At a park by the edge of the city the siren could be heard echoing in the distance. It had only begun minutes before but the park was now empty, as people headed for safe locations during the battle between a giant monster and the power rangers. No one was there to see the Titanium ranger come to a stop in the parking lot.
What happened? His sister's face wouldn't leave his mind. It was so familiar. Not his sisters. The eyes. The mouth. He had seen someone else the moment her face was revealed.
His mother. But she didn't look like that. Did she? Ryan let out a strangled cry and punched a tree, cracking it down the middle. All those years there was only Dad and Dana. His enemies. The reasons for his pain. He hadn't thought about her in over ten years. He paused, thinking. Had it been that long?
Diabolico never mentioned her. Why would he? She wasn't a factor anymore. The only time mothers were even mentioned was… Jinxer.
He went to him several times when he was too injured to train. Begrudgingly he had helped heal Ryan but only under Diabolico's orders. One time he wasn't in his usual place so Ryan had wandered around the tomb. The tomb seemed to have never ending corridors so he was never able to figure out how large it was. He knew basically how to find his way around; as long as he didn't go too far from his quarters. He realized that he had gone too far too late and seemed to be hopelessly lost. He dared not yell for help fearing the punishment for being where he was not supposed to be. Before he had time to panic further he heard the sound of Jinxer's voice coming for a nearby room. Relieved he ran to the entryway and peered in. Jinxer was pacing the room mumbling to himself. Just beyond him there was something laying on a stone table. It looked like a cocoon of some kind.
"Take care of Impus, heal the human child! Uh! I am not a nursemaid!" cried Jinxer.
Ryan slowly entered the room, "Jinxer?"
Startled, Jinxer spun around to face Ryan, "What are you doing here, human?" As he turned he revealed a sleeping face to the cocoon.
"Diabolico sent me to find you." It was true enough. "Is that a baby? How come I've never seen it before?" he asked, trying to peer around the mosquito like demon.
"Because he is none of your concern," Jinxer said, sounding like he wasn't sure quite how much he was suppose to reveal. "This is Impus, Queen Bansheera's son."
"Queen Bansheera has a son?" Ryan looked at the cocooned infant in surprise. He had heard of the Queen, they all served her. She wasn't trapped in the tomb with the rest of them though; no one was really sure what had happened to her.
"I just said that! Now you need to leave." Jinxer huffed.
But Ryan didn't move. He seemed transfixed on Impus. Had he been away from her all this time? Did he even remember her? "She's his mother?"
Jinxer was growing impatient now and started ushering him out of the room, "Yes. Mother. You're acting like you've never heard of one. You have a mother don't you?"
"No." Ryan said, turning to Jinxer.
"No?" Jinxer paused, then continued to push Ryan out, "Of course you do, human. Everyone has a mother. Now leave!"
But he didn't. What happened to his mother? He strained his mind. She had died but…he couldn't remember how. He tried again to picture her face but it was no use. Every time he tried to see her he only saw Dana.
On instinct, Ryan spun around, but realized the voice was in his mind. He quickly dropped to one knee and lowered his head, "Yes, Diabolico."
You left without orders.
"Forgive me, Diabolico, I couldn't wait. I wanted to catch the rangers off guard."
Then they are destroyed.
Ryan paused. It was a statement but he could tell Diabolico knew that wasn't the outcome. He wanted Ryan to say it. "No… they aren't. But I would have…"
Done nothing. We noticed your absence just in time to catch the end of that pathetic fight. You let her go.
"The other rangers -"
Were far enough away that you could have easily snapped her neck and dealt with them.
Ryan could feel the ripples of anger from Diabolico in his mind.
You will give me an explanation when you return but not yet. I have located your father. He left the ranger's base and has journeyed to the cliff. I sent Vypra and a monster to distract the rangers so you should have no trouble finally destroying your father!
The cliff. Diabolico didn't have to specify; there was only one. "I will not fail you."
Do not fail yourself.
Road Side Cliff
Ryan came to a stop beside the road and powered down. This way of traveling was so slow; so very human. But until he was shown how to transport himself, this or having portals opened by the demons would have to do. As he took a few deep breaths he looked out at his surroundings. The edge of the cliff lay before him with guard rails lining it. It does give a false sense of security, doesn't it? he thought. Humans must feel very safe thinking that weak metal would stop them from going over. For a moment he forgot why he was there and walked to the railing looking over edge. There was a steep decline that dropped off suddenly a few yards down. All these years and here he was; at the beginning again.
"You don't remember, do you?" a voice called from behind him.
Ryan spun around to face his father. He saw little difference between the man he remembered and the man that was walking toward him. Good. He laughed harshly, "That would make it easier for you, wouldn't it, if I didn't remember anything? I may have been only six but I remember enough to condemn you. But what memory changes the outcome?" he asked, looking out at the open air beyond the cliff then back to his father, "You didn't save me, you didn't even try!"
"That's not true!" His father cried, pain evident on his face. "When we went over the cliff you were hanging onto my leg. I couldn't reach you. I tried, but there was nothing I could do."
"Nothing. Really? How was it then that Dana was in your arms while I clung desperately to your leg?" Ryan tried to keep his mind calm but his anger began breaking through.
"I…" William Mitchell's voice faltered as he held back the mental anguish the memories caused him.
Ryan closed the distance between them, "You let me go!" he yelled into his father's face. He grabbed the lapel of his jacket, pulling him closer, speaking lower and more harshly than before, "You let me go to save yourself."
"No!" William cried, his mental state crumbling further.
Ryan flinched. Sensing humans was easy but being this close to a blood relative while all of the walls fell from the mind…he never had to keep someone's mind away like this. Focusing on his task, he attacked again, "But you saved Dana!"
"I tried to save you both!"
"Of course! That must be why she remained in your arms and I fell to my death." He pushed his father away and got a thoughtful look on his face. "Aah, my dear sister. The years she has spent out here will make her death all the more slow."
William was shocked by his son's words. "Ryan, you can't! She's your sister!"
"Yes, she is, but that didn't stop me earlier."
"Earlier?" William went pale.
"While you wallowed in self pity out here you could have been helping your daughter. It looks like you're not there for her either. I would have finished her off if the other rangers hadn't shown up. Besides, what is blood? It didn't mean anything on this cliff before, but since it seems to hold some kind of meaning to you now I'll be sure to drain it from her body; so there will be nothing to tie me to her."
Though he enjoyed the look of shock plastered on his father's face he didn't know if he could actually fight his sister again, let alone kill her. Keeping the bluff up, he continued, "Nothing, that is, but you. And I'll fix that soon enough." William was now backed up against the railing as Ryan advanced on him. Before his father could voice a protest Ryan stopped, tilting his head as if listening for something. He gave a short laugh, "Your rangers have timing; I'll give them that."
Puzzled, William listened as well. At first there was nothing but the swirling wind, and then he heard it, the rumble of the rescue rover. With Ryan distracted he tried to reach him again, "You don't want to do this."
"I don't?" he laughed harshly, returning his focus to his father, "I have thought of nothing else through the years but revenge."
William looked longingly at his son. He had only seen his eyes at first; saw in them his hurt and lost child, but now he took it all in. The baggy black clothes made him look smaller than he was; made William continue to think of his young son. In actuality Ryan was lean and solid, his unnaturally pale skin so out of place in the sunlight. He could see small discolorations on his arms and some on his face. Scars collected over the years. He spoke slowly, "I am so sorry, Ryan."
"It's a little late for that don't you think?" he sneered.
"I'm sorry I couldn't save you. I'm sorry for my powerlessness and that you were left with nothing but a shoe to hold." William spoke, close to tears.
"You can stop now," Ryan said, his hands clenching, "I'm getting tired of your pitiful ramblings."
"I'm sorry that you had to experience the hell that you've obviously been through."
"I said shut up!" he yelled, taking a threatening step forward. The rover was easy to hear now. Any moment it would be turning the corner. Ryan turned his attention back to his father and met pleading eyes.
You're weak, just like you father.
No. He would not fail again. "Everything that happened was your fault! You were powerless. You're weak. And I am nothing like you and never will be."
"Never!" Ryan ran forward as the rover roared around the corner. Before it could stop, Ryan slammed into his father knocking them both over the metal guard and over the edge of the cliff.
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
Dana watched in horror as her family fell from view. "Noooo!" she screamed, jumping from the rover, but she only made it a few steps before she collapsed. Joel and Kelsey ran to the railing while Chad and Carter stopped by Dana. Her eyes were wide with shock, staring at the cliff.
"Not here." She said, shaking her head. "Not again."
"We can't see them," Joel yelled as he Kelsey ran back to them. "We need to get to the bottom."
Carter grabbed Dana's arm, pulling her to her feet, "Dana, we have to go!" Still dazed, Dana ran with her team back to the rover.
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
They tumbled faster and faster down the sloping cliff. Sagebrush and rocks tore at their clothes while bludgeoning the father and son. The ground suddenly disappeared leaving nothing but air beneath them. Just as the air began to rush past, Ryan felt a pain as his arm caught on something leaving him hanging from the cliff face staring down. After the dizzying tumble his distance from ground only made him more nauseous. The grip on his arm tightened. He looked up to see his father grasping a protruding root with one hand and onto him with the other. William groaned from the strain, "Hold on, Ryan! Hold on!" An image hit Ryan harder than the cliff had.
Rain was falling hard around him. His arm throbbing in pain. His daughter's arms holding tight around his neck. Daughter? Dana!
He was back at the same cliff, the sun hitting his face, his father holding his arm and fire lacing through his head. No. His father's mind was panicking. "Don't…" The memory hit him again.
Where was Ryan?! He fell out of my hands. "Dad, please help me!" Ryan's voice cried below. My foot! Thank goodness! "Ryan, hang on buddy!" "Dad, I'm slipping!" "No, hang on, Ryan!" "Daddy, I'm scared," Dana cried."Please help me Dad!" "Somebody help! Please, somebody help me!"
Ryan twisted in the air and he gasped for breath. "Hold on!" he heard his father cry again. He tried to yell at his father to stop but he could only gasp as his mind twisted. He could barely hold onto his father's arm. His vision blurred again.
"Somebody help!" His hand wanted to slip off the water drenched root but he forced his grip to tighten around it. He gasped as a golden light suddenly swirled down from the sky stopping in the air before him, taking the shape of an armored monster.
"I can help you."
The golden figure seemed familiar somehow but as he stared at it his mind screamed warnings. "Go away!"
"Consider my offer, for he will soon fall. But, know that if I save his life he belongs to me!"
Belong to this creature? He looked down at Ryan, who, once again, cried out for help. "Never!" It was unthinkable.
"The choice is yours." The creature said as the light dissipated.
"Stop!" Ryan yelled at his father, at the same time almost slipping from his grasp.
"I'm Slipping!" Ryan cried. He could feel the shoe sliding. He flexed his foot trying to stop it. "No, hold on!" "Dad! Please!" The shoe moved down further, "No!" He heard Ryan yell as the shoe finally fell off completely, causing Ryan to plummet down. Horror gripped his chest. "Ryan!" He couldn't watch his son die!
"Save him!" As soon as the words left his lips the light appeared again, racing down to Ryan at an incredible speed. The creature scooped up Ryan, just missing the wreckage and flew back up to the cliff. William looked at his son, unconscious, cradled in the arms of the monster, as it laughed triumphantly. What had he done? "Please, I'll do anything. Just give me back my son."
"You have no claim on him." The creatures eyes grew wide as if it had discovered something, then it spoke again. "You will not see him again until his twentieth birthday. He belongs to me now." The light grew bright then shot up through the air.
His vision sharpened and he was alone in his mind again. What was that? That wasn't how it happened. His father let him fall. He never agreed. He searched his mind. It was so long ago. "Ryan!" his father's voice cut into his thoughts, "Ryan I can't hold you; you've got to climb up to the root!" He could feel his father straining to pull him up farther. Ryan grabbed his father's coat using both to pull himself up to the root. The wood was bone dry like the dirt holding it in the cliff side. Facing each other, caked in dirt, they hung from the root. William searched his son's eyes and was surprised to find his son doing the same; though unlike his father, desperation gripped his mind. He didn't save me. He was always told this. But was it true? Was he too far away to hear his father's plea to Diabolico? But Diabolico told him… A realization hit. The memory couldn't be false. His father's mind was too unfocused to create something like that. Diabolico could lie, very easily, but his mind refused the thought.
Dry dirt suddenly crumbled around the root letting it slip a foot out of the cliff. Ryan's grip slipped on his right hand but he quickly regained his hold. The root was no longer held tightly in the ground. Ryan could feel the earth still giving way. "It's not going to hold!" he yelled searching for something else to hold but finding nothing.
"Not both of us," his father said. It was said so simply that Ryan turned back to him, confused. His father searched his eyes again then spoke, "I would have done anything to save you, Ryan." With no other warning his father let go of the root.
Surprised at the action, he watched his father fall, in shock. All of the sudden his father's memory and the present fused. Through the sunlight and the rain he watched his father and himself fall. Panic and desperation gripped his chest and he heard his father cry out, "Save him!"