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.
"Ah," the EMH said, escorting the brown-haired chef in, "I'm glad you've come. 'Tim's condition has taken a turn for the worse."
Ukkyo frowned. "I thought you said he'd be okay."
The doctor frowned gravely. "That's what I originally thought, but that was before I found the rest of his inner damage. He has no digestive tract left, and has lost a great deal of blood. It's all I can do to keep him from dying outright now." The balding holographic program sighed. "And what remains of his circulatory system keeps getting rid of the anesthetic I'm using to keep him from waking up."
"So he's not going to make it?" Ukkyo asked, her hopes fading badly.
The doctor opened his mouth to speak… but was interrupted by a sudden shout from behind him.
"AAAAAAAAARRRRGGHHHHH!" 'Tim yelled, a light-red glow surrounding him.
The doctor gritted his holographic teeth. "Oh no, it's worn off already…" He approached the bio-bed 'Tim was on… but was blasted back by a sudden shockwave from the pink-haired man.
"GRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr…" 'Tim growled, gritting his teeth as the energy around him intensified into an almost pulsating aura. The bandanna on his head turned black, then disintegrated.
Ukkyo raised her spatula in front of her, trying to block the wind and stand her ground.
"MMMMMMmmmmmmmmm…" The injured man clenched his jaw shut as the spiral of power continued unabated.
A glowing, golden crescent moon flickered into existence on his forehead.
His arm regenerated, and his wounds faded, being replaced by new, undamaged flesh.
The power surge slowed, faded, and finally stopped.
'Tim fell to the deck, breathing softly. "Wish… approved?" he whispered, then frowned. "All right, who's been making wishes?" He pounded on his head. "I know you're in there!"
Ukkyo blinked, then smiled. "'Tim? You're all right?"
"In-dubitibly," the pink-haired man with the crescent moon on his forehead said, standing. He looked down and fingered his torn shirt, then smiled and shrugged. "Hmm… Oh well. Never really liked this look anyway."
The EMH came forward with a medical tricorder, scanning him. "Your arm has regenerated fully… as has the rest of your misbegotten innards." He scanned near the crescent moon. "Your base power level has increased by a factor of ten…"
The doctor trailed off as the mark faded away. "…and now has gone back to normal." He continued his scan. "Yes… You are currently only an average male human psycho medical treatment case from the darkest nether regions of heck." He walked off, continuing to mutter to himself. "Training? More like attempted suicide… Getting broken bones, shredded lungs, vaporized limbs… Taking risks that he shouldn't!"
'Tim smiled as he listened to the minor rant. "Relax, Doctor," he said, holding up a hand. "I'm not going to try any more holographic opponents with the safeties off, okay?"
The EMH perked up. "Really? Good, good."
'Tim grinned. "I've decided that my current method is going far too slowly… So, I'm going to call in and see if I can get a personal trainer to come in from Namek. They're usually pacifists, but MAN, if you get them angry…" He chuckled evilly. "Fun, fun, fun!"
The doctor sighed, then put down his tricorder. "Computer, just deactivate me. Deactivate me NOW." He vanished in a rippling effect.
'Tim smiled mischievously. "Heh heh heh."
In the next moment, he found that Ukkyo was hanging onto his arm, smiling up at him.
The pink-haired man looked down at her with a raised eyebrow. "Try to stay professional. You're still my employee, you know. Simply isn't proper to…" He paused as he lost his train of thought. He shrugged. "Oh well."
Ukkyo continued to smile as she let go of his arm. "Right. Speaking of which… Didn't I put in a lot of overtime today?"
'Tim thought about it, then nodded. "Yup… AND you've probably also earned a truckload of hazard pay…" He looked into her eyes. "So, Ukkyo, expect a big, fat paycheck by the end of the week."
The brown-haired chef laughed and shook her head. "Right. See you tomorrow, then." She walked to the door, then glanced back, still smiling. "Tim-chan."
[Glad to be of service…] the door said serenely as it opened. [Thank you…] it continued, closing as the girl left.
"I hate suffixes," 'Tim muttered, shaking his head. He sighed. "All right," he said, rubbing his hands together. "I guess that pretty much wraps it all up…" He paused, a nagging feeling pulling at him. "Now, what am I forgetting?"
The answer came to him like a fifteen-ton sandbag to the face.
*ZZzzzzz* 'Tim snored quietly as he slumped to the nice, inviting, cold steel deck.
Zoicite sniffled. "And then… (sniff) and then… (sniff) he killed Spikey!"
Kunzite frowned, glowering slightly as he attempted to comfort the blonde woman. "That… Nephrite will pay, make no mistake." He stood. "In exactly one week, my forces will be ready. We will destroy him then."
Zoicite dried her tears and nodded.
As Jadeite-chan slept, cutely tucked away in her soft, feather-down bed, another mind collected itself from scattered thoughts, which once would have been considered long gone and forgotten.
Guardian Jadeite, loyal servant to Prince Endymion, awoke.
"I'm… alive?" he whispered in wonder as he opened his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, he sat up and looked around.
Judging from the prevalence of yellow, pink, and the amount of stuffed animals, this appeared to be the room of a young girl.
Wondering how he had gotten here, he slid off of the bed and stood, pushing away the blankets. He looked around again, trying to find some hint of the true occupant.
Not seeing anyone, he walked into an adjoining room, one with multiple porcelain fixtures, a few shelves filled with bathing supplies and an indescribable array of makeup equipment…
And then he noticed the large, wall-sized mirror.
The Royal Guardian looked on in surprise as a young, but very pretty blonde girl wearing loose-fitting white bunny-pajamas looked back at him from the mirror.
"This is… odd," he said in bemusement, then paused as he noticed how high his voice was.
Jadeite looked down at herself with a raised eyebrow, then pinched her face to make sure she wasn't dreaming, and coughed in disbelief. "I know I had more than a few drinks last night, but waking up to THIS is just plain ridiculous!!!"
She looked around. "Nephrite? Kunzite? Endymion? What kind of joke are you trying to play?!" She shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Always playing tricks on the new guy. Honestly… Probably laughing their heads off right now."
Suddenly, without warning, Jadeite felt a sudden, sharp pain in her head, driving her to her knees.
It seemed as if someone, or something much stronger than her was stirring in her mind. She tried to cry out, but found that she had no control over her body.
"What," Jadeite-chan growled cutely as she stood up, "am I doing over here?!"
Oh no, Jadeite thought, scattered flashes of the other Jadeite's memories flying through his… her… whatever mind. The conference on the Moon tomorrow… No, that's long past… But how?! How did this happen?!
He reviewed what he remembered, whether from his own memories, or those of the other mind. The party I was at… he realized. THAT'S what Beryl was doing there! Supplanting the minds of high-ranking Earth officials for future use… I'm glad Endymion and the other Guardians weren't there, but…
This train of thought ended rather quickly as other memories were brought forth. The other Guardians joined anyway… Kunzite, Zoicite, Nephrite… Wait… what happened to Zoicite? I don't remember him looking so… Another surge of memories followed. Oh… Well, strange things do happen, I suppose…
He continued to receive a recollection of how the corrupted version of himself acted. 'Tim…? That was a very childish thing for him to have done… but hardly worth a life-long vendetta…
Then, he felt a hint of satisfaction as he saw how embarrassing the defeat of the corrupted version of him was… and suddenly got incredibly depressed as he saw the ruin of the Earth and Moon Kingdoms…
As Guardian Jadeite muddled over his sadness of how horribly the Silver Millennium ended, former General Jadeite walked over to the mirror and looked into it. She growled at the image she saw, and got frustrated at how cutely she did it.
Jadeite-chan tried to produce a malevolent look about her any way she could… but failed miserably. Not even casting a glamour had any effect. She was definitely locked into this form. "Curses…" she muttered cutely.
Guardian Jadeite, somehow able to see and hear, despite not being in control was able to feel the heat of the other mind's frustration. Looking over the shambles that had been made of his life by the impostor, his anger began to boil.
Suddenly, he wanted to break something.
"Grrrrr," Jadeite-chan growled, bringing her fist back and swinging it toward the mirror… and only barely managed to stop herself before hitting it. "I will NOT lose control THAT easily," she whispered in determination, then nodded to herself and started to walk back toward her bed.
Grasping at the sudden muscle control he had, Jadeite tried to move again. No luck. No… he thought in despair. He had control for a second… but did not have as much raw power that the other mind had. He couldn't sustain a direct takeover.
The disjointed mind of the Royal Guardian started frantically flailing around, trying to find a grip on something; anything that might help him.
Then, amongst his despair, he felt the approach of a… pink presence, for lack of a better word. He mentally grasped at it, forcing it ahead with all his might.
Suddenly, Jadeite-chan stopped, then looked back at the mirror. She walked back to it, giggling as she examined her cute reflection, turning to the side, almost posing.
She brushed back her hair and took a blue ribbon from one of the shelves and started tying it into her hair…
As Jadeite-chan realized what she was doing, she stopped.
"AAH!" she shouted, turning away and yanking out the ribbon, throwing it to the floor. She closed her eyes, gritted her teeth, and rushed back to her bed. "This… is getting on my nerves!"
Guardian Jadeite would have grinned if he could. He very nearly got control again… Whatever he had just been able to use against the other mind was much more powerful than he alone could ever be. He could feel the other mind weakening from the force of it.
The Guardian himself did not feel that much of an influence, other than the strength required to wield whatever that force was. Compared to the other mind, though, he was extraordinarily weak, and the force was very difficult to manipulate.
He would have to collect himself and gather his strength before he could make another attempt. The 'pink' presence had already slipped away from his mental grasp.
Later, then, Jadeite decided. He would attempt to regain control and get rid of this horrific corruption.
This other version of him couldn't seem to tolerate being a young girl… nor did he seem to be able to truly handle anything that seemed to come with it.
He had to admit, though, this was somewhat less than he could have hoped for in a resurrection. Besides the obvious physical aspects that would have to be adapted to, most of his friends were gone… and the ones that weren't were working for an evil force.
It was life, though.
His real life had been snatched away from him. He could live with this one. It would not be easy, at least not at first, but it wasn't that bad, all things considered.
There was little chance of being recognized by any enemies that the corruption had made… and his new home in this rather complex installation was not all that bad, barring computer malfunctions. ‘Tim seemed nice enough… Rather like a clueless big brother.
Other aspects, such as making new friends at the junior high school could actually be an enjoyable experience.
First, however, he would have to get rid of the other, evil version of himself.
Possibilities that could be used to force out the corruption flowed through his mind as he submerged to rest and recharge.
He would have his life back. By hook or by crook, he would have it back.
"It was probably nothing," Jadeite-chan muttered to herself, lying back down. She curled up against her pillow. "Yes… nothing at all. I can stay in control… Focus… focus…"
With that, both minds of the cute blonde girl fell asleep.
~~~ One Thousand Years Later ~~~
"Now," Sailor Venus of the thirtieth century said, smiling, "let's see that One More Time!"
She tapped one of the crystal controls for the large viewscreen of Crystal Tokyo's Crystal Palace, showing a dramatic view of the earlier battle.
[Chikyuu… Doudou… Ryuujin-hou!!!]
"Ranma," Venus continued enthusiastically, slapping a hand on the tired girl's shoulder, "you said that you had trouble with this guy in the past… Well, not anymore!"
"Hmm… I can't believe he's really gone for good," the sailor-suited martial artist said, rubbing her eyes as she re-watched the fight. "I mean… I honestly DON'T believe he's really, finally gone."
Venus tapped a few more crystals on the control console. "Okay, okay… Here's the molecular composition of… what was his name? Happy Sigh?"
"Right, right," the blonde Senshi said as she continued to mess around with the controls. "So anyway, here's what his molecular compo-whatsit looked like before…"
The display showed a picture of Happosai, outlined with scanned information off to the side. [Suito,] the image seemed to whisper.
Ranma-chan could have sworn that the picture was leering at her. "Yeah, that's him…"
Sailor Venus continued to play with the crystal controls, which were beginning to hum ominously. "See? He's all there… But after…"
The display winked out.
The Senshi of Love turned back toward the new Sailor Earth, continuing to absently tap random control crystals with her right hand and making emphatic gestures with her left. "BAM! Nothing left. He's—" She trailed off as the control panel began to spark, rattling slightly and beginning to hum louder.
Ranma-chan frowned. "Is it supposed to do that?"
Venus shrugged nervously. "Eh… How should I know? They never let me touch any of this stuff."
*KABLAAAM!!!* The viewscreen and the crystal control panel exploded, blasting the two Senshi and making a mess of the room with broken bits of crystal shrapnel.
"Gee… I wonder why…" Ranma-chan deadpanned, wiping some of the soot off of her face.
Sailor Venus laughed nervously and wrapped her arm around the other girl's shoulder in a friendly manner. "Let's… get back to the party, 'kay? They're probably wondering where we are."
"There's a party going on?" Ranma-chan asked in confusion.
Venus nodded emphatically, hurriedly ushering the girl out of the decimated control room. "Yeah, out on the lawn. The Queen had to cancel the awards ceremony… but the troops're still knocked up on goofballs… ER… They're still rather excited about the victory and stuff… So, a few came up and talked Serenity into letting them have some kind of celebration."
"What kinda celebration?"
"Something informal. You know, something that the officers can take off their uniforms and dress up really weird for…" The orange-highlighted Senshi paused thoughtfully. "You ever been to Marti Gras, kid?"
The redhead blinked, not remembering anything called that at the moment. "Marty what?"
Sailor Venus smiled, pulling out a mask that looked like an oversized pair of glasses. "Trust me, you're gonna love it."
"State yer business," the ArbyFish, wearing dark, mirrored shades, asked as he fluttered, hovering in front of the blonde Senshi.
"We're just here to enjoy the party," Sailor Venus replied.
"Can I go to bed now?" Ranma-chan asked. "I haven't slept in over a week."
"Well, I 'aven't slept nigh on seven 'undred years, so quit complainin'," Arby snapped, then gave the redhead a kiss on the lips. He drew back and smiled at her. "You're cute."
He fluttered off.
Ranma-chan bemusedly wiped off her mouth. "What the…"
Venus leaned towards her to whisper, "Don't mind him. He does that to everyone."
Ranma-chan raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"Just to throw you off."
"Oh. That makes sense… I guess."
All around them, the party went on. Nearly everyone was wearing masks of some sort, and many were in costume. All of the Senshi were there, as were King Endymion and Neo-Queen Serenity.
The Inner Senshi and the royalty were mostly standing off to one side, watching those that had come to celebrate… and were starting to doze off.
"We have to set an example," Neo-Queen Serenity noted.
Sailor Jupiter looked longingly at the partying people… and one man especially. "He looks just like…" she whispered, then quickly turned to her Queen. "Um, couldn't we… shouldn't we be… Erm…"
"What is it, Lita?" Serenity asked.
The brown-haired Senshi just stood, looking down. "We…"
Mercury spoke up. "I think what she's trying to say is that… morale would benefit most especially if we were… among our people." She turned to Jupiter. "Correct?"
Jupiter nodded vigorously, smiling.
Neo-Queen Serenity sighed. "Very well… Go."
*WHOOSH!* Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter rushed off, leaving behind small clouds of dust behind them, which soon dissipated.
The band members finished setting up the titanic speakers and got ready with their instruments, tapping steel drums, strumming crystal guitars, and an assortment of other things, some very bizarre-looking.
The steel drum-players began, tapping out some reggae theme, which was soon accented by the other instruments.
"Now," Sailor Venus whispered to the new Senshi beside her, "the real party begins."
*ZREOWOWOWOWOWOWO!!!* Someone struck a long, loud chord on one of the magical crystal guitars.
Everyone was silent until the reverb died down.
A chorus of trumpets played an upbeat, Spanish-style tune.
A cheer went up from the crowd, and the people formed a sort of procession. They started dancing in very loose lines.
Sailor Venus smiled, then jumped up, giving a shout, and took a place in the moving mass of madness.
Ranma-chan closed her eyes and groaned at the noise. "Ummh." After a moment, she opened her eyes and looked around for something orderly to use as a mental anchor.
After a few seconds of searching, she caught sight of NeoQueen Serenity. "Maybe she knows where I can rest…" the redhead thought aloud.
Beginning to wade her way through the river of dancing individuals, she lost sight of her goal. "Oh… forget it."
Ranma-chan crouched, then jumped, springing over the heads of the people, accidentally going over the Queen, and landing right in front of Endymion. Her forward momentum and relative lack of strength sent her collapsing into his arms.
"Whoa," Endymion said, correcting his balance. He looked down at the tired girl that was currently hanging on to him for support. "Ah… Greetings, Sailor Earth."
"Ranma," the redhead corrected. She looked over to Serenity. "This has been fun and all, but… Can I go home now?"
The pigtailed Queen looked at her and noted her extreme fatigue. "Of course, you can, Ranma," she said quickly. "Your quarters are in—"
Sailor Pluto, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, broke into the conversation. "No," she said, "h… she cannot. Not yet."
Ranma-chan looked at the Time Guardian. "Aw, come on, Setsuna! Why not?"
"Setsuna," Serenity said, "isn't whatever it is you're doing going a little too far?"
"No," Sailor Pluto replied.
The Queen paused, looking down for a second. "I know that something is going on… Your behavior hasn't exactly been… normal, lately. As a matter of fact, you rarely even visit Crystal Tokyo, normally having to guard the Time Gate. Ever since you brought… Ranma here, you've been almost constantly watching her."
Sailor Pluto nodded. "She must be looked after." She began to walk away.
Neo-Queen Serenity pursed her lips. "Wait! What about…" She paused, thinking about what had been mentioned by Sailor Saturn earlier today. "What about… your fiancé? What about him?"
The Time Guardian froze, then slowly turned around. She narrowed her eyes. "It is none of your concern," she said, very coldly. "Know this: Sailor Earth must remain conscious this night."
Sailor Pluto turned away once more, and vanished.
"I wonder what this is all about," Serenity whispered.
Endymion was still looking down at Ranma-chan. He shook his head sadly. "You look exactly like Terra did, you know that?"
"So they tell me," the girl muttered, letting go and trying to stand under her own power. She did it, but was wobbling noticeably.
"Ranma," Serenity said, "Sailor Pluto has said that you cannot sleep tonight."
Ranma-chan laughed. "Yeah, that's her style, all right… Always trying to test me to the limits. I think she's training me in some new form of martial arts… Mental and physical mastery… You know, that sorta stuff…"
"That… could be it," the Queen said as she considered that possibility. Sailor Pluto had mentioned to her that there would be some kind of new threat soon, and any sort of training would be of use. Several of the other Senshi had been involved in the training somehow… So, that very well could be the case.
This train of thought was soon derailed, as a radiant ball of light appeared in the sky, descending upon them.
The musicians stopped, as did the rest of the crowd as they gazed up at the light.
As the ball came closer, it became apparent that there was a woman inside: a tall, white-blonde woman with two very long pigtails, two sets of transparent gossamer wings on her back, and was wearing a long, white gown.
She descended upon them, moving toward the Queen, who recognized her.
"Mother…" Neo-Queen Serenity whispered, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
"Yes, my daughter," the other woman replied serenely, landing softly in front of her.
"It's you…" Endymion noted in wonder.
"Queen Serenity!" all of the Inner Senshi realized at once, rushing forward to kneel before her… except for Ranma, who stayed back, looking at her with an arched eyebrow.
The younger Serenity went forward and tentatively reached out to touch her mother, then when she found that she was really there, she embraced her, almost sobbing in joy. "Mother… it has been so long…"
The elder Serenity patted her daughter's back. "Yes… and I have come back to help you."
The white-blonde woman moved out of the embrace and held her daughter's hands at arms length, smiling at her. "There will be troubled times ahead, and you will need my guidance throughout it."
Neo-Queen Serenity frowned. "I know, Mother. We have been informed."
Queen Serenity continued to smile. "Not to worry, though. I will be here with you to help you deal with these new problems."
"Oh, Mother," the younger Serenity said, now crying freely. "I'm so glad."
Somehow managing to shake off some of her fatigue, Ranma-chan walked toward them. "Uh, hey," she said in greeting to elder Serenity, waving.
The woman in question looked toward her. "Hello, child." She paused. "I don't know you… Are you a new Senshi?"
Ranma-chan nodded slowly, looking at her strangely. "You don't… recognize me?"
Serenity laughed, smiling down at her. "Of course not, child… we've just met. What is your name, little one?"
"Ranma," Sailor Mars whispered forcefully from her kneeling position, "that's Queen Serenity. It's proper protocol to kneel when our royalty makes an appearance, not ask them weird questions. So, GET DOWN."
"Yeah, whatever," Ranma-chan said, waving her off.
"Ranma…" Mercury said, glancing sideways at her.
Ignoring her, the sailor-suited martial artist continued walking toward the two queens. "Riiight."
The elder queen looked back toward her daughter. "Now, this is very important: You must return the Ginzuishou to me. Only then will I be able to truly assist you."
Neo-Queen Serenity nodded. "Of course, Mother."
*THWACK!!!* Ranma-chan punched the elder Serenity directly in the face, knocking her backward several meters until she hit the wall of the Crystal Palace, where she fell to the ground.
"RANMA, NO!!!" all of the Senshi shouted at once, standing.
Endymion drew his sword.
The redheaded girl leapt over to where she had knocked the woman, then knelt down and took her into a headlock and started pulling forcefully at her hair.
"Ow… ow… Help me!!!" Queen Serenity screamed.
Neo-Queen Serenity looked on, agape in unmitigated shock. "Ranma!!! What are you doing to my mother?!?!"
Ranma-chan gritted her teeth, continuing to yank at the woman's hair. "That's not your mother… it's a MAN, baby!!!"
Queen Serenity winced under the assault, flailing around helplessly in the headlock she was in. "Do something!"
Mars and Jupiter prepared to attack. Endymion took out a rose, while Venus looked on in disbelief.
"No, don't!" Mercury shouted. "You'll hit the Queen!"
The Senshi stopped.
The King threw his rose at such an angle that it would miss the queen and nick Ranma-chan's arm, forcing her to release her grip…
*Ching!* …if a defensive shield around her hadn't flared up and deflected the floral projectile.
"Ranma, please stop it!" Neo-Queen Serenity pleaded.
Ranma-chan redoubled her pulling efforts.
"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Neo-Queen Serenity shouted, covering her eyes.
Queen Serenity howled in agony as part of her scalp, from the middle of her forehead up, tore away, revealing the red, oh so red and puffy…
With a black, upside-down crescent moon in the middle of the forehead.
"What the…" Endymion breathed.
The girl tossed away the white-blonde hairpiece and ripped off the rest of 'Queen Serenity's' face, revealing an entirely different one.
"Rebel scum," Mars said, almost sneering as she recognized the true face.
The only real, present Serenity looked up and gasped.
"Rubeus?" Jupiter asked in confusion. "How did they fit you into that disguise?"
"More importantly," Venus said with a raised eyebrow, "who blackmailed you into wearing that dress?"
"And how did you get in here?!" Mercury asked, wide-eyed.
The red-haired Nemesian man, still mostly disguised in the white gown and pseudoskin, struggled in Ranma-chan's grip, glaring at the Queen and her Senshi. "It is of no difficulty to break through your puny defenses, foolish sailor-wimps!" He laughed obnoxiously. "You may think you've defeated us, haven't you!? Well, the attack we've sent you earlier today was NOTHING! We have thousands of starships, each capable of leveling your insignificant city! Prince Diamond will have you and your crystal, and I will have…"
Rubeus trailed off as he noticed that, during his rant, the pink-highlighted Senshi had let go of him and moved away… and the other Senshi and the King were preparing to strike. "Er… GOODBYE!!! Gwaha ha ha ha haaa!!!"
His laugh faded as he disappeared in a flash of dark energy.
The Senshi once more stopped their attacks.
Jupiter blinked, shaking her head. "Well, that ranks at about a nine-point-oh on my weirdness scale…"
"No kidding," Venus said. "I thought the prince's name was Demand…"
Mercury looked very worried. "If they managed to get him in here… They may just manage to sneak in other spies… or worse: weapons of mass destruction…"
Serenity frowned, looking down at her hands, wondering how she could have been so easily deceived. "How… how could this have happened?"
A security officer of Crystal Tokyo rushed out of the Palace and knelt before his queen. "I have bad news to report, Queen Serenity: We have a saboteur."
Serenity nodded. "Did you catch him?"
The security officer shook his head. "No, my queen. They have eluded us. However, whoever they were, they had access to the main control room. The entire place has been completely blown away."
"The main control room?" Sailor Venus asked.
The security officer nodded. "Yes. The destruction of that station shut down the defense grid. We were wide open for attack for several minutes."
"Oops," Venus whispered, covering her mouth, flushing a deep shade of crimson in embarrassment.
"Sailor Venus?" Serenity asked, looking at her.
"Go to your room."
"Okay," Venus said, tiptoeing away. "Sorry, sorry…"
Endymion shook his head and smiled wryly. "I'll take care of it." He entered the palace.
Sailor Mars rolled her eyes. "This is the third time this week!"
Jupiter shook her head. "You think she'd have learned by now."
"Can I come, too?" Ranma-chan asked, walking after the departing Senshi. "I could use a place to—"
"Remember what Sailor Pluto said," Serenity reminded.
"Oh yeah," Ranma-chan said in realization. She stood up straight then took a deep breath and held it, trying to force herself to stay awake.
Neo-Queen Serenity paused in thought. "Speaking of Sailor Pluto, would you happen to know who her fiancé is?"
Ranma-chan coughed, releasing the breath she was holding and took another one, looking up at the Queen proudly. "That would be me. Setsuna's my fiancée."
Serenity blinked, then raised an eyebrow. Very high. "Oh, is that so, Ranma? How did that happen?"
The redhead cleared her throat. "Well, back home, I was practicing my martial arts… Then this green-haired girl wearing a sailor fuku pops up and challenges me to a fight… I used my style's secret technique on her, then canceled out her attack, eventually defeating her… and before you know it, she's latched on as one of my fiancées." She smiled. "You know, the other girls liked to give me gifts: usually food or something like that… but Setsuna gave me trips to the future, power upgrades, really tough training, and the chance to get rid of my worst, most annoying adversary once and for all." She shrugged. "So, here I am."
Serenity coughed. "Er… Ranma, that's all very interesting, but… You're a girl."
Ranma-chan shook her head, rolling her eyes. "No, I'm…" She trailed off, noticing something amiss. She paused and looked down at herself… then looked back up at the Queen. "ER… um… well…"
Sailor Uranus walked by them, raising her eyebrows suggestively. "Say no more, say no more!"
The martial artist thought over what she just said… and frowned deeply. "Uh oh…"
Ranma had been going through a lot of stress lately.
First, there was the fact that she had become more or less stuck as a girl; if she couldn't get the fuku off, she really wouldn't want to go through changing back… which could get quite painful… and not in any way a 'good' kind of pain.
Second, there had been the extraordinarily difficult and straining training that she had been put through, during which, she hadn't been able to get any sleep, or so much as collect her thoughts…
Third, Setsuna had been constantly threatening him with horrible things if he didn't renounce the engagement… and he had felt honor-bound to maintain it. Besides, she was the most realistic, calm, and sane fiancée she had.
Fourth, Happosai. Enough said.
Fifth, earlier, she had just pulled off the biggest recorded Ki blast in the history of all mankind… and it wasn't exactly an easy thing to do.
And, Sixth… she had just blabbed out that she was engaged to Setsuna… and really didn't feel like letting the curse out at the moment, nor did she wish to be called what her engagement to another girl would imply.
So, from either the stress of one or a combination of these, she fainted.
"Oh dear," Serenity said, "the strain must have gotten to her. Poor girl… With all she's been through, she must have been delirious…"
In the deepness of subreality, a voice echoed…
"My gosh… It's Sailor Stars!!!"
Happosai sped along the corridor of light, looking on in awe at the sights that he saw.
He moved faster and faster through the blazing, colorful landscapes, oceans, seas, skies, and explosions.
These images seemed to reflect off of his eyes as he continued to increase velocity… surpassing even the speed of light itself.
He watched in wonder as the cosmic whirlpool raced him into the infinite…
Finally, somehow, he landed.
Happosai floated, an embryo in Earth's orbit. He looked with huge, underdeveloped anime eyes at all of the things in the world…
A huge blast of music sounded, followed by the beating of kettledrums.
And thus the Star Child was born…
Sailor Pluto, suddenly getting another very bad headache, swallowed some aspirin, and considered what she could and what she should do concerning her unwanted engagement to a certain Ranma Saotome… Saotome Ranma…
Whatever way she put it, something had to be done about him. Who knows how much irreparable damage had been done to the timeline while she had to sit around and temporally baby-sit him.
Psychological torture of the sort she had chosen to employ against him did not seem to weaken his resolve toward the issue at hand.
There seemed to be no way of getting him to agree with her and cancel the engagement entirely.
She had tried the normally most effective methods: sleep deprivation, form modification, honor-bound psychological entrapment, and diminutive attire…
None worked, and she knew that even the most visceral of medieval torments would not accomplish her goal.
Simply terminating his existence had been an option she was beginning to be willing to consider… but he had a destiny to fulfill. It was not a big one, to be sure; contrary to what he and those around them might think, he wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.
If he failed to defeat an adversary, even one that threatened the world, there were, at any given moment, another dozen perfectly willing and capable of doing the job.
So long as he married Akane Tendo, despite any circumstances, his destiny would be fulfilled.
That didn't have much of importance to do with the timeline, at least not for several generations… but it was a destiny, and Sailor Pluto was bound, heart, mind, and soul, to see that Destiny would be fulfilled.
Therefore, so long as Ranma came out of this more or less alive, Destiny could be satisfied. He didn't even have to be coherent, really. Just alive and capable of some variation of communication and reproduction.
Sailor Pluto sighed and shook her head, a tear going down her cheek as she realized what she had been driven to.
"Jadeite was right," she whispered as she walked toward her goal, "this is all 'Tim's fault."
The Starlight Knight was also of no consequence at the moment. Destiny got him in the end, too. There were many souls that she regretted the passing of… but his was not one of them.
She focused back on her current goal: to get Ranma off her back and out of her life once and for all.
For this purpose, she had decided that it was necessary for her to consult… The Archives.
The Archives were a collection of every last book, every last draft, and every last Internet website ever to be made or conceived of.
It contained every last one of those things… Last in the sense that it had the final, most potent and climactic works of each series, type, and genre.
This location was top secret, known only to her. Nobody else… and tonight, she would unlock its secrets for the first time in millennia.
If the information she needed was not there, it did not exist.
Anything less than the pinnacle of torment would not work against Ranma. Subtlety was not going to work. She knew that much.
Outside of the main ice cream shop of Crystal Tokyo, Sailor Pluto pushed down with her heel precisely on the point that would trigger the first stage of the entrance to… The Archives.
Like the lid of a gigantic trashcan, the entire crystal building rose and tilted over ninety degrees, revealing a small, dark tunnel.
As she entered this tunnel, with only the glowing orb atop her staff for illumination, the building settled back into its normal place.
For an entire hour, the Time Guardian descended the ancient stone steps, until reaching a titanic square iron door with an ominous, skeletal face in the center, which seemed to whisper… nay, which did whisper, "Go away… there is danger here. Do not open until doomsday… Beware, darkness will envelop you. Turn back, turn back…"
"I've heard it, Murray, more times than I care to remember at the moment," Sailor Pluto muttered.
Murray, the all-powerful demonic talking skull, frowned. "Sorry. I don't exactly get to do this very often, if you know what I mean…"
Sailor Pluto nodded slightly. "Very well… Continue."
The skull smiled, then droned on with its warnings.
Sailor Pluto raised her staff, summoning the proper energy and concentration required for the lock to open for her.
In a few moments, the door vanished, and the Time Guardian strode inside.
The door reappeared as soon as she had entered.
[End Chapter 9]
<Scene of A.S.K. frantically hitting his head>
"Today, we learned that if you have multiple personalities…"
<Scene of 'Tim, lost in MegaTokyo>
"…they either go off on their own…"
<Scene of The Cute and Fluffy Formerly One-shot Senshi Sailor Stylin'>
"…or just get angry."
<Scene of Jadeite-chan running through a horribly cute dreamscape>
<Scene of a huge explosion>
"So be kind to your other personalities. Blow 'em up before they can blow you up. Sailor Nuke sez…”
“BWAHA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!"
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