Spicy Clues
by : Mindy

“Dear Diary,” Jenny started. “We are ahead of schedule, therefore we are spending some time doing the things that we want to do. We all needed a break, after the Rangers, the Spices and I have been through. Spinal and C.C. are napping, Earl and C.K. are sparring, and most of the Rangers are just plain relaxing, while Marvin, Hanim, and the gargoyles are searching several galaxies for Zordon. I know that Ruth picked a peculiar hobby, becoming an astro-botanist. We haven't had much action from Ecliptor, Darkonda, or even Astronema. That gets me into suspicion.”

She didn't want to write anymore, so she finished her entry. Jenny went to the bridge to see what was going on. There was a reddish-orange planet on the screen.

“This is a G-class planet,” Marvin said. “Out of all the G-class planets I've seen and heard of, this is the only one that is capable of supporting life. That is very unusual.” Before he could say anything more, the ship began to gently shake. What appears to be a weak black hole is on the screen, behind and to the right of the planet.

“This energy vortex just appeared,” Brooklyn said. “It's collecting energy, but fading.” And what he said was true. It even appeared to be gone.

“It's very likely for it to be a wormhole,” Alpha said.

Jenny turned to Marvin and said, “I suggest that we steer away. The wormhole might return.” Just as she finished her sentence, the wormhole reappeared and swallowed the ship.

After the ship passed completely through it, Alpha turned to Jenny. He discovered that she, and everyone else on the bridge, was unconscious. Therefore, he assumed that everyone on the bridge was unconscious...

* * *

Jenny woke what seemed to be minutes later, and Alpha helped her up. “Careful, Jenny. The affect of the wormhole was intense.” Everyone else woke up. Demona sat down and held her left wrist as if in pain. Hanim also sat down, and placed her head in one of her hands.

“Apparently so,” Jenny replied. “How long were we out?”

“Approximately 45 seconds.”

“You were not affected?”

“No, Jenny. My positronic brain is unaffected to the wormhole's power.”

A beep was heard out of nowhere. “Magic Spice to Tonfa Spice,” Ruth's voice said.

Jenny turned to Marvin, who said, “I forgot to tell you that Brooklyn and I made improvements so that we could have communication throughout the entire ship.”

Jenny nodded and turned back around and said, “Go ahead, Ruth.”

“I'm getting a few reports of minor injuries, Jenny. What happened?”

“The ship just jumped through a wormhole. Apparently we were all knocked unconscious for 45 seconds.”

“Is everyone all right there?”

Jenny looked around, and said, “There's little or no damage on the bridge.”

“Understood. Magic Spice out.”

Jenny noticed that Hanim had her head in one of her hands. “Hanim,” she said, “are you okay?”

“I think so,” Hanim responded. “I'm feeling a little bit unfocused” Then, she gave a happy sigh. “It'll pass.”

“Well, there's that planet that I detected before,” Marvin said. “I would suggest investigating that planet.” Before Jenny could approve, Alpha spoke.

“Jenny, the affect of the wormhole was intense enough to put everyone on the ship in danger before. I would recommend launching a probe to the planet instead of investigating.”

Jenny pondered for a minute, and said, “Make it so.”

* * *

In the infirmary, Ruth was examining Carlos’ left elbow. “Nothing broken, Carlos,” she said. She picked it up and pressed it gently with her thumbs. “But the joint in that elbow is twisted pretty severely. What on Earth were you doing when you fell?”

“I was practicing on the SimuDeck. I was doing a kick in midair, but the position was incorrect, so I fell on the elbow in order to prevent anything otherwise.”

“How's the practicing going?”

“It's a little more difficult for me to attack a hologram than a real being.” Ruth giggled and turned to Hallie.

“Hallie, could you get me...” But she saw that Hallie was already occupied with helping Earl. “Oh, never mind, Hallie; I’ll get it.” She turned to Carlos and said, “You, don’t go away.” And she walked into a small laboratory. She picked up a small device, and looked at 16 spheres on a lighted tray, each containing a small, pink plant. She was amazed at the size of the plants. “This is impossible,” she said to herself.

About 15 minutes later, she went into the bridge, where Andros joined the others in their research; Ruth carried a tray that held 4 of the spheres she glanced at.

“Andros,” she called. “I have something of a minor mystery in my hands.”

“A minor mystery? It seems to be a common phrase these days,” Andros stated. Ruth placed the tray in front of Andros, and Marvin took interests in the plants, too. “Oh,” Andros continued, picking up one of the spheres in fascination. “Giolinium Scalp Moss! I didn't know you were an astro- botanist.”

“It's a hobby,” Ruth replied.

You’ve got a good crop here, Ruth.,” Andros said, with Marvin agreeing. “As best as I recall, they are difficult to obtain in nature, much less in human hands.”

“That’s just it, Andros,” Ruth replied, concerned. “I started theses spores right before we were knocked unconscious by the wormhole. You said we were unconscious for 45 seconds?”


“Then why do these show 2 hours of growth?”

Andros looked at the sphere in confusion. Marvin picked up another sphere and looked at it. Andros was at a loss for words, but Marvin said, “Maybe some sort of fast growth boost that the wormhole provided.”

“Each of these were started with spores from completely different planets and galaxies. I have a dozen more in the lab. Maybe something extraordinary happened to some of them, but not all of them.”

“Ruth,” Andros said. “We were not unconscious for 2 hours. Everything on board clearly stated that we were out for 45 seconds, the ship’s clock, Deca; everything, Ruth, including Alpha over there.” No one noticed that Alpha had his back turned on Andros.

“I agree with Andros,” Marvin said.

Ruth picked up a third sphere and said, “Andros, Marvin, I'm telling you, these are over 120 minutes of growth.”

* * *

Andros, Jenny, Marvin, Ruth, Hanim, and the gargoyles left a meeting room with Marvin heading for the engine room. Ruth headed for the SimuDeck, where Carlos was still practicing. He was attacking some sort of pink creatures with extraordinary colored stripes. All of a sudden, Carlos noticing Ruth and stopped the simulation. “Hello, Carlos, what were they,” she asked.

“They are called Craterites. They don’t have much intelligence or weapons,” he said.

“How's the elbow?”

“Much better, thanks. This isn’t a house call, is it?”

“No, it’s not. Tell me, do you know who was the last person to use the SimuDeck?”

“Let me check,” he said, tapping his fingers on a vertical keyboard of a computer. “The last one was ... Cassie. She used the same program I did.”

“Magic Spice to Pink Ranger,” Ruth said.

Cassie’s voice responded, “Yes, Ruth?”

“Cassie, please come to the infirmary.”

A few minutes later, Hallie and Ruth were examining Cassie’s body. 11.99 percent above normal, Ruth,” Hallie said, after looking at a screen.

“That’s interesting,” Ruth responded. “Check her chemical balance; I’m willing to bet that it is off about the same percentage.”

Hallie looked at the screen, smiled, and said, “12.08 percent above normal.”

“Terrific, that’s what I wanted to hear,” Ruth said. “Thank you, Cassie.” Cassie got up and left.

“Magic Spice to Tonfa Spice,” Ruth said.

“Go ahead, Ruth,” Jenny responded.

“I need to see you and Andros immediately, Jenny.”

“We’re both on our way to the Engine Room; join us.” Ruth got up and followed Jenny and Andros in the hallways. Ruth told them about her report.

“Each of us have some sort of cell division taking place in one second. In the infirmary, I have examined the body that used the SimuDeck last, because it is the most likely body to have a clear specification. Using cell division as a time table is useful out here in space.”

“An internal clock,” Andros asked.

“That’s right,” Ruth replied. “The cell division works at the same rate, even if wormholes are in effect. If we were unconscious for 45 seconds, the state of our bodies would be about the same.”

“And were they,” Jenny asked.

“No,” Ruth answered. “We were unconscious for longer than 45 seconds, Jenny. A lot longer.” They soon arrived at the Engine Room, where Marvin just finished gathering information. He glanced at them, and climbed down the ladder he was on.

“I’ve got some good news, and some bad news,” Marvin said. “The good news that I was right about the time pass. If we were unconscious for 45 seconds, the clock would have been left alone. But it was tampered with, and set with a new lock. Someone has reset the clock.”

“If that’s the good news,” Jenny said, “what’s the bad news?”

“That Alpha, Andros and I are the only one aboard this ship capable of doing it.” The others glanced at each other, thinking the same thought and suspicion.

* * *

A few hours later, other strange things were reported. Demona’s wrist was broken and reset by one of the Astro Megaship Body Replacement parts. She suggested that Alpha had done it, knowing that he had the speed and the strength. And Hanim felt dizzy and went to her quarters, only to be freaked out when she glanced at the mirror, knowing that her reflection had shown that she wasn’t who she appeared to be.

Alpha behaved very oddly, and even risked his mission with the Power Rangers and the Spices rather than tell the truth. Marvin gave Alpha an examination, but he found nothing wrong. Everyone decided to go back to the “scene of the crime”, the planet that they detected.

When they arrived, a green energy field went in between the planet and the ship. Shields were placed up, but when something like a probe left the field and struck the ship, it went through, somehow. When it did, it reached Hanim, who was sleeping. The energy object went in Hanim’s body, and she got up and went to the bridge. She was acting normal, but motioned for Alpha to follow her.

“Hanim,” he said after they left the bridge. “What is it?”

“The plan has failed,” Hanim said in an odd, masculine voice. Alpha seemed surprised and not surprised at the same time.

He said, “You have returned!”

“You’re ship is again in our space.”

“I was unable to prevent it.”

“Nevertheless, you are here.”

“The Astro Megaship is not t threat to you. Give me more time. Our destruction would only lead to...” Then, Andros came in.

He said, “Alpha, Jenny wanted me to bring you back to the bridge.” He turned to Hanim, and said, “Hanim...”

“One moment, if you will, Andros” Alpha asked. Andros left, and Alpha said to Hanim, “Do nothing. There may be a way to solve the situation.” Then he left Hanim in the hall.

Alpha and Andros joined in the bridge. Alpha went immediately to Jenny and said, “You wanted to see me, Jenny?”

“Well, Alpha,” Jenny said. “As you can see, we’re back to where it all started.”

“We must leave immediately, Jenny.”

She turned to him in confusion. “Why?”

“Remaining in the area will only put the ship and crew at risk.”

“Why? What is the source of that risk? The energy field?”

“I cannot say.”

Andros became very angry at Alpha’s answer, for he and Jenny have heard many times before in the entire day. “Alpha,” Andros said angrily. “You sound like you’re stuck in a feedback loop. You certainly can say. You have free will and a choice.”

“My silence is not my choice.”

“Are you controlled by that force,” Jenny asked. “Did Marvin miss something when he examined you?”

“Marvin’s examination was complete and thorough.”

“Then how is it possible that you won’t tell the truth to us?”

“We must leave!”

“This ship isn’t going anywhere,” Andros exclaimed in extreme anger. “Not until we get answers. “Who gave you the order to lie?” Before Alpha could answer, Hanim stepped in. Everyone knew that there was something wrong with her.

She glanced at Alpha, who knew that it was over. He turned to Jenny and said, “You did, Jenny?”

Everyone was shocked to hear what Alpha just said. “I ordered you to lie,” Jenny asked in disbelief.

“The energy vortex is approaching the ship,” Brooklyn said.

Lexington said, “Maximum shield at full attempt...”

“No,” Alpha interrupted. “We must vary shield shape and strength as rapidly as possible. Maximum shields will only speed up the take over.”

Jenny turned to Lexington and said, “Do as he says.” The energy field struck the ship’s shields, and tried to match and override them. Lexington reported what it was doing.

“The energy field will eventually override the shields. There is no way to counter the Calenites’ technology. We can delay their takeover, but now we cannot prevent it.”

“The Calenites,” Andros said. “Who are they?”

Alpha turned to Hanim. She stared at Andros and Jenny, and said in her odd voice, “You have invaded our system.” Marvin quickly grabbed a device that stuns aliens and aimed it for Hanim.

“No,” Alpha shouted. “You will only harm Hanim’s body!” Knowing that he can’t harm his own friend, Marvin placed the device back down.

“We are not invaders,” Jenny said, in an ambassador-like tone. “We are explorers, searchers, sometimes crime fighters.”

Hanim approached Alpha and said, “You’re knowledge of us is unacceptable.”

“They’re a lone civilization,” Alpha said. “The Calenites refuse to let any knowledge of their existence be in effect, for they are fugitives. The apparent wormhole we went through was actually a trap to keep out invaders. The trap would allow the Calenites’ biochemical status to contaminate the crew and allow them to continue without any knowledge of what happened.”

“What went wrong time time,” Jenny asked.

“My positronic brain is system unknown to the Calenites. When I discovered the crew in unconsciousness, I immediately went to work about protecting the ship. With the Astro Megaship temporarily protected, I revived the crew. A few seconds after revival was complete, the shields were penetrated and all systems were frozen.

“Then, they took control of Hanim’s body to communicate with us. Demona knew that there was danger the moment Hanim got up. She raced to restrain her, but Hanim was too fast. She grabbed Demona’s wrist, twisted it, and threw her off. She informed us that we were aware of their existence, that the process of placing everyone in biochemical status failed, and that they had no choice but to destroy the ship.

“Andros said that if they destroy the ship, others would come looking for them. They would not be able to destroy them all, and knowledge of their existence would spread throughout the universe. Since the Calenites could not allow that to happen they agreed that if they place them in biochemical status and unconsciousness again, and if they were sure that I would keep silent, they would not destroy the ship. I changed the ship’s clock. I programmed Deca to say that everyone was out for 45 seconds.”

“So here we are,” Andros said.

“Here we are again,” Jenny corrected.

“You’re plan has failed,” Hanim said, still in her odd voice. “This ship must be destroyed.”

“No, wait,” Jenny shouted. “The plan failed because clues were left behind that suggested a mystery, and to many humans, a mystery is irresistible. It must be solved. Ruth’s incubation experiment, Demona’s wrist, Hanim’s hallucination. Little pieces of evidence that suggested even more clues; the clock, the SimuDeck trace, Alpha’s odd behavior. If we eliminate the clues and begin again...”

“Again,” asked Hanim.

“Yes, consider the first time a run-through. A rehearsal to shake out the floors!” Some of the others stared at her in confusion. But she continued. “The second time will succeed IF we leave no clues.”

“You are most unusual species,” Hanim said. “Worthy of a second chance. Proceed.” Then the green object left Hanim’s body, and she gave a normal groan. She fell flat on her back, and (for the first time) Andros felt affectionate towards her.

“Hanim,” he said. She woke up and Andros helped her up. “Welcome back, Hanim,” he said.

“Alpha, Marvin, reset the clock for 45 seconds,” Jenny said. “Everyone else, eliminate the clues. And this time, let’s get it right.

* * *

Jenny woke up again, and Alpha helped her up. “Careful, Jenny. The affect of the wormhole was intense.” Everyone else woke up.

“Apparently so,” Jenny replied.

“Everyone but myself was under unconsciousness. My positronic brain was unaffected to the power.

“How long were we out?”

“45 seconds.”

A beep was heard out of nowhere. “Magic Spice to Tonfa Spice,” Ruth’s voice said.

Jenny turned to Marvin, who said, “I forgot to tell you that Brooklyn and I made improvements so that we could have communication throughout the entire ship.”

Jenny nodded and turned back around and said, “Go ahead, Ruth.”

“What’s just happened?”

“The ship just jumped through a wormhole. We were all knocked unconscious for about 45 seconds.”

“Is anyone on the bridge hurt?”

Jenny looked around, and said, “Apparently not.”

“I’ll start checking the other decks. Magic Spice out.”

“Well, there’s that planet that I detected before,” Marvin said. “I would suggest investigating that planet.” Jenny was about to speak when Alpha spoke.

“Jenny, the affect of the wormhole was intense enough to put everyone on the ship in danger before. I would recommend against returning. It could put the ship at further risk.”

“We could launch a probe,” Marvin suggested.

Jenny pondered for a minute, thinking as if she heard this conversation before, but she couldn’t remember, and (for some reason) she didn’t want to. She turned to Marvin and said, “Make it so, and put out a hazard warning for other ships. Let’s begin a search in the next galaxy for Zordon.”

When no one was looking at him, Alpha went to a part of the ship and behaved like he accomplished something. Then he went back to work.

The End ... for now