Disclaimer: Even in my wildest dreams I do not own the Power Rangers. They are property of Saban. The Doctor and UNIT are owned by the BBC as are the Master and his TARDIS. Tony Stark is property of Marvel Comics. Bruce Wayne and the Bat Family are characters from DC Comics.
This story was originally written by me before being kidnapped, raped and disfigured by David Knight. It has now been restored to its previous condition that while far from perfect, does not smell quite so bad. Originally written: April 2000.
Egypt Summer 1997
It had been a long journey across an uncharted land, but finally it appeared their destination was in sight. Making their way through several middle eastern countries, following the path spoken of in the ancients texts and depicted upon the remains of a ruined map had not been an easy trek. Yet despite their being easier ways to cross through the area than on foot, previous expeditions had revealed that their destination could only be reached by following the notations exactly.
Despite their very convincing appearances, they were scientists, not nomads. They were Brother Taru, Brother Haba and Brother Chiblit, members of one of the Cult of Amuk's chapters. Unlike the main organisation that sought to gain power and influence by whichever deity seemed available, they represented a part of the cult that had been seeking to unlock the power left behind by older entities. And that research had uncovered the history of a demon dynasty and a tomb that was said to contain the secrets of those demons. The three men had been sent there to find a tomb and the means of furthering the cult's aims.
And so they had started from a point marked upon the map and had followed the disjointed course, evading the authorities where necessary as they finally passed beyond Egypt and into an uncharted part desert. At the moment they passed beyond the final marker, they experienced a complete failure of all their electronic equipment and had been forced to abandon anything more technical than a simple compass. Luckily they had thought to bring an alternative means of transportation since their jeep would no longer start. It seemed that while mechanical means were incapable of making the journey, their trusty camel was more than up to the task.
But now they were in uncharted territory. The map and the ancient texts had guided them to a point but failed to reveal their final destination. And as they had walked further into the inhospitable landscape, the winds had grown fierce, forcing them to seek shelter.
The oasis they had stumbled upon had not been marked on the maps, but they had welcomed the reprieve from the sandstorm. If they had not been so dedicated to their search they might have accepted their good fortune as just luck, but these men were not the simple travellers that had visited the site over the centuries. And as they rested, they realised that there was more to the oasis than they had first thought.
With a little concentration the illusion was broken and the true nature of the area was revealed. They had found what they were looking for. The half-buried ruins that had been there for thousands of years, appeared to be untouched by the winds and the corrosive sand. Chiblit and Haba peered down a well, looking for water while Taru sat down and relaxed in the shade.
Suddenly, the ground began to quake! Taru's weight had been enough to move one of the crumbling columns, which broken the magical seal placed upon it and revealed a hidden entrance. Taru leapt up only to find a huge crack that had appeared in the ground. Gravity got the better of him and he fell in.
"Taru!" Chiblit and Haba called down for their comrade.
"I'm fine," Taru replied, sounding happy. "Better than find. I think I've found something."
Even if they had not stumbled upon the tomb they had been seeking, the vast quantity of gold he had uncovered would serve to bolster the coffers of the Cult of Amuk, making their expedition worth the time.
"Brothers, I think we've found it!" he proclaimed after making his way passed the piles of gold and laying eye on a burial chamber.
Taru instructed the other two to light up torches and climb down with him. They did as he told them and Taru started lighting some of the torches himself. Chiblit and Haba landed safely in the ancient tomb, via a rope.
Haba studied the sarcophagus carefully, comparing the markings to those he had been told to seek.
"This is it!" he cried excitedly as he swept the dust off the top of a sarcophagus. "This is the stone the writings described, the words scribed with power."
Indeed the markings etched into the stone glowed faintly with light and as he touched them, he received a small shock.
The others were quick to join him, but waited for Taru to translate the carvings on the side of the stone before doing anything. The ability to translate ancient languages was a skill he had acquired during his days as a grave robber before the Cult of Amuk had found him and turned his skills to a more useful role.
"This is it," he told the others, running his eyes over the hieroglyphics. "The wizards -- no knights -- of Magitopia sought to vanquish a dynasty of evil demons ruled by monstrous goddess known as Queen Bansheera. Aided by a native sorcerer and at huge cost, they managed to divide and conquer Bansheera's forces. They drew Bansheera's children away from their palace and imprisoned them where their underlings could not reach; it speaks here of one being trapped in the depths of a Shadow World.
With the Royal Family unavailable to lead her hordes, the next target were the nobles that maintained her court. Using trickery they drew them to another site and trapped them within, leaving only the lesser servants to be dealt with. They drew the majority of her army to this place and forced them into a trap they had devised. The Magitopians that survived the battles remained on the planet to the entrance to the demons' prisons and prevent the prisoners from ever breaking free."
"That must be why this guy is here," Chiblit shrugged as he brushed his hand over a robed skeleton. He made a quick search for anything valuable and finding nothing, knocked it across the cobweb-covered floor. As the bones scattered on impact, a small golden disk slipped from the robe. Haba plucked it from the floor and handed it to Taru.
"This disk is part of the spell that maintains the prison," Taru guessed as he compared the groves in the disk to those cut into the stone. "But it is also a key that can open those seals. Such a shame that so many years of research and all we have to show for it are low level servants."
He paused momentarily, thinking about the consequences of his actions. Using the key would release the demons sealed inside the tomb. If they took it with them their fellow cultists would find a way to do so safely, but the three of them would have to share the glory of their discovery. It took some soul searching for him to decide that he didn't want to lose such a precious prize. He placed the key into the correct position. With a glance at the others, he gave it a quarter turn to the left.
The disk glowed as the circuitry imprinted within the key merged with the interface etched into the stone, causing the stone to change shape ever so slightly so that the disk could rotate further. The act of imprisonment performed five-thousand years previously had in the space of a few seconds been reversed. The disk continued to spin of its own accord as more of the ancient spells were stripped away. The loss of the suspension spells revived the dormant creatures inside the tomb, freeing them from their enforced slumber. The statues of snakes that lined the walls seemed to come alive with smoke emerging from their mouths as the magic of the wizards was replaced by the darker magic of Queen Bansheera's followers.
The sudden change in the energy fields surrounding the tomb caused the ground to shake, and Chiblit to lose whatever courage he had. He scampered back behind his comrades, hoping that they would shield him should anything dangerous happen.
"Maybe we should just leave, don't you think?" he asked.
Taru shot him a look of disgust and shoved him out of the way as he was drawn toward the coffin. Where once a small about of common sense might have prevailed, now a deep sense of greed had taken over. There was power inside that coffin. They wanted it, needed it and as the lid started to float ever so slightly, they could feel it. Even now great amounts of energy, latent magic, poured from the sarcophagus and gave them the motivation to shove aside the large stone slab.
With the lid off, they peered inside, searching for the source of the sudden illumination only to be knocked aside by the blast of energy that erupted from the coffin. Mist billowed from inside the tomb as the evil spirits contained within the coffin were unleashed upon the world.
As the strange entities floated around, Taru tried to communicate with them, to make them understand that he was responsible for their freedom and deserved a reward. The spirits stopped and regarded the cultists for a moment, before entering their bodies. After consuming the greedy humans from the inside out and placing their remains in the coffin, the demons escaped through the same entrance the humans had used.
The seal had been broken, the demons were released and a complex series of spells had been triggered. A message had been sent to those capable of understanding, warning them of the danger. Fortunately the early humans that had been inspired by the Magitopian before they had vanished from the world, had left a legacy of their own. It was through that heritage that the demons could be stopped once more. Whether they would be successful though remained to be seen.
Captain William Mitchell sat patiently waiting for his appointment. It had been a long time since he and his sister had seen each other and he wondered why she had suddenly invited him and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Dana, to Angel Grove. One thing was certain, with the chief administrator of NASADA already talking to her, it was not a pleasure trip.
"William," Laura Mitchell said politely as she stepped into the waiting room. "Dana, my how you've grown!"
"Laura," Captain Mitchell replied formally.
William Mitchell and his sister were actually closer than most brothers and sisters. The sudden formality alerted Captain Mitchell and Dana, who had been trained to detect the mild changes in tone, that something was wrong.
"Would you come in please?" Laura requested.
As he passed her, Laura touched a small pendant hanging from her neck. Suddenly William had an idea of what was going on. The pendant was a secret symbol passed down from their ancestors. ~But why would we be meeting about it with NASADA?~
"William, Dana, this is Doctor Ilsman. Doctor Ilsman is Chief Administrator of... an organisation created in the seventies to identify and deal with extraterrestrial threats. In the past their operations would include the happenings in Angel Grove, however their mandate has changed over the last decade and such matters are no longer within their control."
Captain Mitchell turned his attention to the middle-aged red head that was now studying him curiously. In her hand he could see a set of reports obviously overdue and an identity badge marking her as his superior.
"And I believe you know General Norquist of NASADA."
Captain Mitchell snapped to attention and saluted the General. He had retired from the service many years ago to take personal control of his daughter's education, but Captain Mitchell felt General Norquist was a unique officer and worthy of total respect.
"And of course you know Frank," she said, concluding the introductions.
"Thank you, Laura," General Norquist said. "I take it you both aware of reason why I asked you here?" They didn't reply. "Would it help if I told you that NASADA is involved only in an advisory capacity? Doctor Ilsman and I have both been briefed on the Sixth Covenant of Magiel."
"I see," Captain Mitchell said, all doubts about the General's intentions disappearing.
There were many myths about Merlin, many concerning his acts in the court of King Arthur. However the name appeared much earlier in history, during a time when it should have been impossible for his name to be recorded. Of course for the Mitchell family it was a story and a part of their heritage passed through the family lines. Odd really since their family had never lived in the part of the world where the stories supposedly took place.
The tale spoke of Merlin as a traveller who aided their ancestors to vanquish a demon and trap her followers for eternity. That particular version of Merlin had vanished shortly after he and a small group of magi from another world had sealed the tomb, somehow leaving the story to be passed through the Mitchell family.
The magic had ensured that there would always be those to fight the demons if they returned. In each generation of the Mitchell family there were two children born, the son to lead the fight and sire the next generation while the daughter healed the wounds and cleansed the soul.
William and Laura were the children of their generation. William had already devised the strategy for fighting the demons should they appear and had fathered his own children. Despite losing Ryan at a young age, Dana had been trained to fulfil both roles and one day, she would continue the legacy in Ryan's place.
"The situation is this," Norquist continued. "In the last few months a witch known as Rita Repulsa and a demon by the name of Lord Zedd have been attacking Angel Grove. While unfortunate and uncommon, such attacks are not unheard of; there have been many instances in the past of small time criminal and rogue nations trying to take over the world. The difference, is that Rita is currently living on the Moon. Her attacks suggest that she is a user of magic, her monsters appeared to be demonic in nature and she is not likely to leave in the foreseeable future. When Zedd took over from her, it became clear that there were more serious threats out there. Rita's return and the union between two such unsavoury forces have posed an increasing threat.
Fortunately, to combat Rita and Zedd, a group of heroes known as Power Rangers have arisen. As you can see they are very proficient and their mix of magic and technology make them a force to be reckoned with."
On the screen the recent footage of the Power Rangers fighting Rita's monsters was played. Everybody was impressed by the skill of those fighting.
"I fail to see how this is of importance," Captain Mitchell remarked.
"The point is," General Norquist replied, "That although the events in question have occurred in Angel Grove there is a small concern about other demons awakening. In addition the government had been concerned about what would happen if the Power Rangers were to turn rogue? That led them to commission Operation Lightspeed."
"General Norquist wants you to head Lightspeed," Ilsman explained. "You will be provided with NASADA trained personnel to help you monitor the situation and should anything occur we will provide you with the people to contain the situ..."
"No," Captain Mitchell said sternly. "This is a family responsibility and only the descendants of those who put those demons away can do so again."
"But that would mean using untrained civilians to do the job," Margo protested.
"The men who put them away the first time were untrained civilians and they did a good job," Laura Mitchell snapped.
"Please William, Laura, think about this. You are being given full authority to upgrade the technology your family has gathered over the centuries with the full backing of the military in return for making your services. And should this threat you've been preparing to fight ever appear, you'll have the resources to fight it. At the very least this would ensure that should the day ever arise when the demons return, you will not require Merlin to put them back."
Dana whispered something to her father. He nodded.
"Dana has suggested that perhaps we could use those -- Zord things to combat the threat; some of the stories speak of the demons being incredibly tall. We don't have magic to help with building them, but I'm sure science will more than compensate."
"Why don't we just contact these Power Rangers and ask them to share their technology?" the scientist asked.
"We don't know how to contact them," General Norquist replied. "And, I believe that we will need to use something that a human can build. The Rangers' machinery looks far too complicated to use."
"Maybe we should discuss the finer details at another time," Frank Mitchell suggested. "For now why don't we get to the more important matter: do we want to turn our hard work over to a government organisation?"
There was little more to say, but General Norquist decided he would speak to Zordon. The technology sharing between the Eltare and some of Earth's governments had been going on long enough that he hoped the old sage would help them. First though he had to convince the stubborn Mitchell family that they were better off working with the government.
They watched as Rito Revolto, one of the latest monsters from Rita and Zedd, destroyed the Thunder Megazord and the White Tiger Zord. They watched as the Zords exploded and littered the ground with their wreckage. But, most importantly they watched as the Rangers left the Zords lying on the ground.
Without thinking the blonde haired woman rushed forward and started to examine the wreckage for parts. The older red headed scientist followed not far behind, curious about the excitement of her younger companion.
"Conversion modules, anti gravity generators, energy wave suppression circuitry, this is the best find yet!" Angela Fairweather cried happily. "With this we can begin our own version of the Gestalt energy system and Megazord motivation techniques."
Margo shook her head. Angela was certainly enthusiastic. It would be a shame to see that optimism disappear when the true difficulty of their task became evident.
Lightspeed had by now grown into a vast organization with links throughout the business community and arrangements in place with the likes of Microsoft, Stark Enterprises and the Wayne Foundation. The funding and technology had helped repair what time had damaged, but a lot of the Doctor's original designs were gone and the parts he had stored were corroded.
Asking NASADA to provide the parts was out of the question, even though they were using Ranger technology to advance their own weapons. So the destruction of the Rangers' Zords although tragic, was a godsend for Lightspeed. Now at last they had the parts to transform the machines they had been building into a fighting force.
Large trucks moved into Angel Grove Park and cranes lifted the remains of the Thunder Zords into containers marked for the city dump. Lightspeed was not sure if the Rangers would mind losing their equipment, but she was not eager to find out.
In the Command Centre the Zordon and Alpha were aware of what had just occurred, but they had no objection. General Norquist had not told them why his government was aiding a group of demon fighters or why they should be allowed to take the ancient fighting machines, but Zordon trusted his friend and Alpha was programmed never to speak of the occurrence. If anybody asked it would just be considered one of those strange occurrences that were never fully explained but were fun to think about. No doubt somebody somewhere would be interested in one day writing a paper on that subject!
The Rangers were now gone to seek out Ninjor in hopes of gaining the Ninja powers. If they failed, Earth would belong to Zedd and Rita. ~That cannot happen,~ Zordon thought. ~They WILL succeed!~
As the last truck left and Lightspeed's operatives removed the last of the cloaking devices Ms Fairweather started to wonder what she could do with them.
"Damn!" Ms Fairweather swore.
Now Lightspeed's chief scientist she was responsible for creating weapons, Zords and even powers for the future Rangers. Of course that was part of the problem, Rangers changed their powers so often it was hard to keep up with them. Even so the most recent set of Rangers to emerge albeit briefly, the Gem Coin Rangers had been less powerful than the others had. Their Zords seemed more mechanical than previous versions and for the first time she had been able to record their gestalt transformation.
The problem was that at the moment none of her Zords were even ready yet even through the design plans had been finalized. ~And we really shouldn't be working on the Zords yet until we get the morphers right!~ she thought to herself. They had been able to create a stable energy that would be used for the power source but so far the morphers that had been created wouldn't cause the desired result.
On a good note she had at last finished the basic model of the Lifebird, a gestalt weapon system based on a weapon A-bot reported to be called the Power Blaster. The weapon was capable of separating into smaller weapons, which when joined to a Ranger's basic blaster could form a new weapon. The blaster had been another success, capable of functioning as both weapon and sword. The handle formed an integral part of each Ranger's overall arsenal and allowed control of their Zords.
In another part of the now fully refitted Aquabase, Captain Mitchell was meeting with some of the people his job forced him to converse with on a regular basis. The Suits as he preferred to call them were the lawyers, accountants and public relations officers sent by Lightspeed's associate companies. So far the Suits had been insisting on having input on all decisions made during the development process. Somehow even the Armed Forces had gained insiders and were demanding control of any new weapons be turned over to 'enlightened' hands.
Today's meeting was about the candidates now confirmed to be Rangers. The first five had been easy to argue on the grounds that they were direct descendants of the original heroes. The sixth Ranger however was a problem. The sixth member of the original team had died outside of the tomb and had no family. Instead Captain Mitchell had used the existing candidates to develop a list of qualities needed and was in the process of monitoring two potential Rangers.
"With all due respect Captain Mitchell," one of the lawyers said, "You cannot seriously expect a world renowned organization such as my client to condone the employment of a child or be connected with its implementation. It would be a PR disaster."
"Firstly Mr Belmont," Captain Mitchell said, regarding the black-haired, bespectacled weasel disguised as the world's most boring man with contempt. "Your company will not be publicly linked to our Rangers, their identities will never be common knowledge and this is not a cheap advertising campaign. You know that any breakthrough in technology MAY be shared with the people you represent depending on MY opinion."
"Secondly, the candidate in question is only a few years younger than the others. She is a martial artist and we have reason to believe that she would be easy to recruit given her family situation. We will not bring her in until she is old enough, but her youth is on our side because Lightspeed will not be needed unless a certain situation arises."
"Even so," Simon Turner, public relations officer hired by Microsoft said, "Our candidate Earl is equally qualified and has the advantage of being well linked in the marketplace."
~Not to mention the fact he's related to your boss's sister,~ Captain Mitchell thought.
"The decision has been made gentlemen," he finally said, ending the discussions.
The group left in various states of annoyance with one exception. He was not there as a 'suit'. He was a spy operating on the behalf of Arnimite Corporation and had been secretly downloading information from the Lightspeed mainframe to his laptop.
As he stepped outside the building, he was not surprised to find his employer's black limousine waiting for him.
"Well?" she asked as he closed the door and made himself comfortable.
"I got the data," he assured her. "However, my fee has increased."
"Maybe we should discuss it on the way to my office," she said. She poured him a drink and raised a glass. "To success!"
He raised his glass and took a sip, not realising that it might be his last.
In an underwater city near to Mariner Bay a message had been received. Undetected by the Communications Officer a message was received. It was interrogated by the central computer for details of its originator and the type of data it was carrying. A simple computerised question was repeated several times, not because the message refused to answer, but because each answer triggered the computer to query again.
As the computer continued to process the message, a second piece of coding hidden within the text executed a subroutine inside the computer core. The program switched the computer's status on the network from Test Server to Mainframe Hub, allowing it to take control of the interconnected systems. Operating codes for Zords and weapons were transferred from storage into the Aquabase's Command Centre.
Security cameras throughout the Lightspeed Aquabase shut down as the signal triggered the redesign of the partially built Zords. In record time it assembled the parts necessary to complete the construction, substituting Eltarian parts with the closest Earth materials. When it was done, the program reactivated the cameras revealing its work to those watching. Then the program ended, scheduling an update when it was time to modify the machines.
In little more than four hours the computer had transformed Lightspeed from a concept in progress into a concept awaiting its first use. As the first program closed a second briefly opened, inserting a subroutine into the computer that could not be removed, it redirected one of Lightspeed's few surveillance satellites into a position where it could monitor the recent activity in Egypt.
In another part of the Aquabase, Dana Mitchell walked into a conference room and snapped to attention. Her father's visitors expected it, so she went along with the mere formalities.
"That looks fine, but I need you to double check," she heard her father say to the man next to him. For those who knew him well enough the term double check meant that something was wrong, but believing that a happy staff made an efficient team, he preferred to give them a second chance rather than snap at them.
"Excuse me Sir," Dana said in the precise tone expected when her father had visitors, "But something has come up."
"Why don't we finish this another time?" Captain Mitchell asked the three men.
As they left, Dana made her way to her father's side. The look on his face suggested he knew what she was about to say.
"Father. They've escaped."
"Are you sure?" Captain Mitchell asked moving towards the nearest phone.
"Yes father," Dana replied.
She watched as her father lifted the receiver and called his sister. After years of waiting, it seemed that the time had come.
"Hello, Mitchell residence."
"Frank? It's Will. I need to speak to Laura now!" Captain Mitchell practically shouted down the phone line.
"Just a minute Will," Frank Mitchell said his voice sounded as dull as always.
There was a moment of silence and Captain Mitchell could imagine the conversation-taking place in his sister's home.
"Hello Will," Laura Mitchell said after a while. "How is my big brother?"
"Laura, they're out," Captain Mitchell said as calmly as possible.
"Oh no, gods no!" he heard Laura whisper.
"I need you to send me the dossiers you've been working on. We need to assemble the team now and need to start observing the backup team just in case."
"Yes Will, of course," Laura replied. "I'll get them to you immediately."
While Captain Mitchell continued to speak with his sister, Dana was opening the containment box used to hold the identities of their first selections. Picking out the first dossier she read the name Joel Rawlings and after breaking the seal she looked first at his picture and then at the place she was likely to find him.
The sudden release of the demons sent a pulse of dark energy around the world, triggering alarms in several locations. In New York a blond haired scientist rushed into the basement, expecting to find the containment unit stored there to explode. In Cross-World City the computerised memory of a professor summoned three of his students fearing an attack from the Mivertual Real'liti; their participation was less than enthusiastic. In Charterville, an Elvis-like ghost who feared an attack from the local villain spooked four kids until they agreed to look into things. And in Leewood, Dex's sixth sense alerted him to danger at the same time that Herb Stewart's attack alarm sounded.
It was in Angel Grove that an android watched the Viewing Screen alongside Zordon as the computer zeroed in on the source of the problem. A massive surge of energy that obscured all others had just appeared.
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, how can this be?" he asked as he analysed the energy spike. The readings were almost identical to Angel Grove with the only noticeable difference being the power levels. Of course those were the readings the scanners were able to detect given the interference. "You can't just create another Ley Nexus!"
"Alpha, conduct a Level Two scan of the energy source and reduce the sensitivity of the scanning array," Zordon instructed. "I believe you will find that it is not a new Nexus, just the release of an incredibly powerful force that has overwhelmed the computer."
On the Viewing Screen a map started to form. On the base layer was a map of the Earth's geophysical makeup. Volcanoes and other natural phenomenon made up this layer. The volcanoes had been split into three colours: red for active, yellow for dormant and grey for inactive.
Next came the dimensional data provided from the Doctor's TARDIS, which had been hooked into the Power Chamber's circuits to expedite the repairs. Naturally Angel Grove showed as a red blob radiating out across the globe from when Master Vile affected time. Green dots surrounding the rest of the planet indicated where a TARDIS had appeared in the last decade. A slight yellow appeared around Crossworld City and again around Charterville suggesting a crossing between various dimensions.
The final level was made up of the Ley Line data the Power Chamber constantly monitored. The Angel Grove, Crossworld City, Gateway City, Charterville, Leewood and the barely existent North Valley Nexus all appeared normal albeit slightly erratic. Other sites around the Earth were slower to appear, including Tokyo, Stone Henge and Glastonbury, Gateway City, Sunny Dale, New York, Paris and parts of Ireland. Most were minor crossings of two or three Ley Lines. The exceptions were Paris's Ley Nexus, which barely registered and Stone Henge, which was an almost bottomless pit of magical energy.
Finally a new hot spot appeared in the United States. Glowing brighter by the moment, it corresponded with a flare of energy in the Egyptian desert. It was not a Ley Nexus, but it represented the appearance of something powerful.
"The energy flow is moving," the Doctor observed, emerging from a little alcove. "If I were to venture a guess, I'd say it was returning to its origin point rather than escaping."
"But that would mean it originated in... Mariner Bay," Alpha declared.
Zordon studied the readings more closely. "The source in the desert is losing power, perhaps it is no longer needed."
"This isn't good, is it?" Sam asked.
The Doctor shook his head.
"Not good at all," he decided. "Zordon, do you know what was held in that tomb?"
"No Doctor. I had no part in sealing it." He was almost certain it had not been built by humans though.
"I've seen those markings somewhere before," the Doctor murmured absently. A bell could be heard inside the TARDIS, breaking the Doctor's concentration. While not the Cloister Bell that signalled immanent danger, the bell offered the Doctor a choice he would rather not make.
"What is that?" Sam asked. She had never heard that tone before.
"The Time Safe," the Doctor answered, walking into the TARDIS and emerging with a grey metal box. Sam and Zordon appeared curious so he explained. "At some point in the future I will decide to send myself a message, probably about what is going on here."
"A useful device," Zordon commented.
"Yes, but should I open it?"
"Come on Doctor, you must have had a reason to send it to yourself," Sam pointed out.
"Yes, but do I want to know? If I look inside, I'll find the message, but I'll be bound to act accordingly. I'll become part of cause and effect, something I prefer not to deal with."
Just because the Doctor had sent himself, a message did not mean that he was meant to read it. For all he knew his future self had already been through this scenario, decided not to open the box, but had been forced to send it back in time anyway. That was the problem with the Time Safe: regardless of the choice he made, he was now bound to at least send something.
In the end he decided that he would not have placed himself in such a predicament without good cause. He opened the box and was not surprised to find a single sheet of parchment written in his own handwriting.
"Bansheera?" Sam asked, looking over his shoulder.
"Queen Bansheera," Zordon answered, recognising the name. "Ruler of the Grandiene Empire."
The Doctor nodded, then realised that his assistant had no idea what he was talking about. "Back in the time before humans evolved on Earth, this planet was home to countless other races. Among the earliest were those humans would come to regard as demons; back in the day when this world provided an open gateway between this realm and the higher - or lower - realms of Heaven and Hell. Bansheera was the ruler of one of those little empires, very nasty demon if history is correct. At some point Bansheera needed to leave this dimension for a time and those that opposed her took the opportunity. They cast a spell that prevented her from returning and blocked off the energy that the demons relied on. Her -- children, were trapped in sub-dimensions around the world and the majority of her forces were forced into a shadow world accessible only from a few key locations. A powerful sorcerer then used magic to make certain that should she return to this dimension she would be trapped at the far reaches of the universe."
"And now she's been released, right?"
The Doctor shook his head, reading the letter again. The instructions were very precise, but the cost of following them could barely justify the gains.
"Somebody opened the doorway to the Shadow World, which explains the energy spike; all that evil in one place for so long is bound to build up some Negative Energy, but those inside will be slow to awaken without their queen or her heirs. Even so, I think we'd better take a look; they never mentioned what became of Bansheera and there's always a chance that something emerged." the Doctor said. "Maybe you should summon the Rangers."
Ace pilot Joel Rawlings was doing what he was born to do best, entertaining an audience by zooming in the air in his small plane, performing minor stunts. Soon he was back on the ground and signing autographs for the horde of fans who came to see the self-proclaimed Sky Cowboy. Winking to another fan, the gent in the cowboy hat handed another signed picture to those who worshipped him. He continued doing so, ignoring the announcer in the background telling the crowd what they could expect to see next.
Two mysterious men in black approached Joel, cutting him off from his groupies and causing him some annoyance. For a moment he thought maybe they were from the FBI, but after they failed to show him identification, he knew otherwise. He reluctantly agreed to go with them and allowed them to lead him over to a car where Dana was waiting. As Joel stepped inside the car, she closed his file and opened the file for the next candidate.
On the side of a mountain, Kelsey Winslow was enjoying yet another of her dangerous hobbies: speed climbing on the high cliffs. She wasn't afraid of heights at all as she slowly worked her way to the peak. She had climbed this mountain many times in the past and knew her route up almost instinctively.
Leaning back, she noticed the sun reflecting off something black at the top of the cliffs. She continued to climb to the summit where she found two men in black waiting for her.
"Who are you?" she asked, but instead of answering they helped her up and escorted her to a waiting car.
The two crooks ran down the street, but Junior Police Cadet Stephanie Grier was hot on their heals. Despite knowing that her captain would lecture her for not waiting for backup, she soon had them cornered.
After making the arrest, she was approached by two men in dark suits. When they asked her to accompany them, she had assumed she was talking to the FBI. When she climbed into the car though and Dana closed another file, she realised that this was something else all together.
Chad Lee was performing for a crowd at Sea World, riding a killer whale named Daisy. As yet another wet and wild show finished, Chad swam to the side of the pool and sat there to rest before leaving. Hearing footsteps behind him, Chad turned to see two men in black waiting for him.
From the car Dana watched as the two employees tried to convince Chad to accompany them. Of course they could have forced him, but her father needed his cooperation and dragging him away would not help to achieve that aim. After Chad had climbed inside the waiting car, Dana closed the blue striped file bearing Chad's name. That just left one to find and fortunately the police scanner had already located him.
Somewhere in Mariner Bay a fire was raging in an apartment building. The two men in black pushed their way past the frantically rushing Fire fighters in a desperate search to find their final candidate. Finding no trace of him they eventually approached one of the fire fighters and queried where Carter Grayson could be found.
"He's up on the ladder," the fire fighter responded, pointing to the figure being hoisted up into the blazing inferno. As they watched, the figure leapt into the top floor of the building.
Stepping out of the car, Dana watched the action from the ground. Looking in his dossier she noted his previous commendations for bravery. Even though she was trapped on the ground she strained to ensure the person who had just entered the burning building was the same man she was looking at the eight-by-ten photo she held.
Carter took a risk, pulled his mask down and called out to see if anybody could hear him in the fiery area. Hearing a faint noise, he walked over to where a girl was lying on the floor. He wrapped her in a blanket to protect from the flames now billowing into the room he told her to stay close. She coughed a reply and did as she was told.
Carter looked around for a way out and for a moment froze. In the flames that engulfed the hallway ahead of him, he thought he could make out the image of a large creature. Unable to believe his eyes, Carter stood mesmerised as the fire creature let out an evil laugh and spewed a wave of fire through the hallway.
Survival now overriding fear, Carter grabbed the girl and rushed her in the opposite direction of the flames. Scrambling for life, Carter pushed himself through a window, the girl following not far behind. Luckily the other fire fighters had assumed Carter might attempt something stupid and had prepared themselves. As the two figures emerged from the window, the fire fighters caught them safely.
Carter inspected the girl long enough to assure himself that she was okay, but was pushed aside by a woman who placed an oxygen mask over her face.
"I'm a paramedic," Dana told him. After ensuring the girl was stable she ordered the other paramedics to get her clear.
Exhausted by his actions, Carter walked over to the fire truck and after gazing up at the burning building where he had been just moments before, breathed a sigh of relief. His mind still questioned the being he had seen inside the flame, but more pressing concerns demanded his attention. The paramedic who had just pushed him aside was standing in front of him accompanied by two gorillas in black suits.
"I know this is a bad time," she said to him, "But I need you to come with me."
A ball of green fire strafed through the city, exploding as it collided with the lower levels of a building, cutting through the structural supports holding up the upper floors. Screams could be heard from inside as people died under tons of rubble. Around the burning disaster area, the citizens caught a glimpse of the multicoloured spirits floating overhead.
Not far beyond the city's boundaries there was small hillside known to house a cave system that ran deep underground. People had disappeared within those deep caverns and their remains had never been found. At the centre of the labyrinth of tunnels and jagged rocks lay the opening to what remained of an old temple. It was the place where Queen Bansheera's power had been at its strongest and the place where those demons that had been awakened by the humans had returned.
Many of the demons that had been trapped within the Shadow World lacked the ability to manifest without assistance. If Queen Bansheera or one of her older children had been present they would have already had their physical forms. As it was many were frozen as stone, slept or lacked a body. Most remained trapped in a state of forced slumber. They at least had returned unlike the rest of the queen's children.
"Queen Bansheera will not be pleased when she learns what has become of her world."
The voice echoed through the caverns as he checked on the other demons. His name was Curszer and he was the loyal retainer of the Royal Family. For generations he and his brother Jinxer had served Queen Bansheera and her heirs. Jinxer was the court sorcerer, summoning creatures from the demons' home dimension, while Curszer was normally charged with looking after the Queen's children. Curszer was one of the least powerful demons and therefore one of the first to awaken. He had assessed their situation and taken responsible for awakening the rest of the courtiers. Then once Loki, Diabolico and Vypra had awakened they would work to bring their queen and her children back to Earth and reclaim their territory from the human germs; in the meantime they would care for for the queen's infant son Impus.
"The spell that binds them is based on hope and love... so to reclaim them will require a concentration of fear and perhaps a little suffering," he pondered as he studied his brother's petrified form. He was not a sorcerer, at best he was a passable wizard with a special skill in Necromancy. Still, while summoning demons from another dimension or restoring his frozen comrades was beyond his woefully weak powers, there was nothing to stop him from granting some of the power from the Shadow World to those few servants of Queen Bansheera that had been trapped on Earth before her disappearance.
"Dauros, Hemogrin, Gilmer... emerge from your ancient prisons and destroy this human city. Prepare this site for the return of the Royal Family."
Three monstrous creatures of destruction formed in front of their master and kneeled, awaiting his orders. Though weaker than the most of Queen Bansheera's courtiers, the trio were undoubtedly powerful.
"Revenge!" Gilmer whispered, her tone causing Curszer to question her sanity as the vengeful Triad drifted away.
Garth Nelson picked himself up from the wreckage of what had been his hotel suite. His bed had offered him some protection, but the other guests were buried under a ton of wreckage.
He held his hand against his right thigh and waited for the holster to recognise his touch. The sealed pocket opened, allowing him to withdraw a silver cylinder. He levelled his chosen weapon and pressed the button. A continuous blast of energy obliterated the crumbled remains of the ceiling, allowing the people to scramble to safety. Outside he caught his first glimpse of what was happening to the city.
He gave the cylinder a twist and the blaster was transformed into an energy blade. With an angry cry he charged the two beings that were raining havoc on the city's buildings.
"Wraiths, take him!" Hemogrin ordered, flames erupting from his horned head. His red skin seemed to glow as he relished the cries of the innocents around him. He was not in the mood to be bothered by a mere human.
Six shadowy forms appeared before their leaders. Totally black their own distinct features were their glowing white eyes. As each one raised their hands, Garth could make out the claws on their hands. They attacked and Garth found himself immediately on the defensive, taken aback by the speed and power behind their attack.
Had he been human, Garth would have given up and accepted the inevitable. But he was not human. He was a demon hunter, destroying these things was a part of his purpose -- for in his fragile mental state following months of tortuous surgery, clinging to his mission was the only thing that had kept him remotely sane.
The computer components the scientists had installed in his head had been carefully integrated. As such the knowledge of modern fighting techniques that had been programmed into the device flowed into his mind easily and Garth fought back. Holding the Wraiths off for a short time, he then struck out with his sword. A ball of flame engulfed the first wraith his sword contacted. Two more followed and were dispatched, but a third attacker injured him with its talons.
"Arghhh!" Garth exclaimed as he stumbled forward into the next Wraith. This was not going his way.
"I don't think this is a good idea," Samantha warned. "You only just fixed it."
The release of the demons had triggered far reaching effects. Many of the Rangers were out dealing with a string of disasters that threatened Angel Grove, leaving only a few to investigate Mariner Bay. David, Billy and Trini had stayed back ready to aid the Doctor. Nate was also present although the Council's ruling that he couldn't morph, limited his usefulness.
"Teleporting into Mariner Bay would be disastrous," the Doctor told her. "Chances are anybody who tried would be scattered across the planet."
"So you're planning to try and take them in a rickety old TARDIS?" she asked, not believing her ears. "With your luck you'd end up on Venus."
Surprisingly the Doctor was not upset with Sam's criticism. Far from it, her words meant that she was starting to develop a personality of her own, separate from the one he had given her without realising it.
"It's only a short trip," he assured her. "Come on Sam, what could go wrong?"
As he led the small group into the time machine, Sam could be heard muttering: "with our luck? Everything."
Garth was losing, badly. The grating sound from the far side of the improvised battlefield did not help. Indeed, it made him wonder whether the floor was about to give way.
"Hi-yah!" Garth heard somebody called as a ball of white struck the nearest Wraith.
Garth turned to see a white clad warrior holding as sword and fighting off another Wraith. Meanwhile an older man was beating off the gold-faced demon who had identified herself as Gilmer with an umbrella; three other warriors were exchanging blows with the the remaining Wraiths.
"Need some help?" the white warrior whom Garth now realised was a Power Ranger, asked.
"Please," Garth replied.
As Garth continued to hack at the nearest Wraith, David decided to try out a few of his powers he had rarely used. Throwing himself at the nearest Wraith, he merged with it, using the purifying power of the White Ranger to destroy the evil from within. The Wraith screamed as it dissolved into a column of white light.
With a roar Hemogrin punched the ground, shaking the heroes and injuring people as heavy objects started falling.
"Hold them off," the Doctor cried. "I have to see a man about some Rangers."
Remembering the route from fifty years earlier, the Doctor negotiated his way through the panicking civilians to the nearest train station. Once there, he looked for the unused signal shed, hoping nobody had changed the designs in the last decade or so. Opening the door, he felt around in the darkness for a hidden panel and punched in a six-digit code.
For anybody outside what had just happened would have appeared to be a faulty light flickering on and off. In truth the Doctor had just activated a short-range Transmat beam aimed directly at the ocean.
A small helicopter hovered over a submarine in the middle of the bay. Inside, the five new recruits spotted the submarine.
"That's where we're going isn't it?" Joel asked Dana. He received no answer from her and resigned himself to having to wait.
"This is so cool!" Kelsey exclaimed as the helicopter started its descent. Hardly able to contain her excitement, she started bouncing in her seat.
Soon Carter's question was answered as the climbed aboard the submarine and started a journey to the city hidden under the sea. For the first time Carter, Kelsey, Chad and Joel caught sight of the Lightspeed Aquabase. For Dana it was an everyday sight, but still impressive.
One of the main domes opened and the submarine docked inside. As the dome closed again, the water drained out to create a dry-dock. Led by Dana, the others made their way through the inner complex, still unsure why they were there.
"Authorised personnel have entered the complex within Lightspeed employees," a computerised voice reported.
"Where are we?" Chad asked as they passed by the crew who made up the huge command centre.
"I don't know, but this is sooo cool!" Kelsey replied.
Deciding to take matters into his own hands Joel walked over to the computer terminal and attempted to access the data held within. An alarm sounded even as Joel struggled to turn it off. A sharp tap on the shoulder caused him to turn around to face an annoyed Dana. Without saying a word, she deactivated the alarm and dragged Joel off to join the others in the conference room.
"Welcome to the Lightspeed Aquabase!" Captain Mitchell said as he stepped out of the shadows, but not before putting the container of fish food aside.
Before Carter could respond, he was pushed aside by Joel who after being made to wait, had decided enough was enough. "Look, I don't know who you are or what this is all about, but this is illegal. We've been kidnapped!"
"Firstly I am Captain William Mitchell, responsible for day to day operations within Lightspeed. Secondly, no one is holding you here. You are free to leave..."
Upon hearing this Joel walked towards the door only to be stopped by a security guard.
"...after you hear me out," Captain Mitchell continued. "Please, be seated."
Reluctantly Joel settled down and sat at the table with the others and waited for Captain Mitchell's explanation.
"Five thousand years ago this part of our planet was invaded by evil spirits, demons if you will, whose only purpose was to destroy and conquer. Thankfully, a group of young magi were able to capture, conquer and entomb them although not without losing some of their team-mates in the struggle. Eventually a local sorcerer helped to seal the demons away for all eternity and the last of the young people stayed behind to stand guard."
He pressed some buttons on his table activating the monitor on the table so the recruits could see the most recent event in the tomb.
"It was always feared that the demons would one day return. That fear has increased over the last four years, ever since Rita Repulsa started to attack the Earth. Just hours ago our fears were confirmed when something opened the tomb with predictable results."
He handed around a sheet of paper filled with reports of unexplained disasters from around the world.
"Since our formation four years ago, Lightspeed has developed technology and highly sophisticated weapons that we believe can stop them. Because of your skills, you've been chosen to use these weapons to defend the city and become Lightspeed Power Rangers."
As her father spoke, Dana handed each of the recruits their files. Each dossier held details of the soon-to-be-Rangers' powers so far as Lightspeed's scientists could determine.
"Wait a minute," Kelsey said. "You've built this whole Aquabase so we can fight off a bunch of angry demons?"
"That's simplifying things a bit," Captain Mitchell replied
"But correct none-the-less," the Doctor finished, stepping into the room with typical ease and then sitting back to watch the chaos that ensued.
"Who are you?" Dana demanded looking at the guard for an explanation.
Instead of answering the Doctor produced a playing card marked with a question mark and placed it under his chin. A sudden link was established between the Doctor and Captain Mitchell.
"You!" Captain Mitchell cried as he recognised the face of a curly haired bohemian he had seen in his grandfather's photographs. A guard moved forward to grab the Doctor's arm, but Captain Mitchell signalled for him to stop. Turning back to the Rangers he said, "This -- man is one of the most important advisers that those sworn to prevent the return of Bansheera have."
The Doctor said looked around the briefing room and said to Captain Mitchell: "I can see you've redecorated."
"We had some help Doctor: NASADA was more than eager to help."
"If we could get back to the subject," Captain Mitchell said. "I was about to ask what our Rangers thought. Joel?"
"I've heard you out, I think your nuts and I'm out of here!" Joel said after flashing a quick smile at Captain Mitchell.
"Wait!" Carter shouted. "This explains it! When I was saving that girl from the fire, I saw someone in the flames. It must have been one of the demons."
"Are you sure?" Captain Mitchell asked.
"He's right," the Doctor confirmed. "I've just come from a confrontation with two of the demons and their henchmen."
Before further discussion could take place, the communications link beeped. Captain Mitchell walked over to the console with the Doctor not far behind.
"Sir, you need to see this," a voice said.
"Bring up the monitor!" Captain Mitchell ordered.
The screen split into three parts. On one art of the screen they saw a building explode as a fire raged through the streets was shown on the first screen. On the middle section the activities of the demons overhead appeared. On the final screen the Doctor winced as he saw the Rangers and an unknown warrior suffering as Hemogrin and Gilmer, who was looking even more hideous, continued their assault.
Captain Mitchell looked at the Rangers standing before him and saw their faces were grim with determination. "The city needs Rangers," he said. "We need you."
"I'm in," Carter said.
"Me too," Kelsey added.
"And me," Stephanie agreed.
"I want to help," Chad said.
They looked at Joel, who had yet to answer. "We need your help Joel," Captain Mitchell said.
"What do we do first?" Joel asked, not the least bit eager to agree.
Smiling Dana produced a silver box and opened it to reveal six morphers. "These are the Lightspeed Morphers," Captain Mitchell explained. "They are based partially on our own technology and partly on some devices found by our science department."
Kelsey, Carter, Chad, Stephanie and Joel each picked up one of the devices and studied them. Following the Captain's instructions they placed the morphers on their wrists.
"What about the sixth Ranger?" the Doctor asked. He appeared thoughtful. "It should be somebody from your line."
As he finished speaking, Captain Mitchell handed the last morpher to Dana.
"I have been training Dana since she was old enough to learn the job. I think she is ready. Rangers, consider yourselves drafted to the fight against the demons. If anyone wants to leave now is the time to do so." Seeing nobody was leaving Captain Mitchell continued by gesturing for a dark-haired woman to enter. "This is Ms Fairweather, our chief scientist. She will now tell you about some of the technology developed to help you in your mission."
"Welcome to Lightspeed," Ms Fairweather said. "We've been attempting to build machines similar to those used by the Power Rangers for the last few years. Thanks to an unusual computer error we have finally succeeded. These are the first generation Lightspeed Vehicles."
As she spoke, the floor the Rangers were standing on lowered into a larger chamber. Before them, sat a fleet of vehicles.
"For now you will use this," she told them, pointing to a large yellow Humvee. "I call it the Lightspeed Rover. Civilian authorities are under strict instructions to give you priority access to all areas."
She didn't mention the other vehicles although there were some that Joel was eager to try out.
"I know this is a lot to take in, but it's time to go," Captain Mitchell said.
"But we don't know what to do," Joel protested.
"The Power will guide you," the Doctor assured the sceptical Green Ranger. "And if it doesn't I suspect Captain Mitchell will."
"Lightspeed Rescue!" Carter called. The others were less than a second behind.
For each Ranger there was a sensation of standing in a long tunnel. Then their uniforms just seemed to merge with their bodies. As the light faded they were in the spandex forms of the Lightspeed Rangers. Their chests were split into eight sections, four white and four the colour of their Ranger powers. On their hips they wore a single hand blaster. Finally their helmets were formed around their heads, each with a different shape face panel. Carter was the Red Ranger, Chad the Blue Ranger, Joel the Green Ranger, Kelsey the Yellow Ranger, Stephanie the Purple Ranger and Dana the Pink Ranger.
Sliding in behind the wheel of their new vehicle, the Rangers waited for further instructions. The Rescue Rover had a state-of-the-art engine and combined with the helmet feed to increase the driver's reaction times, was capable of incredible speed.
"Engage Roadway Exit!" Captain Mitchell ordered before moving to a control deck and attaching a set of earphones and microphone to his head. "Take it out Rangers!"
One of the laboratory's technicians activated a set of switches and the floor of the chamber sank into the ground. On the far side of the chamber a tunnel opened to the surface and with the roar of the Rescue Rover's engine, the newest team of Rangers were deployed.
Garth laid into Gilmer with his sword, forcing himself to ignore the innocent appearance she had tried to adopt. If nothing else the sword she wielded against him proved how deadly she could be.
"This should shake you up," Hemogrin boasted. So far he had proven the to be the demon with the crudest fighting technique.
He pounded his fists into the ground, causing the road to ripple beneath the Rangers' feet. High above them a building swayed violently, throwing one woman out of the window where she hung on for dear life.
"Help me!" a voice called from high above.
Garth looked up to see another woman hanging from a balcony. "I'm coming!" he called.
Running inside the unstable building Garth located the elevator, which had returned to ground level. Forcing the door open and then the roof, he studied the cables. This was the quickest way up and probably safer than the stairway. But he decided a change of clothes was in order.
"Armour deploy!" he called.
In the months since his escape he had never had cause to use his battle armour. Deploying it was time consuming and painful, but to enter the burning building without extra protection would mean he was unable to save anybody.
The suit was a part of him and the integration of its systems was near perfect. The computer scanned what he was thinking and found the device that would provide the function he desired. A small gun appeared in his hand with a metal spike and long steel cable attached. Loading the spike, he aimed for the top of the shaft, allowing the computerised targeting grid to find the best shot and fired.
The spike lodged in the top of the shaft and after attaching a motor he was hoisted to the floor he wanted. Kicking open the lift door he moved to where the woman was hanging and grabbed her, just as the building decided to shift.
In another part of the city, the monster Carter saw in the flames, Dauros, was causing more havoc. He was accompanied by a different type of foot soldiers: black demon creatures with swords, called Batlings. Unlike Wraiths, Batlings were not known for being easy to conquer.
"We've waited a long time for this," Dauros told him. "Batlings, attack! Destroy everything!"
"Oh my god!" Kelsey exclaimed as the Rescue Rover rounded the corner in time to see the Batlings attack.
"Captain Mitchell, are you getting this?" Carter asked.
"Affirmative," Captain Mitchell replied. "You'll have to defend the civilians. Try to do so with minimum force, but you are authorised to use your blasters."
"Joel, get down here and help!" Chad called into the commlink.
After arriving, Joel had found his way to the top of one of the nearby buildings.
"No can do," the former Sky Cowboy replied. "I've got people up here need helping."
"Finish up as soon as you can Joel," Captain Mitchell interrupted.
"Okay, I'm clear," Joel said after a few minutes. "The area is cleared, let's finish this."
"Lightspeed Rangers!" the others called and all six saluted, an action that seemed somehow natural for the situation.
"Weapons, up!" Red Lightspeed ordered.
The Rangers charged into combat, kicking and punching the nearest Batlings and picking off the more distant targets with their Lightspeed Blasters. Green Lightspeed found himself out numbered, but with a quick movement, he sent his blaster sailing skyward, causing the Batling to look up. That had been the distraction he wanted and after knocking the Batlings off of him, he jumped into the air, grabbed his blaster and fired.
Blue Lightspeed was more traditional about fighting. As he started to feel the Power flowing, he began to throw Batlings left and right before emptying his blaster into them.
Purple Lightspeed kicked the legs out from one Batling and fired at the next. She then kicked that opponent and fired at the next. She continued to alternate between firing and kicking until the Batlings regrouped.
"Kelsey, look out!" he called over the helmet's commlink.
Behind the Yellow Ranger a Battling was attempting to sneak up. Calmly she leapt into the air and landed behind the demon before blasting it. Jumping back into the air she straddled the shoulders of another Battling and drove it into the ground. Dana was likewise fighting in her own way. Jumping upwards she converted her blaster to sword mode and sliced a Battling in two before turning to the other now retreating Batlings.
"You're going to be burnt toast when I'm finished with you!" the demon told Carter.
A blast of flame fired at the Red Ranger, but he rolled aside just as the rest of the team joined him. From his position on the ground Carter realised he was open to his attack. Firing a blast he caught the monster off guard allowing Red Lightspeed to join the others.
"Combine firepower!" Red Lightspeed ordered.
The others did as he told them and their combined blasts ripped into the deformed monster. For a moment he swayed before finally exploding.
Sensing their comrade had failed and having no intention of doing likewise, Hemogrin and Gilmer combined their assault. Their coordinated assault repeatedly blasted the Rangers, using the innocent bystanders as a shield against their powers. Still, against the combined power of six Rangers, albeit new Rangers, the demons were soon faced with their own destruction.
"Triad return, before you fall,
your scars to heal and strength restore,
So the enemy you might face once more!"
Curszer poured his strength into the spell, using his limited power as an anchor that drew Gilmer, Hemogrin and Dauros back to the cavern where they could recover and attack again. The fear they had generated had been encouraging. The next time they would succeed and the Court of Queen Bansheera would be restored.
Garth had never liked heights. During the training he had received, heights had always caused a glitch in his programming. Even now he was terrified, but the computer web stopped him from freezing, triggering the nerve and muscle responses needed to push him onward. He grabbed the woman around the waist while the computer analysed his situation and offered suggestions of how to proceed. He selected the quickest option: down from the window.
Once he had descended, he released the woman with instructions to run and find somewhere safe to hide, he had resumed his task of helping others. Only to find himself confronted by a dozen black clad soldiers with their odd weapons pointed in his direction. Instinctively he summoned a weapon of his own and activated the multi-lock system that allowed him to identify and target all potential threats.
"Command Access DH17: Stand down!"
A series of displays appeared on the display screen linked to Garth's optic nerves as the computers identified the speaker, judged his authority and the validity of the order. The targets Garth had identified were unmarked as his weapon was place back into storage and his defence systems shifted from active to passive. When he tried to reactivate them he found that he had been locked out of his own computer system.
"We've been waiting for you to show up," the man that Garth now recognised as one of the men that had directed the facility where he had been taken and turned into a living weapon. "Sooner or later we knew you would log into our network long enough for us to trace you. And once you did it was a simple matter of getting here. Now, the fun is over; you're coming with us."
"No," Garth answered.
"You really don't have a choice in the matter. That little virus that built all those tiny super computers inside your head, also installed a program to keep you under control. The moment you connected to the network long enough to activate it, we had you." He pointed to a waiting vehicle. "Now, get in the van."
Garth ignored the instruction, causing the man to look annoyed. This was clearly somebody used to having his orders obeyed.
"Command Access DH17: Get in the van!"
Again the onboard computer assessed the validity of the command and decided that the man had the authority to give the instruction. Against his will Garth's body started to lurch toward the van.
"No," Garth said again, his words sufficient to override the previous order. A quick check showed that only a limited number of external commands could override his input. Now he needed a way to maintain his independence, something the computer was willing to show help with. "Command: Erase Access List DH17! Command: Disconnect!"
Obviously the scientists had not finished programming the override system before his escape, otherwise he was certain they would have found a way to prevent him from accessing his own command system.
"Command: Armour Deploy!"
His defence systems were reactivated and his yellow plated armour reappeared.
"Command Access DH17: Stand Down!" the man ordered. Nothing happened. "Command Access DH17: Stand Down!"
Disconnected from their system, Garth had prevented external command of his systems. He knew that in doing so he had limited his tactical awareness. A gun appeared in his hand and he locked onto his targets. "Your choice: leave or be destroyed."
The man ignored the outburst and pulled out a small device. He pointed it in Garth's direction and pushed a series of button.
Once again Garth noticed the onboard system determine the authority behind the access request. While it approved the request, it did not grant him the same privileges.
"This is you last chance DH17," he warned. "Re-establish the link and obey all commands given or I activate the failsafe and kill your systems."
Garth raised his weapon and the man took that as a sign he would not obey. He pressed three buttons and watched as Garth stumbled.
"Local Command: Purge System, Factory Reset!"
Garth found himself in a panic as the onboard computer once again took over his body. The system started deleting vast sections of his computer enhanced mind, erasing systems and controls for many parts of his armour. He countered by backing up as many systems as possible into the more protected areas of his computer system. He used the computer to hack its own coding to limit the effects of the memory wipe, although he knew that his system was now much less than it had been before.
His weapon raised once more, since his armour was deployed, it was considered a protected system and still obeyed his command.
His finger pulled the trigger, firing a single shot, which hit the device that had been the most immediate threat. The device shattered, terminating the reset. He would have to assess the damage later.
"Take him down!" the man ordered and the troops opened fire.
For some reason Garth's programming did not prevent him from returning fire, which he did with deadly efficiency. He took them down swiftly and then turned his gun on the man that had given the order. The man opened fire with what the computer identified as a modified taser gun. Garth responded to the threat and shot the man in the head. A quick assessment revealed that his targets had not been human.
Seeing an opportunity to leave, Garth did so, using a motorbike he assumed was the property of the soldiers. By the time the Rangers arrived, his was gone.
While the new Rangers had been busy, the older team had been dealing with the army of foot soldiers that had been sent through the streets of Mariner Bay. Working together they managed to conquer the overwhelming odds, and by the time the other Morphin Rangers joined them, victory was within their grasp.
"Rangers, the invasion is over," Zordon rumbled. "Join the other Rangers and prepare to lend support should they need it."
Remarkably they found that such an offer of aid was unnecessary.
Captain Mitchell sat back and watched. In the last few hours he had learnt a lot about the Rangers and their power. They were now in an agreement with the Rangers of Angel Grove to help when needed.
"We'll be back later to do some wiring for the Transmats," the Doctor said, referring to the offer of Power Mountain's resources. "I'll also have Alpha finish up the alterations to his new Zords, I think they'll suit you."
Billy and Alpha had been reworking some of the damaged Defender and Techno Zords into a new fleet of Zords. Originally they had been intended to work with the Turbo Rangers, but now they seemed more suited to the Lightspeed Rangers.
"People," Captain Mitchell said at last. "You've had a good first battle, but the war is not over yet. These demons will renew their efforts to destroy the city and you can believe they may even extend his horizons. You will need to be on alert from now on."
That said he retired to his office whilst new Rangers and new friends got to know each other. Things had certainly come a long way since that morning meeting almost five years before. He hoped they were up to the task.