Existence

Chapter 7: Proof

Kimberly stretched her legs out, concealing a grimace as she rested her head against the concrete wall. She didn't want to lose the little warmth she'd built up from hugging her knees to her chest, but she was starting to grow restless. Her legs were cramping, and were clearly not used to her sitting around and doing nothing.

"Do you want my jacket?"

She looked up at Rocky, only realizing it was the first time she'd really looked at the former red ranger since their sudden reunion. Kimberly could remember he'd always favored more casual wear back at school, and she had to admit he looked more than out of place in his expensive suit now.

The only thing that was missing from their confinement was a jail uniform.

"No thanks," she replied, moving her gaze from him.

Beside her, only a palm length away in the cell next-door, Jason and Tommy were talking about the sudden change of events. Everyone was contributing to the discussion with desperation from their small cells, but Kimberly remained mostly quiet. Asides from feeling a mix between fear and annoyance, her brain was struggling to catch up with all the horrid events that were quickly following each other.

"…and there is no way that we can let this happen, when we stand for good," Tommy finished his long winded speech.

"Well, I think the first thing we need to do is find a way to get through to these people that we're not a risk here," Jason added, finally reverting to his old, calm self.

Kimberly scoffed unintentionally, and then quickly tried to offer a blank look as everyone's gaze fixed on her.

"You got a problem, Kim?" Jason asked.

"No…" she sighed. "It's pointless going over this over and over again- I don't care what reason they think they have to lock us up, but I just want to get out of here and get back to my life. End of story."

Jason shook his head. "Is that the only thing that matters to you?"

"Well, no, but…" she was hesitating. "I chose to give up my ranger powers a long time ago- I don't want this. After what happened in Seréshis, I wanted nothing but return to a normal life."

"Kim, this is bigger than Seréshis. I know out of everyone here you had a lot to deal with after that, but we can't run away from our commitments now," Jason persuaded her gently.

Kimberly pursed her lips. "Anthony will have a fit when I don't show up to practice tomorrow…his father will kill me for ruining his career, as well as mine."

"Who's Anthony?" Rocky asked with seeming interest.

Kimberly could see the strange look from Tommy in the corner of her eye, but she did her best to avoid it directly. "He's my skating partner…truth be told, we're the only hope for the title in this year's World's."

"Is he the guy in that 'Short Ice Sporting' advertisement with you?" Rocky asked. "That must have been awesome working with those guys…"

Kimberly raised an eyebrow in surprise. "You know about that advertisement?"

"Yeah," Rocky stated enthusiastically. "I have a meeting with Stanley Johnson tomorrow…I'm in the running to secure exclusive access to a multi-million dollar advertising project that we've been working on for almost a year…" the excitement from his eyes dimmed somewhat. "Damn, the meeting…" he moaned. "I can't friggin' believe I'm gonna miss it…"

"Guys…we need to focus," Tommy gently intervened. "This isn't this best time for any of us to be here, but our lives are more important than careers and meetings…"

Kimberly bit her tongue. Despite her personal frustrations, Tommy's words' were honestly spoken and as powerful as they'd been during their time together as rangers. Like Jason, he had a funny way of making any terrible situation seem better. She was glad that he hadn't lost that spirit in the passing years.

"These guys have been brutal with us," Adam spoke up from his shared cell with Katherine and Aisha. "We may need to consider using some kind of force with them. I don't want people getting hurt, but if we don't take a stance, then who knows what might happen next?"

Tommy nodded. "Billy, you must know more about this place than us…where are the exits in this place?"

Kimberly watched Billy remain motionless from his sitting position, staring almost eerily in nowhere particular.

"I don't know," he replied glumly.

"I thought you said you worked here?" Tommy pushed gently.

Billy squared his gaze on their former leader. "I've only been as far as the front lobby and the first two offices…the first time I've been in this area was with you guys."

Tommy's eyes' flared a little, and Kimberly watched him carefully with growing uneasiness.

"Billy, we need you to think now," Tommy said. "I don't-."

"Why?" Billy cut him off, standing and briskly walking to the front of his cell. "Because good ol' nerdy Billy will get everyone out of the predicament? I answered your questions honestly. You're the leader- you make the choice."

Tommy lips twisted, and he turned, his gaze catching onto Kimberly's as he walked away to the corner. The group remained silent as Billy's last bitter words' continued to cut through the stale air, the only thing saving the moment, was the sound of approaching footsteps.

Kimberly quickly clambered to her feet and rushed to the front of her shared cell as she watched a group of three uniformed men. The first one stopped in front of her and grinned in a typical sleazy manner, Kimberly unable to hide her disgust.

"I thought you dogs might like a wash?" he announced, gesturing with his hand to his colleague as they unraveled what appeared to be a fire hose. "You can all shower together, or we can of course cater to…" he glanced at Kimberly, and then trickled his gaze to her female friends. "…Personal sponge baths."

Kimberly stepped back and squirmed her face, feeling grateful as Rocky quickly stepped to her side.

"They always say that the government is full of pigs, but who knew such sewage waste lurked in the dungeons of the IBI?" he muttered sarcastically.

The man clicked his neck and clacked his tongue loudly. "You got a smart mouth, kid…you might wanna rethink that, or else I'll be sure to make your living life a hell, you freak."

Kimberly didn't have a moment to move, before a sudden burst of water screamed from the water hose without warning. The uniformed men showered them all in the water, the brutal force sending Kimberly falling deliriously into the wall behind her. The liquid rampage continued to ravage them all, and even after it suddenly stopped, Kimberly's back was throbbing from the water's impact.

She was panting loudly, tears of pain silently falling as she kept her face to the wall.

"What the hell do you guys want from us?" Jason's angered voice yelled viciously.

Kimberly could hear the men's footsteps disappear, and slowly dropped to her knees, turning only as she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"Are you okay?" Tommy asked quietly, as water trickled from his brow.

He moved his hand back through the bars between them and she quickly folded her arms over her chest, conscious of the fact that she was wearing white. "We need to get out of here," she whispered back, her chin quivering as the wintry chill began to overwhelm them all.


"They have this wrong."

"I know they do, Caroline."

"So why are you just sitting there and doing nothing?"

Phillip sighed and reluctantly glanced at his ex-wife, surprised at how angry inside he felt just looking at her. He could barely remember there had been a period of sixteen years where they had loved each other, but then again on serious contemplation, Phillip quickly realized it was more like three.

And there were a lot more years that hate burned harder than anything else between them.

He had been dealing with the shocking news about his only daughter to an at least bearable level, until Caroline Menzies had arrived. Despite the seriousness of the meeting, he couldn't resist an internal snigger at her overdone outfit and was honestly unsurprised that she was still pretentious as ever.

"Phillip? Are you not listening to me?"

"What do you want me to do?" he finally asked, staring at her while her shoulders lowered slightly.

Her bottom chin started to tremble slightly. "I need you to fix this situation. When word gets out about this to the papers, Kimberly's hopes for the World's-."

"Stop it, for God's sake!" Phillip snapped, standing up and viciously throwing himself around to stare at her. "You're still as fucking stupid as you ever were- do you really think that the most important thing here is Kimberly's celebrity status? Our daughter is being charged with murder alongside a boy who I know would never do anything like this!"

Caroline's lips' remained slightly agape, the tears dried up by the time he had finished his sudden outburst. For a moment, Phillip suddenly felt bad for speaking so harshly, but before he could compose himself, the door opened into the room and a familiar couple walked in.

Phillip released a breath. He knew he must have looked like a crazed animal.

"Caroline; Phillip…"

Caroline stood up quickly, running a quick hand over her skirt before she responded. "Have you heard from Jason?" she asked, forgoing any proper greeting.

Ian and Kathleen Scott seemed too stunned to speak at first, but Jason's mother eventually found her voice. "Do you really think that Jason and Kimberly did this?"

Phillip shook his head. "You know they didn't."

"I've arrange for our attorney Simon Conroy to meet us here in twenty minutes," Caroline shared. "It might be worth our while to compile what legal assistance we can…the police have told us they apparently have concrete evidence that our children did this."

Kathleen shook her head sadly. "This whole incident makes no sense…Jason was supposed to be in New York on a week-long business course. He wasn't even due back for another four days."

She folded her hands across her stomach, and Ian wrapped an arm around her shoulder. The door behind them opened up slowly, and the four adults watched as Officer Ford entered the room, their crestfallen postures highlighted by his confident stride.

"What is that?" Phillip asked, as he watched the detective put a videotape into the player in the room.

The detective pressed play and stood back from the screen, not bothering to gaze at the four parents as he replied. "This tape is proof that your children are the people we are searching for."

The footage was fuzzy at first, but quickly zoomed in on what appeared to be an altercation. The cameraman was mumbling quickly, his voice racing as a girl sprinted from the physical brawl, only to be tackled from behind by a man dressed in a suit.

She threw her head up and screamed like a wounded animal, her face unmistakable.

It was Kimberly.

Phillip watched his daughter attack the officer viciously, her legs brutally kicking him in the groin region, before she picked up a jagged rock and tore it across his cheek. The officer crumpled to his knees, before she swiftly grabbed his handgun from his belt and pointed it directly at him.

"Oh my God. Oh my God. She's going to kill him! Oh my God!" the cameraman's voice was heard over the footage, as it zoomed in on Kimberly. The glint in her eyes showed not a hint of hesitation as she pulled the trigger, the camera dropping to the ground and thankfully missing the image of such a horrifying attack.

Phillip instantly dropped into the chair nearby as Caroline's knees folded and she lowered her head in her hands.

"No, Kimberly! Why?" Caroline cried hysterically.

Phillip avoided the emotional scene and stared directly at the detective. In a single moment, he suddenly felt the world had gone black. He was Kimberly's father and he loved her unconditionally; but no matter what he did now, he'd never be able to save her.


Only a few hours had passed, yet time didn't allow any clarity. Everybody was too cold to talk, and too weak to move.

"Billy…are you okay?"

Billy blinked. Her voice was so gentle, the familiarity almost enough to coax him to reply, but he still managed to stop himself. He was afraid of what might come out of his mouth, especially in light of the brewing heat between himself and their former leader.

He felt her hand on his back, but quickly lowered his shoulder a little. As much as he wanted to talk with Trini, this wasn't the place, and it certainly wasn't the time.

He had to get over his own failure. He had unfairly lashed Tommy with his own frustrations, yet the truth of the matter was that Billy should have been the one to stop the entire situation before it even began. Now, he had to be the one to stop it before it became any worse.

I have to find a way out of this place…there has to be some way-.

"Billy-."

He stood up, feeling her hand slide from his back as he did so. Walking toward the barred door that locked them in, he carefully inspected the lock, before Tommy's voice spoke up.

"We can't open them without a key. It looks like the lock was specially designed."

Billy nodded and courageously glanced at Tommy, his fingertips running up a stray piece of sharp metal. This was going to hurt.

As soon as he felt the sharp end of the wire, he swiftly moved the soft flesh of his palm across it. The wire wasn't quite sharp enough though, and although he tried his best to compose his reaction, he accidentally let out a pained cry.

"Billy!" Trini rushed to his side, pulling viciously on his shoulders.

He allowed her to spin him around, but refused to show her the wound.

Another voice quickly called out. "Billy! Billy, don't be-."

"I'm okay," he said to Adam. "Just let me do this."

It all funnily enough went to plan after that. It was all a matter of calling out to the guards for aid, and six men came and swiftly escorted Billy from the cell and toward the infirmary. His former teammates stared at him wide-eyed as he was dragged away, but Billy kept his expression neutral.

He owed it to them.

The medical attention wasn't at all tender, and Billy actually felt more pain from being restrained in handcuffs, than from the continuous throbbing from his wound. The man who carelessly cleaned his lesion made a few snide comments, before he swiftly added:

"If any of your little friends try this, I'll leave them there to bleed to death, understand?"

Billy nodded a little numbly, before he discreetly allowed his eyes to scope the room. To his utter frustration, there was very little to see- two make shift beds, some medical equipment of some kind, and a few monitors on a table that didn't appear to be turned on.

There were three doors…the one they brought him through, and then two others. He squinted his eyes a little, and he could have sworn one of the doors appeared to be damaged. He could see the area around the doorknob looked chipped, as though someone or something had tried to break in.

I wonder why they would try to break their own door?

"Hey, get him out of here."

Billy's focus shifted as he watched the man known as Agent Johns step into the doorway, his eyes resting coldly in his direction.

The man giving Billy his medical attention swiftly stood up, and pulled on Billy's handcuffs.

"Let's get you back to the pound, bitch," he jibbed in his ear.

Billy didn't resist the way he was pushed and shoved all the way back to his cell. For one, he was too physically exhausted to put up much of a fight, and secondly he didn't want to cause any further mistreatment to his friends. The water-soaking incident was bad enough, but he shuddered to think what such twisted minds would be capable of if they gave them the chance.

No one said a word as he was thrown back in his cell. The uniform men swiftly walked away, and as they were finally left alone, a quiet voice gently spoke up.

"What did you find?" Trini asked him.

Billy pursed his lips, not surprised that his friends had guessed his true motives. If only he had something worthwhile to offer them.

He glanced at Trini tenderly, before he looked across the hall to Tommy and Jason. "I didn't see an exit," he admitted in a soft voice. "They took me to an infirmary of some kind and I didn't see much there. My only guess is that the exit is further up the main hall. But it's clear that we're very much below ground level here."

Jason nodded. "Rocky and I were both in the infirmary rooms…while they had their back on me, I managed to unlock the door beside my bed, but I never got the chance to open it."

Billy raised his eyebrows curiously. "I noticed one of the doors appeared damaged. I wonder why they would damage their own door?"

"Because they're a bunch of maniacs," Aisha spoke up sarcastically from the cell beside him.

"So, what's the plan, guys? Take them out when they come to feed us?" Rocky suggested.

"If they feed us," Kimberly muttered beside him. "After their so called shower, I don't think I want to eat anything served by them."

Billy was grateful they were all finally talking, even if no one had anything substantial to contribute. The pointless exchange continued, some of them even managing a few wry jokes, but Billy slowly lost concentration as he noticed Tommy's silence.

Silence was the loudest statement he could have made.

Billy stared at him, and he stared back, neither of them saying anything. Tommy's eyes' were as transparent as always, the way they gazed at him with a sorrow that was clearly unspeakable. The former white ranger had always felt every blow possibly more than anyone else, and Billy knew he'd overstepped the line when he'd snapped at him earlier.

"I'm sorry for talking to you like that before," Billy finally said to him. He was grateful the others were talking too loudly to overhear his apology. "I had no right to be angry with you. I guess I was taking my frustration out on you."

Tommy blinked several times.

"Don't worry about it," he finally conceded, but Billy was convinced the damage was already done.


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