It was all over. Its host had reached a terminal age and had been drawing its power inward for a long time. Time was perhaps the one force that could claim all beings and matter, regardless of their size, shape or power. The war between Good and Evil was over for now, which side won was unclear, but it a temporary peace at best while both sides rebuilt their numbers. If however the result was based on the last to perish: Evil had been conquered.
And in the void of hyperspace, trapped forever by a failed drive system, the lone survivor of the conflict remained. He was unbelievably old, sustained by the power that had once made him such a powerful warrior. His body had weathered the passage of time, his unique nature granting him some protection. It had not been enough though and like all things his body was breaking down due to old age.
He was the Phantom Ranger, a physical manifestation of the merger of a living being and the power contained within the magnificent Power Ruby; the Power Ruby drew its power from an unknown source. It was said to be a part of the Universe yet somehow separate. It retained the memories and an echo of the spirits of those that wielded its energies. They gave it consciousness and understanding while it gave them power. It was the Phantom Ruby that had sustained his failing body, not because it cared, but because without a host it would no longer have a purpose and would revert to its previous state. The Phantom Ruby was practical.
The host had long forgotten his real name. As time had passed in hyperspace the merger between living creature and ruby had been blurred. In some ways the Phantom Ruby was more aware than he was. But he was aware enough to realise that the end had come. A rift had formed in hyperspace, heralded the arrival of a new vessel. It didn’t matter who it was, which side they fought, the opening of the doorway back to the normal universe was all that was required.
“The time has come,” he announced. He took a final look around, before reaching to the Power Ruby embedded within his chest. With a quick twist the ruby was removed. He spared it a glance, wishing that he knew what would happen to it when he was gone. Then he threw it as hard as he could into the incoming vessel’s path.
Three thousand years ago.
The ship was wrecked, the majority of his family had been slaughtered or taken for sale as slaves, and his cargo had been stolen. He knew where the blame lay: the symbol of the Dianthe Pirates had been clearly displayed by the boarding party. And so he had been left alone and helpless. Well, not quite helpless. How the pirates had managed to miss the ruby in his pocket was beyond him, but it had been that ruby that had inspired him to fight back and survive when it had been his turn to die. It had been the ruby that had given him the strength to overcome his executioners and destroy their vessel.
And as he stared into the fire, mourning all that he had lost, a new desire rose within him; he wanted revenge on those that had caused him pain. He wanted revenge for everything they had done to him and others in his situation. He vowed to those that he had lost to fight the pirates wherever they went until their evil was vanquished forever. And as he spoke, the ruby glowed brightly accepting his words and its new purpose.
A flash of purple light erupted from the ruby, filling him with new strength. Instinctively he closed his eyes and allowed the energy to flow. His battered purple survival suit was repaired and modified. It was streamlined for easier movement with extra bulk to protect vulnerable places. The new material – for he was reluctant to call it metal – refracted the light that hit it, hiding itself from view, but when he moved he noticed that there was some reflection.
~It’s like I’m a ghost,~ he thought as he studied his seemingly translucent form. ~No, a phantom.~
The strange effect vanished and he was able to see his reflection clearly in the mangle remains of his ship.
“I’m a Ranger,” he whispered in awe. “A phantom Ranger.”
He placed the ruby into the slot where his suit’s battery had been. It glowed for a moment before returning to normal and he nodded in satisfaction as the power seemed to become a part of him.
“I’m the Phantom Ranger!”
A few light years away the captain of the Dianthe vessel that had cost him so much, suddenly felt very afraid.End **THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**