Legacy Of Power: At World's End
Part 5 – Battling
Chapter 19 – Drawing Lines
Written By Pink-Green-White-4ever
Story Ideas By: Pink-Green-White-4ever and Marcus
Last Revised: June 24, 2012

Summary: Lines are drawn in the sand
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance
Rating: T for now
AN: It's been nearly two years since I posted, and a lot has changed and happened, and I do apologize for that. Life has not been easy, but God has blessed me immensely.

RIP psychochick32. You will be missed.

Please visit the Valhalla forum (link on my profile) and join in the fun at our message board

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly. - Edward Teller -


9:45 A.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

"Katie?" Trip's voice called gently. Turning away from watching the others train with Lianbow and Daggeron, the Yellow Ranger's eyes landed on her boyfriend's face.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Nothing," he smiled, reaching out to take her hand. "You look like you're a million miles away."

She let a gentle smile caress her lips as she leaned against his side. Physically, she was the stronger of the two; mentally and emotionally, Trip was better equipped to deal with what was happening around them. "Just thinking," she murmured softly.

"About?" He knew he didn't have to ask, their entire team had discussed the previous day's events. He could tell by the way her eyes seemed trained on their Pink Ranger exactly where her thoughts lay.

"Jen's hiding it well, but you can tell she's hurting."

Trip nodded. Jen was upset over Kim and Karone's disappearances. While she had shared a color with them both, and that was the main reason she was upset about Karone, Jen was even more so about Kimberly. The pair had become fast friends in the short time they'd known each other, had bonded over being the only two females on the overall leadership team of the group. "Wes will be there for her, and so will we. We will get Kim and Karone back, of that I have no doubt," he sincerely told her, giving her hand a squeeze and leaning his head against hers.

Tilting her head back, Katie smiled at him even as she pecked a kiss to his cheek. It was hard to believe that their wacky friendship had somehow developed into more, that it had turned into love. They weren't ready for marriage, a family, or forever, but she knew without a doubt they'd get there in their own sweet time. "Trip?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you."


11:00 A.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

Chip couldn't help but notice the lethargic movements of his pink teammate. Vida hadn't been physically hurt in the attack the day before, but like the rest of the Pink Rangers, she was feeling horrible for the loss of two of their own. "Aren't you supposed to be working?" Toby quietly asked the Yellow Ranger.

"Sorry Boss," Chip muttered, turning away from the turntables and back to what he'd been doing, which was stocking shelves.

"Chip, I was only kidding," Toby teased. "Why don't you go cheer her up?"

The Yellow Ranger shook his head and sighed. "I don't think I can," he answered, then saw the look on Toby's face. "It has to do with Kim and Karone."

"At least give it a try, if anyone can cheer her up, it'd be you."

With a determined nod, Chip finished putting the c.d.s in his hand on the shelf then headed for the DJ stand in the corner. Vida's body was perfectly still as she stared at her turntables. "V?"

"Hmm?" she absently asked.

"What is it?"

The Pink Ranger looked at him and shrugged restlessly. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Chip gave her a look he rarely used - it was identical to the one on his face when he'd agreed to help Udonna make the Dawn Crystal months before to release Vida from Necrolai's power. "Vida."

"Did we do enough? Are we training hard enough? We've lost a lot of people the last couple of weeks, and I wonder if we could have prevented it," she finally let out in a rush, looking at Chip somewhat angrily and somewhat helplessly.

It burned a hole in his heart to see her doubt herself and what they were doing. "I don't think we could have," he told her honestly, tilting his head to the side to stare at her. "But you know what I know for sure?"

"What?"

"We're going to come out on top this time, I know that for sure. We're such a strong force to be reckoned with, I can't see us losing."

Vida's lips lifted in a wistful smile. "You know what, you're right. We're going to win. Thanks Chip," she told him, leaning over to kiss his cheek.

Chip's eyes widened at the gesture; he knew it was extremely rare that Vida showed physical affection to anyone but Maddy. Their eyes met and Vida bit her lip as if she wasn't sure whether or not she'd overstepped her bounds. "V," he started.

"Sorry," she apologized. "You were just being pretty sweet and all…"

"Don't be sorry," he whispered, reaching out to take her hand. "I like seeing the side of you no one else but Maddy gets to." Carefully leaning over, he placed a gentle, light as a feather kiss against her cheek in return, grinning like a fool when her face flushed a bright pink. "I'm going to go back to work before Toby blows a fuse."

The Pink Ranger just nodded and smiled as her friend and teammate headed back to work.


2:30 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

Jason grinned and quickly wiped the sweat from his brow before he and Nick silently started the third round of their practice match against Leo and Conner. The four had decided they wanted to train together while everyone else broke off and either did weight training or cardio, or worked with Udonna to strengthen their magical abilities.

"I'm a rock climber, not a magician!" Kelsey complained loudly.

Leo grinned at Jason before launching into an attack. "Kels doesn't sound happy," he muttered.

"Some of the teams aren't magic based, but Udonna knows ways to get them to dig a little deeper into their powers," Jason told him. "She's stepping into unknown territory."

"Show offs!" Kelsey's comment was directed at Chad, Dana and Ryan, who were all glowing brightly with their signature colors.

"Come on Kels, concentrate," Chad murmured, taking her hands in his and making her face him. "Relax your body, focus your mind."

Conner snickered as the four Reds stopped to watch. "That's a good line, too bad it wouldn't work on Krista."

Nick laughed while Let and Jason rolled their eyes. "You got a lot to learn about women, Con," Jason uttered. The four suddenly gasped in surprise when Kelsey's body flared to life with a bright yellow light. Seconds later, Joel and Carter followed her.

"Good job, Kels," Leo whispered.


3:00 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

She could tell he was more than aware of his surroundings. His face didn't twitch, and his body never moved, but his breathing did speed up and then slow down just enough for her to notice, and his fingers drummed against his thigh occasionally.

"Is there something I can do for you, Princess?"

"No," she responded softly.

"How goes the training?"

"Those who aren't magic based are doing better than expected," she chirped happily. "They're finding it much easier to tap deeper into their powers than ever before, which Udonna is happy about."

Merrick opened his eyes. "Good. The sooner they do it now, the better for us later on."

Shayla nodded in agreement before biting her lip gently. "Merrick?"

"Yes Princess?"

Smiling, she held out her hand to him. "Take a walk with me?"

He gave her a quick nod and stood up before taking her hand and walking with her. They traveled through the forest outside of Rootcore, enjoying the unusually calm and quiet Sunday. Despite the cloud that hung over all the Rangers, both felt relatively happy. On impulse, Merrick brought her hand to his lips, kissing the inside of her wrist gently. Shayla turned wide, surprised eyes to him and was rewarded by a loving smile and twinkling eyes. "Merrick?"

"Yes Princess?"

"Never mind," she whispered.

Merrick tugged on her hand, stopping her from turning from him. "Princess Shayla, what's wrong?"

She was just about to say nothing was wrong, but bit her lip instead as he looked at her intently. "Why do you never just use my name?"

The Lunar Wolf looked startled by her question. "I don't understand."

"You always call me Princess Shayla or Princess, but never just Shayla. Why?"

Merrick was silent as he carefully thought how to word his response. "I mean only to respect your position," he told her.

"And to constantly put a wall between us by reminding yourself that I was a member of the Royal family," she interrupted, watching him wince. "Merrick, you and I are the last of our people, my title shouldn't matter now, especially not if you have feelings for me the way I do for you."

The innocent, guileless persona Shayla often showed slid away to show a woman hurting over a love she didn't know was returned or not. It was a moment of clarity for Merrick; his beloved was far more aware of the world around her than he would have suspected.

Smiling, Merrick tugged her close, his hand placing the one of hers he held on his chest before he let himself grip her tiny waist. Shayla gasped softly when her body came into full contact with his. One of his hands came up then, cupping the side of her neck. Shayla let out a tiny gasp of surprise when he nudged her close, his warm lips covering her own as she experienced her fist kiss in a long time. Their embrace was a little awkward at first, until both relaxed and threw themselves into it, years of being apart followed by centuries of pent up passion finally breaking free. After several long, drugging kisses, Merrick pulled back and smiled at Shayla's dazed expression. "I hope that answers your question."

With a gentle smile, Shayla slid her arms around his waist, snuggling her head against his chest. "Merrick?"

"Yes Shayla?"

She seemed to melt at him saying her name. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," he whispered, feeling relaxed enough to kiss her forehead and hold her quietly.


The Pit
Briarwood, CA

Kim winced as blood trickled down from her wrists. Her arms were pretty numb from being shackled above her head and she'd been straining for hours to try and free herself to no avail. Dark Spector had come and taken Karone away, and the Morphin' Ranger knew it wasn't a good thing that the former Pink Ranger hadn't returned. She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't hear her captor enter the cell.

"Hello Kimmie."

Brown met glowing green. "What the hell do you want?"

"Is that any way to greet the man who's going to free you?" he grinned evilly.

"Free me? That's funny. By the way, no man would do what you're doing, only cowards would," she sneered back sarcastically, giving him a smug smile.

He made a tsking sound at her. "Now, now, my little Crane."

"I'm not yours, and I never will be, you wannabe reject from hell!" Kim hissed angrily and struggled against her shackles.

"My patience only goes so far," he bit out, his voice barely audible. "Maybe it's time I implemented my plan."

Kimberly's eyes filled with fear when his whole body began to glow with green power. That power built around him until it shot out and the second it connected with her, she screamed in agony, feeling the darkness fill her, burning away the purity of her own powers. Her own body flared pink in response but soon that pink turned a dark green almost black. Satisfied, the First pulled his power back to his own body and stared at her happily.

"Have a good rest, Love. When you wake up, you'll be completely mine."

Kim's half closed eyes flared a light pink before going completely black. Her head fell to her chest and her body suddenly went limp. After he turned around and left, the only sound that could be heard was two mournful cries, both of which sounded as if two injured birds had emitted them.


4:00 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

Daggeron grinned. The Mystic Force Rangers hadn't been expecting to be faced with Rangers who almost matched them completely, power to power. Because Udonna was busy, and Billy needed help, Cam elected to sit out, leaving two teams of five to Daggeron's guidance. Tori and Madison were standing before each other, both Blue Rangers bearing similar determined expressions. Xander and Dustin where also across from each other, grinning like crazy. Blake and Chip looked ready to begin sparring while Hunter, Shane, Nick and Vida weren't anywhere near ready. Shane didn't want to fight Vida, and Nick and Hunter seemed to be against going at each other.

"This is ridiculous," Daggeron finally told them. "Shane, trust me when I say you can't hurt Vida. She's tough, and she knows what she's doing power wise." The Red Ranger looked skeptical but nodded, knowing Kanoi was watching. "And you two, just because your elements are different doesn't mean you can't battle one another."

"Hunter, you will participate." Kanoi's voice was a no-nonsense tone and came out slightly commanding, causing all five Ninja Rangers to stare at him in shock. He never commanded them to do anything.

"Yes Sensei."

Daggeron watched Kanoi curiously. The Master Ninja suddenly looked tired and far older than he was. Leaving the Rangers to their sparring, the Solaris Knight moved to kneel before Kanoi, who was seated in a chair just to the side of the mats. "Sensei," Daggeron began.

"I'm fine, Daggeron. Merely tired," Kanoi assured at his unspoken question.

"Something else is wrong, I can almost sense it."

Kanoi nodded. "Your confidence?"

"Of course."

The Master Ninja sighed then in low tones spoke. "I received a call from my physician this morning, telling me what I already suspected." Daggeron's face paled. "I have cancer, inoperable cancer, and neither the Rangers nor Cam are to know."

"Kanoi, you can't keep this from them," Daggeron protested.

"They cannot afford the distraction," Kanoi told him. "I cannot, but more importantly will not, burden them with this when they have much to worry about already. If it was your Rangers, whom you consider your children, would you tell them?"

Daggeron shook his head. No, he wouldn't burden his Rangers; he'd rather go to the next world in honor by dying in battle. "I will keep your secret."

"Thank you. I am going to speak to Dana about it."

"Of course," Daggeron agreed. "Do you need anything?"

Kanoi shook his head. "No, I'm fine."

"Alright."


The Pit
Same time

"I can't believe it," Broodwing muttered. "You actually know what you're doing, color me surprised."

Mondo glared at him as he finished constructing the satellite the First ordered them to build. "Contrary to what you think, Broodwing, I was constructing things ten times this complicated long before you or anyone else here was a twinkle in your parents' eyes."

The bat creature huffed. "So you say."

"Look, I built it, you program the damn thing," Mondo huffed angrily.

"I'd listen to him," Darkonda's voice cut in. "Mondo is revered throughout many galaxies for his knowledge of machines."

"Of that I have no doubt," Broodwing snapped. "Now go away so I can program this stupid thing with the information we were given."


5:30 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Briarwood, CA

Cam and Kai frowned at the computer screen. "That can't be right, can it?" Kai grumbled.

"You'd better hope it's not," Cam muttered. "But I don't see it as a coincidence."

"Who do you think it was?" Kai asked.

"From the grainy security cameras, I'd say Zedd, Mesogog and Lothor."

Kai nodded. "Should we call the others?"

"Call Billy first," Cam absently suggested even as he attempted to get more information from the computer.

The Blue Ranger hit a number of buttons before speaking into the microphone in front of him. "Billy, its Kai. We have a problem."


6:15 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
The Pit
Briarwood, CA

"How do you feel, Ladies?" Dark Spector gleefully asked.

The two women grinned. "Ready for a little fun," Astronema laughed, flipping her long pink hair over her leather covered shoulder and shifting her staff in her hands. "It feels good to be back."

"Payback sounds good," the other woman grinned. "I have a few scores to settle."

"Patience, Beloved," the First spoke. "Let Astronema launch the first wave, and then you can destroy whatever hope they have left." He grinned when she wickedly smile and took his offered hand.

"Quatrons!" Astronema ordered. They filed in and stood at attention. "May I take a battalion of your Putties, My Lord?" she asked the First.

He nodded. "Take what you like, Astronema; just crush their will to fight."

"Of course."


6:35 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Outdoor Café
Briarwood, CA

Zhane and Andros, and Ashley by extension, were the first to feel the familiar powers surge through the air. Cassie, Carlos and T.J. weren't far behind. Kendrix, Maya, Mike and Damon almost immediately noticed something was wrong with their friends. "Cassie?" Kendrix called out in worry as she saw the other Pink Ranger's face.

"Don't sound so worried, Kendrix."

Ten pairs of eyes widened at the voice. The army of Quatrons and Putties had the ten Rangers surging to their feet and forming a line between the civilians and their enemies. "It can't be," Carlos uttered helplessly.

"No way," Cassie shook her head in denial. "There's no way, not again."

Kendrix brought her morpher up and activated her communicator. "Kai, we've got trouble."

"What?" came the Blue Ranger's voice.

The Pink Ranger swallowed convulsively. "Astronema."

"Excuse me?" Kai's voice sounded surprised. "Want to repeat that?"

"You heard me the first time."

There was a sound of shuffling on the other end before Kai spoke up. "Leo and I are on our way."

As soon as Kai's voice signed off, Trakeena, Divatox, Morganna and Vypra suddenly appeared on either side of Astronema. "Holy shit," Damon gasped.

Mike nodded and activated his own communicator. "Kai, we have a much BIGGER problem."

"How much bigger?" came the slightly panicked voice of Leo.

"Lots BIGGER Bro."


The Pit
Same time

"Where is Nikki?" Nadira demanded as Scorpina checked on the group.

"Doing what she was born to do," Scorpina grinned. "She's gone to be evil."

Nadira looked horrified. "Daddy?" she gasped.

Ransik looked positively angry. "They've turned her back into Necrolai."

Ally and Nadira grabbed for each other's hands. "Oh look, Scorpina, they're being supportive of each other," a sickeningly sweet voice laughed. "Poor babies."

The three captives watched as a petite brunette dressed in head to toe leather suddenly strode from the shadows to stand with Scorpina. Tied to her hip was a large, wooden cross bow and at her back was a quiver of arrows, their black feathers sticking up over her shoulder. "Who is that?" Ally gasped.

"I don't know," Ransik whispered.

"So you're the mighty Ransik?" she asked, her eyes roving over him. "You aren't much to look at, human." Turning her midnight black eyes to the pink haired woman, she sneered. "And you must be Nadira."

"What do you want with us?" Ransik demanded.

"Nothing, now," she chuckled. "It's unfortunate your daughter was too damn good for her own good, I could have used another warrior in my guard."

"I'd never join you!" Nadira cried out.

The brunette laughed bitterly. "No kidding. Scorpina, let's go. Astronema's launched the first round, you, Necrolai, and I need to launch the second. It's time to crush the Rangers' spirits once and for all."

As the two strode down the hallway and out of sight, Ally and Nadira saw Ransik bend his head against the bars and sigh heavily. "Daddy?"

"That," he started, lifting his head, tears shining in his eyes as he turned to his daughter and their friend. "That was Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger of Earth."

The two girls' eyes widened and their faces turned to horrified expressions. "Oh no."


6:40 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Rootcore
Briarwood, CA

"Cam?" Billy called out as he and Ethan came rushing into Rootcore's main room.

"We've got two major problems," Cam started, turning to the two Blue Rangers.

Ethan arched an eyebrow at the Green Ranger. "What exactly?"

"Well, the most immediate is that," Cam told them directing their attention to the monitor.

The Blue Dino Ranger's jaw dropped while the Blue Ninja let out an explicative that had Cam nodding. "Damn it all to hell and back."

On screen, Space and Lost Galaxy were face to face with Trakeena, Divatox, Astronema, Morganna and Vypra, not to mention putties and Quatrons. "What was the other problem?" Ethan asked.

"Whatever it is, it can wait," Billy nearly hissed. "Cam, call SPD, Lightspeed and the Zeo Rangers. Dispatch them to the fight, teleport them if you have to."

The Green Ranger nodded and turned back to the computer. "SPD, Lightspeed and Zeo, come in."

"Carter here."

"This is Jack."

"Jason checking in."

Cam sighed. "Billy says you guys need to head to the fight. Lost Galaxy and Space are going to need your help."

"We were on our way to meet them for lunch, so we're almost there," Carter responded.

"Cam, we're going to need to be teleported," Jason's voice came through.

"Us too," Jack informed him.

"Stand by for teleport."

While Cam started typing in commands to the computer, Ethan took Kai's vacated seat and slid over to another computer. The Blue Ranger began punching in coordinates while Billy smiled and moved to the teleportation device they'd built and threw several switches. "READY!" Ethan called out.

"Go!" Billy responded.

Cam sucked in a breath and held it before he hit enter. The three computer geniuses shared a scared look before seeing the two teams materialize on the battlefield and begin sprinting toward their friends.


6:50 P.M.
Sunday
March 18, 2007
Outdoor Café
Briarwood, CA

"What is this? Replacements?" Astronema laughed, gesturing to the newcomers.

Lightspeed, Zeo and SPD ran onto the scene and joined Space and Lost Galaxy in a line. "Fuck me," Justin uttered. "Is that who I think it is?"

Katherine and Tanya reached out and smacked him upside the head before nodding. "Astronema."

"Nice to know my reputation hasn't been tarnished by my stint as goody-good Karone," she sneered happily, her eyes on Zhane who was trembling.

"No," Zhane gasped. "Karone! Don't do this! Fight them! Fight what they're doing to you!" he pleaded emotionally with the woman who was his wife, lover, and his soul mate.

Astronema gave him a bland look. "Oh puh-lease, pathetic Ranger!" she laughed. "Do you honestly think I would willingly give up this power again, now that I have it?"

Zhane took a bold step forward. "You're my wife, my lover, my soul mate. At the heart of the woman you are, you will always be Karone," he passionately told her. "I want my best friend back." Even though the Silver Ranger pleaded with her, it was as if he was talking to a brick wall. Astronema stood there staring at him, her staff in hand, as if she were deciding whether or not to put him out of his misery or not. "Karone…"

"Karone is DEAD!" Astronema shrieked, her face contorting the same way a petulant child's would.

The Silver Ranger, though anxious and worried, was bolstered by the feel of Andros and Ashley beside him. "Karone, don't do this," Andros pleaded with his sister. "Don't do this, you're my sister, I know you better than you think. This isn't you."

"You know nothing!" she shouted. Looking at the four women around her, she grinned. "Attack!"


7:00 P.M.
The Pit

"Are you ready?" the leather clad woman asked the Scorpion and the Vampire with her. Both nodded and waited as she summoned her powers. In a matter of seconds, the three disappeared.

Outdoor Cafe

For once, the male Rangers stayed back and let their female counterparts take on the big bads. Most knew that it was a matter of pride for the female Rangers to take on their dark female counterparts. So while the girls did that, the guys hung back and took out the Putties and Quatrons.

Kelsey and Dana were holding their own quite spectacularly against Vypra, who was using every trick in her little bag of tricks to take them out. "BATTLINGS!" she cried out.

The Lightspeed team was startled by the appearance of Vypra's minions, but only for a few seconds. "Damn her," Carter swore.

"We can take these uglies!" Ryan responded. "She's only doing this because she knows she's no match for Dana or Kels!"

"Not reassuring!" Joel gripped, rolling and then springing up behind his opponent.

"Shut up and fight!" Chad ground out, ducking a fist.

While the four of them were arguing, Leo, Mike, Damon and Kai had broken into two teams and were working perfectly together. Kendrix and Maya were more than holding their own against Trakeena. They were alternately attacking her, wearing her out.

"Stand still, damn you!" Trakeena demanded.

Kendrix and Maya shared a look and a laugh. "Yeah right!" Kendrix cracked.

"Why would we want to do that?" Maya grinned.

Not far from them, Morganna was doing her best to take out Syd and Z while the boys fought a group of minions. "You two little bitches are going to die!" Morganna hissed. "You'll be begging me for death when I get done with you!"

Z looked to Syd, who nodded. With that signal, Z created as many duplicates of herself as possible, surrounding Morganna in the process. While their opponent was distracted, Syd drew two iron pellets from her belt and silently activated them. "NOW!" Syd called out.

The Yellow Ranger and her duplicates backed off, leaving Morganna temporarily confused. It was just the opening Sydney needed. The Pink Ranger rushed forward, grabbing Morganna's arm and spinning her around. With a triumphant smile, Syd slammed her free hand into her enemy's stomach, sending Morganna flying backwards before she crumbled to the pavement.

"Fuck you!" Morganna groaned.

Syd and Z exchanged high fives. "No thank you," Z quipped.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the fight, the Zeo Rangers were face to face with Divatox. "So, you finally got some power behind you power-boy?" Divatox ridiculed Justin.

"Can it, Divasnot," the Blue Ranger snapped back.

"Oh, did I hurt your wittle feelings?"

"Shut up or put up," Zack growled, his stance screaming battle ready even though he wasn't morphed. Years of training and his year and a half as the Black Ranger still engrained on his subconscious.

Divatox's attention shifted to the Green Ranger, a horribly fake smile pasted onto her face. "The washed up Black Morphin Ranger, right?"

Zack rolled his eyes. "The Space Slut, right?"

Katherine, Tanya and Justin gasped while Jason chuckled. "Nice one, Zack."

"And if it isn't Maligore's little brat," she sneered at Jason.

"Oh for the love of God!" Jason uttered. "Are you STILL crying over that?"

Kat and Tanya snickered while Zack and Justin shared a look before grinning. "YOU FOOL! I'll kill YOU!"

Jason gave her a look. "You had your chance."

Shrieking in rage, she shot forward to attack Jason and was caught by the wrist by Kat. "I don't think so," the Australian beauty hissed through clenched teeth.

"You and the muscle bound brat, huh?" Divatox laughed. Kat's electric blue eyes sizzled pink, forcing Divatox to take a step back. "What is this?" the Space Pirate spit.

"Wouldn't you like to know," Kat's voice grew even angrier. Divatox swallowed and wondered what had suddenly changed Kat's attitude. "Now, start talking. Where's Kimberly?"

Smiling, the space pirate wrenched free and sent Kat flying. "Wouldn't you like to know? The little pink brat had her claws unsheathed. She belongs to the First now."

Tanya and Jason helped Kat to her feet and had to hold her back, lest she get free and kill Divatox on the spot. "You're going to regret taking her," Kat spat and hissed. "All of you are going to regret what you've done to her, I swear it!"

"You surprise me, Kitty Kat. I'd have thought you'd be happy to be rid of the woman who's the heart and soul of both the men you love."

Tanya let Kat's arm go while Jason tightened his grip. "Jason, let her go," Tanya responded, her voice a firm command.

The Red Ranger knew if he did, it would be Kat and Divatox and the Space Pirate wouldn't win. "Kimberly earned her place on our team, through hard work and determination, and courage," Kat ground out. "I'm not mad or jealous of her place in either of their lives, she was there long before I was and I've accepted that!"

Kat's beautiful blue eyes flashed pink again, causing Divatox to take another retreating step. It had taken Kat years to come to terms with the ghosts Kim left behind, first with Tommy and the team, and then with Jason. Yes, in the beginning, she'd been jealous, had wanted to be rid of Kim, but as she'd grown into a woman, she'd realized many things – her position in Tommy and Jason's lives mirrored Kimberly's. Jason loved her the same way Tommy loved Kim, and for Tommy, she was now a friend as dear to him as a sister, just like Kim was for Jason. The other thing she'd realized was that Kimberly, after everything was said and done, had chosen her to carry on the pink legacy. If Kim bore any ill will after what had been done to her, then she'd have never given Kat the chance to redeem herself.

"Trust me when I say she doesn't feel the same way," Divatox laughed.

Kat narrowed her gaze on the laughing woman. "What have you done to her?"

"Nothing, Kitty. The First merely brought forth every hidden feeling she has and amplified them."

"Divatox!" Astronema's voice echoed. "Quit messing around and kill them!"

"With pleasure."


7:30 P.M.
Rootcore

"None of them have morphed yet," Cam explained to the gathered group. Jen, Conner, Nick, Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Billy, Lianbow, Udonna, Daggeron, Kanoi, Anubis, Merrick and Shayla stood behind him and Ethan, who were seated at the computers.

"Why not?" Nick wanted to know.

"Probably because, as veteran rangers, they know better than to escalate the situation," Tommy told him. "It's something we've always lived by. We never use our powers to make a situation worse."

Nick gave the White Ranger a look that said he couldn't believe that. "They're in a fight for their lives, where they could potentially get killed."

Jen silenced the Red Ranger with a look. "Nick, every day since we strapped morphers to our wrists, we accepted that we could die. We got lucky that none of us did, in battle, but it's a price any Ranger would have gladly paid. You haven't been a Ranger, nor accepted your destiny, long enough to fully understand that. You also didn't know Zordon, his teachings, or his legacy, until recently. He was a wise man, who knew just how to win the war of maintaining the balance. What would happen if they had morphed right away?"

The Red Ranger looked from Jen to the monitor and it dawned on him what she was talking about. "Morphing would put the bad guys on the defensive, and would increase the likelihood of the Rangers, and any civilians in the area, getting hurt."

Tommy patted Nick on the back. "You've got it. The element of waiting till their defenses are down is in the other Rangers' hands. Even given their states of mind, all of them are aware of that."

The alarm began blaring then. Cam and Ethan struggled to pinpoint the secondary issue. "HOLY SHIT!" Ethan yelled.

Gasps, cries of shock and surprise, and Tommy's lone "Oh God" filled the air as they stared at the three women who'd suddenly appeared to aid Astronema and her little band of misfits.

"Nikki," Nick gasped as Necrolai took flight.

"Scorpina," Adam muttered.

"Kim," Jen started, shaking her head in denial. "Oh Kim, no."

"Rangers! GO!" Anubis barked, snapping them from their trance. Udonna took Cam's seat and made the necessary transmissions as the Ranger rushed out.


Outdoor Cafe

"Welcome, Milady," Astronema greeted the woman beside her. Normally, she wouldn't have bowed to anyone, but Astronema wasn't stupid, and she knew that the woman chosen by the First carried unimaginable power at her fingertips. If she wanted to get her revenge on those who'd taken her power away the first time, she knew she had to stay on the woman's good side.

"Is that Kim?" Ashley whispered in astonishment, looking from Andros to Cassie before looking back at the leather clad figure.

"Well, if it isn't the little yellow cheer-tart," Kim grinned sarcastically.

Cassie and Ashley shared a look of shock. "Can we say we're screwed?" the Pink Space Ranger muttered.

"Um, yeah, ya think?" Ashley shot back.

Andros' gaze landed on the two, his look silencing them even as T.J. hit his communicator. "Jason, get over here, NOW."

Divatox, Morganna, Vypra, Necrolai, Scorpina and Trakeena regrouped and flanked Astronema and Kimberly, sneering the whole time. "Is that who I think it is?" Justin uttered his question at Jason, who nodded, a grim look on his face.

"How the hell did they manage to turn her?" Zack demanded. He felt like his world was starting to fall out from under him.

The Red and Pink Zeo Rangers shared a look that spoke volumes. "Jason," Kat whispered. The vulnerable tone of her voice broke his heart as much as seeing Kim sneer at them did.

"I don't know what to do," the Red Ranger told her, the first time in his time as leader looking confused and lost. "I've never been on this side of her like that; spells and enchantments yes, but never like Tommy."

For the first time since Trini's funeral, Kat watched his composure crumbled. Jason was a strong man with a deep faith in all that was good. To see his little sister as she was now, Kat knew it was killing him. She knew he loved her like no other, but Trini and Kim held special places in his heart; he'd loved them longer and far more deeply than most. She could literally see his heart breaking in his eyes.

"KIM!"

Tommy's voice ripped through the air, slicing at each of them. Kimberly's head snapped up and her eyes flashed pink before the black overpowered it. Jason's gaze turned to Tommy and the two silently communicated the way that friends who were as close as brothers had the skill to. Whatever had happened just after the wedding, it simply didn't matter anymore. The two men had one mission and one mission only – get through to Kim.

The White Ranger hurried forward, with Rocky, Adam, Aisha and Billy right behind him. The other teams – Time Force, Wild Force, Ninja Storm, Mystic Force, and Dino Thunder moved over to help the other teams. As soon as he was within reach, Kat's hand shot out and stopped him. "Both of you stop and think," she ordered. "She's not in the best frame of mind at the moment."

The trio never noticed the black as midnight gaze narrowing in on them; at least they didn't until power began pumping off Kimberly in visible waves. Her eyes were locked on where Katherine's hands were – one on Jason, the other on Tommy.

"You will die, slowly and painfully," Kimberly growled.

It was at that point that all of the Rangers realized morphing would be a smart thing to do.

"LEGENDARY SORCE, MSYTIC FORCE!"

"SPD EMERGENCY!"

"DINO THUNDER POWER UP!"

"NINJA STORM, RANGER FORM!"

"WILD ACCESS!"

"TIME FOR TIME FORCE!"

"LIGHTSPEED RESCUE!"

"GO GALACTIC!"

"LET'S ROCKET!"

"IT'S MORPHIN TIME!"

Even as their morphs began, Kimberly let out an inhuman scream and thrust her palm out in front of herself. Black power spewed from her body and flew away from her, battering the Rangers intensely.

The teams cried out in shock and disbelief while the women standing with the evil Pink Ranger laughed. Kimberly had finally done what no one else ever had been able to – she knocked all of the Rangers out of morph more than halfway through the process that normally shielded them.

The blast sent the Rangers careening back in all directions. Shouts of surprise and pain echoed out in the tiny space ringed by high rise buildings. "Well, she is powerful, isn't she?" Divatox cracked, only to shrink back when Kimberly rounded on her, eyes sparking with power.

"They're getting back up," Astronema announced.

Swinging back around, Kim strode forward, hands on her hips, a sinister smile on her blood red lips. The first person to recover and face her was Tommy. "Kimberly," he painfully murmured, holding his ribs, even as he took a step toward her only to have her power snap and lick at him, forcing him back a few steps out of self preservation.

"What do you think of your Beautiful now, White Ranger?" she sneered. "The pathetic little girl is now a woman, with incredible power."

Tommy swallowed hard. "Beautiful, you were never a pathetic little girl, and you've always had power – the power of your heart, your generosity, your gentle soul. The woman I love knows her darkness but she'd never let it control her."

"The woman you loved is dead and gone," she told him gleefully. "Nothing exists of her anymore."

Shaking his head, Tommy took another step toward her, regardless of the power whipping around her and trying to slap at him. "You're wrong. Zedd and Rita could never do it, and neither could Maligore. My Beautiful, my Kimberly, is still there, buried under his brainwashing."

While Tommy talked, the Morphin and Zeo teams inched forward slowly, and the others slowly got up and backed away so as not to make her feel threatened. Unfortunately for them all, Katherine made the mistake of putting her hand on Tommy's shoulder.

"Look, she's already replacing you, again," Scorpina murmured in Kimberly's ear, smirking as the Pink Ranger's hair began to lift from her shoulders thanks to an unseen wind.

Jason, Billy, Rocky, Adam and Zack reacted the quickest of the group closest to her. Jason grabbed Kat around the waist and spun her away from the blast. Adam and Rocky spun themselves around and pushed Tanya and Aisha to the ground while Zack dove and pushed Justin down. Billy was left to tackle Tommy just as Kim's power struck out at them, sizzling and snapping over their heads.

The other teams were far enough away that all they felt was a strong wind slap at them. In the blink of an eye, all the women but Kimberly disappeared. "This is your only warning, Rangers. The next time we meet, you will not survive, especially your precious pink kitten." In a second flat Kim was gone, leaving three teams broken and in denial while the others struggled to cope with everything that had happened.

Justin sat up, staring at the spot where Kim had been, and uttered, "Can you say we're FUCKED?"

Rocky shot the younger boy a withering glare for the use of language, for once his playful mood completely gone. "No, Justin, we're royally fucked," Billy uttered instead, for once his eloquent vocabulary failing him as the others stared on in disbelief.