Hey guys! Yes, that’s right… I’m baaaaaack! How many of you are surprised to see this story being updated for the first time in two years? Actually, who even remembers this story? (grins) sorry guys, I kinda lost inspiration for this fic for awhile. But all the inspiration came back (finally) and hopefully I’ll be able to finish this story really soon. Updates will be sporadic because I do have a life and tons of (and also unwanted) responsibilities. I miss the days of when I can just write whenever I wanted too without my schoolwork suffering… So please, please, please be patient – just because I haven’t updated a story in awhile does not mean I am abandoning it.

Reviews are always, always appreciated! So, please let me know what you guys think! And, if you want, you can even flame me for being away so long (though please don’t make it all swear words… I think I’ve had about enough of all the swearing emails I can take).

So… nothing else to say except… enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 15: Some Answers Learned

Disclaimer: Everything that you’ve never heard of (ex. The diamond) is made up. This story is for entertainment purposes only and the characters don’t belong to me. Trust me, if I had enough money, I would’ve bought Power Rangers a long time ago and Johnny Yong Bosch would be mine…

xxx

It was quiet and at first glance not a single person was in sight. Snow had stopped falling hours ago and with the moonlight sweeping over the sleeping city, it looked as if someone had taken a picture and had turned it into a postcard. If one didn’t know any better, he or she would say it was a safe and peaceful city.

In the distance, a lone female figure stood on the rooftop of an abandoned building with a frown on her face. Her eyes, which were an unusual shade of violet, swept over the city as if she was searching for something. She was a brunette with long hair that was currently tied up in a tight bun at the top of her head. Everything about her demeanor screamed “I’m tough and I mean business.” Those who encountered her knew immediately that this was someone not to cross.

Captain to Shadow. Do you read?”

A voice suddenly came from the tiny microphone that was clipped to the collar of her black leather pant suit. The woman gave no indication of surprise – it seemed as if she had been expecting this person to contact her.

Shadow.

That was her code name. Had been and probably will always be. She could barely remember her former identity. She lifted the microphone closer to her mouth. “Shadow here,” she replied.

It was a few moments before she heard a reply.

Have you located Deveraux yet?”

The look on Shadow’s face hardened as her eyes narrowed and she clenched her fist. She hated failure. “Not yet, sir.”

How close are you to tracking him down?”

Shadow gritted her teeth. “Real close, sir. There have been several reports of murders in New Tech City. The outcomes of each murder are detailed exactly like the ones in the reports. I’m positive that Deveraux is in the vicinity.”

Well, find him quickly. I give you permission to bring him back dead or alive. Do not fail Shadow. Do you understand?”

Shadow let a frustrated growl escape her lips before raising the tiny microphone to her mouth. “It’s crystal clear.”

Her violet eyes swept over the city once more.

She would not fail.

xxx

Though her shift for the night was over, Kat Manx sat at her desk with her head bent over a pile of papers, hard at work. All around her sat files and files on Giovanni Deveraux, each file filled with information and pictures. So far, she had been able to locate the information that linked Deveraux with Z and her friends, providing more clues to the yellow ranger’s past.

Kat pushed back her desk chair with her legs, rolling it a bit to the left side of her desk where she reached for the first thick file on the large pile and opened it up. Her eyes scanned the page and she frowned as she realized something. She quickly reached for the next two files and read through them quickly. Again, she read through the next five files and again, her eyes scanning through the words.

She paused at the last file, feeling stumped.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It was just at the tip of her tongue. There was a clue hidden in the articles – she knew it, but she just couldn’t figure out what it was. Or maybe it was something that was bothering her subconsciously? Something… She reached for another file and studied the photograph that was included in the article. And once again, she hit another dead end.

The feline scientist sighed and shook her head. “Okay Kat,” she mumbled to herself. “Think… there’s something missing here… there should be a clue in the newspapers, right? Why does it feel like there’s something in this situation that we don’t understand? There is something… why is Giovanni so bent on revenge?”

The answer to her last question was obvious. Z and her friends had participated in a plan that Jack had concocted – which had landed Giovanni in prison and naturally declaring revenge. Kat stared at her computer in frustration. There just had to be another reason that Deveraux was so bent on killing every last one of his old charges.

The doors to the Command Centre swished opened and Doggie Cruger walked in, carrying a thick file. “Miss Manx,” the large blue dog, walked over to where she sat and placed the file down in front of her. “I believe I found something that might help with the case. You might find this very interesting.”

Kat picked up the file and opened it, shifting through the various papers. Her breath caught and her green eyes stared up at the Commander in shock. “How can this be...?”

“Evidently,” Doggie replied. “It was around the time of the experiments that SPD were performing. Something must’ve gone extremely wrong. Prolonged exposure to the Cellular Enhancers can alter human genes in many ways. It is possible that the exposure could have altered his mind and personality. He may have been exposed the most – he was the head researcher of the experiments after all.”

“But how is that possible?” Kat protested. “I led those experiments!”

“You may have led those experiments, Miss Manx,” Cruger responded. “But he was head of the project and also the most dedicated. He was in the lab more often than not.”

“That poor man… is it too late? Is there anything we can do?”

“I’m afraid not, Miss Manx. It’s been too long – there is nothing we can change. Even if we could, we have no way of knowing what had happened to him or how to reverse the damage. It could take years if it was even possible.”

Kat Manx sighed and leaned back into her chair, rubbing her forehead tiredly. ‘What in the world are we going to do now?’

xxx

The next morning dawned cold and cloudy, though there were no more signs of snowfall. Bridge, in particular, woke up with a smile large enough to brighten anyone’s day. The green ranger jumped out of bed and with delight, ripped off the gloves that were donning his hands and headed towards the bathroom while grabbing a few necessary items for his morning routine.

Within ten minutes, Bridge exited the bathroom only to find that his roommate had just woken up. He smirked at Sky – well, this was a first. He had never woken up before the blue ranger in his entire time at the Academy. In fact, Sky had always been the one to wake him up – it had been a regular routine ever since he had started at the Academy. Bridge was sure he deserved a medal of some kind for being awake so early.

The blue ranger, on the other hand, was disgruntled to find his friend awake before he was. Sky was known for his promptness and was proud of the fact that he was one of the few cadets that woke up at the crack of dawn on a regular basis. The fact that Bridge was awake before he was – Sky thought it was a sign that something wasn’t right with the world. Everyone knew the green ranger loved to sleep.

“What are you doing up?” he grumbled, as he stretched and rolled out of his bed, getting ready to start the day. “You’re usually sleeping until I get back from my training and even then I have to wake you up.”

The green ranger chuckled and decided to answer honestly. “It feels like I’ve got a brand new life to live now. I don’t wanna waste another morning sleeping in until I have to absolutely wake up. I’ve been afraid of this world for too long because of my powers. Now I just want to live.”

Sky stared at his best friend, caught of guard by the green ranger’s sudden confession. After a moment, he shook his head and grinned. “In that case, you want to come on my morning run with me? It would be nice to have company – if you’re brave enough to face the cold, that is.”

“That was what I was intending to do, actually,” Bridge grinned. “Thanks Sky.” In fact, he was intending to wake up this early from now on. He felt free as a bird and wanted to take advantage of the fact. The smile on his face stayed all the way through their workout and not even the biting cold of winter air could make it disappear.

He was finally free of his prison and it felt wonderful to finally be able to live his life the way he wanted.

xxx

She was nervous.

She hadn’t been this nervous since she had first joined SPD and somehow, this nervous feeling was way worse than last time. At least back then, she had a vague idea of what to do. Joining SPD had been a big deal for her, but she had been confident that she could handle being a cadet and the training that came with being a power ranger.

But relationships were a different story. She didn’t like the type of nervousness that came with it. Didn’t like the butterflies, the blushes and looking like an idiot in general. At least before, she hadn’t cared what she looked like. She would wake up in the mornings, brush her teeth and hair, put on her uniform and was usually done in ten minutes.

Today was another story altogether.

Z stood in front of the mirror, trying unsuccessfully to make her hair look nice. It was her first day as Bridge’s official girlfriend and for once, she wanted to look pretty. She let out a growl of frustration and yanked her brush through her hair and painfully pulled out a few strands as she did so. She spent a few more minutes trying to arrange her hair before sighing in defeat. The yellow ranger just didn’t have an aptitude for this kind of thing. She swallowed her pride and went to find the one person that she knew that would be amazing at this stuff and would absolutely be delighted help.

She exited the bathroom find her roommate putting the finishing touches on her make up. “Hey Syd?” she said hesitantly. The yellow ranger blushed when her roommate glanced at her through the mirror. The pink ranger smiled as a knowing look appeared on her face and then set down her make up on her dresser and walked toward Z, guiding the yellow ranger to sit on her bed.

“You need to relax, you know,” Syd commented as she ran a brush through Z’s hair. It was funny, she was older than Syd by a year but the pink ranger was so much more experienced with things like this. It made Z envy her. Why couldn’t she be as confident as the pink ranger? “Bridge already likes you for who you are. It won’t matter what you look like.” The blonde pulled Z’s hair back and the yellow ranger saw that her friend had pulled it back into a simple French twist. “But also remember, looking nice every once in awhile doesn’t hurt.”

“Thanks,” she said it so quietly that she wasn’t sure if her roommate had heard her, but apparently she had if Syd’s nod was any indication.

“I think that the most important piece of advice I can give you, is to just be yourself. Everything else will just come naturally.”

The yellow ranger considered her roommate’s words. It was so easy for Syd to say those things like that. The pink ranger probably had had dozens of boyfriends over the years. Not only that, the pink ranger was so gorgeous and charming that the boys naturally flocked to her. Z, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. She didn’t think she was that bad looking, but she knew that she wasn’t charming and she definitely didn’t know how to flirt. Dating was a whole new world for her and it was part of the world she was still trying to get used too. It was hard to believe just how much she had changed from her old life. She really had her work cut out for her.

The two rangers entered the Recreation Room to discover that their male teammates were already seated and eating their breakfast. Z was pleasantly surprised to see all of her other friends sitting and eating with them as well. It gave her a warm happy feeling to see everyone important to her getting along. Her eyes landed on her new boyfriend and she felt that familiar nervous feeling in her stomach again. Their eyes connected and she felt a thrill go through her.

The yellow ranger headed toward him, grabbing a breakfast tray as she did so. Bridge shuffled over, making room for her and she sat down in between him and Jack, unsure of what to say. The green ranger smiled at her, causing the butterflies in her stomach to double. There was a light hearted air and cheerful chatter all around them, but Z paid no attention to the others as she focused on the person sitting next to her.

“Morning,” Bridge said softly as he reached for her hand. “You look nice… I mean… more than nice! I mean…” the green ranger began to turn red. “You look beautiful.”

Z felt her mouth widen into a large smile and she was well aware of the heat on her cheeks. “Thanks,” she replied just as quietly. She gave him a shy look. “You don’t look so bad yourself.”

And indeed the green ranger did look nice – at least, in her opinion. He wasn’t wearing his gloves, which did kind of look strange on him but she found that she didn’t mind at all – the idea of Bridge not wearing his gloves was one that she was getting use to very quickly. Bridge was also wearing his usual standardized uniform that every cadet at the Academy had to wear, but there was just something about him that made him look very appealing that day. The green trim of his uniform, for some reason, made his eyes stand out even more.

Z decided that it was because she was his girlfriend and the fact that he was now her boyfriend, gave him a certain sex appeal that she hadn’t noticed before. She definitely liked it.

Everyone around them was amused to see the shy looks and smiles that the yellow and green rangers gave one another. It was almost like watching two children shyly reaching out to one another on a playground during recess because they wanted someone to play with. In a way, Bridge and Z were like two children interacting with one another for the first time. Both certainly had never been in relationships before and perhaps that was what made watching their exchange seem sweet and almost innocent.

xxx

Up from the vent in the ceiling, Giovanni watched the group of people below, sneering with disgust as they smiled and interacted with one another. Who could’ve ever thought? All the street rats mingling with the SPD police officers, the idea was too absurd to grasp and yet, the proof was right in front of him. His eyes narrowed in on the yellow ranger. She looked happy, he observed. After all the misery she had caused him, her happiness was simply unacceptable. He resolved to rectify that situation as soon as possible.

His eyes strayed to the person that had caused her happiness. The green ranger. Well, he would just have to eliminate him as well – how hard could it be? Compared to the blue ranger on his team, this one looked a little weaker and much more easily distracted. His gaze shifted to Jack Landors as the red ranger proceeded to say something that had caused the others to laugh. His expression became one of hate.

Jack Landors…

The one that had caused him to lose his most prized possession.

His precious Crimson Diamond…

He had literally spent years searching for the rare diamond. There had only been three in existence and had been worth millions upon millions of dollars. Just having one of the diamonds alone could have made him filthy rich for the rest of his life and then some, had he had time to sell it. He had only just managed to get his hands on one of the three rare diamonds before his entire business had come crashing down. Millions of dollars invested in drugs down the drain. Sentenced to a lifetime in jail…

The Crimson Diamond had been his ticket to ultimate power. With all the wealth he could have sold it for, he would have had enough power to become the leader of an underground Mafia. The diamond had been in his hands about five minutes before the Police arrested him.

And it was all thanks to Jack Landors.

Giovanni growled, his hands clenching into fists so hard that his knuckles turned white. Jack still had the diamond - that much was obvious. If Jack had sold the diamond, or had even returned it to the proper authorities, it would have made headlines. As it was, nothing had ever been documented in the local newspapers. He had gone to the New Tech City Library upon his arrival and had managed to find no information on where the diamond was. The only problem was that only Jack knew where the diamond was. He doubted that the red ranger had told anyone of its whereabouts for fear of it falling into the wrong hands. For a brief moment, he wondered if Jack even knew how much the diamond had been worth… He shook his head. Most likely not. If Jack had known, he would have probably sold it almost immediately.

Giovanni turned his attention back to the group below him and watched them for several more minutes. He felt his anger slowly slip away and he relaxed – there would be plenty of time for revenge. Everything had to be planned down to the very last detail and it would do no good to lose his cool now. He still had more plans to put in motion.

First things first.

He tore his gaze away from the happy chatter below him and turned to survey the area around him. There wasn’t much to look at – just tunnels and whatnot. He had studied the layouts that Piggy had provided for him and had concluded the best way to navigate around the SPD Academy without being detected was through the ventilation facilities in the ceiling. At the moment, he was in the Recreation Area. He needed to find the infirmary and dispose of Larissa since she was still in a coma.

Giovanni began crawling, occasionally turning left and right. It was several minutes before he found the room and carefully observed to see if any of the personnel were around. A smirk came to his face when he saw that the room was empty, save for the young coma-induced woman occupying one of the beds. Slowly dismantling the grate, he popped it off as quietly as he could and pulled himself through the opening.

He landed onto the floor with a quiet thump and walked towards Larissa, anticipation at the thought of killing her filling him as he got closer and closer to where she laid. Looking at the young girl, he could see that her injures were beginning to heal. He had overheard Dr. Manx (he had learned the names of everyone that could potentially get in his way) a few days earlier, that there was a high chance of Larissa waking up and recovering. He continued to stare at her, his hand slowly reaching for the pillow that her head was resting on. He held the pillow over Larissa’s head as a malicious grin formed on his face.

If he didn’t know any better, he would have thought that this girl was just sleeping and not lying in a coma. Gripping the pillow in his hand, he brought down to Larissa’s face and proceeded to smother her. He watched the monitor on the side as it beeped.

This time there would be no mistakes.

xxx

Back at the Recreation Room there was a loud chatter as everyone was finishing their breakfasts. The atmosphere was comfortable, light and happy. Z in particular, couldn’t stop smiling. She and Bridge were holding hands underneath the table while they both were trying to eat the food in front of them. It was a little hard, eating with her right hand since she was left handed, but somehow she managed. She had no idea that she could feel this happy by just holding the hand of someone she cared about and knew that he truly cared about her too. She felt a thrill go through her every time she felt Bridge give her hand a little squeeze – which seemed to be every five minutes, but she didn’t mind.

Caught up in her musings, the yellow ranger didn’t notice as the happy chatter began to die down. It wasn’t until she heard the tone of Caleb’s voice, did her attention return to those around her.

“Hey, where is Ian this morning?”

Looking up, she saw that Caleb was frowning as he asked Kathleen where her brother was. The expression in his eyes told her that he was worried and she was suddenly reminded that the threat of Giovanni was still hanging around. With everything that had been happening, she had completely forgotten that Giovanni Deveraux was still after her and every single one of her friends.

Turning, she looked at Kathleen who equally had a worried look on her face. Z suddenly felt wary and one glance at her friends told her that everyone else felt the same. What if something had happened to Ian? The answer that Kathleen gave Caleb did nothing to ease the worry she was starting to feel.

“I don’t know,” Kathleen’s voice sounded small. “We got into a fight last night and he stormed out. I have no idea where he went. He doesn’t like it here at all.”

The yellow ranger turned towards Jack and saw that he had a troubled look on his face. The red ranger had just started to stand up when Keegan spoke. “I think I know where he went. If you guys want, I can go get him and bring him back here.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” Sky spoke up. The blue ranger stood up. “I’ll come with you incase anything happens.”

But before anyone could say anything else, they heard the alarms sound throughout the Academy, and a mechanical voice came on through the intercom. “POWER RANGERS! PLEASE REPORT TO THE COMMAND CENTRE IMMEDIATELY!” Almost automatically the five Power Rangers stood up.

The rangers all looked at one another, unsure of what to do. “It’s alright,” Keegan said. “I’ll be fine going alone.”

“No you won’t,” Caleb shook his head, standing up as well. “You guys go on,” he said, sending a look at the rangers. “I’ll go with Keegan. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”

“Okay,” Syd replied. “You guys be careful!”

And then the rangers ran out the door.

xxx

Up in the ceiling, Giovanni listened with interest as Keegan and Caleb were getting ready to head out to find Ian. This was the most perfect opportunity he could have ever asked for! A chance to kill some of the traitors that had betrayed him… the only question now, was should he go after Kathleen and Rosanna first? Technically, they were the easier ones to kill. They weren’t as physically strong as their male friends. Or should he follow Caleb and Keegan and wait until they find Ian and then kill all three at once?

After a few moments of contemplating, he decided to follow Caleb and Keegan. They would be much more out in the open and would have fewer defenses. The girls could wait – after all, he wanted to have a little fun with them before they left the world permanently.

His eyes darkened. Revenge was so sweet.

xxx

“So, you think Ian is at the park?”

It was an unusual warm winter’s day and what was even stranger was that the park was deserted. A lot of snow had melted and the pathway they walked on was clear so that there was little chance of slipping on any patches of slippery ice. There was still a lot of snow around though and it made the park look very nice, in Caleb’s opinion. Keegan nodded in response to his friend’s question as he and Caleb walked along the path that led to the park. “It’s where he always goes when something is bothering him. It’s like his thinking place.”

“Well,” Caleb shrugged. “Whatever works for him.”

Before Keegan could respond, a well-aimed rock collided with his head, striking him down. A look of horror crossed Caleb’s face as he ran over to his friend and bent down to check his pulse. Blood was oozing from the back of Keegan’s head as he frantically pressed two fingers against his neck for a pulse. He felt hot tears come to his eyes when he couldn’t find any. Hearing footsteps headed toward him, Caleb looked up and felt his blood freeze.

Giovanni was walking toward him with his all too familiar malicious smile. Fear engulfed him and he took a step back, unsure of what to do. The shock of his friend’s sudden death combined with the fact that Giovanni had somehow known where they were headed had him paralyzed and he couldn’t effectively think of ways to escape. He could feel himself shaking and was suddenly finding it more difficult to breathe. Caleb was a decent fighter but he knew there was no way he could win against a skilled assassin like his former boss.

“Well… well… well… we meet again.”

Even his voice brought and involuntary shiver down Caleb’s spine. They stared at one another for what seemed like ages. Caleb was stuck frozen in his spot. It was as if the feeling in his legs was lost and he couldn’t move. Finally, his common sense kicked in and he began backing away.

Caleb continued to take a step back as Giovanni came closer and closer. “What the hell do you want from me?” he choked, trying to sound braver than he actually felt. He felt his chest tighten when he saw Giovanni take a knife out of his pocket. He inwardly swore. Shit. Giovanni was not going to make it easy to get away at all. If he even managed to get away.

Without warning, Giovanni lunged forward. Caleb managed to deflect his first few attacks, but the fact that he was able to defend himself seemed only to make Giovanni more excited and determined. The knife that he held in his hands sliced through Caleb’s arm and immediately began bleeding. Caleb gasped at the pain and fell backwards as Giovanni towered over him.

“I hope you know, that it was a big mistake to ever have double crossed me,” Giovanni snarled, raising the knife about his head. “I fed you, I clothed you, I took you in when no one else wanted you… and you repay me by TURNING ON ME AND HAVE ME THROWN INTO JAIL?” His voice became louder and louder with each word that came out of his mouth. “YOU WOULD HAVE DIED IF IT WEREN’T FOR ME!” He roared. Caleb braced himself. This is it…

Next thing he knew, Ian had come barreling out of nowhere and had slammed his body into Giovanni’s, throwing the power-hungry man off balance. Caleb could only stare at his friend in shock as Ian rushed over to him.

“Are you okay?” Ian demanded to know.

“Yeah,” he breathed heavily. “I think so – but Keegan…” he trailed off as he looked at the fallen body of his friend. “He’s gone…”

Ian followed his gaze and his expression hardened. “Nothing we can do about that now.”

By now, Giovanni had recovered from Ian’s surprise attack. “Welcome, Ian,” his voice was laced with sarcasm. “By the time I’m done with you both, there will be three less brats to deal with.”

But before Giovanni could follow through on his threat, there were suddenly explosions surrounding him. When the smoke cleared, there was a woman standing between them and death. Both Caleb and Ian could only stare, unable to comprehend the situation in front of them. Caleb’s arm was still bleeding, the blood flowing down onto his clothes.

“You!” Giovanni snarled at the woman, his voice going into a deadly hiss.

“Deveraux,” the woman replied evenly. She was so calm that it made them wonder if the woman even knew what she was getting into and whom she was dealing with. “I’ve been looking for you,” she continued. “I see you’re still torturing defenseless people.”

“Stay out of my way!” The anger on Deveraux’s face was unmistakable.

The woman snorted. “Not a chance,” she responded. “I’m here to bring you in.”

So she was a cop of some sorts. Her outfit sure didn’t indicate it.

Both Ian and Caleb recognized the look on Giovanni’s face. Deveraux tended to lose all rationality when he was angry – but that made him all the more dangerous. His rage left him blind but also fueled the fire to act out without a care. They could only watch as the woman in front of them began to fight with Giovanni. The thought of escaping never entered their minds.

xxx

They stood in a line in the Command Centre, the florescent lights beaming down upon them as Commander Cruger paced back and forth in front of them. All five rangers were wondering why they had been paged when Emperor Gruumm hadn’t even attacked; the city looked peaceful and quiet for the moment. Off to the side, Dr. Manx stood looking solemn, and her expression more serious than they had ever seen. That expression combined with the Commander’s pacing, made them nervous.

Finally Cruger stopped pacing and turned to face them. “Rangers,” he barked. “Dr. Manx and I have just recently discovered valuable information that we feel you all should be informed of.”

Kat took a step forward and her gaze landed on Z and Jack, causing the yellow and red rangers to stand straighter. “It concerns Giovanni.”

Beside her, she felt Jack stiffen and Z felt her guard immediately snap into place. She had a feeling that what they were about to hear would not be good news and that things were about to get worse. Although she knew she had no choice, it didn’t stop her from wishing she didn’t have to hear the news at all. Why did this have to happen, now that she was finally at a point where she was truly happy for the first time in her life? It wasn’t fair – she didn’t want to hear anymore bad news.

“As you all know, all of your parents worked at SPD conducting experiments,” Cruger began. “While Dr. Manx did lead the experiments, she however, was not in charge. At the time, that responsibility belonged solely to a man, a scientist named Dr. Van Deveraux.”

The rangers froze at hearing the name.

“No way…” Bridge muttered slowly under his breath.

Kat looked grim. “We’ve discovered that Giovanni and Van Deveraux are one and the same.”

Sky stepped forward. The blue ranger was frowning as he tried to process the information. “But how is that possible?” he asked. “He used to work at SPD? How did he become so evil and power hungry? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Dr. Deveraux was very intelligent and well respected for his accomplishments,” Kat answered. “But even then, he craved power. Unfortunately, everyone saw it as ambition.” She paused and exchanged a glance with the Commander before continuing. “He spent most of his time in the lab and we believe that over time, his exposure to the chemicals somehow altered his mind and personality. He was not above testing some of the experiments on himself, so that is also a possibility.”

“So, it’s kind of like a ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ explanation?” Syd asked, referring to one of the most classic stories of all time. “Split personalities?”

Cruger nodded. “Exactly. Only they have the same name and the personality we’re dealing with is permanent. Dr. Van Deveraux no longer exists, only Giovanni remains.”

Kat pressed a few buttons on the console and two images appeared on the computer screen. “This is Dr. Deveraux,” she indicated to the image on the left. The yellow ranger shifted her gaze from the picture to the one on the right and shuddered. The more recent picture of Giovanni showed just how much the former scientist had changed within two decades. She remembered the scars all across his face and even though the photo didn’t show it, the scars ran down his neck to his arms. She continued to stare at the images and a shiver ran down her spine. The expressions in Deveraux’s eyes in both photos were the same.

He craved power at all costs.

Then a thought struck her. “Wait,” she turned from the photos and stared at the Commander. “I thought that it was only Kat and our parents that worked on the experiments, with only one other person involved.”

Cruger nodded. “That is correct.”

Jack straightened, looking alarmed. The red ranger had obviously caught onto Z’s train of thought. “That means Deveraux is related to Sam in some way, doesn’t it?”

Both the Commander and Kat exchanged glances before the feline scientist turned towards them and nodded. “He is Sam’s father,” Kat told them.

Z felt her throat constrict, sympathy and horror filling her as she absorbed what Kat and the Commander was telling them. Poor Sam… that poor little boy… she hold that Sam would never find out who his father truly was… in this case, ignorance was definitely bliss. He was better off not knowing.

She saw Kat and Cruger exchange another glance.

“There’s more isn’t there?” The yellow ranger pressed. “There’s something else that you’re not telling us.”

Cruger sighed. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but we’ve also discovered how your father died. He was murdered by Giovanni.”

Whatever Z had been expecting to hear, that wasn’t it. It was as if her whole world had come crashing down and there was nothing left to hold it up. She stared at the Commander, hearing his words but was unable to comprehend his meaning. She blinked and took a deep breath. Murdered? Her father had been murdered?

By Giovanni?!

She shook her head. “I don’t understand. I thought my father died in an accident.”

Kat pressed more buttons and the pictures of Giovanni disappeared and were replaced with an image of a Hispanic man. The yellow ranger felt tears come to her eyes as she gazed at the photo of her father, with the familiar twinkle in his eyes and his easy going smile… she had forgotten what his smile looked like…

“Sir,” everyone’s attention turned to Sky, including Z’s. There was a look of confusion on the blue ranger’s face. “Isn’t that Danny Delgado? He was the first Black SPD Ranger, wasn’t he? I’m pretty sure he served on the team with my dad. There are photos at my house.”

Z turned sharply to Cruger. “My dad was a ranger?”

The big blue dog looked pained as he nodded. “He was. He was also the former Black Wild Force Ranger. The very first Power Ranger teams of SPD were all composed of former rangers. Danny Delgado was the Black Power Ranger of A-Squad and he was a fine ranger. His death was a huge loss to SPD.”

“There’s something I don’t get,” Jack announced. “Why would Giovanni murder Z’s father? It doesn’t make sense. Did they hate each other or something?”

“We believe that Danny was the only one to have noticed the changing characteristics of Giovanni’s personality,” Kat replied. “Danny had always been the quietest and most observant person, so it makes sense that he would have been the only person to realize what was happening to Giovanni. Unfortunately, Danny also decided to confront Giovanni alone – at least, that is what we’re speculating. According to the files we’ve found, Danny was murdered around the same time Giovanni’s business of drug dealing was really in power.”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me that my father was a ranger?!” Z suddenly burst out. “This isn’t something that should be kept secret! I can barely remember my parents before I was living on the streets. You would think that someone would have realized that his own daughter was here at SPD without knowing it!”

“We hadn’t realized that you were Danny’s daughter, Z,” Kat told her gently. “You were no where to be found after that disastrous earthquake that had hit New Tech City years ago. All the former Wild Force Ranger searched for you for a year, everyone thought that you had died during the earthquake.”

Z felt the familiar fear rushing through her as she relieved the memories of when she was eight. She remembered trying to run for safety through the crowds of people as the ground shook beneath her. She remembered falling and rocks were crashing down around her and people screaming… she remembered sitting, paralyzed as she watched the giant rocks hitting the people around her and their screams instantly silencing.

And she remembered Giovanni coming to her rescue just as part of a building was about to fall on top of her.

Giovanni saving her that day had led her straight to growing up in her own personal hell.

The yellow ranger felt hot tears streaming down her face as she turned and ran from the Command Centre. She heard the others calling after her but she ignored them and continued running. She didn’t stop until she reached her room and threw herself onto her bed. She grabbed her pillow and buried her face into it and sobbed.

xxx

Z felt groggy when she awoke.

Sitting up, she instantly remembered why she had been in her room in the first place. Damn, she must have fallen asleep while crying. Looking at her clock and seeing that Syd was no where to be found, the yellow ranger concluded that everyone must have been at dinner.

She was startled when the doors to her room slid open and Bridge entered, carrying a tray full of food. The green ranger stopped in surprise when he saw her sitting on her bed, but quickly recovered and rushed to her side, setting the tray of food on the table next to her bed.

Without a word, Bridge sat next to her and gently wrapped her in his arms, giving her a squeeze. The yellow ranger felt instantly comforted and briefly wondered how Bridge knew that she had desperately needed a hug. A quick glance down at his gloveless hands told her the answers. Sometimes it was handy having Bridge’s powers around. Other times the green ranger’s powers scared her since Bridge could easily see through her defenses if he wanted too, but they had come a long way since then and Z knew she could trust the green ranger with her life and didn’t mind that he could read her inside out. This was one of those times that she really didn’t mind that he was psychometric. It was as if all the bad news she had received had somehow disappeared at his presence.

Thanks Bridge,” she said, not really sure what she was thanking him for.

The green ranger pressed a kiss to her forehead and held her even tighter, causing her to smile slightly. “Anytime,” he replied.

And for the next few hours, Bridge and Z stayed perched on the yellow ranger’s bed, with her back against his chest, his arms around her waist and their fingers intertwined. Z would always remember it as the moment where she felt safest and most loved.

Their relationship was still new, but she had no doubts about it. Because at that moment, as Bridge pressed another kiss to her temple, Z was sure that she had fallen in love with the green ranger and that this was what love felt like.

The memory would forever be cherished in her heart.

xxx

So what did you guys thinks? Please review!

Note: As it has been a long time since I’ve worked on this story, a lot of the little details that I’ve carefully intergraded into this has long since been forgotten. I’ve read the chapters that I’ve written over and over several times, and the main plots are still in my head – I think I’ve managed to remember everything that’s really needed – but sometimes things can be missed. So, if something doesn’t make sense with the rest of the story, please let me know and I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks!

BTW, the timeline in this story is supposed to be set in winter. When I originally started writing this fic, I had planned for it to be finished around Christmas time (that is, Christmas 2005) and here it is, a couple of years later and it’s still not done. When I finally do get to the end of this story though, it’ll take place during the most joyous holiday of the year! So don’t let the timeline confuse you, like it did to me when I started writing again!

Note #2: The Cellular Enhancer info came from the episode ‘Sam, part 2.’ Everything else is just made up!