Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or any other property used in this story. They all belong to their respective copyright owners, which at the moment is Disney but will son become Hasbro. This is a fan work and no profit has been made or sought from its creation.
Day of the Demons
He did not know how long he had been imprisoned, just that many years had passed and the rescue that had seemed so certain at the time of his capture had long since faded. His captors no longer considered him a threat worthy of caution. The protections that had once insisted upon using before approaching him, the minimum distances they required all those visiting him to maintain, and even the well hidden fear in their voices when they addressed him had vanished over time.
Not that he blamed them for their lack of fear. He had been bested in battle and had had his power taken from him when one of the humans had dared to speak his true name, granting those not obliterated during his defiant and ultimately useless struggle against their attempts to bind him victory and in the process robbing him of his power. They had even taken the precaution of branding his name into his body and indenting it into the Cold Iron shackles they had melted onto his limbs.
He was a demon. His body was impervious to most weapons, his strength far beyond that of the mortals that had confronted him and possessing the dark power to turn his foes to ash. But even a demon could be weakened with the right spells spoken at the right time and in the right circumstances. The discovery of his name had granted those he fought a small hold on his power, which combined with the right weapon had been enough to capture him.
And once they had him they had been sure to do everything in their power to keep him. The Cold Iron chains sapped his magical strength while the name branded into his skin robbed him of his ability to use his magic against them. Those that guarded him in the first few centuries had worn protections to prevent him from influencing their minds. They had made his prison as secure as possible by hiding his continued existence from those that would seek to release him, all the while using his body to further their research into ways of defeating his fellow demons.
But the humans had grown complacent. They might have etched his name into his body, which allowed them a small amount of control over him, but they had long since forgotten how to pronounce it. Which meant that the restriction it placed upon him was drastically reduced. And the chains that drained his magic had not been cleansed for generations, robbing them of their effectiveness as his magic corroded and weakened the restraints.
But the greatest oversight on their part were the lapses in security that had become a common occurrence. Guards were no longer checked before going on duty to ensure they were equipped to handle him correctly. So chose to forgo the protective headwear their predecessors had designed to keep him from influence their emotions. Sometimes there were gaps in the guard rotation when individuals would find themselves alone within his cell block. And the ritual cleansing that was supposed to take place immediately upon ending a shift was often forgotten, allowing the dark magic that accumulated within the prison to seep into the bodies, hearts and minds of those that were supposed to restrain him.
It was those oversights that had influenced those in charge of his imprisonment to conduct experiments upon him. It was the lack of protections that had prevented them from understanding the danger that extracting his blood could cause. It made those seeking to study and harness his power greedy and reckless. It allowed him to engineer the means of his vengeance against the humans that believed him to be at their mercy.
And when he was done he would not only gain revenge upon those that disrespected him with their lack of caution, but he would have revenge upon the mortals that had dared to stand against him so long ago as he returned to the kingdom of his mother, Queen Bansheera and resumed his place as prince.
He was weak, the humans were strong. But that would soon change. The humans ability to restrain him had been diminished since the time they had forgotten how to say his name. As his chains had eroded due to the dark magic that flowed from his body, so his strength had returned. His body was not the glorious work that it had once been, but his mind was as sharp and as devious as ever.
He had studied his captors and after encountering generation after generation of pitiful mortal, he had reached the conclusion that they were truly pathetic creatures. There was not a single human out there in his opinion that was not susceptible to evil. The humans he had encountered were greedy, disgusting creatures that remained good purely because they feared the consequences.
He had used their greed to his advantage, tricking them into believing that their research would bring them riches. In truth their growing greed made them careless, causing them to take risks that a rational mind would reject. The plan that they developed was madness, but they were too consumed by darkness to step back and think about their actions.
And then they broke one of the longest standing rules established to keep their prisoner under control: they had decided to harvest his body, using the bits they extracted to unlock new knowledge and wealth. They had stolen his blood without understanding its properties and that had cost them dearly.
He was a demon, the child of Queen Bansheera and a member of her ruling court. Like all her children - for all the demons that made up Queen Bansheera's court were her children regardless of whether she chose to acknowledge them - his blood was filled with magic. Inside his body that magic was contained by the spells and chains crafted to keep him restrained. Once removed from his body its magic was free to flow and to infect those who lacked the needed protection. It infected everyone inside the prison. And then it was a matter of waiting as his magic corrupted the guards and all those they encountered, spreading like a disease from person to person.
According to the Christian calendar, Good Friday was the most evil day of the year. For it was written that on Good Friday the Holy Spirit was absence from the Earth. Whether that was true or not did not matter, the effectiveness of magic was increased by belief and rightly or wrongly, people put their faith in the teachings of the Bible. So it came to be that the infection that had started at the beginning of the year grew stronger on Good Friday, allowing the demon to exert a greater influence on those that held him prisoner.
He instilled in them a sense of utter dread when entering his presence. A deeply felt conviction that they would come to unbelievable harm should they stray closer, or spy upon him. The effects were limited but allowed him to spend a day unobserved as he began a ceremony that would take months to complete.
As the weekend passed, his influence upon the minds of those around him faded. The guards returned to their usual rounds, unaware of the spells he had cast or the darkness growing within the prison. Nor did they notice that the chains they had used to bind him had broken during their absence.
It was time. The spell he had cast months earlier was finally completed, the evil he had unleashed had spread beyond the walls of his prison. His blood, his power, had spread around the world, latching onto all those with the capacity to be evil. As the final minute passed, the day before Halloween came to an end and with a single word, his revenge on the that had imprisoned him long ago, began.
A wave of psychic energy erupted from a complex hidden beneath a ghost town somewhere in North America and spread for miles around. The sudden spike in dark energy triggered alarms around the world, alerting those watching for such things that there was a problem.
A cloud of accumulated darkness hovered over the nearby city before dissipating. There was a moment of stillness as reality seemed to catch up with what had happened before the screaming started as those humans capable of being evil were driven into an uncontrollable rage as they tore into their neighbours.
As the spell forced the evil within to come to the surface, their bodies were mutated by the dark energy. While they still appeared to be vaguely human, the dark energy had caused them to be hideously disfigured. The result were mockeries of humanity with distorted facial features, misshapen limbs, visible bones and muscles, and clawed fingers and toes. With their evil natures brought to the surface, the rational parts of their minds were locked away behind primitive rage. They opened their mouths and let loose a terrifying roar before turning on those around them.
In the first moments of the epidemic, the effects were limited to those inside the demon's prison. As the spell took effect, the madness spread as those unaffected ran for safety from the beasts that tried to chase.
Fortunately for those that were still human, it seemed that just as children needed time to learn how to walk, so the rabid animals needed a short period to gain control of their muscles, allowing the innocents time to flee as the hideous creatures attacked anything and everything in their path, including each other.
The psychic plague had had taken hold of the prison and the nearby city. In the first stages it would bring rage and mutations, but as time passed the effects would intensify and those humans affected by it would be transformed into the beasts he believed them to be. They would fight amongst themselves like animals, and hunt and kill those that were not infected by the darkness, cleansing his mother's kingdom of the human infestation.
His eyes glowed with power as for the first time in thousands of years his bindings were broken; there had not been a single guard that had not succumbed to the darkness and with nobody to hold the magical wards that had restrained him, the shackles had been broken and he had been released.
Because he had been weakened by his prolonged isolation from his mother's power, he was unable to teleport immediately. Instead he tore a path through the facility. The humans he encountered had been mutated by his power and were eagerly fighting each other in a violent orgy of blood and gore.
"What is happening?" Diabolico demanded as the demon temple shook.
Vast stores of Negative Energy were being channelled away from the demons' home, causing its foundations to tremble. It had been a long time since so much power had been manipulated in such a way; only Queen Bansheera and her son Impus were supposed to have such a degree of access.
"A plague of darkness sweeps the land, infecting humans to our command," Jinxer replied as a magical window showed the humans mutating and attacking each other.
"Somebody is stealing power from the temple," Loki reported.
"Not stealing, using," Jinxer corrected him. "Somebody with the ability to draw upon the resources of this temple is using it to sustain a spell."
He could feel the surprise of the other courtiers and the jealousy oozing from Diabolico. He was not at all surprised at the latter. Since their release Diabolico, Loki and Vypra had proven themselves ineffective against the humans. The loss of the great power that had once fed Queen Bansheera and her clan had diminished their evil natures, making them less competent than Jinxer remembered. Indeed Diabolico had tried many times to use the power buried deep within the temple, an untapped source of Negative Energy, only to be rejected.
Of course that raised the question of the newcomer's identity and how they had succeeded where Diabolico had failed? Only a demon in the service of Queen Bansheera had the potential to access the power of the temple. And of those that had served her, the power within the temple had been reserved for senior courtiers and the royal family. Now it appeared that with their ruler far away, even her senior courtiers faced restricted access to the temple's power. That had been one of the reasons why Diabolico's attempts to destroy the humans had failed: the demons they had sent forth to devastate the human world had been hopelessly underpowered.
"Nobody should be able to steal the power of Queen Bansheera," Diabolico argued. "Whoever it is will suffer for this outrage. Where is he? Find him!"
In response Jinxer cast a scrying spell to seek out the supposed thief. But when the image appeared they were shocked at what they saw. Before them was a dark coloured demon with large wings, one of which had clearly been torn. He had a long pointed horn on the left side of his neck, and the stumped remains of a similar horn on the right side. Its arms were a mass of black tendons, muscle and clawed fingers. Its three toed feet ended with sharpened claws and its barbed tail swept around, threatening to impale anything it considered prey. On its torso was a second face, which had a passing resemblance to Diabolico. The right eye glowed with red light, but the left side of the face had clearly seen better days; they left eye was dull and empty, and something had clearly damaged the thick demon skin around it. Wherever it had been, it had been badly injured at some point. Perhaps that explained why it had waited until now to make an appearance.
"Could it be?" Jinxer asked excitedly. "Prince Zylpheeza lives!"
"Prince Zylpheeza?" Vypra asked.
"Queen Bansheera's second son," Loki answered. "If Zylpheeza is back then we can finally destroy those humans and restore Queen Bansheera's palace."
Diabolico did not respond. Inside he fumed at the thought that his position would be lost if the prince had truly returned. Diabolico after all was just a courtier. He had seen the destruction of the humans as an opportunity to strengthen his position in Queen Bansheera's court, perhaps even achieving the role of consort until her youngest child matured. With the possibility that one of her other children had re-emerged, his efforts had been for nought.
"He's turning the humans against each other," Vypra noted.
"He's turning them into demons," Jinxer added gleefully.
Diabolico growled in disgust at the idea. "Beasts," he countered. "No human shall ever be considered worthy of being a demon."
"His spell will only last the day," Jinxer continued. "I wonder how many humans will be destroyed before it ends and how they will cope with a horde of 'beasts' roaming their lands."
Like most of the magic used by those invading the Earth, Zylpheeza's spell had limitations. For a start it had been limited in range due to the demon's weakened state and the need to constantly maintain its effects. Queen Bansheera and her clan drew used a form of magic that was closer to psychic energy. It allowed them to supercharge their spells using negative emotions, but was not as permanent as magic. Spells cast with Negative Energy took time to conclude and only when fully complete were their effects permanent.
Zylpheeza's spell was more powerful than most demon spells, so needed longer before it became permanent. At the same time it required a great deal of Negative Energy to maintain it. If broken before the spell stabilised, the effect would be fully reversed as if it was never cast, but once it had completed the effects could never be reversed.
"The longer the spell lasts, the more powerful it will become. As the power intensifies the rage the and bloodlust will grow stronger, fuelling the spell and strengthening its hold upon the humans. Each life they take will magnify the Negative Energy, drawing Queen Bansheera closer."
As Jinxer continued to explain the ways in which the power of the ritual would grow with each act of violence and every death those under its influence caused, Diabolico found himself hoping that the plan would fail and his position would be secured. He had grown used to his position of authority in Queen Bansheera's absence. The return of the prince would not aid him in fulfilling his ambitions.
"And if the spell is broken?" he asked.
"Then all will be as it was before, but the memories will not fade," Jinxer answered. "But to break the spell they must destroy the source of the magic..."
"Impossible!" Loki crowed. "Prince Zylpheeza is the source and no human could defeat him."
Diabolico was not so certain. If Zylpheeza's appearance had been any indication, then something had defeated him. It might have been a long time ago and might have taken a large force to accomplish the task, but the prince was not unbeatable as Loki claimed.
"We should assist him," Vypra declared.
"He appears to be doing well on his own," Diabolico countered.
"Perhaps some Batlings to guard him," Jinxer offered, "until he returns to us."
Diabolico nodded thoughtfully as a plan formed in his twisted mind. As far as he could tell there were only one group of humans that stood a chance of defeating the mighty Zylpheeza: the Power Rangers.
"We need to make certain the Power Rangers are too busy to confront the prince," he said aloud before turning toward the shadows where Ryan Mitchell, the Titanium Ranger watched. "The Titanium Ranger will give them something to think about and keep them away from him."
Despite its potency, Zylpheeza's spell was limited to only the area around his former prison, although a number of the beasts had already moved beyond the boundaries of the nearby city and were roaming the countryside... it appeared they had inherited some demon qualities as they could cover hundreds of miles in a short time.
In Mariner Bay the reports of unexplained spikes in Negative Energy and the outbreak of madness in Michigan were being studied by Lightspeed's scientists. As reports came in that more incidents had occurred, around the country, it became clear that the energy spikes were somehow related.
"What do we know about this site?" Captain Mitchell asked, singling out a compound within the county of Alcona, close to where the incidents had started.
"Nothing Sir," was the response. "Until today there was no evidence that this site even existed. The area in question has been considered uninhabited for centuries aside from a ghost town which became abandoned in the early part of this century"
Captain Mitchell however was unconvinced. Something disturbed him about the aerial photographs. He turned to study the geophysics results for the satellite footage.
"This building is old," he told them. "Very old. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to build a very large complex in an uninhabited part of the Midwestern United States and then took the time to completely cover it and keep it off the records. I would like to know who and why?"
"Sir, I've enhanced the image and there is something you should see," Miss Fairweather, interjected.
His staff gasped as they recognised the etching in the side of the now exposed building. It belonged to Lightspeed.
"I need to know what that facility is, why it was built and what it has been doing," he said. "And I need to know if it is a part of Lightspeed. The somebody needs to tell me why nobody here knows anything about it?" He paused, considering his options. "Go through the financial records if you have to, there has to be some sort of funding to run a complex that side."
It was not unusual for Lightspeed to have facilities around the world. Many of the parts needed to build and maintain their Zords were manufactured away from the Aquabase. The building of a Rail Rescue required a mega factory to complete. Along with the weapons, uniforms and equipment of Lightspeed personnel, it was a multi-national operation. But there were always records and to find a facility that seemingly did not exist, was worrisome.
In the meantime there were lives in danger and Lightspeed had a mission to fulfil. Teams from Lightspeed's International Rescue Force had been dispatched to help the innocents being chased by transformed humans. The military had been mobilised to prevent the beasts from moving beyond the city's limits. So far they had managed to rescue hundreds of innocents, while keeping those affected by whatever spell had been used at bay without killing them. But the situation was growing more and more desperate as military forces were dispatched to trouble areas maintain control; it appeared the spell continued to cause mutations in humans that entered the danger zone and some of those units were seriously undermanned when their comrades had started turning into demons.
They were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Sir, there is a call for you on Line Seven!" once of the lower ranking servicemen assigned to Lightspeed's command reported.
"It'll have to wait," Captain Mitchell replied.
Line Seven was an official line used by shareholders and some government liaisons. It did not take priority during life and death situations.
"Sir, Director Waller insists on talking to you immediately Sir," the private stated.
"I'll speak to her when we have dealt with this matter."
"Sir, I have been instructed to tell you that she has information regarding this matter."
Mitchell paused, a suspicion forming in his mind. "Put her through."
The problem with have a crack team of soldiers ready to lay down their lives to protect their mission was that the moment those soldiers turned into demons, their mission no longer mattered. That was something Amanda Waller had quickly discovered when she had been forced to execute her personal bodyguards when they had turned on her.
She was not certain why the mutations were taking place or the reason she had been unaffected, although it was possibly due to the protection equipment she had installed when she had set up operations in Midway. What she did know was that her life was in danger and that she needed to be evacuated. Unfortunately that meant she would have to come clean about her activities and her department's intervention in Lightspeed's affairs.
Thousands of years ago when the forces of Queen Bansheera had been vanquished, the demon prince Zylpheeza had fought on. The army that had confronted him had lacked the presence of wizards and sorcerers, but had somehow discovered the demon's true name.
In a battle that had lasted for days, during which Zylpheeza had grown to massive proportions, the humans had found a way to use their knowledge against him. They had carved his true name into the massive spears tipped with Cold Iron, which they had hurled at him, weakening his supernatural protections. When one spear had pierced hi skin his power had faded long enough for the rest of the army to cut him down.
Then demon had been bound in shackles made from the same metal that had robbed him of his power. His true name had been branded into his hide, permanently robbing him of his full strength. And then lacking the ability to force him into another dimension like the rest of his kind, they had build a prison where he would be restrained for the rest of his days.
The prison had been sealed after he had been locked away, but at some point the settlers had discovered what they believed to be a temple filled with wealth. The entire community that had been founded above the prison had vanished overnight when they had unwittingly stumbled upon Zylpheeza.
That had been more than nine decades earlier. The government had taken steps to cover up the incident and to secure the site. They had not mentioned the discovery to anybody, including Lightspeed. Later when Amanda Waller had been searching for replacements for the Task Force operation, she had considered the captive demon as a possible resource she could tap. It was that decision that had led to recent events and her being trapped inside her own command centre in desperate need of rescue.
Amanda Waller was a practical woman even if she would have a hard time arguing that she was a good person. She valued her life and considered herself as a priority asset to her country. Therefore even though doing so meant revealing a government cover-up that breached treaties that had existed long before the government had been founded, she made the call to Lightspeed, offering to reveal all in return for immediate rescue.
"Good morning Captain," she said when her call was finally connected.
The GSA was one of a number of organisations created to provide assistance to the now defunct Task Force operation. Acting as an elite military arm they were deployed where containment and large scale elimination of a threat was needed. With the Task Force operation discontinued, the GSA had been reassigned to provide military support to both NASADA and Lightspeed.
When the call had come in that there was a problem in Midway City, the GSA had dispatched a platoon of fifty soldiers to the area to rescue civilians and prevent hostile creatures from leaving the area. The mission had gotten off to a poor start.
The troop transporter had crashed after passing through the boundaries of Midway City. One of the pilots had spontaneously transformed into a feral beast and caused havoc in the cockpit. The aircraft had lost control and crash landed, killing many of those on board - at least the majority of those that had not turned into demons along with the pilot.
Originally tasked with the rescue of civilians from the danger zone, the GSA force found itself in hostile territory without support. They had in a matter of minutes become the very people they had been sent to rescue.
Captain Mitchell was not happy. The story Amanda Waller had told him had been a tale of deception and greed on the part of various agencies. The government had ignored their obligation to honour the treaties they had drawn up with Lightspeed's founders. That they had not only hidden the discovery of a facility that belonged to Lightspeed, but had conducted illegal and unsafe experiments on a prisoner held inside the complex had placed countless lives at risk.
More disturbing was the news that the cause of the current problem was another member of Queen Bansheera's court.
"Zylpheeza?" Kelsey asked.
"According to the records, he was the son of Queen Bansheera, a demon prince," Miss Fairweather told her.
"I thought all the demons were locked away in the same place," Chad said after some thought.
"The sorcerer and those that accompanied him trapped most of the demons, but some had to be tracked down after he disappeared," Captain Mitchell explained.
Lightspeed's archivists had already been dispatched to search the records for details of Zylpheeza and his capture. The government's failure to disclose the uncovering of his location had prevented Lightspeed from carrying out its primary goal of keep Queen Bansheera and her followers from being released.
"Director Waller has declared herself a Lightspeed Rescue," Mitchell informed the Rangers. "That means your priority will be to get in and rescue the director and take her to a place of safety. After she is safe you can deal with Zylpheeza."
He didn't like the deal. Amanda Waller was not an innocent victim. She had placed herself and countless other in danger. If he had had his way he would have dispatched the Rangers with instructions to take down the demon first, but she had been insistent and had the political ties to make life extremely difficult for Lightspeed if they refused.
"The GSA has already deployed a rescue squad to the area," Captain Mitchell informed them. "The team suffered equipment malfunctions upon arrival and have fallen out of contact. Establishing contact and assisting them with their mission will be the Demon Hunters' priority. The rest of you will locate Direct Waller, remove her to safety and then attempt to move as many civilians to safety as possible. You are not to engage the enemy until we find a way to reverse whatever he has done to them."
"Yes Sir!" the five Rangers replied.
"I'll contact Angel Grove and ask them to provide backup," the captain continued. "We need to stop those things spreading across the country." The intercom beeped. "Yes?"
"Sir, there's activity in Mariner Bay," somebody reported.
Mitchell activated the monitor display in time to see the Titanium Ranger and a group of Batlings terrorising the citizens of Mariner Bay. Mitchell groaned, realising that this was the worst possible time for an attack, and that was likely why the demon forces had chosen to attack.
"We'll make it quick, Sir," Carter promised as the Lightspeed Rangers moved out.
This was turning out to be a bad day.
It was not a good day for the GSA troops. A platoon of fifty men had been cut to just eleven survivors, with the rest either lost in the crash or compromise after transforming into vicious creatures. Others had fallen when the unit had come under attack.
With their air transport destroyed, the GSA commandos had salvaged what they could from the crashed aircraft, searched for other survivors and had decided to head for higher ground before deciding if they could complete their mission. Given their severe lack of personnel and equipment, abandoning the mission and returning with reinforcements seemed the likely outcome.
"Get those Battle Suits moving!" Elden ordered.
With their superiors dead, he was the ranking officer and charged with either completing the mission or getting his men out of the area. Finding three working Battle Suits in the wreckage of one the carriers improved those chances of survival.
"Sir, we have incoming!" one of the privates warned.
Elden growled and readied his pulse rifle. It was definitely not a good day.
Far from Midway City, the evil villain known as Master Vile watched the demon prince's plan as it unfolded. While Vile considered himself to be above the Earth-based demons, he had to admit that the plan had potential. It was just a shame that it would be limited to a single city.
"It appears there is a new player," he mused. "Perhaps there is something I can do to make things worse."
While he was loathe to aid a competitor, Master Vile could see that the mutated humans could be effective against Earth's other defenders if he could force a confrontation.
"Why not allow the demons to remove the opposition before I move in and claim the planet?"
Even if the plan was unsuccessful, it would take little effort on his part. And if it did succeed... then the Earth would belong to him.
End of Part