Chapter 8: Fallen Pawn
Jason couldn't sleep. He could feel his entire body literally falling to sleep, but his mind was buzzing with electricity, painful images flashing between his forcibly closed lids.
Jason blinked and slowly fluttered his eyes opens, before he rolled his head over to look at Tommy.
"Can't sleep?" Jason guessed.
Tommy sniggered quickly. "Yeah…" he conceded with a sigh, before looking back at him. "Are you feeling better now? You're not glowing anymore…"
Jason glanced down at his hands and raised his eyebrows with surprise. "That's a relief," he admitted. His eyes drifted over his watch and he groaned.
"I knew I should have bought a waterproof watch," he jiggled his wrist, feeling the heat return to his cheeks as he remembered the cruel joke played on them all those hours earlier.
Tommy chuckled, but it was lacking any genuine humor. He raised his wrist, flashing Jason a glance at his own watch.
"It's almost three am," Jason realized, although it was more to himself. He blinked. "I feel like I'm losing all sense of time in here."
Tommy tightened his arms around his knees. "I'm worried about trying to put a fight up today," he said. "I don't know if the others are up for it- I mean, Kimberly and Trini don't seem well and…"
Jason moved his eyes and rested them on the adjoining cell, his insides sinking as he realized the pink glow still flushed from Kimberly's exposed skin. At least she appeared to have found sleep, but by the state of her sagging body in the corner, she almost looked dead.
Just as he pictured Zack.
He curved his back over, trying his hardest to conceal the emotions beginning to grab hold of him at the thought, but Tommy reacted straight away.
He touched his back. "Kim's going to be okay," Tommy said quietly, but with an unhidden awkwardness.
Jason glanced at his closest friend and the all too familiar expression- God, Jason hasn't seen it in so many years.
He shook his head and rested it against the freezing roughness behind them.
"I was thinking of Zack," he admitted. He closed his eyes. "I really wasn't prepared for this," he added quietly.
Tommy stretched his legs out. "None of us were or could have been- but you can't blame yourself, bro- I've been living in this God damned city the whole time and never once suspected anything like this." He stopped short, releasing a bitter breath. "How naive were we to believe we could just walk away from it all?"
I never wanted to…
Jason sighed as Tommy rested a hand on his shoulder. "You should try and get some rest- you look you haven't slept in days," Tommy said.
Jason released a wry breath. "I haven't slept for days," he admitted. "I can't remember being this tired in a long time."
"I thought you said that medication was helping all of that now?"
Jason blinked. "I lied. It hasn't done anything, but I'm so sick of going through the same routine with each doctor."
"You should have told me, I told you my mom knows a good specialist in New York."
"Dr Paul Stanley?" Jason guessed.
Tommy rocked back a little. "You know about him?"
Jason moved his gaze, not certain of how to reply. It was different when he was talking about his own health, but he'd promised Kimberly he'd protect the truth behind hers.
"You right?" Tommy asked, as Jason remained quiet.
Man, I don't feel good…
"I uh," he lifted his hand to his forehead. "I feel strange. Something's not right." He let out a moan.
"What's happening?" Tommy asked, feebly keeping his voice low.
Jason felt as though something inside him snapped, and his head hit the wall behind him. He lost control of his limbs; his voice; self-control. Whatever agony had clamped his insides refused to let go and was twisting at him unbearably.
"What's happening to him?" he could barely here Kimberly's voice, even though he was certain she was screaming.
Tommy's fingers' started clawing at his face, prying his eyes open and trying to keep his head distant from the sharp, harsh wall behind them. His friend's eyes' were staring only a breath away from his, before Jason's suddenly gasped for breath and succumbed to an uncontrollable coughing fit.
"Please! Someone help him!" Kimberly started calling out. "He's going to die!"
Tommy's eyes' narrowed as the dark shadows approached their captive hell. He likened the approaching agent-in-charge with the feeling of impending doom-every new meeting bringing only more confusion and a certainty that they were all in grave danger.
It was foolish to call for help. The last thing Tommy wanted was to risk them taking Jason away.
"Kim, I'm fine," Jason weakly murmured, as Tommy tried to help him up.
Kimberly shook on the bars one last time, before looking over with wide eyes. Her lips moved to speak, but her attention was swiftly stolen as Agent Johns stopped before her.
She flinched a little and stepped back into Rocky, grabbing hold of him with tense hands as though she needed help to stay standing.
Agent Johns seemed to stare blankly. "I need for you to lower your voices," he said evenly. "I don't want to take this any further."
Tommy's head quickly moved as Jason suddenly hunched forward, groaning painfully.
"Jase, are you okay?" Tommy asked with escalating concern.
He knew it was bad news if Jason couldn't conceal his pain.
"Jase," he shook his shoulders again, before glancing up. "He needs help."
"I can't help you. I don't know what is wrong with you."
"But you can't just let us die like this!" Kimberly snapped, shooting her arm out in between the gap in the bars.
Her hand hung limply nearly a foot away from the officer's face and he merely stared at it. "I told you, I cannot help you…this is the only way to deal with this, the only way to keep it hidden-."
"What are you trying to hide?" Aisha cut him off. "You dragged us into this place and people outside will notice when we're gone."
"Just tell us why you brought us here," Rocky added.
"It's too late-."
A haunting screaming suddenly echoed between the concrete channel causing them all to turn in its lingering direction. Agent Johns turned slowly and moved his hand to his waist as the patters of footsteps sounded toward them.
"Robson, you were ordered-."
"Lieutenant, there's an emergency in sector four," the skinny officer replied breathlessly, clumsily slowing to a stop.
Agent johns' eyes' darkened. "What emergency are you referring to?"
The younger officer's expression cowered with confusion. "I was posted on guard near room forty-six, when I noticed extensive damage to one of the doors and uh-."
"Damn it!" Agent Johns suddenly thundered, swiping his gun in an angry motion.
Tommy shared an anxious look with his teammates.
"What the hell is going on?" Jason groaned, his body still hunched over.
Tommy stared in disbelief as he watched a mob of ten uniformed officers drag Hank Cranston toward Agent Johns. The senior officer motioned with a cool stare and matching gesture, and the group immediately forced the captive scientist to his knees.
"Let him go!" Billy called out.
"You betrayed me Hank," Agent Johns stated.
The cracked glasses fell from Mr. Cranston's face as he lowered his head.
"You have to stop this now," he murmured. "How long did you think you could hide this?"
Agent Johns moved the tip of his gun running it up to the height of his old friend. "I warned you, Hank – I explicitly told you to stay away from this. You may have tried to stuff me around, but your efforts are for nothing-."
He stopped and spun around slowly on the spot as he stared at each of the former rangers. "No one will leave here!" he declared. "No one-."
"William, I'm sorry…" his father offered strangely emotionless.
By this point, the situation became drowned in too many voices. Tommy merely breathed out loud, uncontrollable breaths as he watched the unthinkable happen.
Agent Johns glanced over his shoulder at the ground as his steady fingers pulled the trigger and Hank Cranston's body snapped backward, crumpling to the ground.
No! No! NO!
"No! No!" Kimberly found her body falling heavily forward, her hands sliding down the bars, but failing to stop her as she slumped on the ground.
"You bastard!" Rocky viciously snapped, dropping down to Kimberly in an attempt to lift her up by under the arms.
Kimberly feebly tried to get her feet under her, but she was breathing so hard, all she wanted to do was be sick.
"How could he? How could he kill him?" she wailed. "How could you shoot him?" she screamed, slamming her fists against the bars.
She watched as Agent Johns finally turned from the lifeless body and stepped toward her, his footsteps leaving crimson prints behind.
"I'm sorry," he said without any emotion, before he turned to the other officers waiting behind him. "Get them."
Kimberly inhaled and fell forward as three uniformed officers immediately moved to open her cell. Rocky valiantly tried to move in front of her, but a solid whack across the face sent him slamming against the wall.
"No!" Kimberly shouted, as arms reached in and grabbed her around the ankles. She moaned heavily, twisting her body with all her force but she didn't have the strength, nor especially the energy.
"Let her go!" Billy's voice powerfully rose above the rest.
Kimberly let out a shriek as she felt her body drag out of the open cell. She grabbed hold of the nearby bars with the tips of her fingers, but her grip was weak; helpless.
"Tommy!" she cried out automatically, her eyes racing until they found him.
His eyes shot in her direction, but he seemed incapable to respond, instead too immersed in fending off officers that were dragging Jason out through his cell.
"Tommy…" she worded breathlessly, as her grip finally slipped and her capturers successfully pulled her into the corridor.
"Kimberly!" Katherine's voice echoed behind her.
Kimberly weakly moved her head to glance over her shoulder, any last-minute strength she had disappearing fast. Both Jason and Trini were being dragged in a similar fashion, and neither appeared to have the physical will to resist.
"Where are you taking us?" Kimberly practically whimpered, gasping out at every tug of her left hand that felt like fire.
Oh God, what if they're taking us somewhere to kill us?
As she watched them come up to an approaching doorway, she attempted to resist the men one final time, before she suddenly found her body lifted into the air without warning. How they managed to get her strapped down to a bed of some kind so easily frightened her most of all.
Everything flashed in front of her at that moment. Everything she wanted, everything she hoped for. Everything in her past; everything that led to that moment.
She wasn't ready to die. She didn't have that strength anymore.
"Let them go!" Jason barked out, as Kimberly watched them strap him to the bed beside her.
"Please don't do this," Kimberly begged, as she watched one of the men approach her with what was clearly a syringe.
She pulled harder on the straps, tugging and pulling as she felt the sharp point brush against her arm. With every fight left within her, she quickly snapped her head in his direction and bit down on his hand.
"Argh!" he howled loudly, stumbling backward.
Tears blurred in her eyes as she turned her head the other way, noticing the sickening way in which Trini's head rested unnaturally, a think trickle of blood smudged on her arm like a mark of death.
"Trini?" she shrieked, trying to sit up. "Trini, wake up!"
"Stay still you little bitch!"
Kimberly instantly felt the air whoosh out of her as the man clamped his hand down on her throat. From the position Kimberly couldn't do anything in response except to move her eyes for one last chance of hope.
"Kim…I'm…I'm so sorry-so-."
Kimberly noticed the glint in Jason's eyes'. It was the last thing she saw, before she felt the needle stab deeply into her tired flesh and the reality around her fell away…