Sorry about the delay folks. I've been doing a lot of soul searching and moving around. As well as dealing with bouts of severe depression and sucky jobs. I have a lot more free time on my hands lately since I've moved to a new state and been out of a job for a while. But now I'm back and I happen to have an interview today (wish me luck). Depression is over and I'm on a roll.
There were a few questions asked in reviews:
One was that in the series Billy had gone to Aquitar and stayed there. I disregard that episode I thought it was stupid that Billy would stay on a planet that was mostly water with an alien that was a fish. Could you imagine what the kids would look like? Billy was a cool character and I had to have him in my fic so that makes the story slightly AU.
Another was why Grimlord would go to the trouble of setting up an alternate life for Jason. That is answered in the chapter you are about to read. I hope it makes since now.
Disclaimer: As per usual I do not own Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers or V. R. Troopers. (Let's face it ya'll if I did I wouldn't be working on this rotten piece of junk I have for a computer.) Prince Xarian and Juliet's Humanoid form Chameleon (she'll show up eventually. I promise) are products of my way overactive imagination.
Having that said, read on and enjoy.
Jason dreamed of darkness that night. A thick inky blackness that surrounded him and weighted him down. The feeling was as familiar as the dream. It always started this way. But as he grew he was no longer the small boy he had once been when the dream started. Now he faced the dream in his adult form but still felt the fear and weakness as always.
"No!" He shouted into the darkness. He tried to will the darkness away. Tried to dream of something comforting. But the harder he tried the more suffocating the darkness became. He would dream of that day again. He would relive it as an adult and no longer regard it as a nightmare but as a dark memory. He stopped resisting and let the memory come to him.
Voices came at him from every direction. And although it was dark he knew the faces of those voices. One was a twisted face of evil that had plagued him since he could remember. The other, a human face but also filled with hatred and evil.
"He should be killed."
"It will only make them stronger. He needs to die. And if you won't kill him then I will."
The force of whatever had hit him landed him on his back. There had been pain then that pierced his left shoulder and he screamed as he suffered. The wound was hot like fire and the smell of something burnt made him sick to his stomach. He struggled to his feet holding his shoulder and faced the man that had lashed out at him. They'd stolen him from his family and now this guy wanted to kill him.
He swung at the man but even though he faced this nightmare as an adult he still only had the strength and speed of a four-year-old child. His hand had been grabbed and held above his head. For a second he was 4 again and hanging in the air by his arm. And he kicked out at the man and nailed him in the groin. With a howl of pain the man dropped him back to the ground. He landed on his left arm and he cried out. He scooted away as far as he could, noticing that as he did he was his own age again.
The man advanced on him in rage now a dark sword drawn. As he sat on the floor his back pressed against the wall he had no way to escape him. Tears started to flow from his eyes but he didn't make a sound. At least he had tried to fight the man.
"That was not half bad kid," the man sneered as he pressed the tip of his sword into his neck "I see that the Professor taught his little runt something after all. But all you've done is piss me off kid. Now I think I'll kill you a little slower and more painfully."
"That's enough Xarian!" Came the gravely voice from the thrown across the room. "I told you he's not to be killed."
"This is stupid father! The boy should be killed and his corpse sent back to Steele as a lesson." As emphasis he pressed the tip of his sword into the quivering neck enough to make it bleed.
"No! Killing the boy will only make the professor stronger. There is nothing more dangerous than a man who has nothing to loose. Besides I have a more mentally and emotionally painful way of getting to Steele. Everything is already set up for the boy's departure. Now remove your sword Xarian and step back."
"Yes father," Xarian glared as he stepped away.
Jason watched as the older, more evil looking man came toward him. He tried to will himself invisible by drawing his legs into his chest and burying his head into his knees. He heard a gentle scoff as a hand was placed on his head. He looked up, eyes wide in fear, and found himself staring into the cold twisted face.
"Who...who are you?" Even his voice sounded small and weak compared to the figures in front of him.
"I am Grimlord. Master of this world. Your stay in my realm will be a short one my boy. And in time you will look back on this time as if it is a bad nightmare. You will be used to cause your father great pain and I am not sorry to say that I will enjoy watching him suffer. This is really all your fathers fault boy."
Grimlord grabbed his left arm and pulled him to his feet. Jason gave a muffled cry as his hurt arm was yanked roughly but still tried to pull away regardless. He hit with his right arm and kicked at the monster trying to get free.
"My dad will stop you! Your evil and he'll stop you."
"How can he defeat me when he can't even save his own child," Grimlord laughed as he shook him roughly.
"He'll save me. My dad will save me!"
"Dear young Steele, he'll never find you. I've made sure of that. And you," he regarded Jason Steele cruelly as he unleashed his dark power on him. He grinned satisfied as the boy slumped forward onto him with nary a cry. He let off his power not wanting to kill the boy, merely show him he was powerless to help himself. "You will only remember him in nightmares. You're going to disappear Jason Steele and you're going to be the cause of your father's downfall. So glad to have your help."
Jason heard every word that was said. But didn't register their meaning. Grimlord and Xarian disappeared and he fell. Images popped into his head for seconds at a time. He saw and heard a number of things he couldn't comprehend. A request for a brain wash. A concern for someone so young. A suggestion to merely jumble his memories and lock some things away. An agreement and a warning that it had better be enough. Then the image of a beautiful woman who had tears in her eyes as she placed a metal ring on a small boy's head and pressed a button.
Jason became aware of a buzzing noise start at the back of his mind. It was soft and barely noticeable at first but slowly became more prominent in his mind. As the noise grew in volume it was accompanied by pain that grew in intensity as well. He grabbed the sides of his head and screamed as it became too much for him to handle.
Jason sat up in bed gasping for air and covered in sweat. The buzzing noise from his dream still persisted in assaulting his eardrums. He looked around disoriented and found the alarm by the bed to be the cause of the offending noise. He reached over and turned it off and looked at the time unbelieving.
"8 o'clock already." Jason grudgingly got out of the bed and walked into the bathroom. He turned the faucet on cold and leaned down to splash the water on his face. He needed the water to help wake him up. It also washed the sweat off his face. He turned off the water and looked up into the mirror.
What am I doing here? He reached up to touch the scar that covered his left shoulder. He'd always wondered about it. Had kept it from view for years. If any of his friends had seen it none of them had asked. If that was a real memory I owe this Prince Xarian a lot of payback.
Once again confident in his presence in the unfamiliar town Jason walked over to the desk to make his phone call to Billy. He didn't want to use his communicator more than he had to. If this Prince Xarian really did know as much about him as the computer had said he didn't want to risk his communication being overheard.
The phone rang as he reached for it and he drew back startled. He reached back out and picked up the phone.
"Jason? Thank God! I've tried every hotel in Crossworld City."
"Billy? Calm down man. Is everything ok?"
"Not really. I searched through the computer some more and talked to Zordon about the information I found. It may not have been a good idea for you to go out there by yourself."
"What are you talking about? What did you find Billy?"
"That Prince Xarian guy's not the least of our problems."
"Did you think I was going to let you deal with this by yourself? We've been friends since you came to Angel Grove and I'm not about to let my best friend face something like this on his own."
"Face something like what?" Worry crept into Jason at his friends' words. Whatever he had found was enough for him to try calling all the hotels in the town. "What did you find Billy?"
"The real ruler of the Virtual World is called Grimlord. I asked Zordon and as far as he knows Grimlord hasn't been heard from since the destruction of his Skybase in Virtual Reality."
"So junior decided to take over after Dad kicked the bucket?"
"Assuming that Xarian is his son of course. There was nothing on him in the computer."
"Trust me I remember him," Jason muttered darkly as he rubbed his left shoulder. "The bastard tried to kill me. He wasn't happy with the fact that Grimlord kept me alive."
"That's just one more reason why you shouldn't be there alone right now. If he tries anything as you are now you could end up dead."
"Isn't there anyone who can oppose him?" Jason asked changing the subject.
"It seems that Crossworld City is home to the V. R. Troopers," Billy replied. He noticed the obvious change of subject and for now he would allow it. But it was still a subject that needed to be discussed. "Zordon knows little about them. What we could look up on them was restricted to news reports. They apparently thwart his attempts to take over reality at every turn."
"The computer didn't have anything on them?"
"No. But Jas we've gotten off the subject. The real reason I was so worried is that Grimlord was running a test between you and your brother."
"What sort of test Billy?"
"I think you should come back to Angel Grove and talk to Zordon."
"Dammit Billy what kind of test?"
Billy sighed as he realized that Jason couldn't be reasoned with. He would face this head on and reclaim his past and get revenge on this Prince Xarian. But that behavior would lead to his downfall if he read the test parameters correctly.
"I'm sorry Billy," Jason apologized for his outburst. He didn't mean to yell at the former ranger but this beating around the bush was really annoying. "Just tell me Billy please."
"It was a test on behavior patterns to see which one of you would be more suitable to take over as Grimlord if anything happened to him." Billy listened to the silence at the other end of the line with growing anxiety. This was something he would have rather discussed with his friend in person. It was hard to guess his feeling over the phone and even harder to calm him down from so far away. Jason could be so stubborn sometimes.
"What were the results?" Jason managed to choke out the question. What if they came after him again? He was older now and would be able to fight them off. But for how long? The thought worried him and made him feel small like he did in his nightmares. He knew he didn't have the means to fight off a threat like this. These creatures had taken him away from his family and rearranged his memories. No one had been able to stop them. And now he was here alone with only a few names to go on. He should have listened to Billy. Should have stayed and found out more before he rushed off. But it couldn't be changed now. All he could do was hope that he would be strong enough to face what happened next. "Billy?"
"Your results were apparently favorable," Billy finally said.
"That's why he was so angry that I wasn't there. He was searching for me," Jason realized as his eyes focused on nothing at all and he felt numbness spread through him.
He didn't have the strength to stand anymore so he dropped down to the bed. A thought occurred to him and he voiced his concern. "What about my brother's results?"
"I'm sorry Jason. It doesn't say. I'm assuming that Grimlord had that information." Worry and sadness for his friend filled him as he listened to the silence at the other end of the line. "Jason I'm having Zordon transport me there. You need some help with this."
"Yeah, ok Billy." Jason came back to himself. "No that's not a good idea. He's probably trying to find a way to locate me still. Since he knows about the rangers he might know how to trace our communicators and transporters."
"We'd be giving away your location," Billy finished for him. How could he have missed that? "And risk losing the element of surprise. Ok then, I'll drive there. Promise me you won't go anywhere till I get there Jason."
"I promise Billy. Just hurry. We need to get to my brother and warn him before it's too late. If it isn't already."
DA DA DUM! Will Billy make it in time for them to warn Ryan? How will Tyler and Ryan Steele react to Jason's arrival? And whom will Prince Xarian turn into Grimlord? Find out in the upcoming exciting (I hope) adventures of my messed up fan fiction.