Cerina's Choice
(Silver Wolf Saga - Part 4)

The role of Karone is now being played by Maria Bello.
(This was done to fit the futuristic setting. With this series being 16 years in the future, an older actress was needed. It was not something I did by choice.

    Lucas eventually caught up to her. He knelt down beside her and put his arm around her. Cerina: "She's gone. The Silver Ranger took her." She was in tears and burried her head in Lucas's chest. Lucas: "We'll get her back. What are you so worried about?" Cerina: "They won't give us time! I know what they're after! Either I join them and take down the other rangers or they kill her." Lucas: "Then we'll have to work fast. But we can get her out." Cerina: "Don't you get it? If I'm not up there pledging my alegence to them they won't waste any time. Vulca hates her. She always has, and now that I turned..." Lucas: "Just calm down. Everything will work out." She stood up quickly. Cerina: "Don't tell me to calm down! My daughter is being held captive in that God-forsaken place and I'm down here helpess!" Lucas: "Go tell the others." Cerina: "No. It won't do any good. They're watching now. I know it. If I make one move toward the camp, its over. I'm going up there. Its my only choice." Lucas: "No. They'll kill you if you go." Cerina: "No she won't. Not when she could use me first. I have time. And even if she does, I'm not leaving Niki up there with those vultures!" She broke into a run toward the palace. Lucas: "There is another way! There has to be!" She ignored him and kept running.
    Niki was crying in the corner when Vulca came walking into the throne room. Scorn stood on the balcony watching Cerina, still morphed of course. Vulca: "Oh Scorn, baby, you brought me a present." She directed her attention to Niki for a moment. Vulca: "Welcome home you little snot." Niki: "Let me go!" Vulca: "I don't think so." She focused back on Scorn. Vulca: "So what's the plan here? Yell at her, kill her, cook her and eat her, what?" He laughed. Scorn: "Oh you'll see. And a guarentee you'll like it a lot better than any of that." She came up and kissed his helmet. Vulca: "Every day you come up with these wonderful plans. You spoil me." Scorn: "I'm only giving you what you deserve. A ture battle plan instead of these sorry attacks Kitana comes up with." Vulca: "She's been a little preoccupied lately." Scorn: "Don't deffend her. She's of no use to us." Vulca: "Just never mind her. Stick to the plan." He backed off. Scorn: "All right." Both of them were facing the balcony when they her Cerina's voice. It was dry and without feeling. Cerina: "I'm here. Name your price."
    Ice: "Its a girl, isn't it?" Rick: "How do people do that? All they have to do is look and right away they know what you're thinking." Ice: "I lived on a base full of men for eight years. Believe me, I can read you like a book." She waited for him to tell her more about it, but as usual he didn't. Ice: "Well come on. What happened?" Rick: "It doesn't matter. Its over now. I blew it." Ice: "Left you, huh?" Rick: "Yeah. She said I wasn't being honest with her." Ice: "Well were you?" There was a long pause. Ice smiled. Ice: "I think you know the answer." Rick: "I wanted to be. But I can't expose Kari to that kind of danger. When she started going out with me, I knew there were parts of my life I didn't want her involved in. And it was for her own good. But she couldn't understand that. All she wanted was for me to tell her everything." Ice: "I don't think that's so much to ask." She looked at the ground. Then back up at Rick. Ice: "Do you love her?" Rick: "I did. But she's got someone else now. Some older guy she doesn't know anything about. And I have a feeling he's the reason we're out in the woods right now instead of the base." Ice: "If you love her, ask her to take you back." Rick: "I want her back more than anything. But what would be different? We'd still be fighting over the same stuff and would just end up miserable." Ice: "I don't know what kinda stuff you're into, but I'm pretty sure you can tell her. She's a ranger. She can take danger. Especially for the man she loves." Rick: "She has some risks as a ranger. But I don't want to add to that." Ice: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life out here looking at the sky? Or do you wanna be happy?"
    They both turned to face her. Vulca gave her an evil smile. Vulca: "You're usually so strong. Why the sudden change?" Cerina: "Save the sh*t. Just tell me what you want." Scorn: "If you want her to live, you will come back to us." She looked over at Niki. She was shaking her head no. Hoping her mother would turn and run. Save herself. But she didn't dare speak. Cerina: "Fine." The door behind her slammed shut, locking her in the throne room with them. Vulca: "Don't take this personally, but I don't exactly trust you." She ignored her and went to Niki's side. Niki quietly: "Why'd you agree? You can't be evil again." Cerina: "I can't let anything happen to you. No matter what I have to do." Vulca began to pace in front of her. Vulca: "So you're really willing to kill your friends. When a few months ago, you couldn't stand me." Cerina whispered in Niki's ear: "Don't worry. I know what I'm doing." She stood and walked over to Vulca. Cerina: "I've made a mistake. And it took your ranger to help me see that." Vulca: "Oh, is that so?" Cerina: "I tried every day to be a good person, but I just can't do it. Always helping people for no cost at all. Its just not me." Vulca: "I knew you still had evil in your heart." Cerina: "My only loyalty is to Niki. And now I know that." Scorn: "But she was why you left before. You working for us makes you a bad influence." Cerina thought: "How long are they doing to keep drilling me?" Cerina: "I thought it over when you captured her. And I want her to grow up to be a powerful warrior. And that won't happen as long as we're with the rangers." Vulca: "Don't think I believe a word of this. But you can change my mind. When you pass my test. And then all can be as it was. As if you never even left." Cerina: "Thank you, my queen. I will pass your test with flying colors." Vulca looked over at Niki. Vulca: "You'd better... for her sake."
    Rick: "She won't leave the new guy. She acts like he hung the moon." Ice: "Hello! Its an act! If you hurt her before, she wouldn't want you to know that. She's using him to cover up her real feelings." Rick: "That's what I thought at first. But now I don't know. I mean, I've offered to talk to her. Just the other day I tried to get a little closer and she just pushed me away." Ice: "She doesn't want that. If you want her back, go tell her the truth. Whatever it is you're hiding can't be worth this. Spit it out and it will all be over. You two can be happy again." Rick: "If I give in on this thing, she'll expect me to do this all the time." Ice: "And what's wrong with that? Two people in a relationship are suposed to share things." Rick: "I don't know if I can. I've never had this before. I had to live on my own since I was born. Never once bothering to talk to anyone else." Ice: "It sounds rough, but you can do it." Rick: "All right. I'll think about it." Ice: "So where were your parents? When you were little." Rick: "Don't push it. You got this much now you can leave me alone." Ice: "Hey, I know when to quit." She slapped him on the back. Ice: "See ya."
    Vulca had finally left Cerina and Niki alone long enough to discuss the plan. Niki: "Why are we still here? Lets make a run for it." Cerina: "This place is locked up tight. They don't trust us like they used to." Niki: "So what, you just going to be a killer again?" Cerina: "No. I could never go back to that kind of life now. But I think its best if they think I am. It will at least buy some time." Niki: "But I don't wanna stay here! Its dark and cold." Cerina: "I know. But there's no way out." Niki: "If they really want you to work for them again, you should be able to do what you want." Cerina: "Vulca won't do it that way. When she makes me get rid of the other rangers, she'll be there watching me."
*  *  *
    It was 10:00 at night. Ecliptor stood alone in the woods of Stregna. He looked over his shoulder as the wind picked up and saw a blonde standing silently behind him. He turned slowly. Ecliptor: "Karone." She had her arms wrapped tightly around herself. Karone: "What's wrong? You sounded upset on the communicator." Ecliptor: "I know we haven't spoken in a while. What with me raising Vulca and all." Karone: "Don't worry about it. I understand." Ecliptor: "I thank you for that, my princess." Karone: "I know how time consumming it is. I had no free time when Sarah was growing up." He didn't say anything for a moment. Karone: "Its something more than. I can tell when something's bothering you." Ecliptor: "I'm having second thoughts about why I called you here." Karone: "Whatever this is, I wanna help you." Ecliptor: "I know you do. But it isn't right for me to get you involved. This is my problem. And I should have the courage to handle it myself." Karone: "If its that dangerous, you're not doing it alone." Ecliptor: "But..." She held her hand up to his face. Karone: "I almost lost you once to Darconda. I can't let it happen again." He took her hand and held it in his. Ecliptor: "You're my daughter. My battles should be none of your concern." Karone: "You took me in and raised my all by yourself. Treated me as if I were your whole world. You didn't have to do that. But you did. I could never turn my back on you now. Even if you asked me to." Ecliptor: "You have grown into a fine woman." Karone: "Please let me help you." He hesitated a little more, but soon gave in due to lack of options. Ecliptor: "Okay. But I want you to be careful." He leaned closer and explained his plan.
    Ice and Lucas were alone behind the waterfull of their camp. Ice: "So you let her go back up there? With Vulca and that ranger?" Lucas: "There was no way I could have stopped her. When Niki is in touble, she won't stand around and do nothing." Ice: "Do you want me to tell the other rangers? Maybe they can get her out." Lucas: "No. I think she's capable of this on her own. She wouldn't want us risking the team's well being over her. Rick and Kari's well being anyway." Ice: "So she doesn't like the other two?" He shook his head. Lucas: "No. Its a long story, but they'll never get along. Not after all they've done to each other." Ice: "Like what?" Lucas: "That's not something I can share with you. Nobody here knows any of that. Including Ransik and Kelly. And it should stay that way." Ice: "All right. Its just nice to know I'm not the only one she doesn't like." Lucas: "She'll except you in time. She just has to realize I'm not going to cheat on her." Ice: "So why are you hiding all the time? Shouldn't you be out there with the rest of the rangers?" Lucas: "They don't know I'm here. It has to do with Ransik and Kelly again. If they found out, the team would be lost forever." He paused. Lucas: "The only other person who knows about me is Kari. Not that Cerina trusts her any more than some others.... she just figured it out." Ice: "And she hasn't said anything yet?" Lucas: "She won't. She's a hopeless romantic weather she wants to admit it or not. She'd never do anything to jeperdize out relationship." Ice thought back to her conversation with Rick. Ice: "Rick still loves her. He told me earlier how much he wants her back. But he thinks that John guy will come between them." Lucas: "I think they'll end up back together. It'll just take some time. They're both so da*n hardheaded."
    Vulca layed on her bed staring up at the ceiling. Vulca: "I don't feel comfortable with this. The whole thing with Cerina." Scorn: "Why ever not? She's here and willing to do as we ask." Vulca: "No she isn't. The longer we wait and try to plan, the more time she has to escape." Scorn: "She can't get out of here. Our guards are posted at every exit." She sat up to face him. Vulca: "You don't know her like I do. Those guards won't stop her. We need to finish this now. While we've got her here." Scorn: "So have her get rid of the rangers now." Vulca: "Forget that! Just kill her and get it the he*l over with!" He seemed disappointed. Vulca: "I know you like to do things a certain way, but I'm telling you it won't work. I can't believe that for a second." Scorn: "I supose we could just kill her. But how?" Vulca: "Get Kitana and tell her to carry it out. She'll know what to do." Scorn: "You shouldn't put that much trust in her." Vulca: "She's my dad's friend. Not some brainless warrior. She can do this." He shrugged. Scorn: "If you say so." He headed for the door. Scorn: "Are you sure about this?" She gave him a romantic smile. Vulca: "Yes. I promise you'll get to have your fun with others." Scorn: "If this will make you happy then it will be done."
    Karone: "I don't know. It all sounds so evil. I feel like I'm going back to my life as Astronema. And I never want that part of me to live again." Ecliptor: "This isn't evil. You know I'd never ask you to do that." Karone: "You want me to go against Stregna's government. Against my own sister! Your daughter!" Ecliptor: "I know what she is to both of us. But you won't truly be defying her. She will understand it all in time." Karone: "Okay, even if she does understand, what about he rangers?" Ecliptor: "This doesn't concern them. Not anymore." Karone: "I really don't think I can do this." Ecliptor: "I'm sorry I have to ask this of you. But you're my last hope." She looked at him sadly. She struggled with the decision, but knew his heart was in the right place. Karone: "Is this all you need? No hidden agenda?" Ecliptor: "This is all. Then you may return to your husband and I won't ask you for anything else." She nodded. Karone: "All right. I'll do it." Ecliptor: "I don't know how I could ever repay you for this." Karone: "You don't have to. All I want is for you to be happy." She walked up and gave him a hug. Ecliptor: "I am so very proud of you. I don't think I could ever say that too much. You're the light of my life." Karone: "Oh..." Ecliptor: "Being a father to you has made me the man I am. Freed me from the grasp of Dark Spector." Karone: "You did the same for me. Even when I wanted to leave you to go with Andros, you stood by me. I couldn't take the evil out of you. Because no matter how hard Dark Spector tried, it was never really there."
    Kitana walked down the hall with no expression on her face. When she and the Drika reach the door, she kicked it in. Cerina's breath caught in her throat. Niki ran into her arms. Without a word, Kitana signaled the Drika to take them. Two came up behind Cerina and grabbed her arms. She struggled, but they wouldn't let go. Another grabbed Niki and the her over his shoulder. Kitana: "Take the brat to the clearing." He nodded and left the room. The two other Drika pulled Cerina to her feet and over to Kitana. Kitana: "To bad you broke the queen's trust. If not for that, you could have lived. Maybe we could have even been partners. Been side by side as Vulca kills every last creature on this planet." Cerina: "I could never return to her. And you... you're worse than she is!" Kitana: "Oh." Cerina: "She has a reason to be like she is. After loosing Cyann, its not her fault. Olympius is to blame for the destruction of this planet and her life. But you are just pure evil. With no reason what so ever other than the joy of watching a living person die! You're sick." Kitana: "You want me to tell you you're wrong. Go into some dramatic story about my past. Maybe give you some reason to believe I'm a decent person. Well I'm not going to do it. You're right about me. Death is the only excitement in my life. And your's will be a pleasure to wathc." She focused on the Drika. Kitana: "Take her away!"
    Lucas and Ice had stood in silence for a long time. She could tell he was worried sick. Ice: "You should go after her." Lucas: "That could runion her chance of survival. For all we know, Vulca could have a gun pointed at her head just waiting for one of us to make a move!" Ice: "You know you want to save her! I can see it in your face!" Lucas: "Of course I want to. But its not that easy." Ice: "You're wrong. And I'm going to prove it." She ran through the waterfall and past Rick. Lucas wanted to stop her, but he knew the others were there. Lucas: "Ice you can't help her. Why don't you ever listen?"
    The Drika held Cerina in a clearing while Kitana stood watching her. Behind Kitana, the one soldier came up and threw Niki to the ground. She started to run to her mother, but another one grabbed her arm. Kitana: "Oh no, little girl. You're going to stand perfectly still.... while I cut out your mothers heart!" She started screaming and pulling wildly to get away. But of course she was to small to escape from them. Cerina: "Let her go! She never did anything to you!" Kitana: "Oh but its only right that she watches your death, just like Vulca was forced to watch Cyann's." Cerina: "That has nothing to do with us! If you wanna blame somebody for her death, blame her! She was crazy and deserved what Olympius did to her!" Kitana: "That sure wasn't a smart thing to say right now. But then, you never did know when to shut up." She took a knife from a holster on her leg and let the moon light reflect off it. Kitana: "Its a shame this dagger will soon be stained with your blood. Its so beautiful now." Cerina: "I can't believe I ever had your job." Kitana: "Vulca told me what a good general you were. Just think of all those people you killed over one innocent mistake. You werre as bad as I am." Cerina: "I did it to save my daughter! I wasn't evil!" Kitana: "Oh please. You can't tell me you never enjoyed it. You had the power to decided who lives and who dies. No matter what your reason, the darkness was still inside you." She wanted to object, but deep inside she knew Kitana was right. A tear slowly rolled down her face.
    Ecliptor: "I'm going up to a lab in the mountains. In order to complete the next step, I'll need that equipment it has. Karone: "So how long do I have?" Ecliptor: "I'd give it a week. After which, I'll need the mission completed." Karone: "I can do it." Ecliptor: "I know you can. If you need anything at all, contact me. But whatever you do, don't tell Vulca." Karone: "I really think she should know." Ecliptor: "As I said, I will tell her when the time is right. But until then, please don't mention it." Karone: "I probably won't even see her." Ecliptor: "Okay." She waved as he disappeared into the woods.
    Kitana moved closer to her. Niki pulled as hard as she could, but the Drika wouldn't let her go. Kitana: "Don't worry about her." She pointed the dagger at Niki, but still faced Cerina. Kitana: "She'll be joining you soon." Cerina: "Please let her go. You've got me. That's all you need." Kitana: "That's all Vulca needs. Now I on the other hand, would like to kill her. It would be just as fun, but with less effort." She began to lift the knife, but it suddenly went flying out of her hand. She looked at a rock on the ground, which had knocked the knife away. Cerina turned her head and let out an angry groan when she saw Ice. Ice: "I'm your worst nightmare, huh?" She stomped her foot and threw the dagger. Kitana: "Drika!" They let go of Cerina and Niki and went running after Ice. She snapped two of their arms and flipped them over. Then spun around kicking another in the side of the head. Cerina pushed the two that were holding her into each other and went to help Niki. Once the one had let go of her, balled up her little fist and pucnh it in the stomach as hard as she could. It doubled over in front of her. Cerina smiled. Cerina: "Good work." She looked up at her mother happily and hoping to further impress her, she kicked the soldier in the head. Ice kicked one repeatedly until she heard a bone crack. Niki: "Hey, weren't they robots before?" Cerina: "I guess she changed her mind." Kitana charged Cerina. Cerina: "Psycho Blast!" A sword appeared in Kitana's hand. She made a large black cut across Cerina's white suit. She then kicked her back and cut again. Ice up from the side, but was knocked down by the end of the sword. She tried to bring the sword down to hit Ice, but all she heard was a loud 'Clang'. Kitana: "Get outta my way." Niki had picked up the dagger she threw earlier and blocked her. Kitana kicked her down. Cerina got up and jumped on Kitana. Though she was quickly thrown off. She looked over as Niki climbed back to her feet. Niki: "Use that energy blast thingy!" She nodded and jumped into the air. Cerina: "Tiger's Eye!" The big white tiger appeared behind her. When it roared, an explosion formed around Kitana. Then Cerina returned to the ground and turned away from the explosion. When it cleared, Kitana had vanished.
    She appeared in the throne room once again. Scorn removed the ranger suit and returned to his usual black clothing. Scorn: "Well, how did it go?" She didn't answer, but Vulca knew the expression on her face. Vulca: "You didn't do it, did you? She got away again!" Kitana: "She had help." Scorn gave her a pityfull look. Scorn: "If you're talking about that child, I'm going to have to beat you." She sighed, not amused my his opinion of humor. Kitana: "Not her. Another Psycho. One I faced before." Vulca: "Oh. I didn't think they could get here." Kitana: "I didn't either. She was an enemy of Demosi. My master 16 years ago. After he was killed, I came here thinking I'd never have to deal with her again. Looks like I was wrong." Vulca: "What about his wife.. uh... Hevesta? What happened to her?" Kitana: "She killed herself." Scorn suddenly looked interested. Kitana: "Demosi needed her lifeforce to regain his body. Or someone's lifeforce. She volunteered." Vulca: "What are we dealing with here?" Kitana: "Ice is pretty dangerous when she's in the wrong mood. Any time she sees me, she just looses control." Vulca began to laugh. Vulca: "Do I even want to ask what you did her?" Kitana: "Nothing personally. But Demosi killed her friend. Hevesta thought she loved him." Scorn: "So every time she sees you, it just brings back memories of your former boss. And her lost love." Kitana: "Don't worry about her. She's my problem." Vulca: "I'll leave you to handle her. We've got enough to take care of right now. But I want it done soon."
    Cerina: "Power down!" Niki hugged her as she returned to civilian form. Niki: "Take me to battle more. This was fun!" Ice walked up beside them. Ice: "You did good out there." Cerina: "Yeah, but don't get used to it. You're still too young." Niki: "Ahhh! I didn't get hurt or anything!" Cerina: "I know. And that's cool. But I don't want to risk that in every battle." Ice bent down to bring herself eye to eye with her. Ice: "Hey, why don't I give you some lessons? I trained people to fight wars in my world." Niki: "Yeah!" She jumped up and down excitedly. Cerina: "You can head on back to camp. Its not that far from here. You can tell Kari about your battle." She ran off. Cerina turned and gave Ice a dirty look. Cerina: "This changes nothing between us. I know why you're really here and I won't let you get away with it." Ice: "I'm telling you, I'm not interested in Lucas." Cerina: "Save it! Just stay away from him... and Niki." Cerina pushed her aside and headed back to came. Ice folded her arms in front of her. Ice: "Bi*ch."