Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. In addition some of the history in this universe is adapted and mangled from the Star Wars universe and belongs to the respective copyright owners.
The Eternal Empire
Emperor Kata had fallen thanks to the actions of Rio, Rio had died from the injuries inflicted upon him by the angered Kata; had he waited until his master was dead before gloating, he would have ascended to the throne. The army formed by the combined might of the Dark Wielder and Xylon forces had been routed. In the four decades that followed the structure of the Empire was torn down until finally peace had been restored. But the evil could not be erased totally, the scars left behind took much longer to heal as the remnants of the Empire struggled to find a way to regain control.
Few realised when peace was ultimately declared that the Emperor had prepared for his death. A large fleet had been positioned well beyond the boundaries of the galaxy - for Kata had dispatched it before he had completed his planned uprising - ready to strike should he consider his position under threat; Rio's treachery had happened so quickly that the Emperor had not been able to call them.
At the moment of his death a second signal was sent, instructing those aboard the command ship to awaken their new leader: Maku. Maku had been created using cloning technology. The plan had been that upon his death, Kata's mind would seek out Maku's body and merge with it. However that did not happen and at the moment of his awakening Maku received a vision of a new plan. Maku's first command caused the fleet to change course and head out into the unexplored regions beyond their home galaxy.
Time passed, millions of years in the blink of an eye. The new Emperor led the Black Fleet through space, seeking out new territories to conquer. As they passed through the many galaxies, Maku's scientists were ordered to modify the cloning technology. First Maku designed a new breed of clones that were physically and mentally superior to those that had come before. They would serve to govern his newly won territories, extending his reach without risking a loss of control.
Then for each of his offspring his scientists engineered ways to enhance previous clone batches to serve his 'children'. The continued research led to unexpected discoveries about the universal energy field that they drew upon in combat. The new clones managed to unlock a more powerful, less controllable and highly destructive form of energy. While it was no better or worse than the previous form, it did not require the same level of control to access it.
With their new soldiers ready, the fleet moved from one galaxy to the next, leaving half their forces in place after they conquered it, while the rest continued onward. Those left behind were charged with the task of quelling any resistance to the new regime as the expeditionary force pressed on, replacing those they left behind with a new batch of clones as they travelled. Once those they left behind gained complete control over their new territory, they would send conscripts from the planets under their dominion to reinforce the continuing effort.
Maku's fleet had many advantages over their enemies, from ships that could strip a planet of its vital minerals and turn them into ships, to soldiers trained to use the Power offensively. The rejuvenated Maku - for he had found a means to renew his body when it deteriorated - had developed a method of ruling his expanding empire through the use of puppet administrations. By the use of electronics and dark rituals, the children left behind to oversee the Emperor's efforts acted as the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of their father while he made the important decisions. As such he was able to extend the new network of empires beyond the boundaries of one man's control. By the end of his life time he had conquered a vast area and left it in the hands of his thirty children.
Eventually even Maku's extensive knowledge could not prevent him from succumbing to the effects of old age. He was replaced by Trannis, a genetic copy that Maku had raised as his heir. The dark forces had conquered countless galaxies, although it had taken millions of years since they first departed from their home worlds; that constant stream of conquests was about to come to an end; the fleet had arrived just outside of the fledging galaxy that would one day be known as the Milky Way.
By now the Black Fleet's database was filled with facts that the Emperor and his servants had discovered about the Power. They had studied and identified the different types of energy, how to used them and even categorised them according to their properties. The groups that feel into the category known as Magic were of special interest. Magic was a very powerful, extremely volatile force that could be wielded to some degree by anyone. The scholars had researched the different methods of using it both direct and indirect. It gave the Emperor's forces a distinct advantage.
Maku would have been disappointed with Trannis. While genetic engineering had allowed him to improve the quality of his children, it had not managed to capture the true greatness of Maku. Trannis lacked much of the original's power, his knowledge and his influence. Within a few decades the control Maku had held over his territories had been lost. Trannis could not command Maku's children in the same way and due to problems dealing with the constant input, he failed to notice that many of Maku's gains had simply slipped from his grasp and instead of fixing the problem, he had decided to start anew.
The planets of Devadec and Frostfall were the the political centres around which the galaxy revolved. At least those that populated the two planets liked to think so. Deverdec was where the home of the Galactic Council where the politicians met to discuss matters of great importance and then got side tracked in matters of personal interest. Frostfall as the headquarters for the Guardians of the Galaxy, self-appointed protectors of the peace with the aptitude to wield the life changing energies of the Morphin Grid.
Over time the need for separate planets became obvious as some of the Guardians tried to appoint themselves councillors. They were robbed of any illusion that they could take such actions, and as a result only succeeded in convincing members of the Galactic Council to place strict rules upon the way the Guardians handled their affairs.
Peace reigned throughout the Galaxy since very few dared to challenge the power of the Guardians. But as the Guardians and their political rulers started to believe they were invincible, their unwillingness to look beyond their galaxy would prove their undoing; beyond those boundaries the Universe was a sinister place.
Trannis had been pleased with the reports. While the Guardians and the Galactic Council were a hurdle, they were distracted with petty infighting, Trannis decided that their territory would become the heart of his new empire and mobilised an expeditionary force in their direction. In doing so he left many of his followers behind to consolidate the few systems they had recently gained and to expand his army. Trannis had revised Maku's preferred method of conquest. As his fleet passed through a territory, Trannis would mobilise his forces to destroy those most likely to oppose him. Then once those defences were broken, he would leave a small part of his fleet to establish complete control while he moved onward.
Some of the territories he had conquered had subsequently annexed neighbouring galaxies and sent reinforcements to the front line. Most had not and had eventually lost contact. Trannis maintained order within his struggling empire with an iron fist. He never questioned whether those he left behind actually succeeded, nor did he understand that his fleet had shrunk considerably due to the lack of reinforcements.
Trannis's arrival in the Milky Way was known before his vessel appeared. The advanced forces he had sent to gather information had also targeted key locations. News of the atrocities committed by some of his advanced forces made his name something to be feared. To the Guardians though he was considered just another minor threat trying to make a name for himself. While this demonstrated how arrogant the Guardians had grown, it also meant that the advanced party had grabbed their attention.
For once Trannis changed his strategy and instead of pushing his fleet toward the political centre of the galaxy, he chose to conquer worlds on the outer fringes. Billions of lives were lost on countless worlds as his fleet cleansed whole systems just to form a staging ground. From his throne world, Trannis looked upon his kingdom and directed the attacks.
It was a terrible mistake by the Guardians not to intervene as soon as Trannis entered their territory. By waiting and denying the threat that he posed, they lost the opportunity to halt his campaign. After the twelve worlds of the Zodia system fell to his forces, they realised the threat he posed. By that time his forces had gained momentum and would prove almost impossible to stop.
Some of the Guardians did fight, stepping outside of their roles and turning their backs on the ruling council. They called themselves Defenders and placed themselves on planets they thought Trannis would target. Most who did fight were killed, fuelling the Guardians' belief that non-interference was the safest and most prudent course of action. But while the Defenders' deaths did little to encourage the Guardians to uphold their oath of service, they inspired the ordinary populations of worlds under threat to take up arms; the Guardians' role was becoming less and less important as the people protected themselves.
A new armada of space ships was sent to battle Trannis's fleet. Thousands worlds united to defeat the threat. The Galactic Council turned their back on the Guardians, a move which made the Guardians protest and later threaten to replace the elected body of representatives with a body of their choosing. In the end the Guardians backed down and the Galactic Council moved to unite the people ready for war. Despite losing the argument, the respect of the people and some of their respected members, the Guardians refused to join the campaign. They refused to sanction any action against Trannis and threatened those that took such action with severe sanctions. There was a growing fracture within the membership of the Guardians that served to strengthen Trannis's position. The war was being fought on too many fronts and Trannis's forces seemed to grow daily.
It was a long and difficult battle, and the defending army was vastly outnumbered. It was through the use of underhanded tactics and unprecedented amounts of luck that they won a number of small victories that would eventually lead to Trannis's defeat. While he was distracted by a string of attacks on his lead vessels, Trannis failed to notice the small fleet that departed to the outer regions of the galaxy before slipping passed his security forces. It was a small strike that only managed to destroy a single relay station and cost the lives of all those involved, but it effectively shut down the Emperor's communications.
The second strike pitted the galaxy's fleet against one of Trannis's weaker forces. The fleet was destroyed, bolstering the Council's forces and pushing them to fight even harder. Those Guardians that had joined the battle led their forces bravely. Their dedication and values meant they were highly respected and inspired others to improve themselves.
Trannis did not take the resistance lightly. He decided that both the Galactic Council and the Guardians were threats to his plans. And as other divisions of his fleet were destroyed, he realised that a message needed to be sent. As the defending army drove Trannis's forces away from a planet they had recently conquered, and destroyed a portion of his army for good measure, the Emperor decided to make a decisive strike at the very heart of the Galactic Council and destroy the Guardians at the same time.
Trannis's chosen vessel was a mighty space station based on technology deployed by the first Emperor so long ago. Much larger than its predecessor, it had an outer ring and a smaller battle station that acted as a tug to move it through space. The massive super cannon was its main weapon, although it was also capable of tearing planets to pieces and draining them of their vital resources. Its resistance to most forms of attack marked it as a potent weapon.
Leaving his fleet to obliterate the Council's armada, he directed the battle station into orbit around the planet Frostfall. From there he launched the bombardment of Devadec, unaware that the Galactic Council had already relocated to the world of Erlion. After watching this act of open hostility, the Guardians finally decided to make preparations for his arrival. It was almost laughable that they hadn't expected him to destroy their world and he couldn't believe they were foolish enough to expect him to leave them alone if they failed to lift a hand against him. As soon as he saw that they were starting to become organised, he fired one of the vessel's more volatile weapons and watched in delight as the once proud world crumbled from within.
It was hours later that Trannis returned to the scene of his recent triumph. There he witnessed the success of his weapon and decided to collect some spoils of war. He had heard stories of the Guardians and the treasures they held in their vaults. After finding the vaults, he assigned one of his commanders to transfer their contents to to a place where he could review them later.
In the months and years that followed, Trannis tore the galaxy apart. The Galactic Council had escaped his wrath the first time, but the second time they were destroyed. The remnants of the Guardians were hunted down mercilessly. Whole planets were rendered lifeless as Trannis sent a message to those that would oppose him. Instead of pushing through the galaxy at speed, his fleet took its time and made certain that nothing survived the purge.
The Master-At-Arms, the leader of what remained of the galaxy's forces, was dead. Trannis had sought him out personally and had taken great satisfaction in ending his meddlesome existence. With him gone there seemed very little hope left for the galaxy.
But Trannis had made a mistake. Unknown to the Emperor the people of the planet where the Master-At-Arms had made his stand had discovered the existence of powerful beings that watched over their world. They called them gods and worshipped them, not understanding that their belief allowed the gods an influence on their world that increased that belief and the power those gods exerted. These gods had been created when the Avatar known as Shadow had been overwhelmed by good and evil. They were petty, vindictive, imperfect beings, but they cared for those that worshipped them since their status was linked to the ongoing worship.
When Trannis had devastated the planet, he had angered the gods who while unable to fight him themselves, were able to guide others to take up arms against him. They searched the charred remains of the planet and finally located a survivor. The young woman had been injured and had prayed to the gods for help. They chose to answer her prayers, rebuilding her broken body into that of the new Master-At-Arms.
The new Master-At-Arms was granted gifts by her gods that would help her in her task of stopping Trannis. Some gave her the ability and skills needed to fight, but perhaps the most precious gift she received was the knowledge of the Power. She now understood more about the magical forces that spread throughout existence than anyone else. She understood the nature and origin of the Power, how it was divided and the ways of directing a part of it. She was also granted the skills to forge armour strong enough to handle the volatile energy.
Using a spell to locate those worthy of the new powers she could bestow, she collected them from where they had hidden and brought them to her location. Being inexperienced in the ways of magic and having only a rudimentary connection to the Power, they hardly noticed when the Power used the natural pathways within their bodies to create its own links. The Power took what it found and after a short ritual, altered it to suit its need. A new band of warriors were born.
Nobody knew how much or how little time had passed. When in contact with the Power, time itself could be manipulated. There was no sense of urgency as the ritual continued. Together they had followed her instructions and forged their own suits of armour, using the Power to locate and retrieve the materials needed. The results were at first glance crude and extremely heavy; they had spent much time building their muscles to the point where they were comfortable moving in the heavy armour plates that covered the flexible material next to their skin.
"The Guardians have failed. You will succeed. You are pure of body, mind and soul. The people of the universe seek justice, not the arrogance of those that came before. It cries out for protection not domination. Evil has gained a foothold because those claiming to be good men did nothing.."
She turned to study her team. They had come a long way in a very short time and she was proud of them. They had accepted themselves and each other and that made the worthy of the Power. And in response the Power was aiding them, teaching both students and their mater what needed to be done.
"The time has come for you to take up arms against evil. The powers you have sought and built are now yours. So long as you are true to yourselves and united by the bonds you have built, the Power will aid you."
A series of golden plates had been positioned on their armour during construction. They had believed them to be purely decorative and had even protested that they were pointless additions. Now they discovered the truth as the gold acted as a conductor, channelling the raw power into the metallic plates. The decorative plating on their outer armour and the gold threads running through the inner layer bound the armour together. At their sides each carried a large gun and a sword bearing the owner's mark. Each had forged an additional weapon they could call on through their armour, but the concentration required to summon such weapons meant they were used only when absolutely necessary.
"Trannis has detected the magic I have worked here," the Master-At-Arms spoke. "He has sent his servants elsewhere, but he has not yet finished with this world."
In fact Trannis had detected a massive burst of unknown energy and was likely curious about its nature. Since he lacked the true understanding of the Power that the Master-At-Arms had been granted, he would not understand the significance.
"How do we fight him?"
"The Power will guide you," she answered.
Gran grinned. "Let's get out there."
Trannis had been drawn back to the planet and for some reason had decided to investigate the abnormal energy readings himself. He had temporarily assumed an armoured form to make movement easier. It was a technique that had proven useful over the years, though it took a great deal of effort to control.
He appeared near to where the Master-At-Arms had been and immediately sensed that something had changed. The troops he had sent ahead were gone; as were the huge land walkers he had set to guard the planet. He was at once alert. A scream caught his attention and he spun around to be confronted by the corpse of one of his troops, although he would never know who it was because the armour was scorched beyond recognition. Instinct dictated his next move as he tried to teleport back to the safety of his vessel. The planet was obviously not devoid of life, yet. Nothing happened, no matter how hard he tried and eventually he gave up. Something was going on and he had to be alert.
A burst of pink streaked across the sky and narrowly missed his shoulder. The air above him flashed brightly. He was under attack.
"Show yourself!" he bellowed. "Who dares to attack me?"
The pink shape moved back across the landscape, this time at a pace where he could make out the shape. It was a giant animal, a Firebird to be exact, which was partially solid, but mostly magical energy. On the top he could see a lone figure riding the mighty beast out of combat.
"We dare," a calm voice announced.
Trannis spun around to see seven figures in fighting stances, each with their swords drawn and ready. In a beam of pink fire an eighth member joined them.
"YOU dare to attack me?" he asked, twisting the words so they sounded like an insult.
"You are guilty for the destruction of untold worlds," Sorran answered. "The Guardians would have remained uninvolved if you had left them alone. But instead you showed an evil heart; all evil must be challenged and conquered."
"Fools, I am more powerful than you could imagine. I need only to teleport back to my ship and I will destroy this world."
"Then we'll have to make sure you don't leave," said a new voice.
The Master-At-Arms stood ready for action, her long staff poised to strike.
"Full power now!" Lacutus called.
At once their battle armour charged with energy. Red, green, black, yellow, pink, blue, and purple metal glowed brightly, highlighted by the thin layer of gold that had been attached as decoration. The upper section shone white with a gold trim, as were the bands surrounding the tops of their gloves and boots. On the left breast they wore a gold image of their spirit animal. The material on their arms and legs were predominantly their individual colour. Their heavy helmets were shaped to resemble the heads of the animals they had glimpsed during their training. Their swords were replaced by a staff in that matched the colour of their armour.
Sorran was the exception. His armour was mostly white with gold and black gauntlets around the tops of the boots, gloves and on the belt. A black and gold shield covered his chest with shoulder pads bearing the image of his spirit animal on the centre of the front. His helmet resembled the face of a tiger. In his hand was a long golden sword.
"Surround him!" the Master-At-Arms ordered.
The fighters surrounded Trannis and after forming a circle, joined hands. They raised their arms into the air and joined hands.
"We call on the Power," the Master-At-Arms intoned. "Destroy this villain and vanquish this great evil!"
Trannis was worried. He didn't understand exactly what they were doing, but he could tell that they were calling on powerful forces. He also realised that since he had devastated the planet, there was no organic life he could pervert to his ends. There were no useful minerals in the soil from which to construct weapons. Trannis knew that by his own hand he had placed himself at a severe disadvantage.
"This is the end of the line Trannis," Red Dragon told him. "Your evil ends here today."
Realising he could not escape, Trannis shifted his form slightly so he could improve his chances. His armour and skin merged and his muscle tone increased to provide extra strength. This was his chosen form, he preferred it because of the added protection his metallic body provided. A deadly black blade appeared in his hands. It had no highlights and seemed to swallow daylight into its depths. He called it Hell Bearer.
The eight warriors fired their weapons, attempting to circle around Trannis as they did so in hopes of catching him off guard.
"Is this what you call playing fair?" Trannis taunted as he batted away several of their blasts. "Trying to sneak behind an enemy you already out number doesn't sound very fair to me."
"Since when have you fought fair?" Yellow Griffin asked in response. "Firing upon worlds from space doesn't seem fair to me. You can't expect us to follow rules that you wouldn't even consider."
A lucky blast from Sorran knocked Trannis off his feet, allowing them to concentrate their fire. Although Trannis refused to entertain the notion that anything the warriors did could cause him serious injury, their blasts were keeping him pinned and more vulnerable than he liked.
"Enough!" he cried suddenly as he released his sword.
The blade spun end over end towards the eight warriors until it connected with Green's blade. Sparks flew as the evil blade absorbed the energy within the warrior's weapon. The green clad warrior hurriedly shifted out of the way and watched as Trannis's sword fell to the ground.
In the instant the others took their eyes off their opponent to watch Green Minotaur, Trannis was about to scramble away from his predicament. Raising his hand he summoned his sword and attacked.
"Ces, look out!" Red Dragon warned as Trannis directed his assault towards the Aquitian.
For her part Ces was a highly skilled warrior with the aggressiveness and determination that set her people apart from other races. Before Trannis had started his reign of terror, Aquitar had been a planet of land dwelling life forms. It had been during his early assault that the villain had cursed the entire race so they could not retain moisture. He had then flooded their world, leaving the people with no choice but to adapt to their changing environment.
As Trannis approached she pulled both her sword and blaster. She caught his sword with her own and used her blaster to damage the weapon. When that failed, she dispensed with the weapons and opened up with a violent onslaught of punches and kicks. The villain stumbled back wondering where these fighters had found such strength? He turned and ran straight into Purple Spider.
Dionnah did not bother with weapons. She used her powerful limbs to strike at Trannis's armour. Her first few blows kept him off balance so that she could land kicks to his jaw and shoulder. Her left fist connected with his chin as her right hand, now bearing her staff positioned itself next to his chest.
Even when her opponent went down Dionnah did not relent. Her planet had not been as lucky as Ces's. Trannis had considered her world a threat and exterminated it outright. It was vengeance that had fuelled Dionnah's determination over the last few months and years. It was rage that created the adrenaline that allowed her to continue punching long after she had cracked the bones in her hand.
"Power Staffs!" Red Dragon ordered.
The long staffs started to glow. In an attack pattern they had perfected during their brief training encounters, the Soldiers lunged forward. White Tiger and Green Minotaur drove the points of their staffs into the villain's shoulders, driving him to the ground and preventing further movement. Blue and Purple Spider were next, securing his ankles to the ground. Taking the opportunity to disarm him, Red Dragon slammed his staff into Trannis's wrist. The Yellow Griffin hooked the sword away allowing Black Lion and Pink Firebird to destroy it with their weapons.
Sensing he would not triumph against such determined opponents, Trannis used one of the techniques he had discovered to make himself grow. He drew energy into his cells, causing them to expand. As his body expanded, he reached out and seized Purple and Black Lion in his mighty fists.. As his body increased in size he applied greater pressure to his captives, laughing as he felt their armoured bodies succumb to his might.
The others looked up at the giant who had just destroyed two of their friends. They didn't feel anger, which would have blinded them to their task and what they had to do. "Powers Merge!"
While Trannis had been distracted by the young warriors, he had failed to notice the Master-At-Arms as she used a powerful sealing spell to bind Trannis to those that opposed him. It took a while before Trannis realized that he had been tricked; the students had never intended to win. Their combined attack was little more than a light show to enable the Master-At-Arms time to trap him in a prison of crystal. The heroes disappeared as their bodies and souls were used to secure the tyrant in place, their armour cocooning him forever. Thanks to the eight warriors and their great sacrifice, Trannis was no longer a threat.
End of part.