How Astronema Stole Christmas
by : Crypt

It was Christmas Eve. It was the holiday that brings out the kid in everyone, including the spirits of the dead. The Power Rangers and the Spice Club were ready to celebrate in full splendor. They were planning the biggest Christmas feast the universe had ever seen. Of course, in order to achieve that goal, absolutely everyone had to do their part.

A few of the Spices were in the Simudeck. They created the simulation of a kitchen. They needed to prepare their feast the old-fashioned way. The simulated kitchen did include a telephone. As Jenny was hard at work, she got a phone call.

"Hello," she said into the phone. "Cassie! Oh, we are working through this day, and I certainly do hope we make it. We've never had 37 people for Christmas dinner before."

"And we never will again," Spinal added from the back of the kitchen.

"How's turkey number six?" Jenny asked. "Great. That makes 72 lbs. of turkey. I'm just getting the mac and cheese and the other side dishes ready. Spinal's over here making a mess of the green veggies and hamhocks. The other Spice guys are down in the Hull House basement grabbing tables and stuff."

"Don't forget about us, Sis," Hallie called.

"Yeah, the pie-makers," Kathy added.

"Oh yes, and the little girls are up to their ears in dough so that they can open their own pie shop," Jenny said. "Oh Cassie, dear, I need to get off the phone; this is war! Bye."

When Jenny hung up, Aracula entered the Simudeck carrying a grocery bag in each of his six arms. He had water dropping from his body. He shoved the soggy bags onto the counter in front of Jenny.

"How'd the shopping go, Aracula?" she asked sweetly.

Aracula began screeching and hissing along with a garbled display of sign language. Fortunately, Deca could understand over 3,000 languages, including Aracula's. Therefore, she acted as a translator for him.

" 'You sent me out for groceries on Christmas Eve, and all the stores are closed,'" she said. " ' I rode the galaxy glider slowly for miles around. I finally found a store called the Lucky Stop Market. The line was longer than a mob waiting to see Batman.'"

"Aracula, you forgot the canned pumpkin for the pumpkin pie," Jenny said.

Aracula's eyes widened as he shrugged all his shoulders. He let out a little whimper.

" 'You never asked me for canned pumpkin,'" Deca translated.

"Yes, I did. I told you to write it down, but you said, 'I don't need a list; it's all up here.'"

Jenny moved aside and Spinal joined her in digging through the bags. Aracula hissed at C.C., Hallie, and Kathy.

" 'Are you making sweet potato pie?'" Deca translated.

"Yeah," the girls said.

Aracula talked some more, and again Deca interpreted the language.

" 'Then we don't need pumpkin pie. People can't tell the difference between pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie. Just put whipped cream on it and tell 'em that we got pumpkin pie.'"

"Come on, Aracula; you know we can't have Christmas without real pumpkin pie," C.C. said.

"Aracula, you also forgot the nutmeg!" Spinal cried.

Aracula went to the spice rack and pulled out a jar.

"This isn't fresh," Jenny said, snatching the jar and tossing it over her shoulder. "We're making traditional eggnog. Aracula, please......go get some nutmeg."

Aracula let out a shriek.

" 'You're sending me all the way back out there for a nut!?'"

"There are the other things you forgot," Jenny told him. "You forgot the canned pumpkin, and I might add that you also forgot the dozen eggs that I need to make cornbread."

Aracula sighed and left the room. At the same time, Andros came in.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"We're making Christmas dinner," Jenny said. "It's gonna be the biggest dinner ever!"

"It's a beast feast," the Cryptkeeper added, coming in behind Andros.

"You mean food?" Andros asked.

"Uh, yeah; food," the Spices replied.

"And you're invited, Mr. Andros," Kathy said.

"Hmm. Sounds like fun," Andros said.

"All the men are in the Hull House basement, so you two should go down there," C.C. said.

"See that, Andros? They put us in the basement again this year," the Cryptkeeper said. "These women just don't trust us to cook!"

"Isn't Spinal a man?" Andros asked.

"No, he's a little boy," Jenny told him.

Andros and the Cryptkeeper left the room.

* * *

Astronema found out that the Spices and the Rangers were celebrating Christmas.

"Eeeuw, Christmas! I feel sick already!" she cried.

"I've seen the Spices celebrate Christmas before," Elgar said. "It looks like fun, giving each other presents, decorating the neighborhood, and my favorite part --- the food!"

Astronema groaned in disgust.

"Shut up!" Ecliptor demanded, punching Elgar. "Astronema doesn't want to hear it!"

Astronema's eyes lit up. "The best thing to do is take the cheer out of Christmas."

"How are you going to do that?" Elgar asked.

"By kidnapping Angel Grove's children. The holiday seems to focus on them. Without them, Christmas won't be merry." Astronema smiled. "Ecliptor, you and Darkonda go down to Angel Grove and take all the children."

"Yes, Astronema," Ecliptor and Darkonda replied in unison.

They both picked up their blades and walked out of the fortress.

* * *

"I'm ready to help!" Hanim called as she entered the Megaship dining room.

Jenny was at the table fixing the decorations, and she handed one to Hanim.

"Great; you're just in time to help set the table," Jenny said.

"Wow, who made these?"

"This was C.C.'s idea. She thought it'd be cute if we had these little Christmas trees with name tags."

Suddenly, Hanim frowned as she put her name tag at the smaller table. "You put me at a table between Hallie and Kathy?"

"Yeah; I thought you'd be able to help serve the little ones," Jenny told her.

"Aww man. I'm at the CHILDREN'S table, AGAIN! All those Christmases that I've spent with my grandparents, I always had to sit at the children's table. And when I complained, Mom said, 'Hanim, when you're an adult, you can sit with the adults.' Well, I'm nineteen; I'm an adult!"

"Well, I'm NOT your mom," Jenny said. "Besides, Hanim, that is NOT a children's table."

"How can you look me in the eye and say that THIS is not a children's table!?" Hanim cried. "Jenny, this is a car table!! You'll be over there talking about the universe and science, and I'll be over here.....cutting up turkey and wiping people's noses."

"Excuse me. Hallie and Kathy can wipe their own noses. They're ten and twelve, you know. I need to go back to the kitchen."

"Jenny, wait!" Hanim called suddenly. "I wanted to ask you about something."

"Go ahead; I'm listening," Jenny said.

"Okay. You know Andros?"

"Uh....well.....we haven't been formally introduced. Nah, I'm kidding. What about Andros?"

"Well......he.....he sort of......he......" Hanim was fumbling for words.

"You like him, don'tcha?" Jenny snapped with a knowing smile.

"Uh....yeah, that's it. He's so cuuuute, he's a fine warrior...."

"Yeah, he is a fine warrior, getting his behind kicked by Ecliptor and everything."

"Well.....not like that......but what should I do?" Hanim asked.

"Well, I'm no love counselor, but it's really up to you," Jenny replied. "Are you aiming for an intimate relationship? Do you want to let him know or not?"

"I don't know what I want to do."

"Well, I don't know what to tell you. Sorry."

Jenny stood up and walked back into the kitchen. C.C. and Kathy were still hard at work making pie. They were busy pinching the edges.

"Pinch, pinch, pinch, pinch, pinch....." they muttered in unison.

Jenny chuckled to herself as Cassie entered the Simudeck. She carried a covered-up turkey and brushed the snow off her.

"Hello, everybody," she called. "Demona, do you need any help?"

"No; I'm ready for Christmas," Demona replied, coming in behind Cassie. She also carried a turkey. "I got my 20 lb. butterball right here."

Brooklyn came in behind Demona carrying a dish of some white food.

"What's in the casserole, Brooklyn?" Cassie asked, taking it from him.

"An old Jamaican favorite," Brooklyn said. "Just goat."

"Goat! Can't wait!"

Lexington came in behind Brooklyn carrying a large salad bowl. It was so large, it obstructed Lexington's vision.

"Brooklyn! Help! Where am I going!?" he cried.

"Oooh, this way, Lex," Brooklyn said, guiding him around the counter.

"Brooklyn, I told you we should've put that salad into smaller bowls," Demona said.

"But look at it; it's so beautiful," Brooklyn protested.

"How did you get that thing up here?" Jenny asked.

"We turned it upside down, strapped it to the galaxy glider, and sat on it," Lexington told her. He finally set the bowl down on the counter.

Aracula returned to the room with another grocery bag. He talked to Jenny in his hissing language.

" 'There's your dumb canned pumpkin, your stupid eggs, and your silly nut,'" Deca translated.

"Nutmeg, and thank you," Jenny said, kissing Aracula's forehead. She reached into the bag. "Aracula.....there are no eggs in here."

Aracula hissed again.

" 'There's eggs in there,'" Deca said. " 'I put eggs in there; I bought eggs.'"

Aracula continued shrieking as Jenny displayed the empty bag.

" 'I don't care what that bag says; there's eggs in there,'" Deca announced.

"The receipt says 'canned pumpkin, canned pumpkin, nutmeg.' It says nothing about eggs; you forgot the eggs again!" Jenny cried. "How am I supposed to make cornbread without eggs!?"

Aracula hissed in response.

" 'People don't need cornbread. Let 'em eat soda crackers.'"

Jenny sighed. "I'm sorry, Aracula; I shouldn't have yelled like that. I'm just so stressed out."

The other Rangers entered the Simudeck.

"Wow, it smells great in here!" T.J. said.

"Yeah, you guys must be really good cooks," Ashley added.

"I hope you guys don't mind, but we won't be having cornbread today," Jenny said calmly.

"Why not?" Brooklyn asked. "That's one of my favorites, your homemade cornbread."

"Yeah. I'd be a perfectly happy lizard if all I got for Christmas was your cornbread," Lexington said.

Demona returned to the kitchen. "Oh Aracula, I'm so glad you're here! By any chance, are you going back to the market? I forgot to put tomatoes in the salad."

"You can't have a salad without tomatoes; that's like having no cornbread," Brooklyn said.

"Well, the only thing keeping us from having cornbread is a dozen eggs," Jenny told him.

Everyone looked at Aracula. The spider-skeleton creature sighed again and left the room in complete humiliation. As he went through the door, he bumped into Spinal.

"Oh, excuse me." Spinal entered the Simudeck. He didn't look too happy. Everyone stared at him.

"Spinal, is there something wrong?" Carlos asked.

Spinal nodded. "I just saw a news report. All of the children in Angel Grove have disappeared."

The room fell silent.

"Are you serious?" Jenny asked in disbelief. "All of them?"

Spinal nodded again. "Every single one."

"Any idea how it happened?" Brooklyn asked.

"Some parents claim that they were abducted by these metal creatures."

Cassie's eyes lit up. "Quantrons."

"Astronema!" Andros cried.

"Oh man!" Jenny cried, grabbing her head. "I should've known that she would try to spoil the holidays. That's how bad guys are."

"Yeah, you'd know that, because you're supposed to be a bad guy," Brooklyn said.

"But I'm not; let's just leave it at that," Jenny snapped. "Come on, let's go save those kids."

"We have to locate those kids first," Carlos called as the Spices left the room. The Rangers began to wonder. After a moment, Spinal came back and peered into the room.

"You guys coming?" he asked.

"Yeah. Let's go," T.J. replied.

Spinal allowed T.J., Cassie, Ashley, and Carlos to pass by, then followed them. Andros followed Spinal. As they walked through the hall, Andros suddenly grabbed Spinal's arm.

"Spinal, I have a question," he said.

"Go ahead; ask me," Spinal said.

Andros hesitated as a look of embarrassment appeared on his face. "What is Christmas?"

"Uh......." Spinal thought hard for a moment. Then the answer came to him. "I have no idea."

They caught up with their friends on the bridge. Andros stood behind the main controls and began working on them.

"Warning: incoming velocifighters," Deca announced.

The group suddenly heard lasers firing and the entire ship began to shake.

"Shields up!" Andros cried. "Carlos, lock lasers on target and fire when ready."

"Right," Carlos replied.

He locked the laser on one velocifighter and fired. The shot made a direct hit, and the velocifighter exploded. The explosion caused the Megaship to shake a little. Spinal and C.C. clung to each other tightly.

"Oh no!" Cassie cried suddenly. "The other two velocifighters are hovering over our ship. We can't fire on them now!"

"Excuse us," Smoke called.

Cyrax began, "We'll be...."

".....right back," Sektor concluded.

Together, the Cyberninja Trio left the bridge. They went directly to the jump tubes. Cyrax stood in front of Ashley's, Sektor in front of Andros', and Smoke in front of Carlos'. They slid through the tubes simultaneously. They hovered around the Megaship on the galaxy gliders. When they spotted the velocifighters, they hesitated before attacking. They joined hands in a circle.

"Let's...." Cyrax began.

"Add...." Sektor added.

"Some...." Smoke added.

Then together, they announced, "Spice!!"

They got into the piloting Quantrons' view and called their attention. The Quantrons responded by firing lasers, which the Cyberninjas easily avoided.

"Okay, distract them while I get my missiles ready!" Sektor called.

"You got it, brother!" the other two called.

They got the velocifighters to chase them while Sektor opened up his chest and a missile protruded from it. Then he chased after one of the evil ships. When the time was right, he fired the missile, making a direct hit into the accelerators. The ship instantly exploded. Then the Cyberninja Trio surrounded the remaining velocifighter.

"Watch out; I got this one," Cyrax said.

He hovered over the ship, opened up the cockpit, and dropped a heavy metal ball into the Quantron's lap.

"Merry Christmas," he said.

He closed the ship again and flew off. The other two Cyberninjas followed. After a moment, the velocifighter exploded. The Cyberninjas hovered together and joined hands in the center again.

"Now....," Cyrax called.

"That....," Sektor added.

"Was....," Smoke added.

Together, they announced, "The bomb!!"

With their mission accomplished, the Cyberninjas returned to the bridge. The Rangers looked thoroughly confused.

"What happened?" Ashley asked.

"We took...." Cyrax began.

"Care of...." Sektor added.

"Those velocifighters," Smoke concluded.

Andros looked at Jenny, confused.

"They always talk like that," Jenny told him. "It shows unity."

Andros nodded as if to say, "Ah, I see."

"Well," he said out loud. "Now we can start looking for the kids."

"Great; we still gotta sit here," the Cryptkeeper muttered.

"Well, while we're waiting, we could prepare our feast some more," Jenny suggested. "Call us when you find anything."

The Spices began walking out of the bridge. They paused and stared at the Rangers. Hanim particularly stared at Andros.

"Oh, if only those other Rangers weren't in here, I'd let him know for sure," she thought. "Oh Andros, Andros, wherefore art thou from outer space? Oooh, I love the sound of that name! Here comes Andros, flying high. Only fate could allow him to drive his Spiral Saber deep into my heart....."

Hanim would have gone on, but Andros interrupted her thoughts.

"Is something wrong?" he asked.

"Oh, no, no, no," the Spices replied at once. "We're going."

They walked out of the bridge. Andros stared at them. No, he only stared at one of them. He stared particularly at C.C.

"C.C.," he thought. "So beautiful, so quick and energetic. Where does she get her moves? What does she see in that pile of bones?"

"Yoo-hoo, Andros," Ashley called. "You ready?"

"Oh, yeah," Andros replied.

"What's up, Andros?" Carlos asked. "You look troubled."

"I don't know what's going on," Andros replied. "For some reason, I can't get C.C. out of my mind."

"Oh, you like her," Cassie said. "It's called falling in love. It happens to all of us at one point or another."

"She has a great advantage as a warrior," Andros said. "She looks like an innocent little girl on the outside, but then there's the savage beast inside."

"Well, Andros, all the Spices are like that," T.J. told him. "Come on, let's go."

"Alert; detecting a disturbance in Angel Grove," Deca announced.

The monitor showed Angel Grove. There was a monster scaring people at the beach. The monster kind of looked like Santa Claus.

"A Santa Claus monster?" Cassie asked. "This is weird."

"So, should we go after that monster, or rescue those children?" Ashley asked.

"I say we go after the monster," T.J. replied. "We can let the Spices rescue the children."

"All right. Let's rocket!!" Andros shouted.

They pressed the buttons on their wrist and morphed into their incredible costumes. Then they teleported out of the ship and descended to Earth to face this Santa Claus monster.

"Ho, ho, ho!" the monster cried. "I'm jolly old Sandy Claws! I'm here to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Merry Christmas to all, now you're all gonna die!"

"I don't think so," Andros replied. "We're here to spread Christmas cheer. You're only here to terrorize people. We're going to put an end to that."

Sandy Claws responded by throwing sand at them, which blinded them even though they had the helmets to protect their eyes. While they were blind, Sandy Claws seized the opportunity and struck each of the Rangers in the chest with his claws.......

* * *

The Spices had to search long and hard to find the children now that the Rangers were too busy fighting the monster to locate them. Actually, Deca did the searching.

"Attention: The children are located in a hidden cave," she called.

"Thanks, Deca," Jenny replied, as the Spices left the room and headed for the jump tubes.

"The coordinates are 74 latitude and 36 longitude," Deca added.

"Thanks, Deca," Jenny replied.

Five at a time, the Spices entered the jump tubes. However, they couldn't land directly at the cave, so they had to search manually. That little predicament really slowed them down. They split up and searched their surroundings.....

* * *

A little time went by. Aracula returned to the Astro Megaship. He was startled to find everyone gone. He walked into the Simudeck with his grocery bag and noticed that Jenny had left the oven on.

"It's all right, Aracula," Deca called. "Your friends are going to be gone for a while, so it's safe to turn it off."

Aracula turned the oven off, then hissed to Deca.

"The Rangers have gone to battle the Sandy Claws monster while the Spices have gone to rescue the children of Angel Grove," Deca told him.

Aracula let out another hiss, which sounded like, "Huh?"

"Every single one," Deca added. "You may wish to join your friends."

Aracula nodded, then returned to the jump tubes, still holding the grocery bag. Oddly enough, he landed right in front of the cave where the children were being held. The blizzard was occurring there, too. However, he had to face Ecliptor and Darkonda.

"What's in the bag!?" Darkonda demanded.

Aracula hissed at them.

"Eggs? What are you doing with eggs?" Darkonda asked.

Aracula hissed again.

"Tonfa Spice wants to make cornbread?"

Aracula let out a shriek now.

"You're not going out there again? Why not?" Darkonda asked.

Aracula let four of his arms go limp and sighed.

"Look at you!" Ecliptor said to Darkonda. "This.....insect is hissing at you and all you can do is speak of some nonsense!?"

"He's not hissing, he's talking," Darkonda told him. "And I understand every single word he's saying. Do you?"

Ecliptor shook his head.

"So, which Spice are you again?" Darkonda asked.

Aracula hissed at him.

"Bony Spice, eh? Interesting. Well, you won't leave here until you defeat us!" Darkonda shouted.

Aracula let out another hiss.

"I know; you've already said that you weren't going back out there," Darkonda said.

Aracula changed his grip on the grocery bag. Unfortunately, when he did, the tomatoes and eggs dropped out from the bottom and splatted at his feet. Aracula sighed and left the cave. Ecliptor and Darkonda looked at each other.

"Ooops," Darkonda said loudly. "I feel your pain, Bony Spice!"

* * *

Meanwhile, Astronema was in the Dark Fortress watching the battle between the Rangers and Sandy Claws. It still appeared that Sandy Claws was winning. Astronema grinned with anticipation and called out to the Quantrons.

"Fire the satellasers!" she ordered.

The Quantron pressed the button and a green beam fired from the Dark Fortress. The beam shined on Sandy Claws, making him grow into a giant. The Rangers looked up, gasping, but they had the perfect solution.

"We need Astro Megazord power now!" Andros cried.

The Astro Megaship transformed into the Megazord and flew down towards Earth. The Rangers teleported into their seats and prepared to fight the monster in another round. For its bulk, Sandy Claws was surprisingly fast. Before the Rangers realized what hit them, Sandy Claws had already pummeled them with punches and kicks.

"Oh no! We're losing power!" Ashley cried.

"Everybody, give me what you have left!" Andros cried.

Before they could act, however, Sandy Claws threw an energy blast at them. The Megazord shook as sparks flew everywhere.....

* * *

The Spices looked for the cave some more. They reunited and sighed in frustration.

"Okay, maybe we'll have better luck if we stick together," Jenny suggested.

"We've searched all this way and still nothing!" Curly cried. "This whole thing stinks. Why would Astronema steal all the children anyway?"

"It's a crazy universe out there. Ever since Tommy and Kimberly split up, things haven't been the same," the Cryptkeeper said. "Anyway, let's get a move on before our food gets cold."

The Spices walked down a snow path. Spinal grabbed C.C. by the arm.

"I need to ask you something," he said in an embarrassed voice. "What is Christmas? What are we actually celebrating here?"

"It's really quite simple, cute little thing you," C.C. said. "Christmas is known as the time for giving. Like what we're doing now, you gather with your family and friends. People give each other presents, sing carols, roast chestnuts over the open fire..."

"Sounds like fun," Spinal said. "But where did Christmas come from?"

"Christmas means celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I'm surprised you didn't know that; you were around back then, weren't you?"

"I may have existed then, but I was dead to the world."

"Hey, Spinal! C.C.! Let's get moving!" Jenny called.

"Yeah, by the time we find the kids, they won't even be kids anymore!" the Cryptkeeper added.

Spinal and C.C. glanced at each other and joined the other Spices. Finally, they found the cave. It appeared to be completely deserted. The Spices hit behind the boulder.

"Okay, I'm going to go inside and see what's in there," Jenny said. "You guys wait here. I'll call if I find the kids."

So Jenny slowly creeped toward the cave. The other Spices watched silently. When Jenny reached the cave entrance, she heard whining voices, noises that can only be made by children. The children were inside! Jenny continued to move slowly, keeping her eyes open for any surprise assailants. She found who she was looking for. Ecliptor and Darkonda were in the cave guarding the children, who were all trapped inside a force field. No one seemed to notice that Jenny was in the cave.

"You kids better shut up if you know what's good for you!" Darkonda shouted.

Jenny gasped in horror.

"Astronema, just say the word and we'll take care of these little brats," Ecliptor said.

"Oh, have a heart, Ecliptor," Darkonda told him. "Who could destroy these innocent little creatures? Besides, we need them as bait. The Rangers would come here for every single child before going after Sandy Claws."

"Every single child, Darkonda?" Jenny called involuntarily. "What about me? What about my sister? Aren't we considered children, too?"

Ecliptor and Darkonda spun around to face her.

"How did you get here!?" Ecliptor demanded.

"Never mind that," Darkonda interrupted. "So.....Tonfa Spice.....what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? And alone, for that matter."

"Do you really think I came here alone?" Jenny asked.

"Well, look around you, sweetheart. Do you see any of your pals around? I certainly don't."

"Just because we don't see my pals doesn't mean they're not out there, Darkonda. Besides, I came here to rescue these children."

She started to move closer to the force field, but Darkonda stopped her.

"Nah-uh-uh. Not so fast, sugar." Darkonda slowly circled around Jenny, eyeing her carefully. When he was behind her, he wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms down. "So.....are we still on for that dinner date?"

"Uh.....I don't recall scheduling a dinner date," Jenny told him.

"Okay, how about tonight?" Darkonda asked.

"Not tonight. Tonight, I have a dinner date with everybody else. Also, I was wondering if Ecliptor would want to make it a double dinner date with my sister."

"What!?" Ecliptor gasped.

"I like that idea," Darkonda said. "I think you and Candy Spice make a tasty couple."

"How can I possibly dinner date with you anyway?" Jenny asked. "What would I wear?"

"Oh, don't worry about that," Darkonda told her. "Just come as you are."

"Okay; where would we go? What would we do?"

"Well, we can always go to the planet Onyx and play another game of chance."

"Oh no! No more poker for me!" Jenny cried.

"Or I could take you on that tour I mentioned," Darkonda went on. "I'll bring you back to my.....den of love."

"You're disgusting," Ecliptor told him.

"Why? Is it my fault that Tonfa Spice is so cute?" Darkonda asked. "Now if you'll excuse me, Ecliptor, I'll just drag my prize to an isolated location."

"Oh no, you don't," Jenny interrupted.

"Who's going to stop me?"

"Hey! Let go! This will never work out! You're not taking me anywhere. Let me GO!!"

With that, Jenny stomped on Darkonda's foot, throwing him off guard. Then Jenny moved behind him and elbowed his back. Darkonda staggered into the force field. Jenny chuckled with delight. The other Spices ran into the cave.

"What are you guys doing in here? I didn't call you," Jenny said.

"Honey, are you about done in here?" the Cryptkeeper asked.

"What's your hurry?" Jenny asked.

"Well, we're in butthole, Alaska," Curly replied. "It's colder than Astronema's left one out there."

"I see," Jenny said. "Ecliptor, Darkonda, would you be so kind....?"

Ecliptor and Darkonda took fighting poses instantly.

"Of course I cannot," Darkonda said. "That was very astute, Tonfa Spice. Now, I have a Sherlock Holmes moment for you."

Jenny gave him a confused look as he continued.

"You really want to warm up this Christmas, don't you? Well, never fear, my dear. Darkonda is here to warm you up."

"You're disgusting," Ecliptor said again.

Darkonda suddenly attacked him, the two monsters smashing their swords together.

"You're just jealous because you don't know how to charm a woman," Darkonda said.

"You shouldn't be doing that sort of thing," Ecliptor told him.

The Spices stared at them in confusion. Jenny drew out her sticks and disintegrated the force field that imprisoned the children.

"Come on, kids; we're going to get you home," she whispered. "Shh...."

The children scrambled out of their prison and took the hand of a Spice Club member. Together, they snuck out of the cave unnoticed by the bickering monsters. However, as they reached the light, there stood Astronema.

"Did I catch my children being naughty again?" she asked.

"Is this how you show your Christmas spirit, Mother?" Jenny taunted her. "By abducting innocent children? You've sunk even lower than I imagined!"

Astronema narrowed her eyes. "Really. I just had a surprise for all these children."

"Why don’t you stop it," Jenny said. "You sent the Quantrons down and took.... You did something that I, your so-called ‘evil daughter’.... I have more sense than that, than to take a whole city’s children away! Hmph!"

She opened up her Spice ring.

"Deca, teleport these kids home immediately," she said.

The kids were teleported away instantly. The Spices smiled.

"Well, now that the kids are safe, let's see how the Rangers are doing with ol' Kris Kringle," the Cryptkeeper suggested.

"Merry Christmas, Astronema," Jenny said as she and the Spices teleported from the scene.

Astronema looked as if she were going to erupt, but then she calmed down. She smiled.

"Merry Christmas, Spices......because it's the last Christmas you'll EVER have!"

* * *

Meanwhile, in Angel Grove, the Rangers continued to take a beating from Sandy Claws. The Spices landed on top of a skyscraper and watched in horror. They were all hopeful, but they feared the worst. Sandy Claws fired this energy beam into the Megazord's eyes. The beam caused the Rangers to float out of the zord. The monster levitated the Rangers over the streets below. Suddenly, the energy beam vanished, and the Rangers dropped. The Spices gasped in surprise as Sandy Claws laughed maniacally.

"Now with the Rangers down in the dirt, I'll destroy the Astro Megazord while it's inactive!" he announced.

"That's what he thinks," Jenny muttered as she raced toward the edge of the roof.

"Where's she going?" Curly asked.

"I don't know, but I'm going with her," the Cryptkeeper replied, then he rushed to catch up with Jenny.

"I know where they're going!" C.C. called, grabbing Spinal's wrist and catching up with the other two.

"Where're they going?" Spinal asked.

"They're going to pilot the Astro Megazord!" C.C. said.

"What!? You guys are crazy!!" Spinal screamed.

Earl joined the other four as they leaped onto the Astro Megazord and hopped into the seats. Jenny sat in the center with Spinal and the Cryptkeeper on either side of her, and Earl and C.C. in the back.

"Maybe, but we'd never survive unless we get a little crazy," Jenny told Spinal.

Sandy Claws began its fatal attack. Jenny pulled back on the joystick in front of her, causing the Megazord to step back.

"Hey, what's going on!?" Sandy Claws cried in surprise.

The Rangers, who were just pulling themselves to their feet, were also surprised.

"Is it me, or did I see the Megazord move by itself?" Ashley asked.

"Not to worry, Sandy Claws!" Jenny called. "We've been really, really good this year! All we want is a peaceful Christmas."

"We want to be together as a family!" the Cryptkeeper added.

"We want a safe world!" Earl added.

"We want to have sweet dreams tonight!" C.C. added.

"And we want you to leave us alone!" Spinal concluded.

"There are people in the Megazord?" the monster asked. "Who are you?"

"Don't you know us?" Jenny asked.

"We're the Spice Club!" the Spices called in unison.

"Oh yes, I have heard of you!" Sandy Claws said. "Astronema wants you destroyed, too. So I will destroy you."

"I don't think so, St. Nick," the Cryptkeeper said.

"Just watch me!" The monster began throwing quick attacks here and there. Each of the Spices rotated their joysticks around as the Megazord tipped back and forth clumsily, staggering back and forth. The Spices still on the skyscraper were laughing uncontrollably.

"Don't you guys know what you're doing!?" Hanim called.

"No idea whatsoever, as usual!" Jenny screamed.

Finally, Jenny accidentally pressed a button on the joystick, which caused the Megazord to punch the monster in the chest. Sandy Claws staggered back in surprise.

"That does it!" he shouted. "I have the perfect present for you kiddies!"

He pulled out a giant brown sack and held the opening in front of the Spices. The sack produced a suction effect that sucked the Megazord toward it. The Spices inside screamed in panic as the Megazord apparently disappeared. They were now inside the sack.

"Hey, what happened!?" Hallie cried.

"Don't," Cyrax began.

"Ask," Sektor added.

"Us," Smoke concluded.

"This is terrible; we have to do something!" Carlos cried from the street.

"Right," Andros said. "Astro Megazord Saber!"

The Saber descended from space, nicking Sandy Claws in the chest. The monster dropped the sack, thus releasing the Spices and the Megazord.

"Hey, what is that?" Spinal asked.

"It's the Astro Megazord Saber!" Jenny told him. "Grab it!"

"If we can...." the Cryptkeeper muttered.

The Megazord staggered toward the Saber. Spinal pushed his joystick forward, and the Megazord's right arm reached out and grabbed the weapon.

"Hey, I think I figured it out!" he called. "I must control the right arm while C.K. controls the left arm. Earl and C.C. must be in charge of the feet."

"Nice work, Spinal," Jenny complimented. "Now that we have a hang of this thing, let's send this rolly poly back to the North Poly."

"That's what you think!" Sandy Claws shouted.

His long beard suddenly shot out at them, separated, and wrapped around the Megazord's shoulders and legs. The Spices screamed in disgust.

"Oh gross!!" C.C. screamed.

"Ugh, this is ghastly," Spinal muttered as if he was about to pass out.

"Okay, let's start all over again," Jenny suggested.

The Spices went back to rotating their joysticks. While the Megazord was jerking around clumsily, the monster eventually lost its grip.

"Andros, I don't think that the Spices can take much more of this," T.J. said.

"You're right, T.J.," Andros said. "Jenny! Power up the Astro Megazord Saber and finish this thing off!"

"You got it, Andros!" Jenny replied. "Ready, Spices?"

"Astro Megazord Saber, power up!" the Spices shouted in unison.

The Saber gave a yellow glow. The Spices controlled the Megazord to lunge toward Sandy Claws. With a mighty swipe of the blade, the monster jumped back and exploded.

"YES!!!" the other Spices screamed as they jumped around, hooting and hollering.

The Spices inside the Megazord were cheering as well. All except Jenny. She sat there, staring at the flames where the monster once stood, with a slight smile on her face. The other Spices calmed down when they saw her just sitting. Finally, Jenny spoke.

"Merry Christmas, you son of a bitch!"

"Hey, are you guys all right?" Cassie called.

"Yeah, we're fine," C.C. replied.

"The Astro Megazord is da BOMB!!" the Cryptkeeper yelled. "I mean the big, fat BOMB!!"

"Yeah, you guys did a good job," T.J. said.

"Thanks, T.J.," Jenny said. "Man, that is the last time WE operate the Astro Megazord!"

"Why?" the Cryptkeeper asked.

"Think about it, C.K.; we made the Megazord look like a hula-hooping tap-dancer! Well, you guys can play with the Megazord some more. I gotta get out of here!"

Jenny climbed out of the cockpit and onto the Megazord's head. Unfortunately, there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for her.

"Well, Tonfa Spice; funny bumping into you up here!" Darkonda said.

He grabbed Jenny, clamping his hand over her mouth, and leaped off the Megazord and down into an alley. Darkonda allowed himself to land on his back with Jenny directly on top of him. As they hit the ground, Jenny did a backward somersault off him. She staggered back, gasping with fear.

"Shit!! I don't drink coffee; don't ever do that again!!" she screamed. "You scared me to death!!"

Darkonda just chuckled. "I'm sorry, my dear, but it was so much fun."

"Yes.....well, if you'll excuse me, my friends and I must return to our duties," Jenny said.

"Wait! Give me the key cards." Darkonda pulled out his sword.

"What makes you think that I'd be carrying around the key cards? What's so special about those things anyway?"

"Well, if they're so useless to you, give them to me. I know what to do with them."

"Nah.... I've got better things to do."

"Well, then how about another round?"

Jenny sighed in frustration. "Darkonda, whether you're trying to kill me or subject me to a fate even worse than death, you'll never succeed."

"We'll see." Darkonda suddenly rushed toward Jenny, who quickly moved aside. She grabbed a trash can lid to use as a shield. She blocked Darkonda's sword strikes, then kicked his stomach when she found the chance. Darkonda simply twirled his sword around Jenny's wrist, causing her to drop the lid. Jenny quickly moved aside again and gave him a backfist to the face. Darkonda moved back as she advanced on him. Jenny threw a right punch, but Darkonda grabbed her wrist. So, Jenny threw a left punch, but Darkonda grabbed that other wrist as well. Darkonda suddenly shoved her back and kicked her hard in the stomach. While she was slumped over, Darkonda shoved her head into the brick wall. She was stunned after that; the kick to the stomach had knocked the wind out of her, and the blows to her head made her dizzy. Realizing that she was weakening, Darkonda pinned her to the wall and buried his knee into her stomach. Then he threw her to the other wall. He attempted another kick, but Jenny just barely managed to jump out of the way, falling to the ground. She looked up at Darkonda, as she was just catching her breath. She scrambled to her feet and staggered away from her foe, trembling intensely. Darkonda chuckled with triumph.

"Now I'm really going to bug you!" he announced.

Before Jenny realized what was happening, Darkonda zoomed back and forth, striking her as he passed. He seemed to dive right into the walls, then back out at her. Jenny wanted to dodge his attacks, but they were too quick, and she had no idea where they would come from next. She let out a scream of pain and frustration and collapsed to the ground. Darkonda finally landed in front of her, and looked down to see what she would do next. To his surprise, Jenny slowly rose from the ground again. It wasn't easy though; Jenny was so weak, she felt as if she was trying to stand up in a black hole. She continued to back away from Darkonda, gasping.

"And now to spice it up a bit!" Darkonda said.

He raced toward Jenny, who moved aside again, dodging Darkonda's blows. Suddenly, Darkonda seized her by the throat and tossed her over his shoulder. She landed in the dumpster and sank deep into the garbage. As she struggled to get out, Darkonda hovered over her. To her surprise, he helped her out.

"Hmm. You are much tougher than I expected," he said. "I'm surprised that you have any strength left."

Jenny didn't respond, but kicked his stomach. Darkonda recoiled in surprise, then kicked back. Jenny blocked the kick, but staggered back and fell again. She stood up slowly again. Darkonda grabbed her shoulders, rolled onto his back, setting her on his feet, and propelled her into the air. Then he stood up and waited patiently for her to come down. Before she hit the ground, Darkonda elbowed the top of her head. Figuring that Jenny would get up again, Darkonda pulled her to her feet, punched her in the gut, then kicked her chest. Those blows knocked her back against the wall, knocking over several more trash cans. Jenny rolled off the trash cans and into the pile of garbage where she lay completely helpless. Darkonda stood over her proudly, laughing menacingly. Jenny continued her gasping and coughing out blood. She stared up at Darkonda, her eyes widening. Darkonda calmed down and took her hand. Surprise again; he gently kissed her hand.

"Well, that was invigorating, wouldn't you agree?" Darkonda said sweetly, aiming the tip of his sword directly at her throat. "Should I destroy you? Oh, that's right; I can't do that, can I? So I should make you mine, while Astronema can make a real daughter out of you. Yeah, that's what I'll do."

Jenny gasped again, this time in fear. She tried to get up, but the pain was too intense to move. A cold chill ran down her spine as she groaned in pain. As she was on the verge of losing consciousness, Darkonda scooped her into his arms. He looked down at her pale face.

"Now to get back to the fortress with MY Christmas present."

Again, Jenny was unable to move. "Ow...." she muttered. For one of the few times in her experience as a Spice Club member, she was actually scared.

"Darkonda...." she groaned. "Leave me alone!" Those words used up the last of her energy.

"Don't be silly!" Darkonda replied, looking into her watery eyes. "I can't do that, especially now that I have you right where I want you. You are in no position to resist me now."

Suddenly, Darkonda felt a burn in his back. He screamed in pain and dropped Jenny to the ground.

"What in the hell do you think you're doing with her!?" the Cryptkeeper demanded.

"If that's all you want, you can keep her," Darkonda replied. "I've had my fun with her. I'll be back for her later."

Darkonda disappeared as the Cryptkeeper and the other Spices ran up to Jenny. She had lost consciousness. It probably happened when Darkonda dropped her so roughly.

"Is she okay?" Hallie asked.

"She's unconscious now, but she'll be fine," the Cryptkeeper told her.

"Bummer. She didn't even get around to making the cornbread yet," Lexington said.

"Oh, she'll get around to it. We still have a few hours until chow time," Brooklyn said as he took Jenny into his arms. "Well, the kids are safe and the monsters are gone, so let's get cooking."

"You got it!" Curly cried.

"Why are you so excited, Curly?" Spinal asked. "You're a skeleton; you can't even eat."

"I like to watch everybody else eat," Curly said. "Or maybe I can be the entertainer. I am the comedian, you know."

The Megazord transformed back into the Astro Megaship and the Rangers and Spices returned to outer space. Jenny immediately went in for a nap. A few hours later, she woke up and helped with the cooking.

The Rangers were keeping an eye on the bridge. Jenny walked in carrying a gold pipe cleaner shaped like two connected rings. That way, when you slip it onto someone's head, the person appears to have an angel ring over their head. Jenny snuck up behind Andros and slipped it onto his head.

"Merry Christmas, Andros," she said, kissing his cheek.

Finally, everything was ready. The Spices and the Rangers set a large table and sat down. Luckily, Aracula finally returned with the eggs. However, he was startled to see a basket of cornbread on the table. He started hissing in disgust.

"'How did you get cornbread without eggs?'" Deca translated.

"Oh, I borrowed the eggs from Adelle," Jenny told him. "C.K., would you care to do the honors?"

"It would be my pleasure." The Cryptkeeper stood up as the group joined hands, hanged their heads, and closed their eyes. "Heavenly Father, we'd like to thank you for the many blessings you've given us. We'd also like to thank you for the new additions to our family who are with us today: Deca and Andros. And while we partake of this wonderful meal which has been so lovingly prepared for us, let us remember those in the universe who have no place to sleep, or no food to eat.........and those of us who have been out in the snow all day."

Aracula looked up at the ceiling.

"And we ask in your name that you continue to bless us, and allow us to gather again next year," the Cryptkeeper concluded. "Amen."

"Amen," the others echoed.

Then the group began to eat.

"You know, I still cannot believe that you guys were stupid enough to pilot the Astro Megazord!" Brooklyn said.

"What's so stupid about it?" Jenny asked. "It's always good to try something new."

"Yeah, but we were awesome in that thing!" the Cryptkeeper said. "We were the spicy elves; that monster was Santa the Sad-Sack."

"Hey, Andros, now's a good time to give them our little gift," T.J. whispered.

"Oh yeah, good idea," Andros said. "Hey, Spices, we have a little something for each and every one of you."

"You do?" Jenny asked.

"Yeah. We know how much you use our galaxy gliders, so we thought we'd give you your own galaxy gliders for the holidays," Carlos added.

"Are you serious!?" the Cryptkeeper asked in disbelief.

"Yeah. You guys are naturals," T.J. said.

"Hey, thanks!" C.C. cried. "They are rather useful."

"Merry Christmas, Spices," the Rangers called in unison.

So the Power Rangers and the Spice Club had a safe Christmas after all. And they allowed the other families of Angel Grove enjoy their Christmas after all by saving the children. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night....

The End... for now