Sasha looked up as Kendall and Ivan walked into the base. "I thought you guys were out trick-or-treating?" she asked.
"I thought you were getting dressed?" Kendall countered. She was dressed as a purple musketeer.
"Halloween's not really my thing," Sasha explained, going back to her computer. "Why are you here and where are the others?"
"They've been captured."
Kendall nodded and wandered over to her workstation.
"Captured by whom?" Sasha asked.
"We don't know," Ivan answered. He too was dressed up. This time as a scarecrow. "They dropped this after they left." He handed Sasha a scroll.
Sasha furrowed her brow as she unrolled the sheet of paper, and inspected its contents. "Halloween Intergalactic Court?" she read. "An alien judicial system? That's a thing?"
"Apparently," Kendall murmured.
"Hey, Keeper, do you know anything about this?" Sasha asked the alien as he ventured out of Koda's cave. She handed him the scroll and stood from her chair.
"The Power Rangers are to be put on trial," Keeper said, reading the paper further.
"But our comrades have committed no crime," Ivan said, affronted by the accusation.
Sasha shrugged. "Not in our eyes," she said. "But in the eyes of other aliens, and alien-sympathises, the Rangers defence could be seen as a murder spree."
"The prosecutor is the monster Scumlaw," Keeper said, pointing at the name. "He has never lost a single case!"
"He's never lost, huh?" Kendall asked, looking up from her computer. Her eyes suddenly widened and she gasped. "He must be cheating by controlling the jury!"
"Jury tampering would explain why he's always won," Sasha agreed.
"The court is very powerful," Keeper explained. "If our friends are given 10 strikes, then they'll be destroyed."
Sasha, Ivan, and Kendall exchanged startled looks.
"We need a way into that courtroom," Sasha said. "Keeper?"
"The only way in is as a prisoner of the mummy guards."
"Mummy guards?" Sasha asked. "You didn't say anything about mummy guards," she added to Kendall.
"Sorry," Kendall apologised.
"But if we're captured, we'll be on trial as well," Ivan pointed out.
"Maybe. Maybe not," Kendall said, looking thoughtful.
"Maybe not?" Sasha asked. "How are you going to get around an obvious flaw like this?"
"Because I know a couple of people who can help," said Kendall, wandering back to her computer.
Sasha shrugged as Ivan looked her way. "As long as you're not expecting me to put on a mask," she said.
"Not even to help Adelaide?"
"I love my sister," Sasha said. "But I wouldn't put on a mask for her. Besides, aside from her Ranger helmet, she's not a huge lover of things that cover your face, either."
"What if you knew the people behind the masks?" Ivan asked. "What if they weren't scary?"
Sasha shook her head.
Ivan pursed his lips.
"Don't go getting any ideas, Ivan," Sasha warned. "And don't go telling anyone, either, especially Chase. He may care a great deal about Adelaide, but I wouldn't put it past him to tease or frighten her."
Ivan held his hands up in defence. "My lips are sealed," he promised.
"Spellbinder and Gold Digger!"
The smoky silhouette of the two, now destroyed, monsters, appeared over the cauldron.
"Yes, because they're honest," Tyler called from the stand. "Why don't we get to choose witnesses?"
"Silence!" the first pumpkin head judge shouted.
Scumlaw laughed and turned to the two monsters. "State the Rangers' crimes," he said.
"They destroyed both of us, twice!" Gold Digger said, waving a finger at the team.
"What?" Chase scoffed.
"The first time, I was giving the Rangers a hypnosis lesson…" Spellbinder said. "It was just an honest lesson. A little hypnosis never hurt anyone!"
"Honest lesson?" Adelaide yelled, jumping to her feet. "You put my best friend under a spell, told him to hurt me, and then tried to get him to destroy Shelby."
"Silence!" the pumpkin judges shouted. "Let the witnesses finish!"
Folding her arms, Adelaide sat back down and glared at the floor.
"Gold Digger and I were sharing a body when we generously let Heckyl share our gold coins with the poor," Spellbinder continued.
"You Rangers should be ashamed!" Scumlaw chided.
"For what, defending the innocent?" Adelaide snapped.
"Defending, more like destroying the innocent," Scumlaw countered. He turned his back on the team and presented the court to the judges.
The pumpkin heads flickered and addressed the jury. "What is your verdict?" they asked.
Without saying a word, the jury turned to the strike board as three more lights lit up.
"Three?!" Shelby and Riley cried.
"Two for when you destroyed them the first time," Scumlaw explained.
"You're making these rules up!" Tyler argued.
"Unbelievable!" Chase muttered.
"And one more for when they shared the same body!" Scumlaw laughed. "Five strikes so far! Perfect!"
"This is crazy," Riley said, looking around the room. He pointed at Scumlaw. "Where's your strike for malpractice?"
"Order in the court!" the pumpkin judges yelled. Their lights flickering out and then reigniting.
Sasha tapped her foot as she stood with Philip and James, watching and waiting for the perfect opportunity to spring their plan. "Tell me again why I had to be here?" she grumbled.
"Because you're not a ranger?" James offered.
"Thanks for clearing that up," Sasha muttered. "I meant, why do I have to be here with you two? You're going to be playing the guards, and I hate people in masks. It doesn't matter if I know who is beneath them."
Philip looked at Sasha. "Even if it were Adelaide?" he asked.
"Adelaide detests masks, maybe not as much as myself, but she'd never wear one, either," Sasha explained.
"How do you feel about costumes?" James asked.
Sasha offered him a pointed look. "I was an Air Force pilot," she explained. "I wore a uniform. To many people, a uniform is a costume."
"Fair point," James agreed.
"Guys, they're here," said Philip. He pointed out to the park where two mummy guards had stopped Ivan and Kendall.
"You're coming with us!" the first mummy guard said.
Sasha looked at James and Philip. "Go," she said.
The two auxiliary rangers stepped out of the tree line, grabbed ahold of a mummy guard, and pulled them back underneath the cover of foliage.
"Let's get this over with," said Sasha. She turned her back as James and Philip changed into the mummy guards clothes, and then hid the bodies. "Are you finished?"
"Wait…. One second," James said. He sounded like he was struggling. "Done."
"Done," Philip echoed.
Sasha inhaled deeply, swallowed and then turned around. Her eyes widened and her breathing caught in her chest as she faced the Aqua and Graphite rangers. She clenched and unclenched her fingers as her palms started to become sticky.
"Are you okay?" James asked.
Instantly, Sasha relaxed.
"Are we ready to do this?" Kendall asked, approaching Sasha along with Ivan.
Sasha closed her eyes and then nodded. "Yes. I think we are," she said. She picked up the device the first mummy guard had dropped when Philip had dragged him into the trees and turned to Kendall. "I'll open the portal for you. But after that, you're on your own."
"We'll be fine," Kendall assured her.
"Then let's do this."
Walking out into the park, Sasha held up the device and activated it. With a whirl of energy, a vapour of light shot out of the end and a swirling vortex appeared in the group's path.
"Good luck," Sasha said as her friends passed through.
The vortex closed, leaving Sasha alone in the park. She sighed and headed back to the museum.
"Call your final witness, Scumlaw," the judges addressed the lawyer.
"Iceage, Stingrage, and Meteor," Scumlaw said to the witch. The woman nodded, stirred her pot, and the vapours of the fallen monsters hovered in the air.
"State the Rangers' crimes," Scumlaw said.
"I first met the Rangers when I was out camping, and their Zord attacked me!" said Iceage. "Then later, I tried to make friends with them by, uh… helping them cool off! Yeah, that's it!"
Adelaide scoffed and turned to Chase. "Don't tell me they don't recognise hesitation," she grumbled.
Chase merely shrugged.
"Each time, they destroyed me!" Iceage whined.
"Again with the lies," Riley said, standing. "This guy, Iceage? He tried to steal the pink and purple Energems, and then he froze us in blocks of ice!"
"Exactly!" Tyler agreed. "He's the one who's guilty!"
"Hogwash!" Scumlaw countered.
"Order!" the judge's shouted.
Riley and Tyler sighed, dropping back into their seats.
"Next witness," the judges called forth.
"The Rangers have been nothin' but rotten to me," Meteor said, addressing the court.
Stingrage nodded. "They've destroyed me a bunch," he agreed. "The first time when I tried to calm that crazy Ankylo Zord."
"He was only crazy because you infected him!" Adelaide argued. "You got Koda, too!" she added, pointing at the blue ranger.
"The worst time was when I was giving the marathon runners refreshing water," Stingrage continued.
"Stingrage is tricking you," Koda said, jumping to his feet. "That not what happen the way he say!"
Meteor grinned and leaned forward. "I was just in New Zealand for a rugby match," he said.
"What?!" the Rangers groaned.
"Yeah, big fan. Big fan," Meteor nodded. "And then I made friends with a nice dinosaur professor, and the Rangers attacked me!"
"What? Meteor was helping those two steal the purple Energem from Albert!" Shelby screeched, shooting to her feet.
"She's got it all wrong!" Meteor whined.
"Let me finish!" Shelby insisted. "And then he blackmailed Dr Runga and tried to get the Plesio Zord!"
Ignoring the Rangers pleas, the pumpkin judges addressed the Jury once more. "What is your verdict?" they asked,
The strike boxes lit up several more times until a skull ignited on top.
"Guilty!" the pumpkin judges determined.
"That's ten strikes!" Scumlaw declared. "You're out, Rangers! Time to be vaporised."
Adelaide scoffed and dropped her head into her hands.
"That's not fair!" Chase protested.
"This isn't right!"
"In a normal court of law, each side is allowed to call witnesses!"
The witch cackled and, with a boom, the doors at the back of the courtroom opened. The mummy guards shuffled in, pushing Ivan and Kendall forward.
"Well, look who's here," Scumlaw said, gleefully.
"Oh no," Chase sighed. "They've caught Kendall and Ivan, too."
"Well done, guards!" Scumlaw praised. "These two Rangers must also pay for the crimes we've just heard!"
"They will be vaporised with the others!" the judges declared.
Adelaide leaned forward.
"Wait," Kendall said, interrupting. "It's clear there are criminals here. But it's not the Rangers. It's the jury!"
Also, leaning forward, the Rangers watched as Kendall instructed the two guards to take off the hoods of the jury members. They did so, revealing several vivixs, Poisandra, and Curio.
"This isn't good," Poisandra complained.
"They're Sledge's friends," Ivan stated.
"The jury was rigged!" the pumpkin judges exclaimed.
"No!" Poisandra whined, angrily.
"Scumlaw made us do it!" Curio defended weakly.
"I bet you didn't take much convincing," Adelaide said.
Angrily, Scumlaw turned on his guards. "You betrayed me!" he accused. "And I paid you with good candy!"
Kendall folded her arms and grinned. "You should really pick your guards more carefully," she said, looking up at the two either side of her.
The guards removed their glasses, hats, and masks.
"Dad!" Tyler exclaimed, suddenly.
"Prince Philip!" Koda smiled.
Adelaide grinned. "You made it!" she said, happily.
"At your service," Philip said, nodding once.
"You're not my guards!" Scumlaw growled.
"The Rangers are found innocent of all charges!" the pumpkin judges decided, earning cheers from the team.
Adelaide laughed and high-fived Chase as the shackles around their wrists disappeared.
"And you, Scumlaw, are sentenced to be vaporised instead," the judges announced.
"What? No! Your honours!" Scumlaw gasped, turning quickly to the pumpkins. "I can explain everything."
"This should be interesting," Shelby muttered.
"Actually, I lied, I can't explain anything," Scumlaw sneered. "Emergency recess, time!" He snapped his fingers and disappeared.
"Like we didn't see that one coming," Adelaide said.
"Don't worry, your honours, we can take care of him," said Tyler.
The others grinned and nodded.
"As you wish. You are now released from custody. Court adjourned."
Adelaide blinked and looked around. One minute she had been in a dark courtroom, in shackles, and now she was on a street in downtown Amber Beach.
"It's time to pay for your trickery!" Ivan said, stepping forward and pointing at Scumlaw.
"Taking the law into your own hands, Rangers?" Scumlaw asked.
"Like you did?"
"Come get me."
"You asked for it!" said Tyler, stepping forward. The others followed and fell into line either side of him. "It's morphin' time!" he called, holding up an orange flower. "Dino Charger -"
"Energise, ha! Unleash the Power!"
Morphed, and ready for action, the team flipped into battle, racing to face down Scumlaw and his vivixs.
"This fight is an open and shut case!" Chase said, ducking under a fist while punching and kicking two vivixs as they got too close.
"Talk about poetic justice!" Kendall said, smashing her foot into another vivix.
Scumlaw growled as he watched his foot soldiers get destroyed left, right, and centre. "Time to stack the jury," he said to himself. "Vivix, rise!
"Uh-oh!" Adelaide gasped, looking up.
"Time to call in some back-up!" said Tyler, reaching for a second dino charger. Chase, Riley, Koda, James, and Philip followed his lead.
"Summon Zords!" they each called.
Adelaide flipped over a Vivix as it run towards her, she hit the ground and fell into a forward roll. "I could use some help here!" she called as Scumlaw appeared in her path. She aimed a kick for his head, but he blocked and pushed her away.
"I got you!" said Philip, catching her as she stumbled.
"Let's break some laws," Scumlaw said, running at the two rangers. He aimed a punch at the couple but was blocked by Adelaide's bubble. "No fair! That's cheating!" he wailed.
Adelaide grinned. "In my defence," she emphasised. "I don't think so."
Philip laughed as Chase, Koda, and Tyler joined them.
"Let's execute this executioner," Tyler said.
Scumlaw groaned as Koda punched him in the chest, throwing him back onto the floor. "Ow," he whined, dragging himself back to his feet. "Can I just get away with a slap on the wrist?"
"Not this time, Scumlaw," Tyler said.
"It's over!" Shelby said, running over with the others. The vivixs had been destroyed, so had the vivizords.
"The verdict is in…" Adelaide said, holding up her morpher and aiming it at Scumlaw. "In the case of jury tampering, and false accusations in the first degree. We find you -"
"No!" Scumlaw yelled.
"Dino Morpher Blast!" the rangers called, each holding their morphers on Scumlaw.
"Case closed!" Scumlaw called as the blast hit him, causing him to explode.
Adelaide giggled as she run into the Dino bite cafe, her Jester's hat chiming with each step. She'd just come back from trick-or-treating with her friends and was carrying a small sack full of candy. "I win!" she declared, emptying her supply onto a nearby table and marveling at the heap.
"Excuse me," Chase said, adding his own candy to the pile. He was dressed as a vampire, complete with fake teeth. "We win."
"You cheat!" Tyler said, walking over with Shelby. The two had decided to dress as a matador and a pirate this Halloween.
"Did not!" Adelaide said, folding her arms. "How can you cheat at trick-or-treating?"
"We were supposed to split into pairs," said Shelby. "You and Chase went off together, and then split up again. That's cheating."
Chase and Adelaide grinned at each other.
"That's called being smart," said Chase.
"Yeah. It's not our fault you didn't think of it too," Adelaide agreed.
Shelby threw up her hands and walked away.
On the other side of the cafe, watching with amused smiles, were Sasha and James. The latter had decided to keep the mummy guard costume and join his son and friends for their annual Halloween party.
"Are they always like this?" James asked.
"Teasing?" Sasha asked, fixing her poison ivy costume. While she wasn't a huge fan of Halloween she had decided, at the last minute, to dress up for the occasion. Instead of choosing a superhero costume, like many had expected her to do, she had opted for a villainousness instead.
"Pretty much, yeah," Sasha said, smiling. "Adelaide's always energetic and hyperactive, but it's been fun seeing the others interact with her. Not everyone can handle Adelaide at her best or worst, for that matter, but these guys have been great."
"She's a handful, I agree," said James. "But she's fun. Sometimes that's not a bad thing."
"Doing this job, it's definitely not a bad thing."
James smiled and looked around as Adelaide squealed. He saw Prince Philip standing behind the jester, tickling her and making her laugh.
"I thought I heard the Court Jester," Ivan said, wandering over.
"Topsy is not a Court Jester!" Adelaide exclaimed. "He is a leader of gypsies."
"Who is Topsy?" Koda asked, confused.
"Topsy is the leader of the gypsies in Hunchback of Notre Dame," said Chase. "Adelaide loves him."
"He's the best character in the whole film, aside from Quasi, of course!" Adelaide said, bouncing around so that her outfit jingled again.
Shelby furrowed her brow. "Last I checked, there was no 'Topsy' in Hunchback," she said, looking to Sasha for help.
Sasha shook her head and walked over. "She means Clopin. Hunchback has always been a favourite Disney movie for Ade, but for a long time she never knew the jester's name, and after the Topsy Turvy song, she just started calling him Topsy. Even after she learned his real name, the name Topsy had taken root. There was no point in changing it. So, he's Topsy now."
"I think I'd rather be called a Court Jester than a Gypsy, myself," said Riley.
"You'd rather be a fool?"
"Better to be a fool than a thief."
Sasha shook her head. "Romani people aren't thieves, Riley," she said. "That's just stereotyping."
"Some of them are," Riley insisted.
"Yes, but you can't blame the majority of Romani people for a few minor groups," said Sasha. "I've met many Romani's, they are decent people. Their society and culture are different to ours, but that doesn't make them bad."
Riley shrugged. She had a point.
"On a brighter note," Sasha added, as Kendall finally arrived from the lab with Keeper in tow. Normally the alien mentor stayed out of sight, but given it was Halloween, no one would be none-the-wiser tonight. "If you leave now, you can probably catch the rest of the Halloween party."
"Indeed, excellent idea, m'lady," Ivan said, grinning.
"Then what are we waiting for?" Chase asked. He grabbed a large sack and pulled the mountain of candy that he and Adelaide had collected into it. "Let's go! Come on, Ade, maybe they'll have sour candies at the party."
"I love sour candies!" Adelaide proclaimed, bouncing around. Her outfit jingled loudly with every step.
Sasha groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I don't know what's worse," she said to those left behind. "Knowing that she's going to in hyperactive overdrive for the rest of the night, or that godforsaken costume."
"Hey, you bought it for her," Kendall said, linking arms with Sasha and walking out of the cafe. Ahead of them, James, Keeper, and Philip were the rest of the team. "Doesn't that make it your fault."
"I wanted to buy her a Disney princess or even a Tinkerbell outfit. But no, she wanted Clopin."
"I thought Clopin was her favourite character?" James asked, suddenly confused. "Why wouldn't you want her to dress as her favourite character?"
"He is," Sasha said, nodding. "But I'm pretty sure she only wanted to be him because the costume jingles a lot. Adelaide has a small mind, she's easily pleased. She's like a cat. You give a cat a ball of yarn, and it'll play for hours. Adelaide's the same."
"I can only imagine what she'd wear to a Christmas party," said James, almost teasingly.
Sasha groaned again as James, Kendall, Philip, and Keeper chuckled at her expense.
Christmas and Halloween were two of the most exhausting holidays in the McMillian home, especially when one considered Adelaide's love for jingling bells.