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.
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.
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**