A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is owned by Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
*WHOOP*WHOOP!* Alarms sounded throughout the enclosed Plutonian installations. The personnel had been informed of the malfunction in the AI and had disabled all automated ground units before the problem could strike them.
"Planetary shield is operational. Raising… now!"
A three-dimensional tactical display in the center of the command room showed the planet being surrounded by an energy field. That display also showed the maverick orbital ‘defenses’ outlined in red, and the friendly forces in green.
Unfortunately, there was a lack of green in this particular informational projection.
"Great Sainted Jumping Blue Monkeys…"
A decided lack.
The supreme commander fainted into his chair from shock.
The secondary command officer quickly took control. "We must take action. Activate the manual targeting systems. Attempt to eliminate as much as possible. Has anyone notified our Senshi?"
"No. She is otherwise occupied at the moment."
"Dang! Why'd she have to pick NOW to skip out?!"
"Remember the current date? Her birthday…"
"Oh, well, being a mysterious time guardian does have its fringe benefits, I suppose…"
"Pay attention to your station, mister!"
"Greetings," Lady Pluto said mysteriously, entering mysteriously, and sitting down at the head of the table… mysteriously. She wore an ornate, mysterious gown, and looked… positively mysterious, in a mysterious sort of way…
The invited guests were getting rather nervous at all of this mysteriousness. First, they had to go through all of the different levels of security Pluto required, then there were all the strange scanning devices that the Plutonians used… and didn't bother to explain what each scan was for… they had been greeted by the advisor, subjected to a nearly endless tirade on types of fungus, scanned again, and had only been allowed to enter once they openly admitted their deepest, darkest fear.
Why did they put up with all this just to get into a birthday party? Well, it was an adventure of sorts, and in the end, Pluto might just let slip some interesting fact about their future. In addition to that, improving relations with Pluto would give them a chance of acquiring some new technology.
Pluto was the most advanced planet in the solar system, with Mercury being the only other world that could even begin to compare. With Earth quickly becoming something of a threat to the other worlds, this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Nobody really trusted Admiral 'Tim with that kind of firepower… except perhaps Earth's leaders, but even they were relenting.
Besides, they HAD been invited. It simply would not have been proper to get invited to an occasion as important as this and not come. There was royal protocol to be observed and upheld, after all!
"You are, of course, wondering precisely why I invited you here," Pluto said mysteriously, eerie music playing in the background.
The guests slowly nodded, visibly spooked.
"It is because," Pluto continued, "each of you has a… most fascinating destiny."
"Destiny?" a tall, shorthaired blonde man asked.
The Keeper of Time stood and walked behind him. "Yes," she said, looking extremely fascinated by him, "you, Prince of Uranus, above all these others, have the most interesting one…"
"Can you tell me what it is?" the prince asked hopefully.
Pluto smiled. "I can."
There was an uncomfortable silence. "Well?" the blonde prince pressed.
"You are," Pluto began.
"Someday going to receive…"
"The powers of Senshi Uranus," Pluto finished mysteriously.
The prince's jaw dropped. "Um… that position has been filled. My sister is Sailor Uranus… Besides, the Senshi are all women. As you can plainly see, I'm not."
Pluto didn't say anything; she simply smiled at him. A maniacal laugh from her at that moment would not have done more damage to the poor prince's psyche than the Time Senshi's enigmatic smile.
The white cat next to the prince looked at him sympathetically. "Oooh, tough break, pal."
"Quiet, Artemis," the prince muttered forcefully at the cat.
Pluto moved toward the cat. "You, Artemis, also have an interesting destin—"
*RUMBLE* Lady Pluto was cut off by a low rumble that shook the room. The guests looked around worriedly. Pluto did not look surprised.
"What was that?" Artemis asked.
"Nothing of importance," Pluto replied. "Ignore any further interruptions. Let us continue."
The main control room on Pluto was bustling with activity.
"Maverick orbital defenses are penetrating the shield!"
On the tactical display, the energy field surrounding the planet was beginning to look mighty thin. Small sections of the surface were now flashing red.
"Ground defenses are having a marginal effect. Orbital platforms one through twenty-four have been disabled."
*RUMBLE* The room shook slightly as another shot hit the surface.
"A direct hit on sector G-fourteen! That's cutting it awfully close to the Time Gate!"
"Um, about the Time Gate…"
"What about it?"
"The orbital weapon systems are beginning to generate a tachyonic grid to coordinate more fully. Unfortunately, they're using the Gate of Time as a nexus point. It cannot handle this for much longer. If not stopped, the feedback will create a VERY large temporal explosion!"
"Do we have anyone down at the gate?!"
"Only the advisor. We're sending additional tech crews, but the gate is a magical system!"
Arby was cheerfully reading his book, occasionally glancing up at the timestream through the Gate. "Still no mushrooms," he muttered, and went back to his book.
The intercom became active. [Advisor!]
Arby, startled, tripped over his book and landed in a pile of paperwork he had been glueing together in his spare time. "Eh? Wot?" he asked, his head poking out of the pile of strewn slimy paper.
[The Time Gate is overloading! Can you lock it down in there?!]
The green-patterned seal thought about it, looking up at the Time Gate, which was glowing and sparking dangerously. "Oh, I s'pose. Got any plywood?"
[Plywood?! What do you need plywood for?!]
"Oh, well, ya know… plywood… toime trav'l… sorta' a package deal when ya come ta think 'bout it."
[What the… Oh, forget it! I'll send some down immediately!]
"Thank'yew, sir," Arby replied.
"The Time gate is stabilizing… for now."
The activity in the control room was getting a little more frantic as the shield started to flicker totally out of operation.
"Can we get any more power to the shield?!"
"No, sir! The main generators have been destroyed, and the secondary systems are maxed out!"
"The battlecruisers are almost in firing position!"
"We're detecting a large hyperspace distortion, sector A-five!"
Above Pluto, a burst of light flashed and a swirling, blue tunnel formed in the fabric of space. A large, spined, metallic purple vessel emerged, weapons blazing as it sped across the orbit of the planet, blasting away at the defense platforms like there was no tomorrow.
Literally millions of light red plasma disks fired from the nodules on the ship's outer hull an incredible rate, obliterating fighter after fighter and inflicting heavy collateral damage to the enemy forces.
Dark crimson beams lanced from the front of the ship, tearing into the starbases as it sped by, breaking through their shields and blasting huge, sparking holes in them.
The hordes of robotic military equipment took notice of the new arrival and adjusted their tactics accordingly.
"Why are we doing this again?" Tactical asked, frantically targeting the Plutonian forces.
"I have my reasons," A.S.K. said reassuringly. "Report!"
"All of the orbital defense platforms have been disabled or destroyed. I count three thousand fighters destroyed and… Four starbases heavily damaged."
*RUMBLE* The ship jarred slightly.
"Admiral, the cruisers are retaliating!"
"Evasive maneuvers… Bring forward guns to bear! Blow 'em apart as fast as you can!"
The large ship spun around, its forward cannons firing every few seconds. The flurry of plasma disks around it kept the fighters at bay while tearing deeply into the hulls of the oncoming battlecruisers.
By the time the cruisers broke off pursuit, half of them had been destroyed; either worn down by the plasma barrage or vaporized by the energy cannons.
"The rest of the ships are withdrawing," Communications noted.
"Okay, slow us down," A.S.K. said. "Status on the shields…?"
"Shields are holding at seventy percent," Tactical reported.
*RUMBLE* The ship vibrated.
The fifteen remaining cruisers had circled back around the attacking ship and started using their more powerful weaponry.
Huge, flaming bursts shot out from the center of the vessels, blasting into the spined ship's shields, creating brilliant flashes as they impacted.
The cruisers tracked their target as it tried to evade, continuing to fire even as the plasma disks tore them apart.
As the last cruiser was taken out, its very last shot got through.
*KABLAM!!!* On the bridge, things all over the place exploded.
"MWAHAH!! Now THIS is what I call a battle!!!" the admiral exclaimed, getting intense enjoyment out of the scenario.
"Admiral, shields are down and we have a direct hit to the—"
*Rumble* Communications broke off as the ship vibrated slightly.
Tactical looked at his displays… Well, the ones that were intact, in any case. "Intruder alert! I count… fifty large, unidentified—"
*BLAM!* A portion of the floor exploded upwards and a big bipedal mechanical monstrosity with a very large gun leapt up and aimed its weapon at the admiral…
*Whoosh*Ching* And promptly got a grenade imbedded in the barrel of its gun. It looked down at its weapon in confusion.
"Bye-bye!" A.S.K. said, creating a sword in a flash of blue flame and decapitating the robot in one quick slash. "I love robots."
The robot fell down the hole it came through.
*Blam!* An explosion from below sent some metal shrapnel into the roof of the bridge.
Something like dark purple vines began to grow across the hole and weave themselves together. Damage across the bridge started to repair itself in much the same manner.
"You know, this is a pretty big bridge," A.S.K. noted. "Report!"
"Moderate damage, all decks… Sir, it's getting worse! They're tearing the ship apart from the inside!"
"Well, isn't that just lovely," the admiral commented.
Tactical looked at his displays frantically. "Your orders, sir?!"
"Make an EMP wave. Destroy their control circuits."
A.S.K. sighed. "Arm the main gun, release the containment field, and create a level six force field around the bridge. Not necessarily in that order."
Near the core of the ship, a robotic fighter was blasting away at the power conduits…
Well, at least until its head began to billow smoke…
It fell over with a dull clang.
"I… think that's got it, sir," Tactical said.
"Okay, now reestablish the containment field and drop the force field," A.S.K. commanded.
Another large mech materialized, mere feet from the admiral. It pointed its gun at his head.
A.S.K. turned toward Tactical. "No, wait… Don't tell me… We missed one, didn't we?"
Tactical nodded, semi-nervously looking at the hulking piece of machinery in the middle of the Bridge.
The green-armored admiral turned back to the robot, holding up his hands defensively. "Not in the face, not in the face!"
The robotic soldier stopped, puzzled.
*Shing* Shing* Shing* Shing!* SHING!!* SHING!!!*
A.S.K. blew gently at the now still robot. Its arm fell off… quickly followed by its other arm, head, and right leg before the whole thing collapsed into a sparking heap.
"Where'd you learn how to do that?" Tactical asked.
The admiral shrugged, waving off the smoke arising from his sword. "Just made it up now. Nice combat stuff… It'd probably be fun at parties, too…"
"Parties, sir?" Communications asked, raising an eyebrow. "We're in the middle of a battle here, and you're talking about parties?!" She paused. "Why are we in this fight, anyway?"
"Tactical, give me status on the shields," A.S.K. said, evading the topic.
"Well, we've managed to regenerate a full thirty-five—" *BLAM!* "Strike that… shields are down!"
The admiral narrowed his eyes. "All right, that's it… I don't know what fired that shot… and I don't care. Target them with the main gun… maximum firepower!"
Several HUGE vessels, perhaps twenty kilometers in diameter, faded into existence, green energy rippling around them. They fired periodic bursts that blasted into their target. As they advanced, they began to blanket the area in a dark haze…
The spined vessel, somewhat damaged with several gaping holes along its surface, sluggishly turned and rotated toward the newcomers, making slight course corrections as the incoming shots pummeled its hull. The two front spines began to glow as energy built up between them…
The large newcomers advanced, tightening their formation and continuing to fire, beginning to tear the much smaller ship apart. The haze engulfed the metallic purple vessel.
The energy between the ship's forward spines began to fade.
"We're losing power!" Tactical shouted in rage, pounding against his console in a vain attempt to reestablish it.
*BLAM!* Another shot hit the hull.
"Okay… this could be a bad thing," A.S.K. noted, not batting an eyelash. Something occurred to him. He looked at the sword in his hands. "Yes… these were used as a key to these types of ships… I suppose it could work."
*BLAAAM!* The bridge rocked badly, sparks flying everywhere. A twisted, organic beam broke free of the roof, smashing directly into the unmanned navigational station.
"Whatever you want us to do, we have to do it NOW, admiral!" Communications shouted.
"Right!" A.S.K. called back as he concentrated on his sword. A floral design worked its way into the hilt.
Really think it'll work?
Of course it'll work! Juraian ships use a sort of 'key' to help operate them and provide an energy link, typically in a sword—
And how, exactly, do we know this?
Part of the shipyard program.
A.S.K. stood, his eyes closed, and concentrating his will through his sword and into the ship in a roundabout sort of way, amplifying its power.
Despite the energy-dampening haze, the glow trapped between the spines began to shine even more brightly. It finally hit its peak and shot out a river of bright, golden energy.
Like the wrath of an angry god, the blast swept away the haze and shredded the oncoming fleet, leaving nothing but ionized atomic particles in its wake…
In Pluto's main control room…
"All orbital defense forces have been totally destroyed!"
And there was much rejoicing!
"Pay attention to your station, Ensign!"
"Um, aye, sir!"
"All right… Hail them. Let's—"
"Sir! The ground defense computers have been corrupted!"
"How'd that happen?!"
"We don't know, sir!"
"Can we shut them down?"
"I'm afraid not, sir!"
"All right… lock onto the ground-based weaponry with the secondary guns," A.S.K. commanded.
Tactical looked up from his station. "Sir… we're losing power to all systems. We've taken too much damage…"
The admiral looked up at him. "Well, then… You'd better hurry."
"Admiral, are you ABSOLUTELY sure that you know what you're doing?" Communications asked, becoming extremely worried about the battle and its consequences.
Going near Pluto without direct permission was one of those things that you were just NOT supposed to do. Attacking it while doing so was just plain ludicrous… not to mention suicidal.
"Quite sure, Lieutenant. Tactical, proceed with your orders."
"Oookay, sir. You got it."
The battered vessel accelerated into a fast orbit, then rotated toward the planet, firing lances of crimson energy at key points along the surface, obliterating its targets.
"All major ground weapons have been destroyed," Tactical reported.
"Excellent," A.S.K. replied darkly.
"Sir, what are you doing?!" Communications asked incredulously.
The Admiral chuckled evilly at her. "I'm blasting the living daylights out of this pitiful little world. What does it look like?"
Communications gaped at him. "Admiral?!"
A.S.K. nonchalantly turned to Tactical. "Report on planetary defenses."
"As far as I can tell, all defenses have been destroyed… Wait, no… I'm seeing some ripples on the sensors… kinda like just before the bigger ships appeared," Tactical replied, looking uneasily at his commander.
"Ah," A.S.K. said, "then bring us around for another attack."
Tactical coughed. "Sir, the power system is shot. We can barely maintain life support. We're maxed out as it is with what little DOES work. I could override the system and give us a couple seconds of firepower, but it'll burn everything out!"
"Very well. Override the system and prepare to fire."
"Belay that!" Communications shouted. Tactical stopped.
"Explain yourself, Lieutenant!" A.S.K. barked, turning toward his communications officer.
The communications officer took a deep breath, her gaze locked with her commander's. Her voice took on a formal tone. "Admiral, your actions have violated at least fifteen prime regulations. You have proven yourself Unfit For Command!"
A.S.K. narrowed his eyes at Communications, beginning to stand. "Are you questioning MY orders?"
"No, sir," the brown-haired communications officer replied, unwavering. "I'm relieving you of duty!"
"Well," the Admiral said in a dark and quiet voice, before brightening up, "it sure took you long enough." He sat back into his seat, chuckling quietly at the fuzzy image of the battered, burning planet of Pluto on the viewscreen.
The Plutonian control room was full of a great deal of very relieved military officers…
"ALL of the corrupted systems have either been disabled, or destroyed. The cloaked decoy satellites were not affected."
"We are being hailed by the unidentified vessel. Voice only."
"Put it on."
[This is the Terran vessel… This is a Terran vessel in orbit around your planet. We surrender! Repeat: We surrender!]
The officers present looked at each other in some surprise. An Earth ship that could overcome all of Pluto's defenses? Unthinkable… but fortuitous. Also, the fact that it was surrendering would help ease any interplanetary incidents that may form because of this…
"This is Plutonian Control," the commanding officer said. "Your surrender is officially accepted. Lower your shields and power down your weapons. We will take you into custody as soon as possible. On an unofficial note, and I believe I speak for everyone on this planet when I say… thank you."
Communications blinked. "Thank you?" she mouthed in disbelief.
"Thank you?" A.S.K. muttered in confusion. He spoke up. "Uh, yes, Plutonian Control. You're… welcome?"
[Who is speaking?] Plutonian Control asked.
"This is Admiral 'Tim, commanding…" He looked over to Communications, who shrugged in bemusement. "Commanding a new class of Earth vessel. We haven't decided on a name yet, by the way. I'm glad you enjoyed the destruction of all your planetary defense systems… Can I speak to Sailor Pluto?"
[She is busy at the moment.]
"That's okay. She won't be soon… One way or another. There's sort of a… birthday present coming in for her."
"Yeah… check your sensors. Do you see anything like a cube, several miles across?"
There was a pause. [Yes. We confirm the sighting. It's on a direct course for this planet… We detect strong energy readings. If it proves to be hostile, can you intercept it?]
A.S.K. looked at Tactical, who shook his head. "Negative."
[Then let's all hope it's not here for a fight…]
"And, just what is so wrong with fights?" A.S.K. asked.
[Well, when we can't defend ourselves, we may not survive.]
"Oh. That might explain it, then. Don't worry. I'm sure all that they want to do is play some music…"
"Well, maybe," A.S.K. said, smiling knowingly.
The cube flew toward Pluto without slowing down. It effortlessly wound its way into orbit, then stopped suddenly.
The huge metallic object began to descend. Slowly, at first, then quickly… Very quickly… Very, VERY, VERRRY quickly.
Through a complete and total violation of the laws of physics, it stopped instantly an inch before impacting the ground… Then it fell down, impacting with a loud rumble…
The cube began to dig into the surrounding area… extending outward and upward…
Its final shape was that of giant speakers.
And, some fifty miles away…
"And you," Lady Pluto continued, pointing at a blonde man in an Earth guardian uniform, "also have a destiny worth mentioning."
"Will I ever be able to destroy ‘TIM?" Jadeite asked.
Pluto smiled. "No."
"I refuse to believe that."
"Suit yourself," the green-haired woman said, then whispered, "Sailor-suit, that is."
"What was that?" Jadeite asked.
"What was that?" Artemis asked.
"What was THAT?" the Prince of Uranus asked.
[All righty, we're ready to begin 'ere,] a loud voice said.
Pluto slowly glanced around. "Excuse me for a moment," she said mysteriously, then vanished.
The guests were getting a little more nervous…
[Ta start this thing off, we've got a nice lit'l song… Basically, it's 'bout this boy who meets a girl under a silver moon… which explodes for absolutely no reason whatsoever! Let's hear it for… DISASTER AREA!!!]
[Thank you very much! I'd like to dedicate this song to all the wonderful people on this planet! It's been great knowin' ya! See ya on the other side!]
*o/ WRRRRR!!!!!!!! \o* A loud, jamming electric guitar chord struck.
"Uh oh," Artemis said, wincing from the noise.
"This is going to be interesting," the Prince of Uranus said.
And the most correct of the observations…
"This is all ‘TIM'S fault… I just know it," Jadeite grumbled.
"Arby!" Sailor Pluto called, appearing near the time gate.
The ArbyFish looked up from his book and put aside his bottle of glue. "Oh, 'ello. 'Ow are you?"
"Fine," Pluto replied, "except for the fact that you did not warn me about this. What have you been doing all this time?"
"Readin' me book," Arby replied, indicating the slightly slimy manuscript on the floor by him.
Pluto looked down at the book. She picked it up and whapped him on the head with it. "It's upside-down!"
Unfazed, Arby said, "Oh, well, ya gotta read 'em upside-down. Otha'woise 'ow'd ya unda'stand it?"
"By reading it right-side-up," the time Senshi replied. She examined the book a little more closely, and noted the white ooze that covered the book and most of her hand. "What in the name of all that is… Why are half the pages glued together?!"
Arby smiled up at her. "Well, ya see, there's a lot a' solar wind from… Alpha Centauri… n' 'alf th' pages are glued tage'ther so we can turn it inta' th' wind and th' pages won't, um… fly all ova' th' place! Terribly 'ard ta' read n' keep the pages from closin' the book on ya."
"Why don't you just… hold the book open?"
Arby held up his fins. "Ey, lookit these. These look loike 'oldin'-down-th'-pages flippa's ta you?" He sat back down. "No. So, we gotta glue th' pages down."
"There has to be a better way…"
"Oh, ya think ya sooo tuff 'cos ya'z gots 'posable thumbs…"
"It isn't that difficult of a thing to do. Have you tried, for example, a paperweight…?"
Arby thought about it. "Nope… Can't do any otha' way. I can't 'ave the pages flutterin' 'bout when I've got speeches ta prepare. The mushrooms'd revolt! 'Soides, gives it cula'… n'… flava'! Th' mushrooms love it! Get sum 'ard readin' n' stick it tage'ther with glue from a Neptunian sloime rhinoceros, swish in sum a' ya ground-up bedsheet pulp, toss in a couple a' refroied brains, n' they just eat it roight up!"
Ever see a bemused Time Guardian? It's not a pretty sight. "You… are insane, Arby."
The green-furred ArbyFish nodded emphatically. "In-dubitably! Used up 'alf th' bedsheets on th' planet, too! Includin' yours! They REALLY loiked those."
"My… bedsheets? My… imported… one of a kind… Venusian bedsheets…?" Sailor Pluto absorbed that statement, then tilted her head back, closed her eyes and did a quick recitation of her mantra. I won't kill him… I can't kill him. He is my advisor. When that was done, she sighed and regained her composure. "But all of that is not important now. Why didn't you warn me?"
"'Cos… Well, ya wouldn't a' been able ta do anythin' 'bout it with th' toime gate."
Pluto raised an eyebrow. "Really? And why not?"
Arby stood up on his tail proudly. "'Cos there's a huge MUSHROOM stuck in it!"
The green-haired Senshi looked at the time gate. Surely enough, there was a HUGE mushroom stuck in it, blocking off access. "Arby, WHY?!"
"Preventin' an ova'load. Grew a mushroom on sum plywood!"
"Mushrooms do not grow on plywood—"
"Oh, that's what they'd loike ya ta think," Arby said, fluttering over to the time gate. He pointed at a slab of wood underneath the large mushroom. "See?"
The room began to shake violently.
"That'd be the concert, now," Arby noted.
"Concert?" Pluto asked.
"Well, yeah. The admiral set it up… afta' destroyin' the 'ole defense grid, fryin' 'alf th' planet, n' stuff."
"…Frying half the planet?!"
"Yup. 'Tim'z a roight noice destroya' a' wurldz, let me tell you! Lotsa mushroom clouds in 'is work. Green ones!"
Sailor Pluto's grip tightened on her time staff as she checked the timestream for information on the attacker, simultaneously spoiling any and all surprises intended for the rest of her birthday celebration. "Aww… they were going to do that for me?"
"Yup," Arby noted calmly. "'Ad ta sell foive a' me best mushrooms ta 'elp get that one set up for ya. Guess th' surproise is ruined now, eh? Too bad."
Sailor Pluto sighed sadly as she finished her examination of today's timestream and looked back at the ArbyFish. "So… you were trying to tell me that THE admiral caused this? Admiral 'Tim, commander of Earth's fleet?"
"Well, the fleet's koinda smashed now, but yeah."
Pluto slowly nodded as she considered this information. Of the people, places, and things that threatened to drive her insane, only two were of any real day-to-day significance. There was Arby, but he was just… weird, and occasionally helpful. Of greater and much more malicious meaningfulness was the explosive-obsessed fleet commander…
"Wot ya gonna do?" Arby asked, fluttering up to perch on the Garnet Orb at the top of the time staff.
Pluto gripped her staff in both hands and looked the ArbyFish directly in the eye. "I'll think of something appropriate." She blew at him.
"'Ey!" Arby shouted, fluttering out of the path of the small breeze in a vain attempt to keep his fur from getting ruffled.
Sailor Pluto smiled mysteriously and vanished.
"I really 'ate it when they do that," the greenish, seal-like creature muttered in annoyance, smoothing down his fur.
From his ship, the Atomic Starlight Knight smiled as he watched the decimation unfold on the planet below… Sonic disturbances could be quite destructive when employed correctly…
Sending a request for a Disaster Area concert had worked out quite well… Apparently, a couple of the band members were fans of his work… Well, fans of the work he did in his previous occupation.
Not too many entities had been capable of destroying a galaxy or seven in one shot… and now there would be one less until Terra reestablishes the connection to their main power source.
But somehow, despite all this, he— Terra, actually— had managed to convince the group to come, and here they were, making the loudest noise of any kind whatsoever…
The planet was doomed. He was quite sure of it.
The admiral fell forward with a clunk.
"Baka," Sailor Pluto said, her voice extremely icy.
~~~ End Flashback ~~~
Yeah… I had never gotten Sailor Pluto really mad before. Not like that, A.S.K. mentally noted.
But then, I never really had a time staff imbedded in my skull before… Not like that, in any case.
Point well taken. How long did it take to get it out?
A couple hours… It was wedged in there pretty good.
Now THAT hurt…
Completely off that subject, the planet Pluto had quite a nice atmosphere for such a small world…
Yeah… You know, it's interesting… As far as I know, Pluto didn't have an atmosphere before the concert…
Disaster Area was renowned for its odd effects on worlds… After the show was over, there were, oddly enough, no casualties. Somehow, everyone survived… Within a year, Pluto had an ecosystem to rival Earth's or Jupiter's… albeit with a sort of macroscopic and florescent fungus instead of trees for the general biomass; home to thousands of species of other plants and animals.
Well, it all stemmed back to the fact that just about every act of horrific destruction, like the elimination of Pluto's defense force or the Disaster Area concert, had a positive effect.
Who would have thought, for example, that the defense system would have chosen to malfunction at the moment that he had decided to attack them…
It might explain why Sailor Pluto wasn't more ardently opposed to his interference in the matter. After all, she could have done much worse than a mere head-bashing…
Next time I visited, the planet was quite beautiful…
*Sigh* Just like Sailor Pluto…
*WHAM!* Quiet, you!
I HATE Sailor Pluto…
No! Pluto-sama is the most lovely and wonderful woman in the Universe, and don't you forget it!
"Oow," A.S.K. said, holding his head. "I have GOT to stop doing that… Now, where was I?"
No… We were discussing the aftereffects of the flashback.
Oh, like slight dizziness or delirium?
No… What happened after Pluto gave me the staff treatment.
The Invid/Juraian ship nearly died a couple of days later from the extreme structural damage, but Pluto had some very clever and very grateful technicians… They had the thing figured out and patched up pretty quickly.
After that, Tactical and Communications were reassigned… promoted, actually. So, they wouldn't be called that anymore… Not that it mattered. They, along with just about everyone else, died at the end of the Silver Millennium…
"How utterly depressing," the green-armored knight commented to himself. "Now, where was I?" He examined the small, flat device he had been working on throughout the entire memory recollection. "What's this for?"
It's designed to prevent youma weapons from getting through the armor.
"Oh yeah," he said, remembering. He pressed it on his right shoulder, where it fused to his armor.
Watching his shoulder, he de-transformed, fading back to his pink-haired secret identity known as 'Tim.
The flat device vanished along with his armor.
"Not bad," 'Tim commented. "Now, what am I forgetting?" He paused in thought, then held up a finger in realization. "Sleep! Yeah, that's—"
He slumped to the floor in blissful unconsciousness.
In the restaurant above, the place was completely empty except for the cook, and an extremely old martial artist that was wolfing down okonomiyaki like there was no tomorrow…
The martial artist, while enjoying himself, also felt that something was wrong about the whole situation… It as if the large, tasty, flat objects were not what he was after…
There was something that hovered at the edge of his mind… something soft… something frilly… and something round.
He gasped as he once more knew what his obsession was… "P…Pa…Pan…Pan… PANSIES!!!"
He bolted for the door…
*WHAM!* But was stopped as he ran into a huge, flat, metal object.
"You forgot to pay the bill," Ukkyo reminded, holding the bill in his face and adjusting the angle of her giant spatula.
The old man nodded slowly, looking at the gleaming edge of the blade, and reached into his pocket for some money… which he found, amazingly enough. He began to pay the amount listed on his bill.
"What?" Ukkyo asked dangerously. "No tip?"
The old man stopped and looked up at her. He grinned.
"What are you looking at?" the youma cook asked, noting the low angle of his gaze.
The old man felt something inside him reawaken… it was as if his entire purpose had suddenly become clear. "SWEETOOO!!!" he shouted triumphantly, preparing to bask himself in the soft, warm… *GLOMP!!!*
"Get off or die," Ukkyo warned.
The old man ignored her, continuing to nuzzle against her chest. "So… soft. So—"
*WHAM!* In one swift swing with her right arm, Ukkyo batted him off, imbedding him face-first into the wall. She walked over to look at his immobile form. "I warned you."
Immediately, the old man popped out of the wall and leapt toward her…
*SPLAT!* And was quickly flattened under the Giant Spatula of Doom™ as Ukkyo brought it down upon his head. "Never mess with a professional."
As the brown-haired cook lifted her spatula up, she saw that her opponent was not under it…
*GLOMP* That was roughly when she felt a weight on her chest and something tugging at her shirt.
"Oh, this is on so tightly! Let me help you off with it!"
"Oh no, you don't!" Ukkyo brought out an ultra-sharp minispatula and slashed it at her current annoyance.
The old man leapt away to a nearby counter, and jumped again. Three small spatulas imbedded themselves into the wall behind where he was standing, barely missing him.
"Hehehehe," the old man laughed gleefully, standing on a very high-tech-looking stove. He ducked as several more spatulas came at him. They missed him by a millimeter, slashing into the back of the stove. The cooking utility began to spark, a fog pouring from it.
[Warning: Hazardous leak detected. Deactivating,] a computerized voice intoned urgently. The fog stopped coming out of the stove.
"Huh?" the old man asked, looking around confusedly.
*SHING!* Ukkyo took advantage of his distraction, slashing down at him with the bladed edge of her giant spatula.
*CRASH!* Unfortunately, he stepped aside just in time. The blade sped past him, digging deeply into the stove.
"Hey!" Ukkyo shouted annoyedly. She pulled her razor-sharp, magically enhanced spatula out of the stove, which was now pouring dangerous-looking fumes, and leveled it at the old man. "All right, this is your last chance! Leave, or I'll—"
The chef cut off as the old man backed off and tossed a bomb at her. "Happy-dark-yen! I think," he shouted in confusion.
*KABLAAAAAAM!* The bomb exploded against the heavily-damaged stove, igniting the fumes.
Ukkyo quickly knocked over a table and ducked behind it, avoiding the shockwave from the explosion. Flames broke out all over the area.
An alarm sounded. [Warning: Fires detected. Activating fire suppression system.]
Water began to cascade down on the flames from the ceiling.
"Ha Ha!" the old man shouted, seemingly unaffected by the blast, and tossed another bomb at the okonomiyaki chef.
Ukkyo readied her spatula, stood, and batted it back at him. The old man caught it in both hands, not really intending to.
"What the…" he mumbled, scratching his head. He gasped as he realized what he was holding, and quickly tossed it behind him.
*BLAM!* The bomb damaged a small section of the wall.
[Warning: Malfunction in the fire suppression system! A pressure imbalance has been detected! Evacuate immediately!]
The water stopped, and the room began to vibrate.
Ukkyo looked around frantically for some clue as to what she should do. Not finding any, she dove past the smoldering door, and leapt away onto the roof of another building, running as quickly as she could.
The old man looked around.
[Pressure system critical!]
Had the class at the local junior high school been looking out the window, they would have seen a huge geyser erupt from a building some distance away.
But, since they were all facing forward, and the three people that weren't were too busy concentrating on the class in front of them, nobody noticed.
Well, the teacher noticed, but she didn't care. She had a class to teach.
"Now, class, I'd like to introduce two new students to you," Ms. Haruna said, indicating the brown-haired boy and the cute, blonde girl next to her. "Jade and Perry Cyte. They're cousins—"
"—Distant cousins," the blonde cut in.
"DON'T interrupt," Haruna whispered to her in a voice that left absolutely NO room for argument.
"All right, all right," Jade muttered cutely, backing off at the sheer POWER that radiated from the teacher's voice, for some reason frightening her as much as of some of Beryl's enraged shrieking does, or rather did, on occasion.
"Excellent," Ms. Haruna continued cheerfully, then turned back to the class. "They're cousins, and they're both in eighth grade. Say hi."
"Hi," the class replied in monotone, before whispering among themselves…
"Who's the freak?"
"I think he's cute… Clothes all rumpled like that and still smiling. Tee-hee!"
"Whoa! She's… so… pretty!"
"Class," Ms. Haruna said, cutting off the discussion, "let's begin, shall we?" She turned to the new students. "Please take your seats."
Perry nodded, smiling, and sat at a desk in the front row. Jade, sulking, followed and took a seat behind him.
"So, what do you think?" Perry whispered back to her.
Jade pouted, folding her arms in front of her annoyedly. She watched the students around her, looking so gosh darn cute and miffed that she caused a couple of giggles in the back of the class. "Do they HAVE to keep stealing glances at me like that?"
Perry shrugged unknowingly. "Well… you are kinda cute…"
The teacher turned around from her lesson and looked at Perry. "Are you listening, Perry?"
"Um… uh… No?" the brown-haired boy replied uncertainly.
"Right answer," Ms. Haruna said, "now pay attention." She turned to another student. "Molly, what's the cubed root of one-hundred-twenty-five?"
Near the middle of the class, a distracted-looking brown-haired girl looked up at her. "It's five," she said in a perfectly clear accent.
Everyone in the class except for Molly, Jade, Perry, and a redheaded girl facefaulted.
"Oh my!" the redhead said.
Molly looked around in shock. "Did I say something wrong?"
Ms. Haruna was the first to recover. "Molly, are you okay?"
The brown-haired girl shrugged. "Fine, I guess. Why?"
The teacher walked over and felt Molly's forehead. "No fever… Are you sure you're all right?"
"Well, yes. I'm fine."
"Oookay…" Ms. Haruna replied uncertainly, moving back to the front of the room. "But if you start feeling light-headed or anything, I'll write you a pass to the nurse, okay?"
"Um… okay," Molly said indifferently.
~~~ And we rejoin our story about a thousand years in the future… give or take a day or two… ~~~
*CRASH!* Ranma-chan, still in her pink-highlighted Sailor Earth fuku, dodged the oncoming flurry of mailboxes, running away from her tormentors.
"She's good at this," Sailor Mars commented, tossing a grenade at the new Sailor Earth as she, along with Sailors Jupiter and Uranus, chased her.
*BLAM!* The redhead leapt aside, barely missing the explosion.
"Yeah," Jupiter said, throwing a cat at Ranma-chan. "I've never seen anyone last nearly this long."
*MREOW!!!* The cat screeched as it flew through the air, finally catching on the back of the skirt of Ranma-chan's Senshi uniform.
"AAAAH!" Ranma-chan yelled in horror, running even more quickly than before, the cat trailing behind her as it held on. She occasionally glanced back, then quickly looked forward, screaming as she intensified her run.
*RUMBLE* There was a sonic boom as she passed the sound barrier.
Unable to keep up, the other Senshi slowed down and stopped, watching the dust trail from Ranma's running continue off into the horizon.
"Hey, it looks like she's got dodging and panicking down to a science," Sailor Uranus said, very impressed.
"No wonder Sailor Pluto picked her for the job," Jupiter said in awe.
"She's definitely got what it takes to be one of us," Mars added.
The entire session lasted a total of three days, nonstop. For twenty-four hours each day, under the instructions of Sailor Pluto, Sailors Mars, Uranus, and Jupiter had been, as Pluto had put it, 'testing' the new Sailor Earth.
This testing consisted of throwing rather painful objects at the new Sailor Earth, and seeing if she could dodge, during which they chased her around all of creation.
When the Senshi had been told to do this to the poor girl, their response had been— and I quote— "This is insane!!!"
Pluto had nodded and indicated that insanity was at the very heart of the matter, but being the mysterious sort, she didn't tell what the rest of the matter was. She did, however, mention that it was a very important matter, and needed to be taken care of.
Her phrasing had greatly confused everyone, when she said that he, apparently meaning the matter at hand, needed to be taken care of in the most effective manner possible.
The intonation and added devious look in Pluto's eye had convinced Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus that she had gone completely wacko.
Thus, they volunteered, deciding to go along with the plan, just to see what an insane Keeper of Time would do.
It would, after all, relieve the monotony that slowly reestablishing human life on the planet Earth caused. Monsters were a rare thing now, and aside from the possibility of war due to a political dispute with a neighboring world concerning a few exiles, there was simply nothing all that interesting to do.
But now, they were sure that they had been mistaken in calling Sailor Pluto a 'wacko'. The new Sailor Earth had gone through endless hours of torment that would have rendered any other being a gibbering maniac. She was indeed a strong-willed individual, and would do well in her new role as a Senshi.
Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus now saw what Pluto's assignment was intended to do. It had gained the new Senshi a lot of respect from the elder ones. Accepting her into the tightly-knit group would now be no problem at all. Insane as it may have first seemed, it had turned out to be a very wise decision on Pluto's part.
But they still had to finish the whole test…
"Okay, concentrate on her position," Uranus said. "Get ready to teleport."
Ranma-chan ran from the demonic presence behind her…
"C-C-C-C-CAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!" she screamed in sheer terror.
And suddenly, finally, the cat was gone, having been thrown off by the force of wind generated by running well over mach three.
Ranma-chan slowed down and stopped after a few miles. She sat on a rock to catch her breath.
"Congratulations," Sailor Pluto said, appearing mysteriously. "You've just broken the land speed record."
Ranma-chan jumped up in surprise, accidentally landing in Sailor Pluto's arms, smiling uncomfortably at her. "Oh, uh, h-hi, Setsuna."
"Hi yourself," Pluto replied, looking at the redhead she was carrying. "So, are you ready to give up on this engagement thing, or do you want spend more time as a beautiful, short-skirted, sailor-suited warrior for love and justice?"
For effect, Sailors Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus decided to teleport in at that moment, brandishing Molotov cocktails, spiked maces, swords, and several other painful-looking objects.
Ranma-chan glanced at the newcomers nervously. "Umm…"
"What's it gonna be?" Pluto asked dangerously. "Think quickly, and choose wisely…"
The tired girl in Pluto's arms looked back and forth between Sailor Pluto and the other Senshi. "Uh, can I have some time to think it over? I've had a long couple of days here…"
The Senshi of Time narrowed her eyes. Why wouldn't he just give up?! "Let me repeat myself. Renounce the engagement."
Ranma-chan fidgeted uncomfortably, beginning to blush as she began to realize how close she was being held to her fiancée. "Can't we at least go somewhere else…? Maybe we could talk about this…"
Sailor Pluto sighed and pulled the girl in her arms closer. "This isn't a difficult decision. You can either forget your betrothal to me," she said, leaning over to whisper into Ranma-chan's ear, "or I'll make you regret it."
"I-I— um—" Ranma-chan stuttered, not having heard Pluto's words, her mind being too wrapped up in dealing with her current position.
"Well?" Pluto asked impatiently.
Ranma-chan just couldn't think properly at this moment… There was the stress from spending so long doing so much above and beyond what even her tremendous stamina could handle…
And then there was the tension caused by being, what seemed from her position, snuggled and nuzzled by what was quite possibly the most beautiful woman she had ever known…
That went a long way toward explaining why Ranma-chan fainted at that moment.
Sailor Pluto sighed in frustration at the unconscious girl in her arms.
The other Senshi, having stayed back until now, stepped forward. Jupiter and Uranus looked quite amused at Pluto's situation. Mars wordlessly raised an eyebrow.
"Sailor Pluto," Jupiter began, chuckling to herself, "what were you whispering to her? She was blushing pretty furiously there…"
The green-haired time Senshi blinked. "Excuse me?"
"So," Uranus said suggestively, "gettin' around, eh? Know what I mean? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Know what I mean?"
Pluto sighed. "What are you talking about…?" She rolled her eyes as she realized what they were implying, and regretted having had to overdose the outer Senshi on Monty Python. "There is nothing between us. You are imagining things where none exist."
Uranus smiled knowingly. "I see… Say no more, eh? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Know what I mean? Say no more."
"You just couldn't stop watching that show, could you?" Pluto asked, slowly shaking her head.
Jupiter laughed. "Going to take her out for ice cream next, Sailor Pluto?"
Pluto began to turn away in frustration, then stopped as she considered Sailor Jupiter's suggestion. "Yes… That is exactly what I'm going to do."
~~~ Now, rewinding about a thousand years… Darn tape… ~~~
~~~ *Wham*Wham* That's better. ~~~
Happosai climbed out of the crater, soaking wet.
After the battle with the chef— and the novel experience of being shot up nearly a mile by a geyser of water— in accordance with the law of gravity, he had fallen nine point eight meters per second per second…
But physics wasn't the topic… At least I don't think it was. The point was that he fell, making a rather nice crater when he finally hit the ground.
The old martial artist groaned, feeling exceptionally drained from the battle. He hadn't exactly been up to full strength anyway, and that cook was tough… She seemed a little familiar to him, but any attempt to remember more was met by a sharp headache and a craving for more Okonomiyaki.
He didn't intend on dwelling on it, though. He was badly in need of a recharge… And in his current state, what he needed were some easy targets…
*WHUMP!* He bumped into a sign. He looked up and read it.
"…Junior High… Hey, they don't get much easier than that!" Happosai said to himself, glancing up at the building in front of him. He casually walked inside.
Soon afterwards, the screams began…
Anyway, I'm sure we'll learn what that's about in a little while. Let's get back to what Ranma was doing…
Continued in Part 9-E.
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