“NOOOOOOOO!” Laura screamed from the ball. Her scream began faintly, since she was still fading in and out of sight, and intensified with the force of her anger.

The crowds behind the barricades were hushed with apprehension and fear. What would this crazy lady do now?

Angie, what the fuck do we do now? Laura prayed. Tears were flowing and she was quaking with emotion. A light rain began to fall on Times Square.

Angelique was watching the entire scene from the command bunker. For a split second, she had a pang of fear, but quickly regained her composure. She heard Laura’s prayer ring out in her head. A meter on one screen was recording Jay’s vital signs and the readout was in Zarthan. They were stable.

Laura, don’t worry about Jay. He’s fine. We need a change in tactical strategy. What I need you to do is to send love energy to Jay. A LOT of love energy. Encourage him. Reassure him. Tell him he’ll be OK and tell him YOU will be OK.

Hang on, baby. We’ll get you out of there.

Laura obeyed Angie and began sending encouraging energy to Jay’s subconscious mind.

“Shakita,” Angie called to her on her headset.

“Yes, Angie.”

“Do a Level 4 resuscitation on Jay. Get Tawanna, Kisha and Sheronda and have them help you. They've been with Mother Afua this summer, they've got the strongest energy.”

“Affirmative,” Shakita said. The three other women were already converging around Jay.

“Get ready for your destruction, toots!” Serleena had a wicked grin on her face as she faced Laura. “Your boyfriend is dead.”

“No he’s not, Serleena," Laura said. She had stopped crying.

“What do you mean he’s not? No mortal could have survived that huge a shock of electrical energy!”

Laura’s demeanor was calm. “Jay is no longer a mortal, Serleena.”

The color instantly poured out of Serleena’s face. And so did the grin.

The four initiates extended their hands over the limp, rapidly soggying body of Jay. A shower of yellow light began to flow from these hands and bathe Jay. He began to awaken. Then the light from the women’s hands turned to green.

At the same time, Laura began to stabilize. Her eyes flashed yellow light, then green.

Serleena was shocked and visibly annoyed. “What are you freaks doing?”

“Wait and see,” Laura calmly told Serleena. Laura wiped the remaining tears from her eyes. Her confidence returned.

Jay slowly rose up as in a daze. “Damn, Laura, now is not the time to kiss me, I have to save you…”

“Jason.” Angie called to him sharply on the headset. “This is ZARLACOM. Red Ranger. Come in Red Ranger.”

“Red Ranger in, Momma. Over.”

“Jason, we had to bring you back online. You were knocked out for a minute.”

“Thanks, Momma. I want to finish taking out the suspect,” Jay said.

“Negative, Jason. I want you to try a change in strategy,” Momma replied.

“OK…what’s your plan?”

“Jason, I need you to forgive Serleena. For everything she’s done. For kidnapping Laura.”

Jay hesitated for a minute. “Say WHAT? Momma…I don’t know…that’s gonna be hard for me. She’s so evil…”

“Jason, listen to me, baby. You have to show forgiveness and love energy towards Serleena. Remember, you are the reincarnation of lord T’ola'an. You have to ask yourself what would T’ola'an do in this situation, Jay. This is critical stuff for when you are king, baby.

Jay began to tear up. “Momma, Serleena is the most evil presence I have ever seen. She caused so much damage! So much pain! She is a KILLER, Momma! She has to be eliminated! Don't you get it? She’s gotta be taken out, Momma! Taken out!”

“Jason, I know how you feel, I know you are pissed. I know you are trained as a soldier and as a cop, baby. Your police instincts are strong within you as they should be. And I also know you can’t bear to see Laura hurt. But we've gotta take a different tack now, Jason. What is the main objective of a contending army, baby?"

"Umm...attack and deconstruct the enemy's battle plan...Subvert the enemy's mindset...flip their script. Use the expected course of action to engage the battle, but use the unexpected to attain the victory."

"Good, baby. You remember your Air Force combat training. Now think about all that for a second. Understand what you must do. Now you must switch your focus. Switch your thoughts, switch your feelings, switch your vibration. That's the unexpected, baby. That’s the only way out of the crisis. That’s the only way to defeat Serleena. By showing her love energy and not giving into to her bullying and letting her make you upset."

"What the hell are you doing down there?" Serleena yelled. "Hurry it up, Bilbo Baggins! Gotham ain't got all day, ya know!"

"Leave Jay alone!" Laura yelled from inside the big ball.

"Silence!" Serleena hissingly screamed at Laura. "A few more minutes...then eternal destruction and tyranny! T'Loria'an is in position right now and there's nothing you can possibly do!"

Meanwhile, Angie kept talking to Jay. “She’s like a little girl that never had anyone say ‘I love you’ to her, baby. First thing to remember about Serleena: she's not just a tangle of weeds like everybody sees her as. She's a woman. She's female. Now she can spit out seeds, but when she shifts, she also can give birth like a human. She's got a lot of different ways of bringing forth new life. All women, even the most battle-hardened generals, in most cases can bring forth new life and if they can't, it ain't for lack of wanting to. Because of that, they ALL have a small piece of love energy inside them. You need to reach that piece, Jason.

"Second thing to remember: All she wants is to be one with the Light. That’s all she had ever wanted. Show some love, Jason. Show some love. You can do it, Jason. The love is built into you. You don’t have much time left, baby.”

Jay cringed. “Momma, I understand everything you're telling me, and I agree with it, but I need help in order to do this. I'm not...I'm not fully activated all the way yet, Momma. I can’t forgive Serleena by myself.”

“Baby, I know, the help is already here. Shakita.”

“Yes, Angie,” Shakita said into her headset.

“Do power surge 701 Green on Jason. NOW.”

“Affirmative.” Shakita motioned to the women, who were now fully in a semi circle behind Jay and the other MIB commanders.

Then Shakita cried out, “An’wan’aa sh’a la ock!” All the women stretched their palms towards Jay. Green beams flashed out and hit Jay, propelling him forward a couple of steps. His eyes flashed a bright green.

Serleena panicked and ordered her guards to fire. Destructolator blasts began to buffet Jay.

Kay immediately reacted. “Return fire!” he barked into his headset. The MIB agents began to fire on the guards and a firefight was now on.

“Kevin!” Angie immediately jumped in. “Hold your fire! Tell your men to hold their fire and stand down. Do NOT return fire!”

“Angie…what in Sam Hill are you talking about?” Kay yelled. “Your SON is up here taking direct hits from Destructolators! I have to protect my agent!”

“Jay is NOT your agent anymore, Kevin, he’s MY responsibility now!" Angie yelled back. "I WANT him to take those hits, baby. Tell the agents to stand down! NOW!”

Kay looked behind him at Zed, who was still in his golfing attire.

Zed replied, “The commander-in-chief of the Zarthan Empire has spoken, Kay. And she’s the lead on this operation. Tell the fellas to stand down.”

“I can’t believe this…”

“Well, you of all people oughta know better, Kay…you trained the woman yourself back in ’65!”

“Why do you always have to remind me? Stand down!” Kay barked again into the headset.

At first, Jay weakened a bit under the Destructolator blasts. Destructolators work by sapping the energy of the victim and causing mild surface bruises and wounds. (They are made by Acme and sold through their mail-order catalogs.) But the sun women were still sending green energy into Jay. He was able as a result to withstand the blasts. After a few seconds he began to feel some new instincts rise within him. Jay now raised his hands to take the blasts. His body absorbed them and his strength was coming back.

He rose up and gathered his resolve.

“Cease fire!” Serleena screamed, with a rapidly growing fear.

Jay looked Serleena straight in the eyes. They blazed neon, coal red. He held the stare into Serleena, right into her soul, for a full three minutes.

And then he smirked at her. This shocked Serleena and her countenance grew chilled with even greater fear.

“Serleena,” Jay began.

“What do you want?” Serleena replied frantically.

“I see that we need to deal with you differently. My previous tactics ain’t cutting it. And that brings to mind a question: What is the one thing you want more than anything else in this universe?”

“I want to RULE, you fool!”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve established that, but what do you want that will give you the POWER to rule?”

“You guys! You and toots over here!”

“I know that, Serleena. Work with me here. What is there about me and Laura that will give you the power to rule if you had access to it? What have you spent 25 years trying so damn hard to acquire? Something you wanted so bad you killed countless innocent people, and obliterated entire planets, trying to do so?”

“Okay, okay, the LIGHT! All right! The LIGHT of Zartha! There! I said it! I said it!” Serleena began to weep.

“All I want is to be one with the light,” she continued tearily. “I want to be beautiful and luminous and powerful – like bright eyes over here! If I can have all that energy, people will obey me. They’ll be scared of me and I can make everyone in the universe do what I say do! Being mean to other people makes me feel…so good inside! What’s so wrong with that, Jay? Come on!”

Jay sighed. “Serleena, you need to realize one thing. In the universe, everybody has the right to do what they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. If you want to be one with the Light, just find it within yourself. That’s all you need to do.”

Serleena gave Jay a puzzled frown. “You mean to tell me I have light in me already? I don’t believe you.”

“You have to look deep inside yourself for it, Serleena. It may take you a long time to discover it. But when you find it, I’ll bet you cash money you won’t want to take over the universe anymore, or take other innocent lives just to show you’re powerful. The Light changes people.

It changed me.”

Jay looked at Laura. Tears were again streaming down his face. Laura smiled at him and tears were streaming down her face.

“Serleena, I never thought I'd ever say this...but...I forgive you. I forgive you for kidnapping Laura. I forgive you for making this big ass mess in the middle of Times Square during tourist season. I forgive you for all the pain you’ve caused over the years.”

“Why are you doing this?” Serleena asked cautiously.

“Because I can and it’s my choice. I'm learning how to feel first and ask questions later.”

Serleena stood quietly for a few seconds. Tears were now streaming down her face.

Jay continued. He had he right where he needed her to be - he had touched the tiny part of Serleena's soul that held love and compassion.

“Listen up. I’ll cut you a deal. Right here, right now. You release Laura and let me and her go back to Zartha – SAFELY, with no attack on us, on Earth, on Zartha – nothing like that – and I’ll see to it that you get safe passage back to Kylothia or anywhere you need to go – that’ll take you.

“And the great thing about that is, we avoid your getting arrested, being taken back to Zartha to face two separate capital murder trials, as well as an all-out intergalactic war. Because if you HAD sucked out all our energy and blown up New York, the full power and might of the Zarthan empire – as well as our allies from about, oh I’d say about 23 or 24 different star systems - would have rained down on your butt personally, like candy from a piñata. T'Loria'an and his whole entire army would've been vaporized quicker than you can say 'destructolate', and my momma would have sucked the energy back out of you and shriveled you up quicker than if you got sprayed with a whole damn tanker truck full of Roundup, AND had me and Laura reassembled and it all would have been done and over with in the space of two hours.”

Serleena looked at Jay with her coldest, teary stare yet. Jay was exaggerating here in his usual semi-bombastic manner and didn't really know what exactly would have happened, but Serleena knew he was exactly, 100 percent right. Queen Angie was one tough lady. There were some planets in the universe that felt Angelique’s wrath more than once. It was never pretty.

Serleena said to Jay, “You know, kid, you here are gonna be one hell of a tag team,infact I'm giong to my long lost sister so long

Then Serleena waved her hand over the force field, and it dissipated. Laura was again a free woman. The two then walked into a door on the roof of the ticket booth and went down a staircase, through a hallway and into the main sales area.

Inside the lobby, Serleena stopped Laura.

"This is NOT the last the two will hear of me Iave to come back will h. I want what you guys have and I will not be satisfied until I have it."

Laura looked at Serleena for a second with the most seriously serene expression on her face up to this point, and then said, "And somehow, we will help you get it, Serleena. At the very least, we will be ready for you. Come on."

Serleena shuddered again with a slight pang of fear. She told herself right then and there that with Jay and Laura in charge of Zartha now, she had to be ready the next time. Very, very ready.

The two women walked out calmly from the front door onto 47th Street. (Remember, this is the woman who killed Laura's mother and her boss. It's a wonder Laura didn't suck the energy out of Serleena right then and right there, destroying her. But Laura had already forgiven the plant-being even for crimes that heinous.)

Zed was now outside the ticket office waiting to speak privately with Serleena, and the two went inside a big black Mercedes limo already waiting on 47th Street. The remaining agents were placing the Kylothian and S'aa mercenaries under arrest.

In Angie’s command bunker, one of the cruiser captains gave her the report: T’Loria’an and several of his supporters were entering the Milky Way Galaxy. Intergalactic Council troops were in pursuit, but their ships were of an older design and not as fast. Angie told the councillors back on Zartha to keep the planet on the highest state of alert. She had to tell Zed or Kay about this so Earth could remain on alert as well.

Jay ran up to Laura on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 47th Street. He reached out and took her hand. They moved close together and held each other in their arms.

“Baby, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I got so mad. This is all my fault, Laura.”

"Well, I'M sorry, Jay. I told you to trust me, and all this happened."

"Well, hey, I think I needed to go through all I could really understand everything you're tryin' to say to me. Everything Momma and Shakita's saying, too. I acted like a real fool, Laura. I apologize."

“Well, I forgive you, Jason. I just want you to be happy, baby. That’s all I’m about, man. For real.”

"You're really serious about this forgiveness stuff, ain't you? You could have taken Serleena out right now. Nobody would have blamed you...or gotten on your case about it. She took out your momma and Ben, baby. Most people would be totally unable to bring themselves to a point of forgiveness about that."

"I know, Jason. One thing I think you've learned about me by now? I'm not like most people." Laura gave him a smirkly smile. She went on.

"And neither are you."

Jay looked down at his red arms, veins and sinewy muscles bulging out with alien strength and force. "I guess not," he mused. "And you know what? I'm starting to actually like that a little bit."

They kissed.


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Sun of Zartha

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