It was early morning and the sky was clear, green and bright.
Jay and Laura were flying in a northeasterly direction back to the royal palace. They had just attained cruising altitude and speed for the trip back from the Valley of the Mothers, which would take about four hours. They would fly over many of the places they visited on the way back, including the S'aa village and the Purple Valley.
Laura again was at the cockpit. Jay leaned back in his seat to take a nap.
"Another two weeks and we start running this place," Laura said.
"I can hardly wait," Jay said with mock excitement, with his eyes closed.
"You know you want to be king, Jay," Laura replied as she adjusted the air conditioning in the ship. She looked over at him, trying to take his nap. She imagined how he looked as a kid back in Louisiana, as Angie tucked him in for the night under the covers.
Laura liked flying the egg. Being in the air gave her a feeling of exhilaration, like she was a bird, free to travel on the wind as she pleased. She also felt connected to Jay while flying, since he was in the Air Force. Laura never flew commercially while living in New York. The furthest she ever traveled (after MIB placed her in the group home) was on a field trip to Washington D.C. when she was in the ninth grade, and that was on Amtrak.
The flight was peaceful, quiet and uneventful. Soon the wedding plans would begin in earnest. There would be meetings with Shakita and the palace staff, menu planning, guest lists, rehearsals, more teleconferences with Angie. But Laura wanted both herself and Jay to spend the rest of this day activating their Light energy, as Angie instructed them to do. It would be a time of great togetherness and intimacy, and would help refresh them both after the long tour.
Laura wanted Jay to activate his energy in order to help him understand the drastic and sudden changes he was now asked to accept in his life. She knew, even though he had many of his childhood memories back, that switching roles so quickly - and taking orders from a mom he hadn't seen in 25 years - was indeed hard for him to do. If he knew the Light inside of him, if he knew the Fire of Lord T'ola'an also in him, which in reality was just another form of the Light, he might see the sense in this. He might more readily accept his destiny as the Sun of Zartha and step into his role as king. The role for which he was conceived.
About an hour later, a bell began dinging, like the seat belt alarm on luxury cars back on Earth. Then a voice rang out in the ship. "Spacecraft approaching. Spacecraft approaching. Suggest evasive action."
Jay woke up, sat up quickly and looked at the radar. Naptime was over. There were five egg shaped ships, in formation, closing in on them.
"Momma didn't say anything about an escort back to the palace," Jay said with a frown of puzzled wonder.
"Neither did Shakita," mused Laura.
Jay pressed a button, leaned over to his left, towards Laura, and spoke into the dashboard. "This is Palace One, come in please."
There was no response. The radar showed the ships still following fairly close behind. Jay and Laura looked at each other with puzzled expressions.
Jay spoke again, this time raising his voice a little. "This is Palace One, come in please. Identify yourselves."
There was still no response.
Jay got a sudden look of deep concern. Laura saw that and frowned at him with worried disbelief. "You don't think they'd try to do anything to hurt us, do you?"
Then a buzzer blasted out loudly in the ship and repeated several times, which caused Laura to almost jump out of her seat in shock.
"Incoming fire. Shields automatically activated," said the computer voice.
A meter on the dash showed the external electromagnetic shield level rising to 100 percent.
Then, it happened.
The egg lurched forward and downward sharply as it took a hit from a plasma cannon. It felt like a car had rear-ended the ship. The shield kept the egg from sustaining any damage whatsoever. Cruising speed was 750 miles an hour.
"I hope these are good shields," Laura said, beginning to focus on keeping the ship intact. She waved her right hand over the control circle in an effort to increase the egg's speed, and pressed a couple of buttons on the dash.
"I think someone's tryin' to shoot us down, baby," Jay said, and a grave expression crossed his face.
Laura was flabbergasted. "Well, yeah, I guess so! But why, Jay? Who would even think of doing something like that to us?"
"Guess," Jay said sharply, looking straight into Laura's eyes, with his, which were beginning to flash red with anger. He then snatched his eyes away and stared straight ahead at the clear green sky.
"Senator T'Loria'an," Laura said with dark realization.
"Who else on this whole entire planet wants to take us out, Laura?" Jay said. He was mad. "You heard how he was talking back at the senate chambers. It was his people that killed my DAD, Laura."
wwwWHAMmm!!! The egg took another hit and the ship reeled to the right again.
"Let me fly the ship," Jay said.
"I'm fine, baby, I can handle it," Laura replied, her eyes trained on the instrument panel.
"Laura, come on now, baby, we're under fire. I know how to do this, I'm a trained professional," Jay said.
"I KNOW what I'm doing, Jason," Laura replied quickly, a bit more firmly. "I know these ships better than you do!"
"Just move over," Jay said.
Another shot grazed the bow. The ship lurched sharply again to the right, then stabilized.
Jay looked at Laura with pleading eyes. "Are we gonna just sit here arguing like some...some soccer mom couple from Long Island on their way to IKEA or are we gonna find a way to evade an attack on this ship? I have no idea how long these shields are gonna hold before we get punched with holes from those plasma cannons!"
Laura was silent, then pressed the release button on her harness. "I happen to LIKE IKEA, Jay...Come on then, if you think you're so hot, flyboy!"
Laura and Jay awkwardly switched positions, bumping up, frustrated and frowning, against each other while the ship was in motion at nearly 900 miles an hour, about top speed for an egg-shaped ship.
"Thank you," Jay said, scowling slightly at Laura, who rolled her eyes at him. "IKEA sucks," Jay interjected.
"I think we can afford some different stuff now," Laura said with a sharp tone of disgust. Her arms were firmly folded poutingly across her chest.
"That's if we don't get our asses shot down first," Jay said with steely resolve.
Jay slammed his hand on the crystal-ball-like control circle and waved his hand rapidly over the circle in an upward motion, increasing the speed of the vessel slightly more.
Two of the enemy eggs came alongside Jay and Laura's egg. These eggs were not silver, but they were black. The diamond-shaped symbol of the S'aa tribe (remember that this is the same design of Laura's charm bracelet) was painted on the side. Jay and Laura could see the pilots of these eggs and they did not have friendly looks on their faces.
"So T'Loria'an sent his thugs to deal with us," Jay said with the slow gusto he was accustomed to as a crime fighter for MIB. "I think I have just a little bit of experience with space thugs.
"Computer, set a course for T'Ano'ok. Now!"
The egg veered off sharply to the left. Jay pushed a couple of buttons on the dash.
"Hey, T'Ka'ar! This is Jay. We have an emergency. We're under fire from S'aa rebels. Five of 'em. Request backup at once. Over."
The councillor's voice rang out over the radio. "Backup vehicles are already on the way to meet you, my lord. I was just about to call you. Our defense system picked the rebel ships up about 5 minutes ago. Just keep flying towards the Purple Valley. The security forces will meet up with you and engage the rebels if they have to."
"Roger that, councillor," Jay replied.
Another shot grazed Palace One. Jay kept dipping and climbing the egg rapidly to evade the eggs. He was finally getting to at least act somewhat like the fighter pilot he always dreamed of being back on Earth, but he didn't have time to be happy about it.
"You think the C'ola'a guards will get to us in time?" Laura asked.
"They better, Laura, this egg has no weapons. I'm gonna have to ask Momma about that when we get home." Jay said.
The ship again lurched sharply downward and to the right as it took another direct hit.
The shield power went down to 95 percent.
"Come on shields, hold!" Jay exclaimed. "Hang on, just a little longer, were almost there!"
Photon blasts, fired from the rebel ships, kept whizzing by Palace One, as it kept bobbing and ducking, up and down.
After 20 more minutes, the ship crossed the Purple Mountains and the rolling green foothills of the Purple Valley came into view.
About fifty C'ola'a guard ships were about two nautical miles ahead, racing southward towards Palace One. The S'aa rebel cruisers stopped and turned back.
"They're turning back south, Jay," Laura said, "They're retreating."
"Good," Jay replied. "That's what they need to do. I'm gonna have a nice long talk with T'Loria'an when we get back."
"Jay, I wouldn't piss him off any more than he is, baby, he might try and attack the palace," Laura said.
Jay sighed. Laura was right, he had to come up with a more solid plan to deal with the rebels.
No further shots were fired.
Two of the C'ola'a cruisers escorted Jay and Laura back to the royal palace.
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Sun of Zartha