Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Beetleborgs, or any DC or Marvel Comics characters. They belong to their respective copyright owners. This is a fanfiction and no money is being made for this work.
Questions Never Asked, Answers Never Sought
Imagine an army of generals with no soldiers to command. Now add to that an opposing army made up of millions of soldiers willing to die as part of their war on anything they encountered. This was the problem that had presented itself and while all agreed that front line troops willing and able to destroy the enemy were more important than a room full of generals, only a few were willing to accept placement on the frontlines in the coming conflict.
And so a plan had been devised to breed an army created from the greatest warriors they could find. They ignored the obvious races that were born, bred and lived for combat, fearing that they would turn on their leaders the moment they lacked an enemy. Instead they turned their attention to the insignificant planet known as Earth, a world that had seen off countless invasions and was currently facing the combined threat of space pirates, diabolical machines and a wicked witch, if the reports were to be believed.
On closer observation it had become obvious that Earth had a vast and varied army of what they called super heroes that would make excellent soldiers and more importantly, would provide the blueprint for an army of soldiers to fight the coming war. The rights of the individual were discarded under the pretence of necessity. For what were the rights of a few humans compared with the fate of the universe at large?
The collection process had then started and over the many years it had been running, they had extracted whole groups of super-powered humans. A whole breed of what most would have considered mutants had been stolen from their homes while their families slept, the knowledge they had ever existed erased from the minds of those that had known them. But that group had proven unsuitable, their genetic makeup too unpredictable for the cloning process. Other subjects had been sought and had proven more successful, such as a super hero family that could call forth the power of gods.
Fortunately their superior technology allowed them to collect candidates from almost any point in history with the minimum of side effects. The erasure of the memories of those that had known the 'disappeared' helped to keep their activities a secret. In some cases they had been forced to allow the knowledge of those they had taken to exist but in a different form, such as the great detective whose cases were known throughout England, and had been turned into the creation of a drunken Irishman.
Eventually though all the avenues had been explored and the soldiers they desired had not been found. Many had come close, but they were looking to build an army with as little effort as possible on their parts. They needed their soldiers to be strong, powerful and easily controlled. Sadly the strongest they had encountered had not been easy to indoctrinate and those with the most power also seemed to be the most stubborn. They had manipulated governments, using greed to convince them to start a super powered arms race. The Taskforce Operation had been a partial a success with each generation providing a greater insight into the way to build their army, but it still wasn't what they desired. In the end it had become clear to the true masterminds behind the Corps Project and the Taskforce Operation that their only choice was to use Power Rangers.
Arcadia Academy Research Division
Arcadia Academy was a not a building or a campus, it was a research organisation with several facilities around the world. While some developed technology, this branch was one of three dealing with biological weapons operating as part of the government's Super Weapon Development Program. Their long held remit allowed them to seize, identify and utilise any material of an alien nature. The terms of what qualified material as alien were extremely broad and included technology and living matter. The remit also allowed those in charge of their operations to classify almost anything as alien, placing it under the jurisdiction of their operatives. Aliens, demons, mutants or super heroes, anything that was considered the slightest bit unusual could also be considered as alien. Over time such projects along with similar organisations in the United Kingdom, France, Russia and other parts of the world had become quasi-autonomous organisations only partly answerable to the governments they represented.
The military liked to think they were the driving force behind the Corps Project and Taskforce Operations. The truth was that those organisations had been infiltrated by aliens that sought to use their research as a means to build an army. For centuries in some cases they had manipulated those that sought to control the aliens around them into conducting research on their behalf. Their aims were not malevolent towards humans, far from it they really didn't care about the Earth or its people, but they wanted weapons capable of fighting in an upcoming war. And to that end they had influenced the kidnap, testing and indoctrination of thousands of living beings. Over time their manipulation had spread to the entire human race, using a form of memory proofing to make people forget those that were chosen as test subjects.
The acquisition of their latest subjects had been very difficult to justify. There had been no doubt that the three humans were ordinary humans, but their use of alien technology allowed the organisation's chief to justify their capture. Not that they would ever call it a capture. That would lead to too many questions over the legality of their treatment. Once in protective custody it was decided that they should be used to test the suitability of Power Rangers as soldiers. It was the first time that after erasing the memories of those that had known them that they had checked back repeatedly to make sure the memory wipe was still in place. It was becoming increasingly obvious that it would soon fail.
"This test has concluded. The subjects have been connected to the system and their minds have been fully mapped. They appear to have accepted the integration sequence without any negative effects. In fact it appears they were unaware of their lack of surroundings until after they defeated their enemies."
Due to the emphasis that had been placed on their success, the researchers had an almost unlimited budget, allowing them access to the most advanced research equipment available. For just as schools had moved beyond the need to dissect animals in science classes, so the researchers had chosen to use virtual environments to test their subjects to avoid unnecessary suffering. With their bodies placed in suspended animation, the researcher used artificial bodies and computer generated illusions to test their responses.
The three humans tested were known to possess super powers and had been led to believe they were facing opponents that were both highly aggressive and extremely dangerous. Their subjects had used their powers and the scientists had taken the opportunity to discover their inner workings.
"And the analysis of their powers?" his supervisor asked.
"Still inconclusive," he answered. "They are not magical, which means we can 'legally' use them. Unfortunately they defy our attempts to understand them."
Their remit for some reason prohibited the development of an army based around magic. The Turbo Ranger powers were scientific enough to escape that classification although the phenomenon known as the Speed Force was still not fully understood.
The first subjects they had collected had been easy to understand. The heroes known as Cyborg and Vision were the creations of science. They had been extracted at a time when many had been reported missing following the events of a desperate assault on reality. Their allies had likely overlooked their failure to resurface when reality had been restored. In truth they had been taken away for research and the results had been forwarded to another project. Vision had been completely disassembled and then rebuilt, allowing a new understanding of how he worked and the creation of similar machines. Sadly those machines had not lived up to the potential of the original. Cyborg had been heavily modified and upgraded to become the prototype for their Techno Trooper design. The upgrades had failed and they had been forced to remove them, but Cyborg had at least proven useful as combat computer.
"Find a way. Time is running out and we need all the warriors we can get. Those powers might be the answer to our problems. And those three humans are the first successful transference we've made."
Time was indeed running out. A war was about to be fought and soldiers were needed. Oh there were plenty of generals and tactical leaders, but this was a battle that needed troops on the front line, willing to die without question for the glory of their leaders. And that was something that did not exist within the race of generals and officers. They were bred to lead and command, and sit back waiting for news of victory. It fell to others to do the fighting.
They had experimented using all manner of heroes taken from Earth. They had extracted candidates at just the right moment and hidden their existence from the memories of those that knew them. They had intercepted several survivors of the planet Krypton before they had had a chance to settle Earth. That had represented their biggest failure since not only had they proven reluctant to fight, it seemed that with the correct weapons they could be rendered completely helpless.
As the threat of war had grown, they had extracted more and more heroes for experimentation. A whole breed of empowered humans had been stolen away without anybody noticing only to discover that their powers were too random to form a cohesive army. And that had led them to try other heroes, those the Power Rangers had fought alongside - for they had resisted the temptation to snatch a Ranger team, fearing that to do so would unleash a force they could not fully control. They had settled for the disbanded members of the JLA and Avengers, and several other groups. And in each instance they had altered the memories of those that had known them so they never existed.
~Didn't they ever ask themselves why the heroes they had fought alongside suddenly stopped appearing in the news?~ he wondered. ~Didn't the citizens these heroes protected never stop to consider why their cities were suddenly overrun with criminals?~
"The age of the specimens was a major factor, I'm sure. Of those we've tested the age of the subject seems to determine how quickly they start to question their environment. Of course this was the first time we subjected new arrivals to danger as soon as they awakened."
"It could well be a part of the human survival instinct," his supervisor agreed. "What about their origin point? Have their companions noticed their disappearance yet?"
A woman with tightly woven brown hair looked up from the console she was monitoring.
"Not exactly," she reported. "It would seem that our attempt to remove them was not completely successful. A part of them was left behind and seems to be continuing their fight against what they consider the forces of evil. Their existence is tightly woven into the timeline..."
"A timeline we altered," somebody added.
"...that reality is resisting our attempts to remove them."
Indeed it appeared that even as he spoke the three Turbo Rangers they were testing were back on Earth once again fighting the forces of darkness. Could it be that something about the powers they had been unable to analyse was also preventing them from fully transporting their test subjects.
"Monitor the situation and speed up the testing. These humans could be the answer we're seeking, but we can't risk damaging the timeline; we need a stable history on which to base our predictions. Put them back as soon as you can. We will have to make do with the mind maps to answer any further questions."
There was a war coming, a war that would be fought beyond the heavens in a way that most would be unable to imagine. And already it appeared that in the face of the coming confrontation, that the morality and neutrality of a race that presented itself as the oldest, wisest and most peaceful in existence, had been sacrificed. There was always an unknown factor, a being that would place what was right above the well being of a single race. To many he was considered a liability in the coming conflict because he would not allow them to do everything necessary to secure victory.
The supervisor turned away, his eyes roaming over the hundreds of stasis capsules they had secured within the facility. This was where the humans were tested, their minds fed into an artificial world created by technology and closely controlled to resemble the real world as closely as possible. This was not a game or a bubble universe. This was a total immersion into an artificial landscape where they could test their subjects repeatedly in as many scenarios as possible. While injury was certainly a possibility, so far they had avoided killing any of their experiments.
There was a question of how such simulations would transfer over to the real world. Even if the indoctrination process succeeded would it last when the mind was in a fully coherent state? Only time would tell, but as he watched an army of Captain Americas charge into battle, he felt strangely optimistic. This was not a war they could afford to lose. Despite those that felt it should be fought to prove their dominance over all others, the truth was that if their enemies triumphed they would not stop until all their enemies had been crushed, which for that particular race, all enemies meant every other living creature.
As he walked out he caught sight of a news broadcast. It seemed that the Power Rangers were indeed at full force. He made a note to return their subjects to a point where they would be able to take part in such a battle. After all it wouldn't do to have them present in two places at once. That would cause all kinds of problems and the Universe was in enough trouble already.
End of Part