Bug Bites:- Chapter Two
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
Dawn slouched out of the dorm room she shared with Cassie. She'd woken up this morning in a foul mood and things had gotten worse when she got a good look at herself in the mirror. The bad night's sleep hadn't done her any good, dark bags under her eyes and a frown that wouldn't go away.
Any good joke she could remember, the best way she knew to brighten her day, just made her feel worse as she remembered watching them with Marcus. Pushing that as far away as she could. Dawn got changed in the bathroom, as usual. It wasn't just modesty, Dawn didn't want Cassie to see the scars. There were too many questions that went with them. coming out of the bathroom and crossing the hall she found that, as if trying to win the worst timing ever award, Cassie had a visitor.
General Jack O'Neill and he didn't look happy; "Summers." he nodded.
"General, something wrong?" Dawn hadn't expected to see the head of homeworld security in person again. It wasn't going to be a social call.
"Wrong, no nothing. Well there's the fact one of your Ranger's is a wanted felon." He said sarcastically.
Dawn blinked. "What?"
"Faith, he's talking about Faith." Cassie said, sounding stunned as she flicked through a pile of official looking paperwork. They knew about the Dark Slayer, Dawn didn't know how, but they had found out. Willow's white wash obviously wasn't as total as they'd thought.
"You're talking about her criminal record." Dawn said in about as level a voice she could manage.
"You did know." The General growled. "Why the hell didn't you tell someone?"
The Green Ranger decided if he wanted to make an issue of it she could play that game too. "And what made you think we needed you to stick your nose in?" she stood up to him. "I know a hell of a lot more about Faith than what those papers could tell you."
"She murdered three people and assaulted about twenty others…"
"Yes she did." Dawn hissed, she had to prove a point. She'd turned a blind eye to Faith's past, that didn't mean she didn't have first hand experience. "One time she broke into our house, knocked my mother out and tied the both of us up." She tilted her head up and pointed at a faint scar under the left side of her jaw. "She spent half an hour with us, holding a piece of broken glass right here. Didn't want anything mind you, we were just waiting for my sister."
Dawn tried to hide the shiver as she remembered that night. "You ever looked into the eyes of someone who wanted to find a reason not to kill you, but couldn't? You know what it's like to feel kinda sorry for them, while at the same time trying not to wet yourself?"
The General backed off, he was beginning to get the point. Cassie frowned. "That's what you meant, back when you told her you'd forgiven, but not forgotten."
Dawn spun on her. "Yes."
"But she's a wanted criminal!" the General pointed out. "If what you've said is true how can you of all people protect her?"
"There's more to her story than that."
"You know it don't you, all of it?" Cassie said, Dawn didn't like the sound of her friend's voice, like she knew too much and had judged Faith already.
"Every little detail.' Dawn admitted. "Which is way more than either of you, and I'm not telling you, either of you, that's for her."
The General looked at her. "No, you're going to tell me, all of it right now or I'm going to the authorities."
"With what?" Dawn asked. "Willow already wiped most of the records."
He glanced at the paperwork Cassie had put down. Dawn took the only action she could in the split second she had. Taking all the anger she had the Green Ranger blasted the sheets with a pair of green fireballs.
The General jumped back with a startled curse. 'and that was your copy.' Dawn pointed out. The blast had left a char mark on Cassie's bed.
"Hey!" the Blue Ranger cried, putting the smouldering remains out with a foot.
"What the hell was that?"
Dawn glared at him. "One of the perks of being Green Ranger. Now if you want to play games we'll start with your entrails, otherwise leave us alone."
"Alright Dawn that's enough!" Cassie stood up. "You're right that this is our problem, but flambeing a two star general is a little much don't you think?"
"Needed to make a point, have I made it yet?"
The General looked at Cassie then Dawn. "I'm willing to admit I don't have the full story, and if you don't want to tell me that's fine. Point definitely made." he glanced at the blackened paper. "But I can't leave it like that. These are serious crimes Summers, if I have to cover them up…"
"Don't you get it?" Dawn barked. "No one's asking you to. It's already buried, I don't even want to guess how deep you had to go to dig those up!" she nodded again to the chard remains of paper. "Well I guess you'll have to find your miners hat again."
Dawn knew she was really pushing it now, but she'd already gone too far and the only way out was straight through. "I'm going to go get Faith. I'll meet you back at the Command Centre where she'll explain everything." Not giving either of them the chance to stop her she beamed away.
Landing in Faith's tiny, two room, apartment. Dawn looked around. Faith was never the tidiest of people, but what she saw went beyond that. It was like a small tornado had gone off. "Faith!" She shouted, more than a little concerned.
"Dawn…" The Slayer said weakly and Dawn found her, on the floor next to her bed.
"Faith, what's going on?" She was pale, with two great bags under bloodshot eyes. Another person having a epic-ly bad day.
The Black Ranger reached out, "Tretrax, did some… something. Hurts, I can't fight…" she sighed and collapsed, face first into the carpet. On the back of her neck there was the biggest, ugliest tick Dawn had ever seen.
"Oh crap." She whispered. It was huge, a dull grey green colour and had more legs than Dawn wanted to think about. Two prongs bit deep into the back of Faith's neck and a nasty, long, whip like, tail ran down Faith's back.
As Dawn recoiled a set of six ruby red eyes opened on the tick and Faith lashed out, grabbing the Green Ranger by the front of her shirt. Lifting her easily.
Dawn knew she was no match for Faith's the Ranger enhanced Slayer strength. Who knew what the tick was doing but the deep red glow that replaced the Black Rangers eyes couldn't be a good thing.
The last thought Dawn had before sailing through the wall was that her bad day had just gotten very much worse.
Sari was watching Tommy Oliver as he waved the spectroscopic sensor over the new power-coin. "So he just left it?" she asked.
"Jason had to get back, I guess the life of an ambulance driver doesn't have that many breaks."
"That why he couldn't stay and help?"
Tommy shrugged. "Being a Ranger takes a toll. That's why they're usually young, both Jason and I are past our prime."
"It's not going to, you know, damage me, is it?" Sari asked, wondering if she could run a self diagnostic.
There was still a lot of things about being techo-organic even she didn't understand. She'd gotten used to the helmet and it's head's up display, the jump-jets she had in robot mode were also easy to adapt, but there was still problems. She thought she should be good at maths, like a calculator, or be able to pick up radio frequencies with her hair. She wasn't.
Any sums bigger than eight times six unraveled her and when it came to doing useful, stuff like self diagnostics, she didn't even know if she could.
"No, you'll be fine." He told her. "If I thought for an instant that any of you could be hurt I wouldn't let you anywhere near here."
Sari felt better about that. "So what are you doing?" she asked.
"When Jason gave me his coin it reminded me of something. Back when Rita first used the Green Candle I gave him the Green Ranger Coin. It kept Rita from stealing its abilities. After that Jason could use both his powers and mine."
"So I might be able to use that." Alpha came over with a small box, he opened it and there was another gold coin inside.
"The Pink Power Coin?"
"Exactly. It's lost its connection to the Morphing grid, just like the Dawn's, but I'm thinking we can power it of another coin's connection."
"Sort of like jumpstarting a car?"
"More or less."
"Ay ay ay. If Tommy's right we'll be able to form the Power Blaster." Alpha supplied.
Sari grinned, all thoughts of damage put out of her mind. "Now that sounds cool! What's it do?"
"It combines all five power weapons into one massive blow." Tommy explained.
"All right, I can't wait to try it out!" Sari bounced from foot to foot.
"It might take a while." He explained as two columns of light landed in the middle of the Centre.
It was Cassie and her Uncle. The one that was an Air Force General with a big important job somewhere in Washington. 'Cassie, you've brought a guest?' Tommy asked.
"General Jack O'Neill." The Blue Ranger introduced him. "This is Dr Oliver."
"You're one of the original Rangers?" the grey haired man asked.
"The Green Ranger, for a little while." Tommy nodded politely. "What are you doing here?"
"Some inconvenient facts about one of your Rangers." He said, Sari would say he was tense and Cassie looked shocked at something.
"He doesn't know." she said, "We all agreed to keep secrets. I had no idea what Faith's was."
"That is?" Sari asked, but Cassie didn't answer. Instead she looked mutely to her uncle and shook her head.
He frowned for a moment. "Faith Lehane is a wanted felon. We're not sure how but someone tried to cover that up."
"A felon?" Tommy asked.
"She, she murdered three people." Cassie admitted and Sari could only blink in shock.
"But, vampires. Right?" she asked as Tommy turned away.
"One was a known black marketeer, sold antiques and weapons to unsavoury people." Cassie's Uncle explained, "The other two though; one was a lecture at a small town college and the other was a deputy mayor. Not even a parking ticket between them.
"Lehane left a trail of beaten and battered people." He continued, Sari imaging Faith killing people. "She was caught and given life in a woman's prison. Escaped three years later, into the first set of L.A riots a couple of years back."
"A murderer." Tommy said in a cold voice. "And Dawn knew all about it?"
General O'Neill nodded. "Said Faith even threatened her once with a piece of broken glass."
"There's got to be a reason." Cassie insisted.
"For why she didn't tell us?" Tommy almost snapped. "I knew it was going to be trouble when you all agreed to keep secrets. First you and your developing powers now Faith and her past."
"And Dawn knew about it." Sari repeated. "Why would she protect her?"
"Because she's a fellow Ranger." Cassie pointed out.
Tommy shook his head, "Loyalty's one thing, but this is murder we're talking about. Dawn could got to jail just for helping her. Why didn't she tell us?"
It was Cassie who answered. "If we had known we'd have to keep it secret too. Maybe she was trying to protect us."
"Or I'd have taken her powers away." Tommy said.
Cassie's Uncle looked at him. "You can do that?"
"I can, separate her coin from the morphing grid. Destroying it and the Black Ranger power. Forever." he admitted.
"We can't do that, can we?"
"To stop the Power falling onto the wrong hands. I might have to."
Sari shook her head. "How can it be, you know the wrong hands. This is Faith, we know her. She's one of the team."
"Dawn said she was going to get her. Then we'll get the full story." Cassie said.
"She walking there?"
"No, she beamed."
"Then they both should be back by now." Tommy said gravely.
Just as he finished Dawn's familiar green flash appeared and she tumbled out of the air. Shards of broken glass following as the Green Ranger slammed into one of the consoles. "Ow. Guys, we have a problem."
Jack knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if Carter was there the only way to get her out would be a court restraining order and an infinite supply of blue jello. The so called Command Centre was somewhere between an alien radio shack and a hyper advanced computer lab. It was the sort of place you'd have to drag scientists away from.
The robot helper was almost too much, he could hardly believe that something so stupid looking was real. Let alone working. Where had they got it, who built it? Seeing the Green Ranger, beaten and bruised, fly out of the air and painfully into one of the many consoles brought him back to the point.
Cassie was moving as soon as she saw what had happened. Jack got a better look at exactly what had happened to the girl. There was the remains of a window embedded in her back and she was sporting the beginnings of a black eye.
"What the hell happened to you?" Jack burst out as Cassie gave her a professional once over.
"I told you, we have a problem."
"One that threw you through a window and gave you a shiner?" Jack pointed out as Cassie ignored both of them. "That's not a problem, that's a disaster."
"Actually around here it's fairly, Ow" Summers turned on Cassie. "What was that for?"
Little Cassandra gave her patient a withering look. "You've got half a window in your shoulder. what happened?"
"Faith threw me through one."
"She what?" The red haired girl almost shouted.
Summers turned on her. "It's not what you think, something's on the back of her neck, controlling her."
"Alright I don't know much about ranger stuff, but that's never good."
Summers smirked. "You don't, Ow… Again."
"If you don't stop moving about it will keep hurting." Cassie told her. "Some of these pieces are deep, help me get this off. Sari, I'll need you to pull the glass while I heal her up."
"Get what off now?" Summers asked before catching on. "No, no, infinity no plus five. No."
Cassie looked at her with the patented 'Doc Frasier' glare. No one could withstand that for long. Jack was impressed, Cassie had pretty much got her mother's attitude down already. She'd make a hell of a doctor, if she survived this whole Ranger thing. She also had loyalty, even if misplaced in his opinion.
Being a gentleman, at least in theory, he took Dr Oliver off to one side. His background check on this guy had been interesting, if he'd come across it back when he was at the SGC he'd have hired him in an instant. Archeologist, scientist and martial arts champion. Right now he needed to understand this guy.
"So was there a reason you sent little girls to save the world."
Dr Oliver winced visibly. "I wish I could stop them, believe me I do. If I had a choice in this I would never let anyone near danger like this, but fate has it's own plans."
"Nice excuse." Jack pointed out. He'd heard people blaming fate and destiny before.
"Think about it. Of all the places and people in the world these three girls are here. Now. What are the odds of that?" He said, as the two of them kept their backs turned.
Jack thought about it. Sumdac, Cassie and Summers. As much as he didn't want to admit it they were all uniquely suited to be Rangers.
"What the hell?" Cassie exclaimed, and Jack almost turned. "Where'd you get that scar?"
"I got cut." Summers said coldly. Jack knew that tone, he'd heard it from himself. She'd been tortured. Not for the first time he wondered just what the hell the young brunette had been though in her life. Scars inside and out left marks. "You finished with the glass?"
"Yes." Cassie sounded strained. "We'll need to talk about this."
"Later," Summers grunted. "First we have to help Faith. There's a butt ugly tick on the back of her neck. I'm guessing if we kill it Faith will be free."
"Yeah, this is Faith we're talking about." Sumdac said. "She's like super strong and fast with all the Slayer stuff. I mean you're good Dawn, but Faith's…"
"Better, I know. Thats why we need a plan and we all know how well those work out."
"You've got one." Cassie asked. "I'm guessing we're not going to like it?"
Summers managed a wry grin. "Well if the three of us hold her someone could shoot the tick off. It's kinda a long shot."
"You're right about that." Jack agreed turning round. "If the three of you are trying to hold her back who's going to shoot…?" He trailed off as Summers looked at him.
End Chapter Two.