Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. I do not own Doctor Who, the TARDIS or K-9. I do not even own the Externals, which are based on a combination of races from the Star Trek Universe. They all belong to their respective copyright owners.
Authors' note: This story is set in multiple time zones however for COE purposes it follows on from the events in Entering Lightspeed. Parts of this story also take place from the Doctor's point of view.
The Mighty Morphin Ninjetti
The events surrounding the emergence of the Power Rangers were well known. Despite rumours that they had appeared during the Wild West and a few years before the release of Rita Repulsa, recorded history did not lie. A mission to the Earth's second moon had ended in disaster with the opening of a space dumpster containing the wicked witch. The Power Rangers had then emerged and defeated her. They had been around ever since.
The date was well known. The circumstances were a matter of public record and television history. Events were absolutely set in stone. Which was why when history changed, the results had been devastating.
One change, a single event out of sequence, in the wrong place or perhaps a minute too late was enough to have an impact on the timeline. Many changes all within a short period causing a massive acceleration of known events? Well that was enough to cause a disaster. And when an enemy previously unseen was released, there was a good chance that the future would never come to pass.
The day the Earth died had been one of those days. As the planet burned it was sad to note that those who might have saved it, had yet to appear.
A shockwave tore through time and space. Events had been changed and the universe was forced to compensate. With the transformed into a lifeless hunk, the ground burnt and cursed, events unravelled. It took time for the changes to filter their way into the present though and for almost a decade the universe carried on as if nothing had happened.
The Web of Time was sustained by the history of several planets. The Earth physically rested in the centre of the web, a focal point of probability within the multiverse. Gallifrey, home of the Time Lords, hung from a separate strand, an anchor point that helped the web remain ordered. The remaining planets were places of great power known to affect the cosmos around them.
When the Earth had been for all intents and purposes destroyed, the Web of Time had been damaged, its centre ripped away, causing the remaining threads to collapse. If it ad been a natural or planned occurrence, the damage would not have been so severe. Given the circumstances, the multiverse would be lucky to survive more than a century.
But first the universe had to come to terms with the knowledge the Earth no longer existed.
5 September 1997
"We'll be seeing you soon," Trini promised as the six Morphin Rangers and Nate teleported back to Angel Grove.
Since the Lightspeed Power Ranger's first outing, the Morphin Rangers of Angel Grove group had been helping to train their counterparts. So far it had been agreed that while the Rangers of Angel Grove would continue to fight off the threats posed by Rita, Zedd and Mondo, the Lightspeed Rangers would fight to contain the forces of Queen Bansheera and provide emergency cover should the other teams need it.
Since it was summer, the Rangers' parents had not noticed their teleporting across the country and back several times a day. And the Turbo Rangers under Tommy's direction were easily containing the monsters thrown at them; the Turbo powers while physically weaker than those of Zeo, offered the Rangers an increase in speed that more than compensated.
As the Rangers left, the Doctor and Samantha, his companion, bid farewell to Captain Mitchell and his team. Lightspeed was hardly lacking in technology and knowledge. What the Lightspeed Rangers lacked in experience, the Doctor was certain they would learn after a few encounters.
As he entered his TARDIS, the Doctor realised perhaps this was the time to leave Earth and resume his travels. He had not wanted to stay around as long as he had, but until recently his TARDIS had refused to allow him to move away from the planet. Only when it had been necessary to travel to Mariner Bay had the machine functioned properly.
Something had been worrying him since his most recent arrival on Earth. The planet had changed, history was not as he remembered it. The existence of Power Rangers was something he had not expected and pointed to a more serious problem.
At first he had believed that the TARDIS had somehow crossed between universes, but he had eventually dismissed that idea; receiving a message from himself telling him of the need to travel to Mariner Bay, had convinced him that this was his native universe.
That didn't mean that things were right though and for the Doctor, it was that things were right. Something had happened to change history and he was not certain whether he had a right to correct that change. It wasn't as if the changes had made things worse for the population. In some ways Earth was benefiting by the changes.
"Coordinates are set," the Doctor mumbled as he moved around the hexagonal column. "Nothing too complicated this time, just a transfer from here to Angel Grove."
He turned a dial on one panel to fine tune their destination. In the past the TARDIS had not been very reliable during short trips, but after a certain amount of practice, its accuracy had improved.
The grind of the mighty engines powering up could be heard as the TARDIS moved out of the mainstream universe and into the Time Vortex. There it briefly hovered as it locked in on the landing position and prepared to return to the real world. A small light on the console flashed, and the Doctor breathed a sigh of relief that they had not drifted into the past. He would have to investigate the problem further before deciding on a course of action.
It was Samantha who noticed that the trip was taking longer than usual and voiced her concerns when she noticed the look on the Doctor's face.
He never had the chance to answer as the walls of the TARDIS seemed to implode and darkness claimed them.
Teleportation transformed the Rangers at the starting point from matter to energy. On arrival at the destination, the process was reversed, turning them back into physical beings. However as the six balls of Ranger-coloured energy arrived at the Power Chamber, a wave of energy was in the process of sweeping across the planet, obliterating everything in its path. As the beams of energy through which the Rangers travelled while teleporting, collided with the destructive energy wave, they were repelled, preventing them from reverting to their true forms.
As history shifted around them, the Rangers should have been destroyed. However, the balls of energy were thrown into the Time Vortex where they collided with another object.
The destination lock had failed, making the proposed landing impossible. At the moment that single point in time and space vanished, the ship that had been heading toward that position was unceremoniously dumped back into the Vortex. Not programmed for such an occurrence, the ship's systems searched for a solution, drawing on more and more resources to correct the perceived malfunction. Finally with no perceived outcome, the automated systems of the TARDIS shut down, shunting the ship into an uncontrolled temporal free fall.
Unprotected by its stabilisers and lacking the drive from its might engines, not to mention a sense of direction from its pilot, the TARDIS was completely at the mercy of the violent and unpredictable forces surrounding it as it was swept along. Tossed and turned by the competing currents, it changed direction countless times as the storm outside tried to rip it apart.
The crew station was unmanned, the ship's passengers having been knocked unconscious by the telepathic feedback as the TARDIS struggled to comprehend what was happening; the shock of such a painful removal from time and space had caused the TARDIS to lash out at the nearest intelligent life.
The main doors had opened at some stage, allowing seven bursts of energy to strike the interior of the vessel and dissipate, reverting into seven unconscious teenagers. The white walls of the console room were scorched and the centre column had a large crack running down its centre as further discharges ravaged the interior of the Console Room.
The ship started to vibrate, torn in multiple directions as it flew too close to gravitational fields it normally would have avoided. The cloister bell started to ring, a warning for all crewmen to wake up, but its dire tone went mostly unheard.
Survival became a priority. The ship's Banshee Circuits, the key systems dedicated to the continued existence of the vessel, activated. While appearing to be a mass of machinery and technology, the TARDIS was very much a living thing and had over time discovered how to communicate with its passengers. Unable to prompt them to awaken, it searched for a solution in its databanks. Failing to find a solution, it then used the environmental controls, which made the inside of the box habitable to most forms of life and had only recently been replaced, to judge the status of its passengers.
That was when it found a possible solution inside the mind of its pilot. By melting a part of the ship's architecture, the Banshee Circuits created an agent capable of saving the prone vessel. A combination of various robotic life-forms the Doctor had encountered, it took the form of the Doctor's robotic dog, K-9.
The first thought that occurred to K-9 as his systems were activated was that he was falling; the ship had chosen that moment to roll as it was hit by a fresh wave of temporal energy. The next thought was to correct his predicament by activating all of its motors to improve traction.
Realising that the humans were in danger unless he acted quickly, he opened a small panel in his left leg.
"Master, you must wake up," he urged as he moved over to the man in the green frock coat. By extending the sensor probe on his nose he was able to prod the Doctor. "Action is essential Master. You must awaken."
The man known groaned and tried to swat the probe away. As the dog continued to poke him, he eventually revived. He glanced around in confusion and then staggered to the battered eight-sided column in the centre of the room. He pulled the large red lever, closing the doors securely and then flicked a few more switches before pressing the 'engage' button. The column at the centre of the console started to rise and fall, and the tolling bell was drowned by the grinding of the machine's engines.
There was a violent jerk and a loud bang from under the floor as a recently refurbished part was pushed beyond its limits. Several other panels within the room were blown off as the TARDIS tried to reverse its momentum. Then everything was still, the ship having found a safe place to stop inside the turbulent vortex.
The Doctor frowned as he examined first himself and then his transport. It seemed that whatever force had thrown the ship off course, had also repositioned them away from the most dangerous section of the ship. It had not been very particular about where they were placed though, so long as they were safe.
"One of the Auxiliary Console Rooms," he guessed, studying the architecture. "Probably saved our lives."
While all the Console Rooms were capable of allowing the occupants to exit the TARDIS, their physical position added a degree of added protection. It was probably the only reason why the Doctor and his companions were in better condition than their surroundings. The main Console Room was probably a wreck.
"Thank you K-9," he said, absently patting the robot on the back. "You're a good dog."
"Affirmative Master," K-9 replied.
The Doctor quickly checked on his travelling companions and was relieved to find that they were alive if slightly battered. He was relieved to see that Samantha, his regular travelling companion was present. The other humans were part of a group he had met during his most recent visit to the planet. Nate Oliver, Zack Taylor, Jason Lee Scott, Billy Cranston, Kimberly Hart, Trini Kwan and David Trueheart were all members of the costumed super-heroes known as the Power Rangers. How they had gotten into the TARDIS was unknown.
Outside the violent storm still raged, but the TARDIS was still, floating within the opposing currents and waiting for a new course. The problem was where to go? It was clear that something had happened. Either the Earth no longer existed or had been changed to such an extent that the TARDIS deemed it unsafe to land. Since he could still detect a mass where the planet was supposed to be, he assumed the latter. The temptation was to travel back along the timeline and discover what had caused the problem. That required him to break the Laws of Time, something he was reluctant to do.
"Incoming signal detected," K-9 advised. "Transmission is below acceptable human hearing."
"Turn the volume up," the Doctor instructed.
K-9 trundled to comply, his continued existence a sign that the TARDIS was not out of danger yet.
"That's odd," the Doctor murmured when they managed to triangulate the signal. "The TARDIS must have picked up the transmission while it was trying to land. But that's impossible. That part of the solar system shouldn't be colonised for centuries yet."
Deciding that knowing more about the present would help him decide what to do next, he set the TARDIS to follow the transmission back to its origin.
"K-9, could you help me move them to the bedrooms?" he asked, pointing to the still sleeping humans.
"Affirmative Master," the dog replied. He extended the probe from his nose again, this time inserting it into a point on the central column. "Reconfiguration of architecture confirmed."
As he spoke, the walls of the TARDIS seemed to shift, removing the Rangers from view and placing them inside their own rooms, which were then linked directly to the control room.
As the robotic dog bustled back and forth, overseeing key systems in order to assist the operator, the Time Lord was already thinking of a thousand different scenarios that would have led to their current situation. Unfortunately to be thrown back into the Vortex could only mean that there was nothing for the machine to land on.
The Earth had come very close to destruction in recent times. The Sword of Ragnarok had brought the entire Universe to the brink of destruction. Was it possible that the weaknesses caused by such an event or was there something else at play?
The ship was diverted as its way was blocked by an unknown barrier. Unable to reach the source of the transmission directly, the Doctor was forced to settle for a roundabout trip.
The forces of evil had won. The Earth was a dark place without life or hope. The planet the Rangers had known was gone, consumed by the toxic smog that had covered the surface and deep into its core. In the panic that had followed, the world had been destroyed by fire, water and wind as the environment had broken down. It was a perfect home for the many demons that had arrived to share in the bounty of magical objects that had been uncovered. On the highest mountain of dark rock, the conqueror had placed his castle.
From there his influence had spread beyond the Earth, to the Moon, where he had recruited and later destroyed the witch known as Rita Repulsa. There in the caverns running through the solar satellite, more aliens and demons flocked. Evil had triumphed and the Universe was no longer a safe place.
When Debow'Serr had been released, his rescuers had believed that he would serve them. They had quickly learnt the folly of opening the villain's prison. He had destroyed them first before turning his attention to Zordon. He had enjoyed ripping the old fool from the protection of his time warp. He wasn't sure what had happened to the wizard, but he hoped it had been a painful death.
In a matter of hours he had enslaved the city of Angel Grove, the closest city to Zordon's Command Center, and used the corrupted humans, those he had not destroyed, to aid his forces. Within weeks his forces had spread to the four corners of the Earth, destroying all in their path.
As he had done many times before, Debow'Serr spread his evil around the globe, polluting the planet and killing all life it encountered. The waters of the world once polluted were transformed into lakes of black sludge. At Debow'Serr's command the waters rose and flooded the the land, washing away cities in a tidal wave of destruction.
It took longer for the last of the humans to die. Some birds and insects held out longer, but once the planet was encased in the burning, toxic smog, nothing could escape. The atmosphere was destroyed, the smog receded and Debow'Serr stood along, the master of his world.
It was strange that he had started to wonder more and more recently what had happened to Zordon. Perhaps it was some sort of sixth sense, but Debow'Serr felt that now would be a good time to seek out his old adversary and ensure he was indeed dead.
The TARDIS rolled as something prevented it from landing. Somebody had erected a forcefield around the complex, forcing the Doctor to set the ship down in the only habitable area on the surface.
"Doctor, what's going on?" Samantha asked as she made her way into the Console Room, followed by most of the Rangers.
"I'm not entirely sure," the Doctor admitted. "I think whoever lives here is a little paranoid about visitors."
"Where are we anyway?" Jason asked.
"Ganymede, one of Jupiter's moons," the Doctor answered absently.
He was studying the view on the TARDIS's video monitor. It seemed they had landed in some sort of dockyard outside of a large underground bunker, which had been cut into the rocks. From the large cranes and spare parts lying around on the surfaced, the Doctor guessed that at some stage this had been a supply yard. Strange really since he had never noticed it before.
Samantha noticed that when the Doctor had mentioned that they were on Ganymede, there had been a small flicker of emotion on Nate's face. He covered it quickly, but she suspected that he knew something the others didn't. Perhaps he knew a secret that he wasn't supposed to have discovered. She resolved to speak to him later, but would not interrupt the Doctor while he was explaining what was going on.
"There's an underground bunker behind the large door over there," he told the Rangers, pointing to the side of the rock. "We'll probably find a service shaft of some sort nearby."
"You want us to get inside," Zack guessed.
The Doctor nodded. Somebody had not wanted him here, had gone to great lengths to threaten him. That sort of desperation usually meant that he was on to something. Whatever was hidden within the bunker probably held the answers he wanted.
He looked the Rangers over carefully. They were out-of-phase with their timeline, but sooner or later their bodies would realise that they no longer existed and they would fade. Samantha at least was safe, isolated from the changes since she had been in the TARDIS. And Nate of course would be immune to changes in the timeline due to his nature. As far as the other Rangers were concerned though it was a matter of days, perhaps hours.
The fact the Rangers had been teleporting at the time history had been altered had probably saved them from immediate obliteration. But they were anomalies and as such they would eventually fade. Their exposure to the mystical energies of the Morphin Grid helped slow the effects. Given the short period that David had been a part of the team though it would not buy too much time. He just hoped it would be enough time to put things right.
"Find a way into the bunker," he told Jason, "but be careful. I don't know what is in there."
He had a very bad feeling that there was something distinctly unpleasant waiting for them.
"When you've found your way through, open the bunker doors. Billy and Trini had better stay with me. I have something that requires their assistance."
"I'll go with the others," Samantha offered.
The Doctor looked like he was going to protest, but David cut him off. "Why don't we have a look around outside, just in case the Doctor missed something?"
That seemed to satisfy Sam's need to do something and the Doctor's desire to keep his assistant safe. With the tasks decided, Nate volunteered to accompany Jason, Zack and Kimberly. Sam looked at him suspiciously, but chose not to ask, yet.
"Hey, I just thought," Zack commented as the Doctor readied to open the door. "Can we morph?"
It was almost amusing to see the others start at the possibility they had lost their powers. Technically they had never received them.
"I wouldn't recommend it," the Doctor answered thoughtfully. He didn't really understand the mechanics of the Morphin Grid.
"I concur," Billy added. "Using our powers might aggravate the instability and risk our temporal existence."
"In other words if we morph, we go poof," Kimberly muttered.
"Just don't use your powers unless it's an emergency," Trini suggested. That was probably the best advice they were going to get.
The Doctor pulled the red lever and the heavy inner doors of the TARDIS slid open.
"We've got company!" Zack warned as the cause of the shaking floor marched into view. "Does this count as an emergency?"
After exiting the TARDIS the Rangers had been quick to find the access panel and had easily descended the ladder beneath it. They had made their way through a series of twisting corridors before emerging in a room behind the large doors they had seen outside. In all they had spent less than four hours crawling through the shafts.
Jason had moved to the controls and had managed to start the doors moving, allowing Samantha and David to slip through, but when the alarm had sounded, the door had closed again and the Rangers found themselves trapped.
"Alpha?" Zack asked as the giant robots stalked into view.
They certainly resembled the little machine that had maintained the Command Center. However there was no way that Alpha had ever been that tall or that heavily armoured. A quick count revealed that there were over a dozen of them stalking in their direction.
"Intruder alert, intruder alert!" one of the units could be heard saying. His voice was deep and robotic. It was a far cry from the familiar tones of Alpha Five. "Intruders must be destroyed."
"Alpha, it's us!" Kimberly cried, trying to reason with the armed robots.
Her words were ignored as the robots lifted their arms, their hands disappearing to be replaced by an energy weapon.
"Intruders must be destroyed!"
They were surrounded now, their attempts to avoid violence in vain as the Alpha Units closed in. With few options remaining, they had to morph and defend themselves.
"It's Morphin Time!" Jason cried. "Red Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!"
"White Ranger Power!"
"Pin â¦ argh!" Kimberly dived for cover as the robots grew tired of waiting. Unable to morph safely, she scrambled for safety as Zack, Jason and David tried to cover her.
"Blade Blasters!" Jason ordered.
The three Rangers focussed on the head of the lead machine and were relieved when its cranium exploded, taking one of its neighbouring machines with it. They continued firing at the others, striking wherever they thought they could cause damage; the barrel of their weapons, the joint of the knee and under the arm were just a few areas that allowed them to down their attackers.
"Laser Arrows!" White Ranger cried, his Dragon Sword glowing with energy. "Fire!"
The arrows flew towards one of the robots, but stopped before they could connect with the machines. Jason and Zack looked around to question their friend, in time to see David stumble forward and vanish.
"David!" Kimberly cried. "What happened to him?"
Jason and Zack were too busy to answer. With the White Ranger's assault halted, the automatons were advancing again.
"Cosmic Cannon!" Zack cried, blasting two more robots before they could get too close.
"Kimberly, get the door open!" Red Ranger ordered.
Kimberly nodded and moved to the controls.
"Wh-what is that noise?"
His voice was rough, a sign of how long it had been since he had last used it and an indication of his weakening state. The machines kept him alive, but even they could only slow the deterioration of his body. Technology was a wonderful thing, but old age could not be overcome with a computer.
"There are intruders inside the refuge," the monitoring droid responded.
The droid complied, just as it had been programmed to do. It lacked the ability to perform more than a few basic operations and was not much of a conversationalist, but it was obedient. The television monitor hummed as the feed from the cameras was patched through to his bedside.
"Rangers," he whispered, recognising the costumes.
But why would Rangers be breaking into the bunker? Unless of course they had turned rogue. He watched in confusion as the White Ranger seemed to double over and fade from sight. Was it a new method of teleportation? He didn't think so, not if the pain he had felt through the Morphin Grid was an indication.
"Stop!" he barked harshly, coughing up blood from the exertion. "Focus on the female in pink. Closerâ¦ yes, it's Her. Bring them here, alive!"
"They are intruders," the droid argued.
"They are friends," came the reply. "Now bring them here."
"As you wish."
The machines stopped so suddenly that Zack and Jason had managed to down another two before they realised the threat had passed. Kimberly had managed to open the door and Billy, Trini and the Doctor had joined them.
"So David was the first," the Doctor said after they had explained what had happened. "History has been changed, so technically you don't exist anymore. Sam was protected by the TARDIS, but the rest of you should have been erased. Because you were teleporting at the time, history has had difficulty catching up with you, probably because of your powers."
"David has not possessed a connection to the Morphin Grid as long as the rest of us," Billy realised.
"So when his protection disappeared, so did he," Trini said.
"Is he dead?" Kimberly asked.
The Doctor smiled at her reassuringly.
"Only if we can't put things right," he assured her. "Which means we need to get moving."
A movement caught his eye and he twisted in time to see the giant robotic guards were moving again.
"Intruders will proceed to service lift immediately," one of the machines stated, its enormous cannon pointed in their direction.
With few options, the humans and their Time Lord companion made their way over to where the robot had directed. A large area of the wall slid open revealing a hidden lift. As soon as they stepped inside the doors snapped shut and the lift descended.
It was uncertain which Ranger cried out first as the lift continued to accelerate, however once one started, the others joined in. It reminded them of some twisted fairground ride except they were not certain it would stop safely when it reached the bottom.
Then there was a loud ping as the lift stopped abruptly. The doors opened and the Rangers tumbled out, followed by Sam. The Doctor calmly strolled from the doorway as they picked themselves off.
"Where are we?" Kimberly asked.
"Some sort of medical facility although I am unfamiliar with the apparatus," Billy answered.
In the centre of the room they could make out a large bed, surrounded by monitoring equipment. They could hear the telltale signs of a respirator as it helped the occupant to breathe.
"Stay where you are!"
The voice was the same as those of the security robots upstairs, but as it shuffled into view, the Rangers saw that it looked nothing like them.
"Stand down Mint," a voice ordered as the figure on the bed tried to sit up.
"I am programmed to protect you," the robot, Mint, replied.
There was a sigh, but t was difficult to tell whether it was out of irritation or exhaustion.
"I do not need to be protected from them. Please Mint, we don't have time for this."
That seemed to do the trick because the robot's weapon retreated back into its chest.
It was Trini who had recognised the Morphin Master, her position allowing her to catch a glimpse of his face as he moved.
"Yes, I was once known as Zordon," he agreed. "I cannot say that I know you, although I saw that you were Rangers." He turned to Kimberly. "You though I remember, Kimberly."
It had been a long time ago, back in the days when he had overseen the building of the first Command Center on Earth. Kimberly had arrived from the future and helped a group of local citizens become Power Rangers. Since that day, Zordon had known that Rita would escape and that the Rangers would come to fight her. But something had gone wrong.
"What happened to you?" Kimberly asked as they moved forward.
"After you returned to your time, I waited for the day Rita escaped, knowing that I would summon you, but while I was awaiting Rita, a group of humans calling themselves the Cult of Amuk discovered and released a dangerous being named Debow'Serr."
"The Cult of Amuk?" Zack asked. "Hey those were the guys that tried to release Nyghtmayr."
"It would seem that they are willing to give their loyalty to whichever villain they can convince to work with them," Billy decided.
The Cult of Amuk was dangerous it seemed, not because they were powerful, but because they were willing to make a deal with anybody in return for a little power.
"When the cult released Debow'Serr, I tried to assemble a Ranger team, but was unable to do so. Debow'Serr's agents attacked the Command Center, disabled Alpha Five and destroyed my time warp. He then turned his powers loose on the planet, destroying the Earth in less than a year. By that time it was too late to call in outside help."
He paused, eyes closed in remembrance of those who had lost their lives. Millions of innocents killed in the space of such a short time. They had suffered. He was under no illusion that it was a pleasant way to die.
"When Debow'Serr pulled me from my time warp, he chose not to destroy me. While I was unable to defeat him, Alpha sacrificed the remainder of his runtime to help me escape. I was lucky, but without the time warp I started to age rapidly."
The stress was evident. Zordon's body was suffering from thousands of years of atrophy and old age. Had he used any more magic he would have ceased to exist.
"So, where are we?" Zack asked.
"This is my first Command Center in this part of the Galaxy," Zordon explained. "When I first came here, I had this place built as a storage sight for the weapons I prepared in case evil should show an interest in the Earth. Later I decided it would be better to have a lookout on the planet."
"So when the Earth fell, you were brought here," the Doctor surmised.
"Yes. This was the nearest safe house where I could recuperate. Unfortunately without my time warp there was little Mint could do to help me." He looked at the Doctor questioningly. "Do I know you?"
"It's been a while old friend," the Doctor told him. "I fought alongside Eltare's greatest soldiers in the last war. One of them was a young Ranger named Zordon."
"Doctor," Zordon whispered. There was a touch of awe and a great deal of fondness in his voice.
"Hello, old friend."
"It is good to see you again, Doctor. Perhaps if you had been here, things would have turned out better."
Silence followed. There was very little to say. The situation was difficult to understand, not least because they knew how events should have played out.
"I remember the stories of the Cult of Amuk," the Doctor told them. "It's an old organisation filled with crackpots and those that believed they understood what they were doing. They were famous for wiping out the majority of their membership every time they attempted one of these rituals. They were not supposed to active again for another decade or so."
"So something changed," Trini guessed. "Something that allowed them to make an earlier attempt."
The Doctor nodded. It was probably a small change, but it meant the difference between death and success. "Or just convinced them that freeing Debow'Serr was a better alternative."
Meanwhile, Billy had accessed the Command Center's computer, which was fortunately a less sophisticated version of the computer he had used during his early days as a Ranger. Despite Mint's threats, he searched through the logs of what had happened and when. He was shocked to discover that Debow'Serr had been freed only a few hours before the space flight that had supposedly freed Rita Repulsa from her Dumpster had launched.
"You mean there could have been Rangers, like we could have saved the Earth?"
"Affirmative. If Zordon had had time to summon us Earth could have had a team of Power Rangers to fight Debow'Serr."
"Well there's no doubt that this was an unnatural change," the Doctor decided. "Something or somebody decided to play around with history, and this is the result. Debow'Serr's free and the Earth is a dead world. Soâ¦ how about we find out what changed and why? Then we'll see about setting things right."
~Or as right as they can be,~ he thought.
Although it was possible to restore the timeline to how it should have been, there was no guarantee that it would ever be perfect. When a large stone was thrown a pond, it created ripples throughout the pond. And even when the ripples had ceased and the stone had been removed, there would still be changes because it had been there. The same was true for time travel, just by being there in a time zone, history would be changed. The question was how could they stop the destruction of the Earth without changing it too much?
"Can't we just stop this Cult of Amuk from releasing him?" Zack asked.
"No," the Doctor replied. "It's very difficult to change history one way or the other. History says the Earth died a few months after you were supposed to become Rangers and the cult shouldn't have even been active at this time. If we stop them, the Earth could still be destroyed, just at the hands of a different demon."
The Doctor stared down at Zordon for a long time, communicating with the ancient Morphin Master telepathically before reaching another decision.
"This can be prevented though. If Zordon had had the chance to create his Rangers, the Cult of Amuk would have been destroyed and there would have been somebody to fight Debow'Serr."
He didn't mention that they needed to not only defeat Debow'Serr, but to do so quickly if events were to resume their normal pattern.
"It wouldn't work," Zordon warned wearily. "The powers of the Morphin Grid could stop Debow'Serr, but a team of Rangers would not have the time to learn to use them. The brute force of the dinosaurs just wouldn't help against Debow'Serr."
"Don't worry about that old friend," the Doctor assured him. "I have something in mind."
~And if this works,~ he thought, ~The Time Lords will either give me an award for Temporal Reengineering, or sentence me to death. Knowing the way the High Council worksâ¦ probably both.~
He looked at Zordon, noticing again how ill the Eltarian appeared. This Zordon did not have long left. He made a vow there and then that if they ever made it back to their timeline, that he would do everything possible to not only release Zordon, but to counter the effects of long term imprisonment.
"We need to know exactly when Debow'Serr was released so we can find a moment to interfere. We only have one shot at this, so we have to get it right."
"That's it," Billy declared after about four hours of research.
He held up a chart, showing the locations of the first five Rangers on the day that Debow'Serr had been released. That information would be needed to ensure that Zordon summoned them.
"Somebody will need to warn the Zordon of that time what is happening," the Doctor stated.
"I still don't see why we can't fight this guy," Kimberly said.
The Doctor had considered that possibility, but it was far from a solution. For one thing the Rangers were temporally unstable and liable to disappear at any time. More importantly though the Earth needed to deal with its problems as they arose and not rely on time travellers to put things right. The Rangers of that era needed to deal with Debow'Serr. Or if not those Rangers, a different team.
"There's a good chance that preventing Debow'Serr from killing the planet will not destroy him," Billy explained. "If that happens we need a team of Rangers who can stay and fight him."
"I'll talk to Zordon," Samantha volunteered. Until now she had been forgotten. "I'm the only one not capable of fighting."
That was true. Zordon had once conducted tests on Samantha to see whether she was capable of using a power coin. While the result had not been the explosive backlash of somebody totally unsuited to the Power, the readings had indicated that she did not possess a link to the Morphin Grid in any of the known combinations. Power Neutral was how Alpha described her, almost completely isolated from the Power with only a small potential that they had yet to identify.
"Yes, that should work," the Doctor agreed, pleased that his travelling companion would be out of the line of fire. "The rest of you will need to hold Debow'Serr at bay until your past-selves are ready."
It was a highly questionable move and they would only have one chance to do so; technically such a journey could only be considered legal because they were so certain that history had been altered. If they failed to prevent the change then this new history would become official. By asking the Rangers to fight in place of their earlier selves, he risked causing a rip in the universe.
Before he could give them further instructions, the room shook, a cloud of dust showering down upon them. The lights dimmed briefly and a loud bang could be heard from somewhere.
"Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!" Mint sounded. "Outer perimeter has been breached. Alien forces are attempting entry to lower levels."
"Is that him?" Trini asked as the viewing device showed the intruders.
"They are servants of Debow'Serr," Zordon confirmed.
"He must have decided to finish what he started," Jason guessed.
"You must leave here Doctor," Zordon rasped. "If they have breached the outer wall then the Sentinels will not hold them."
"But we need time to finish," Kimberly protested.
"Alien intruders have breached inner door," Mint interrupted.
"How long?" the Doctor asked.
"Masking Field will fail in ten minutes," came the reply.
"We need more time," Trini realised.
Finding the information would take minutes, but they also needed to get back to the TARDIS and that was not going to be easy.
"If we succeed, everything goes back to how it was, right?" Nate asked. "The Earth will be backâ¦ David?"
"That is correct young man," Zordon said.
Of the Rangers present he only recognised Kimberly, although Billy bore a close resemblance to the man Kimberly had recruited to be the first Blue Ranger. ~Maybe he was his ancestor.~ The others were strangers to him and one in particular was â¦ strange.
"And nobody will remember what happened here?" he pressed.
The Doctor shook his head, catching on to what Nate was really asking. "Only those who were part of the original timeline will remember. Zordon might have some idea of what happened, but the Galactic Council won't know a thing."
A smile crossed Nate's face. Finally he had a chance to test himself without the risks that he would usually face. The others were needed for the difficult task again. He was certain that he was not one of them.
"I'll hold them off," he volunteered, making his way to the lift as the others hurried to finish their tasks. As they did so they couldn't help wondering how the cultists had discovered Debow'Serr's resting place to begin with.
"Doctor if we don't exist, why does Zordon remember Kimberly?" Trini asked.
They had finished their fact finding and were waiting for the elevator to make their escape. It seemed Nate had been successful so far in keeping the intruders at bay.
The Doctor shrugged. "Time is a complex thing. A conversation you have with your future self today would not happen for him for years. Zordon met Kimberly when she travelled back in time because he was supposed to meet her and later recruit her as a part of his Ranger team. At some point after that Zordon knew an event would come when Kimberly would be transported back in time to meet with him."
"So if I never travelled back then Zordon shouldn't know me," Kimberly decided.
"But he does remember a girl named Kimberly Hart who travelled back in time," the Doctor explained. "So long as you exist, Zordon will remember that. If you were not here thoughâ¦ Let's not get into that paradox."
While he had been talking, the Doctor had been using what medical knowledge he had gleaned over the last nine-hundred years to try and assess his friend's health. What he found, saddened him deeply. Zordon was dying, but it seemed that the Morphin Grid and the temporal shift were interfering. He had no doubt his old friend was in considerable pain, being so close to death and yet still alive.
"Well there's no point moping around here arguing about temporal anomalies," he declared suddenly. "Time to put things back to normal, or at least somewhat normal. Now, Zordon, do you have the location of the Debow'Serr's prison?"
"Of course Doctor."
"Then our first step should be to get there before he's released. With a little luck we might even be able to talk the cult into changing their ways and prevent them from summoning anything to replace him."
Of course he was also hoping that arriving before hand would allow him to discover what was really going on. The Cult of Amuk were usually focussed on summoning demons. Releasing Debow'Serr should have been too simple for them to attempt.
He was starting to suspect that it was one of his people that had interfered. Given the events before his arrival on Earth, not to mention the discoveries he had made, he had a fair idea who could be behind such a scheme. And if he was correct then it was more likely that all it had taken was a few softly spoken words. He didn't believe that mastermind was a part of the Cult of Amuk.
"How are we going to change the past?" Zack asked.
"Simple," the Doctor told him. "We're not. The Power Rangers were meant to appear the day Rita Repulsa was released. Instead they will appear the same day to fight Debow'Serr. We're not changing history, hopefully when the books are written this little incident will be forgotten. You've heard the rumours that there were Power Rangers before you assumed the roles? This is the chance to prove it."
Nate had never had the opportunity to test his powers in battle. After he had managed to gain control of the hybrid powers, he had been forbidden to morph by the Galactic Council. He was seen as a threat, too powerful for the Council to control and so they had tried to sideline him from the action instead.
This was one instance when he could use his powers though without getting Zordon into trouble. He had to admit that he was looking forward to the opportunity.
The surface had indeed been invaded by all manner of strange creatures. The foot soldiers were obvious. The identical grey bipeds were distinguishable by their bland appearance and cyclops-like heads. Accompanying them was an army of monstrous beings, each as ugly as the next, all composed of the same strange matter.
"Why don't I believe you guys have an invitation?" he asked after moving around the outside of the room to conceal the location of the lift just a little longer.
He didn't know what the alien said, but he imagined it translated as: "Get him!"
"Well if that's the way you want it," he told them amicably before summoning his morphers. "I guess we do this the fun wayâ¦ Dino Thunder, Power Up!"
The powers obeyed his command. A suit of tight fitting material formed around him. It was mostly dark grey; the boots were grey, the gloves were grey, and even the helmet was grey. To offset the dark appearance, the top of his boots, the end of his gauntlet gloves, belt and shoulder pads were black, as was the trim surrounding his helmet's visor. Golden thread had been used to create a series of diamond shapes, which ran down the outside of his arms and legs. The same thread had been used to create a dinosaur foot inside a circle on his chest. A small crest rose from the front of his helmet and extended around to the back.
"Brachio Ranger!" he cried, completing the transformation.
Grinning beneath his helmet, a little of the infamous Oliver traits surfacing, he charged into battle. His powers were not as strong as they had been when he first constructed them. Refining the mixture of powers to just those of the Morphin Grid had weakened him, but had the bonus of making his transformation stable.
It was a magnificent feeling as he punched, kicked, twisted and dodged his way through the opposing forces. Those that fell didn't stay down for long, but it soon became clear to them that charging their foe would not be enough.
"Brachio Staff!" he called, drawing the weapon from his left hip.
It didn't matter that they outnumbered him as he cut them down one at a time. His Brachio staff was an effective weapon and he was succeeding in his plan to draw the attackers away from the TARDIS. He noticed the elevator open as he unleashed an orb of energy at his opponents. The Doctor stopped just short of the machine, gesturing for Nate to join them. Unfortunately he was seen and Nate was forced to throw himself into the throng of attackers to stop them from reaching the Time Lord.
"GO!" he shouted.
The Doctor nodded, understanding that this was their chance to escape. As he ran inside the TARDIS, the sound of its engines distracted the invaders momentarily. It was all the distraction that Nate needed.
"Maxima Blast!" he called, pointing the Brachio Staff at the dome surrounding the surface.
The dome shattered under the force of the blast, having never been intended to withstand such destructive forces from the inside, sucking all those that remained on the surface into the coldness of space, but failing to harm the small smog creature that made its way into the Command Center.
He was the High Priest, leader of the Cult of Amuk. His followers worshipped him for the power he had promised them. He had taken those on the brink of despair and given them hope. In return they gave him their complete obedience.
But he had a problem. In all the years he had been acting as the High Priest, he had failed to deliver on his promises, and his followers were growing impatient. That was why he had taken the advice of one of this disciples, a new man whose name he couldn't quite remember, to seek out the powerful creature referred to in a few primitive drawings as Debow'Serr.
Today promised to be the day that he would secure their loyalty once more. He would free Debow'Serr and in return ask only for the demon's obedience and a share of his power. Hunting down the site of his prison had taken longer and far more expenditure than he had been led to believe. The funds he had raised over the last decade had been spent, along with a good portion of the money he had siphoned into his own accounts. Today that risk would pay off. The seal had finally been broken and the ancient apparatus had been dragged to the surface. All that remained was to open it.
He raised his hands and the chanting started. This was unnecessary, but it gave his followers a sense of involvement in what was going on. As the chanting grew louder, he nodded to one of his crewmen to start drilling the thick stone. It never occurred to him that the demon might decide to do away with the humans once their purpose had been fulfilled.
As the TARDIS arrived, the Doctor knew that the situation would not be resolved by talking. The extraction had already started and was gaining momentum as the mob of disciples chanted excitedly. A part of him wanted to tell the Rangers to attack, but he knew that would not work. They would never attack unless the situation called for it, and besides which, if they damaged the prison, then Debow'Serr would be freed anyway.
Realising that time was running out, Samantha had been dispatched to warn Zordon. If this was going to work then the Morphin Master would have to act quickly. Meanwhile the Rangers would infiltrate the disciples, ready to confront Debow'Serr when he was released. And the Doctor? He was already searching for the mastermind behind this little scheme, hoping that he could prevent further tragedies by stopping him.
"You won't able to stop them."
The Doctor turned, unsurprised to find that his quarry had tracked him down instead. Before him a young boy stood, absently playing with a yo-yo. But the Doctor was not fooled, this boy was at least a century old and was up to something far more sinister than playing with a child's toy.
"You're behind this?" he asked, knowing the answer.
This person was a sign of how dangerous things had become, not the instigator. Like a moth drawn to a flame, so he had been attracted to the possible paradox. Even so it was likely that he would act to keep the Doctor from interfering.
"You know our business, Doctor," came the reply. "Any temporal anomaly, any chance of a paradox and we shall be there. And since you chose to travel back in timeâ¦"
"After history had already been changed."
"â¦after events had been set in stone, the opportunity was too good to miss."
"Are you going to stop me?"
There was an edge in the Doctor's voice. He had dealt with this sort of person and the faction he represented before. He had seen the horrors they were willing to allow to further their goals. And though he liked to think of himself as merciful, he had no patience for those who benefited from the pain of others.
"Of course not." The child laughed at him. It was not a pleasant feeling to have a child laughing at you. "You offer the best chance of this problem cascading. I wouldn't stop you even if I'd been ordered to."
"Then leave me alone."
The boy was gone, the Doctor never saw him leave. That was unnerving for the Doctor, the fact that such people could move faster than he could. He knew that at least part of that speed came from their ability to slide through the higher dimensions, seemingly slipping in and out of sight. For all he knew the boy was still there, laughing at him.
The prison had been opened. He could hear Jason urging his fellow Rangers into battle. He just hoped that Samantha was having some success convincing Zordon to recruit humans just as he had against Rita in the original timeline. In his mind he was already calculating how long it would take for the teens to receive their powers and return to Earth. Assuming of course that Zordon had found them, convinced them of the need to cooperate and had been able to send them where they needed to go.
Behind him the battle had escalated and the Rangers had brought out the heavier artillery. He hoped their past selves hurried to receive the training they needed. Without it the Rangers he had brought with him would be forced to defeat the villain, and all would be lost. Filling in for their past selves was one thing, but the Rangers could never replace them.
"There you are," he muttered, finally spotting the person he had been seeking. His natural affinity with time told him that this person was not meant to be there and had recently shifted through time.
"So you did come," the man - he was certain the person he was facing was male even though the strange costume was fairly androgynous. "I wondered if you would make an appearance, Doctor."
Now that he was closer the Doctor could see that the man was indeed wearing some sort of armour. Not the energised uniform of a Power Ranger, more likely an exo-suit of some description, capable of absorbing the radiation within the time vortex.
"Do I know you?" the Doctor asked.
"We've never met," the man admitted. "Your contributions to this planet were carefully recorded. Thanks to the telemetry data provided by Zordon's archives, humanity mastered the technology needed to travel through the Time Vortex. And when they did, they immediately forbade its use except in the most extreme circumstances. Where I come from your name is known to temporal engineers around the world."
"So humans finally learnt how to travel in time properly," the Doctor mused. "Couldn't have happened to a better race. But if they limited the use of time travel, why are you here?"
The helmet opened, revealing the slightly scarred face inside.
"Humans?" he laughed. "By my time the human race has long since died out, wiped from existence by war. I am a part of the world that came after and that world is far from perfect," he confided. "The mistakes of the past have pushed the world to the brink of disaster. Pollution, unethical experiments and unnatural evolution, all consequences of the war."
"What war?" the Doctor asked.
"Why the war between the Time Lords and their greatest enemies, a war that stretched from the dawn of time to the end of days several times over. A war that started before you even realised that it was going on. Didn't you wonder how you ended up in a universe filled with magic? The war ended and the universe was changed. There were voids to be filled and magic helped to fill those gaps. You knew from the moment you set foot in Angel Grove that something was wrong. Now you know what it is."
The Doctor was stunned at the thought that history was capable of changing to such an extent. For it to change before the war had really started though meant that the outcome would be terrible.
"You travelled back in time. To what end?"
"To prevent the inevitable chaos," came the reply. "History needs guidance to avoid descending into darkness. I intend to provide that guidance. Debow'Serr's release will cause a worldwide catastrophe. Governments will crumble and anarchy will prevail. The people will cry out for somebody to lead them back from the brink of destruction and I will be that person, a hero in the dark times ahead."
"You really believe that this is the way to solve the problems of your time?" the Doctor asked.
"It's for the best," the time traveller replied. "In my time the world is on the brink of disaster. The politicians pretend they are working for the better yet they accomplish little. World peace? Worthless when their governments lack the strength to enforce the law. And end of poverty and famine? Without control the world could starve. When Debow'Serr decimates the human race, I will bring the order they needâ¦"
"To prevent a disaster that has yet to happen."
"Oh it will happen. The signs are there. One day the Earth will die."
The problem was that the rogue genuinely believed that. Even though the changes he had made would cost the lives of billions over the next thousand years or so, he still thought that his world would be better because of his changes.
"All things die," the Doctor confided. "The moment you try to control life and death you set yourself up as a god. And when you do that, you're more likely to destroy everything you're working towards. How do you know this won't just destroy the planet. Is a dead world really that much better?"
The time traveller didn't reply. He was watching the battle behind them. Debow'Serr had made one of his creations grow and had turned it loose. The Rangers had responded by calling in their original Megazord.
"Do you think for a moment that Debow'Serr will win this fight?" he asked. "Where's your overwhelming faith in the humans?"
Debow'Serr's monster seemed to explode, covering the Megazord with sludge. It appeared they had won, but the next moment their Zords were falling apart as the toxic substance ate its way through their machines. The Rangers wisely chose to return the machines to their hiding places where they could be repaired.
"Those new Rangers had better hurry up," he said, clearly amused at the Doctor's confusion. When he had been offered the opportunity to make a fool out of the famous Doctor, he had taken it.
"You planned this?"
He had been set up, it seemed. This man and whomever was calling the shots - for he refused to believe this human, whatever time he claimed to be from, capable of such a scheme - had manipulated him. And they had done so perfectly, presenting him with a situation he had to involve himself in. And then when he had travelled back to fix things, he unwittingly caused the changes they had been seeking.
"Imagine it Doctor, a world where the Power Rangers started out with the power of Ninjetti. How do you think events will play out now that the heroes of this world are no longer tied to Zordon and his manipulations, the spiritual strength of the Animal Spirits instead of the raw power of the Dinosaurs?"
This didn't make sense. The man's motives seemed to change from one moment to the next, and the Doctor suspected he had yet to hear the truth.
"You don't believe that," he accused. "This has nothing to do with saving the Earth from a disaster that may or may not start. Why do you really want to change history? What do you want to happen?" His eyes narrowed. "What are you about to lose?"
Before he could get an answer, the Doctor heard the Rangers, his Rangers, cry out as their time finally ran out. If the rogue was correct then they had been erased from history and he had been the cause. Of course if his theory was correct then they had simple been returned to their original destination as if nothing had interrupted their journey from Mariner Bay to Angel Grove.
"Interesting thing about time is you never know how it will react when changed," the Doctor said conversationally. "And you obviously know very little about Earth. Any other planet, well almost any, and your plan might have worked. But this is Earth, the centre of time and probability, the focal point of a countless number of possibilities. And the Earth is very very stubborn when it comes to its history. The universe changed around this planet and the Earth retained the majority of its history, just a few changes so it could fit in. But I bet you, right now, that all you've managed is to spawn an alternate timeline."
He crossed his fingers, hoping he was right, that the change in recorded history would spawn a new timeline where the Rangers became Ninjetti instead of overwriting the established history. Of course for that to happen he needed the five warriors Zordon had sent to Phaedos to make an appearance.
"I am invincible!" he heard Debow'Serr cry.
In six columns of light, the new protectors of the planet Earth had arrived. Six? Maybe Zordon had found another human somewhere.
"Ninjetti Dino Rangers!"
"You haven't won yet," the man pointed out. "You can't be certain that they'll win."
The boy had appeared and disappeared once more, the Doctor was not surprised. He didn't think those the boy represented were involved, they had been drawn out of curiosity and no doubt a desire to change things to their own desires, but they were not the masterminds of the endeavour.
The Doctor did believe the Rangers would win. In his mind he was staking his life and that of every other person on the planet that they would win. If they failed then Earth was doomed to suffer in Debow'Serr's evil shadow.
"Dricerazord, Power Up!"
The battle had escalated again, but this time it seemed that the Rangers were winning. He watched as the six beasts emerged from the heavens, trying to determine their shape. He cheered as the charging Zord avoided a stream of fire, Debow'Serr would find these Zords were superior to the old relics Zordon had kept around. They were extensions of the Rangers' powers, given form as large animals. And from the look of it, not metallic.
~They look more like the current Zords,~ he thought, remembering what he had seen when he had watched the Rangers go into battle.
He watched as the Beasts worked together. The inexperience of their pilots - for the Rangers had somehow managed to find their way inside - was clear as they missed several attempts to take Debow'Serr down. And Debow'Serr was putting up a remarkable fight, it was amazing how powerful the primordial villain was.
~Imagine how powerful he would have been given the chance to pollute the planet.~
Eventually the Rangers gained the advantage and were able to pin the villain in place long enough to deliver the final blow. At that point Debow'Serr had clearly had enough and decided to retreat, leaving behind a small puddle of water.
"Earth is safe," he announced. "It won't be the same, but I suspect a little change will do it good. Either way, I'm willing to bet that your time is the same as when you left it."
"This isn't over, yet," the rogue told him, using his right hand to program a small controller on his left arm. "I can just go elsewhere, further back if I need to."
The Doctor could sense the rift in time forming nearby, but was not about to let him get away. He took aim with his sonic screwdriver and sent out a pulse wave, hoping that it would cause a few navigational issues. In reality he had just forced the device to lock onto one of its previous destinations, hoping that doing so would lock the circuits. If it worked then the rogue would need to repair the device, a procedure that could take decades, before he was able to travel again.
"You didn't win Doctor," the boy declared after the rogue had vanished. "All you have managed is a draw."
"The Earth survived, that's a victory. That's enough."
"Yes, for you it is," the boy conceded. "I wonder though, how much of a victory will it be when you learn the cost? You were correct by the way, when you leave this time zone and return to your own, this world will continue. You will not be able to return here, do not try. One day you will learn what your draw has cost this planet. Don't wait too long, Doctor."
With that the boy vanished for the final time and the Doctor sighed in relief. He was still not ready to fight the rogue faction, especially since they had expressed an interest in him. That was why he had been happy to remain on Earth while the TARDIS had been repairing itself. He had been trying to hide. Now though it appeared that they had found him again. Perhaps once he made sure the Rangers were safely back in their own timeline, it would be time to resume his journeys. Yes, the victory had certainly cost him the opportunity to settle for a quieter life.
"You want to stay, don't you?"
He couldn't believe it. In the past he had known instinctively when his companions were about to leave him. Sam had given no such clues. It was clear though that she had found a place that needed her. Exactly what had occurred while she had been with Zordon was unclear, but he could sense the determination that had caused her to save his life the day they met, the same resolve that had led to her accompanying him on his journeys.
"They need me here, Doctor," she replied.
She didn't add 'and you don't', but the thought was clearly on her mind. When he had met her he had needed companionship and she had been the perfect person to accompany him. Throughout their travels, she had continuously demonstrated her intelligence and just a little reliance on him. She had been exactly what he had desired, even leaving him when he felt they were growing too close.
And it was just like Sam to give up travelling with him to help others who needed her. That was the sort of person he wanted to travel with. It bothered him sometimes that she was so perfect a choice. Perhaps that was why she had been unable to hold the Ranger powers when she had been tested: events had conspired to prevent her developing any bonds to keep her in own universe.
"Will you be all right?" she asked. "I could..."
He held out his hand to stop her. "You've found your place, I could never ask you to give that up."
"You could stay," she offered.
"No," he replied. "This is your place, not mine. You must go forward in your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine." He looked over at the six Ninjetti. They had a difficult journey ahead of them, one he could not foresee. "Take care of them."
They shared a brief hug, which he broke. This was why he didn't grow attached to those that travelled with him: it hurt too much when they left. But he would not show his weakness, never. He had been running for so long he had forgotten how to stop. Running from his emotions was no different.
It was with a heavy heart that he returned to his TARDIS and left. There was little he could do except follow the Rangers back home. As the TARDIS doors closed and he dematerialised, he wondered why he cared. And as the TARDIS entered the vortex, his concentration was focussed upon other things.
Debow'Serr had been bested, but he had survived to fight another day. And the Cult of Amuk had suffered a severe setback. Yet another attempt to gain power had failed, although this time it was hardly a fault with the ceremony.
For the new High Priest of Amuk, this was a sign. They had failed, but with failure came wisdom for now they knew how the ceremony was to be performed. One day when their organisation had the membership it needed, they would try again. Then they would succeed.
~Perhaps a different demon is the key. Nyghtmayr perhaps...~
From the shadows somebody watched as the priest debated his next move. The Doctor had won the battle and lost a far greater battle. He had started this new timeline, but would the Time Lord have the courage to face up to the consequences of his actions when they arose?
The Rangers appeared in the Power Chamber, slightly exhausted. For some reason the trip back from Mariner Bay had seemed especially long. But they were alive and safe. In the end that was all that mattered. Their arrival was followed moments later by the TARDIS. Everything seemed to be how it should be, but as always where time travel was involved, you could never be sure.