Conference call with mommaEdit

It was early the following morning in the royal palace. Bruno, Jay's cat from his New Orleans childhood, who was taken to Ben's Pizza after Jay and Laura were placed under MIB-supervised custody as kids, by now was brought back to the royal palace, and Laura was putting some Friskies in his dish.

Jay was peering into the top deck baking compartment of the massive 47-inch-wide Montague commercial pizza oven, a newer version of the one used at Ben's Famous Pizza. He took his neuralyzer out of his jeans pocket and turned it to the flashlight setting (the light was clear, bright and steady), and looked deep inside of it.

"I thought they took that thing away from you," Laura said, putting some water in Bruno's bowl.

"Well, baby," Jay said, as he peered deep into the oven, "I snuck this one from the supply room last year and kept it at home. A good MIB agent is never without his flashy-flashy."

The brand-new stone lining of the oven made Jay sneeze, and he sneezed right into the oven.

Laura giggled. "That's gross."

"Now the pizza's gonna have all my germs all on it," Jay said and pulled his head away from the oven door. "That's what you get for whackin' me upside the head with that pizza pan." He winked at Laura. Laura chuckled hard and rolled her eyes with a smirk.

"Whatevah," she grinned. "You're so crazy, Jay."

She moved close to him, with that huge smile, and the two gave each other a quick kiss. Well...maybe a little bit of a long kiss. It was slow, warm, and caring, and left the pair with a deep smile on each face.

Jay and Laura had a most satisfying evening the night before.

"You know, you're not a secret agent anymore," Laura said.

"Somehow I'm not so sure about that," Jay replied with a slight grin. "Even a king needs detective skills."

Shakita then entered the living quarters. Now Jay rolled his own eyes. Jay already was not a big fan of Shakita, as he considered her too pushy, like the girls in his group home in Brooklyn who always picked on the geeky boys.

"Hey, y'all," she called out.

The cardboard boxes, filled with Jay's belongings he packed before he left NYC, had just arrived and Jay now began to unpack one of them. Shakita walked up to Jay. "Jay, your mom wants all three of us on a conference call today."

Jay looked up. "Oh yeah? Momma wants to check in on us?"

"Yeah. We have to start getting ready for the wedding, and there are some official things she wants you to start doing in advance of the coronation."

Shakita handed Jay a file. The cover had the sun medallion design design debossed in gold foil, and underneath it was some printed letters in Zarthan. "Shakita, I can't read this stuff."

"All the info's always in English. Zarthans speak better English than you or me do. But you still gotta learn Zarthan."

Jay gave a hmmpf. "What is this?" he then said as he flipped through the dossier.

"That's official intergalactic policy statements, talking points, shit like that. In here is the official position on Kylothia and how we deal with them, and back here is how we deal with MIB." Shakita looked up at Jay. "We'll be drawing on your past experience a LOT, Your Highness."

"You guys seem to think that now Jay's up here I'm gonna just fall in line with the program," Jay said, annoyed.

"You have to, Jay," Shakita replied. "That's all a part of the plan for you. You were damn near Zed's number two man after Kay left, so you obviously know what you're doing."

"I'm getting a little tired of people plannin' things for me, Shakita," Jay said wearily.

Shakita frowned. "Your mom is the one plannin' things. I don't think she'd appreciate your attitude about that."

Jay looked at Shakita with a dry, cold glance. "Momma needs to know upfront what my attitude is right about now, it's not a very good one, outside of Laura that is, and I don't much care how she reacts to it."

"Look," said Shakita, "I know your mom pretty damn well. This meeting is important, Jason. Trust me, you do NOT want to get on your mom's bad side."

"And she don't want to get on mine," Jay retorted. "She's acting like I'm still that little kid she left behind. I am not in the first grade anymore and she has GOT to understand that. I'm a grown man now. I have not seen her in twenty-five years. There needs to be a little bit different relationship goin' on between us."

Laura was in the small kitchen area looking inside the Sub-Zero refrigerator, which had little food inside. "Hey, Shakita, where do people go grocery shopping on this planet?" she asked.

"Grocery shopping?" Jay asked. "Laura, this is Zartha. Why you wanna go grocery shopping?'

Laura held up a folder with the Ben's Pizza emblem. "Ben sent this up two weeks ago." She began to read from a handwritten note. "Hello Your Highness. By the time you read this, you and Jason should be settled in to your new home. Here are some of the pizza recipes adapted specifically for Zartha. The herbs and spices are a little different up there but they work just as good or better. Remember, counterclockwise!"

"Say what?" Jay asked.

"You toss the dough up in the air in a counterclockwise motion, like this", and Laura made the motion as if she were throwing the dough, which was something she did at least 3 or 4 times each day.

Laura looked down and finished reading. "I'm sorry I couldn't ever spill the beans, princess, but Angie would've run me over on a rail if I told you the truth. But I'll see you guys at the wedding. Until then, have fun and have pizza, Ben."

And with that, Laura sighed and flopped the folder on the counter, and looked up at Jay and Shakita. She was beginning to feel sad again.

Shakita wisely continued the conversation.

"Umm...Zarthans only eat two or three times a week, max," she said, matter-of-factly, "and we are vegetarians. Since you guys need to wean yourselves off Earth food we can have some food shipped up here from Pathmark or Albertsons or Safeway or Kroger or wherever y'all want."

"Well, we'd better hurry up and put the order in," Jay said, "'cause I'm starving."

"You can wait," Shakita said. "Right now we gotta go to the conference room."

The three left the living quarters and walked down a long, long, long corridor. Various aides and attendants were passing by, carrying papers and file folders. Some of them made the weird hand gesture to them, which Shakita always returned. This reminded Jay of life back on the Air Force base (and, of course, MIB HQ) with its disciplined hustle and bustle.

"Damn," Jay exclaimed, "I'm gonna have to get a people mover put in here."

"Boy, you can walk!" Shakita said with an annoyed look on her face.

Jay got annoyed right back. "Listen, Ice Queen, may I ask you something??? who the hell died and made YOU my momma?"

Shakita shot back. “Nobody died and your momma just so happens to be my auntie, my boss AND my queen. And furthermore, I don’t appreciate the way you’ve been treating me, after all this palace has been doing for you all this time!”

“And I should be concerned about that because?” Jay asked with an annoyed snap of the voice.

“I happen to be a descendant of the seventh sister in Mother Afua’s family, the number seven wife of the first king of this planet! That makes me technically a princess!!! And as such I AM in the royal line of succession! So you need to show some respect to me!”

"Guys, guys, pleeeeze," Laura said wearily. "We don't need this. We're family now and we're all together. You guys should be happy, not arguing over stupid shit. I'm happy, so y'all have to be happy too!"

Jay and Shakita gave a groan and sighed. They wanted to be careful of Laura's feelings as she was still mourning Ben.

They entered the conference room, which looked like it was lifted right out of a major corporation or government agency back on Earth. There was a long mahogany table surrounded by about 10 or 12 Herman Miller Aeron chairs. There was a massive 52" Westinghouse plasma TV monitor on the far wall. An attendant was setting bottles of Evian at each seat.

Jay and Laura sat next to each other, with Shakita sitting to the left of Laura. Laura instinctively opened her Evian and took a long drink, as if she were back in New York jogging in Prospect Park or Flushing Meadow Park, which she sometimes liked to do on Saturdays.

They faced the huge screen, which had a small camera mounted above it. Shakita had a weird silvery ovoid remote control device, which she used to turn the monitor on. Angie's image immediately appeared in glorious, living high-definition color. She was in her cell, which was barren except for some light streaming in through a small window. She was wearing her orange prison jumpsuit; and she was seated on her metal bed, cross-legged, facing a 17" monitor, with a camera sitting on top (which was sitting on a metal dresser in the cell).

Except for the dreadlocks, which had streaks of gray, she looked pretty much the same as she did during Jay's childhood. It was if she had never aged even one day in 25 years.

"Hello, you guys," Angie said.

"Hey," each one said all at once.

"Jason, it's good to see you," Angie said.

"Good to see you too, Momma," Jay replied, with a tinge of nervousness in his voice. Jay was a little discomforted - and slightly saddened - by the sight of his long-lost mother in an orange jumpsuit sitting on a cot in a jail cell like a common criminal - and like the "scum of the universe" he helped put away for the last five years. He stiffened with a tinge of renewed anger at Zed and Kay for being the ones who did this to her.

Angie took a deep breath and started. "Well, let me first begin by officially welcoming you guys to Zartha. I have waited 25 years for this day. This is special. This is the beginning of a brand new chapter of your story, a brand new place in your journey, a new beginning - for the Zarthan people as well as for the two of you.

"As you know, in about 17 days, Jason and Laura, you will become man and wife, and be officially installed as king and queen of Zartha. Now there are some things I need each of you to do leading up to the coronation. In front of you are some files with the Zarthan seal. Open them up."

Each one opened up the dossier in front of them.

Angie continued. "First off, Shakita, I need you to lead the official remembrance ceremony for Ben this morning after we get done here."

Shakita looked up and nodded, jotting a note in her dossier. Both Jay and Laura fell silent, and Laura hung her head down for a second. She then said, "I found the recipe folder he sent up. Now I can make pizza for Jay. The right way."

Angie knew that Laura took Ben's destruction at the hand of Serleena very hard - for a Zarthan. "Listen, Laura, I need you to know that everyone is just as sad as you are to see Ben go away. But I want you to always remember that Light goes back to Light - it HAS to, so he's still with us, baby. Always remember that."

Laura looked up and nodded her head. She smiled slightly. "OK, Angie. Thank you."

Angie continued. "Now, after the ceremony, the first thing I want you and Laura to do, Jason, is to take a tour of the planet. You need to learn how to fly the transport and to get to know each of the four major tribes of Zartha. We've got people who can give you lessons on the transport as well as about the history of the tribes. This should take the both of you the next three of four days. Got that, Jason?"

"Yeah, Momma," Jay replied as he flipped a page in the file. "Looks like I'm getting some lessons in the Zarthan language."

"That's right, baby, you and Laura both. First you guys will start out with some language books and tapes, and we also have learning machines that actually beam the knowledge into your brain by using light energy. Then you and Laura will begin to activate your supernatural abilities. There are special rituals the two of you must do, both together and alone, to activate the sun and the light energy within you."

"What's this about being the royal liaison with MIB, Momma? I thought that was Shakita's job," Jay asked, with a slight frown on his face.

"Jason, I thought you would be excellent to take on that role," Angie replied.

"Angie, you don't think I'm doing a good job with that anymore?" Shakita asked with a slight frown.

"On the contrary, Shakita, you are doing excellently, but I need for Jason to get used to some of the administrative functions of planetary government. I need you to train Jay on your procedures and Jay, I need you to brief Shakita on the current MIB protocols. She's already gone through some MIB training but she needs a sense of your command level experience, especially as it relates to Zed and Kevin."

Jay's eyes shot open in surprise. "Momma, wait a second, how do you know Kay's real name?"

Angie frowned for a second. "Kevin didn't tell you? Well, I guess I'd better. It's about time you found out, anyway. I've kept this a secret from you all these years. See, baby..." and here Angie sighed nervously and gathered herself, "I was once part of a secret organization that monitors and polices alien activity on planet Earth."

Jay's eyes shot open on hearing that all-too familiar sentence. It was how Kay introduced himself to Jay five years ago, and how Jay formally introduced himself to Laura just a few short days before.

"You were MIB?" he exclaimed, in shock.

Laura looked surprised too and she gave a wide, beaming smile.

"Yes, Jason, I was MIB. I still am, officially, as a matter of fact. I was Kevin's partner for a year back in New Orleans. 1967. I was about to turn 21." Angie gave her son a slight smile. "In fact, baby, look at the back of that file in front of you."

Jay snatched the paper out of the back and his jaw hit the floor. "Holy...Look at this, baby," he said to Laura. "This is what an MIB active agent file looks like!" Jay handed the paper to Laura.

Sure enough, Angelique Maria Tolan was still an active roster agent of the Men In Black. "Zed never officially decomm'ed me, Jason, they still send me a check every two weeks," said Angie.

Jay looked up at his mother in silence for a second or two. There sure were a lot of secrets about him that were getting more and more upsetting.

"Momma, come you never told me you were MIB?" Jay asked, with another tinge of sadness in his eyes. "It would have been real nice to know I was following in your footsteps all this time."

Angie looked wistfully at the camera and gave a short, but weary sigh. "I know, Jason. I know. There was no way I could really tell you when you were a kid. Remember how I would never let you go up into the attic back in the house in New Orleans?"

"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do," Jay said, beginning to put two and two together. "That was where you kept all your standard issue gear, wasnt it?"

"Yes, baby," Angie replied. The slightly nervous smile returned.

"Do you still have your neuralyzer?" Jay asked, now with a concerned look on his face. He reached for his sunglasses. Both Laura and Shakita rolled their eyes, laughing and giggling at Jay's excessive caution.

"Yes, but the batteries are taken out, you don't need to put on your sunglasses," Angie said. "And the neuralyzing light is about one-tenth as effective there on Zartha, Jason, because of Zartha's electromagnetic field being as strong as it is. Even if I did flash you, you'd only get temporary amnesia for about 30 seconds, even if I have this thing at full power," Angie continued. She reached over to her right and produced a neuralyzer, slightly larger than Jay's.

"Whoa, holy mother of God, that's a Mark II!" Jay exclaimed with a smile, as he recognized one of the early neuralyzers. Kay showed Jay his own Mark II just a month or so before, back in New York. "That's the one with 5 dials on it, right? Did you ever use it on anybody?"

"One time," Angie said, and looked down at her lap for a second - a long second, and then she looked up at the camera. "But that was a long, long time ago, Jay. Right now we gotta focus on your future, and not on my past."

Jay looked away for a second. Then he looked at his momma again, and frowned puzzledly. (There's still something she's holding back - but I'd better not press the point)...Jay sighed, looked down at the dossier on the table, and looked up again at the camera. "Listen, Momma, you realize you're asking a lot out of me for being up here such a short amount of time. Why is there such a rush to even have a wedding in three weeks? Can't this wait..oh, I don't know, say, six, seven months?"

"Jay," Laura said to him. Jay held his finger up to Laura. "Wait a second, baby, let's address this..."

Angie responded. "Jason, the main reason we need to move quickly is that Serleena is still a threat."

Jay looked a little puzzled. "But Momma, I destroyed Serleena."

Shakita chimed in with a smart - alecky smirk. "You just THINK you destroyed Serleena."

"Jason," Angie continued, "Serleena is a plant. She leaves seeds so she can reconstitute. She could have very well re-created herself just minutes after you and Kevin blew her up that night in New York, and no one would have been the wiser."

"Damn," Jay said, looking down at the table again, now with a frown, "so that means we still have to be careful. She might still try to take Laura," and with this Jay looked over at Laura with a deep look of worry.

"Momma," Jay continued, "I can't let Serleena take Laura from me. That would devastate me."

"That's the least of it, baby," Angie continued. "Serleena destroyed a few planets on the way to Earth looking for Laura."

"I know, I saw the report and I saw that ship myself in Central Park, Kylothian Class C vessel," Jay said.

"Well, remember, Jay, you may have seen that spacecraft, but some of the facts about it were kept from you by Zed. He didn't tell you everything about the technology aboard that little ship of hers. The destruction beam she used is NOT Kylothian technology. It's Zarthan. The demolition beam, we use it like a wrecking ball, but only on dead moons. After all the inhabitants have been evacuated."

"What??? You kidding me?" Jay exclaimed with slight surprise and a wrinkled frown of disdain. "How did Serleena get a hold of Zarthan technology??? That powerful?"

"We suspect some of the rebels sold it to her. That's the big issue we have to deal with, baby. We have devices, medical devices, learning devices, even kids' toys - that if engineered in a certain way, can be used not just to blow up planets, but to steal the very life force from a Zarthan. And some Zarthans, like you guys, have a stronger life force than others.

"Given the kids of devices I think Serleena might have gotten access to, if she decides to do something crazy, like kidnap Laura and take her hostage or something like that, well, she can easily take over and control the entire universe. And what's more, she might try and take YOU as well, and steal BOTH of your combined energies. That would be absolute and utter disaster, and that's putting it mildly."

Jason was silent for another second. Then he looked at Laura and took her hand. Then he spoke. "I can't let that happen, Momma. I won't let that happen."

"That's fine, baby," Angie continued, raising an eyebrow, "but I need you to get something straight right now. Listen to me good, Jason. Now I am not Zed, I am not Kay. You can't just go off and disobey me like you did to them CONSTANTLY. First of all, I am your mother and I haven't forgotten how I used to discipline you when you were a kid. Second of all, I am the queen of Zartha. You are a Zarthan citizen and a member of the royal household. That status NEVER changed, Jason. So that means whatever I say goes, baby. Final word, final authority. I mean it. OK?"

Jay looked up at his mother, slightly coldly, sighed, waited a second or two, and said, "OK, Momma, I understand and I respect that, but I need for YOU to get something straight."

Angie's face froze for a second. "What is that, Jason?" she asked, calmly, not as if she were addressing her only child, but here, now, as if she was in high-level negotiations with a diplomat from some alien planet, something she was all too accustomed to doing.

Jay went on. "First of all, Momma, I am not that six-year-old child you gave up to MIB back in '78. For better or for worse, the reality NOW is that I'm a grown man and I make my own decisions. Next, what no one seems to understand is that just two days ago, I was an MIB agent. With an ongoing mission I took an oath to carry out. Two days ago I had a different identity and a different name.

"Two days ago, Momma, you were DEAD.

"Now, I promise you, I will do my best to carry out your orders, Momma, and like I just said, I will do everything I possibly can to keep Laura safe from Serleena, but you must be advised right now that this whole entire deal's gonna be a difficult transition for me. Way difficult."

Angie looked at Jay in silence for a second or two. Shakita started to get nervous, and braced herself for a verbal barrage from the queen, for she personally witnessed a few of Angie's shouting matches with key members of the Intergalactic Council.

But Angie did not yell, she just sighed slightly. She also had a tinge of sadness in her eyes.

"I was afraid that would be your position, Jason. Listen, baby, I'm only telling you all this because I KNOW you. I felt your presence in my body from the very beginning. And I carried you for six months-"

"You mean nine months, right?" Jay interrupted, puzzled again.

"No, actually that was six months, Jason, we have a shorter gestation period than humans. The point I'm trying to make, baby, is that I carried you. I gave birth to you. I breast fed you. I taught you how to eat, to go to the bathroom, to read, to write. I KNOW you, T'Va'an, or at least I used to, before I made the deal with MIB to place you and Laura into protective exile.

"And what's more, I know all about your career, Jason. Everything. I know about all you have achieved and accomplished in the Air Force, the NYPD and in MIB under all your commanding officers. I know that at every stage of your career up to this point, you rose to every single challenge given to you. Successfully.

"You have shown complete dedication and the highest levels of excellence and professional competence. Your record is exemplary, Jason. You are brave, resourceful and loyal to the ideals of freedom and justice, for the people of Earth and people all over this universe. And speaking as the queen of Zartha - and as your mother - I could not be more pleased and proud with what you have done. I also could not be more confident of your potential once you've been fully activated and every aspect of your Zarthan identity is realized.

"So if I knew you weren't capable of any of this, I just would have left you back in New York as an MIB agent and just sent Laura up there to be queen, by herself."

Jay hung his head down in a tinge of embarrasment. "I hear you, Momma. Look, I - I didn't mean any disrespect." He didn't know his momma anymore, but he had to respect her - at least in honor of the good times he had with her as a kid.

"That's all right, baby, I know where you're comin' from. But listen, Jay, that same seven-year-old child I gave up to MIB was curious, intelligent, and had a natural love energy just bubbling up from deep inside him. You had the Light inside you always. Everyone knew it, and that's why Zed was so afraid of you. I never got the chance to work with you, one on one, in the old way, the traditional way, to develop your energy. To make it really effective, so you could be ready to be king.

"So now, I need YOU to reclaim some of that light, that love, Jason. Laura needs you to reclaim that. Zartha needs you to reclaim that."

"But why is it so important for me to reclaim anything, Momma?" Jay asked. "I was doing just fine...well, sort of..." and here Jay frowned in frustration, because Angie knew Jay was unhappy living the required life of secrecy demanded of him as an MIB agent.

"Look, baby, the last 30 years of my life, I've been trying to make a prophecy come true. In fact, I was created to help be the gateway for the prophecy. I'm not only just a child of the Sun People. Some of my ancestors - and that means some of your ancestors, Jason - are priests of the S'aa, those are the Light people that know the power of the cosmic Light energy. That's your energy, Laura. The energy that could have blown up the Earth. The energy Serleena wants.

"The prophecy of the Light of Zartha is in the holy writings of the S'aa priests, almost 1,000, fifteen hundred years old. Basically it calls for the Sun and the Light - that's the two of you - to come together, bring forth the Golden Age of Light, which is supposed to be a period with nothing but love, joy, peace...everyone on Zartha - and all over this universe - showing unconditional love and respect towards one another. Giving to each other more than just take, take, take, you know what I'm sayin'?

"Now, the two of you are also prophesied to create a superchild. You can look it up in the writings, it's all there. That superchild - maybe two or three kids, depending on what you guys want in terms of a family - that child is supposed to be one of the most powerful beings in all of the universe - a powerful king, or queen, as the case may be, who will do his or her part to bring eternal, everlasting peace, love and unity among all beings, all throught the universe, for all time. That means Earth gets to be fully disclosed as to the presence of other intelligent, able-bodied and educated life in the universe."

"Whoa," Laura said. "That...that's the biggest thing to happen...since the universe was even created. That's so hard to imagine. Our baby..." Laura turned to look at Jay with an expression of wonder, but Jay had more pragmatic thoughts going through his mind.

"MIB ain't gonna like that, Momma," Jay said gravely.

"That don't much matter, baby," Angie replied. "It's time for the people of Earth to finally be a part of this universe, and stop lying to themselves - or at least to stop letting themselves get lied to by their so-called 'leaders' as to the whole alien issue.

"Earth is important to the universe. Always has been. But the other planets were always kept out - officially - out of the loop. The people who ran Earth always asserted total control over the citizens, that's the main reason behind MIB in the first place...but over the centuries, we always managed to stick our nose in Earth's business from time to time. And most of the time, when most of us did that, Earth was always better off for it. But now everybody's tired of the hiding and the secrets. Earth is a part of this universe and all of Earth's people need to know they are not alone...

"The people of Earth are in a state of despair. You know that. Governments are taking more and more of people's freedom right out from under them. The elite classes are treating everyday people like slaves - like shit, Jason, and having the nerve to call it 'freedom'. That is wrong and beings like us cannot let that go unchallenged. The people of Earth need to know, they must know, that there is another way to live. They need to know that people of goodwill - and good power - from other planets have got their back. They need to be presented with the tools to make the change for themselves. They need to be shown the power of cosmic, eternal Light. And they need to learn how to use it to change Earth and make it a halfway decent place to live again.

"Peace and love CAN happen, Jason. Light CAN happen. And we do this because we love Earth. Earth is special.

"All the legends, all the stories that people all over this planet get taught...fairy tales, religious writings, conspiracy theories, all the sci-fi movies and TV shows and novels and comic books - all that is real, guys. It ain't fake. 90 percent of that stuff really happened and is going on even as we speak. Aliens are a part of Earth. Most aliens love Earth. Some aliens hate Earth, but you know all about THOSE aliens, baby. But when the GOOD aliens, the NICE aliens, when they...when WE try to live our lives, mind our own business and try to make things a little bit better out here on Earth, we always have to act undercover, we always have to hide, we always have to blend in. You know that by now, Jason. It's exactly like you just said, baby. You and I both took an oath to make sure aliens...didn't upset things too much. The nice ones as well as the mean ones."

"Momma, MIB kept you in the loop on my professional life all these years...were you actually responsible for my being an MIB agent?" Jay asked.

"Yes, baby, I was. I set out a plan, a pretty detailed plan, for you once you and Laura were taken from us. Both of you. As much as I think the concept of MIB is fundamentally wrong, the reality was that MIB is the official agency Earth set up to interact with the people and governments of other planets, and the other planets knew if they wanted to deal with Earth, they had to deal with MIB."

"And what does that have to do with Zartha?" asked Jay.

"That means as part of the ruling family of Zartha, and because Zartha has such a strong and closely involved relationship with Earth going back several hundred years, almost as far as the beginning of Zarthan civilization itself, your grandmother and I had to deal with MIB - and I had to actually JOIN MIB - in order to preserve and protect the national interest of Zartha, which of course includes our ongoing activities and holdings on Earth, which are rather substantial compared to other planets. MIB did not want to risk starting an intergalactic war with us by just acting like some apartment landlord and evicting us lock, stock and barrel from Earth, since we were there LONG before the establishment of MIB and most of the modern civilized governments in power right now on Earth. No other planet in the universe can say that. We belong on Earth just as sure as we belong on Zartha. We consider - we officially consider - Earth as a homeland for us, just as much as Zartha itself. In fact, we could have easily annexed Earth if we wanted to, baby, a long time ago, but we chose not to. And sometimes I wonder if not taking over Earth was a mistake on our part."

Jay raised his eyebrows in a bit of surprise on hearing this. Angie continued.

"To that end, Jason, your being MIB was a part of the plan to get you ready to be king of Zartha. Your being a second lieutenant in the Air Force was a part of that plan, too."

"Yeah, that Air Force thing has bothered me all these years. I wanted to fly fighter jets, Momma."

"I know, baby, and I'm so sorry you didn't get to do that. I know that was what you wanted more than anything else in the Air Force. But, listen, your ultimate purpose is a lot more critical to the future of Zartha - and Earth - than being a pilot, Jason. You can always fly an airplane, any old time. But you've got bigger okra to fry at the moment. You and Laura have a planet to run now."

"Isn't that bigger fish to fry?" Jay asked.

Angie laughed out loud. "No, Jason, we don't fry fish on Zartha, we hire them!"

Shakita rolled her eyes upward sarcastically and said, "Man, you got a lot to learn about this planet."

Angie continued. "In addition, the two of you need to work together to solve some of the problems on Zartha that I haven't been able to. A new king and queen with a new mandate - that's what Zartha needs the quickest of all, 'cause Zartha's goin' through some serious issues right about now. A lot of people got greedy and power hungry on Zartha who should know better, and it's makin' for a MESSED up situation." Angie had an exasperated look on her face. Jay looked up now at his mother with a hard stare. Angie stared back, cracked a slight smile, and shook her head. She looked up at the camera, and went on.

"Look, the bottom line is - you are an alien, Jason. I'm sorry the truth was held back from you all these years, but that's the way it had to be, baby. It was mainly for your protection, and Laura's protection. You two might have been destroyed - and Zartha along with you, if I didn't make that deal. The execution of the plan was a little awkward, but it had to go down the way it did. I really, really hope you will come to understand all that in time.

"And now, it's finally time for you to know the truth about yourself, but not only that, we need you to step up to the challenge and be who you really are.

"You are a Zarthan, Jason. Welcome to the club. We do things differently from Earthlings, baby. We use our EMOTIONS first and everything we think about, everything we plan, the logic, the analysis, it all comes out of that. NOT the other way around. We feel first and ask questions later. You want to know why we do it like that? It's because we have the power of all creation inside of us - and when we are taught to use that power in the right way, with the right attitude, some damn good things happen.

"Now the sooner you accept that and internalize that as a part of who and what you are, the easier this whole thing will be. Trust me, Jason. I know what I'm talkin' about."

Jay looked away for a second. Laura took Jay's hand and held it again, softly.

Angie continued. "We are all here to help you, Jay. We're here to help you remember, and to help you make the adjustment. When you pass from this plane of existence, you will be nothing but light anyway. You might as well learn how to start acting like a being of light right now. I was stuck in here when you got to the age where I would have taught you that, and Zed sure the hell wasn't gonna teach it to you."

Jay looked at his mother, looked down at the table, and gave a slight smile. "No, he wasn't, at that...Look, Momma, this Light seems all new to me, something...metaphysical and all that. After I left you, Momma...I became a lot more practical about my existence...I learned how to use my mind before my emotions, but I also learned how to SHOOT first and ask questions later.

"I can't start being a god overnight - even though you all say I am a god right now... So you need me to step up? I am a man of honor, Momma. When my planet calls me, I have a duty to answer the call. That's always been my way of doing things. And when I say 'my planet' that means Zartha as well as Earth.

"All I can do is give you, Laura, all you guys my absolute 110 percent best, to lay it all out on the court, as they say in basketball. I love you, Momma. I love you, Laura." He turned to Shakita. "I'll hold judgment on you, Shakita, until I get to know you and work with you a little bit more."

"Fair enough, Jason," Shakita said.

"OK," Angie replied, smiling at Jason. "And you are indeed a man of honor, Jason. I am very, very proud of how you have grown up and turned out. Just don't freak out when we tell you to follow the light. The Light will set you free, baby. We'll see how all this plays out. I think that's about all for me, then. You guys have your assignments.

"If you need me, you know where I am. If I'm out of this cell, the guards WILL come and get me immediately."

"Momma, how's that prison food?" Jay asked.

"Oh, I try not to eat that crap, baby, but once every week or so, I get so damn hungry I have to eat some of it. But when I come back for the wedding, I get to cook."

"I remember your cooking, Momma," Jay said with another smile.

"Well," Angie said, "you will be getting some of it when I come back. Now go out there and make all this happen. Oh, and Laura, I'll be contacting you later on tonight, so be ready for me. I've got some extra information to pass on just to you."

"I'll be ready, Angie," Laura said.

They all said their goodbyes.

Shakita then said, "There's a small temple on the east wing of the palace. Come on, the ceremony for Ben is gonna be in there. People are probably sitting in there waiting on us right now."

As they walked out of the conference room, Jay began to wonder. He turned to Laura and asked, "Baby, my momma said she was Kay's partner? She never once mentioned that when I was a kid, but Kay could have told me. How come he never mentioned that? Not even yesterday, when they finally told me I was a Zarthan?"


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Sun of Zartha

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