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.
The sailor-suited figure stood, concentrating in Queen Beryl's display room, attempting to deactivate a force field that suspended a crystal in midair. The crystal contained the immobile form of a blonde man in a Negaverse general's uniform.
"Moon… Power," she whispered in a moderately high tone, concentrating on diffusing the magic. The force field began to dissipate.
*CLANG!* The blonde girl winced as the force field disappeared, leaving the crystal to slam loudly to the uncarpeted stone floor. She looked around to make sure that nobody noticed, then proceeded with her work.
"Don't worry, Jadeite, on behalf of the Moon, I'll have you out of there soon," she said, affixing a rectangular device on the crystal. She manipulated a few of the controls on it. The device began to hum and glow, melting its way through the crystal.
After what seemed like an eternity, the crystal finally melted away enough for Jadeite to be completely freed. He collapsed on the floor and moaned softly, shivering.
The girl helped him to his feet. "You'll be all right. You're free of the crystal now."
"I… c-can't see," Jadeite said, attempting to look around.
"You've just been through the 'Eternal Sleep'. Ten seconds of it usually drives anyone completely bonkers. You were able to achieve hibernation by shutting down some parts of your brain temporarily; at least that's what the telepath I blackmailed into scanning you said… But don't worry! Your eyesight will return in time," the girl said.
Jadeite touched the girl's forehead with his hand and felt the tiara. He withdrew a little. "Wh-who are you?!"
The girl dropped her glamour, revealing what looked like a brown-haired young man, perhaps in his mid teens, dressed in a grey Negaverse general-style uniform. "It's your cousin!"
Jadeite gritted his teeth. "Paracite. You and your Sailor Moon impressions…"
"Hey, don't knock it! My girlfriend thinks it's cute!" Paracite said, "Besides, I couldn't very well walk in here as myself, now, could I? I did it because nobody notices anybody dressed up like one of those Sailor-girls walking around; Any other youma who sees me like that are always convinced that they're having some sort of horrible nightmare or something… But that's enough of that, I gotta get you outta here."
There was an annoying laugh. "Ha ha ha haaa!"
Paracite looked around warily. "Uh oh…"
"I know that laugh," Jadeite said, reflexively narrowing his eyes.
Zoicite appeared in her usual swirl of flower petals, looking slightly surprised at seeing Jadeite on the outside of the crystal. "Well, well, how the mighty are fallen! I don't know how you've managed to escape that little prison of yours, but I'm sure that Queen Beryl will be happy to put you back in, 'Jedite'."
Jadeite scowled. "Do NOT call me that, Zoicite!"
"What? Jedite? Jedite, Jedite, Jedite! Jediiiiiite, Jedite Jedite Jedite Jedite," Zoicite repeated. Jadeite growled angrily.
*WHAM!!!* He leveled a punch directly where he thought Zoicite's head would be.
"I'm over here, 'Jedite'!" Zoicite said, waving from across the room. Jadeite pulled his fist out of the wall.
"I told you to stop calling me that!!!" Jadeite shouted, turning towards Paracite, preparing an energy blast.
*BLAM!* "Whoa! Watch it!" Paracite said, barely managing to trip out of the way. The blast was not very large by youma general standards. The stay in the crystal was extremely taxing. Zoicite just stood there, moving only slightly to dodge a couple more incoming blasts.
"Zoi!" Zoicite said, attacking with her cherry blossoms, knocking down Jadeite and Paracite. She laughed even more.
The sudden increase in the noise level during the past few minutes had alerted the guards that something might be wrong. Of course, this WAS the Negaverse, so things were SUPPOSED to be wrong. However, this kind of 'wrong' had a sort of 'rightness' about it (You know, the freeing of someone from what would otherwise have been endless torment) and as such had a definite 'wrongness' in a roundabout sort of way.
Then again, it may have just been the loud noise in what is normally a completely silent area. In any case, a large group of guards were somehow alerted and entered the display room.
"Seize them," Zoicite said, pointing at Jadeite and Paracite, who were slumped against a wall, trying to get back the wind that was knocked out of them.
The guards quickly grabbed them. Jadeite was in no condition to resist, and Paracite wasn't exactly what you'd call a combat youma.
Actually, he was what some might term a complete 'wimp'.
"I have -OW- a powerful friend… On behalf of the -ACK- You're going to regret this! -YOW- We will punish you!" Paracite said, periodically being pushed along by the guards. "Sorry about the fouled-up rescue, Jadeite, but -OUCHIE- DON'T WORRY! Everything's going according to plan… Really."
Jadeite trudged along next to Paracite in an abysmal mood. "Paracite, I do not blame you. I know whose fault it is. 'TIM!!! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" he yelled, blaming the entire experience on the one who had caused him so much trouble in the past.
*ClopClop* The horses' hooves banged against the hard stone ground. The group of knights moved along the mountain range.
The journey was long and hard, fraught with many dangers, three-headed beasts, and wonderful temptati— er— TERRIBLE PERILS!
Now, finally, their goal was in sight!
"Come," Endymion said, "We ride onward… to Crystal Tokyo!"
~~~ o/ Festive Music \o ~~~
We're Knights of Crystal Tokyo,
~Sailor Senshi dancing on the tables, in front of a very disturbed-looking Neo-Queen Serenity.~
We're Knights of Crystal Tokyo,
~A quick flash to a dungeon, where a purple-robed shadow is chained up with his hands above his head, clapping along with the distant music.~
In war we use oratorio!
Serenity's voice only
I think I want you to go!
~Everyone dances around.~
~~~ o/ Song Ends \o ~~~
"On second thought," Endymion said, thinking it over as he gazed at the crystalline city ahead of him, "Let's NOT go to Crystal Tokyo… 'Tis a silly place…"
"Right," Nephrite agreed.
The group began to move on when angelic singing began and the clouds parted…
"Endymion, Prince of Earth…" a mysterious voice came, sounding surprisingly like Serena.
Endymion looked up at the parted clouds and beheld the dark silhouette of what he could only describe as a princess in a flowing gown. He also saw her 'meatball' hairstyle. "Well, my friends call me Darien—"
"Of course they would!" the princess said, annoyed. "Those miserable Guardians of yours… They're sooooo depressing!"
"Hey!" Jadeite said, folding his arms defensively.
The silhouette shook her head. "That's not what I need to tell you about… Let me start over. AHEM! Darien, Prince of Earth, behold," she said, creating a visible image of a multi-faceted crystal. "This is the Silver Imperium Crystal… Look well, for it is your bound duty to find this Crystal—"
"Are you sure?" Endymion asked, scratching his head.
"OF COURSE I'M SURE!" the princess snapped, then calmed down. "Find the Crystal. It holds the powers of the universe! Please get it, for only then will I be free! Please help me be free again!"
The image disappeared and the clouds closed.
"A royal command," Zoicite contemplated, "A command from the Princess…"
"Serenity be praised!" Kunzite said enthusiastically.
~Monty Python-ish animation sequence: Trumpets blare from craters on the moon; differently toned trumpets sound from castles on Earth; and Eternal Sailors bring up a sign that says, 'Tuxedo Mask's Search for the Imperium Silver Crystal'~
Darien woke with a splitting headache.
"MAN, I REALLY have to stop watching that movie so much!" He moaned. He paused as he remembered the dream. "Silver Crystal, huh?"
The groggy college student thought it over further. "And maybe I'm Tuxedo Mask… THAT would certainly explain a lot," he said, seeing the many rose petals tracked all over his apartment. "Either that, or I'm a sleep-walking florist…"
"I've looked at your menu," the customer said, "and I was wondering if you had anything else."
"Let's see, aside from what's on the menu, we've got the Spam, Spam, Sausage, Eggs and Spam; Eggs 'n Spam; the Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans and Spam; Sausage-Eggs-Bacon-Spam; Spam—" The waiter said, reading off the specials for the day.
"I don't like Spam! Look, do you have anything without Spam in it?" The man sitting at the table asked.
The waiter thought about it. "Well, there's the Spam, Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, and Spam… That doesn't have much Spam in it."
"But I don't want any Spam."
"You can give me your Spam," the other man at the table said.
"I don't want any Spam! Can I have the Spam, Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, and Spam without the Spam in it?"
"Yeech!" The waiter said in disgust, thinking about the dish without that particular ingredient. "How about the Spam, Spam, Eggs, Bacon, Spam, Sausage, Spam, Baked Beans, Spam, Sausage, Spam, Spam, Eggs, and Spam?"
"I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!!" the man at the table said angrily.
"Spam-Spam-Spam-Spam-Spam," the Vikings sitting at another table began to sing, "Spam the Spam! Wonderful Spam! Spam the Spam, lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam! Spaaaaaaaaam, Spaaaaaaaam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!"
"Very good, Sir. I'll have your order out in a few minutes," the waiter said, nodding and moving away.
The man at the table groaned and shook his head.
Exiting into the back room, Atomic Starlight Knight de-transformed and sighed contentedly. This was great. He had finally managed to duplicate a de-transformation sequence, and after a LOT of paperwork he had a functional secret identity as ''Tim S. Knight', a mild-mannered restaurant owner.
However, he couldn't shake the feeling that he had gotten the transformation somewhat wrong…
There were side effects:
His hair had turned pink somewhere in the process…
Instead of the circlet on his head, he had an unlimited supply of green tiger-striped bandannas…
His armor had turned into green camouflage travel wear…
His multiple personalities seemed to be more or less silenced when in human form…
…And he had lost nearly half a foot in height, bringing him down to a mere six feet tall.
All this, however, could have been quite easily dismissed as his real de-transformed self if it wasn't for that other problem…
"WHERE THE HECK AM I NOW?!" 'Tim yelled, looking across the unfamiliar territory.
A big sign by the road said, "Welcome to MegaTokyo!"
In very fine print, the sign also said, "Season's Greetings from Genom! May all your boomers go berserk!"
"Well, we received the results back from that last test— I know it was Quantum Physics and Material Science," Ms. Haruna said, "I'm actually quite surprised at anyone who managed to answer even one of these. That's why I will not be keeping these scores for a grade."
The class looked quite relieved.
Amy cleared her throat. "Ms. Haruna, if we were not expected to be able to do any of these, then why was it assigned?"
"To test your maximum limits," the teacher replied, beginning to return test papers, "And your IQ, I think. But then, there's no real way of telling. The people who make the tests have gotten a little… eccentric lately."
Serena was handed her paper. Not surprisingly, she hadn't done very well, and turned to talk to Amy to talk about it. "Amy, what do you think about this? It placed my intelligence somewhere between an… 'aquatic bivalve and a feral quadruped', whatever those are."
The blue-haired girl winced. "I received thirty percent on it." She brightened as she read further comments. "But it did say I was placed second in my age group."
Serena nodded, knowing that her friend was a very smart person. She turned to Molly. "How did you do?"
"I couldn't figgya out any a' them," Molly said in her heavy accent. "Terra, what did you get?"
"I, um… Here," Terra said nervously, handing the paper to them.
Amy read the results and sat silently for a moment. "It… seems that the only one she missed was due to a misplaced decimal."
The entire class went silent.
"You don't really act that intelligent," Melvin noted.
"I-I just test well," Terra replied uneasily.
"That's great!" Melvin said, "Maybe sometime we can—"
Terra brightened. "—go to the scorpion petting zoo?"
Under his thick glasses, Melvin blinked. "Nah… Too poisonous… But how about the Physics festival down at the University?"
The redhead continued to smile. "Are they going to have a lot of explosions? I like explosions…" She paused. "Well… I don't, but… I do."
Melvin nodded emphatically. "Yeah, they're having a lot of explosions! Dozens of them… AND they're having a three-hour lecture about stellar cartography, too!"
"I love stellar cartography!" Terra whispered with great enthusiasm, leaning closer. "Have they managed to map the quantum singularity at the center of this galaxy?" She sighed, seemingly in remembrance. "The antimatter stream is quite beautiful at this time of year…"
Melvin blinked. "The what?"
Amy stared at Terra.
The cheerful redhead blinked. "Um… what is it?" She gasped and held a hand to her cheek as she realized what the problem was. "Oh! I was talking in class." She looked up at her teacher. "I apologize, Miss Haruna."
*WHUMP!* The entire class facefaulted.
Terra looked on in confusion at the fallen students. "Oh my…"
"Vell, vell, Herr Nephrrrite," Mr-random-youma-Nazi-doctor said, removing the cast from Nephrite's hand, "It zeems zat you haf made uhn cumplete recofferrry!"
Nephrite felt his wrist, moved it around, then nodded. "As you understand, this meeting did not take place. I don't want word getting out about a general getting a broken wrist."
"I apologize for my lateness, Queen Beryl," Nephrite said as he teleported in, bowing. When there was no response, he looked up and saw— "JADEITE?!!?!"
"Didn't think I (cough) could make it out, did you?" Jadeite asked, stooping under his heavy restraints and looking very much the worse for wear from his imprisonment in the crystal. Paracite stood by him, under lighter restraints, twiddling his thumbs and whistling, being totally ignored.
"Silence, Jedite!" Queen Beryl snapped. "Now, Jedite, tell me how you were able to escape the Eternal Sleep!"
Jadeite squinted, still not being able to see anything. "How can I be silent while explaining?!" he asked insolently, wincing every time Queen Beryl called him 'Jedite'.
"Quite right," Beryl said. She turned toward Paracite. "Well?"
Paracite stopped whistling and said, "I, kinda, uh, borrowed something from a friend—"
"Borrowed what, Paracite?"
"I… dunno." Paracite said, trying to figure out exactly what it was. "It was some sorta… thing that melts rocks—"
"This is getting us nowhere, Queen Beryl," Zoicite said, "Let's bring out the telepaths and scrape their memories clean!"
Beryl sighed. "Perhaps you're right, Zoicite, this is getting us nowhere… But I want their minds intact for the horrible torture I wish to subject them to."
Paracite gulped. "Um… Torture?"
"Yes, I will take care of it immediately, Queen Beryl," Zoicite said gleefully, shooting a maniacal grin at the two doomed youma.
"Good, I hate long waits. What are you going to do, anyway? I have already survived the Eternal Sleep, the supposed 'worst' kind of torture you have. Pah! It was nothing! What more can you possibly do to me?" Jadeite asked, slightly disgusted that THEY thought to torture HIM. The entire concept now seemed absurd to him.
"I have just received the Gold edition Minmei records, Jedite," Beryl said menacingly. "You will listen to all fifty-seven tracks."
"DEEP HURTING!" Zoicite added, smiling.
Jadeite winced. "On second thought, let's pass on that."
Beryl motioned for them to leave. Zoicite, Jadeite, and Paracite exited, escorted by several youma guards.
"Last mistake you'll ever make," Paracite called back semi-defiantly.
"Oh, do be quiet, Paracite," Jadeite said.
Beryl turned toward Nephrite. "Ah, Neflyte! How is that little curse working out?"
Nephrite shrugged. "It wore off after a day or so."
"Good. Now, Neflyte, are you prepared to carry out this next mission and NOT foul it up this time?" Beryl asked.
"Yes, Queen Beryl, I am."
"Good," Beryl said. "I have spoken to Metallia—"
"Don't you mean the Negaforce?" Nephrite asked.
"NO, I do NOT mean the 'Negaforce', NEFLYTE!" Beryl snapped. "As I was saying, I have spoken to Metallia and she instructed me to find the Empyrean Silver Crystal—"
"The Ginzuishou? Wasn't that destroyed?"
Beryl narrowed her eyes. "Not the Ginzuishou, Neflyte! And no, it wasn't! It was somehow used to capture the Seven Great Youma."
"The Seven Shadows?"
"STOP INTERRUPTING!!!!!!" Beryl screamed at him. Nephrite backed down, cowering slightly. "Where was I? Oh yes, Metallia appeared to me in a dream and told me that it would rain beans for forty days and forty nights. I am to construct an ark out of wieners, and get myself out of Canada!!!"
Nephrite bigsweatted. "Er, Queen Beryl… um, weren't you ordered to retrieve the Ginzuishou—"
"EMPYREAN SILVER CRYSTAL!!!"
Nephrite winced. "Er, um, uh, y-yeah, that."
Beryl calmed down a little. "I suppose she did tell me to have it located… Now I remember! She told me to use some of the energy we have collected to forge this," she said, holding out a purplish-black crystal, "and use it to locate the Empyrean Silver Crystal. Once it is found, we will finally be able to resurrect Metallia. Then, if we cannot stop them, she will defeat the Sailor Scouts—"
"Neflyte! Start searching, now!"
"By your command," Nephrite replied mechanically.
"AND STOP IT WITH THE CYLON IMPRESSIONS!!! If I hear one more reference to 'Battlestar Galactica', I'll scream!"
Nephrite stared. "But you're screaming already!"
"Neflyte," Beryl said reprimandingly.
Nephrite coughed out a puff of black smoke. "Right."
'Tim plodded forward, determined to get out of this weird city. Oh, the technology and near-apocalyptic look were great, but there were far too many cybernetic machines that weren't designed for battle. After all, what good is a robot if you don't get to blow it up later?
For all his effort, however, he only managed to wind his way deeper into the city. As he went, he discovered more horrible corruptions of the local robotic technology.
"GENOM is now releasing automated 'pet' BUMAS?!" 'Tim yelled incredulously, reading a sign. He absorbed this information and continued yelling. "Robotics used to mean something… They used to pull the 'bots out and they used to destroy 'em! You're hypocrites, all of you!"
Nobody noticed his rant, however, since everybody was occupied. Given the fact that they were running from several nine-foot-tall combat machines, it really wasn't all that surprising.
*BLAM* A shot went by 'Tim as he began to walk off. It blew a hole through a three-foot-thick concrete wall. *POW* The next shot drew his attention, as the ground near his feet exploded.
*SLAAAAAAAAAAM* The next one took him directly in the face.
"AAAAARRRRRGGGG!" 'Tim screamed, skull undergoing major fractures. The robot that attacked him advanced, firing a laser from its mouth. 'Tim was blasted HARD against a wall. He felt several of his ribs crack as he slumped to the ground.
Damage report! 'Tim asked himself. There was no response. IS ANYBODY IN HERE?! Still no response. He felt his face. Pulling his hand back, he saw the blood. "What the—" He gazed in shock at this. He wasn't supposed to bleed! He was a figment of another person's imagination! He was a construct of light and mental waves! He was almost nonexistent! He was… de-transformed.
"That's… it!" He realized, speaking to himself the best he could given the injuries. While he had just survived damage that would have rendered any normal human being to a small splat of pink goo, he was still not anywhere near as damage resistant as he normally was. Now that he realized the problem, all he had to do was figure out some cool… or even stupid… phrase to activate the RE-transformation sequence; then he'd hopefully be intact enough to fight.
One of the robots caught the motion of 'Tim forcing himself to stand and decided to move in for the kill. 'Tim stared back at it, smiling slightly with his cracked jaw. He thought up a sufficiently long-winded phrase to say. He didn't really have to in order to activate the energy pattern that he had designed… but these things just were not done without some sort of phrase to go along with it.
"Atomic Starlight LEVEL NINE SHOCKWAVE NUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
'Tim's battered and beaten form was engulfed in a white light that extended around him in a mile-tall cylinder with a one-meter radius. His hair turned black. Energy swirled in the cylinder, reforming his armor around his shimmering form. The armor glowed, becoming increasingly infused with energy, the camouflage design becoming apparent. A pair of bracers locked themselves around his arms.
The glow around him intensified and exploded in a shockwave that knocked over all of the attacking robots. He held out his hands, and his sword appeared in an explosion of blue-green flame. A blue jewel appeared on his forehead, from which a circlet formed. Many other small details worked themselves into the transformation, mostly concerning flashy, overdrawn displays of decoration being etched into his armor.
Finally, it was over. In total, the sequence lasted three minutes, fifty-one seconds and had a nice remix of 'Moon Revenge' playing in the background.
Atomic Starlight Knight— completely decked out, fully healed, and ready to single-handedly take on an entire Zentraedi fleet— surveyed his surroundings. "Okay, we got the shockwave down okay… BUT WHERE'S THE NUKE?!"
Wait for it… A.S.K. replied to himself.
*CRACKLE-CRACKLE-CRACKLE-BLAAAAAAAAM!!* One robot exploded in a brilliant display of sparks and spherical detonations. *BOOM* Then another. *KABLAMMO!* Then another…
"OH YEAH, BABY!!!" A.S.K. shouted, intensely enjoying seeing the next seventeen go. Finally, there were none left. "Is that all?" he asked himself aloud, disappointed that it was over.
Not quite. I'm detecting several thousand energy signatures similar to those of the ones I just destroyed approaching on a rapid attack vector!
"And here I thought this was a corrupted city," A.S.K. said blissfully, watching the robots move in. He readied his sword. "I love my job."
The redhead sat quietly, hacking through various databases, keeping an eye on the news, and trying to find anything about what Genom was planning. It had been too quiet for too long; there HAD to be something big in the works.
When she finally found out what it was, her jaw dropped. She had expected something big, but nothing quite THAT big. "SYLIA!!"
Sylia Stingray was having an all around rotten day. For one thing, GENOM had developed a new type of boomer that she hadn't been able to get specifications on, and if the reports that she had been able to intercept proved true, then the Knight Sabers would be in very real danger, even more so than usual.
To complicate matters further, Mackie had suddenly become obsessed with an old anime series called 'Sailor Moon', and had locked himself up, refusing to come out until he had seen every episode at least twice! Sylia had seen a few episodes in her past, and was therefore getting very worried about her brother's mental health. She could understand someone like him watching that kind of stuff… he usually did… but THAT show?
However, this and everything else that had affected her mood today were insignificant when compared to what Nene had just discovered.
"Half the world's military boomers have gone berserk!" Nene said frantically, "And they're coming here!"
Sylia nodded knowingly. If it wasn't really a rotten day before, it most certainly was now.
"Okay, now where did you go, you little bugger?" Sailor Pluto whispered, repeatedly scanning the timeline for any trace of Atomic Starlight Knight, Starlight Knight, 'Tim, Pigtailed Girl, or ANYONE that he might suddenly decide to be. She wasn't having much luck.
She traced A.S.K. to his new de-transformation sequence and found his secret identity easily enough. Then, after he walked into the back room of his restaurant (she didn't even WANT to know how that had gotten there), he had simply vanished.
There was no doubt about it. He was gone, disappeared, vanished, absolutely nowhere in this universe. He hadn't even teleported; suddenly he was somewhere, then he wasn't. No weird energy trace, no dust particles, not even any Yggdrasil malfunctions. At least that was what they were telling her. Honestly, sometimes they could be worse than the Vorlons…
Sailor Pluto sighed. Oh well, it wasn't her problem if Starlight wanted to go venture into some alternate timeline. He'd be back. In the meantime, she had other things to deal with.
"Allow me to repeat myself," Sailor Pluto said, turning toward the young couple. "You two are DESTINED to be together."
The two glared at each other. "Why would I want to marry that PERVERT?!" the black haired girl asked angrily.
"And who would want to marry such an uncute TOMBOY like you?!" the pigtailed boy asked, equally upset.
"RANMA NO BAKA!!!" *WHAM!!*
Sailor Pluto slowly shook her head as she saw the young man crash through the roof from the force of the blow caused by the heavy mallet.
At this rate, she'd never be out of this engagement!
The time guardian had tried simply leaving, but something would always happen that required her attention back at the Tendo household.
She had found out that she could leave for important business and have no ill effects, but as for anything else, she was stuck here.
It was a good thing she knew how to view time remotely. It just wouldn't have been proper to leave the timeline unguarded. But still, it wasn't easy. The sooner she could get back to her regular routine, the better.
"Don't you thing that you should be… a little nicer to your fiancé?" Sailor Pluto asked, hoping to repair the situation.
"If you like him so much, then why don't you marry him?!" the black-haired girl asked, a flaming aura building up around her.
Sailor Pluto shook her head again. She really did not want to. Unfortunately, the only provision that had been made in the ancient engagement agreement for her to get out of it was for both parties to officially nullify it.
Fat chance of that. The fates (distant relatives of hers; really annoying people, especially when they dropped in for dinner…) seemed to be favoring her to be the winner of this engagement battle.
The boy in question did seem to like her better than those other four girls that were chasing after him; and he was not about to get rid of his only partial link to sanity. She was the only one that wouldn't hit, glomp, try odd magic spells, fold, spindle, or otherwise mutilate him.
The worst she had ever done was send him to Crystal Tokyo to help fight off some two-bit bad guy. There, she could have done any number of a thousand things to him… twice as many, as a matter of fact, since he had that curse, but she hadn't done any of them to him. All were far too cruel, too demeaning, and would probably inspire nothing but endless hatred toward her, and then he would want absolutely nothing more to do with her…
Pluto thought through that last part again. She smiled mysteriously. Well, it was more of a mysterious evil grin.
"Akane," Pluto said to the girl, "please inform your father that I will be leaving for a short time. Ranma will be accompanying me."
Akane scowled. "And where are you going with him?!"
Pluto quickly checked the timeline. Yes, it could work… "I'm going to subject him to mind-numbing psychological torture. Would you like to come?"
"Um, is this really necessary?" Belldandy asked uneasily.
Overseeing the implementation of the new patch to Yggdrasil, Kami-sama nodded sagely.
"All right," the goddess replied.
All strangeness aside, she was glad to see that He still had His sense of humor. Perhaps things would work out for the best…
Serena had arrived home and told Luna about her day.
"It's not all that surprising, really. Terra was always a very bright child back in the Moon Kingdom," Luna said, "Would you like to hear about it?"
"Thanks, Luna, but I really don't need my ego crushed any more today," Serena replied, looking back over the horrifically failed test she held in her hands.
"Suit yourself," the moon cat replied. "Princess Terra was a truly amazing girl."
Serena sighed. "By the way, have you remembered anything about that other Moon Princess we're supposed to be looking for?"
"Yes, actually, I have," Luna said with a smile. "You see, tonight, there is going to be a showing of the 'Imperial Crystal', hosted by someone called Princess Diamond. I believe that the Imperial Crystal could really be the Silver Imperium Crystal. I've also read a few things on Princess Diamond. She comes from a very long line of royalty. I do believe that she could very well be our other Moon Princess!"
"What does Arby think about it?" Serena asked. "He seems to remember a lot about the Moon Kingdom."
Luna thought about it. "You know, I haven't seen him lately. The last time I did, he kept babbling on about his 'mission' or something. I believe he said that he had to go get a 'jump gate' ready and get one of his 'Heavy Blunt Objects' enhanced for a rescue mission. He also mentioned something about a massive fungus strike force."
"Any idea what he was talking about?" Serena asked.
"He was carrying around a catalog of some kind," Luna responded. "Several very large packages have also arrived for him lately, so whatever he's up to, it's something big."
"Let me guess… A REALLY huge mushroom."
"Could be," Luna replied cluelessly.
The music that had devastated thousands of Zentraedi and made RoboTech fans cringe in terror was now torturing two certain youma…
o/ Stage fright, go away! \o, the song began annoyingly.
For the sixteenth time.
Jadeite twitched. "The horror…"
o/ This is my big day! \o, the song continued.
Paracite slammed his head as hard as he possibly could into the wall. "Make it stop, make it stop, MAKE IT STOP!!!"
o/ This is my time to be a star! \o
"No…" Jadeite whispered, the song defeating his inner strength with absolute impunity.
o/ And I'm here now, singing— \o
*BRRRZZT!* Something shorted out and the music stopped.
Jadeite and Paracite paused, not truly believing that it could ever be ended. Then they cheered.
The intercom crackled. [Sorry about that, Jedite! I'm afraid that we will not be able to continue your torture this way… We will just have to sacrifice you to Metallia instead.]
Jadeite and Paracite stopped cheering.
"We're still doomed," Jadeite said.
"Yeah," Paracite said, nodding.
The former general looked down grimly. "You wouldn't happen to have anything planned, would you?"
Paracite shook his head. He looked around and paused, staring at a particular spot on the floor. His eyes widened and he dove at it. "Wait! What's this switch?!"
Paracite sat back up. "I was only joking. We're really going to die after all."
"Why, you little—" Jadeite started angrily, doing a fairly good impression of Homer Simpson despite his restraints.
"ACK-ACK-ACK!" Paracite choked out. This ended when the door opened and the guards dragged them off.
"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I MUST DESTROY HIM!" Jadeite screamed desperately, trying to get back at Paracite's throat.
"Well, I think my vision is getting better," Jadeite said. "Instead of a big black blur, I'm seeing A BIG RED BLUR!"
"Calm down, and don't worry. My help will be here… I hope. Besides, there's not much to see. We're just suspended over a pit that has some sort of terrible, soul-leeching vortex at the bottom," Paracite said.
Jadeite calmed slightly and nodded. "Ah, yes, I remember when I sacrificed my first traitor to Metallia… Those were the days!"
Zoicite stepped up to speak. "Queen Beryl hopes that you will both die horribly," she said, and then smiled. "And should any of you wish to beg for mercy, she will now listen to your pitiful pleas."
"Zoicite, you tell that piece of ungrateful… stuff that she'll get no such pleasure from us," Jadeite said, then turned towards Paracite, "Right?"
Paracite was on his knees. "Please, don't kill me!"
"Paracite!" Jadeite said in shocked disapproval.
"Enough," Queen Beryl said, "Move them into position."
The guards pulled Paracite to his feet. He glanced at Jadeite, then at an unseen person high on a wall and nodded. He was pushed on to the plank.
"Put them in."
A guard nudged Paracite over the edge.
There was silence as he fell.
*Da-da-da-diiiii!* A horn blew, breaking the quiet.
*Do-do-do-dooooo!* Another horn responded.
All of the sudden, mushrooms of all shapes, sizes, and colors leapt up from behind the walls, shouting high pitched battlecries and landing upon most of the youma guards, looking for all the world like a scene mixed from Return of the Jedi and Starship Troopers.
A green and white blur bolted down from the wall, swooping down to grab Paracite. It flew back up and set him on the ledge.
"'Scuse me, sir!" it said to him in an odd accent. It then produced a glowing Heavy Blunt Object from nowhere, and proceeded to disable more guards. The mushrooms continued fighting, still shouting their battle cries.
*WHAM!* A guard was knocked into the vortex. The youma guards began to return fire. However, the shots kept missing.
"What's going on?!" Jadeite asked, glancing around, still not able to see anything.
*SMASH!* Another youma went in.
"I'm not sure… -OOF!- I think it's the help I asked for!" Paracite said, chains rattling as an odd green seal knocked him down. A rather large energy blast sped by his last location.
*WHAACK!* The youma who sent the blast went down.
"Then why aren't they getting us out of here?!" Jadeite asked.
*BZZZT!* "'EY!" The flying green seal shouted as a stray shot hit it. Other than a black scorch mark on its back, it was unaffected. It shook itself a little and went in for another strike.
"I'll ask," Paracite said, struggling to his feet. "Hey! Can you get us out of here now?"
The strange flying creature paused, fluttering in the air, thinking it over amidst the energy blasts. "Oh, I suppose so, sir," it said, nonchalantly dodging the many discharges that were being thrown from all over the place at it and the mushrooms.
"THEN DO IT!!" Jadeite yelled. It looked at him indignantly, then did a series of spiraling rolls in the air, accented by a flip at the end.
*CLANG!* A rather large device fell to the ground.
"What is—" Paracite began, then stopped as the device split into four long pieces, all levitating into a diamond-shaped formation. A glow began at the back of each piece, moving toward the front, at which point it flashed. In the center of the formation, a shifting, orange tunnel came into existence.
"Come along, then," the creature said, shoving Paracite into the vortex. It then looked at Jadeite. "You too, I s'pose," it said with a hint of malice.
Jadeite glanced around, being able to see a little better, but still not quite getting any clear images. "Where?"
The creature shook its head then flew behind Jadeite and whacked him in with its Heavy Blunt Object and followed.
The tunnel disappeared and the pieces of the device that created it disintegrated. The mushrooms immediately stopped their attack and hopped off into the shadows. There was silence for a short time.
"Zoicite, remind me to never allow you to take care of executions," Queen Beryl said, breaking the silence.
Zoicite blinked at what just happened and flicked off the small mushroom that was still nibbling on her ear. "Er… yes, Queen Beryl."
"Nene, if we make it out of this alive, we're all going out for ice cream!" Sylia said.
"Really?" Nene asked hopefully.
"Sorry, Nene," Priss said. "The only reason she's saying that is because we haven't got half of Frosty the Snowman's chance in all of the fiery Halls of Hades of surviving this."
The Knight Sabers moved toward what would, in all probability, their final battle. There were more boomers than they could count, each with more raw firepower than all of the Knight Sabers combined. Things looked grim. Barring a deus ex machina, a god-in-the-box, a friendly Sayajin, or a renegade author on an Otaku Fic craze, they were doomed, plain and simple.
"Sylia! I'm detecting multiple energy discharges ahead! Big ones!" Nene said, seeing large blotches flash on her scanner.
Sylia confirmed this. That meant that the attack had begun. Apparently, Genom had decided, for some reason, to simply wipe MegaTokyo clean off the map. That made no sense, especially because Genom's main concentration was here… Unless, of course, they had decided to move, or simply carve around the Genom sectors, but there wasn't anything about that in the information Nene had hacked.
Soon, the berserk military boomers were in sight. They were all concentrating their firepower on a single area.
"What are they doing?" Linna asked.
As they moved closer, the Knight Sabers saw what the boomers were attacking: a small, armored green thing that looked rather human. However, judging by the amount of damage that it was soaking up, and by the quantity of energy it was throwing around, chances were pretty good that it wasn't a human being.
"Looks like they're testing out something new," Sylia said.
The Knight Sabers wisely decided to keep their distance, for the moment at least.
"Stellar Circlet Disintegration!" *SMASH!-SMASH!-SMASH!*
"Pseudo-Stellar Quantum-Phase Nano-Molecular Disintegration… WITH A DOUBLE PIKE AND A HALF TWIST!!!!!"
"Um, Sylia?" Nene asked nervously, watching that last blast ripple outward in a blue wave, tearing up buildings, boomers, and everything else that was unlucky enough to be in its path.
"I see it," Sylia said, calmly analyzing the situation. She noted that the ripple was getting quite close.
As did Linna. "Yikes…"
"Withdraw," Sylia commanded. The Knight Sabers turned around and fired up their jets, leaving as fast as they could, just as the wave obliterated the place they had just been standing on.
"This is a bad thing," Nene noted.
"Yes, Nene," Priss said. "Being inches ahead of a massive, highly destructive energy shockwave that's tearing apart your home city WOULD FIT NICELY INTO THE 'BAD THINGS' CATEGORY!!!!"
A few seconds later, the energy wave stopped. Well, it didn't so much stop as change directions. It actually hit a pre-programmed radius, paused for a second, then blasted upwards, shooting into the sky, clearing whatever cloud cover there was, tearing a hole in the planet's magnetic field for a fraction of a second, and taking out all objects that happened to be overhead at the time.
The Knight Sabers stopped and looked up at this. Shocked would be a nice word to describe how they felt. They slowed down and stopped. Sylia checked her scanner. As the electromagnetic interference cleared, she discovered that the boomer that caused the destruction was still there.
"All right, move back in," Sylia ordered.
"Um… are you sure?" Nene asked.
"Yes," Sylia replied. "We have to stop it."
"Uh, Sylia," Linna began, "no offense, but what makes you think we can?"
"Check your sensors," Sylia said. They did.
"I can't get a definite reading on it," Linna said, "It's not damaged as far as I can tell, and it's got an energy field that's scrambling my sensors. I'm not penetrating its outer armor."
Sylia stared at her sensor readings for a moment longer. "Nonetheless, I believe that I know what it is," she said.
"Okay, then, what is it?" Priss asked.
"First of all, it's not new. It's an old, outdated, retired class of boomer," Sylia said.
"THAT thing's outdated?!" Nene asked incredulously.
"Yes," Sylia said, "Due to a problem in its fluid system, it was unable to process out any impurities. It shut down a lot."
"You'd think Genom would've fixed a little problem like that to get THAT much firepower!" Priss said.
"That wasn't the only problem," Sylia said, "It also had weak AI programming. It obeyed commands from anyone if they phrased it in the right way. It also got intimidated easily."
"You'd think they'd be able to fix that, too," Linna said.
"Yeah!" Nene agreed.
"Pray that they haven't," Sylia replied coldly. "Just follow my lead."
The Atomic Starlight Knight was having a wonderful time. The broken, smoking remains of thousands of robots lay under his feet in a large pile. He looked around and saw, much to his disappointment, that there were none left to fight.
He looked down at the pile he was on, thinking about the amount of firepower he had been able to bring to bear against the robots. Oh, sure, he trained against combat drones, some of which had enough firepower to obliterate half a city, but even then, he hadn't ever used that kind of firepower…
Well, he did destroy galaxies for a while… nine billion years, as a matter of fact, but that didn't count. He was an entirely different person then. Just how different? He ate level 67 Sayajin for breakfast… literally.
Anyway, this train of thought brought him back to the energy debate: He should not have been able to do any of that. His inner psyches demanded an explanation.
Tell me, NOW! I didn't detect ANY energy drain whatsoever. My reserves should have been gone SEVENTY times over from all the stuff I threw around here. My reserves haven't even been scratched! Why?! A.S.K. asked himself.
When fighting against evil— these robots were EVIL, trust me— it doesn't tap that much energy to create a blast capable of taking it out.
That's a lie! It takes just as much energy to blow up EVIL as it does to blow up good!
Oh it does, does it?!
*WHAM-WHAM-WHAM-WHAM* "SHUT UP!!!!!"
Wait! I have a theory. It's purely theoretical, and hasn't been proven yet, and it may or may not have anything to do with—
Spit it out, man!
Dimensional Assimilation. We're in an alternate universe— DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW! It's intuition… no, it's the 'feel' of the place— and in an alternate universe, things function differently—
Can we please go get some ice cream? a cute inner voice asked. For some reason, A.S.K. thought of redheaded girls and pink robots.
GAH! I think my theory has just been proven. The reason that we, meaning I, were able to use that much energy and not use that much energy is that the particular 'niche' of the universe that we were put into has tacked on additional power.
Enough to do THAT?
And much more.
"Oh yeah, baby," A.S.K. said to himself, starting to grin.
So what do I do now? The link between me and Terra is quite faint… I may not be able to survive more than…. two or three years here. Besides, I need to get back and manage the restaurant!
Don't worry. I've got a program that kicks in after a short while. The restaurant will be fine.
"Where are you?" the man at the table asked, wondering where his order went.
"Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the EMH said as it solidified into existence.
The man sitting at the table blinked. "Uh, yeah. I needed my order without Spam in it…"
The EMH rolled his eyes. "Dang it, 'Tim, I'm a doctor, not a waiter!"
But he'll get annoyed if I leave him on for too long… I need to get a cook sometime… someone that can make a really rip-roarin' okonomiyaki! A.S.K. told himself.
I don't know what that is, and I'm not going to continue debating about it. BACK TO THE MATTER AT HAND! What do I do?
I say enjoy the power while it lasts… I'll get someone on the dimensional problem immediately!
Good, enjoy myself, I say… Wake up and smell the nougat! A.S.K. finalized the inner conversation and took a look around. By the way, how many casualties did this cause?
Let's see… Zero.
WHAT!? a darker portion of the knight's mind screamed, I DID THAT AND DIDN'T KILL A SINGLE HUMAN BEING?!?!? WHAT KIND OF ULTIMATE ATTACK WAS THAT?! I DEMAND THAT—
NEURON REBORN REVOLUTION!!!
Just be quiet and sit in your corner. I'm enjoying myself.
The personality just whimpered in response.
"I love the smell of victory in the morning," A.S.K. said, sniffing the air, "It smells like… fried electronics… NO! It smells like oregano! Nooo! It smells like Cartoon Planet… Wait, that's not it… It smells like victory! Yeah, victory! That's the ticket! King of the Mountain! King of the—"
His small celebration was cut short when a small dart flew into his neck.
What's that? A.S.K. asked himself.
Complete consciousness failure in five seconds. Motor Skill Coordination… Offline, he thought, toppling over, tumbling down the hill of robots, clanging loudly to the ground. As he did, he saw four robotic figures approaching him, each with a different color scheme and apparently designed to look obnoxiously female.
What the hey?! I'm operating on a REALLY heavy energy surplus here! I'm this GREAT, LEGENDARY thing, and yet I'm taken out by tranquilizer fluid?! Why?! A.S.K. mentally yelled at himself.
As his last bits of consciousness faded, he remembered exactly why could be affected in that manner.
~~~ Begin Flashback ~~~
Ah, the Silver Millennium! A really nice time to live in if you liked the architecture. They had some terrific engineers back then. It only took a year to fully renovate and reconstruct the smashed cities from their unfortunate run-in with the Mega-Galactic-Destroyer-Thingy and the later skirmish with those three other hyper-powered beings. That was just not a good month to live through…
Anyway, things had calmed down a great deal since then and a lot of people were planning a ball to commemorate having survived the attacks last year. You'd think that they would have set up a memorial service for the many that died in the struggle, but that was not the general attitude of the people.
You see, when darkness looms and probably will not attack until tomorrow morning, the usual impulse is to have a party with dancing and being with one's beloved just in case they didn't survive the next day. And so, they would also hold just such an event to remember their lost friends and realize just how precious every moment their lives together were.
Oh, it was actually quite a nice way to have a memorial, really. It got a bit cumbersome around times just before a major battle was about to take place, but it really got the point across.
"Terra, Serenity!" Queen Serenity called. The two girls in question moved towards her. "Don't wander off."
"Okay," they replied brightly, in unison.
This particular celebration was being held on Earth, mainly due to the assistance of its Guardians during that difficult time and its fleet having been trashed in a vain attempt to fight off the major 'baddie' last year.
Delegations from other planets, namely the ones most affected: Pluto, Saturn, and the Moon, were sent to take part in the celebration. They included the Senshi, the Royal family, plus a few other high officials and their families. Also invited were the Senshi of Uranus and Neptune. Everyone came relaxed and ready to have fun.
It was a terrorist's buffet.
"Greetings, Serenity! How goes it?" the Atomic Starlight Knight said, moving in and shaking her hand.
"Hello, 'Tim—" Queen Serenity started.
"Please, call me 'Admiral'," A.S.K. cut in.
Serenity laughed; a beautiful sound, full of knowledge, joy, and compassion. Terra visibly cringed, but the others took no notice.
"Ever since you came, you have always been a wonderful joker," Serenity said.
A.S.K. nodded, smiled, and laughed pityingly. For some reason, they never took his ambition to take over and upgrade the new fleet as a means to eventually destroy the universe seriously. "Well, I'll be off, then."
"Enjoy yourself," Serenity said.
"Thanks," A.S.K. said, walking past Serenity, accidentally bumping into her. "Sorry."
"It is no problem," the Queen said.
As he walked off, A.S.K. examined the jewel he had just borrowed. He was going to analyze its energy and try to find some clue as to how it had been able to stop him— meaning Terra— meaning that big, scary monster last year. "Powerful little thing," he commented as he felt the energy radiating from it.
Well, 'powerful' was an understatement concerning this particular gem. So far, he had figured out that it tapped the fabric of reality somehow. In the next few minutes as he walked around, he was able to find out that using it at higher energy levels tended to be destructive to one's health for some as-yet-undetermined reason. Further analysis stopped when he felt an odd energy signature approaching.
"Greetings, 'Tim,'" Sailor Pluto said, moving towards him.
A.S.K. quickly hid the crystal. "W-why, S-sailor Pluto, w-what a surprise!" He had met Sailor Pluto some time earlier during his first personal sweep of the solar system. She had an odd way of doing things and seemed to always know everything. He really had to warn Terra about her sometime…
"All right, buster, let's have it," Pluto demanded, holding out her hand.
"What?" A.S.K. asked nervously. "W-what are you talking about?"
"You know perfectly well what I am referring to," Pluto said, narrowing her eyes in malice.
A.S.K. mentally kicked himself, getting knocked to the ground in the process. How had she been able to find out so quickly? He was sure nobody saw him grab it. There wasn't even any magical scanning going on. "Are you sure I know what you're talking about?" he asked, standing back up.
"Return the time staff," Pluto said, voice utterly seething with venom, "Now."
A.S.K. blinked. Time staff? Did she say 'Time staff?' "What the…? I don't have your staff!" he protested.
"Really? Then what is that?" Sailor Pluto asked, pointing toward his right hand.
A.S.K. looked at his right hand. "GAH!" he exclaimed, recoiling in shock. He WAS carrying Pluto's time staff. He quickly handed it to her. "I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY!"
Pluto's angry expression faded. She smirked. She was soon rolling on the floor, laughing hysterically. "Gotcha!" she said. "You should have seen the look on your face!"
A.S.K. thought it over, then realized that he had been the victim of a practical joke. "Hey! That wasn't funny!" he said defensively.
"Oh, lighten up, would you?" Sailor Pluto said, "This is supposed to be a party!"
A.S.K. growled and walked off, leaving Pluto laughing even harder and showing no sign of letting up. "It wasn't THAT funny, was it?" he asked himself. His only internal response was a chorus of laughter. "Hey!"
Sailor Pluto was, to A.S.K.'s knowledge, acting waaaaay out of character… Of course, he had never actually seen her at a party… She just might even be a fun person to joke around with on her off hours… If she had off hours, that is…
But that joke was just too… cheap, in his opinion. A real joke would be… he didn't really know. Turning everyone into a jackrabbit? One really big jackrabbit…? Naah!
Turning everyone into one really big jack-WABBIT and an enormous hunter… One that can't weawy pwonownce weawy wewl, eheheh… BUHA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Now THAT would be funny! Now add in an egocentric duck and you'd have-
A.S.K.'s internal debate kept him from concentrating on where he was walking, and it came as no real surprise when he tripped over a refreshment table, splashing the cold drinks all over himself. His existence momentarily flickered, then solidified as the effect wore off.
Terra quickly took note of this and ran towards him. Lifting his face off the floor, she asked, "All right, what's the problem here? Why am I getting consciousness fluctuations through the link?"
"There is the small matter of the curse suppression," A.S.K. said, mildly twitching. "However, the chemical composition of the stuff that just got on me is quite difficult to metabolize."
Terra looked at the table that was knocked over. "Um, Starlight, those are children's drinks. The only active chemical is… sugar."
A.S.K. began to twitch more violently. "I would like to remind you that I am a creation of your imagination: A construct of light, energy, and living off of all your unused mental capacity. As such, I do not have much of a metabolism to absorb this noxious stuff with. Fighting it off is EXTREMELY difficult."
Terra nodded, sure of the evaluation that A.S.K. just made. "Maybe you should go sit down. You were planning on analyzing that crystal that managed to cut me off from my power source last year, right?"
A.S.K. stood, twitching a little less. "Correct. I was attempting to analyze the magical properties of this crystalline formation in order to determine its usefulness, wasn't I?"
Terra blinked. "Yes, you were… And I think you need to sit down now. You're starting to sound like a Mercurian scientist."
"Apologies," the tall mental projection said.
Terra sighed. "So, go. I need to get back to the 'cute little girl' act," Terra said, pointing to Queen Serenity, who was approaching.
"Right," A.S.K. said, then walked to one of the benches off to the side of the open dance court.
"I thought I told you not to wander off, Terra," Serenity said as she came near.
"But I needed to help 'Tim!" Terra protested cutely.
"I'm sure your friend can take care of himself," Serenity said. "See? He's fine."
Terra looked and saw that A.S.K. was sitting calmly, examining something in his hand. She also looked off to the side and saw the delegation from Saturn. "Mother, may I please go speak to them?" Terra asked nicely, wanting to do something, anything except keep up the level of niceness and cuteness that she had to around her adoptive mother.
Serenity thought about it. "Very well, but do not be too long."
Terra nodded and walked over to the group. With the delegation were the Senshi of Uranus [QUIT IT WITH THAT! Yes, you!] and Neptune. They were watching over a small girl. Terra decided to strike up some conversation with them.
"Hello," Terra said simply.
Uranus and Neptune turned towards her. "Hello," Neptune replied. They didn't say anything else.
Terra tried further coercion. "So, how's… life?"
Uranus considered it. "Do you really want to know?" she asked.
Terra blinked. "Well… yeah!"
"Do you really think we should?" Neptune asked Uranus nervously. "I mean—"
"Are things THAT rough?" Terra cut in.
Uranus sighed. "Well, ever since we recovered from the attack last year, we've had to lug around the guilt of not having destroyed that monster when it first struck… Think of it: Millions died, all because we weren't able to stop it then and there. If we had only been a little more prepared, we could—"
"Don't keep blaming yourself," Terra said, "There was nothing whatsoever you could have done to stop it. It—"
"Oh, yes there was!" Uranus snapped. "The thing got hurt from being hit by mushroom porridge, for crying out loud!"
Terra nodded, remembering the sudden splash. THAT one had caught the old monster off guard, BIG time. No ordinary fungus, that. "Still, you shouldn't keep blaming yourself. It's over. People have recovered—"
"Not some," Neptune said.
Terra paused. "What do you mean?"
Neptune shook her head and pointed towards the young girl they had been staying near.
Terra looked at the young girl thoughtfully. She looked somewhat familiar, but Terra didn't quite know from where. Her more recent memories were still somewhat scrambled from the devastating defeat she had been dealt last year. "I still don't understand," she said.
"She is… the Princess of Saturn," Neptune said.
Terra thought about it. Princess of Saturn… Princess of Saturn… Why did that seem so important? Her eyes widened as the implications suddenly hit her. "Then her mother—"
"Was the Queen of Saturn, and its Senshi," Uranus said, "Emphasis on the 'was', if you know what I mean."
Terra recoiled as if slapped across the face. Oh yes, she knew what that meant. She recalled all of the gory details. Saturn was a phenomenal fighter. She absolutely refused to give up. The starship hadn't fazed her, and all of the old monster's long-range attacks couldn't stop her. She just kept on trying, fighting to her very last breath for her world. The struggle lasted for hours. Any single one of her attacks would have obliterated a lesser foe… But all she had managed to do was soften it up to the point where it could be affected by the Imperium Silver Crystal.
The monster had finally had to move in and eviscerate her to end the battle.
It was a horrible thing to remember if you had any sort of conscience, especially from a first person perspective. It might have not been so bad, had the monster not decided to stick around and devour the remains… Odd custom, but the monster did have a firm principle of eating what it had to kill directly like that.
I shouldn't have had seconds, Terra berated herself.
"Look," Terra said, voice cracking, tears in her eyes, "I'm terribly sorry about that."
Uranus and Neptune were somewhat shocked at her reaction.
The guilt mechanism's overloading! Terra noted to herself, My, um, conscience is finally reviewing everything else I did!
"What's wrong?" Neptune asked, concerned.
"You (sniff) could not POSSIBLY comprehend it!" Terra snapped, dealing with the internal turmoil and pain.
Uranus raised an eyebrow.
It looked as if Terra was being totally overwhelmed by some kind of unnatural force. She went pale and was forced to the ground. Neptune gasped and knelt down to hold her. Some distance away, A.S.K. tripped out of his seat, slamming face-first into the ground.
"She's gone into shock!" Neptune said, seeing the symptoms. The rest of the group gathered around, murmuring as they discussed the situation, doing whatever they could to help. Terra finally lost consciousness and went limp. She stopped breathing.
Neptune felt Terra's pulse. "Her heart's stopped!!"
More murmurs erupted within the group. Light panic set in. Too bad nobody knew CPR, because if they had, they might actually have been able to do something rather than just stare like a bunch of slack-jawed Venusian yokels. [Apologies to Aino Minako, but that's EXACTLY what they looked like.]
One person stepped forth amidst the chaos. It was the young Princess of Saturn. She moved forward and placed a hand on Terra.
"What are you doing?" Uranus asked Saturn.
Saturn did not respond, she merely closed her eyes and concentrated. In a few seconds, Terra's color returned and she took a gasping breath. Saturn collapsed from the effort, holding her head.
Terra opened her eyes, blinked twice, then winced in pain. She went pale again and began convulsing violently. Everyone backed off.
Neptune watched Terra helplessly as she once again went limp and stopped breathing. All seemed lost…
*URGH!-THUMP!* Then Terra's conscience had a sudden, fatal heart attack! And thus the threat to her life was ended. Her color returned… again. She opened her eyes and stood, smiling brightly.
"Are you okay now?" Uranus asked. Terra nodded.
"Never better," she said. She glanced around. "Did anyone, by any chance, tell my mother of this?"
The group collectively shook their heads.
"Good. Don't. She's far too overprotective as it is," Terra said. The people in the group looked at each other and shrugged, then got back to the party.
"AHEM!" the admiral of Earth's fleet began as he started his speech. "Now, as you remember, nearly all the ships in the fleet were destroyed or disabled last year… And I'd like to report that in the long time before the crews were rescued, there was absolutely NO cannibalism in the royal navy."
The Silver Millennium equivalent of newspaper reporters nodded, writing down this information.
The admiral cleared his throat. "And by none, I mean there has been some, but I gave instructions that if anyone woke up with tooth marks on their body, or missing pieces of their flesh, they were to inform me immediately, so I could take action to cover it up. So far, this has worked out stunningly well, resulting only in the leakage of rumors, and the facts have been safely hidden."
The reporters stared in stunned silence.
The aging military commander paused as he slowly came to a realization of what he just said. "Oh dear."
Some distance away, oblivious to the problems in Earth's chain of command, the Atomic Starlight Knight picked himself off of the floor, wondering, WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?!!?
A total onslaught by my conscience, they responded.
Oh, A.S.K. thought, not getting it entirely, Oh well.
Get back to work on the Crystal! Terra forced through the link.
"All right already!" A.S.K. yelled. A slightly dozing man sitting next to him was suddenly jarred awake by the noise and accidentally ended up spilling his coffee on A.S.K..
"Oh! Sorry!" the dapper man said, slightly embarrassed. A.S.K. twitched. "Are you all right?"
A.S.K.'s eyes dilated. An insane grin spread itself across his mouth. He somehow managed to drag his armor onto the top of his head. He raised his hands, palms forward, just by his face. "I AM CORNHOLIO!"
The man by him began to chuckle.
"I NEED T-P FOR MY BUNGHOLE!" A.S.K. continued insanely.
The man laughed even harder.
"YOU CANNOT RUN AWAY FROM YOUR OWN BUNGHOLE!"
The intensity increased even more.
"I CLAIM THIS LAND FOR MY BUNGHOLE!"
The laughter finally reached its peak, and the man began to erupt in fits of hiccupping. He smiled, slapped A.S.K. on the back, and walked off to find some water to drink upside down or something.
The slap shocked A.S.K. closer to his senses. His armor slid back into its usual position and he slumped backwards onto the stone bench. He looked up at the clouds and wondered why they were holding the ball-dance-thingy outdoors. It looked like it was going to rain at any moment now. He glanced down at the many people dancing on the outdoor marble floor and got an evil grin.
Let's test the crystal out on something, he told himself.
Ulmm… I don't like that tone… what are you planning?
A.S.K. looked up at the rain clouds again. Remember that research trip I went on a while back?
Yes, that was a fascinating place… Oh no, you wouldn't. You couldn't… Could you?
A.S.K. checked the energy pattern that he had found and smiled. Yes, he could, and the Silver Crystal gave him a power source sufficient with which to do it.
"Moon Cosmic Power," he whispered, tapping the right amount of energy for the task. He then sent that energy into the rain clouds with the proper pattern for the desired effect.
"Terra, what were those people gathered around for back there?" Queen Serenity asked.
"I-er, was just talking to them, Mother," Terra replied nervously.
Serenity could tell that there was more to it than that. "That was quite an active group for just a simple discussion, don't you think?"
Terra quickly racked her brain to come up with a good enough explanation. "I… was debating solar system politics and… I came to the controversial conclusion that every government, except Earth's, is a stern matriarchy. That in and of itself was not controversial in nature. It was, however, when I continued by talking about how hypocritical all of the societies are. The princesses, for example, aren't taught how to deal with governmental issues; they're treated just like they are on Earth: 'Go play with your dolls, stand in your nice gown and look pretty'. And although Earth hasn't had a Princess in over a decade, research has shown that they were treated just like I am now. Worst of all… They aren't allowed to participate in the use of heavy artillery. Even the Senshi are treated like that! Though most of them can decimate huge areas with their magical attacks, they still aren't allowed to use TNT! What kind of matriarchy encourages and perpetuates stupidity and passivity in the female population?! The only ones with any sort of willpower are the Senshi, and if you're very lucky, the ones holding high office like yourself. How they managed to acquire their personalities, I've really no idea. It certainly was not from society, that's for sure."
Serenity stood and blinked, completely blown away by Terra's analysis of the political and social situation. "I see…"
Good explanation, Terra thought, then mentally kicked herself, In fact, it was too good! Ten-year-olds aren't supposed to be that smart! Especially not the young princesses! You're supposed to be dumb as a doornail and giggle all of the time, not answer a question with a formal essay!
Oops. I-I just couldn't stand it any more!
Oh, well. But next time, try to stay in character. Let's just hope she doesn't pursue the matter further…
"So, you see, Mother, it was quite a heated debate," Terra said, having decided to just act as nice as she could in the future, modifying outward intelligence to fit each situation.
Serenity began to speak, but was cut off by a thunderclap.
*Supreme… Ominous… Thunder!* *Crash!*
Rain suddenly began to fall, soaking the many dancers out on the dance floor. Half of them seemed to get shorter, and some of them even changed hair color. In the group of those changed, most now did not quite fit correctly into their clothes.
Serenity broke off her conversation with Terra and walked closer in the rain to find out what was happening. She soon found Sailor Pluto, who was STILL laughing.
"Sailor Pluto, what is happening?!" Serenity asked urgently.
Sailor Pluto stopped laughing for a second, looked up at Serenity, then looked toward the people who had just stopped dancing and were currently running around in the rain, in complete chaos, not having a clue as to what was happening. Sailor Pluto resumed her laughter.
Serenity stared, extremely worried. Sailor Pluto was not exactly known for this sort of behavior. Either something was very funny, or something was very wrong.
A tall woman in dark armor stepped up to Serenity, followed by a similarly dressed girl. "Er, Queen Serenity, we would like to apologize for this… We had no idea that something like this would happen… Our mages forecasted clear weather tonight, and they said nothing about—"
Serenity looked at her. She seemed awfully familiar. "Who are you?"
The woman winced. "I'm, er, the 'King' of Earth. And," She looked down at the girl by her, "this is supposed to be Prince Endymion."
"What do you mean 'supposed' to be?" the blue-haired girl asked, slightly annoyed.
The 'King' sighed and handed Prince Endymion-chan a mirror. She stared at her reflection for a moment.
"Gosh, I'm cute," Prince Endymion-chan said, examining the reflection intently.
Serenity stared incredulously for a while, then glanced over to the rest of the soaked people that were still moving around in chaos. Sure enough, they were all female. The ones in tuxedos and the ones in armor looked extremely disoriented. The ones in ball gowns, however, just looked wet and… slightly disturbed.
Terra laughed quietly to herself as she watched the situation. Chaos was fun. Starlight, did you do this? she asked through the link.
Har, har! YES! A.S.K. thought back. Terra blinked.
How'd you do that? she asked. I mean, that sort of power needed to modify that many water molecules… How?
I used the Crystal.
Terra began to nod, laughing a little more, then realized something. Wait! I need to get that back to Serenity! She'll most likely try to use it to reverse the process with it! She mustn't know that it was gone! They'll investigate, and they might find something…
Ulp… You're right!
Terra ran quickly and retrieved the Crystal from A.S.K. and went back to Serenity. In the chaos, nobody noticed her running through the crowd. Staying very close to the Queen, Terra deftly slipped the crystal back onto the Crescent Moon Wand, where it was supposed to be.
"Don't be frightened, Terra, I am sure this will be over soon," Queen Serenity said, keeping her and Princess Serenity close, interpreting Terra's sudden closeness as fear of the situation. She pulled out the Moon Wand and began to try to reverse the process. "Moon Cosmic Power…"
Light shot out from the Crystal, bathing the area in its rays. The rain stopped and the clouds parted, revealing a brilliant, starry sky. Serenity turned the Crystal's power toward the people.
Serenity watched in confusion as the people were dried off by the Crystal's power, but were otherwise unaffected. She wondered why it hadn't had any effect. The Crystal should have been able to undo any magic.
Starlight, the Crystal isn't having any effect, Terra sent through the link.
Of course not! A.S.K. returned, This is a Jusenkyo curse copy! That stuff isn't temporally visible, it shows up as ordinary water in nearly any scan, and it can't be stopped without knowing the specific energy sequence to undo it!
WHAT?! If it's THAT big of a problem, they may put the effort necessary into tracing it back to you… then to me! Terra thought, anxiety stricken. They've got some interesting notions of good and evil. You think it's bad now? If they find out about this, they'll be just as mad as if they discovered that other thing. I can see it now… 'You have turned our boyfriends into girls and ruined our dancing and the entire party! This is inexcusable! On behalf of the solar system, we will punish you!'
A.S.K. mentally raised an eyebrow at Terra. Wait a second! Don't worry! It's 'instant' stuff. It'll come off completely with one splash of hot water! Mostly harmless stuff. Great for one-shot pranks.
Terra calmed down. You're sure it'll be fine?
Oh, okay… Um, one final problem… they didn't see you with the Crystal, did they? Terra asked, slightly uneasy.
Nope, A.S.K. said simply. Terra, feeling no more real need to doubt themselves, just stuck near Serenity and watched the proceedings.
Within an hour, things had calmed down and people actually began to form theories about what had just happened. No one ever did find out who caused it.
Due to the strength of the initial curse bonding to the atmosphere, more storms like that one occurred several times over the next month. Umbrellas suddenly became extremely popular. The populace was relieved to discover that the curse came off with hot water. There were no curses that stuck.
Well, all right. There was ONE that didn't wear off. Poor Zoicite… He, er… SHE never was quite the same after the experience…
On another note, gender discrimination did go down seventy-five percent during that time. Also, the then-current Admiral was removed from office over a fiasco involving cannibalism.
The Atomic Starlight Knight was offered the job, and he accepted.
~~~ End Flashback ~~~
It was dark when A.S.K. awoke, the tranquilizer fluid finally having worked itself out of his system. He couldn't see a thing.
He opened his eyes. That didn't help. He still couldn't see anything. He reached up and found the exact reason why he couldn't see: There was a blindfold on him. He took it off and looked at it. It wasn't really a blindfold; it was a green tiger-striped bandanna.
"Huh?" 'Tim said as he looked at himself. It seemed that he had needed to de-transform to get the tranquilizer neutralized with the strong metabolism his de-transformed self had.
He looked around and saw that he was in the middle of the street in a dark alleyway. He stood and began to walk toward the exit, but walked face-first into the back wall of the alley.
"Ow… How did… Oh yeah, bad direction sense," 'Tim noted to himself.
"Atomic Starlight… something-er-other," he said. The alleyway exploded in light and he went through the entire three minute, fifty-one second sequence, minus the shockwave. When it was over, he heard a crunching sound, like someone walking. He turned to the exit and left the alley.
Walking a little more, he kept hearing more noises. He couldn't quite tell what they came from. Within a few more seconds, he had determined that he was being followed, and the noises were making him very paranoid.
"NE?" someone asked loudly.
A.S.K. stopped abruptly. In front of him were the same four he saw before he lost consciousness.
"Ne?" the green one pressed.
"Who…" A.S.K. began, visibly wincing at each time they said 'Ne?'
"We are the Knight Sabers who say… NE?" the white one with black highlights said. It seemed to be the leader.
"No! Not the Knight Sabers who say, 'Ne?'!" A.S.K. said, in disbelieving paranoia.
"The same," the leader confirmed.
Those who go against them seldom live to tell the tale! A.S.K. thought to himself.
How'd you know that?
An effect of the Dimensional Assimilation.
"We will say 'Ne?' to you again if you do not agree to help us," the leader added.
"What do you want?" A.S.K. asked, backing off slightly.
"We demand that you bring us," the leader continued.
"Ice Cream!" the pink and blue one said enthusiastically.
"No, no, no!" the leader said, waving off the pink one, "We want—"
"Money!" the green one demanded.
"We're not after—" the leader tried to interrupt.
"An ne—" the blue and red one began to say.
"SHUT UP!" the leader shouted at the others. "We demand that you bring us… THE PLANS FOR GENOM'S LATEST BOOMER!"
"And ice cream!" the pink one added. The blue-red one stared at her.
Yes, definitely a 'her'… A.S.K. thought, "And if I don't?" he asked, feeling extremely confident with his current power high.
"Well," the leader began, holding up a device with a very large and obvious red button, "we will not have to worry about that, will we? Because you will get them for us, ne?"
"Ne?" the pink one echoed cutely. A.S.K. scanned himself for something that would be linked up to a big, red button. He found it. It was a rather nasty explosive that did have the power to take him out, and it was in a position where he couldn't get at it. His bulky armor prevented him from reaching behind his back.
"NE?!" the blue and red one asked threateningly.
"Ne?" the green one asked seductively.
"Ne? Ne? Nene! Ice cream, ne?" the pink asked cutely.
"NENE!" the blue-red one threatened.
A.S.K. reeled at the assault. "Yes! Knight Sabers of 'Ne?', you are just and fair," he said obsequiously, "and I will find you the plans—"
"Make sure that they're complete," the leader said.
A.S.K. nodded. "Of course."
"And remember the ice cream!" the pink one reminded.
"NENE!" the green one shouted at the pink one.
"Now… GO!" the leader finished.
A.S.K. left quickly toward what he believed would have the plans: that big tower over there.
"I can't believe that worked," Linna said, watching the armored green boomer depart.
"Why do you think that model was retired from service?" Sylia asked.
"Nene, what possessed you to keep asking for ice cream?!" Priss asked incredulously.
Nene was silent for a few moments. "But Sylia promised!" she protested. Priss shook her head and decided to let the matter go.
"So what do we do now?" Linna asked.
"We wait," Sylia said.
"Great," Linna mumbled.
"Serena, we need to find a way to get in to see Princess Diamond tonight," Luna said.
"I know, Luna—" Serena started.
"Serena!" Serena's father called. He entered the area, looking as if he was in a big hurry. "I'm going to be at the showing of the 'Imperial Crystal' tonight, so… that's where I'll be."
Serena couldn't believe it. A perfectly timed plot device… Oh, wait. That was me. I couldn't believe it.
"Dad!" Serena called urgently.
"What is it?"
"Can I come?" she asked hopefully.
"No, I'm sorry," Serena's father said, "It's only for people that were specifically invited. Bye!"
Her dad left, slamming the door in his rush.
"Well, scratch that idea," Luna said.
"It just so happens that I have another one!" Serena said, pulling out the Luna Pen.
"Amazing!" Luna replied, in awe.
Nephrite straightened his tuxedo as he entered the dance room. Apparently, they were having a short party of sorts. Nephrite gritted his teeth. He hated these sort of parties, especially after that anniversary one back in the Silver Millennium… It started out terrific, but when that storm hit… He'd rather not remember any more about it.
"Neflyte!" someone with a New Yorker accent called from behind him.
Nephrite froze. Turning around, he saw that it was Molly. She hadn't turned out to be a Sailor Scout, but she did have a LOT of energy. Unfortunately, during the course of the draining, he had managed to blurt out his identity, and while he had asked the stars to erase her memory of the event, it appeared that she could still remember him.
On another note, it was extremely disheartening to him that she couldn't pronounce his name correctly. But that didn't change the fact that a non-youma could recognize him! "Er, I'm not Nephrite!" he denied. "I'm, uh, Maxfield Stanton! Yeah, that's the ticket! Maxfield Stanton's the name, and hog-tyin's me game! What can I do for you, young lady?"
"I dunno, ya left so oily last toime I saw ya," Molly said, "I was wonderin' what was wrong."
Where did she learn to speak like THAT?! Nephrite thought, taken somewhat aback by the accent. He considered his options, remembered that he had selected a youma to come along with him and thought, Perhaps I could use her in this little operation…
Molly walked forward, stumbled somewhat, and a bracelet she had been wearing fell off. She was about pick it up when Nephrite gallantly stepped forward and picked it up for her.
May the holder of this become a servant of evil! he said to himself, infusing the bracelet with the proper dark energy for the youma to use. He then handed it back to Molly. She smiled and put it back on.
"Thanks, Maxfield!" Molly said.
"You're welcome," Nephrite said, smiling.
All was silent in the park at that time of night. Well, as silent as things really get. Aside from the complete silence, there was the rustling of the leaves in the wind, the splash of a fish in the small lake, the loud beeping as a technological device was activated…
The dark metallic ring lit up, its inner wheel spinning as it went through its sequence. The symbols lined up and an air/water blast forced its way out, then back into the ring. A rippling, water-like vortex remained.
"AAAAH!" Paracite was flung out at a high velocity. He landed relatively softly in a bank of mud. He struggled to his feet as he fought against the restraints. He turned and saw someone else coming through the gate. He dived out of the way as Jadeite came speeding by, splashing into the lake.
Arby flew out of the vortex at his regular velocity. The vortex vanished and the stargate shut down.
"'Ow was that, eh? Not too shabby if I do say so m'self," Arby said in his usual manner.
Paracite looked at him and squinted in the semi-darkness. "What now?" he asked.
Arby fluttered in the air thoughtfully for a few seconds. "I go 'ome," he said. "Got mushrooms ta farm 'n genetic mutations ta propagate… Good for me mushrooms, ya know. Well, g'bye."
"Wait!" Paracite shouted at the departing green seal.
Arby flew back up to him. "Wot?"
"What do I do now?" the mud-covered youma asked.
"Oh," Arby began, then stopped as he thought it over a little more. He started doing more aerial acrobatics. When he did the final flip, a Star Trek-esque PADD dropped into Paracite's hands. "There ya go."
Paracite watched as the odd creature left. He stared down at the PADD and began pushing a few buttons. A roadmap with directions appeared on its small screen. "Hey, cousin Jadeite!" He called, looking around for him.
"GRRRRR!" a high voice growled angrily. Paracite spun around. His jaw dropped at what he saw.
Pulling herself out of the lake and freeing herself from a few remaining chains was a girl. A CUTE girl. Blonde, blue eyed, 4'6", about his age, extremely well—
"Do stop drooling, Paracite," she muttered in annoyance, slipping the last manacle off her wrist.
Paracite now took notice that the girl was also wearing a loosely fitting youma general's uniform. Well, it would have been loose, had it not been so wet… Wait, general's uniform? He blinked, HARD. "J-J-J-J-JADEITE?! Th-there's no glamour! What, er, how? Huh?"
"It's just a stupid curse," Jadeite-chan said with heavy disgust, "'TIM gave it to me during that last battle of ours, I'm sure of it… AND IF YOU KEEP STARING AT ME LIKE THAT, YOU WILL SUFFER!"
Paracite shook his head quickly several times to clear his mind and looked away. "I-um-uh… R-right!"
"Now, listen to me, Mister…?" Atomic Starlight Knight asked, beginning to question the one he had captured.
"Quincy," the man in question replied from his position, tied up, dangling upside-down from the roof of his office. He seemed to be slightly amused. "Hendrick Quincy. It is customary to set up an appointment, if you wanted to see me so badly."
"Well, I tried, Quince, but your secretary was being… uncooperative," A.S.K. said, then smiled slightly, "And I was in a bit of a rush, so my only option was to come blasting through here like the crazed maniac that I am."
Quincy tilted his head and smiled back, looking absolutely ridiculous in his current position. "You do, of course, know who I am, correct?"
The overconfident former galactic destroyer shook his head. "I haven't the slightest idea."
Quincy smiled more deeply. "So, then, you have no idea what sort of horrible torture you're about to go through?"
A.S.K. nodded, folding his arms as he looked up at Quincy. "That's right."
Quincy laughed to himself and pushed a button on a device that A.S.K. hadn't taken away. "Security, I have someone that needs to be… taken care of."
There was no response.
"Chief?" Quincy tried again. His smile faded. "Where is he…?"
A.S.K. grinned deviously. "He… had an accident."
Quincy began to look just a little taken aback. He pushed a different button… several times. Nothing happened. "Where are they?!"
The green knight's grin deepened. "Today, there have been MANY accidents."
Quincy frowned. He pushed the third button on the device. When nothing happened, he pushed it again.
A.S.K. chuckled. "You know, it's really too bad about the wiring on the self-destruct mechanism. You really should invest in cyanide capsules if you're going to try something like that. How do you know I won't want to torture you?"
Quincy narrowed his eyes. "What is it you're after?"
"The plans for your latest boomer," A.S.K. said simply.
The dangling mega-corporate executive gritted his teeth. "Who sent you?"
"The Knight Sabers who say… 'Ne?' "
Quincy growled. "You cannot have that information."
A.S.K. shrugged. "Very well, then. If you will not assist me voluntarily, I will," He paused as he tried to find an appropriate torture method, "I will say 'Ne?' to you."
Quincy winced. "Never."
"Oh, but you will, ne?" A.S.K. pressed.
A woman walked in. "Um… What's going on here?"
"Ne?" A.S.K. repeated towards Quincy.
The woman shook her head slowly. "You know, it's sad times when someone can just walk in here and say 'Ne?' to your boss… Even we BUMA design planners are in such danger nowadays…"
A.S.K. turned toward the planner. "What did you say you were?"
She sighed. "I am on the planning committee for new boomers. My name is Katherine— the designer. I plan, design, and write up plans for new boomers. I am also Genom's primary ice cream distributor."
"Ne?" A.S.K. asked, smiling.
"Knight Sabers of 'Ne?'!" A.S.K. began, having found them again, "I have brought you the plans, and the ice cream you asked for."
The leader took the data storage unit and analyzed the contents. "They're complete."
The pink one happily took the ice cream.
"Will you remove the explosive now?" A.S.K. asked.
The leader paused. "I could… however, there is one problem."
A.S.K. sighed. "What is it?"
"We are no longer the Knight Sabers who say, 'Ne?'" the leader said, "We are now the Knight Sabers who say, um… 'Ekki-ekki-ekkiKABANG-Zooolong-LaLaLa.'"
"Ne?" the green one asked. A.S.K. raised an eyebrow.
"And as such," the leader continued, "we require more. You must bring us… MORE PLANS!"
"And from now on, you work for us," the blue-red one said forcefully.
A.S.K. laughed and shook his head. "I don't think so."
"Please?" the pink one requested cutely.
"I'm afraid not. I gotta go… get lost now," A.S.K. said, beginning to glow with a soft blue aura. The glow intensified for a few seconds, then it stopped, leaving behind a pink-haired twenty-ish guy in green camouflage. The bomb on his back fell to the ground with a thunk. It did not detonate. "Which way to Juuban?" he asked.
The green one wordlessly pointed to her left. 'Tim nodded, then went in the opposite direction, vanishing around the corner.
"Priss, Nene," Sylia said with heavy disapproval, "That was our only chance at getting it to work for us, and you just HAD to go and foul it up, didn't you? When we get back home, I'm going to give both of you SUCH a pinch…"
The pink and blue-red Sabers bigsweatted.
"Then," Sylia continued, "I'm going to lock you up with Mackie and make you watch every last episode of Sailor Moon with him."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Priss yelled in horror.
"What's wrong with Sailor Moon?" Nene asked innocently.
Priss rolled her eyes and groaned.
Serena, now under the cover of her disguise magic, walked into the lobby. She was wearing an elegant gown and looked exactly the part of someone who would be attending this particular event.
"Excuse me, miss," the man at the entrance said, stopping her, "Are you on the list? Do you have an invitation?"
Serena waved him off. "Oh, of course I do," she said in her best snobbish voice.
He was not convinced. "Can I see your invitation?"
Serena looked him directly in the eyes and smiled. "You don't need to see my invitation."
The man was caught in the trap. He couldn't look away. Serena looked nothing short of ravishingly stunning with her disguise. "I don't need to see your invitation," he replied, mind rendered inoperable.
"I can go about my business."
The man nodded, still braindead. "You can go about your business."
"I'm not the one you're looking for," Serena continued.
"You're… oh, baby… DEFINITELY the one I'm looking for!" he exclaimed, leaping at her. Serena drew back to avoid him.
"DARLING NO BAKAAAAAAAAA!" a voice from the side called out.
*BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT* The man, now thoroughly electrocuted, dropped to the floor, sizzling.
"CoMiNg, LuM!" he croaked, standing, patting down the smoke. He stumbled off.
She blinked again.
Looking around, she noticed that the other employees didn't seem to mind. One noted her surprise and walked up to her.
"Don't mind them," he said, "they've been at it like this for years… I think he enjoys it. They're just a few friends of mine."
Serena processed this new information. "You're absolutely certain they're not… say, evil creatures from the Negaverse come to drain all our energy?"
The employee laughed. "Man, I wish it were that simple! The gal's from another world… She was going to destroy the planet at some time, I think. And him? He's some reject from Tomobiki, perfectly human, though sometimes I wonder, what with the shocks he routinely soaks up…"
Serena raised an eyebrow, then shrugged as she decided to let the matter go. Besides, if they were from the Negaverse, there'd be drained bodies all over the place, or some highly obvious maniac destroying things… At least that had been her experience. Seeing no more obstructions, she went in.
Tuxedo Mask, minus his top hat… well, I was going to say 'sans' top hat, but I never figured out exactly what 'sans' meant—
[GET ON WITH IT!]
AHEM! Tuxedo Mask, sans top hat, walked amidst the dancers. He blended in perfectly, there being so many people in tuxedos and white masks around. This was the place that he had first thought to look for the Silver Imperium Crystal. It was kind of obvious, really. It couldn't be much more obvious. After all, the 'Imperial Crystal' was a little too close to the actual name to be a coincidence… wasn't it?
Anyway, he intended to find that crystal. Then, maybe that strange princess would stop haunting his dreams… and he could spend his nights STUDYING, rather than going and fighting off a bunch of crazy monsters with a few cute girls… in… little… short… mini… skirts…
"DIE, EVIL THOUGHT!!" **WHAM!**
Hmm. That worked. Maybe that was why that Starlight Knight guy did that so much… Hey, that girl over there looked kind of familiar… Sort of like Serena if she were a bit older… and about twice as good-looking.
"How's it hangin', meatball head?" Tuxedo Mask blurted out reflexively.
The young woman stopped. She turned towards him. "D-Darien?!"
Tuxedo Mask was taken a bit by surprise. She really WAS Serena?! She recognized him? "Um… NO! I'm not Darien! I'm Tuxedo Mask— ER… Um… Oh, dang…"
Serena walked up to him. "YOU'RE Tuxedo Mask, Darien?"
Tuxedo Mask bigsweatted. "Er… No, I'm not."
"Are you lying?" Serena asked.
Tuxedo Mask thought about it. "Yes," he finally said, then sighed. "There goes the whole secret identity thing. Way to go, Meatball head. FINE! I SHOUT IT OUT TO THE WORLD! I AM TUXEDO MASK!"
Serena looked around. "Er, Darien, I hate to tell you this, but… nobody cares."
Tuxedo Mask slumped slightly. "Figures," he said.
"But, you know," Serena said, "it is kind of loud in here!"
"What?" Tuxedo Mask asked, leaning towards her.
"I said: IT IS KIND OF LOUD IN HERE!"
The demonic-Nephrite-controlled-youma-Molly covered her ears. "What kind of maniac would play PUNK ROCK at a formal dance?!" she asked rhetorically.
A small green seal poked its head out of the sound system. "Oh, 'scuse me!" it shouted against the noise. It pulled out a small, metallic, cylindrical device and flashed it at Youma-Molly. The creature then flew off.
Youma-Molly stood, dazed for a second. She forgot the experience entirely. Then she remembered the music. She raised her right hand—
*BLAM!* —and blasted the sound system. The music switched over to some nice, calm violin concertos. People who saw her do that applauded politely.
"Oh… Um, thanks!" Youma-Molly said. She then walked off into a side hall.
She followed it until she reached a specific set of doors. Opening it, she saw a seated girl. She wore very thick glasses and appeared to be getting ready for the party that was going on outside. Youma-Molly knew who it was: Princess Diamond, and the next target.
Diamond turned around. "Oh, hello."
Youma-Molly smiled. "Look, sugar, I'm going to need to possess your body now, okay?"
Diamond frowned. "What?"
A dark aura rose off Molly. She dropped to the floor, unconscious. The aura lunged at Diamond, infusing itself into her.
"Well, that was easy," Youma-Diamond commented to herself. She proceeded with her next task: Create a distraction while Nephrite looked for the Crystal.
"That's better," Tuxedo Mask commented as the music changed. They had moved out to the balcony to evade the noise. He turned to Serena. "By the way, you look lovely tonight."
Serena looked flattered. "Why… Thank you, Darien."
"Disguise magic, right? I mean, there's NO other way YOU could possibly look that—"
The flattered look ended right about then. "Darien…" she began, glaring at him.
"Whoa, calm down, meatball head!" Tuxedo Mask said playfully, smiling as he held his hands up semi-defensively.
Serena sighed and shook her head. In doing so, she looked back into the dance room and noted something important.
On the list of 'Top Ten Ways to tell whether the Negaverse is attacking', number one would be the scenario Serena saw: One maniacal -looking youma-girl laughing and standing over a bunch of drained people.
"Moon Prism Power!" Serena shouted. And the sequence began. Shall I describe? Sure, why not? The trumpets sounded! Serena began to glow a flashing blue, only her eyes viewable. She blinked twice. She spun around once. Translucent light-red ribbons wrapped around her, forming the white leotard with red ribbons on the front. She stopped glowing. She crossed her arms in front of herself, ribbons wrapping around her arms and hands, forming the white gloves. More ribbons wrapped around her feet and lower legs, creating her red boots. Her mini-skirt rippled and formed. A gem glowed on her forehead, from which her tiara formed. Red jewels appeared in the balls in her hair. To finish it up, she did a backhanded salute! And thus the shoujo transformation was born!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course, Tuxedo Mask was too busy banging his head about to see the whole thing.
*WHAM!*WHAM!*WHAM!* "Must… stop… evil… thoughts!"
Sailor Moon blinked. "Darien, what are you doing?"
"I'm (BAM!) stopping (WHAM!) the (WHACK!) evil (THWACKK!) thoughts!!!" Tuxedo Mask said, continually bashing his head. He finally stopped, evil thoughts and all. "Oh, by the way, I didn't know you were Sailor Moon, Serena."
Sailor Moon stared. "Ooookay… You mean you really didn't—" She stopped as the youma-girl advanced, knocking her over the edge of the balcony. Sailor Moon clung tenaciously at the railing.
"Gotcha!" the youma-girl said triumphantly. She kicked at the railing and part of it broke off.
"AAH!" Unfortunately, it was the part that Sailor Moon was hanging on to…
Tuxedo Mask leapt forward and grabbed her wrist. "Hang on, Ser— Er… Sailor Moon!"
"Don't let go!" Sailor Moon shouted as Tuxedo Mask's grip brought him ever so much farther over the edge.
"Ergh!" Tuxedo Mask gasped as he strained, trying to pull her up.
"What is it?" Sailor Moon asked urgently.
"Whoa, you weigh a TON, meatball head!" Tuxedo Mask replied.
"Why, you…" Sailor Moon began in annoyance. Tuxedo Mask finally managed to stop their descent… Then the youma-girl shoved them back over the side.
"Sailor Moon!" someone cried, seeing them fall. It was Luna. She was down on the grass below. She did a quick back flip and flung an umbrella at them.
Tuxedo Mask barely missed the catch.
"AAAAH!" Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask shouted in terror. They stopped screaming when they stopped falling. As she was about to hit the ground, Sailor Moon closed her eyes.
The final 'splat' never came.
"Wow! Sailor Moon, what are you doing in MegaTokyo?" A familiar voice asked. Sailor Moon opened her eyes and beheld—
"Starlight Knight!" she exclaimed happily, having fallen right into his arms.
"Well, 'Tim, actually, but—" the pink-haired man started to say. Sailor Moon noticed that it wasn't the man of her dreams… he only looked a lot like him. He looked around and his eyes widened in realization. He set Sailor Moon down on her feet. "Excuse me." He walked off.
Sailor Moon remembered someone. "Tuxedo Mask!" she called, worried and glancing around quickly.
"Over here, Sailor Moon!" Tuxedo Mask replied. Serena turned and saw that he had also been caught… by Sailor Earth, in much the same manner she had.
"Hey! You can't do that!" the youma-girl called down to them.
Sailor Moon stood straight up, looking towards the youma on the balcony. "Yes, I can! Because I am Sailor Moon, Champion of Justice! You have ruined the party! Dancing is for becoming closer to our friends, not to be drained by evil youma like you! This is unforgivable! I right wrongs and triumph over evil, and that means you, NegaScum! For I am Sailor Moon!!!" she said while posing for effect.
"You said all that in one breath?! This is amazing!" the youma-girl said, astonished.
"Uhhhhh, thanks!" Sailor Moon said. She turned toward Sailor Earth. "Where's everybody else?"
Sailor Earth put Tuxedo Mask down, smiling at him. She looked at Sailor Moon. "They said they'd be here in a couple of minutes."
Sailor Moon nodded, then turned back toward the youma, noting the blast it was about to throw.
*Blam!* Sailor Moon dodged. "Eep!"
"Stand still!" the youma-girl called, "How am I supposed to blast you if you won't stand still?!"
*BOOM!* The blast glanced effortlessly off of a spherical shield that Sailor Earth unconsciously activated.
"Shields?! You people have shields?!" the possessed princess shouted incredulously.
*BLAM!* Earth's shield flared up to block the shot, but was not weakened in the slightest. "Um, your attack doesn't seem to be working," she said helpfully. The youma on the balcony paused.
"Don't worry!" the youma-girl replied, "I think I may have figured it out!"
*BLAAAAAAM!* Earth's shield flared up, but the blast passed effortlessly through it. "Oh my."
She was struck head-on. Sailor Earth tumbled to the ground, slightly hurt. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask went to help her.
"Gotcha!" the youma-girl said gleefully. She raised her hands for another blast, when suddenly-
*Whoosh! Ching!* There was a green flash and a grenade imbedded itself in the floor in front of her! "What the…"
*BLAAAAAM!* The grenade exploded, obliterating the balcony. "AAAAAAAAAH!" The possessed girl crashed down four stories, loudly colliding with the ground.
"I am the terror that BLASTS in the night!" an unseen person said, "I am the tactical nuclear strike that ruins your vacation! I am… the Starlight Knight!" The black-haired, green-armored man appeared, standing on top of a high wall for effect.
The youma-girl stood and dusted herself off, walking out of the blasted remnants of the balcony. "Ooooh! You're going to pay for that one!"
S.K. shrugged. "Yeah, probably. But for now… NUCLEAR BOOT TO THE HEAD!!!" He jumped into a kick.
*WHACK!* S.K.'s combat boots struck the youma-girl directly in the face, knocking her down. He rebounded from the kick, doing a quick flip, landing on his feet in front of the downed youma.
"Wait!" Luna called, "That's a possessed human being! Don't hurt her!"
"What?" S.K. asked, turning towards her. *WHAM!* The youma-girl leapt up and dealt a strong jab to the back of his neck. He went down. "Does (PTOOIE!) that mean I can't blast her?" He queried, spitting out his newly found mouthful of dirt and grass.
"I'm afraid so!" Luna replied, wincing slightly at the painful-looking pro-wrestling moves the youma was now pulling on S.K.
*CRACK!* "Whoa! Thanks! That's been bugging me for a while," S.K. told the youma as she attempted to break his neck.
"Why won't you just die?!" she asked.
"Can't!" S.K. responded, rolling away from another blow, "Bad for my health!"
"Well, you should try it sometime!" the youma responded, making a vicious kick to his face. "It would make MY job just that much easier!" S.K. smashed his nose back into place and continued fighting.
"Mercury Bubbles, BLAST!" someone called. [Like we don't know who it is, right?]
"Hey!" the youma began as fog surrounded her, "That's not fair! Now I can't see!" She felt S.K. leave her grasp.
"BEGONE, EVIL SPIRIT!" someone else called.
"Cheaters!" the youma accused as a piece of paper affixed itself to her back. She collapsed as the dark energy flowed out of her.
As the fog cleared, it became apparent that Sailors Mars and Mercury had arrived on the scene. It also revealed two more combatants to fight. One was a dark, nearly formless wraith, and the other one… had moved off to conceal itself in the shadows.
"That looks like Neflyte!" Mercury commented at the viewable one.
"Hey!" the wraith shouted at her.
"Now, Sailor Moon!" Luna called.
"Right," Sailor Moon agreed, "Moon… Tiara… Action!"
Sailor Moon's tiara rose off her head, flared, then went straight at the Nephrite's look-alike. The tiara blasted through it, vaporizing it instantly. The tiara swung back and returned to its position on Sailor Moon's head.
"That's it! I quit!" the youma in the shadows called, and then ran off.
S.K. saw this. "You're not getting away that easily!" he called after it, following. The Senshi and Tuxedo Mask also began pursuit.
"Wait!" Luna called out to them. She was standing near the girl that was possessed earlier. They stopped and turned towards her.
"What is it?!" Sailor Mars asked.
"This is Princess Diamond," Luna replied, indicating the fallen girl. "I think that she could be our Moon Princess!"
"There you are!" A.S.K. shouted, seeing (well, mostly) his target.
"Leave me alone!" It replied, backing off.
A.S.K. blinked. A youma giving up? Naah!
Just let it leave! a part of his mind commanded.
Blow it up, blow it up! Another part chanted.
"Decisions, decisions," The knight muttered to himself. He drew his sword. "Okay, let's get this over with…"
The youma pulled out a weapon. A.S.K. couldn't quite tell in the darkness, but it appeared to be a large, flat blade attached to a long handle. "Swordplay, eh?" A.S.K. queried.
"Something like that," it said
with malice, "You know, you're as repulsive as a monkey in a negligée!"
A.S.K.'s weapon was slammed to the side and the enemy's blade connected with his right shoulder, somehow breaking through half an inch of armor and slicing into him.
"I've never seen such clumsy swordplay!"
*WHAM!* He knocked his enemy's weapon
from its grasp, the blade being flung upwards. "Throughout the world,
my great deeds are celebrated!"
It leveled it at A.S.K.'s neck. "Every
enemy I've met I've annihilated!"
The youma laughed. "You fight like a dairy farmer!" it taunted, slashing toward him.
"How appropriate! You fight like a cow!" A.S.K. ducked and kicked its legs out from under it. It quickly dodged A.S.K.'s would-be finishing slash. It stood up and jumped back, throwing objects that glittered in the faint starlight.
"You're ugly!" it shouted.
"OW!" A.S.K. yelled in pain as the objects imbedded themselves in the front of his armor. He fell back against a wall. "Am not, you big old bedwetting dooty-head! Stellar Circlet Disintegration!"
A.S.K. grabbed the circlet off his head, charged it, then threw it at the youma. The glow didn't help much to illuminate its features. It dodged expertly, slashing it in two when it came back around. The broken circlet clattered to the ground, then faded from existence.
"Not bad," A.S.K. said confidently, standing, "Ever consider going into the meat-market industry?"
"Actually, I make okonomiyaki," it said, then leapt at him, blade forward, "out of YOU!"
A.S.K. was caught slightly off guard. He dodged to the left, the blade once more penetrating his right shoulder. As the youma drew its weapon back, the wounded area began to glow a bright light-blue. "Your overconfidence is your weakness!" it said. The wounded fighter felt his shoulder and glared at the youma.
"Your faith in your friends is yours!" he retorted, slashing with his sword and cutting slightly into youma before it jumped out of the way of the strike.
"AUGH! You psycho!" it yelled, cringing slightly, covering its wounded side.
A.S.K. took the opportunity to start one of his bigger attacks. "Stellar Quantum-Phase Molecular—"
The youma took this time to do a more wise approach. It took a few moments to concentrate on a teleport, and vanished.
"Disinte— Aw, forget it!" he said, seeing it get away.
A.S.K. coughed, blinked, then surveyed his damage. How had the youma been able to penetrate NEUTRONIUM?!
Another good question was: Why did he have to play with it and not just destroy it?
Because it takes time to charge up a sufficient attack!
"Hello," Luna began, "are you the Moon Princess?"
Princess Diamond sat up, then blinked. "Moon… what? Who are you?" She felt around for her glasses then put them on.
"It's very important," Luna continued.
"AAAH! A talking cat!" Diamond yelled in shock, then fainted.
Luna looked a little downtrodden. "I guess she isn't the princess… She really should have been expecting me."
"There is still the Crystal," Mercury reminded.
"That's right!" Sailor Moon said. She looked around and spotted Starlight Knight approaching slowly, holding his shoulder.
"So," Mars began, "did you stop it?"
S.K. winced and shook his head. "It got away, and left me with these nice little goodbye presents." He pulled a small, razor-sharp blade from his armor.
"A spatula?!" Mars asked, raising an eyebrow.
S.K. growled slightly in pain and narrowed his eyes. "YES, Mars, a spatula. A spatula that can cut through metal like butter! Let that be a lesson to you, Sailor Senshi. NEVER underestimate your enemy. I did, and look what it got me." He turned to walk off.
Sailor Moon stepped forward. "Starlight Knight… Are you hurt?"
S.K. stopped and sighed. "It is nothing you need worry about." He then continued into the all-concealing shadows.
"Well, what do you know," Mars said. "He's human after all."
"But you still don't trust him?" Mercury asked.
"That's right," Mars said. "Whenever I've tried to do a reading on him, all I get is a horrific scene involving some huge monster tearing apart the world. Massive death and destruction, that's all I can find about him."
"What does that mean?" Tuxedo Mask asked. Mars stared at him. He'd completely foregone any attempts at being mysterious throughout this entire incident.
"It would mean that he's come to destroy us all," Mars replied.
"Starlight Knight has done nothing but help us and you think he wants to destroy us?!" Sailor Moon asked incredulously. "Don't talk about him that way!"
"Um, right!" Sailor Earth said politely in agreement with Sailor Moon.
Luna sighed. "We really should find out about the Crystal, you know…"
Eventually, the argument settled down, no single party winning. It was soon revealed to the rest of the group that Tuxedo Mask was Darien. Nobody was really surprised.
The 'Imperial Crystal' turned out to be a large, crafted glass bird. All parties concerned were disappointed.
"So… does that curse wear off, or something?" Paracite asked, occasionally stealing a glance at Jadeite-chan.
Jadeite-chan scowled. "How should I know? I haven't had that much experience with it."
Paracite continued walking, following the map's directions. "Um, aren't you… the least bit uncomfortable with it?"
Jadeite-chan laughed. "If 'Tim thinks that THIS will stop me, he is WRONG. The Eternal Sleep couldn't destroy me, and nothing else will."
"You only survived by shutting down most of your brain," Paracite reminded. "And the imprisonment destroyed a LOT of your fighting capability…"
"A minor technicality!" Jadeite-chan snapped. Paracite stopped. "What?"
"We're here!" he said, indicating the door to the nondescript restaurant.
The cute blonde girl looked around. "Not exactly a stronghold of evil, is it?"
"I like it," Paracite commented. "It has an arcade next door!"
"Yes, you were always such a strange little person," Jadeite-chan said derisively.
They entered. Nobody was present except for a pink-haired guy wearing green camouflage that was talking to a balding man in an odd black and blue uniform.
"You're going to have to expand your programming! At least until I find someone to make head chef, that is," the pink-haired one said.
"Make it quick. I'm a doctor, not a short order cook," the balding one said, then vanished.
"Emergency Medical Holograms… They're so testy! Sometime, I'm going to need to reprogram it…" the remaining man said to himself.
"Um, hello?" Paracite asked.
The man in question suddenly looked towards them, surprised. "Who are you, what do you want? What's the password? Don't try anything. I warn you, I have achieved thirty-sixth dan in kawaii-jutsu!"
Paracite blinked, then looked back down at the PADD he held. Pushing a button, he saw some words appear. "I… seek the Holy Golf Course. Could you please direct me to the nearest cup of hot chocolate?"
The pink-haired man stared. "Refugees…? Arby sent me people from the Negaverse to take care of?! Follow me, I'm going to need to confirm this."
"Very well," Jadeite-chan said. The man pushed a button on the wall and a door slid open, revealing a small room. He walked in, and the two youma followed.
"'Ello, sir," the ArbyFish spoke into the Street Fighter 2 arcade game, "'Ow are you?"
"Aside from a minor ego bruising, fine," the game responded, image on the screen fading.
"So, what'cha wont ta talk ta me 'bout?" Arby asked.
"Can you please confirm something?"
"Did you send me two refugees?"
"Yup. Rescued 'em m'self!" Arby said proudly. "Gotta use me combat mushrooms, ya know. Simply wouldn't be proper otherwise."
"Ah, good, then. Anything else to report?"
"We're lookin' for the Crystal."
"The crystal… you mean THE Crystal?"
"Ah, interesting… I'll get back to you."
The game went back to normal operations.
Luna walked towards him. "Who was it you were talking to?"
Arby looked at her. "The Admiral. Called 'im 'Second Control' for a while, but it got old."
"So now you call him 'The Admiral'?"
"That's roight!" Arby confirmed.
Luna sighed, then gasped as she saw the scorched part of Arby's fur. "What happened?!"
"Wot?" Arby asked. Luna indicated the black mark. "Oh, that. Tested out me ablative mold today. Absorbs ena'gy blasts roight noicely."
"Ablative… mold?" Luna asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yup. Advanced mushroom technology!"
'Tim looked at the two young individuals that he had been given to take care of. "All right, you're clear."
"It's about time!" the cute blonde girl said impatiently.
"So, who are you?" the boy asked.
'Tim thought about it. A quick process, since there was no discussion going on. "'Tim, 'Tim Knight."
The girl glared at him, fire in her eyes. "Did you say… 'TIM?!"
"DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" the girl screamed in anger and leapt at him. 'Tim dodged to the left, leaving her to crash into a large, water-filled container.
'Tim sighed. "That was my ONLY Chiisuiton sample!"
The girl, slightly dazed, stood up and began to attack 'Tim again. The boy held her back. "NO! We need his help! Besides, this isn't the 'Tim you're after!"
The girl calmed and took a deep breath. "I suppose you're right."
"Are we done with the hostilities?" 'Tim asked. They nodded. "Okay, can I get your names?"
The boy thought about it. "This is… Jade," he said, indicating the girl, "and I'm… Perry… yeah, that's it!"
'Tim nodded. "Riiight… Now, let me guess, your last names are 'Cyte', right?"
Perry thought about it a little more. He finally nodded.
"All righty, then. Computer," the pink-haired man began. The computer made a tone in response. "Incorporate new files: Perry Cyte and Jade Cyte. Begin tutorial." He looked back at the youma in question. "Just do what the computer tells you. Start outside this room."
"Okay," Perry said. He took Jade by the arm and led her away.
[Hi there! Thank you for selecting the new automated former Jupiter Base orientation,] the computer intoned cheerfully, [Now if you'll follow the flashing lights to your left, you will see the Docking Bay. It is currently being outfitted with massive transporter units to bring the ships in and out, since the doors are now covered under four hundred feet of dirt. Past the Docking Bay are your rooms, each have all amenities available and are currently being outfitted to suit both of your respective needs. Going onward, you will see the Armory. You will not have access unless given express permission.]
And so on.
"Ah, Neflyte, did you obtain it?" Queen Beryl asked.
Nephrite kicked aside a large mushroom that was chewing on his boot. "It was nothing but a chunk of worthless glass."
Beryl sighed. "Did you find anything else?"
Nephrite nodded. "The crystal you gave me reacted to a girl I found, so she may know where the Ginzuishou—"
"EMPYREAN SILVER CRYSTAL!!"
"—is," Nephrite finished.
"Very well, continue your search," Beryl commanded.
"I will," Nephrite replied.
"And did your youma come back?" Beryl asked.
Nephrite shook his head. "No, it did not. I'm assuming that she was destroyed."
"Pity," Beryl replied, "I rather liked that one."
The youma coughed and gagged from the journey. She hated teleportation. It always made her nauseous. Doing it while regenerating a gaping wound in her side didn't help much, either.
Concentrating and drawing from the energy she drained from the people at the party, she fully healed herself.
She backed up against a wall to consider her options. A few choices occurred to her. She could:
A: Teleport back to the Negaverse, probably nearly killing herself in the process.
B: Wait around until someone like a general appeared, then ask for a trip back home, probably getting executed as a deserter for failing her mission and not coming back immediately.
C: Start up her own little energy collection coalition, one rivaling Queen Beryl's, and then getting hunted down as a traitor.
D: Join the Sailor Scouts, probably getting blasted the first time she tried to go up and say, 'Hello'.
E: Follow her dreams and work as head chef in a small restaurant, most likely getting paid very well and having a much greater chance of survival than is normal for a youma.
"Well, given the options," she said to herself. She saw a good destination nearby. "Well, well, a restaurant. How convenient…"
'Tim took the opportunity to relax and contemplate what he was now up against.
He was not invincible.
He didn't have enough power to destroy a planet, much less a galaxy.
His composite steel-materia-neutronium armor could be penetrated. Easily.
The link showed no sign of being strengthened.
He had to take care of two young youma, keeping them from detection and supporting their needs.
And, he had to take care of the restaurant.
This was getting rather depressing. He had fallen quite a long way from destroying galaxies. Now, there seemed little chance of being able to return to that; it seemed as if all he had to look forward to was being pummeled, slashed, scraped, and generally beaten into submission.
"SHISHI HOKOUDAN!!!" he yelled, releasing the inner depression.
"Oh, great! That's gonna take hours to fix!" 'Tim said, throwing his arms up.
He then paused, staring at what he just did.
He had never been able to pull that off before. Sure, he could duplicate the energy and the blast, but the technique never worked for him.
Then again, he never really had 'Chi' before.
"This has potential," he said to himself. Nobody responded. "Now all I need is someone to take care of the restaurant while I figure out how to use it more effectively…"
The door opened and a woman entered. She had brown hair tied into a ponytail, dressed in… some sort of uniform, and was carrying around a bandolier of razor-sharp spatulas. She also had an extremely large one strapped to her back. This brought 'Tim out of his reverie.
No, it isn't… is it? he thought to himself in worry. What troubled him most was that he didn't get responses when he was de-transformed, and therefore could not get a definite analysis of whom it was standing in front of him.
"Hello?" the brown-haired woman asked.
"Um, hello!" 'Tim said, backing off slightly.
"I'm here to apply for a job," she said, "You wouldn't happen to have an opening for… head chef, would you?"
'Tim calmed down. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do… Can you begin tomorrow morning?"
She blinked. "That was quick. You didn't even interview me."
'Tim thought about it. "Oh yeah! The interview… What's your name?"
She paused. "Ukkyo—"
"Good! You're hired!" 'Tim said cheerfully. It probably wasn't that youma he fought earlier… If she were, she would probably try to kill him, and have a very good chance at succeeding.
"Thanks," Ukkyo said, smiling.
'Tim smiled back. One less thing to worry about.
Another thing worried him. Where did his consciousnesses go when he de-transformed?
Sailor V was trapped under a large wooden beam in a burning building. The youma she had been fighting was standing over her, mocking her efforts to free herself.
"Well, well, Sailor V," the flame creature said, "it seems that you have lost this fight. Farewell."
Sailor V gritted her teeth. "You will not get away with this! Crescent Beam, SMASH!"
The beam passed ineffectually through the youma.
Sailor V closed her eyes. So, this was it.
"Stylin' Pink Bows, Wrap!" a cutesy voice called out. The youma was entrapped in pretty bows that snuffed it out. A girl in a mini-skirted sailor suit came out of the thick smoke, posing cutely. "I am the cute and fluffy formerly One-shot Senshi Sailor Stylin'! I fight for beauty and fashion!"
Sailor V coughed, suffering badly from smoke inhalation. "Help me!"
Sailor Stylin' leapt over to her and helped push the beam off of Sailor V. "You must leave here!"
Sailor V unquestioningly climbed toward a window, rushing past the flames. She turned back to Sailor Stylin'. "What about you?"
"Just go!" she called. The window collapsed, causing Sailor V to fall out.
Sailor Stylin' pulled out a wand. "This place needs some help! Stylin' Interior… Redecorating!"
The flames were doused and the building began to rebuild itself. Within moments, everything was as good as new… Better, in fact. Well, then again, that was a matter of opinion. If you liked polyester, then it was fine.
Having finished that, she jumped out the window and helped Sailor V get the medical attention she needed.
'Tim wasn't sure about his consciousnesses, but he was certain that he was going to have nightmares about it. Oh well…
"Do you think I can handle it?" Ukkyo asked.
'Tim nodded. "Oh, you'll do fine."
~~~ Meanwhile… Oh, about a thousand years into the future… ~~~
"Get me out of this!" Ranma-chan yelled at Sailor Pluto.
Sailor Pluto smiled at her innocently. "But Ranma-sama, you look so pretty in it!"
Neo-Queen Serenity looked at Ranma-chan. "Is something wrong?"
Ranma-chan stared incredulously at her. "YES, SOMETHING IS WRONG! I'M WEARING A SAILOR FUKU!!!"
"It is the standard uniform of the Senshi," Serenity said supportively. "If you wish to be one, then you will need to conform to their standards."
"I DON'T WANT TO BE ONE OF YOUR SENSHI!!!"
Serenity looked at Pluto questioningly. "I thought you said that she wished to be a Senshi with all of her heart."
"It's just beginner's jitters," Pluto said. "She will get over it soon."
"Setsuna, tell her—" Ranma-chan began to say.
"Saotome Ranma," Serenity began gravely, "Earth has not had a Senshi selected for it in centuries. You are the only one who can fill the position. In the times to come, we will need your help! You must get over your uncertainties and be prepared to live and fight in that fuku—"
Ranma-chan screamed in tortured confusion and ran.
Sailor Pluto watched and nodded slowly. So far, the plan was working. It would take a while, but Ranma would snap and cancel the engagement, if she had anything to say about it. He wasn't the sort that canceled these things; it was a matter of honor.
But for Sailor Pluto, it was a matter of being free enough to keep full watch on the timeline. That was her purpose, and nothing was going to stop her. If Ranma didn't give up quickly, this was going to get rough. For him.
"Ranma-sama!" Pluto called, following.
Neo-Queen Serenity raised an eyebrow in confusion.
~~~ Go back about a thousand years or so… ~~~
Jadeite-chan slumped down on to her bed. The tour had taken quite a long time. It was quite a relief to finish up with the hot shower and get ready to just go to sleep.
One thing worried her slightly: Why hadn't she changed back to normal during any of this time? Her first incident with this curse had only lasted a few moments. She began to wonder about the other implications of this curse…
[Well, good night!] the computer said cheerfully, [I want you to enjoy your sleep tonight! Tomorrow, school begins!]
A panel slid open and a sailor-style girl's school uniform slid out on a hanger.
Jadeite-chan began to nod off, then her eyes shot open when she saw the uniform. What the computer said set in. "Oh no…"
[End Chapter 8]
<Scene of formally dressed dancers against an elegant backdrop>
"Today, we learned that, for practical jokes…"
<Scene of rain falling… and mass chaos ensuing>
"You CAN'T beat Jusenkyo!"
<Scene of Zoicite going insane as a result>
<Scene of ASK laughing at hi… HER>
<Scene of Jadeite-chan strangling a smiling Paracite>
"Keep in mind: It's no fun 'till someone gets hurt. Sailor Nuke sez…"
"BWAHA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"
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