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|AEP: Master Creator||
Posted: Jul 31 2012, 10:16 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 16-January 08
So, a little explanation, which sadly doesn't help me finish the story as I wanted it to be...
Cast of Characters:
Tommy Oliver - White Power Ranger
Zack Taylor - Black Power Ranger
Kimberly Hart - Pink Power Ranger
Billy Cranston - Blue Power Ranger
Trini Kwan - Yellow Power Ranger
Jason Lee Scott - Red Power Ranger
Zordon, Alpha 5
Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Scorpina, Goldar, Finster?
So, obviously, this is a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers story... So why does that matter?
I always wondered why, for all of the range that teleportation had, did the Rangers ever leave (aside from the personnel reason that three actors didn't negotiate richer contracts)? Even going to Switzerland shouldn't have stopped them from being able to teleport back at a moment's notice in event of an attack. They were able to teleport across the Atlantic Ocean to the Island of Illusion for crying out loud!
But this story added two MAJOR changes:
1) the three who were selected STILL left...
And before you make a big stink about it, they would still be able to do exactly what I described above.
2) there is another team of five who is the "replacement" team, which will occasionally be helped by Tommy/Kim/Billy and the others if they teleported, leaving up to 11 Rangers.
Zordon and Alpha develop a new set of powers (based on Jetman), that has a separate connection to the Morphin' Grid, from which all Ranger powers flow *at this time in the show* (to not overload it), given to:
Richie Jackson - Red Hawk Ranger
Aisha Campbell - Blue Swallow Ranger
Adam Park - Black Condor Ranger
Rocky DeSantos - Yellow Owl Ranger
Katherine "Kat" Hillard - White ("Pink") Swan Ranger
This fic [tries to] develops Richie more as a supporter, and introduces Kat without her evil stint, integrating her immediately. The plan was to show that the teams could come together, the main difference from MMPR (other than Kat's timing and Richie's importance, of course).
Sadly, I was unable to find enough time to write all that I wanted to, but I'm practically guaranteeing a re-visit to it at a later date... (And I actually mean find the time THIS month)
Without any further ado, here's the story:
Election -by AEP: Master Creator-
“What do you mean, Zordon?” Jason Lee Scott asked. The floating head in his time-warp tube looked down pensively on the team. “Aren’t we doing the job?”
“Jason, you are doing your job excellently. Everything that I have asked has been accomplished by your team. The Power Rangers have been hailed as protectors of Angel Grove, and well they should.” Perhaps because of the acoustics of the Command Center, Zordon’s voice always boomed as he addressed his charges. “Regardless of the monster, the six of you have met the challenge and dispatched the creature. However, Lord Zedd’s attacks have only gotten worse over the last couple weeks, and it has come to my attention that your efforts might soon be insufficient for the upcoming task.”
“So you’re saying that we can’t handle it,” Tommy Oliver responded, sarcasm barely held in check. He was essentially the second-in-command, despite twice being given powers that were proven to be superior to the others. A proud man by nature, he felt that Zordon’s comments were an effrontery to the work they had done already. Despite losing power twice, Tommy now stood in the Command Center alongside Jason, dressed in all white. He had come through so much, and did not want to feel inadequate.
“I am simply saying, Tommy, that Lord Zedd’s desperation increases daily. For now, the six of you are handling the threat well, but I cannot say if that will remain true in the near future.” Jason looked like he was about to interrupt. “Especially if three of you have been chosen for the Peace Conference in Geneva.” Jason looked down at the floor, biting back the retort he had prepared.
“But we can teleport across the entire globe, can’t we?” Tommy asked. “Even if Jason, Trini and Zack are in Switzerland, what would stop them from teleporting back in need?”
“Tommy, their jobs are delicate and should not be compromised. I cannot allow you to call them back into battle when doing so could be hazardous to their appointment. This is an opportunity that is certainly welcome amidst today’s strife. You will not jeopardize their chance to succeed in it.” For the first time that Tommy could remember, Zordon sounded like a stern parent. Usually, his talks consisted of guiding the teens into battle, and not mothering them. But his points were entirely valid.
“Besides,” Alpha 5 chirped in with his tinny voice, “you cannot guarantee that the three would be available to fight if you needed them to.”
“As I have previously discussed, now is the chance to act. Lord Zedd must not know that we are losing numbers, or else he will press his advantage. No, we must draft new Rangers.”
“Why aren’t we enough?” Tommy demanded, almost angry. After being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and coming through to become an important team member, his pride was firmly in the Rangers’ camp. “We can handle anything!”
“I believe you,” Zordon said quietly. “But I cannot ask three members to teleport at command from across the globe to intervene in our fights. Especially not knowing their duty in Geneva. No, Tommy, I cannot allow it, despite my belief aligning with yours.” Jason now looked up.
“What do we need to do?” Jason said, eyes almost misty. He couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the power behind. He had been there from the beginning, chosen as the leader, and had tried his best to lead them through thick and thin. No doubt he had disappointed, no doubt he had learned. The Green Candle incident was reminder enough of that. But that power was as much a part of him as anything else, any of the others, his own family even.
“You will need to select a team that can fill in while you are gone in Geneva.” Zordon said gently, as if he knew Jason’s mind. “These individuals need to be well-qualified and capable defenders of Angel Grove. Alpha and I have begun a process that will enable them to fight Lord Zedd.”
“How long do we have?” Jason asked. Tommy shot him a glance, incredulous that Jason had resigned himself to this fate. Tommy walked to Jason.
“You don’t have to do this, man. I know how important this team is to you. I know that you could teleport halfway across the world if we needed you to. Why would you give that up?”
“How will I know when I can be available as opposed to when Zedd attacks? And if we can’t get away, how do you expect to win with half a team? I have confidence in your abilities, but you can’t possibly expect the odds to be in your favor.” Jason looked back to Zordon.
“How long do we have left?”
“I need you to find someone within the week. If we can get them acquainted with the facilities with a week to go before your departure, they can be trained with the full team.” Tommy looked resentful.
“What happens to them after these new Rangers are trained?” Tommy said, looking wounded. He didn’t want to hear the response he expected from Zordon.
“Your fears are unfounded, Tommy. They will not lose their powers. Rather, this new team will operate separately and work together with you.”
“But how does that work with half a team here?” Tommy said, clenching his fists to keep his temper from boiling over.
“The new team will be backups to the three of you left. This is not a demotion, Tommy. Please control yourself. Of course, you will remain the first line of defense against Zedd.”
“But Zordon!” Jason broke in. “For them to do that, there wouldn’t be a fight, and that would tip our hand!”
“Yes, Jason, but you forget one key component: the experience. Your team has fought Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd on multiple occasions and managed to defeat them at every turn. That experience will be valuable for the next team to draw on. Should the time come where things must change, then and only then will that be a concern. I have a plan, Red Ranger, and of this you must remember always.”
Tommy spluttered, still looking feisty, but found no words to come out of his mouth. Instead, he turned on his heel, and stormed away, teleporting out of the Command Center in a blaze of white.
Jason looked up to Zordon, still unsure. “So we hold on to our powers despite being in Geneva? Would the Morphin’ Grid handle two whole teams of Rangers drawing from it?”
“I am working on that right now, Jason. But the wisest use of your time is no longer questioning my methods. It would be much better served disseminating this to your teammates and looking for another Ranger team. I will do my part if you do yours. Consider it your greatest mission.” Jason, still misty-eyed, turned and teleported away in a flash of red.
The next few days drug by very slowly for the team. After telling Zack and Trini the importance of their task, the three Peace-Conference-bound teens looked at every single student passing through school, hoping to find a gold gem of a person in each one. In one way, this was easy: many eliminated themselves from contention almost immediately. In another, this was extremely difficult: there were few candidates left that matched Zordon’s criteria, if any. While the three were gathered at a lunch table on that Wednesday five days after Zordon’s commission, they discussed only two things: potential Rangers and worries about their new jobs in Switzerland.
“Have you found anyone?” Zack Taylor asked, turning towards Jason. Zack’s face was unusually drawn and he looked tired, as if this was too much to ask someone still going through full classwork. Jason shook his head.
“I’m hoping to find some amazing martial artists not far from here in the upcoming tournament.” Jason sighed. “If only people at our school were a little more trustworthy…”
“How is the preparation for that coming?” Trini Kwan interrupted. “You haven’t been shirking for extra practice have you?”
“Of course not, Trini,” Jason assured her. “That’s why I’m so tired these days. My grades haven’t been where they usually are for the last four weeks.” He looked around conspiratorially, to make sure no one unwanted could hear what he had to say next. “It certainly doesn’t help being asked to fight Lord Zedd on a daily basis.” Zack nodded, sighing visibly.
“I can’t help but wonder if I haven’t seen at least a million people this week,” Zack said. “And not a single one of them would I recommend to fill in for us.”
“What are your dispositions on the subject?” a voice came from his right. Zack looked up to see Billy Cranston join them.
“About what, Main Brain?” Zack asked. This was an old nickname that Zack had used for years, even before the seventh grade.
“Substitution vs. relocation,” Billy said. Trini looked at him.
“You mean if we give up our powers permanently or not?” Trini translated.
“Affirmative,” Billy said, looking between the three. “Surely the influx of energy from transmutation is difficult to deny. Perhaps even unwilling for this particular trio.”
“I enjoy it so much. Fighting with these great powers alongside my greatest friends. It’s a rush to be sure,” Jason said, after a great deal of thought. “All the same, it’s a lot to ask a teenager.”
“I know what you mean about the pressure,” Zack said. “Plus, coming up with alibis, although I am slick at it, has become quite a drag on my social life.”
“You are just saying that because Angela won’t say yes,” Jason ribbed him.
“So what if I am?” Zack challenged, a gleam in his eye. “Oh, if only Angela would give me another chance…” He trailed off, looking up at the ceiling and putting both hands behind his head as he leaned back.
“Which would be the thousandth such ‘chance’ she has permitted you,” Billy said. Trini chuckled at Zack’s misfortune, but inwardly agreed with him. If it weren’t for the dire task she had chosen to do, her own life might be more social. There was a relatively new waiter at Ernie’s who was a fine specimen…
“We all look like a tornado hit us,” said a bubbly voice. “Or at least we all managed to agree on having a bad hair day.” The four looked over to see Kimberly Hart. She was the final team member, the last of the original five to pledge herself to the cause. She gave them all a smile, hugging both Jason and Trini before sitting right next to them.
“Where’s my hug?” Zack asked, winking at her. Kimberly gave him a mock groan.
“I figured you would prefer one from Angela,” she remarked, returning the wink.
“You’re right there,” Zack said without thinking. Kimberly feigned hurt, looking away from him. After “recovering” from that, she looked to Jason.
“I would guess you’re talking about candidates, and not my three projects due next week or the karate tournament coming up this weekend.”
“Of course,” Kimberly said. “If it eases your minds any, I’ve been looking around too.”
“I also pledged my assistance for this cause,” Billy said, finally sitting down on Zack’s right.
“So I guess the question goes all around,” Kimberly said. But as she looked at each individual face, she knew that their luck had been just as bad as hers, and a frown spread across her face.
“Aw, don’t frown, Beautiful. That just makes the day rain,” Tommy said as he came up behind Kimberly. She turned to accept his kiss, and he walked around the table to sit next to Billy.
“Well, we’re all here now,” Jason said, eyeing each in turn. “Thanks for helping with this tough task, you three. All the help we can get would be greatly appreciated.” Tommy looked between Kimberly and Billy to figure out what Jason had meant by this statement.
“I still don’t see the problem,” Tommy glowered. “This team works well as a unit, and now it’s going to be messed up.”
“I would prefer to keep fighting together with this team,” Trini said thoughtfully. “But the opportunity to serve as an ambassador of the United States seems like a chance that I won’t get again. As much as it hurts, I would be honored to go to Geneva. And if we can’t leave the Conference, how would we support you against Zedd?”
“The urgency of his assaults would undoubtedly triple to counter our halving of strength. Zordon is merely preparing for such an instance with a countermeasure of his own. Would you rather Zedd get to everything should we three fall?” This last was directed at Tommy. He shook his head.
“But there is nothing stopping you from teleporting out when you can. And who can predict when Zedd attacks?”
“That’s kinda the problem, Tommy,” Zack reasoned with him. “We have no way to predict if Zedd will attack when we are available or not. If I had to put myself in his shoes, I would be attacking both forces separately anyway.” He looked shocked at his own sudden revelation.
“What if Zedd attacks the Peace Conference?” he asked suddenly. That caused a silent shudder to pass through the six. “He’ll certainly know about it.”
“Then we need to be there ready to defend,” Jason said, automatically sliding into leader mode. “Tommy, we are doing our best to make sure the new Rangers have a chance to do well. But it’s simply imperative that we go, and we can’t expect to be able to teleport across the country daily, like Zedd currently has us going.”
“Any ideas for people?” Trini asked, hoping against hope that there were at least some ideas circulating.
“I predict that the aforementioned martial arts tourney will provide an excellent opportunity for screening recruits.”
“My thoughts exactly, Billy,” Jason agreed once Trini had translated it. “Aside from that, any candidates here?”
“Well, my cousin doesn’t live too far from here,” Zack volunteered. “He’s learning karate quickly, and he’s got fast feet like mine. He’s almost better at break dancing than I am…” He shrugged, a slick grin sliding across his features. “But I’m still better.” The other five chuckled, knowing Zack’s confidence was extremely well-deserved.
“That new kid behind Ernie’s bar looks pretty well-built,” Tommy observed. “Richie, his name is?” His eyebrows furrowed in concentration, trying to work against his notoriously-bad memory.
“It’s Richie,” Trini said quickly. She looked oddly detached from the situation, and Kimberly could have sworn that there was a dreamy look in her eyes.
“What about Colin?” Billy threw in.
“Couldn’t do that, Colin’s likely to tell his identity,” Jason said. “Remember the time that he told on Bulk for spilling chemicals in the lab?” Billy nodded, then realized Jason’s point.
“Although it’s not like Ms. Appleby wouldn’t have figured it out without Colin telling,” Kimberly said, derisively. She knew that Bulk was good-hearted, but he had a bad way of showing it, preferring to rely on his bigger size to bully others rather than tap that innate character.
“There’s Kyle,” Jason observed. “The problem is his temper. If Zedd found out about that, which I can guarantee he will, he would focus on it and try to make him snap. Couldn’t possibly do that.” The others seemed to agree with his sentiments.
“Well,” Tommy asked gently after a long pause, “what are we going to do?”
“For now, let’s just keep going about our lives. Tommy, you and I will have our hands full fighting some great martial artists. They might be good candidates.”
Tommy cracked his knuckles. “Looking forward to it.”
“In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled. If we find someone that simply must be, bring them in.” The teens noticed that lunch was almost over, and briefly said their goodbyes. Zack looked for Angela, Tommy left with Kimberly, and Trini walked away towing Billy. Jason was left alone. He finally got up from the table, lost in thought. He almost missed walking into a tall blonde.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized immediately. “Wasn’t watching where I was going.” The blonde smiled at him, and talked in what sounded like an Australian accent.
“That’s all right. I guess I should be paying more attention anyway. It’s only my first week here.” Jason was immediately intrigued, because this was a new person no one had talked about.
“Where are you from?” Jason asked, validating his guess.
“The Land from Down Under was my home for many years, but my family moved here a couple weeks ago,” she responded, a pretty smile spreading her features.
“That seems like a long way to come,” Jason responded. “But I hope that America has welcomed you. I’m Jason.” He held out his hand. Her slender one took it in kind, and he smiled at her.
“I’m Katherine, though most people call me Kat,” she said. “It’s very nice to make your acquaintance. Perhaps you could help me get to my next class?” She smirked at him. Jason was eager to help.
“Sure, where are you headed?”
“I have 6th period Economics with Mr. Hartsock,” she responded, looking at a folded schedule in her other hand.
“I’m in that class too!” Jason replied, “It’s right this way.” The two headed down the hall to their next class.
Surreptitiously looking over at Katherine while they walked, Jason appraised her looks. She was fairly tall, with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She had this natural quality in her, and had an amazing heart.
“How come I’ve never noticed you before if we have a class together?” Jason asked, feeling silly about this new development.
“I generally keep my head down in Econ,” she responded. “Not my best subject, and so I don’t draw attention to myself.”
“I am with you on that,” Jason said. “It’s almost unfair,” he added before he could stop himself.
“What’s not?” Katherine asked, looking to him in concern.
“I am meeting you for essentially the first time, but in three weeks I’m going to Switzerland.”
“Oh, are you a representative for the Peace Conference?” Kat asked excitedly. Jason nodded. “I was almost chosen as a delegate for Australia, but when they found out I was moving before the event, they withdrew my candidacy. It was disappointing, but if I had gone there, I wouldn’t be here now, would I?”
“We have no way of knowing,” Jason said. “Let’s go inside.” They went in, and took two seats next to each other.
The tournament was intense. Several groups of highly-trained martial artists were showcasing their best, and in the doubles competition Jason and Tommy had their hands full. In particular, a group from Stone Canyon was quite impressive. The two combatants were going through a kata. The one on the left was stocky, with brown hair and a darker complexion. His hands struck powerfully underneath the grace of their movements. The other had darker hair yet fairer skin. He moved fluidly, seeming composed and breathing in a pattern. If the two had to guess, this one had prepared the kata and taught it to the other.
Once they were done, and the two from Angel Grove weren’t competing, they cornered the two from Stone Canyon, who had a third person with them.
“Aisha, it’s kind of sad to be in this position. Our last competition for Stone Canyon,” the stocky one said to an African-American young woman who accompanied them.
“I know, Rocky. But you have to do the best you can. Maybe you can pull out a win for us one last time.”
“I don’t know if we can, Aisha,” said the other. “The pair from Angel Grove are excellent. It seems as if they have lots of practice.”
“Why do you doubt yourself, Adam? You’re one of the best martial artists I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot,” she reminded the two. Tommy and Jason came over to join them.
“I was mightily impressed by your kata,” Jason said to them, aiming his statement mostly to Rocky.
“You can thank him for that,” Rocky said, gesturing with his thumb to Adam. “He’s more peaceful than I am. Also a lot quieter. You two are from here, aren’t you?”
“That’s right,” Tommy said. “Saw you competing earlier, and I was thoroughly amazed. You’ll have to teach me that trick sometime.”
“Provided there is another time,” Aisha cut in. “I’m afraid I don’t know who you are.”
“I’m Jason Lee Scott, and this is Tommy Oliver,” Jason said, gesturing to each in turn. “We represent AGHS at the tournament.”
“I’m Aisha Campbell,” she responded, then turned to the other two. “This is Rocky DeSantos, and the shy one is Adam Park. We’re the delegation from SCHS.”
“They keep calling me shy,” Adam murmured. “I’m just uncomfortable around strangers, that’s all.”
“That’s shy, Adam,” Aisha said. She held out her hand to the two Rangers. “It’s nice to meet you, Jason. Nice to meet you Tommy.”
“Well, best of luck to you. We will meet again later, I suspect,” Tommy said.
“I look forward to it,” Rocky replied. The three turned away, and Jason and Tommy looked for their friends. Tommy stopped Jason briefly.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Tommy asked, grin on his face.
“Perhaps,” Jason said. “Did they say something about her seeing lots of martial artists? That doesn’t make too much sense. She looks like the best friend Kimberly never had.” They both chuckled at this.
“Should we introduce them to the team?” Tommy asked, looking hopeful. Jason nodded.
“But we should wait until after we finish the tournament. Why did they say it was their last competition for Stone Canyon?”
“Don’t know. We’ll ask them later, I guess,” Tommy said. The two went over to where Zack was gathered with Trini, Billy and Kimberly.
“You guys are doing great out there,” Zack said. “I’m proud of you man!” He gave a complex handshake to Jason, and a similar one to Tommy right after.
“Affirmative, you are doing stupendous!” Billy concurred. Trini laughed at him, but quickly lost interest as she saw Richie going around and taking orders from people. The Youth Center had hosted the Karate Tournament this year, and Ernie was hopping filling all the drink orders. Kimberly had volunteered to help a little this year.
“I have to go back and help Ernie,” she said. “Do well, Gorgeous,” she said to Tommy, then tiptoed to kiss him and walked the other way. Tommy looked satisfied.
“Don’t get too happy yet,” Jason reminded him. “We have a trophy to win yet.” But just then, they heard the familiar beeping.
“Couldn’t Lord Zedd wait until after the tournament?” Tommy asked, seething. Jason motioned them over to their favorite hallway hideout.
“Come in, Zordon,” Jason spoke for the five. Kimberly had not yet joined them.
“Rangers, do not fret. This is not a distress call. I am merely reporting that Alpha 5 and I have managed to set up a second set of Ranger powers. We only wait for your candidates.” Then no more.
“Well, at least we won’t have to leave,” Tommy said brightly. “I was worried for a while.”
“It is unusual that Zedd has not provoked his usual ritual,” Billy said thoughtfully. “Perhaps he has a different plan in mind.”
“I shudder to think about what Zedd might be planning, then,” Trini spoke up. “Just imagine if he were to capture people from here.”
“I know who he would go after,” Jason said abruptly. “The Stone Canyon duo is incredible today. Even better than the rest of the competition. Maybe Zedd is looking for his own Rangers.” The thought hung ominously. Jason’s mind went immediately to the three from Stone Canyon, but then drifted away to a beautiful blonde. What about Kat? She didn’t have too much fighting experience that Jason could tell, but she could be trained well, and she obviously had good character. Why, that was four right there who he would recommend to Zordon without even knowing them better!
Trini’s thoughts went to Richie. He had shown spectacular kindness, and was a hard worker. He could use training, but that would not be hard to provide. His body was prepared to fight, that much was obvious.
Zack thought again about his younger cousin, Curtis. Aside from being too young, Curtis did have a couple of attitude problems that would make it hard for him to be a Ranger. He turned his thoughts to what he had seen of the Stone Canyon duo, and agreed with Jason.
Tommy thought immediately about the Stone Canyon trio, how they interacted and treated others, how capable they were with their own fighting abilities, and saw exactly what Jason meant.
Billy’s mind wandered to all of the people he had seen, and if any of them fit the bill to be Power Rangers. None came to mind as stellar candidates, but he did agree with Jason’s point about the Stone Canyon duo after watching them dismantle the rest of their competition. As it were, lots of people here were capable, but only they had managed to beat every other team convincingly. Except for Angel Grove’s duo, of course, which they had not competed against yet, so there was no doubt they could fight extremely well. Would this make them targets for Zedd and his fiendish plans?
For now, the only pragmatic solution was to wait. If Zedd decided to attack soon, then the Rangers would have to be on hand to prevent him from capturing any martial artists from the competition.
“So what do we do now?” Zack asked, worry etched into his normally-jovial face. No one had a good answer, but Billy recommended that they return to the mats.
Sure enough, as they were sitting there, the Stone Canyon duo were out again, fighting another team with ease that made Billy a little jealous. He had been learning to fight, of course, and having practical experience had gotten him a long way in short bursts of time; but these two were obviously masters of an art that he could not manage. To his intellectual mind, it was tough thinking about them being superior to him in this field. If he had to guess, the only reason it bugged him was because they weren’t his closest friends. After all, he had never had the same insecurity around Jason or Tommy, and they were incredible. Even better than the two now fighting circles around their opponents.
The only thing keeping Trini focused on the fight in front of them, and not wandering her eyes over to the counter where Richie and Kimberly were no doubt busy was the amazing prowess of the two in front of them. She saw more encouraging evidence that their leader’s instinct was correct about the two. They were incredible fighters, and if she had to even place herself in Zedd’s palace for a second, she would consider trying to make them warriors for her side. As a willing student of the Preying Mantis style, she always longed to pick up new moves from potential opponents.
Tommy held a quiet conversation with Jason as the two assessed the Stone Canyon fighters. They talked about how to hit them and exploit their weaknesses. Rocky’s main weakness was his forcefulness, because he would sometimes over-commit to a strike, leaving him vulnerable if he missed. But he had a knack for getting out of trouble, seeming to think two steps ahead of his opponent, and his sense of balance was impeccable allowing him to stay on his feet rather than fall to the floor in a lunge if he missed his hard attacks. And the threat of being hit hard by one of his punches was always a factor because he was accurate with his fists. As they watched, Rocky went down for a trip of his opponent, who leaped over Rocky’s outstretched foot and put his hands down behind his head. Springing off of the mat, he backflipped and landed in a fighting stance. Rocky tried charging, drawing back his right fist. The opponent reacted, trying to move Rocky to his left. Rocky didn’t miss a beat, scoring a massive hit with his left hand and danced away from the stunned opponent. The referee signaled a point for Rocky.
“I can only imagine how Zedd might like having somebody like that on his side,” Jason murmured to Tommy, keeping his voice down so the others didn’t listen in.
“Say it isn’t so,” Tommy groaned theatrically. “The last thing I want to do is have to beat them while they are powered by Zedd.”
“It isn’t so…yet,” Jason said, looking back to Rocky. “Do you think we should introduce them to the team?”
“I see no reason why not. They can obviously fight, and I don’t have any gut feelings about them not being right for the job.”
“Neither do I. Quite grateful for it, honestly,” Jason admitted gruffly. “There’s four right there…”
“Four?” Tommy asked, immediately inquisitive. “There’s only three, and we don’t know if Aisha fights. She’s just the tagalong for the two.”
“You don’t know that,” Jason said. He threw an appraising look at Aisha, who was mat-side cheering her cohorts on. “She has a leaner frame than just being a shopaholic. Besides, she seems to have very accurate information on the stuff going on down there.” He listened as she called out advice to Adam, who was taking his turn on the floor.
“Could just be years of watching,” Tommy reminded him. “Kind of like parents coaching their kids from the stands. Even if they never played the sport.” Jason shook his head.
“There’s got to be something more to it.” Jason said, positive in his assessment. “She looks fit and itching to do her own fighting.”
“Don’t bring the house down, bro,” Tommy whispered. “Zedd might strike at any moment, and then she would have a definite chance. Who’s the fourth?”
“Oh, I haven’t done that right, have I?” Jason said absentmindedly. He thought back to Kat, the Australian blonde who was extremely kind. “Her name’s Katherine. She’s the new girl from Australia. I will have to introduce you to her sometime.”
“Sounds like I’m not the only one if you’re including her as the fourth,” Tommy said, slightly skeptical. He looked to the bar, suddenly noticing something. His eyes widened as he looked towards where Kimberly was filling drinks.
“Is she the leggy blonde over by Kim? That is a very nice picture,” Tommy said, whistling under his breath. Jason looked over to the bar, and nodded. He had been appreciative of her beauty upon running into her entirely by accident.
“Too bad we’re up next, otherwise I would introduce you right now.” Jason said. He got up and stretched some. “Get your gear on, soldier. We go into battle at dawn.” He snickered as he headed towards the judges’ table. Tommy shook his head as he followed.
Meanwhile, Katherine was introducing herself to Richie and Kimberly. Immediately, the helpful blonde was trying to assist them making drinks.
“Massive order from the judges’ table,” Ernie said, bustling past them and heading for the mixer. “Have to make them all strawberry-banana smoothies on the double. And of course, there’s no break in the middle.” Despite Ernie’s build, he didn’t meet Katherine’s idea of his character. She did not expect him to suddenly stop grumbling and smile at her.
“What’s your name, hon?” He looked her over, immediately liking this new blonde who wanted to be so helpful.
“I’m Katherine, but if you want to call me Kat, go ahead,” Kat said. “You must be Ernie.”
“In the flesh. Perhaps a little too much of it,” he joked, holding his stomach with both hands and jiggling it. “But I enjoy making food so much that I would never let it go!” He chuckled, in his own good-hearted way.
“They say never to trust a thin cook, after all,” Kat agreed, laughing quietly with him. She immediately asked him about the machine, and after a quick explanation was working it dexterously and whipping up as many smoothies as she could. Ernie went over to another machine, and made seven before she had finished three.
“That’s the full ten,” he said, looking at her thankfully. “Could you give the tray to Kimberly and have her deliver it over there? Jason and Tommy are up next and she probably wants to watch them. Now that I have you here, I don’t need her right at the moment.”
“Jason and Tommy? Who’s Tommy?”
“You must be new around here if you don’t know who they are. Tommy is a transfer student, similar to you I guess. Came near the beginning of the year, and now teaches the advanced karate class here along with Jason. Kimberly is one of their gang, and she teaches gymnastics for the little kids before they go the gymnastics school downtown. But I will simply have to introduce you to the whole gang. Maybe after Jason and Tommy are finished, I’ll bring them all over here.”
“I would love it,” Kat said, a twinkle in her eyes. She gave her tray full of smoothies to Kimberly and looked over to the mats, where Jason was circling his new opponent. He was certainly a looker, she thought as she appraised his form. Jason cut quite a figure in his red muscle shirt, pacing the mat and looking for an opening. Suddenly, the opponent charged, and Jason went on the defensive.
Jason deflected kick after kick from the oncoming opponent, putting his thick arms to work keeping the enemy’s strikes away from his body. On one single overreach of his opponent, Jason bulled under, flipping the opponent bodily over his shoulder, and lightly tapping an elbow into the abdomen of the opponent. The referee signaled a point for Jason.
They came back to the middle and the referee started them again. This time, Jason went on the attack almost immediately. He leapt up, attempting a tornado kick that the opponent ducked under. When the other came up, he caught Jason’s foot. Jason, using this as a catapult, torqued his body and came behind the opponent, who let go of his foot. Jason used his other leg to kick out his opponent’s knee, who crumpled. Jason also fell, but landed gracefully, going into a roll that somehow got him back on his feet. The opponent dusted himself off, eyes narrowing at Jason.
Jason met his challenge, smirking as the opponent came rushing back. Immediately dropping to the floor, Jason tripped his opponent, and jammed an elbow into the fallen man’s chest. The referee signaled another point for Jason, who won the match. Kat’s eyes now roved to Tommy, who was similarly tied up with an opponent. Quickly glancing at the scorer’s table, she noticed Tommy had a one-point edge, but was still early in the match.
Tommy stood his ground as the opponent showed amazing speed with punches to all different angles. The martial artist from Angel Grove calmly deflected each and tied the last one into a trap. Reaching forward, Tommy pulled the opponent bodily inward, where he passed through Tommy and could not turn around in time to block Tommy’s kick to his back. The opponent staggered forward, off balance, but did not fall. He turned rather gracefully and gestured to Tommy. Tommy took the initiative, feinting a high jump kick that the opponent went up with two hands to block. Tommy came down without unleashing the foot, and before the opponent lowered his hands to clear the jab, Tommy managed to get an open-palm strike at the opponent’s midsection. The man fell from the force of the blow, but fell in such a way that his body immediately came over the top and he stayed up. Tommy grinned, an almost-savage quality lighting his features briefly. He was enjoying the fight immensely.
Kat noticed this, but was soon absorbed in how good Tommy looked. His body was chiseled, and while he was easily as strong as Jason, he did not look extremely buff, hiding his muscular form in a lean body. His face was long and open, and his eyes were bright and exuded calm. He was similarly shirtless, and Kat noticed the belt at his waist. Both Jason and Tommy were sixth-degree black belts, as signified by the bands of colored tape wrapped around the belt. Kat did wonder why Jason wore red ones and Tommy wore green, but figured it was some style difference due to the immense variance in teaching. Martial arts enthusiasts that they were, many of the competitors were still watching the Angel Grove duo in their latest efforts. Kat tore her eyes from Tommy, which took some doing, to notice the degrees of prowess in the room. Many of the competitors wore black belts, but only a few had more than two degrees. The majority had just black belts, and there were two that had lower belts as well. The few that went beyond the second degree were Jason and Tommy, the pair from Stone Canyon, who Kat noticed speaking with an African-American girl off to the side as they critiqued (by her best guess) the Angel Grove fighters, and the two that Jason and Tommy had been fighting.
Tommy somehow managed a point, which Kat kicked herself mentally for missing. It was so enjoyable watching Tommy work his magic. He seemed to know every move coming at him, and always had a counter planned. His body was so fluid on the mat that it could have been water from a river and not been out of place. Tommy didn’t take the offensive very often, but it looked as though he could strike extremely fast without time for the opponent to react, and be so deadly accurate that it could place an opponent out of commission. Tommy suddenly twisted around the opponent, locking his flailing left arm, and kicked the back of his opponent’s knee. The opponent crumbled, falling out to the floor from Tommy’s arm bar, immediately on the ground and Tommy lifted his foot to bring a devastating heel kick on the opponent. Just before he could land it, the opponent used both hands to force the foot up, and kipped up using a strange twisting technique that Kat could not describe.
The opponent aimed a kick all the way at Tommy’s head, which went higher pretty easily after Tommy ducked underneath. Tommy used his right hand to force the foot farther, and his other hand struck the side of the opponent’s other kneecap. The opponent immediately came down, and Tommy used a knifehand chop to the chest to score the final point. The referee raised Tommy’s hand as the victor, and the defeated martial artist left the mats, looking discouraged. Tommy walked over to Jason and gave him a high five. But after he looked back to his opponent, he left Jason to talk to him. The two spoke briefly, but the conversation ended with the opponent nodding, a smile now on his face. Tommy went back over to Jason.
“I think we have some more time before our final competition,” Jason said to his slightly-winded friend. “Get us some time to talk to the guys if you want.” Tommy smirked.
“I don’t think that will be necessary. I see a beautiful blonde behind you just ogling the two of us, and I think that will more than fill our remaining time.” He snickered lightly, but Jason looked shocked.
“You would trade Kimberly for that?”
“Who said anything about trading?” Tommy challenged him. “I’m guessing this is the one you were talking about.” Jason nodded. Both of them appreciated Kat’s leggy form as she walked over to the two.
“I watched most of your fight. You both were wonderful,” she said, lilting in her special Aussie way. Both of them deferred the praise.
“We’ve been doing this for so long, it would have been bad for our self-confidence to lose,” Jason said.
“Besides,” Tommy admitted, “it was more of a challenge than the other fights thus far. Although I’m not looking forward to fighting those Stone Canyon guys. They look extremely good.”
“We’ve been over this,” Jason said, impatiently. “Get Rocky mad and he’ll play right into our hands.”
“It’s a pity,” Tommy said. “In another life they might have been our best friends.” There was relative silence, and he winked at Jason.
“That reminds me,” Jason said, turning completely to face Tommy. “We said we would talk to Zack and see what he found out about those two.” He pulled Tommy away, who was still looking at Kat with a dumb grin on his face.
“Remember here, Tommy, you have a beautiful woman waiting for you behind the bar. She wouldn’t take kindly to being second-best.”
“You just don’t like it because she can’t take her eyes off me,” Tommy said, sounding arrogant. “I get both Kimberly and this girl looking at me. I’m one lucky sonofagun, if you know what I mean.”
“I don’t think you should dwell on that right now,” Jason implored him, trying not to let Tommy’s comments affect him. There was no doubt that Tommy looked better. Jason would beat him in a contest of strength, and they tied in skill, but Tommy won out in looks. For taking away his childhood crush, and for looking at this new girl and captivating her, Jason was a little jealous. But green wasn’t his color, and he hid it well for now. They had more pressing things to worry about.
Kat walked back over to the bar, where Kim was now sitting and idling with Richie. She kept gesturing to her group of friends, pointing specifically at the one in yellow. Kat didn’t feel like intruding on their conversation, but some words caught her perennially-gossip-seeking ears.
“…I would really appreciate it if you would talk to her,” Kimberly said. Richie just nodded, but seemed reserved.
“I don’t know her that well. Not to say that I wouldn’t like to, but I just don’t. I’m uncomfortable in those situations.”
“What can I do? She stares at you all the time, and I think she could really come out of her shell if you just did this for me.”
“Whose benefit am I doing this for? Yours or hers? I don’t seem to get how that works out,” Richie said, frowning. “Does this validate you as matchmaker should this ploy work? Perhaps.” Kim was about to interrupt, but he continued. “Does this get her out of her shell? I don’t know. I would hope, but I’m not just going to go up to her for you on your terms and make this happen. If I want to, I will get it done.” He got up from his stool and headed behind the counter to tend to his order.
“Men can be so stubborn sometimes,” Kat said as she replaced Richie. Kim looked at her, somewhat surprised.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said. Her face lit up with a small smile. “How was being drafted to help Ernie?”
“He’s definitely nice enough,” Kat said. “Although I don’t think that’s really the right term…”
“You can’t expect to pull the wool over my eyes on that one. You were thinking about just watching Jason and Tommy go at it, weren’t you? And then he asked you to help, appealing to your nature and you fell right into his trap. If I hadn’t asked him, I’m almost certain he would have drafted me the same way.”
“You certainly see these things, don’t you?” Kat asked, impressed by this girl’s ability to see beneath the surface.
“Yeah, and that’s why it bugs me so much to see Richie not go after Trini. They both like each other enough, so why doesn’t he just go for it?” Kat looked at her, slightly confused.
“She’s the one in yellow,” Kim said, gesturing to her. “The problem is she is too into martial arts herself, otherwise I would have her come over and introduce you. Trini!” She called across the room, and the girl in yellow turned her head and looked at Kim briefly before turning back around and watching the Stone Canyon fighters go at it. They had also gone shirtless, and both girls were currently gaping at how fit Adam and Rocky were. They were similar impeccable specimens to Jason and Tommy, each with their own distinctive body type that was making lots of girls drop what they were doing and watch.
Kim now noticed why Trini refused to leave the mat side. Adam and Rocky were sculpted and on full display.
“God bless male martial artists,” Kim said softly, whistling under her breath.
“God blessed you by being friends with the two best lookers here,” Kat said, slightly jealous at Kim’s good fortune.
“That’s the worst of it, Kat, is that I can’t agree with you on that. Tommy is amazing, and Jason is fantastic, but these boys are twice as nice, and I can almost guarantee that all of them are that thin and ripped, and just plain sexy.” She shuddered from thoughts unbidden that suddenly rippled through her whole body. Kat turned, not eager to look on Kimberly twitching madly from the intense heat that she must feel. Or was Kat the only one who suddenly noticed how hot it was?
“So, will I ever get a chance to meet all of your friends?” Kat asked meekly, eyes still averted from Kim. The brunette finally tore her eyes away from the mat to look at the Australian. She smiled and nodded, but gestured back to the mats where the Stone Canyon duo was fighting fluidly.
Kat tried keeping her eyes away from their rock-hard bodies, glistening with sweat. She had already noticed their belts earlier, but she now saw them in full detail. The paler one was a fifth-degree, and the stocky one matched his partner there. They were fighting a group that was hopelessly outclassed, and trouncing them in a tag competition. Before Kat practically could realize she was blinking, the Stone Canyon duo won. They came off the mat to their African-American friend, who patted them on the backs at their job well-done. Kat felt a brief flash of jealousy, because she wouldn’t have minded being near to them at all. Maybe she could introduce herself to them.
Kim was so engrossed, she didn’t even notice when Kat left her side to talk to the Stone Canyon teens. She went down to the level of the competition, went to the left of the scorers’ table to head them off, and noticed the two fighters putting on shirts. She smiled, and turned to the female.
“I couldn’t help but notice how well you fought in that last match. Is there any chance you could teach me some of those moves?” The female laughed.
“Girl, if you need any help, just come find me. I’m Aisha Campbell,” she said, as she proffered her hand. Kat grabbed it, and gave her a handshake. “I can fight with these two and not even get tired!” Her face split with a wide, beaming grin. The stocky boy was quick to correct her.
“That’s simply not true. You got me when I was full on that great ham steak, Aisha,” he complained. “I’m Rocky DeSantos, mademoiselle.” He put a fake French accent that had Kat and Aisha rolling in laughter.
“You might check your geography before making fun of the wrong person’s accent,” Kat chided him gently. “I’m Katherine Hillard. But I’m not from France, actually from the Land Down Under.”
Rocky looked confused. “Under what?” Adam laughed at his friend’s discomfort.
“Australia, Rocky. Remember that giant landmass located somewhere south of Asia?” Rocky slowly nodded. Then, his face broke into a slight smirk as he shook the whole incident off.
“Forgive Rocky, Katherine. He’s a little slow to remember any school knowledge, but really quick to attack food.” Rocky grinned at the accurate assessment. “Is it okay if I call you Kat?”
“Absolutely!” Kat encouraged her. “That’s what almost everybody calls me so long as I’m not in trouble.” The other three laughed. Once they quieted down, she asked the other two. “Who’s the quiet one?”
“I’m Adam Park,” Adam mumbled. “I still don’t get why everyone calls me quiet. I talk enough, which is only when I need to…”
“While that’s a good philosophy to have,” Kat mused, “it guarantees that you don’t talk as much as the average person.” Adam conceded her point with a wave, then looked back to the mat.
“Looks like we’re getting called back to the mat, Rocky,” Adam said, nudging his friend toward the scorers’ table. They both stripped their shirts as they headed away, dropping them on the floor by Aisha and Kat.
“If I had to guess, they’ll be facing Jason and Tommy,” Aisha said, biting her lip. “They are really good.”
“You know Jason and Tommy?” Kat asked, flabbergasted.
“They introduced themselves earlier,” Aisha said. “Seemed really nice, and take their stuff seriously. The only ones who are more advanced than our two at the competition. Apparently, we’ll need it,” she said, glowering.
“What do you mean?” Kat asked hurriedly. Aisha’s tone was not encouraging.
“You can’t tell me that you don’t know what goes on around here?” Aisha asked incredulously.
“Oh, I know about all the monster attacks,” Kat said, waving it off. “But you’re only here today, aren’t you?”
“Not exactly,” Aisha said after a pause. She looked pointedly away from Kat to her two friends, who were now squaring up to Jason and Tommy on the mat.
The four of them together, shirts all off and multiple degree tapes on their belts, was tantalizing, electrifying, and intimidating all at once. Kat looked to notice Trini locked on the mat from her seat, and the African-American male next to her chatting amicably with the glasses-wearing teen in blue on his right, both gesturing to the mat, and talking about who-knew-what. Kim’s eyes were riveted on the mat where two of her closest friends were about to engage the Stone Canyon duo.
It was a tag-team competition, and Kat suddenly had to get away from it all. The atmosphere was electric, the four competitors giving it their all. The rules were slightly different for a tag-team than a usual doubles competition. Instead of three, it was five points that the winning team had to get. She headed for the exit, and noticed all the eyes locked on the mat between these two unstoppable teams, desperate to find out who might win. Every single competitor was still there eyeing the teens in the middle of the hastily-assembled ring. All the onlookers had dropped what they were doing and staring with open mouths at the four specimens going through their paces. Kim was going gaga with all the shirtless action, Trini was riveted on their form, the glasses-wearing teen looked on with mild interest, the African-American male was grinning like a fool, and Aisha was biting her lip, silent in her advice to her best friends. Even Ernie and Richie were gazing from the bar, drink-mixing and snack-making forgotten for this match of all matches.
Kat briskly walked out the door, finding the fresh air and finally releasing the tension she had not known about. There was a bench right under the awning advertising the tournament and she gratefully sat on it. She rested for a moment, noticing for the umpteenth time how beautiful the city of Angel Grove was. But she heard rustling behind her, and strange garbled voices. Kat whirled around in her seat, and noticed a gray head poking out of the bushes that was thankfully turned the other way. The blonde turned back around, and got another fright standing right in front of her. The glasses-wearing teen in blue greeted her with a sweet smile, and blue eyes that twinkled behind their glasses. He put a finger to his lips, as if telling off a young child. He gestured her conspiratorially to a place just inside the door.
“Don’t afford them the stimulus of your terrified scream. That would only galvanize them into a frenzy that would surely trample us.” The teen seemed to exude confidence and was obviously a genius.
“Pardon me for being rude,” Kat interjected. “But I don’t know why you followed me. You’re one of Kim and Jason’s friends, aren’t you?”
“I’m terribly sorry for this unusual breach of protocol,” the walking thesaurus continued. “But I had to ascertain if your intent was your own ruin. Dealing with the Putty Patrol is tough for civilians like us.” He laughed at his little joke, but Kat couldn’t see the humor in it. “Yes, I associate regularly with those two, and several others that you didn’t recognize. My name is Billy Cranston.” He offered his hand, but Kat was still abashed.
“What? Does the feline have custody of your gustative hydrostat?” Kat’s only response was a look that Billy seemed amused by.
“Can you say that again in a language that a recently-relocated Aussie could understand, please?” she asked gently, not trying to offend but undoubtedly insulting his ability to utterly confuse people.
“Cat got your tongue?” Billy repeated, this time clearly, although it displeased him to do so. Kat laughed derisively at this.
“Certainly not, although you aren’t far from the truth that’s in front of your face,” she remarked. “My name’s Katherine, but most people call me Kat.” Billy understood her laughter, and grinned. The best kind of irony was unplanned irony.
“I would recommend that we remove ourselves from this abode before the clay creatures chase us,” Billy said calmly. Kat looked worried.
“But if they follow us, then they go right inside to the competition!”
“If I had to guess, the evil tyrant that plagues our large town wants solely that exact happening,” Billy reasoned. Kat guessed that he did that often. She followed his lead to a bush just outside the awning. From there, Billy peered over the bush at the gray clay creatures that were blubbering and gathering in a certain spot. Kat looked on in worry, and noticed that Billy seemed oddly calm considering the situation.
“How can you be so confident?” Kat whispered.
“Fear is a silly trait to maintain. Obviously, our powered protectors will be here if the Putty Patrollers do attack.” Kat guessed he was talking about the Power Rangers. She wouldn’t mind if one showed up to clean out the Putties right now.
Kat was still looking when she saw the other side of the gray head. Its face had dark lines all over, giving little definition to facial features. The eyes seemed to widen in recognition. Suddenly, Kat knew their cover was blown. The Putty was garbling in an extremely loud voice, jumping in a way that reminded Katherine of a chimpanzee. It was pointing towards the bush where she and Billy were concealed.
“’Stay calm,” Billy whispered to her, pulling her down to the ground beside him. “If we don’t make sound, they can’t find us. They aren’t very bright, I’ve noticed.” Something about his manner put her off. He seemed to know them so well, but why would he purposefully study these clay monstrosities? Billy peeked right above the bush, and noticed the Putties moving in.
“On three, I want you to get inside.”
“What about you?” Kat hissed. “You can’t beat them.”
“I’ll give it a fair chance,” Billy said, a wry grin coming to his face. “Besides, I’ve had to run from them before. I’m much faster than they are.”
“Alright, but only if you’re sure.” Billy smiled, trying to reassure her. It didn’t succeed.
“One, two, THREE!” Billy hissed. Kat came up from the ground, staying low and trying to cover herself behind the bush for as long as possible. The Putties were going aimlessly around near the awning, but hadn’t gone inside yet. Kat crept past them, getting inside.
Once in the gym again, she noticed that the two duos had fought essentially to a standstill. They were both tied at four points apiece, and Kat had no doubt that each martial artist had procured at least one point. That feat of itself was amazing against either, knowing their vast experience. But she didn’t enjoy the sight for long.
“There are Putties outside!” Kat cried out, causing the fight to come to a halt and all eyes to zoom on her. “They are about to come in here. You need to clear out now!”
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Posted: Jul 31 2012, 10:17 PM
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There were assorted murmurs, as people debated on whether Kat was a quack or not, and asking about the epic fight still in progress, and the scorers who looked only slightly annoyed at the change in plan. One scorer, an Asian woman who looked at Kat like she was crazy, had a strange glint in her eye.
“Gang, use the back exit! If Putties are here, they’ll get right to you!” Ernie shouted from behind the bar. He turned to Richie. “Go clear out that back hallway. You’ll have to lead them out.”
“I’ll clear it,” Richie said, drawing himself to his full height. “But don’t expect me to run. I’ve got my own martial arts experience, if you forget.” Ernie looked at him, shaking his head slightly.
“Alright, Mr. Hero, but good luck keeping up with them. They’re Rita’s goons, they won’t be pushovers. I guess I’ll do it then…”
The gym area near the mats had started to file towards the bar counter, where they would escape the Juice Bar.
“Look out!” a voice from the door said loudly. Billy came in, several Putties trailing behind him. Suddenly, pandemonium broke out in the masses. Some that were walking leisurely towards the bar were incited into chaos, pushing and shoving between people as if it would get them through the door faster.
The martial artists stood their ground, all getting in forms of preparation for the fight. A total of twenty Putties came into the room, one for each competitor and some left over. Billy was running towards Jason and Tommy, who stood in the center of it all.
“I heard Goldar outside, rallying more!” Billy whispered to them quickly. “Do you want me to head him off?”
“We can’t do anything with all these people here,” Jason reminded him. “See if you can round up the others to help move out the spectators. We’ve got plenty of martial artists on the floor.”
The fight began. Several Putties were running into the masses of martial artists. Some were successful at fending off the strikes from blunt hands and thick-skinned warriors. Others managed to even get a strike in, but came away cursing under their breath as the pain shot through their appendage. It took a lot of getting used to hitting a solid clay-constructed object of magical make. Especially when you didn’t know where to hit them. Zedd’s Putties were smarter and only had one weak point: the Z plate in the middle of their chest. The Rangers knew this, but that left six out of the mass of people who could effectively deal with the Putties. And Goldar was on his way too.
“Let’s fan out,” Jason commanded Tommy. He turned to Rocky and Adam, both of whom were dealing with a Putty.
“Hit them in the ‘Z’!” Jason yelled. “We need to spread out and work our way in!”
“Got it,” Rocky said as he grunted. Adam said nothing, applying a precise knifehand to the Z plate, which lit the Putty up and his clay was magically removed to a place where no one knew. Rocky dodged a kick, then applied one of his own right to a Z, eliminating his opponent.
“It’s fun when you get used to it!” Rocky roared as he moved towards a martial artist who was particularly struggling. The fighter took the reprieve, and joined the long queue forcing their way behind Ernie’s bar. Ernie was shoveling them out the door as fast as they could fit through. Kat joined him in calming the people so they were a slight bit more orderly. Richie, despite his earlier bravado, was escorting people out the door, and pointing to them the way of escape from the alley that the bar exited on.
A couple martial artists got lucky, and managed to vanquish the Putty Patroller they were fighting, but they were easily replaced. A Putty managed to corner Billy, who escaped by diving between its legs and running out the door. He only managed to see Goldar, who was egging them on, and mouthing off.
“Find the competitors! Don’t stop until they’re all captured!” Goldar roared to them. “Go!” Billy backed up against the wall inside the foyer, hoping he had not been spotted. Inside, they were busy fighting. Outside, Goldar was planning to take care of any escapees.
“Cursed if I act upon the golden menace, cursed if I fight the claybrain,” Billy mused. He charged back inside, still unmorphed. It was time to put his own martial arts prowess on display. He neatly kicked one away from a younger martial artist, who thanked him and jump kicked the Putty. It was just off the Z, so the Putty went down but didn’t disintegrate. Billy quickly slammed its Z plate with an elbow, and the body vanished as it broke apart.
“How did you do that?” the martial artist asked.
“Simplistic weakness: the attachment of their armor harness.” Billy said, as if telling a child a simple math equation. The martial artist looked at him with an eyebrow raised, but turned to fight another Putty.
Richie, back at the door, had just released another person when the Asian judge got to him. He gestured her out the door, taking her by the arm.
“That won’t be necessary,” she said, ice-cold voice making Richie’s flesh crawl. Instead of taking his arm, she gripped it tightly enough he was immobile, and with a golden gleam became the feared Scorpina.
“I’m running this show now,” Scorpina said. The crowd, aghast at another monster’s appearance, started panicking, and backed furiously into the Juice Bar. Ernie was almost trampled by the people who suddenly came back through the escape passage.
“We’re hemmed in!” Kim yelled to Jason as she fought her way closer. “Scorpina is at the back!”
“Goldar waiting outside the front!” Billy called as he fought his way into the slowly-growing ring. It currently contained Tommy and Jason, Kim and Billy, and Rocky fought his way over to them, shortly joined by Adam and Aisha. Aisha had shown particular prowess, leaving Tommy at a loss for words.
“Since when did you fight like that?”
“I’ve got MY fifth-degree black belt at home,” Aisha said smugly. “I wanted it to be their fight.”
“Well, it became one,” Adam groused. “A big one that never finished and just upped the stakes from trophy to life.”
“Good analogy,” Rocky said, jabbing his friend with an elbow. He turned to Jason. “What now, oh great leader?”
“Who’s with the spectators?” Jason asked rhetorically. “Kim, can you tell Kat to get them to the locker rooms? We have to clear out this space or we’ll never be able to fight them away.” Kim started moving swiftly to carry out his orders.
“What about us?” Tommy asked. Jason had thought of this, but did not have a solution.
“What can I do?” Trini asked as she joined them. “Get out the front door?”
“No, Goldar’s there,” Jason said. “Where’s Zack?” But their African-American friend was nowhere to be found.
At least, not on the floor. Zack had already vacated to the locker room when the fight came on. After dismantling a couple Putties for some competitors, he escaped to the men’s locker room to change into something a little more efficient. His hand curled around the morpher.
“It’s morphin’ time! Mastodon!” he called out. With a bright flash, he was bedecked in his black suit. White accents ran across the whole thing, setting off his Ranger color in full relief.
“Never fear, the Black Ranger is here!” Zack called out, coming back into the main room with his Power Axe already in Cannon mode. The martial artists were inspired by this, fighting back the Putties.
“There’s always that option,” Billy muttered.
“Haven’t seen Zack in a few minutes,” Tommy said loudly. “Maybe he got out the back door!”
“Let’s hope he did. We can’t worry about him for now,” Jason agreed. The Black Ranger joined the fray, firing blasts into the crowd with impeccable aim. He only missed once, and that shot managed to fry the wall and not a civilian.
“Rocky, Adam,” Jason called. “See if you can separate the martial artists out, and take them to the locker room. Now that the Black Ranger is here, it’s only a matter of time before the others show up!” Both nodded, going away.
“Aisha,” Jason said as he turned to her, “Go help Kat get the spectators to the locker room. Help Richie fight off Scorpina if you have to.” She nodded assent, and followed where Kim had gone only moments before.
“Billy, see if you can get into the foyer and morph. Stay out of sight of the martial artists. If Goldar sees you, that’s fine,” Jason muttered. “Not like he doesn’t already know who we are.” Billy hustled away, finding a nice gap in the group to easily access the front door.
Once inside, he backed against that wall again, throwing furtive looks all around to see if anyone was looking. Then he gripped the morpher behind his back tightly.
“Time for molecular transmutation! Triceratops!” With a flash, the Blue Ranger was prepared to fight the Putties. “Power Lance!” Energy coalesced in his two hands, forming into a long blue staff that had three prongs at each end. There was a line through the middle, and with energy connecting the two halves, Billy split them to make a manageable melee weapon. He ran back into the fray inside.
Kim had rejoined the circle, and Kat was now trying to usher people towards the locker rooms, helped by Aisha. Rocky and Adam had taken the far contingent of martial artists towards a similar direction.
“Kim, now that you’re back, I need you to either go with me or Trini. The other will go with Tommy and round up the other martial artists.”
It was quickly becoming dangerous to do all this planning while martial artists were falling left and right, quickly tiring from the Putties’ superior strength and build. Kim chose to stay with Jason, who took her towards a cluster of Putties.
“Want me to throw you?” he asked gently.
“Whenever I ask someone to sweep me off my feet, don’t let it be you,” she joked. “I think you’d take it too literally.” But she nodded, and Jason bodily heaved her towards the Putties. Arms outstretched, Kim managed to take a couple down.
Richie was struggling in Scorpina’s grip, and the situation had devolved into a fight. The teen managed to get himself gripped by the leg, not the arm, freeing him up to block her blade strikes. He leaped up over the arm holding his other leg, and kicked Scorpina in the face. She let go, staggering back, and was kicked hard in the side from Aisha. The warrior fell, glaring at the two as she scrambled back to her feet.
Obviously, I was in the middle of a fight sequence where I left off last time (admittedly not "today"), but never had a chance before deadline...
Part II of this unexpectedly long challenge is all here, all before deadline.
But I hope you enjoy it! Please review, especially about whether you'd like to see me finish it or not!
Welcome to the Writers' Challenge! Step right this way into a world of creativity and good wholesome authorship!
I'm your host, the wonderful AEP. Now let's begin!
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