Chapter 14: Faded Scar
"...he was killed- it's simply impossible!"
"I told you, it was him, but he was different...it was very dark."
Adam waited until Kimberly finished and looked back at him, before he moved his hand to the side of her cheek. He ran his fingers over the makeshift bandage, running it over her tender skin until she flinched and pulled back.
She winced, her blood stained hands moving him away, but almost immediately grabbing his hands as though she changed her mind.
"It really hurts," she admitted in a tiny voice.
Adam managed a smile, hoping his gentle demeanor would defuse the heat in the room behind them.
"Kimberly," Tommy started up again, stopping beside Adam as though he were annoyed he was in between he and the original pink ranger. "Are you sure that you weren't just attacked by officers from the facility and you somehow thought they looked like putties?"
"Guys," Adam lowered his hand in his lap, twisting around to face them. "Can we just leave the intensive interrogatio until after I've finished here? Getting out with Trini and Kim needs to be the priority."
He moved around behind Kimberly and carefully peered at a gash on her back. He slowly untied the back of her hospital gown and looked around for something he could use as a bandage.
"Tommy," he gestured with a cocked chin. "Can you come here and apply some pressure to this wound so I can find some more bandages?"
As masterly predicted, the awkward exchange that happened almost immediately between Kimberly and Tommy was enough to grate Adam the wrong way. He was growing impatient and didn't bother to hide it as Tommy came up beside him and he brushed past him on his search.
"Can we help you look?" Katherine asked him, as she gestured between herself and Aisha.
Adam nodded and smiled tightly. "If we can't find any bandages, then sheets or similar material should do the job," he explained.
He sighed and began his fruitful search with little enthusiasm. Okay, so perhaps enthusiasm was the wrong choice of word- optimism was probably better. He just had to remind himself that the IBI was a criminal syndicate whose very purpose was to seemingly destroy them- just as he had failed to find anything help Trini thus far, he doubted he would find anything there that would be of aid to Kimberly's condition.
Adam knelt down and began a thorough search along a low-leveled bench, brushing the useless goods off the metal surface with so much force, that he could feel himself grunting.
He closed his eyes briefly. "This place is a joke," he mumbled with distaste.
He slowly stood up and turned, catching Tommy's gaze, before he moved his attention to a conversation the rest of the group were having.
"Do you think there's a chance that the police are somehow involved in this?" Jason questioned seriously. "Maybe the clones didn't attack them through mistaken identity, but because they're linked somehow to what's been happening underground here."
Aisha turned around from the other side of the room and closed the cabinet she was looking in. "Do you realize what you're saying, Jason? You're accusing the local police of this city being part of something that is so much bigger than Angel Grove."
"But it's possible, isn't it?" Rocky spoke up with an intense look. "Maybe it was some dodge-ass under the table deal. I didn't believe for a second all that bull they went on about how Angel Grove was such a perfect and tranquil place to live."
Aisha stepped toward him. "Rocky, for that to be true, then the media would also have to be involved in this conspiracy theory. I know for a fact that we didn't cover up or make up any facts at the station. The only reason we never had anything horrible to report on, was because nothing horrible ever happened-period."
Adam shot his friend a gentle glance, as Tommy spoke up from where he stood behind Kimberly. "We can't trust anyone, guys…the police, the government or the media…that's no offence to you, Aisha- you're one of us, not one of them," he added.
Aisha shrugged slightly. "None taken," she reassured him. "But if we have nowhere to turn for help, then what are we supposed to do?"
"Is there any possibility that we could somehow find our power coins?" Katherine softly suggested with hopeful eyes.
Billy sighed rather loudly and shook his head. "Even if we were able to find them Katherine, I doubt it would do us any good. Just look at what they managed to do to Alpha- and then apply about those very same consequences to the morphing grid."
"Adam," Tommy gently spoke up, gesturing with a cock of his chin.
Adam walked over to him, surprised by the concern on his former leader's face. "Is something wrong?" he asked as he reached his side.
Tommy merely motioned with his downcast eyes and Adam followed his line of sight. The previously ivory colored material that was bunched beneath Tommy's hand of pressure was now almost the color of magenta, the blood from the deep gash to Kimberly's back lapping the material and visibly soaking it.
"I-I can't get it to stop," Tommy almost whispered.
Adam leaned forward and placed a hand to Kimberly's forehead, holding it steady as she flinched with surprise.
"How are you feeling, Kim?" he asked gently.
"My back is sore," she replied quietly. "It feels like it's throbbing."
Adam nodded, and removed his hand from her head. "It'll be okay, we just need to steady your bleeding," he told her, before he looked over at Katherine. "Kat, have you found anything?" he asked out loud.
The blond turned around and wearily raised a piece of material in her hand. "No bandages," she admitted regretfully.
He motioned with his hand and she bundled the sheet in her hands, before tossing it toward him. Adam barely caught it, but fumbled with it quickly, folding it over and over, before moving it to Kimberly's wound. He took the soaked, makeshift padding from Tommy and quietly inspected it, knowing a frown was clearly spreading on his face.
Maybe he was imagining it.
But the color of blood was red, right? It could be anywhere from that bright, ruby color to the shade of reddened tar.
Maybe it was something in the material? Or the strange, uncomfortable lighting above them that caused Adam to squint continuously.
But still, as he placed the used bandage on a nearby bench and looked at the blood that had smudged from it onto his hands, he could have sworn it was more like the color of richened fuchsia.
He sighed and quickly began rubbing his palms on his uniform, his head flinching as he heard a misplaced sound. The others were still too engrossed in their continuing conversation to seemingly notice anything else, and so he carefully made his way along the edge of the room, stopping as came before a windowed door out of the room.
And, there he saw it.
He could distinctly remember the literal hundreds of times he'd come face to face with one of Rita and Zedd's brainless warriors. Putties felt the way their name implied- every single assault to their gray forms was almost absorbed by their clay-like bodies. Their hauntingly glazed and empty expressions were almost that of a nightmare, had it not been for their lack of proving a substantial threat during combat.
There was nothing that he remotely missed about having them pop up and frustratingly ruin picnics in the park, walks home from school or games of basketball at the local court. And he'd never thought in a thousand years he'd ever come face-to-face with a pack of putties again.
Adam cursed under his breath, his eyesight blurring as he watched the familiar gray warriors crawl around the hall and hypnotically pull at the various doors out in the hallway. From their manic movements, there was little doubt in the paramedic's mind that they were looking for them.
It was turning into one hell of a long night.
Officer Ford removed his reading glasses and tossed them carelessly to his desk, gnawing at his eyes lids with his fingers. At best, he could feel the headache that was gripping his neck muscles, but even that wasn't enough to take his mind away from the literal hell that had taken place at the station that day.
They were lucky, so darn lucky that only two officers were fatally wounded by the two seemingly possessed young criminals whose photos now haunted Joseph's every waking moment. He can't believe he considered even one death to be a lucky event.
Interviews with family members, with close associates and medical providers had been nothing more than largely frustrating. The two kids were perfect, well-liked and asides from some questionable treatment they'd both happened to be receiving for sleep disorders, there was nothing that hinted toward motivation behind the attack.
He sighed as the phone on his desk rang again. It had been ringing non-stop, to the point where he couldn't tell when it stopped and when it started.
He leaned over and pulled it sharply from the base, before he slammed it back down in frustration.
"For fuck's sake!" he snapped, standing up and angrily swiping away the papers that littered his desk.
He grabbed his head in his hands and growled unthinkingly as his office door swung open.
His partner sighed; her hand perched on her cocked hip. "We gotta go, there's been over five calls from the Jackson Boulevard district about some guys in gray jumpsuits trashing and looting some of the stores down there or something like that."
"Can't Staver get it?"
"He's already on a call."
"They're off duty," she stated exasperatedly. "Come on, we'll grab a coffee on the way…looks like you need one."
"Yeah, with a double shot of scotch in it," he mumbled, as he grabbed his jacket and followed her through the door.
"Oh my Goodness…how are they here?"
Aisha kept her head steady, but flicked her eyes over at Katherine before she blinked them heavily. She wriggled a little in her crouched position, adjusting her work skirt for the twentieth time before she glanced back over at Tommy who was ducked beneath one of the beds across the room with Kimberly.
Tommy's eyes moved between the windowed door and the spot where his former teammates were bunched together below the window, trying their best to avoid their detection from the other side.
"This is stupid, guys- hiding from putties?" Rocky muttered from behind Aisha.
"Keep your voice down," Adam almost snapped at his friend, before he shook his head apologetically.
Aisha flinched a little as she watched the shadows move on the floor before them, the sound of their unique gibberish becoming louder as she heard them tug on the door handle on the other side.
"Let's hope that glass is smash-proof," Aisha whispered.
"Guys, push back as hard as you can on the door," Billy stated in a low voice. "I don't know how long that lock is going to hold for."
Aisha squeezed her eyes and pushed back against Rocky, all of them awkwardly leveraging their weight behind them as best as they could.
"Guys," Tommy's voice hissed out. Aisha opened her eyes to look at him, noticing the shadows that had separated them had now vanished. "Looks like they're going."
"Thank Goodness," Aisha murmured with exaggerated relief.
Tommy carefully crawled out from beneath the metal bed and motioned to Kimberly, but she swiftly shook her head.
"Not until they're gone for sure," Aisha heard her tell him.
"Aisha, let me up," Rocky gently pushed on her back, and she slowly stood up, her eyes trickling with impending doom toward the door.
They were gone.
"That was close," Katherine shared as each of them slowly stood up.
"We should have just gone out there and given them what for," Rocky stated, brushing his suit as though he was concerned about it being dirty.
Aisha ignored him and walked toward Tommy, crouching down to reach Kimberly who was still huddled under the bed.
"It's safe to come out now, Kim- they're all gone," she told her gently, reaching out a comforting hand to Kimberly's.
Kimberly licked her lips a little and reluctantly crawled out, allowing Tommy to help her to her feet.
"Something didn't look right about them," Adam spoke out loud. "They looked darker then I remember them being."
"That's because they are different," Kimberly countered in a breathy tone. "Those maniacs have done something to them."
Billy nodded. "By going on the wounds Kimberly received from down below, they're substantially stronger and have the ability to inflict fatal wounds with their bare hands," he commented.
Jason released a loud clearing of his throat, almost startling Aisha because she'd forgotten he'd been in the room with them. "Adam, any more ideas on what we can do for Trini? She seems to be getting paler and paler…" he shared with dark eyes.
Aisha looked over at where her predecessor still laid motionless on the bed. It must have been the light, but Aisha couldn't believe the sickly appearance of her skin…
"If only we knew what they gave her," Katherine stated.
Adam shook his head. "I don't think this is just a result of what drug they administrated to her. Look at her skin," he said.
"It looks strange," Rocky noted.
"It looks yellowish," Aisha added swiftly, watching carefully for Adam's reaction.
Adam looked at Billy. "It has to be more than a coincidence. What are your thoughts, Billy?"
Billy pursed his lips, his eyes staring at Trini intently. "I think we need to try and find Zack…maybe if we find the report on his autopsy, we can learn something so we can help Trini."
Tommy nodded. "I think that's a good idea, Billy…but where would they keep a body or those kinds of reports in a place like this?"
"I'm certain they'd have body bays…maybe even-."
"There's some down below," Kimberly spoke up quietly, her brown eyes instantly dropping to the ground. "I saw them briefly as I ran through some tunnel. I didn't get a great look, but it looked like what you see in the movies."
Tommy clasped his hands together. "Then, that's where we've gotta go," he decided.
Kimberly spun around, quickly moving to stop him. "Wait, Tommy, it's too dangerous down there!" she argued.
He sighed, grabbing her hand in his. "Kim, it's going to be okay…we have the benefit of knowing what's down there this time," he paused and looked over at Rocky and then Jason. "Rocky; Jase. Let's go. The rest of you stay up here in this room and don't leave here unless absolutely necessary."
Aisha sighed. She grabbed Kimberly's hand for comfort as the three men pulled the hatch door open and carefully disappeared into the darkness below.
"This place is a shit hole..."
"Maybe I should have tucked you into bed before coming out here and doing this myself."
"Quit the brown-nosing, Moore. We shouldn't be out here shit kicking...we should back at the station going through those files."
Joseph flicked his eyes over at his partner, her carefully maintained look highlighted in the street lights that lit the car's path down the empty street. It was well after one am- inching closer toward two as he steadied the police vehicle around the block for the eighth time with nothing much more than a stray cat to keep them entertained.
It was easy to feel claustrophobic slithering through the cluster of tight buildings that were the Jackson Boulevard district; the literal never ending stories of apartments shrouded the streets below in a constant rain of shadow which made looking for troublemakers an even more tedious task.
Oh sure, Joseph could see it right now- a collection of the usual old biddies with nothing better to do probably felt the need to call the cops over what was most likely to be some stupid kids running around in snow suits and sliding around on their asses on the slippery sidewalk.
He nearly grumbled out loud again, but sensing his partner's growing frustration and seizing what little self control he had, he sighed instead and offered her a crooked, yet gentle glance.
"Jesus, Ford, you're really losing it aren't you?" she accused, her voice thick with sarcasm. "Keep the dopey looks to yourself."
"I think we should talk about these kids...about this stuff-."
"I don't want to talk about it with you right now," she dismissed him, resting her head against the window. "I'm too close to this...how can they expect us to maintain our composure after something so big? I saw those kids shoot them down, Joe- I saw them-."
"Hey, hey," he offered, resting an almost awkward hand on her shoulder, keeping the other on the steering wheel. "We gotta keep it together, Jessie- I don't want to see you lose this case. This is ours, remember? Our case."
He could have sworn he heard her sniffle, but her face was turned away from him and he couldn't be sure.
"They're not gonna let us near them again...by morning they'll have those kids elsewhere and we'll be nothing more than the shit-kickers who babysat them before the big boys rolled along and took over," she recited bitterly. "I fucking hate this job," she muttered.
"Jesus Christ, you're sounding like me," he noted, returning his glance out the windscreen. "Maybe you should call it a night? I can drop you home-."
She looked over at him and shook her head softly, a timid smile faltering as she blinked at him apologetically. "I'm fine," she told him softly. Another quick smile. "Let's just find these so-called looters and get back to the office, I need another coffee."
He decided not to argue with her. She was, after all, almost as stubborn as he was and he was used to the way she mouthed off when under pressure.
"Wait," she suddenly put her hand on the wheel, and pointed out the windscreen, forcing him to look desperately through the foggy darkness. "There's movement over there."
He frowned, scowling a little at himself. "Where? I can't see anything."
"Near that bus shelter, up ahead just before the next corner-."
"Shit!" Officer Ford barked out, his hands jerking the steering wheel suddenly to the right, his vision blanketed by a sudden thud that bounced over the foggy glass and slipped off the other side. Brakes cried, the wheels wobbled and all Joesph could do was curse another dozen times until he had the car finally under control and sitting precariously close to a brick wall on the other side of the street.
"Friggin kids," he growled, as he shoveled his door open and quickly moved around the front of the car, waiting as Jessie rushed out to reach his side.
"Where did they go?" she asked cautiously as they carefully walked through the shadows.
Officer Ford felt his hand rest on his holster. He couldn't see anything. Nothing was moving, but there sure as hell wasn't any injured body sprawled in the middle of the street where they'd hit them.
"I'm calling it in," he decided, starting to turn for his way back to the car and to the radio, but a tense hand suddenly grabbed him and pulled him around.
He never had the chance to finish his sentence. Had he had those precious seconds left to breathe, enough for him to find his voice, he would have gone to ask her what was wrong, but it would have muffled into a holler; a scream. For he saw the clamps of raw metal strangle the life from his colleague for that one brief second before a silver staff with an intricate 'Z', illuminated by the showery moonlight above, slice from his other side and knock the life from him...