"Scenes From A Mauling"
By N. E. Shaw
The Angel Grove Botanical Plaza was a warzone that day. Fierce explosions ripped up cement, uprooting trees from their planters. The air stank of burning, no flower was left unscorched, and five Rangers battled not just for the city, but for their own survival. It was another day with the Psychos. Pink was out of the picture yes, but Red, Blue, Black and Yellow put up a marvelous fight without her. Even five-against-four, the Rangers were on the losing end.
The individual fights were intense... "How much do you-unnghh!-practice every day?" Ashley snarled as she took a blow to the kidneys.
"I don't practice," smirked Psycho Yellow. "I'm just naturally good."
"Right, and that's sillicon chest-padding you got there."
There was no verbal retort, only a steel-armored shin administered to Ashley's ribs. "...who are you?" she groaned. "The Bionic Woman?"
Nearby, Carlos was having decent luck with Psycho Black for a change. To his proud surprise, he was getting a few hits in. "A little off your form today eh?" he taunted.
"What's your excuse?" retorted Psycho Black, throwing a wide hook which Carlos evaded easily.
"Just thought I'd check in, seeing as how you promised me a decent fight this time."
"The fight is young, Black Ranger."
"Yeah, well it's not too late for you to lose!" With that, Carlos fired the knockout punch in Psycho Black's direction. But the villain caught it just inches from impact.
"When Rangers fly.." Black shot back. Then Carlos was seen to soar over all their heads, and land unceremoniously in the reflecting pool.
Meanwhile, Psycho Blue didn't talk nearly as much while he trounced his opponant. It was all TJ could do to keep him busy. "So did you hear the one about the Preist, the Ranger and the Psycho Ranger?" TJ asked.
Psycho Blue slammed his fist into a wall where TJ's head had just been. "I must have missed that one."
TJ ducked a kick to his head. "What do you get when a Preist, a Ranger, and a Psycho Ranger go out fishing together?"
"A Psycho Ranger, and bait."
Lastly, Psycho Red and Andros fought like demons, silently trading blow after blow. No energy was wasted on chit-chat. Flashing in the sun, the Spiral Saber was the only thing standing between Andros and certain defeat.
But suddenly, it went flying out of reach. Andros's hand stung from Psycho Red's precision kick. Now the evil Ranger caught him by the throat and slammed him down on the hood of a car. To Andros's dismay, he felt his windpipe close in his enemy's crushing grip.
The Psycho's shining visor hovered close. "I can't wait till I win, Rancid Ranger."
"Invite me...to the victory party..." Andros choked out.
"Hah! You won't feel like celebrating in just a few moments-"
"And neither will you!" cried a female voice. Before Psycho Red could look up, the Pink Ranger landed on his back and tore him away. He lost hold of Andros as he and Pink rolled together on the ground. Luckily though, he came out on top.
"NONE of YOUR...BUSINESS!" he barked, punching her in the gut to emphasize each word. But Red Ranger recovered quickly, coming up from behind to smash the Spiral Saber over Psycho Red's head. Two surprises in a row left him dazed.
Helping Cassie to her feet, Andros moved protectively in front of her. "You wanted me, Psycho Red! Try to stick with me!"
"I can take you both on!" he boasted, even as he struggled to get back on his feet. But his effort was decieving. When Andros and Cassie charged in to attack, two bolts of burning electricity surged from the Psycho's fists, putting them both out of commission.
Cassie fell in a heap on the cement. Andros was blasted across the Plaza and went tumbing up against a cement tree planter. He lay still after impact, completely out cold. Psycho Red began to laugh.
A certain Yellow Ranger had seen the whole thing, and cried out, "Andros, get up! He's coming!" But Andros was oblivious to her warning, and to Psycho Red's approach. Red picked up the Spiral Saber on his way over to make the kill.
Her protective instincts kicking in, Ashley turned to Psycho Yellow and hit her several times in quick succession. Then she swept the young villainess to the ground. "Be right back!" she said, and went after Psycho Red.
The leader of the Psychos was surprised by her attack , and found himself nearly outmatched this time. He was unfamiliar with Yellow's style of fight. However, he was not to be taken down by his arch enemy's girlfriend. Quick like lightning, he had her helmet under his arm.
"It'll be ladies first, then!" he said.
In a burst of sparks, he smashed his fist into her helmet. She crumpled to the ground, stunned.
"Ashley, hang on!" cried the other Rangers. But they were too busy or injured to help her. Psycho Red let her stand up as he drew back to take a running charge. The Plaza echoed with the Pink Ranger's scream of "Ashley, LOOK OUUUTT!"
The Yellow Ranger barely saw it coming. The brutal blow impacted with tremendous force, then she sank, screaming, to the ground while a wound spouted sparks from her chest.
Cackles of laughter went up from Psycho Red, but he had little time to cheer. In a moment of dizzy confusion, he and the other Psychos were swept away. The Rangers were left alone in the Plaza, without having caused a single lasting bit of damage to their enemies. Ashley, Andros, and Cassie however, were a different story.
The two Rangers left standing ran to one of their injured friends. Carlos knelt over Andros's body, and tried hopelessly to shake him awake. Ashley, meanwhile, was having a tough time holding onto consciousness.
"T-teej..?" she gasped, shaking violently with shock.
"Right here, Ash. Try to stay awake."
"I c-can't see..."
Just then, a motorcycle roar made them all look up. Zhane had arrived, but obviously too late. He stood there in shock and dismay until Cassie reached out to him, requesting his help. Silently he helped her rise and cross the plaza to where her friends were, but upon their arrival they found Ashley had gone limp in TJ's arms.
"Ashley don't, c'mon... Stay with me. Stay with me!"
A mild groan came from nearby. Andros was waking finally. Anticipating the Red Ranger's reaction, Carlos placed himself between Andros and his friends so he couldn't see the state they were in.
"I got here as soon as I could," lamented Zhane, for what it was worth. Cassie swallowed her pain and sighed, "We've got some recovering to do."