After the interview with Nolan and Janet, the Spice Club sat in the bridge, bored to death. All their minds were filled with visions of the Dark Specter's true power, and rescuing their Power Ranger allies. They were each tapping their fingers silently, and sighing on occasion, but no one spoke a word. The silence was almost scary.
Jenny was especially edgy because she would have to fight the Dark Specter by herself. A particular tapping caught her attention. She turned to Spinal, who was tapping his bare fingerbone on the surface of the control console. She stared directly at his finger as the tapping began to grow louder in her head. Soon, the tapping sounded like earth-shattering explosions. When she can bear it no longer, she stood up and walked over to him slowly. The other Spice Club members widened their eyes as they followed her stealthy movement. Finally, Jenny raised her hand and placed it flat on Spinal's.
"Stop it! Do you have to keep tapping like that!?"
Spinal and C.C. both gasped and looked up at her.
"I . . . I-I-I'm sorry, Jenny," Spinal stammered, as if he wanted to cry. "Are you okay?"
"I really don't know, Spinal," Jenny replied, placing her hand on his shoulder.
"All right, all right," said the Cryptkeeper as he walked up to Jenny. "It's getting late, so we should all turn in. We'll feel better in the morning. Besides, we have a long, hard day ahead of us."
"Turn into what?" Spinal asked.
"It's an expression," the Cryptkeeper told him. "It just means to go to sleep."
"I'm for that!" Spinal instantly dropped to the floor with C.C. faithfully clinging to him.
"Spinal, you're a skeleton, just like me," said Curly. "Shouldn't you sleep in a coffin?"
"Nah. I like to sleep on the floor, or anything else hard," Spinal replied. "You should try it, Curly. It's good for your back. And I need this kind of therepy, because I'm an old man."
The other Spices laughed. Although Spinal was 651 years old, he was only 5'5" tall and weighed only 110 lbs. His high-pitched, scratchy voice, fighting tactics and "little boy" personality gave anyone the impression that he was just a little boy. That's exactly what C.C. loved most about him.
The Spice Club members picked a comfortable position and went to sleep. Zorak slept upside down in an empty trash can, Bat hung by his feet from the ceiling, the Cyberninja Trio just leaned against the wall. Jenny just slept in one of the chairs.
Several hours into the night, the lights came on suddenly. Jenny and Spinal sprang up instantly. Into the bridge stormed Astronema and a group of Quantrons. Instead of having purple hair like before, Astronema's hair was jet black.
"Guys, wake up!" Jenny cried.
The Spices began to wake up.
"I told you not to wake them up!" Astronema yelled at the Quantrons.
"Sorry, Astronema," said Spinal. "We're easily disturbed these days."
"Oh look," Astronema gushed. "It's the one with the cute bones."
"My name is Spinal."
"Get them!" demanded the space pirate.
The Quantrons attacked, but the Spice Club found it difficult to defend themselves in such a small area. Soon they were all caught. They were broken up into several groups and taken captive as Astronema, Elgar, and the Quantrons took over the bridge. Astronema then contacted the Dark Specter.
In the engine room, Jenny, the Cryptkeeper, C.C., Spinal, Sal, and Curly were tied up with lit up cords and were guarded by a group of Quantrons. Right now, they were all wriggling their fingers desperately. The Quantrons allowed them to hear the conversation between Astronema and the Dark Specter.
"Astronema, what have you to report?" he asked.
"Not only have I captured the entire Spice Club, but I'm also bringing you the Astro Megaship," Astronema replied. "It can transform into the mighty Astro Megazord. You can destroy them with it and they have no clue how to use it."
"Destroy them with the Megazord? How poetic," said the Dark Specter. "Bring them to me at once. As scheduled, I will fight Tonfa Spice. Once I bring her down, the rest of the Spice Club will fall like dominos. As a reward, I will give you anything you desire."
"Thank you, Dark Specter," said Astronema. "But I already have my reward: That adorable Spinal."
At the sound of his name, Spinal perked his head up. His eyes were glowing brighter, which usually indicates fear or surprise.
"What!?" he gasped softly.
"Ah yes," Astronema went on. "That cuddly little boy. I'll squeeze him 'til he pops."
"NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" Spinal let out one of his ear-piercing screams that everyone found so adorable. The Quantrons covered their ears. The other Spices would have done the same, but they couldn't. They really didn't pay attention to the rest of the conversation.
Astronema and the Dark Specter chuckled as the Dark Specter disappeared from the monitor.
"Hey, guys!" Sal called out to the Quantrons. "How many Quantrons does it take to screw in a lightbulb, huh?"
A Quantron glared and him and waved its finger aside its head to indicate that Sal was being stupid.
"How about letting us borrow one of those big blades for a minute," Curly suggested.
The Quantrons swung their blades at Curly, who barely managed to dodge them all. In response, Curly kicked the Quantrons away. Spinal and C.C. could only gasp.
"You know, Curly," the Cryptkeeper said. "Like I always say, 'Be careful what you wish for; you may just get it.' "
"Oh, I believe it; don't worry," Curly replied.
"Hey, guys, knock it off," Jenny called. "Just relax."
"Relax? Why?" Sal asked. "You've got a Dark Specter to fight, remember?"
"Oh, I'm fighting him, all right," Jenny said. "I'm sure the tournament is just moving to a different location. If we're lucky, we'll be right in front of the Rangers. And believe me, we are always lucky."
"Oh, I wouldn't call it luck, honey," the Cryptkeeper told her. "Anyway, Sal, you should use the old saying right about now: 'If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone.' "
"You're right," said Sal.
"Yeah, we're sorry," Curly added.
"Don't be sorry; just stop it," Jenny said with a weary sigh.
"I can't let her do it," Spinal said. "I can't believe she'd actually squeeze me. If she doesn't keep her filthy little hands off me . . ."
"I feel your pain, Spinal," Jenny interrupted. "I've been there before."
"If that's the case, maybe you can give me some advice."
"Um . . . just tell her that . . . that you're not good enough for her. That's what I do with Elgar."
"It's easy, Spinal," said Sal. "It's just like turning down drugs."
"And Astronema is definitely one nasty drug," C.C. added.
No one realized it, but Jenny was slowly, but surely able to slip her hands out of the cords. She did so oh-so slowly to prevent being noticed. It is said that calories have no effect on her because she was so skinny. A Quantron came up to her and held its fist in front of her face. She stopped struggling when it did.
"Spice Club, you are fools to come here," it said in a humming robotic voice. "But we have the power." Then, with a laugh, the Quantron turned away to join the others.
Jenny couldn't help chuckling herself. "Oh, that's cute!" she gushed. "I love the way you guys talk."
"Those fools believe they can defeat the Dark Specter," said another Quantron. "The Dark Specter is all-powerful."
"Yeah, we fools believe that we are going to send the Dark Specter back to the depths of hell from which he came," Jenny called, resuming her struggling.
"Ha!" said the Quantrons. "They think they're warriors, but they're really just a bunch of wienies."
"WHAT!!!?" the Spices cried in unison. All at once, they were struggling, ready to kill the Quantrons. Jenny eventually gave up and started laughing. She loved her friends and the way they made her laugh even during the most horrific situations.
"Don't EVER call us wienies!" Sal cried.
"No kidding; that's the one thing that will get us going!" the Cryptkeeper added.
Eventually, they calmed down and waited patiently. Spinal and C.C. were so relaxed, they nearly fell asleep.
"Spinal . . ." C.C. called softly.
"Hmmm . . .?"
"I . . . want you to know something."
"Being tied up with you . . . it just feels so good."
"Uh . . . sorry, no comment," Spinal told her.
"Ah, got it," Jenny muttered from nowhere. Her hands were finally free.
"Wow," said the Cryptkeeper in admiration. "I love a woman with delicate wrists."
"Shh!" Jenny snapped.
"Oh . . . right. Sorry."
Jenny slowly walked behind the group to a table where she picked up a cutting tool. She purposely dragged it off the table to get the Quantrons' attention. She stepped in front of them and hid the cutting tool behind her back.
"What was that?" they asked.
"Nothing . . . happened," Jenny replied innocently.
The Quantrons started to step forward, but Jenny pulled out the cutting tool and threw it at them. The blade sank into one's shoulder with a loud, metallic clank. The Quantron pulled the tool out of its shoulder and threw it back at Jenny. It sank into the center of her abdomen.
"Oooowww, back at cha," Sal muttered.
Jenny carefully pulled the tool out of her stomach and threw it aside. She groaned in pain as she clutched her stomach.
"That was stupid," she yelled. "Do you think that will stop me?"
The Quantrons attacked. She wrestled with one as it tried to sink its blade into her head. She moved aside, allowing the blade to strike the ladder. Spinal and C.C. let out a shriek as they moved out as far as they could. Jenny stole the blade from the Quantron and went ballistic with it. One by one, she mutilated the Quantrons. When she was through, she picked up the blood-stained cutting tool and cut the cords that bound her friends. Then she stared at it.
"You know, I have the feeling I'm going to need this later," she said to herself as she slipped it into her pocket.
"All right; let's find the others and get Astronema out of here!" the Cryptkeeper declared.
"We should try to find Andros," Spinal said. "He knows his way around the ship better than we do."
They rushed out of the room. They found Hanim and Lexington tied up in another room, so they freed them as well. Then they headed to the bridge. Jenny stood next to the door to see if she can hear through it. They all heard.
"Tonfa Spice doesn't stand a chance against Dark Specter," said Astronema. "Once she's destroyed, I'll just destroy the rest of the Spice Club. Every single one of them . . . except . . ."
"Except who?" Elgar asked.
Jenny gasped upon hearing his voice.
"Except Spinal Spice. He will prove to be quite useful. But for now, we'll finish the journey to Eltar where the Dark Specter and Tonfa Spice will do battle," Astronema went on.
"Looks like you were right," whispered the Cryptkeeper.
Jenny nodded. "So there's no need to take back the Astro Megaship. At least not yet."
"Ah, we're here at last!" Astronema called. "Elgar, go fetch the Spice Club."
"Uh-oh," the Spices muttered. Jenny signaled for Hanim and Lexington to go back into the room where they were tied up, then led the others back into the engine room. They took the cords and wrapped them around their wrists to make the bad guys think that they were still tied up. Elgar, Astronema, and a few Quantrons entered the room and noticed the chopped up Quantron body parts on the floor.
"What happened in here?" Astronema asked suspiciously.
"What are you looking at us for?" Sal asked. "We didn't do anything."
"Are you sure? I think you guys chopped up the Quantrons."
"Oh sure; blame the Spice Club," Jenny said.
"Let's just put it this way," the Cryptkeeper added. "We would have done it, but we're all tied up at the moment."
Astronema glared at him. "Come on; it's time for the fight," she said. "Elgar, untie them."
Elgar walked up to Jenny. He gently ran his sharp claw across her throat. She gasped in response, fearful that Elgar would cut it.
"Elgar . . . I missed you," Jenny said.
"Really?" Elgar asked.
Then Elgar moved behind Jenny. When he did, she pulled herself free and handed him the cords.
"Thanks, Elgar; you're such a sweetheart. Come on, Spice Club; let's get the others."
Jenny started out of the room, then stopped and looked at Astronema.
"All right, Astronema, I confess," she said, gesturing to the massacre. "I've been a bad, bad girl. I guess it's true, what they say; 'The truth shall set you free.' "
She walked out of the room slowly (and oh-so freely). Elgar placed his hands on his chest and sighed. The other Spices followed, glaring at Astronema. Curly looked at her over the top of his shades. Astronema just narrowed her eyes. Spinal also paused and stared at Astronema, looking rather innocent. He held up a finger.
"Wasn't your hair purple?" he asked.
Astronema smiled at him and gave him a wink.
"Ugh! Never mind!" Spinal let out a scream and rushed to catch up with his friends.
Soon, all of the Spices were freed and they slept safely through the night. They were surprised to be undisturbed by their enemies. The next morning, Jenny took a quick shower, then the Spices waited patiently on the bridge. Soon, Astronema entered with the Quantrons.
"Time to go," she declared. "Follow us."
The Spice Club members smiled and obeyed. As they followed the Quantrons through the hallway that led to the ship's exit, the Cryptkeeper nudged his friends with an elbow.
"Anybody wanna race?" he asked.
"Don't be silly, C.K., our path is blocked," Jenny replied.
"Would something like that stop the Spice Club?" the Cryptkeeper said encouragingly. "Come on; it'll be fun."
"Nah, I don't wanna," Jenny muttered. "Besides, I have to save my energy for my fight with the Dark Specter----GO!!"
She took off suddenly, tearing right through the Quantrons who fell to the floor. Astronema merely fell against the wall. The Spice Club members had no trouble hopping over the Quantron pile.
"Oooh, you're dead, girl!" C.K. cried.
Astronema waited until the entire team went by. When she saw Spinal coming, she stuck out her foot and tripped him over. He quickly got up, but Astronema grabbed his arm.
"Whaddaya say we get together for a little game?" she asked.
"Let go of me!" Spinal cried, breaking free. "Hey guys, wait for me!!"
"Wow!" cried Elgar. "I've never seen anybody in such a hurry to die."
Finally, the Spice Club found themselves outside. The sky was dark as if it were still nighttime. The surroundings looked like that of the inside of a canyon, mesas and all. The first living thing they saw was none other than Ecliptor. However, the Dark Specter was nowhere to be found. Ecliptor approached the Spice Club slowly and proudly. The team was shocked to see him alive, but they couldn't let him know that by panicking.
"The Spice Club," he said aloud. "What took you so long?"
"Hey, don't look at us," said Earl. "Talk to Astronema; she brought us here."
Once Ecliptor reached the group, he stopped.
"What do you want?" Jenny asked. "What are you doing here? Didn't I kill you already? Do you like my manicure?"
Ecliptor only pushed her hand away. "Many opponents think they've killed me, but I am not that easy to get rid of."
"Now there's something we have in common," Jenny said. "So, what do you want?"
Then Spinal came out and joined C.C.
"There you are," she said. "What happened?"
"Sorry; I got detained," Spinal replied.
"Before facing the Dark Specter, you will face me," Ecliptor told Jenny.
"Nope. No way; I don't wanna. Now go away."
"I didn't mean right now. I meant later, say ten minutes. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Ecliptor turned around and started to walk away. The Spice Club stared back at him. Curly noticed that Jenny had a wet towel draped over her shoulder, so he gently took it and handed it to Spinal.
"Hey, Spinal, I dare you to flick his ass with this towel," he said.
"What!? Why?" Spinal asked.
"It'll be fun," said Curly. "See, all you do is twist the towel like so, and wapow!"
"No; I can't do it."
"Sure you can."
"Curly, if Spinal doesn't want to do it, he doesn't have to," Jenny told him.
"Here; I'll do it," Sal said.
"No, no, no; give it to me," Spinal interrupted. "I'll do it."
He took the towel and cautiously snuck up on Ecliptor.
"There you go, Spinal," Jenny whispered. "Flick that licorice butt."
He twisted the towel and whacked his behind with a loud, wet whack! In response, Ecliptor jumped about three feet, turned around, and glared at Spinal. He took his flaming sword and swung it at the jokester, who blocked it with the metal bracelets that covered his forearms. The towel wasn't so lucky. Then Spinal ran back toward his friends. Ecliptor fired energy blasts at him as he ran. When he reached the ship, the group moved aside to avoid the final blow.
"That'll teach you!" Ecliptor growled. He turned around again and walked away.
The Spice Club members sighed with relief.
"That guy needs to work on his aim; he was shooting at you the whole way back," the Cryptkeeper said.
"Really?" Spinal asked.
"Yes, really," Jenny told him.
"Well, here's your towel . . . or rather, what's left of it."
"Gee, thanks." The towel was badly charred, and it was still on fire in several areas. Jenny threw it over her shoulder. What she didn't realize was that Astronema caught it as she came out. She twisted it and flicked Spinal. In response, Spinal let out a scream.
"Well, that was cute," Astronema said. "Once your leader is destroyed, you belong to me."
"I don't belong to anyone," Spinal told her.
"Besides, he's already taken," C.C. added, throwing her arms around him.
"However . . ." Jenny said, leading Astronema across the team, "Curly here is an eligible bachelor."
Curly gripped his shades and stared at Astronema over the rim. Astronema just glared at him.
"I don't need this . . . punk!"
"Hey, I like chicks with bad attitudes," Curly said.
"Well, too bad for you," Astronema told him. "I'm more into . . . shy guys."
She approached Spinal again and tried to stroke his bottom jaw, but he backed up and hid behind his friends before she could touch him.
"And Spinal is the perfect example," she concluded. "But don't get too excited. The Dark Specter will be here any minute. You'd better step out now, Tonfa Spice."
"Well, where the hell is he?" Jenny asked. "I thought he'd be here just waiting to kick my ass all the way into the next galaxy."
"That's not important," Astronema told her. "Just move it."
Jenny looked at her friends, who looked back at her as if to say, "Go on; you can do it." She took their advice and started her walk into the empty battlefield. Hallie watched intently, then glanced a little to her right. She gasped in surprise.
"Look!" she cried, tugging on the Cryptkeeper's arm.
The Spice Club looked over . . . and spotted the Power Rangers. T.J., Cassie, Ashley, and Carlos were each standing in their own beam of light. Their eyes were closed as if they were unconscious. Surrounding them were the major villains: Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, the Machine Empire, Divatox, and all their henchmen.
"Great galaxies!" cried the Cyberninja Trio.
Jenny glanced to her right as well. She spun in that direction and gasped when she saw the Rangers.
"Zuna lord!" she muttered.
"Tonfa Spice!" yelled an impatient voice, startling Jenny.
"What!?" Jenny sounded just as impatient.
Ecliptor was standing in front of her. "You must prove yourself in battle before facing the great Dark Specter."
"Nah, I'm not in the mood," Jenny muttered. "Besides, I've already proven myself against you."
She walked around Ecliptor, giving him a slight smile as if to say, "I'm interested in you." Ecliptor glared at her with a look that said, "I'm going to kill you." Hallie felt free to run up to him and shake his arm gently.
"What?" he asked impatiently.
"Can I fight you?" Hallie asked in her exaggerated little girl's voice.
"No, you can't fight me," Ecliptor replied. "Go back there and cry to mama."
"Okay." Hallie turned around and walked back to her friends sadly.
Jenny chuckled as she continued her walk. In a fit of rage, Ecliptor stepped up and grabbed her shoulder.
"Dammit, woman, you will fight me!"
To his surprise, Jenny let out a scream. "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! DON'T TOUCH MEEEE!!!!!!!" She grabbed Ecliptor by the throat and shook him violently, then threw him to the ground. He lay there, motionless. The other Spices were laughing so hard, they cried.
"Damn, girl!" Sal yelled. "I think you gave him a heart attack."
Jenny was laughing herself. She gave her friends a thumbs-up, then took a few more steps into the battlefield. Suddenly, she stopped and looked up. She saw an orange shooting star heading straight toward the planet! Instead of exploding on contact with the ground, the object transformed into the Dark Specter himself.
"Whoa," Jenny murmured. "I don't remember him being that big."
She opened the top of the ring on her finger and spoke. "If any of you wish to give any suggestions during this battle, my communication channel is open." She closed the ring, leaving it flashing.
The Dark Specter looked down at her. He took a long, rasping breath and blew a massive flame at her. Jenny knew that he wasn't close enough for the flame to burn her, but she could still feel his breath. She gripped her night sticks tightly and spread her arms out. She held her breath, not wanting to smell the Dark Specter's. She blinked her eyes rapidly, for his hot breath was irritating them. Tears also streaked around to the back of her head. When the flame stopped, Jenny took a deep breath. Her breathing became slow and heavy. The other Spices stared in awe, both at the Dark Specter's "superior" appearance, and at Jenny's unbelievable courage.
"Tonfa Spice, leader of the Spice Club," boomed the Dark Specter. "You are a fool to challenge me!"
"Me? A fool?" Jenny asked, seemingly puzzled. "Reality check: You challenged me!"
"Man, oh man," Spinal muttered, his voice trembling. "How is she ever gonna beat that guy?"
"Oh, she'll think of something," Earl told him. "If there's one thing I know, there's nobody Jenny can't beat . . . at least nobody her size."
"This battle should be most amusing for me," the Dark Specter went on. "I intend to obliterate Tonfa Spice, her crazy clan, and the Power Rangers once I'm through absorbing their power."
"Yeah? Not if we can help it," Jenny muttered under her breath.
The Union of Evil was applauding loudly.
"Let the battle begin!" announced the Dark Specter.
Jenny had to put plan A to work. "Wait a minute!" she cried.
"Too late! It has begun!"
The Dark Specter lifted one foot and attempted to step on Jenny, who quickly rolled out of the way. The Spices gasped in unison.
"Hiyah!" Jenny pointed the ends of her sticks at the Dark Specter and two small fireballs shot out. The Dark Specter just held out his palm and absorbed them.
"I'll never beat him like this," Jenny told herself. "I've got to get through to him."
The Dark Specter threw another massive flame. Jenny did her best to shield herself with her arms as the flame engulfed her. She groaned loudly in agony as it stopped. She was covered with ashes and she was coughing violently.
"Oh, I can't watch!" Spinal sobbed, covering his face.
"Me neither," C.C. agreed, clinging to Spinal and burying her face in his ribcage.
But Jenny seemed all right. She felt as if she was on fire, but she brushed off the ashes and her skin appeared unharmed.
"See, look at that," Scorpina whispered to Rita and Zedd. "She seems fine. A normal human would have been destroyed already. I'm telling you, they've all died before! Those guys can survive anything! You can't kill what's already dead, can you?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Zedd told her. "If they're dead, what are they doing up and running about?"
"Maybe they were resurrected by some sorcerer who gave them their special powers and abilities," Scorpina muttered. "But it couldn't have been Zordon. He wouldn't raise the dead. The dead can't be destroyed. The Spice Club cannot be destroyed."
"Hey, Dark Specter!" Jenny shouted. "I'll bet you're too chicken to get into a real fight!"
"What!?" the Dark Specter cried. "Never! I will crush you like an egg!"
"But that's not fair!" Jenny complained.
The Dark Specter paused. "And who said these fights had to be won fairly?"
"No, no, no! Think of it this way. What would you rather do? Would you rather kill a defenseless little girl? Would that prove that you're worthy of taking over the entire universe? I don't think so. Or would you rather fight a true warrior, someone who's capable of fighting back?"
The Dark Specter was lost in thought for a moment. "Very well. Even as the size of a flea, I can still defeat you."
"I wouldn't bet my last shilling on it," Jenny said.
The Dark Specter shrank himself to Jenny's size, actually a few sizes bigger. But it was enough for her.
"All right!" cried the Cryptkeeper. "Now she has a better chance of winning."
"Now let's see what you've got," Jenny said.
"Leave battle to the warriors, mouse," shouted the Dark Specter.
Jenny charged at him and attempted a jump kick to the chest . . . only to bounce off. The Dark Specter laughed at her. Jenny got up and charged again, this time ramming him with her shoulder. That move also proved ineffective, as it hurt her own arm. She charged at him a third time and wrapped her arms around him, trying to lift him up. He didn't budge. Jenny backed up, panting.
"My turn," the Dark Specter said.
He charged at Jenny and attempted to dive into her. When he made contact, Jenny rolled onto her back and tried to throw him. However, he was a little bit heavy. Jenny summoned all her strength, concentrated it into her legs, and managed to throw the Dark Specter off. Then she got up, breathing heavily as if she'd just used up all her energy for the day.
The Dark Specter stood up and approached her. He lunged with one claw, but Jenny blocked it; so he lunged with the other claw. Jenny blocked that one also. Then she pushed both his arms back and drove both sticks into his stomach.
"Yes!" cried the Spice Club.
The Dark Specter spit out a large red fireball, sending Jenny back quite a distance. Jenny held her chest and groaned as she stood up again and came closer to her foe. The Dark Specter fired a laser from his eyes, burning Jenny's feet. She flipped over onto her back. As she started to get up, the Dark Specter moved in and quickly grabbed both ankles. Starting slowly, then speeding up, he began to spin her in circles.
"Whoa! Stop it! Let go!!" she screamed.
"'Round and 'round and 'round she goes," sang the Dark Specter. "Where she stops, nobody knows!"
He let go suddenly, sending Jenny flying a distance again. She hit the ground roughly. She started to get up, then dropped back down. She appeared to have lost consciousness. Everyone was frozen with curiosity, including the Dark Specter. He approached Jenny slowly. He grasped her by the wrist and lifted her into the air. She still appeared to be dead; she had a very loose grip on her sticks. The Dark Specter slowly pulled her closer to him as if to sniff her.
"Psyche!!!" She suddenly came to life and punched the Dark Specter in the throat. The other Spice Club members grasped their own throats, groaning at how painful it must have been. The Dark Specter grabbed his throat as well and dropped Jenny.
"You'll pay for that," he growled, gagging.
"We'll see," Jenny replied.
"You go, girl," the Spices muttered.
Jenny stood up and shook her head, still dizzy from the spinning. She had her back turned to the Dark Specter and was trying to keep her balance. The Dark Specter saw his opportunity to attack and certainly wasn't going to waste it. He dove on top of her, knocking her down again. Then he stood up and took her into a tight bear hug. He squeezed her harder and harder. Jenny tried to gasp, but the air was forced out of her body and her lungs cried out in pain.
"What is he doing?" Hallie asked. "He's squeezing the life out of her," Earl said.
"He'll either squeeze her 'til she pops, or suffocate her," the Cryptkeeper added.
"We've got to do something!" cried Spinal.
"We can't. Not until the Dark Specter breaks the rules," C.K. told him.
"Hmm . . . one more squeeze should do it," the Dark Specter said. So he applied even more pressure and heard several popping noises from Jenny's body. Then he dropped her to the ground. Jenny rose from the ground slowly. As she did, she spit out a large amount of blood from her mouth, gasping. The Dark Specter still wasn't through with her. He turned her onto her back, grasped her by the throat and lifted her into the air again.
"You incompetent weakling!" he shouted. "You had no reason to fight me. Even if you could defeat me, the Alliance of Evil will destroy Zordon and the Power Rangers. Once we have their powers, nothing will stop us. Not you, and not your stupid misfits."
As Jenny desperately tried to shake herself free, she dropped her sticks. The Dark Specter watched as they fell to the ground, then stepped on them.
"Ah . . . now that you've lost your ridiculous sticks, you're helpless," he concluded.
Jenny stopped struggling and looked him in the eye, feeling a reassuring weight. "I may be stickless, Dark Specter," she spat, reaching into her pocket. "But me, helpless? NEVER!!!"
She pulled out the cutting tool, aimed the blade forward, and threw it directly into the Dark Specter's eye. The Dark Specter dropped her again and pulled the tool out. In a fit of rage, he threw it at Jenny, who ducked under it. The tool flew quite a distance.
"Heads up!" Sal cried.
The Spices ducked under it just in time.
The Dark Specter covered his damaged eye, staggering back, and screaming with pain. Once he stepped back, Jenny recovered her weapons, which seemed unscathed. The Dark Specter uncovered his eye, which had lava-like blood gushing from it. He grabbed Jenny and threw her away. She landed directly at her friends' feet.
"Hey, are you okay?" asked the Cryptkeeper.
Jenny stood up wearily. "I'm okay," she replied.
"Well, we heard what the Dark Specter said. Can we get him now?"
"Hold your horses. Let me get his back turned to you first, then you can attack. Of course, we can't all fight the Dark Specter. I choose the Cryptkeeper, Hanim, Lexington, Earl, Spinal, and C.C. to assist. The rest of you can go over and free the Rangers."
"We'll be waiting," the Cryptkeeper said.
"Why me?" Spinal asked.
"Trust me; we'll beat him," Earl said.
Jenny walked back into the battlefield. She paused for a minute then put her hands on her knees and took a deep breath.
"Phew! I'm a-tired!" she exclaimed with an Italian accent. Then she stepped even farther.
"Back for more?" asked the Dark Specter. "Hmm, you are more persistent than I expected. I'm surprised that you still have strength left at all."
He lunged at her, but she made a graceful leap over him. Jenny rushed over to attack, but the Dark Specter gave her a hard punch. To his surprise, she was right back on her feet. He was beginning to get frustrated.
"Aarrrrrgh!! What does it take to destroy you!?" he roared.
The Spice Club members glanced at each other.
"That's our cue, guys!" the Cryptkeeper called.
The chosen Spices rushed into the battlefield behind the Dark Specter, leaped toward him, and each nailed his back with a different attack. In response, the Dark Specter let out a scream and turned to them. Jenny ran around him to join her friends.
"Hey, you have no part in this!" the Dark Specter yelled at the Spices. "You're cheating!"
"Well, like you said, who said these fights had to be won fairly?" Jenny replied. "Face up to it, Dark Specter. The Spice Club is breaking all the rules!"
They spread out to surround the Dark Specter. Spinal held his ground and held his shield into the air. It gave a red glow. Instantly, a small skull began to rotate around his waist. Then he realized that the Dark Specter turned his attention to him.
"Uh-oh," he muttered nervously. The Dark Specter gave a sinister chuckle as he stepped up to Spinal slowly. Then he lunged. Spinal started spinning as he sank into the ground. The Dark Specter was shocked to see him gone.
"Hey, Dark Specter!" Spinal called.
The Dark Specter turned and saw Spinal standing directly behind him. Spinal ran up as quickly as he could and swung his flaming sword up the Specter's back. He followed up his attack with a shield strike and a regular upward sword swipe. To finish off his combination, he morphed into the Dark Specter (only colorless) and gave him some of his own powerful blows, sending him back ten feet.
"All right!" cried the Cryptkeeper. "Give him a taste of his own medicine! Let's see how he feels."
The Dark Specter stood up and turned to them again. Jenny approached Spinal and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"You know, Spinal Spice here may be little and shy, but even he can become a powerful addition to our fighting force," she said.
"I'll tear you all apart!" the Dark Specter shouted.
"We're waiting!" Jenny called.
"I won't bother waiting," said Lexington.
He hopped over to the Dark Specter and circled around him with handsprings. Then he stopped in front of the monster and started pecking away at his rocky body with his talons. The Dark Specter stared at him, then slapped him away.
"My turn," said Earl.
He rushed up, rolled just short of the Dark Specter, then punched him in the stomach. Then he followed with a wind-up punch that sent the monster skyrocketing into the air. Of course, the Dark Specter didn't go up as high as any regular monster would. And Earl probably wouldn't be able to punch him into orbit as he did to the Lizzinator. The Dark Specter kicked Earl aside.
"Let me see," C.C. said.
She dashed toward the Dark Specter and rolled under him. Then she got up quickly and kicked him twice.
"Hey! Bet you can't see C.C.!" she yelled.
She rolled behind him again and gave him an axe kick. To finish off her attack, she rolled into him then rose with an explosive uppercut, utilizing her power. The uppercut, which looked so weak, actually sent the Dark Specter flying backwards.
"Whoo!! Ain't no stoppin' Speedy Spice!!"
"Very nice, C.C.," Jenny commented.
"Thank you," C.C. replied proudly. "Spinal, would you care to go at him again?"
"Sure," Spinal said, rather nervously.
He approached the Dark Specter cautiously. The rock monster didn't move. They both waited for the other to make the attack.
"Come on, Spinal, do something!" the Cryptkeeper whispered.
Spinal still didn't move. Suddenly, the Dark Specter shot out one of his claws and grasped Spinal around the ribcage. Spinal instantly dropped his artillery and tried to break free, but it was to no avail as the Dark Specter lifted him up.
"Hey! Put me down!!" he screamed.
"With pleasure," replied the Dark Specter.
He threw Spinal on the ground, then pinned him down with a claw. He held up his other claw as a fireball appeared between each finger. He brought it down toward Spinal's head. Spinal grabbed the Specter's wrist, trying to push it away.
"No! Stop it!"
"Help him!" C.C. cried with a gasp.
"I got it! I haven't had a shot at him yet," Hanim offered.
Hanim leaped high into the air and jammed her knife into the Dark Specter's back. The Dark Specter rose up in pain, releasing Spinal. However, there was a hole in his skull where the monster had burned. Spinal quickly moved out of the way and recovered his weapons.
"Get off me, you pest!" the Dark Specter demanded.
He started shaking back and forth to get Hanim off. As soon as Hanim pulled her knife out, she hopped down. The Dark Specter glared at all of them.
"Look, you nasty little munchkins!" he shouted. "You've caused me enough trouble. Now it is time for you all to be eliminated!!!"
"Uh-oh; I think we'd better run for our lives, huh?" the Cryptkeeper suggested.
"I'm so scared, I forgot to laugh!" Jenny cried.
Meanwhile, the other Spice Club members fought their way to rescuing the Power Rangers. They had to fight through the Putties, Tengas, Cogs, and Piranahtrons. Of course, they were no match for the Spices. Once the path was clear, they set to free the Rangers.
"Look at them!" Brooklyn cried.
"Are they asleep, or unconscious, or what?" asked Lola.
"There's only one way to find out," Demona replied.
She ripped the interfaces off the strange things. The light surrounding the Rangers vanished, and they instantly collapsed.
"Hey, wake up!" Chun Li pleaded.
"Oww. What happened?" asked T.J.
"We're here to get you out of here," Bat said. "Come on; take it easy now."
"But . . . what about the Dark Specter?" Cassie asked.
"Oh, we're dealing with him all right," Curly said. "They're doing so well; just check them out."
They looked over only to see the Dark Specter slapping Jenny back. Then he lunged, grabbed her, and slammed her back and forth repeatedly on the ground.
"Oh my gosh; we've got to help them!" Ashley cried.
"Please do calm yourselves," Marvin said calmly. "Jenny is strong; it will take much more than that to defeat her."
"Are you sure?" Brooklyn asked. "She's already taken a nasty beating from that guy."
"Even if she is defeated, she'll be back," Demona said. "And she'll be stronger than ever. The same goes for any of us."
Meanwhile, Jenny was suffering greatly. Her assistants ran over to see if she was all right. They looked into her eyes, as she looked as if she was going to cry. However, she held back her tears, but released her anger.
"That does it! I've got to finish this guy off before he causes any more damage," she said.
"What are you going to do?" Spinal asked.
Jenny stood up, fire flashing in her eyes. "You'll see," she replied coldly.
She approached the Dark Specter slowly. The others began to back out.
"I think this is where we step out," the Cryptkeeper muttered.
The Dark Specter threw a roundhouse punch, but Jenny ducked under it and threw a connecting punch of her own. She followed it with more punches and kicks. The other Spices reunited with the Rangers.
"Wow! Looks like another score for the good guys," Curly said.
"Yeah. But I don't see how she still has energy to beat the crap out of the Dark Specter like that," C.C. added.
"If she's conscious, she has energy," the Cryptkeeper told her. "Believe me, I know. I've known her; I've even taken care of her. The most important thing right now is that the Rangers are free, and from what Jenny's doing, it's a fair bet that she has defeated the Dark Specter!"
All through that conversation, Jenny hadn't stopped pelting the Dark Specter with four consecutive spin kicks, flaming stick attacks, and skillful punches. Her movements also seemed to be speeding up. She finished off her extended combination by leaping, spreading her legs out, and spinning. Those kicks sliced her foe back like the blades of a helicopter. The Dark Specter hit the ground, definitely unconscious, if not dead. Jenny landed gracefully on her feet. The others could tell she was exhausted, for she was gasping for air. She slammed her sticks together and threw them on the ground.
"How did she do that?" T.J. asked.
"Well, we have our own special powers and abilities, just like you do," Lexington said.
"But how did you get those powers?" asked Carlos.
"That is a story for another day," Jenny replied as she approached. "Come on. Let's go home; my feet are killing me."
They started to the Astro Megaship only to have Astronema stand in their way.
"Not so fast. Did you think I'd let you get away so easily?"
"Well, yeah," Jenny said.
"Well, you thought wrong. Here." Astronema held up a large glass of what looked like champagne, then handed it to Jenny.
"What the hell is this crap?" Jenny asked.
"It's poison," said Astronema. "If you're a real leader, you'd take a sip and die. Then I let your friends go free."
Jenny stared at the poison, lost in thought. She took a sniff of the fumes, then coughed in disgust. She looked at her friends.
"Well . . . what do you guys think?"
"I think that stuff smells nasty," Bat said.
"I think it's up to you," the Cryptkeeper said. "I really can't help you on this."
"Hmm. Just a sip, huh?" Jenny asked.
"That's right. Just a sip and you'll be writhing in agony like a sick dog," Astronema replied. "So, are you a real leader? Will you take a sip?"
"Sure, I'm a real leader," Jenny said. Instead of taking a sip, she drank the entire glass in one gulp. "I'll just wolf it all down."
Astronema extended her arm, expecting Jenny to hand her the glass, but Jenny tossed it over her shoulder. She wiped her mouth with her wrist, then let out a small belch.
"Excuse me. Let's go, Spice Club."
They walked around Astronema to the Megaship.
"Oh, one more thing, Tonfa Spice," Astronema called.
Jenny turned with a slight smile.
"I hate your guts," said Astronema.
Jenny chuckled to herself. "That's nice."
They pressed on further to the ship.
"Curly, let me tell you, Astronema just isn't for you," Jenny said. "She may have a bad attitude, but she's not too bright."
"Whaddaya mean?" Curly asked.
"Oh, you'll see."
Out of nowhere, a giant lobster-like monster stepped out. He reached down and grabbed Jenny.
"Mmm; I just love spicy foods," he said.
"What is that thing?" Spinal asked.
"That's Clawhammer!" Astronema called. "He's going to eat you for lunch."
"Wait!" Jenny cried. "You can't just eat any spice!"
"Why not?" asked Clawhammer.
"Spices can give you heartburn; some are even poisonous," Jenny explained. "Like me for instance. If you eat me or the other Spices, you'll be poisoned."
"I don't eat poisonous things." The Clawhammer threw Jenny back on the ground at her friends' feet.
"I told you Astronema wasn't too bright," she said. She held up her hand. "Help me; I can't get up."
The Cryptkeeper took both her hands and pulled her to her feet. The Spice Club and the Power Rangers made another attempt to reach the ship, but had to face one more interruption. Spotting a silver puddle on the ground, they watched as it rose into a certain black guy.
"If you won't fight me before the Dark Specter, you'll fight me after," he said.
Jenny let out a frustrated sigh. "I am getting irritated, and I am on the verge of collapsing," she whispered to her friends. "Ecliptor, I'm still not in the mood."
"What's wrong?" Ecliptor asked. "Are you too weak and puny? Or are you . . . a coward?"
Jenny sighed again, then stormed straight up to Ecliptor and put her finger directly to the center of his chest. "Look here, Candyman. I'm Tonfa Spice, I'm tired, I'm poisoned, bloody, crushed, and seared by flames, and I wanna go home!!!"
She and the others stormed by Ecliptor, who glared again.
"Complain, complain, complain; that's all you ever do."
Jenny stopped and stared back at him. She tightened her fist, and let out an exaggerated scream of frustration. The other Spices couldn't help laughing. Hallie walked up and poked Ecliptor.
"Y'know . . . I'm still available," she said with a smile.
Ecliptor looked down at her. "Why do you want to fight me anyway?"
"Hey! If my sister can beat you, so can I," Hallie told him.
"Well, you still can't fight me. I only fight other warriors, not sweet little teddy bears."
"Well shit." Hallie joined her friends. The other Spices gasped, completely shocked by the cursing twelve-year-old. They finally reached the ship and took off.
"So, Jenny . . . shower?" asked the Cryptkeeper.
"Maybe later. I simply must get some sleep," Jenny said. She walked into the bridge and took a seat in the front. Then she pulled out her diary and put an entry.
" 'Dear Diary: Our mission has been accomplished. The tournament was a winning streak for each of the Spice Club members. By defeating the Dark Specter, we rescued the Power Rangers and are on our way back to Earth. However, this may be my final entry . . . at least for a while. Astronema has poisoned me. It may not kill me, but I'm going to be miserible for a VERY long time.' "
"Jenny," Spinal called. "Astronema said that a mere sip would leave you suffering. You drank the whole glass and it has no effect on you. How can that be?"
"Well, it is giving me heartburn," Jenny admitted. "I don't know how I'm going to sleep."
"Well, I'm going to get me a bath. Gotta fix this skull wound. Hey Andros," Spinal said. Then he whispered in Andros's ear, "Got milk?"
"What is milk?" Andros asked.
"Here; I'll get you some milk," T.J. offered.
"Thanks, T.J.; I'd appreciate that."
Suddenly, Aracula approached and handed her a glowing blue tube.
"What the hell is this?" she asked.
"That is the antidote to the poison," Deca replied.
"Aracula stole it from Astronema," Zorak added.
"Why you bony little thief," Jenny chuckled, rubbing Aracula's head.
"Here, we'll mix it up for you in a jiffy," said Carlos.
They all left the bridge, leaving Jenny alone. She looked around, startled by the sudden silence.
"Wow. It's scary when you're alone," she thought. "Oh, golly-gosh-darn- gol'-dang-dang-yam. . ."
She rested her head on the control console and started to sleep.
"Jenny, you're receiving a transmission," Deca said.
"Cool; somebody to talk to," Jenny said, without moving. "Put it on the screen."
As soon as the callers were put on the screen, Jenny wished that she hadn't accepted the transmission. Standing in the screen were Elgar and Ecliptor.
"Hey, baby!" Elgar called. "Wakie wakie! Wake up, sleeping beauty!"
"Shoot me. Oh, double golly-gosh-darn-dang nabbit, oh fudge . . ." Jenny muttered, lifting her head up.
Ecliptor glared at Elgar. "Hello, Tonfa Spice."
"Hello, Candyman," Jenny replied flatly. "What in the name of Jupiter's balls do you want?"
"Will you marry me?" Elgar asked.
Jenny scoffed as she covered her face. Then she looked up at Elgar. "No."
"And I just came to warn you. Just try to stay out of my way, Tonfa Spice. Just try," Ecliptor said. "You will fight me, and when you do, it will only mean your finish." He held his sword up to the screen.
"You know, Ecliptor," Jenny said. "That's a pretty neat sword you have there. We'll see what it looks like when it's buried in your ass. But not right now; I don't feel good."
"I hope you feel better," Elgar said. "Ta-ta, sugar!"
"And one more thing: Why does your little sister insist on fighting me?" asked Ecliptor.
"Isn't it obvious? She likes you," Jenny told him. "You're the Candyman, she's Candy Spice; I think y'all do need a fight.
Ecliptor just growled at her. "And stop calling me Candyman!"
"All right; fine!" Jenny sobbed. "Now be good boys and be gone."
She hit a button which caused the screen to go out. A second later, Hallie and the Cryptkeeper came into the bridge and handed Jenny the antidote.
"Thank you," she said softly.
"Were you just talking to somebody?" asked the Cryptkeeper.
"Oh, just Elgar and Ecliptor," Jenny said.
"Really? What happened?" Hallie asked happily.
"Oh, I told them, 'Kiss my ass.' "
The other two chuckled.
"Good one, honey," the Cryptkeeper said.
Jenny and Hallie sat in the front chairs again while the Cryptkeeper let out a yawn.
"Well, it's off to bed for me," he said. "Good night, ladies."
He left the bridge again. Jenny, with her clammy skin and trembling hand, started to drink the antidote slowly, savoring every sip. She also noticed Hallie staring into space.
"What are you thinking about?"
"It's not what, but who," Hallie said.
"Oohhh." Jenny grew a knowing smile. "You're thinking about Ecliptor, aren't you?"
"Don't think I didn't notice, Sis," Hallie said. "I heard you call him Candyman."
"Well, he does look a bit licorice. I think he likes you too. After all, he did call you a sweet little teddy bear."
"He breaks my heart though. He still won't let me fight him."
"You'll get to fight him eventually," Jenny told her. "It may not be one-on- one, but you will get your chance."
She finished drinking the antidote, then stretched out in her chair. "Oooh, I feel like crap . . ."
"Well, good night, Sis," Hallie said.
"Good night . . . Sis," Jenny replied.
They stretched out and went to sleep.