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Victory in the face of Death
Ten Thousand Years Ago
They had fought hard and emerged victorious. The planet Earth had been protected from those seeking to conquer it and following the defeat of the enemy’s leader, the surface of the Moon had been reclaimed and the ancient palace that stood half buried upon its surface had been secured. Zordon and what remained of his Order of the Meladon had somehow managed to overcome the army of the evil Rita Repulsa. Even now the remnants of her once vast forces were being rounded up, her monsters falling before the might of Zordon's soldiers as they took the fight to the other worlds in the solar system and then beyond, freeing territory that had been in enemy hands for far too long. Although many of the worlds were beyond their ability to save, they would at least be free from evil.
Against Zordon’s advice the political leaders had chosen to parade the defeated Rita Repulsa in front of the galactic broadcasts and had ordered Zordon and his followers to act as guards for the ceremony as she was shipped off for trial. Despite his warnings of how dangerous and underhanded Rita could be, those that had seen the opportunities a victory offered them to undermine the enemy and strengthen morale on worlds that had been barely able to hold out against Rita’s army. But Rita was not as powerless as she appeared and while her wand had been snatched away, she was still a witch. There were curses that she could bring against an opponent that did not require her wand to channel the dark energy, so long as she was willing to risk her life while invoking such magic. In their haste to celebrate a victory, the politicians had forgotten the lineage of Rita’s mother and the opportunities such and inheritance offered her.
"Curse you Zordon!" Rita snarled, summoning all of the magic her exhausted body could muster, fuelling it with the hatred she felt for the man that had dared to defy her so many times. "In the name of Lokar, I smite thee!" A single ball of black energy shot from her fingertips and connected with the Sage of Eltar, breaking through the shields he had conjured the moment she had shaken herself loose from her guards. The ball exploded upon contact, lifting him high into the air and throwing him across the lunar surface where he landed in a heap.
The response was immediate and brutal. While Zordon's close allies raced out to find their fallen comrade in the hope that it was not too late, Zordon's warriors did not hold back in making certain that Rita and her forces were prevented from making any further surprise attacks. They did not stop beating upon the defeated servants or their mistress until they were certain that there was no further threat. By that time only the mighty Goldar retained some sense of where he was. A firm stomp to the head meant that he joined his comrades in blissful unconsciousness.
Meanwhile the race was on to save the life of Zordon. The magic Rita had cast was both simple and devastating, ripping through the noble leader’s body and causing internal damage as it scrambled everything it touched. The damage it caused was beyond the medical knowledge of those that tried to assist him and they knew there would not be time to call in more experienced assistance. Thousands of years earlier, during his youth, Zordon had been exposed to a deadly poison that despite the best attempts of Eltarian medics, had never truly left his system. And with his body compromised by Rita’s curse, his body was no longer able to fight the effects of the poison as it ravaged his crippled form.
The spell Rita had used could have been reversed, undoing the damage and restoring Zordon’s health to the level it had been before she had used it. But since doing so required the caster agreed to lift its effect any hope of saving him quickly vanished. Already Zordon's body had started to decay, his legs failing to support him when he tried to stand. His personal experience with using the Power to keep the poison at bay allowed him to slow the effects of Rita's curse, but his other injuries meant that he was slowly succumbing to the dark powers.
"Maybe if we merge our abilities…" someone suggested. Grid energy had the ability to heal considerable wounds provided there was sufficient focus, but to do so without an understanding of how they would heal him made their task more difficult.
Zordon groaned as he tried to speak and found that even the act of opening his mouth caused unbelievable pain. With considerable effort he was able to overcome the pain long enough to tell them what he needed to say. They didn’t understand that pouring their powers into his broken body would not work; the pathways needed for such an attempt to bolster his body had been devastated to the point where they could no longer support such an inrush of energy.
"It is too late, my friends," he stated, doing everything in his power to sound calm. He drew upon what remained of his connection to the Morphin Grid – for the same spell that had damaged his body had damaged his connection to the Grid – to keep the pain at bay. Although confident on the outside, inside he was terrified of what was to come. "I have foreseen this moment many times since the war with Rita and her forces began. This moment was unavoidable; there was no acceptable way to prevent Rita from casting her spell at me. I would never sacrifice another just to survive."
He saw the look of grief that passed over their faces, the disbelief that he had accepted his fate so readily. He chuckled softly.
"You disappoint me," he joked. "When have you known me to give up?" Now he had their attention. "Nothing could prevent this moment from happening and I will succumb to the either the curse or the poison I received many years ago, and Rita will be credited with my demise. But my death will not be as immediate as our enemies might have hoped. I ask you now to please help me, so I may frustrate the forces of darkness one more time."
And of course they helped. All of them. Whether before the battle they had agreed with Zordon and his methods or not, he was their leader and their hero. They would do anything to honour the sacrifice he had shown, even if it meant giving up the precious time they had to try and save him for some whim of fancy.
"Lexian, contact Alpha Five and tell him to activate the modified capsule he has been working on. He will know what needs to be done. Please assist him in his task, it will not be easy for him to do this."
They agreed and having located Alpha Five, they teleported along with their fallen leader. They were surprised when instead of sadness or distress at his master's condition, Alpha had started to pull the body onto a waiting medical bed. And then even as the team's healer objected to what he was doing, the little machine began to connect his master to a heavily modified Eltarian healing capsule…
"This won't save him," the healer objected.
Indeed there was very little machinery present that could stop the poison or to heal the damage from the curse. The machine was a modified medical pod but lacking even the most basic monitoring tools. Once inside it would make no effort to reverse Zordon’s condition, just relieve his pain and prevent further breakdown. If anything it resembled a giant coffin.
"Ai-yi-yi, here goes!" Alpha cried after adjusting a few more controls. "Activating Plasma Screen!"
Eltarians had established lookout posts on countless worlds during the war with Rita. From those observation posts it was possible for them to keep watch and take command of the planet’s defenders in the event of an attack. But acting as monitor for a world was lonely and few Eltarians were willing to sacrifice years of their lives watching over worlds that might never be invaded. And so a way had been developed to allow Eltarians to maintain a watchful eye over a planet from inside their observation posts without being physically present. Unlike previous attempts that used simple cameras, Eltarian technology transferred the very essences of the appointed guardian into the observation post allowing him to physically interact with its machinery. And now Zordon and Alpha planned to use a modified version of that technology to save his life.
With a loud crackle the plasma tube connected to the healing capsule activated, allowing those present the view of Zordon’s head. Alpha scurried about checking the readings.
"Activating teleport now!"
In a column of white light the healing capsule disappeared, leaving only the plasma tube behind.
"Teleportation complete, stasis achieved," he reported.
And with those words Zordon's friends started to understand what Alpha had done. There was no way to heal their friend from his injuries, at least not without Rita's cooperation. But Zordon and Alpha had managed to alter a healing pod and plasma tube to work over a long distance and had then used a modified long range teleportation device to act as both the departure and arrival location in a continuous loop. While teleporting the effects of Rita’s spell were suspended as there was no body to decay. Unfortunately the moment he returned to the physical world the curse would continue. Alpha had saved his life but those present realised that their old friend was gone unless they could find a cure. Still Zordon and Alpha had brought them time and with that time came hope…
"Beginning scan," Alpha declared as he adjusted the controls. "Locating Zordon's energy signature within the Morphin Grid. Ai-yi-yi, found it! Computer lock onto these coordinates and…"
With a final tweak of the controls, Alpha connected with the energy pattern he had been seeking, redirecting it into the citadel's systems. The plasma tube sparked to life once more, flickering with energy until eventually a face appeared.
"Excellent work Alpha," Zordon commended.
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, it worked!" Alpha cheered.
"Indeed," Zordon replied before turning to his shocked friends. "Thank you for you assistance. Alpha and I had been planning for this moment but without your help in getting me here there was little chance that the plan would work."
"But your body…" Lexian protested.
"Has been turned into energy for the purposes of teleportation," Zordon told him. "Alpha has successfully isolated that energy from this citadel’s controls meaning there is no way it can be interfered with. I do not believe there is a way to reverse Rita’s spell and eventually my body will succumb to its effects, but in this state I will not be affected. From here I will be able to aid you in the coming battles, although I will never likely never be able to walk amongst you again. Alpha will act as my physical connection with the Command Center."
In his current state Zordon was sadly just a projection of his former self lacking the ability to interact with his surroundings. Fortunately Alpha was a capable companion and a loyal servant.
Zordon looked among his faithful companions, remembering the times they had fought at his side and protected his back, just as he had shielded them.
"Lexian my friend. I am no longer capable of leading the Order of the Meladon in battle. I ask that you take command of our alliance, for there is still much to be done. And I ask that the rest of you support him in the work ahead, just as you have supported me."
The defeat of Rita Repulsa and her forces was just one victory, but there were hundreds of battle being lost even as they spoke. The forces of Lord Zedd and Master Vile gained more and more territory each day and there was little Zordon's forces could do to turn the tide. Perhaps when word of his survival reached the masses it would inspire them to fight on. Sadly despite his desperate desire to learn more about his current state, Zordon realised there was much left to do.
End of part
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