It was a peaceful day in Angel Grove, a rarity now that the warrior-queen Blade had joined Lord Zedd on the moon. The Power Rangers, with Tommy now fully restored as the Green Ranger, were keeping a vigilant eye out for trouble.
Well, they were keeping an eye out for something, anyway, as Kim, Trini, and Kamaria Daniels, Ernie's daughter, sat around one of the tables at the Youth Center. The things they were keeping their eyes on were Jason, Zack, Billy, and Tommy as the four of them worked out on the mats. Kim's eyes were all on Tommy, Trini couldn't seem to stop looking at Billy, and Kami, as she'd insisted on being called, was focused one hundred percent on Jason.
"Kami, if I didn't know better, I'd swear you were looking at Jason," Kim grinned as she managed to tear his eyes from her own boyfriend.
The other young girl glanced up, a light blush staining her cheeks. "Ummm. . .just a little."
"Sure," Kim smiled. "He doesn't have a girlfriend, you know."
"Why not?" Kami wondered. "I mean, someone like that should be beating the girls off with a stick!"
Trini leaned back and joined the conversation. "I've known Jason for years," she offered. "And he's always told me that he was waiting for 'Miss Right' to come along before he got serious about anyone. You ought to talk to him, I think you guys would get along very well."
Kami blushed deeply and shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I mean, look at him. He's got everything. Good looks, good body, good brain. What would he want with me?"
Kim grinned; she'd heard almost the exact same words coming from Jason the day after they'd met Kami. "I think you'd be surprised."
Kami shrugged a little, then returned her full attention to the guys on the mat. Jason and Zack were practicing karate, while Tommy and Billy were going over a few katas together. She gazed almost dreamily at the muscled Red Ranger, a few idle thoughts drifting through her mind.
Trini and Kim glanced at each other and just chuckled as the guys finished their workout and headed for the shower, laughing and talking amongst themselves. They all seemed to laugh a little easier these days, now that the specter of Tommy's power loss was gone from them. With his successful attainment of the Shimerene Crystal, both he and the DragonZord were back in full action.
Things weren't all fun and games though. Zedd had a new ally now, the fierce Blade, sister of Rita Repulsa. With her Sakari Soldiers, powerful simian creatures that obeyed her and only her, and her own deadly skill in combat, she was an opponent to be severely reckoned with.
"Careful, Kami!" Kim warned her friend. "The guys are coming back out and I think you might make a better impression if you're actually focusing on him and not what's going on in your mind!"
Ernie's daughter blushed an even deeper red than Jason's shirt as the four young men joined them. "So, are you enjoying Angel Grove so far?" Billy asked.
"It's great!" she smiled. "I miss my mom, but I really like getting to know Dad, and all of you guys. The monster attacks are kind of strange, though. I've never been to a town where space aliens are attacking on a regular basis!"
"That's Angel Grove for you," Jason told her. "You never know what's going to happen from one day to the next!"
It was a cold day on the moon; almost as cold as the hearts of the minions of evil that lived within the palace there. Zedd was seated on his throne, grumbling to himself as he watched the Rangers below through his glowing red visor.
"Stupid Rangers being so happy," he grumbled to himself. "How dare they have fun!?"
"They're teenagers," Blade shrugged from her position at the balcony. "They can usually manage to have fun anytime."
He glared at her, the Chamber of Command glowing red with his anger. As usual, it didn't seem to impress her. Nothing seemed to impress her. In the three days she'd been there, he had never seen her get excited over anything. It was beginning to get annoying.
"I rather enjoy seeing them amuse themselves," she said, glancing back down to Earth. "It's so nice to see young humans cavorting around like wild animals."
Zedd couldn't believe what he was hearing! Had she actually said that!? He relaxed, however, when her lips curved into a slow and cruel smile. "It's so much fun to attack when they're like that. Ripping them away from their amusements just makes me feel all. . .," she paused, searching for the right word. "Evil inside!"
"Wonderful!" Zedd snorted. "While you're busy feeling evil, I'm going to call my Putties and send them down to attack the Rangers!"
He was about to give the orders, when Blade's chilling laughter sounded. "What!? What's your problem!!?"
"I don't think we have enough time to go into detail," she said dryly. "But if you want to go on and see your Putties defeat again, be my guest. However, if you want a real fight, then I will send my Sakari Soldiers to the park."
He furrowed his skinless brow. "Why to the park? Those Rangers aren't there!"
There was an evil glint to her eyes, that same one that made him afraid. Despite his reaction, he liked that look. It meant trouble for the Rangers. Trouble for the Rangers, he liked! Blade licked her lips, leaning on her elbows against the railing. "I know they're not there. Remember that plan I told you about?"
He nodded warily. "Well, this is part of it. I want to see just how fast those Rangers can come to the rescue. Unlike some people I know, I'm not just going to arrive, take over, and throw a monster down hoping to get rid of the Rangers. I intend to take my time, and learn about my enemies."
As Zedd struggled for some scathing comeback to her veiled insult, Blade just laughed, and snapped her fingers, summoning the Sakari Soldiers to her. Their chief stepped forward and bowed. "We are here for you, my queen!" he declared. "What can we do for you?"
Blade casually gestured to Earth. "Go down to Angel Grove Park and cause a major disturbance. If at all possible, I want you to bring me back these two humans," with a snap of her fingers, the image of Bulk and Skull appeared in front of them. "Preferably in one piece, but that's rather optional."
Zedd's jaw dropped under his mask. "You want them!?" he stared. "What sort of plan involves those two idiots?!"
Rita's sister grinned wickedly. "The kind that will destroy the Power Rangers, conquer the human race, and wipe my family honor clean of the stain of having Rita Repulsa born to it!"
The chief of the Sakari bowed low to Blade as she turned, an eyebrow raised perfectly, to them. "We go, my queen!" the twelve Sakari melted away on their mission. Blade chuckled as she looked back at Earth.
"So much destruction to do," she muttered. "So little time."
"So, who wants a smoothie?" Zack asked, pulling out his wallet and motioning for Ernie to come over. "I'm buying!" the Black Ranger winced a little as hands began to rise all over the table.
"What'll it be?" Ernie asked, grinning at his daughter as he came with his order pad. "And it's your treat, Zack?"
Before anyone else could say anything, though, there was a beeping sound that all the Rangers knew all too well. Jason inwardly winced at it; how in the world were they going to get away from Kami and Ernie both??
"Yeah, but----" Zack started to say something, when Ernie smoothly interrupted him.
"Kami, think you could help me in the back really quick?" he asked. "Sorry to interrupt you hanging out, but this is Richie's day off and I need to get some inventory put away."
She looked a trifle disappointed as she got to her feet, but Kami didn't say anything else as she glanced at the Rangers sitting there somewhat nervously. "Sure, dad. I'll see you guys later?" her eyes were on Jason specifically when she asked the question.
"Of course!" Jason nodded as the father and daughter vanished into the backroom. As soon as they were out of sight, the six of them were practically running for the hallway. "Man, that was good timing Ernie had!" he whispered. "I'd almost think he did it on purpose!"
The Rangers looked at each other for a moment, then shook their heads collectively. "Nah!" they chorused, hitting the buttons on their communicators.
"Ay-yi-yi!" Alpha was doing his best impression of a whirling dervish as they arrived. "Rangers, thank goodness you're here!"
Jason's eyes at once widened in worry. "What's going on?"
"Yeah, what are Zedd and Blade up to this time?" Kim wondered.
THEY HAVE SENT SAKARI SOLDIERS DOWN TO THE PARK, RANGERS, Zordon told them. YOU MUST GO AND DEAL WITH THIS AT ONCE, BUT BE CAREFUL, THEY ARE NOT ACTING NORMALLY.
Zack raised an eyebrow. "There's a normal way they act?"
OBSERVE THE VIEWING GLOBE, the interdimensional being instructed. As they turned to look, the Rangers were surprised to see an image of Bulk and Skull forming in the giant crystal.
"Bulk and Skull?" Billy's voice was confused. "Zordon, I don't understand. What do they have to do with this attack?"
Alpha came over to them and explained, "The Sakari are heading straight for them, and are carrying nets and ropes. It is our belief that they intend to kidnap them for some reason.
"Why!?" the Rangers were totally confused by this. Kidnap one of them, they could understand, someone close to them, close friends or family, not a problem, they could comprehend that. But Bulk and Skull. . .they were just. . .Bulk and Skull!
IT MAY BE A DISTRACTION FROM SOME OTHER PLAN THEY HAVE, RANGERS, Zordon suggested. ALPHA AND I WILL KEEP AN EYE OUT OVER ANGEL GROVE JUST IN CASE THEY STRIKE SOMEWHERE ELSE WHILE YOU ARE DEALING WITH THE SAKARI. BUT YOU HAD BEST HURRY. BELIEVE ME, YOU DO NOT WISH BULK AND SKULL, OR ANYONE ELSE, TO BE IN THE GRIP OF BLADE.
"He's right," Tommy nodded. "If she's anything like Rita, she could do some horrible things to them! We can't let that happen."
"Then let's do it!" Jason pulled out his morpher. "It's morphin' time!"
A clear rainbow of lights rose up from the Command Center as the Power Rangers morphed into battle. Once again, they were going out, not to save the world, but two young men who spent their days trying to discover their true identities. You just never knew what was going to happen next in their world.
"I'm telling you, Bulky, this plan can't fail!" Skull insisted as he and his best friend lugged yet another device around Angel Grove Park in their never-ending attempts to discover who the Power Rangers really were. "This one will focus on the energy of the evil aliens, so when the Power Rangers come down to fight them, we can find them, and once the Rangers have won, we jump out and find out who they really are!"
Bulk looked at his friend, hard-pressed to believe he'd come up with one of their better plans! "This had better work, Skull!" he growled as they set the machine down.
"Hey, trust me!" his skinny companion declared, flipping a few switches on the device. "We'll be rolling in evil aliens in no time!"
"Um, Skull," Bulk glanced up, his blood running cold suddenly. "Look up."
"Huh?" Eugene Skullovitch had seen a great many strange things over the past year and a half, ever since the Power Rangers had first shown up in Angel Grove, but nothing compared to what they were seeing now!
Six hairy, burly, broad-shoulders ape things were marching in an ordered formation towards them, some carrying ropes, some carrying nets, and all looking extremely intent on doing some serious damage to whoever or whatever got in their way.
"I think we should get out of here," Bulk grabbed onto his friend's shoulder as they started to back away. Skull looked behind him and stopped suddenly. Bulk was about to tell him to keep going, what was he thinking about, the monsters were right there!
"More!" Skull actually managed to get the word out without stuttering! But that seemed to be all he, or Bulk, could do as the sight of twelve of those things overwhelmed both their minds.
It was to see them collapsing on the ground in a dead faint that the Power Rangers arrived moments later. Zack shook his head. "You can always count on those two," he chuckled under his helmet.
"Yeah," Trini giggled. "To pass out whenever they see something like those guys!"
The Sakari seemed to do something that was a grin as they began to march closer in to the helpless Bulk and Skull. Helpless, but not guardianless as Jason and Tommy, with a wordless glance of communication, leaped over the two local comedians and took up their defensive postures there.
"You want them, you go through us first!" the Red Ranger declared.
The chief of the Sakari laughed as he waved his troops into combat. "That is no difficult task, Red Ranger!" he declared. "You and yours shall easily fall to us!"
"Get a new line," was Tommy's advice as he slammed the Dragon Dagger against a Sakari and grinned to see it shimmer for a moment. Zordon had told him that it would have the same effect on these creatures as the other Rangers' Power Weapons did, and he wasn't disappointed. The Sakari he'd hit collapsed into a little pile of dust, which was quickly blown away by the wind. "All right!" was all he had time to say, before three more of the creatures had jumped him.
After that, it took all the Rangers' strength and martial arts skills to keep the Sakari both off them and off Bulk and Skull, still peacefully unconscious on the ground. In the end, however, as had always happened and as they hoped always would, they managed to reduce all twelve of the Sakari to nothing more than ashes and bad memories.
"Think they'll be okay?" Billy wondered, glancing at Bulk and Skull. "Or should we wake them up?"
"I don't know," Jason mused. "They do look rather peaceful there!"
"I know," Trini smiled; they'd demorphed as soon as the Sakari were gone. "Let's let them sleep, they could probably use the rest."
Stealing away a little from the slumbering pair, Jason tapped his communicator. "We got rid of the Sakari, but Bulk and Skull are still out like a pair of lights. We didn't have the heart to wake them up."
"Ay-yi-yi, Jason!" Alpha's voice came back over the communicator. "We'll keep an eye on them just in case!"
"Thanks, Alpha," Jason nodded, then looked back to the others. "Alpha and Zordon are going to keep an eye on him for us; I say we head back to the Youth Center until there's any sign of anything else that we need to take care of."
"Sounds like a plan to me, Jase-man!" Zack grinned, throwing his arms around Tommy and Jason's shoulders. "Shall we go?"
"Am I not Lord Zedd?" the Chamber of Command flared the most brilliant shade of crimson that it ever had before as Lord Zedd stamped his staff hard on the ground with a sound as of thunder. "Am I not the master of all I survey!?"
Finster, Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo all bowed over and over again, reassuring their leader that he was the very heart and soul and essence of all that was evil and disgusting in the universe. Blade was balancing herself on the balcony by one hand, ignoring the cacophony in the throne room with practiced ease.
I had to come and ALLY with him, she cursed herself. I had to let him keep his pretty little palace and all these servants of his running around like the Earthlings' proverbial beheaded barnyard fowls. I couldn't have just turned him and everything here into spacedust and set up my own operation to wipe the taint of Rita's incompetence away from the Repulsa family line. I wanted to 'conserve energy'! Pah! If I'd known when I got started that I was going to have to deal with all of THIS I would've taken the time to GET the energy I would need to obliterate all of this!
"Blade!" Zedd's voice tried to get her attention for a few moments, to no avail as the dark sorceress walked back and forth on her hands on the balcony's edge. It was only when he risked his very existence by blasting at her with his staff that she finally acknowledged his existence.
It was, however, problematical on whether or not he wanted that acknowledgment once he got it, however. Since it came at the point of the long, very sharp sword she'd never unsheathed until now. "You have no idea how lucky you are right now," her eyes blazed the blood-red they had when she'd warned him once not to ask her the same question twice. "If you interfere with anything I am doing once more, you're going to wish that death was all I did to you! I know my Sakari didn't bring back those two losers. I never intended for them to. I haven't finished my testing of the Rangers yet. I have quite a few other things I intend to find out before that is ended. You do remember when I arrived I was seeking someone?"
He grunted in response and she nodded, not moving away from him for a moment. "Good. You might actually have a functioning braincell or two up there. But that's beside the point. I found who I was looking for, and when I'm ready, when I've found out everything that I need to, when the time is just perfect. . .then I will take this person."
"And what then?" Zedd growled, not liking having a sword practically pricking his throat and wanting her away from him!
"Why then," Blade laughed, moving away and sheathing her sword. "Then I destroy the Rangers. Something you couldn't do on a bet."
As she wandered back to the balcony, Zedd's eyes flashed a molten red. If she wasn't so useful. . .and so beautiful. ..I'd get rid of her!
Blade smiled to herself. If he wasn't so useful, I'd get rid of him. If he wasn't so ugly, I might be attracted to him.
Zordon had no answers for them on just why the Sakari would be after Bulk and Skull, so the Rangers found themselves back at the Youth Center less than twenty minutes after they had left it. Jason glanced behind the counter for Kami, wondering if she and Ernie had finished what they'd been doing when he had left.
"There she is, Jase!" Zack grabbed his arm and gestured out to the practice mats. Jason turned to see Kami there, in something he'd never thought she could wear, a gi with a purple belt wrapped around it. She was moving through one of the most magnificent katas he'd ever seen; he recognized it vaguely as a judo exercise. He stood there and watched, his eyes wide, as she worked out.
"Amazing," he heard Billy say from near him. "She is most skilled."
Kami must have heard them, since she stopped her workout and turned to them. "Hi!" she waved, grinning. "What's the matter, you guys all look like you just saw a space alien or something!"
It was all they could do not to cough and look embarrassed at that, since they fought space aliens on a regular basis, but they managed it. Jason stepped onto the mat. "I didn't know you knew judo, Kami!" he could see the others scattering throughout the Youth Center now that the 'show' was over with. Just as well. I don't need them hanging over my shoulder when I try to get the nerve up to ask Kami out on that double date Tommy and Kim have been pressuring me for ever since I told them I like her!
As she wiped her forehead off, Kami smiled at him. "I've taken classes since I was a little girl. It's helped me out a lot." Funny, when I'm talking about martial arts, I don't feel nervous at all around him! I guess it's because that's sort of 'neutral' ground.
"I know how that is," Jason nodded. "Karate's done the same thing for me."
After Kami had went through a quick shower, they sat and talked martial arts, martial arts teachers, and tournaments they'd been to or heard about or participated in. Kami was quite impressed to find out that Jason was the karate champion of Angel Grove, and expressed a desire to learn the art. "I love judo," she told him frankly. "But my first sensei told me to never turn down a chance to learn, especially from the best."
Jason couldn't help but blush at that. "I've got a beginner's class starting next week," he told her after a mental review of his class schedule. "Want to sign up for it?"
"I'd love to!" she smiled warmly at him. "Thanks, Jason."
"My pleasure," he returned the smile. "I'm sure you'll do great in it."
Kami blushed herself and ducked her head. "I hope I do. It took me a long time to get good at judo. I guess nothing really worth doing comes easily."
"True," he agreed. He took a deep breath. "Um, Kami, I was wondering something."
"What's that?" she gestured to her dad to bring her a drink; after the workout and the conversation with Jason, she really needed something cool and wet. She'd completely forgotten about her nervousness around Jason; the martial arts chat had helped her get more comfortable around him.
Jason took a deep breath; as unlikely as it seemed, he'd never asked a girl out on a date before. "Kami, I was wondering, Tommy and Kim are going to the movies tonight, and they wanted to know if we'd go with them, sort of a double date type thing?" the words practically flew out of him, and he paused to catch his breath, hoping her answer would be a yes.
Kami stared at him for a moment, not quite sure if she'd heard properly. Almost stuttering, she asked, "You want to go out with me?"
"Well, yeah, but if you don't want to, I understand!" Jason quickly added. Kami smiled warmly at him.
"Jason, I'd love to go out with you!" she replied. "In fact, I was starting to wonder if you'd ever ask me!"
"Oh, look at that," Kim gestured over to where Jason and Kami were talking, and from the look on his face, she'd just accepted his offer to go out. "That is so sweet!"
Tommy chuckled. "I thought I was going to have to force Jase to ask her to go with us tonight. You wouldn't know it to look at him, but that guy is one of the shyest guys in the world!"
"I know," Zack nodded. "Every girl in school just about is pining after him, and he doesn't go out with any of them! I think he does it sometimes just to torment them!" everyone got a chuckle out of that.
A hand suddenly came down on Zack's shoulder that almost gave him heart failure. He jerked his head around to see Angela, his sort-of girlfriend, standing there. "Hi," he gulped. "Been a while since I've seen you around, Angela."
She smiled as Kim gestured for her to join them, and sat next to Zack. "I've been busy," she told him. "Trying to recover from your birthday present," Zack looked a little nervous at that; their one real date had been messed up because of Rita Repulsa, the Oysterizer Monster, and the Pearls of Stillness. As far as Angela knew, however, what had messed things up were the fact that the pearls were 'fake', and that Bulk and Skull had tried to 'sing' for them. It hadn't been pretty, even if he had made up for it later with a song from his heart.
"Sorry about that," he muttered.
"It's not your fault," she shrugged. "So, what have you been up to lately? Anything interesting?"
Zack looked nervously at Tommy and Kim, who both looked away, letting him make his own mistakes on this one! Thanks so much, guys!! "No, not really," he replied. "Things have been going on the same as usual. What about with you?"
"Same thing," she answered. "Nothing unusual ever happens in Angel Grove, you know!"
He had to laugh. "Except for the occasional monster attack!" he pointed out.
"Well, that's normal in Angel Grove these days," she countered. Then she caught Zack's eyes deliberately. "You're slipping, Zack, I've been talking with you for almost five minutes and you haven't tried to ask me out yet! What's the matter, we have a date, and you decided I'm not good enough for you?"
He was caught totally off-guard by that! "Um, no, of course not! I just thought you didn't want to go out, you'd vanished so abruptly!"
"I had to go take care of my grandmother," she told him seriously. "She got really sick the day after my birthday, I didn't have time to tell anyone what was going on, I had to go to her. She lives very far back in the mountains, there wasn't any TV, radio, or any way. It was almost like being on a deserted island!" she shivered. "I'm glad she's well again, and I am very glad to be back in civilization! I've already spent two hours at the mall just trying to get back into the swing of things!"
Zack couldn't believe this; out of absolutely nowhere, his dream girl had reappeared and as far as he could tell, she was interested in him! It looked like things were going great for him, for Jason, and for all the Rangers at last!
"Sakari" Blade materialized herself and her troops just outside the Youth Center, and glanced inside quickly. Satisfied that the Rangers were off-guard, she pulled her head back in and looked to the simian fighters. "Get inside and capture me these two if you can do it without the Rangers interfering!" she snapped her fingers, showing the two humans she wanted to have captured.
"Majesty," the chief of the Sakari dared speak. "The Rangers will not morph while they are surrounded by normal humans, there will be nothing for us to do but hold them off!"
The evil queen grinned as she gestured them inside. "I know. Fun, isn't it? And remember, if I give you the order to, I want you to leave at once. No matter how much it seems like we're winning, when I give the command, you all go back to the palace! Fail me and I'll make sure the next time the Rangers hit you, you stay dead, is that understood?"
All the Sakari bowed low at that, mumbling various promises of obedience to their queen. Blade laughed as she teleported them directly into the Youth Center, and watched the carnage begin.
"So, where are we going to be going tonight?" Kami wondered. "The movies?"
"I think so," Jason half got up, intending to go ask Tommy and Kim what their plans were for that evening, when twenty flashes of pure red light exploded into the Youth Center. "What the heck is that!?" he had time to say before recognizing the creatures as Sakari. Oh, just wonderful!! Just what we needed, a Sakari attack and we can't morph! Have to get these people out of here!
"What are those things!?" Kami looked panicked, as well she should, as half of them started towards her and Jason. She also looked angry at the interruption of the conversation. Jason had the sinking feeling she was going to try something like. . .
He, and every other male in the building who saw it, winced as a Sakari Soldier, for the first time in recorded history, was treated to a kick in the crotch that had to have shattered his equipment there. Jason made a mental note to never get Kamaria Daniels mad at him.
"Well now!" the Rangers all looked up at the feminine voice to see Blade leaning casually against the Youth Center counter, a goblet of what looked like wine in her fingers. "Your little girlfriend, human," her eyes were directly on Jason, "has spirit. That's quite amusing. But only a Power Ranger can really stand up to my Sakari," the tone in her voice was obviously intended to remind him that he couldn't morph in front of her and everyone else being chased around by the Sakari.
Kami seized onto Jason's arm, not a move of helplessness, but more of defending of him as she glared at the blade-wrapped Blade. "I don't know who you are, but I know you and your smelly friends are interrupting a conversation that I was enjoying before you came, so just pack them up and get out of here!"
Blade only laughed, her eyes still on the unmorphed Ranger. "Too bad the Power Rangers aren't here! But I guess you guys don't rate high enough to them!"
"You just might be surprised!" he grated out, hating not being able to say anything about being a Ranger. He saw something behind Blade suddenly, and his lips twitched in amusement. "Besides, the Power Rangers aren't the only ones who fight you!"
The evil sorceress snorted. "So? I don't care how many people fight, none of you will win!" in a lightning quick move, she turned and seized Ernie's wrist from where he had attempted to smash a frying pan on her head and squeezed it so hard he winced. "So you try to attack me, human," she shook her head. "Well, you are one of the two I came here for. Sakari!"
The soldiers paused at the voice of their queen, turning to her. Blade dragged Ernie across the counter and gestured harshly to the captain. "The other one!" she ordered. "Take her!"
Jason automatically turned to Kami, expecting to see the Sakari closing on her. She was standing alone, except him, however! He heard a shriek from the other side of the Youth Center, and his heart sank as he automatically identified it.
"Angela!" Zack growled harshly as the Sakari Soldiers converged on the young woman. "Leave her alone!" he leaped over a table in a powerful jump that landed right in the back of a Sakari. "Didn't you hear me, hairbrains?" he snapped. "I said to leave her alone!"
"Zack!" Angela stared as he spun low, ducking a fist and smashing into a Sakari's knee. "What are you doing, get out of here!" she ordered as she struggled with the creature.
"No way!" he retorted. "I'm not leaving you to these things!"
Blade's lazy voice floated across the room. "If the foolish one won't leave his girlfriend, then take him, too, Sakari. I'm quite certain Zedd would enjoy getting his talons on him!"
Zack paled as a couple of Sakari pulled away from Angela and started towards him. Oh, man,! he groaned, glancing around. Not good! Two of the Sakari were on him, three had Angela and were dragging her over to Blade, who was still holding onto Ernie easily. Four were occupied holding onto Kamaria and Jason, who were doing what they could to get away from them in an attempt to save the owner of the Youth Center. It didn't look good.
Arrows zinged out of the shadows, striking at the Sakari holding Angela, Kamaria, and Jason first, then freeing Zack himself. Zack and Jason both looked up as the Sakari vanished with the arrows, and both smiled quickly to see the Pink, Green, Yellow, and Blue Rangers stepping out of the shadows. With everyone in such a rush from the attack, Kim, Tommy, Trini, and Billy had been able to sneak off and morph!
"Get out of here, Blade!" Pink Ranger growled. "And stay out! This place is too good for the likes of you!"
Green Ranger pointed the Dragon Dagger at their enemy. "And leave him with us!" he ordered, gesturing to Ernie. Blade laughed, throwing the portly proprietor at his daughter.
"I'll see you again, Rangers!" she chuckled, her eyes on Kami suddenly. "And you, my dear, I will most definitely see again. Those with the courage to fight my Sakari are rare. I don't like them around. They cause trouble," she laughed, then vanished with the remaining Sakari. The Rangers quickly looked to everyone left behind, checking to make sure everyone was okay.
"Are you all right?" Zack turned back to Angela. "Did those things hurt you?"
Angela shook her head, holding onto a table as she tried to steady her nerves. "What did those things want with us?" she wondered. "I mean, there's nothing special about me!"
Yellow and Blue Rangers came over. "You're all right, ma'am, sir?" Yellow asked quietly. Zack nodded minutely, as did Angela.
"Thanks, Power Rangers," Angela smiled. "What did those things want?"
"I believe it is some sort of plot by Lord Zedd and Blade," Blue Ranger stated. "But we will be around should it be necessary."
Before anyone else could say anything, the four of them had vanished in their teleportation colors. Zack blinked for a moment; he hadn't ever really known just how bright these colors were. "Well, that was an adventure!" he declared. Hope no one starts asking awkward questions like "Where were the Black and Red Rangers!"
And she returns from yet another failure to do anything significant to the Rangers! Zedd had come to realize it wasn't safe, even for him, to taunt Blade over what he called her failures and what she called further steps in her plan to defeat the Rangers. He knew it for what it was, however, complete failure. Whatever this plan was, it wouldn't work.
"I suppose your Sakari not capturing those two humans was also another part of your plan?" he asked sarcastically as she resumed her by now near constant perch on the balcony.
Blade fingered a dagger for a moment, pondering if it were worth the time and energy it would take to throw it through him. Probably not. And there's no guarantee even my daggers can kill Zedd. If he can walk around without a skin all this time, then who knows what else he can survive. Oh, well, the threat is still good. But I'd better start the pre-stages of my master plan sooner than I'd expected, or he's going to start getting too annoying for my tastes.
"As a matter of fact it was," she replied. "Now I know that the Rangers have a tendency to keep enough of their group where it can sneak away to morph in secret. That is important information."
He snorted. "I could've told you that!"
"Yes, I'm sure you could have," she muttered. "I have one more thing to find out, and then I shall begin my true plan!"
"It's about time!" Zedd retorted. "How long have you been planning this thing anyway, since you were three?"
"If I had begun it ten minutes ago, it still would be more complete and thought out than anything you've ever considered," she shot back. "Now if we can dispense with the catcalling, I'm going to need your Putties and Goldar on this final pre-phase."
Zedd snorted once more. "And just what are you prepared to offer for our help, Blade?"
"We're allies," she growled. "You help or I tear your palace down around your ears. Take your pick."
The Master of Evil stood there for a moment, then bellowed, "GOLDAR! Prepare the Putties!"
As they started rushing around, Blade couldn't help but smile coldly and wickedly. Like little ants all scurrying around to do my bidding. I could REALLY get used to this. I wonder if I should just get rid of Zedd and run this entire thing myself. My blades might not kill him, but there's always been more to me than these. I wonder just how he'd react to a Coronian Death Blaze spell, or one of those enjoyable Martakian poisons? It would be SOOOO fascinating to see him rolling around on the floor screaming like a maniac.
She paced around a little, deep in plans on how she could take over. Then there's the other way to do it. Subversion. I wonder if I could get Finster to brew up a potion for me that would make Zedd fall hopelessly in love with me.
For a moment, she contemplated what it would be like married to one of the most powerful beings of evil in the universe. Then she took a long look at his skinless form and shivered. On second thought, I think I'll just keep things as they are. Killing him or marrying him is far too disgusting. I think we can both do perfectly well just as we have, as partners and allies.
Blade walked to the balcony and peered through her glowing blue eyes, checking out various spots in Angel Grove. Her lips curved in an icy smile, and she snapped her fingers for Finster. As the little monster-maker rushed up, she chuckled deep in her throat. The Power Rangers are never going to suspect what I'm up to. Zordon, your days are numbered.
"Zordon, Blade and Zedd are up to something," Jason was holding himself back from pacing by the very skin of his teeth. "They've been going after the weirdest people. Bulk, Skull, Ernie, Angela. They're up to no good."
"They usually are up to no good," Zack said dryly. "That's what keeps us in business."
RANGERS, Zordon spoke. WE MUST KEEP A CAREFUL EYE ON EVERYONE IN ANGEL GROVE. BLADE'S SCHEMES HAVE A TENDANCY TO BE EXTREMELY LONG-RANGE. IT IS POSSIBLE SHE HAS HAD SOMETHING IN MIND SINCE HER ARRIVAL. IF SO, WE WILL HAVE TO DO WHAT WE CAN IN ORDER TO DISCOVER IT BEFORE SHE CAN PUT IT INTO ACTION.
"What would she probably do?" Billy wondered. "What sort of history does she have, Zordon?"
Alpha punched a few buttons on the console, and a whole sheaf of papers a good three feet thick emerged from the printer. "This is a summarized version of Blade's activities for the last twenty five thousand years that we're aware of. She's vanished for a few times and no one had any reports of her."
BLADE'S POWERS ARE STRONG, Zordon admitted. BUT MY RANGERS, YOU HAVE ALWAYS COME THROUGH BEFORE. I HAVE FAITH IN YOU.
"Thanks, Zordon," Kim smiled. "That means a lot coming from you."
Zordon returned the smile, but was already deep in thought and worry. He wasn't telling the Rangers everything, he knew. He and Blade had faced each other before, and always it had come out to a draw. The last time that he had seen her, the two of them had nearly destroyed an entire galaxy with the power unleashed by their battling. And neither of us truly won that combat. And now she is here again, but this time I can do nothing to battle her physically. The Rangers must do this. And I know not what her plans are.
"Zordon?" he blinked to see Jason looking up at him. The two of them had always had a strange sort of link, and he could tell the Red Ranger was sensing something unusual was up with him. "Are you all right?"
YES, JASON, I AM FINE, Zordon replied. ALPHA, BEGIN AN IMMEDIATE SCAN OF THE ANGEL GROVE. WE MUST BE AWARE IF BLADE STRIKES AGAIN.
"In the meantime," Zack adjusted his collar again and grinned wildly. "I believe that the three of us," he glanced at Jason and Tommy, "have a triple date tonight!"
"Triple date?" Trini raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
The Black Ranger couldn't help but grin even more wildly. "It seems after that magnificent display at the Youth Center, Angela wants to go out with the Zack-man!"
The other four Rangers couldn't help but applaud at that, as Zack just grinned and did his best to look both modest and triumphant at the same time. It didn't matter that two of the most viscious creatures in the cosmos were hovering over their heads, planning their ultimate destruction. The Power Rangers were going to still live, love, and have fun.
"Oh, wow," the exclamation came from three different throats as Zack, Tommy, and Jason caught their breath at the sight of Angela, Kim, and Kamaria entering the Youth Center that night. Angela wore a short, slinky black dress, Kim wore a delicate pink gown, and Kamaria was hung in pure glittering white. The boys were all in nice suits, as befit a proper and true date. "Did. . .did those girls agree to go out with us?!" Zack wondered out loud.
Tommy took Kim's hand and pulled her into a deep sweet kiss. "Hi, beautiful," he whispered. "I think Jason and Zack have just had heart attacks."
Kim smiled. "I'd be surprised if they didn't. Angela and Kami were putting hours into their outfits tonight. They were hoping for this sort of reaction."
The two of them looked over to where Zack was being very impressed with Angela, then to Jason simply staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed at Kami, who was blushing furiously at his near-unthinking stare. Tommy touched his friend's shoulder lightly. "I think we need to go now," he chuckled. "Come on."
"Yeah," Jason murmured. "Let's go."
Jason's eyes never left Kami that whole night, not through the movie, the dinner, or the long walk in the park that followed. Things were going just perfectly. There were no signs of Putties, Sakari, Zedd, Goldar, Blade, or anything that even resembled a monster. The three couples finally separated as the boys walked the girls home.
"Tonight was wonderful," Kami smiled as she and Jason headed slowly up the walk to the Daniels'. "It's been the most fun I've had since I came to Angel Grove. Thanks, Jason."
He smiled. "You're welcome, Kami. I'm glad."
The two of them stood side by side for a few moments, looking at each other, hand in hand. Slowly, Kami started to move towards him, and Jason towards her. Their eyes were full of peace and what could be the first stirrings of love. Neither of them had ever been this happy.
But it was all blown when Jason's communicator suddenly beeped. He moved back and groaned lightly under his breath. "Jason?" Kami looked at him in confusion. "Something wrong?"
"I, um, have to go," he muttered, swearing mentally at whoever it was that was attacking now, at this hour, just when things were going so perfectly. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
Before she could answer, he was already gone, teleporting away in a flash of red as soon as he was out of sight. Kami sighed deeply; wondering what it was that was so important he had to leave so quickly. She headed inside, the perfection of the evening somewhat spoiled by it's abrupt ending.
"Blade has got to be insane!" Zack almost screamed the words out as the Rangers and the MegaZord duked it out with a city-wrecking creature that was sending people heading for the monster shelters at nearly eleven at night. "What's she doing attacking this late!?"
The language coming from under Jason's helmet was even viler than what Zack wanted to use, and Billy and the girls both winced away from it. "Calm down, Jase," the Blue Ranger urged as the Power Sword sliced easily through the creature. "I think she's just testing us. Once she finds out that we're going to stop her monsters, no matter when or where, she'll settle down to a normal routine."
"I hope so," Jason spoke in a regular voice for the first time since they had morphed and went out to fight off this thing. "Because this attack had really bad timing!"
"Tell me about it," Zack grumbled. "I was this close to actually getting another date with Angela when that blasted communicator went off!"
The Red Ranger's cutting gaze came through even his helmet. "I was even closer to kissing Kami for the first time."
Only being transmuted into their teleportation streams prevented the Rangers from gasping in shock and pride at their leader's good luck in romance. Jason just smiled as best he could being pure energy at the time. He'd already decided to ask Kami out again. He just needed the chance, and that would come tomorrow.
And if I have to fight off Blade herself to do it, I'm going to, he decided. And if I can, I'm going to get that good night kiss!
Jason really wanted to ask Kami to go out again the next day, but there just never seemed to be time. Blade and Zedd launched a series of attacks that almost blew all six of them away completely, using Putties, Sakari, monsters, everything they had, in combinations that it took every ounce of the Rangers' strength, skill, and tactics to defeat. Just to keep up they had to start sleeping in shifts, and keeping as far away from everyone else in Angel Grove as they could, just so they wouldn't raise up too many questions.
Zordon and Alpha were watching the entire city, not just for monster attacks, but for any more kidnapping attempts, and a few did occur, on various kids at school, once on Billy's dad, but always the Rangers got there in time and saved whoever it was. Blade seldom showed up for these, letting her Sakari do all the work, but the Rangers knew she was behind it, for whatever reason it was.
It was almost a week before the attacks slacked off and the Rangers could rest and relax again. When Jason managed to get to the Youth Center, Kami was waiting for him, eyes blazing.
"And just where have you been for the past week?" she asked icily. "Is it always your policy to date and run?"
"No, no!" he shook his head. "I'm sorry, I've just been really busy this past week! I've been trying to call you, but you were always out!" it was the truth, too!
She almost seemed to relent a little. "All right," she agreed. "Come on, let's do some sparring. I've been dying for a good match all week."
He headed for the changing rooms, feeling a cold shiver down his spine as he did so. He got the intense feeling that he wasn't going to like this match too much, and once he returned to the mat, he found that he was right. He didn't like it at all.
Splat!! The sound of Jason hitting the mat echoed in the Youth Center. Everyone who could get there was watching, and Jason had never hated having an audience this much. He'd been worn out a little still by the week of attacks, and she was too good for him right now. The occasional chuckles and smirks from the surrounding people weren't doing his ego any good either.
"Kami, wait!" he finally held up his hand, wanting to talk to her. "I give, I give! I want to talk to you!"
She stepped back, eyebrow raised. "About what?"
He took a deep breath. "Let me get a shower first, then we'll talk," he asked. "You've worn me out, girl!" he felt a little vindicated to see her blush some, then headed for the showers practically humming. He was quite glad to see the other Rangers hadn't gotten there yet, and was practicing various versions of the line 'will you go out with me again' when he heard screams coming from the main room of the Youth Center. One rose above them all, not in stridency or fear, but in pure and true anger.
He recognized it. He felt he would've recognized it if it came in the darkest of nights, after a thousand years of not hearing it. Kami!
Jason was running out there almost before he'd fully pulled his clothes back on, and saw what had to be one of the most frightening sights in his life: Kami struggling in the unrelenting grip of Sakari Soldiers as they tried to drag her over to a laughing Blade.
"I do believe I said I'd see you again, girl," the evil one smiled coldly, putting a finger on Kami's chin and forcing her to look into her eyes. "And that time has come now. I've got some fairly nasty plans for you that are going to involve a great deal of pain."
"Blade!" Jason didn't even stop to think that Kami was going to hear him calling the enemy by her name, and wouldn't have cared if he did. He just wanted her away from his girlfriend! "Get your hands off her!"
The dark queen lazily glanced at him. "Oh, please!" she laughed. "Are you supposed to scare me? Get real!"
While her attention was distracted, Kami took advantage of it to flip one of the Sakari holding her over her shoulder and into Blade, sending the foul sorceress sliding across the Youth Center floor. Jason karate jumped across a table, smashing his foot into a Sakari's head with every ounce of his weight behind it. It might not have exploded into dust like they did when struck with the Power Weapons, but the extremely startled look it gave him was more than satisfactory. Jason grabbed Kami away from the third Sakari holding her, and together they both smoothly flipped away from the monsters.
Blade jerked her way to her feet; even her reactions could be slowed by having a Sakari thrown into her. Jason glanced back towards her when he heard her boots scraping on the floor, and jerked Kami downwards as fast as he could. As he did so, a sharp knife swooshed through the space where they had been, landing quivering in the wood only a few inches from his own nose.
"Sakari!" she snapped harshly. "Get out of here! I'll handle this on my own!"
Jason was already reaching for his communicator, still not caring that Kami was so close, when a heeled boot came down on his wrist, crushing the device. Billy's gonna kill me! was the first thought in his mind. The second was, If Blade doesn't beat him to it!
She reached down casually and picked the both of them up by the back of their necks, her eyes burning with the most unholy of fires. "Before I deal with the two of you, I'm going to properly introduce myself. I am Blade Repulsa, sister of Rita Repulsa, and current ally and partner to Lord Zedd. I possess powers and skills that would terrify your poor little minds, and I could tear the both of you apart inside of a minute flat. I already know who you both are, so don't bother introducing yourselves, Jason Lee Scott and Kamaria Serena Daniels. Or should I call you: history?"
Kami stared straight into Blade's eyes, showing not one hint of fear. "You should call yourself a psychiatrist, you need one. Drop us and get out of here!"
Blade just laughed. Her laughter stopped, however, when Kami did one of the most powerful judo kicks ever, smashing into her mouth. The evil sorceress dropped them both, and Jason couldn't help but laugh. "Let us know when we're supposed to be scared!" he teased. Blade spit out both blood and a few teeth fragments, then waved a hand over her face, restoring her flawless beauty.
"You will be," she hissed. "This is only the beginning, for the both of you. Before I am done, you will both wish you had never heard the name of Blade Repulsa!"
"I already do, and I wish I hadn't gotten that close to you, you reek like an open sewer!" Kami wisecracked. Blade took a long look at her, long enough so Jason was about to call the others in when she stopped. The dark one laughed softly.
"We shall meet again. Oh, indeed, we shall meet again," she laughed again, and then vanished, melting away into thin air. Kami glanced over to Jason.
"Don't you ever invite any of your friends to watch us work out again," she teased. Jason looked back at her, and couldn't help but grin.
"It's a deal."
"And she loses again, but doesn't have the guts to admit it," Zedd couldn't stop himself from laughing as Blade reappeared in the throne room, eyes dancing with fury. "And a human injured her! A silly little human, not even a Power Ranger!"
Blade didn't even bother to threaten him this time; it didn't matter. She quickly invoked a mental calming ritual, wanting her thoughts clear before she did anything else. As soon as she could think clearly, without the raging anger than threatened to overwhelm her good sense, she began to laugh. "What courage that child has! What nerve!"
Zedd stared at her. "What are you talking about!? You ran in fear from her!"
His partner shook her head. "I let them think that. I could've destroyed them both. But I prefer to be a bit more subtle than you, my dear Zedd. Let them believe they drove me off. Remember my plan. What seems like a defeat may only be serve to distract the enemy from your main goal. Your problem is you hang everything on consistent monster attacks. That does nothing except use your monsters up, and waste time. We're going to do this my way, Zedd: the right way, and that way we conquer the planet and destroy the Rangers, not necessarily in that order, but what the heck?"
Zedd wasn't quite sure what to make of Blade, but he knew she was evil, he knew she was powerful, he knew it wouldn't take much for him to be absolutely terrified of her, and he knew that she wasn't going to stop until she had accomplished what she had set out to do: cleanse the blot from her family's honor put there by Rita Repulsa's abject failure.
His head came up suddenly as she began to detail her plan out to him. Slowly, he laughed as the perfection of it occurred to him. "I like the way you think, Blade!" he congratulated her. "I like the way you think! There is no way this can fail! Absolutely none!"
Blade smiled. "I know. It's my plan. My plans don't fail." Unlike yours. "It's simply a matter of time."
"Hey, is everyone all right?" Ernie came out from behind the counter, a light bump on his head from where he must have been thrown by the Sakari. "Kami, are you okay?"
She nodded, glancing up from where she and Jason were still looking at each other. "Yeah, dad, I'm fine. Are you?"
The large man nodded as well. "Jason? You okay? What was this all about, anyway?"
"Just another day in Angel Grove," Jason grinned, looking up as the others came in. He looked back at Kami. "Could you excuse me for a moment?" he asked, smiling, and she nodded. He quickly headed over to the others, filling them in as quickly and quietly as he could on what had happened, and what Blade had said.
Zack's eyes were wide with startlement by the time he had finished. "We'd better keep a close eye on Kami, then, till Blade forgets about all this. Any ideas on how long that'll take, Billy?"
Their resident genius shook his head. "Sorry, Zachary. There's no hints in any of the data Alpha gave me to indicate just when or what Blade's true plans could be."
Trini spoke softly. "Do you guys get the same feeling I do? That the past day or so has all just been one big distraction? That she's trying to find out all she can about us, and what we're capable of?"
"Yeah, I think that's what's going on," Kim agreed. "It's like she's sort of teasing us in a way. Throwing little things like the attempted kidnappings in our way to see if we'll fall for it, and what we do about it."
"I think they're right," Tommy added his voice. "Why else would she be going after those people?" his eyes flicked around the room, from Bulk and Skull, to Angela and Ernie, and finally to Kami, working out smoothly again alone on the mats. "Except for Kami, none of them know any martial arts, and Zordon said there weren't other Power Coins in the hands of evil, so she couldn't be trying to make another evil Ranger," he winced a little at the memories, almost involuntarily by now, and Kim put a hand on his shoulder, comforting him.
Jason took a deep breath. "You're all right," he agreed. "We'll have to keep our eyes open. We don't know what's going on here fully, so we'll do what we can to find out. We'll watch everyone they tried for, and anyone else they go after. I'm really going to keep close tabs on Kami, though; she's the only one Blade threatened personally. She could be after her for real, and the others were the diversions."
"Hey, would that be the only reason you want to keep tabs on her, Jase?" Zack grinned, poking his friend in the shoulder a little. Jason blushed almost as deep a red as his shirt, then looked back around.
"She is gorgeous," he admitted. "And I really like her, and I was going to kiss her the other night before things got so rudely interrupted. I think she likes me too."
Kim nodded, eyes dancing. "She does, Jason, she does!"
He took a deep breath. "Yeah. I guess she does," without even being quite sure what he was doing, he started over to her. "Kami?" he asked as soon as he was in range. "I wanted to talk to you before all that with what's her name got started."
She turned to him. "So you said. What do you want to talk about?"
"Last week," he began. "I had a wonderful time, and I'm really sorry I had to leave right at the end of it. I. . .I really like you, Kami, and I was kind of wondering if maybe we could go out again sometime?"
She took a long look at him, one that made him almost as nervous as the look Blade had given her. Then she smiled. "I'd love to go out with you, Jason. And whatever interrupted us last time, better not next!"
"I can't guarantee that," he said guardedly. "But I'll try to make sure it doesn't."
"Then that's all I can ask," she smiled, then quickly hooked her ankle around his foot and pulled him to the ground, grinning. "Gotcha!"
Laughter echoed from the Youth Center for a very long time after that.
What is Blade's mysterious plan? And will Kamaria and Jason have an uneventful date, or will the villains ruin things as usual? What's going to happen next? Find out in "Dating Problems", #3 in the True Light Saga!