Disclaimer: Power Rangers and all things related belong to Haim Saban.

Impending Darkness

Chapter One

Billy sat up suddenly, his hands automatically raised to defend himself. A searing sensation swept over his skin, and the Blue Ranger inhaled with a sharp exclamation. Slowly he unclenched his fingers, feeling rather than seeing the angry burns on his forearms and hands. Billy fought down a wave of panic as he realized that his glasses were missing and he had no immediate way to determine his surroundings. Everything was dim and murky, as if wherever he was had little illumination at present. Billy took a quick status report of himself: burns and some moderate bruising as well as what felt like a sprained ankle. His glasses and own clothes were gone, replaced by a type of mesh tunic and pants. More disturbing was the absence of his communicator and morpher. Had he been captured?

"Somehow this situation lacks the traditional atmosphere of Zedd and Rita's lunar establishment," Billy said aloud, simply to hear some noise other than silence.

Unexpectedly, he received a reply. "Billy?" Kimberly's voice came to him tentatively, as if she was afraid she was dreaming. Billy also heard weakness, and hypothesized that Kimberly was injured as well.

"Kimberly?" Billy called back, willing his voice to sound better than he felt. He groped around him for familiar objects and quickly discerned that he was lying on some sort of narrow bed. Carefully, Billy disentangled himself from the blanket that had been covering him and got his bare feet on the floor. The surface felt spongy and wet, but he didn't let that deter him. "Kimberly, please continue to speak," he said to her, eager to locate a friend in the darkness.

"I'm over here," Kim said, a definite note of fear in her voice. "Billy, where are we?"

"I am unsure as to our current location, but no hostile movements have been directed at us yet." Billy kept moving forward, limping severely but determined. He encountered a low table, catching it in a blind grab right before it fell over.

"What was that?" Kim asked.

"In my optically challenged state, I failed to see an article of furniture in my path. Thankfully, it does not seem to have sustained any damage."

A hint of laughter crept into Kimberly's voice. "Nice to know some things don't change. So you lost your glasses?"

"It would appear so." Billy felt around with his hands to keep from hitting anything else. The dull pain in his left ankle intensified as he headed toward Kim. At last, Billy found the edge of another bed, and then a hand that gripped his reassuringly.

"Kim, are you all right?" Even if Billy couldn't see much, he could certainly hear Kimberly's unsteady breathing. Without his glasses, he could only make out a pale, blurry circle that was the Pink Ranger's face.

"It's my ribs," Kim said after a long moment. "I think a few might be broken." There was an uneasy pause before she asked, "Billy, do you remember what happened to us?"

Strangely, the thought had not crossed the young man's mind. "We were engaged in combat against Rita and Zedd's putties, as well as their new monster, Alarmo. I recall defeating the putties and Alarmo growing…" Billy trailed off. "After that I am uncertain."

"Do you think the monster did this? Alarmo didn't seem to be really strong or smart, just annoying." Kimberly recalled the thirty-two separate times she'd been woken in one night by Alarmo's pint-sized version of himself, before the Rangers had figured out what he really was.

Billy said slowly, "We might have to consider the possible hypothesis that our precise location may have no corresponding relationship to Rita and Zedd."

There was a pause. Then, "Could I have a translation?" Kimberly asked the dark room in general, managing a weak laugh.

A voice to their left answered, "He said that Rita and Zedd might have nothing to do with this."

"Trini?" Kimberly gasped. "Are you okay?"

"I think so; just some bruises," Trini replied. There was a rustling noise, and then soft footsteps approached. Trini peered at her two friends with concern. "Billy, what happened to your hands?" She touched the back of Billy's right hand gently. The fiery pain abruptly flared back to life, and Billy couldn't help wincing and pulling away.

"I believe I may have encountered some conflagration of which I have no memory," he said after the worst of the discomfort had passed.

"He said he got burned but doesn't remember how," Trini translated for Kim's benefit. "If there was more light I could see how bad it is."

"And perhaps we could determine our location," Billy added.

"And find Tommy, Jason, and Zack," Kimberly said. "It would be too weird if we're here and they're not."

Trini looked around, able to see only silhouettes and dramatic color differences, such as Billy's white shirt versus the darkness beyond him. She squinted, her almond-shaped eyes narrowing further. "I think I see another bed on the other side of you, Kim." Trini went and checked, touching the shoulder of the occupant gently. "It's Zack," she reported. "He's got a really big bump on his head, you guys. I don't know if he'll be waking up anytime soon."

"Guys?" Jason's voice came from somewhere in front and to the right of Kim's bed, from the direction Billy had originally come. "What happened—aah." Jason made a brief noise of pain even as he slid to the floor and steadied himself against the end of his own bed.

"Jason?" Trini felt her way toward him. "Are you hurt?"

"I feel like Goldar decided to play basketball with my head. That's if that winged monkey could even figure basketball out." Jason managed a laugh. "But other than that, I think it's only a few cuts and bruises."

"Tommy must be here, too," came Kim's voice. "Jase, Trini, do you see him?" Fear had worked its way back into her mind, and Kim imagined the worst for her boyfriend.

"It's hard to see anything," Jason said. "Trini, can you look for a light switch while I find Tommy?" He rubbed his temples, trying to get his throbbing head and neck to give him a break.

"Okay, but be careful," Trini warned. "If you feel dizzy, sit down before you fall down."

"I encountered a low table when I first attempted to traverse this room," Billy said, still leaning against Kim's bed, momentarily useless due to his vision.

"Trini?" Jason called over his shoulder.

"He hit a table earlier," the Asian girl said.

Jason heard just in time to avoid knocking over the mentioned obstacle. He kept one hand on the table, feeling around for any accompanying furniture. At the very end of his reach, he encountered the end of another bed. In the darkness, Jason couldn't see who it was, but Zack and Tommy were the only ones he hadn't heard from.

"Is Zack over there?" he asked in Billy and Kim's direction.

"Trini determined that he is to the right of Kimberly's position," Billy answered. "Judging from your voice, you are to the left."

"Then I have good news for you, Kim," Jason said as he touched Tommy's shoulder. "Tommy's here all right." A sudden frown crossed his face. Tommy was lying on his front, and somehow Jason doubted he had gotten there on his own. Without enough light, it was impossible to know if the White Ranger was injured.

"Tommy," Jason said, shaking his friend's shoulder. "Come on, bro." He felt Tommy move, and smiled in relief. "Man, you had me worried."

"Jason? What happened?" Jason heard movement, as if Tommy was trying to sit up. "Argh, something's wrong with my back; it feels like its burning." Jason detected an undercurrent of panic in Tommy's voice.

"Hold on, Trini's trying to find the lights," Jason said. "We'll work this out. You're not the only one that wants to know what's going on."

Tommy stopped trying to get up, more out of concern for the type of injury he had, rather than the pain. Pain could be dealt with far more easily than a spinal injury. "Is everyone here? Where's Kim?"

"She's just over there with Billy. Man, I don't know what happened to us, but it was serious. Zack's still out cold."

"I've got it!" Trini's voice carried across the room.

"Good job, Trini," Kim called. "Billy, you look terrible."

"It would seem that the unfortunate events which brought us to our present location were not designed to preserve our physical health or appearances," Billy said in reply.

"What did he say?" Zack sounded groggy, but the very fact that he was awake was enough cause to breathe a temporary sigh of relief.

"He said that we all look terrible," Trini filled in. "It's good to have you back, Zack."

In the midst of finally being reunited and being able to see one another, there was one person who was silent.

"Jase? What's wrong?" Tommy asked, raising himself slightly on one elbow to get a look at his best friend's expression. Jason's hand left Tommy's shoulder and he passed it once across his face.

"Did Trini really turn the lights on?" Jason asked quietly.

"Yes," Tommy replied cautiously. Jason's brown eyes never wavered, but his voice betrayed him.

"I can't see, bro."

To be continued