Bridge's nightmares worsen, and Sky makes contact with Morgana. Finally the identity of the new Green ranger is revealed...
"Are you okay, Bridge?"
"What happened?" Bridge started to sit up, groaning. His head was starting to hurt, and he could feel his fingers beginning to tingle beneath his glove.
"You fell asleep face down," the babyfaced technician informed, "Head right in your toast... sir!"
"Don't call me that... ugh.. I had a nightmare."
"What was it about?"
Bridge sprawled out on the couch. "I was in a burning building and someone was crying out. I was gonna go save him, but he said not to, to save myself."
"And something urged me to go after him still."
Boom considered. "Could this be your subconscious telling you something? Like that you're taking something too far?"
"I don't know. The voice said I had to be cool and collected, and not give in to the fire."
"You're going to be sent to the front lines. You're gonna have to be careful out there."
Bridge raised a hand, looking at his covered lead glove. He wore them to protect his delicate mind from the assaults of the world around him... The gloves were his safety net, the clothing that protected him from the harsh brightness of humanity. But they were also a hindrance, something that blinded him from the world around him... and from himself.
Bridge slipped off his glove and waved it over his body, palm down. As his hand passed in front of himself, he could feel, and see, his own aura before him. It was a brilliant blue green, brighter than most of the other auras he had seen, speckled with orange and red... a few dots of purple lay hidden in the darkness, complimenting the mix of other colors and accenting them... and at the core of it all, a white layer, pure and honest.
But there was something else.
He waved his hand again, closing his eyes so his optic vision would not interfere with his synesthetic psychic sight. On the fringes of his aura, echoing off it, was just a trace of a gooey, transparent yellow...
He'd seen that yellow somewhere before, and it wasn't good.
Bridge sat up and waved his hand in front of Boom, reading his aura... He was met with a brilliant lime green, as bright as his own aura, dotted with orange and white. There was no trace of yellow in Boom except where the orange and white met, a function of blending together in the presence of his limited sight. Boom was just as he had always been, save that the orange had grown stronger in recent times, but that was to be expected.
"My aura is wrong," he decided.
"What about mine?"
"It's looking better than I ever saw it." Bridge sighed, replacing his glove.
"You don't look so good, Bridge." Boom sat down next to him. "You feeling okay?"
"It's a little cold in here." Bridge got to his feet and stretched. "I'm gonna go take a nap."
The wind whistled outside, audible even within the confines of Newtech Maximum Security Prison.
Sky Tate made his way through the prison, his head held high. He was afraid, very much afraid, but he refused to allow that to interfere. If Morgana saw weakness in him, she would strike, she would latch onto it and use it against him. This would not be another Mirloc; he swore not to give her any openings.
Sky was escorted into the interrogation room; he sat at the table. Morgana was vicious, he knew that much, but he also knew that she depended largely on intimidation. However, he had a feeling this would not be so difficult as it seemed, at first. Morgana fell over herself to testify against Grumm, and had been quoted as saying that "the Magnificence has the bastard." Sky wasn't sure what that meant, but he was certain that it meant that Morgana was playing for her own team-something he could use to his advantage.
She walked in, her hands cuffed in front of her. Rather than the standard issue NMSP uniform, months of good behavior and some convincing pouting had earned her a modified uniform-a shirt and skirt. It lacked the grace of her previous attire; however, and so too did the rest of her. The woman had lost weight since last he'd seen her, and her skin looked paler than ever. Her eyes were downcast, her face devoid of force. This was not the Morgana he remembered.
She looked up and her eyes lit up a bit. Some of her old malice entered her face as she taunted, "Well, if it isn't the blue ranger. Come to finish me off like you did Emperor Grumm?"
"We didn't finish off Grumm," Sky informed. "We need you to tell us who did."
She sat down at her seat. "If I knew, I would tell you. If I find out, I will personally tear whoever is responsible limb from limb."
"He deserved it."
"Be happy that I can't smite you, ranger," Morgana spat, leaning in. Her long, dark hair fell into her face. . "Grumm deserved nothing of what's been done to him. He was a small time criminal until Omni came along."
Sky leaned in. "Omni?"
Morgana considered for a moment, and then she smiled. "You know that voice in the back of your head, that tells you to do bad things?"
The red ranger cocked his head to the side. "What?"
"That little part of yourself that tells you to do bad things. Like, for example, punching that obnoxious psychic who lived with you, or sleeping with the yellow ranger." Morgana stood up, getting into his face. "The secret, terrible part of yourself that no one sees.
He paled a bit, recoiling, asking himself how she knew... his resentment of Bridge, his feelings for Z. But then he thought for a moment-it was obvious, wasn't it? He leaned in. "What about that part of a person?"
"It has absolutely nothing to do with the Magnificence!" She pulled her cuffed hands up above the table and grabbed his collar with them. "Feed my hunger, and I shall tell you all you need to know about Magnificence."
"They don't feed you here?" He asked.
"That isn't what I'm craving, altar boy."
Sky reached up and cuffed her. "Get ahold of yourself, Morgana. If you want to avenge your leader, you're going to have to be a good little girl and help us find the killer."
"No, I can't be a good little girl, because your containment system took away my youth!"
"If you help us," he offered, smiling, "I'll look into a way to get it back."
"Then we might have a deal. But... not today. I..." She looked away, an odd vulnerability coming into her fair face. Sky smiled a bit; he had never seen this side of Morgana, the pretty side of her. "Please, not today."
He lay in the bed, smiling, a warm body at his side; he felt open and clear, unlike himself. She sighed softly and pressed herself close to him.
Something tugging at him...
He opened his eyes, looking for the source; the woman slept peacefully beside him. But there was something pulling on him, in his mind; a pressure.
He turned and beheld her, but he could not see her face... Instead there was a white light, beautiful and stunning. But that light suddenly turned yellow, a sickly, sticky yellow green. It engulfed him, pulling on his brain. He could feel it working its way into the cracks and crevices, turning every need into its own, his own identity being erased...
He got up from the bed and raced to the bathroom, stripping away what little clothes he wore. He threw himself into the shower and turned it on, and began scrubbing in earnest with a sponge, trying to get the crawling on his skin to go away. It writhed inside his consciousness, trying to burrow into the depths of his personality, but he scrubbed away. As the blood began to leak from his arms onto the sponge, he felt a whiteness coming over him...
"Bridge Carson, where are you?"
"Rangers, Kat, Boom, I'm glad to see... where is Bridge Carson?"
Elizabeth "Z" Delgado looked around. It wasn't like Bridge to be late; if he was, he typically had overslept. Of course, when he overslept it meant that he was having prophetic dreams, which was not a good sign.
"I'm not sure, sir." Replied Syd. "He was going to meet me for lunch a half-hour ago, but he didn't show up."
Krueger produced a communicator. "Bridge Carson, where are you?" There was a pause. "Bridge?"
"I'm here!" answered a groggy voice, yawning.
"Bridge, are you asleep!"
"I'm sorry, sir! I'll be right there!"
"Sir, are you sure this is a good idea," Kat asked, looking up at the Commander.
"I have confidence in Bridge's abilities. My faith falters in his alarm clock."
They waited nervously, with much shuffling of feet, until a disheveled Bridge Carson ran into the room. His hair flew in every direction; his uniform's jacket was crooked on his body, and his pants were wrinked. Had he slept in his clothes? Z thought.
"Sorry, sir! I overslept!"
"I'll say you did, Carson. You had better not pull that on the field. But back to business. Rangers, you are being deployed to Sector 9 to lead SPD's troops against the enemy. Your field commander, who will answer directly to me, is Bridge Carson."
Bridge nodded solemnly.
"Bridge, you will be responsible for commanding the four rangers below you, who will in turn command detachments of troops. The zords, less Sky's, will be sent with you. When Sky's investigation is done, he will be sent to take your place."
"Sir, yes sir."
"Z, you will be in charge of SPD's intelligence division. Syd, you will take the infantry. And our new green ranger will be responsible for leading and defending SPD R&D on the field."
"So who's the new green ranger?" Z asked. She cast a hopeful look at Boom.
"Second in command to Bridge, and the new green ranger, will be Dr. Katherine Manx." He looked her in the eyes, as he said that. Kat's face contorted.
"Sir, I'm not qualified to be a ranger," she informed, her eyes narrowing.
"I beg to differ, Kat! You mad an admirable show against General Benaag, and you saved the rest of us when we were in trouble with your temporary Kat Ranger powers. I think that permanent ranger powers would render you an asset to the team.
"Does this have something to do with our previous discussion?" Kat asked, baring her teeth. Z looked briefly to Sky, who wore an uncomfortable smirk.
"Not at all, Dr. Manx," he informed. "I had intended to deploy you long before that, and I would have regardless of the consequences. But I think this will be a much easier choice for you..." he looked away. "As it will be for me."
Sky made an obscene hand gesture, and Bridge elbowed him. Z stifled a giggle.
"Bridge! Sky! What was that?" Kruger commanded.
"Nothing, sir!" Bridge answered. "Sky wasn't paying attention, so I elbowed him."
"Why weren't you paying attention, Tate?"
"Morgana tried to seduce me. It is all I can do not to vomit, sir."
"Then get that checked out." Kruger offered, deadpan. "Rangers, dismissed."