Lightspeed: Intruders and Thieves

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to whoever holds that copyright. I also do not own Doctor Who, which belongs to the BBC or the concept of the Infinity Gems, which belongs to Marvel Comics. The Soul Gem used in this story is based upon the Soul Gem from Marvel, but has been modified to fit my needs. A full description of the Soul Gems’ abilities can be found in the Knowledgebase.

Lightspeed: Intruders and Thieves

10 September 1998

To the casual observer it was just another monster, although even by demon standards this one was extremely hideous. Vaguely human it was a combination of putrid flesh and stolen organs, soaked in the blood of the innocent humans Pierre had sacrificed.

There were warnings surrounding the raising of the dead, although for those deluded enough to actually attempt such acts they were more of a guideline to success: for every soul returned to the world of the living another soul was needed to take its place was the normal rule intended to provide balance. But that rule only applied in the case of a willing exchange where a person offered their own life so another could live. In the case where there were no willing sacrifices, the ceremony required more souls to fulfil the contract. Pierre had been very generous in his offering and there were many unexplained disappearances that could have been pinned on him.

He renewed his dark chant, using incantations that were normally forbidden in Queen Bansheera’s court; even the Hell Goddess had her limits. As he spoke the mass shifted on the stone slab, the many parts merging together to form a single and exceptionally healthy humanoid body. Pierre had been careful to choose the right parts, knowing that his plan required a specimen of exceptional strength. Bright light burst from the living corpse as nature tried to return it to its previous state.

“Soul of the fallen, renewed by my hand, take your form, by my command!”

The soul had been carefully selected for the task and had been pulled painfully from its resting place; it had been subjected to twenty years of suffering in the space of a few months. Pierre with the help of his fellow demons had broken the innocent mind while teaching it what it needed to know to function as an adult. They had also poisoned his thoughts and memories, placing the blame for his suffering on a man he had been taught to hate. And with that hatred he was willing to do anything for revenge, even serve Queen Bansheera.

“Impressive Pierre,” Diabolico commented as he inspected the finished work. He had taken a personal hand in breaking the child, offering a few kind words while directing others to inflict pain. “Is it done?”

“Not yet,” Pierre spoke. “The enchantments need to be sealed, or else they will break down in a matter of hours. Once the final offering is made, the process cannot be reversed and he will be alive.”

“Then proceed,” Diabolico instructed. “I will make certain Queen Bansheera knows of your sacrifice.”

Pierre bowed and then gestured to the Batlings to unlock the heavy chains that had held their new warrior in place. As soon as he was released, his body sprang into action, striking at the Batlings, dispatching them with ease before turning on Pierre. The demon did not offer any resistance as his creation’s hand slid around his neck. The spell required the shattering of the human’s soul to anchor him to his new body. While having him kill a human would have been preferable, it would have lacked the blind rage. Pierre’s death tethered the tortured soul and prevented it from moving on willingly.

With a growl the construct tossed Pierre’s body aside and froze as it realised what it had done. The wizard’s corpse exploded into a swarm of flies, his magical energy seeking out his brother Jinxer while the rest attacked his murderer. In the background a high pitched grinding noise could be heard, but Diabolico assumed it was part of the ceremony.

“Enough!” Diabolico commanded, causing the flies to land on his back where they turned into a sickly black mark. Diabolico ignored that as he addressed the court’s newest servant. “You have proven yourself worthy of serving Queen Bansheera. Now, this is what you will do…”

But the human failed to respond, his mind broken by his experience and unable to accept the mindless murder it had committed. The taking of a demon life was not enough to lock the distressed soul in place and after so long without comfort, it chose to retreat into the after life.

“That’s the problem with soul magic,” a voice said from behind. “Equivalent exchange is always greater than you realise.”

Diabolico turned to confront the unfortunate soul that that wandered into his domain. The figure wore the robes of a monk of one of the many religious groups that had sprung up around the planet during the time the demons had been absent. He was about to summon some Batlings to feed on the stray when he took the opportunity to study the human a little closer and realised he had been mistaken.

“The Sorcerer!” Diabolico accused, remembering the one that had led the armies against Queen Bansheera. “You will be destroyed!”

The response was the raising of a pale hand and a placating motion. On closer inspection there was a small blue stone held with the palm of his hand. As Diabolico stared he found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on giving the order to attack. The pressure on his mind was incredible and despite being a demon, it was almost too much for him to cope with.

“Enough!” Almost was not enough in Diabolico’s case and with a sudden snap, he returned to his senses. “Parlour tricks will not save you.”

“Then I count myself lucky that I can provide a service that will,” the priest replied. “Know that I am not the one that caused your imprisonment. Your problems with him are not my concern. I am here to assist you in restoring Queen Bansheera’s kingdom.”

“And what could you offer me that would make it worth keeping you alive?” Diabolico asked, gripping the monk by the collar to make certain he could not escape.

The robed figure needed all of his centuries of practice not to flinch from the treatment. To do so would likely cause Diabolico to dismiss him as anything more than a nuisance and dispose of him. “I have knowledge that will assist you. I know that this ceremony will fail and that you are wasting your time. I also know a way to complete your plan without this ceremony.”

“And in return?” Diabolico was not foolish enough to believe that such an offer would be made for free.

“All I ask in return is that you let me take the remains,” the monk answered, pointing to where the construct was starting to strain against the spells. Without Pierre to renew the magic he had placed there, they were starting to weaken. The construct’s body started to glow around the edges, a clear indication that the soul within was struggling to break free. The priest waved his hand idly in its direction; the light faded. “You have little time remaining. Do you really want to throw away a final chance to succeed?”

If nothing else it appeared that he had convinced Diabolico that he could be useful.

“Perhaps we do have something to discuss,” Diabolico agreed. “Now, explain!”

====

Twenty years earlier.

The man drove his car along the twisting road with his two children secure in the backseat. It was raining and the driver lost control. The car spun off the road and over the cliff, crashing down on the rocks below. Shockingly the man and his children survived, but the car’s fuel tank had ruptured and the battery had started to short-circuit, causing sparks. With only a limited time the man knew he had time to save only one of his children. He could only release and carry either his son or his daughter to safety.

“Oh dearie my, which one will die?”

The man turned as he heard the voice, shocked and angered to see a demon standing before him. The flames and everything else around him seemed to have stopped.

“What do you want?” the man demanded, his hand moving to a gun he kept in his jacket.

“If I wanted to kill you I wouldn’t have slowed down the fire,” the demon responded. “I’ve come to make you an offer.”

Seeing that the man was not going to ask, the demon pressed on.

“You can only rescue one child. The other will die. Give him to me to raise as my own and know that he shall live. But which shall you choose?”

The demon enjoyed playing with the emotions of others. It enjoyed the torment it saw upon the man’s face as he tried to decide which child he would give up. The demon enjoyed the knowledge that it had won.

“Neither!” the man decided, shocking the demon as he rushed to the car.

The demon laughed as it watched the man struggle, knowing full well that he could not carry one child away and return for the other before the car exploded. He heard the man say something to his son before grabbing his daughter and running. The boy somehow managed to free himself from the car and screamed for his father to help him. And that was when the car exploded. Nobody noticed the noise of a TARDIS dematerialising because of the noise, nor did they notice the slight distortion around the car.

====

He had grown better as he had aged. In the early days he would have settled for obvious changes to history as a means of bolstering his ego. Now much older he found it more satisfying to change the little things and watch events escalate from there. The subtle adjustments to history meant there was less chance of somebody undoing all his hard work. Although in this case he was driven more by curiosity about how the humans would cope when face with the return of Queen Bansheera and her demonic court.

Earlier that day he had visited a morgue in a little town that by his calculations no longer existed. There he had removed the body of a boy that was the same age as the crash victim. He had then journeyed to the instant before Pierre had grabbed the child’s soul and had merged his transport around the burning vehicle, suspending the flow of time for a few precious moments.

He had removed the young boy from the burning car and placed his body in a storage capsule, frozen in a moment of time. Then using advanced medical procedure he had pulled the child’s soul from the body, tearing the link between body and soul that was already on the brink of snapping an instant before it did so. Thanking the advanced technology of his race for allowing him to perceive and manipulate and otherwise intangible thing, he transferred the soul to the body he had stolen earlier and placed that body in the car. The shock of being torn from its host and then forcibly inserted into a new body meant that for a few seconds the child picked up from where he had left off: screaming for his daddy.

And then he left, allowing events to continue as they were supposed to. The car exploded, the child died and Pierre snatched the child’s soul at the moment of death. As far as history was concerned, the events of that night occurred as they needed to.

As he returned to Diabolico, he worked upon the body of the child. Using knowledge taken from some of the greatest surgeons he manipulated the young body, ageing it artificially so that by the time it had finished, he was looking at a young man in his twenties. That his machine had pushed the body to the peak of health meant it was physically the warrior Diabolico desired.

~And now it shall become the same mentally,~ he thought.

After all that effort the rejoining of body and soul was a little anti-climatic. Given the right conditions the body recognised the soul was a part of itself and the soul recognised the body as its natural home. Still a monster from the treatment it had been subjected to, it was was ready to serve Diabolico.

And the body he had collected would be used for one of his other experiments. He chuckled as he considered how easy it would have been to use his manipulation of history to gain power for himself. But power did not really appeal to him; while he could be decidedly naughty, he was not evil.

====

Mariner Bay
29 September 1998

The Lightspeed Aquabase had been designed to include quarters for the majority of its personnel. However there were some that preferred to spend their free time on dry land. For those needing transport to and from the Aquabase, it was necessary to either use the transport tunnels that ran beneath the surface of the sea bed or when the tide permitted, hitch a ride on one of the submarines that journeyed back and forth on a regular basis.

However just because transport between the land and the Aquabase was possible, did not mean it was easy. Security was tight due to the sensitive nature of the Aquabase’s function. Those wishing to enter required a special token that would unlock the security door. Personnel watching from a nearby room were on hand to make sure that nobody tried to sneak through. Given that demons preferred not to touch the waters of Mariner Bay, the likelihood that they would try to sneak on board the submarine or gain access to the service tunnels were high.

On the other hand security around the submarine was surprisingly lapse. Two men were supposed to stand guard on the dock, but given how quiet their day was normally, they had retired to a small room to drink coffee. They hadn’t even noticed the slight fizzing of their drinks as they sipped them. A few minutes later both guards were asleep, unable to stop the masked figure from walking in and removing breathing apparatus from the store room.

When the submarine departed, nobody noticed the stowaway attached to the side of the submarine. He remained unnoticed as the submarine docked with the Aquabase and he detached himself. The Aquabase’s cameras were obscured as he swam under the submarine in search of the airlock that led to a service entrance. Only when he emerged from the airlock did he encounter security; a knee to the mid-section followed by a blow to the head soon solved that problem.

He carefully made his way through the Aquabase, avoiding the various personnel until he reached the office of Captain Mitchell. He managed to force the lock and sneaked into the empty room. A brief search followed before he located the drawer where the dangerous Titanium Morpher was stored. He looked up at the sound of running as the door opened and security guards entered.

It was obvious there had been an alarm either on the door or the drawer and his actions had triggered it. He weighed the possibilities of trying to bluff his way out, but dismissed the thought entirely when he noticed one of the Rangers in the crowd. There was no way she would be fooled.

With that in mind he reached a decision, vaulted the desk and barrelled into the first two guards. He didn’t stop to fight, just punched anybody that tried to grab him before making his way to the exit. By that time the alarms had sounded and the various exits were locked down. Fortunately he had planned for such an event and moved towards the hangar where the Lightspeed Rangers’ hummer was maintained. A few buttons raised the connection tube into position and he took off at a run, confident that the guards would not risk gun fire inside the pressurised tube.

He was not surprised when he heard the engine of the Hummer as the Rangers gave chase. He stopped running and refitted his breathing mask. The torture of the last twenty years had revealed a small magical gift that since his awakening he had found himself capable of using. And after experimenting under the tutelage of Diabolico and the other demons, he had discovered a way to use that gift to unleash bolts of focussed magical energy. He didn’t aim for either the Rangers or their vehicle. Instead he targeted the walls, breaking the pressure seal. As he was sucked out of the transport tube, water poured in, forcing Lightspeed technicians to activate emergency bulkheads. However, that in turn prevented the Rangers from giving chase. The thief was gone and the Titanium Morpher was missing.

“At least we know he can’t use it,” Joel commented in an attempt to lighten the moment.

Despite his words he was just as worried by this turn of events as the others. After all if the Titanium Morpher was useless, why steal it? He couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen.

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

Lightspeed: Hunt and Rescue

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. I do not own Super Sentai. I also do not own Rescue Force or Fire Rescue. They all belong to whoever currently owns their copyrights. This is a fan work produced for non-profit. Garth is an original character based on a combination of sources including X-Men and Guyver. His armour is based on the Demon Hunter from the GoGoV movie. Nancy is an interpretation of Nancy Cooper from Lightspeed Rescue. Her armour is based on the female Demon Hunter from the GoGoV Movie. The deployment of her armour is borrowed from Iron Man.

Lightspeed: Hunt and Rescue

Lightspeed Aquabase
September 1998

His gun tracked her movements as she spun away from his sword thrust. He fired. She skilfully dodged the series of shots that laid waste to a wooden table. He kept firing, his computer assisted targeting system anticipating her next moves. Each shot was narrowly avoided as her own computer system predicted his intention and formulated the best response. He switched his weapon to rapid-fire and unleashed a volley of shots that tore through the visitor couch and punched holes in the far wall. A warning lit up his screen and he ducked to avoid the foot stool she had kicked in his direction after allowing one shot to strike her. It was off target due to her loss of balance after being shot, but it was close enough to make him take evasive action. At which point she gained the upper hand.

Her sword was out and as he paused, she propelled herself in his direction, targeting his should with a downward strike. He rolled to the left and brought his own sword up to block it. His intention had been to fire the shotgun still in his left hand, but her systems had anticipated such a response. Her right foot slammed into his chest, forcing him to stumbled back into the wall. Her sword jabbed forward only to be blocked by his own weapon.

From there the two began a deadly dance around the wrecked office space, tearing into the outer office and around the reception area. Swords, guns, fists and feet flew as each tried to gain the upper hand. He was slightly taller and broader with a very small reach advantage. She relied on her speed and combat skills to make up for the slight disadvantage and the upgraded armour she wore to spring a few surprises of her own. They spun, twisted, ducked and leapt to avoid their opponent’s attack and hopefully gain the deciding blow. The computer assistance that each received made their moves all the deadlier until finally they reached a point of stalemate.

Both were slightly out of breath, their sword blades resting against their opponent’s throat while the barrel of their gun was level with their opponent’s chest. Their computers rapidly searched for the best means of escaping, but failed to come up with a winning strategy. Both took the decision to ignore the hundred or so strategies and use their own.

She spun to the left, intending for her sword to strike his head. As she rolled the shot from his rifle narrowly skimmed the side of her chest. He own shot went wide, knocking his sword off target. Her own sword blow had been on the mark, but the need to dodge his shot meant it lacked the force needed and was easily knocked aside. Still she was not to be denied and completing a full turn as she lowered her body to the floor, she stood to find her gun pointed directly at his chest. She didn’t hesitate in firing.

While she had been moving to deliver her final shot, he had adjusted his position to allow for his strategy. As the blast from her gun struck him in the chest, his sword was already swinging. As the blast deflected from his armour and she was thrown away, his sword struck her across the chest. He allowed his targeting system to direct his movements as he raised his rifle and opened fire.

The sword shot to her chest combined with the deflection of her own shot pushed her back, but she was not done. She rolled back into a standing position and allowed her targeting system to direct her as she threw her sword at him. The computer confirmed that she had missed just as she ducked to avoid the potentially fatal shot that ripped a hole in the wall behind her. She toppled over and lay still, unable to move as the chest strike caught up with her. She was relieved to see the same was true for him.

The room grew brighter, the walls collapsed down as the training program ended. A small team of technicians helped her to her feet just as another team did the same for her opponent. They picked up their weapons, returning them to their storage holsters before crossing the training area and shaking hands.

“System Command: Armour Off!” Garth Nelson ordered, causing his armour to return to its resting position. The power unit in his chest sank back beneath the skin as his heavily modified body shifted into its more human-looking form.

“System Command: Armour Off!” Nancy Cooper commanded. Her armour shrank back into the special storage compartments that had been strapped to her limbs and back. The small power unit was encased in its safety package before joining the armour in her backpack. she quickly released the straps and opened a storage case that allowed her to carry the armour in a single container. She secured the lock before allowing the box to return to its storage space.

“Well done,” Garth told her as the technicians hand them each a bottle of water. “That was almost perfect.”

“You too,” she agreed.

Garth had been training constantly since joining Lightspeed. The modifications he had undergone at the hands of government scientists had made him a living weapon, but he had needed to train constantly to develop the technology they had used into a means of fighting. The implants inside his cranium had been enhanced when his armour’s computer system had been connected to Lightspeed’s computer. It allowed him to receive the same operational data that the Lightspeed Rangers used during their missions and to use those computers for extra processing space.

The armour Nancy had been testing was very similar to Garth’s but had not been internalised. Instead the components were deployed in a similar way to the Lightspeed Rangers’ uniforms. Instead of an internal computer, Nancy’s helmet carried all the components needed to give her similar capabilities to Garth. It was only when they were acting without armour that it became clear that Garth was the augmented human soldier and Nancy was the highly skilled operative. Both were considered an asset.

“I’m amazed at the progress you’ve both made,” Captain Mitchell announced, causing the technicians to snap to attention. Nobody had seen him enter. He flicked through the pages of a report before signing the bottom and handing the clipboard to an assistant. “In fact I think we can end the testing altogether.”

He watched as Nancy’s face fell. He knew why: this project was her last link to Lightspeed after the Lightspeed Rangers had made it clear that they would never accept her as a sixth Ranger. That the Lightspeed Rangers had threatened to quit if forced to work with an unwanted teammate, had forced Captain Mitchell to scrap the White Lightspeed powers they had built for Nancy. However he had decided that the building and testing of the new armour required an experienced operative and had offered Nancy the job. Sadly with the testing at an end, so was Nancy’s reprieve.

“From this moment Operation: Demon Hunter is live and providing you two are agreeable, you’re both upgraded to active status.”

Nancy was confused. She had been led to believe that she had been testing Lightspeed’s attempts to duplicate Garth’s armour without the need to surgically alter the bodies of those using it.

“Finishing the armour was important, but training an operative capable of using that armour was more important,” Captain Mitchell told her. “We needed somebody who could adapt to the new system when it wasn’t just second nature. You accomplished that.”

“But I thought there could only be five Rangers,” she protested.

“Lightspeed only has five Lightspeed Rangers,” Captain Mitchell allowed. “Six if include the Titanium Ranger, but since we can’t find anybody capable of using them…”

They had tried find a user for the Titanium powers but it had proven impossible. The damaged morpher had been repaired but the power cells were still overcharged. It had been theorised that once somebody had successfully transformed using the Titanium Morpher, the excess charge would be stabilised and the device rendered safe. The problem was that nobody could survive the transformation process without either collapsing or worse. Carter had tried and failed when it had been suggested that as an active Ranger he would be used to the strain of the first transformation. The Red Ranger had been left panting but otherwise unscathed. Garth had also tried and had collapsed under the strain.

“As you know our funding limits the Rangers to fighting Queen Bansheera’s forces and rescuing those endangered when they attack. They don’t allow us to deal with the demons before they strike or to find ways to vanquish them permanently. The Demon Hunter Project is our way of dealing with this problem. If you agree the two of you will only be responsible for dealing with demon attacks and dealing with those that try to assist them.”

There had been a few cases where humans had willingly aided the demons in return for power. So far Lightspeed had managed to put a stop to whatever schemes they had come up with, but there was at least one self-proclaimed demon priest stirring up trouble.

“The Demon Hunters are Lightspeed’s black-ops. Unlike other personnel you will not need to obey the commands or the Lightspeed Rangers in the field, although I expect you to work with them.”

Lightspeed’s shareholders and the organisation’s reliance on government backing had limited their role. Maybe of the shareholders wanted to sell the plans for the Lightspeed Rescue Zords to the highest bidder. Fortunately the plans and patents for other technology were held by a separate trust. The creation of the Demon Hunters placed part of their activities outside of the direct control of the military. The creation of the Lightspeed International Rescue Force allowed Captain Mitchell to dispose of their older equipment among trusted organisations. The Demon Hunters and Rescue Force split the role of Lightspeed between fighting evil and saving lives and Captain Mitchell was certain that with that clear division he could win any potential arguments.

“What about the Rangers?” Nancy asked.

Dana and the others had made it clear they would never accept Nancy as a member of their team. Their actions had forced Captain Mitchell to consider disciplinary action against the, but they were deemed too important to place on suspension.

“The Demon Hunters are not Rangers, the Rescue Force are not Rangers and will never be treated as Rangers. Whether Dana and the others choose to accept that there are other teams out there is up to them.” He paused. “They will be reminded that either group would make excellent replacements for the Lightspeed Rangers should they decide to resign.”

And there was the final piece of the puzzle. Captain Mitchell had created two new forces to allow Lightspeed to carry out its missions without outside intervention and prevent the Lightspeed Rangers from threatening to quit to get their own way. And with both the Demon Hunters and Rescue Force available to provide additional support during a mission, Mariner Bay had also become a safer place in the process.

Demon Hunters and Rescue Force operatives

End of Part

**THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**