began to surface in her descendant's dreams, and briefly flashed into her waking life as well. Those manifested themselves as periods of vagueness, or 'zone outs' as they were called by Sheena and the other Rangers in their vain attempts to discover what was going on. These episodes began to endanger not only Sheena herself, but her friends and husband as well.
Kahva wished she could appear to Sheena, but could not; her path was barred by magic both old and new. Now, once more in the palace where she had given up her life, Kahva watched as the last of her memories of life played out in Sheena's mind, and the spell that barred her from appearing vanished with them. She knew who had cast the spell, and that it was his spell which had caused the `zone outs'. But trapped by his own lust and desire, he had ended the spell, to keep Sheena from `zoning out' anymore. He did not wish for her to remain vulnerable to Mondo, or anyone else. Kahva Kilanye chuckled softly, for now, there was a chance her descendant would discover his identity, and all his plans would be ruined. "I can't tell her who you are, your magic has managed to block me from doing that somehow... but my memories will reveal everything to her. You shall not have her," she muttered softly, feeling his presence in the dungeon, though now long gone. "Next time, my former friend, next time..."
All thoughts of him were banished as she saw her namesake valiantly fight her way to the cell where Sheena's unmoving form lay. A plan formed, and a smile that hadn't crossed her features since she last had lived reappeared: the smile of a warrior.
"Two for the price of one. The forces of evil shall rue this day for a long time to come." * * *
"Out of my way!" Kahva Briton yelled, every word punctuated with a punch, kick, or swipe with the heavy Cog sword in her hands. It was taking every bit of strength she had to fight, both mental and physical. Her thoughts were occupied not with conscious thoughts of vengeance or justice, but, Kick! Punch! Swing! Duck! Move!! as she forced her exhausted body to move, pushing herself beyond her endurance. She had no real physical strength left, sheer willpower and a fierce determination was what was keeping her going. She knew Billy and Tommy weren't much better off, as out of the corner of her eye she saw them fighting a multi-headed dragon-like creature, which was spitting blue flame at them. Their actions were fatigue-dulled as well, none of them had the strength needed to win this battle... but they continued to fight, none of them were willing to stop.
Kahva heard metallic steps behind her and whirled about to face the threat, but a blow to her back sent her to her knees. She tried to get up, but her arms and legs wouldn't move anymore, no matter how much her mind screamed at them to simply do something. Kahva looked at the still form of her old friend locked up in Silias Spartus' old cell and nearly cried. I'm sorry Sheena, I tried, we tried, I'm sorry...
Without her commanding them, Kahva's arms suddenly flew behind her, wielding the sword and neatly cutting an advancing Cog in half, then her legs gathered themselves beneath her and pushed off against the floor, shooting her into the air, somersaulting over the Cogs trying to advance on her. She found herself hacking through the lock on the cell door, then turning about to slash at the Cogs yet again. How... Who?! You!!
Yes, I am here, the voice assured her. Together, we can turn the odds back in our favor, may I stay here?
Kahva twirled about, taking out three Cogs with a single strike of her sword, a strength she'd never thought to ever feel filling her... and a wild hope, as understanding sank in. A ki-see toss, enhanced with the voice's strength, that sent a Cog flying through the air provided the answer.
I thought you'd never ask, Kahva grinned. Let's teach these metal idiots not to mess with the Silver Ranger, or her friends, shall we?
We shall indeed... * * *
Fighting. She heard fighting, the sounds of battle. Sheena opened her eyes, and the first thing she saw was a Cog sneaking up on Tommy. Her cousin was too busy fighting off yet another Harvox monster, probably built by Mondo, to notice. Sheesh, can't he be original? she thought as she slowly made her way to her feet. The cell door lock has been cut? she noticed with a start. How? What has happened here? Then a rush of pure power infused her, and she smiled. I'll figure that one out later. I can touch my powers, I'm awake, and the cycle of dreams is over, at least for now, I can feel it!. Time to get back on the job.
"Tommy! Cog, behind you!" she snapped. The Red Ranger reacted automatically, slamming his fist behind him into the creature's midsection without looking. He whirled around to see Sheena standing there, eyes bright with life, joy and sense, and he smiled under his helmet.
"No!" Mondo roared, smoke starting to billow from his neck. "This isn't happening!" He couldn't believe his eyes as Sheena somehow came back to life, and was now standing near her cousin and husband, almost laughing at him! "Klank, the serum!"
Before Klank could step forward though, Sheena had launched into a powerful ki-see maneuver that ended up shattering the syringe and spilling the viscous green liquid all over the floor. "I really hope that isn't expensive," she said mockingly. A moment later, she was screaming as Harvox soared past Tommy and Billy both to land on top of her, its fangs seeking to sink into her unprotected neck.
"Sheena!" she heard Billy's cry as she fought with the dragon-like creature, seeking to keep away from her. Out of the corner of her eye, she managed to see both he and Tommy trying to get to her, only to be intercepted by more Cogs. She could hear Mondo's cold laughter, then a sudden, enraged growl. There was a slight stinging sensation in her neck, and then in the next moment, the Harvox was off her, and Kahva was standing there, giving her a hand up.
"Kahva," the Silver Ranger tried to catch her breath. "You shouldn't have..." Her voice trailed off as she gazed into the face of her friend, her sister... and into the soul of her ancestor. "Kahva Kilanye."
"Yes," the first Silver Ranger nodded, her voice mixed with her soul-sister's. "Kahva Briton has permitted me to share her body for this; you will need all the help you can get against this creature. Now, shall we show this thing the power of silver?" they asked in unison.
Sheena smiled. "Let's do it." She took a deep breath, and focused her thoughts for the first time in close to a month. "Silver Ranger Power!" three voices cried out.
Tommy and Billy, still dealing with the Cogs, could not, did not, believe their eyes. Two Silver Rangers stood side by side, identical Silver Swords in their hands, then they were circling Harvox and fighting with him. Although around one the costume and sword seemed a bit more ethereal than the other, it was still an incredible sight to behold. And so far as they knew, an impossible sight.
"Klank!" Mondo roared. "Tell me this isn't happening! It can't be, there can't be two Silver Rangers! And Sheena was supposed to be dead, what's going on here?"
"I dinna know, sire!" Klank prudently got out of reach of his master's rage before answering. Mondo snarled at his lackey's ignorance.
"You've won this round, Rangers, but I will return, count on it!" he declared, not caring they were too busy fighting to notice, then left, taking Klank with him. Sheena, her senses hyper-aware in the height of battle, was the only one who saw him go, and she smiled to herself. Sure you will, Mondo. And we'll be waiting for you, like always. I'll be waiting for you, count on that!!
Tommy threw yet another Cog out of his way, then realized there were at last no more, he and Billy had finally managed to get through them all. "Let's get over there; they need our help!" was all he said to Billy, only to find the Sapphire Ranger was already on the way. Together, the Sapphire and Red Rangers entered the fight with the Silver ones.
Sheena's eyes flicked from her battle companions to the monster, keeping an eye on its every move as it searched for another one of them to attack. This one is much stronger than the last one Mondo made, and smarter, too. As it moved, she spied its weakness; a bare spot on the neck. Kahva and I can't do it, we're the only ones strong enough to get it off someone if it jumps on them. Billy doesn't have a weapon, other than his blaster... Tommy's Zeo Sword. And he's more than good enough to do this. "Tommy!" she snapped. "There's an unprotected spot on the back of his neck, we'll distract him, you get in there and dismantle it from there!"
"You got it!" Tommy had his sword out a moment later, and as the other three dodged around, keeping its attention, he leapt onto the Harvox's metallic back. "Been nice knowing you, but you've got to go!" Despite being bucked around as if he were on a bucking bronco, the Red Ranger managed to drive the blade straight into the monster. Sparks and wires flew everywhere as he leapt off, breathless with exertion. The four of them shielded their eyes as the last incarnation of the Harvox exploded into a tiny pile of scrap metal.
"Good hit, Tommy," Sheena told him. She could feel the smile in his eyes, hidden by his helmet, then they all felt the familiar pull of teleportation. They were going home. * * *
"You guys are okay!" several voices shouted in an unruly, but gleeful chorus. The other Rangers had dealt with Mondo's Cog army, and had been waiting for them when they finally arrived, once Alpha broke through the barrier. But the very last thing they'd expected to see was two Silver Rangers appearing in the teleportation streams. "What happened up there?" Jason asked. One of the Silver Rangers seemed perfectly normal, the other seemed to be shimmering, for lack of a better term.
Sheena slowly slid her helmet off, and glanced over to the other Silver Ranger. "Nothing much, I finally have my mind back, I think, and Mondo is probably spewing out all the oil in his system back in the Skybase, not to mention blowing every gasket he's got. The guys and Kahva fought a bunch of Cogs, and we all fought another incarnation of the Harvox... with a little bit of help," she smiled as she powered down, still looking at the other Silver Ranger. They all caught their breath as they got a good look at Sheena, she was plainly exhausted, and her appearance made it obvious to them that she had been put through an emotional wringer. They looked at each other in relief though; this was most definitely Sheena, as they had so seldom seen her the past week, not caught in a dream or flashback or zone out, or anything. Tired and worn out she may be, but she was their old friend again.
Jason hesitantly walked over to the one whose uniform seemed to shimmer and stared at her for several seconds before daring to speak. "Kahva?" he asked, when he finally found his voice again.
Sheena giggled at the awed tone in his voice, she couldn't help herself. "Yes and yes," she answered him. Then even she found herself awestruck with everyone else, as the `Silver Ranger' answered Jason themselves.
"We are here," they replied gently, their mixed voices sounding bell-like, and echoing slightly. Jason looked near to fainting for a few moments, then he composed himself. This wasn't something any of them had thought could possibly happen: both Kahva Kilanye and Kahva Briton were present at the same time in Kahva Briton's body... and apparently morphed into the form of the first Silver Ranger.
"Kahva Kilanye," Jason breathed softly. "And... Kahva? But how?"
I am much stronger than I was the last time you saw me, Jason, the first Silver Ranger's voice sounded alone this time. Though to have a physical impact on the living I still must have a host, this time I did not need to draw on Kahva's strength. This time I could use my own, and I was able to give Kahva some of it as well, to enable her to continue on in the fight. She helped me the last time, it was only right that I helped her this time, and it was also my honor to help her, and to fight alongside three other Rangers in the process.
Jason's voice still showed a trace of nervousness, and his unhidden concern about his friend. "I don't want this to sound bad, but... are you going to stay here, in Kahva's body?"
The first Silver Ranger smiled underneath the ethereal helmet, as did Kahva Briton. "No, I'm/she's not," they replied in unison. We realize that the nature of this possession must be a trifle unnerving for all of you. Jason, Kahva Kilanye continued once again on her own, Kahva will be weak when I leave her, please be ready to catch her. She will need rest, to recover from the possession, and from a serious shortage of sleep these past few days. The Rangers caught their breath as Kahva Kilanye first `powered down', leaving only the body of Kahva Briton standing there, looking banged up, rumpled and bruised, but otherwise uninjured. Then her entire body glowed as the ghost emerged from her, and Kahva Kilanye came to stand beside Sheena. Their Kahva promptly collapsed as the energy which had sustained her over the past several minutes was suddenly gone, and her fatigue overwhelmed her with a rush. Jason was hard pressed to catch her before she hit the floor. After assuring herself that her former host would be all right, the first Silver Ranger turned to the present one, regret and sadness in her ethereal voice. Sheena. Everyone glanced to the ghost as she placed a hand on Sheena's shoulder. I am sorry I did not come to you sooner, but I could not.
Before her ancestor could speak again, Sheena's eyes flashed with an angry light. "Why did you give me those memories? Did you know what they would do, that they would nearly cause me to die? Do you know how close I came to serving Mondo, twice?"
No, I didn't know any of those things, events have transpired here that were beyond my influence, Kahva Kilanye replied firmly. But even if I had, I still would have given them to you, for there will come a time very soon when you will need those memories of my life.
Sheena shook her head, interrupting the ghost. "It doesn't matter," she said. "I made a decision on this as soon as I realized what was going on, once I woke up from your death memories."
The first Silver Ranger seemed to sense what Sheena had in mind, and tried to dissuade her heir. I came here only to help, and I gave you those memories only to help. I did not know my memories in you would take you so badly, Sheena, I am truly sorry. Sheena, my memories are a part of you, don't be afraid of them, the ghost implored her. Accept them, and they will not overwhelm you. Deny them, and you will lose control one day. But the past several days had made Sheena too scared to take anymore chances, had made her too scared to believe her ancestor. They are a part of you, but they are not you. You are who you are, believe in that and yourself. You are, and have always been, Sheena Devereaux. Accept who you are, Sheena, and you will be whole. Silence reigned as everyone waited to see how Sheena would respond to the ghost's plea.
"What are you going to do?" Billy finally asked quietly. Sheena smiled a little as she looked to him, Kahva Briton, and Tommy. The three of them were every bit as worn out as she was; if not more so.
"I'm going to bury those memories, seal them off from my mind," she told them, looking back at Kahva Kilanye with steel in her eyes and voice. "Put them so deep into my subconscious that there is nothing that can be done to bring them back up. I'd get rid of them entirely if I could. But I can't do that, can I?"
The ghost shook her head, evident pain in her eyes. Sheena, I gave you those memories, not just out of need, but out of love, she said. I never meant for them to hurt you or anyone else like this, and I am more sorry than you can imagine. But please don't bury them, she requested of the young woman one last time. I swear by all I hold dear you will need them one day, but I cannot tell you why.
"Can't or won't?" The Rangers were shocked to hear the slight waspishness in their friend's voice.
Can't, the first Silver Ranger said firmly. I would if I could, but I can't. I'm sorry.
Sheena sighed deeply. "I guess I'll have to accept that. But I'm still going to bury them; I can't risk that they'll flare up again, and cause me to hurt someone," or cause me to lose control again. Never again. Never again.
If that is what you wish. Kahva Kilanye knew she couldn't stop her. I truly am sorry.
Sheena nodded to the ghost and took a deep breath, but before she could do anything else, a tired, irritated, and concerned voice came from Jason's arms.
"Sheena, didn't you hear anything that Kahva just told you? You can't go around denying what is part of you, you'll never get rid of the nightmares, and you'll be vulnerable to Mondo, Vile, and God knows who else until you accept who you are, and everything that comes with that!"
"Kahva, please," Sheena started.
But Kahva's mild anger had given her a slight burst of strength as she wriggled out of Jason's arms and forced him to put her down. She stalked, staggering as she did so, over to her soul-sister. "You are Sheena Devereaux Cranston, and you can't change that. Sheena, we've been friends for too long, I don't want to lose you. You're my sister, if I lost you, I don't know what I'd do. I would probably lose my mind. But until you start to deal with your fears, I'm afraid that one day I am going to lose you. And I can't deal with that. Listen to what she's saying!" Kahva begged, pointing to the ghost floating just off to the side of Sheena. "Don't do this, please," she finished, her irritation spent, and her spurt of energy with it. Kahva Briton's face fell as she realized Sheena had made up her mind, and nothing short of a God or Goddess appearing right then and there in the Power Chamber was going to stop her, or change her mind. Wearily, she turned back to Jason, sinking into his arms as he scooped her up again. She was far too tired to argue over, or fight over, what was a losing battle.
Kahva Kilanye floated over to Kahva Briton, the mood of the room lightening a little as she did so. Thank you for the use of your body, she told the young woman. We could not have defeated Harvox without you.
Kahva blushed a deep red and shook her head. "You were the one doing the fighting," she pointed out with a yawn she could no longer hold back. The ghost chuckled a little.
As much as I would like to remain here to convince you of the truth, I cannot, she told them. I can no longer stay for long outside of the realms of the afterlife, and came only to aid you when your memories came to their end, Sheena. We will meet again, though. Farewell, my beloved Sheena, and please watch out for yourself. She floated over to Sheena, and as much as a ghost could, she hugged her, then went over to her namesake and hugged her. The first Silver Ranger vanished before farewells could be spoken to her. Sheena let out a long breath, almost collapsing against the console as she did so. Alpha, who had been scanning Kahva to make sure she had suffered no ill effects from her temporary possession, rushed over to her.
. "Ay-yi-yi, Sheena, what happened to your neck?" the little robot asked. Sheena reached up to touch it lightly, and frowned as she came away with a streak of blood on her fingers.
"Harvox must have scraped me, I felt something just when Kahva... the Kahvas... whatever," she smiled a little, "pulled it away from me. It's not a bad cut, is it?" As Alpha shook his head, and went to get something to bandage it with, Sheena glanced around to the others and apologized for her recent actions.
"Hey, it's okay," Kat told her. "It wasn't really all your fault." She glanced to the others for their agreement, which wasn't at all slow in coming.
Sheena smiled. "Thanks, guys." She managed to halt a yawn just then, and noticed just about everyone else looked every bit as worn out as she was. "I vote we all spend the night here in the Power Chamber, if we can," she sighed. "Because I, for one, do not feel up to teleporting back to our place, Billy."
"Sounds like a good idea to me," Adam said through a yawn of his own; he had never fought so many Cogs! They were just lucky Mondo hadn't sent down a monster; he didn't know if they could have dealt with one in their condition at the moment.
Once Alpha had bandaged Sheena's neck, she sat up a little straighter. "Time to deal with this," she sighed as she closed her eyes. The Rangers, Kahva, Zordon, and Alpha watched as she entered a trance with practiced ease. For several long, agonizing moments, she stood there, barely breathing, perfectly still.
I hope she knows what she's doing, Kahva thought through her sleep-deprived mind. She'd better not hurt herself.
"Sheena," Billy whispered under his breath, eyes fixed on his beloved. Be safe, Sheena. Please, be safe and be careful.
Sheena opened her eyes, and smiled broadly a moment later. "It's done," was all she said before practically collapsing into Billy's arms. "Billy," she murmured, sensing he wouldn't be able to hold her for long. He was as tired as she was. "Let's go to bed."
"You know it." Supporting each other, they headed down to the personal quarters, the Rangers in a ragged row behind them. Kahva and Jason were the last ones to leave the main chamber, as he insisted on carrying her to her room in spite of her protests that she could walk there on her own. Kahva leaned into his chest, watching her friends separate as they all reached the wing of personal quarters.
I'm glad Sheena's all right at last, she thought. I just hope we've seen the last of these zone outs. And I hope she won't regret burying those memories, I really wish she hadn't done that. But I can't control her... I can keep a close eye on her though. Kahva said that there was time coming when Sheena would need those memories... and I'm going to be watching out for whatever it is. Nothing, and no one is going to take Sheena from us, not if I can help it. Kahva fell asleep even as Jason laid her on her bed. * * *
"KLAAAAANNNK!!!" Mondo's voice echoed throughout the entire Skybase. But Klank had wisely turned off his audio receptors temporarily. If he hadn't he risked Mondo's volume shattering them, if the vibration of the floor was any indication of the loudness. So happily oblivious to whatever his master might be screaming, Klank set about to beaming back the monster and Cog remains from their lost battle at the Lunar Palace.
I'd hoped you would be salvageable, he mourned over the few recognizable pieces of the Harvox. Hefting a fang in his hands, he wondered if perhaps some of the scraps could be incorporated into another monster, or used as spare parts. A dark stain on the pointed edge of the tooth caught his eye just as he was about to throw the part away. Could it be? Klank went to a nearby console and in large print typed in "SIRE, I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU," and sent it to the viewing screen in the throne room. He knew it would be several minutes before his master calmed down enough to see the message, and then make his way to the lab.
He guessed correctly. Some fifteen minutes later, King Mondo stormed into the lab, still spewing oil, sparks and smoke from every possible opening and joint on his body. Before he could screech out a demand for an explanation from Klank, the majordomo calmly put the fang in his king's hand, making sure to point out the stain. "Just a trace sire, just a trace... but enough for us to work with."
Mondo stared at the length of tapered steel in his hands, and slowly the oil, smoke and sparks subsided. "You're sure about this, Klank?"
"Absolutely, my liege." Mondo looked down at his main servant and for the first time in his mechanical existence, actually smiled, at least what would pass for a smile amongst mechanicals. He handed the fang back to Klank and happily waddled off to find his Queen Machina; he was in the mood for a celebration now. Klank watched him leave, then carefully scraped off the stain from the fang to save it for further testing. Though they had lost their prize this time, the day hadn't been a total loss.
In fact, it had been surprisingly productive... * * *
He stood silently and watched Sheena's empty home. I thought I might find you here, a voice he hadn't heard in over fifteen millennia floated tightly over his shoulder. They aren't coming home tonight, she is safe from you, and always will be.
He laughed as he turned, his fiery ice blue eyes locking onto Kahva Kilanye's ghostly form. "She may be safe for now, but I will have her. I trust Mondo did not injure her?"
Such false concern. No, Mondo did not injure her, she and her friends and her husband, the ghost emphasized the word, are all quite safe, if exhausted. They are all safe from Mondo, and Sheena is safe from you.
"For now," he admitted. "It kills you that you can't even speak my name to her, doesn't it? No pun intended, my dead Lady Ranger. Have you ever wondered why you can't tell her or anyone about me, and haven't been able to for over fifteen thousand years?"
Your `vile' magic, no doubt. Of that I'm certain... no pun intended, my former friend.
"Don't you dare to speak his name in my presence!" he raged at the ghost.
What are you going to do, kill me? You tried that before and failed, if you care to recall. You were the one who blasted Teranoc into ashes for striking me, remember? I certainly remember that you were trying to kill Olina.
"Well let's see just how good your memory is then, Kahva Kilanye," he growled. "Do you remember the bracelet I sent you as a late wedding gift?" He chuckled as by her reaction he could tell she did. "That bracelet placed a spell on you that not even your death could break. The spell that will keep you from ever speaking my name, or from saying anything at all about me, until the day one of your descendants learns of me by their own actions, and discovers our past. Your heir, Sheena, won't find out in time. You can trust me on that, my dear Kahva."
You can't keep her from remembering, surely you know that by now! Look at everything that has happened since you attempted to keep her from remembering her dreams, my memories! You kept me from appearing to her to help her understand she wasn't losing her mind, and you made her an easy target for Mondo in the process! You nearly lost that which you claim to love! Though your actions have driven her to bury my memories deep inside herself, they are still with her, and no one can ever take them away from her, not even you. You shall never have her, I promise you that. Kahva Kilanye paused long enough to glare at her former childhood friend for a few moments. You fool, you know nothing of love, and you never will, because all you know is possession! Love knows when to hold on and when to let go; love gives, it doesn't steal and covet. Until you learn that, you are doomed to wander the universe, a bitter, lonely, pathetic little creature. You will never know true, lasting love from anyone, because you don't know how to love. With that, the ghost of the first Silver Ranger faded away, unable to remain away from the realm of the afterlife any longer.
He turned and looked into his crystal, casting a spell that would let him see into the next twenty four hours. He could see the Rangers all arriving at their homes, well-rested. He saw the Gold Ranger accepting an apology from his girlfriend for the way she had been behaving lately. He saw the Pink and Red Rangers enjoying a relaxing morning sail on the lake in the park. He saw the Yellow and Green Rangers roller-blading in the park, holding hands and gazing lovingly into each other's eyes. He saw the Blue Ranger being smitten by love as he finally asked out a young woman from one of his classes to a movie for that night. He did not see any sign of their mysterious friend who had been Sheena's maid of honor, the child with the old power. She is of no consequence to me, he thought. She can't stop me, none of them can! It doesn't matter whether I know what she looks like, or what her name is... none of them matter, they can't stop me!
Then he saw his target and her infuriating husband arrive back where he presently was: the cabin. He saw them happily run inside, acting very much like newlyweds. He saw a brief flash of concern from the Sapphire Ranger as he questioned Sheena on whether she should have buried Kahva Kilanye's memories or not. He saw Sheena assure him she had done the right thing. "I have seen enough," he said to himself, ending the spell. He smiled and laughed, shouting in triumph. "She is mine, Kilanye! Do you hear me from the afterlife? Sheena is mine!!" he gloated. As he flexed his magic and slowly teleported himself away, he indulged himself, fantasizing about what was yet to come.
"Yes, Sheena, bury those memories deep, deep, deep... Without them, no one can stop me from getting who I want: you. You are now mine for the taking, thank you, my dear," he laughed. "We will be together forever very soon, my darling."
Very soon indeed...