"What now Captain?" one of the Ghost Pirates asked. "Back to the Ghost Realm?"
"Not yet" Keelhaul Jack replied. "There be no need to wait. Your Captain will have his wedding right now. Bring the wench to me."
Kimberly thrashed about frantically as two Ghost Pirates unbound her from the mast but kept her wrists and ankles tied together. They then dragged her over to the captain who grinned evilly as he looked her over.
"MMGH! MMGH!" Tommy grunted as he strained harder than ever against his bonds. He couldn't let this happen!
"Tie the boy to the mast" Keelhaul Jack ordered. "I want him to see everything."
"Aye aye Captain" two of his crew laughed. They hauled Tommy to his feet and dragged him over to the mast.
"Quit yer squirming whelp" one of them snarled as they tied him to the same point where Kimberly had recently been. "Yer wench belongs to the Captain now and ye'll soon be sold into slavery."
A few moments later the Ghost Pirates were gathered in a loose congregation. At the bow stood Keelhaul Jack and two of his crew held Kimberly in place. A white veil had been placed over her head.
"Dearly beloved we be gathered here today to celebrate the joining of this man and this woman in unholy matrimony" the captain said. He leered at Kimberly as she shook her head fearfully.
All eyes turned to the crow's nest where the lookout was pointing out to sea. "There be trouble ahead" he yelled.
Tommy and Kimberly's eyes lit up with hope and relief as they saw Jason, Trini, Zack and Billy speeding towards the Rusty Hook.
Keelhaul Jack scowled. "All hands, battle stations" he bellowed.
As soon as they were close enough the Rangers switched their Power Skis to auto-pilot and leaped onto the pirate ship.
"Release our friends and go back to your own realm" Jason commanded.
"Arr, them's fighting words all right" Keelhaul Jack replied. "Deal with the others lads, the red one's mine!"
The Ranger summoned their Power Weapons and the cutlasses materialised in the Ghost Pirates hands. The sound of clashing blades drifted over the waves as the battle was joined!
Zack and Billy soon found themselves at a disadvantage. The Power Axe and Power Lance both needed considerable space to be wielded effectively and so were ill-suited to fighting on the crowded deck. The Ghost Pirates by contrast needed far less room to use their weapons, allowing them to drive the two Rangers back and separate them so they couldn't fight back-to-back.
Trini was faring far better. Her Power Daggers were better suited for combat in confined spaces and having two blades to parry with made it easier to defend against multiple foes. She weaved through the mass of Ghost Pirates, dodging or deflecting chops from their cutlasses and responding with lightning-fast jabs. Each time she scored a direct hit a Ghost Pirate disappeared with a flash of light and a popping sound.
She was working her way towards Kimberly, currently laying on the deck after being knocked over in the confusion, when she saw the trouble Zack and Billy were in. Sparks flew from their suits as they took several hits and lost their footing.
Trini leaped over the Ghost Pirate mob, twisting in the air to land on her feet near the other two Rangers. She threw a series of jabs and cuts that forced the pirates to give ground, clearing enough room for Billy and Zack to get to their feet.
"Are you guys alright?"
"Affirmative" Billy replied.
"Yeah, thanks for bailing us out" Zack agreed.
Zack and Billy switched to their Blade Blasters. Unhampered by the smaller blades, all three Rangers began cutting a swathe through the Ghost Pirate's ranks.
Meanwhile Jason was facing off with Keelhaul Jack himself.
"Ye be a fool to cross blades with me boy" the captain snarled.
"You're going to regret messing with the Power Rangers" Jason responded. He charged in with a series of strong slashes. Steel rang against steel as Keelhaul Jack parried his blows.
As their captain had ordered them the Ghost Pirates made sure to keep away, allowing the two of them to duel without interruptions. This meant Jason had enough room to use his Power Sword effectively, giving him a few inches of vital reach over his opponent. Keelhaul Jack was surprisingly fast though and crucially was more experienced at fighting aboard a ship.
The constant listing of the deck from side to side subtly interfered with Jason's equilibrium and threw off his balance. As he slashed again he missed and almost lost his footing.
"Har har, yer a landlubber Ranger. Ye ain't got yer sea legs" the pirate captain laughed. He attacked with a volley of chops that forced Jason to back away as he fought to keep his foe at a distance. It took all of his concentration to block the blows and stay upright.
Wait a second… That's it!
As he blocked a cut aimed at his head Jason suddenly stumbled, lost his footing and fell to his knees. Keelhaul Jack uttered a cry of victory as he raised his cutlass.
"Jason!" Trini cried as the blade came down…
Only to be blocked by Jason's Power Sword with a sharp CLANG! With his free hand Jason drove his Blade Blaster into his foe's gut. The cutlass slipped from his suddenly slack fingers and clattered on the deck.
Jason… That stumble was deliberate Trini realised. It was to hide him drawing his Blade Blaster and lure the captain in close enough to use it.
"Well played lad" Keelhaul Jack managed to say even as his glow began to increase. "Ye have the cunning of a pirate."
With that he disappeared in a flash of light.
By now Billy, Trini and Zack had finished off the rest of the Ghost Pirates. They helped her up and cut her free while Jason freed Tommy.
"Are you okay Kim?" Trini asked as she removed her friend's gag.
"I'm okay" she replied. Her attention turned to Tommy as Jason finished cutting his ropes. "Tommy!"
They rushed over to each other and embraced tightly. The other Rangers smiled behind their helmets.
"Thanks for getting us out of that one guys" said Tommy once he and Kimberly let each other go. "That was a close one."
"No kidding. I almost got married to a pirate" said Kimberly with a grimace. "Eww!"
The Rangers chuckled. Before anyone could say anything else the deck started to rumble under their feet.
"The ship's disappearing" Jason exclaimed. "Come on!"
The Rangers all leaped from the deck to their Power Skis, with Kimberly holding on to Billy and Tommy holding on to Jason. They landed on the vehicles just in time as the Rusty Hook faded away, leaving no trace. Fortunately each Power Ski could accommodate two people.
As the Ghost Pirate ship disappeared completely their communicators beeped.
"Yes Zordon" Jason answered.
"EXCELLENT WORK POWER RANGERS. NOW RETURN TO THE COMMAND CENTRE. THERE IS SOMETHING I WISH TO TELL YOU."
The Rangers teleported to the Command Centre, Jason, Zack, Trini and Billy de-morphing en route. When they arrived Zordon addressed them.
"CONGRATULATIONS ON ANOTHER JOB WEL DONE RANGERS. ALPHA AND I HAVE SCANNED THE AREA AND DETERMINED THAT THE PORTAL TO THE GHOST REALM IS CLOSED."
"Those Ghost Pirates won't be bothering us anytime soon" Alpha added.
"Awesome" said Zack with a grin.
"TOMMY, KIMBERLY, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?" Zordon asked.
"We're fine" Tommy replied. "I hope I can explain to my uncle that I lost his yacht."
"DO NOT WORRY. ALPHA HAS LOCATED THE YACHT AND IT IS UNDAMAGED. ALSO I HAVE SOMETHING I'D LIKE TO OFFER YOU AND KIMBERLY."
"What's that?" Kimberly asked.
Things were not so harmonious up on the Moon.
"This is all your fault Finster!" Rita yelled. "If you had fixed the Monster-Matic sooner I wouldn't have needed to call in freelancers!"
"I'm sorry my Queen" Finster whimpered.
Rita whirled around and glared at Goldar. "It's your fault too Goldar! You let the Rangers beat you! Again!"
"It wasn't my fault. The Rangers…"
"Shut up! Both of you go and get me some aspirin for this headache!"
"Yes Rita" they both said simultaneously as they scurried away.
Back on Earth Kimberly was clinging to Tommy's back and squealing in excitement as they zoomed across the waves on Jason's borrowed Power Ski. Tommy was also enjoying himself, although how much of his thrilled smile was due to the speed they were riding at and how much was due to Kimberly holding onto him was anyone's guess.
Zordon had explained to them that while a Power Ski had been created for Kimberly he and Alpha had been unable to make one for Tommy due to his limited powers. He had also told them that while it was forbidden for the Rangers to use their powers for personal gain, he could bend the rule slightly in this case. By temporarily recalibrating a Power Ski's connection to the Morphing Grid and making it essentially just a regular jet ski, it was possible for the Rangers to use it for recreational purposes, something obviously not possible with their Dinozords. He had suggested this to Tommy and Kimberly as a compensation for Rita ruining their date and they had gleefully accepted.
Jason, Zack, Trini and Billy reclined on the deck of the recovered yacht and watched their friends with amused smiles.
You'll never win Rita Jason thought. Whether it's on the land, the sea or in the air, the Power Rangers will always be there to stop you.
Author's Note: Sorry for the absence of Bulk and Skull. I just couldn't think of a way to include them that wasn't gratuitous.
Also, I am aware that "jet ski" is just a brand name and the correct name for such a vehicle is a Personal Water Transport (PWT). However I think most people are more familiar with the term "jet ski" so I decided to stick with it here.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed and/or favourite'd this story. I really appreciate it.