Chapter 26: Hit from the Past
Thick static, mixed with periods of random, high-pitched whining continued to drone over the radio's circular speaker as Kimberly rolled her fingers incessantly over the tuning dial. Every moment or so she would hear a sudden change- slurred speaking; noise distinguishable from the level crooning of static. But it just kept faltering.
She squeezed it between her hands and let out a groan of frustration. She held back on a curse and instead dropped-half threw it on the ground at her knees and glanced over at Jason.
His body was still rested limply against the nearby wall, but his eyes were open, reaching out to her. Crying over Trini had exhausted them both.
She looked back at the ground. She was so tired...so badly tired and the others were taking so long to fix the electricity. She had no choice but to remain in the infirmary, knowing she couldn't go anywhere with Jason's condition deteriorating, but she honestly didn't know how much longer she could last without sleep.
Her eyes drooped. It felt so good.
"God," she whispered to herself, shaking her head and rubbing at her face with her hand.
She sighed and looked back down at the radio, scooping it back up in her hand. She moved the dial about half-heartedly, the static humming and scratching loudly, before it abruptly droned out and the sound of muffled, incoherent speaking could be heard.
"You've got something," Jason murmured.
Kimberly held the dial still for a moment, too afraid to have it drop out again. She let her finger edge it ever so slightly, the incohesive words evening out throughout the static.
"It sounds like a news report," Kimberly said, a small smile quickly flashing, before she turned the volume dial up as high as it could go.
...For residents in the Jackson Boulevard, Central Grove, Moryua Bay and Down-town business districts you should be evacuating immediately and those areas should be strictly avoided under all circumstances. The Police Commissioner has told Star FM news that there has been a colossal magnitude of injuries and fatalities in these areas, as well as substantial damage to property...I repeat, avoid Angel Grove and if safe to do so, please leave your homes if you are in these areas...
"Angel Grove is under attack." Kimberly brought her hand to her mouth. "The mutants must have escaped; they must be attacking in the city-."
"Hey, hey," Jason hushed her, putting a finger to his lips. "Listen..."
...and this is just in, we are being told that the president has issued a statement declaring a state of emergency in response to this outbreak of violence across Angel Grove City. President Holsworthy is urging residents not to involve themselves in the unrest and that military and government tactic teams have been deployed...
Wait, what's that? (pause) Okay, I am being told now that there is a confirmed sighting of a what has been described as a large, flying craft, sharing similar characteristics to the giant robot Angel Grove residents witnessed on a frequent basis during the mid-nineties alien attacks against the city...We could be witnessing the return of the power rangers...
Kimberly inhaled, her eyes widening. Could it even be possible?
Did the others somehow stumble upon a power source?
"Oh, God, I hope it's true," she whispered, as she stood up and aimlessly looked around the room.
"What are you doing?" Jason asked her, his voice barely audible.
She crouched before him, using the sheet on him to gently clean up the fresh blood trickling from his nose. "If what that news report is saying is true, then the guys must have found a power source, or access to some sort of zord," Kimberly rambled. "Either way, we can't sit around here and wait for them to come and get us...we'll give it a little longer, but if they don't show, I'm getting you out of here."
Jason's lips moved ever so slightly as though to protest. Kimberly readjusted the sheet on him, before she stood up and walked over the uneven heaps of split wood and bent metal, kicking aside the shredded bits of material in search of something that would retain Jason's heat better.
She stopped as she heard an out-of-place sound scatter against the concrete and she crouched down, scooping up a gun. Kimberly peered at the weapon closely, unable to tell whether it worked or whether she would even know how to use it, but she tucked it into the elastic of her panties and waited.
Just come back for us soon, guys...
The overwhelming thickness of smoke barey camouflaged the chaos from ground level in Angel Grove and as the car pulled out of the alleyway, the driver flicked the switch. The siren howled, but could only just be heard.
"Everyone's on foot," his ex-partner noted dully.
The police officer let the car slowly dribble up the usually bustling street, his concern uncomfortably crawling up his throat. He remembered all the times in his youth that he'd seen such similar scenes of crisis- all those times that the supposed alien empire had the city on their knees.
It had been a strange time, and Farkas Bulkmeier couldn't deny it changed him in more ways than he'd realized at the time. He'd had true idols then; the power rangers had been the pillars in everyone's eyes', but at the same time, that all seemed like child's play now.
Where was the single, gruesome looking monster with two heads and an uncanny ability of speaking perfect English who always managed to find its way near their favorite hangouts?
"Come on, people, move," Farkas huffed out, as he squeezed the life out of the steering wheel. "You'd think people would be used to this, you know?" he turned to glance at his friend.
The leaner man rested his head against the headrest. "At this rate, we'll die of starvation before we get to the stat-."
"PLEASE!" A piercing screech startled them both, as a fist pounded incessantly on the driver side window.
Farkas released a breath, his face falling as the older lady continued to run alongside their vehicle.
"Maybe we should stop? She could be injured-."
"And who the hell isn't injured?" he spat back at Eugene Skullovitch, squinting as he realized the anger in his tone.
He flicked his glance in the rear view mirror. The carnage seemed to be following them, catching up to them.
"It's one of those monsters," he realized.
"Turn up this alleyway," Eugene insisted. "Unless you feel like running half a mile and dodging some of those things with our handguns."
He awkwardly shoved the steering wheel to the right. Trash lay strewn across the narrow alleyway from damaged dumpsters, but to his relief, there wasn't anyone who could get in their way.
"Look at this mess," he commented, as he pushed his foot down on the accelerator.
The tires seemed to slip on the uneven service, but then quickly broke free, catapulting the car almost out of control. Both pairs of hands immediately moved to steady the car, but as it collided with something unexpectedly, it came to an almost immediate halt.
"Shit," he muttered. "Damn it!" he slammed the steering wheel with his hands.
"What did we hit?" Eugene asked him with wide eyes.
He sighed, but before he could comment, his friend grabbed him by his sleeve.
"We hit someone!"
"What?" Farkas asked exasperatedly, before his ex-partner opened his door. "Wait! Don't go out there!"
Great going, he thought to himself, as he reluctantly opened his dinted door.
His boots felt heavier than usual as he walked uneasily toward his crouching friend.
"You're not going to believe it…"
"What?" Farkas asked, wondering why on earth they'd stopped at such a dire time. Given the amount of bodies strewn across the main road only a short distance away, he was certain that whomever they'd hit probably wasn't breathing before hand.
"Holy shit, that's Kimberly Hart!" he exclaimed, instantly dropping beside him.
The officer tenderly moved the young woman's messy hair from her face, feeling his nerves leap into overtime as a pained murmur sounded from her cracked lips. It was clear she had been injured from the unexpected collision, but at the same time, something wasn't right.
He remembered the bubbly brunette from six years in elementary school and five years at the very cosmopolitan Angel Grove High. She was one of 'those' girls- perfect hair, lots of equally irritating friends, and most especially, the kind that Farkas had put in all efforts to annoy whenever possible.
Those days were well passed them now. Farkas and Eugene had both changed, thanks to the natural progression into manhood, but that wasn't why he felt so sick looking at his former classmate.
She was sickly, overly malnourished and dressed as though she had just escaped from some kind of mental institution.
And the blood; the white material of the hospital gown that barely covered her fragile body was soaked by too much blood for one person.
A growl from the nearby shadows suddenly caught the officers' attentions', and Farkas clambered to his feet as he reached for his handgun. The muscles in his neck tensed, squeezing the air from him before he gasped out "Jason?"
It was Jason Scott- at least Farkas thought it was, underneath the overgrown facial hair and disturbing gaze. The officer slowly skimmed down his lanky body and froze as he noticed the shotgun dangling from the man's hand.
Farkas slowly lowered his gun to the ground and motioned to his friend to join him as they carefully raised their arms in the air.
"It's cool, Jason, we're not gonna hurt you," Farkas assured him uneasily.
The former martial artist stepped out from the cover of darkness and knelt toward his fallen friend, steadying the barrel of his gun toward the officers.
Farkas swallowed heavily in response. "You remember us, don't you?" he tested. "Bulk and Skull? We uh…used to give you shit in school, and you used to kick our asses for it…"
Jason lowered his head eerily to the side, his gaze unwavering. "The power…"
Farkas frowned a little, his eyes trickling toward Eugene as discreetly as possible.
"What is he talking about?"
"How the hell am I supposed to know?" Eugene whispered back incredulously. "Why do you think they're dressed like they escaped a nut house?"
Farkas swallowed. "Take a look at the puncher marks on their wrists...on their necks," he murmured, his breathing slowing.
"The power..." Jason repeated in an almost chant-like fashion, his eyes flashing a startling argent glow. "It's here..."
Farkas let out a sharp breath, his forehead furrowing heavily, but Jason seemed oblivious to the officers' reactions and instead returned his disturbed gaze back onto Kimberly.
"This is crazy..." Eugene whispered, his eyes widening with fear. "I think we need to go now...now," he mouthed dramatically.
Farkas just blinked at his friend, before he tore his eyes back to the madness before them. Although her best interests were clearly absorbing his attention, Jason seemed to pull at Kimberly's injured body with little room for tenderness, easily draping her body over his shoulder and standing above the two crouching officers.
Farkas didn't know what to do. All around him, the sounds of complete oblivion surrounded them, but still he was shaken as he watched Jason brush past and walk absentmindedly toward their dinted car.
"Uh-h where are you going?" Farkas stammered.
Jason continued to ignore them, as he attempted to squeeze between the wall and an out of place dumpster. Farkas leant over and grabbed his gun, shoveling it in his holster, as he started after the man, his ex-partner not far behind him.
"Jason!" Farkas shouted out. "Jason, get in the car and we'll take you and Kimberly somewhere where you can get help."
Jason's head twisted around to stare at them, his eyes looking at them but almost looking through them. His hand gripped the deadly weapon in his palm and Farkas tossed his gun toward him, motioning to Eugene to follow. The two weapons scattered along the uneven surface, landing at Jason's feet.
"Here's the keys," Farkas held them up, as he pointed at the car. "Let us help you."
Billy straightened up in his cockpit chair, his eyes zooming over the monitors. Alarms were blaring and beeping around in incoherent patterns; they were supposed to tell them if there was a problem with the zord that needed serious attention. Problem was; there were so many alarms going off all at once that it was impossible to distinguish what was wrong with what.
"Tommy, there's a pack of them over to the east," Adam rushed out. "The heat sensors are showing they have humans with them..."
Despite the thickness of his helmet, Billy could still hear Tommy's sigh. "Any way of dealing with this in a pretty way?"
Billy flicked the controls succinctly, rushing to secure an angle of the group of mutants. As the inbuilt camera locked onto them, Billy himself sighed despondently as he realized the sensors were picking up the presence of a heavily injured man who was missing three of his limbs. The sight was enough to bring hidden tears to his eyes.
"Tommy, lock on target and standby to fire," Billy permitted. "The human isn't alive."
Silent contemplation for a brief collection of seconds, before Tommy quickly repositioned the gun canons, sending the target lasers bouncing around in a frenzy.
"Locked on target," Tommy confirmed, as he swung his head over his shoulder. "Guys, brace yourselves."
Rocky wrapped one arm each around Katherine and Aisha, nodding to Tommy to proceed. Tommy initiated the firing sequence and the craft rocked forward as energy bullets dispatched from its undercarriage, barreling toward the large mob of putties.
The impact leapt in front of the zord's windscreen, forcing Billy forward and his body heavily against the control panel.
"Damn that did some damage!" Tommy exclaimed. "You guys okay?"
Billy hid his grimace and nodded, squinting as another alarm started to sound near his ears.
"Great alarm system, really effective," Rocky began sarcastically, talking over the incessant chirping. "Maybe it should sound when something isn't wrong or when there isn't a monster to shoot down."
Adam snickered quickly at Rocky's comment. "Speaking of monsters, my sensor is indicating a large target back up north," he announced. "The signal's faint, so it must be on the other side of these buildings here."
"Billy, can you pilot us around there?" Tommy asked.
Billy nodded swiftly, grabbing hold of the elaborate steering device. The walls of the craft automatically began to crunch and swell, molding and sucking in tightly as Billy steered it though the narrow shelf of the street. The zord moved effortlessly with his signal and turned smoothly around the corner, the alarm sounding even louder as they came face to face with their new target.
"It's Zedd!" Adam chirped up.
"Yeah, and he's looking pissed," Tommy added wryly.
Billy slowed the zord's approach to a hover, as the mutant clone flung his staff above him, sending a shower of electricity into the air. The attack latched onto the zord's outer shell, rocking it about in a heavy tremor.
"What's going on?" Katherine cried out and Billy looked over at his friends, barely able to keep a steady view on them as they struggled to avoid being flung around the cockpit.
"Sensors are going crazy," Tommy rushed out. "That electricity is causing our target lasers to go haywire; Adam, what's your sensor panel telling you?"
"It's too hard for me to decipher," Adam responded in kind. "But there's something coming up at the bottom, some sort of alert being issued about 'home base'."
Billy tried to think for a moment. "It must be referring the facility...it must be issuing an alert in regards to its power drain, that's the only thing I can think of."
Adam shook his head determinedly. "The alert is to do with my temperature sensors and air quality register...I don't know what it wants me to do."
"Yeah, well right now we have something center stage to take care of," Tommy cut in, as the zord settled and the Zedd clone finally lowered its staff. "I think the attack damaged our power gage, it's saying we're low on energy...I'm going to lock on and shoot this son-of-a-bitch down with every ounce of power this baby has-."
"Tommy, wait," Billy put a hand up toward his friend. "There are apartment buildings to the left there. You need to make sure your aim is as precise as possible, we don't know if there are civilians who are hiding out in their homes, too afraid to evacuate."
"Thanks Billy," he offered sincerely; his voice sounding slightly nervous. "I'm aiming now, Rocky make sure you hold onto Kat and Aisha."
"It's probably the last decent feel up I'm ever gonna get the chance to have," he replied back surprisingly lightly and Billy smiled a little.
Momentarily. He could remember the 'old days'; even in the midst of trial and tribulation, Rocky was still there to make them laugh at the strangest of moments.
"Target locked on- ready, aim, fire!"
Billy grabbed hold of the zord's control panel and locked the joints in his arms as the attack sent the zord forward again. His attempts to remain graceful flew out the window and he went crashing into the panel before him, Katherine and Rocky both scattering into him as the zord regained its balance.
"Smooth...that was smooth Tommy," Rocky muttered, as they tried to steady themselves.
"Sorry guys," Tommy apologized. "Target is down...minimal damage caused to the nearby building."
"Good job, Tommy," Adam praised. "Billy; my sensor panel is flashing again...Tommy, are your sensors indicating any issues with the facility?"
"Yeah," Tommy responded. "But like you said earlier, it's reporting problems with air quality and the heat sensor is rising dramatically."
"Why would the sensors be warning us about bad air around the facility?" Aisha asked in confusion.
Billy looked down at the monitor in the panel, quickly moving through the options to secure a read-out on the IBI facility. The figures jumped up at him, digits blinking like mad as Billy realized just what was wrong at the government building to be affecting the zord's sensors to such a degree.
"I'm taking a big guess here, but these heat readings are astronomical...combined with poor air quality, it can only mean one thing..." he looked over at Tommy. "The facility is on fire."