Kick It Up A Notch (A Junior Love Story) based on Starship

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Chapter 13

Junior

Lauren's POV:
Dr. Space Claw returns to his ship to sleep. I guess he's above sleeping in a cave base like us. I'm not complaining though, this way Junior and I get another night alone together. As soon as his dad's pod start back up to space above us he walks over to me and takes my hand. "Hey."
I smile at him. "Hi."
"Come here." He pulls me close and I rest my head against his chest, inhaling his scent. Junior brushes some of my hair away from my face before pulling me to the floor with him, kissing me fiercely all the while.
"Junior I don't know if we..."
He cuts me off by deepening the kiss. "It's our last night we'll for sure be together," Junior reminds me.
Thinking of this I kiss him back, holding his head in my hands. Something he said makes me falter though. "What do you mean the last night we'll for sure be together? You don't think we will be?"
His eyes widen and he shakes his head. "Not at all! Of course we will be!" I can see the promise doesn't reach his eyes. He has his doubts too. But laying here intimately with him I can forget that for now. I just want this moment. If only it would never end.
But as he continues to kiss me and pull me close I find myself believing him moer and more. Maybe it's because I want to convince myself as well.

Junior's POV:
I wake up with Lauren in my arms and it pains me that I won't be able to do this ever again. I smooth down her hair before sitting up and walking to the mouth of the cave where my father will be appearing soon. Glancing back at Lauren's still figure, I notice the videoscreen turning on. "Junior," my dad's deep voice comes from the screen.
"Yes?"
"Prepare to be beamed back up to the Starship with the girl. It will be much faster to travel this way than on foot."
"Yes sir," I answer, walking over to Lauren and shaking her awake. "Come on, time to go."
She gives me a sad smile before following me to the small platform we need to stand on in order to be transported to the deck of the ship. I give her a meaningful look and quickly squeeze her hand before I feel my particles shifting. Before I can even get used to the sensation we're on the ship deck. And now the real hardship begins.

We reach the location of the hive pretty quickly. Lauren is submissive and quiet during the trip, sitting sedately in her chair as though she's resigned to her fate. I won't let that happent to her though. She's going to escape.
"Alright, into the drop pod," Dad orders. I follow him into the pod and Lauren takes up the rear. She sits as close to me as possible and I'm scared Dad will notice but he isn't even watching us. His eyes are closed and he has this huge smirk on his face. I can't help but wonder what he may be plotting. It doesn't take long to find out. "Junior, once the girl is implanted you must shoot the Queen," he orders me.
"What?" I ask as Lauren gives me a bewildered look.
He nods, folding his hands on his lap. "We won't need her. I can clone the bug egg we get and that's all I need. We can dispose of all the life on this planet by getting rid of her. The other bugs are dependent on her. Without the Queen they'll die and we can take over this world once and for all."
Well, this complicates things a bit. But getting Lauren away will still be do-able. Maybe some more rangers will be there that can help her. I can only hope.

"Lauren, when I tell you to run you do it," I order her as we enter the hive. My father is taking up the rear with his robots and is out of earshot at least for now.
"What about you?" she hisses back, glacing around warily.
I'm annoyed by her persistence about my safety. "I can take care of myself."
"So can I," she responds.
"Will you please just do as I say? For me?" I ask.
She considers this before nodding. "Fine."
"Thank you. Now."
"Now?"
"Yes. Just go. I'll act like you got away and try to lead Dad another way," I tell her. "I'll meet up with you. Promise." It hurts lying to her but it's for the best. She'll never leave until I assure her I'll meet her later. "Go down that path then take a left. Just go. Please."
Her eyes meet mine. There's a lot of feeling conveyed by that look before she turns and sprints down a pathway.
"Junior! She's running!" my dad calls from behind me. Like I can't see that for myself.
"I'll get her!" I shout back, running after Lauren. We get to a fork in the path and I take the right path. I can only hope that she knows which way to turn in this maze.

Spec's POV:
"Alright now. Bug, you go try to block of the east entrance. February.... uh.... sit down and don't touch anything," Up orders, pointing at all of us. "Specs, you go up to the guard tower and try to get the alarm system up and running in case someone gets into the inner layers of the hive. Take Krayonder and Tootsie as guards."
I salute him and hurry off with the two men following. This is crazy! Junior still alive, Lauren captured, and I had picked up a big ship on the radar last night. Big as in... well big. I can't help thinking this may be more than just Lauren being in a hostage situation. I turn a few knobs on the board in front of me but nothing happens. The bulb's supposed to light up... what's going on? Suddenly I realize the full gravity of the situation and rush back down the stairs. Krayonder and Tootsie look expectantly at me. "We have to get back to Up! They're already in and I think they're going after the Queen!"

Lauren's POV:
I have no idea where I'm going. He said left. I did that. Now what? I take another left, a right, a left. Somehow I end up in a chamber with this big, pink, pulsing thing. Is that the Overqueen? Because if it is.... I am not in the right place. Turning around, I decide to go another way. Footsteps come from the direction I was going to go and I panic. A tall rock outcropping catches my eye and I rush to it as the sound of footsteps grows closer. Who is it? Someone to check on the Queen? Junior? Evil Dr. Space Claw?
Turns out it's none of these. It's Taz and Up! "No one's here yet," Taz whispers, pointing her gun around.
I'm about to jump out and tell them what's going on when more footsteps come from the opposite corridor. Nervously, I watch as Junior rushes in. Oh no, they still think he's bad! "Stop right there sonny!" Up yells, pointing his zapper at Junior. Junior throws his hands up in the air, looking scared.
"You guys have to get out of here," he warns them. "My dad's coming and if he finds any Rangers here he'll...."
"Junior! Is she in there?" I hear Space Claw's booming voice call from down the path. Up gives Taz a look and she jams her zapper into Junior's head. He gives her a dazed look before crumpling to the floor. "Junior! Answer me!" his dad orders, footsteps getting closer. I cower down, too scared to show myself. I hope Junior's alright.
"Taz! Get back! I hear robots!" Up cautions. I pick up on the faint whirring sound and take a deep breath. I have to go help them. But I can't. I'm paralyzed by fear. Fear of Space Claw, of the robots, bugs. Fear that Junior's seriously hurt.
The first robots appear and Taz and Up take them down with ease. Soon more swarm in though and the Queen is making strange noises that sound like something in panic. Taz is overtaken and I can barely hear Up yelling over the whirring noises. These are feral robots apparently, able and willing to hurt humans. Junior stirs and sits up as his father walks in. Space Claw pushes a button on the remote he's carrying and the robots all stop attacking the two Rangers. "Hold them," Space Claw orders before walking over to Junior. "Where is the girl?"
Junior shakes his head. "I don't know. She... she got away Dad."
Space Claw kicks him and I fight the urge to jump out and attack him. Taz and Up continue struggling and he laughs at them. "It's no use. Well, we don't have the girl. This one's too small to have the egg fit. And that one's too old, his body wouldn't be able to handle it and the egg would be lost. So, now bug army. But while I'm here I still may as well take over the planet, don't you think Junior?" Junior doesn't answer, he just bows his head. Space Claw doesn't seem to need any urging anyways. "How about we just blow up the Queen and watch as the bugs all die one by one without her?"
"Dad you can't," Junior argues. I feel a surge of pride. If Junior can stand up to him I can too, right? I see Taz's lazer laying about a foot away. If I can just reach it without him noticing....
"Why not Junior? She's right there," Space Claw says with a grin, raising his zapper up to aim. I inch my hand slowly out from behind the rock.
Junior shakes his head. "No. I can't let you do this. This has to stop, all of it. I... I helped Lauren escape. And I'm going to help these guys out too. I can't do this anymore!" he yells.
Space Claw's face contorts with rage. "You helped her?" he asks. Taz and Up look just as shocked. "No matter. I'll punish you later. Now."
My hand fumbles. I'm so close to it. So close.... finally. I grip the cool metal and start pulling it back towards me. Taz notices me and gives me a look, urging me to hurry. A shot rings through the cave. I'm too late. He got the Queen. I stand, ready to shoot him anways, when I see the pool of blood. I see the body lying in it.
Junior, he... h jumped in front of the bullet. Oh God. I hear Space Claw grumble and glance at his fallen son before aiming again. I grit my teeth and point the zapper at him. This is for my parents. For the Rangers and bugs. For Junior.
I shoot once, twice, three times. I keep consciousness long enough to see the man fall to the ground before I black out myself.

Four Years Later

"Where are we going next Mommy?" Junior asks, reaching up for me. I scoop him up and make a grunting noise.
"You're getting heavy. What did Tootsie feed you today?"
Junior glares at me. "Food. Now tell me!"
"It's a surprise," I tell him, poking his nose and sticking him in bed. I can't help but smile slightly as I think about how excited he'll be when he realizes we're visiting Earth for a while. "Now, did you have fun with Tootsie and Mega-Girl today?"
"Mega-Girl talks funny," Junior tells me with a laugh, snuggling deeper under his covers.
"Be nice," I scold him.
He sticks his tongue out at me before turning to look at the window as we pass a moon. "Can you tell me a story?"
"Which one?" I ask, already knowing the answer.
"The one about the hero who saved everyone and the girl fell in love with. The one that has my name," Junior pleads.
I smooth down my son's hair and sigh. "Well, a long time ago there was a newly inducted Ranger who got put on a special mission..." He wants to hear the story of his father, the man he doesn't even know really existed yet. He'll find out soon enough though, and when he does I know he'll be so proud.
Junior and I weren't together long. And when we were we definitely were not the most rational pairing. But I loved him. I still do. As our child falls asleep I stand and head out to main living quarters. Some days are easier than others. I still have nightmares about that day now and again. Terrible dreams that leave me waking up screaming and crying until Specs or Up show up to comfort me. I miss him so much, but I stay strong. I have my fleet and I have my son.
And I have the comfort of knowing that somewhere out there, Junior is still watching over me.

The End

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