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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.


Chapter 9-B


Somewhere, a goddess was having a few difficulties…

*SMASH!* SMASH!* WHACK!* BAM!* POW!*

"WHERE DO THEY KEEP COMING FROM?!!?!?!" Skuld demanded, swinging around her brand new Mjolnir Mark IV at the hordes of bugs that kept winking into existence.


I'm having some difficulty deciphering the code, A.S.K. continued, trying to work on the field generator he was designing and decompile the energy sequence he had uncovered. I don't know how, but it's resisting!


"Someone's hacked into Yggdrasil," Belldandy reported urgently, trying to stop whoever was involved, "They're trying to decompile the wish functions!"

"Can you trace them?" Skuld asked, smashing bugs left and right as fast as she could.

"I'm trying!"


I just don't get why this energy pattern is giving me so much trouble! A.S.K. thought, almost being at the point of a mental tug-of-war between himself and the unknown force.

I'm almost done…


"I'm trying to trace them," Belldandy said, manipulating various controls on the computer, "but they've just finished decrypting!"

"I'm on it!" Urd said, quickly sitting down at another terminal.

Skuld's mallet broke under the strain of having to crush so many bugs. She quickly pulled out another Extremely Heavy Blunt Object™ and continued the battle. "Where's 'niichan?!"

"Fighting evil… in another dimension!"

"Another dimension!? You mean he's—"

"No, I don't! At least I don't think so!"


Got it! A.S.K. thought triumphantly, having completed his analysis. He put down the device he was working on, intending on discovering what this was all about.

This is a little complex for what I've been looking for. It doesn't look so much like a program for an autonomous persona as it does a code for manipulating the fabric of reality… I haven't seen these too often. Only a couple times, like when they used the Silver Cryst—

*BZZZZZZZT!* He was suddenly given a tremendous shock that blasted him to the floor.


"I don't know what, for sure, but I've managed to cut something out of the connection," Urd said, typing vigorously.

*BAM!* WHACK!* CLANG!* "Who's causing it!?" Skuld asked, barely being able to keep the bugs in check.

"I've almost located the hacker," Belldandy said.


I've lost telemetry on the autonomous unit! A.S.K. noted as he stood back up.

Another problem! I'm being scanned!

By who?!

Unknown!

Block it! Terminate connection!

Connection? What connection?!


The bugs winked out of existence.

"I've lost the signal," Belldandy said, looking up from her terminal. "I only needed two more seconds…"

Skuld let her Extremely Heavy Blunt Object™ clang to the floor. "At least… at least the bugs are gone," she said, exhausted, taking the opportunity to collapse to the floor, which had suddenly become more appealing than even the Most Comfy Chair in the Universe™.

"What did they get?!" Urd asked, worried about what sort of thing could hack into the system… and what it could do with the information it could find in Yggdrasil.

The middle goddess checked. "Just the wish protocols."

Urd blinked. "Well, it's no big deal, then…"

"How is it 'no big deal'?!" Skuld called up from the floor.

"Um," Urd began, "I mean, it's not like they'd actually be able to use it or anything… It'd take a HUGE energy source for them to get it to work… even if they could get a computer complex enough to run it. So, unless they've got the Ginzuishou or the entire Philosopher's Stone, we have nothing to worry about."

"And… Suppose they do?" Skuld asked weakly.

"I don't think so," Belldandy said. "Both are not currently in a usable condition."

"So we might as well forget about it," Urd said.

"Suits me fine," the youngest goddess said, slowly getting back up. "Ice cream, anyone?"


Okay, that did it, the Atomic Starlight Knight mentally processed. Any clue what just happened?

Yuppers, yessirree-bob. My theory is that during the initial de-transformation sequence, a personality— which I just didn't want— done left for friendlier pastures, yee-haw! So, like, it took somethin' that nobody wanted: Saaaaaailor Stylin', and made its own identity somewhere else on this here planet, based on that there ideal. Now, my idea as to why we got all that extra gobbledygook was because we done accidentally hacked into… the computer that runs the universe, yeah! That's it! We accidentally hacked into Yggdrasil, through fifteen million different levels of security and stole… all the personnel files! Yeah, t—

Actually, the thing I got looks a lot more like… a wishing program of some sort.

So, make a wish!

It's not as easy as that. It'll take a lot of energy to get that thing going.

How much?

More than I have.

Oh, give me a break! I could run this program at full power IN MY SLEEP!

Just keep telling yourself that.

You really could do this while unconscious…

Like, what-ever!

Okay, so… Another subject, then! How about if we ever find this 'Lynne FaShawn' break-off entity… WE BLAST HER!

YEAH, BABY!

BLOW'ERUP-BLOW'ERUP-BLOW'ERUP-BLOW'ERUP!!!!

*WHAM!*WHAM!*WHAM!* "SHUT UP!!!" A.S.K. yelled while pounding on his head as hard as he possibly could.

You asked.

Quiet, you!

Yeah? Make me!

BRAIN SHAKING!!!!

BLAM! The personality in question was nicely blasted.

*WHAM!* A.S.K. was knocked against the wall from the impact of the various cascading neurons, or the magical equivalent thereof.

All right, I don't care what happened, but it's degenerated into a meaningless battle… Take it to private discussion.

Who died and made YOU moderator?!

Well, I'm you, so you're me, and I did… So you did!

Ha! That's what I thought!

The slightly schizophrenic knight finally regained a portion of mental stability and decided to just forget about the errant persona and filed what appeared to be a wish-making process with all the other energy patterns he had acquired throughout the ages. Perhaps he'd find a use for it later… Probably not, but it was nice to have something to fall back on.

But, for now, he had more pressing concerns. He had to get something pieced together that would reduce or eliminate the possibility of his armor being breached. You can't have armor that gets broken through. It… simply wasn't proper!

Anyway, it was an extraordinarily complex thing to do. Generating a combination of gravitational magnetic fields, taking into account the weakening of the strong and weak nuclear forces that combining magic and heavy elements sometimes causes, and making sure that his armor remained a sturdy thirty-five pounds.

You can never be too careful when dealing with any real quantity of neutronium; one false move and you can find yourself literally crushed flatter than a pancake and be served up as flapjacks to your local nuclear lumberjack. Your electrons would crash into your protons. Your neutrons would smash together. You would end up literally deader than a doornail, and only be good as black hole fodder! I mean, this would be worse than a Barney marathon… Okay, well, maybe I'm exaggerating… but we're talking some serious gravitational disturbance here!

Even better was the fact that if the magical sub-atomic bonding properties of his armor were to fail, the spontaneous release of so many neutrons would end up freeing a GREAT deal of energy in a VERY short period of time. In other words: Boom.

Did this worry him? Of course not. He didn't even think about it, really. Making and redesigning technology for strange and potentially dangerous purposes was, actually, one of the things he did best. Then again, so were creating havoc and blowing things up…


~~~ Begin Flashback ~~~

In what would normally be the captain's ready room sat the Atomic Starlight Knight, known to the rest of the fleet simply as 'Admiral'. The reason why the room he was in wasn't the captain's ready room was because he was, in fact, the highest-ranking person in Earth's navy. And this was his ship: the flagship of the royal intrastellar fleet. Therefore, it was the Admiral's ready room.

How he had gotten so high was a mystery to most of the military personnel. He never wore a uniform; he was always walking around in his green camouflage armor, and he seemed more than a little… unstable… to most of his subordinates.

He was also the author of the third-best-selling piece of literature in the solar system: ĎThe Sailor Senshi: Phenomenal Cosmic Powers… Itty Bitty Miniskirtsí, right behind Meiou's self-help booklet: ĎTwelve More Fun Things to do with Destinyí, and Aino's ever-popular philosophical romantic blockbuster: ĎLemon Curryí.

In fact, the only reason that he'd been given the job was this: favoritism. He seemed, to the upper class, to be the right sort of person for the job, given the fact that, at the time of his promotion, the fleet consisted of a grand total of thirteen ships, and the government officials needed someone crazy enough and expendable enough to try to defend Earth against the opportunistic Nemesian pirates that had the nasty tendency to target the command ships, board them, capture the highest-ranking person present, then subject them to the most horrible tortures their twisted little minds could come up with.

Some of the officials wanted him in command as soon as possible; they thought he was a natural leader. Most of them, however, wanted him dragged out into the street and shot, especially after that extremely embarrassing 'Of course I'm sure that Sailor Saturn's figured out how to control her powers!' incident. Very nearly vaporized the entire legislative branch…

So, all parties were happy when he was made Admiral. Some, the minority, got their natural leader, and the rest got to wait in hopes of him making a horrible mistake and getting himself killed. So, it really wasn't favoritism at all, was it?

Anyway, he had managed to maintain the job for six years, secretly upgrading the local technology as much as he could without attracting attention. A slow— all too very slow— process.

Surprisingly enough, after he assumed command, the pirate attacks had completely ceased, leaving nothing to blast but asteroids. Occasionally, one was inhabited and there was an embarrassing intra-system political incident, but, in general—

[GET ON WITH IT!!!!!]

Er, right! Now, back to the reason why he was sitting in his ready room…

[Well,] Kunzite began, his face visible on A.S.K.'s desktop communications console, [how are you doing?]

A.S.K. sighed, gritting his teeth. "Your ships… Well, my ships, I guess, are so obnoxiously out of date, I'm having a hard time believing that this isn't some sort of cruel joke played upon me by the idiot bureaucracy on that pitiful little blue-green planet we all like to call 'Earth'."

Kunzite blinked. [I see… Did you know that your ships are the most advanced in the solar system?]

"Wretched, isn't it?" the admiral asked. "Do you know how difficult it would be to get these ships to obliterate even a small planet?"

The silver-haired Guardian stared, shocked. [Why in the galaxy would you want to destroy an entire world?!]

"To be perfectly honest," A.S.K. replied, "Sailor Pluto's been getting on my nerves."

Kunzite sat for a few seconds, then burst into laughter and nearly fell out of his seat. [Oh, come on! She's not THAT bad!]

"I'm serious, Malachite. One of these days, I'm going to take that time staff of hers, grind it up, bake it into a cake, and slap it into her face on her birthday. If THAT doesn't quiet her down, I'll hijack the time gate, and rewrite history so that she's trapped in an unbreakable engagement with the most beautiful aquatranssexual in the universe. May they live happily ever after. If THAT doesn't work, I'm thinking about something involving lumberjacks and spiny tree lobsters. Then there's that thing I've got planned involving fourteen billion tons of frozen bleu cheese down the back of her fuku. She'll never know what hit 'er!"

Kunzite raised an eyebrow. [HoOokay…]

"So, how've you been doing?" the green-armored admiral asked, having retained a straight face throughout the entire conversation.

It took the Guardian a few moments to recover. [Well… I've been… fine.]

"How's Zoicite? They let 'er out of the asylum yet?"

Kunzite paused. [Yes, he… Er, SHE was released just last week, but… she has still been having some… difficulties.]

"I understand that she went slightly berserk after that bizarre incident with the rainstorm. Terribly sorry about that."

Kunzite looked regretful. [Things have been rather hard on… her.]

"But look on the bright side," A.S.K. said cheerfully, "I heard from Endymion that they did finally give you two permission to get married."

Kunzite's left eye twitched. [Yes… they did.]

"Congratulations. Your relationship still okay?"

The longhaired man gritted his teeth. [We've been… coping.]

"You're not… in the least bit… upset about this?"

Kunzite calmly clasped his hands together on top of his table. His knuckles were white. [No, not at all. Really, what purpose would holding a grudge serve?]

"I don't know… that was a pretty traumatic experience for her to go through… Six years…"

[Well,] Kunzite began thoughtfully.

"Can't forget the tall, mysterious, unidentified man that visited her while she tried to get back to her Guardian work… I mean, she probably would have been able to get over it right after it happened if such a… callous individual hadn't kidnapped her and forcefully shown her around the Venusian fashion centers, critiquing her appearance at every turn…"

The Guardian frowned. [Er… quite.] He gritted his teeth, obviously straining to control something. [But that isn't any excuse to become truly—]

[Kunzite! There you are!] a blonde woman in a Guardian's uniform said emptily in an overly saccharine voice as she came into the room and hugged Kunzite from behind.

The silver-haired Guardian finally snapped. [WHEN I FIND THE JERK THAT DID THIS TO ZOICITE, I'LL—]

"Delete audio," A.S.K. ordered. The sound from the console stopped as Kunzite ranted on angrily, pounding his fist against the table and opening several tightly-closed jars that Zoicite kept handing him.

This lasted for several minutes.

A.S.K. just nodded attentively throughout this. "Resume audio," he said as it started to look like Kunzite was running out of steam.

[—AND THEN SOME!!! IT MAKES ME SOOOOOO MAD THAT IT JUST MAKES ME WANT TO… want to… to… relax… yes, relax and concentrate on my work. I'll be fine. Really,] Kunzite said, as he finally calmed down.

[His therapist says he's made progress,] Zoicite said sweetly, then gave Kunzite a kiss on the cheek and left the room.

[I give up,] Kunzite said with a sigh, holding his arms out in a gesture of defeat.

A.S.K. smiled. "Well, since we're done with… roughly all the pleasantries we can possibly take care of… Tell me why you contacted me." His tone became hopeful. "Is there a mission? More importantly: am I finally going to be able to blow anything up? Can I finally lead any planetary bombing runs?"

The heavily disheveled Guardian took a moment to collect what remained of his scattered thoughts. [No… Nothing like that. Actually, I've been given the responsibility of telling you that your time as Admiral is over.]

A.S.K. blinked. "Excuse me?"

[You're being replaced. Since there have been no serious assaults by the pirates on the command ships, they want someone that's been… more battle tested—]

A.S.K. chuckled. "Battle tested? That's me all over."

Kunzite sighed. [I'm not the one to argue with. They just asked me to send the message. You're to report back to Earth immediately.]

"Er… That's… that's going to take a while. I'm out past Neptune, and… Um… The ships' drives have been… acting up, yes, that's it—" He was cut off as the ship jarred violently.

[Admiral to the bridge!] the intercom crackled.

"I'll have to finish this later," A.S.K. said before shutting off the communications console.

*Rumble*

[Repeat: Admiral to the bridge. We're under attack!]

A.S.K. smiled. Ya hear that?! Someone's trying to kill us!

That means a self-defense plea!

And that means… We get to blow something up!

The black-haired Knight in Shining Armor rubbed his hands together and smiled in hungry anticipation. "Oh yeah, baby…"


"Report!" A.S.K. shouted as he came in and sat in the command chair. The bridge was a bustling center of activity as the crewmembers struggled to get their jobs done.

This, being a command ship, and worse, the flagship, had a lot of things that needed doing. Namely: keeping the rest of the fleet organized.

"We're under assault by fifteen unidentified craft!" the tactical officer shouted violently, quickly manipulating his controls, punching buttons, backhanding the control panel, trying to keep all the defense grids properly allocated.

"On screen," A.S.K. commanded, leaning forward in his seat.

"Aye, sir," the beautiful communications officer said sweetly. As the viewscreen was activated, the crew took a moment to reflect how nice it was to be in a co-ed starship.

A.S.K.'s eyes widened as he recognized the attacking ships. "Can we get a scan on them?"

The local science (as opposed to magic) officer tapped a few keys on his control panel. "Aye…" he began, then his jaw dropped, "yai-yai-yai-yai!!!!"

The admiral nodded to himself confidently, now sure of what he was facing. After all, what other kinds of ships looked sort of like really evil, spiky black spiders, had obnoxiously high power readings, and shot out thick purple particle beams?

There were several fighters that had been darting in and out, taking small, but powerful shots at some of the ships in Earth's fleet. In addition to the fighters, there were fifteen larger craft that hadn't engaged yet. The Terran vessels had held up okay so far, but once the main group started attacking, well…

In strict terms of power, the fleet was, to put it mildly, outclassed. The civilization that created the enemy vessels was millions of years old, and had not been lax in the development of war technology.

In terms of strength, Earth's ships had almost precisely zero chance of winning this one.

In terms of leadership, however…

"Lieutenant," A.S.K. began, an evil gleam coming into his eye, "open a channel to the fleet."

Nine billion years of space combat experience.

Hundreds of millions of battles.

Only one defeat. Ever.

The comm officer pushed a few buttons. "Channel open."

"This is Admiral 'Tim," the former galaxy-destroying entity began. "All ships, target only point defense cannons on the fighters. Set engines to full, lock main guns onto the largest enemy vessel you can find, move into a circular strike formation around my vessel, then when I give the order, break and attack!"

He had no intention of being beaten again.


The fleet of forty sleek chrome-colored Earth ships surged forward, creating a loose circle formation around their flagship, moving only slightly to avoid the spider-like fighters.

The main enemy ships moved along at an average speed, ignoring the much smaller Terran vessels.


"They are not moving to intercept," the science officer stated.

"I guess they don't think we're much of a threat…" Tactical commented.

A.S.K.'s eyes narrowed. "These aren't their tactics… Project a course. Where are they going?"

Science typed a few things in. "They're headed directly for Neptune, sir."

Oh, well… "Are we in firing range?" the admiral asked.

"Of Neptune, sir?" the science officer asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes!" A.S.K. shouted triumphantly. "We'll catch them COMPLETELY by surprise!"

"Sir," Tactical interrupted in a very controlled tone, "with energy levels like those, they would most likely be going there to wipe it out. With all due respect, I do NOT think we should help them."

"You misunderstand. They have this fleet outgunned. If we get to it before they do, then that, I am certain, would confuse them enough to enable us to take them out cleanly and with a minimum of losses."

Communications coughed nervously. "Um, Admiral… section one, LINE one of the Earth-Neptune treaty STRICTLY forbids unauthorized planetary bombardment."

A.S.K. shrugged. "Okay, I authorize it."

He WAS the admiral, after all.

The officer at communications spluttered. "B-but sir!"

A.S.K. sighed. "Oh, all right. No planetary destruction… So, all we have left is the backup plan… How much longer until we reach firing range on the enemy ships?"

"In six seconds."

"Admiral to fleet: Tighten formation, prepare to fire."


The group of Terran ships came closer together, their main weapons arrays beginning to glow a bright green. Point defense cannons discharged their pale red energies, occasionally hitting a fighter, which were almost completely undamaged from the shots.

As the fleet came into range, they fired their main weapons. The thin blue beams blasted irregularly into the hull of one of the massive enemy ships.


"Come around for another pass. All stations, report!"

"Shields down to thirty percent! We can't take much more from those fighters, sir!" Engineering reported.

"Enemy vessel is… undamaged, and they're continuing to ignore us," Tactical said.

A.S.K. was silent for a moment. "This isn't their style…" he finally said. "Admiral to fleet: Ships fifteen and thirteen, set your reactors to critical, break formation, and ram one of the big ones."

"Er, sir! W-what about the crews?!" Communications asked, a little surprised.

The admiral sighed. "Fifteen, thirteen! If you REALLY want to, then, by all means, abandon ship before it blows."

Communications picked up a response. "Admiral, they're complying."

"They had better," A.S.K. replied impatiently.


Two ships broke off from the strike formation, headed directly toward what appeared to be the lead enemy ship.

Escape pods rapidly ejected from the two Terran vessels as they began to glow a blinding white.

The entire enemy fleet suddenly stopped ignoring the Earth fleet as the entire right side of the enemy's lead ship was sheared off by the detonation of the two incoming kamikaze missiles.

The lead ship shriveled like a dead spider.


"Target… destroyed," Tactical noted with surprise.

"Yeah, baby," the admiral mumbled with some satisfaction.

The ship jarred violently. An unmanned command station exploded in a flash of smoke and sparks.

"We have their attention, sir," Science said, turning away to avoid the debris.

"Shields down to five percent!!!" Engineering shouted.

A.S.K. was quite glad that he had gotten around to making the fleet's shields and engines into something a lot less primitive than what they originally were. They still weren't all that great, in his opinion, but they'd be able to take and dodge a LOT more than what they initially could.

"Evasive maneuvers! All ships, break formation, concentrate all fire on the fighters!"

Weapon systems, on the other hand… Well, they hadn't allowed him any of the more hazardous materials required for making the really destructive stuff.

A.S.K. noticed on the viewscreen that there were five enemy vessels directly in front of his ship. "Tactical, press the really big, red button that doesn't look like it belongs there."

Okay, fine. He did manage to smuggle on SOME.

"Admiral to fleet: Fire in the hole!"


The front part of the Terran flagship split apart, the inner sections of the two halves rotating ninety degrees inward as a massive energy field began to build up between them.

All Earth ships that had been in front of the flagship quickly moved out of the way.

The five spider-like vessels seemed to pay no attention to this, moving relentlessly toward the Terran command ship.

The blue energy field that was building up between the pincer-like section of the ship suddenly blasted forward, obliterating all in its path.

Two of the enemy ships veered out of the way before it hit. Three main enemy vessels were destroyed, along with several large clusters of fighters.

The other Terran ships weaved in and out of the battle. Occasionally, a white flash signaled the destruction of one of them as the enormously destructive purple beams sliced through them.


Everything on the bridge flickered. Power made an audible noise as it drained from its conduits.

"Report!" the admiral ordered.

"Energy reserves down to… three percent. Our shields are gone, and don't even ask about the weapon systems," Engineering replied.

"We count five… no, make that fifteen destroyed," Tactical reported sourly as his station came back online.

That wasn't right… "Ours or theirs?" A.S.K. asked.

"Ours."

"How many of theirs?"

"We got three of them. Eleven are still undamaged and the fighters are showing no sign of letting up… They're currently ignoring this ship."

A.S.K. gritted his teeth. This was not turning out at all the way he had planned. Then again, there really hadn't been time to plan this one… If only all these ships weren't so dang wimpy. He was also sure that he would have fared better had the enemy been using their normal tactics. So why weren't they?!

Oh, well. "Okay… that leaves us with twenty-two active ships. Perfect. Fleet: You're outgunned—"

"They're… requesting permission to withdraw, Admiral," Communications reported.

"Permission denied," the admiral snapped.

The crew stared at him incredulously.

"Admiral, we've lost this battle," Navigation noted.

Not again. Never again. "You are WRONG, Ensign! We haven't lost this battle, and we're not GOING to lose this battle, either! All available ships: activate self-destruct and prepare for RAMMING SPEED!!!"

Communications glanced at him nervously.

"And remember to abandon ship," A.S.K. added as a seemingly unimportant afterthought.

Communications looked toward Tactical desperately. "When's the ship's counselor supposed to be getting back?"

Tactical smirked. "What you talkin' 'bout, girlfriend? I like dis guy's style," he said, slipping back into his native Eastern Atlantian dialect.

The communications officer sighed, and slowly shook her head as she turned back to her station.


Far deeper into the system, in the orbit of the Earth, on the Moon, in the Lunar capital… In the main royal palace, as a matter of fact, Princess Terrifying was bored.

She glared at the man standing on the other side of the room. She turned toward her adoptive mother, Queen Serenity, and raised an eyebrow.

Check that… Princess Terrifying was angry.

"I know what you must be thinking, Terra," Queen Serenity began comfortingly, "You must be wondering what I was thinking when I arranged this."

Terra narrowed her eyes, completely unable to go along with any premise of acceptance. "MORE LIKE 'WHAT WERE YOU SMOKING WHEN YOU THOUGHT THIS UP!??!' ENGAGING ME TO MARRY WAS BAD ENOUGH, BUT TO ENDYMION!?!?! THAT SIMPERING, MINDLESS WEAKLING CAN'T EVEN TAKE OUT THE SURFACE OF A PLANET!!! THAT'S IT! I'M DESTROYING THIS CIVILIZATION, AND THE OTHER TEN IN THIS SOLAR SYSTEM, TOO!!!!" She paused. "Oh, wait… did I say that out loud?"

Queen Serenity looked at her adopted daughter quizzically. "Say what out loud, Terra?"

The redhead laughed nervously. "Eh heh… Nothing, Mother."

I still say we should blow the place to pieces! one of Terra's inner psyches pleaded.

Nuke it!

Blast it!

Pulverize it!

Barbeque 'em!

Roast 'em!

I SAY WE QUIT THE DESTRUCTION THING AND GO FOR UNIVERSAL CONQUEST, MWAHA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!!!

*WHAM!* "Quiet," Terra said under her breath, whacking her head as hard and as quickly as she could. We'll blow this place up as soon as we can… But for now, we haven't got the power!

Take the Silver Crystal!

Terra rolled her eyes and sighed. I'm not getting involved in THAT old debate again! I hate that thing…

Prince Endymion frowned, noting Terra's extremely distracted mannerisms. "I can come back later if now's not a good time…"

"Yes, yes!" Terra said, nodding enthusiastically. "Please do that. It's a horrible time for me. Besides, it's a horrible time for you, too: your fleet's just been completely torn to shreds and scattered to the solar wind. You might want to have that checked out, by the way. It looks serious."

Endymion blinked. "What?!"

"You've got this really nasty zit on the side—"

"No, no! What was that about the fleet?!"

"Oh, that. Your fleet," Terra continued nonchalantly, "is almost completely wiped out. You really should consider investing in better weapons—"

Serenity looked at Terra seriously. "What would make you think that Earth's fleet has been destroyed?"

Terra mentally kicked herself. You're not supposed to be able to know that sort of thing so soon after it happened!!

Well, excuuuuuuse me!

Hey, there are ways of finding these things out normally!

Yeah? Like what?!

"Spies, yeah… Spies, that's the ticket!" Terra tried.

"I don't recall giving you access to the intelligence agency," the Queen said.

"Um… I looked in my crystal ball?"

"You don't have a crystal ball."

"Okay… Would you believe I have a telepathic link to the admiral?"

Serenity and Endymion nodded and 'oooh'ed in realization. "Well, yes. I could believe that one," the Prince said, then his eyes widened in horror. "And if you got the information that quickly, then that would mean… Excuse me."

The Prince of Earth quickly left the room.

"I get the idea that you don't like him," Serenity observed.

Terra turned to her and smiled. "Naaaah, whatever gave you that idea?"

Unfortunately, Queen Serenity wasn't a student of sarcasm. "Very well, then. I'll have the wedding arrangements—"

"Mother," Terra began in a very controlled tone, "this isn't like you. Whose idea was it?"

Serenity pointed behind her. Terra turned around and saw whom the Queen was indicating.

[I'm just a harmless panda,] the large black and white creature held up a sign, then flipped it around. [Seemed like a good idea…]

"GET HIM!!!" Terra wanted to shout… but since an outburst like that wouldn't fit in with her chosen outward personality, she demurely asked, "What is it?"

"A being whose opinion I have come to trust."

Terra turned back to Serenity, raising an eyebrow. "So… this… whatever it is… It told you to arrange a marriage between me and Endymion… and you just did?"

Serenity shook her head. Her daughter was reacting to this surprisingly negatively. "It isn't as simple as that… He gave me some fascinating advice on the merits of arranged marriages. With all the difficulties in finding the right people to marry, with all the anguish that failed romances can cause… It's far simpler to just arrange the marriage and get it over with."

Egads! I thought she was joking!

I didn't think so

Aw, come on, how bad can Endymion be?

Marry him! He's cute!

*WHAM!* "Quiet!" Terra mumbled forcefully.

"Take Sailor Pluto, for example. With her busy work schedule, it seems extremely unlikely that she will ever find a husband. She may act like she has all the time in the universe, but—"

Uh oh… "Mother… you didn't arrange a marriage for Sailor Pluto, did you?"

Serenity nodded majestically. "I did. By the way, what's this about a telepathic link to Earth's admiral?"

Terra slowly turned away and rolled her eyes. Great, another weird explanation to think up.


"Well, this is an altogether not-unexpected turn of events," Admiral Atomic Starlight Knight said, noting the fighters that had locked onto their ship and were currently hauling it away.

The battle had proceeded almost entirely as expected. Twenty-one Terran vessels had impacted on just the right spot on the enemy vessels, destroying ten and blasting off a main spike or two on the remaining one, sending it spinning out of control.

And that left zero enemy ships with a few scattered fighters, and one Terran vessel left.

"We've lost the fleet," Communications noted somberly.

"And they lost theirs," A.S.K. said with satisfaction. "Congratulations. We've just trashed a fleet of ships that had technology at least a million years ahead of us… Rather poorly executed, if you ask me… but we did it! Report!"

"All main systems are gone," Engineering reported, "backup life support at twenty percent, hull integrity critical… Basically, we're screwed, sir!"

"Indeed," A.S.K. acknowledged calmly.

"Admiral, we've been captured, in case you haven't noticed," Tactical growled.

A.S.K. grinned at him. "That means that they're taking us back to their home base—"

"To torture us," Communications cut in.

A.S.K. sighed wistfully. "Let's hope so… But most of you probably won't enjoy that, so…" He pushed a button on the arm of his chair. "All hands, abandon ship!"

*WHOOP!*WHOOP!*WHOOP!* Red lights flickered and klaxons blared.

"Suits me fine," Engineering said, getting up and heading toward the nearest escape pod.

Most of the other crew followed, but the officers at communications and tactical remained at their stations.

"Enemy fighters are ignoring the escape pods," Tactical said.

"So, you can go," A.S.K. said. "Go on."

"You kiddin', sir? I have to see this through!"

The admiral turned to Communications. "And… You?"

"Where he goes, I go," she said bravely.

The green-armored fleet commander shrugged. "Okay."


Terra's explanation of the telepathic link went something like this: "It was, er… something he used to trace me while I was… um, trapped in that monster form. The… universe is a big place! He… couldn't find me otherwise."

Queen Serenity nodded as she processed this new information. "Your friend has been with you for a long time, hasn't he?"

The princess thought through all of the other information she had given throughout her seven years of living here and nodded back. The main problem with falsifying information is that you have to remember every last thing you said in order to not contradict yourself. She had a good memory… good enough to remember nine billion years' worth of universal devastation in vivid, graphic, visceral detail… But that's another topic.

Her official story was that she had been trapped as a horrible, demonic creature in order to function as a weapon for some evil sorcerer-type. She was taken and forced to destroy her home world, and many others. Soon after that, she turned on her master and destroyed him. She was unable to return to normal, and had no control of herself, going on a berserking rampage, being followed by her friend, 'Tim, until her… purification seven years ago by Queen Serenity.

Well, actually, that story was only known by a select few. The tale that was spread was that she was a sweet, little girl that had a very tragic experience involving the loss of her entire family, and due to time-and-place circumstances, had been adopted by Queen Serenity into the Lunar royal family.

She was, in fact, a horrible, destructive force, alive for nearly nine billion years, that wanted to destroy the entire universe. She had really only been severed from her main energy source by the Queen's 'healing'.

She also enjoyed every moment of her previous occupation. Planetary devastation was fun. VERY fun. As a matter of fact, one of her main goals in life was to destroy all that exists.

She couldn't go spreading that little detail around, though, or risk annihilation by the local magical warriors. They had something against the obliteration of the universe, for some reason.

"Psychos," Terra muttered under her breath.

At bare minimum, she'd have to undergo another jolt from that little crystal. Terra had no intention of going through that again. Extremely painful would have been one way to describe it. A terrible, screaming death would have been another… Of course, she could have also described it as a nice, warm, healing glow. There was no real way of telling with each individual personality having its own interpretation on things.

Being a creature of some the most concentrated blackness ever to be found in the universe, she didn't take kindly to having most of her dark energy removed… But she had good coping skills, and decided to blend in until she could reestablish her connection with her primary energy source. She had been around for quite a while, and could afford to wait a bit longer to resume her career. The story was just something to keep her alive until she could defend herself more fully.

A significant portion of the populace didn't believe a word of her explanation. Smart crowd. That really didn't matter, however. As long as they weren't openly hostile, the only one that she needed to convince was her adoptive mother.

But that could be difficult at times…

"So you agree to marry Endymion?" Serenity asked comfortingly. The furry, black and white creature looked up and watched for the answer.

The princess in question shook her head. "I don't think so." She really was beginning to miss destroying galaxies.

Queen Serenity sighed. "Oh well… It was a nice idea while it lasted. Arranged marriages were required policy up until two or three generations ago… I believe it could work out in Pluto's case, however…"

"Well, I've never… really personally met Sailor Pluto, but she doesn't seem the sort to like being manipulated like that," Terra said, then thought: I'm REALLY going to need to download more info on her from Starlight sometime…

"Is there any chance you might change your mind?" the Queen asked hopefully.

Terra thought about it.

Nope.

Yes.

No!

Yes…

NO!!!

"Yes!" the redheaded girl shouted enthusiastically, giving an impossibly joyous smile. She then mentally kicked herself. *WHAM!* "Um, Mother, you might consider engaging Serena to Endymion… They do seem rather… infatuated with each other."

"What about you?" Serenity asked, then pursed her lips. "And would you please stop hitting your head like that? It's bad for you."

Well, that WAS the point. "I'll be fine. Really," Terra said.

Serenity thought about it. "Very well… Perhaps you were right… This arranged marriage concept would only cause trouble."

"More than you could possibly imagine," Terra whispered darkly. "Once I crushed that little weakling's powers, I would have torn him limb from limb, listening to his pitiful screams—"

"What is that you're saying?" Terra's adoptive mother asked, leaning towards her, not quite having heard.

"Um… Nothing, Mother!"


"What do you mean 'The fleet is GONE?'" Prince Endymion asked, still adjusting to the idea.

[I mean gone. Destroyed,] Kunzite reported. [We received a message from Neptune. It seems that there was a horrific battle just a short distance from there. I was communicating with the admiral when it started. He didn't respond to any of my other hails, so I had to follow up with the authorities on Neptune. Apparently, we won… barely. We've reported the loss of all ships—]

"Not one left?!"

[Well, the reports were a bit sketchy on the flagship, but considering what happened to the rest of the fleet, it MUST have been destroyed. Most of the crews are barely coherent, babbling on about some nightmarish… shadows or something. Quite frankly, I'm surprised any of them managed to fight whatever it was that attacked.]

"What attacked?"

Kunzite sighed, wishing for the simpler times when he just had to guard the prince, and nothing else. [We still don't know.]


"Ah," the monstrous preying mantis began malevolently, watching the battered Terran flagship being lowered by the spider-like fighters into the heavily shielded docking bay, "Soon, all of this solar system's forces will be crushed, unable to prevent the capture of their poor little princesses! Within a few days, I will have control of the entire sector! MUAHA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!"

The plan was proceeding well. Ships had been sent out on an automated flight plan to avoid detection until it was too late. He would receive a report as soon as the mission was completed. Capturing Earth's flagship was an unexpected bonus.

"Hey, Zorak," a guy in a grey and orange armored suit called.

The mantis turned towards him. "What is it, Moltar?"

"Where d'ya want me to park those extra Shadow vessels?" Moltar asked, indicating several huge, black arachnid ships.

"In the hangar, Moltar," Zorak said, turning back to the smashed Earth ship in order to gloat some more.

"Okey-dokey," the molten man said indifferently, playing around with a remote control. The Shadow ships wobbled in response.


o/ I'm Serenity the Eighth, I am!
Serenity the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the prince next door!
He's been married seven times before,
And every one's been a Serenity ('Renity)
Never been a Jilly or a Camm' (No, sir!)
I'm the eighth 'ol ma'am, I'm Serenity!
Serenity the Eighth I am, I am!
Serenity the Eighth I am! \o

The two crewmembers held their breath in the hopes that their admiral would finally finish singing…

o/ Four hundred-twentieth verse, same as the first!
I'm Serenity the Eighth I am!
Serenity the Eighth I am, I am— \o

"ADMIRAL!!!" Tactical growled, "DOES THE WORD 'KEELHAUL' MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU!?!?"

A.S.K. thought about it. "Hmmm… Keelhaul (kEl'hol')… verb… Nautical term. to haul (an offender) under the bottom of a vessel and up the other side as a punishment… Is that what you're talking about?"

Tactical stared blankly. "No… Actually, I just thought it was an effective term to use…"

The ship jarred, signaling their landing and ending all discussion on definitions.

"Well, this is it," Communications said.

Tactical sighed. "Admiral… What are your orders?"

The admiral was now down on the floor, working with an unseen piece of equipment concealed under his chair.

"What are you doing, sir?" Communications asked.

A.S.K. stood, banging his head against the bottom of the chair as he did. "Ow… I've rigged an… Auxiliary self-destruct device. You know, just in case I happen to feel the need to blow stuff up."

"You ALWAYS feel the need to blow stuff up."

A.S.K. nodded vigorously and smiled, pulling out a grenade from nowhere in particular. One of the built-in functions of a mentally projected 'Knight in Shining Armor' was the ability to produce a specific kind of weapon at will. He'd have preferred something more powerful… but that would take more energy than what he currently had available.

The default weapons for a KISA matrix were roses, but Terra had decided that it would be a cold day in Hades before she'd let herself be caught trying to use those for artillery.

"Enough talk!" the admiral snapped. "Let's go blow something up!"

Tactical and Communications looked at each other. The latter nervously, the former was grinning.

"I love this guy!" Tactical exclaimed, chuckling.


The boarding gantries extended and latched onto the hull of the disabled vessel, blasting through the surface and forming a secure entrance for the oncoming invasion of red, molten, robotic warriors…

*BAM!*CRASH!*WHACK!* The ship rocked back and forth, barely held in place by the docking gantry as heavy violence ensued inside.

*BLAAAAAAM!* A new hole was made in the ship's hull.

*CRASH!!!* A molten robot was bashed outside, flames trailing behind it.

*SNAP!*CRACKLE!*POP!* The lower section of the ship got blown out, suddenly knowing what it felt like to be made into cereal.

*WHAM!*

*KABLAM!*

*SMAAAAAAAAASH!!!*

*SPROING!!!*

*BORT!!!*

*NERF!!!!*

Then it was all over.


"Excellent," Zorak said, watching the three remaining molten robots drag off the three crewmembers. "Take them to my impenetrable dungeon. I would like to deal with them personally. HA HA HA HAAA!"

[Yes, my master,] the lead robot said, motioning for the two behind it to follow.

"MWAHA HA HAA (*HACK*COUGH*)… Man, I gotta practice my laugh more," the huge preying mantis said. *Bloonk!* His eyes made an audible sound as he blinked, another thought crossing his mind. "Hey, I didn't know Moltar made talking robots!"


"'Toldja it'd work!" A.S.K. said, taking off the hollowed-out molten robot helmet, letting the cloth rag-doll duplicates of him and his crew thud to the ground.

"Way 'ta go, chief!" Tactical said, taking off his own helmet.

"That went FAR too easily. We should go with a little more caution," Communications said, also removing her helmet, letting her beautiful golden-brown hair cascade about her shoulders.

Tactical looked at her, glittering stars in his eyes. Communications looked back, a similar expression on her face.

Soft music began to play in the background.

"Let's get crackin'," the admiral said, breaking the moment.

The music slowed down, stopped, and the two officers snapped to attention. "Yes, sir!" they said in unison. "Your orders, sir?"

A.S.K. thought about it for a few seconds and quickly formed a plan… a plan so brilliant—

*Whoosh!*Snick!* At which point, he and his crew were hit by tranquilizer darts.

"I really hate it when they do that," A.S.K. said, before collapsing straight to the floor, unconscious. His crew followed suit.

"Zorak, why did we not use the stun rays?" a mantis minion asked as it moved in, clutching the compressed-air rifle in its claws.

"Eh, gets old after a while, don'tícha think?"


"Great," Terra mumbled as she lost the telemetry from her mentally projected Knight in Shining Armor, "now he's dead. What am I supposed to do now? CROCHET ALL DAY?!"

"I suppose we could to that," Princess Serenity said brightly.

"Um, no, I'll be fine, Serena," Princess Terrifying responded.

It was just one problem after another. First, her mother tried to engage her to Prince Endymion without her knowledge… or his, judging by the matter-of-fact way he was approaching the whole situation. Then the fleet gets trashed— it had taken six years to get it upgraded from those annoying, unpredictable magical systems to a partially acceptable technological level…

Then there was a small problem caused by what had appeared to be another assassination attempt a couple of months ago. This time, it was some sort of odd, sentient semi-energy construct that attacked. Having nothing else to do, and tiring of the 'defenseless' act, Terra blasted the thing, which promptly crumbled into a pile of dust.

Unfortunately, for some reason or another, the creature was carrying around enough dark, personality-modifying energy to turn an entire world's worth of do-gooders into frothing, murderous maniacs.

That energy, once its carrier had been destroyed, latched onto Terra, bringing her nastiness levels to nearly ten times what they had been while she was off destroying galaxies. At first, she was glad to have the general feeling back, but upon encountering other beings, she soon found that it made acting nice astonishingly difficult; There was simply too much dark energy to fully control.

After nearly blowing her cover about a dozen times, Terra decided that having that sort of energy permeate one's being really didn't serve any purpose. It did nothing to aid her recovery, it had little use other than for behavioral control or modification, and it endangered her existence. If the locals found her carrying around that level of negative energy… Best not think about that.

In addition to that, her mere presence seemed to scare small, furry animals. When asked, First Advisor Luna had been unable to explain why she kept rearing up and hissing at her… She apologized, of course, but it was disconcerting nonetheless.

Therefore, Terra was in the process of repressing the horrific levels of evil that now constantly threatened to break out. She had calculated that it would only take a year or three to fully work it out of her system.

In the meantime, she was stuck having to fantasize about destroying those around her. It wasn't that bad, but she occasionally blurted out what she was thinking from time to time… and sometimes, she needed to at least begin to act on an idea; Set it up or make a plan of how to accomplish it. She didn't necessarily have to go through with any of it; and she didn't. Usually.

One of the major negative things about dark energy is that it can seriously affect your behavior; Violence, destructive tendencies, maliciousness… All were greatly enhanced in Princess Terrifying, and it made her current life more difficult than ever.

Things like that were fine if you were off obliterating planets and galaxies in the vastness of space, but it simply didn't work out in a royal palace. It was, on a larger scale, the difference between behavior and speech patterns commonly found in a rowdy teamster and a well-behaved schoolgirl.

Most actions for the one would not exactly suit the other.

But, with the current setup, things were bound to slip out.

Before her run-in with the creature a couple of months ago, what Terra did had been mostly limited to thinking about how to blow up the planets in this system, about defeating some of the stronger warriors, and analyzing the various political systems in the solar system, calculating ways that they could be strengthened or toppled when the time came for her to once more make her presence known to the universe.

During this, all the support Terra really had was her adoptive mother and sister… plus whatever A.S.K. could do.

It didn't help that her sister was a politically-brain-dead princess who didn't care whether Nemesis had a constitutional anarchy or not, didn't really want to know what Sailor Pluto's weaknesses were, and had no desire to seek out planetary breaking-points…

Her mother was nice enough… about as nice and trusting as she was powerful… but she had shown, in the past, to have little tolerance for anything she considered evil. So Terra had needed to conceal that aspect of her life from her as much as possible, which didn't lend itself well to an open, supportive relationship.

And, the final blow, her Atomic Starlight Knight was dead. Great. Just perfect. Just abso'floggin perfect.

Um, he's not quite dead yet, one of Terra's inner psyches noted.

DON'T START THAT OLD JOKE AGAIN!!!

What old joke?

THAT old joke!

Let's go have some tea!

Terra thought about that last part… it didn't sound so bad. But what about Starlight?

Star Light?

Star Lights?

I think they're weird.

I think they're cute!

I say we should destroy them all! MWAHA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!

YEAH, BABY!!!

A three-hundred-gigaton blast to their homeworlds! Then we go after Galaxia! She'll never know what hit 'er!

YES!!! We'll haul in some quantum singularities and—

Who cares about the Star Lights? They're—

*WHAM!*WHAM!*WHAM!* Serena looked on in bemusement as Terra ripped a large brick out of the wall, with which she began to whack herself on the head. *THWACKK!* Quite hard, in fact, since the hard stone brick crumbled under the constant assault.

"NOT THE STAR LIGHTS, YA FREAKS!!!" Terra screamed, seemingly to herself, "STARLIGHT! STAR-LIGHT! YOU KNOW, THE ATOMIC STARLIGHT KNIGHT?! THE GUY WE DUMPED HALF OUR MIND INTO?!?!"

"Um, Terra," the other Moon Princess in the room began uneasily as she started to back off, "you're frightening me."

Terra dropped the remnants of the brick and smiled at her adoptive sister sheepishly. "Um… The… uh, the… Mental Link! Yeah, the Mental Link can be difficult to control, yeah! That's the ticket! Nothing to worry about. Really."

Princess Serenity raised an eyebrow. Yes, her sister was just as difficult to understand as ever.

Terra turned around. Now, what's this about him surviving?


The hypo-spray hissed as the special-happy-wake-up-juice went into the admiral's magical equivalent of a bloodstream. His eyes snapped open. Something moved away.

[Ah, so you have finally decided to awaken,] an electronically transmitted voice said through a very bad PA system.

A.S.K. blinked, his eyes (or the magical equivalent thereof) adjusting to the light. From the design of the room and the many burn marks and assorted slashes in the walls, it appeared that he was in some sort of fighting arena. Either that, or someone had been playing basketball with a team of acid-bleeding Xenomorphs.

Ah, there's one now.

*SCREEEEEEEEECH!*

A queen, from the looks of it.

*GRAWHHH!*

And hungry, too.

[Now,] the voice continued, [you will cooperate, won't you?]

The green-armored knight shrugged. "Sure."

There was an uncomfortable silence. [You're going to give in THAT easily? You haven't even heard what I've got planned for you!]

A.S.K. glanced over to the gigantic black, skeletal creature and yawned. "I've got a pretty good idea. These things're scattered all over the universe, renowned for their usefulness as bio-weapons. You plan to use it to threaten me into doing whatever it is you want me to do. But if you ask me, I've seen scarier stuffed teddy bears."

[Oh, really?]

"Yup. There's this one Princess Serenity has…" He shuddered, then paused, looking up at the PA system's speaker. "Well, get on with elaborating on your maniacal plans, already!"

So we can blow 'em up!

YEAH, BABY! The inner voices were all in agreement this time. Well, mostly.

Let's go play with some cute, pink dollies!

*WHAM!*

[Well,] the evil-whatever-it-was continued, [I have acquired several vessels of unknown origin that have tremendous power—]

"Unknown?" A.S.K. raised an eyebrow. "I know that those ships belong to a race whose name is… too long to pronounce, but I'm pretty sure that if you convinced them to give you so many ships, you'd at least have an idea who—"

[I FOUND THEM BURIED ON NEMESIS, ALL RIGHT?!] the unknown speaker snapped, then continued in a more even tone, [Anyway, I'm using them to capture all of the most powerful warriors of this solar system, starting with Neptune's princess, then I will be able to take over all of the planets' governments without any major difficulties.]

"You'll never get away with it," the captured mental projection said, completing the obligatory statement for this situation.

[MUAHA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAA! That's what they all say—]

"I'm serious. You should have taken out Pluto first. Now, you'll never be able to do it."

[Oh, I believe I can. Your fleet, the most powerful in this solar system, has been destroyed! I will prevail! Your capture proves this!]

"Whaddaya mean 'My capture proves this'? Don't you get signals from your ships? I trashed your sloppy imitation of a Shadow attack."

[WHAT?!]

"You heard me. I took my ultra-wimpy stock Earth ships and blasted 'em to pieces!"

[You're lying!]

"Yeah? What'cha gonna do about it, liíl' man? Liíl' man, liíl' man?" A.S.K. taunted, duplicating a turn of phrase he had sometimes heard his tactical officer use.

[Grrr…] the mysterious voice growled.

"'Swhat I thought. Take ya best shot, ya pansy!"

*BEEP!* A previously unseen force field was deactivated.

*SCREEEEEEEEEECH!* The Xenomorphic Alien Queen was suddenly free to move about.

It promptly leapt at A.S.K., claws extended, tail whipping dangerously, and jaws slavering hungrily. The intended lunchmeat didn't look at all frightened.

*BAM*WHACK*POW!!!*

{TRIPLE COMBO!} an automated announcer shouted as A.S.K. knocked the beast back with his bare hands.

"You better ease up outta my face before somethin' bad happens," the mental projection of a damaged galactic destroyer said darkly to the dazed skeletal creature, cracking his knuckles as he waited for it to recover.

*SSSHHAAAA!* It hissed and advanced, slightly more cautiously.

*BAM* THWACK* BLAM* BZZT* KERACK* SLAM-SLAM-SLAM* POW* BLAAAM* SLASH-KAPOW* SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!*

{MONSTER COMBO!!!} the automated announcer shouted dramatically as the smaller fighter methodically beat the snot out of the larger one.

"'Tis but a friendly game of fisticuffs," A.S.K. said, shrugging as the other fighter recovered, pulling itself off the floor.

{Ready…}

"Coming back for more?" the Admiral asked, smiling evilly. "You've just officially made my day."

*BAM* POW* BAM* BAM* BAM* THWACK* SMACK* SLAM* SMASH* BZZT* BZZZT* BZZZT* *POCK* WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK-WHACK* *KERRUNCH* POW* SLAM* SLAM* SLAM* WHACK* BLAM* SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!!*

{{{{ULTRA!!!!!!!}}}} the announcer echoed, seemingly in awe.

The Xenomorph, battered, broken, shattered, and otherwise mutilated, slumped against the wall. Its highly acidic internal (now external) fluids quickly dissolved through the five feet of high-gauge steel encasing the fighting arena.

"Oh dear, now look what I've gone and did," the winner said, holding his hand up to his mouth in mock embarrassment, "I've broken your little friend. How utterly tragic!"

He stepped through the gaping hole in the wall, unaffected by the residual acid, casually tossing a grenade behind him as he left.

Oh no, not again, the Alien thought as the explosive rolled to within an inch of its broken face.

*BLAAAM!*

{{{{Supreme Victory!!!!}}}}

 

Continued in Part 9-C

Chapter 9-C
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