Advisory: this chapter contains strong language.
After a moment, Jay pulled Laura over to the side.
“What are you doing?” Laura asked with a confused smile.
Jay sighed, frowned slightly, and said, “Listen, we’re not finished, baby. I‘ve got something else to do.”
“What? What are you talking about? Jay, come on, we need to get out of here. Our energy is too unstable to stay on Earth.”
“We don’t need to stay on Earth. I’m going after T’Loria’an.” Jay’s look was serious again.
Laura cringed with a renewed sense of nervousness. Now it was she who became overprotective. “Jason, are you out of your mind???? He could kill you! Let’s just go home, Jay! I feel bad enough getting us into this mess as it is, I don’t want you getting hurt any more today!”
Just then, Angie’s voice came back on the headset.
“T’Loria’an is headed into this galaxy. Kay, you might want to start a defcon one. The IC troops are after him but they’re about a light year away and their ships are slow.”
“Say what?” Kay exclaimed. “I thought they got those new cruisers by now!”
“There’s a labor dispute at the production facility. The new ships won’t be ready for another month at least.”
“Understood, Angie. Kay to base. Defcon 1 stat. Defcon 1. Code 101 is bypassed for a Defcon 1. That’s an order. T’Loria’an’s coming, Angie’s confirmed location.”
Jay said, “Momma, I want to go after T’Loria’an. This is personal.”
Angie said, “No Jay, you and Laura need to run on back to the palace. It’s safer for the two of you back there.”
“Momma, listen to me, please let me do this. I can stop him. He’s just as much a suspect in all this as Serleena is. He wants to take over Earth, he wants to take over Zartha and he wants to keep me from being king, Momma. I can put a stop to his bullshit once and for all. Let me go after him.”
Angie sighed. There were still some things she hadn’t told Jay and Laura, things that were important to know...but not at this moment. “All right, I’ll let you go after him...but I want Shakita and some of the girls to go with you as backup. They have cricket guns. I’m gonna have T’Ka’ar send a few of his fellas through the wormhole, too, just in case.”
“OK, fair enough, Momma. Red Ranger out.
“Laura, go with Kay back to headquarters. Take the egg and go on back home.”
“What??? Wait a minute. Hell no, Jason. I ain’t leaving you again. Not after you just risked yourself to save me!!! You were the one who wanted to come with me in the first place, remember?”
“Laura, this ain’t up for discussion. This is dangerous.”
“I was the one who got us into this, I owe it to you. And no, this is NOT up for discussion! If you’re gonna go after the senator, I’m coming with you!”
“Laura, come on, baby –"
“Jay, I can help you, man. What did we just get through sayin’? That’s what this whole thing, everything we have just finished going through today – this whole week - that’s what this is all about, man. It’s like I was saying back at the palace. You and I are a team, Jason, a team. Otherwise you would have just let Serleena destroy me just now and you would have even let her kidnap me back at headquarters on Friday.”
“Laura, on Friday night I had to protect you, I had an investigation, you were a witness to a crime, and NOW – I have to…I – damn, why are you making this so hard???”
“You know you have to let me come, baby. After all this. Let me come with you. I have to be with you. No matter what. C’mon, Fort Greene,” Laura looked at Jay with a determined stare. Another smile began to erupt from deep within her. “Follow the Light,” she then said.
Then she kissed Jay right on the lips.
Jay and Laura then piled into the back seat of Shakita’s red Chrysler 300.
By this time, Jay’s physical appearance had almost shifted back to normal, but his ears stayed a little more pointy than usual.
“How soon can we get to T’Loria’an’s ship?” Jay asked.
“We can be there in about 10 minutes if we go back through the wormhole,” Shakita said.
They took off down Broadway and eventually made their way to FDR Drive, which is a freeway that runs along the East River. Once on the southbound FDR, the cars ran at 88 MPH; at which point Shakita pressed a button and the cars swiftly rose in the air, like airplanes taking off from a runway, changing their shape once again to Zarthan eggs about 100 feet up.
In about 10 more seconds the ships were blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere towards the main express wormhole to Mars, which was where the starship would approach next on its way to Earth.
“Can we talk to him?” Jay asked. “Let’s open up a channel.”
“We don’t need to talk to him now,” replied Shakita, “all he’ll do is panic and try and shoot us down. I’ve been on his ship before, it doesn’t have the best weapons, but he can keep on firing and weaken the shields.”
“What happens then?” Jay asked.
“These things are pretty strong, but there is a chance the ship might get a hole blasted in it and explode if it keeps getting hit a whole bunch of times, over and over again, and the shield power goes below 25 percent,” Shakita replied. “We need to surprise him. We can listen in on his frequency,” Shakita said, then turned some buttons on the egg’s radio.
T’Loria’an was captain of the huge black Zarthan starship, which was called the Vedromia. He had about 50 crewmen who were all either members or supporters of the Black Crystal clan.
“Serleena has just been arrested by MIB, Captain,” one of the rebels said. “The prince talked her into surrendering after a firefight.”
“That flighty fool!” T’Loria’an barked. “I knew she would desert us! I knew it!" He scowled in fuming silence for a moment, then went on. "She’ll never become a REAL intergalactic ruler THAT way. We’ll have to finish the plan without her. Continue on the present course for Washington.”
“IC troops are in pursuit, about half a light year away, sire,” another crewman said. “Should we increase the shield level?”
“Absolutely not. We can out run those fools, their ships are twenty years old. I want to speak to the queen, open a connection to St. Gabriel and put her on.”
In about 30 seconds, Angie was on the viewscreen of the ship.
“Well, well, your majesty,” sneered T’Loria’an, “you think you can just waltz on in and just reinsert your children into the affairs of Zartha like nothing ever happened? The deal was for the children to be placed in PERMANENT exile, Angelique. Jason and Laura were to remain on Earth and live the rest of their lives as Earthlings. You broke that promise.”
“T’Loria’an, that promise became null and void once you ordered the hit on Damien. All bets were off. And yes, I did tell Zed to change the status to ‘protective custody only’ once that happened. He didn’t like it, but I needed that door left open. Justice has to be served one way or the other. This is the end of the road for you, T’Loria’an. Damien’s killing can’t be in vain.”
“Oh yeah, right, like you really loved Damien! That man was expendable to you, just another operative. At least the men I ordered to do the hit knew they were going to take the blame. You didn’t even have the balls to show up at Damien’s remembrance ceremony.”
“I was stuck down here, you big dummy!!!” Angie yelled back. “And what in the HELL do YOU know about love??? You with your 17 divorces!!!
“Can we leave my personal life out of this???” replied T’Loria’an.
“No, because your messed up, whacked out personal life is the cause of all this mess! Plus, I had to do something to stop your ass before you took over Zartha. Yeah, I could have left the kids back on Earth. I could have sent them enough crystonium to keep their energies stable for the next 1,500 years if I wanted to. But the prophecy of the Light of Zartha will come true sooner or later. The sooner the better. Nothing can stop it. And when you get right down to it, the other thing is, baby...your ass has just gotta GO! I cannot keep you around when you have pretty damn near publicly stated that you want to take me and my family out, T’Loria’an! And gave speeches in the forum hall telling the senate, “we need to seize power, we need to reclaim Zartha” and all that treasonous bullshit!!!
“And I can’t just fire you like you’re some...some screenwriter. The evidence we need to convict you of all your crimes is either destroyed or hidden. The witnesses who can testify against you ain’t talkin’ ‘cause you threatened them, you’d be damn near impossible to impeach going through the usual channels, and by then you would have taken over Zartha and changed the laws anyway. But it’s over, T’Loria’an. First we got Serleena and now you. It all starts with you, T’Loria’an. You started all this bullshit. But it’s almost over, after 25 years. Jay and Laura will fulfill the prophecy AND get your ass out of the way for good.”
T’Loria’an slammed his hands down on the armrests of his seat and stood up rapidly. “NO!!! Listen to me, you foolish woman!!! I will not allow Jason and Laura to take the throne! Not after coming this far! Not after all this work I have done to solidify my power base!!!! Hear me, Angelique! Hear me!!!! You and your unholy spawn will be the ones finally, finally gotten out of the way, at long last, NOT me!!!! Do you hear??? Do you hear??? I WILL rule Zartha! AND Earth!!! I will have the White House under my personal control in 90 minutes and demand to speak to a joint session of Congress!!! Under penalty of being VAPORIZED!!!!”
Angie began to laugh out loud.
“What is so funny????” the senator yelled.
“T’Loria’an, you’re crazy! As usual!!! Listen to what you just said! Take over the White House??? Come on man, you know they ain’t gonna let you do that. MIB has defense satellites that will open fire on you in a New York minute.”
The senator was not laughing, however, and glowered at Angie with his cold blue eyes. “Not after my EMP blast which will render their kindergarten-caliber defense grid useless!!!” he replied sharply. “You forget, Angie, I’m using the technology YOU invented. I’m using the protocols YOU developed. Against YOU and your sweet, lovable, stupid Earthlings! They will surrender to my superior weaponry and bend to MY complete and utter will! If they refuse, they will feel the blast of the Black Crystal death ray! They shall learn what it is like to trifle with the Black Crystal Clan!!! And your bratty little kids, your meddling little brat kids, shall not defeat me, either!!!”
Angie shook her head and continued, “I don’t think you can do anything about that now. You’re the one who’s forgetting. MIB uses my protocols, too, baby. MIB still has several ways to defend Washington from your ship, even if the defense grid is pulsed out. It can always be restarted with a couple of mouse clicks. And if I have to, I will disable the Vedromia myself from this bunker, I know that ship like the back of my hand, I designed the damn thing myself!!!”
“I know! I was there! But the last time I checked, you designed the Orleans-class starships, what was it, oh, maybe something like 20 years ago???!!! You haven’t even been involved in building the newer versions! I’ve made hundreds of modifications to this vessel alone!!! I’ve changed all the access codes!”
“So? I don’t care about that. I can break your codes, T’Loria’an. Any code can be broken with the right equipment, and I’ve got access to the best. Face it. You’re through. You’re show’s been canceled and your goose is cooked. You are on your way out of power and you’ll be locked up on good old 725 within two hours. And Jason and Laura WILL take the throne. Right now they are on their way back to Zartha and the wedding will go on as scheduled. T’Avl’aa will convene an emergency session of the tribal council and have you expelled from the tribal senate. Then Jason will bring you up on treason charges and have your ass put away.”
T’Loria’an continued his tirade in his sneering, derisive manner. “Ha! T’Avl’aa has never been able to prove anything. He’s got nothing on me. Nothing!!! That stupid old fool is unfit to rule the S’aa tribe. And I will not spend one moment on 725!!! Not one moment!!! My innocence will be preserved!!! Once I take over Earth, it will be a matter of days before our planet is restored to the rule of MY tribe, Angelique. The RIGHTFUL rule. I will personally bring you and your...heinous, blasphemous offspring before the Black Crystal council and have all of you publicly vaporized!!! Destroyed!!! I will finish the job I started with Damien and complete the cleansing, the purge of your bloodline from the ruling families of Zartha!!! And if any other tribes try and defend you - even T’Avl’aa and his stupids - we will defeat them in a civil war so destructive it will make the Battle of Lower Trillia look like...like a Knicks game!!!”
Just then Angie saw the flotilla approach T’Loria’an’s starship on the radar. She said nothing about this to T’Loria’an, but went on talking to him, to distract his attention.
“You know, this is nothing less than the end result of your bad attitude, your sick and twisted attitude about the S’aa people and our role in the universe. It’s the same sick attitude that you had your whole entire life. Your anger, your racism, and your hate will do nothing, nothing, T’Loria’an, except get you and your plans defeated and get you locked up on the IC prison planet, 725, for the rest of your life. You know better than that. You are S’aa, T’Loria’an. You know all about Light and Love, but all you want is power and control. Power and control may give you a quick thrill, but it doesn’t provide happiness in the long run. That’s the lesson I had to learn when Lauranna was killed.”
“Yes, and to think I almost got you over to our side!"
Angie flinched for a surprised second. "Do you have to bring THAT up???"
T'Loria'an gave a cold smirk. "Oh come now, Angelique! Have you forgotten??? You were THIS CLOSE to joining us, Angelique! Then your children would have been spared. You would have continued to rule Zartha as MY queen! To this day I still don’t get it! WHY??? Why did you reject me! I gave you a chance to be a SUPREME ruler in this universe!!! I was ready to acknowledge the fact that you are S’aa, and one of great power at that!!! I could have made Jason the most powerful king Zartha has ever known...after myself! And you just tossed me aside with not so much as an ‘I’m sorry’!!!”
“My Light doesn’t work so well when I get angry, baby. Determined, yes, but angry out of just pure, mindless rage and grief??? That never works, T’Loria’an. That NEVER works. If I crossed over to your side, we MIGHT all still be alive - at your sole pleasure and discretion, but at what price? Earth??? The freedom and liberty of the universe? Zartha, Zartha of all places, living under fascism and authoritarian totalitarianism??? I told you back then, T’Loria’an. That’s way too high a price to pay.”
“Price??? HA! Your insolence has a price, Angelique!”
“Yeah, that’s what you said 25 years ago. That’s what you said when you ordered the hit on Damien. That’s what you said when Serleena killed Ben.”
“Don’t blame me for that flighty little houseplant! I had nothing to do with Serleena. She acted alone.”
Angie got even more serious at this point. “After YOU put our planet’s business out on the street for every dollar store mercenary to see!!! You were the one who leaked the knowledge of the Light of Zartha’s being alive and living on Earth out to every known villain in this universe, T’Loria’an! Knowing that it might get Laura AND Jason captured or destroyed! You are just as responsible for Ben’s murder as Serleena is! And I ALSO hold you responsible for Lauranna!!!”
T’Loria’an rose from the captain’s seat again in hot anger. “NO!!!!! No, Angelique!!!! You will NEVER pin those on me!!! NEVER!! NEVER!!!! Hear me, woman!!! Hear me!!! I made sure no one would ever know about that!!! NOT ONE SOUL!!! And YES, I have access to all the information about royal affairs, as you WELL know, Angelique, and yes, I do leak it! Wherever and whenever I damn well please!!! I leak it right out to serve the real purpose of MY cause! Conquest and domination of the universe beginning with the total elimination of you and T’Va’an and his genetically engineered waitress girlfriend!!!”
“So after all these years you’re finally admitting it, huh?” Angie said. “You’re finally admitting that two weeks ago you leaked the location of my son and my goddaughter, which I said was to be kept top secret, so someone like Serleena could go right after them! Just to get back at me! Just to get back at me! Is that right, T’Loria’an?”
“Yes! It is true, you stupid woman, you insolent bitch!!! I did indeed leak the knowledge of Laura and Jason’s exile on Earth. Absolutely!!! On SEVERAL occasions! And it began a lot longer than two weeks ago! I ordered my men to spread the word about that the very instant you had the gall to chicken out on me! We had a DEAL and you chickened out!!! You were the one stupid enough to send your girlfriend, your LOVER, or whatever she was, out on a suicide mission!!! You just fed her right to the lions on that one!!! I couldn’t spread my rumors about the two of you after that!!!
“And how dare you disparage and castigate my people! They carry out my orders the way I want them to! And they are not ‘dollar store mercenaries,’ as you dare to call them with your impudent tone of voice!!!! They are the elite forces of the Black Crystal clan!!!! They are under MY command and are NOT to be disrespected!!! Listen to me!!! Listen to me!!! Hear me!!!! I am the smartest senator in the room, you stupid, arrogant, goody-two shoes, half-Earthling bitch!!!! The smartest!!! Never forget that!!! NEVER!!!! NEVER!!!!”
T’Loria’an whipped around to his first mate. “How close are we?”
“Approaching Mars in about 15 seconds, Captain,” the mate yelled out.
“We are almost there, Angelique. You impudent, foolish bitch! I should have had you killed 25 years ago!!! Assassinated!!! I should have done it back then, when I had the chance!!! I can’t believe the High Command allowed you to be in power all these years!!! What utter nonsense and stupidity you have brought to Zartha!!! You, you, with your plans and harebrained schemes of goodness, love, peace, unity and, and…weakness! Your asinine agenda of making the T’ola’a and the S’aa one tribe!!! Making Earthlings, Earthlings, of all things, equal beings with S’aa!!! Of all the idiotic, stupid, ridiculously dumbass ideas you have put forth in all your years as queen, those have to be the worst!!!”Angie just sighed at the raving senator and waited for him to finish yet another of his angry tantrums. She had to endure a lot of these over the years, but she also knew this would be one of his last as senator. "Are you through, T'Loria'an?"
“SILENCE!!! No, I am NOT finished!!! You disgust me! Once I establish provisional authority on Earth I will have you removed from one prison...only to have you placed right back in custody by MY ‘dollar store mercenaries,’ and transported back to Zartha to await your execution! Your destruction, after all these long, long years of putting up with your stranglehold on MY rightful rule…how DARE you prevent me from taking over Earth and Zartha and ruling as I am DESTINED to do!!!! You...you...you EARTHLING!!! your destruction will be a million times more satisfying than the love we could have made! As king and queen!!!”
“Making love to YOU???? Don’t make me sick, T’Loria’an, I just had lunch.” Angie looked at the radar. The flotilla was in shooting range of T’Loria’an’s starship now. Some 50 of T’Ka’ar’s forces joined them now as backup. All the vehicles were heavily cloaked and shielded, so T’Loria’an and his men had no idea they were nearby.
Jay, Laura and Shakita heard every word of T’Loria’an and Angie’s conversation on the radio. Jay was quite shocked and displeased by what he had heard.
“That goddamn son of a bitch,” Jay said. “I want to beat his ass myself. Man, I cannot wait to kick the living shit out of his cocky little ass.”
“Jay,” Laura said, “back in Times Square, didn’t you just say how much you’ve learned about the Light and how it changed you? About forgiveness?”
“Forgiveness is one thing, Laura, stopping a tyrant and a murderer before he ruins the universe is another thing. Plus he called my momma a bitch. Three times. Shakita, take the cloak shields off these eggs and let him see us. Let him see us, in plain sight! I want that asshole to see that we’re here.”
“He’ll open fire,” Shakita said.
“So??? T’Ka’ar’s boys are here. Don’t those ships have cannons?”
“Three-barrel blasters like MIB has,” Shakita replied.
“All right, then what’s the hold up? Let’s do this!!!!”
Shakita called out on the secure frequency. “All units, stand by to reveal. Stand by to return fire. On my mark. Three, two, one, mark!”
At that instant, all 60 ships came into clear view and surrounded T’Loria’an’s starship. They were all approaching Martian orbit.
"Sire, we've been ambushed!" the first mate said. "Small Zarthan vessels. Sixty of them. Shielded and armed!"
Angie saw this and a smile came over her lips.
T’Loria’an was shocked and utterly stunned. He then became enraged.
“WHAT IS THIS!!!!! WHAT IS THIS!!!!! Who are these people!!???!!! How DARE they!!! Angie!!! You tricked me!!! You tricked me, you bitch!!! Destroy them all!!!!”
The starship opened fire but only had three laser cannons and some photon torpedos, which would obliterate unprotected targets on Earth in seconds, but the Zarthan ships were well capable of withstanding these. The C’ola’a ships fired back with a salvo of magnesium-white crystal-powered blasts.
“We’re being hit, sire,” one of the mates said. “Zarthan vessels!”
“I know that! Keep firing!!! Maybe we can hold a few of them off!! Weaken their shields as much as you can!!!”
T’Loria’an was especially pissed because as a young student, it was he himself who personally helped develop the shield system for all Zarthan ships, and he made it so Zarthan ships were almost indestructible unless the shields were very weak. But Angie, several years before, directed all Zarthan ships to be built out of crystals and rock materials (molten into different alloys, plastics and metals much stronger than anything found on Earth) that were pretty sturdy even without the shields. T’Loria’an was merely expecting to destroy the MIB defense of Earth with a super-strong EMP, and just blast selected targets with the torpedoes (about as strong as half a modern nuclear missile) and scare the Earthlings into submission. It would take a lot more firepower than he had to destroy the flotilla.
“Ha ha ha!!! How are you feeling right about now, T’Loria’an!” Angie called out.
“I’m a little busy right now, Angie! Fighting off your blasphemous minions!!! You will pay dearly for your trickery!!!!”
Just then, Jay broke into the conversation. “T’Loria’an! This is Jay. Prepare to be boarded. We need to talk! NOW!!!!”
“You will not get aboard this ship without a fight, T’Va’an!!!” the senator snapped with a frantic shout.
“Oh yeah, asshole? Well bring it, ‘cause I’m down! Shakita, how can you get us in that starship?”
“I can teleport into the cargo bay if I break the security code.”
“Ummm, the code breaker on here is two years old, Jay, that’s gonna be hard!”
T’Loria’an said, “Guards! I want ten of you down to cargo bay NOW!!! Arrest any intruders! Shoot them!!!”
Angie in the meanwhile was trying to lock onto the security codes to the starship. She knew MIB had a code breaker that might work as well.
Kay was directing the “cleanup” efforts back at Times Square. The remaining MIB agents were busy neuralyzing all the bystanders who watched Serleena’s defeat.
“Kevin,” Angie called.
Kay adjusted the mouthpiece on his headset. “Angie? How’s the kids doin’?”
“They’re in Mars orbit, trying to teleport into T’Loria’an’s ship but we can’t break the access code, he had them all changed and they’re too new. Don’t you guys have a code breaking machine?”
“Yeah, we do and I’ve got a pocket version somewhere in here,” and Kay fumbled in his lapel pocket until he brought out his cell phone. “It’s in my cell phone. What do you want me to do?”
“Dial the secure line here in St. Gabriel and I’ll patch you into to the mainframe,” Angie said.
Kay dialed the number and was soon connected to the bunker’s computer system. Kay initiated the codebreaking sequence.
Shakita’s code breaker had broken the first 3 letters of the starship’s code. The shields on their ship went down to 90 percent power and they were still getting hit by photon blasts, tossing and turning the three.
“This ain’t looking good,” Laura said. “He’ll just wear down the shields and then we’ll have to surrender.”
“That’s not an option and that’s not gonna happen,” Jay said with a determined grit in his voice.
Then Laura had an idea. “Wait a second, what the hell am I thinking; what have we been talking about all day?” she said. She closed her eyes and focused her energy outward.
“What are you doing now?” Jay asked.
“Hold my hands, Jay,” Laura ordered. “We can beat him with our Light energy. I should’ve thought about that before. I just got through making a brand new galaxy, there oughta be something we can do about this.”
“Alright, whatever works, baby,” Jay said. The two held hands, closed their eyes, concentrated on one another, and generated energy. Within about 30 seconds, the shield power increased to 97 percent again, and the code breaker started to work a little faster.
“Whatever y’all are doin’, it’s working, keep it up,” said Shakita.
"Jam that code breaker!" T'Loria'an yelled at the first mate.
"I can't, sire, the energy just surged to 275 percent, and the codes are falling fast!"
"That waitress!!!" T'Loria'an said. "She's using her energy to boost the code breaker. Guards! Stand by to fire on the prince when he arrives!"
“I’m almost in, y’all,” said Shakita. Between the efforts of Kay and the enhanced code breaker of Shakita, the other five numbers were indeed falling quickly. The code was broken at last and the ship disappeared with a huge, brilliant flash of light and immediately emerged in the cargo bay.
The flash, which was enhanced by Laura and Jay’s energy, was so strong it unexpectedly created an electromagnetic pulse which disabled the guards’ weapons and knocked them about three feet backward on their butts. They tried to fire, but only the weakest amount of photon energy fizzled out of the barrels.
They got up and tried to rush Jay, but he and Shakita stepped out of the ship with their magical fists ready to fire.
“Ahh, ahh! Don’t try it, fellas! Put those weapons down NOW and just back off! I said back off Right NOW, you are ALL under arrest! ALL of you!” Jay yelled.
The guards were not trained to use their Light energy in this manner. They were helpless. They froze obediently.
They also knew they faced prison time now that their boss would be defeated. They grudgingly stepped aside. “You will remain here and turn yourselves in to the C’ola’a security troops, they’ll be here in a couple of minutes,” Jay ordered. “You will NOT respond to any orders from Senator T’Loria’an, he has been relieved of his command as of right now.”
The guards remained silent.
“Hello????” Jay asked impatiently. “I can’t hear you!”Navigation
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Sun of Zartha