Doctor Sam Beckett ran along
the street, cradling a small,
spherical gem in his hands. "Al, what am I doing with this?"
Al moved along with him,
though appearing to be standing
in place. "I do, I do, Sam. Don't worry, it's all according to
"_WHAT_ plan, Al?"
"_THE_ plan, Sam! There's
this idea that the new gal on
Sam blinked. "Wait... NEW gal?"
"Yeah. Susan," the hologram
replied. "You know, the new girl
in town... Tina's second cousin? The fashion designer turned temporal
specialist?" He frowned at his friend's blank look. "I thought I told
you about her on your last leap."
Not breaking his run, Sam
shrugged in confusion. "I never
heard about anyone called Susan working on Quantum Leap..."
Al sighed. "Eh, well, I guess
that's not surprising, Sam. Your
mind's swiss-cheese, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember _that_, but... what does Susan do?"
"She's our new project manager,
and has this _really_ big
non-interference policy she's planning on implementing." Al
chuckled. "You wouldn't know it by just looking at her, but she's
a real fanatic when it comes to not messing around with the
timeline. Don't do this, don't do that. You shouldn't prevent this
Sam frowned. "And we're following
_her_ plan for saving
Al opened his mouth to say
something, then returned his
friend's frown. "Hmm... I can see how that could be a problem," he
said, and casually glanced to his right. He gasped and pointed. "Oh!
Look, Sam! There he is!"
"Is it Maxfield Stanton?
Nephrite?" Sam asked, looking toward
where the hologram was pointing at.
Al rolled his eyes. "No,
it's the Good Humor Man," he said
sarcastically. "YES, it's Maxfield Stanton! Now get going and save
Standing by a park bench
and disguised as a casually dressed
Maxfield Stanton, Nephrite fingered the bruise that was beginning
to form on his forehead.
He winced, growling slightly
at how much pain it was causing
him. Where had his enemies gotten so much power?! First, it was
Sailor Earth, then Sailor Moon... and now Tuxedo Mask. At this
rate, Sailor _Mercury_ might be able to beat him!
A girl's voice broke off this train of thought. "Nephrite?"
Nephrite turned around, somewhat surprised to see her. "Molly?"
Molly nodded, a concerned
expression on her face. "Yeah, it's
"I'm glad to see you again,"
the disguised general said,
feigning friendliness. "How did you find me?"
The reddish-brown-haired girl paused. "I-"
"That doesn't matter, though,"
Nephrite cut in, starting to
smile. "Does this mean you've decided to help me?"
"That's what I've been trying
to tell you: I really DO want to
help you, but I'm not sure what the problem is."
"I already told you."
Molly sighed and shook her
head. "You were lying, Nephrite."
She looked up at him. "I know that you're in danger... and I'm
willing to help, if you just tell me what it is you need."
"I wasn't lying, Molly."
"Oh, yes, you were."
"I'm in danger from the evil
people from the Negaverse! I'm
not like them, so they want me killed!"
Molly looked like she was
losing her patience. "Stop insulting
my intelligence, Maxfield... Nephrite... whoever you are! I'm not
Nephrite clenched his fist
and glared at her with narrowed
eyes and clenched teeth. "Don't make me-"
"You see?" Molly asked, not
appearing at all frightened.
"You're so sure of yourself that you thought I'd believe you right
off, and now that I don't, you're getting angry. I want to help
you, but I _can't_ if you won't let me!"
Nephrite stayed tensed in
barely contained rage for a moment,
then his expression softened and he let his hand drop. He managed a
smile and gave a wry laugh. "Was my acting really _that_ poor?"
Molly nodded with half a smile. "Umm-hmm."
The brown-haired man sighed.
"Alright, then. Molly, there is
only one thing I need from you, and that is the Ginzuishou."
Molly blinked. "Ginzuishou?"
"Empyrean Silver Crystal," Nephrite corrected.
The girl thought about it.
"Silver Crystal..." As if hearing
something, she glanced to her right. "Okay, Al," she whispered,
and looked back at Nephrite. "Is this it?"
Molly held up a spherical
crystal, which was rather large
by gem standards.
Nephrite took the crystal
and pulled out his own, pointing
it at the other. He frowned as nothing happened. The Star Crystal
didn't react to it; it wasn't what he was looking for. He looked
at Molly. "It's..." he began, then trailed off. After all that
had been said, he really didn't want to disappoint her right now.
The crystal she had given him hadn't come from nowhere. For whatever
reason, she was _really_ going out on a limb for him. So, he smiled
at her and said, "Thank you, Molly. This is just what I'm looking
Molly glanced to her right
again, then looked at the crystal
Nephrite was holding, and frowned. "Oh no, I didn't," she whispered
in dread, below Nephrite's hearing. She opened her mouth to say
something to him, but...
"Not so fast, Nega-Scum!"
a girl called in an authoritative
Nephrite turned to face the
speaker, and narrowed his eyes.
Sailor Moon stepped into the light.
"Got that right, buster!"
Sailor Moon said, beginning to
do some of her patented poses. "I am Sailor Moon, Champion of
Justice! I right wrongs and triumph over evil. Brainwashing
innocent girls to steal jewels for you is wrong... and cannot
be allowed! On behalf of the Moon, I will punish you!"
Molly blinked, then stared,
raising a bemused eyebrow,
having completely missed the speech in light of the confusion
caused by the odd sailor-suit the girl was wearing. "Um... Who...
What are you supposed to be?"
The pigtailed blonde stepped
forward. "Don't worry, Molly,
you'll back to normal soon! I'll dust this creep!" She looked at
Nephrite, and moved into another pose, pointing at him. "And that
Nephrite stood in place,
glaring at Sailor Moon. "Not enough
power to fight her," he whispered to himself. He closed his eyes and
pressed his hands together. "I ask for power from the stars... Dark
Matter, conceal me!"
Within a matter of seconds,
the entire area was shrouded in
a black fog.
"Maxfield? I can't see you!
What's going on?!" Molly asked,
trying to see through the darkness. She soon felt a presence near
"Stay back, Molly," Nephrite
whispered into her ear, then
"How long, Al?!" the girl
whispered frantically. She gasped.
Sailor Moon tried to take a step. "Uh, hey, where did you..."
*WHAM!* She stumbled and
tripped directly onto her face.
Nephrite almost groaned,
peering through the haze at the girl.
"Such power in such a crybaby..." Being outclassed by an experienced
opponent was one thing. Being overpowered by someone like _Sailor
Moon_ was downright embarrassing. He held his hands together in
preparation for something that had a chance at getting rid of her.
"I ask for-"
"Mercury Bubbles... Blaaast!!!"
"Not again!" Nephrite shouted,
running his hand over his
face in frustration.
A blue fog swept away the
blackness, rendering him unable to
"Mars Fire... Ignite!"
Nephrite was barely able
to duck as the blast of flame swept
The fog faded and the combatants
were visible to all. There
were three new Senshi on the battlefield, and Nephrite had switched
back to his grey uniform.
The blue-highlighted one struck a pose. "I am Sailor Mercury!"
The red one moved into a similar position. "I am Sailor Mars!"
"And on behalf of Mars..."
The two finished with another
dramatic stance. "We will Punish
The pink-highlighted Sailor
Earth helped Sailor Moon off the
Off to the side, Molly blinked,
shook her head, and stared at
them. Somehow managing to shrug that off, she glanced around and
caught sight of Nephrite. "Two minutes... I know, Al... But doesn't
this seem a bit... odd, to you, though?" She paused, and then
frowned. "Oh, really?"
"So," Nephrite began, gazing
at his opponents, "this is the
way it's going to be, then?" He raised a hand above his head.
"Earth... Glistening Aurora!"
Sailor Earth blurted out,
swinging her right arm forward, throwing a twirling surge of
energy at the youma general.
Nephrite's Starlight Attack
dissipated in several flashes of
brilliant, exotic colors as Sailor Earth's 'attack' surrounded him.
The redheaded Senshi blinked as she noticed what she just did.
"Alright!" Sailor Moon said,
deciding to take advantage of
Nephrite's current distraction. "Moon... Tiara... Action!"
Sailor Moon's tiara flared
up, then rose off of her head. It
flared once more, becoming a shining, almost frisbee-like oval of
golden energy. It dove at its intended target at a nigh-impossible
"Nephrite, look out!!!" Molly shouted.
Nephrite took his attention
away from the shimmering sphere
around him and noticed what was headed toward him. His eyes widened
as he realized what it was, and that he couldn't do anything about
it; All of his powers were somehow being blocked! He was frozen in
place as an attempt to teleport backfired. He paled, knowing that
now, there was only one thing left to do: "AAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!"
Time seemed to take on an
entirely new dimension for him as he
felt the searing heat of Sailor Moon's tiara draw closer.
His life flashed before his
eyes. Long-forgotten and neglected
pieces of his past flowed through his mind.
He remembered his service
to the Kings of Earth and Prince
Endymion... and felt no regret at having joined Queen Beryl.
He remembered the damage
he had helped do to the Kingdoms and
peoples of the Silver Millennium... and felt no guilt.
He remembered the vicious
struggle and burning pain at the end,
and felt no fear.
He remembered his childhood; his friends... and felt no joy.
He remembered his beloved
wife, and how awe-inspiringly
beautiful his young daughter looked, as he held her up above him,
cherry blossoms blowing around in the breeze through her strawberry-
And felt a dull thud as he was knocked to the concrete.
The tiara sped past him,
then slowed and flared again, circling
back towards him.
Against the street lights,
a very familiar silhouette of a girl
stood, lifting herself off of him and holding her shoulder in pain.
"Stop!" she called.
Nephrite felt a peculiar
energy, and looked to his side, where
the Star Crystal had fallen.
It was flashing.
"It's reacting!" the youma
general whispered, snatching it off
the ground as all else fled his mind. "It's reacting... to... her?"
he said, pointing the crystal at the silhouette. "To... Molly?"
Molly knelt down and attempted
to move him, but made little
progress with her nicked shoulder. She glanced back and noticed that
the tiara was headed right at her... her head, as a matter of fact.
"Ayieee!!!" Sailor Moon shouted
in shock, coming out of a
trance. "Stop, Tiara!"
The tiara continued on unabated.
The small disk kept right on going...
Molly gritted her teeth and
closed her eyes, clearly attempting
to shield the brown-haired general beneath her.
"Molly, no!" Nephrite shouted,
trying to push her out of the
way, but having little success. It was almost as if she were made
The glow from the rapidly-moving
object dampened... and the
plain gold tiara bounced harmlessly off of Molly's forehead.
The brown-haired girl opened
her eyes, looked around, and
breathed a sigh of relief. She tentatively stood, then winced as she
remembered the nick she had inadvertantly received from Sailor Moon's
Sailor Moon gasped as she
saw it, and rushed toward her. "Oh
no, Molly... areyoualright?!Pleasesayyourealrightpleasepleaseplease!"
Molly raised a hand, motioning
her to stop. "I'm okay." She
stood up more or less straight. "Now... why on Earth are you trying
to kill him!?"
Sailor Moon took in a couple
more gasping breaths. "It's...It's
because... He's... anevilmonsterfromthenegaverse... and... I... I
was afraid for you, okay, Molly!"
Molly frowned. "I didn't quite... hear all that."
"He's evil," Mars said, stepping forward.
Molly looked at her. "Oh, really? I've seen worse."
Mercury sighed. "He's involved
in a plot to steal all of our
energy and use it to resurrect a force that will be used to take
over our world... and then the entire universe!"
Nephrite stood, watching
the pulsing of his crystal slow, and
finally stop. "Who cares about that?" he half-growled. "Beryl wants
to bring back Metallia... and believe me, she can have her. I want
nothing to do with that nutcase..."
"That's news to me," Mars
said, her eyes narrowed and her arms
folded. "Last I heard, you _were_ working for Queen Beryl."
Nephrite rolled his eyes.
"Beryl," he said, "is an imbecile.
She is growing more mindless by the week... but her powers are
just as strong as ever. She wants the Empyrean Silver Crystal to
bring back that demon-failure to help her on a futile quest to
conquer everything that exists."
"Silver Crystal..." Sailor Moon whispered.
Mercury frowned. "So... what do you want it for?"
Nephrite laughed. "I've set
out to find it for myself... to
master the powers it holds." He smiled. "Neither you nor Beryl will
so much as stand a chance against me once I have it."
Looking on, bemused, Molly
opened her mouth to make a comment,
but before she could...
"Ha ha ha haaa!" a blonde
woman laughed as she appeared above
them in a spiral of cherry blossoms. Smiling, she looked down at
Nephrite and the Sailor Scouts. "So, Nephrite... Turned traitor,
"Zoicite," Nephrite said,
"run back to Beryl and tell her
whatever you very well please. You can't do anything about it, and
I _know_ she won't."
"Hmph," Zoicite replied,
continuing to smile as she caught
sight of the dark crystal in Nephrite's hand. "So, you've found
it..." She rose higher into the air. "Spikey, sic 'em!"
Nephrite narrowed his eyes
and moved into a combat stance.
"Didn't... what?" Molly asked.
Sailor Moon frowned. "Uh... what's a 'Spikey?'"
*GRAAAHHH!!!* There was a
throaty, hissing growl from the
shadows, away from the lamppost.
"That," Nephrite whispered, deathly quiet, "is Spikey."
Sailor Moon took a step back. "Eeep..."
Mercury had activated her
computer and started to scan the
unseen creature. She gasped.
The horrifying creature leapt
into the light, giving everyone
a very good look at its appearance. Its smooth, shiny skin was
black-hued and translucent, stretched tautly against its long,
continuous head and almost skeletal body. Its thick tail was
approximately half its length, extending back from its thin hind
Spikey was also about ten inches tall.
The beast curled its lips
back on its relatively small mouth,
revealing a row of jagged teeth, then narrowed its two small, beady
red eyes and gave a terrifying hiss... then smiled as it put on a
red-banded tap-dancer's hat and pulled out a cane.
The black monster pulled
off its hat and held it up in a showy
manner, twirling its cane and beginning to kick its feet high into
the air in a sort of dance as it began to sing.
o/Hello, my baby,
Hello, my honey.
Hello, my rag-time gal!\o
Sailor Moon smiled and laughed
as she watched the small
creature sing. "That's... almost cute!"
o/Send me a kiss by wire.
Baby, my heart's on fire!\o
"It's evil," Mars reminded,
then had to cover her mouth
to keep from snickering too loudly.
o/If you refuse me,
Honey, ya lose me.
Then you'll be left alone, oh baby!
Telephone, and tell me I'm your own!\o
The creature danced off into the shadows.
Sailor Mercury slowly blinked,
looking rather disturbed.
She twitched for a moment, then fainted.
"Oh my," Sailor Earth said,
catching the blue-haired girl
as she fell, holding her up. "Are you alright?"
"It... makes... no... sense..."
Sailor Mercury muttered,
still twitching. "Mary... had... a rather large lamb... It's fleas...
we-weren't really... white as snow... they were more of an off-white
beige..." She exhaled, shivering.
"Oh," Sailor Earth said,
beginning to frown, then smiled.
"Would you like a cookie?" She held a large chocolate chip cookie
in front of her friend's mouth, which reflexively opened. She
happily stuffed it in there.
Sailor Mercury, her cheeks
stuffed, began to chew... then
woke up and swallowed. "Thank you," she said to the redhead, "that
was an _excellent_ cookie." She stood, out of Sailor Earth's support.
Sailor Earth smiled even more brightly at the compliment.
Zoicite looked on, speechless
for the last few moments.
"I... don't think it was supposed to do that." She took in a
deep breath. "SPIKEY!!! KILL THEM AND BRING ME THE CRYSTAL!!!"
*Grish*Grish*Grish* The monster
off in the shadows
half-growled, almost seeming to mutter.
"What was that?" Zoicite asked in a reprimanding tone.
*NaaaaAAAH* The growl became
deeper as the unseen creature
Mercury reactivated her computer,
and made another scan.
She almost recoiled. "It's grown nearly nine-hundred percent!"
Nephrite visibly yawned and
looked up at Zoicite. "Bye,
Zoicite. I don't have time for _you_." He vanished.
The blonde general frowned.
"Eh... That wasn't in the
plan... but..." She looked down. "Spikey! Finish them off!"
Molly's eyes widened as a
very large, very hungry-looking
black... thing advanced toward her. Its body gave the impression
of an elongated human skeleton, but the head set it far apart from
anything remotely human. The head was smooth, round, and shiny, not
having much width, but having enough length to curve over its back.
It had no visible eyes, yet it appeared to be looking directly at
However, the most frightening
thing about it was that it was
smiling at her, its jaws dripping a thick saliva.
"Al..." Molly called, looking around frantically. "AL!"
The creature pounced past
her, slamming into and knocking
down Sailor Mars, pinning her to the ground with its weight.
Sailor Moon gasped. "Moon Tiara Action!"
The tiara on the ground flared
instantly into action,
speeding toward Mars' attacker.
*KSSSH* Sensing the approach,
the monster looked back, then
swung its long, black, spinal tail, smacking the glowing disk away.
The oval of energy spiraled
off, then lost power and clattered
to the ground as a plain golden tiara.
"That's not supposed to happen!" Sailor Moon cried.
"Mars... Fire," Sailor Mars
began, pressing her hands
together in front of her, "Ignite!"
*KAAAAAAAH!* The spikey thing
screamed as flames blasted
it, knocking it off of the Senshi and engulfing it in fire.
The beast quickly rolled
away on the moist ground, dousing the
flames. It made a spiraling flip to land by Mars and backhanded her
away, sending her crashing into the branches of a tall tree.
"Oh my," Sailor Earth said, and rushed to help Mars.
The skeletal monster reared
up to its full height, drawing
the skin back away from its teeth in a calculating expression as
it glanced to its left, then its right, deciding on other prey.
Pointedly ignoring Sailors Moon and Mercury, it swung around and
saw Molly. Another grin came to its mouth.
Molly started to back off,
the wound on her shoulder
forgotten for the moment. She looked around for a possible
way of escape... and found none. "Erm... Uh oh."
As the monster pounced upon
her, her head hit the ground,
knocking her unconscious.
The beast quietly hissed
in anticipation of its next meal.
It opened its mouth, another jaw sliding out of it, dripping
saliva, which landed just by Molly's face, sizzling as it slowly
burned through the concrete.
Sailors Moon and Mercury
looked on in horror, and decided
at once that they had to do something, _now_.
As one, they leapt toward
the creature, feet first. Sailor
Mercury was silent, but Sailor Moon...
"Sailor Moon Kick!"
The monster, its attention
attracted by the shout, turned
and smacked the two away as easily as if they were made of cheap
Sailor Mercury landed in
the bushes, and Sailor Moon fell hard
against the sidewalk. "Ow-ow-ow..."
The beast turned back towards
the girl underneath it. It
hissed... then pulled out a monocle and put it over its right eye.
"Oh dear, this will never
do," it said in an upper-class
English accent, looking over its victim. It took out a salt-shaker
and sprinkled some on Molly. It nodded, putting away its monocle.
Sailor Mercury crawled out
of the bushes and gasped as she
saw the attacking monster lean down and open its jaws...
*ROAAAAR!!!* And a sparkling,
ethereal blue lion leapt out
of the darkness, knocking the creature off of Molly and fought
bitterly with it, clawing at its body and head.
The beast made quick work of the lion, tearing it in half.
Leo, the lion, vanished in a scattering of blue sparks.
Nephrite stepped out of the
shadows. "I ask for power from
the stars," he said, focusing. "Orion the Hunter, come forth!"
A glowing blue man with a
bow and arrows appeared above
the general. Orion fired repeatedly at the black creature, imbedding
two arrows in the beast's head and three in its body.
Undaunted at these slight
wounds, the creature reared back
and sprang toward Orion, shredding the constellational projection
like paper, then turned and jumped at Nephrite.
"Starlight Attack!" Nephrite growled.
Dozens of small bursts of
energy lanced from the sky, knocking
the beast out of the air and puncturing its thick, shiny skin.
The monster shrieked, then
went limp as it sustained too many
hits, its acidic blood sizzling into the ground around it.
Above, Zoicite gasped.
"Hmph," Nephrite said, turning
to Zoicite, unimpressed. "Is
that the best you have to send at me?"
The blonde general trembled
in shock. "I... will RUIN you,
Nephrite!" With that, she disappeared in a shower of flower petals.
Nephrite began to walk toward
Molly, then went down on one
knee, breathing roughly, exhausted at having used so much energy in
such a short amount of time.
Sailor Earth finally got
Mars out of the tree. Mercury stood,
as did Sailor Moon. They gathered in front of Nephrite, near Molly.
They were quiet, not quite knowing what to say.
Behind them, the creature
hissed, stirring. It stood back
up and dove directly toward Molly, swinging its claws down at her.
"NO!" Nephrite shouted, whirling
around and thrusting an
energy-charged palm toward it. A continuous red beam blasted outwards
from the general's hand, tearing into the creature... but not
Nephrite gritted his teeth
and brought his other hand forward,
intensifying his attack. His hair blew back in the wake of the
amount of power being used.
The beast screeched, slowing
down... then burst into flames
from the fiery assault being blasted through it. It backed off,
flailing in agony as the fire rapidly consumed it. By the time it
finally fell, it had been almost completely incinerated.
Exhausted from the strain,
Nephrite went back down, leaning on
one knee, breathing deep and raspy.
There was another shocked silence from the Senshi.
"Spikey," Nephrite muttered,
"Kunzite's pet xenomorph." He
took another deep breath and stood, then turned to look at the
Senshi. "Goodbye," he said harshly, then turned back around and
started walking away.
Sailor Moon looked down at
Molly, then at Nephrite. "Wait,"
she said. "Molly's hurt."
"Hmph," the general replied, not stopping.
Sailor Moon frowned. "Don't... you care about her?"
Nephrite stopped and glared
back at her. "I saved her life...
Isn't that enough?" He looked down at Molly, and his expression
softened for a moment... before once again hardening. He continued
walking off, and disappeared into the darkness.
Sailor Moon watched Nephrite
depart, then looked down at
Molly, wincing at the wound on the girl's shoulder that had been
caused by _her_ tiara...
The pigtailed Senshi paused,
deep in thought. Nephrite had
just saved Molly... AND the rest of them by destroying that monster.
There was more to him, it seemed, then just draining energy; There
was at least some good in him... but there was also an underlying
hatred... Of what, she couldn't tell.
Sailor Moon looked up at
the stars, hoping for answers, and
saw a trace of light shoot across the sky. She held her hands
together... <I wish, I wish, o shooting star... Help Nephrite
fight the bitterness within him.>
"Ah," the EMH said, escorting
the brown-haired chef in,
"I'm glad you've come. 'Tim's condition has taken a turn for
Ukkyo frowned. "I thought you said he'd be okay."
The doctor frowned gravely.
"That's what I originally thought,
but that was before I found the rest of his inner damage. He
has no digestive tract left, and has lost a great deal of blood.
It's all I can do to keep him from dying outright now." The
balding holographic program sighed. "And what remains of his
circulatory system keeps getting rid of the anesthetic I'm
using to keep him from waking up."
"So he's not going to make
it?" Ukkyo asked, her hopes
The doctor opened his mouth
to speak... but was interrupted
by a sudden shout from behind him.
yelled, a light-red glow
The doctor gritted his holographic
teeth. "Oh no, it's worn
off already..." He approached the bio-bed 'Tim was on... but
was blasted back by a sudden shockwave from the pink-haired man.
growled, gritting his teeth as
the energy around him intensified into an almost pulsating aura.
The bandanna on his head turned black, then disintegrated.
Ukkyo raised her spatula
in front of her, trying to block
the wind and stand her ground.
injured man clenched his jaw
shut as the spiral of power continued unabated.
A glowing, golden crescent
moon flickered into existence on
His arm regenerated, and
his wounds faded, being replaced
by new, undamaged flesh.
The power surge slowed, faded, and finally stopped.
'Tim fell to the deck, breathing
softly. "Wish... approved?"
he whispered, then frowned. "Alright, who's been making wishes?"
He pounded on his head. "I know you're in there!"
Ukkyo blinked, then smiled. "'Tim? You're alright?"
"In-dubitibly," the pink-haired
man with the crescent moon
on his forehead said, standing. He looked down and fingered his
torn shirt, then smiled and shrugged. "Hmm... Oh well. Never really
liked this look anyway."
The EMH came forward with
a medical tricorder, scanning
him. "Your arm has regenerated fully... as has the rest of your
misbegotten innards." He scanned near the crescent moon. "Your base
power level has increased by a factor of ten..."
The doctor trailed off as
the mark faded away. "...and now has
gone back to normal." He continued his scan. "Yes... You are
currently only an average male human psycho medical treatment case
from the darkest nether regions of heck." He walked off, continuing
to mutter to himself. "Training? More like attempted suicide...
Getting broken bones, shredded lungs, vaporized limbs... Taking risks
that he shouldn't!"
'Tim smiled as he listened
to the minor rant. "Relax, Doctor,"
he said, holding up a hand. "I'm not going to try any more
holographic opponents with the safeties off, okay?"
The EMH perked up. "Really? Good, good."
'Tim grinned. "I've decided
that my current method is going
far too slowly... So, I'm going to call in and see if I can get a
personal trainer to come in from Namek. They're usually pacifists,
but MAN, if you get them angry..." He chuckled evilly. "Fun, fun,
The doctor sighed, then put
down his tricorder. "Computer,
just deactivate me. Deactivate me NOW." He vanished in a rippling
'Tim smiled mischievously. "Heh heh heh."
In the next moment, he found
that Ukkyo was hanging onto
his arm, smiling up at him.
The pink-haired man looked
down at her with a raised
eyebrow. "Try to stay professional. You're still my employee,
you know. 'Simply isn't proper to..." He paused as he lost his
train of thought. He shrugged. "Oh well."
Ukkyo continued to smile
as she let go of his arm. "Right.
Speaking of which... Didn't I put in a lot of overtime today?"
'Tim thought about it, then
nodded. "Yup... AND you've
probably also earned a truckload of hazard pay..." He looked
into her eyes. "So, Ukkyo, expect a big, fat paycheck by the end
of the week."
The brown-haired chef laughed
and shook her head. "Right.
See you tomorrow, then." She walked to the door, then glanced
back, still smiling. "Tim-chan."
[Glad to be of service...]
the door said serenely as it
opened. [Thank you...] it continued, closing as the girl left.
"I hate suffixes," 'Tim muttered,
shaking his head. He
sighed. "Alright," he said, rubbing his hands together. "I
guess that pretty much wraps it all up..." He paused, a
nagging feeling pulling at him. "Now, what am I forgetting?"
The answer came to him like
a fifteen-ton sandbag to the
*ZZzzzzz* 'Tim snored quietly
as he slumped to the nice,
inviting, cold steel deck.
Urd looked at the Yggdrasil
terminal screen in confusion as
part of the registry came up.
[Belldandy: Goddess 1st Class,
Urd : Goddess 2nd Class, Limited.
Skuld : Goddess 3rd Class, Limited.
'Tim : Goddess 1st Class, Extraordinarily Limited.]
The goddess slapped her forehead
in disbelief. "Skuld!
I _think_ we may have another bug in the system!"
Zoicite sniffled. "And then...
<sniff> and then... <sniff>
he killed Spikey!"
Kunzite frowned, glowering
slightly as he attempted to
comfort the blonde woman. "That... Nephrite will pay, make no
mistake." He stood. "In exactly one week, my forces will be
ready. We will destroy him then."
Zoicite dried her tears and nodded.
As Jadeite-chan slept, cutely
tucked away in her soft,
feather-down bed, another mind collected itself from scattered
thoughts, which once would have been considered long gone and
Guardian Jadeite, loyal servant to Prince Endymion, awoke.
"I'm... alive?" he whispered in wonder as he opened his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, he sat up and looked around.
Judging from the prevalence
of yellow, pink, and the amount
of stuffed animals, this appeared to be the room of a young girl.
Wondering how he had gotten
here, he slid off of the bed and
stood, pushing away the blankets. He looked around again, trying to
find some hint of the true occupant.
Not seeing anyone, he walked
into an adjoining room, one with
multiple porcelain fixtures, a few shelves filled with bathing
supplies and an indescribable array of makeup equipment...
And then he noticed the large, wall-sized mirror.
The Royal Guardian looked
on in surprise as a young, but
very pretty blonde girl wearing loose-fitting white bunny-pajamas
looked back at him from the mirror.
"This is... odd," he said
in bemusement, then paused as he
noticed how high his voice was.
Jadeite looked down at herself
with a raised eyebrow, then
pinched her face to make sure she wasn't dreaming, and coughed in
disbelief. "I know I had more than a few drinks last night, but
waking up to THIS is just plain ridiculous!!!"
She looked around. "Nephrite?
Kunzite? Endymion? What kind of
joke are you trying to play?!" She shook her head and rolled her
eyes. "Always playing tricks on the new guy. Honestly... Probably
laughing their heads off right now."
Suddenly, without warning,
Jadeite felt a sudden, sharp pain
in her head, driving her to her knees.
It seemed as if someone,
or something much stronger than her
was stirring in her mind. She tried to cry out, but found that she
had no control over her body.
"What," Jadeite-chan growled
cutely as she stood up, "am I
doing over here?!"
<Oh no,> Jadeite thought,
scattered flashes of the other
Jadeite's memories flying through his... her... whatever mind. <The
conference on the Moon tomorrow... No, that's long past... But how?!
How did this happen?!>
He reviewed what he remembered,
whether from his own memories,
or those of the other mind. <The party I was at...> he realized.
<THAT's what Beryl was doing there! Supplanting the minds of high-
ranking Earth officials for future use... I'm glad Endymion and the
other Guardians weren't there, but...>
This train of thought ended
rather quickly as other memories
were brought forth. <The other Guardians joined anyway... Kunzite,
Zoicite, Nephrite... Wait... what happened to Zoicite? I don't
remember him looking so...> Another surge of memories followed.
<Oh... Well, strange things do happen, I suppose...>
He continued to recieve a
recollection of how the corrupted
version of himself acted. <'Tim...? That was a very childish thing
for him to have done... but hardly worth a life-long vendetta...>
Then, he felt a hint of satisfaction
as he saw how embarrassing
the defeat of the corrupted version of him was... and suddenly got
incredibly depressed as he saw the ruin of the Earth and Moon
As Guardian Jadeite muddled
over his sadness of how horribly
the Silver Millennium ended, former General Jadeite walked over to
the mirror and looked into it. She growled at the image she saw,
and got frustrated at how cutely she did it.
Jadeite-chan tried to produce
a malevolent look about her
any way she could... but failed miserably. Not even casting a
glamour had any effect. She was definitely locked into this form.
"Curses..." she muttered cutely.
Guardian Jadeite, somehow
able to see and hear, despite not
being in control was able to feel the heat of the other mind's
frustration. Looking over the shambles that had been made of his
life by the impostor, his anger began to boil.
Suddenly, he wanted to break something.
"Grrrrr," Jadeite-chan growled,
bringing her fist back
and swinging it toward the mirror... and only barely managed to
stop herself before hitting it. "I will NOT lose control THAT
easily," she whispered in determination, then nodded to herself
and started to walk back toward her bed.
Grasping at the sudden muscle
control he had, Jadeite tried
to move again. No luck. <No...> he thought in despair. He had control
for a second... but did not have as much raw power that the other
mind had. He couldn't sustain a direct takeover.
The disjointed mind of the
Royal Guardian started frantically
flailing around, trying to find a grip on something; _anything_ that
might help him.
Then, amongst his despair,
he felt the approach of a... pink
presence, for lack of a better word. He mentally grasped at it,
forcing it ahead with all his might.
Suddenly, Jadeite-chan stopped,
then looked back at the
mirror. She walked back to it, giggling as she examined her cute
reflection, turning to the side, almost posing.
She brushed back her hair
and took a blue ribbon from one of
the shelves and started tying it into her hair...
As Jadeite-chan realized what she was doing, she stopped.
"AAH!" she shouted, turning
away and yanking out the ribbon,
throwing it to the floor. She closed her eyes, gritted her teeth,
and rushed back to her bed. "This... is getting on my nerves!"
Guardian Jadeite would have
grinned if he could. He very
nearly got control again... Whatever he had just been able to use
against the other mind was much more powerful than he alone could
ever be. He could _feel_ the other mind weakening from the force
The Guardian himself did
not feel that much of an influence,
other than the strength required to wield whatever that force was.
Compared to the other mind, though, he was extraordinarily weak,
and the force was very difficult to manipulate.
He would have to collect
himself and gather his strength
before he could make another attempt. The 'pink' presence had
already slipped away from his mental grasp.
<Later, then,> Jadeite
decided. He would attempt to regain
control and get rid of this horrific corruption.
This other version of him
couldn't seem to tolerate being a
young girl... nor did he seem to be able to truly handle anything
that seemed to come with it.
He had to admit, though,
this was somewhat less than he could
have hoped for in a resurrection. Besides the obvious physical
aspects that would have to be adapted to, most of his friends were
gone... and the ones that weren't were working for an evil force.
It was life, though.
His real life had been snatched
away from him. He could live
with this one. It would not be easy, at least not at first, but it
wasn't that bad, all things considered.
There was little chance of
being recognized by any enemies that
the corruption had made... and his new home in this rather complex
installation was not all that bad, barring computer malfunctions.
Tim seemed nice enough... Rather like a clueless big brother.
Other aspects, such as making
new friends at the junior high
school could actually be an enjoyable experience.
First, however, he would
have to get rid of the other, evil
version of himself.
Possibilities that could
be used to force out the corruption
flowed through his mind as he submerged to rest and recharge.
He would have his life back.
By hook or by crook, he would
have it back.
"It was probably nothing,"
Jadeite-chan muttered to herself,
lying back down. She curled up against her pillow. "Yes... nothing
at all. I can stay in control... Focus... focus..."
With that, both minds of the cute blonde girl fell asleep.
"Now," Sailor Venus of the
thirtieth century said, smiling,
"let's see that One More Time!"
She tapped one of the crystal
controls for the large viewscreen
of Crystal Tokyo's Crystal Palace, showing a dramatic view of the
[Chikyuu... Doudou... Ryuujin-hou!!!]
"Ranma," Venus continued
enthusiastically, slapping a hand on
the tired girl's shoulder, "you said that you had trouble with this
guy in the past... Well, not anymore!"
"Hmm... I can't believe he's
really gone for good," the sailor-
suited martial artist said, rubbing her eyes as she re-watched the
fight. "I mean... I honestly DON'T believe he's really, finally
Venus tapped a few more crystals
on the control console.
"Okay, okay... Here's the molecular composition of... what was his
name? Happy Sigh?"
"Right, right," the blonde
Senshi said as she continued to
mess around with the controls. "So anyway, here's what his molecular
compo-whatsit looked like before..."
The display showed a picture
of Happosai, outlined with
scanned information off to the side. [Suito,] the image seemed
Ranma-chan could have sworn
that the picture was leering
at her. "Yeah, that's him..."
Sailor Venus continued to
play with the crystal controls,
which were beginning to humm ominously. "See? He's all there...
The display winked out.
The Senshi of Love turned
back toward the new Sailor Earth,
continuing to absently tap random control crystals with her right
hand and making emphatic gestures with her left. "BAM! Nothing
left. He's-" She trailed off as the control panel began to spark,
rattling slightly and beginning to humm louder.
Ranma-chan frowned. "Is it supposed to do that?"
Venus shrugged nervously.
"Eh... How should I know? They
never let me touch any of this stuff."
*KABLAAAM!!!* The viewscreen
and the crystal control panel
exploded, blasting the two Senshi and making a mess of the room
with broken bits of crystal shrapnel.
"Gee... I wonder why..."
Ranma-chan deadpanned, wiping some
of the soot off of her face.
Sailor Venus laughed nervously
and wrapped her arm around
the other girl's shoulder in a friendly manner. "Let's... get back
to the party, 'kay? They're probably wondering where we are."
"There's a party going on?" Ranma-chan asked in confusion.
Venus nodded emphatically,
hurriedly ushering the girl out
of the decimated control room. "Yeah, out on the lawn. The Queen
had to cancel the awards ceremony... but the troops're still
knocked up on goofballs... ER... They're still rather excited
about the victory and stuff... So, a few came up and talked
Serenity into letting them have some kind of celebration."
"What kinda celebration?"
"Something informal. You
know, something that the officers
can take off their uniforms and dress up really weird for..." The
orange-highlighted Senshi paused thoughtfully. "You ever been to
Marti Gras, kid?"
The redhead blinked, not
remembering anything called that at
the moment. "Marty what?"
Sailor Venus smiled, pulling
out a mask that looked like
an oversized pair of glasses. "Trust me, you're gonna love it."
"State yer business," the
ArbyFish, wearing dark, mirrored
shades, asked as he fluttered, hovering in front of the blonde
"We're just here to enjoy the party," Sailor Venus replied.
"Can I go to bed now?" Ranma-chan
asked. "I haven't slept
in over a week."
"Well, I 'aven't slept nigh
on seven 'undred years, so
quit complainin'," Arby snapped, then gave the redhead a kiss
on the lips. He drew back and smiled at her. "You're cute."
He fluttered off.
Ranma-chan bemusedly wiped off her mouth. "What the..."
Venus leaned towards her
to whisper, "Don't mind him. He
does that to everyone."
Ranma-chan raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"Just to throw you off."
"Oh. That makes sense... I guess."
All around them, the party
went on. Nearly everyone was
wearing masks of some sort, and many were in costume. All of
the Senshi were there, as were King Endymion and Neo-Queen
The Inner Senshi and the
royalty were mostly standing off to
one side, watching those that had come to celebrate... and were
starting to doze off.
"We have to set an example," Neo-Queen Serenity noted.
Sailor Jupiter looked longingly
at the partying people...
and one man especially. "He looks just like..." she whispered,
then quickly turned to her Queen. "Um, couldn't we... shouldn't
we be... Erm..."
"What is it, Lita?" Serenity asked.
The brown-haired Senshi just stood, looking down. "We..."
Mercury spoke up. "I think
what she's trying to say is
that... morale would benefit most especially if we were... among
our people." She turned to Jupiter. "Correct?"
Jupiter nodded vigorously, smiling.
Neo-Queen Serenity sighed. "Very well... Go."
*WHOOSH!* Mercury, Mars,
and Jupiter rushed off, leaving
behind small clouds of dust behind them, which soon dissipated.
The band members finished
setting up the titanic speakers and
got ready with their instruments, tapping steel drums, strumming
crystal guitars, and an assortment of other things, some very
The steel drum-players began,
tapping out some reggae theme,
which was soon accented by the other instruments.
"Now," Sailor Venus whispered
to the new Senshi beside her,
"the _real_ party begins."
struck a long, loud chord on
one of the magical crystal guitars.
Everyone was silent until the reverb died down.
A chorus of trumpets played an upbeat, Spanish-style tune.
A cheer went up from the
crowd, and the people formed a
sort of procession. They started dancing in very loose lines.
Sailor Venus smiled, then
jumped up, giving a shout, and
took a place in the moving mass of madness.
Ranma-chan closed her eyes
and groaned at the noise. "Ummh."
After a moment, she opened her eyes and looked around for something
orderly to use as a mental anchor.
After a few seconds of searching,
she caught sight of Neo-
Queen Serenity. "Maybe she knows where I can rest..." the redhead
Beginning to wade her way
through the river of dancing
individuals, she lost sight of her goal. "Oh... forget it."
Ranma-chan crouched, then
jumped, springing over the heads
of the people, accidentally going _over_ the Queen, and landing
right in front of Endymion. Her forward momentum and relative
lack of strength sent her collapsing into his arms.
"Whoa," Endymion said, correcting
his balance. He looked
down at the tired girl that was currently hanging on to him for
support. "Ah... Greetings, Sailor Earth."
"Ranma," the redhead corrected.
She looked over to Serenity.
"This has been fun and all, but... Can I go home now?"
The pigtailed Queen looked
at her and noted her _extreme_
fatigue. "Of course, you can, Ranma," she said quickly. "Your
quarters are in-"
Sailor Pluto, seemingly appearing
out of nowhere, broke
into the conversation. "No," she said, "h... she cannot. Not
Ranma-chan looked at the
Time Guardian. "Aw, come on,
Setsuna! Why not?"
"Setsuna," Serenity said,
"isn't whatever it is you're
doing going a little too far?"
"No," Sailor Pluto replied.
The Queen paused, looking
down for a second. "I _know_ that
something is going on... Your behavior hasn't exactly been... normal,
lately. As a matter of fact, you rarely even visit Crystal Tokyo,
normally having to guard the Time Gate. Ever since you brought...
Ranma here, you've been almost constantly watching her."
Sailor Pluto nodded. "She
must be looked after." She began
to walk away.
Neo-Queen Serenity pursed
her lips. "Wait! What about..."
She paused, thinking about what had been mentioned by Sailor
Saturn earlier today. "What about... your fiance? What about him?"
The Time Guardian froze,
then slowly turned around. She
narrowed her eyes. "It is none of your concern," she said, _very_
coldly. "Know this: Sailor Earth must remain conscious this night."
Sailor Pluto turned away once more, and vanished.
"I wonder what this is all about," Serenity whispered.
Endymion was still looking
down at Ranma-chan. He shook his
head sadly. "You look exactly like Terra did, you know that?"
"So they tell me," the girl
muttered, letting go and trying
to stand under her own power. She did it, but was wobbling
"Ranma," Serenity said, "Sailor
Pluto has said that you
cannot sleep tonight."
Ranma-chan laughed. "Yeah,
that's her style, alright... Always
trying to test me to the limits. I think she's training me in some
new form of martial arts... Mental and physical mastery... You
know, that sorta stuff..."
"That... could be it," the
Queen said as she considered that
possibility. Sailor Pluto had mentioned to her that there would be
some kind of new threat soon, and any sort of training would be
of use. Several of the other Senshi had been involved in the
training somehow... So, that very well could be the case.
This train of thought was
soon derailed, as a radiant ball
of light appeared in the sky, descending upon them.
The musicians stopped, as
did the rest of the crowd as they
gazed up at the light.
As the ball came closer,
it became apparent that there was
a woman inside: a tall, white-blonde woman with two very long
pigtails, two sets of transparent gossamer wings on her back,
and was wearing a long, white gown.
She descended upon them,
moving toward the Queen, who
"Mother..." Neo-Queen Serenity
whispered, tears beginning
to form in her eyes.
"Yes, my daughter," the other
woman replied serenely,
landing softly in front of her.
"It's you..." Endymion noted in wonder.
"Queen Serenity!" all of
the Inner Senshi realized at once,
rushing forward to kneel before her... except for Ranma, who
stayed back, looking at her with an arched eyebrow.
The younger Serenity went
forward and tentatively reached
out to touch her mother, then when she found that she was really
there, she embraced her, almost sobbing in joy. "Mother... it has
been so long..."
The elder Serenity patted
her daughter's back. "Yes...
and I have come back to help you."
The white-blonde woman moved
out of the embrace and held
her daughter's hands at arms length, smiling at her. "There will
be troubled times ahead, and you will need my guidance throughout
Neo-Queen Serenity frowned.
"I know, Mother. We have been
Queen Serenity continued
to smile. "Not to worry, though.
I will be here with you to help you deal with these new problems."
"Oh, Mother," the younger
Serenity said, now crying freely.
"I'm so glad."
Somehow managing to shake
off some of her fatigue, Ranma-chan
walked toward them. "Uh, hey," she said in greeting to elder
The woman in question looked
toward her. "Hello, child."
She paused. "I don't know you... Are you a new Senshi?"
Ranma-chan nodded slowly,
looking at her strangely. "You
don't... recognize me?"
Serenity laughed, smiling
down at her. "Of course not,
child... we've just met. What is your name, little one?"
"Ranma," Sailor Mars whispered
forcefully from her kneeling
position, "that's Queen Serenity. It's proper protocol to _kneel_
when our royalty makes an appearance, not ask them weird questions.
So, GET DOWN."
"Yeah, whatever," Ranma-chan said, waving her off.
"Ranma..." Mercury said, glancing sideways at her.
Ignoring her, the sailor-suited
martial artist continued
walking toward the two queens. "Riiight."
The elder queen looked back
toward her daughter. "Now, this
is very important: You must return the Ginzuishou to me. Only
then will I be able to truly assist you."
Neo-Queen Serenity nodded. "Of course, Mother."
*THWACK!!!* Ranma-chan punched
the elder Serenity directly
in the face, knocking her backward several meters until she hit
the wall of the Crystal Palace, where she fell to the ground.
"RANMA, NO!!!" all of the Senshi shouted at once, standing.
Endymion drew his sword.
The redheaded girl leapt
over to where she had knocked the
woman, then knelt down and took her into a headlock and started
pulling forcefully at her hair.
"Ow... ow... Help me!!!" Queen Serenity screamed.
Neo-Queen Serenity looked
on, agape in unmitigated shock.
"Ranma!!! What are you doing to my mother?!?!"
Ranma-chan gritted her teeth,
continuing to yank at the
woman's hair. "That's not your mother... it's a MAN, baby!!!"
Queen Serenity winced under
the assault, flailing around
helplessly in the headlock she was in. "Do something!"
Mars and Jupiter prepared
to attack. Endymion took out a
rose, while Venus looked on in disbelief.
"No, don't!" Mercury shouted. "You'll hit the Queen!"
The Senshi stopped.
The King threw his rose at
such an angle that it would miss
the queen and nick Ranma-chan's arm, forcing her to release her
*Ching!* ...if a defensive
shield around her hadn't flared
up and deflected the floral projectile.
"Ranma, please stop it!" Neo-Queen Serenity pleaded.
Ranma-chan redoubled her pulling efforts.
Serenity shouted, covering her
Queen Serenity howled in
agony as part of her scalp, from
the middle of her forehead up, tore away, revealing the red, oh
so red and puffy...
With a black, upside-down
crescent moon in the middle of the
"What the..." Endymion breathed.
The girl tossed away the
white-blonde hairpiece and ripped
off the rest of 'Queen Serenity's 'face,' revealing an entirely
"Rebel scum," Mars said,
almost sneering as she recognized
the true face.
The only real, present Serenity looked up and gasped.
"Rubeus?" Jupiter asked in
confusion. "How did they fit
you into that disguise?"
"More importantly," Venus
said with a raised eyebrow, "who
blackmailed you into wearing that dress?"
"And how did you get in here?!" Mercury asked, wide-eyed.
The red-haired Nemesian man,
still mostly disguised in
the white gown and pseudoskin, struggled in Ranma-chan's grip,
glaring at the Queen and her Senshi. "It is of no difficulty to break
through your puny defenses, foolish sailor-wimps!" He laughed
obnoxiously. "You may think you've defeated us, haven't you!? Well,
the attack we've sent you earlier today was NOTHING! We have
thousands of starships, each capable of leveling your insignificant
city! Prince Diamond will have you and your crystal, and I will
Rubeus trailed off as he
noticed that, during his rant,
the pink-highlighted Senshi had let go of him and moved away...
and the other Senshi and the King were preparing to strike. "Er...
His laugh faded as he disappeared in a flash of dark energy.
The Senshi once more stopped their attacks.
Jupiter blinked, shaking
her head. "Well, that ranks at about
a nine-point-oh on my weirdness scale..."
"No kidding," Venus said.
"I thought the prince's name was
Mercury looked _very_ worried.
"If they managed to get _him_
in here... They may just manage to sneak in other spies... or
worse: weapons of mass destruction..."
Serenity frowned, looking
down at her hands, wondering how
she could have been so easily deceived. "How... how could this
A security officer of Crystal
Tokyo rushed out of the
Palace and knelt before his queen. "I have bad news to report,
Queen Serenity: We have a saboteur."
Serenity nodded. "Did you catch him?"
The security officer shook
his head. "No, my queen. They
have eluded us. However, whoever they were, they had access to
the main control room. The entire place has been completely
"The main control room?" Sailor Venus asked.
The security officer nodded.
"Yes. The destruction of that
station shut down the defense grid. We were wide open for attack
for several minutes."
"Oops," Venus whispered,
covering her mouth, flushing a deep
shade of crimson in embarrassment.
"Sailor Venus?" Serenity asked, looking at her.
"Go to your room."
"Okay," Venus said, tiptoeing away. "Sorry, sorry..."
Endymion shook his head and
smiled wryly. "I'll take care of
it." He entered the palace.
Sailor Mars rolled her eyes.
"This is the third time this
Jupiter shook her head. "You think she'd have learned by now."
"Can I come, too?" Ranma-chan
asked, walking after the
departing Senshi. "I could use a place to-"
"Remember what Sailor Pluto said," Serenity reminded.
"Oh yeah," Ranma-chan said
in realization. She stood up
straight then took a deep breath and held it, trying to force herself
to stay awake awake.
Neo-Queen Serenity paused
in thought. "Speaking of Sailor
Pluto, would you happen to know who her fiance is?"
Ranma-chan coughed, releasing
the breath she was holding and
took another one, looking up at the Queen proudly. "That would be
me. Setsuna's my fiancee."
Serenity blinked, then raised
an eyebrow. Very high. "Oh,
is that so, Ranma? How did that happen?"
The redhead cleared her throat.
"Well, back home, I was
practicing my martial arts... Then this green-haired girl wearing
a sailor fuku pops up and challenges me to a fight... I used my
style's secret technique on her, then canceled out her attack,
eventually defeating her... and before you know it, she's latched
on as one of my fiancees." She smiled. "You know, the other girls
liked to give me gifts: usually food or something like that...
but Setsuna gave me trips to the future, power upgrades, really
tough training, and the chance to get rid of my worst, most annoying
adversary once and for all." She shrugged. "So, here I am."
Serenity coughed. "Er...
Ranma, that's all very interesting,
but... You're a girl."
Ranma-chan shook her head,
rolling her eyes. "No, I'm..."
She trailed off, noticing something amiss. She paused and looked
down at herself... then looked back up at the Queen. "ER... um...
Sailor Uranus walked by them,
raising her eyebrows
suggestively. "Say no more, say no more!"
The martial artist thought
over what she just said... and
frowned deeply. "Uh oh..."
Ranma had been going through a lot of stress lately.
First, there was the fact
that she had become more or less
stuck as a girl; if she couldn't get the fuku off, she really
wouldn't want to go through changing back... which could get quite
painful... and not in any way a 'good' kind of pain.
Second, there had been the
extraordinarily difficult and
straining training that she had been put through, during which,
she hadn't been able to get any sleep, or so much as collect
Third, Setsuna had been constantly
threatening him with
horrible things if he didn't renounce the engagement... and he
had felt honor-bound to maintain it. Besides, she was the most
realistic, calm, and sane fiancee she had.
Fourth, Happosai. Enough said.
Fifth, earlier, she had just
pulled off the biggest recorded
Ki blast in the history of all mankind... and it wasn't exactly
an easy thing to do.
And, Sixth... she had just
blabbed out that she was engaged
to Setsuna... and really didn't feel like letting the curse out at
the moment, nor did she wish to be called what her engagement to
another girl would imply.
So, from either the stress
of one or a combination of these,
"Oh dear," Serenity said,
"the strain must have gotten to
her. Poor girl... With all she's been through, she must have been
In the deepness of subreality, a voice echoed...
"My gosh... It's Sailor Stars!!!"
Happosai sped along the corridor
of light, looking on in
awe at the sights which he saw.
He moved faster and faster
through the blazing, colorful
landscapes, oceans, seas, skies, and explosions.
These images seemed to reflect
off of his eyes as he
continued to increase velocity... surpassing even the speed of
He watched in wonder as the
cosmic whirlpool raced him into
Finally, somehow, he landed.
Happosai blinked, glancing
around at the eerily lit white and
light-green bedroom he seemed to be in.
The bed was very large, especially
by his standards. There were
other pieces of ornate furniture decorating the room. There were also
statues and various styles of wall paintings.
Strange, eerie sounds echoed
from unseen sources throughout the
room. There were a few quiet hints of laughter here and there.
Happosai, dazed and confused,
stumbled through a side door,
into a very spacious marble bathroom.
As he looked into the wall-sized mirror, he noticed something:
During the trip, he had somehow
gotten even _older_ than he
Disturbed at the image, he
whipped around and saw someone; a
very short, small, black-clothed individual sitting at the bedroom's
glass table with his back turned to him.
Without a sound, the figure
fell of the chair he was sitting
on, then shook his head and turned to face him.
The figure is him, older
still than he had been than what he
had seen in the mirror.
Happosai, tired and disgruntled
slowly turned back around and
climbed back onto the chair. He started eating the okonomiyaki and
chugging the bottle of sake that was on the table.
Suddenly, his grip slipped on the bottle, letting it fall.
The ancient man looked down
in surprise, then dove to try to
get it back, but only ended up knocking the chair away.
Breaking the complete and
utter silence, the bottle shattered
on the floor with an echoing crash.
Behind him, the chair slowly
flew off, bounced against the
wall, and made a sharp noise as it spiraled into and shattered the
large mirror in the bathroom.
Happosai started to wipe
the sake off of his face, then
felt a presence behind him.
He turned to see himself,
lying in the humongous bed, old,
ancient, decrepit... dying, and desperately reaching out toward
Happosai looked up and reached
toward a very large, majestic,
glowing set of black...
"Oh baby..." he whispered,
trying, but failing, to get at them.
Happosai floated, an embryo
in Earth's orbit. He looked with
huge, underdeveloped anime eyes at all of the things in the world...
A huge blast of music sounded,
followed by the beating of
And thus the Star Child was born...
Sailor Pluto, suddenly getting
another very bad headache,
swallowed some aspirin, and considered what she could and what she
should do concerning her unwanted engagement to a certain Ranma
Saotome... Saotome Ranma...
Whatever way she put it,
something had to be done about him.
Who knows how much irreparable damage had been done to the timeline
while she had to sit around and temporally babysit him.
Psychological torture of
the sort she had chosen to employ
against him did not seem to weaken his resolve toward the issue
There seemed to be no way
of getting him to agree with her
and cancel the engagement entirely.
She had tried the normally
most effective methods: sleep
deprivation, form modification, honor-bound psychological entrapment,
None worked, and she knew
that even the most visceral of
medieval torments would not accomplish her goal.
Simply terminating his existence
had been an option she was
beginning to be willing to consider... but he had a destiny to
fulfil. It was not a big one, to be sure; contrary to what he
and those around them might think, he wasn't that important in
the grand scheme of things.
If he failed to defeat an
adversary, even one that threatened
the world, there were, at any given moment, another dozen perfectly
willing and capable of doing the job.
So long as he married Akane
Tendo, despite any circumstances,
his destiny would be fulfilled.
That didn't have much of
importance to do with the timeline,
at least not for several generations... but it was a destiny, and
Sailor Pluto was bound, heart, mind, and soul, to see that Destiny
would be fulfilled.
Therefore, so long as Ranma
came out of this more or less
alive, Destiny could be satisfied. He didn't even have to be
coherent, really. Just alive and capable of some variation of
communication and reproduction.
Sailor Pluto sighed and shook
her head, a tear going down
her cheek as she realized what she had been driven to.
"Jadeite was right," she
whispered as she walked toward her
goal, "this is all 'Tim's fault."
The Starlight Knight was
also of no consequence at the moment.
Destiny got him in the end, too. There were many souls that she
regretted the passing of... but his was not one of them.
She focused back on her current
goal: to get Ranma off her
back and out of her life once and for all.
For this purpose, she had
decided that it was necessary for
her to consult... The Archives.
The Archives were a collection
of every last book, every
last draft, and every last internet website ever to be made or
It contained every last one
of those things... Last in the
sense that it had the final, most potent and climactic works of
each series, type, and genre.
This location was top secret,
known only to her. Nobody
else... and tonight, she would unlock its secrets for the first
time in millennia.
If the information she needed was not there, it did not exist.
Anything less than the pinnacle
of torment would not work
against Ranma. Subtlety was not going to work. She knew that much.
Outside of the main ice cream
shop of Crystal Tokyo, Sailor
Pluto pushed down with her heel precisely on the point that would
trigger the first stage of the entrance to... The Archives.
Like the lid of a gigantic
trash can, the entire crystal
building rose and tilted over ninety degrees, revealing a small,
As she entered this tunnel,
with only the glowing orb
atop her staff for illumination, the building settled back into
its normal place.
For an entire hour, the Time
Guardian descended the ancient
stone steps, until reaching a titanic square iron door with an
ominous, skeletal face in the center, which seemed to whisper...
nay, which _did_ whisper, "Go away... there is danger here. Do not
open until doomsday... Beware, darkness will envelop you. Turn back,
"I've heard it, Murray, more
times than I care to remember
at the moment," Sailor Pluto muttered.
Murray, the all-powerful
demonic talking skull, frowned.
"Sorry. I don't exactly get to do this very often, if you know
what I mean..."
Sailor Pluto nodded slightly. "Very well... Continue."
The skull smiled, then droned on with its warnings.
Sailor Pluto raised her staff,
summoning the proper energy
and concentration required for the lock to open for her.
In a few moments, the door
vanished, and the Time Guardian
The door reappeared as soon as she had entered.
&&&[End Chapter 9.]
<Scene of A.S.K. frantically hitting his head>
"Today, we learned that if you have multiple personalities..."
<Scene of 'Tim, lost in MegaTokyo>
"They either go off on their own..."
<Scene of The Cute and Fluffy Formerly Oneshot Senshi Sailor Stylin'>
"...or just get angry."
<Scene of Jadeite-chan running through a horribly cute dreamscape>
<Scene of a huge explosion>
"So be kind to your other personalities. Blow 'em up before they can
you up. Sailor Nuke sez. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!"