The Dark Victory

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to whoever owns the copyright. This is a fan work and no profit is being made.

The Dark Victory

In some ways the Galactic Council had been lucky. The galaxy was a very big place, the universe was even bigger. The forces of darkness had set out on their campaign of renewed conquest and instead of heading inwards towards Erlion and Eltare, they had pushed out into the wider cosmos. In doing so they had given the Galactic Council a reprieve, but had also raised the paranoia, fear and arguing among its members. For it was not a matter of if the enemy turned their attention to Council worlds, it was only a matter of when.

And with that realisation had come an understanding that the Galactic Council and its members were not prepared for war. They had grown used to the watered down tactics of the Machine Empire and the lacklustre campaigns of Rita and Zedd. Dark Spectre had renewed his forces and had sent them forth with determination and a degree of evil competence not seen for a long time.

There was no question that the forces of darkness held the advantage. Dark Specter had somehow united them, organised them and motivated them. The same could not be said for the Council’s forces, which under the squabbling, selfish and fractured leadership, would not present a united front. The Morphin Council had mobilised, assembling an army of Morphin Masters, Power Rangers and Power Soldiers. The Masked Rider Corps were actively recruiting and the Green Lanterns had activated their entire membership in response to the threat.

In comparison the IGPF had been slowed by bureaucracy and bickering between members of the Galactic Council concerning their role and the Council’s military forces were still scattered awaiting orders. There had been no increase in recruitment or training. Technology and budgets were still limited and those responsible for leading the military forces had been held back by a lack of guidance.

One thing they could agree upon though was that dark days were coming and that they needed to work quickly if they were to weather the storm. Sadly it appeared that there was a vast difference between recognising the need for action and following through on their obligations. It would not take long for them to realise that it was already too late.

Dark Specter had won.

====

Dark Specter had won. He hadn’t conquered the universe, the galaxy or even the planet known as Earth. But in the battle for dominance between the many villainous factions, he had emerged victorious. The members of the United Alliance of Evil had followed his edict and accepted his empty promises. In return for completing the tasks he had set them, they would be allowed an opportunity to strike at the planet Earth.

What Dark Specter had failed to explain to the suddenly eager followers was that he would be the one to assign the tasks and that those that were most likely to conquer the Earth were those given the most difficult, time consuming tasks far away from the ultimate prize. He had sent Rita, Zedd and others to conquer galaxies, knowing that doing so would take them centuries. He had changed the definition of success to slow their progress and to remove the competition.

There was still some competition, but they were limited and easily dealt with. He had given them simpler tasks to complete, knowing that their attempts to target the Earth would quell any complaints that he had cheated. He had even set his own forces tasks that would delay his own strike at the planet until others had tried and failed.

In the end though Dark Specter knew that he would emerge victorious because he alone understood the importance of the planet Earth. Members of the UAE had seen some of the reports regarding the planet’s power. He understood why it was so powerful and why those that attacked it were bound to grow incompetent. And he planned to extract the source of that power and to use it to bind the universe together with himself as its ruler.

And it didn’t matter if they Council managed to get their act together. The only way they could stop him would be to destroy the prize before he could claim it, at which point the greatest weapon they possessed would be lost. One way or another, Dark Specter had already triumphed.

====

Dimitiria closed the Book of the Unknown once more and tried to make sense of all that she had seen. As an Inquirian she was the perfect guardian for the ancient tome, possessing a thirst for knowledge and a natural grasp of asking the right questions. Still it seemed that there were too many forces in play to draw any real conclusions.

It seemed that nature could not tolerate a vacuum and with so many threats out there steps had been taken to ensure the Earth remained protected. Why the planet was so important was still not clear. The reasons were growing daily, but she still felt there was something they had yet to learn. A great secret that would shake their society to its core.

She feared for her old friend Zordon when the time came. She strongly suspected that the price of securing the peace he so desired would be too high. Still for now Zordon was safely back on Earth, guiding his Rangers and Trey of Triforia had also arrived safely. Andros was still completing the task Zordon had set him.

There was no question that the darkness was expanding. Dark Specter and his forces had set forth on their campaign, extending the reach of their dark powers beyond their previous territories. Sooner or later that expansion would turn inward and the light was at risk of being swept aside by the dark tide.

And then there were the other dangers beyond Dark Specter’s control. The Xenotome spoke of enemies hiding in the darkness and waiting for the opportunity the Grand Monarch’s actions granted them. Sadly it seemed that no matter how brightly Zordon and his Rangers shone their beacon of hope, there could be only one conclusion:

~The worst is yet to come.~

End

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**

Doctor at the Door

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or Doctor Who. They belong to their respective copyright owners.
Author’s note: These events occur as the same time as the events in the previous chapter.

Doctor at the Door
 

He was aware of his situation, something that would make his captors nervous. He knew that he was a prisoner and that he had been incarcerated for a very long time. His jailors had needed something from him and so instead of killing him outright, which would have been the sensible thing to do, they had devised an elaborate means of keeping him sidelined.

Unfortunately for them the moment he had become aware of his predicament he had been able to find a way to take control of the situation. Even though his mind was suppressed by the most advanced sedatives available and distracted by a reality simulator that presented him with a near perfect reproduction of the universe, he still managed to cause trouble. They were relieved the order had come to release him.

His eyes opened as he heard the seal break. He was back in the real world once more. The many needles and tubes that handled his life support while he was trapped within the mental prison had already withdrawn and the advanced healing provided by his physiology meant that the pain and marks had already faded. He caught his reflection as he sat up, noting the pale complexion, slight wrinkles and greying hairline. Clearly he would need to spend a decade or so working on his tan again, which raised the question of just how long had he been in the chamber this time? The vibrations caused by his sonic screwdriver had disrupted the machinery, making it easier to realise what was happening, but it had taken time for his mind to grasp the meaning of the loud whine.

“Back with us again Doctor,” the Valeyard said, stepping around from behind the equipment. It didn’t hurt to make it seem like the Doctor was in control of the situation. If the Valeyard was honest he had no way of guaranteeing that that was not the case. “I suspected you would find a way sooner or later; I expected to break free months ago. The technicians are upset about the damage you’ve caused."

Upset didn’t really cover it. Every time the Doctor pulled one of his little suicide stunts the delicate machinery that kept him dreaming malfunctioned. The machine was supposed to keep the subject alive, very difficult to accomplish when said subject was unpredictable enough to throw himself in front of a bus with no warning. The technicians had been forced to constantly rewrite the program’s physics to keep him alive, but those watching hadn’t even noticed him obtaining the poison before he used it, and worse the moment they altered the nature of the world around him they confirmed his theory that he was being fooled.

“There are some who would prefer to remove your ability to interact with the world inside the machine. Imagine it: trapped in a dream world, aware that it is a dream but unable to move, or think. There are others who would prefer to carry out a full lobotomy and put a permanent end to the matter.”

It was an empty threat and the both knew it. Despite being the prisoner, despite the guards and the restraints and the elaborate cell, the Doctor could ruin their plans at any time. All he had to do was regenerate and he would likely destroy the machinery and their facility that housed it. It was only his curiosity that caused him to endure it for so long.

But the Doctor was done with games. He felt he had discovered everything he could by playing the role of the unwilling prisoner. Now was the time to show them who was in charge.

“I want to know what is really going on,” the Doctor declared. He’d had time to think and realised that he was still being played. “No more lies, half truths, omissions or misdirection. We both know there is nothing you would like more than to see me regenerate, it’s the only chance you would have to take this body. If the Time Lords could have given it to you, they would have done so. Which means they can’t.” His eyes widened as his mind latched onto something he hadn’t realised before. “Why can’t they? Shifting the regeneration cycle of a Time Lord would be easy for them, they’ve had the techniques available for eons…”

“And that seems to be the problem,” the Valeyard told him. “Time Lords knowledge is no longer reliable. Techniques they’ve perfected are not working every time. There have been breakthroughs in fields that that had been fully explored. Certain Time Lords are having their biodata rewritten on a whim. Our once great race has been reduced to a level it would consider incompetant.”

Humans on the planet Earth had known for decades about DNA, the building blocks of life. However very few races had learnt the intricacies of biodata, the complete history and timeline of an individual. Some had speculated that biodata was related to the Morphin Grid – the multi-dimensional map that pinpointed the location of every particle in existence-, but given the Time Lords’ refusal to consider anything that could be considered magical, that had never investigated such a link. Altering the biodata of an individual changed their history and their future. Even small changes could have spectacular effects as the changes rippled through the biodata. However a corruption on the level the Valeyard spoke of was uncommon and could not have occurred in such a small timescale.

“And whoever has carried out those changes has prevented others from doing the same thing.” the Valeyard continued. “The Time Lords have already attempted to overwrite your biodata with my own. It should have simple given they are almost the same, but your biodata has changed so much that there is no longer a clear overlap.”

And there it was, laid out for him in simple terms. The Valeyard had kept him alive because the Time Lords were not in a position to give him his prize. Which also meant that the Time Lords still needed something either from the Valeyard or from the Doctor that the Valeyard could provide. And clearly the corruption of his biodata was severe if the attempts to repair it had failed meaning the Time Lords were all vulnerable. Biodata existed on a non-physical level out of reach of most beings and could only really be interpreted as mathematical equations. To manipulate it took special skills that only the Time Lords and a few higher dimensional beings possessed. While it could change over time, corruption was extremely rare and corruption to the extent the Valeyard implied was unheard of.

“They are naturally terrified of the implications if this is a new weapon of some sort,” the Valeyard told him. “Imagine the damage it could cause, to rewrite the biodata of an entire army. You could wipe them out without setting foot on the battlefield.”

“There’s more to it than that,” the Doctor guessed. “We’ve known how to use biodata as a weapon for centuries. Why has this got them so worried?”

“Because the changes made to you haven’t stopped yet,” the Valeyard told him. “Your biodata is still being edited and they haven’t managed to find the source. It’s little changes to things that would be insignificant, except you know how difficult it is to make the small changes. Your biodata is changing at a predetermined rate. We tried to slow the changes enough to understand them, but at some point your biodata was altered to be unreadable.”

“And that’s what this is all about,” the Doctor realised. “You put me in a modified prison chamber so that you could try to study my biodata while I was asleep. You thought the avatar would duplicate the biodata in a readable form.”

“And it did,” the Valeyard replied. “That’s why we know how many changes were made and when. We just don’t know why they were made and why they haven’t caught up to you yet.” He sneered. “The changes that we saw earlier were only the first of many. There are other changes filtering through your timeline, influencing those around you. Your continued existence is eroding the Web of Time, but your very existence has been hardwired into it so that simply killing you would cause it to shatter.”

The Doctor recalled that one of his previous companions had shown signs of having her DNA and biodata altered – although human biodata was so simple it might as well have been just DNA. He had never resolved the reason for the changes although he had accepted that it was partly his fault. Was it possible that the reason he had accidentally altered her biodata was because somebody had altered his to give him that ability? And if so, who?

“So that speech about a war and the need to prepare, everything you told me was all false?” the Doctor asked.

The Valeyard laughed. “Rule One: the Doctor lies. I’m a part of you Doctor, lies are natural. But I was not lying about the war; I might have forgotten to say which war."

"What do you mean which war, the one that has them so worried," the Doctor replied. He sensed the Valeyard was enjoying his confusion.

"Ah and therein lies the problem," the Valeyard explained. "The Time Lords may or may not be fighting a single war, but they are being attacked on two fronts by two different enemies. One they have always known about even if they refuse to name it and the other.. the other has the ability to topple them from power. Now of the two, which should they be more worried about?"

Of course the answer was obvious: an enemy that could cause them to lose their position as the dominant species in the Universe was far worse than an enemy they had feared since their people first discovered time travel. To negate and invalidate Time Lord science suggested something the Time Lords had long feared but rarely encountered: superior beings.

"Right now our people are faced with a war they have long feared and a battle to remain the masters of time and space. Our loss of knowledge suggests we will lose at least one of those battles if not both. The prophecy doesn’t state how the war will start or how it will end, but they suspect that you are there at the beginning of the war and at the end of both conflicts. They know that some of your past associates will will play a pivotal roles in the war, which is why they were given their freedom in the hope that their activities would throw events off course; the same deal would have been offered to you if it hadn’t been obvious you would turn it down."

There was something about what he said that made the Doctor pause for thought. The Time Lords believed they would lose the war, which was an outcome they wanted to change but were prevented from doing so by the second conflict. They were also desperate enough to offer an amnesty to known criminals yet they had invested a great number of resources to preventing his escape. The only conclusion was that they believed that he was somehow responsible for their eventual loss. Although that in turn raised the question of  why had they not decided to eliminate him?

“The war still hasn’t started yet,” he guessed.

“No, it’s been centuries since we last spoke and the Great Time War as our leaders want to call it, is still little more than a few skirmishes and some dirty tricks. And until they have found a way to emerge victorious, the war will not be allowed to start. We are in the middle of a temporal cold war that could break out into all out hostilities at any moment. And for all their supposed greatness, the High Council still does not know the identity of those we are supposed to fight.”

Then the Doctor understood. They thought that he was the one to start the war. The Time Lords had removed him from time and space to keep him from doing so because they could not find a way to win. But that meant they had to know how the war would end, which meant they had knowledge of the future it was not possible for them to possess.

“It will be a war that will break most of the Laws of Time, Doctor,” the Valeyard explained. “Both sides will use paradox as a weapon. The Web of Time is already damaged and by the end refugees from the war, those that are not immediate victims of the end will attempt to travel back to change it. And when they arrived, they warned the High Council of the Time Lords and they in turn tried to find a way to change the outcome. The High Council were unable to do so.”

In fact it was highly likely that just being aware of the coming war was enough to set those events in motion.

“So instead you decided to delay the inevitable by keeping me away from anywhere that might start a war,” the Doctor guessed. “But why the deception?”

“Come now Doctor, if I had told you the real reason you were being kept here you would have escaped immediately to try and find a way to avert the start of the war. You would have failed and likely accelerated events causing the war to happen sooner than expected. Instead we gave you a puzzle to solve and you reacted as expected. But the problem remains: what do we do with you now?”

It was a problem. They couldn’t put him back in the chamber now he had shown that he was unwilling to cooperate. They couldn’t kill him if his role in the beginning of the war was set in stone. Unless of course his death was the event that started the war. Given that he could probably escape any other cell they chose to place him in, the chances of them keeping him a prisoner were now non-existent. Therefore as reluctant as the Valeyard was to do so, the Doctor knew his only choice was to let him go.

“And what about ‘Morphin Grid’?” the Doctor asked.

No matter how desperate things became the Doctor could not envisage any event that would cause the Time Lords to alter reality on such a massive scale. Allowing the existence of magic was abhorrent to his species.

“We don’t know," the Valeyard admitted. "During the last days of the war, some of the survivors decided to try one last gambit to snatch victory. They travelled back to the very beginning and attempted to burn the enemy from existence at the very start. Their mission failed so badly they almost wiped out all life in the universe. The only choice they had was to reset everything, removing all the changes made by our people to influence the nature of this reality. This universe is the result. Unmapped and outside of our influence. At least we assume that is the reason why; for some reason travelling back to that time has become impossible and this could be a symptom of the other conflict.”

“Meddling with forces that you have no chance of comprehending, how typical of our people. Anything to stay in control,” the Doctor sneered. The Time Lords had sacrificed a reality they had shaped to be a place of order and science, just for a small chance of victory. “That’s it! It’s all about control. Events are not going as planned, the universe has started to reshape itself and the Time Lords no longer have the absolute control needed to stop it. They’re trying to regain control of it again, using the Earth as a focal point."

"Earth is a very powerful world for such an unassuming planet," the Valeyard told him. "It could be the key to victory."

"Well that stops now. Regardless of what you do to me, you will leave the Earth out of it. You will stay well away from Earth, its galaxy and all surrounding galaxies. The universe is big enough for you to have your war without involving them.”

“And if we don’t?” Valeyard asked, clearly intrigued.

“Then I will take whatever steps I think are necessary to make sure you do,” the Doctor answered. “I am willing to stand on the front line battling the enemy, it’s your choice who that enemy will be.”

It was a lie. The Doctor would never stand on the front line and fight. He was more likely to rush headlong into a shower of bullets holding a medical kit just to help an injured soldier.

“And you really think that they will take your threats seriously?” the Valeyard asked, sceptically.

“I think I know what my role in this war will be,” the Doctor answered. “And I think there are many outcomes to this war, but there are only two that matter: either the Time Lords will survive or they will not. And I think we both know that if they make me an enemy, their chances of surviving are not worth mentioning.”

“The Earth is too valuable for us to overlook, you know that,” the Valeyard argued. “You know how important that world could be if used properly and even if we agreed there are enemies out there that would not.”

The Doctor did know the power the Earth represented. It was a world rich with raw materials. It was also a world where various extra dimensional energy fields seemed to leak through providing unlimited power to those that knew how to tap into it. However in a war where both sides had access to time travel, the Earth represented an even greater power. For Earth was a nexus of probabilities that could be used against an enemy, turning countless battles in the favour of those that controlled it. He was aware that his people had interfered with Earth in the past in an attempt to use it as a weapon. That plan had failed and wiped out an entire civilisation. He would not let that happen again.

“I will fight anybody that tries. Go and fight your battles, but fight them somewhere else. Because if either side try to use Earth or its people, I will fight them and if necessary, I will destroy them. Take your war away from this world, this galaxy, this whole section of the universe. Go and fight in the dark places where there is no intelligent life. Let them fight on Gallifrey for a few years and then decide if the war is worth it. Take the battle to their world and see if they like it.”

They wouldn’t listen. At best they would pretend to heed his warning and back away while positioning their agents in readiness to use the planet. He could live with that so long as all they did was prepare. However the moment they changed their stance, he would oppose them. At the moment he knew they considered that an undesirable position.

“The High Council will never agree to your terms,” the Valeyard told him. “They are currently engaged in other matters and it will be some time before they decide to do anything drastic.”

Other matters, a euphemism to carrying out acts that went against the natural order of the universe. The Valeyard knew why the High Council had ordered complete access to the collective storage facility where the amassed wisdom of the Time Lords was kept. He knew why they had created massive numbers of looming facilities within which the Council could produce massive numbers of Time Lord soldiers. He even knew about the herds of war vessels they were growing in a secret part of the Time Vortex in readiness for war. That they were willing to bring a figure from Gallifrey’s past to life to guide them spoke of their desperation. It was also an act that would cause the Doctor to step in, which was why the Valeyard chose not to argue too much. Much better to send the fool on his way.

“I cannot guarantee that some of those rogue elements you used to associate with won’t take matters into their own hands,” he warned. "Your little Dodeca was never good at following the rules."

“I’ll deal with them when I have to,” the Doctor promised.

The Dodeca? That was wrong. Why was it wrong? He couldn’t remember. He remembered the group of twelve, no ten, no — definitely twelve peers and their time as renegades before they had gone their separate ways. They were collectively thought of as the lost generation of Gallifrey.

There was a loud buzzing noise and the Doctor’s TARDIS appeared. The Doctor spared him only a glance as he made his way inside and set the coordinates. The sooner he was away from his dark side, the better. The TARDIS seemed to agree, throwing itself into the time vortex and back to more familiar territory.

====

The High Council Chambers, Gallifrey

“We have heard your report and approve of everything you have done,” the President announced. “You have kept your side of out bargain so we will honour ours. The body you occupy shall remain yours and we will provide you with a new regenerative cycle. You will of course be expected to join your fellow Time Lords in the… struggle… to come.”

The Valeyard nodded.

“Now, what do you make of the Doctor’s warning?”

“He meant every word he said,” the Valeyard told him. “If we involve the Earth or any of the local galaxies, he will consider us the enemy. I recommend you ignore him and continue with your plans.” He waited for silence following the uproar that suggestion caused. Those present knew what an angry Doctor could do and the problems he could cause them. “The Doctor will become aware of your plans whether you want him to or not. At least once he is aware of what you are trying to do and why, he will dedicate his time to preventing you from succeeding. That will keep him from sticking his nose into other matters.” He paused to stare directly at the President, his face conveying that he knew at least some of the things the High Council were considering. “If he should uncover any of you other projects, well… he would probably hand you to the enemy himself.”

The Time Lords were building weapons of mass destruction on a cosmic scale in an arms race against an enemy that was far more capable in the ways of war. If the Doctor stopped them, they were bound to lose. Yes, it was far better to have him occupied while the work was completed before calling on him to complete his role.

End of Part

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**

The Invisible Prison

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or Doctor Who. They belong to their respective copyright owners.

The Invisible Prison

Is a man held within a cell he cannot see or hear, or sense in anyway still not a prisoner even though he believes himself free?

Somewhere

He became aware of his surroundings. He was in pain, absolute agony from the needles that had been implanted into his body. A mask had been attached to his face, allowing him to breathe and there was something poking into the back of his head. He reached up, aware of the viscous fluid that made moving difficult and grabbed the object. It was a tube, a thick cable that had been slotted into the upper part of his spine.

And then there was a click, followed by a whirling noise as the tubes retracted itself, causing the needles and other cables to pull themselves free. The mask on his face was torn away, leaving him to drown before the surface beneath him vanished and the fluid drained away.

And the darkness was transformed into glaring light.

====

“Welcome back, Doctor. You had me worried for a time there.”

He raised his head and regretted doing so. His head was thumping, a side effect from the trauma it had suffered.

“You were very lucky,” the voice continued. “You suffered a minor stroke as a result of bleeding inside your brain. As suicides go, that poison was not a painless method.”

“Where am I?” he asked. His mind was still affected by the recent trauma.

“An insignificant little research facility on a world that cannot possibly exist; trapped behind the event horizon of a black hole just as the star it recently swallowed turned into a super nova. I am told this world was once called Minitee; that’s a silent m, but be sure to pronounce it fully.”

“That’s impossible!” the Doctor snapped, realising as he did so that the contradiction had been exactly what was needed to give his higher reasoning a kick. With his awareness returning, he took the time to study his surrounding and was not surprised to find that he was exactly where he had been told – for while he couldn’t see the black hole or super nova, he could feel the competing gravitation effects.

With that confirmed he chose to study his captors. Most wore black and white tunics with a gold seal embroidered on the left shoulder. That identified them as the lowest tier of technicians from his home planet. Not really surprising given that there were very few who were capable of trapping and holding him for more than a short time. Keeping his mind subdued but active was one way to extend the time before he realised something was wrong.

With the knowledge that he was in familiar, but far from friendly hands, he turned his attention to the person that had addressed him earlier. There was a meeting of minds as they telepathically introduced themselves – for Time Lords preferred to identify each other using telepathy given how easily the senses could be fooled. As usual upon making contact with a familiar mind, his memory recovered the memories of their previous meetings and replayed them at an accelerated rate, merging the person he had known with the stranger before him. As it did so his brain identified the emotions that person projected, in this case hatred and darkness. The pieces click together and he knew what he was addressing.

What, not who. For he did not view the being before him as a person. It was a creature, an abomination brought to life by a corrupt society to try and cover their crimes. It was called the Valeyard and was an enemy he had hoped never to see again. He remembered the previous times they had met, but then the Doctor had not known that in reality it was just a temporal possibility of a being that would arise from his own dark side.

In his younger days the Doctor had not always been a good man. He had aspired to be a person that would make things better, but inside he knew that there had been rage and anger and darkness. He had suppressed the darkness, keeping it hidden beneath the surface instead of dealing with his emotions and in doing so had allowed it to grow. His enemies had found a way to extract that darkness and had given it a temporary body. They had promised that if it managed to defeat the Doctor it would become a proper Time Lord.

Fortunately he had defeated it with a little help from some unlikely allies, but it had escaped in the chaos that had ensued. And now it seemed it had found its way into the good graces of its former masters and gained itself a position of authority.

But why did it exist. The Doctor had spent centuries following his encounter with the Valeyard meditating. He had confronted the darkness with and purged the things that he believed would lead to the Valeyard’s creation. It seemed that his attempt to prevent it had failed.

“Oh Doctor, you can’t erase me no matter how many changes you try to make,” the Valeyard told him. "I was made to be a fixed point in your timeline. You can’t prevent my existence because if you did I would not exist for you to defeat me. And where would you be now Doctor if you had not taken steps to purge that darkness? At some point during your final incarnation, I will be extracted from your timeline and given form. You cannot prevent it and if you did you would condemn billions of innocents. Accept it: I will emerge.”

“You’ve changed though,” the Doctor noted.

He hadn’t failed to notice that the Valeyard claimed to emerge during his final life, not as he had been told previously at a point between the Doctor’s Twelfth and final regeneration.

The Valeyard chuckled. “There have been amendments to your life expectancy that meant I didn’t emerge exactly when they planned. When we first met I was the amalgamation of the anger and rage you kept suppressed throughout your very long life. All that murderous intent just waiting to boil over. So many feelings and thoughts and desires, too much darkness for you to erase it completely. But then you became aware of me and how I formed. You changed your behaviour and with it you altered my nature.”

“So you’re claiming not to be my dark side anymore?” the Doctor asked.

The Valeyard laughed, shaking his head in wonderment of how naive the Doctor had been when he was younger. It was a cruel and mocking laugh.

“I am and always will always be what you consider to be your dark side, Doctor. No matter how hard you try to change it you will fail; any time you feel a slight pleasure in watching the downfall of an enemy, any cruel remark or desire to throttle an unhelpful official, your darker nature will emerge. You’ve let go of the murderous intent and the desire to lash out… all the things that helped mould my being. But you cannot eliminate all of it. Right now I am a representation of your dark side. As your personality grow darker or perhaps lighter, I will change to represent the darkness within. It’s very subjective but I am only a reflection of your nature and compared to your — our — earlier self, there is less darkness there to reflect.”

It made sense in a twisted sort of way. The Valeyard was a snapshot of the Doctor’s darkness at any given time and depending on when the Doctor encountered it would affect how it appeared to him. Had it appeared during his first incarnation it would have been completely ruthless, seeking out its idea of paradise and then destroying it just to prevent it from changing. It would have been the reflection of an old man that was prepared to kill a savage in order to get his own way. If he had met him during his seventh incarnation, the Valeyard would have been manipulative, unrepentant and ruthless; a cold methodical madman fully at ease that his actions were for a greater good.

“So what are you now?” the Doctor asked. “Remove all the murder and the anger, and the bitterness. What is there left to give you form?”

“I’m the one thing you can’t stop yourself from hating,” Valeyard replied. “I am the personification of your self-loathing. I’m the part of you that bullied, manipulated and eventually engineered the death of your previous self just to fit your needs. I represent everything you hate about yourself and you are everything I hate. In the end locking you up here, and watching you exist in a state of non-being was intensely gratifying.”

Around him the Doctor was aware of the technicians making adjustments to the machinery. Clearly this discussion was intended to distract him from the need to escape. So far, it was working.

“For evil exists where good men do nothing,” the Valeyard continued. “And I’ve been helping to make sure that you’ve had little chance to do anything besides gaining a few pressure sores.”

As he spoke the memories returned. The Doctor remembered the trap, being captured and then spending months within some sort of capsule, alone. He recalled how a projection of himself had been sent to an alternate Earth alongside Samantha and the adventures they had had there. He remembered how the Valeyard had used him as a bridge between the two realities, allowing Minion to visit and observe a tournament as Valeyard tried to convince the villain to change his ways. Except he hadn’t been trying to change him, rather the Valeyard had been manipulating Minion, directing the clone on a path that would lead to the creation of the alternate reality he visited. In a way the Time Lords were responsible for creating a small multiverse that revolved around Minion and his shattered soul.

“So why did you stop?” the Doctor asked. “You could have continued playing with my mind indefinitely. What’s changed?”

“Simple survival,” the Valeyard told him. “I know your mind Doctor. I know the things you’ve done to protect yourself and the traps you’ve built to make sure you cannot be toyed with. You’ve been inside the world of the Matrix and the equipment available here is sadly lacking in comparison. Your mind started to doubt the illusion and when it did so it triggered one of those defence mechanisms you picked up. Your mind started to close down, disrupting the process and causing a feedback loop. If we hadn’t removed you there was a chance you would have destroyed the entire facility.”

To the Doctor that made sense. The Valeyard wanted to exist as a real being, not a mere anomaly. That meant that sooner or later he would need to clash with the Doctor in a battle of wills, the winner claiming the ultimate prize of existing. But the Valeyard knew that confrontation could not happen yet. In a previous incarnation he would not have cared, but for now they needed the Doctor. And the Valeyard was certain that time would make the Doctor vulnerable once again.

“There was a war spoken about in the old times. Do you remember the semester your class spent studying the old legends. The ancients knew it was coming they just didn’t know when so over time it was ignored. The truth is that even when they predicted the war, it had already started. It’s been waging all this time and the High Council failed to see what was happening. The Time Lords have fallen behind Doctor, far behind an enemy that is already positioned through time and space, but the first shots have yet to be fired.

"Both sides are building their military and trying to undermine the other side. There have been only a few minor battles, but the ferocity of the fighting is growing. Our people have drawn up complex battle plans with the help of detailed knowledge of the future but as it stands, the plans they have been given are for war that has been fought and lost. The War Chiefs struggle to change those plans without stopping to ask themselves what they did that caused them to lose the first time. They’re playing games with time against an enemy that is just as adept at playing that game and had a head start – not to mention a backdoor to their greatest secrets. Soon they will become desperate and when they do they will become just as dangerous as the enemy. And you Doctor will be spending most of your time making sure that they keep their war to themselves.”

“And where do you fit into all this? Temporal anomalies like you can’t exist for long without outside help.”

“The Time Lords recruited me,” the Valeyard explained. “And others like me. They needed you out of the way so that they would have more time to prepare for the war without your… conscience interfering. They used me to make sure you remained ignorant of your situation. My knowledge of how your mind works was invaluable, mainly because I knew that sooner or later you would realise the truth.”

The use of the Time Lord prison known as Shada had been the perfect place to keep the Doctor, but the Time Lords knew from past experience that the strongest of prisons was not enough to stop the Doctor from interfering. And that was why they had located the Valeyard in the non-space where he had been depositied, promising him a limited existence in return for his services. And he in turn had manipulated the Doctor’s memories — his memories, suppressing the events surrounding his previous visit to Angel Grove, his separation from Samantha and the trap he had walked into. From there it had been easy to project the Doctor into another reality where the events played out and the Doctor was free to do as he wished without affecting the Time Lords’ plans.

But the Valeyard was aware of how dangerous the Time Lords had become and with his existence threatened he had decided that the time had come to unleash the one force capable of making them see sense: the Doctor. First though he needed to impress upon the Doctor how dire the situation had become.

“The problem Doctor is that this was not supposed to happen. You were supposed to return to Angel Grove, set down long enough to understand how bad things have become and then leave. I never expected you to bring the human with you. I’m not sure how you accomplished that anyway since she no longer exists in this reality. But then I suppose that would be a side effect of the compression.”

“Compression?” the Doctor queried, his mind racing to slot all the pieces into place. “Time is being squeezed and accelerated? Why?”

The Valeyard chose to look out over the suddenly spectacular view of Angel Grove. He had not noticed it at first, but then slowly events had seemed to accelerate, skipping ahead without warning. It was most obvious when watching the Doctor’s allies the Power Rangers and their enemies. Whole battles seemed to begin and then fast forward to the end. Evil Rangers had arisen and were next seen free of whatever means had been used to control them. He couldn’t even recall their names although he knew they had existed. The sudden return of Lord Zedd, the struggle between the Rangers and their enemies on multiple fronts… even Zordon’s capture… key events of history were being preserved but the story surrounding them had been washed away.

And he knew that the Time Lords were responsible, just as they were the ones that had kidnapped the majority of Earth’s heroes, erasing their existence from the rest of the world as they tried to build an army of super warriors. Of course their plan would not succeed any more than their attempts to use alien monsters as cannon fodder and in the end they had had to return the majority of those they had abducted. Their enemy was time active and no matter how powerful an army was, if the enemy could shift across time as well as space and they couldn’t, they were useless.

“The Time Lord’s have been using this world for their experiments,” he said. “They’ve been taking advantage of the Earth’s rather unique nature to help them create their super weapons.”

That was true. While the population was not considered very advanced by Gallifrey standards, the Earth was a very powerful planet. Over time it had been theorised the planet was a nexus point of probability where alternate realities intercepted. That was why Time Lords needed to be wary when travelling near the planet not to get drawn into a different time stream. It was why despite being easy to manipulate, history was extremely resilient where the little planet was concerned.

“Why Earth?”

Valeyard gave him a cruel smile.

“Because of you, Doctor. They have seen the forces that the people of this world have repelled with your help and they believe that they can harness such a force. They wanted the Earth’s heroes, so they took them, leaving only those that have likely come into contact with you. Is it any wonder they started messing with forces they didn’t completely grasp, ripping tears into the fabric of reality and forcing time to compress just so they could buy a little more time?”

The Doctor shook his head. The Time Lords were so desperate that they were willing to commit unspeakable acts in the hope that they would somehow stumble upon the key to a Time Lord victory. And then he realised that it was not those creations that the Time Lords sought, it was whatever arose to counter them. They were forcing the humans, the universe even to give them a blueprint for a new army.

“It’s strange really that the reason the Time Lords’ desire to win has required them to sacrifice everything they hold dear,” Valeyard continued. “They have even found a way to rationalise the existence of magic. They can access forces they previously dared not dream about and turn them into a scientifically explainable weapon.”

Time Lords had a natural fear and hatred of magic hard wired into their genetic codes. Only certain renegades seemed to be able to bypass the restrictions normally. If not for that oddity, there was no way the Master could have ever rationalised his contact with demons as aliens beyond the dimensional void. Oh there were limits, the Doctor doubted any of his former associates would be able study or manipulate the Morphin Grid. That would move beyond mere rationalisation and into the realms of insanity. But that raised the question of how the Morphin Grid could be there in the first place when magic was erased from existence by the Time Lords?

“They’ve had help of course,” Valeyard explained. “The compression of time is a side effect of the Time Lords twisting the personal timelines of their comrades, making it possible for them to exist in the present, and the near present where they have proven able assistants. And while the protectors of this world have been distracted by their recent adventures, the Time Lords have continued their work in the background, working on projects to aid the Time Lord war effort.”

And then it occurred to the Doctor that the Time Lords had gone too far. They had extended their influence not only into the affairs of Earth and the nature of magic, but were trying to manipulate the ongoing war between Good and Evil, concepts they could barely understand. And all so that when they war came they would have a slim hope of changing the outcome in their favour. Somehow the Doctor doubted that would occur.

“So why am I here?” he quickly added: “Awake I mean.”

“To stop them of course,” the Valeyard told him. “Think of it as a choice Doctor: your precious planet Earth or the chance of a Time Lord victory. Which would you chose? Which do you value most, your own planet or your adopted home? How far are you prepared to allow this war to spread before you take action. How far are you willing to let either side go before you meddle in their plans even if it costs them the war?”

And whichever choice he made the Doctor knew that it would only bring about pain and suffering. And to see he suffer and question his decision, to watch as he agonised over an impossible choice. That was what the Valeyard desired. And the Doctor had no choice. He knew that he would never bring himself to fight a war for either side, but he was prepared to fight both sides on behalf of those that could not.

“And now you have been made aware the question is whether you are prepared to put your rules aside for them?” the Valeyard told him.

What followed was a list of the atrocities the Time Lords had already committed to prepare for war. They had already broken the rules of time, breaking through the temporal buffers surrounding their planet’s past to retrieve genetic samples of long dead peers. The genetic looms used for breeding new Time Lords had been altered to recreate bodies using that DNA as a template. The repository of Time Lord Knowledge, known as the Matrix, had been pillaged to fill those bodies with the memories and intellects of the beings they resembled. All so that the Time Lord’s ranks were swelled with some of the most intelligent and sadistic leaders an army could need – all of them soulless travesties.

Then to make matters worse, they had released their prisoners, offering suspended sentences in return for military service. For the cause of victory those crimes they had committed in the past were considered tactics. Amoral scientists, deviants, corruptors of innocents… all were welcomed so long as their methods helped to build the military might that was needed. And those that had been involved with the Doctor directly, his enemies? They too had been offered the forgiveness of their people if they could prove themselves useful. Some had received bribes far beyond money and power.

“No, I can see that you’re not ready to do that… yet. Did you know it took seven attempts before you finally broke free?” the Valeyard asked. “The first time you became so immersed in the mental simulator we had to remove you before you transferred your mental capacity to the device. After that with each attempt your mind became more and more able to pick the world apart and notice the inconsistencies.”

“And now?” the Doctor asked. He noticed the Valeyard gesture to one of the technicians and felt the prick of a needle.

"Now that your body has healed you will return to sleep until we have need of you. By that time I’m certain you will be willing to do whatever needs to be done."

The chamber started to close as the Doctor struggled to overcome the sedative. His hand touched the something in his pocket and he smiled as he realised that his situation was not hopeless after all. Where there was a screwdriver, there was a way.

End of Part

The Mysterious Refugee – Dark World

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the Mouse. This is a not for profit fan series. The first few scenes of this story belong to Ellen Brand.
Author’s note: This story takes place in the Conquest of Evil Multiverse and shares its alternate time line. In case anybody is wondering, the basis of this story was written by Ellen Brand as part of a series called Fallen Heroes, which was later picked up and abandoned by Hellfire.

The Mysterious Refugee – Dark World

“Just who is this guy?”

====

A different Earth,

Earth had lost its heroes. Most were killed, a few had been taken by the invading forces to be transformed into servants of evil. A few had remained at large but were tracked down and eliminated in a very short time. Indeed only Justin Stewart had survived for more than a few years. Justin had been given the power of Turbo by a dying alien. Justin had never learnt the visitor’s name for it had died after presenting him with the powers. Had Zordon been available Justin might have asked him, but the Command Center had been destroyed during the war and contact with Zordon had been lost.

Justin had lived on, his powers keeping him in a state of near paralysis, his body shattered following a fall. He should have of his injuries, but fate had decided to punish him for a while longer. He never knew who had pulled him from the brink of death that day or who had spent the next two years watching over him as he slumbered. During that time the medics had done their best to save him. His broken bones had been set and reconstructed using metal plates, screws and supports to hold them together. At the time it had been hoped that he would recover enough to one day walk with a brace. That was not to be though and a year later Justin Stewart died of an infection caused by his injuries.

That was when the doctors had turned their attention to the room’s other patient. While Justin had been a Power Ranger, even though he had only held the power a few months, he had never been expected to free the world from the demon’s grasp. He had been a source of information, which the various leaders of the Underground had used to further their cause. Most importantly, he had given them the history of the Power Rangers and the identity of all the Rangers he had known either personally or by reputation.

That information had allowed them to seek out the individual they could use. They somehow managed to trace the families of former Rangers, seeking out likely relatives they could use. One particular tale led them to Marcus Oliver. Marcus was a distant relation of Tommy Oliver, a Power Ranger from Angel Grove. Since Marcus was alive and in theory possessed some genetic traits with Tommy, he made an ideal candidate.

After he had been located, genetic material had been extracted and mixed with that of a member of Katherine Hilliard’s family. After further genetic grafts, including alterations to make the child age faster, they made a weapon they called Nathan Oliver. It was a sign of desperation that with such limited resources available, the Underground chose to put all their efforts into the creation of a single combatant.

In the years that followed they watched the child grow, shaping him from an early age into the hero that Earth needed. His parents had unexpectedly died after he was born. Sometimes they would throw the child into the simulator for days on end, pushing him until he collapsed. Had Zordon known that in the future his choice of humans would lead to an innocent child being turned into a weapon, he might have reconsidered. No child deserved that sort of life. When Nathan was old enough to survive in the world outside of the facility, he was placed in the sewers under Angel Grove with instructions on what to do next.

From the sewers he moved to a small township just a few kilometres from Los Angeles. There he would put into practice all the things he had learnt in order to stay alive. As the years passed Nathan grew from a scrawny child into young man ready to make his next move.

Faking an identity had been difficult for Nathan. It wasn’t easy to just cook up a new set of papers, but finding a way to get them placed in the records of the few reliable data sources proved problematic. The resistance movement was geographically based, each area relying on a local database. If you weren’t on the database progressing into the resistance cell’s inner circle was next to impossible.

He had been aided by the mass computer failure that had followed the invasion. The Internet had remained although much of its data had been lost. Using skills one of the kids in Los Angeles had taught him, he had managed to create a new identity on a national level and then inserted fractured details onto the local networks. It had worked and he had been able to claim that most of his details had been wiped. He was never fully trusted, but he had access to the information he needed

He kept the name Nathan Oliver although he didn’t understand its importance. He moved around the country, aiding the various resistance movements as he made his way back to the ruined city of Angel Grove where he came into contact with the Underground. They had taken him in and given him shelter. In return for a few jobs that he did for them, he was mostly left alone. He laid low, biding his time while he tried to find a way to address a problem that those that created him had never managed to resolve: how to repair a damaged morpher.

The Turbo Key had been recovered from Justin’s body; other morphers had been retrieved from a number of sources including a former Blue Ranger’s sock draw. An expedition into the mountains outside of Angel Grove had a damaged crystal of unknown origin and they had recovered the individual items needed to access the power of the Morphin Grid. Nathan had never asked how his benefactors were aware of all those things and they had never seen fit to enlighten him.

The fact remained that in his hands Nathan Oliver held the powers used by some of Earth’s former protectors. He was for all intents and purposes the most powerful Ranger in history. Yet for all the power sources at his disposal, he was powerless because he lacked the technology to use them.

The solution when he had finally discovered it was not at all pleasant. It had been a chance discovery that had led him to retrieve the battered remains an Alpha Unit in the sewers under Angel Grove; at the time he hadn’t known what it was called. Somehow when the Command Center had been breached, some of the lower storage chambers had been washed into the city’s sewerage system. Over the years humans had passed the wreckage, but none had realised its importance.

Alpha Eight was the machine’s official designation, but Nathan called him Tweeki. It had limited functionality, but then it was little more than a processor, sound board and a scavenged security camera. It had been able to explain to him about the Power Rangers and for the first time he had somebody that could guide him.

“You have enough powers here to conquer the planet single-handedly,” Tweeki told him. “You could make a whole team of Rangers.”

“But who do I ask?” Nathan pondered.

“Not so fast there,” Tweeki cautioned. “First you have to get some of these thinga-me-jiggies working first.”

With Tweeki to help him the work had started to turn the broken pieces of the past into working morphers. It was difficult since he had never seen a working model and there had been the additional problem that the parts that had been damaged differed from one morpher type to the other and the components were not easily found. In the end he had been forced to split the transformation devices into groups and then cannibalise the individual units to make one or two working models. When that failed he was forced to combine the different technologies to create one device that could be deemed functional even if it was a positive health hazard.

“If you use that thing you risk blowing a whole in the planet,” Tweeki had warned.

The android had been occupied with other tasks and had not had the opportunity to oversee Nathan’s activities. When he did, every warning sensor in his body had been triggered. The crystalline receivers used to channel energy into the Turbo Keys had been combined to provide a single output for the multitude of devices Nathan had somehow wired together. It appeared that the young man had broken just about every safety regulation regarding morphing technology, overloading a subspace pocket in order to disguise the immensity of his project. In the end all but one component had been assembled and it was this one that had kept Nathan from attempting to use the completed apparatus.

“You cannot morph, Nathan,” Tweeki had insisted. “Without fitting an energy regulator this monstrosity could explode and kill all those you’re trying to save. And if you fit the ones you have you still won’t have a complete shut off; the powers consume you.”

“So if I choose to become a Ranger?”

“You would would not become a Ranger. You would become something else. You would cease to be human. Your body could be permanently changed.”

“Okay, so that’s out of the question. We need another plan Tweeki,” Nathan declared, looking at the robot speculatively.

“You’re not asking much, are ya?” Tweeki’s speech processor was unreliable, constantly changing dialects and languages, sometimes so bad that even Tweeki couldn’t understand the words emerging from his speaker. It was not according to the machine an uncommon fault. An earlier model had featured an accent and speech patterns that had a tendency to slip from Brooklyn, to an almost feminine tone, to a very robotic sounding voice. Then he noticed the way Nathan was looking at him. “Bidi-bidi-bidi. Oh no you don’t buddy, hands off the metal.”

A short time later Alpha wished that he had been left in the sewer.

The work continued as the months and years passed. Occasionally they would check some part of the morpher, but never allowed it to fully activate. Nathan’s body had been reinforced during his early years with materials intended to protect his bones and strengthen his muscles. The result was that he was partially inorganic. He had suggested that his altered body he could survive the abusive energies they were attempting to use. Tweeki had replied that it was more likely that his organic parts that would be stripped away, leaving only the inorganic parts.

Nathan had been given the DNA from a wide selection of Rangers. The idea was that all the positive attributes of those Rangers would combine to make him a better warrior. One of his donors had been Lord Trey of Triforia although how the scientists gained that sample was unclear. That DNA would prove to be the answer to Nathan’s problem, although not in the way he had expected.

While the many villains fought amongst themselves for control of the conquered planet, Razak had been charged with the task of ensuring the total domination of the planet; there were places he had not bothered to monitor. In one such place a new team of Rangers had somehow appeared. They had been destroyed quickly, but it was that development that had caused him to order the complete obliteration of the area for miles around. He had no way of knowing that the powers had been gifted to the people of Earth by the last survivors of Triforia. The siblings of the former Gold Ranger had undertaken a perilous mission to remove the Golden Power Staff from the Machine King’s grasp and ensure that it was placed in the hands of a successor.

With the Golden Power Staff, a symbol of the Gold Ranger powers, in their possession, they had made a desperate journey to Earth. But before they had been able to pass the Golden Power Staff on, the Furies, a team of semi-human warriors who had been created by Lord Zedd and his wife to serve Razak’s army, had arrived. The battle had been brutal as the deadly warriors had seemingly enjoyed the suffering they caused the Triforians. The siblings had been forced to split up.

The Furies had pursued the siblings around the Earth. They had concentrated on finding Trion the one that had given powers to a small resistance group, not realising that it was Trianna who carried the Golden Power Staff. By doing so they allowed Trianna and Nathan to meet.

Trianna had been dying when Nathan had found her, and it seemed that nothing he had attempted could stem the flow of blood. Before he finally left her, believing that she was dead, she had given him Golden Power Staff, somehow sensing that within his genetic makeup was sufficient DNA to prevent the side effects that previous Earthlings had endured. It had been enough to give Earth a second chance.

Meanwhile the Furies had taken to have a little fun hunting down the human resistance. They served as the Razak’s trouble-shooters while secretly keeping an eye on the lesser demon for their real master.

It was just weeks later that Nathan was forced to test his new powers. Tweeki had found a way to phase the energy flowing through the morpher, meaning that when used at its minimum setting, he could force a shutdown. It was not a real solution and should he ever need more than the minimum of power, he would still find himself in a dangerous situation. It had started with a morning briefing with the Underground’s leader.

“Captain Oliver, reporting for duty, Ma’am,” Nathan saluted as he walked into the briefing area. Major Carrington nodded.

“Where’s the rest of your team, Captain?” she asked curiously.

“Here we are, Ma’am,” replied Matt Corbett, rushing in at the head of the group. “We got a little held up. Adelle was having some problems with the kids, and he asked for our help.”

Major Carrington nodded. “Understandable. Now that all six of you are here, I have your newest assignment. A shipment of food and medicine will be headed into one of the clinics in town by Route 35. I need the five of you to raid it. Here’s the list of necessary food and medicine. Remember, this is a raid. In and out, don’t stop. I know you all have grudges against the Empire, but this is not the time to indulge them. Understood?”

The five younger soldiers nodded. “Yes Ma’am. We understand,” Nathan replied for all of them.

“Dismissed, then.” With salutes, the six left the briefing room.

“So how are we going to attack this, fearless leader?” Anna Diamond asked. Anna had lived in Reefside when the first attacks had started. She and a few of her school friends had been helped into hiding in the woods surrounding the city by the Red Ranger shortly before he had been killed. Those who had stayed there had eventually managed to get into the networked shelter provided by Underground, the largest resistance cell in the area.

“I’m not sure yet. Tasha, what’s the area like?”

The woman known as Tasha shrugged. “It’s on the outskirts of town, and the road passes through a narrow canyon. I figure we can probably hit them when they pass through the narrowest point. Their weapons will be useless, and with the way our stunner bolts ricochet, we’ll be able to hit them even if we aren’t aiming at them.”

“I have something new to try,” Kat Manx offered. She was a blockade runner who along with a small team had managed to reach Earth when her own planet had fallen. Now she served as a technician and data interpreter. She was older than the rest of the team by more than fifty years and in addition to training the humans to fight back, had helped deal with some of the personality conflicts that had arisen during the early years. She pulled out a set of round metal balls. “Short wave disruptors. It should help you get close.”

Franklin Park, another Angel Grove survivor nodded. “It’s worth a try.”

“Sam?”

“We should probably attack from all sides, at once. They’ll never know what hit them and we can be gone before they wake up.”

Sam Collins was from North Valley and an accomplished hacker. He had been there when his school had been destroyed. He and his family had fled, but months later they had been found and his parents had been struck down. Sam and a few of his friends had taken refuge in an underground cellar. They had remained there until everyone had left and had missed the rescue parties that had swept through just days later. It had taken weeks before they had found somebody willing to help them after that. As young as they had been at the time, it was a wonder that they had survived.

“All right,” Nathan decided, pulling the team into a huddle. He was the youngest member of the team by at least twelve years, yet they listened to his instructions. “Here’s what we do…”

“See it?” Franklin whispered, hours later. Nathan nodded.

“Yeah. Let’s go. Nice and easy.” The raid went exactly as planned. The guards were disabled almost immediately, and the five began to unload the supplies they needed from the transports. Nathan looked around grimly. “This is almost too easy.”

“Don’t say that!” Anna cried as six columns of light marked the arrival of the enemy. “You’ll jinx us!”

“Too late,” Nathan gulped as he laid eyes on Razak. “Scatter! Get that stuff back to the Underground!”

“What are you going to do?” Franklin cried back.

“I’ll try and keep him busy,” returned Nathan, turning to face the newcomer.

“Is that really him?” Franklin asked as his eyes picked out the lead villain.

Sam nodded, he remembered watching as the creature before them had torn his father apart in front of him. After that he had spent days in a stupor, unable to call for help when it finally arrived.

“That’s him, that’s Razak,” he confirmed as they quickly departed with the supplies.

“Your friends are gone, little man,” Razak said as he watched them vanish.

“Good, that means I won’t have to explain things,” Nathan said coldly. “Let’s rock!” The two began to circle each other.

“You’re a fool to stand against me,” Razak sneered, watching Nathan warily. “What do you hope to accomplish?”

“I already did it,” Nathan chuckled. “My friends got away while you were concentrating on me.”

“So noble, just like the Power Rangers. Oh, I forgot… they’re dead. My master destroyed them.”

“Not as dead as you think,” Nathan shot back, still looking for an escape route.

“Your end is near, human,” Razak laughed, slowly advancing on the youth who for some reason seemed unafraid. “Perhaps you should start begging now?”

“I’m not going to beg, the Rangers never begged…” Nathan told him defiantly.

Mentally Nathan was berating himself for being so stupid. He wasn’t ready to face this villain now; he needed more time to complete the repairs.

“How would you know kid, you weren’t even there when my master destroyed them?”

“Power Rangers never give up!” Nathan told him. It was something Tweeki had told him and he had come to believe it.

“No, they don’t. But being brave didn’t help them stay alive now did it? Being smart and running, never looking back… that would have allowed them to last a little longer… perhaps.” He chuckled. “If you ask nicely, I’ll make sure you don’t suffer the way they did.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Nathan snarled. “The Rangers of the past are gone, now you have to face something new.”

“Really, I don’t see any Rangers coming out of the woodwork, just a child that doesn’t know when to run. I have the power of darkness running through me and you are nothing,” Razak warned.

Nathan didn’t move, staring down his opposition. The challenge had been made and he wasn’t going to back down.

Razak chuckled. When he had been turned loose upon the world he had expected the humans to fall before him and beg for mercy. That had not happened. They had fought him and in doing so their suffering had only been prolonged. It was a game that he had enjoyed playing since it had made him stronger. Still he had been surprised at how the humans continued to resist despite the inevitable fate that awaited them. In some cases he had been forced to destroy entire islands when the population came too close to finding a weapon to use against him. He knew Bandora and others had done the same.

But now the game was coming to an end. He had heard rumours that some of the cells that had managed to hold out against his hordes were planning to launch a strike against him, believing that it was still the capital of his master’s empire. While he welcomed the bloodshed such an attack would cause, it meant they were getting braver. So it was time to end the little contest by destroying all opposition. He would use whatever force they sent against him and turn it back on its creators. The resulting fires would burn the world and he would dedicated the sacrifice to his master, secure in the knowledge tat he had accomplished something far greater than Bandora, Zedd, Master Vile, the Machine King or Divatox to hope for.

While Razak was gloating, Nathan had been studying his foe. The villain was different to how he had imagined him to be. Perhaps this is not his true form. His helmeted face showed a few scrapes from various attempts to stop him, his confidence showed that he believed that he was in full control of the situation, that he alone rule this world. Nathan had visited several of the concentration camps in recent years and knew that if anything Razak’s hordes used methods of enforcement that were harsher than any medieval regime. Torture and public executions were frequent, strict work quotas were brutally enforced as sectors not meeting his constantly increasing demands were ransacked.

Since being summoned by as the Harbinger of Doom, Razak had picked a new town every six months and had obliterated it as a show of power. Even now he maintained that tradition. Usually he chose his target at random, but this time he had decided to prove that nowhere was safe from his justice.

“Tell me before I kill you, what is your name?”

“Nathan Oliver.”

“How very fitting. The would-be Power Ranger shares a surname with one of those that failed to protect this planet. Ah yes, I remember now, you’re the anomaly that appeared a while ago. My forces searched the entire Underground to learn your identity. They should have guessed that you were using false documents. Even when they hacked into the Underground’s computer network they couldn’t find a trace of your identity.”

Nathan just smirked back. If he was going to die here, today, then he would do so knowing that in the end he had managed to keep something from the villains that had destroyed his world.

“Maybe the Underground doesn’t record all members,” he offered.

Razak laughed. “Impossible, it’s an important part of the initiation that all members have their names checked. Nobody can escape the name search, that’s why I had them make it part of the initiation.” He waited, allowing Nathan to grasp what he was suggesting. He could sense the moment the boy understood as his head snapped up. “That’s right, this whole game that has been played out for the last decade has been directed by my master. Think about it, who else would have dared to organise a resistance against him? He founded the resistance so I could track down the troublemakers, the Underground started as his idea, but has always been my plaything; I’ve found it to be an amusing game.”

“You shouldn’t worry about who I am,” Nathan told him. “You should worry about what I can do.”

“And what can you do, fire a gun?” he asked. Was that hope in his voice? Was Razak really that bored? “No, that couldn’t be it, you’re too confident for that. Maybe… no, impossible… those powers were destroyed years ago.”

“Not destroyed, just damaged,” Nathan explained. “And nothing is impossible if you’re prepared to work for it.”

“And now you plan to use them? Don’t waste your time human, the Rangers of old relied on those powers and the last one could barely hold his uniform together. They offered no protection when he needed them the most, they failed.”

“Well, they weren’t perfect,” Nathan admitted. “I tried to fix them and failed. So I improvised.”

“So you’re smarter than you look,” the demon said. “Let’s see if you have what it takes, shall we? Take him my minions!”

It was a good way to gauge Nathan’s skill before he finished him. He observed the youth as he fought. The boy- no, Nathan was a man and demonstrated a great deal of confidence. He was impressed that while Nathan fought hard against his soldiers, he also used them to keep the stronger warriors at bay.

“Aspect Changer!”

Nathan concentrated on summoning his transformation devices. In the end he had combined the technology of the Turbo Keys and the Golden Power Staff along with the other morphers. Individually they had been too badly damaged, but he had been able to cannibalise them to create a single working unit.

On his back he had strapped what Tweeki had designated a Power Box, which he had gutted and turned into a container for the five Turbo Keys, an old morpher, a Power Coin, and the sawn off shaft of the Golden Power Staff. His attempts to use the Triforian power source had failed. A thick cable led from the Power Box down the left arm to where he had placed one half of a Zeoniser he had gotten somewhere. A similar cable ran down the right arm to the other part of the Zeoniser and drew power from the Zeo Crystal he had stored in subspace. Silently he brought the two parts together, activating the complicated circuit and transforming himself into his new form.

Razak’s eyes narrowed. The boy had access to Ranger technology and had clearly managed to make a single working model, which meant that this child was indeed the last Ranger. He observed that this costume was a dark shade of red with a grid of thin green lines for contrast. It was also armour as opposed to simple fabric. The design had a shoulder shield that was a combination of the Green Ranger’s outfit combined with the Gold Ranger’s uniform. In his left hand he held a long rectangular shield and in his right hand he carried a blaster.

Nathan charged at the grunts, his modified blaster unleashing bolts of frozen air, shattering their armour while leaving them mostly unharmed as he shifted from one position to the next. His shield made an effective battering ram when he tilted it to act like a wedge, forcing the various soldiers out of his way. Lacking in raw strength, Nathan had concentrated using his knowledge to his advantage. On the downside, he had been unable to duplicate the reactive protection that he believed was an intrinsic part of the previous powers. That meant that he was vulnerable should one of his opponents land a hard blow, but having some armour was better than nothing in his opinion. Besides, the shield did help to make up for the rest of his suit’s shortcomings.

He was a blur in motion, the five sets of Turbo Keys having contributed to his capabilities and his Triforia enhanced senses gave him the ability to anticipate his opponents’ moves. His handheld weapon came with a handy extendable club, an effective means of dealing with opponents. He easily avoided the augmented aliens’ attacks, using his side arm to take out multiple foes.

“Impressive,” Razak commended as Nathan rendered the last trooper unconscious. “But there are always more.”

A large explosion signalled the arrival of a second squadron, all prepared for action. Nathan used the safety catch on his pistol to switch its ammunition to an alternative type. When he fired it, the weapon unleashed a widespread burst of high frequency sonic waves. The troops placed their hands to their helmeted heads as Nathan took advantage of a flaw he had uncovered in their design; it seemed that while their armour was immune to sonic weapons, the correct frequency could cause feedback in their helmet’s audio circuitry. It was an easily fixed problem, but it took time for them to counter the effects.

Razak watched all of this, his face schooled to not let his enjoyment show. His master had declared the Power Rangers of Earth were gone. This proved that the dark forces were not infallible after all. Nathan was showing through his fighting that he was a worthy challenge, perhaps the distraction he needed from the tedium of ruling the Earth. He would have to defeat him, there was no question of that; it would not do to give the Underground a sense of hope. Perhaps he could leave him alive and then have the fun of hunting him down over a few months before finishing him off.

Or perhaps there was another way to get some enjoyment out of the occasion. He concentrated on his right arm, forcing one of his many toys to appear. This was a weapon capable of decimating armies fuelled by his hatred.

“Do you know what this is Boy?” he asked, pointing the blood stained iron club towards his enemy.

Nathan shook his head. He had never seen anything like it.

Razak smiled cruelly, this was the weapon that had taken out hundreds of humans with a single blow. It was a complete anomaly, a sign of his twisted nature – for it was well known that magical demons were supposed to be susceptible to Iron. Regardless, if Nathan was not careful then history would repeat itself with him.

“Time to join your predecessors in death,” the villain said. He launched a ball of black fire from the club.

Nathan moved and the ball shot past him. When Razak fired a second time, Nathan moved again, this time making a point of returning to his previous location once the blast had passed him. The villain unleashed a third shot and a fourth. A whole volley of blasts that tore up the surrounding area but failed to connect with the Ranger. Finally Razak let out a roar of triumph as one of his shots caught Nathan’s shield, which promptly disappeared, allowing another shot to strike him in the chest. It was all over, Nathan had proven an inventive opponent, Razak would not tire.

Nathan remained standing, his uniform crackling as the disruptive energy tried to short out his powers. He had stopped moving and as Razak looked closer, he could see that the younger man was laughing.

“What is so funny?” he asked. Then his aura seemed to darken as he realised that Nathan was still transformed. “So you managed to survive one ball of flames.” he mused before firing again. “You won’t be so lucky this time.”

The fire hit Nathan head on and accomplished nothing. The Ranger remained standing, showing no acknowledgement of the impact. It seemed the weapon no longer worked.

“You underestimated me,” Nathan told his foe. “I didn’t just repair these powers, I unified them. I made sure I knew how the Rangers had fallen, I asked the witnesses you left behind, and I made sure I had a way to avoid it. The Power Rangers of old aren’t gone; they’ll never be forgotten. These powers are the link to the past, the legacy that won’t die; you can call me just Ranger.” Under his helmet Nathan smiled, he enjoyed the look of confusion as Razak tried to decide whether that revelation mattered. “Tweeki, are you done with the programming?”

Despite his best attempts to find substitutes, there had been some components he had been forced to use from the old morphers, components that placed restrictions on his abilities. He had hoped that when he had installed Tweeki’s motherboard in his helmet, that the android would be able to rewrite the programming. So far he had had little success and they were now behind schedule.

“Don’t get ya knickers in a knot Nathan,” Tweeki replied, his accent mostly restored after several attempts to find a new speech processor. “There ya go, safety protocols are off.”

With the safety systems offline, Nathan was no longer protected from his collisions. On the plus side nor were his opponents.

“You can’t harm me,” the dark warrior boasted, “I defeated all the Rangers, I know how Rangers fight.”

“You know how the Power Rangers fought,” Nathan reminded him, speeding forward.

As he moved, he could sense the friction around him increasing, burning him as his armour glowed from the heat he was generating. At his speed he would normally have activated a shield to protect himself and those around. But against Razak, Nathan planned to use those side effects to his advantage.

“Full power!” he cried, extending his fist as he ploughed forward.

He watched with some satisfaction, as Razak seemed to realise something was wrong. When the Ranger’s fist connected, all the built up energy was unleashed, allowing Nathan to drive his fist into the villain’s chest. The demon staggered back, a huge hole visible on both the front and back of his armour. His inhuman eyes widened as he looked at Nathan in disbelief. How had a mere human managed to harm him?

“You’ve still lost,” he told him. “The freedom cells around the planet will begin bombing soon and this miserable continent will be cleansed in the name of my master.”

“I don’t think so,” Nathan answered. “This encounter has been transmitted without sound since the moment I transformed. By now every cell in every nation knows that there is hope. This is their world and they won’t waste a chance to reclaim it. They’re not going to attack us, not when the Power Rangers have returned, and certainly not when the creature responsible for so many deaths, is about to be destroyed.”

“You’ve won a single battle, not the war!” Razak told him, gesturing to the open wound, which even now was oozing something. “This can be fixed. Next time we meet…”

“There won’t be a next time,” Nathan told him. “This ends here, today! With you gone, the rest of the world will have a reason to fight back.” He looked at his smoking hands. “This world isn’t for invaders or the phantoms from the past. It’s time to give the people of the universe a reason to keep fighting and the people of Earth the knowledge that they can fight back.”

He charged again, this time with his hand clenched drawing on the power inside of it, reaching out to those who had come before him, the spirits of the past Rangers. He could almost feel their presence as they lent him their strength. This was an abuse of the Power and would surely destroy years of work. In the end though he had no choice; for the universe to be restored to peace, Razak had to be vanquished. Only then could the fight begin against the true villains.

“Full power!” he cried, as he circled the villain, creating a vortex of energy that rippled through the fabric of the universe. Purple lightning flashed around the destructive funnel as he continued to build up speed. At some point the lightning started to strike him, sending his powers into overload.

He didn’t stop, the vortex reached critical mass and Razak was growing ever more desperate, but Nathan maintained his efforts. And then when his body was on the point of collapse, he stopped running in circles and threw a punch directly at his opponent.

Razak’s helmet was ripped apart as the villain was flung far away, but Nathan did not have the time to comprehend his victory for his actions had had unexpected consequences.

In another reality, a villain name Minion had been driven to the height of power by his insanity, which had almost led to the destruction of all existence. Although the heroes of his reality had found a way to reverse the damage, the incident had created a dimensional weakness. Small whirlpools of folds in time and space were scattered around the focal point of the instability: Earth. And although for the most part these invisible doorways only transported people across space, there were a few that reached beyond the boundaries of time and even reality; usually such doorways were accessible only from their origin point.

Nathan Oliver’s unexpected use of his full powers had vibrated through space and time, resonating with the dimensional frequency of one such doorway. The excessive energy forced it open from the far side as the overload pushed him onward. Like a magnet the swirling vortex attracted his uncontrollable powers and pulled him towards it. Unable to stop as he was thrown forcibly through the exit point, which had reacted violently to being opened from the wrong side, he had torn through the streets of a very different Angel Grove, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. And that had been the point at which the Rangers had found him.

====

Prime Reality

“We don’t have a choice,” Tommy said after the facts had been reviewed. “Either we deactivate his powers or they’ll explode, destroying the rest of the planet with them.”

“Affirmative,” Billy agreed sadly. He didn’t want to be the one to propose killing of an innocent, but a single life against the whole planet? It was an uncomfortable position and a decision that could not be put off.

“There is always an alternative,” Zordon told them. “In this case I believe we must trust that the Power will protect him. Alpha, time has run out, reinstate the probe.”

There was a whoosh of teleportation as a few of the Rangers, unwilling to kill under any circumstances, chose to leave.

====

On the table Nate’s body flickered as his powers were forced to shut down. As the Power left him, his body fought to survive the shock. The energies he had wielded when morphed were trying to draw him back into the depths of the universe from which they came. Just as his body was about to give up, a small spark of energy ignited once more. He started to glow, his powers rebuilding him from the inside out, creating a new life from the broken man. His aura flared as his armour appeared to vanish, leaving Nate Oliver to sleep off his ordeal.

“Quickly Alpha, place him in a Healing Capsule,” Zordon instructed.

“Will he be okay, Zordon?” Kat asked.

“I do not know Katherine,” Zordon admitted. “The molecules within the tube will help his body to heal. After that we will need to monitor him closely.”

Alpha and Billy locked the capsule’s door and turned on the tap, allowing the tube to fill with a healing solution. A series of monitors came to life as the sealed capsule started to work on its newest occupant.

“There is nothing more you can do here today Rangers,” Zordon told them. “Should anything occur, Alpha and I will contact you.”

The Rangers nodded and teleported away, many of their questions remaining unanswered.

====

Earth, another reality

For a long time there was silence. Then the screaming started. Large black hands ripped Razak from the ground. The human had hurt him, badly, but it would take more than a mere mortal to defeat one of his underlings.

“The Power Rangers are history!” he snarled as he heard the explanation again, thoughtlessly killing two minions who crossed his path. “Justin Stewart died in that chasm. Whatever this mysterious thing was that attacked you, it was not a Ranger.” He paused. “Why has this so-called Ranger not been brought to me, he should have been in no condition to run after fighting you?”

“We can’t find him,” one of the Furies admitted. “When the Ranger- er thing attacked, he disappeared. He is beyond our dominion.”

“Nothing is beyond my dominion,” he admonished her, fixing Razak with a cold glare. He promised his servant would pay for not making that clear. “It is of no matter. He is gone and whatever hopes he raised will soon be dashed. The time has come to end this game. Crush the rebellion and then cleanse this world. It is time to bring about the end.”

End **THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**