My Disclaimer: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and associated trademarks are owned by Saban Entertainment and Disney and I am not claiming ownership.
Author's Introduction: This story is set during the MMPR era of Season 2 (at least to start off with). It is AU. I have based it on an idea that came to me when watching Rocky, Adam and Aisha take over command of the red, black and yellow power coins. Whilst enjoying the newbies greatly as replacements, I did find how they came to be in the rangers' lives rather "perfect and ideal" and I wanted to explore this concept in its entirety. This is my most recently written piece and I'm largely out of practice so let's see how it goes!
Rating: M (If you've read my stories such as 'Existence' you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect)
Genre: Suspense / Drama / Angst
Season: MMPR [AU]
Summary: They were the perfect replacements. But when their assignment is revealed as more than just fate, it thrusts them all in a deadly game at the hands of their own government and forces them all to decide the team they're fighting for [MMPR].
The Perfect Replacements
By Chanelle Summer
Prologue – Deliverance
An unknown location;
An unknown date
Sweeping satin fell in twisted planes from the steep inner-peak of the externally less embellished United States government institution. Their gentle shade dulled the skylights from above, casting the room below in an uncomfortable light that thrust even more uncomfortable shadows along the bare off-white walls. For those that knew the institution intimately, it would not be difficult to remember the copious room prior to its transformation into the temporary place of justice it had now been assigned.
For the young woman sitting behind the stand, the irony of the stars and banners that constructed the distorted arrangement above was not lost to her. In the briefest moment of clarity she considered if perhaps the room had once been used for elaborate charity functions or prestigious gatherings. She could hear the clinking of wine glasses in her mind now. Pictured their matching teeth against the softest of luxurious cottons and cuffs, ties and diamonds. So many faces were known to her and yet they looked back at her now as though she'd shattered their goblets and drawn them against their throats. Showered their expensive wines like the blood from her own throat and those of her absent companions.
Her eyes lowered to the ends of her fingers. The edges of her nails were no longer soiled, but sanded back in ugliness, the skin beneath them violet and shadowed. The tips still stung from the firm bristles that had scrubbed and scrubbed her skin for her appearance on this very day and yet she wondered how presentable she really looked. She could see her distorted reflection in the handcuffs that bound her wrists, but it was unreliable and worthless at this point. The hottest of showers could not burn the pungent scent of dirtied blood from her nostrils.
Her breathing felt noisy. The scent was unrelenting. Did the men and women who sat uniformed before her smell it, just as she did, so strongly that it was the only taste she could master? Repetitive sound droned, but her hearing was no longer a reliable sense to depend on. She was far too crestfallen to swear by her sight either, especially when it meant not showing this to the suited man in front.
He asked it again. For a third time, and she snaked her tongue between her lips, feeling them sandpaper against its desiccated surface.
The tiniest of winces felt negligent. "I'm sorry…" Her train of thought had lost its tracks.
The uniformed sigh was eminent, as was the inevitable repetition of the question. "You were asked to explain to the court before you why you chose to betray the government of The United States of America."
The question was less commanding this time around, the meaning behind it having clearly lost its initial emphasis. Her eyes drifted upwards, but she was praying to the wrong symbol of unity.
"I never wanted to betray anyone," she sounded stiffly. Her emotions were too exhausted.
"Please answer the question."
If there was an easy answer, she would have revealed it in hope for an escape from this predicament. She would consider death over this but that felt too in vain.
"I…don't remember the question," she began. Her eyes squeezed shut and it hurt her so much that she whimpered. She wasn't strong. She doubted she could handle any further punishments, particularly the kind delivered in places unbeknownst to the general public.
"I-." Her eyes welcomed the dim, dusty light. Her fingers were unsightly enough but nothing pained her more than the reminder of darkness behind closed eyes. "Please understand."
A gentleman to the right shuffled a paper. Or several. An older man with thinning hair raised his face enough for the parading national flags above to reflect in the glasses perched on his nose.
"Ms. Dryer, you have been charged with several serious crimes against the United States government and its people." The voice came from yet another man in yet another suit. "Please answer the questions asked before you or you will be charged with being in contempt of this court and obstructing its invested powers."
Aisha nodded weakly. The voice belonged to a man that she once knew, but she knew now that all she'd really been sure of was that she'd never really known him at all.
And yet who was she? She had been singled out, stripped of her name and left isolated in her public humiliation. Had her betrayal been real enough this would not have been the case, but she was easily disposable to them. She had served her purpose. Even if she had failed to serve her duty or complete their mission.
The shorter man, the drone, repeated the question in earnest.
"Ms. Dryer, please tell this court why you chose to betray the government of The United States of America."
The words molded into their own verbal death sentence. No answer, no matter how apologetic, could save her now, much less her friends.
"My actions were never in defiance of this nation or its government," she begun, an unsteady trip at first, then a leveled voice as she eased into her final deliverance. "You have already decided me guilty and my words will never change your minds nor open your eyes-."
"Ms. Dryer, please answer the-."
"Don't throw me in this makeshift court and pretend that you are serving the course of justice or prosecuting a guilty party!" the desperation rose in her voice, as she tried to stand but failed to rise above the weight that held her seated. "For it is all of you who are the guilty ones!"
Commotion rose. All in an effort to freeze and drown out the cry of a broken pawn. Once one of them. Once a server of justice. Once upon a time, a power ranger. But they'd tried to strip that away from her too, hadn't they?
"I am a power ranger!" She was certainly screaming. "You will never kill us for good!"
Her words echoed. Then entered the darkness. Then finally, silence.
...To Be Continued...
Coming up in Chapter One…
"This is Agent Kent Dowding in prime position," his lips brushed the speaker, as he watched the white ranger stagger to the ground.