Space Jam

By The Steel Angel

Chapter Two

Hanging By a Moment

(April 2nd, 9:45pm, 2009)

The room was dark.

The only light came from the glow of the television screen in the center of the room, and from the various kitchen appliances blinking from the depth of the kitchen. The colors of the television were mesmerizing, a dull glow that kept its audience glued to the screen.

The two teenagers lay back on the couch, a blanket draped around their bodies as their eyes stayed focused on the television screen. Every once in a while, when something exciting would happen in the movie, the girl would jerk by reflex, causing the boy to smile, tightening his grip on the arm draped around her waist, pulling her closer toward his body.

"I never realized James Bond movies were so…. Action packed," Kim whispered, as she moved slightly up Ron's body, laying her hear on his shoulder, her body turned to the side so she was facing the television. Ron responded by turning his head slightly to face her, his grip on her shoulder tightening a bit.

"What, you're jumpy about a Bond movie? You've got more moves than Bond," he said with a grin on his face. Kim turned her eyes upward to look at him, rolling them slightly.

"Please. I don't go around sleeping with beautiful women and killing people, and real explosions don't look anything like that," Kim said as she glanced back at one of the giant explosions on the movie.

"You know, you could sleep with beautiful women if you wanted. I'm totally cool with that," Ron said with a firm nod. Kim rolled her eyes and grabbed one of the throw pillows near her feet, arcing it up behind her to hit Ron in the face. "Gah!" He exclaimed, rubbing his nose. "That was completely unnecessary," he said with a huff.

"No it wasn't. It made me feel a lot better," Kim said with a sultry grin on her face that made all of Ron's annoyance slip away. "'Sides, why would I want to sleep with all those beautiful women when I've got you?" She asked, contorting her body slightly so that she was lying on top of him, looking up into his eyes as her breasts pressed lightly into his chest. His breath quickened at the motion.

"There are many reasons," Ron stammered, staring down into Kim's shining green eyes, the sultry grin still spread across her face. "We…. We're about to make out, huh?" He asked with a gulp.

"Mmhmm," Kim said, leaning up so their noses were practically touching. "Unless you have a problem with that."

"No, not at all. In fact, I think that this may be something I'm very interested in," Ron stammered, blinking a few times before realizing that Kim was just staring at him. "…right, less talk, more kissy," he said, before leaning in, pressing his lips to hers.

Kim smiled against his lips, returning the kiss softly, her eyes drifting shut as she wrapped her arms around his torso, tilting her head to the side as the kiss intensified. She trailed a single hand up his back, up his neck, until it finally came to rest on the back of his head, letting her chest fully press against his.

Ron responded by tightening his grip around her waist. The movie long forgotten as the only thing on his mind was the beautiful girl in his arms. His lips parted gently during the kiss, enough for him to whisper "I love you, Kim…"

She felt her cheeks grow warm at the soft words, but responded by pressing her body tighter against his. "I love you too, Ron… always will."

(April 3rd, 7:50am, 2009)

"Mmm…. no, too sharp," Clover said as she put a hand to her chin, looking at herself in the full length mirror that stood on her closet door in her bedroom. She was currently wearing a pair of tight black pants and a green spaghetti strap shirt. "This is WAY too green," she said and whipped the shirt off, going back to dig through her closet.

"Clover, we're going to be late! Just pick something!" Sam said in frustration, standing in the doorway. She had her car keys in her hand, tapping her foot on the floor. "Why do you do this every morning? You look good in anything."

"Did people rush Michaelangelo when he was painting the Mona Lisa?" Clover retorted, throwing clothes behind her like a mole digging through the soil. Sam blinked.

"…Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, Clover." She said matter-of-factly.

"Same guy." Clover said with a shrug, pulling out a red tube top.

"Actually, Leonardo was the blue one, and Michalangelo was the yellow one." Alex said from behind Sam. Both Clover and Sam slowly turned to look at the girl with blank expressions on their faces. "…I'm not the ONLY one who ever watched Ninja Turtles as a kid!"

"...POINT is, I'm SO not going to school on the first day of spring without my best attire," Clover said, slipping the red tube top on, then began to inspect herself in the mirror.

"You look fine. Can we go now?" Sam asked impatiently.

"Ugh, you know Sammie, you need to learn to get your priorities straight. This is why you don't have a boyfriend," Clover quipped. Sam growled at that, but let it pass without word.

Alex and Sam turned to walk downstairs, Clover following as soon as she was satisfied with her outfit. It was the day after Easter weekend, which true to Clover's word, was the first day of the new spring fashion season. All three of the girls were wearing new outfits, though Sam and Alex hadn't been as obsessive as Clover about it.

"Purple? Where did you find purple?" Clover asked as she hopped into the passenger seat of Sam's pink convertible. Sam blinked, then looked down at her blouse, which was a dark shade of purple.

"This? Oh, I got it at Express last week. Saw some advertising for their new spring line, thought it looked cute," Sam explained. Clover nodded, seeming to be satisfied with that answer. She turned to look in the back seat where Alex was sitting, glancing down at her blouse.

"...Well, Alex... that's very... um... springy." Clover said, searching for the right words. Her blouse was a bright yellow, with baby blue flower designs on it. Alex beamed at Clover's words, mistaking them for praise.

"Thanks!" She said with a wide smile, and leaned back in the backseat as Sam pulled onto the main road that took them to Beverly Hills High School. Clover winced slightly at the brightness of Alex's clothes but said nothing. It wasn't her choice of clothing, after all.

After their usual route from house to school, which took up all of fifteen minutes, Sam pulled the car into the crowded parking lot of the school, turning the car off. She looked down at her watch to make sure they weren't late, and breathed a sigh of relief to find that they still had five minutes to spare.

"Well well, look what the non-fashionable cat dragged in," a familiar voice said from behind them. Clover's left eye twitched as she slowly turned, the image of Mandy standing behind them, with her arms folded over her chest, a cocky grin on her face.

"Hello, Mandy," Sam muttered tolerably.

"Hello Sammy-kins. Love the blouse," Mandy said, looking Sam over. "Is it the real Perier blouse, or the cheap knock-off Express version?" She asked. Sam clenched her fists, stammering.

"Hey, leave Sammie alone!" Alex exclaimed, coming to the defense of her older friend. Mandy turned to look at Alex. She stared for a few moments, before bursting out in laughter. "Wh...what?!"

"Ahahaha! What the hell are you wearing?! It looks like the easter bunny threw up!" Mandy laughed, causing Alex to turn a deep shade of crimson. She took a step back toward Sam, leaving Clover standing alone in front of Mandy.

"Bring on your smart-ass comments, Mandy. That is, if you can find any," Clover said with a sultry grin on her face. Mandy put a hand to her chin, looking over Clover's ensemble. "Cat got your tongue?"

"You look good. No shame in admitting that." Mandy said with a smirk. Clover blinked a few times. "The extra weight you gained really helps pull off that top." She said innocently.

"Extra weight?! Oh, you bitch!" Clover growled, clenching her fists angrily. Mandy just laughed, and walked past the three girls toward the school.

"I always look the best. Not that you're much competition, Cuh-loser." She called back with a grin, laughed again, then continued on into the school.

"Ooooh she makes me so mad..." Clover muttered, cursing under her breath.

"Don't even think about it, Clover." Sam said softly. "It's just Mandy, after all. Now come on, we're gonna be late if we don't hurry!" She said urgently. This seemed to spur the other two out of their seething, as the three girls turned to head in for the long day of classes.

(April 3rd, 4:28pm, 2009)

"Why do you always drag me here? You know I hate shopping. Not only hate. Hate is too light a word. I loathe shopping. Detest shopping. ...Um... what's the French word for hate?" Cassie asked, putting a hand to her chin as her and Rachel made their way down one of the narrow aisles inside Club Banana in the local mall.

"Detest-e." Rachel said with a smirk, somehow managing to move down the narrow channel, hefting two large shopping bags, and still managing to never hit either rack of clothing with the bags themselves. Cassie glared at her. "What? You asked. Besides, you took French last year, didn't you?"

"Yes, but only because I had to. Even veterinarian school requires a year of foreign language for some insane reason." Cassie said. "But that's beside the point. Are you going to tell me why we're really here?"

"One, we have an Easter dance this coming weekend. Two, you need a dress. Three, they're having an Easter sale at almost every store in the mall this weekend and I hate shopping alone," Rachel said matter-of-factly. Cassie blushed.

"I don't need a dress! Heck, I'm not even going to that stupid dance. Why would I go?" She asked.

"Because if Jake doesn't ask you, I'm going to assume he's gay and spread the rumor accordingly. Come on, you know you want to go, and you know you want Jake to ask you. You can't hide these things from me, Cassie." Rachel said with a smirk, as she looked back at her shorter friend.

"W...well..." Cassie stammered, but was interrupted from any further words when she received a tap on her left shoulder. "Huh?" She asked, and turned around to see a familiar face staring at her. "Erek? What a surprise, how've you been?" She asked, at once relieved she didn't have to answer any more dating questions, and concerned at the same time, concerned. Erek rarely had good news when he appeared out in the open like this.

"Oh, I've been good. Hey Rachel," Erek said, giving her a slight wave to keep up appearances. Cassie looked back at Rachel's face. The sweet mall-rat expression had left Rachel's face, leaving something much more serious.

"What's up Erek? Been up to no good?" Rachel asked, choosing her words carefully.

"Oh, it's not me. Just some of my friends," Erek said, and gave a slight chuckle. "Anyways, it was good seeing you two. I'm actually on my way out. Gotta hit the restroom before the long walk home. Iced tea goes right through you, you know," he said, then turned to leave after giving the two girls another gentle wave.

Once he was gone, Cassie and Rachel looked at each other again. Both of them had caught the subtle meaning of Erek's words. He had something important to tell them, and wanted them to meet him at the boys' restroom.

Rachel spoke up after a moment. "Let's hit the food court. All this shopping makes me hungry," she said. Cassie nodded, and both of them turned to walk out of the Club Banana.

"Have a nice day," the black girl at the entrance to the store said as they walked past.

Neither of them spoke as they walked down the mall floor. Both of them were trying to figure out exactly what Erek was going to tell them. What plan the Yeerks had come up with this time. What suicidal plan Jake or Marco would think up to stop them just so they could go on living their normal every day lives.

Rachel and Cassie slowed as they passed the restroom doors on their right-hand sides, each of them looking around slightly. "Stop." Erek's voice called from the left. The girls looked over, seeing Erek's true form. What looked like a dog cyborg made of milky-white metal was actually Erek, part of a long lost race of cybernetic pacifists called the Chee. "Don't worry, I've projected a hologram around us. No one can see us or hear us."

Rachel put her bags down, and walked over to Erek, a glint in her eye as she came face to face with the android. "What's this about?"

"Things have been brewing. They have been for months. I couldn't confirm anything until today, but..." Erek said, then hesitated slightly.

"What, Erek...?" Cassie asked softly, with a much more concerned tone than Rachel.

"...Visser One is dead. She was found guilty of conspiracy and treason to the Empire. The council of thirteen, which oversee the Yeerk Empire, sentenced her to death. She died this morning of Kandrona starvation. The host body was killed as well," he whispered.

Cassie gasped. "Oh god... Marco..." She clutched her hands together. She knew very well that Marco's mother was the host body to the Yeerk known as Visser One, the original overlord of the Yeerk Invasion of Earth. It was her campaign of subversion and infiltration that allowed the Yeerks to slowly insinuate themselves in human society undetected.

"What does that mean?" Rachel asked, not letting the emotional feeling of Marco's mother's death affect her mindset. Erek hesitated again. "Erek!"

"...With Visser One gone, Visser Three has been promoted. He's the new Visser One. And he's asked the council to reevaluate their strategy for taking Earth." Erek replied.

Visser Three had been the Animorphs' main adversary since they'd gotten involved in the war. He was a hot headed, blunt, arrogant, temperamental lunatic. He was also the only Yeerk in the galaxy to have an Andalite as a host body. "How is that any different than what's been going on? Visser Three's been in control of Earth for a long time," Cassie said. Erek shook his head.

"Visser Three has been in charge, but he was still following Visser One's original plan. Now there is no Visser One. She's gone. And Visser Three wants to implement his own strategy for conquering Earth," Erek whispered, looking up at the two. "and the council agreed with him."

"But..." Rachel began. "Visser Three's strategy would be..." She trailed off, the truth beginning to come to her. Cassie's face drained of color, becoming pale.

"Oh god..."

Erek nodded. "All out war. Strike hard, fast, and completely. Either surrender, or die." He narrowed his eyes. "And he's going to start by annihilating this entire city and forest to eliminated the Andalite Bandits."

To Be Continued...