Disclaimer: I don't own Power Rangers. They belong to Saban again.
AN: This story is for the To Protect and Serve Fic-a-thon. This story will focus on the MMPR/ZEO, NS, and DT teams. Part 1 takes place in fall 2004 and the rest will pick up one year later in 2005.
AN 2 Please read: Everything up through Dino Thunder is canon, with the exception that Kimberly never sent the letter to Tommy in this universe. The fiasco on Muranthias did happen. Jason and Kim were rescued and Kim returned to Florida shortly after that to compete in the Pan Globals. After winning gold, she moved back to California and went to college with Tommy. They married while Tommy was getting his PHD in Paleontology. She was present for the events of Dino Thunder but was not a ranger.
AN 3: This story is the first in this series and will likely be followed by at least two sequels. However, the first story is being submitted as my entry for the To Protect and Serve Fic-a-Thon.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Established Pairings: Tommy/Kim, Jason/Trini, Rocky/Aisha, Adam/Tanya, and Billy/Kat, Dustin/Marah
Pairings in Progress: Conner/Kira, Hunter/Tori
"Good evening and thank you for joining us this evening, I'm John Malone," the reporter introduced himself to the camera for news station channel four in Angel Grove.
"And I'm Tanya Park. We have breaking news this evening, as the manhunt for the dangerous and wanted serial killer that boasts the name "Ares" has come to a head. We're going live to our reporter, Jackie Phillips, who is at the scene of the local gym and well known high school hangout where the FBI and Angel Grove police believe they have cornered "Ares" inside," Tanya reported, as the TV studio switched to broadcast from the live cameras at the Gym and Juice Bar.
"Thanks Tanya, as most know, the name Ares is derived from the Greek God of War. However, the FBI has shed no light on what war this serial killer is trying to wage. I'm Jackie Phillips and I have with me, Detective Rocky Desantos of the Angel Grove Police Department," the female reporter said to the distracted looking detective.
"Detective Desantos, what can you tell us and how did the FBI trace the suspect to this location?" the reporter asked.
"As you know, Ms. Phillips, the man we're dealing with is severally unhinged and has raped and murdered eighteen women that we know of. Special agent Scott and his team caught a break earlier this evening when the suspect escalated and made a careless error, allowing the FBI to track him. Details are sparse at this time, but we're hoping to have the suspect in custody soon," Rocky informed.
"We'll keep in touch with you Detective, thank you and back to you, John and Tanya," Jackie stated, as the camera panned back to the studio.
"Thank you Jackie," Tanya thanked, as her co-anchor took over with another story.
"In other news, the autopsy results on billionaire business mogul Emmanuel Chavik revealed no foul play. The cause of death was confirmed by the coroner to be a massive heart attack. His wife of two years, Sabrina Chavik, declined our interview, asking that the public respect her privacy in this time of grief. With no children, Mrs. Chavik is the sole heiress to her husband's fortune," John continued…
Victor Goldman, better known to the public as Ares, switched off the television in the darkened youth center. The teen hangout had changed several hands over the years and even became different types of establishments, but ultimately returned to its roots as a gym and juice bar under new ownership a few years ago. He smirked, as he felt the presence of the one he was looking forward to facing.
"Lingering in the shadows is not really your style, SSA Scott," Victor hissed. Special Agent Jason Lee Scott emerged from the shadows and leveled his gun at the sociopath.
"End of the line, Goldman," Jason stated. Victor chuckled evilly and turned to face him.
"You are as good as they say you are, but then why wouldn't you be? All those years of hard training have paid off," Victor goaded.
"You gave us a good chase. I've been after you for three years. Never did get the name Ares though. It's a little generic, don't you think?" Jason asked. Goldman smirked.
"Still trying to profile me?" Victor asked.
"It's kind of what I do. So tell me, why rape and kill innocent young women? What war does that represent?" Jason asked. Victor chuckled.
"Innocent? Oh no, Agent Scott. The women that my victims represent are hardly innocent," Goldman hissed.
"So there are others you're really after," Jason concluded.
"You have no idea," Victor drawled.
"Doesn't matter, this is over. On your knees and put your hands where I can see them," Jason ordered.
"Oh, it's very far from over and aren't you curious as to why I led you here?" Goldman asked.
"You didn't lead me here. You finally made a mistake and our technical agent tracked you," Jason refuted. Victor chuckled in amusement.
"Ah yes, your colleague, the esteemed special agent and multiple PHD bearer, Dr. William Cranston," Victor stated. Jason glared at him, trying to figure out where he was going with this. The guy was all over the map. Every time they thought they had a profile nailed down for him, he changed M.O. or did something completely opposite of what the profile suggested.
"I know everything there is to know about you, agent Scott and everything there is to know about Dr. Cranston as well for that matter. And when I say everything…I mean everything…" he hissed, looking Jason straight in the eye. Something about this man's eyes had haunted him since the moment he started hunting him, but he could never put his finger on why.
"I study your kind and I don't mean FBI agents when I say that. I know about every single one of you…even Tommy's newest batch in Reefside. Oh, forgive me, I guess it's Dr. Oliver now," Victor said. Jason lowered his gun just slightly, as his eyes widened in surprise. But he quickly regained his composure and leveled his weapon at the man's head. He turned his earpiece off with a small press and switched it so only Billy would be picking him up.
"So…what? You killed all those women to get the attention of the power rangers? That's a little off target, you know. Rangers deal with the more alien variety of scum and you're human, so you fall into my jurisdiction now," Jason spat.
"Yes…humans, I guess that is what I am," Victor said, though his tone bore disappointment that confused the first red ranger of Earth.
"Listen…the time for your games is over. Put your hands where I can see them now. You're under arrest!" Jason demanded. Victor chuckled.
"And if I refuse?" Victor questioned.
"Then you'll provoke me into shooting you, but trust me, I'm a good enough shot that I can take you down without killing you," Jason promised. Victor chuckled, unnerving Jason even more.
"Care to share the joke, because I hardly see anything funny," he snapped.
"Your cluelessness is highly amusing, but you're right, I too am tiring of this little game. It's time to end it," Victor stated.
"Fine, then put your hands up. Don't make me ask again," Jason spat. Victor laughed again.
"That's not the kind of end I'm talking about," he hissed, as he grabbed a hidden gun from behind the bar.
"Put the weapon down!" Jason screamed.
"Make me, red ranger," Victor hissed. Jason's eyes widened in surprise again, as he called him out. And with his refusal to drop the gun, Jason ended it by putting a bullet in Goldman's forehead. The murderer fell to the floor like a dead weight and the former red ranger loomed over him. And just like that, this three-year-old case that had haunted him, stolen sleep from him, and taken up nearly all his time was finally over.
"Billy, did you get all that?" Jason asked into his earpiece.
"Oh yeah and I'm as baffled as you. But I already erased the parts that expose our pasts from the recording. I've also finally managed to hack through Goldman's entire database and I downloaded it all to the ranger database. Then I wiped it all out," Billy replied. Jason sighed.
"If our bosses find out…" Jason started.
"Relax…they won't. I've covered my tracks and logged in as Victor. It makes it looked like he was responsible for wiping his own system clean. Who the hell was this guy, Jase?" Billy asked.
"I don't know Bill, but we need to find out how much he knew and if anyone else knew about his little ranger obsession. I still have no idea what raping and murdering young women had to do with our pasts as rangers," Jason mumbled.
"Don't worry, I'm on it. The boss is headed your way," Billy warned.
"Agent Scott…I assume there was no other means to subdue the subject," the director presumed.
"No Sir, I had him cornered, but he deliberately pulled a weapon and chose suicide by cop instead of coming quietly," Jason reported, as Rocky and his partner entered.
"Nice work, agent Scott," Rocky complimented. Jason allowed a small smile.
"It's thanks to you that you pinned this guy down so quickly when he popped up here, Detective Desantos," Jason said, as the two men slowly walked out of earshot.
"You've got that look," Rocky stated.
"What look?" Jason asked.
"You know what look I mean. We both have an affinity for red, so I know it when I see it," Rocky replied.
"I'll fill you in later," Jason promised.
"But this is over…right?" Rocky asked. Jason sighed.
"I hope so, but if I have to go with my gut, then I would have to say not so fast," Jason replied simply, leaving Rocky behind to ponder his words.
Billy Cranston typed away on his laptop, completely and utterly fascinated and horrified by his findings in Goldman's database. This man had an obsession with rangers, but he had no idea what connected it to the eighteen rapes and murders he had committed. Sighing and deciding it was probably time to call it a night; he pushed back from the desk. A message invitation blipped in the corner of the screen and he smiled, accepting the video chat invite and welcomed the sight of his beautiful wife on the screen before him.
"Hey there handsome," Kat Cranston cooed to her husband.
"You really know how to flatter a tech nerd," Billy replied.
"You are not a nerd. The FBI would be lost without you. Besides, I've seen you fight and you carry a gun, which is clearly not nerdy. You're very cute in fact and your brain is sexy," Kat said playfully. He chuckled.
"I'm glad I'm cute then. How are the girls?" he asked.
"Full of energy as usual, though they're finally asleep. I meant to call earlier, but after keeping tabs on the news broadcast in Angel Grove online, I knew you wouldn't be able to talk. Guess it's over now though?" she asked. He nodded.
"Should be. We'll probably just have odds and ends to tie up and with any luck, I'll be home in Quantico by tomorrow night," he replied. She smiled.
"Good…I can't wait. We miss you," she said. He smiled.
"I miss you too. Kiss my little angels for me," he requested, as his phone beeped.
"That's probably Jason. He wants to go over a few things to wrap this up," Billy replied. She nodded.
"Okay…but try not to stay up all night. I love you," she said. He smiled.
"Love you too," he replied, as their video chat ended. Billy texted Jason back and packed up his laptop. He would meet with Jason in their hotel room and go over what he had found. He glanced at the victim board where they had the eighteen young women that had lost their lives in the last four years to this monster. He remembered how Goldman always bragged that the last words each of his victims heard was him saying, "I have the power now." And suddenly realization hit Billy Cranston like a ton of bricks.
"Holy shit…" Billy cursed, as he quickly took down the eighteen photos, stuffed them in his laptop case, and jogged out of the police department and was about to hail a cab when he saw Rocky. The former blue zeo ranger said goodnight to his partner and spotted him.
"Hey Billy…you look like you've seen a ghost," Rocky said.
"Maybe we have. Where's your car?" Billy asked.
"Over there," Rocky said, pointing with confusion.
"Good, you're driving me to the hotel. We need to talk to Jason right away," Billy said.
"Oh crap, I knew it. Jason had that look too. What the hell is going on?" Rocky demanded, as they got in his car.
"I'm not exactly sure yet, but if my hunch is right, then we might have a big problem," Billy responded shortly. Rocky groaned.
An Unknown Location
Victor Goldman strode confidently into his hideout, alive and well, with a satisfied smirk on his face.
"You look happy with yourself," a beautiful woman of Asian descent drawled.
"Why shouldn't I be? Jason killed the clone we created and reacted just the way I thought he would. You should be happy too. You're a very rich woman and you're finally rid of that weakling husband," Victor chuckled. She smirked.
"I am and I'll admit, I am enjoying watching you torture Jason Lee Scott. And you're right, his money is ours now. If we have to be cursed to live the rest of our lives on this mud ball, at least we can do it in style now," Sabrina said.
"You should have seen the look on his face when I referred to him as red ranger," Goldman chuckled at the memory.
"That's great and all, but I still don't get why you did all this and where we go from here," she said.
"You've really lost your imagination living as a human, Sabrina," he chided.
"I had to spend two years seducing that bastard of a husband, so explain it to me," she demanded.
"Isn't it obvious?" he snapped, as he looked around the room. The walls were papered with photos and surveillance captures of every living ranger that had ever donned armor, the most recent being Tommy Oliver's Dino rangers.
"Zordon cursed me with this human form, that's why!" Goldman roared.
"I am a proud Chimerian warrior in the body of this weak, disgusting human! I can never return to my home planet. The wise and great Zordon thought it would fit me better to become this!" Victor continued to rage, as he poured brandy into a glass, before gulping it down.
"I would have rather been turned to dust with Rito," he growled.
"So you want revenge?" Sabrina asked.
"Zordon isn't here or I would have already shattered that old wind bag's tube myself. But those he loves most are going about their happy little lives. That's about to come to an end. They're going to pay for Zordon's transgressions, every single one of them. When I'm done, there will be nothing but blood left of his legacy," Victor seethed.
"Fine, but what are we going to accomplish with you supposedly dead and us living in this hole?" Sabrina asked.
"We'll accomplish everything if you got what I asked for," Victor replied. Sabrina smirked and produced a long pointed metal staff embellished at the head with a Z.
"Of course I did, how else do you think I came up with a clone of you so quickly," she said.
"I still don't get how this thing wasn't turned to dust with everything else," Sabrina mentioned.
"The staff itself isn't evil. It's only enchanted and its magic belongs to whoever is lucky enough to control it. Did Zedd or that human he is parading as try to stop you from stealing it?" Victor asked. She smirked.
"Of course, but he's gone soft in his human life. I threatened Rita's life and he took me right to the place he had it hidden," Sabrina said.
"Can you believe he actually liked being good?" she asked in disgust. Victor chuckled.
"Zedd is a joke, even before he became human, he was the laughing stock of numerous galaxies. So did the weakling just hand it over?" Victor asked. She smirked.
"Of course not, he insisted on fighting so that's what we did and I pried it from his cold, dead hands," Sabrina replied evilly.
"And the body?" Goldman questioned.
"I dumped it in an alleyway that's well known for gang activity and took his wallet. The stupid police will think it was just a robbery that went bad," she replied indifferently.
"Excellent…now we wait until the dust settles and they drop their guards again. Then, that's where the fun will begin," Goldman said.
"You're seriously freaking me out," Rocky said, as he and Jason watched Billy pin up the photos of each victim in order of their murder.
"Okay, we know the reason that we had so much trouble nailing this guy down was because he was all over the map with his victims. In fact, if he hadn't killed them all in the same exact way, then we might have never connected all the murders to one person," Billy started trying to explain.
"Yeah, he killed at random. A lot of serial killers go for a type, but not always. Some just hate women in general," Jason replied nonchalantly.
"What if his victims weren't random?" Billy asked, looking at them both.
"How do you figure that? I mean, you've got Caucasian, African-American, Asian, blondes, brunettes, black hair…no one was off limits," Rocky pointed out.
"That's what it looks like to anyone else. But if you apply one common denominator that only we might pick up on, there's a very scary pattern," Billy said.
"I'm assuming that you mean rangers by that, but I still don't see where you're going with this," Jason replied, still trying to understand.
"You will," Billy said, as he turned to the wall.
"First victim, Caucasian petite brunette, second victim, Asian, specifically Chinese, third was African American, fourth was a tall, leggy blonde, fifth was another African American, sixth was another Asian woman, followed by another Caucasian with dark blonde hair," Billy said, as he kept pinning something beneath each photo that Rocky and Jason couldn't see yet.
"Eighth was another blonde, who wore glasses, ninth was another brunette, exotic looking, tenth was another blonde, eleventh was an athletic brunette and twelfth was another tall blonde," Billy continued pinning the cards beneath more photos.
"Thirteenth was another petite brunette and fourteenth was another African-American. Fifteenth was a very petite brunette, possibly of partial Asian descent, sixteenth was another blonde, seventeenth was an athletic blonde, and finally eighteenth was a petite girl with dark blonde hair," Billy rambled, as he stepped back from the wall. Jason and Rocky's eyes widened, as they read the names below each photo.
"What the hell…" Rocky cursed.
"You think the pattern is related to every ranger female?" Jason asked in disbelief.
"They were killed in order that each woman served and each victim closely matches the name below her photo in physicality," Billy said.
"But…why? Or more importantly how?" Rocky asked.
"You said this guy knew about our pasts as rangers," Billy said, as he sat down at his laptop.
"He was beyond obsessed with rangers and he knew the identity of every single one of us, even Tommy's new team," Billy stated.
"But why kill all these girls that resemble all ranger females?" Rocky asked.
"To send us a message that he wanted to go after the women that mean the most to most ranger males," Billy explained. Jason looked dumbfounded.
"He wanted to bring us all down…and knew that going after our girls would be the easiest way to get us all in one place and piss us off," Rocky concluded. Billy nodded.
"That's my theory, but fortunately he's dead, so he can't carry out the next phase of his plan, assuming that he thought he could somehow manage it," Billy said. Jason shook his head.
"That still doesn't explain how he knows who every ranger is. I mean, he even knows about Time Force and the Galaxy rangers. Who the hell was he?" Jason said, as he started pacing the room.
"I haven't got a clue. He was surprisingly careful as to not reveal much about himself. What we know about him was a surprisingly mundane life. Somehow, I have a feeling, that he kept most of his real life off the grid," Billy replied.
"But…it's over. He's dead, right?" Rocky asked.
"We've always assumed he worked alone. His profile jumped around all over the place, but never to anything that suggested he had a partner," Jason replied with a shrug.
"There's no way to tell," Billy said.
"All his information is backed up on the grid now and no one can get access to it?" Jason asked.
"Just us," Billy assured. Jason sighed.
"Okay, all this stays out of the official report, of course and we go on like normal, but we remain vigilant. We'll make a detour to Reefside and brief Tommy and Kim on all this before we return to Quantico," Jason decided. Billy and Rocky nodded, thinking they had dodged a bullet. Life would return to normal now that this possible enemy to all rangers was dead…
Dr. Tommy Oliver parked his jeep in his driveway next to his wife's white convertible and headed inside. Since their move to Reefside, things had been anything but quiet.
"Hey handsome," Kim said, as he came into the kitchen where she was making dinner.
"Beautiful," he whispered huskily, making her giggle. Since he had been freed from the confines of being stuck in his ranger suit or invisible, they had been insatiable for each other, even more than usual. It had been three days since their team up with the Ninja rangers of Blue Bay Harbor and Lothor's defeat. Kimberly was just grateful that Mesagog had been quiet since then and she hoped it stayed that way, though she knew it wouldn't last much longer.
"Smells good, but that's a lot of food. Don't tell me Conner is coming over to eat us out of house and home again?" he asked. She giggled.
"No, but we are having company. Jason actually just called and apologized for the late notice, but he and Billy have time so they're swinging by for a quick visit tonight before they head back to Quantico," Kimberly replied.
"Seriously?" Tommy asked with a grin, as he went to open the fridge.
"Truly," she replied with a smile.
"Is Rocky coming?" Tommy asked.
"I don't think so," she replied.
"Then since when do we buy Jolt Cola?" Tommy asked, but then thought about it for a second.
"Conner," they stated simultaneously.
"I heard on the news that they finally got that guy," he mentioned. She nodded.
"I know, as evil as Mesagog and all the others we've faced are, it's harder when you put a human face on that evil. I'm not sure how Jason and Billy do it for a living," Kimberly said, as he wrapped his arms around her.
"It's part of who they are and it would probably eat them alive if they didn't have good women behind them, just like I do," Tommy told her. She smiled and their lips met, passion swelling between them.
"I love you," Kimberly whispered. He smiled.
"Love you too beautiful," he whispered back, as their lips met again.
Two hours later
"I'm so glad you guys had time to stop by," Kimberly said, as they sat out on the porch. The guys each had a beer and Kimberly opted for a glass of her favorite wine.
"Us too…and I wish it was all casual, but we kind of came to clue you in on something we ran across during the investigation," Jason stated. Tommy raised an eyebrow.
"Something we won't learn from the news reporters?" he asked.
"This is really sensitive information," Billy replied.
"Are you allowed to tell us that kind of stuff?" Kim asked.
"It's not FBI classified, but rather ranger classified," Jason replied. That caught their attention.
"What could a serial killer have to do with the rangers?" Tommy asked. Jason glanced at Billy and he pulled out a disc.
"You have a command center of sorts here?" Billy asked.
"The Dino cave in the basement," Tommy replied.
"Is the security good?" Billy asked. He nodded.
"Hayley's system is top notch. She's almost as good as you," Tommy assured him. Billy nodded, as Tommy and Kim led them down to the Dino cave.
"You two are freaking me out. Most of us haven't been rangers in years, excluding Tommy," Kimberly mentioned.
"We know, that's what's bizarre about it, but Victor Goldman knew who we are, every single one of us, right down to your new team," Jason stated, as Billy pulled up the victim board on the computer after inserting the disk.
"There's no way…how could he?" Tommy uttered. Jason shrugged.
"We don't know, but Billy cracked his victim ology that we couldn't pin down. He murdered a woman that closely resembles each ranger female in order of service," Jason said.
"Oh my God..." Kimberly uttered, as she looked at the young women, right down to the last one, noticing that she did indeed resemble Kira.
"We think he wanted to enact some sort of plan by going after the girls first, thinking it was the easiest and quickest way to get the attention of the ranger males. Fortunately, I just put a bullet in him so the danger is over, but we thought you both should know," Jason stated.
"Somehow this guy got around ranger security of not just one team but all teams, which I find nearly impossible. There's more to this, but with him dead, there are no answers or ways to know if he was working with anyone. I've combed his whole system too and there isn't anything to go on," Billy said, sighing in frustration.
"Okay…this information will go no further and we lock down all this information in the grid," Tommy suggested.
"Already done, we just wanted you in the loop. If we're lucky, then we dodged a bullet today and we'll never have to worry about any of this," Jason said.
"But we'll keep vigilant and I'm going to keep researching," Billy added. Tommy nodded and sighed, hoping they were right. But a small nagging in the back of his mind, his finely tuned instincts told him that this would eventually come back to bite them. Hoping he was being paranoid, Tommy put on his usual confident front and led his wife and friends back upstairs. They lightened the mood, as the reminisced on old times, before Jason and Billy had to head to the airport to return to Quantico.
In the next chapter, one year has passed…