The story so far: Pete Robinson was just another self-sufficient, lackadaisical otaku until one day, a red comet fell from the sky which turned out to be the super-powered paragon of justice and all-around busybody, the Crimson Ranger. Pete is conned by the dying Crimson Ranger into taking the Red One Changer and taking on the mantle of the Crimson Ranger. Just as Pete reluctantly agrees to take the badge, a fabulously beautiful costumed vigilante who calls herself Miss Vanity, appeared from out of nowhere seeking the badge. Pete reluctantly chooses to transform into the Crimson Ranger for no apparent reason. Although the battle is desperate, Pete's unyielding defense forces Miss Vanity to retreat and regroup. Pete collapses shortly afterwards only to be awoken by the spirit of the original Crimson Ranger who now resides in his head as a twin-tailed 13 year-old Japanese schoolgirl named Giselle Orchardwither. A few weeks after his initial transformation, Pete encounters a powerful enemy called Iron Gearhead who had been transformed using the light of RAGE by the diabolical Wrath, an interstellar warlord bent on mayhem and destruction who is currently targeting Earth. The battle is tough, but just as Iron Gearhead appeared to have gained the upper hand, a vigilante calling himself Baphomet interrupts when Iron Gearhead kicks a dog who happened to wander into the battlefield, thus invoking Baphomet's fury. A stunned Pete Robinson merely watches in awe as Iron Gearhead is swiftly defeated by the skillful Baphomet using a mixed martial arts triangle choke. This is the story of Pete Robinson, an ordinary guy who became the protector of our world, the paragon of justice and all-around busybody, Crimson Ranger!
Pete Robinson: Pete is the epitome of average. The only notable thing about his character is that he is a video game and anime otaku and he loves to spend his meager salary importing weird things from Japan. Despite his hobbies, Pete is the type of person who does not hold strong beliefs and would rather go with the flow and avoid conflict if possible. Pete works as an employee at Games R' Go.
Sheryl Harrison: A good friend of Pete who works as a manager at the hobby shop that Pete hangs out in. She has a very nerdy appearance and wears dark-rimmed glasses and has frizzy hair that looks quite reminiscent of overcooked spaghetti. Sheryl can be a bit of a control freak and likes to keep her shop nice and tidy. Lately, she has taken an interest in a comic book known as "The Adventures of Black Trojan"
Primela Rosenkreuz: Pete's co-worker who serves as the secretary of Games R' Go. A young woman with a model-like appearance that matches her trans-atlantic accent when she speaks. Most people wonder why she sticks to such a mundane job when she could easily be mistaken for a fashion model or actress. She seems to be on good terms with Pete.
Giselle Orchardwither: The original Crimson Ranger who currently only exists in Pete's head. She takes the form of a 13 year-old twin-tailed Japanese schoolgirl with a snarky personality. Possesses supreme mastery of the pwnage powers of the Crimson Ranger.
Miss Vanity: A beautiful super-powered vigilante who wields an elegant broadsword. She seems to value fashion and beauty above all else, even going as far as to avoid a battle if it might result in a broken nail. Currently works for Wrath as a mercenary.
Baphomet: A self-proclaimed protector of animal rights who is a master of stealth. He wears a horned goat's mask and appears to be a master of mixed martial arts – even going so far as to defeat an opponent who has been tainted with the light of RAGE using a triangle choke.
Wrath: The interstellar warlord and conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter who is currently targeting Earth. Possesses an army of one-hit kill underlings who serve no useful purpose other than target practice for heroes of justice. He can also use the light of RAGE in order to invoke a human being's pent-up anger and use this potential in order to transform them into a super-powered monster of the week. Upon defeat, a person who has fallen into RAGE transforms back into human form unharmed.
Episode 3: Dealing With Bullies
Miranda Atkinson's life in Soft Mellow High could be best described as a living hell. Miranda was a short girl for her age and she was very plain and nerdy-looking thanks to her astigmatism which forced her to wear glasses. On the other hand, Marisa Kirschner and Rhea Hopkins who were in the same class as Miranda were considered to be two of the hottest and most popular girls in school.
Even though Miranda looked quite nerdy, she wasn't really all that smart and in fact had troubles with schoolwork because of a learning disability. Furthermore, Miranda had trouble relating with other people because she had been diagnosed with mild autism at an early age. This made her an easy target for bullies – bullies in a position of power and security such as Marisa and Rhea. At first, it started with some harmless pranks such as taping a piece of paper that read, "I just crapped in my underwear" or similar messages on Miranda's back. Although some of their classmates thought that this was pointlessly cruel, most of them just laughed it off either because they were afraid to cross Marisa and Rhea and become the next target or because they genuinely enjoyed it. As the school term progressed however, Marisa and Rhea's bullying got worse and worse until it got to the point where they forced Miranda to crawl on her hands and knees like a dog whenever she was in their presence or they'd give her a new set of earrings via a giant stapler to her ears. Miranda was very physically weak and was quite powerless to stand up to Marisa and Rhea. Even though their classmates found the bullying somewhat disturbing, no one dared mention a word to the teachers because rumor had it that Rhea Hopkins' family controlled the school board and Rhea could easily get anyone who crossed her expelled and disqualified from going into high school… FOREVER!
All the while, Miranda simply smiled through the tears and pain that she had to endure on a daily basis – which just made Rhea and Marisa's bullying even worse.
Meanwhile inside a space fortress just outside of Earth's atmosphere, the interstellar warlord Wrath was closely monitoring Miranda Atkinson. Naturally, the space fortress had pwnage level cloaking technology which rendered it invisible to scanners, radars or any such device.
"Her RAGE potential is only 4000, m'lord." One of Wrath's scream-party-mask-wearing minions declared as he operated a computer terminal on the ship's bridge.
"I see… she is still not ready. Perhaps we need to give her a little encouragement."
"What would you have us do, m'lord?"
"Hmm… hehehe! Do you really want to know?"
A giant sweatdrop formed on the henchman's head. "Uhh… well, I think that I would rather…"
"It doesn't matter what you think!" Wrath declared. "Now then, I want you to use 'that' disguise and then…"
Wrath whispered into the henchman's ear.
"Please, m'lord! Anything but that!"
"Oh ho ho! You know you want to… yesss… yes you do!"
All this happened several months ago. Meanwhile, in the present, Pete Robinson was strolling along the local park and taking it easy.
"Yukkuriiii shite ne~!"
"Hey, aren't you going to stop by the hobby shop today?"
"Hmm? Nope. I don't feel like dealing with Sheryl today, Giselle."
"Why? Because you know she'll try to force-feed 'The Adventures of Black Trojan' down your throat again?"
"I thought you kinda liked that woman. If you don't ever plan to read that comic book, you should just say so. Keeping it hanging forever can only lead to heartache."
"I don't dislike her, but we're not in that kind of relationship, Giselle."
"Ouch! I didn't know that nonexistent little girls who only exist as a figment of my imagination via voices inside my head could hit so hard."
"It's all your fault, idiot! I'm telling you, that evasive personality of yours will lead to big-time trouble in the future, mister."
"Uh oh! I think we've got some small-time trouble here, though…" Pete stopped to watch a tiny miracle of everyday human interaction in this mundane world of ours. A 'crossing,' so to speak, between six human beings who acknowledged each other's existence.
There were a bunch of little boys on the grass in the park and five of them had surrounded one particularly skinny looking little boy. The leader of the brat pack was apparently pushing and shoving the skinny boy around while his goons laughed and surrounded the victim to prevent him from escaping. Any time the boy tried to run away, one of the other kids would grab him and push him back to the center of their human cage.
"Hey! What are those little brats doing! Grr… Pete! Destroy them, nao!"
"I can't do that, Giselle. They're just a bunch of kids."
"You mean you're just going to stand here and watch them beat up that poor little boy to within an inch of his life?"
"No… it's just that there's something about that kid – the one who's being bullied."
"Ugh... that's exactly the type of passive, noncommittal attitude that allows bullies to get away with it!"
"You feel pretty strongly about this, don't you?" Pete's tone made it almost seem as if he was amused that Giselle was getting so agitated. His ever-changing facial expression made him look pretty silly to any onlookers considering that he was talking to an annoyingly cute voice inside his head.
"It's just that…"
"Shh! Just watch. I think this kid is much 'stronger' than you give him credit for."
"Strong! STRONG! Look at those skinny limbs of his. He's as thin as a rail! I wouldn't be surprised if he was called Tommy Peabody!"
"Coward!" The skinny little kid suddenly declared.
"What? Say that again to my face, Michael."
"I said you're a coward! You're all a bunch of cowards! I dare you to face me man to man, Scott Tanner!" The little kid bravely put up his fists in defiance of the leader of the group who was at least two sizes bigger than him.
"Oh boy, I'm going to enjoy this…"
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, the light of RAGE descended upon the Earth indicating that another human being had fallen to their inner fury.
A rainbow-colored light darted from where the light of RAGE descended and landed on the park. A figure emerged from within the light.
"The strong shall live and the weak shall die! Stick a cupcake in your eye, for I am Lady Staplewire!"
Upon closer inspection, it was actually a female humanoid monster with a box cutter for a head and two staple guns for arms. She also wore a sash lined with boxes of staple wire.
Pete Robinson ducked behind some thick bushes and took out a plastic badge, the Red One Changer that allows him to transform into the paragon of justice and all-around busybody, the Crimson Ranger.
Raising the Red One Changer into the sky, Pete quietly chanted, "Transform… Paragon of Justice, Crimson Ranger!"
Pete was enveloped in a red light within which he twirled around several times as his casual clothes seemed to fade away from his body to be replaced by the tight-fitting spandex and embarrassing motorcycle helmet of the Crimson Ranger.
Once the magical-girlesque transformation sequence had completed, Pete stepped out into the open to confront Lady Staplewire.
But… before we get to that, let's go back about two weeks ago when the new student entered Soft Mellow High. Her name was Sarah Mikado and she was a half-Japanese exchange student with a very timid appearance – even more timid than that of Miranda Atkinson. Sarah had caught Rhea and Marisa's eye from day one and from that moment on, they decided to make her the new target of their bullying since they had grown tired of the ever-submissive Miranda. In one of their bullying escapades, they actually asked Miranda to join in and give Sarah a good hard slap to the face. At first, Miranda was reluctant to do so, but when Rhea and Marisa threatened to go back to bullying her if she refused to comply, Miranda hit Sarah so hard that she fell back and hit her head on the pavement rendering her unconscious. At that moment, Miranda felt not pity for Sarah, but pure, unadulterated satisfaction. From that moment on, Miranda became Sarah's number one tormentor and she treated her victim much worse than Rhea and Marisa had treated her. She even went as far as to use a stun gun on Sarah while they were in the hallway until the girl passed out and lost control of her bladder. Even Rhea and Marisa were beginning to fear Miranda and her capacity for cruelty. As for Miranda herself, she reveled in her newfound role as the bully instead of the victim and she swore never to let anyone push her around again.
At about the time that she had made this declaration, the ultimate ragequitter Wrath, noticed that Miranda Atkinson's rage levels had exceeded 9000! At that moment, Wrath knew that it was time to use the light of RAGE on Miranda.
Back in present time, Lady Staplewire had noticed the kids in the park and she wasn't too happy about it.
"Cheeeeldrin? The epitome of cowardice and helplessness! I must destroy them, I must!"
"Ahhh! She's gonna kill us! Run for it!"
The kids all scattered and ran about wildly in all directions. Only one little boy stood his ground. Even though his legs were trembling beneath him, little Michael Silverberg held his ground defiantly in a move that was more suicidal rather than courageous.
Lady Staplewire raised her hand over her head and brought it down with lethal force upon Michael's head.
But at that moment, the Crimson Ranger stepped in and deflected the blow.
"Hmm? What do you think you're doing, you weirdo?" Lady Staplewire hissed.
"As the paragon of justice and all-around busybody, the Crimson Ranger, I cannot allow you to harm this innocent child."
"Gawd, that line is cheesy." An annoyingly cute voice mused from within Pete's head.
"Hey! Whose side are you on here, Giselle?"
"Just sayin!" Giselle Orchardwither replied.
Meanwhile, Michael and the other kids had retreated and were watching the battle from a safe distance.
"Take this! Twin Staple Machine Gun Red!"
Lady Staplewire fired off several rounds of giant staple burning wires at the Crimson Ranger with deadly accuracy at over 9000 feet per second. The Crimson Ranger flew several feet and fell on his back at the sheer force of the attack.
"Pete, this is dangerous. Your shield levels are at critical."
But before the Crimson Ranger could get back on his feet, Lady Staplewire did an unnecessarily acrobatic jump, landed in front of him and grabbed him by the neck.
"Looks like you're all talk, Crimson Ranger."
The Crimson Ranger drew his right hand back and punched Lady Staplewire square in the face. A sucker punch by anyone's standards, but a rather effective one. Lady staplewire grabbed her head and reeled in pain which gave the Crimson Ranger just enough time to get to his feet and put some distance between himself and his adversary.
"Pete, try a projectile attack at this range."
"You got it, Giselle. I know my fighting games, after all… hadouken!"
"Idiot! You don't have that in your arsenal."
"oh… right, Crimson Aura Spear!" The Crimson Ranger positioned his hand above his head as if to grab an imaginary spear and almost immediately, a large Crimson halberd materialized into the palm of his hand. He hurled the spear at Lady Staplewire who was still trying to recover from the sucker punch he had inflicted upon her just moments before.
"Huh?" Lady Staplewire caught sight of the deadly projectile heading her way and she closed her eyes – seemingly resigned to her fate.
"Rainbow Staple Tornado!" The moment she said this, a pillar of light erupted from the ground beneath Lady Staplewire's feet and surrounded her. The light caused the crimson aura spear to fade away into nothingness before it could reach its target.
"Behold, Crimson Ranger! You see before you an infinite number of staple wires! The finest of staple wires! And I can command them at will to form an impregnable shield."
"Damn it… then how about… Crimson Aura Spear spam! Take this! and this! and this! and this! and this!"
The Crimson Ranger threw one spear after another at Lady Staplewire with blinding speed and pinpoint accuracy, unfortunately, all of the projectiles met the same fate and faded away into nothingness as soon as they made contact with the Rainbow Staple Tornado.
"Pathetic… is that all you can do?" Lady Staplewire taunted.
Suddenly, the Rainbow Staple Tornado dispersed and flew up on top of the Crimson Ranger's head. The staple wires then surrounded the hero of justice and crashed into his heroic frame with the speed of a 22 LR bullet – a subsonic speed at best, but still pretty fast.
"Blarrrgh!" The Crimson Ranger was once again knocked down by Lady Staplewire's attack.
"H-hey… he's losing. We'd better get out of here," One of the child bullies from earlier said as he watched the Crimson Ranger go down a second time.
"No! We need to stand here and watch!"
"What? Are you crazy? Why would we do that, Michael?"
Michael paused for awhile and then said aloud with conviction, "because he's fighting for our sake… for all of us!"
The Crimson Ranger once again struggled back to his feet.
"Pete, your body armor took the full force of that attack. Your force field is now inactive. She's much too powerful, we need to retreat and regroup or you'll really take damage from the next blow."
"I can't, Giselle."
"What are you talking about, you fool. Do you have a death wish or something?"
"Dying is the furthest thing from my mind right now, Giselle… but look," Pete pointed to the kids who were watching his battle from afar. "If I fail now, those kids will think that 'might makes right' for as long as they live… as the paragon of justice, I cannot allow that to happen."
"Sniffle… that was so profound, Pete. Fine then, I won't stop you. Please die a noble death in this hopeless battle and become one with the stars! I shall pray for your soul." Giselle Orchardwither said in an annoyingly cute voice that was raised one pitch higher than usual.
"Urgh… I'm not dead yet, you… you… ah forget it!"
"What? You're still going to get up after that? You do know that you can't win against me, don't you, Crimson Ranger?"
"We won't know until I try."
"Why? Why do you try so hard to stop me even though you are clearly overmatched? What do you fight for, Crimson Ranger?"
"Hmph! I can't just let you do as you please and harm these innocent children, Lady Staplewire."
"Innocent? INNOCENT? What kind of drug are you on, Crimson Ranger? Don't you know that children are far from innocent? Even babies put together in the same crib will bite and claw each other for a single feeding bottle. No one is innocent! There is only one law in this world and that is that the strong shall live and the weak shall perish! That mummified gentleman from my favorite anime show from the mid-nineties was correct!"
"Hah! I watched that show too! Just remember, it's the red-haired pushover who eventually won the fight!"
"I call plothax… but enough talk, have at you!"
Lady Staplewire once again called for the Rainbow Staple Tornado to attack the Crimson Ranger.
"Don't worry, Giselle. I'm beginning to get the hang of this… focus."
Pete focused his mind into making himself as small a target as possible and began weaving and dodging through the hail of bullets with relative ease.
"Impossible… you're using crimson pwnage grazing at your level?" Giselle Orchardwither said in shock.
"Now it's time for the counter-attack!" The Crimson Ranger Declared.
However, as soon as he got near Lady Staplewire, the Crimson Ranger immediately flew back several meters from a new attack that the monster lady had been waiting to unleash at melee range.
"Rising Staple Kick!"
Pete wailed and cried out in pain like a little girl from the aftermath of the attack. He looked down upon his chest and saw that his spandex had been ripped to shreds and there were 20-30 size 10 staples attached to his skin.
"How do you like that, Crimson Ranger? You can't win against me at any range. So just give up and accept your defeat."
"Never!" The Crimson Ranger once again struggled back to his feet even though his costume was ripped to shreds and several ribs had been broken by Lady Staplewire's vicious attack.
"Why, Crimson Ranger? You can't even stand up straight. You have no hope of defeating me in your condition, so why do you still insist on fighting? I'll even let you off easy. Here, I'll let you and the kids go. So walk away now before you waste this act of mercy."
"I thank you for your generosity, Lady Staplewire, but I cannot do that. If I walk away now, these kids will never learn to stand up for themselves. They'll take the cowards way out for the rest of their lives... therefore, as long as those kids depend on me, the Crimson Ranger cannot lose."
"Hmm…" Lady Staplewire scratched her chin and seemed to be deep in thought. "You know what, Crimson Ranger?"
"You IRRITATE me! You call yourself the paragon of justice? Where were you when Rhea and Marisa were using staplers on my ears? Where were you when they stuffed my mouth with someone's dirty underwear? Why weren't you around to save me when I needed someone like you the most!"
"I…I'm sorry you had to go through that, but it's not right for you to take out your rage and frustration on others."
"Liar! The truth is that you're just doing this for yourself. You just like parading around like a freak show in tight spandex and using your superhero powers to show off… that's right. Deep inside, you're a loser just like I was!"
"It's true that some people may consider me a loser, Lady Staplewire, but I never chose to become the Crimson Ranger…"
"Uhh… yup. I totally forced this involuntary obligation upon you." Giselle Orchardwither said sheepishly.
"Still, someone asked for my help and I couldn't just ignore that… Lady Staplewire, just you wait. I'll show you that I can save these kids with my power and I will save you as well."
"Save me? Perhaps your injuries have made you delusional, Crimson Ranger! Here, let me open your eyes."
Lady staplewire open-fired with both of her staple guns – but her target was not the Crimson Ranger but the frightened kids who were watching the fight from a distance.
Suddenly, a blur of purple and white dashed right in front of the kids and deflected all of Lady Staplewire's projectiles like they were – well, cheap pieces of staple wire.
"Who are you? Why do you interfere? Are you here to fight me as well?" Lady Staplewire asked the mysterious stranger who had just saved the children from certain death via staple gun.
"Dah-link, I would do nothing of the sort. I'm just a beautiful passer-by who happened to be around when you fired those gaudy staples at these scruffy little munchkins. Also, I must say, what is that incredibly tacky outfit that you are wearing? It is felony, I tell you! A crime against fashion!"
"Miss Vanity…? What are you doing here?" Asked a bewildered Pete.
"Well met, Crimson Ranger Dah-link. I see your costume has seen better days. In any case, like I said I'm just passing by so don't take this the wrong way… it's not like I like you or anything, Dah-link." Miss Vanity gave the Crimson Ranger a wink.
"By the way, Crimson Ranger, where is the calmest point of a tornado?" And with this parting message poof! Miss Vanity disappeared as fast as she had arrived in a cloud of purple smoke.
"Wow! That lady had a nice butt…" One of the kids who standing right behind Miss Vanity mused. The others all nodded in agreement.
"Well, that was a weird interruption. Now then, Crimson Ranger… you look like you can barely stand. Are you ready to accept defeat? You must realize that your monochromatic powers are no match for my rainbow colored staples of doom by now."
"Actually, Lady Staplewire… let's give this one more go." The Crimson Ranger said in a firm voice.
"Have it your way then. Prepare to die! Rainbow Staple Tornado!"
Once again, a pillar of light erupted from the ground beneath Lady Staplewire's feet, but before she could command the deadly tornado to land the finishing blow on the Crimson Ranger, Pete forced his pwnage powers to activate through sheer force of will and leapt up high into the sky – out of the tornado's range.
"Hiding won't do you any good, Crimson Ranger!"
Suddenly, the Crimson Ranger appeared from out of the clouds and descended right on top of Lady Staplewire's Rainbow Staple Tornado.
"Of course… the eye of the tornado is as still as death – according to eyewitness accounts anyway… time to put that to the test, Miss Vanity." Pete thought to himself.
"Here goes nothing… Crimson Pwnage Speed Blitz!"
"Arrrgh… I'll have my revenge!"
Lady Staplewire cried out as the Crimson Ranger crashed right into her at a speed that was approximately just 20% slower than the speed of light. The hero's gamble had paid off. Lady Staplewire collapsed face first on the grass. The monster's form gradually faded away to be replaced by that of a petite young girl in a high school uniform – Miranda Atkinson.
Bloodied and bruised from the battle and from using such a high-level attack, Pete dragged his feet to take him to some nearby bushes.
"Wow! He won! He actually won! Did you guys see that? He kept fighting and never gave up and he finally won!" Michael exclaimed.
All the other kids – the former bullies, nodded in unison. Everyone learned something from today's battle, including Miranda Atkinson who slowly got up to her feet and looked to the sky with eyes that were full of hope.
"Thank you, Crimson Ranger." The next day, Miranda Atkinson planned to walk up to Sarah Mikado and get down on her hands and knees and apologize for the way she had mistreated the exchange student. Little did she know that the Sarah Mikado was none other than the Wrath's unnamed computer terminal henchman in disguise and that he wouldn't show up for class for the rest of the school term.
Pete waited until everyone was gone before he came out of hiding from the bushes.
"Well, that pretty scary eh, Giselle?"
"Are you an idiot! You could have died back there!"
"Are you… crying? Awww… I'm touched."
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!"
"Ah, I didn't know you had a tsundere streak in you."
"Sigh… forget it. Just change back into Pete now. You look ridiculous."
"I do, don't I." Pete looked over his bruises and torn costume just to confirm this.
He pressed a large red button on his belt and the Crimson Ranger's costume gradually faded away to reveal mr. average guy, Pete Robinson underneath.
"Pete Robinson? You are the Crimson Ranger?" A familiar trans-atlantic voice screamed from behind Pete.
To be continued… See you in the next episode!
Next Episode Preview: Pete attends an anime convention and buys a limited edition Saber Lily figure! Meanwhile, Primela and Sheryl finally meet and they discover a shared passion for The Adventures of Black Trojan! Pete also discovers that his rent is overdue and he just blew his entire month's salary on his costume for the cosplay competition! All this and more in the next exciting episode of the paragon of justice and all-around busybody, Crimson Ranger