It was all his fault.
Alone in the bathroom, Sky hung his head as as a dark, malevolent cloud of despair enveloped him. Mirloc could be anywhere by now. His moment of weakness might have cost countless innocent lives.
When he closed his eyes, he could still hear the cruel laughter, the cutting taunts. Next time, Sky promised silently, he would be ready. He would be strong and show no emotion. He would do the job he had been trained for.
If there ever was a next time.
Mirloc was probably light-years away by now. Sky let out a frustrated sigh and looked into the mirror. The most wanted criminal in the galaxy stared back at him from the reflection.
"Mirloc!" Sky stumbled backward. His hand darted for his morpher.
"Don't bother," Mirloc said. "You can't defeat me alone… and I'll be gone before you can call for backup." The iridescent scales on his face shifted, revealing a row of glistening white teeth. They were teeth for tearing and ripping, jagged and razor sharp like the teeth of a shark.
Mirloc was smiling.
That was when Sky realized the depth of his mistake. Now that Mirloc was free, no one was safe. The monster could strike in any place, at any time. If Mirloc wanted to kill him, he could do it right here, right now, in the heart of S.P.D. Headquarters — and nobody could stop him.
It was a smile of victory.
Sky wondered if that smile was the last thing his father saw before he died. He took a deep breath and steeled himself before speaking. "Why are you here?"
"I came here to tell you a secret." Mirloc lowered his voice to a dramatic whisper. "I never killed your father."
Sky's jaw clenched in anger. He refused to be baited by this murderer — this liar — who had tricked and used him on Gamma Orion. "I know it was you."
"Oh, I killed the red ranger. But he wasn't your father."
"What do you mean?" Sky asked, against his better judgement. He knew he was playing right into Mirloc's hands. He knew, but couldn't stop himself.
"So the Commander and Dr. Manx never told you," Mirloc said, a sly glint in his eyes. "For all these years, they hid the truth… about your father… about yourself."
"Even if they did, why would I believe anything you have to say?"
"Why would I lie? And after all, this isn't the first — or the last — piece of information Anubis Cruger has hidden from you. Don't you deserve to know the truth?"
"The truth." Sky repeated the words to himself. He wondered what that was. He wondered who he could trust. Not Mirloc, certainly. As for Cruger… he trusted the Commander with his life on a daily basis. But that trust was not returned. He had a right to know about his past, about Mirloc, and Cruger had conspired to keep that from him.
"I'll even give you a choice," Mirloc continued. His tone implied that he was doing Sky a favor. "Tell me that you don't want to know, and I will disappear and never mention it again."
Sky said nothing, but Mirloc took his silence as an invitation to continue.
"Twenty-three years ago, I had a lab on Onyx," Mirloc said. "I had scientists conduct illegal genetic experiments, creating bio-weapons, clones… and hybrids."
"I always saw such wasted potential in the human species, so I chose to fuse my own DNA with discarded human fetuses. There were many failures, but one success. You were born in my lab, as my creation. If you won't believe me, ask Dr. Manx. She will confirm my story."
"You're lying," Sky retorted. His hand twitched and again inched toward his morpher. "I know who I am."
"Do you?" Mirloc asked, in the mocking tones that Sky knew all too well. "Let me tell you something about yourself. You were never quite as compatible with the ranger powers as the others. You believe that this will change when you're red ranger, but it won't. You see, your teammates have the morphing grid bonded with their DNA. Your powers come from a different source."
"What about my father?"
"What about him? It was an unhappy accident — fate, if you will — that led S.P.D. to my labs. The rangers destroyed decades of research and priceless data. I thought you had died. Imagine my surprise when I discovered you were on Earth… and the red ranger was passing you off as his human 'son'."
"So you came to Earth," Sky said. It wasn't a question. All the pieces of the horrifying truth were beginning to fall into place.
"I came to take back what was mine."
"And my… father got in the way, so you killed him." Sky shivered and his voice wavered. "I — I don't understand. Why are you telling me this? Why now?"
"Do I need a reason?" Mirloc said smoothly. "Because I want to. Because I can. And because I was curious to see what you had become."
"And you turned out even better than I hoped. Imagine what we could have done together." The monster made an expansive gesture. "You, me, an entire universe for the taking."
"That would never have happened." Sky clutched the edge of the sink until his knuckles went white. "I'm going to capture you, Mirloc, and send you back to prison where you belong."
"I wouldn't expect anything less," Mirloc replied. His mouth twisted into a one-sided smirk. "You know, we're more alike than you realize. You're ambitious and determined. Most of all, you're drawn to power. For now, you only covet the power of the red morpher, maybe even the shadow morpher. And once you possess them — then what? You'll need more. I know that hunger. It drives us both."
"No," Sky breathed. Tears burned behind his eyes. "No. Shut up!" He punched the reflection with all his strength. The impact left a spiderweb crack in the mirror and left his hand aching, but Mirloc only laughed.
A parting taunt echoed in his ears. "What would your friends say if they knew you were a monster?"
"It wouldn't change anything!" Sky shouted back, but Mirloc was already gone. He was alone, and Cruger had been right. The truth was far worse than ignorance. He stared at his reflection and told himself one last, comforting, blinding lie.
"I haven't changed…"
A/N: I know, it's a bizarre tweak to Sky's backstory, but after seeing Reflection again (and re-watching Star Wars), the idea just wouldn't leave me alone. Please review, it only takes a second!