Disclaimers: I do not own the Power Rangers, they are the province
of Saban. I do own my theories of the Power, some of which are displayed
here. No one living owns the concept of the Vampire. I got my information
from various sources including but not limited to; AD&D, Anne Rice, Castlevania,
Bram Stoker's Dracula, Marvel Comics, and various legends and stories
including archaic speech, wine filled goblets, and out dated customs.
Timeline: This takes place instead of the episode 'Carlos and the Count' and goes from there.
Warning: As always, there is some violence and swearing. Containing the subject matter it does, the violence and suggestiveness of this fic is probably a bit more than is usual for me.
Notes: Yeah, I know it's been done, but one night I was watching Bram Stoker's Dracula for about the bazillionth time, and this story popped into my head. That which is mine you may not take without permission. If there are any questions, comments and/or concerns, don't hesitate to email me. Randelm@hotmail.com
"Oh man..." muttered TJ. "I am really beginning to hate numbers."
Cassie swatted him lightly on the shoulder, "Come on Teej, it's not that bad. Better than fighting Piranatrons anyway."
"I'm not sure I agree with that entirely," responded Carlos. "A good fight right now might help to clear my head." Their communicators chose that moment to sound causing the group to glare at Carlos.
"You had to go and say it didn't you?" accused Justin. Carlos held his hands up defensively.
Making sure no one was within earshot, TJ pressed a button and spoke softly. "We read you, Alpha."
"Yo, Rangers, we got a school of fish and Elgar making things difficult for customers downtown."
"We're on our way," responded Ashley.
Leaving money for their snacks and packing up their books and papers, the five headed out into the little used hallway of the Youth Center and in flashes of light, were gone.
When the five Rangers arrived in Downtown Angel Grove, the citizens had fled and police were keeping people and reporters alike out of the activity.
"All right, Elgar," shouted Mountain Blaster defiantly. "We're here."
"Oh goody, just what I always wanted. Piranatrons, get them!" The bronze colored humanoid fish swarmed the Rangers.
Dune Star dodged the first punch aimed at her head and defeated a second attacker with simple kick. When her original opponent attacked again, she used its own momentum to send it into another creature preparing to attack Wind Chaser from behind. Suddenly, the Yellow Turbo Ranger found herself without a Piranatron to fight. And then she sighted Elgar.
"Hey Elgar!" she called as she charged his position, Star Chargers sparking with electricity. "Eat volt!" Dune Star leapt into the air and charged her weapons to full capacity eliciting an arc of electricity to connect her weapons and then directed that wild energy at the enemy general. The mutant's eyes widened and he leapt back, the place where he'd been standing now a smoking hole in the turf. If he'd had hair, it'd have been standing on end due to the charge in the air.
Dune Star landed and Elgar struck out with his blade catching her on the shoulder, sparks flew from the impact and Ashley staggered. As the next blow came, she raised one of her chargers to block and a flash of electricity leapt out and struck Elgar. The two backed away from each other warily. Behind her she could hear the battle with the Piranitrons coming to a close. Taking note of the battle behind her had momentarily taken her full attention off the buffoon in front of her and Elgar took the advantage, striking Dune Star in the chest.
Desert Thunder had just finished his last fishy opponent when he saw Ashley go down under a vicious attack from Elgar. Somewhat startled by his own strong reaction, Carlos found himself charging Elgar, Turbo Sword drawn. The other Rangers saw the Green Turbo Ranger glowing with a verdant light that began gathering in the blade of his sword as he ran.
For Carlos, there was nothing but his target, the anger within him fueled his power and when he struck, it was a storm unleashed. Thunder rolled across the battlefield, but Elgar was nowhere to be seen.
"He teleported out just in time," Red Lightning laid a hand on Desert Thunder's shoulder.
Carlos nodded and looked to where Justin and Cassie were assisting Ashley to her feet.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," Dune Star was telling her friends, though apparently they didn't believe her.
TJ looked around the empty battlefield and issued the command back to the Power Chamber. The team never noticed the two onlookers hidden in plain sight. As the rangers disappeared in columns of sparkling light, Divatox turned to her companion.
"The one in green," responded the black clad creature. He was completely covered in a heavy robe with the hood pulled up, no part of his skin showing. "Yes, the Desert Thunder Ranger shows great potential as one of my children. There is something about him that simply exudes... vampirism."
Divatox smiled. "Yes, yes, whatever. Simply remove one of the Rangers. With one of their members 'dead' the team will begin to fall apart." She glanced somewhat disdainfully at Nocturne. "You may go, I wouldn't want you to fry or something."
The black robbed figure bowed slightly and disappeared into a cloud of smoke that slowly drifted away.
The study session was effectively over and it was early evening anyway, so the Rangers bid each other good night and left the Youth Center where they'd returned after the battle to watch the news coverage of the event.
Carlos walked at a leisurely pace, his parents were going out to a big formal dinner tonight and he'd be fending for himself as far as food went, so he wouldn't be holding anybody up in taking his time. The sun had dipped below the horizon and Carlos was only a block from home, cutting through a small play ground/picnic area. Quite suddenly, Carlos felt a chill run up his spine and spun around ready to defend himself. There was nothing visible, but a voice addressed him in a thick accent.
"Good evening, Power Ranger."
"Who the hell are you? Another of Divatox's goons?"
"No, but the Toxic Queen has... secured my services. I am Count Nocturne." Faintly, Carlos could make out a dim outline among the shadows
Carlos squinted at the figure. He appeared to be clothed all in back, a cloak swirled dramatically from his shoulders, he was a shadow on shadows. He was tall, muscular, other than that, Carlos couldn't make out anything.
"What do you want with me?"
"Well now, Desert Thunder, that will become obvious soon enough." With that, the figure leapt into the air, its black cloak flaring behind it creating an intimidating shadow that flew across the twilight sky. Carlos found himself mesmerized by his enemy, and the next thing he knew, he was pinned under the surprising weight of the other. This close, Carlos could make out the pale skin, faintly glowing red eyes, sharp fangs.
The Count smiled, "Not even He can help you now."
"You're a vampire."
"Quite astute, Green Ranger. Tell me, are you attempting to blind me with your wit? Really, I thought a Power Ranger would be more of a challenge."
Carlos thought quickly. In most cases, a Power Ranger morphed by releasing power via a morpher or other talisman and focused it through a morphin call and maybe a few hand gestures. Carlos gave a halfhearted tug against the grip pinning him to the ground, confirming that he was unable to move. Therefore, getting to the morpher would be impossible, as would be any hand movements. None of this was required however. Dimitria had told them that the power could be gathered and focused by will alone as long as one had a connection to the Power, that it was simply easier to use the morpher and call. Being in possession of the morpher, though it was currently in a subspace pocket, it was still connected to him, and thereby he was connected to the Power.
As Count Nocturne began to lower his mouth to Carlos's neck, the impossibly white fangs growing longer, Carlos concentrated, and focused, the released the energy in a powerful yell.
The flash of emerald light caused the vampire to leap backwards and shield his eyes. Carlos took the opportunity to reach for his communicator. "Alpha, Dimitria! I'm in serious trouble here..." Carlos' voice trailed off as he got no response other than static.
Count Nocturne laughed evilly. "No use, Green Thunder. Your friends cannot come to your aid. This is between you and me."
The Green Turbo Ranger felt a cold sweat break out on his body beneath the shining armor he wore. "Fine then," he said, glad the helmet hid his expression of fear, "If that's the way you want it."
Count Nocturne charged Carlos. The speed of a vampire is much greater than that of a human, fortunately so is the speed of a Power Ranger, especially a Turbo Ranger. Desert Thunder dodged narrowly and the Count sped past. As the black clad creature turned to face his adversary, Carlos planted a spinning heel kick right in his jaw.
Glaring, Nocturne's eyes flashed red and he drew a shining saber from the black leather scabbard at his hip that had remained hidden until now.
Carlos leaned backwards, dodging a blow aimed at his head, then leapt back and summoned his own Turbo Sword. The next blow by Nocturne was blocked and countered. Carlos had never been very good at fencing, but the Power augmented what little skill he had and provided a bit extra, Carlos poured it all into the struggle, managing to keep his enemy at bay.
Suddenly, Nocturne flung himself forward, directly onto Carlos's blade, all the way to the hilt. The vampire's face was less than an inch from Green Ranger's helmet. Nocturne smiled. Somewhere beyond startled, Carlos released the blade and backed quickly away. Desert Thunder watched in morbid fascination as Nocturne gripped the handle of the weapon and slowly drew it out of his body tossing it to the ground. Carlos did notice however, that the vampire grimaced faintly as he did so.
So, the Power enhanced blade does harm him some, Carlos thought, Let's see how he likes this. "Thunder Cannon!" In a flash the high-powered weapon was in his hands. "Fire!" Though not necessary, the command did help to focus power and a blast of green energy hurled from the barrel of the cannon and slammed into Nocturne.
With a cry, the vampire flew backwards before slamming into a tree.
"You'll regret that, human!" Nocturne flung both arms up, flaring his cloak as he did so. Two flaming spheres hurtled at the Ranger. Reacting a split second too late, Carlos was in turn, slammed into a tree. The helmet protected his head from any real injury, but the blow was enough to disorientate him for a moment, and that was all the time the vampire needed. In a flash he had Carlos's helmet removed and had plunged his fangs into the large artery in the Ranger's neck.
Just before consciousness was drained of him, Carlos had the horrible thought that his friends were next.
Carlos woke to find himself in a lightless space on a cold metal surface. A quick exploration by touch revealed the walls of this space to be practically touching his shoulders and the ceiling to be only inches from his face. Trying not to panic, he began pushing at the wall of his confines until something gave and the surface he was lying on rolled out into a dimly lit room, feet first. Sitting up, Carlos realized where he was.
The Morgue? I must have been hurt pretty bad by that Nocturne goon, but surely the others wouldn't have thought me dead... surely. Carefully he lowered himself to the floor from the metal drawer bearing a handwritten tag with his name on it. Donning a handy robe, Carlos considered the front door but dismissed the idea at the thought of explaining his miraculous recovery to secretarial and security personnel. Moving to the window that allowed the minimal moonlight to illuminate the chilly room, Carlos undid the latch and lifted the widow, slipping silently into the night.
First thing is to get some clothes. The dark back streets of Angel grove offered no resistance to Carlos and soon he found himself running lightly down the street that led to his house. He slowed as he approached his home... perhaps his former home. A single candle burned in the second story window of his room. His family thought him dead. If that was the case, then the other Rangers probably did too. But Dimitria, she would know he was still alive, wouldn't she?
Taking a deep breath, Carlos whispered the familiar phrase. "Shift into Turbo, Desert Thunder."
Nothing, not even a flash of light. His connection to the Green Turbo powers were completely severed, the key and morpher were gone. "What has happened to me?" he wondered aloud, his voice shaking.
As he had done many times before, Carlos scaled the tree outside his room and slipped in the window, being careful not to disturb the candle.
Once in the familiar surroundings, the former Green Turbo Ranger could relax a bit. Searching through his clothes, he sifted through many of the green shirts before ignoring them all together and selecting a black, long-sleeved, high-necked shirt, donning black jeans as well. Searching through his dresser drawer he pocketed a few hair ties and used one to pull his black locks into a tail at the nape of his neck, and hooked a pair of sunglasses into the collar of his shirt.
The entire time he'd been in his room, Carlos had avoided looking in the mirror. For some reason he couldn't fathom, he feared whatever it was the mirror might show him. Having completed dressing, the black clad young man forced himself to look into that shiny surface. What he saw confirmed his fears. Nothing. He had no reflection.
Staggering back from the shock, he felt something bump the back of his legs forcing him to sit heavily on his bed. For several minutes he simply stared into the mirror that reflected only the contents of his room. Finally he pulled his gaze from the mirror and inspected himself. His skin was paler than normal, his canines were longer, sharper. Instinctively he knew that they would grow when the time came to feed. Instinctively, he knew several things, like that his eyes were glowing a faint emerald green instead of the normal red of most vampires. He also knew that he was stronger and faster than a normal human, as strong and fast as in his former Ranger form if not more so. His senses, all of them were enhanced. If he concentrated he could hear the scraping of a mouse as its fur brushed against the wood of a cabinet downstairs. He could hear the rodent's heartbeat... That sound called to him, the sound of blood being pumped, of life, a life he no longer possessed. Hunger. He could feel his fangs aching, growing longer as the hunger began to build.
"No!" the word croaked harshly. Carlos slipped out he window and fell lightly to the ground. Instantly, he began running. Out of the city and into the desert. He didn't stop until he saw the otherworldly structure he used to think of as a second home.
They'll understand, they've got to understand...
Carefully he approached the concealed door to the Power Chamber. It did not automatically slide open to admit him.
"Dimitria, Alpha! It's me, Carlos! Let me in, please!" he hollered as loud as he could manage. For several minutes, nothing happened. Carlos sighed and turned dejectedly to leave. Then he heard a whisper of machinery behind him and he spun to see the portal open and the well-lit hallway. Without hesitation, he entered the building and made his way to the main chamber. Inside, he was greeted by Alpha 6.
"Yo, Carlos... uh... how ya doin?"
"Not so good, Alpha. Have you figured out what's happened to me?"
The little automaton cocked his head, "Our scaners say you're no longer alive. But they also say that you are you."
Carlos nodded slowly. "I think... I'm a vampire, Alpha. Count Nocturne... he turned me into a vampire."
"Oh geeze..." muttered the robot.
"Carlos," the young man looked up to the ethereal vision of Dimitria in the ion tube. "I am truly sorry for what has happened to you. But the only thing I could do for you, would destroy you."
Carlos nodded. It had been what he'd expected. "I just... I wanted to let you guys know that I'm all right. As all right as I can be anyway. And... please, don't tell the others. It's best if they don't know. If they just think I'm dead."
"Carlos, come on buddy, you gotta' tell your friends," protested Alpha.
"No, it would be too hurtful. I've got to leave this place and I don't want them thinking I might be coming back." He sighed. "Something is calling me. I'm not sure what, but I've got to go."
"Before you leave, Carlos, there are three things I must tell you," said Dimitria. "First, you will always be a Ranger, your connection to the Power and to the Grid is permanent, nothing can break it or take it from you. Not even death. Second, the pull you feel is Count Nocturne attempting to control you. Most vampires when newly created are under the complete control of the vampire who created them. Not you, and I am uncertain as to why this is."
Carlos turned those two bits of information over in his head, staring at the floor. Then he looked up to find Dimitria standing before him in her human form. "Third. You will be missed Carlos, we all love you and losing you is a heavy weight on all our hearts." Dimitria raised her hand and a small green crystal suspended from a black metal chain appeared. "Take this, it is but a sliver of the Turbo Power, but you will need all you can get in the life you've been drawn in to."
"Thank you Dimitria." He hugged his mentor, then Alpha.
"You're always welcome here, Carlos. The Rangers of Earth will always be ready to help you."
The young man smiled and nodded, then turned and left. He felt two calls, and he could no longer deny the hunger.
After several minutes, Carlos had reached his destination. The Angel Grove Zoo. Easily, he vaulted the wrought iron fence, and made his way through the sleeping animals until he reached the more passive herbivores. His senses were especially delicate to the pumping of the creatures' hearts. The lifeblood that flowed through their veins. Hunger, need, desire. Struggling, Carlos controlled the urge to begin slaughtering the animals around him. Silently, carefully, he sank his fangs into a sleeping antelope, drained only what would take the edge off the hunger, then moved to the next and took a bit more, then to the next until he was satisfied. They never even stirred in their sleep.
Standing, wiping the blood from his lips, Carlos's eyes shined. He felt invigorated. Powerful. The young vampire could still feel Nocturne's call, feel the attempted geas. Now he went to the creature that had stolen his life. It was time for a little revenge.
Carlos made his way through the warehouse district of Angel Grove. It was just past midnight, no one was on the streets. The pull directed him right to an old building that had taken battle damage way back in '93 during one of the original team's first battles and had yet to be fixed. Nocturne was in there, no mistake about that, but Carlos couldn't be sure that the creature was alone.
Carefully, Carlos made his way thorough the shadowy rubble littered throughout the building past half demolished walls and doorways without doors. His eyes adjusted easily to the nearly lightless environment. Finally, near the back of the building in the second basement, Carlos stopped before a door, behind which, he was certain Count Nocturne was waiting. Trying to act as though he was not under his own command, Carols opened the door and walked into the room.
Nocturne sat on a chair that looked to have been constructed of bone, two scantily clad, young female vampires attending him. Golden stand torches around six feet tall burning with a blue fire. The rest of the room was cloaked in shadow, Carlos wasn't even certain he was still in that rundown warehouse he'd entered. There appeared to be no others in the room.
"Ah, Carlos! Welcome, my child, the land of the night dwellers. Where have you been? I've been calling you all night."
"I had trouble getting out of the hospital," Carlos lied quickly.
"I see. Well you're here now." Nocturne eyed the young man quickly. "I expect you to show some respect to your Master, Carlos. Kneel."
Carlos felt Nocturne force his will upon him, but it was peripheral. This so called 'master' had no control over him. However, he thought it best to keep the appearance of forced servitude, at least for now. Smoothly he went to one knee and bowed his head.
"That's better," complimented Nocturne. "Would you believe that this city of yours has absolutely no vampire society?"
"Being the city protected by the Power Rangers tends to have that effect. Little crime, no vampires," replied Carlos, grinning indolently.
Nocturne frowned. "I suppose so." He looked at Carlos for a few moments, then continued. "That being the case, I had none of my kind to play with, so I had to make some companions," the vampire purred while stroking the chin of one of the vampiresses.
Startled, Carlos looked up, studying the faces of the girls, but they were no one he recognized. Nocturne smiled at his expression. "Still some humanity in there, boy? Some spirit?"
Carlos shrugged and forcefully smoothed his face, but kept quiet, unable to trust his voice not to betray him.
Suddenly, Nocturne scowled. "What's that?" he pointed at the crystal hanging around Carlos's neck.
"Uhh.." Carlos stammered, his mind racing.
"Give it to me!" and the vampire snatched for it only to have his hand lanced by green energy. Howling in pain, Nocturne recoiled from Carlos who stood and backed away, tucking the crystal inside his shirt.
"It's mine and you can't take it from me," Carlos growled. The vampiresses hissed at him.
"I may not control your power, boy, but I do control you. Remember that." Carlos matched Nocturne glare for glare. "We leave tomorrow at sunset. I suggest you find a dark place to sleep for the day. Now go." The girls had begun to paw at Nocturne, running their hands through his silvery hair and pulling at his shirt.
Carlos left quickly.
Finding a small room that he could secure with a remarkably intact chair under the handle of the door. Putting his back to the wall he slid until he was sitting, rested his arms on his knees and put his head on his arms. What was he going to do? A part of him wanted to storm into Noctune's room and rip the evil creature apart. That part was quite adamant. Another part of him wanted to go back to Dimitria and ask her to destroy him. The rest of him had no idea what to do.
Carlos felt like he should be crying in frustration, but no tears fell. So much for revenge, all he'd done was pretend to be under the older vampire's control. Even if he did destroy Nocturne, what would he do after that?
"You have to go on."
Carlos jumped to his feet. There, standing in the room was a figure in the shining green armor of the Desert Thunder Turbo Ranger.
"What? Who are you?"
"I am a manifestation of power. Specifically, the Green Turbo Power." The voice was at once like and yet entirely unlike his own.
"What are you doing here?" Carlos tried to hide his disbelief. After all, for a Power Ranger, the impossible was usually commonplace.
"I am here to tell you that you need to go with Nocturne. To find out about the vampire society. To find out about yourself."
To the Ranger's right, there was a swirling of black light and another figure appeared. This one had the armor of a Ranger, but the armor was black with a white bar across the chest bearing five colored squares. Without preamble, the second armored figure addressed him.
"I am the Black Lightstar. A power you were expected to hold. A power currently without bearer."
Carlos nodded vaguely.
"I am here to tell you that what happened is not what was expected to happen. There are no predetermined paths, only the more and less likely ones. This path is one of the unlikely ones. Make good use of it."
Carlos had all manner of questions running through his head, but there was one he found to be the most important to him. "Who has taken my place on the team?"
"Zackary Taylor, the original Black Saurian Ranger, has been called back to action." It was impossible to tell which of the armored figures had answered the question.
Carlos nodded, relieved that someone the others would trust had taken the position. Though he did wonder why it was Zack who had returned and not Adam.
"We must go now, but there is someone else who wishes to speak with you." The two armored figures disappeared in sparkles of light leaving the room empty but for Carlos and a presence he could not detect.
Carlos waited until a black robed and hooded figure sporting black-feathered wings stepped out of the shadows. The former Ranger's eyes were glued to the other, not daring to say a word.
"Death is not evil, young nosferatu, it simply Is. And, though I do not approve of undeath, it is not evil either, though most who are cursed with such unrest are. You are an anomaly. A Champion of Light a holder of the Power, cursed with hunger for the lifeblood of the living. Follow your heart, Carlos Vargas, and your days as a Champion are not over. Succumb to the corruption..." The dark figure paused for a moment. Carlos didn't have to ask to know what would happen if he succumbed to the corruption. "You are beyond my reach now. This can be a blessing or a curse."
And then Carlos slept.