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Rangers In Retrograde: Jungle Fury

By Nikolai Crumb

Scifi / Action

Welcome to the Jungle, Part 1

“We are the Pai Zhaq, the Order of the Claw. You don’t see us but we are there, protecting the world from darkness.”
Six teenagers sit atop a mountain temple in quiet meditation, quietly a blond girl and a raven haired boy exchange banter, the girl joking about being so numb from sitting all night she can’t feel her butt while the boy remains straight faced. Off to the sides several other students in the same blue jackets watch on. Among them a woman with a large blue jewel hanging from her neck and a sword hanging from her hip. Beside her, a raven haired main with tiger like markings made from a thick blue scaling material frame a face that hold cold yellow, reptilian eyes, slit like a cats, a strange device strapped to his right wrist.
A moment later an elder man in an orange jacket emerges from the temple, his voice strong but caring. “Rise.”
The six students rise, “The Order of the Claw is looking for three Chosen Ones, only three. You six are my best students but I can only take three and so you will pair off and battle each other, this will be the final test that will cement my decision on who I choose.”
Paired off the Finalists take a moment to bow to each other before the battle begins in earnest. Kicks fly up only to be deflected by stiff arms, sweeps are leaped over by skilled martial artists, and it seems the six finalists are all evenly matched and no one will prove superior to any other. Master Mao watches on cautiously, his gaze peering deeper then just the visual exchanges while the woman with the jewel and the strange scared man rise, moving to opposite sides of Master Mao.
“Master Mao, I sense something about to be…” the strange man never finishes his statement as a sudden eruption of energy envelopes the boy and girl from earlier.
A massive blue jaguar and yellow cheetah materialize to knock their opponents on their backs. And just as suddenly as they appeared the energy dissipated, the youth helping their defeated opponents to their feet. A moment later the final battle ends just as dramatically as one of the finalists summons forth a black and gold lion, however unlike his associates his opponent was already on the ground when the lion attacks, the poor main raising his arms to defend himself from the assault.
“Enough,” Master Mao’s voice booms, “Theo, Lily, Jarred, you pass, join me in the main hall later.”
Jarred wielder of the black lion strides over to the rack of towels, a glare one of the side students as Theo and Lily take a moment to celebrate. “Cub, where is my towel,” he growls.
“R…Right here,” the student stammers getting a angry glare for Jarred and the offered towel swatted away “This us USED, I asked for a fresh towel!”
“It’s OK, relax, relax,” another cub says offering a fresh towel.
Jarred growls, his hand sailing toward the second student who suddenly drops to his palms, letting out a mighty roars that causes Jared to step back in shock while the boy looks at his hands in surprise.
“Casey, join Lily and Theo, Jarred…” Master Mao begins.
“Master Mao,” the strange man interrupts, “If I may be so bold I would like to talk with you in private.”
Master Mao pauses, looking to the man and his consort “You may Kamdor.” Turning back to the assemblage, “Jarred, Lily, Casey, and Theo please wait outside my chambers.”
Shortly the four chosen students wait in a hall, Jarred, Lily, and Theo’s eyes turning to Casey, the strange roaring Cub.
“Hey Jarred, why did Master Mao want that guy here?” Theo asks curiously.
Jarred growls, “Hell if I know.”
“You two are something, why do you always have to be such a control freak Theo, and would it kill you to crack a smile Jarred?”
“I’ve trained for ten years to achieve the rank it took you to reach in half the time, I have every right to be…”
“Bitter, grouchy, rough as sand paper?” Casey comments.
Jarred growls, Lily and Theo laugh.
“It’s not funny!” Jarred roars.
“Enough,” Master Mao’s voice booms, Kamdor and his consort flanking him, “The four of you please follow Kamdor, Miratrix and myself.”
Rising the four fall in line as they follow their master, deep into the temple, into a dusky chamber.
“Where are we?” Casey wonders.
“The forbidden room,” Master Ma began, as the small group fanned out and he moved to the back room. Slowly beginning a explanation of the war of the beasts, Dai Shi, and ultimately of Dai Shi’s fate, rising a small box.
“Dai Shi’s spirits resides in this box, Casey, Theo, Lily, it is your task to guard this box so that Dai Shi does not escape.”
“Casey? That cub?” Jarred growls, “You task him with this important task, I should be your first choice,” he says lunging at the box. “I have trained twice as long as any of these, and why do these strange foreign cubs have your ear when you only treat me as a pupil?”
“No,” Kamdor shouts, throwing out his hand.
Master Mao spins around but Jarrod manages to tab the box, time slows as it spills from Master Mao’s hand and hits the ground, the top opening to reveal…
“Nothing?” Casey says curiously.
“Nothing? What kind of joke is this!” Jarred demands.
“Mao,” a dark voice booms as golden smoke takes the form of a dragon, surging about the room and knocking back everyone before piercing through Mao. “You are a fool Mao and now the world will bow to me.”
Looming over the students the dragon laughs, “You are not worth my time.” He bellows.
Jarred is first to get to his feet, running for the exit moments after Dai Shi makes his escape.
“Miratrix stop him!” Kamdor’s voice booms.
“In and instant the terrified youth finds the woman blocking the exit, reluctantly he turns back as Mao’s voice rises weakly.
“My students,” instantly the six are by his side.
“Master Mao,” Lily gaps. “What do we do now?”
“My time in this form is coming to a end, but the six of you still have a fate to unravel, go to Ocean Bluff, you will find a new master there.”
“But your our master,” Theo protests as Mao vanishes into a flurry of golden light.
Elsewhere…
Dai Shi’s spirit sores through the woods, as a motorcycle comes to a stop, the figure slips from seat turning just as Dai Shi approaches, taking a defensive stance.
“What the heck?” the figure manages.
“You will do nicely,” Dai Shi booms as he envelopes the figure.
Ocean Bluff…
“This is the address,” Theo said curiously as he lead the group into the Jungle Karma Pizzeria.
“Our new master can’t be here…” Lilly comments as they look around.
Instantly the small group spot a elderly man who looks similar to Master Mao, Theo leading they make their way toward the booth.
“That must be him,” Theo comments.
Smiling Kamdor bows slightly, “Greetings master, we are here to serve you.”
The man pauses a moment, “Check please.”
“That wasn’t him,” Jarred growls.
Cassey chuckles, “Well I don’t know about you but I’m hungry, I say we order a pie and wait for our master shows himself.”
“You can wait, I’m not going to waste my time here, not while Dai Shi is free.” Theo grumbles, turning for the door.
“I agree,” Jarred adds following Theo as he turns for the exit.
“Sit down,” Kamdor says sternly as he and Miratrix take the duo by the collar and sit them down.
“New customers,” A upbeat voice chimes as a figure with a flour covered face emerges from the back room. “What can I get you?”
“Were still deciding,” Cassey chimes in.
“Actually were looking for our new master, he’s suppose to be here.” Jarred comments as he thumbs through the menu, “You have Sausage pizza?” he says with unusual excitement.
“Why yes, and if I do say so myself it is one of my better toppings, I’m RJ by the way,” the man continues with a upbeat turn of his head, a moment later his finger shooting up in a ‘eureka’ motion “Why don’t you work for me while you wait for your mentor to arrive.”
“Sounds like a great idea,” Cassey comments.
“Forget it,” Jarred and Theo object before Lilly pulls them to their feet.
“Look were in the real world now, we need money, I for one don’t plan to wear these pajamas forever, I need real clothes and spending money.”
“And unless you plan to fight Dai Shi on a empty stomach,” Miratrix comments with a smirk, “Or rob a bank we’ll need to get a apartment and buy food.”
“Then it’s settled,” RJ exclaims wit ha flair, “Your hired!”
The Palace of the Rin Shi…
A crimson and black clad figure strides through the dark halls, approaching the center throne when a figure shimmers and materializes from off a side wall, Camile “Ah Dai Shi, I’ve been waiting forever.” She takes a moment to approach the figure, a half smirk on her lips, “You look good in that body.”
Dai Shi growls and Camile swallows hard, “Send the Rin Shi, gather fear for me to feed on.”
“R…Right away,” Camile stammers clapping her hands as she hurries off.
The sounds of screaming and Panicky people draws the teens out to the street.
“Dai Shi,” Kamdor growls.
“RJ,” Casey says quickly as the others rush off, “We’ll be right back.”
RJ nods cavalierly, “Don’t hurt yourself, you’re my only employees!”
“Right!” He says before running off.
Our heroes arrive just in time to see a army of Rin Shi flooding the street. Dropping into battle stance our hero charge into action but the Rin Shi prove to be a over whelming force, a force that grows even more powerful when one transforms into a Mantis Monster.
“This doesn’t look good,” Casey comments, holding his chest.
“I suppose I’ll have to even the odds then,” Kamdor gloats as he pushes himself to the front of the group.
“Kamdor? What are you doing?” Jarred demands.
Kamdor merely smirks, several black stones appearing in his hands, each set with a circuit board. “Evening the odds, Miratrix give me a hand, let the kids handle the insect.”
“Right Kamdor!” the woman says stepping up beside Kamdor as he tosses the stones out, a moment later the explode into a army of his own black armored ninja who take the fight to the Rin Shi, Kamdor and Miratrix leading the fight.
“Whoa!” Cassey says impressed.
“Whoa is right, and here I thought I was coming here to help you,” it was RJ, appearing out of nowhere.
“RJ?” Jarred says surprised
“Lesson number one,” he says taking a fighting pose, a claw tattoo becoming visible from his sleeve, “Never judge a book by it’s cover, now lets squash this bug.”
“Right!” the others say falling in line as the battle begins in earnest. While a rough battle the forces of good drive off the Mantis monster and the Rin Shi, the black ninjas vanishing just as suddenly as they came as the heroes return to Jungle Karma. As the enter the frantic and frazzled Fran greets them.
“RJ! There was no one here so took orders, and made the pies and…”
“Whoa, whoa,” RJ says trying to calm the frazzled girl, “Everybody this is Fran, my best customer, she spends more time here then I do!”
“It’s not that I don’t have a life, I just really like Pizza, the flavor, the topping the…”
“Breath Fran, Breath.”
Fran takes a deep breath.
“Now I need to show my new employees around so do you mind handling things a bit longer?”
“Of course not RJ!”
“Great!” RJ laughs as he leads the others up into their new home giving them the grand tour. “Where is where you will live, and train, everything here that is mine is your…” he begins as Lily plops herself down in the recliner.
“Wow I haven't watched TV in ages…”
“Ex…cept my chair, My chair is off limits,” RJ says, wiggling his fingers and he pulls Lily out of his chair. “And this isn't just a TV, but a state of the art monitoring station, from here I can keep tabs on Dai Shi’s action in the city.”
Regaining his positive outlook he leads the group over to a cabinet, “Now martial arts is all well and good but your going to need more than that to deal with Dai Shi’s forces…have any of you heard of the Power Rangers?”
“The Power Rangers?” Theo says excitedly. “When I was a kid I dreamed of being them, it was…” quickly he grows flustered while Miratrix and Kamdor chuckle and Lilly looks a bit embarrassed for Theo.
“The Power Ranger…you can say we have…met.” Kamdor comments.
“Really?” Jarred says with barely suppressed excitement in his voice. “What were they like.”
“Colorful…” Kamdor said simply as RJ began handing out new uniforms.
“First things firsts, lets get you out of those PJS and into something new.” RJ comments as he begins handing out new uniforms. “Anyway the Power Rangers aren't officially part of the Order of the Claw, but I know a guy, who knew a guy, whose friend taped into the universal morphing grind and Bang!” he says opening a small case.
“Sunglasses?” Theo asks curiously.
“Your Solar Morphers.” He corrects as Jarred, Theo and Lily each take a pair. “Once you put them all they will download all the information you need to use them.”
Casey waits a moment before looking to Miratrix and Kamdor then back to RJ. “What about us?”
RJ shrugs, “Sorry Casey I only have the three right now, but things have a way of working out.”
“We do not need Morphers,” Kamdor comments just as the alarms go off.
“Let’s get going Rangers,” Jarred leads off, pausing a moment to look to Casey with a sneer, “You can come too, cub.”
Casey hangs his head.
Shortly….
“You ready to give this a try?” Lily turns to Theo, now sporting a yellow jacketed uniform, Theo in blue.
“Let’s go for it,” as he looks over the Rin Shi and draw their new Morphers from a side pocket.
Dropping into a ready pose after slipping the shades on their eyes their color of chose begins to swirl about them, following a series of complex hand gestures. “Jungle Beast,” they say in unison. “Spirit, unleashed!”
Their bodies are enveloped in light a moment, as it fades two new Power Rangers stand ready.
“With the speed of the Cheetah, Jungle Fury Yellow Ranger!” Lily exclaims before taking the fight directly to the Rin Shi.
“With the Skill of a Jaguar, Jungle Fury Blue Ranger,” Theo exclaims before joining the fight.
“Harrumph,” Jarred scowls, decked out in a red uniform as Kamdor, Casey, and Miratrix stand just behind him in black uniforms. “Watch this,” he calls back to the others as he draws his own Morpher and slips it on, he strikes his own post, his hands a flurry of motion, “Jungle Beast, Spirit Unleashed!”
Nothing happens.
Jarred growls as he thrusts out his hand again, “Spirit Unleashed!”
Nothing. Seizing the opportunity the Rin Shi beast unleashes a barrage of energy, Casey, Kamdor and Miratrix leap to dodge the attack as Theo and Lily unleash their own spirit beast to clear the battlefield of Rin Shi warriors. Caught up in trying to morph Jarred is sent flying, his grip lost on the Solar Morpher which lands just inches from Casey. There is no time to act as a moment later the Mantis monster closes in on a prone Fran. Casey reaches for the Morpher, charging toward Fran.
“This has to work,” his mind wanders as he parries off a couple Rin Shi’s attempts to grab him. “Fran’s life depends on it.”
“Jungle Beast,” Casey exclaims defiantly…
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