THIS is why I usually ONLY WRITE ONE-SHOTS. I am a procrastinator by nature, and I suffer from writer's block about 360 days out of every 365. But, FINAL CHAPTER UP. *exhales* I may never be able to watch another episode of BLoSC (which I don't own, by the way – see how nicely I fit the disclaimer in there?) again…

~ 10 ~

The rangers burst into Mission Control with guns a-blazing (all except for XR, who stayed behind the rest of the rangers, saying he was "back-up"). "Fun's over, Zurgie boy!" Nebula called out. "You've overstayed your welcome!"

Zurg leaped to his feet, outraged and more than a little startled by the rangers' sudden appearance. "How dare you come in and give me orders! Me, the soon-to-be ruler of the galaxy! Why, I-" His protests were cut short as Buzz fired a warning laser shot past his head.

With that, the battle began.

Buzz and the Commander immediately started fighting with Zurg. Mira launched herself at the nearest enemy, who turned out to be Torque and four of his clones. Booster appeared at her side, taking out three of the Torque clones with ease.

Rocket tried to seek out Mira, determined to watch her back during the fight, but he found himself grappling with Warp Darkmatter. "How ya doin', ranger?" Warp hissed, holding Rocket in a headlock.

Rocket elbowed Warp in the stomach and followed the blow with a punch to the jaw. As Warp stumbled backwards, Rocket took the opportunity to check on Mira. She was on the other side of Mission Control, her long red hair flying as she held her own against Torque and one of his clones with little effort. That's my girl, Rocket thought.

Warp recovered then and Rocket turned his attention back to the fighting.

Mira finished taking Torque down – What a wuss, she thought – and glanced around at the rest of the rangers. Buzz and the Commander had been doing well against Zurg, but Gravitina had stepped in to help her boss out and was giving the rangers a beating. As Mira tried to make her way towards them in the chaos, Gravitina slammed Buzz and the Commander together, knocking them out. "Run, sire!" she yelled at Zurg.

Zurg turned and fled the scene, with Gravitina covering his exit. Mira shouted at Booster to keep Gravitina distracted, and she took off after the emperor.

"You can run but you can't hide, Zurg!" Mira called as she pursued Zurg down the corridor. "Give it up!" Although her words were bold, her heart was pounding wildly – she was closing in on Zurg and actually had a chance to take him out.

They reached the docking bay. Zurg stood in the middle of the catwalk, and Mira approached slowly. "Okay, Zurg, I've got you cornered," she said, aiming her laser carefully at him. "You may as well give up."

"Not exactly my style, Princess," he said, pulling a blaster out of his robes. (A/N – if ANYONE makes a "that's what she said" joke I will KEELHAUL them…)

Mira dodged as Zurg fired and shot at him with her laser. He stepped out of the way, almost casually, and the shot hit the fuel tank on one of the starships.

A moment later, Star Command was rocked by the blast of the fuel tank exploding. Within seconds half the docking bay was on fire. Ohhhh craters, Mira thought, putting up her helmet to avoid breathing in the smoke. This is so coming out of my paycheck.

Zurg's next shot hit Mira in the leg. She fell to her knees and scrambled backwards as Zurg came menacingly towards her. He grabbed her shoulder and made an effort to shove her off the edge of the catwalk, causing her helmet to hit the railing. The glass broke and smoke poured in through the crack.

Coughing, Mira kicked Zurg below the waist and had to laugh a little as he doubled over in pain.

"Find something amusing, Princess?" Zurg hissed. He grabbed her again and pushed her against the railing. Mira struggled but the smoke was beginning to choke her, dulling her senses. She knew she had only a few minutes left before she blacked out.

She broke free of Zurg and yelled into her wrist-com, "This is Ranger Nova! I have Zurg cornered in the docking bay, send reinforcements!" She had no idea if anyone had gotten the message but she hoped so. She couldn't keep Zurg here much longer, not by herself.

Mira's leg was killing her but she limped towards Zurg and blasted the gun out of his hand. "Give it up, pal," she rasped, coughing.

Zurg simply laughed and threw himself at her. His hands closed around her neck.

This time Mira was too weak to pull away. She sank to her knees and tried, in vain, the break Zurg's grip. The room started spinning around her. Not good, she thought. Wish I'd had time to tell Rocket that I loved him.

It was funny that now, in her last moments of life, Mira finally admitted to herself that she'd fallen in love with Rocket. Well it never would've worked out anyway, she told herself.

Mira was sure the end was close, but just before she lost consciousness she heard a familiar voice yell, "Get your hands off her, Zurg, or I will personally separate your head from the rest of your body." It was Rocket.

With a smile, Mira slipped into oblivion.

Mira slowly returned to consciousness. She found that she was lying in a bunk in the infirmary. She was glad to be alive.

She was also glad to see the person who was sitting in a chair at the side of the bunk. "Rocket," she croaked.

He smiled awkwardly. "Hey, Princess."

"Call me that again and I will take you down."

"Not in that condition you couldn't."

"Oh, really, Mr. Tough Guy." Mira started to sit up but Rocket held her down, saying, "You need rest.

Mira rolled her eyes. "How'd the battle turn out?"

"We got almost everyone in custody. Zurg kind've escaped . . ." Rocket looked sheepish. "Kind've my fault. I was more worried about you than I was about keeping an eye on him."

"Thanks for saving my life, by the way."

"Call it payback for Trade World."

Mira smiled. "So . . . you were that worried about me? You afraid that if I died it would get you into trouble with my dad?"

"That's not funny."

"Sorry. Seriously, though, you really were worried?"

"Extremely."

"Huh. Odd. Any particular reason for that?"

Rocket inhaled deeply. "Well, yes . . ." He paused. "Mira, I . . . I'm in love with you. That's it, pure and simple. I fell in love with you right before the mission started and I've been trying to keep it to myself but I can't hide it any longer. I know it'd never work out between us – we'd kill each other inside of a week – and there's the fact that you're a princess and all, but-"

"OK, first of all, enough with the princess stuff. Second – here's a secret." Mira propped herself up on her elbows, angled her head upwards, and kissed Rocket softly on the lips. "The secret is that I love you too."

Rocket looked at her in disbelief. "Are you serious? You aren't just saying that?"

"Honest and truly, I do," Mira said, smiling.

They kissed again.

"Our friends are never, ever going to believe this, y'know," Mira remarked. "Jeez, I don't even wanna KNOW how XR is gonna react . . ."

Rocket laughed. "Crazy, isn't it? The two people most deadset against liking each other, ending up like this? Still, I can't complain."

"Same. Now shut up and let the royalty rest."

Rocket grinned and kissed Mira's forehead. "Sleep well, my princess."