Sky continues his interrogation of a disturbingly demented Morgana, as Kat and Kruger discuss her promotion, and Bridge becomes mysteriously ill. All in all, things get a little sticky. This chapte...
"You're looking better today."
"Yes, the sedatives your idiotic medics used on me have finally left my system. This is outrageous. Sedated as I screamed about the murder of the one father I have ever known? I'm sure the media would love to hear about that."
"The public is still too pissed at you for trying to destroy them, Morgana." Sky sat down. "However, I've already tracked the medics down and tore them new assholes."
"Excellent. Speaking o-"
"No. What's wrong with you? I don't remember you being this..."
"Horny? ...Why do you think I always want to be a little girl, Red Ranger?"
Sky looked down, uncomfortably. He wasn't fond of Morgana's sexuality-and neither was Z-but it seemed it would become a steady aspect of the interrogations. He was a little frightened of her; for the longest time he had ridiculed Bridge about what had happened when they were children, but now he was starting to understand Bridge's fear of being touched.
"Humans are terrible creatures. The only good thing a human being ever did for me was bring me to Grumm. Other than that, they have caused me nothing but misery and pain. I was more than eager to come to this world and conquer it in the name of Grumm, because I would finally be able to avenge myself. I simply got more than I bargained for."
He looked up at her. "What did they do to you?"
"Go to hell, Red Ranger."
He looked away, calculating. "I'm so sorry, Morgana. I had no idea."
"Go to hell, Red Ranger. I'm not interested in you anyway. I'd much rather they sent your pretty yellow girlfriend to me."
"What can I say; I like defiance."
"Oh get over it. This is 2025."
"She's not my girlfriend!"
"Of course not."
"No, she really isn't."
"Where did you get that idea?"
"I have my ways."
Sky stood and slammed his fists onto the table. "And that's exactly why I'm here! You know more than you're letting on! Like the Magnificence! What the hell is it?"
"You don't want to know about the Magnificence."
"Isn't that what Omni was called?"
"Omni was just a vessel for the Magnificence, the greatest Troobian leader of all time."
"And what about-"
"When do I get to be young again, Sky Tate?"
He walked away. "Another day."
He stared at his toast, blinking.
"You okay, Bridge?" she asked.
The blue ranger looked up at Z, blinking. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"You're not eating. Isn't it buttery enough?" She wiggled her fingers.
"It's buttery enough," he said, without the requisite finger wiggle. "I just don't feel much like eating."
Syd sat down at his side, her blonde hair falling into her face. "You always feel like eating, Bridge. What's wrong?"
"Nothing." He looked down at his toast again. On his hands were a particularly thick set of leather gloves; Z knew they were lined with lead. Despite the sweltering heat in the building, he wore a turtleneck and pants, every inch of his skin covered except his unusually face. Z wasn't sure, but she thought his skin had an almost yellowish tone.
"Uh uh. We know better than that." Z scooted closer to him. "What's bothering you?"
"I was really hungry all morning, but as soon as I saw the toast I didn't feel like eating."
Syd looked to Z briefly, then to Bridge. "Are you sick?"
"I think so. I feel really cold."
Thinking quickly, Z asked, "Did you have another nightmare?"
"I keep having the same one. Every time I sleep now."
"What's it about?" Syd pulled her sleeve over her hand and put a hand on his back. She prepared to pull it away, but he didn't recoil, as he usually did.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Come on, Bridge, it could be important," Z chided. "And we promise we won't tell."
"Okay." He slid the toast away from him. "I keep on dreaming about a woman."
"Oh, so this is just lovesickness?" Syd teased.
He shook his head. "In my dream... I'm in bed, with a woman."
"Maybe we don't want to hear about this after all..." Z murmured.
"And I look over at her. And she doesn't have a face, just white light."
"Like an angel?"
"Like a demon," he growled. "And the light turns yellow, and it... It like, tries to take over..." Bridge suddenly stood up and ran across the room.
He knelt before the waste disposal, and Syd looked away. Z only watched, in horror and pity.
"Doggie, what is this?"
"What do you mean, Dr. Manx?" He asked, turning his chair.
"You make me a ranger. You choose Bridge to lead not just a ranger team, but all of SPD. You split up the rangers, and then send Sky to interrogate someone when he doesn't even know what she really is. What is going on?"
"I have a plan, Kat. It's a little crazy, and I can't give away the details yet, but I have a plan."
"Does your plan involve punishing me for rejecting your advances?" Kat put her hands on his desk. "I never asked for you to love me."
"This has nothing to do with our feelings. I would have deployed you either way, and I'm afraid for you either way."
"Bullshit!" She leaned down, to look him in the eye. "And that still doesn't explain what you're doing to Bridge! To the Rangers!"
"Bridge is the only one who can save us from the Troobians."
"His psychic powers are the key to finding out who's leading the Troobians. And who killed Grumm."
"So why this side mission with Sky and Morgana?"
"To keep him busy. It would insult his ego if he knew that Bridge were more important than him."
"And the rest of us?"
"All going to keep Bridge sane. His detective skills and his psychic powers work together well... But he has to be halfway sane to use them. To give him access to the intelligence, he has to be fairly high-up in the chain of command, which means he is going to have to lead. That's going to be a heavy burden on him. And I need you, Z, and Syd there to keep him from going over the deep end. Plus... I think that with him 'in charge,' we may be able to sniff our rat on the inside, although I already have an idea of who that is."
"And who do you think it is?"
"But we changed the security codes and everything!"
"Yes, but he has friends, who would do him little favors. And most SPD staff just act as if he's still a ranger. I have intelligence that he was in the prison the night Grumm died, but there's not enough evidence to bring him in."
"You can't be serious... I mean, he would kill Grumm, but..."
"He probably thought he was doing us a favor. And while I'm reluctant to punish his perceived helpfulness, he is a dangerous maverick. That's part of why I'm keeping Sky here-because Sky can reign him in if need be."
"This plan is insane, Doggie."
"I know. But if there is anything I have learned from you and Bridge, it's that this world is insane, and sometimes we must meet it at its own level."
Kat sat down. "I don't like this plan."
"I know. But as my ranger, I'm afraid there's nothing you can do about it."
"You're doing this just to get even with me over the Shadow morpher, aren't you?"
"Maybe a little." He smirked.
"You stubborn, old dog."
"My offer is still open, Kat."
"I couldn't do that to her. And I'm surprised you could, either. After your endless devotion to her-"
Doggie laughed. "You don't get it, Kat. It was her idea."
Kat's jaw dropped. "I need to get packing."
"She really likes you. Almost as much as I do."
"This isn't right, Doggie." She stood.
"On the contrary; on Sirius, such things were quite normal. You would simply have to be content with her being the alpha female."
"I can't do that. I..."
"You're jealous of her?" Doggie got out from behind the desk and walked over to Kat. "She thought so. I think that's why she suggested it, actually." He put a hand on her face. "You should be jealous. That makes it much more fun."
"Doggie... this isn't like you."
"Aisynia's return has changed me. I feel like a new man. Empowered."
"I'm sorry, Commander, but I can't." Kat bolted from the room.
"I had no idea she was a lesbian!"
"Lesbian? Can I visit her with you, and bring Allie?"
Sky rolled his eyes. "You haven't changed a bit."
Jack took a sip of his soda. "I'm sure she wouldn't be happy, but..."
"This is serious, Jack. Things... are getting weird."
Sky sighed and took a bite of his burger. "When I came back to the base to check in, Kat ran out of Kruger's office, crying."
"So he dumped her for his wife?"
"I don't think so. He seemed more upset than she did."
Jack grinned darkly. "Maybe she dumped him for his wife?"
Sky reached across the table and smacked Jack lightly. "Will you get your mind out of the gutter?"
"Okay, okay. And this is a big deal because?"
"It just shows how everyone else is falling apart. Bridge is sick now. Apparently he had a nightmare, and Z and Syd aren't talking about it."
"He told them, but they 'promised not to tell' and thus aren't."
Jack shock his head and ate a fry. "I seem to remember Bridge being a little too open about his weird dreams."
"The only time he clams up about his dreams are when they're about women."
The red ranger hung his head. "There's something that's tearing B-squad apart, but I can't figure out what it is. Near as I can tell... it's the way you left."
"I can't come back. You know that."
"Jack... I can't say I want you back as my CO, but... you were part of the glue that held the team together."
"I tell you what. If the Troobians come here, I'll fight alongside you. Not as a ranger... But as Jack. Deal?"