Showdown in Times SquareEdit
Kay was stern as he addressed the assembled agents. There were about 85 in the hall. He paced back and forth like a field general. Zed was behind him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Light of Zartha has been kidnapped. Our former colleague Agent Jay, who as you all know by now is the Sun of Zartha and the heir to the Zarthan throne, is at this hour enroute here to coordinate rescue procedures. Her Majesty, Queen Angelique of Zartha, is in direct personal charge of this operation. Anything and everything we do is subject to her immediate and binding approval.
“The Zarthan defense fleet is on its highest state of alert and several Zarthan battlecruisers are in geosynchronous Earth orbit even as we speak.
“We are charged with assisting in the Light of Zartha’s safe rescue and recovery. If any harm should come to her, or to Agent Jay, not only could Earth be completely taken over by Serleena and Senator T'Loria'an, but a wedding's gonna be ruined, and we will have one pissed off Louisiana mother-in-law after our asses.
“Here they go.”
Kay pressed a button and a huge image of the lovely Serleena, along with the goony Scrad, filled the viewscreen.
“Listen up, ladies and gentlemen. Serleena's been on the run for 90 minutes. Craft landed on top of Madison Square Garden about six minutes ago. Last known location was in the vicinity of 34th Street and Broadway. She’s got the big ball, people.
A gasp rose from the crowd.
Kay continued. “They will be on foot and they will try to blend into lunchtime rush crowds, people. And ladies and gentlemen, by the way, on this one you DO have full authority to neuralyze any and all non-involved bystanders on sight.
“Average foot speed over sidewalks and pavement of our party—barring injuries and window shopping—three miles an hour. That gives us a radius of 6 1/2 miles.
“You all need to track Serleena as she moves through midtown Manhattan and provide backup for me, the strike team and the royal couple. She wants a showdown in Times Square. 47th Street and Broadway. I want at least 30 of you in position in every penthouse, townhouse, outhouse, henhouse, balcony and open window you can commandeer overlooking the intersection. With weapons ready to fire.
“Check points go up at 25 blocks. One thing, ladies and gentlemen, as you are all aware, you all must act with the utmost caution as our former colleague Jay and Miss Vasquez are top level Zarthan royalty. They are romantically involved AND intimate. I need not go further into that.”
The agents gave another large collective gasp of wonder.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Serleena is armed and dangerous and she is Class C, Level One. Go get her.”
And with that, the agents immediately scampered out of the great hall. Each one leaped into a black car - Mercedes, Durangos, Grand Cherokees (remember, all vehicles are furnished by DaimlerChrysler), and the massive convoy rolled out, tires screeching with urgency.
About five minutes later, a flash of bluish-white sparkling electrical light shockwaved itself into the middle of the motor pool garage. The egg-shaped transport had materialized. Jay strode out. At this point he threw himself mentally to the task at hand, but there was a twinge of discomfort in his stomach on seeing this man again, after learning the truth about their connection.
For his part, Kay was waiting to receive him, sunglasses on. He was outwardly stoic, as usual, but really wanted to reach out and give him a huge hug and a slap on the shoulder like his daddy used to do back on the ranch. "We'll see this through, son..."
A wistful smirk forced its way from Kay. Kay threw a clean white T-shirt, which Jay caught in his left hand.
“Got it ready?” Jay said quickly, snappily.
“You got it, slick.” In front of the two men was a large black Kawasaki Ninja. Jay ran his hand down the side.
“My old bike. Good choice. Orders?” Jay looked up at Kay as he was putting the shirt on, waiting. His expression was intentionally expressionless.
Kay hesitated for a split second. Then he spoke. “Meet me at 46th Street and Broadway in 20 minutes. That’s the rendezvous point. We’ve got a little time. Serleena likes drama. She wants to see YOU before she does anything.”
“She told me as much," Jay replied. "I’d like to see her, too. If Miss Miracle-Gro wants drama, she’ll get some. Standard code names?”
“Affirmative. When Laura’s rescued, have your mom do a civilian clear-out.” That was code for a mass neuralyzation.
“Momma can do THAT?” Jay was suddenly incredulous.
“Yeah, we’ve got her fully set up. She’s in a command bunker at St. Gabriel right now.”
Jay looked away in a slightly sickened tone of disgust. All this time, all these years, you were Momma's boyfriend and you knew I was your son, Jay thought, and the thought made him more angry. He looked at the stoic Kay again.
“Man, what ELSE are you NOT tellin’ me?”
Kay wanted badly to say something else, something about sharing beignets and black coffee in the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the year 1965, with an 18-year old Black girl who had the prettiest smile he had ever seen in his life...but he just couldn’t. Not yet.
“Nothin' you need to know now, son.”
Jay winced a little when Kay said the word "son", but he tried not to show too much displeasure. “Whatever, Kay.”
“Hey, tell me somethin’.”
“What?” Jay was clearly annoyed. Kay was always doing this to him when he was in a big hurry.
“What’s it like?”
Jay frowned. “What’s WHAT like?”
Kay went on. “Zartha. Is it..you know...”
Jay’s look warmed up slightly. This was, after all, the first time he and Kay had seen each other since he was “decommissioned.” Maybe I'll try to be nice to you right now under the circumstances, he thought. “The fishing’s good. Looks a lot like Louisiana. Lot of bayous and forests and savannahs and shit like that.”
“Guess I gotta get up there one of these days,” said Kay.
“You know, you ARE invited to the wedding, Kay. But first I have to save the bride. If you’ll excuse me.”
And with that, Jay leaped on the bike. Kay turned to go towards his standard Mercedes.
“Looking damn good, slick,” Kay called out behind him as he walked.
Jay rolled his eyes upwards for a second, and flashed a slight grin at his mentor. Maybe when this stuff is over I’ll forgive you, Jay thought. And maybe I might be able to call you...well, maybe not yet.
He jumped on the starter of the Ninja and sped off down the tunnel. He came out at Canal Street and turned to go north on Sixth Avenue. _______________________________________________________
The Destructolator is a long plasma gun which looks a little like a cross between a bathroom plunger and a pogo stick. Serleena was wielding one of these and pushed it harder into Laura’s back as the pair walked through the womens’ department at Macy’s Herald Square.
Suddenly, Laura felt a twitching twinge all over her body. It was the same twinge she felt anytime Jay entered the room. The first time she felt it was when he entered Ben’s Pizza.
With a shock, Laura turned around to face Serleena. Serleena said:
“What’s wrong with you? Why are your eyes lighting up?”
“Lighting up?...Ummm...I have...umm...I’m nearsighted. and I forgot my contacts,” Laura said with a rather weak smile.
Serleena was annoyed. “You can’t POSSIBLY tell me that an extraterrestrial goddess is NEARSIGHTED! You can come up with a much better line of BS than that, toots.”
Laura’s eyes glowed again. She cringed with dread.
Serleena then got an idea. “Something tells me...Scrad! Charlie!”
“Go outside on 34th Street and see if you see any Men In Black, especially the ANNOYING, WISE-cracking kind that try to be FUNNY and WITTY and SUAVE and COOL and BRAVE and NOBLE and ROMANTIC and all that disgusting stuff!” She was staring Laura hard as she shouted all this, clearly intending to hurt her by belittling Jay. It worked. Laura started to cry.
“You will NOT succeed, Serleena!” Laura cried weepingly. “Jay is going to rescue me! Just you watch!”
“You keep saying that!" Serleena screeched."Give it a rest, Golden Girl! Move it! Scrad! Get your butt out there and look for him!”
“On it, boss!” The two-headed dolt lumbered off with a few of the shocked patrons staring at him like he was some kind of freak or something.
Two Macys security guards were running towards Serleena, and she blasted a hole in the floor in front of them with the weapon.
"One more step, fellas, and she gets it!" she yelled. They backed off from the smoking, gaping hole in the floor.
Serleena then turned a cold eye towards Laura. “You’re looking at one pissed off plant, toots!” she snarled, quite annoyed. “I do NOT see why Angie's spoiled little BRAT would want to be concerned with saving YOUR sorry, cute, perky little Mary Tyler Moore wanna-be ass. When I see him at Times Square, I’ll kill two birds with one Destructolator!”
Jay was indeed close by. His Ninja was stuck in a traffic jam at 32nd Street and he had to ditch it. When Serleena’s freighter landed on top of Madison Square Garden, lots of people crowded around to watch. They were told an episode of Stargate SG:1 was being filmed.
That was enough to send dozens of secretaries screaming and pulling autograph books out of purses, frantically waving them in the air. “Where’s Richard Dean Anderson! That man is so FINE! I want his autograph!” they were screaming.
Scrad did not see Jay outside. He was already ahead of them at 38th Street. Serleena marched Laura out onto Broadway.
They were met by several of her mercenary guards (a few of them were S'aa rebels, followers of T'Loria'an). The guards cleared the way for them by blasting pretzel stands, sno-cone stands, hot dog stands and fire hydrants with their destructolators, making a huge mess. People ran frantically in every direction.
“This is taking too long, we're losing time,” Serleena scowled, and took out a weird device. “Guards! Set your bilocators to positions. We're going to the staging area.”
The guards and Scrad took out similar devices and pushed a few buttons on them. Serleena grabbed Laura by the arm.
There was a flash of reddish light and sparks. The party suddenly disappeared.
Meanwhile, up ahead at 38th Street, Jay was incensed. Having to wade through the wall-to-wall people surrounding him was eating up a lot of clock.
Jay spoke into his mic. “Red Fox, this is Red Ranger. Over.”
“Go ahead Red Ranger,” Kay said.
“I’m at Broadway and 38th, walking north towards Times Square. I had to leave the bike at 32nd Street. There’s a huge ass traffic jam. Over.”
“Copy you, Red Ranger. The usual recovery team will recover the bike. The fugitive and her hostage just bilocated to the main staging point. I guess they got tired of walking. Situation up here is critical yet stabilized for now. I’m puttin' your mom thru. Stand by.”
Angelique was in her darkened bunker at St. Gabriel Women’s Prison, looking at the entire scene on 24 flat-screen monitors on the wall. Three of the Zarthan battle cruisers had large-lens telescope cameras trained on Manhattan, and these were the images on the screens.
Angie had a switchboard of Zarthan manufacture in front of her and was wearing a headset.
“Jason, this is Momma.”
Jay had forgotten all about being angry at Angie by now. “Copy you, Momma.”
“Jason, I’m in a command center in Louisiana. Code name for the command center is ZARLACOM. I’m tracking your movements as you go. I want you to keep walking up Broadway. Serleena has Laura right at Times Square at 47th Street and Broadway. She has her on top of the tkts ticket booth. They used bilocators to transport there. When you get there you need to be careful since your energy is unstable. Very, very unstable.”
“Copy that, Momma.”
“Jason, you’ve got backup coming from Louisiana. Heavy backup.”
At that moment, a flotilla of silvery egg transports was hurtling at twice the speed of sound over the hills of West Virginia. People seeing them mistook them for a flock of Canada geese.
“Copy that, Momma...Momma?”
“Yes, baby,” Angie replied.
“I’d better tell you...I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do but I’m so pissed off right now I can’t really think straight.”
“Well, Jason, if you’re that pissed, be advised, your physical appearance may be significantly altered.”
“Yeah...people here on the street ARE looking at me like I’m some freak - and these - these are New Yorkers doin' this!!!”
“What's your position right now, Jason?” Momma asked.
“On Broadway, just about to cross 37th Street.”
“Are you in front of a Subway or a McDonalds?”
“A Subway, right on the corner,” Jay replied.
“Look in the plate glass window.”
Jay obeyed. He stared and squinted at himself in the window. He was stunned. His skin color was a deep, almost bright red color, now, like that of a chili pepper. His eyes were glowing like hot steel ingots. He was sweating all over, his veins were bulging, popping out of his skin, and his normally large ears took on an extreme Yoda-like elfinness.
A middle aged man was seated on a stool, eating his meatball sandwich on the other side of the window inside the restaurant. He looked up at Jay, stared with a puzzled frown for a second, shook his head, shrugged a little bit, and went right back to eating his sandwich. "Damn aspiring actors," the man muttered.
“Holy shit,” Jay said with shocked incredulosness.
“I guess the activation rituals are working just fine. Welcome to yourself, baby. Keep going,” Angie said.
At 42nd Street, all southbound traffic was blocked and detoured. Jay noticed that the NYPD officers at that scene were actually MIB agents in disguise.
This was standard operating procedure for “critical events” - Jay and Tee were in a similar exercise just a month before - police uniforms and all.
Broadway and Seventh Avenue were devoid of ALL motor vehicles between 42nd and 52nd Streets, and the cross streets between 8th and 6th Avenues were cleared as well. Workers, tourists, theater-goers, hamburger flippers, even a couple of TV stars were told to stay in their buildings.
Jay reached 47th Street. What he saw shocked and angered him.
Behind a barricade in the middle of the roadway were Kay, Zed, Frank, and 20 other agents. Jeebs and almost 100 spectators were on the sidewalk behind New Year’s Eve-style barricades.
Serleena was standing on the roof of the Theatre Development Fund “tkts” booth, which was recently renovated to be more of a permanent structure. Several of her goons surrounded (some of them situated across 47th Street) with Destructolators drawn, replacing the hordes of theater-goers looking for a cheap ticket to a hot new Broadway show.
Several MIB agents were in various windows, standing on marquee signs, commandeering doorways (and perched in spaces in between and behind the massive neon signs and billboards) along Broadway as well as Seventh Avenue; their huge plasma ray guns were drawn and trained on the scene, as Kay had ordered. Serleena had her huge weapon still in her hand, and next to her was what looked like a huge, gigantic beach ball. It was a huge electromagnetic force field.
Laura was inside of it.
That same cord of electric light tied her up, sparkling and shimmering slightly. Her eyes began to light up intensely as Jay approached the barricade.
As a fuming Jay approached, the Kylothian guards raised their guns up, and so did the MIB agents in response. Then the goons backed down. And so did the agents.
The watchful bronze and black granite statue of Father Duffy, one of the venerable Times Square landmarks, always on the back side of the tkts booth, loomed between Jay and Serleena, as if to make one last ironic attempt at a divine mediation.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Sun of Zartha," Serleena exclaimed with a sarcastic grin. "How good of you to be so punctual for our little appointment! New York is SO lovely in the summertime, isn’t it?
“Welcome to my little theater of the absurd, JASON. How fitting for the theater capital of this insignificant little rock you call home - oh, I’m SORRY, JASON, I forgot, ZARTHA’s your REAL home now, ain’t it, fella? And to think that all this time I was going toe to toe with that uppity goody two-shoes little bitch Angie, and her little squirming, pooping, burping, crapping, slobbering bratty little BABY!!!! Sorry I didn't make the connection before, pal. I would have never guessed Angie sent you down here to be a common Earthling. That is, until our friend T'Loria'an gave me the scoop!"
Serleena continued in an increasingly sneering, taunting tone of voice. "Yeah, so YOU'RE Angie's little baby, the one EVERY villian, every renegade, every mercenary in this universe wanted to GET from day one. My, oh my how the years pass by, and how our kids grow up to be complete and total PAINS in the TOOSCH!!! I would have LOVED to see your face back at headquarters when I would have been the one to disclose your true identity. You would have blasted both me AND your boss back there. Or should I say - your DAD.”
Jay’s voice was strong and clear. He stood just in front of Kay and Zed. “OK, Serleena, why don’t we just cut the bullshit and let Laura go. We don’t need to go through all of this.”
Serleena became agitated and annoyed at Jay’s negotiation tactics. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up a sec, there, Denzel. I am calling the shots here, pallie. You see, JASON, I have what I want now. I have the Light of Zartha. And I have the Sun of Zartha.
"And what I’m gonna do, is suck the cosmic energy out of the both of you, use this ball as a bomb and create a big electromagnetic pulse that will render everything within a 250 mile radius nothing but a huge pile of space dust. After that, Senator T'Loria'an, whom you so eloquently debated a few days ago, will lead an invasion force on the White House and take over Earth. This planet will be under our control and T'Loria'an and I will rule the universe. Kapish?”
Jay became very upset. His voice was slow but seething with anger. “There ain’t no kapish, Serleena. Let her go. Now.”
“HA! You’re gonna have to make me!” Serleena laughed deliciously, raised her Destructolator and fired at Jay.
"Give my regards to Broadway! HA HA HAA!" Serleena shouted with an evil chuckling derison, as she fired.
Without thinking about it or even knowing why, Jay instinctively raised his fist up in the air and out in front of him, pointing it right at Serleena, and a huge beam of reddish light shot right out of the fist. That beam, and the beam coming from Serleena's weapon, found and struggled against each other.
The muscles in Jay’s face were straining and heaving with effort as he tried to overpower the Destructolator's ray with his own.
Sparks began flying from anything electrical in the area. Laura’s eyes began to flicker and flash. Two streetlights on Seventh Avenue blew out in a dramatic display of sparks and smoke.
“Jay, back off! Your energy is too unstable!” Laura yelled from inside the big ball.
“I’m NOT gonna lose you again, Laura!” Jay cried out. Sparks and flashes of lightning still flew out. Clouds began to form and the street became very windy. Papers began to blow all over the pavement, adding to the usual, somewhat organized jumble and mess of Broadway.
Even the pigeons gathered in Father Duffy's plaza began to show some concern.
Then, all of a sudden, about 50 yellow Chrysler 300’s, configured as taxicabs, swerved and screeched onto Broadway and Seventh Ave (going the wrong way, northbound in the normally all-southbound lanes) from 46th Street. A red 300, which carried Louisiana vanity license plates, led the convoy: the plates said “SUN GODS”.
The flotilla came to a scraping halt at the barricades. Two women each came out of a taxi. They were all wearing the necklace medallions, just like Jay had. Shakita came out of the red 300.
Angie’s voice came through the headset of Jay. “Jason, the backup is in position.”
Jay looked behind him to see Shakita walking briskly forward. “Shakita, I thought you were back on Zartha!”
“I was, but your mom said come on down and bring the sistahs!” Shakita came next to Jay and raised her fist, shooting out another reddish beam at Serleena.
Some of the Kylothian and S'aa guards fired at Kay and Shakita now, but MIB agents immediately returned fire and took out about 10 of them.
“Fire on the target!” Kay barked into his headset.
Five agents began to shoot their ray guns onto Serleena. She fell down on the roof for a second dazed and stunned, allowing Jay and Serleena to rest, but she got up in another second.
“Ha!" she screeched with an eerie pride. "You thought you could destroy me! Well guess what, you fools! I am now STRONGER!” Serleena’s eyes flashed a deep evil witch green color. With another smirk, she extended long green roots from her hands to tangle up some of the agents lined up on Seventh Avenue. But several of the sun-women shot beams of laseresque light from their fists, cutting off the tangly vines before they could reach the agents. Serleena screeched loudly in pain. The agents then fired on Serleena again.
Some of the remaining rebel guards on the north side of 47th Street returned fire and knocked out three of the MIB agents. Serleena extended tentacly green neural roots to tangle one of them and held him up in the air about 20 feet, in front of a massive, looming, pink and blue billboard for the musical "Hairspray".
“So the Men In Black are into gardening, eh?” I just picked a WEED for you!” Serleena flung the agent into the crowd below. Jay and Shakita shot a softer beam of light, which caught the agent and brought him safely down on to Broadway.
“I’m getting a little tired of playing your little laser light games, people. I think I will blow up New York now,” Serleena said in a sarcastic singsong manner. She spoke into her headset. "Tell T'Loria'an to stand by to attack Washington. Set bilocators to delayed evacuation mode." She raised her hand over the big ball. Sparks began to fly from her palm, onto the side of the force field. Sparks and small boltlets of lightning then began to fly all over a very dismayed looking Laura. Her hair began to stand all the way out like in a Van deGraff machine, and she began to actually fade in and out of view.
“Watch me suck you away, Light of Zartha! HA HA HAA!” Serleena’s eyes flashed a pale green as she began absorbing the light energy from Laura.
Jay began to freak out and now he was really incensed. With a growling cry and the most intense flash of anger from his glowing red eyes, he rapidly lashed out with both of his hands, before Kay or Shakita could do anything else.
Two massive, bluish green bolts of lightning flashed out of Jay's hands. They barely missed blasting holes in the top of the huge black granite cross of the Father Duffy statue, and struck Serleena, but she absorbed the bolts and she sent a lightning flash back out at him in return: she whipped her left hand in a sidearm motion, sending the beam around the right-hand side of the statue, the beam hit Jay and knocked him about five feet back - making him unconscious.Navigation
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Sun of Zartha