Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright owners along with all associated characters. Noah, Solomos, Trelayne and the other Externals are based on a number of sources, including the Q and the Continuum come from Star Trek the Next Generation, and from the Original Series episode Squire of Gothos. The start scene where they are staring into the bowl was taken from Jason and the Argonauts. Some Star Wars related concepts belong to Lucas Arts and the respective copyright owners. There are also a few references to The Players from Doctor Who, the Monitors from DC Universe and many others. The One is based on a number of characters that belong to DC Comics, Image Dream Wave and Marvel.
Authors Note: This is a fanfic based within the Conquest of Evil Multiverse; technically this story is the beginning of the multiverse. The events follow their own timeline and are not related to any of my other series. If you have read Conquest of Evil, the events observed take place between The Beginning and the end of the Minion saga. This chapter is intended as an insight into the Externals. If the events seem different than they did during In the Beginning it is because these are events viewed from a different perspective.
Imagine a map with two points clearly marked. To get from one to the other and back again any number of courses could be charted, just so long as the traveller left from the first location, passed through the second and returned to the first to begin his journey anew. Now imagine that instead of points on a map, those two markers are dates: the birth and the end of the universe. Imagine also that the traveller is not a person but an object; a small supposedly harmless object capable of holding the memories, knowledge and skills of those that it encountered during its journey. And imagine that with each passing the object gained a little something from those it touched, an echo of their spirits. Eventually such an object would become sentient and then its journey would no longer be between two markers, but rather a journey filled with twists and turns, highs and lows. That new journey begins…
In the early days of Existence, at a time before the war between Good and Evil had really started, there had existed a race of powerful entities known as the Externals. They represented the first attempt to create living beings in the new existence, and were ultimately deemed a failure. The life forms created were too selfish to follow the path set before them. Instead of fighting out the battle between Good and Evil that tormented their creator, they made peace amongst themselves and turned their power against him.
In anger their creator had thrown his creations out of his domain, exiling them to reside in a place beyond the normal boundaries of planets, galaxies, universes, realms and dimensions that the normal inhabitants were capable of perceiving. It was a completely separate, very different plane, outside of their creator’s realm yet still a part of it. It was there that they remained, evolving rapidly over a few centuries until they reached a peak of near omnipotence. They were a self-policing society where the many applied the pressure needed to force the few to conform to the rules. For the most part though they were indifferent beings with a tendency to cause chaos, the definition of chaos at that time being to act against their creator’s will.
Over the centuries, the importance of the concepts of good and evil grew less and less important to them. At some point most became ignorant of the opposing ideas as the race settled into an ordered state of slightly chaotic neutrality. They chose to refer to themselves as Externals, a show of defiance against their creator. However some wished to return to their creator and were allowed back into his domain; they were charged with the task of watching over and preserving all that he had created, a task that was made easier by their neutral stance.
While most of their race were satisfied to reside within their realm, others didn’t like the feeling of being restricted. The Externals split into factions, with each faction finding their own path. Some wandered the void between their realm and their creator’s domain. Over time they found ways to manifest but only so long as they could justify their actions as benefiting their creator’s later children. As long as they were needed, they could remain. Others found that while they could not directly step beyond the confines of their territory, they could influence those within their creator’s domain to play out their fantasies, providing that they were careful not to push too hard.
Eventually it was discovered that as long as they were willing to give something up in exchange, they could return. Some gave up the absolute power they had previously enjoyed in return for freedom as beings with powers that were almost absolute. Others gave up their independence and were allowed to remain in service to their creator. One group even surrendered their potential and as a result a great deal of their knowledge and power. They became part of a new race that rapidly grew to become one of the most dominant forces in their creator’s domain, but one that would never reach the level of the Externals.
However there were some that realised that they could leave their confinement and retain their power. All that they needed to do was surrender a portion of their power for a limited stay in their creator’s domain. At the end of that time they returned to their home where they once again enjoyed the feeling of being all powerful. Of course such journeys led to misbehaviour and the External became known for spreading chaos wherever they went. Even those that tried to tried to act responsibly were bound to cause more problems than they solved. Some tried to set themselves up as gods and demons, weaving themselves into the mythology of hundreds of galaxies; in a strange twist those that did so eventually forgot their origins and became trapped as the beings they portrayed. And then there was the story of one External who had been so badly behaved that he had been stripped of his powers and dumped naked on the bridge of a star ship in a distant reality.
Regardless of their intentions and the unwanted consequences of their actions the Externals possessed incredible powers. Whether those powers were purely magical, technological, a combination of both or even some type of cosmic energy was unknown. They wielded almost unlimited power and were capable of breaking some of the laws of nature, although not even they could destroy energy, a fact that would someday be used against them.
From time to time some of their number would feel an urging deep within to take sides in the battle between Good and Evil, a task that was far more difficult since the ideas had become foreign to them. However they did understand conflict and war. And it was those ideas that led to experimentation. Instead of taking an active role as had been intended, they developed the means to turn the war into a game, manipulating those who had evolved following their banishment. They did not see themselves as soldiers, rather as the generals sitting behind the lines. Eventually the games were banned as being too dangerous – for they risked the rediscovery of what Good and Evil meant and that in turn would place them back at their creator’s side – leading another group to depart to continue their games while the rest destroyed all the boards they had created… except one.
Why within the domain of the almost godlike race, such a dangerous artefact had been kept was a mystery. But it existence was about to set events in motion within the Externals’ domain, which could be interpreted as a three-bedroom semidetached house with a garage – for the nature of the Externals was beyond the understanding of most outsiders – where at that very moment angry shouts could be heard, that would have far reaching consequences.
“You cannot do that!”
“But I already have. Anything goes, remember?”
The sound of raised voices was a rare occurrence. For a long time things had been boring, but when one External had reached the decision to create a son, with his wife’s help of course, others had followed suit. A new generation of Externals had been born and unlike their parents they were once again finding enjoyment in existing. Unfortunately the younger generation had proven rebellious, some breaking the rules that even the most badly behaved External had previously followed. They had taken to directly interfering in the lives of the lesser beings, making them act in ways that were against their nature. It was such an act of interference that had caused the argument that was currently disrupting the peace and boredom of their realm.
Solomos made his way to where the two Externals were arguing; unlike their parents, they had taken a name to identify themselves as individuals in addition to their appearances. He groaned as he laid eyes on a huge stone bowl containing a silvery liquid. The children had obviously been experimenting with the banned object. Not for the first time he wondered why External didn’t just destroy the infernal device before it really corrupted their children with its good versus evil nonsense. Solomos knew of the dangers it posed, he had been one of the ones that had played the games and decided to remain after they were outlawed; he was perhaps one of the few to retain an understanding of their creator’s ideas, although he deliberately ignored them in favour of detached amorality. He had urged his peers to destroy the game, but they had decided it was more fun to use it as a means of spying on their creator’s lesser beings, even going so far as to place wagers on the outcome. It had only been a matter of time though before somebody took things too far, as had happened in this case.
Solomos peered into the pool and groaned. Why couldn’t the kid have done something half-hearted for once? The interference had caused the destruction of one reality and had destabilised the neighbouring universes; his curiosity was piqued despite the knowledge that as the one who discovered the mess, he would be forced to clean it up.
“How did you accomplish this?” he asked.
He noticed that one of the boys had a disgusted look upon his face while the other appeared proud of himself. Neither chose to answer, which Solomos found tremendously aggravating. Remembering that he was an incredibly powerful entity and not some mediocre being, he used his innate senses to search the recent history of a dying universe.
“What did you do with it?” he asked finally, unsure whether to be angry or impressed at the young External’s ingenuity.
The younger entity opened his clenched fist, revealing a swirling ball of energy.
“So this is the cause of all that chaos?” Solomos asked, “I would have expected something more impressive from you.”
It had been a cheap shot, no question about it. In order to win his bet, the young eternal had cheated, and had then been unable to destroy the evidence; with Solomos arriving when he did, the youth had been forced to hold onto it.
“So now the game universe you were allowed to watch and everything inside it has been destroyed, correct?” Both Externals nodded. “Fine,” he said, his pleasant manner dissolving. He turned to the loser. “Pay him. And you,” he said to the winner, “reverse the process and restore things to how they should be. Now! These games haven’t been played for thousands of years and for good reason.”
The younger entity seemed to take a step back, stuttering about how he couldn’t reverse the process and that it was impossible to create a whole universe.
“So much for having potential,” Solomos muttered. “For such a creative being, you think like some of the humans I’ve met.” He turned to the other youth. “Well, any ideas or do you want to spend a century sweeping up Dark Matter?”
“Go back to a point where the universe existed and follow it through to the point where it was destroyed?”
“And then?” he asked, slightly amused.
“We can stop or pause events long enough to prevent the change.”
Solomos paused in thought. It was a wasteful effort; there were far easier ways to accomplish such a feat, and to be honest, he just didn’t care enough to waste his time in that way. Instead he clicked his fingers and the game was reset, a new universe waiting for the next player; the universe the two Externals had damaged would be lost, but that was the risk of playing with forces they didn’t yet understand. Far Better that they learnt such things sooner rather than later.
“Now,” he said, ignoring the look on the loser’s face. “What why were you playing a game that has been banned for longer than I can remember?”
“We just wanted to know which was the stronger and why,” the loser said.
“Yeah,” his playmate agreed. “We watched and we placed bets, but we kept losing even when we had seen the same outcome before.”
So that was it: in trying to keep to the rules the two entities had failed to understand that the lesser beings were not easily predictable. More than one External had been taken by surprise when he had tried to cheat by watching the event play out only to find they changed when viewed later.
“We thought if we could understand them we could win more often.”
Again not a bad idea although Solomos realised they were treading on dangerous ground.
“We know these games show the battle between good and evil, but we can’t work out what it means.”
And at that point Solomos realised it was already to late. The two Externals were already hooked by the ideas behind the games. The only thing he could do now was hope that they would grow tired of the idea.
~Perhaps if I turn this into an educational experience they will become so bored they will never want to think about such things again,~ he mused.
“Very well, if you want to learn about Good and Evil, we’ll take a little field trip. But be warned there I will be an exam and I shall expect an infinitely long essay on what you discovered.” he clicked his fingers again. “Let’s get on with it.”
“To understand the way things work, first you must come to terms with our true nature,” Solomos explained. “So, what are we?”
“The pinnacle of evolution ascended to a point where we no longer interact with the lesser beings,” Trelayne stated confidently. He had been taught that by his parents and had even managed to mimic the snobbish way the senior Externals phrased the response,
“Well done,” he smiled coldly. “You’ve just proven you are as stupid as those that came before you.” He turned to the other External. “And you, what do you think?”
The other youth shrugged. “We are the first creations born in existence and thrown aside because we were too good?” He didn’t believe that, the look of distaste as he uttered the words was clear.
“I’ll tell you what we are,” Solomos promised. “No, better yet, I’ll show you.”
Though they were still within the confines of the External’s realm, Solomos had arranged their view so that it focussed outside of any particular reality, into the fabric of the existence itself.
Beginning**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**