History 101: Before the Word

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.

History 101: Before the Word

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.

“Behold: Genesis!”

Beginning

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**

The Iron Bat Man?

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, Spider-man, Iron Man or any other series. They belong to their rightful copyright owners. This is merely a piece of fanfiction.

The Iron Bat Man?

Earth,

A penthouse apartment in the middle of a thriving metropolis, so many cars that it would be impossible to drive them all in the space of a day, a different woman on each arm every night of a week to some of the most expensive restaurants available. Money could not buy happiness, but for Anthony Stark it meant being able to but the things that could make him happy.

Alcoholic, smoker, gambler, womaniser, industrialist, inventor and arms trader. All words that could be used to describe the millionaire that had had the nerve to stand before Congress and make a mockery of those that had demanded his presence. Wise cracking, abrasive, often borderline insulting in his dealings with those who felt themselves somehow superior, Stark was not a man to be taken lightly.

In the days since the Avengers had disbanded, Tony Stark had been busy working on other projects. Actually when he wasn’t out drinking, womanising and having a good time, he was working on improving the many suits of armour hidden away beneath his mansion on the outskirts of New York. Steel had given way to new materials just as simple circuits had been replaced by new methods of controlling the suits.

A recent collaboration with another scientist had led to new methods of deploying the armour in the field. Having seen the Power Rangers and others in action he had realised how cumbersome some of his designs had been. A little open-mindedness and sharing information with Lightspeed had seen exciting results.

“Load schematics for the Iron Avenger.”

There were some projects that Tony had delayed working on. The Iron Avenger was one of them. The large weapon system brought back memories of Minion and the events of that time. It was something he and many others preferred to forget.

~How do you go back to a normal life after something like that?~ he wondered, not for the first time.

Minion and his forced had driven the world to its knees before he was defeated. And for those that had fought against him, it was difficult to forget.

“Access security protocols. If we’re going to do this let’s start by locking the door.”

Stark’s reluctance to repair, rebuild or just redesign the Iron Avenger wasn’t down to the events surrounding Minion. He was well aware there were those within the government that would love to get their hands on a fully functional suit of Iron Man armour without the safety protocols in place. Even SHIELD had not managed to break the security algorithms he had installed. The Iron Avenger was bigger than any of his normal armour and had the firepower to match. It was a piece of equipment he had vowed to never sell.

“Set initial security as Level Four.”

“Level Four has been set, Sir,” JARVIS responded. “Energy grid is now locked to your command.”

Level Four meant the suit would only accept power when Tony Stark used an exact vocal command while wearing an activated suit of Iron man armour. When he finished the repairs he planned to lock the Iron Avenger to only accept commands from one suit that he would lock behind security that made the Federal Reserve look undefended.

“Begin mapping the damage.”

The Iron Avenger had been wrecked during the battle with the Elemental Beasts, so this was more a case of finding out if anything had survived as opposed to what had been damaged beyond repair. As expected it seemed that the damage had been sever and corrosion had only added to the problem. He realised that now would be a good time to scrap the machine and remove a potential problem down the line.

“It would appear that very little survived,” JARVIS commented as various components flashed up on the screen. “I believe your furry dice are intact.”

“Okay, let’s go back to the drawing board. Start with standard suit and then upscale.”

It wasn’t that simple of course. The Iron Avenger was a weapon system, not a battle suit. It was controlled from a cockpit, not by direct body movements. And the weapons would need a major redesign to work at a larger scale without exploding.

But this was Tony Stark at his best doing the thing that he excelled at. Working the systems he had built to help him build, he managed to work up a suitable blueprint in the space of an evening.

“What is the flight capability?” he asked, watching as the computer flashed through the necessary calculations.

“Zero, Sir,” JARVIS told him. “However with sufficient thrust a controlled leap is possible.”

So, no hovering. The suit was big, heavy and too cumbersome to continuously switch jets and maintain position. It was a task beyond the computers and would require too many humans working as a team to accomplish. He wanted to limit access to a five man crew at most.

“I have relocated the weapons as requested,” JARVIS advised, bringing up an image of the giant metal hand. In addition to the single energy weapon mounted on the palm, smaller weapons had been placed at the fingertips and knuckles. “And Miss Antoinette is requesting an appointment to discuss her credit card bill.”

Tony sighed. Antoinette Stark was a distant relative that had made several attempts to claim the family fortune before giving up and accepting an expense account. The woman could spend her way through a credit limit easier than a Democrat president, but she was family and he knew it was easier to find the check book and just sign than to try and convince her to spend less.

It was a shame because despite her age, Antoinette had inherited the creativity and genius that made the family rich. He had seen one of her attempts to design a suit of armour and had to admit that some of the features were desirable. It was a shame that she insisted on relying on unconventional methods of powering such designs, namely magic.

~Then again magic is just energy,~ he thought, realising that it would totally bewilder those that sought to use his designs if they had to learn to cast spells as well. “JARVIS, bring up the blueprints for the power core. And then contact Horatio.”

Sometimes it didn’t hurt to think outside the box.

====

If the Joker had known in life how much trouble he would cause in death, would he have tried to kill himself quicker as part of a sick joke? Nobody could be certain but the makeup wearing lunatic had been recorded as dying multiple times only to turn up again years later. His final death though had been deemed real by those that investigated. So why had a dead man been shown as alive and causing trouble almost four years later?

====

Arkham Asylum, Earth

‘In the game of Life the Joker is wild!’

He had been called a lunatic, a deranged psychopathic murderer that would take pleasure from slaughtering the innocence. And while he would before the first to agree that he was not playing with a full deck, he believed that he deserved some credit for acknowledging it. But alas he received no respect, no respect at all. And it really irked him. More so now he was dead.

If life he had been known as the Joker, a dangerous criminal that had appeared on the streets of Gotham City and made it to the world stage. He had seemingly died a dozen times and had always found a way to return. His most recent death however had been permanent. Which raised the interest question of how he happened to be alive and sitting in a jail cell awaiting his next opportunity to escape.

But something was missing in his life. That little bit of pain that made existence so much more enjoyable. He liked to think of it as Batman. Where was the Bat? He had been missing for almost as long as the Joker had been dead, give or take a year. One day it just seemed the masked fool and his little friends had simply vanished off the face of the planet.

Oh there had been some sort of incident and Batman had been caught in the middle of it as usual, but as far as the Joker was aware he had not been among the final casualties.

“Come out, come out wherever you are,” he cooed as he floated through the abandoned corridors of the old cell block. “Because ready or not, here I come! Better yet, I’ll hide and you can come and find me.”

====

Gotham City Earth

Being a super hero took a huge strain on the body. Especially when the hero in question was just a man in a mask. Bruce Wayne was aware of the discomfort such activities could cause. His muscles, bones and joints had taken more than their fair share of abuse during his time as Batman. The accumulated knocks had left him crippled, something he publicly blamed on a life of fast cars, loose women and extreme sports.

The comparisons between Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne were well known. Their success in business, their wealth and their vices were a matter of public record. The difference was that while Tony Stark really was a drunken womaniser known to don a suit of armour to protect the world, for Wayne it was an act to cover his secret identity.

Despite being business rivals, there was a healthy respect between Stark and Wayne. Both considered the other competent within their own field. Stark invented things and led teams to bring new products to market while Wayne found the people that could invent things and invested his time and money to make them a success. So when Bruce had received a gift from Stark Enterprises, the gesture was not a shock although the contents were.

“Is that a complete suit sir?” Alfred enquired.

“Stripped of weapons and computer systems,” Bruce commented as he studied the black boot in his hand. “But otherwise it looks genuine.”

He put the boot down, picked up one of the gloves and slipped it on. A sigh escaped his lips.

“Master Bruce?”

“Some sort of active material on the inside,” Bruce answered, “clings to the skin and does… something to the muscles.”

Indeed for the first time in recent history, Bruce Wayne was able to move the fingers on his right hand without discomfort.

“I don’t think Mr Stark did this so you could go drinking with him,” Alfred commented, holding up the helmet.

Bruce chuckled. It was clear that Stark had sent him a complete but unfinished suit of light weight armour. Made of softer material than the Iron Man armour, Bruce had no doubt it was still bullet proof and resistant to swords. It would need to be altered to his requirements, but he imagined that was why it had been left unfinished.

“Looks like we’ll be needing a shopping list,” he said.

Crime in Gotham had been escalating recently. Maybe it was time to get back in the game.

====

There were mixed accounts about Stark’s decisions to distribute armour not only to Batman, but to other superheroes. Ranging from fully metal armour to other more flexible materials, it had been noted that Stark had established himself as a cornerstone of the superhero community. Later attempts to bring back the Avengers would lead him to call in favours from those he had so selflessly supplied.

Some however saw his gesture as a means of protecting against rogue elements. While testing to establish whether or not Stark did plant failsafes inside his gifts were inconclusive due to the reluctance of the owners to damage them, there were rumours that such a feature was used on two occasions. Many have pointed out that the need to deal with possible abuse of his designs was something a man like Tony Stark would have considered.

In the same way it is of some speculation that Bruce Wayne maintained a threat level database on every superhero operating around the world. Multiple resources and his innate detective skills meant he was easily able to guess the identities of some of his peers. For a man who didn’t like guns, Batman had an impressive number of bullets that could take down some of his most powerful allies.

Some would condemn such preparations as a lack on faith in his fellow heroes. Others would claim that as one of the elders of the hero world, there was a responsibility to make sure that the protectors of the world never became its greatest threat.

====

“As usual I had the parts made by different parts of Wayne Enterprises and then channelled through other suppliers to one of our warehouses,” Alfred advised as Bruce studied the completed suit.

“And that warehouse just happens to be the one that never got added to the inventory,” Bruce commented as he finished inspecting a piece of sharpened metal that had been cut in the shape of a small bat.

“That’s right. We found the gauntlets were already equipped with a launching mechanism. One thing I’ll say about Mr Stark is that he thinks ahead.” He looked to where his employer was inspecting the paintwork on the chest plate. “I took the liberty of having the — nipples removed.”

“Okay let’s give this a try,” Bruce decided.

Unlike Iron Man’s armour, Bruce’s new costume did not have an entourage of machines to dress him. Nor did it require one since the pieces fitted together like a suit of clothing instead of needing to bolt together like armour. With the speed of somebody used to dressing in confined spaces in a hurry, Bruce was able to don the costume in less than a minute. Pulling the mask into place activated a few of the systems he and Alfred had thought to be useful.

“We decided not to use Mr Stark’s cape,” Alfred told him. “The material looked good, but that was all it did. Now this,” he said handing a piece of material to his employer, “is an electro-sensitive material. You apply a current and it solidifies. Lightweight too. I’ve seen handgliders made from similar stuff.”

“News just in: Police and other agencies have been called to Arkham Asylum after contact with staff inside the facility was lost.”

Though they had left the television playing in the background, the report caused Bruce and Alfred to suddenly remember that it was there.

“This couldn’t be a coincidence could it?” Alfred asked.

Bruce shrugged. There was no way Stark could have foreseen such a turn of events, but the timing was definitely something he would question later. First of all he planned to head to Arkham and find out what was going on.

End.

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**

The Next Scoop

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, Spider-man or any other series. They belong to their rightful copyright owners. This is merely a piece of fanfiction.

The Next Scoop

New York

Where had things change? Most people couldn’t see it, but for others, like Peter Parker, it was obvious. It had started after the defeat of Minion, when the government had ordered that collective super hero activity on American soil cease. Plans had been made for a new unified group to protect the world, but nothing had been done. As weeks turned to months it had been easy to allow the Power Ranger to handle things. Gradually retirement had been a welcoming idea.

Peter had for a short time gone back to being a masked crime fighter on the streets of New York. But eventually the motivation and the need seemed to vanish. In fact his entire life since the defeat of Minion was at best a blur and the harder he tried to recall what had happened, the harder it became to remember even the important details. It was a mystery, but one he seemed unwilling to solve. And that worried him.

~Although not as much as a summons to the Daily Bugle,~ he thought as he exited the lift and made his way to Mr Jameson’s office.

When Peter had stopped working as Spider-Man, he had also put himself out of work. Jameson paid for pictures of the wall climbing menace and had little interest in Parker’s other work. No Spider-Man, no pay check was the Editor-in-Chief’s final word on the matter. And since Peter was freelance and supposed to turn up when he had something worth selling, it had been a while.

Unsurprisingly the print room staff noticed his entrance and huddled close, waiting for the spectacle that was bound to follow. They had all suffered their employer’s wrath, but it seemed that Peter Parker was capable of pushing Jameson to an even more intense level of anger, normally just by being there.

“Get in here Parker!” was bellowed before the photographer had a chance to knock, causing him to swallow and the crowd to listen all the harder.

Peter did as he was told, reminding himself that he was not an employee and could leave at any time. He was not surprised to find the office was just as he remembered it and Jameson aside from a few more grey hairs, was just the same.

“Remind me Parker, why do I employ you when you don’t show up for over a year?” Jameson asked.

“You don’t, Mr Jameson,” Peter responded, trying to remain respectful. “You told me to stay freelance and turn up when I had something.”

Jameson snorted. He hadn’t gotten to the position of Editor-in-Chief by allowing himself to be hoodwinked.

“You’ve been holding out on me Parker,” he said. “Spider-Man is out there somewhere and you are the only one that can get photos of him. You stop turning up and all of a sudden people start questioning whether there really is a Spider-Man.”

And there it was, the real reason why Jameson wanted him. Spider-Man sold papers, but without pictures, people doubted the stories were true, which given that Spider-Man had not been seen for months was probably the case, didn’t help the Daily Bugle sell papers. Jameson needed photos to prove that Spider-Man was still around, so that his campaign against the wall-crawling vigilante could continue.

“I want photos Parker and you are going to get them for me!” Jameson bellowed, thumping his fist on the desk. Then his voice quietened as he added reluctantly: “I’ll pay you triple the normal amount.”

“Well that’s all well and good Mr Jameson, except I haven’t got any photographs to sell. Spider-Man just hasn’t been around. It’s like he left the city.”

“Left the city?” Jameson yelled before his face turned thoughtful. “Driven out by Daily Bugle and running from the truth, eh Parker? That’s why some of those other freaks have disappeared too. I like the angle.”

Peter wondered what Jameson meant about the other freaks. He had not given it much thought, but there had been a lot less super-powered villains in New York since Spider-Man had disappeared. Did that mean that Spider-Man was responsible for them turning up in the first place or was it just a huge coincidence. A part of him hoped it was the latter although in his heart he realised there was some truth to the statement.

“Well I’m not going to let that web-headed menace loose on some other city,” Jameson growled. “Or country… Yes, we’ve shown him up so much he left the country. Daily Bugle tracks Spider-Man around the globe, imagine the sales.”

He opened a drawer and pulled out a folder filled with newspaper clippings.

“There have been sighting of Spider-Man in Canada, France and Japan,” Jameson explained. “No photographs though. You’re going to track Spider-Man down, find out where he’s been hiding and get the proof. You can start in Japan, there’s enough costumed oddballs there that he would fit right in.”

“I’m sorry Mr Jameson, but I can’t afford to fly around the world on a Spider-Man hunt,” Peter explained.

Jameson grumbled something about ungrateful kids not realising opportunities before pressing a button on the intercom and asking his assistant to come in.

“Book Parker on a plane to Japan,” he instructed. He paused to consider the matter before adding: “Make it a return trip.”

“Yes Mr Jameson,” Brant replied before hurrying off.

“You’ll start in Japan and if you can’t find him there move on to the next country until you do,” Jameson promised. “And if you get me some good photos, I might consider making you a full time employee.”

“Yes Mr Jameson, thank you Sir,” Peter managed before heading out the door.

Jameson watched him leave before his face took on a vacant expression. “Was that right master?”

“Yes my little puppet that was exactly what I needed. Peter Parker in Japan, just in time for a little ceremony I have planned.” The voice took on a commanding tone. “You will continue as normal unless I need you again, but you will not cancel Parker’s assignment.”

Jameson’s face slowly returned to normal and he turned his attention to the day’s news unaware that he was already a part of a huge story.

End.

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**

Good and Evil 101: Corrections

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.

Good and Evil 101: Corrections

In another place, unreachable by those that did not belong there or were not permitted to be there, a trio of watchers regarded the showdown between the Earth’s heroes and inevitable destruction.

“And this,” Solomos observed, “is where we come in.”

His two companions maintained their silence, one urging the heroes to fight on while the other delighted in the prospect of destruction.

“Zeo Crystal!” Tommy cried. “Deliver this world from evil!”

Light burst from the crystal as the Red Ranger held it in position. Red, yellow, pink, green, blue, gold, silver, purple, white and black energy streamed into the hole. In places where the coloured energy mixed he could make out shades of cyan, magenta, crimson, navy and orange. The Earth seemed to tremble as the corrupted magic within was forcibly ejected by the Zeo energy. Pyramidas rocked, as its hull grew thin. Before long it would disappear and if the Rangers were unsuccessful, so would they.

“Keep going,” Tommy encouraged. “Need to give this — everything I’ve got.”

He poured his soul into the crystal and was amazed when the energy increased. But despite his best efforts, the corruptive energy of the Sword of Ragnarok remained, kept in check by the Zeo Crystal’s power, but capable of destroying the planet as soon as they relented.

“It’s Time for a Gold Rush!” he heard Trey call, before a burst of golden light joined the power from the Zeo Crystal and chased the darkness from the Earth’s depths.

“The effects of the Sword of Ragnarok are almost gone,” Noah noted.

“Just a little help then,” Solomos decided. “It’s possible our interference lessened the effects.”

“Jason, they’re weakening,” Trini said.

Jason nodded. He had hoped they would be able to wait until the Earth was totally cleansed before using the Great Power to reignite the planet’s failing energy. Now though they didn’t have a choice, the planet was too close to death to delay further. With luck they would finish before the Earth exploded. Otherwise, their actions would prove futile.

“Now is the time,” David said. As White Ranger he knew when it was his time to take control. “Let our powers be one.”

They clasped hands, allowing the Great Power to flow through them. They didn’t need to direct it, the magic was sentient and knew what it had to do. As their hands glowed their respective colour, lines of energy emerged, linking them together, forming a golden ball of light at the very centre of their circle.

“Go,” Jason whispered and the ball shot into the Earth.

For a moment there was no change, then slowly the lava seemed to calm and the quaking planet quietened. The Great Power and the Zeo Crystal worked in unison, restoring the shattered and corrupted lines of magic with new life bringing energy.

“It’s not enough!” Aisha realised after the changes ceased.

All the power they could imagine and it was not enough to fix the damage. Every time it crossed with the power placed there by the Sword of Ragnarok, it was corrupted by the destructive energy. The Zeo Crystal was proving incapable of purging all the darkness so long as the sword remained intact.

“They’re not going to make it are they?” Noah asked.

Solomos shook his head and then thought. The Externals were incapable of destroying energy and he still had to get rid of the energy Trelayne had stolen. The Externals had caused the destruction of one universe, perhaps saving this one would make up for it. With a flick of the wrist, he allowed the stolen energy, the life force of an alternate universe to flow to the Rangers where it was channelled into their efforts.

“This is it guys,” Jason said as the Rangers and their allies gathered around the Zeo Crystal. Pyramidas was sinking; they had perhaps a minute to live. “One last time. We call on all our powers combined:”

The others had all powered down, the energy from John’s ring now heading directly into the Zeo Crystal, his hands disappearing in the process.

“Red Ranger!”

“White Ranger!”

“Green Ranger!”

“Yellow Ranger!”

“Purple Ranger!”

“Blue Ranger!”

“Black Ranger!”

“Pink Ranger!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Red!”

“Gold Ranger Power!”

“Green Lantern’s Light!” As John spoke the words, he felt the full power that he had always feared would corrupt him rushing to the fore. Years of forced denial were over as the power burst from the ring, adding to the powers already flowing into the Earth. The powers merged with those of the Zeo Crystal, removing all impurities from the Ley Lines as the Zord finally succumbed to the environment and they were plunged into a molten tomb as energy they had fed into the Earth erupted, inside the Dark Dimension.

“Wait a minute! You gave them all that power and their universe is still doomed? How is that fair?” Noah was angry.

“Fair? Who ever said this was about being fair. Existence is not fun, nor fair. People act and other people end up hurt. We didn’t come here to save a universe, we came so that you two could learn about Good and Evil. And now you have learnt just how futile the struggle is, perhaps you will think twice before messing with the game again. As it is, the odds are even. If they succeed, they succeed. If they fail, then this universe was meant to die.” He looked at the light bursting forth from the Dark Dimension. “I’d say they succeeded. Now, let’s go.”

“But I wanna see…”

Trelayne’s protest was cut off by a sharp look from his elder.

“Your interference in the universe has caused enough damage. This was supposed to be a field trip, not a game. No more! From now on you and your little friend here,” he spared Noah a glance, “are forbidden to meddle with the game.”

====

It was a considerable time later that Solomos had the chance to double check to make sure that Noah and Trelayne had not caused permanent damage. The fallout from their activities had been felt by the whole community. Many had called for the game to be destroyed. Even more had called for Solomos to be punished for almost destroying the multiverse just to teach them a lesson. And then there were some who were worried for a different reason. Solomos had taught Noah and Trelayne about Good and Evil intending for them to grow bored and never dabble in such matters again. But instead he had inspired the troublesome Externals and despite his intentions, were once again involved in the affairs of the lesser beings. He had introduced a new strain of chaos and nobody could predict what would happen next.

In the distance he could see Noah and Trelayne talking, no doubt discussing what to do with their time. The two Externals disliked each other, but given the inconvenience they had caused, they were the only company available. In a rare show of pity Solomos decided to offer a way for them to enjoy themselves without breaking the rules. He snapped his fingers and conjured the universe the two had destroyed previously. There was barely anything left of it now, but with a few nudges it was transformed into a new reality that they could play without risking their existence.

He thought about it and then wrote a few words giving it a title: The Armageddon Game. He would let them continue playing their games and learning about Good and Evil, but in a way that would not threaten the other Externals. And perhaps in doing so, they would eventually teach the other Externals something.

“You took a dangerous risk with those two.”

Solomos looked up as the other entity approached. By now the events surrounding Noah and Trelayne’s game were well known. The repercussions would be felt for some time.

“I had to get through to them somehow,” Solomos answered. “They’ve been fed the same propaganda we save for the lesser creatures and they believed it. They needed to be shown the truth.”

“And teaching them about good and evil, was that part of the truth?”

“Their curiosity would have continued. At least now they have their questions answered.”

“Do they, really?” There was a lack of mocking for once and Solomos realised his kinsman was worried. “Noah might have been appeased by you little demonstration, but Trelayne seems more eager than ever to prove himself right.”

“We’ll have to keep an eye on him then.”

“And when he does step out of line, you want me to do the same to stop him?” Solomos guessed.

“Of course, it is your fault, after all.”

With that the entity vanished, leaving Solomos to ponder his words. Was showing the young Externals the truth a mistake. He hoped not, but only time would tell. Feeling exhausted from his rare show of responsible behaviour, Solomos decided to have some fun.

“I wonder how Amphiboids would cope if they were suddenly smaller than their prey.”

End of the lesson.

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**