Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to the current copyright owners.
Author's Note: This is the second prologue in Shattered Grid. Not a great deal of action in this piece, just setting a few plot points in motion. There is an extended Author's Note for this chapter.
Shattered Grid: Future Errors, Past Mistakes
When humanity mastered time travel the first thing they did was outlaw its use. Not really... the first thing they did was conduct countless experiments resulting in unimaginable damage to recorded history that took decades to put right mostly because they had no idea whether they were reverting an actual change or just making things a little nicer for those involved. It was only at the moment they realised that they were changing things with no understanding of the side effects such changes could have that they realised how dangerous time travel could be and outlawed its use.
Of course, nobody believed that just making a law would ever be enough. Just because somebody was told not to do something did not mean they wouldn't look for ways to do it without being noticed. Whether it was the husband that wanted to sneak back a few years and prevent his wife from leaving, the distraught parent that wanted to save their child from an accident or some rogue state that was determined to change the outcome of an uprising that ended a regime. Those that made the laws were enlightened enough to understand that for every selfish desire to go back and change history for themselves, there were dozens more who saw the opportunity as a way of improving the lives of those around them.
And so, Time Force had been created. It was a small agency of just over a thousand operatives, charged with the duty of preventing time travel by putting certain technology and those knowledgeable enough to create it, out of harm's way. As their mission progressed they realised that the only way to know if time travel had been used to alter history was to have an accurate record of how events should have progressed. And so, the agency set up to prevent time travel, sought to journey back in time to monitor the correct progression of history. At some stage it was pointed out that the probes they were using were the same design as the technology that had been discovered leading to the creation of time travel in the first place. It was agreed that those that were aware of that little secret would never reveal it.
The probes that had not ended up under massive mud slides only to be exposed millions of years later during a great disaster, provided the base information needed to create an official history. Stored on crystals that were immune to changes caused by temporal divergence, the encoded data allowed Time Force to build an accurate record of all events from the time of the dinosaurs up until the start of their research. With technology to decode the crystals and computers to cross-reference those events with more traditional records, they could detect changes in the 'official' history of Earth and take steps to correct it.
As the number of criminals harbouring time travel technology was reduced, Time Force turned its attention to cleaning up those instances where history deviated from its true course. Teams of operatives were trained to conduct limited time travel into the past to correct such deviations, either with a polite word and a gentle push in the right direction or more aggressive action. In extreme cases the complete remove of a person or persons from history was authorised, so long as their removal did not cause a greater deviation. Many of Earth's conspiracy theories could be traced to the actions of Time Force and its agents, although after the assassination of a president, their rules of engagement were revised so that such extreme intervention became a rare event.
Captain Braxton was an analyst charged with the critical task of deciding when a deviation warranted intervention and when to allow such things to play out in the knowledge that history was very robust and would often re-establish if normal course if given time. The report before him should have been a difficult choice on his part. A man had been transported back in time to a point where he was many generations removed from his eventual birth. His presence had been noted by the citizens of his new home due to the exciting stories surrounding his arrival. His name had been noted and he was the subject of gossip and conversations in nearby towns.
Braxton was aware of the case rulings on such events: rumours and gossip would eventually give way to exaggerated stories and disbelief; so long as the subject made no attempt to deliberately change events that they were aware of, there was absolutely no need to do more than monitor the situation. At that point Braxton should have made a note on the file and returned it to the review folder to be looked at again at predetermined intervals. Instead he had chosen to mark the incident as high priority and had then authorised a small 'cleanse team' to journey to the period in question and remove the time traveller and those that had been corrupted by his presence.
Time Team Zeta had been dispatched to locate and remove the time traveller from history. They had also been instructed to remove those most likely to speak of his presence in their community. They had been equipped with the means to destroy the township if they need to. When the bodies were eventually recovered it was revealed that they had encountered Tom Oliver upon their arrival. Tom had not been prepared to accept their story and having perceived them as a threat, had attacked them.
The fate of Time Team Zeta remained a mystery for many years during which time Braxton was demoted for causing the greatest deviation ever recorded and placing Time Force's very existence in jeopardy. Following the recovery of three bodies it was determined that Tom Oliver had absconded with Time Force technology and one of its officers. The question was where had they gone and just how much damage could one rogue time traveller cause?
Angel Grove, Reality: 206.005.005.328,
Months after the arrival of Time Team Zeta
Tom stepped out of the time field and discarded the device. Without a means of recharging it, it was no longer of use to him. Fortunately he had taken full advantage of it during the period it had been working, while being careful to avoid the notice of any nosey Eltarians that could be monitoring the planet.
At the time that the Time Force agents had arrived, Tom had been a part of Angel Grove's struggling community for almost two years. In that time he had not acted upon his plans and had chosen instead to bide his time. The people of this era were weak and would have been unable to stand up to the power at his command, but he had refrained from acting on the urge to reveal his true nature. The humans of this age lacked the technology and weapons that he needed to form the basis of an army, and he was aware that he lacked the level of genius needed to bring them up to that level.
So by the time that Time Force Zeta had arrived, he had resigned himself to waiting however long it took for humanity to reach a point where they were useful to him. The arrival of Time Force had been a shock, but their announcement that for the good of the timeline they had been authorised to euthanize him, had been a threat and an insult. He had quickly corrected their assumption that he was not a threat, though he had spared one member of their team for a friendly chat about the workings of their time travel technology.
The lucky survivor had revealed how the controls worked, how to move objects through the time field and most importantly: that the device had a limited battery life after which the only way to recharge it was to return it to its year of origin, something Tom had vowed he would never do. It might have been tempting for Tom to travel through time and eliminate the Power Rangers during their childhoods, but a time traveller killing teenagers would attract attention he did not want; part of Tom's plan relied on Zordon remaining unaware of his presence for a while.
Instead he had made use of his new freedom to travel to evade the investigators Time Force had sent in search of their missing team. He had popped forward to the late Nineteenth Century, where he had helped an old man die in his sleep. He had travelled to distant galaxies and stirred up rebellions that would take several hundred years to put down, had acted as a match maker for a very deserving couple who would be enjoying a thousand year long honeymoon, and had journeyed into the past to sabotage a factory.
He was aware that the actions he had taken would have knock-on effects that would greatly disrupt the future. In all likelihood those responsible for dispatching Time Team Zeta no longer existed or if they did they could be a very different organisation. He had used the last of the device's battery to return the last member of Time Force Zeta home with a clear message that they should forget all about him; by his reckoning and limited understanding his actions had caused the creation of a new history they could not control. The promised destruction of their monitoring probes, an essential requirement for their development of time travel would keep them at bay.
And that left him with the simple problem of what to do next? Earth was not ready to be conquered just yet. It would be a while before the humans reached a level where they could be useful to him. Instead he turned his attention away from the people of Earth and focussed instead on those most likely to get in his way: Rita Repulsa and her ancient enemy, Zordon. Rita was safely locked inside her dumpster and was not due to be released for a long time. That left him the opportunity to deal with Zordon and Alpha Five first; not such an easy task because his strategy required that he keep the old fool alive. But once he had finished his conversation with the powerful sage, Lord Drakkon would be ready to have a similar chat with Rita.
And then he would be ready to show Tommy why the Green Ranger had always been superior.End of Part