Jadeite-chan sighed, tugging at her white sailor-blouse as
she walked through the corridors of the subterranean base.

        "Four thousand channels," she muttered to herself, "five
million holographic simulations, and a billion databases with
information beyond belief..." She growled cutely, turning to
a computer panel on the wall, which read 'Access Denied.'

        The blonde narrowed her eyes. "And _all_ of it has security
lockouts!" She turned away. "I simply try to... borrow _one_
starship, and the central computer goes ballistic!"

        [Hi there! If you like, I have a very nice modeling program
that you're cleared for,] the structure's main computer offered
in an overly helpful voice, which switched to a higher pitch in
the next sentence, [You could try on all sorts of _cute_ dresses

        "Shut... up," Jadeite-chan growled.

        The computer squeaked. [Hey, it sounded like a good idea to

        The supernaturally cute girl gritted her teeth, and proceeded
to tell the infernal machine, in excruciating detail, precisely what
she thought of its idea, its probable mechanical ancestry, and its
personal habits during any downtime it might have.

        [...Oh my! A young lady like yourself should not be speaking
so harshly. What would 'Tim say?]

        "Knowing him, he'd probably agree with me and smash your
core into a thousand fragments with an axe, like he did last time!"

        [Oh dear...]

        Since the... incident a week ago, "Jade" had crystalized her
fear of the unstable computer system into a healthy dislike. She
had often in the past prided herself on her intelligence, and was
not about to let fear get the best of her.

        Then again, once bitten, twice shy.

        Jadeite-chan slapped the instant palm-scanning panel just
outside the door to her room and stepped inside once it opened.

        Despite the bedroom's cutesy appearance, she greeted it with
relief. At her request, her current benefactor, 'Tim Knight, had
removed--ripped and torn, actually--all of the computer's voice
functions and sensory devices from the entire area. He seemed
very determined about it, and very thorough.

        Of course, then he had called one of those maintenance droids
in to piece the place back together when he was done, so there
was really no guaruntee that all of the computer's influence was
completely gone.

        Still, she considered, it had been a nice gesture... Too
nice, actually. Any force that had the capability to rescue her
from the high-security of a Negaversal Dark Kingdom direct-to-
Metallia execution-sacrifice couldn't possibly be a fighter for
the forces of good...

        Jadeite-chan went over that last train of thought... and
found that it left much to be desired. Rubbing her temples, she
sat down on her fluffy, pink-highlighted bed... then stopped as
she noticed an odd texture to the quilt.

        Standing, she looked down to see a boy's blue school uniform
laid out at the edge of the bed.

        Jadeite-chan frowned. "What would _that_ be doing here...?"
She stood, tensed for battle as she sensed the presence of another
in the room; one that-

        "Hiya, Jadeite!" a cute girl's voice bubbled.

        Jadeite-chan whirled around to see... herself.

        Before her stood an exact replica of her, down to the short-
blonde hair, wearing one of the many sailor fuku uniforms that the
computer had created for her.

        The replica stood, smiling at her.

        Jadeite-chan stood momentarily in shock, then looked to the
blue uniform on the bed, and back at the replica, narrowing her
eyes. "Paracite... Just what do you think you're doing?!"

        The former general's shapeshifting cousin opened her mouth
to speak, then paused, thinking it over. "Hmm... Are you sure you
want to know?"

        It was Jadeite-chan's turn to puzzle that one out. Why might
Paracite be in _her_ room, using _her_ form, wearing _her_ clothes?
"That's a good point... Actually, I don't think I do."

        Paracite blinked her huge, cute blue eyes. "It's not anything
bad. Those two girls, Serena and Terra, were talking about asking
you to go shopping with them, you know... to get to know you. I
wanted to go along with all of you and get something for you, but I
wasn't sure about what's comfortable and what isn't, so since you're
not supposed to ask a girl her measurements, I decided that the
best thing to do would be go in, use all my spatial glamour skills,
and find out for myself." She tilted her head. "And, it just seems
to me that I've been _waaay_ too insensitive about your... change.
Sure, you put up a brave front and all, but it's obvious you don't
like it. So, I needed a way to empathize with it." She smiled. "And
like the saying goes: You can't understand someone unless you've
worn their shoes and walked around for in them for a little while."

        Jadeite-chan closed her eyes, recoiling. "I told you I didn't
want to know, Paracite..."

        The duplicate pseudo-girl frowned. "Did I do something wrong?"

        The other blonde stared at her for a long moment. "You? The
day you, Paracite, do anything really _evil_, that is the day when
Queen Beryl becomes a schoolteacher; It's just not going to happen."

        Paracite smiled. "Oh, thanks."

        Jadeite-chan sighed. "You would have to be the _only_ youma
I know that wouldn't be insulted beyond all comprehension at this

        "Well, what's so great about evil? I mean... evil's... evil,

         Jadeite-chan turned away, muttering, "Stuck as young girl in
a strange land with only the companionship of a raving psychotic..."

        "What was that, Cousin Jadeite?"

        The 'real' girl turned toward the other. "Nothing. Just
leave, I need time to think... and plan." She took the blue school
uniform off the bed and handed it to Paracite.

        "Oh, thanks!" Paracite giggled, taking the outfit. "I'll go
in the back room and change."

        Jadeite-chan's left eye twitched. "I suppose I'll go take
a walk instead." She pushed a button by the door, and exited,
holding her somewhat pained head.


        Meanwhile, inside that same somewhat pained head, another force
plotted the active persona's destruction.

        <Almost time...> Guardian Jadeite said to himself in a mental
whisper. <What energy I can control is almost it its peak...>

        At that last thought, he laughed. <I've _really_ got to get
out of here... I'm starting to sound like Nephrite...>

        Inside the random, shifting dreamscape, Guardian Jadeite turned
toward the force that he had found; his best--and indeed only--chance
to regain control and purge the corruption from his soul and body
once and for all.

        The 'pink' presence had grown and become 'brighter' in the
week of Jadeite's preparation. As he had become stronger to control
it, it had in turn become stronger to match his new capabilities.
It was as if he and it were linked somehow...

        Of course, he was linked with practically _everything_ here.
It was _his_ mind, after all. The only thing not directly linked to
him was the corruption: "General Jadeite."

        That... _thing_ had done countless unspeakable acts under his
guise. The general, aside from doing an obnoxiously stupid impression
of him... well, that was quite enough, but... This "General" had
played a significant role in destroying all he held dear. Now, that's
all fine and dandy; political games and a war now and again is pretty
much par for the course in any sort of governmental position... but
using _him_ to help accomplish it...

        Well, that just wasn't very nice!

        <Besides, I think I'm going to miss Mars... She was such a
cute little thing...> Guardian Jadeite paused. <Of course, so was
young Queen Serenity... Assuming the throne just after her mother
died... Her husband departing for realms unknown to find the Ultimate
Anti-Evil Force, or something... I wonder if he ever made it back...>

        Jadeite searched his counterpart's memory.

        <Ah, yes, he did... Found the next-best thing... Gave it to
his adopted daughter, as a matter of fact. Aww... That's so sweet!>

        The 'pink' presence pulsed in response to that line of thought.

        Jadeite took a deep mental breath. He had to remain calm, and
save his strength for the coming attack. If he didn't, he would risk
leaving enough of the general around to find out about him and
retaliate, leaving him even worse off than he was now.

        He did the mental equivalent of a sigh and considered sadly
what he had been brought to: Annihilation of another individual.
Even though the other person was generated by copying and corrupting
him with massive amounts of dark energy, the general _was_ a
distinct personality.

        Guardian Jadeite was not about to just let things go on like
this, however. The calm dreamscape was like a background of Country
and Western music: Not really all that bad once you get used to it,
but play the same song over enough, and it can drive you mad. Still,
this sort of plotting was really no more than premeditated murder.

        But, Jadeite wanted his life back... and felt that his cause
was without a doubt infinitely more righteous than the corruption's.

        So, if he made his move and struck at just the right moment;
the point where the general's mental defenses were at their weakest,
it would at least be over quickly, without undue pain or hurt.

        If he missed that specific point, though, the other mental
resident would likely feel pain beyond everything that had been
experienced before, and agony beyond all comprehension as what
constituted General Jadeite was methodically ripped to shreds over
a period of several hours.

        As much as the guardian disliked what the general had done,
he did not want to be the one to cause such suffering.

        He would wait for the proper moment.


        Jadeite-chan gazed through a thick transparent wall into
the base's cavernous docking bay, which contained a multitude of
spacecraft in varying states of construction and repair.

        Of particular interest was a chrome-colored vessel with a
dual hull: A saucer section connected to a drive section with two
large struts that seemed to have propulsion as their only
possible purpose.

        On the tour just before her first stay here, some specifics
on the ship's capabilities had been expounded upon.

        "If I had _that_," the cute blonde whispered, "I could-"

        "Destroy the world," 'Tim noted as he walked up beside her,
"And still have time to swing back over to the capital of the
Juraian Empire to raze a few buildings." He looked down at her.
"I know, I've done it."

        Jadeite-chan paused, then turned toward the pink-haired
man, then gasped as she noticed the golden crescent moon on
his forehead.

        "What?" 'Tim asked. "Didn't I get all the marks out of
my shirt?" He looked down at his new-looking green gi-jacket,
smoothing back his bangs, the glow from the crescent moon mark
illuminating the immediate area.

        The girl, not having quite enough time to recover from the
shock and come up with suitable composure, started to back off.
"You're one of THEM!"

        'Tim looked at her. "Them?"

        "That mark on your forehead..."

        The pink-haired man glanced to the semireflective surface of
the transparent wall and noticed the problem. "Oh... Yeah, looks a
lot like what those cats and Queen Serenity had, doesn't it?" He
looked back at Jadeite-chan. "I have _no_ idea where that came from.
I was just getting into a little training exercise a few minutes ago,
and... Hmm, I guess that'd explain why my forehead's been stinging

        Jadeite-chan took a few deep breaths, looked the man over,
and stopped again. "What the... Did you lose a bet with a ten year
old girl?!"

        "If you're talking about the clothes, they were a gift from
my most recent sensei. Ever hear of Namek?"


        "Too bad. We could've had a fiery discussion over if we
thought they'd make it past another year."

        "So... you're not of the house of the Moon Kingdom, then?"

        'Tim had to think about that one. "Technically, as in right
this moment?"


        "The short answer to your question: I have no idea. I'd
have to run a DNA scan or two, then debate the philosophy of
whether Terra still counts."

        Jadeite-chan blinked.

        'Tim sighed. "But all that doesn't matter now. If it bugs you,
I'll just tie a bandanna around it or something." He put a hand on
the blonde's shoulder. "For now, though, we've got a meeting to go


        A rabid wind blew its foul contents across the blood-red
plain, the sky darkened with ominous clouds of a similar crimson

        Jagged cliffs hung, curling like black talons through the
forbidden landscape, beasts of a strange and alien nature clawing
their way amidst the depressing, overpowering atmosphere.

        One human figure stood atop one of these cliffs. A mane of
spiked red hair tied with a ragged blue band topped his head, and
red on pure-black eyes stared out of sockets full of malice. His
muscled jaw curled back, exposing a set of large, haphazardly
sharp teeth.

        These features, though fearsome, were nothing in comparison
to the rest of his massive, muscular frame. Indescribably thick,
sinewed arms tore their way out of his tattered blue gi, which
was unable to even begin to hide the sheer power radiated from
this individual. A red mark adorned the back of his gi.

        This monster of a man looked up into the sky, and narrowed
his hateful eyes as he caught a glimpse of an unmarked, silver jet
speeding toward him from over the horizon.

        "So," the demon-beastman whispered in his deep, echoing
growl, "he _is_ coming..."

        Akuma dug his feet into the ground, and held his arms to
the sides, his huge, brown-gauntleted hands clenched upwards.

        Tongues of a fiery aura swirled their way above his head and
shoulders, the energy around him building up. The wind rippled
with the flows of his high-level Ki.

        As the aircraft came closer, the man thrust his right hand
forward, the Ki erupting from his palm to form a short, surging,
plasma-like blast, which sped toward the plane.

        *Ksssh!* The shot sheared off the plane's right wing, sending
it spiraling toward the ground.

        *Rrrr* Akuma swung his other hand around, unleashing another
massive burst of red energy toward the jet.

        *CRASH-BLAM-blam-BLAM!* As the Ki-bolt impacted, the plane
literally exploded in a burst of flame, its burning debris falling
to the ground a mere dozen meters away from its destroyer.

        Akuma stood with a jagged smile as he watched the wreckage
burn, the smoke from the flames rising high into the air like a
tortured, misguided ghost.

        *CraWWSH!!!* Suddenly, the debris blasted outward, leaving
a black-shrouded figure levitating in the midst of the ruined

        "WHO DARES ATTACK THE MIGHTY M. BISON!?" the man shouted in
rage. He wore a red general's cap and was surrounded in a long, black

        Akuma let out a low, roaring peel of malevolent laughter.

        "So, _you_ want to fight _me_?" Bison asked in disgust,
narrowing his eyes. "You're no match for my power."

        The red-haired monster folded his massive arms. "I will teach
you the true meaning of _power_."

        Bison grabbed his back cape, and threw it aside, revealing
the rest of his military fatigue: a red uniform and black boots.
"We'll see, won't we?"

        The red-clothed man moved into a combat stance, as did Akuma.

        There was one difference, however: Akuma was smiling.

        Bison ran forward, his fists clenched and gathering energy.

        Akuma jumped into a somersault and landed directly in front
of his opponent, then grabbed him, jumped into the air, threw him
under his knee, and smashed him into the ground with his weight.

        *KRUNCH* "AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGHHH!" Bison yelled in agony.

        Akuma backed away with an expression that just dared Bison
to get back up.

        Holding his chest, his eyes bulging, the red-clad fighter
stood, breathing raggedly.

        "Now," Akuma growled, "FEEL HOW WEAK YOU TRULY ARE!!!"

        The demon flew forward, leaving a trail of dark shadows in
his wake, grabbed Bison by the front of his uniform, and drew back
a fist that radiated a bright aura.

*KABLAAAM!!!* Akuma pumped so many Ki-enhanced punches and kicks
into his opponent that there was naught left but a quivering red
mass, which the victor let slither to the ground like so much raw
ground beef.

        The beast laughed. "That was no _fight_," he said, "that was-"
He broke off as he heard the faint sound of applause behind him.
He whirled around to see a black-haired man in black, yellow, and
blue armor clapping at him.

        "Brav-o," the armored man cheered, "that sure was cute!" He
laughed. "Especially considering how ugly you are."

        "WHO ARE YOU?" Akuma bellowed.

        "I'm Kakkorotto," the sayajin replied. "Nice to meetcha."
He smiled in a pleasant manner. "So, who are you?"

        Akuma narrowed his eyes and flexed his arm. "I," he began,
"am power made flesh."

        "What a coincidence," Kakkorotto smiled, "so am I. Except
I'm a _lot_ better-looking than _you_ are, leather-face."

        "Your next insult will be your last, insect."

        "Ppht!" Kakkorotto blew a rasberry at him, wiggling his hands
by his head in a taunting manner. "Nya-ni-nya-ni-nya-naaa! Your
brother wears nursing-boots!"

        "Die," Akuma growled, bringing his hands to the sides and
charging up with his red, flaming Ki. "Messatsu-go-Hadou!" He
cupped his hands together in front of him, firing off a very large,
red blast at the black-haired man.

        *Whack!*Blam!* Kakkorotto batted the shot aside, sending it
off into a small, nearby outcropping. "Oooh, nice," the sayajin

        Undaunted, Akuma leapt forward, just below him, and jumped
into a flaming, spinning uppercut.

        Kakkorotto stepped aside, whistling.

        Akuma looked at him, made a flip backward, then jumped back
at him.

        Kakkorotto hopped into the air in front of him, then became
partially transparent as Akuma grabbed him, made a midair leap to
go even higher, than slammed him back-first into the ground.

        The man Akuma held vanished.

        "Hey, ugly!" Kakkorotto called from behind him. "Can't you
do any better than that?!"

        The red-haired demonic creature turned to him, roared his
rage, and pressed the attack.

        "Uh ooh," Kakkorotto taunted as he avoided each blow through
backing off and sidestepping, "looks like I've made it mad."

        Akuma stopped, his eyes seething with a glowing hatred. In
a sudden motion, his stance tensed, and his image faded to a dark
blur, which surged forward, passed through the sayajin, stopping
directly behind him, where the large man reformed.

        Kakkorotto ducked the other man's flaming uppercut and kicked
Akuma's feet out from under him when he landed.

        *Thud* Akuma came crashing to the ground.

        In the next fraction of a second, he was back up and roughly
twice as mad as before.

        "Sorry," Kakkorotto grinned, "I just saw an opening that just
seemed to scream out, 'attack.'"

        "Stand and fight," Akuma literally spat.

        The armored fighter cracked his knuckles and got into an
exaggerated fighting pose. "You got it," he said.

        "GrrrRRR," Akuma grunted as he dove forward with a flurry
of punches and kicks.

        Kakkorotto never lost his grin as he blocked each of the
attacks, periodically returning what he considered a weak blow.

        By the end of the fast, intense struggle, Akuma was violently
resisting the temptation to lean against a nearby outcropping as he
stood, breathing raggedly and ignoring the horrible pain coursing
throughout his badly pummeled body.

        The sayajin took a step back and folded his arms. "Hey, you're
looking pretty ragged out... Could you use a break?"

        Akuma's red-on-black eyes burned. He bared his teeth and shot
back, "I NEED NO REST FROM YOU!" Immediately, he leapt into the air,
his fiery Ki charging up as he threw his hands forward, creating a
blast much larger than the ones he had previously created.

        *KSSRRROW* Kakkorotto caught the shot, experimented with the
energies momentarily, then tossed it back at the sender.

        An instant before the blast could hit him, Akuma vanished,
his shadow flowing to a point in front of the sayajin, where he
reappeared, his huge fist headed toward Kakkorotto's head at a
nigh-impossible rate.

        The black-haired combatant caught the fist in both hands,
then swung Akuma around in a quick circle, getting ready to shot-
put him over the horizon, when Akuma vanished and reappeared behind

        "Not bad," Kakkorotto commented as a set of fireballs went
past him. "Not bad at all..." He ignored a shot that impacted against
a spherical barrier surrounding him and continued, "Can you do this?"
He held his hands in front of him.

fortunately timed teleport, barely managed to avoid the twenty-meter
in diameter energy sphere that swept past him and obliterated nearly
the entirety of the landscape behind him.

        "Hey," Kakkorotto said, "no fair dodging." He thrust a hand out
toward the other fighter, causing a continuous blue blast to erupt
from the ground beneath Akuma, causing his flesh to gradually roast.

        Amidst the crackling energy, Akuma's expression grew from mere
anger to a boiling rage that defied all human comprehension. Though
damaged, drained, and badly outpowered, he was not about to give up.

        Not by a longshot.

        Akuma burst forth out of the power stream, his shadow trailing
behind him, several orders of magnitude faster than the technique had
been in the battle against Bison.

        The demon's tremendous fist wrapped around Kakkorotto's neck,
his other hand charged and poised to strike.

        The scenery blurred under the light created by Akuma's dozens
of strikes, the sound echoing across the forbidden landscape. For
nearly a full minute, he poured out his wrath upon his foe, every
ringing strike bringing a sort of joy to the once-human's life.

        Finally, his eyes glowing and his almost-torn muscles flexed
in triumph, Akuma released his grip on Kakkorotto.

        "So... is that it?" the sayajin asked, his body unscathed and
his armor unscratched. He shook his head. "I'm kinda disappointed..."

        Akuma's eyes widened at the utter ineffectiveness of his most
viscious attack to date, then narrowed as his rage overpowered what
insignificant shreds of fear and doubt crept up beneath his

        Kakkorotto sighed. In the next heartbeat, he took Akuma by the
arm and threw him into the air, then pointed his index finger at the
skyborne individual.

        *BLAAAAAAAM!* The terrain shook from the force of the blast
that engulfed Akuma, light flashing brilliantly as several smaller
explosions wracked the target.

        Kakkorotto blew a short breath at his finger, and dusted his
hands off as he watched his opponent's remains fall to the ground.
"Too bad, really," he muttered as he approached the landing site
to get a better look, "I thought he might actually-"

        *BLAM!!!* Akuma sat up and threw a fast, raging fire-blast
at the sayajin, cutting him off mid-thought.

        The standing fighter reached up to feel his singed hair, then
narrowed his eyes at Akuma. "You shouldn't have done that..."

        Akuma growled through clenched teeth as he fell to the red
dirt, the muscles in his back involuntarily ceased all function, his
body utterly totaled.

        Still not willing to accept any form of defeat whatsoever,
Akuma swung his left arm forward, firing off another stream of
fireballs, which Kakkorotto either absorbed, blocked, or deflected.

        Finally, though, all fibers in his being that were useful in
combat gave out, leaving him to be able to do nothing but look in
anger, hatred, malice, and defiance at his oppressor.

        If his chest had been a cannon...

        "Now," Kakkorotto whispered in a deathly silent, yet powerful
tone, "is when you _die_."

        Akuma roared his defiance, red Ki building up in his eyes.

        The black-haired man drew his fist back in the way to make it
most effective upon impact, and thrust it down at the broken beast...

        The fist flew at speeds that shattered the sound barrier,
reaching for the defeated one's face...

        *Honk*Honk* Kakkorotto squeezed Akuma's nose, twice.

        Akuma blinked... in a dark, demonic sort of way.

        "Ha-ha!" the sayajin laughed, smiling in a very content manner.
"Gotcha!" He stood up, looking down at the other man.

        "Why..." Akuma began in a quiet--but most assuredly _not_
weak--manner, "why haven't you finished your strike, _coward_?!"

        "I don't want to!" Kakkorotto exclaimed. "You've been the best
fight I've had all day! For a human, you're _great_! I mean, this is
real potential you've got here. A few more decades, and you might be
able to come up with something worth batting an eyelash over! And
you didn't just give up and die like that bird-guy did! You kept on
going, and going, and going!"


        A pink rabbit walked by, beating a drum, then spun around and
walked off.


        "So," Kakkorotto continued, "you know what this means?"

        "That I am going to hunt you down like the insect you are;"
Akuma growled, "slaughter you slowly as I make-"

        The sayajin shook his head. "No! It means I'm not going to
kill you this time." He made a quick salute with his right hand.
"So long. It's been fun!"

        A thick blue aura flared around Kakkorotto, leaving a trail
as he shot up into the sky, speeing off into the distance...

        The barely-living pulpy red mass known as M. Bison looked
over at Akuma. "So, how does it feel to be shown how weak you
truly are?"

        "Shut up..."

        "Hey, want some Nuprin?"

        "SHUT UP!"


        "And you see, Mister Knight," the counselor continued, "Jade
has been far too violent and has destroyed an unacceptable level
of school property during her bouts of... frustration."

        The counselor was a woman in the latter years of middle age.
She had greying black hair, a substantial build, and a menacing look
about her. She held herself in a very stern posture as she looked
across to the desk to a tall pink-haired man in green and pink

        'Tim nodded as he looked over a few snapshots of the damage
that had been caused. "Yes..." He handed one of them to the
excessively cute blonde girl sitting next to him. "Very nice... I
like how you made it a clean cut... That's not easy to do with a
straightforward blast. Usually, you have to use a narrowed beam to
get it like that."

        Jade blinked at this. "I... couldn't stand Haruna's boring,
incessant banter any longer."

        The counselor glared down at her. "Miss Haruna spent the
entire day in tears because of that!"

        'Tim looked sideways at Jade. "A good tactic for preventing
stuff like that is to go up and give 'er a hug after you've blown
away her chalkboard."

        Jade raised an eyebrow. "A hug?!"

        The green-attired man nodded. "Yeah. It-"

        The counselor cleared her throat.

        'Tim tried not to look at her. "Yes?"

        "Why do I get the impression that you are not taking this
at all seriously?!"

        "Err... What's to be serious about?"

        "She has destroyed-"

        "Look, if that's a problem, I can send something over to
get that fixed. Maybe even let... what's her name... Patricia
Haruna borrow my psychiatrist for a while."

        "No, the school has it covered. The damage isn't the problem,
and Miss Haruna is more than capable of handling her own emotional

        "Then what are you complaining about?"

        The counselor sighed. "The fact that Jade cannot keep herself
from doing this reflects a severe inner lack of control!"

        "I disagree," 'Tim said, handing the snapshots of destruction
to the black-haired counselor. "If you look closely, you can tell
that these blasts weren't just tossed. They were calculated, aimed,
fired, and used for maximum effect. If she really wanted Haruna and
that Melvin kid dead, she'd have done it."

        "Wrong," Jade whispered, "I would savor their elimination, but
then I could not-"

        "See?" 'Tim said. "Perfectly in control. She wasn't fighting
to kill. Just to maim."

        "Too bad I missed," Jade muttered cutely.

        The counselor's eyes narrowed. "You aren't understanding me...
You're not even looking at me!"

        "Well, if I looked at you," the pink-haired man said, "then
my only working thought process would be caught up in that huge,

        "Look at me, Tim," the counselor snapped.

        'Tim did so. "Yes, your fuzziness."

        "What was your relation to Miss Cyte again...?"

        'Tim shrugged, looking intently at her. "Jade Cyte's my wart.
Pimple as that."


        "You know, she's a cute lil' melanoma head."

        "What are you talking about?"

        The pink-haired man tore his gaze away. "Hmm? Oh, nothing."

        "You are coming dangerously close to embarrassing me," Jade
half-growled, her arms folded and eyes narrowed in an adorable way.

        'Tim looked at her. "Yeah, and knowing me, it won't be the
last time." He leaned in to whisper, "But don't worry. If you're
cute, you can get away with anything. I know this for a fact."

        "How encouraging," Jade deadpanned.

        The counselor quasi-patiently rapped her fingers against
the desk. "Hmm... Jade, I believe it would be best if you were
to leave the room for the final part of this discussion."

        *Zrr*Thump!* There was a quick flash of light and Jade had
created a small crystal dagger and imbedded it into the desk. Still
holding on to it, she said, "I am _not_ going to let my fate be
decided by a despotic social bureaucrat and a mindless psychotic!"

        "That psychotic," the counselor said, not fazed by the attack,
"is your legal guardian, responsible for you, and authorized to make
these decisions for you."

        Jade cocked an eyebrow at her. "Who are you to tell me who
makes my decisions?" She pouted. "I have destroyed hundreds for far
less than you propose to-"

        "Whatever happened to the idea we had a while back about
trying to keep a low profile?" 'Tim asked.

        "It got old," the cute blonde snapped, "FAST."

        The counselor stood, glaring down at her. "Wait outside,
young lady!"

        Jade cowered visibly from the verbal assault, cringed, then
backed out of the room, opening and closing the door behind her
as she left.

        The crystal dagger vanished, leaving a large hole in the desk.

        "This is all sounding _so_ familiar to me," the man whispered
to himself. "So we have a girl, not happy with her place, unwillingly
separated from her preferred way of life, lashing out after a failed
attempt to adapt to the new culture. Hmm... Hope she doesn't plan
on killing me."

        The counselor sat down and looked at 'Tim. "Now, is she
always this... expressive of her opinion?"

        "Only when she feels threatened. When she has a firm grasp
of what's going on, she's _really_ calm and calculating... Like
a certain general I once knew, actually."

        "You knew a general?"

        "Of an evil King or Queendom, whatever. He got blown away.
My computer says it was by some version of me from a future that
doesn't exist anymore." 'Tim looked up. "I don't get that... I
mean, if a future me came back to change things in a way that
made it so I wouldn't have gone back to change it, it wouldn't
have been changed, would it? Or... would it?"

        The counselor frowned. "I see..."

        "I think it has something to do with my rivalry with a
certain local time guardian. We were actually close once, but
then we had a basic philosophical disagreement and went our
separate ways."

        "A... disagreement?"

        "Yeah. She believes in destiny... and don't get me wrong, so
do I... but just because it's the best way for things to turn out
for most people doesn't mean it's the best way for _me_. So I
tried to hijack the time gate and she stopped me. Our relationship
was never the same. Too bad, really... I liked her style: She'd
do anything to get her job done right. Gotta love that focus. Plus,
by human standards, she was very-"

        "Umm," the counselor interrupted, "can't we bring this
discussion back to the girl you are supposed to be raising?"

        "Oh, her. Sure, let's do that. I'm taking care of her and
her cousin as a favor to a friend, by the way."

        "A friend? Who?"

        "His codename is Mister R.B. Fish. The password is
'Shroomsyeruncle.' You can meet him by beating a drum on the
top of Tokyo Tower, singing several Native American rain dances.
Come back the next full moon, but be sure to bring the Emerald
Mushroom before walking up to a man in a brown trenchcoat on
the elevator. Tell him the password and shake his hand... with
your foot. My friend will then meet you at the top of the tower
with further instructions. Bring a two-by-four."

        "Excuse me?"

        "You'll need it when the conversation begins," 'Tim said,
then smiled. "I had to translate that from the original reformed
Grey ArbyFish. Not an easy task, let me tell you. A very cultured
group, they are."


        "Yeah. They're cultured. Kind of like cheese, you see... or
at least the Green ones are."

        "We were talking about Jade, remember...?"

        "Oh yeah... Jade's green, isn't it?"

        "I'm speaking of the girl."

        'Tim sighed. "Very well. State your business."

        The counselor took a deep breath and looked at him sternly.
"The girl in your care has shown unacceptable behavior. She's shown
signs of becoming very reckless and of being a delinquent. She has
destroyed school property countless times, endangered others for her
own selfish purposes, disrupted the lives of others, and it's
panfully obvious that she does not take her scholastic career
seriously! She shouldn't be-"

        'Tim stood, anger in his eyes. "OH YES SHE SHOULD!!!" he
shouted in the woman's face, and continued with a scowl, "To tell
you the truth, I don't think I _want_ to know fourteen-year-old girl
who isn't reckless or a delinquent... and I sure don't want to meet
one that actually takes their school career seriously!" He looked
at her. "I hold at least four doctorates from every major University
this pitiful little planet has to offer, and I've done more this year
alone than I have in the past millennia! And that doesn't count what
I've accomplished with four sailor-suited heroines, either. So I
know a great kid when I see one!"

        The counselor, mildly taken aback, opened her mouth to speak,
but was cut off by 'Tim's continued yelling.

        "And you know what? They're _all_ great kids! Every last one
of 'em... at least until dried-out, brain-dead concrete slabs like
_you_ drag them down and tell them they shouldn't vent, so they keep
it all inside, waiting for the moment they'll snap... Jade doesn't
need this sort of repression right now... or ever, for that matter!"
He narrowed his eyes. "If you so much as tell her, or anyone else for
that matter, that they can't do something and I hear about it, I
_will_ hunt you down!"

        The counselor blinked, her hair blown back from the force of
the rant.

        'Tim pulled something out of his pocket and continued to
glare at the woman. "Take this quarter," he said, flipping the coin
over to her from his thumb, "go down to the docks, and have a RAT
gnaw that thing off your face!!!"

        He stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

        "Uh... yeah!" the counselor shouted back. "And... and the
glare from that crescent moon on your forehead was giving me

        The counselor sat down, sighed, and pulled off a rubbery mask,
revealing a beautiful, pale, soft-skinned face with a blue mark on
her forehead, and long, white-blonde hair.

        The woman pulled out a small communicator and flipped it open.
"Skuld, this is Urd. Are you there?"

        The device crackled before a voice came on, [I'm here! Find
that guy?]

        "Yup, sure have," Urd replied.

        [Think we can get his cooperation on this?]

        "Uh... no. I don't think so. Actually, I think we should
forget the whole thing and switch to plan B."

        [What's plan B?]

        "I'll... get back to you on that. But I think we just might
need another room at the temple when we're done."

        [...You're not thinking what I think you're thinking, I hope.]

        "Why? What am I thinking?"

        [He'd look _terrible_ in a dress!]

        "Hey! I wasn't-" Urd began, then paused. "But THAT's an idea.
I guess we could fix that..."

        [Nooooo, no. No way.]

        "Oh, come on. It'll be fun!"


        Meanwhile, in the future, in the throne room of the Crystal
Palace, Neo-Queen Serenity was listening to her self-appointed
Zeroth Advisor...

        "They take the two petitioning individuals and string 'em up
boiy their tails. The first one ta pass out, wins. N' they get their
idea passed inta' counsel. Unfortunately, ArbyFish tend ta forget
what they were thinkin' about when they pass out. So, the group 'as
ta debate about what 'e wos originally gonna say. So, it's all
theoretical when all's said n' done. We neva' actually come ta an
agreement, so we all wroight down our own idea ta wot we thought
it wuz. Then we debate 'bout it a bit more. Foinally, we all get
bloindfolded n' taken inta' a secret base somewhere in the middle
of Wyoming where the great, um... Woteveritwos speaks ta us about
the importance of makin' good decisions. Then, we all shrug, play
a quick friendly game 'a fisticuffs, n' mail ourselves back ta our
own homes via UPS n' get on with our loives. N' that's 'ow ArbyFish
make laws," the green and white-patterned seal-like creature

        The Queen had nodded off, snoozing soundly as she leaned
against the arm of her throne. Two mooncats, Luna and Artemis,
lay soundly asleep on the floor.

        Arby fluttered up and waved a flipper in front of the
woman's eyes. "'Scuse me..." No response. "Scuse me!"

        "Ummh... What now? Just five more minutes, Mom..." Serenity
muttered, not coming out of her unconscious state. "I was listening,
Miss Haruna... Why's this test so hard...?"

        The ArbyFish blinked, then smiled. "Oh, goodie! She's 'avin'
flashbacks! That means more bottle caps for th' department!"

        "Terra, no..." the Queen continued, "Starlight, where are you
going? Please, wait! Don't go!"

        "Oh, 'er loife's flashin' before 'er oyes!" Arby exclaimed
gleefully. "That means she's foinally gonna congeal, n' Lil' Mucus
c'n take ova'!"

        The ArbyFish went down to the crystal floor and began tapping
at it with his ever-present ceremonial chisel.

        Serenity finally stirred. "Mmmh... Ah, Arby, what are you

        The green creature looked up at her. "Diggin' ya grave, ya
ol' sludge!"

        The Queen gasped. "Arby!"

        "Wot???" the ArbyFish asked innocently.

        "Don't mess with the floor. The palace is built right on a
fault line!"

        "Why'dja go n' do a thing loike that? No trouble, though. I'll
just go get me buddies n' we'll move it awl roight noicely, we will!"

        "Speaking of which, I have yet to see a single shred of
evidence that there's more than one of you, Arby..."

        Arby sat up on his tail. "'Course there iz!" He cupped his
right flipper in the air beside him. "See this guoy 'ere? 'Is name's
Murray. 'E's a Transleuscent ArbyFish. Very rare."

        "Cute, Arby. Very cute."

        "Oh, roight! Speakin' of cute, I've got sum legal matta's ta
attend to. See ya lata'!" He turned to the air next to him. "G'boye,

        "G'day ta you, sir," the air responded.

        The green ArbyFish nodded, then fluttered out of the room.

        Neo-Queen Serenity raised an eyebrow, then shrugged, shaking
her head. "He's been that way for as long as I can remember... Why
should he stop now?" She stood and took a few steps forward.

        *Rumble*Chink*Chink*Chink-chink-chink-chink* The floor shook
and cracked underneath her. "Whaaaa!?" the Queen exclaimed in shock
as a two-foot radius crystal circle cut itself out of the foundation
beneath her.

        "Luna! Artemis!" Serenity called as the ground dropped out from
underneath her.

        The cats were awake and on their feet in an instant, but were
only able to watch as their queen was pulled down.

        *Rrrrk-thump!*hiSSSS!!* The cut crystal was put back and
welded into place by an unseen force.


        The blonde woman found herself doing a reasonable Marylin
Manroe impression as she held her skirt down while being carried
on swift air currents through a red-hot metal tunnel.

        "Ooomph..." Neo-Queen Serenity grunted as she recovered from
her landing on a huge, feather-down bed, the deceleration not being
enough to cause measurable physical injury, but sufficient to cause
her a quick, intense headache.

        The room she was in was fairly large, and consisted of an
unmade bed, a nightstand, an unlit lamp, a set of flickering lights
on the ceiling, a broken panel on the wall, and a still-sealing hole
in the roof.

        Cables of various colors and varieties led out the jammed door
from a section of wall that had part of the metal plating torn off.

        Chunks of broken steel lay scattered on the floor, appearing
to have been thrown there from a powerful explosion, judging by the
craters marking the center of the room in the roof and the floor.

        "Where am I?" the Queen wondered aloud.

        In the corner of the room, a computer terminal flashed red.

        A rich, full female voice echoed through the room and through
the corridors outside, {Warning: Reactors Three through nine are
approaching critical mass. Seventeen minutes remain until reactor
containment field reaches critical levels. Power system running at
nine thousand percent of maximum recommended safety tolerances.
Requesting permission to initiate shutdown procedures.}

        Serenity frowned. "Is there anyone here?"

        {Requesting immediate shutdown,} the voice added.

        The pigtailed woman took another quick glance around, and
took a few quick steps toward the terminal.

        {Requesting permission to deactivate reactor system,} the
voice repeated, and added in a desperate tone, {Please... Help me.}

        "How do I do that?" Serenity asked, unable to decipher any
of the computer console's workings.

        A keyboard slid out of an alcove below the screen. {Imput
deactivation sequence.} The screen cleared, save for a blinking,
square cursor.

        The Queen held her hands up helplessly. "What is that?"

        {Login: RBfish. Password: Shroomsyeruncle.}

        Serenity typed in the sequence as she heard it.

        *WAAARK* {Access denied.}

        "I cannot help you if you will not let me!"

        {System parameters have been locked. Unable to countermand.
Alternative sequence... Login: Ask. Password: Tim.}

        Serenity typed these in. The screen flashed green.

        {Access granted. Enter request.}

        "What do I enter?"

        {Deactivate reactors three through nine.}

        "Ummm... How do you spell 'deactivate?'"

        There was a beeping noise. {Verbal requests are now
acknowledged. Submit request.}

        "Deactivate reactors three through nine."

        *Waaark* {Voice pattern not recognized. Fourteen minutes
until critical mass.}

        "What now?!"

        {Deactivate is spelled: dee, ee, ae, see, tee, eye, vee,
ae, tee, ee.}

        The Queen typed in the request.

        *Waaark* {Unable to comply. Automation systems have been
damaged. Thirteen minutes until critical mass is reached.}

        "Could I do it manually?"

        {Negative,} the voice said, beginning to sound _very_
downtrodden, {Diagnostics indicate shutdown mechanisms have been

        "Is there _anything_ I can do for you?"

        {The computer core cannot be removed...}

        "Why was I brought here, then?"

        {It was my creator's last wish that you, specifically, be
informed that...} the voice trailed off momentarily, then
continued, {Processing... Initiating data recovery... Data
recovery complete. His last wish was for you to be in some manner
brought to the knowledge of what happened to him.}

        "Who created you?"

        *BLAM!* Suddenly, the jammed door exploded outward and a
series of flashing strips on the wall directed outside.

        {Follow directions to Holodeck Four.}

        Serenity hesitated, beginning to ask another question.

        {Ten minutes until critical mass is reached. The blast
will be contained... But I haven't much time. Please..."

        The woman hurried out the door, following the lights
through the darkened corridor.

        After half a minute of difficult running in her gown,
she reached a very poorly-lit intersection.

        *GrAAAH!!!* There was a horrible growling sound, and
several sets of glowing yellow eyes appeared in the darkness.

        {Activating forcefields.}

        Just as the thing began to charge, a blue wall winked
into place, and the beast smashed into it, then reared back
and roared in anger.

        {Redirecting path to Holodeck Three.}

        The lights changed directions, and Serenity followed

        *ZRRT!* Behind her, there was a very loud electrical noise.

        {Forcefield damaged.}

        *GRAAAAH!!!* The monster approached, lumbering forward.

        Serenity hurried her pace, and whipped out her crystal,
turned, and-

        {Activating combat droids.}

        Two panels on either side of the wall burst open, allowing
two large metal balls to roll out.

        *Chink!* The spheres split open into lizardlike robotic
shapes, each with two metal arms with rodlike protrusions. A
round energy shield expanded around them.

        {Hurry,} the computer pleaded.

        *BLAM-BLAM-BLAM* The droids fired off several large blasts,
forcing their target back.

        *GRAAAH!* The dark creature flailed at the droids.

        *SNICK!* Another droid leapt from behind and latched itself
onto the thing's neck.

        The Queen put away her wand and followed the lights to a set
of large, interlocked doors.

        {Seven minutes until critical mass,} the computer intoned,
then added, {Activating program.}

        *Hiss* The doors slid open to reveal a room similar to the
one Serenity had left, although much cleaner. Standing in the center
of it was a tall, black-haired man, badly injured, and wearing
cracked green and black armor.

        Serenity gasped. "Starlight!"

        The Starlight Knight coughed, struggling to keep himself
upright as he paced around the room. "The 'rescue mission,'" he
spat, "has ended in utter failure!"

        "Starlight...?" Serenity repeated.

        {This is only a recording. The message lasts fourty-five
minutes and requires a multitude of visual aids. Attempting to
utilize alternate technologies to hasten the process.}

        "Alright, but what-"


        The Atomic Starlight Knight paced around his bedroom, his
face a mask of anger and frustration.

        "Computer!" he shouted. "Status on the starship!"

        [The creature infestation has spread to the docking bay.
All spacecraft have been destroyed by the assault.]

        "Transporters! Can they be configured for time or dimensional

        [Negative. Repairs on the transporters will be completed in
one hour, sixteen-"

        "I don't have that much time! Find a solution!"


        A.S.K. turned back to his pacing. "Continuing my record.
After Tuxedo Mask's capture by that idiot Kunzite, I invaded the
Negaverse, finally managed to kill that giggling loon Zoicite, and
discovered where they were holding their captive."

        He sighed. "I was hacking and slashing my way to the cell.
Then, what can I say? Things got a little too hairy for me. I
teleported out, but some of the nasties followed me and invaded
my home! The inner defenses were able to keep them at bay, but
we couldn't get rid of them."

        A.S.K. shook his head. "Then Beryl staged a major assault
that I just couldn't ignore, like when they took over the...
Starlight tower, I think it was. That was sometime around when
Tux was captured, come to think of it..."

        He flickered. "AAAAH!" he screamed as his existence wavered,
then an intense expression of concentration filled his face. His
being stabilized. The green-armored knight took a few breaths,
then continued.

        "So, after I fought off the assault with the... Scouts,
Sailor Moon seemed _really_ down about Tuxy's capture. So, I
told 'er about what I'd been trying to do. She and the others
talked me into letting them come along. After all, they've handled
a lot before, so why not something like this? We went in, but
Sailor Earth was soon separated from the group, so I went to look
for her. Then, the-"

        "GRAAAAAAHH!!!" Another shockwave tore through him. After
recovering, he looked up and said, "Computer! Do we have the
visual record of the mission on file?"


        "Download it into the log."



        Five Sailor Senshi, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus
wound their way through the rocklike dimensional tunnels.

        They had been given directions and instructions that told
them that their goal was just down the next passageway.

        They stopped as a full-length mirror appeared in front of
each of them, reflecting their images with precise detail.

        Suddenly, those images began to warp.

        Mercury's image shrank into a shriveled green goblin with
jagged teeth, sharp claws, and a visor, still wearing the blue
Mercury fuku.

        The expression on the reflection of Mars took on a malevolent

        Jupiter's image bulked up, straining the sailor-suit until
it reached nine feet tall, muscles upon muscles... With a tearing
sound, a pair of black wings tore their way out of the back of
its outfit.

        Venus's counterpart hunched over with a maniacal look on
her face, the blonde hair turning grey and splaying haphazardly
around her.

        Sailor Moon's image burst into a sudden flash of dark blue
light, a titanic demon infusing itself before settling into a
rough copy of her, albeit with red eyes, messed-up hair, tattered
clothes, and a severe underbite.

        The Senshi stared in horror at the images...

        Then, the mirrors shattered and the monstrous versions of
them attacked!

        The originals were caught off guard, and barely managed to
avoid the first strike.

        Mercury dodged her counterpart's claws.

        Mars crossed her arms in front of her and blocked a burst of
fire sent at her.

        Jupiter leapt over the monster parodying her, landing behind
it and getting it in a headlock.

        Venus put her hands up, blocking the leather whip sent at her,
wrapping around her wrist instead of her neck.

        And, while those four Senshi dealt with their battles, Sailor
Moon was locked in her own.

        Her opponent had at first leapt into a kick at her, which
she stumbled out of the way of.

        It turned to her, no expression save for hatred in its eyes.
A hand went to its black-jeweled tiara.

        Sailor Moon whipped out the Crescent Moon Wand and its
accompanying Silver Crystal. She twirled it around in her hand
once before pointing it at the creature. "Moon... Healing...

        The white energies poured over the warped individual without

        As the original Sailor Moon wasted her time doing that, the
other charged up and threw its tiara at her, painfully knocking the
wand out of her hand.

        The warped and twisted Senshi took out a wand of its own,
topped with a black crystal. It held that device forward.

        An explosion of vinelike tentacles forced its way out of the
crystal, entangling Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon screamed as it blasted
her with a powerful lightning energy.

        Suddenly, the shocking stopped.

        Sailor Moon looked up to see the Starlight Knight with his
sword imbedded down to the hilt in the monster's shoulder.

        "Go find your Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon," the black-haired
knight said, "I'll fight them." He pulled out his handgun with
his left hand, then turned and fired a shot at the other corruptions,
getting their attention. He grabbed the tiara of the girl he held
onto, smashing it in his hand.

        The modified versions of the Senshi flickered and vanished,
leaving behind several butterfly-winged female youma in very scanty

        "Hurry up! Now!" the Starlight Knight commanded.

        The Senshi nodded. "Right!" They abandoned their current
fights and sped down the corridor to the Negaverse entrance.

        The youma that the knight had his sword imbedded in turned
her head and looked at him, not at all appearing to be in pain.
"Ah... The family-man..." She turned to her sisters. "What do
you say, girls? Shall we have roast knight on a stick?"

        In the next instant, the DD Girls had their shocking tentacles
all over him, blasting him with their energy.


        The Senshi found the way to their goal to be completely clear
of foes. Indeed, the castle they were in seemed to be vacant.

        Mercury, with a program designed to detect Prince Endymion's
energy, led the way.

        Finally, they reached a cavernous room with a large, garish
throne decorating the center of it.

        Standing partially hidden in the shadows was a red-haired
woman in a long, dark-purple dress.

        The Senshi gasped as they realized who they were facing.
"Queen Beryl!"

        "Indeed, I am Queen Beryl," the woman replied. The light
shifted to reveal that she held a staff with a crystal globe atop

        Perhaps more important than that was the fact that kneeling
beside her, kissing her hand, was Prince Endymion.

        "Endymion," Beryl commanded, "destroy them."

        The man's eyes shot open and flashed red. "As you command."
He stood and drew his sword.


        Sailor Earth walked among the twisting passageways of the
inter-dimensional warp. There were so many directions to get
lost in, and she didn't know the way.

        In addition to that, many inner... voices and almost-forgotten
memories had come to her, instructing her and calling to her.

        This left her confused, her mind wandering...

        Then, it all became clear to her. She smiled, nodded, and
headed off through another tunnel.


        "aaaAAAAAHHH!" A.S.K. yelled as he shielded himself from the
attacks of the DD Girls.

        "Well well," the leader said, "you actually managed to
survive... How delightful!"

        A.S.K. tore the last of the vines off of him and leapt
away, shifting his sword around to point the hilt upward, a
white crystal imbedded in it. "Eat THIS!"

        *Zrrrr*Crash!* The crystal began to draw in power, but was
soon shattered by a red energy-blade.

        A.S.K. turned to see an enraged Kunzite glaring at him.
"Oh, hello."

        "Your pathetic imitations are no match for ME!"

        "Really? Pummeled the tar out of you last time..."

        "You killed Zoicite," Kunzite growled, another energy
blade forming in his hand.

        "How nice of you to notice. I was wondering what it took
to get some credit around here..."


        The DD Girls giggled, then backed off to let their general
handle this fight.


        Endymion threw a black rose at the huddled Senshi, which
snapped into a black net trapping them. A series of black lightning
bolts coursed through them.

        "Grrr," Jupiter began, "they've got him in some sort of
mind-control. You need to use the Silver Crystal on him, Sailor

        "Right..." Sailor Moon said weakly.

        "Okay, get ready... BREAK!" Venus shouted.

        The Senshi forced their way out of the rose-embossed net.

        Sailor Moon held out the Crescent Moon Wand. "Moon... Healing

        A burst of light washed over Endymion...

        His expression did not change.

        "Metallia's energy is coursing through his veins," Beryl
explained. "Even with the Crystal, your powers are still too
weak and immature."

        Venus looked at Jupiter, who nodded and turned to Mercury
and Mars, who knew what they were planning.

        The four Senshi formed a circle around Sailor Moon.

        "Mars... Planet Power!"

        "Mercury Star Power!"

        "Jupiter Cosmic Power!"

        "Venus... Eternal Power!!!"

        Sailor Moon gasped as she realized what was going on.
She held her wand forward. "Moon Prism Power!"

        All the powers merged together, energizing the attack.

        "Moon... Healing... ESCALATION!!!"

        The massive burst of magical white energy swept through
Endymion, purging every last drop of Metallia's influence from
his system.

        The armored prince fell to the floor, gasping for breath.

        "Cool," Venus commented. She grinned at Beryl. "Guess
who's next..."

        Beryl watched in shock as Endymion stood, flashed a quick,
thankful smile at Sailor Moon, and stood with them.

        "Somehow," Jupiter said, "I don't think you'll be able
to turn him against us again..."

        "Stealing Endymion from me..." the evil queen whispered,
before her expression hardened. "THEN SO BE IT!"

        She raised her staff.

        A series of tentacles snatched Jupiter, dragging her away into
the shadows.

        Endymion quickly threw a high-velocity rose at Beryl...
which she deflected with a swing of her staff.

        "You will suffer with _them_, Endymion!"

        The floor melted underneath the prince, sucking him down
into its depths.

        Sailor Moon gasped. "NO!" She tried to raise her wand, but
more vines came and entangled her.

        "You will all feed Metallia's resurrection!"


        Sailor Earth shuddered, sensing that something terrible
was going to happen... unless she stopped it.

        A new, yet very familiar power ignited within her...


        The Atomic Starlight Knight stood, grinning at Kunzite.
He slipped on a pair of shades. "Wouldn't hit a guy with glasses,
would you?"

        *WHAM!* Kunzite's fist smashed into A.S.K.'s face, breaking
off the sunglasses. "I _will_ avenge her, traitor!"

        A.S.K. snapped his face back into place. "Hey! I may be many
things, but I was never a traitor; I was _always_ working for

        "Liar!" the silver-haired general shouted, then clenched
his fist upward.

        *Zrrr-RRRR* A black sphere encapsulated the armored man...
and began to shrink around him.

        "Now that's just plain rude," A.S.K. commented, and teleported
behind his opponent, blew a rasberry, then ran off through the
gateway into the Negaverse. "Nya-ni-nya-ni-nya-nyaaa!"


        The Senshi and Endymion had been lowered into place around
Metallia's cocoon, each encased up to their necks in a thick, black

        "Now," Queen Beryl said, "you will see what true pain means."
She turned to the cocoon. "Queen Metallia-sama... They are here."

        "Good," an ominous voice from the cocoon echoed.

        The organic cocoon glowed, a black humanoid shape within it
shifting... then, the chrysalis burst open, spilling its liquid
contents and allowing a rippling dark energy to come out.

        Tendrils of blackness attached themselves to the victims,
draining their energy like a leech drains blood.

        The trapped individuals each let out a soft groan as their
energy departed from them.

        Metallia's shadow grew in size, dwarfing the features of the
cavern below.

        "Excellent," Beryl whispered, "their energy is almost gone..."

        All of the sudden, a red and white flash rocketed out of the
entrance tunnel, slamming into Metallia's shadow.

        The tendrils connecting the dark being to the Senshi were
broken in sparks of blue.

        The red and white flash resolved itself into a red-headed
girl wearing a white Senshi outfit with a set of feathery wings.

        Sailor Moon managed to look up. "Sailor... Earth?!"

        Metallia looked at the relatively tiny newcomer. "Do you think
to fight ME, girl?"

        "I must, and I will!" the redhead replied. "I will free my
friends and bring an end to your reign of terror!"

        "Queen Beryl," Metallia said, "deal with the others as you
like. This one is mine."

        "Yes, Great Metallia!" Beryl shouted back emphatically, and
turned to the captured individuals. "NOW you will die!"

        Metallia's shadowlike form turned back to the winged Senshi.
"Prepare yourself..." She parted two shadowed arms, black energy
flashing between them, and sent a sparking stream of lightning
toward Sailor Earth, sweeping her away into the rocky cavern

        "Terra!" the barely-conscious Senshi gasped.

        Beryl looked up to watch. "Amazing..."

        As the dust cleared, the rock snapped away in a sudden rush
of power, revealing Sailor Earth levitating unscathed, except now,
she was outfitted with golden Senshi armor, and a set of dragonlike
silver wings. Her expression was focused, not angry, outraged, or
fearful; Her face reflected a strong inner determination.

        "I must stop you," Sailor Earth said.

        Beryl gasped.

        "As long as this realm exists," Metallia shot back, "You
cannot! Now that I have been resurrected, my powers draw from this
entire dimension!"

        "I _must_ stop you," Sailor Earth reaffirmed.

        "You will fail," the demon-goddess hissed back in a pleased
tone. "In any case, it's been nice knowing you."

        The shadow drew back, charging the air with its powerful
energy, then drawing its hands forward, creating a constant, flowing
stream of dark power.

        A transparent spherical barrier sprang up around Sailor Earth,
absorbing and deflecting the attack.

        "Impossible!" Beryl shouted. "No one can-"

        Sailor Jupiter turned toward her. "You'd better believe it!
Our Sailor Earth's a powerhouse!"

        "But for how long can she handle this?" Mercury asked. "There
is a _lot_ of energy being thrown around up there..."

        "You're right," Venus said, "we need to help her!"

        "But we're stuck in these crystals," Sailor Moon whined.

        "There's nothing we can do," Endymion said, then sighed
and looked up at the fighting girl, "Believe in yourself, Sailor
Earth! That is all you need!"

        Sailor Earth nodded to herself. "I believe..." Her wings
locked into place.

        Green energy began to rise out of the ground and walls toward
her, tendrils at first, then streams, then rivers...

        She drew it in, all the while deflecting what Metallia was
sending at her.

        "Hmmmph," Metallia muttered, then discontinued her attack.
She turned toward the Senshi. "Maybe I'd better take care of you
first." She pointed her hands at them.

        "NO!" Sailor Earth shouted, in an instant darting between
her friends and her foe, just in time to absorb the blast.

        This time, though, her barrier became weakened and dispersed.

        Metallia stopped. "Interesting..." Without warning, she
continued her attack.

        Sailor Earth thrust her hands out, creating a sustained blast
of her own to stop the inrushing shot. "MMMMH!"

        While initially driving back Metallia's energy, Terra's beam
was rapidly losing ground.

        "Impressive..." the shadow commented, and intensified her

        Sailor Earth closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, once
more allowing in the green energy from her surroundings.

        "It's futile," Metallia added, "I can sustain this

        Finally, the shadow's blast overwhelmed that of the golden
Senshi, smashing through what remants of Sailor Earth's barrier
and impacting on her directly. A short scream was all that was
heard before the energy overtook her.

        The blast passed Sailor Earth's previous position, and ripped
into the platform the trapped Senshi had been anchored to, scattering
the still-intact crystals across the cavern.

        Metallia shut off her attack and turned to a still-stunned
Beryl. "Hmm. You know, I was actually starting to get worried..."

        *zrrrrr-RRRRR* A vibrating sound attracted their attention.

        Standing in the debris field of Metallia's cocoon, Sailor
Earth stood, singed but still going. She levitated upwards to
come face-to-face with the shadow.

        "So, she's still alive," Metallia whispered in a bored tone.
She lifted a shadowed hand to flick the annoyance away.

        Sailor Earth closed her eyes.

        A stream of energy shot out from her chest and connected with

        "What is this!?" Metallia exclaimed in shock.

        "Darkess beyond the void of space..." the girl intoned.

        The stream connecting them pulsed with a mix of light and
dark hues. The green energy that Sailor Earth had drawn in now
spiraled around her in glowing ribbons. A strong wind rippled
through her hair as she held her hands together, beginning to
refine and concentrate the tremendous amounts of power she had

        "Crimson beyond blood that flows...
         Buried outside the skein of time..."

        Kunzite and A.S.K. fought their way in, swords clashing
as Kunzite was driven back toward the center of the cave.

        "Is where MY power grows..."

        A.S.K. glanced up at Sailor Earth, then gasped, wide-eyed,
allowing Kunzite the advantage.

        "In MY great name, I consign this world to darkness!!!"

        A.S.K. tried to call out to her, but his voice was drowned
out by hers. Though it was not harsh, her voice spoke with power.
The crystals around the Senshi began to crack and shatter,
allowing them to regroup.

        "Let this realm that lies before me be destroyed,
         by the power that I possess!"

        There was silence for a moment as Sailor Earth gave one last
look at Sailor Moon and Prince Endymion before turning back to her
task. She bowed her head, brought her hands forward, and spoke in
a deathly silent whisper that nonetheless resounded throughout the


        The redhead darkened, then Metallia glowed. The charged
streams pulsed, increasing in magnitude, then rushed into them.
Simultaneously, both individuals exploded in an expanding wash of
swirling black and white energies, consuming all that came in contact
with it.

        Queen Beryl could only stare, agape as she was vaporized.

        A.S.K. fought off an inner shockwave and had just enough time
to look on in horror as this happened, before a sidewash of the blast
engulfed Kunzite. The knight dove aside and hurried to where Sailor
Earth had last been.

        Before he could dive into the energy, however, Sailor Moon
caught him.

        As another jolt went through him, A.S.K. was powerless to
resist as Endymion and the Senshi teleported away with him.


        The holographic Atomic Starlight Knight continued to pace
around the room. "And then, after having the audacity to just let
Terra sacrifice herself without my express permission, they had
the gall to 'save' my life."

        He growled. "Some life. After Terra dies, I've got... Maybe
one hour left to me. And barring Sailor Pluto barging in here and
offering to undo the thing, there's nothing I can do about it now!"

        He gave a wry smile. "Correction: There IS something I can
do about it..." The green-armored knight frowned. "But I won't.
You know why? I sure don't. As a matter of fact..."

        A.S.K. stopped. He shut his eyes, hunched over, and held his
chest as what promised to be the most powerful, and final feeling
in his life.

        A blue shockwave tore through him downwards... then bounced
back upwards, his image fading as this happened.

        "Computer..." he coughed, "make sure... make sure she finds
out about this! Code Omega... Four..."

        And then, he was gone in an intense flash of light.


        Neo-Queen Serenity held her head as the assault on her senses

        {That is all,} the computer said.

        The woman took a few deep breaths to help herself calm down
after reliving the second most traumatic experience of her life.

        {An archive of my creator's personal logs is all that remains.

        *RRK!* A large claw mark from the outside appeared on the
holodeck door.

        {All defenses have been breached. Force fields are offline.
Combat droids are offline. Reactor will reach critical mass in one
minute, thirty seconds.}

        "What about his records?"

        {Unable to transfer. Insufficient time to complete task.
Transporter system has been repaired. Transporting you to the

        Serenity started to say something, but she was beamed away.

        The beast tore through the door, casting away the metal
fragments stuck in its claws, then hunched over and looked around.

        {At least I'll finally be rid of _you_,} the computer said
with no small amount of joy.


        {Complain all you want. You and I are going together. Reactor
will reach critical mass in... two seconds. Have a delightful day,


        There was a slight rumble through the streets of Crystal
Tokyo, but it stopped after just a few seconds.

        Neo-Queen Serenity stumbled toward the Crystal Palace, and
was greeted by the worried faces of her Inner Senshi, Ranma included.

        "Hey," the new Sailor Earth began, "they said something
happened to you."

        "Yeah," Venus said, "we tried scanning and looking around, but
we couldn't get anywhere."

        Serenity nodded. "Yes, but I'm fine..." She turned to Ranma.
"I have a little story to tell you about your predecessor if you
have time."

        "'Course I got time! Not a whole lotta stuff ta do around
here, y'know."

        The Queen laughed. "That's probably because you haven't done
much other than training, fighting, and trying to seduce the Outer

        "Hey!" the redhead said defensively.

        "Yeah, I've heard the rumors about Setsuna and Hotaru," Jupiter
chuckled. "Like Haruka's been saying: Nudge-nudge, wink-wink..."

        The whole group had a merry chuckle at Ranma's expense.

        "I'll... go try to find Setsuna," the girl in the pink-
highlighted sailor fuku said, not at all impressed with the joke.
As she backed off, she muttered, "What a bunch of weirdos..."


        Reenie stood uneasily under the hot lamp of the cramped
courtroom. Only faint outlines could be made out in the rest of
the room.

        The jury sat in a darkened alcove, whispering amongst
themselves in very low tones concerning the fate of the defendant.

        The judge sat atop his desk, which towered over the young,
pink-haired girl. "A-HEM-HEM!" he cleared his throat.

        Small Lady looked around, trembling.

        "You," the judge began in a stern voice, "'ave been charged
with committing 'Pink.' 'Ow do you plead?"

        Reenie fidgeted, then looked up and, in a very small voice,
said, "Um... Not guilty?"

        "WRONG!" the judge shot back. "ON YA KNEES!!!"

        A dozen Klingon Warriors with charged Painsticks came at the
girl from every angle out of the shadows...


maniacally as the girl began to cook.

        Suddenly, Sailor Pluto walked in, turned on the lights and
shouted, "ARBY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!?"

        "Gaaah!" the Brown ArbyFish that were sitting on the jury
shouted, scattering like cockroaches in the light.

        The Klingons backed off and grinned sheepishly.

        Arby, who had been sitting on the judge's desk, fluttered
down and sat down on Reenie's shoulder and put a flipper around
her neck. "Umm... We wuz playin'! Real noice-loike!" He looked
down at the girl. "Wuzzn't we?"

        "Umenuhuhuhuhuh..." Lil' Mucus gibbered incoherently, her
hair sizzling and her eyes wide.

        "Get out!" Sailor Pluto yelled. "Everyone, out!"

        "Oh," Arby said, disappointed, "but we wuz throwin' 'er a
traditional Klingon birthday par'y!" He held up a stick of dynamite.
"Look! We'z gots th' candles roight 'ere!"

        "It's not her birthday and she's not Klingon!" Pluto snapped.
"OUT! I don't want to deal with you right now!!!"

        The ArbyFish shrugged; an interesting thing to see considering
that he didn't have shoulders. "Alrought." He turned to the Klingons.
"Come along, lads. We know when we'z not wonted 'ere."

        Arby dragged Reenie out of the room by her hair, followed by
the dark-haired Warriors.

        Sailor Pluto kicked over the tall, podeum-like cardboard desk
and benches.

        "To think," she muttered, "they actually believe that chaos
has been defeated..."

        Finally, she tired of the slow effort to clean up the room the
slow way, and gripped her staff in both hands.

        *WROOAARRHH* A grey whirlwind swept through the area, rending
the debris into dust, which was blown away.

        "There," the Time Senshi panted, wiping a fleck of drool from
the side of her mouth, "much better."

        Hunching over on her staff, she hobbled over to one of the
featureless walls and placed her hands against it.

        The creak of stone against stone echoed throughout the room
as a crack appeared in the wall, a titanic section withdrawing
inward and sliding aside, revealing a cavelike brown rock passageway.

        "All is in readiness," Sailor Pluto whispered, her eyes
reflecting an obsessive inner focus as she proceeded through the
tunnel. "The time draws near."

        In less than a minute, she approached a junction.

        The path to the right led upwards, was well-lit and had the
cheerful sounds of chirping birds and children laughing. Jovial music
played through the smooth hallway, giving the tunnel a very happy

        The path to the left was pitch-black, save for a faint red glow
in the darkness below, eerie noises of an unknown origin echoing
through the jagged passageway. Faint, ominous drips and tortured
screams permeated the hot, humid, steaming atmosphere.

        Pluto looked to the right, her expression softening for
a moment, before hardening again as she tore her gaze away, turning
and marching down the other passageway.

        As she proceeded, her stiffening posture showed her growing
determination, but her countenance twisted into a mix of anger,

formerly repressed rage, and her eyes shone with something new;
something beyond all those small emotions.

        Setsuna's posture and expression became shockingly inhuman,
party to an indescribable evil.

        A dark aura flowed around her.

        "Sssoon, my preciousss," the green-haired woman hissed,
stopping a few meters from the end of the passage, "very sssoon."

        The red glow deepened, cracks appearing in the rock as the
wall began to slide aside, the cave vibrating in the wake of
moving stone.

        "Oh, there you are, Setsuna!" a girl's voice called from
behind the Time Guardian.

        Sailor Pluto turned towards the speaker, her lips curling
into a malevolent smile. "Greetings, Saotome Ranma."

        The sailor-suited redhead nodded. "Yeah." She glanced
around. "So, what're ya doin' here?"

        "HAHAHAHAHA," Pluto laughed in an overly deep chuckle,
her eyes gleaming as she dove at the girl, snatching her by a
pressure point in the neck, immobilizing her. "Why, Ranma-sama,"
she giggled in a mocking, high-pitched vibrato, "I'm going to
teach you a lesson; one that will haunt you for the rest of

        Ranma was only barely able to speak as she was dragged ever-
closer to the cracking wall at the end of the tunnel.

        "Oh my..."