Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. All characters belonging to that show are the property of their respective copyright owners. No money is being made from this fanfic. The basic storyline and parts of this chapter were created by Matt.
Author's Note: This story is based in the Conquest of Evil Universe.
Rise of the Black Dragon Part 1 - Uncontainable
Hell was a place where seconds, hours and days could seem like centuries. It was a monstrous place of death and humiliation, where even the most basic rights of the individual were overlooked as the residents transformed the high and mighty into quivering and fully compliant servants. Over centuries of application, physical and mental pain was combined to break their subjects, quashing even the most meagre hopes and ensuring that any hint of individualism was instantly stamped out. Hardship, misery, boredom, fear and pain were the prime motivators as they performed the perfect physical and psychological make over.
The Master was one such subject. Formerly a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, an advanced species who had used his superior mind to attempt to gain power. He had misjudged and had as a result been dragged into a place where he would learn to regret. In his philosophy the Master had never been a firm believer in the afterlife; as a Time Lord he possessed the modified genetic information that led all of his kind to actively dismiss the notions of magic and the existence of mystical demons. He believed in aliens, extra dimensional entities and to some extent minor feats of psychic ability. Nyghtmayr had been just a strange creature that he could manipulate in the same way that he had countless others. He had been wrong about Nyghtmayr and he had been very wrong about demons.
After all that he had experienced, he was even prepared to admit that he had been very very wrong about the existence of Hell. He wasn't sure if he was physically there or just some small sub-dimension dedicated to his suffering, but he definitely believed in the human concept of eternal suffering.
His tormentors had made it their mission to give him a true understanding of suffering. To them pain and pleasure were so close that the difference was negligible. Screams of agony were to their ears the same as amused laughter. It was a lesson that had left him broken as the three demons had destroyed him only to rebuild him stronger than before, ready to break him again. At some point while one of the demons had been teaching him just how much pain could be extracted through the application of sharp and dull hooks, one of his wounds had become infected. The wound had not been treated, the anticipation of the pain such an infection would cause as his flesh was allowed to rot had caused a great deal of excitement for his hosts.
The infection should have been lethal, but the demons had kept him alive to increase his suffering. His ability to regenerate, a Time Lord's valued escape from death had been lost when he had started living beyond his designated number of lives. Still it seemed that death was not his chosen option as he continued to endure suffering beyond imagination.
No, he would never give in to death, not when he had evaded it so many times in the past. And here in a dimension intended for those who were not living, it was doubtful he could die anyway. He was also a genius and just as he always kept one last trap in reserve, so he also managed to conjure one more means of escape.
In this case salvation came from a piece of coral had had been growing inside his twisted body. It was a part of his former TARDIS and after the prescribed period, it was now sufficiently charged. Like many living things it had the natural desire to return to its home. And when it vanished to rejoin the rest of the TARDIS, it took the Master with it. It was not a pleasant journey, but he didn't feel the pain. The torture he had endured had destroyed his pain receptors.
And in a blink of the eye, the Master returned to life. Well, half-life was a more accurate description since there was no question that the deformed creature that had been ejected back to the mainstream universe could ever be described as healthy.
Zordon regarded the figure before him carefully. He reached out with his abilities, hoping to gain some insight into the man's character. It was a misguided desire to find a redeeming feature that could offset the maximum sentence. The life of a suspected criminal was in the balance and it was Zordon's job to answer the powerful being's single and direct question.
"Zordon, as the casting member of this panel, I ask you to state your verdict," the Judge said.
Zordon was silent, allowing the Power and his gift of prophecy to guide him. Was the accused guilty? Unquestionably. Was there anything, even the slightest indication to suggest that he could be redeemed? Zordon could sense only darkness within the self-proclaimed warlord's mind.
The evidence of war crimes though had been pretty compelling. In the last year Drac'cuul had done more than simply conquer worlds, he had committed countless atrocities against the citizens of the universe. A crime was a crime, regardless of the victim's stance in the war between good and evil. In fact some of the warlord's greatest atrocities had been committed against those many would describe as evil dictators. He had allowed those that followed his command to pillage the wealth of those they preyed on. Those who refused his right to rule them became casualties of war. The monsters he summoned had caused environmental disasters on ten worlds in the last fourteen months.
He had been caught in the act of overseeing the murder of women and children that dared to stand against him. He had been taken to Erlion to stand trial although it had taken a team of IGPF officers backed up by cybernetically enhanced Guardian Units to restrain him. Luckily once in restraints, Drac'cuul had been isolated from the power of the Morphin Grid. A special crystal prevented him from using magic while in the trial room.
Zordon looked at the judge, one of the longest and most respected High Councillors to serve the galaxy.
"Guilty, High Councillor."
"I see. And as spokesmen for the jury, do you find any reason for leniency?"
Zordon pondered the question. Drac'cuul was not a part of the Alliance of Evil, he had no loyalty to a greater power other than himself. In fact, he had made it clear repeatedly that he saw the warring sides in the ongoing struggle between good and evil as a symptom of some universal disease. A disease that could only be cured by bringing the population to its knees and then restructuring the political, economic and military structures to his blueprint.
Was Drac'cuul evil? Zordon wasn't sure. He was tempted to describe him as misguided or even insane. But somewhere deep inside Zordon knew that Drac'cuul was just as evil as some of those he had killed. The question then became could Drac'cuul be reformed, could the destructive schemes that he masterminded be put to more constructive use? His uncertainty was enough to override his instincts.
"Yes High Councillor, I do. I believe General Drac'cuul may never reform, but this court must show the attributes of mercy and compassion that he failed to show his victims. That is the line that separates us from the wicked. Drac'cuul has always been a political advocate of changing the universe for the better. I applaud his dedication, but I cannot condone his methods, which is why he is here. I suggest that he receive an indefinite sentence until such time that he is no longer a threat."
"This is an outrage!" Drac'cuul shouted. "I do not recognise this panel, this travesty of an organisation has no authority over me. How dare this mockery of a court hold me to account? This is a panel of no-name peasants. I am Drac'cuul, Lord of Dragoria, Master of the Black Dragon..."
"Drac'cuul, your titles have no bearing on this case. You took the title of Lord without the consent of those you forced to obey you. You have been found guilty of multiple counts of slavery, genocide, murder and theft," the Judge said, ignoring Drac'cuul's outburst. "You are clearly an intelligent man who should have known that hiding behind the defence of committing such atrocities for the greater good would never be a valid defence. You are a danger criminal that cannot be allowed to continue; never again will you be allowed to commit such heinous crimes. You will be taken from this place to a facility where you will be held away from those you sought to abuse. In view of the likelihood that your associates will attempt to set you free, you will be taken from this to the Starlag Penal Colony in the Logsdon Cluster. May the Power have mercy upon you."
"This court has no jurisdiction over me! You will pay for this Zordon!" Drac'cuul shouted again. "And it's Lord Drac'cuul! Show me the respect I deserve!"
"Alas Drac'cuul... that is the respect you deserve."
"You need pay his words no heed Zordon," the Judge said when the struggling villain had been removed. "He will not be released until he has reformed and even then he will be in no position to threaten you."
"I have no fear for myself High Councillor," Zordon replied. "I only feel sympathy for those whose lives have been ruined by Drac' I regret that we were unable to stop him sooner."
"As always you have managed to get to the point of the matter my friend. Thank you again Zordon, I do not know where we would be without you wisdom and sense of justice."
"May I ask what you did with his weapons, he seemed quite attached to them?" Zordon asked.
"I assure you they will be disposed of in such a way that Drac'cuul will never be able to find them."
Drac'cuul's arsenal had been the reason why the criminal had been so difficult to capture. It was made from a combination of mystically enhanced armour and a magically crafted sword. Stripping him of his armour had been a major part of neutralising the threat that Drac'cuul posed to the universe. Disabling the many enhancements he had placed on his body had taken longer.
Zordon closed the link from his private dimension to the courtroom, paid his respects to his fellow jurors and returned his attention to his post monitoring the planet Earth. He felt just the faintest tinge of bitterness that Drac'cuul may someday be freed whilst he had been imprisoned for the rest of his life for fighting evil and trying to be a good man.
Still, there was no point in feeling bitter because it would do him no good. Zordon had never regretted the sacrifice he had been forced to make in order to defeat Rita Repulsa. She had betrayed him by breaking the truce he had arranged. In a last effort to ensure she was restrained until a force arose, capable of dealing with her evil, Zordon had sealed her inside a Space Dumpster.
The result had been ten thousand years spent alone, apart from the occasional council meeting. Alpha Five had been repaired by Lexian after the final battle with Rita and sent to Earth. Alpha had with Zordon's instruction built the first Command Center. Together they had formulated a master plan to eradicated the threat of evil once and for all.
Starlag Penal Colony Spaceport, the Logsdon Cluster
The powerful hover jet stopped in front of the prison transport ship. Inside were twenty of the most dangerous captives in IGPF custody. Some were going to be imprisoned and some had been sentenced to termination. No chances were taken with such a major transfer. The IGPF had poured, as many resources as it could into ensuring a full contingent of officers were available for escort duty.
The IGPF's role in the day to day running of the Council planets had developed from a limitation placed upon the Power Rangers. Although they had the full authority of the Council to repel invaders who threatened their worlds, the Rangers could not act against the everyday scum who preyed on the defenceless. It had therefore been decided to create a second group with a separate command structure, the IGPF.
Unlike Power Rangers, members of the Inter-Galactic Police Force were not compelled to remain on one world, although they did have officers on each Council world as liaisons with the local law enforcement agencies. IGPF officers could travel to any planet and patrol space to prevent crimes from running illegal drugs to murder. Over time a close relationship had formed between the IGPF and the Rangers.
The planned transfer was so important that for the first time in recent memory, the gap between Ranger and IGPF officer had been closed with the creation of the SPD: the Special Prison Detail. SPD officers served in the IGPF, but had been granted pseudo-morphers that allowed them to wear Ranger style armour for up to an hour.
Each morpher contained a blank Power Coin, minted at a secret location. Instead of being linked directly to the Morphin Grid, the morphers drew from alternate sources. When transformed, SPD officers had increased stamina, speed, strength and accuracy. Their armour was designed to function against those most likely to attempt a prison break. They were equipped with special energy shields concealed in their left-hand gauntlet and a laser pistol that functioned as a police baton. In addition they had access to the strongest handcuffs ever created.
Only ten IGPF officers were qualified to serve as SPD. Together the ten were a force that had ensured that prison transports throughout the galaxy remained secure.
A siren sounded and the SPD officers snapped to attention. Each was dressed in heavy black body armour, only the lower parts of their faces were visible. No weapons could be seen hanging on their bodies, they kept them stowed in the armoury for safety.
Inside the hover jet the prisoners had been arranged according to their destination and restrained as necessary. For some that mean having their arms and legs shackled to the seat, for others it meant being placed in a secured cage and for some it meant before secured in a block of solid carbonate. On board the prison transport special arrangements had been arranged for each captive to ensure they could not get away.
The six Guardian Units snapped to attention as the doors opened. Being cybernetic they were beyond bribery, they were expendable and they didn't need weapons to stop a revolt. A simple twist of the neck was enough to subdue a convict permanently.
The prisoners due for transport looked up as the Marshal in charge of the transfer stepped into the hover jet. "My name is Marshall Daross. You will obey each and every instruction I give you to the letter. You will not attempt any form of escape or you will discover your current accommodations are considered lenient. Obey the rules and respect the authority of the IGPF officers acting as your escorts and this trip will be over quickly. If you do not obey the rules, this trip will be the longest journey you will ever make." Turning to the officers standing ready behind him, he added, "Move them out."
Forty unarmed officers entered the hover jet, each of them having signed away any rights if they were taken hostage. Without a weapon there was no way their prisoners could steal a gun. Together they escorted, dragged and pulled the prisoners out onto the floor of the space port.
"Activate containment field!" Daross ordered, pointing at the hover jet. "Begin environmental purge."
An energy screen appeared across the door of the hover jet. Inside poison gas was pumped in followed by a discharge of radiation to kill any organic life left inside, thus ensured there were no stowaways. Then the hover jet was sent back to the prison by remote control.
"Let's get these prisoners processed and placed on board people," Daross shouted. "I want to be out of here within the hour."
The Time Vortex
Following his release from his hellish torment, the Master had started seeking a way to rebuild his damaged body. He had searched the database seeking a way to counter the damage he had suffered at the hands of the Punishment Demons. He had found and stolen a TARDIS and reconfigured it to serve as his life support. Once the reconfiguration was complete, he had set a course for the Sol System, somehow knowing that the little blue planet would hold the answer. When the name Drac'cuul had appeared, he had taken a closer look at the file. While the renegade warrior who had somehow managed to incur the wrath of villains and heroes alike didn't interest him, there was a potential use for the failed warlord.
Drac'cuul had been one of the more successful warlords that had plagued the universe, mostly because he had set out to conquer any planet that was not already under his control. He would be a perfect patsy to use in the Master's schemes.
Arranging Drac'cuul's freedom had taken time, finding the mercenaries he could trust to complete the task even if he couldn't trust them not to turn on him afterwards. In the end he had found a pirate clan willing to work for the stolen credits he had offered and had granted them the lives of any other prisoners or guards as a bonus. Now it was just a case of waiting for the pirates to complete their task.
Starlag Penal Colony Space Port, the Logsdon Cluster,
One Hour Later
It had seemed like an endless process, but eventually all the prisoners had been processed and taken aboard one of the three transport ships the IGPF had decided to use. Each prisoner had been rigorously inspected for foreign objects they might attempt to use to escape. Every cavity and orifice had been check, a long and demanding task considering not all the prisoners and IGPF officers were anatomically human.
Eventually it had been completed and Drac'cuul was transported on board the third prison ship. Escorted by six armed guards he was taken to an empty area in the center of the ship. There his guards chained him to a fixed metal chair. A solid cage of titanium alloy was placed around the chair. The bars extended to form a ceiling over Drac'cuul's head and a floor under his feet. Beyond the cage was a second set of energy bars. Four laser beams had been placed on the outside and four Guardian Units positioned around the perimeter. Finally a three-part door opened into a gas-filled airlock.
The entire cell had been created to be independent from the rest of the ship. From there, Drac'cuul could have no influence over the rest of the ship and should any accidents occur the officers could be sure he would not be freed. With the last prisoner in place the organic officers left the cell area, sealing it behind them. Only robotic officers were allowed in the detention areas during flight.
At the signal all was clear the space port's operators opened the force field containing the prison ships. All three craft lifted off and joined their escorts in orbit above the planet. Today in addition to their normal escorts they had four advanced level fighters to assist. Phoenix, Eagle, Albatross and Scorpio were ready for action. Each ship had been created using Ranger technology as a reference point. Each ship had been given a special function within the escort.
Phoenix and Eagle were the lead ships, both capable of high speed travel. The Eagle served as the command ship, relaying data back to the vessels they were escorting, while Phoenix was the trouble-shooter, meeting possible trouble makers before they got too near. The Scorpio was the troop and supply ship, providing a refuelling bay for those fighters that accompanied the prison ships.
Phoenix was a large blue and red spacecraft, originally fitted for planetary use. The phoenix was fast mainly because of its small mass compared to most ships. The twin engines at the rear provided most of its thrust, with additional power from the additional engines fitted to each wingtip. Crewed by five officers, the Phoenix was capable of releasing three one-man fighters and carried enough artillery to make it a virtual fortress.
Eagle had originally been designed for exploration. Powered by its four rear-mounted engines the ship did not have any defences of its own. However, it did sport the largest holding bay in the fleet and always had a squadron capable of dealing with any attackers. To prevent any suicide gambits wiping out its vital passengers, Eagle was able to release the docking bay into space. It could also and use its own limited shield to provide protection.
The Scorpio was a troop and supply frigate. It was primitive and difficult to fly, but had regenerating shields that put most ships to shame. Scorpio's main purpose on this transport was to provide a simply rear guard against pursuers. If necessary, the Scorpio could ram an incoming ship and survive intact.
The Albatross was one of only two ships made in its class. Originally built for the colonists of KO-35 it had at one point been known as the Kappa Megaship. The exact designers of the ship were unknown, except they had at some staff been involved in a deadly war. The Albatross had been found with its crew in hibernation. There they had been revived and trained to form the backbone of SPD. The Albatross had been refitted, but the crew liked the ship and the commander of the IGPF arranged to purchase the craft and had had the Zord interfaces removed.
What made the Albatross truly unique was its computer system. On KO-35 the Rangers used an AI unit known as DECA. The Albatross's computer Zen made DECA resemble what Earthlings referred to as a ZX81. Zen was more than a simple computer. He had sub-computers handling every task on the ship and everything was linked back to him. Whereas DECA could only monitor the different parts of the Astro Megaship, Zen could monitor, control and repair any part of the Albatross from almost any damage.
The main design feature about the Albatross was its four-part drive system. The main power and hyper rush systems were found at the rear of the ship. From out it resembled a large green ball pulsating with energy. The engines were linked into a long fuselage to the seven-man control bay at the front. From the main fuselage three detached engines were suspended, forming an equilateral triangle. Each engine was the length of the main fuselage, culminating with a powerful weapon's array near the front. From the rear the Albatross looked like a large green ball, but from the front it looked like a four-pronged death machine.
Despite these four powerful ships the IGPF had long accepted that small ships were needed to deal with the fast attack cruisers that sometimes attacked convoy. As a result eight IGPF fights surrounded the convoy at all times. Each craft was a Tri-winged fighter piloted by two IGPF officers. The machines were fast and effective both in and outside of convoy formation. They were hyper rush capable and had an advanced targeting system.
As the convoy linked their computer systems together Commander Daross had a green light. Giving the order to his crew the fifteen strong prison fleet jumped to hyper space, on course for Eltare.
~How had it gone so wrong?~ Lieutenant Allen wondered as he struggled to free himself from his Tri-fighter's wreckage.
In less than half an hour a simple escort mission had turned into the largest tragedy in IGPF history. It had happened so quickly that Allen doubted anyone could have done anything to prevent it. Three escort ships and many snub fighters destroyed, the Albatross crew forced to abandon ship and then captured, three transport ships devastated, their prisoners whisked away to freedom and worst of all the SPD operatives serving as marshals had been killed.
It had started out as per the briefing, the convoy had jumped to hyper space and the pilots had settled in for a two-hour journey to Eltare. In hyper space the ships were impervious to outside influence, or so they thought. An explosion had rocked the convoy after only an hour. The ships had reverted to real space, nobody aware of where they were or what was happening.
Communications, scanners and even radio signals had been rendered useless by the explosion. At first Allen had thought they were under attack, but nobody could have attacked them from outside hyper space. Then the realization had set in. It had not been an external attack; it had been a bomb planted in the convoy's path, designed with the sole purpose of forcing the convoy to re-enter real space.
The bombing of hyper space convoys was a rare but often successful technique favoured by pirate who preyed on royal tour ships. First, the attacker would find out the path its target was likely to take and pick an area where there were few worlds capable of lending assistance. Next a high yield gravity generator was positioned to force any ships to slow. Normally that would be enough for a pirate ship to attack the exposed craft.
But this attacker had had more sinister motives than robbing a goods transporter. Instead of waiting for a ship to re-enter real space the attacker had attached the gravity generator to a graphite bomb. The result was an immediate short circuit in every electrical system throughout the fleet.
Then the attack had started. A single ship had appeared, larger than Phoenix, Eagle and Scorpio, although not quite as large as Albatross. It had fired its entire laser battery at the crippled ships, knowing that they had no chance of surviving such a barrage without shields. Smaller fighters had launched from the larger craft and began to pick off the defending snub fighters, ship by ship.
The SPD operatives' fighters had been trapped inside Phoenix, not because they were disabled, but because the docking bay doors had been jammed shut when the power failed.
Allen and his copilot Officer Mavrick had chosen that moment to try and act. Together they managed to rewire their small ship, freeing it from Eagle's ruined computer. The moment they did so their ship came to life.
"What now?" Mavrick asked as they directed their ship towards the nearest attacker.
"We get a message sent to IGPF Headquarters and try to keep as many of those fighters away as possible," Allen replied. His words were not as gallant as they sounded. A quick look at his status board had told Allen that a jump to hyper space was currently impossible due to the failure of the Navigation computer.
"Targeting system is online, shields at sixty percent," Mavrick reported, activating the weapons and letting Allen control their flight.
"Two second burst right yoke," Allen said.
As he spoke, Allen fired the afterburners and pulled the ship to the right. Zeroing in on the nearest ship, he fired, pitching hard left to lock onto a second.
"We have three ships heading towards us," Mavrick told his companion. "One has fired a heat seeker."
"Activate diversion," Allen instructed.
Mavrick pressed a series of buttons and a torpedo was launched, keeping speed just behind them. At the last moment a second torpedo was launched, detonating the first and catching the attackers' heat seeker in the blast.
Allen was not done yet. Guiding his small craft towards Invincible, the largest of the three transport ships he attempted to dock. A thought had occurred to him during the brief fire fight and he hoped he was wrong. Before he could dock another of the attacking ships moved in.
Mavrick took a moment to identify the craft they were facing. Similar to the Tri-fighter in the form of its three wings, the craft had no nosecone, the cockpit ending in a simple transparent screen. The fighter had been identified as a Yoke Fighter, used exclusively by the Shogun Pirate Clan.
In the time it had taken for Allen to realise his plan would not work another four fighters were heading in his direction. Using the wreckage from The Scorpio as cover, Allen was able to turn his fighter to face his pursuers. Pushing a button he reset his engines so they fired in different directions. Waiting until the attackers were within range and then pressed the 'engine engage' control and the fire button at the same time.
Propelled from different directions the fighter started to spin, firing its deadly lasers at the same time. For a full two minutes the fighter continued to spin, shredding the attacking snub fighters before slowing.
"Allen, we need to move, now!" Mavrick shouted as he noticed the large cruiser closing in on them. Too late Allen started the engines. The Tri-fighter's canopy shattered, depressurising Mavrick's section of the cockpit. Mavrick was torn out of the hole into the cold vacuum of space.
Allen had not been much luckier. The fighter had continued moving, crushing his legs as it smashed into the remains of another fighter. He had the oxygen to survive, but he knew he would never walk again. Without power and with little hope of rescue Allen was forced to watch as his colleagues were taken from their ships. He saw a fire fight from inside the transporter, which he assumed was the marshals' ship. Then the fighting had stopped and the attackers had gone, taking the prisoners and some of the guards with them.
Now Allen lay dying among the remains of his fighter. He doubted anybody would ever find the convoy in time if at all. He had no doubt they had been hijacked as far from the nearest Council planet as possible. Even the tiniest movement hurt now and Allen knew he could not go on. Struggling against the pain, he reached for the ejection switch. The remains of the canopy were blown into space and Allen died.
The assault had been the perfect combination of careful planning and the Captain's insistence on the excellence of those following him. He had calculated the convoy's exact path and had been able to plant the hyper space bomb on their course. The explosion had had three main purposes, but had actually achieved an unexpected plus. Of course the ships had been left stranded, without communications or weapons, which was the first aim. At the same time an emergency system had released the cell area from each transporter. It had been easy for the Shogun forces to overrun the cells since the guards had all been deactivated in the explosion. The bonus had been that the explosion had smashed the crystal used to prevent Drac'cuul from wielding his magic. By the time his rescuers had arrived he had already teleported away from his cell to the Phoenix's survival module.
Drac'cuul had wanted revenge and had decided to take it out on the SPD operatives. They had bravely returned fire and used their limited powers to the best of their abilities. In the end though Drac'cuul had mercilessly killed six of them, leaving the team's commander and his top officers alive. It fell to Drac'cuul's sense of humour to torture his victims. Their one hour charge exhausted, the remaining marshals would have only a limited time to live before the air ran out and with the other ships gone, they had no chance of getting away.
Finally one of the pirates had convinced Drac'cuul it was time to leave. A small snub fighter had somehow managed to fly long enough to destroy some of their fighters. The officer had been quickly dealt with and the mercenaries had returned to their original tasks, taking prisoners.
Then their task complete, the pirates had changed course and headed away.
"So you are the one I owe my freedom to," Drac'cuul greeted as he approached the Master.
"Warlord Drac'cuul, so good to finally see you," he replied. "I trust your incarceration has not had any lasting effects."
Drac'cuul's aura flared angrily at the speculation that he was in any way diminished.
"I believe I am as powerful as ever," Drac'cuul replied. "Now, what do you want with me? I am not a puppet for you to order around."
"I don't have to order Warlord Drac'cuul," he responded. "On the contrary, I believe you will find this a pleasurable task. That is assuming you would enjoy the opportunity for resume your previous campaign, after taking revenge of course, especially against..." He paused briefly to give his words the desired emphasis. "Zordon of Eltare."
Drac'cuul's eyes sparked as he heard the name of the man he blamed for his incarceration. The Master smiled to himself, noting the way Drac'cuul had been baited into displaying his anger earlier. It seemed that he had read the warlord's character perfectly.
"Zordon of Eltare?" he boomed, his usual coldness replaced by rage. "I would give anything to destroy Zordon of Eltare!"
The Master was silent, waiting for Warlord Drac'cuul to continue. He could tell the oppressive silence made Drac'cuul nervous. He was glad.
"But I cannot do it yet; I need my weapons"
The Master nodded. For all his arrogance and boasting Drac'cuul was actually intelligent. Without the sword and armour, which functioned as a means to guide the power flowing through his body, Drac'cuul could not show his true prowess.
"The weapons will prove easy to reclaim. Indeed you will hardly need my help at all, unless..." He let the words hang, tempting Warlord Drac'cuul to ask the question.
"Well, Earth is defended by a team of Zordon's students. They call themselves Power Rangers."
Warlord Drac'cuul laughed. "Why should a team of Rangers threaten me? I am Drac'cuul, Lord of Dragoria, and the Master of the Black Dragons. Do you even know what that means?"
The Master chose to ignore the question. "You were Lord of Dragoria, time has changed and that planet is under new leadership. And your followers... if they survived then they have performed their tasks beautifully, integrating themselves into the most respectable parts of society. The rest were purged following your imprisonment," the Master corrected. "Unless of course you can take command of their new leaders."
"I am the Master of the Black Dragon; that alone assures their loyalty whether they like it or not," Drac'cuul told him, "Even those that have died. With my armour even the most wilful citizen is my pawn. Those of the Dragon line are mine to command and none may stand against my word. Now tell me again why I should feel a bunch of children pretending to be Rangers?"
"Show some respect Drac'cuul, or I will have you ejected into space," the Master warned. "Your abilities are not under scrutiny here, only your knowledge of recent events. Those children playing Rangers have seen off Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Master Vile and the Machine Empire. They are not to be taken lightly. Some of them are Morphin Rangers and the others possess the Zeo Crystal."
"The Zeo Crystal?" he asked. Drac'cuul recalled that Master Vile had been obsessed with the Zeo Crystal and had offered a reward for whoever presented it to him. "It's of no importance. They are children and I am a warlord. Zeo Rangers or Morphin Rangers, I shall crush them all!" Drac'cuul swore.
"Do not believe yourself infallible," the Master warned.
"Let me retrieve my armour - just my swords will do and I promise I will deal with Zordon and his pupils."
"Very well Drac'cuul, if you insist," the Master said after a pause. He enjoyed the anxiety that cross his face when he seemed undecided; as if he would really turn him down. "I can see that insisting that you retrieve all the pieces of your protection before facing them. You may do things your way, but if you fail, we will do things my way." He pushed a few buttons and the TARDIS shuddered as it briefly landed and then departed from the Earth.
To be continued