In the great banquet hall of the royal palace, about 100 people were assembled. Ambassadors, consuls, prelates, senators, potentates, viceroys, all of them aliens from several different planets who were allies of Zartha. The councillors of the Zarthan tribes had front row seats. The Worm Guys had front row seats. The Men In Black (and by extension, planet Earth) were represented by Zed, Kay and Frank, who was wearing his black suit.
All were abuzz with excitement and happiness. This was the event they all had been waiting for, all these years. And after all the attempts to keep it from happening - including the most recent threat from T'Loria'an and Serleena, now a full two weeks past - this occasion took on an added joy.
The great hall was a circular hall with a stage set up in center.
The house lights dimmed, and the guests became silent. A small orchestra began playing a fanfare, with harp and long fluted trumpets bellowing out a melodically mellow call to attention.
Jay entered the hall from one side. His stride was slow, measured and confident. His chest was bare, save for his medallion, and he wore a tunic, and all was covered on the back by a flowing red cape. He carefully lifted two gold and crystal rings from a small red velvet pillow held by one of the attendants. Laura arrived from the other side of the hall. Laura's head was shaved save for a tuft at the top.
Laura was wearing a flowing white gown with a silky veil. She also wore a huge shimmering crystal necklace. On her head was a silver headband with several round raised discs and a larger blue crystal disc in the center, with silvery strands draping from these discs, covering her face in a shimmering shower of silver.
The two walked onto the stage, faced one another and clasped hands.
Angelique was the last one to enter the hall. Her entrance was slow, confident and dignified. She had been crying, but there was a serene smile on her face. She was wearing a ceremonial robe, heavy, bright white and flowing, like a monk's robe. She was also wearing a massive gold necklace with spherical accents of crystal.
This was the first time Jay had actually seen his mother in person since he was seven years old. Angie looked at her son with a smile. Her eyes flashed red for a second. A small tear rolled down Jay's face.
Angelique, Queen of Zartha, walked onto the stage, faced the guests and with a loud, clear, authoritatively warm and loving voice, began to speak.
"My friends, and all my fellow Zarthans, this night we are made witness to a celebration. This is my final address as your queen. For tonight, you will see a new and glorious beginning for the people of Zartha. Here before you are my son, T'Va'an of the house of T'ola'an, who is the Sun of Zartha. With him is his intended, Sh'ana'aa of the house of the S'aa, the Light of Zartha. In a few moments they will be married and installed as my immediate replacement as chief executive of the Planet and Federation of Zartha.
"It is the hope and belief of us all that as directed by divine will of the One Universal Creator, The Light and the Sun shall become as one star, bright and shining in the deep blackness of space. A beacon of joyful inspiration for all who bask under its divine cosmic energy."
Angie turned to face the couple. "Give the ring, T'Va'an."
Jay placed the smaller of the two rings on Laura's finger. He handed the other ring to Laura, who placed it on his.
Jay then looked at Laura. He looked right into her eyes. He held her gaze, basking in the warm joyful energy coming from his bride. The familiar electric fire began to dance inside of him again. His heart was racing a mile a minute.
And there was an electric second or two of smiling silence. This is it, he thought to himself. No more being lonely. That's over. This is where my life begins, right now.
He then said, "I am one with you, Light of Zartha."
To which Laura replied, "I am one with you, Lord of the Sun."
Then Jay parted the silver strings and lifted the veil, and the two kissed.
"Anw'aan sha la ock," proclaimed Angie. "The marriage is commenced. T'Va'an, you are now the Keeper of the Light of Zartha. Sh'ana'aa, you are now the Keeper of the Sun of Zartha. Defend and protect one another. Educate and advise one another. Allow the energy, the respect, and the love of the one to strengthen and nourish the other, at all times, for all time, and beyond.
Angie's voice was shaking slightly at this point. "And now it is time to transfer my power and authority to the new couple."
Angie stepped over to Jay. She looked at him and was struggling to control her tears at this point. But Angie was a pro.
"My precious T’Va'an. Blood of my blood, divine child of the all-powerful, live giving, creative power of divine sunlight. Twenty-five years ago, I gave you up, in uncertain and desperate circumstances, wondering if the time would ever be right for this moment. Well, finally, it was.
"I was unable to finish raising you. I left you on Earth to become a warrior, and brought you back to Zartha to become a king. I asked you to face a reality you were told did not exist. You were unsure of all of this, and over these last few days, you showed us all that the Light and the Fire of creation have the power to change hearts, the power to make us remember why we are here. The power to bring us to what we really are.
"Your days and nights of loneliness and isolation - the days of wondering whether or not you are important to the people who love you, and wondering whether or not you matter as a guardian and defender of the eternal principles of truth, freedom, justice and joy...those days have ended, my son. You are loved, appreciated, and looked up to by your family - the family of the T'ola'a and the S'aa as well as the family of Zartha and the universe.
"Thank you, my son, for believing in me. Thank you for trusting the destiny. Thank you for coming back on the journey of the divine sunlight from which you came. Your soul is the original sun, your fire is the original flame. You are our child and you are our ancestor. And I know...that you know and believe that now. O' wo'o p'aack."
"O' wo'o p'aack, S'Vassa'an", Jay replied, and at this point a couple of tears were slowly streaming down his face. "I do know, Momma, now. I do know, and I do believe."
Angie looked up at her son and beamed a proud smile through her tears. She then took the large gold necklace from her neck and placed it around Jay's neck. The medallion fit neatly around the opening in the center of this necklace.
A couple of tears were rolling down Agent Kay's face right now.
Angie proclaimed to Jay: "From the fire you were born, and to the Light you shall go. Shakita."
Shakita, who was also dressed in a white robe, then stepped forward onto the stage and brought a smaller version of the same necklace. Angie lifted it from the pillow. She turned towards Laura.
“Sh’ana’aa, I love you as though you were my own daughter. I have always tried to be there for you, to advise you, teach you, and guide you, for your entire life, even when it seemed like I was nothing more than a fanciful dream to you. I am indeed the fairy godmother you always suspected was there, just under the surface of your imagination.
"Your mother was the best friend I ever had in this universe. She trusted me as her confidant and obeyed me as her queen. Her sacrifice lives as you. Child of cosmic starlight. Your mother even now is shining down on us with love and pride for you. I can feel her...as she and I have always felt you.
"And you, Laura, shine brightly even now as an example of truth, wisdom and the very power of creation itself. Thank you for helping my son to remember what he is. Thank you for being the force of divine love he has been searching for so valiantly. O' wo'o p'aack."
"O' wo'o p'aack, S'Vassa'an", Laura said.
"From the Light you were born and to the Light you shall return. Take off your necklace, Sh'ana'aa."
Laura obeyed. Angie then placed the gold necklace around Laura.
Then Angie said, in perfect Louisiana Creole French, "Vous êtes lumière. Vous êtes le soleil. Vous êtes roi et reine. Les deux de vous deviendront un grand tiennent le premier rôle dans les cieux.
"Now the both of you together must take the oath of royal office."
Angelique then said, "Repeat after me, both of you. O' wo'o p'aack." While she was saying this she raised her right fist to her chest, tapped it twice, extended it outward rapidly about 3-4 inches ahead, and tapped her chest with it again.
"O' wo'o p'aack," Jay and Laura both said at once. As they did so, they each raised a right fist to their chests, tapped it twice, extended it outward rapidly about 3-4 inches ahead, and tapped their chests with it again, then repeated the gesture, this time touching fists with each other.
Angie then said, "Now repeat after me: Anw'aan p'a'an sha la ock."
"Anw'aan p'a'an sha la ock." Jay and Laura both said at once. As they did so, they repeated the fist gesture a third time, tapping fists now with Angie.
Angie now said, "At this moment, my royal power now belongs to you both. You are now the joint and sovereign leaders of Zartha. You are to command the affairs of this homeworld with the utmost responsibility, the utmost respect, and with the highest possible levels of the wisdom of divine light and the fire of divine love. Treat all the people of Zartha, and all beings of the universe, as you would wish to be treated, for we are all one with another in the vastness of the universe."
Angie looked at Jay. "His Majesty will now make his first official address as king of Zartha." Angie then sat down in the front row, no longer ruler of a great and mighty planet, but a private citizen - albeit one who was a most proud parent right about now.
Jay hesitated for a moment, collected himself, and then began to address the guests.
"My friends...distinguished guests...and my fellow Zarthans," Jay said, "Exactly three short weeks ago tonight, I was living the life of a citizen of the planet Earth. I was sworn to protect the people of that planet against those who would come from other worlds, and do grave harm to Earth's people."
As Jay was reciting these words, a stream of images flashed in his mind, images from his time as an agent of MIB. He remembered going on his first missions with Kay and Elle. He remembered blasting the huge alien being at Flushing Meadow Park back in Queens, his first major assignment. He remembered many battles with weird beings on the streets of Manhattan, and he remembered trying to subdue Jeff the giant worm in the Lexington Avenue subway. He remembered bringing Kay back from the post office and riding in his E500 through SoHo and Tribeca with Frank. And most of all, he remembered being lonely - and then meeting Laura.
Jay continued. "I took my duties seriously and performed them to the best of my ability. But I always felt, I always knew, in the deepest, darkest places in my soul, that something was missing, something critical to my existence - but I could not put that missing feeling into words. Part of that feeling was loneliness, the searching, the yearning, for the true love of my soul and of my heart.
"What I did not know was that I was not truly an Earth being, but that I am actually of Zarthan descent. What was missing for me was the knowledge of everything that being a creature of Zartha means - knowing the power of my own self. Knowing about my heritage, my spiritual and physical abilities. My identity. My self-confidence. My pride.
"The last three weeks have been nothing short of a tremendous life-changing experience.
"As I have come to learn, my mother worked tirelessly, and with the utmost honor and love, to conduct the affairs of this homeworld during her time of exile. Her dedication, her service - and her sacrifice - has culminated in what you have just witnessed tonight." Jay now turned to look at his mother. He could see that the tears were flowing from her eyes. "Momma, the time has now come for your long night of exile to end. The very first treaty I will sign with the Men In Black, and by extension with every government on the planet Earth, will be for the termination of MIB Level One protective exile, and for your formal release from St. Gabriel Prison, effective immediately. You shall not return to that jail cell tonight, Momma."
The assembled guests murmured whispered appreciation, as this gesture had been long expected. Angie bowed her head to her son. “Thank you, Your Majesty,” she said.
Jay continued. “Everything happened so suddenly these past few days, but I know now that when I was a child, my mother laid the foundation for me to become king. She plotted, planned and schemed behind the scenes all my life - and even years before my life officially began - without my direct knowledge, to make sure I received the proper education, the proper military and police training, the installation as an agent of the Men In Black and my time of service with them to protect and defend Earth. In large measure because of this, I am well prepared to take over where Queen Angelique is leaving off.
“I am truly ready now to be your King.
“Our planet faces many challenges. I have spent much of my brief time thus far on this homeworld learning about these challenges - and I am distressed and dismayed at the present political situation here on our homeworld.
“We have forgotten the sacred bonds of family that all Zarthans share, no matter what tribe we were born into. All Zarthan beings are family, and no matter how far we come as a planet, or how powerful we become as a force of might and strength in this galaxy and the larger universe, we must always remember that we are a family. A family made up of beings of Light, cosmic, sacred, divine Light: learning how to make that light shine in love, and in honor, and in truth each and every day.
“I have found in the Light of Zartha the love that I have yearned for since my mother was taken from me. The love I thought would never reach my soul as an agent of the Men In Black. In the happiness and the brightness of her Light have I found my own Light, and come to reclaim the fire that is within me as well. I will partner with my wife, your new queen, to bring honor to my family - and that means the house of S’aa as well as the house of T’ola’an, for both tribes are in my bloodline. That means we will also bring honor to the other tribes. I promise each and every one of you that I shall do my best to help unify this planet.
“For it is the unity, the peace and the prosperity of Zartha, that will be the shining example to all the universe. The One Creator has endowed us all as Zarthans with a special gift, the gift of Light. We must never use this tremendous energy we have as a tool to become thugs and overlords, wielding crushing blows of domination and despair over the other planets and ruling them with tyranny and darkness. Rather, we are charged with showing the universe that by our living and promoting the basic, simple, honorable ideas of love, respect, liberty, freedom and happiness, the entire family of planets will be inspired to take the steps to become closer to its true nature.
“We must all work together, as Zarthans, all of us, to bring about the great age of cosmic Light prophesied in the Book of the S’aa.
“We stand ready to lead and to serve you all. O wo’o pa’ack.”
And with that, the ceremony was over. The orchestra began playing some light but vibrantly jumping Dixieland jazz music.
The new king and queen remained on the stage together so the receiving line could congratulate them.
Some of the guests presented Jay and Laura with presents.
The first in line were the Worm Guys.
"Congratulations, guys!!! Don't forget about us, Laura!" they said. Laura laughed with a surprised squeal of joy as she accepted a commemorative 35th anniversary special edition of Twister, with the box signed by each worm.
"Oh, my god!!! Twister!!! Thanks, fellas," she said. Jay chuckled with a puzzled stare. "What am I gonna do with y'all?" he said.
The councillors were next, including T'Ka'ar and T'Avl'aa, and offered their congratulations.
Then Zed, Kay and Frank came.
Jay said, "Zed, I actually have a gift for you, man." He motioned to a couple of the palace attendants. They brought out a tremendous long-necked black bottle sealed with a wax stopper. It was a vintage bottle of razzleberry-coconut wine from the Purple Valley.
When Zed saw this his eyes bulged out in grinning delight like a schoolboy.
"Ohhhh...." he said, his voice quivering with delicious anticipation. "Razzleberry-coconut wine!!! Ohhhhh...the best! The best in the universe!!! You shouldn't have, kid."
Jay grinned and shook his head. "It's the least I could do, Zed, we don't make champagne up here - yet."
"Thank you, Jay." The attendants started to carry the bottle up to the guest quarters.
Then, Kay came up.
Jay and Kay stood for an awkward second or two. Neither man really knew what to say.
Kay then spoke up. "Pretty good speechifyin' up there, slick."
"Thanks, Kay," Jay mumbled. The two men were silent again.
Laura bumped Jason in the elbow. "Say something, Jay," she whispered.
"We got a buffet line in the next hall," Jay said to Kay. "All you can eat pizza. And Momma made her veggie gumbo."
"That's not what I mean," Laura said.
Jay then reached out and gave Kay a hug. "I'm glad you came up here, Kay. It means a lot to me."
Then Kay sighed and said, "I wasn't gonna miss this one. I knew you two were gonna be together. Once you brought me back to MIB, I saw it. That night in Ben's. I could see it your eyes, both of you..."
Kay's mind flashed back to that Friday evening in Ben's Pizza, when Jay prevented Kay from neuralyzing Laura, after Kay saw the key to the locker at Grand Central Station, that contained the Tapeworm Video membership card and the Hamilton watch. Kay (who actually fully remembered by that point that Laura was the Light and Jay was the Sun of Zartha) actually had the neuralyzer at the lowest possible setting so as to barely give Laura 20, maybe 30 seconds of amnesia, but he really wanted to provoke Jay into acting to save his new girlfriend, which Jay of course did. This confirmed to Kay that the Knowing was happening and that the only acceptable result to Angie was for Jay and Laura to be united as a couple...eventually.
Kay continued. "And I knew right then and there...that I was gonna be up here in this hall, in this receiving line, congratulating you kids and wishing you Godspeed on your reign as King and Queen."
Laura had a beaming, proud smile on her face as she looked at Kay. A couple of small tears rolled down Kay's face. (These people sure aren't afraid of showing their emotions!) Kay then said to Jay, "You know, slick, like I said, you're just as beautiful as your mother."
Jay blushed and gave a smile. "Well, I'm glad at least more than one of you guys thinks so," and gave a smile at Laura.
"Don't let these freaks push you around too much, the buck stops with you now. Both of you, anyway."
"I'll do my best, partner," said Jay with a chuckle.
"See you around, kid." Kay patted Jay on the shoulder.
"See ya around," Jay said.
Then the two hugged again.
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Sun of Zartha