Jenny's Hardship
by : Crypt

The planet of Onyx was a planet specifically for Evil Space Aliens. It looked like a town in the old west, but it was swarming with monsters, Putty Patrollers, Tenga Warriors, Cogs, Piranahtrons, and Quantrons. In a saloon, the monsters were serving each other, playing music, and playing card games. Darkonda sat at a table with his buddies just getting ready to play their game of chance.

A mysterious female figure entered the saloon. She wore a dark red cloak that hung all the way down to her heels. The hood was so far over her head that her face couldn't be seen. She also wore black gloves to conceal her hands. Her entire body was hidden under the clothing. She walked straight up to Darkonda's table.

"Who are you?" a long-haired creature asked.

The mysterious figure looked at him. "I'm just an ailing young traveler," she replied in a low voice.

"Are you female?" asked a creature with what kinda looked like a cow's skull.

"Mm-hmm." The traveler nodded.

Darkonda stood up. "My name is Darkonda," he said. "We would be honored if you would join us for our game." He grasped the traveler's hand and kissed it gently.

"Wow, you're quite a gentleman," she said. She was cautious to keep her voice low at all times. "I like that." She sat down at the table.

The skull creature passed out the circular cards to each player. Each player picked up their hand and carefully examined their cards. Then each player made their bet by placing jewels at the center of the table.

"Looks like this game is above your price range, huh?" Darkonda asked the long-haired creature.

"All I have are these key cards," the creature replied, pulling out a set of shiny, black cards.

"Those are worthless!" the skull creature yelled.

"I'll show you worthless!" the long-haired guy yelled, standing up in anger.

"You don't have to. He's standing right in front of me!" the skull creature shouted, standing up as well.

The traveler looked up at both of them and couldn't help chuckling to herself.

"Where did you get these?" Darkonda asked.

"I stole them when we battled on Eltar," the long-haired guy said. "They were Zordon's. They must be worth something."

"These are priceless!" the skull creature said. "All right, I'm in."

Both creatures sat back down and made their bet. Then they played their cards.

"Three zanabas," the long-haired guy announced.

"Ha! Three zanaba-tars," Darkonda announced.

"Not again!" the skull creature cried, throwing his cards down on the table.

The traveler chuckled again, then laid out her cards. The long-haired guy looked at them in disbelief.

"A zinta! You cheat!!" He aimed his gun at the traveler, who looked up innocently at him. Suddenly, she tripped him over with her foot, caught his gun, and aimed it at him.

"Mmmm . How can one possibly cheat at a game of chance?" she asked sweetly, still in a low voice. "Hmm. You're lucky I'm in a good mood today, or you'd be kissing your sweet ass goodbye."

She twirled the gun in her hand and tossed it away. Then she mysteriously walked over to the main counter. Darkonda stared at her in admiration. He followed her to the counter. The traveler examined the key cards, coughing and sniffling.

"A skilled player and a daring fighter. I like that combination in a woman," he said. "Server! Two Onyx juice specials for the traveler and myself!"

"You got it," the lizard called. He placed two smoky drinks in front of them.

"This one's on me," Darkonda said as he and the traveler tapped their glasses together and took a sip. "You know, I'd be willing to pay you handsomely for those key cards. What use would they be to an ailing young traveler such as yourself?"

"Uh . . . I dunno. I'll think of something. What would you be willing to pay me?"

"Whatever your heart desires. Say, you're a traveler, right?"

"Yeah," the traveler said.

"Well, I have been everywhere and seen everything," Darkonda explained. "I'd be willing to give you a personal tour of the universe for those key cards."

"Hmm. Maybe we can make a deal," the traveler said.

"Okay, if you're not busy with anything tonight, how would you like me to take you for a dinner date?" Darkonda asked, placing his hand on the traveler's.

"I won't be busy, but I can't tonight," the traveler replied.

"Why not?"

"I said I was an ailing young traveler, did I not?"

"Oh yeah; you're sick, huh?"

The traveler nodded as she coughed and sniffled again. "Maybe when I am well, I will join you for this dinner date."

"In the meantime, let me tell you a little bit about myself," Darkonda said. "Years ago, a planet called KO-35 was attacked and abandoned. It's really a dreadful place right now. Before it was deserted, I did a little job."

The traveler listened closely as Darkonda leaned closer to her. "I kidnapped a little girl. I nabbed her as she and her brother were playing."

"This was years ago?" the traveler asked softly, her voice cracking.

"That's right. She's still alive and well, but you won't believe where she is," Darkonda replied.

The traveler turned to him with a look of curiosity on her face, although Darkonda couldn't see it with the mask in the way.

"What in the hell would you do with a little girl for all these years?" she asked.

"Well, not much really," Darkonda said. "I'm just making sure that her brother never finds her."

The traveler nodded. "Hmm. I see. Well, I need to get back to my . . . traveling." She stood up and smiled at Darkonda, another hidden gesture behind her disguise. "It's been very nice playing with you, Darkonda."

She began walking out as mysteriously as she walked in, carefully examining the key cards. Darkonda smiled back at her.

"It was nice playing with you, too . . . . Tonfa Spice."

The traveler froze for a second, then sharply turned back to him. "Well shit, Darkonda!" she cried, her voice still cracking. She removed her hood to reveal her identity --- Jenny! "You found me out!!"

Darkonda pulled out his sword and took a fighting stance. Jenny skillfully pulled off her disguise and took an offensive pose of her own. She turned to a monster standing next to her that carried a sword.

"Thanks." She reached out and snatched the sword from him. Suddenly, Darkonda rushed at her. Unfortunately, Jenny's sword skills weren't as hot as her night stick skills, so she ended up dodging most of his attacks. As she backed up against the counter, Darkonda attacked overhead. Jenny rolled aside, losing her balance and falling at the bottom of the staircase. Darkonda attempted another overhead attack while she was down, but she blocked it with her sword.

"Looks like this is MY lucky day!" Darkonda announced.

"We'll see about that!" Jenny cried, shoving Darkonda back with her feet. She started coughing afterwards. She stood up and ran up the stairs. Darkonda also stood up and chased her.

"I knew it was you all along, Tonfa Spice!" he yelled. "That's the only reason why I asked you on that dinner date."

"You're kidding," Jenny replied as she blocked some more of his sword swipes.

Darkonda blocked Jenny's counter attack and elbowed her in the stomach. He rushed at her again with his sword. Gasping, Jenny held up her sword to defend herself as Darkonda pushed her against the pillar. Suddenly, Jenny moved aside. The force sent her tipping over the railing. She screamed as she fell and landed on a table, smashing it to pieces. Darkonda looked over the railing.

Jenny let out a groan of pain as she stood up. "I'm getting out of here!!" she announced. With that, she rushed out of the saloon.

"Get her!!" Darkonda demanded.

Jenny ran down the road of the monster town. "Galaxy glider, hang ten!" she called. The yellow galaxy glider appeared and Jenny hopped on. Then she took off into the sky, into space, and back to the Astro Megaship. Even when she reached the Megaship, she dashed down the halls and raced into the bridge. The other Spices stared at her in confusion, as they couldn't tell if she was laughing or crying.

"Well, well, well," the Cryptkeeper said. "How did your 'ailing young traveler' disguise go?"

"I got Zordon's key cards," Jenny replied, holding them out.

Sal took the key cards and stared at them. "What the hell are these for?"

"I don't know," Jenny said. "I just thought they might help us find Zordon."

"Would you mind telling us why you're laughing so hard?" Spinal asked.

Jenny took a deep breath and looked each of her friends in the eye. "Darkonda knew who I was the whole damn time!"

"How?" Hallie asked.

Jenny shrugged her shoulders.

"Maybe he recognized your cough," Spinal suggested.

"Or your charm," the Cryptkeeper added. "When someone loves you as much as Darkonda and Elgar do, they tend to learn a lot about you FAST. They quickly remember everything: your looks, your voice, your attitude, all that stuff."

"You think so? Oh well," Jenny said. "You guys should've been down there. There were monsters EVERYWHERE!!! I felt so overwhelmed."

"I know; it must've been scary," Spinal said.

"I'll tell you what's funny, though: Darkonda called me a 'skilled player' because I apparently won some alien game of chance," Jenny went on. "The truth was that I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I don't even know how to play those poker games on Earth. I just put down my cards and I'm like, 'Okay, tell me what I've got here.' So I was especially confused when that one guy called me a cheater and pointed that gun at me."

"Hmm. I'd call it pure luck," the Cryptkeeper said.

"So would I," Jenny agreed.

"How could you possibly cheat at poker?" Hallie asked. "Those cards were just dealt to you, and apparently, they were worth a lot."

"Here, let me take a look at those key cards, Jenny," Alpha said.

"At least Darkonda got the 'daring fighter' part right," Sal said.

"How could there be a skilled player?" Spinal asked.

"Oh well," the Cryptkeeper said. "Although Darkonda somehow recognized you, I thought you were terrific down there."

"I know," Curly said. "Who could play the role of an ailing young traveler better than . . . . well . . . an ailing young traveler?"

Jenny had the common cold. Her nose was either running or congested, and it has spread down into her chest. Her coughing has made her throat sore, making swallowing feel somewhat painful. The difference in her voice had made it even more difficult for anyone to recognize her.

"Well, as the Spice Club leader, I am susceptible to many illnesses," she said.

Coughing and sniffling, she walked out of the bridge. The other Spices chuckled.

"I don't blame her; we're all dead, you know," the Cryptkeeper said. "I get sick all the time, too. My immune system is just as rotten as the rest of me."

"That's weird. I don't get sick," Spinal said.

"That's because the germs have no organs to invade," C.C. said.

"However, you're still susceptible to osteoporosis," the Cryptkeeper added.

"What is that?" Spinal asked.

"It's when your bones wither away and they get about as strong as twigs."

"Ouch."

"Any luck, Alpha?" Hallie asked.

"They're genuine, all right," Alpha replied. "They're from Eltar."

"Cool," C.K. announced. "So, who's gonna tell Jenny?"

The others looked at him and smiled.

"Oh, come on. You don't mean me."

* * *

Meanwhile, Darkonda was pondering at the Dark Fortress. What was he going to do?

"There must be some way for me to get my hands on her," he muttered aloud.

"On whom?" asked Astronema.

"Tonfa Spice. She snuck onto the planet Onyx in a disguise," Darkonda explained. "But somehow, she seemed to fit right in."

"Are you saying that Tonfa Spice is evil?"

"She may not be evil, but she is capable of it. And I think I know why . . ."

"Why?"

"Nah . . . it can't be. That's impossible."

"What's impossible?" Astronema asked.

"Just some utter nonsense that I'm thinking about. Nothing to fear," Darkonda said.

"What do you plan on doing?"

"If Tonfa Spice won't give herself to me, I'll just have to take her! I just have to wait for an opportunity . . . for her to be alone . . ."

* * *

Darkonda didn't have to wait long for his target to go off alone. When the Spice Club members woke up the next morning, they noticed that Jenny wasn't aboard the ship at all. They gathered in the jump tube room to eat breakfast.

"Hey, Hallie, where's your sister?" Sal asked.

"I haven't seen her," Hallie replied.

"Deca, where's Jenny?" the Cryptkeeper asked.

"She's getting her head together," Deca replied.

"Well, where did she go?"

"To the surface of the planet KO-35. She wishes not to be disturbed."

"That makes sense," Jay said. "You need peace and quiet to get your head together."

"She's been acting weird ever since she found out that Astronema was her mother," Sal said. "Hallie, I'm surprised you're not taking it the same way."

"Don't be, because I never lived with our mom," Hallie told him. "I lived with our grandparents. I don't know why our parents gave me away as soon as I was born."

"So you two were separated at birth?" C.C. asked. "How did you know that you were sisters?"

"Phone calls, letters, photos, that sort of thing," Hallie said. "We only met in person for the first time after Mom was killed in that accident."

"Did you know that that was the same night in which your sister and I met?" the Cryptkeeper asked.

"No, I didn't."

"Interesting family history," Marvin said.

An awkward silence fell in the room, so the Spices decided to shut up and eat.

* * *

Jenny was too busy moping around on KO-35. She found the place pretty creepy.

"What a mess," she muttered. "I'd be pretty freaked out if Earth was abandoned like this."

She took a few more steps into the empty planet. All she could hear was dead silence.

"As if Elgar falling in love with me wasn't enough, here comes Darkonda with a nasty attitude toward members of the opposite gender."

Before she could say anything more, she received a visitor. As she continued her walk, Darkonda appeared behind her.

"Hello, Tonfa Spice."

Jenny turned around to face him. "Darkonda, I'm busy. Go away!"

"I wouldn't consider moping around as 'being busy,' " Darkonda said. "Come with me. Let me cheer you up."

"No, thank you; I'll get over it on my own. Now leave me alone!"

Darkonda drew his sword and attacked. Jenny quickly dodged the attack and kicked him in the chest. Of course, Darkonda's intention was to kidnap her, but he wanted her as intact as possible, so he kept the fight short.

Jenny threw a punch at Darkonda, who simply grabbed her wrist, turned her around, and wrapped his other arm across her shoulders. She struggled to break his grip.

"Ha! Gotcha!" Darkonda announced.

Laughing triumphantly, he vanished with his victim.

* * *

The next thing Jenny realized, she was in a dark room. For some odd reason, she fell to the floor, but quickly stood up. She spun around only to see that Darkonda was gone.

"Wait a minute? What just happened?" she asked aloud. "Darkonda? Where the cotton-pickin' heck am I?"

No answer. Jenny walked over to the walls and felt them all the way around. There didn't appear to be a door anywhere. She did hear some voices, though. She put her ear to the wall and recognized the voices. They belonged to Ecliptor and Darkonda.

"Ecliptor, I have completed your challenge," Darkonda said. "I've finally captured Tonfa Spice."

"Took you long enough," Ecliptor snapped. "Now tell me why you're being sweet on her."

"I was just bringing out her soft side," Darkonda replied.

"Did you notice that she was doing the same to you? And that she's winning? Now you've fallen in love with her."

"I am not in love with her!"

"Yes, you are," Ecliptor said.

"No, I'm not," Darkonda argued.

"There are times when I think I've gone too far," Jenny whispered to herself.

"Look, Ecliptor; she may be pretty and charming, but that doesn't mean that I find her attractive," Darkonda went on.

"Yes, it does," Ecliptor said. "You wouldn't be calling her 'pretty and charming' if you didn't find her attractive."

"Grrr, we'll have to argue some other time," said Darkonda. "Right now, I have an ailing young traveler to toy with."

Jenny quickly backed away from the wall as Darkonda once again appeared behind her.

"Welcome to my playroom, Tonfa Spice," he announced. "I hope you like it, 'cause you'll be staying for a while. No one can find their way in here, so no one can help you. This is my private, isolated playroom."

"Some playroom," Jenny snapped. "Where're all the toys?"

"I don't need any toys," Darkonda told her. "I brought you here so that I can have a little fun with you. Ha; even the mightiest of warriors can be easy to capture."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah, really. First off, you're probably wondering how I recognized you in the Onyx saloon, right?"

"It crossed my mind," Jenny said.

"Well, it's simple really. You were much too charming to be evil," Darkonda explained. "You looked a little . . . reserved from our group. And the way you told my friend to kiss his sweet ass goodbye was another hint."

"I see."

"Next thing: I know your little secret."

"What secret?"

"The . . . connection between you and Astronema. She's your mother, isn't she?"

"What gave you the idea that Astronema is my mother?" Jenny asked, trying to play it off.

"I overheard the conversation you had with the spirit of your father," Darkonda replied. "And yet it doesn't surprise me at all. You have much of your mother's style, her moves, and her face."

As he spoke, he walked closer to Jenny and reached out to touch her face. Jenny moved back.

"Yet as a youthful version, you behave playfully in your spare time, trying to burn up all the energy in you," Darkonda went on. "And in battle, you fight like a demon, using both your heart and your head. And your sister is the same way with her style, and her so-called love for Ecliptor."

"Okay, I've heard enough! You didn't actually tell Astronema, did you?"

"Not yet, but I will."

"Don't bother. There's no way in hell that she'll believe you," Jenny said.

"We shall see, my dear," Darkonda told her. "We shall see."

He chuckled sinisterly as he vanished, leaving Jenny alone in the dark.

* * *

"Spices, you have to hear this!" Alpha cried. "I can't find Jenny anywhere on KO-35."

"Where could she have gone?" Spinal asked.

"Do you think she moved?" Curly asked.

"Oh please! She wouldn't do something like that without telling us," the Cryptkeeper told him. "She must be in trouble."

"I'll keep searching," Alpha said.

"Until we get some clue as to what happened, we can't help her."

"I don't feel right just sitting here," Spinal said.

"I know; none of us do, but there's nothing we can do now," the Cryptkeeper said. "Besides, whatever happened, I'm sure Jenny could take care of herself."

The Spice Club members kept their fingers crossed . . .

* * *

Jenny hadn't been alone in Darkonda's little playroom for long. Soon, Elgar teleported into the room. Jenny spun around to face him. She was both surprised and relieved to see him.

"Elgar, what are you doing in here?" she asked. "Darkonda said that no one could find their way in here."

"Well, I found a way," Elgar replied. "Darkonda thinks he knows how to treat a lady, but he's got a thing or two to learn."

Jenny suddenly grabbed his shoulders, her fingers tight as a vise. "Elgar, he knows!"

"Knows what?"

"He knows about Astronema being my mother! What am I gonna do?"

"Well, I dunno. Right now, I'm going to get you out of here," Elgar said. "Darkonda didn't need to capture you."

"You captured me once," Jenny said.

"That was when you feared me. But now that we've got our relationship brewing, it isn't necessary anymore."

"Okay, so how do I get out of here?"

"That's the easy part." Elgar extended his hand. Jenny quickly took it and they vanished from the room.

They reappeared back on KO-35.

"Whoa! Thanks, Elgar," Jenny said.

"No problem, babe," Elgar replied. "Just remember that I never freed you. You just escaped. Deal?"

"Oh, don't worry. I wouldn't believe that you actually helped me anyway."

"Ta-ta!" Elgar teleported back to the Dark Fortress. Jenny smiled and teleported back to the Astro Megaship.

* * *

Jenny snuck onto the bridge of the ship unnoticed. She looked over her team with a smile.

"Wait! I think I'm picking up a signal!" Alpha called.

"All right! The search is just about over," Marvin said.

"Search for what?" Jenny asked out of nowhere.

The others gasped and turned to her.

"How the hell did you get back here?" the Cryptkeeper asked.

"It doesn't matter. I'm home, and I finally got my head together," Jenny replied. "Now I need to get my body together. Goodnight."

She turned around sharply and started out of the room.

"Hey, Jenny!" the Cryptkeeper called after her. "You are one crazy woman."

Jenny smiled and left the room.

* * *

Back at the Dark Fortress, Darkonda found out that Jenny was free.

"This is impossible! How did she escape!?" he screamed.

"I dunno," Elgar replied innocently. "She's a clever one, isn't she?"

Darkonda growled at him, then sighed to control his anger. "Oh well. I can still tell Astronema the news."

"And what news might that be?" Astronema asked, entering the room.

"I have some good news and some bad news," Darkonda replied. "The good news is that you have two daughters."

"You lie!" Astronema yelled. "I have no daughters!"

"Yes, you do," Darkonda said. "The bad news is that they're both Spice Club members."

"Hmm." Astronema paused. "Who are my daughters?"

"Tonfa Spice and Candy Spice."

"Oh no!" Ecliptor groaned. "Not Candy Spice!"

"How did you come across the fact that they're my daughters?" Astronema asked.

"I overheard Tonfa Spice talking to the spirit of her father," Darkonda explained. "He said that long ago, you disguised yourself as an Earth woman and married him. Then you gave birth to your daughters. When their mother was killed in a car crash, you became Astronema again, but with no memory of the Earth family. That would explain why they both wore black on Halloween; they wanted to look just like their mother. Hee hee....."

"My daughters....." Astronema said to herself. "Can it really be.......?"

The End... for now

Rule

BackHomeNext