Bug Bites:- Chapter Three
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
The three Rangers landed a good distance from where Jack put down on a near by roof. The Rangers beam technology was somewhere between Asguard and Ancient. He could feel like he was flying, but at the same time he easily went through buildings, stone and anything that might getin his way.
He still wasn't sure how they had talked him into doing this. There had to be a better way. Lehane was out of control, yes, but there just had to be a more intelligent plan.
"Hey, over here!" Summers called out, getting the crazed Lehane's attention. "Let's go guys."
Lehane's super strength made her more than dangerous. Without much effort she picked up and then threw a whole car at the Green Ranger. It was impressive, but Summers lept over it like she was part cat. Kicking off it as it passed under her.
For a moment Jack wondered why. The boost gave her the reach to get within range of Lehane sure, but she didn't need it. Then he noticed that she'd sent the car into the ground. It was a good move, limiting the damage done.
Cassie and Sumdac dashed either side, but they didn't draw weapons. Even knowing what they faced they weren't going to hurt a friend. Nice sentiment, but it could get them killed. They knew that, but didn't care. They were going to save Lehane, even if it cost them.
Summers flipped high over the Black Rangers head and landed expertly. Lehane had training, She had to, but whatever was controlling her didn't. It lashed out at Summers, missing by a hair's breath.
As the Green Ranger ducked and dodged for all she was worth the other two caught up to the pair of them. Jack knew what was going to happen, at least in theory. Like most risky, badly thought out, plans it was about about this time something went wrong.
Cassie, dressed in her blue body suit, grabbed one of Lehane's arms and held on tight. It was like watching someone trying to wrestle a bull, or worse, Teal'c. Sumdac got the other one, and tried her best to pull it down. It didn't' do much good Lehane was tossing them around like a pair of rag dolls Summers took the moment to tackle their friend.
Summers's shoulder barge was straight from a brutal hockey game, she wasn't pulling any punches. Whether or not that was because Lehane could take it or Summers's bad mood got in the way he couldn't tell. The controlled Black Ranger doubled up, letting Cassie and Sumdac get their feet on the ground. Jack checked his borrowed laser.
Somehow the three of them managed to turn Lehane around, her back facing him. This was why the plan was risky.
Three years behind a desk. He was old. Eyesight going. Unfamiliar weapon. Distance, Windage, was windage even a factor? Jack didn't know. What he did know was ten years earlier he might have been confident. Here and now, his palms were sweating. One shot, one chance. A miss and they'd be rumbled at best, at worst he could hit one of the others. Maybe even hurt Lehane. Standing up, from out of cover the two star General brought Cassie's laser pistol around. Resting his arms on the roof's ledge.
Lehane struggled against her teammates, trying to brake free, but they held her. Barely. Exhaling Jack pulled the trigger. A lancing blast of sapphire came from the gun and struck Lehane on the back of the neck. Something flew off and she sagged.
It took him a couple of minutes to scramble down the fire-escape and across to the four of them. By the time he had Lehane was standing again, but looked somewhat like a drowned cat. "Is she alright?" he called out
"She'll be fine. Soon." Cassie announced, touching her forehead. "We could really use Black Ranger. Shame she's busy."
Jack looked at her and was about to ask what she was talking about when he noticed what Summers was looking at. News helicopters were swarming the place like vultures. Cassie must have seen them too, with the right microphones they could pick up anything.
"Oh for crying…" Jack caught himself, it was better to be safe than sorry. "I'll get the civilian out of here and keep trying to contact Black. I can't think what's keeping her."
"Me neither." Summers agreed. "We'll deal with that." She pointed at the corner.
Jack pulled back. The tick, as she had called it, was growing. Taller and stronger, it was already the size of a child and getting bigger. "Better you than me." he winced, as he felt the Rangers transporter take hold.
Dawn took one look at the growing tick and drew her Flute. She'd been angry all day. A bad nights sleep, the General digging up Faith's past, the tick, the whole possession thing. That was enough to make anyone cranky.
Getting dumped by a guy she liked. That was just one straw too many. Now she had a way to vent. "I've got this one." As her sister said, Slaying was comfort food for the soul.
"You sure?" Sari asked, drawing her Power Daggers.
"It's been a bad day." Dawn said between clenched teeth before charging. The grey / green monster was now just a few inches shorter than her, standing upright on it's tail with far too many legs ending in hooked claws for her liking.
It didn't matter. "D… wait!" Cassie shouted, Dawn wasn't listening. She ran, ducking under it's flailing limbs she sliced it's gut, leaving an explosion behind her. It was then she got a look at it's back.
What looked like a dozen sacks were bubbling up. She was no Giles but you didn't have to be an English librarian to know it was bad news. She jumped back, charging the blade. "Forget what I just said. Hit it with everything you've got!"
The two of them nodded, Cassie calling on her Lance and Sari twirling her Daggers. Both of them charged their Power Weapons. "Now!" Dawn shouted and the three of them dashed in from different directions.
She was the first to hit, leaving a green ribbon behind her and rocking the man sized tick. Next came Sari, leaving twin streaks of yellow light as her Daggers did their work. Finally Cassie, her Lance left a bright blue corkscrew in the air as she brought it up. Under what you could call the tick's out-thrust jaw.
Cassie's blow sent it sky high, literally, where it exploded in a rainbow of blue yellow and green.
"It was an accident." Faith said once they were all back at the Command Centre. "The first one. I've told myself that a thousand times and it doesn't make any difference. We were on patrol, looking for vampires. It had been a great week, B and me were in the zone. Flying high on the Slaying, we were doing better than good. It was a thrill."
Tommy didn't like where that was going. Even if he didn't already know how it ended. "He came out of nowhere." She continued, "We guess he was looking for us. I reacted on instinct, the stake was slick with blood in my hand."
"Civilian casualties." The Air Force General pointed out. "He was an idiot, walking into theatre like that."
"Theatre?" Faith asked, confused.
"It means he shouldn't have been anywhere near. It would be like walking into a firing range."
"Right. Told myself that too. Still doesn't change the fact he died and I did it." Faith growled. "For weeks I was this shell, I saw him when I closed my eyes. Still do sometimes. I couldn't wash my hands enough."
"But there were others, a professor and the black marketeer." Tommy said softly. He understood the accident, could even accept it on its own but the others put a taint on the whole thing.
"Lester… Oh god." There was a catch in her voice. "I, I made some bad choices. After the Deputy Mayor it felt like every turned their back on me. They didn't, they just didn't know how to deal. I didn't either. Then, when I finally did open up Wesley did the biggest dick move he could. He brought in the Council."
"The Council?" O'Neill asked.
"The Watchers Council." Dawn explained. "They were this bunch of extremely old fashioned British guys. Supposed to train the Slayer, but mostly they just got in the way. Wesley was supposed to train and help Faith, but he was so green he couldn't see the damage he was doing."
"He got better later, last I heard he was over in LA, he was the one that bust me out…"
"He died." Dawn said quickly. "Second set of riots, same for Fred and the whole gang."
Faith looked shocked for a moment. "Damn." For a moment she just stood there as Tommy wondered just how many casualties this hidden war had caused. How many old friends had Faith and Dawn lost? How many casual conversations opened or ended with; "They're dead now."
The Slayer took a deep breath and got back on topic. "The council, my, well you could hardly call us friends but the gang, everyone, thought I was guilty. I'd killed someone, that made me the bad guy. So I went to work for him. The big bad that ran the town. I was his assassin, his killer.
"He was like a father to me. Gave me everything I needed, a home, a job, everything I never had. Mom, well every psycho has a sob story, I'm sure I you can guess it." Tommy could. A distant mother and absent father. It was cliché but made sense, especially knowing the sassy but fragile young woman.
"And you did it?" O'Neill asked.
"Why not? I was already a murderer, after a while you can't tell who's blood it is."
Cassie looked ill, Sari had tears in her eyes. Dawn was frowning; "You going to finish." She said sharply.
"That's all of it. The rest's in the police report."
"Fine." Dawn thrust her chin out. "After a few months Faith gave a whole new meaning to off the rails. My sister had enough and they had a fight on a rooftop. Faith ended up in a coma for nine months, when she woke up there was the whole shard of glass to the throat thing. There was a bit more fun with body swapping…"
"For crying out loud." O'Neill exploded. "Do you people know what a normal life is? Don't you ever have a god damn day off from body swapping, vampires and monsters?"
Dawn smirked, but there was no humour in it. More contempt. 'No, we don't. ' It wasn't the Dawn Tommy knew that answered. The question had hurt her, deeply. 'Faith ran off to LA.'
"Then you tell them."
Faith took a deep breath. "A friend of ours, he's dead now apparently, lived there, LA. When I found out I, I did things I'm not proud of."
"Tortured Wesley, and tore through just about every bar she came across. Leaving bruised and battered bodies in her wake."
Faith glared at Dawn, "The point was to get him to kill me. He wouldn't do it though, he saved me and I turned myself in. Gave an edited version of what happened and got put away for life."
"And then broke out." Tommy said, sounding a lot more confrontational than he wanted.
Faith sighed. "I'm a Slayer. I can hide from my duty. During the first set of riots a lot of vampires came for lunch. Wesley told me I was needed, I owed it him and his crew. After that, after that I realised I could go back and spend the rest of my life doing nothing in prison or I could do my job."
Tommy looked again at the rest of them, then at O'Neill. 'General, your thoughts?'
"That these girls have had crap thrown at them all their lives." He said simply.
"It doesn't matter." Faith pulled out her morpher. "I never deserved this, I thought for awhile I could use this power to make up for it. There's a reason that butt ugly tick chose me. I can pretend that I'm making up for what I've done, but I can't' She handed it to Tommy. 'And me, with this, it's too dangerous."
She was surrendering her coin. "Faith, I know you believe that." Dawn tried to say.
"Please don't. I'm a murderer, I've accepted that and when my name comes up I know where I'm heading."
"There's no such thing as hell Faith." Cassie told her.
"You tell them." The Slayer said to Dawn.
She didn't need to, Cassie, like Tommy, already got it. "You've got to be kidding." She turned on her Uncle. "Why did you not tell me about this."
"It's all news to me."
Tommy ignored them, "Faith, are you sure. Giving up your Morpher? You know what that means."
"I'm still the Slayer, for what thats worth. But being a Ranger, that's just too much power in my hands. These last few weeks, its like I've been in the zone again. I can feel it. I'm just going to make the same mistakes." Faith said in a quiet voice. "I can't take that risk."
"General O'Neill, can you confirm that the Rangers are working for the US military?" The reporter asked Uncle Jack.
He hated this part of his job, the press and politics. Cassie smirked as she remembered the rant he gave back at the Command Centre when he found out he'd been identified back in the City. "Well, no. Not working for, but with us." He tried to bluff.
"What do you mean by that?"
Uncle Jack bit his bottom lip, obviously trying to think of a way to put it and not look like an idiot on national television. "With the technology and weapons at their disposal its only… prudent… for the military to keep watch. They approached us, anonymously, knowing that. Agreeing that working together was the best way to go about it." He held up a hand, "We don't know who they are under the helmets. All we have is a contact frequency, they have a special one for us as well."
The dorm room door opened and Cassie turned the TV off. "Any luck?"
"Faith's staying in town, at least, but she's not coming back." Dawn told her, sitting down on the corner of her bed. "Dr Oliver says there's no way he knows of to separate her from the coin."
"I thought they could, I remember him saying that there had been a load of different Rangers using the same coin." Cassie said, thinking about it.
Dawn winced. "He says ours were badly damaged last time they were used and they're still not completely fixed. If we play about with just one of them too much they all could go."
Cassie thought about it. "Then we are one Ranger down. We shouldn't have kept secrets, if we had just told one another…"
"We all agreed." Dawn pointed out.
"Yeah but that was because I was afraid of what you'd think of me. Knowing I'm an alien, look how that went. You accepted me. If Faith had told us before all this she might still be a Ranger. Now you're the only one. What happens when yours comes out?"
Dawn looked at her. "No."
"It has something to do with that scar on your arm, doesn't it." Cassie had seen it earlier, when she and Sari had been pulling glass out of Dawn's back. "How'd it happen, if I didn't know any better."
"You'd think I did it to myself?" She finished. "You think I took a kitchen knife to my wrist?"
There was something in Dawn's eyes, and the kitchen knife was just a little too much detail. "By the Ancients, you did!"
Cassie wanted her best friend to deny it, laugh it off and say it was an accident of some sort. Instead Dawn whispered "All the cool kids were doing it." As a silent tear slid down her cheek. "Look it was a bad time. I needed to know I was, that I was real. That I could feel pain, that people cared."
"When your mother died." Cassie said, she knew how that could be.
"No, before that." Dawn dashed the tears from her face, her voice cracked "You're one of the best friends I've ever had Cassie, I won't lie to you, but please don't ask. You'd never believe it."
"Dawn, Faith's a murderer and I'm an alien. Heck, Sari's half robot and we save the world in giant mechanical Dinosaurs. You don't want to know what I could believe these days."
"Please." Dawn begged.
Cassie knew now, the scar, the suicide attempt and her secret they were all connected, it was something Dawn had hidden for years and she didn't want to think about it, let alone talk "Alright, but one day?"
"If I need to." She promised.
"I already think you do."
Tretrax looked out over the Human City. The thoreaix demon was a failure, he had expected something a little more effective, perhaps even killing the Black Ranger.
Still he knew that from the outset, he had another plan to deal with Blue and Yellow. Then the Green Ranger was his and his alone to deal with.
End Bug Bites