Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Saban Entertainment and I lay no claim to them. Jeffrey Kincaid, Lord Crucible, and all other characters relating to them belong to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org John Chubb. This story continues the sage of the COE Night Rangers and its events occur after Thrill of the Night.
Lost in the Night
They had been successful. Once again the Night Rangers had brought down another evil that threatened the innocent. Once again they had fought the terrors that lurked in the night and had emerged to fight again. This time it had been a lust driven gang of rapists on Ceti Omega II that had been both the culprits and victims; the young maidens they had targeted had been the only real innocents.
The Night Rangers were celebrating their victory. But one of their number did not seem to be enjoying himself. Mark Kinega, the Red Ranger and one of the senior members of the team if only by a matter of months, was unusually quiet.
"Hey Mark, are you all right?" Anna asked.
"Why am I doing this?" Mark asked. "We go out and help people day in and day out, and what do we get out of it? More cries for help. More people needing us. Does it ever quit? Aren't we entitled to lives too? Where are our lives? Or are they all just gobbled up in service to the universe?"
"Mark what are you saying?" Jeff asked. This was not the same Mark who had recruited him months earlier. This was not the Mark Kinega who had taken him to become a Ranger and had then helped him through the ordeal with the Mirror of Night. This was not the man that had overseen the recruitment of the remaining Night Rangers. Something had changed and Jeff's instincts were screaming at him to find out what.
Surprisingly it had not taken long to find the last members of the team. Mark had chosen most of his team before having to search for a Blue Ranger. Indeed Kincaid had been the most difficult person to find.
For the Yellow Night Ranger he had chosen Anna Hawker, an unfortunate child who had been forced to turn tricks in a brothel at sixteen after her father had sold her. Kincaid had been outraged when he had first heard her story, but that had given way to shock when she had told him it was an expected tradition of her planet.
For Pink, Mark had selected a beautiful light haired girl named Ishalla Nab'ri. Ishalla was a telepath who came from the war torn planet of Polynices. She had joined them as a way of escaping the pressure to to enhance her gifts and use them to further the destruction of her world.
Black Night Ranger was Krolos of KO-35, a planet that was on the brink of collapse following recent attacks. Krolos was motivated by revenge and as such he was the Ranger the others had been told to watch.
"Meaning I'm tired of being the good guy that walks in shadows and losing myself in the process," Mark answered. "Jeff, you should understand this. I know you feel the same way that I do. Aren't you tired of that damn alarm going off always calling you away to save some distant planet while your own life goes down the tubes. AREN'T YOU TIRED OF LOSING YOURSELF? AREN'T YOU TIRED OF ALWAYS GETTING SHAFTED WHEN IT COMES TO LIFE?!"
Jeff did understand, but didn't know what to do about it. Neither did other Night Rangers. Mark had been involved in the fight against the demons that lurked in the darkness much longer than the others. He had finished his training decades earlier, but had been forced to wait before claiming the powers of the Red Night Ranger. But once in the field it seemed Mark had not been prepared for the toll such a role would take.
"Every day it's the same old thing. Help this person, help that person, and in the end it's always the same. They need help, we go to help them and what do we get? More people wanting help, at the cost of our own lives! I'm sick of this I want something better!"
Mark powered down and threw down his morpher and communicator. He stalked out of the Night Ranger base. Ishalla tried to go after him but Jeff held her back.
"He needs time to cool off," he whispered. "Give him time."
He knew that this was the anniversary of Leslie's break up with Mark. Jeff had gone through an emotional break up as well, and it was taking all he had to keep from falling into depression.
Little did they realize that it was the beginning of the end of the Night Rangers.