Sailor Moon Expanded

Sailor Moon Expanded : First Contact
by Mark Latus

Continuity note - This story takes place shortly after the events of "Crystal
                  Renegades" part 9 and Azurite's decision to join the Outer
                  Senshi's Golden Millennium Project.  The flashback takes
                  place during the early episodes of SMS while Neptune and
                  Uranus were showing up just long enough to temporarily  
                  incapacitate the monster of the day, check the heart 
                  crystal wasn't a talisman then vanish, leaving the Inner 
                  Senshi to destroy the diamon.  This period also precedes
                  the DKR story, "Girls' Night Out"

2981 AD - Site of the former Uranian Lunar Embassy

     Azurite's return and announcement that she was joining the Golden 
Millennium project was a great relief to everyone in the hidden Lunar base.
Particularly Haruka and Michiru.  Why Azurite was essential to their plans 
they had no idea but after decades of visions about the Blue Haired One her
role must be somehow crucial.  Especially as all other details of the dreams 
had been 100% accurate to date.  For the time being they were still holding   
off on telling her how vital she was to their success.  Getting told she was
expected to do some unknown but possibly messianic thing could induce Azurite
to change her mind.  Who would want to learn they have the fate of worlds 
resting on their shoulders?  Look at how long it had taken Sailor Moon to 
accept the idea.  Instead they had decided to gradually build up to it over 
time and instructed the Youngers to keep quiet on the subject.  Everyone had
agreed, even Vicky.  But then she could sympathize with someone getting stuck 
with a destiny they really didn't want.  They had settled for telling Azurite 
that the dreams that had lead them to the others had now brought them to her.  
     She wasn't the last member expected, the visions had lead them to expect 
two more Younger Senshi.  Princess Usagi, the Younger Moon would be recruited 
when she was older.  However Younger Nemesis was a bit of a puzzle.  The 
Nemesians had only recently revealed their existence and little was known 
about them or their planet.  Or rather the four interconnected planetoids that 
made up the Nemesian subsystem.  Which had every astrophysicist on Earth 
tearing their hair out over the sheer impossibility of their existence coupled 
with the undeniableness that they and their linking columns did.  But what was 
known contradicted the expectations on the Golden Millennialists.  
     Naturally enough while in Crystal Tokyo the Nemesian delegation had been
asked if there was a Sailor Nemesis.  They had claimed that while ancient
records indicated there had been one millennia ago no such individual had 
manifested since the Fall.  In her place they had the Four Sisters, each of
whom was the avatar of one of the Nemesian Planetoids but bore about as much
resemblance to a true senshi as Endymion did to being Sailor Earth.  It was
possible the Nemesians were lying and concealing their senshi's existence but 
that didn't help them much.  For that would mean the Younger Nemesis would,
like her Elder, be born upon one of the Sisters and remain inaccessible to 
them.  If this was the case their only real hope was that the Younger Nemesis 
would turn out to be one of the members of the embassy Demand was establishing 
in Crystal Tokyo.  Which, given the number of coincidences that happened in 
that city, was a lot more likely than pure probability indicated.
     The Youngers welcome to Azurite was a sharp contrast to their more formal
introductions on her initial visit.  Haruka and Michiru had requested them to  
relax and make it a social occasion.  While Younger Mars remained shy and 
deferential Hitomi was the only one not able to put aside her awe.  After all  
the others had already spent years or even decades under the tutelage of 
living legends and had learned to become blase about the fact.  Fiona was 
delighted to have another trained archaeologist around, finally there was 
someone she could discuss her lunar explorations with and not violate her oath 
of secrecy.  Sakuya was curious how Azurite had invested her incomes from her 
multitude of occupations over the centuries along with any inside information
on Pyrite's upcoming magisci patents.  This last hope would be dashed by the  
news of Pyrite's unfortunate accident that had forced him to enter seclusion.
     As for the others; Vicky had a few questions about her ancestors that she 
hadn't asked during her sole meeting with her multi great grandfather. Mayuki 
and Jeanne were both glad to see a new face.  Any diversion from their decades 
of voluntary confinement was welcome.  The only member of the group not 
present was RH.  Both Elder Senshi had decided that it was far too early to 
introduce her to Sakuya's perverted pet.  If anything could convince Azurite 
to change her mind and go home it would be him.
     During the welcoming party Hitomi managed to put aside her shyness long
enough to ask Azurite a question.  As Neptune-sensei had mentioned earlier 
meetings with Lady Azurite when had these occurred?  Azurite had gently 
reminded Hitomi that the only title she could claim was Doctor as she had 
never held any sort of rank in Crystal Tokyo.  Waving off Hitomi's apology she 
was about to answer the question when Haruka jumped in.
     "First time we officially met would have been while you and Pyrite were
hanging around the Palace trying to decide if you were staying or not.  I have
to admit I was very sceptical of Serenity's plan to add youma to the roster
back then but I got over it when I got to know Polaris and Calcite.  We've 
had our disagreements but I can't deny their commitment to Serenity.  But 
our first actual meeting was back in the twentieth when we stumbled across 
you and Margrave carving up that diamon."
     Azurite nodded, "We first worked together during that vampire mess in 
England thirty or so years after we ducked out of CT.  But you're right, our 
first meeting was that night Ti conned me into spending an evening trying to 
get on with Margrave.  Thank Serenity she gave up on that idea centuries ago."
     Mayuki frowned, "I thought vampires were mythical?"
     "They are but you can do a good imitation by misusing magic.  Long story,
sometime I'll have to tell you the highlights of my vigilante career in my 
days as an active lesser senshi."  Which, she thought, I expect to resume
soon once this Nemesis disaster kicks into high gear.  What a mess, I just
hope I won't be facing a tangle of loyalties.  I've sworn to discuss Pluto's 
message of impending war and time travel with no one outside of CT's inner 
circle.  Most of whom have known this was coming for almost a millennium.  Now, 
as if one oath of secrecy wasn't enough, I've sworn to mention this place to 
no outsider except Serenity.  The only one not here who knows the whole truth
about both stories.  I could wind up walking a very thin line.
     Centuries of practice kept her face from reflecting any concern.  Instead    
Azurite pushed the worries aside and cast her mind back to that night long ago
and considered how to tell the story.  But before she could begin Michiru cut
in with a surprise.
     "I hate to contradict you but you're both wrong.  Our first meeting was 
some months before the night you two are remembering."  
     Both Azurite and Haruka threw her matching looks of confusion.  "What in 
the world are you talking about, Michi?"
     "I am talking about a spring afternoon a very long time ago."  Seeing she
had everyone's attention she began her tale.  "This was back before anyone
knew there were Outer Senshi.  At the time the only ones known were the Inner
Senshi and they were largely believed to be either urban myths or a well
orchestrated merchandising scheme by a conglomeration of toy companies."  She  
hid a smile at the perplexed expressions on the Youngers' faces.  They just
couldn't imagine a world in which people didn't accept senshi as a fact of 
     "This was during the very early days of our battle against the Death 
Busters.  The Inner Senshi knew nothing of us apart from our names.  Our  
origins and intentions were a mystery to them and we were avoiding them as 
much as possible.  With hindsight that was foolish but it made sense to both 
of us at the time.  Neither we nor they realized we had all recently met in 
our civilian guises though it was nigh inevitable in a synchronous zone like 
Tokyo.  But its existence was something else we learned later.  At any rate 
on the day in question ...
      Chrystine Phobos, owner and operator of the Silkworm Book Shoppe, looked
up from her manga to see one of her best customers.  "How's it going, Ti."
      "Great, it's a beautiful day and it's time for 'Operation Sisterhood'." 
      Chrys raised an eyebrow.  "Haven't I heard that before?"  Ti's attempts  
to reconcile the two women she thought of as her older sisters seemed an
exercise in futility to Chrys.  She had met both (in Azure's case they had met
thanks to a practical joke by Margrave) and it was obvious that while both 
liked Ti they also shared a strong mutual dislike.  Still she had to give Ti 
credit for boundless optimism.
     Sure enough Ti was sure that this time she could at least start them on 
the road to friendship.  She had managed to convince each of them to come 
shopping with her this afternoon following school.  As of yet she hadn't 
mentioned to them that both of them would be meeting her for that reason.  It
seemed doomed from the start to Chrys but she admired the girl's perseverance.
     "Well good luck anyway."
     "Thanks ... say is that a new Sailor Arcturus doujinshi?  You know I 
collect those."  Chrys glanced down and hurriedly closed it.  "Uhhh ... you
don't want this one.  It's kind of etchi."
     "Oh."  Ti decided Chrys was right, that wasn't the sort of thing she 
could take home.  If Margrave found it that would give her something else to
torment Azure with.  Not that she didn't do fine on her own without using the 
fruits of some hentai otaku's imagination.  Out of curiosity she asked, "Do
you have that sort of thing for the other senshi?"
     Chrys shook her head.  "I don't traffic in that sort of thing.  Nobody
who has seen the other senshi can agree on any detail apart from costume, hair 
colour and measurements.  All the photographs are similarly blurred but one
thing everyone agrees on is they're young.  Too young to be fantasised over
in my opinion!"  Ti looked a little puzzled by this declaration.  
     "Really?  Then why do you have that Jupiter one under the Arcturus one?"
Chrys sweatdropped.
     "Oh that ... hahaha ... uh ...  Well she's a lot taller so she's probably 
older than the others."  Chrys kept justifying herself then realized Ti's
attention had wandered.  Eager to change the subject she brought the item that 
interested Ti nearer.  "You like it?"
     Ti nodded, "It's cute."  The stuffed toy looked something like a fat
oval rabbit with a jewel in its forehead.  "It's Mokona, isn't it?"  
     "Spot on.  Toys aren't my usual line but I'm a big CLAMP fan ..."
     "I know, you're the one who turned me onto Rayearth."
     "I remember ... anyway I picked up a few of these to see how they sell.
Interested?  I can give you a discount as a regular."  Ti quickly worked out
how much she had, how much she'd need and how long until allowance day.  Then
decided to throw caution to the wind and hope she could wheedle an advance out 
of Cal when she got home.  "I'll take it."
     "Great.  Well long as you're here let me show you a few things I just
managed to acquire with a bit of wheeling and dealing."  Chrys didn't expect
Ti to buy any of it, it wasn't to her taste.  But she liked showing her
collectibles to someone who would appreciate them.  
     "Sure, what have you got?"
     "Well for starters ..."  The two moved to the back of the store leaving 
the counter unmanned.  Chrys wasn't worried about doing that, the local punks
had spread the word that things happened to people who shoplifted at Silkworm.
But that meant neither were present to see the diamon egg approach the window
and phase through to merge with the Mokona toy sitting by the till.  
    Or at least it tried to but soon as it touched the glass it was bounced 
away by a warding spell.  Chrys Phobos (whose real name was Chrysolite) had 
installed the wards almost without thinking about it.  It was a natural habit 
for those brought up in the Dark Kingdom.  If they kept Hidebehinds from 
entering dwellings nobody knew but nobody took any unneccessary risks where 
the invisible death was concerned.  So as a matter of course all youma 
dwellings were plastered with the wards.  It was such a standard precaution 
that after intallation most youma never gave them a second thought.  Much like 
lightning rods.
      However in the back of the store both youmas felt something happen with 
the paranormal senses neither knew the other possessed.  They looked at each 
other knowing something had happened but with no idea what.  
     Puzzled, Ti asked, "Did you feel a cold draft or something?"
     "Funny, I was just thinking the same thing.  I'd better check the air
conditioner isn't cranked too high."  Ti nodded and forgot about it but  
Chrys couldn't shake a feeling of unease.  Maybe it was time to check the 
Star Wheel and see if the immediate future held any unpleasant surprises.  If
she could.  Unfortunately while the stars knew all they didn't tell all.
     A little later Chrys waved as she watched Ti depart cuddling the latest
addition to her stuffed animal collection.  She still felt that vague sense of
disquiet but it seemed to be fading ... as Ti got further away.  Was that just 
coincidence or was whatever disturbed her following Ti?  Probably the former,  
she was just imagining things and finding patterns where none existed.  
Probably and yet ...   It would just take a minute to flip the sign to 
"Closed", lock the door and follow Ti.  She liked the girl and wouldn't want
to see anything happen to her.  Except that she was jumping at shadows.  Why  
would any supernatural disturbance center on Titania?  
     By one of the skewed probability fluctuations common to Synchronistic
Zones (that would subsequently be discovered and codified as "The Law of 
Dramatic Irony") Chrys had met every other survivor of the Dark Kingdom and 
recognised none of them as members of her species.  Nor had they identified
her as anything more than a pleasant if slightly eccentric shop owner.  There
was nothing about her to concern them.  Ti liked her and since she showed no
interest in Ti beyond friendship her sexual preferences were irrelevant.  
Except to Margrave and then only as a source of potential amusement by 
tricking Chrys and Azure on a date.  But that's another story.  What matters 
for this one is that it would be a very, very long time before Chrysolite and 
Titanite learned each others true natures and their blood relationship.
     Meanwhile after giving the matter a little more thought Chrys shook her 
head. She couldn't go running off half cocked every time she got a spooky 
feeling. That was just plain over-reaction.  She would stop watching Ti 
disappearing down the street and get back to work on those order forms.  Any 
second now.
     Skipping down the street Ti was wondering if she should give her toy a
new name or stick to Mokona.  It did look very rabbit like ... maybe she
should call her Usagi-chan.  Giggling to herself she headed for the rendezvous 
in high spirits.  She had a feeling this was going to a good afternoon.
     Something else was not having a good afternoon.  To the extent that it
could feel anything the Diamon egg was pissed.  First it had attempted to
infiltrate the target's house and been repelled, now it had just suffered the
same setback a second time.  Translated into human terms it was not a happy
camper.  It was however even more determined to accomplish its mission.  
Lurking behind a nearby vending machine it sensed the target passing and 
carrying a possessible item.  A decision was made.  It would follow 
unobtrusively and merge with the doll the moment the opportunity presented
itself.  Had she been older and more experienced Titanite might have sensed
she was being followed.  Unfortunately all her attention was on Mokona and
her plans for the afternoon.
     Not far away two high schools students were sitting on a bench watching
the people pass by with more than casual interest.  Still wearing her boy's 
uniform Haruka amused herself trying to attract any junior high girls who
passed by.  Michiru didn't seem to notice, she was too busy waiting for the
next target.  She didn't know who it was or even what he or she looked like.  
But she knew she'd recognise whoever it was when they passed.
     Haruka saw Michiru's gaze lock onto a passing brunette.  The girl hadn't
noticed her, evidently intent on some errand of her own.  Something pleasant 
from her humming and the way she held that stuffed animal.  Michiru said 
simply, "Her", and got up.  Haruka nodded, she was already on her feet and 
ready to follow.  "Looks like a prime candidate ... shame the talismans aren't 
found in impure hearts.  It'd make this a lot easier."
     "If wishes were horses ..."  Michiru didn't bother finishing.  They'd 
been over this so many times before.  They had to face the way things were
without flinching, wishing things were different wouldn't help anyone.  Three
lives were a small price to pay to save three billion.  They might not like 
sacrificing the carriers but they would do it without flinching or hesitation.
     The girl didn't notice them following, all her attention seemed to be 
fixed on her pudgy rabbit doll.  Still she wove though the other pedestrians
without bumping into anyone or showing any signs of exertion.  She must be in
good shape despite an evident fondness for chocolate bars.  Haruka guessed 
she was on her way to meet someone, perhaps a boyfriend, which could mean 
another idiot getting in the way.  As if it wasn't bad enough putting up with 
Sailor Moon and her gang of second raters complicating things.  So far they 
hadn't prevented the diamons from extracting any heart crystals but that 
remained a definite threat.  In which case she and Michiru would be forced to 
prevent their interference.  By any means necessary.
     The girl slowed down and waved to two women waiting by a crossroads.  
They stopped glaring at each other and waved back but kept a wary eye on one
another.  Michiru took a moment to study the twosome.  Like the girl both
were foreigners, very attractive and in their early twenties.  Beyond that 
their appearance was a sharp contrast.  The redhead was tall, not far shy of
six feet and dressed in an immaculate white blouse with a light purple skirt   
and jacket.  Not a hair out of place, poised and collected ... at least when
she wasn't watching the other woman.  The platinum blonde beside her was a 
little shorter but sported a bigger bust.  Which wasn't hard to tell as she 
was dressed for the height of summer in a skintight halter top and hip hugging 
shorts.  It was nowhere near that hot but she showed no sign of discomfort and 
preened at the attention she received from the passers by.  Both would 
probably have been surrounded by admirers were they not radiating hostility 
so openly.
     "Sorry I'm a little late ..."  Both looked at her, then jerked a thumb 
at the other and began speaking in unison.  "WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE?"
     "Oh, you both agreed to go shopping with me so you're both supposed to
be here."
     "Well you didn't ask."  The girl sounded cheerful as ever despite the
almost palpable dislike between the two.  "Beside if I'd told you that you
were both coming neither of you would have shown up.  But you did and you 
promised so here we are."  Still looking innocent she asked, "So where shall 
we go first?"  
     The redhead looked as though she was going to protest again but sighed 
and gave a rueful smile, "I should know to check the fine print.  Okay, I'm 
in ..."  She turned to the blonde, "Feel free to go find a nice warm bed 
to crawl into."  
     The blonde started to hiss something but it became a nasty smile, "Think 
I'll stick around for a while.  Could be fun, Azzie."  A muscle twitched in 
the other's jaw but she gave no other reaction.  The girl didn't seem to 
notice.  Instead she clapped her hands together and beamed. 
     "Great, everything's settled.  I've got a few ideas where we should 
start but first let me introduce you to Mokona ..."
     Keeping their guise as innocent passers-by Haruka couldn't get close 
enough to hear what followed but she got the gist.  It was obvious that while
neither woman liked the other both unwound considerably in the girl's 
presence.  She had heard the girl call them "older sisters" but this might be
merely a term of endearment as none of the three bore any family resemblance. 
Feeling a little mischievous she was about to comment to Michiru on the 
desirability of older women when she noticed Michiru's attention fixed on the
redhead.  Irrationally she felt a sudden twinge of anger and jealousy and
demanded, "Hey, watch the girl.  We've got a job to do."
     "Hmmm ... oh sorry, Haruka."  She didn't sound particularly sorry to 
Haruka and she would have responded a bit louder if Michiru hadn't suddenly
said, "It's just that I could swear I've seen her before somewhere.  I wonder 
where?"  Haruka's, "How should I know?", was a bit on the gruff side.  
     "Wonder later, they're on the move and I'll bet whatever shows up this 
time won't take too long to manifest."  Michiru nodded and they resumed
tailing their quarry.
     Ahead of them Ti was taking point as she lead the trio's way and kept up 
a running explanation of what a Mokona was (which had somehow segued into a
summary of Rayearth proper).  Behind her Azurite hesitated then whispered in 
youma'shak, "You do know we're being followed?"
     Margrave snorted quietly.  "I wondered how long it'd take you to spot
them.  You're getting soft Azzie ..."  She waited for a reaction but there was 
none.  Slightly annoyed she continued, "Think we should duck into the nearest 
alley, grab them as they pass, break their legs then ask them politely to stop 
bothering us?"
     "Once again the voice of reason speaks!"  Margrave muttered something 
about sarcastic bitches then more clearly, "So what do we do?"
     "Are you getting anything unusual off them?" 
     "They smell human if that's what you're asking.  Picking up weird auras?"
     "Except they're following us for some reason."
     "They could be following me."  Margrave snorted again but Azurite ignored
it.  "I do have a certain amount of celebrity.  They could be fans ..."
     "Or stalkers.  Probably stalkers.  Why don't you confront them and see 
it they're planning some ritualistic lesbian murder-suicide cult thing?  If 
they're not maybe you can talk her into doing one."        
     "Ha ha.  Well so far they haven't done anything threatening and they may
lose interest and wander off.  If they keep following us then we'll have to 
have a few words and find out what their game is.  But for the moment we're 
going to wait and see what happens.  Leave the next move to them."  
     "We are?"
     "Fine by me, Azzie."
     "Stop calling me that."  Margrave just grinned.
     Ti's voice cut in, "What are you talking about."
     "This and that."
     "Just trying to get along."
     Ti looked sceptical.  While that was the outcome she wanted she doubted it
would happen that quickly.  But she'd let it go and hope for the best.  
"That's good, okay first on the agenda ..." 
     About two hours later Haruka was beginning to wonder if Michiru had them 
following the wrong girl.  Or if whichever of her belongings had been 
possessed was still at her own home waiting for her return to activate.  
Michiru had no way to answer the latter but was sure this was the next target.
Haruka had to admit she seemed to fit the criteria.  Despite a strong dislike
both women seemed fond of the girl and put aside their mutual antagonism in her
presence.  A real peacemaker ... somewhat unfortunate for her since it meant 
a demon would rip out her heart crystal.  If she was really unlucky her 
crystal would be one of the three talismans and they would take it from the
creature and keep it.  Which meant she would die shortly afterwards.  Like
the saying said, "No good deed goes unpunished."  This was something of a   
private joke between the two Outer Senshi.  Haruka figured as long as they 
weren't desensitised enough to find it funny they were doing all right. 
     The trio split up as the girl spotted an ice cream store.  There was a 
brief discussion followed by the group splitting up.  The girl handed her 
rabbit toy to the blonde and her packages to the redhead then crossed the 
street.  Without arguing the two women took a seat on a bench by the retaining 
wall and exchanged a few quiet words.  Haruka decided to try getting closer to 
the girl.  If her booby trapped possession was at home then knowing where she 
lived would be handy in case they lost track of her.  She mentioned this to
Michiru then headed for the ice cream store herself.  She didn't see the 
blonde hiss and start to rise nor the redhead seize her arm and prevent her
from following.  Nor did she see the redhead turn to the tree that shielded
Michiru or hear her speak.  "Young lady, I think it's time you told us why 
you've been following us."  Haruka also missed the blonde adding, "Your friend
had better just be going for ice cream.  We don't like it when people hassle 
the kid."  Michiru held her place so both women rose from the bench to 
confront her.  Both left the merchandise Ti had left with them sitting on the 
bench as they went to give Michiru an unfriendly stare.  Unfortunately this 
meant neither of them was there to see the diamon egg emerge from a gutter 
drain and merge into the doll.  Azurite's latent danger sensing ability might 
have picked it up had her irritation with Margrave not been filling her mind.
Margrave's own heightened senses were similarly affected so she didn't 
register the Diamon's presence.  If Michiru saw it happen she kept it to 
     Across the street Ti was studying the list of flavours.  Margrave wanted
chocolate, Azure had asked for low fat yogurt which just left her to make
up her mind.  The girl behind the counter looked to be a high school student 
with an after school job.  She had recognised Ti's indecision and was 
recommending a few flavours.  The somewhat sullen looking guy beside her was 
doing a good statue imitation but came to life as the door opened.  "Welcome."
     The new customer ignored him and strode up to Ti.  "What's a pretty girl
like you doing alone on a day like this?"
     "Oh, I'm not alone.  I've got two friends across the street ..."  Then 
Ti took a good look at her questioner and her cheerful expression was replaced
by a quizzical one.  "Excuse me, that's a high school uniform you're wearing?"
     "Yes, Mugen Gakuen, a very exclusive academy."  The name impressed those 
who knew of it but this girl didn't seem the type to be interested in 
academics.  Still, whatever worked.
     "I thought so only ... don't you get in trouble for wearing a boy's 
     "What?" Haruka felt a little taken aback.  
     Oblivious to her confusion Ti continued, "At my school they're very 
strict about girls wearing ... you are a girl, right?"
     "Ah, yeah.  Haruka Ten'ou."  The girl behind the counter stared at her
with very big eyes.  
     "Titania Hobbes though I normally go by Ti ..."  
     "Call me Haruka."
     "Sure."  Ti remembered Azure and Margrave were waiting and returned her
attention to the menu.  Offhandedly she remarked, "This is going to sound 
silly but for a moment there I thought you were a boy.  Crazy, huh."
     "Right, how could anyone make that mistake?"  Ti completely missed her
tone of voice.
     "One yogurt, one chocolate ... make that two chocolate cones please."  
The guy nodded and got to work, his coworker was still bugeyed and frozen in
place.  Ti looked back at Haruka and gestured at the window.   "Sorry for the 
interruption but my friends are waiting and ... now who's that they're talking 
to?"  Haruka turned to see Michiru conversing with the two older women.  What
was she playing at?   
     "You know her?"  Haruka realized her face was giving away everything and
marshalled her thought.  "She's a friend of mine."
      "Seems to be getting on with my big sisters."
      "Uh ..."  Haruka wasn't so sure.  Yes, Michiru was talking to them but
it didn't look that warm and friendly to her.  "They're your sisters?"
      "Well, not really, that's just what I call them.  I grew up calling 
Azure big sister and since Marg ... Cathy started living with us I've been 
trying to get her used to it.  She likes it better than 'auntie' though that's 
not saying much but it's a bit too ... domestic for her.  So I normally just 
use her name but when they're both together like this I figure I should 
address them the same way.  I don't want to play favourites."  Ti paid for
the three ice creams and suggested, "If you hurry up and get your cones I can 
introduce you to them and you can introduce me to your friend.  Looks like 
they're all waiting for us."  Sure enough the three across the road were 
looking this way.  Remembering she was supposed to be here just as a customer
Haruka ordered the two vanilla, first thing that came to mind.  As soon as she 
was handed them she remembered Michiru preferred strawberry but it was too 
late.  She  followed Titania out wondering what the hell Michiru was playing 
at!  They had agreed to avoid contact with them!  
     Behind her the guy asked his still bugeyed coworker, "You all right, 
     Michiru was acting a lot giddier than usual which just added to Haruka's
confusion.  Sounding innocent and bubbly she told her, "Haruka, I told you I 
recognised this lady from somewhere.  This is Azure DeWitt ..."  The name 
meant absolutely nothing to Haruka but it seemed important to Michiru.  
"She's that model in that layout I was admiring the other day.  Ms. DeWitt was 
wondering why we were following her so I introduced myself and explained how I  
was curious who she was.  When she told me her name I realized who she was and
     Michiru prattled on but Haruka had got the gist.  They hadn't been as 
careful as they thought in following the trio.  Ironic considering she had
herself noticed those two other blondes following her the other day.  Luckily 
the redhead had some celebrity and they could claim to be following her rather 
than the girl.  She seemed to have accepted the story, it was probably an old 
annoyance.  Michiru would probably face the same problem when she became a 
famous violinist.  Assuming she lived long enough and that was far from 
certain.  Meanwhile Michiru had run out of steam and Titania was making 
the introductions.
     "I guess you three have been getting to know each other already so hi
Michiru, I'm Titania but everyone calls me Ti.  Margrave, Azure this is  
Michiru's friend Haruka.  Haruka this is Catharine Margrave my brother's
girlfriend and this is my honorary big sister ..."
     "Azzie."  Azure glared at Margrave.
     "Azure, as you well know I don't care for that nickname."
     "Sorry Azzie, I forgot."  Ti decided a quick change of subject was in
     "Uhm, well like Michiru-san said this is Azure, popular model and soon to
be a film star."
     "Assuming they ever release the 'Sailor Arcturus' movie.  We wrapped up
weeks ago but the studio's still messing around with the release date."  
Azure looked mildly exasperated but not overly troubled.
     Haruka frowned, "This is an anime, like that 'Sailor V' film a while back 
and you're doing one of the voices?"
     "No, it's live.  The studio figured they're already cashing in on the kid 
market with Sailor Senshi stuff but a live film might grab the adult audience.    
Especially with a more adult orientated senshi like Arcturus.  It's basically
50% cashing in on a hot phenomenon and 50% merchandising."
     "And you play the title role?"
     "Nope, you don't give the main role to an inexperienced actress/model.  I
was lucky to get the main villainess rather than a bit part."  
     "If you call it luck."  Margrave was grinning again.  "Now everyone gets
to see you can't act ... though that's a little unfair.  After all you've  
always managed to convince Pyr that it was wonderful.  Still any man who 
thinks Shatner can act is no judge of sincerity ..."  Azurite was giving her a 
very cold look and Margrave was wondering if she'd pushed her to far.  But 
she'd said a lot worse to Azzie so why ... ?  Suddenly she realized Ti was 
present and she was violating their unspoken, "not in front of the kid" rule 
of engagement.  Luckily Ti was looking puzzled rather than shocked but she'd
better back off.
     Her voice cold Azure told her, "I don't put up any sort of pretense with
Pyr nor he with me.  I'd suggest you remember that!"  Then she showed a 
fraction of a smile.  "As for my acting skills I seem to remember a routine of
mine that you bought without question for years."  Now it was Margrave's turn
to look angry.  She hated being reminded of having swallowed the Renegades'  
hardcase act hook, line and sinker.
     Michiru's voice broke the glaring contest.  "DeWitt-san, Ti-chan called
you her honorary older sister.  What did she mean?"
     "I'm an old friend of Calvin, Ti's older brother so she grew up seeing me 
a lot.  Also I've been involved with their cousin, Piram for years.  Some
years ago she started calling me older sister and I like that.  If I had a
younger sister I'd want her to be like Ti.  Currently I'm living with Pyr and 
we're sharing a house with Cal and Ti so we are something like a family."  
     Ti chipped in, "Cal's my guardian as my closest living relative so that's 
why I'm living with him.  It's great having everyone together, like Azure said 
we're like a family.  It was just the four of us for most of our first year in 
Japan but Margrave came over and moved in with Cal about six months back."  
Azurite sighed.
     "Unfortunately every household has its problems.  You're looking at the 
source of all ours."  
     Margrave chuckled, "No one's forcing you to stay, Azzie."  Azure's reply 
was largely unintelligible to Haruka, something about better pets if they were 
declawed.  Whatever it was Margrave heard it and didn't like it.  Then her 
gaze flickered between Haruka and Michiru as her nose twitched.  
     Ti forced a smile and addressed Haruka and Michiru.  "I don't want you to 
get the wrong idea about Azure and Margrave.  Sure they fight a lot but if the 
chips were down and one of them was in real trouble ..."  Ti realized both of 
her fellow youma were staring at her.  "... the other would watch them sink 
into the slime without lifting a finger."  Both nodded, agreeing with each 
other for the first time all day.  However the irony was lost on them.  
     Meanwhile having sorted through the scents the two human girls were 
giving off and comparing them to her mental library Margrave had a new way to 
cause trouble.  She addressed Michiru while jerking a thumb at Azure.
     "You're really a fan of Azure's?"
     "Yes.  Is that so surprising?"
     "Not in the least."  Margrave turned back to Azure and grinned, "See, I
told you you've got a big lesbian following."  Haruka paled and Azure sighed. 
     "Subtle as a bulldozer."
     "I call them like I see them."
     "Bull, you're just trying to see if you can rattle me.  Try and remember
a lot of people don't like some idiot savant telling the world their ..." A 
glance at Ti, "... choice of partners."  Haruka was rather taken aback by all 
this but Michiru kept her cool.  It seemed their sexual orientation bothered 
neither woman though Margrave had obviously hoped for that effect by outing 
them.  Two things puzzled her, there were no overt clues that she was more 
than friends with Haruka (most just considered Haruka a tomboy from her manner 
of dress) so how had Margrave known?  Was it just a lucky guess?  The other 
thing was that Azure had accepted the assessment of a woman she clearly 
detested without question.  Why?
     She was wondering if she should ask about the matter when an electronic 
beeping started.  Azure opened her handbag and studied her pager.  Then sighed
and put it away.  "Ti, I'm going to have to take off and find a phone.  Looks 
like they're maybe pushing up the film release date and planning a premier 
event I'll be stuck hosting under my contract.  They want yet another damn
     "Oh, that's okay,  You've got to do it, right?  Don't forget to a few 
tickets for me and my friends if it's on.  Especially for Meiko, you know
you're her idol."  Ti's friend had her own dreams of modelling but was locked 
in a continual battle with her weight.  She kept losing the engagements.  
     "Sure thing.  I'll see you later."  She turned to Haruka and Michiru and
excused herself then looked at Margrave.  "I realize it's nigh impossible but
don't cause any trouble."  Margrave stuck her tongue out and Azure remembered
one of Ti's A-ko videos.  But she resisted the urge to grab it and pull hard.
She was the civilized one, she had to remember that.  Instead she turned and 
headed off to look for a phone booth.  Ti gazed at Margrave and looked a 
little annoyed.
     "Why can't you at least try to get along?  I mean it's not like you're
fighting over Cal anymore."  Margrave shrugged.
     "Because we simply don't like each other.  I guess we're natural enemies
and Cal was just the trigger.  Besides she doesn't have anything good to say
about me.  She thinks I'm a greedy self centred nymphomaniac with the morals 
of an alley cat who doesn't give a damn about anyone else."  An opinion like
that seemed a good reason for Margrave to dislike her housemate, at least
to Haruka and Michiru.  Strangely Titania just looked puzzled.
    "But Margrave, that's pretty close to how you describe yourself."
    "Yeah, but she makes it sound bad."  Both Outer Senshi sweatdropped.  
    Ti just shook her head, "This is going to take a bit longer than I 
thought."  She finished her cone and balled up the napkin.  "If you'll give me 
your trash I'll drop it all in the bin other there."  She considered tossing 
it all in from here but decided that might be a little extreme.  She was 
supposed to be a normal girl.  So she made the short walk over.
     As soon as Ti was out of earshot Margrave turned back to Haruka.  She 
still had that look of amused maliciousness but her voice was had a serious
edge.  "A word to the wise, girl.  Don't pick on Ti, she's not sexually
attracted to girls."  Michiru wasn't too surprised to see Haruka turn red.
While she'd play around with implication she got edgy when anyone got specific
about their relationship and had frequently denied Michiru was her girlfriend.
Haruka started to sputter something but Margrave overrode her.  "Right now
she's not dating but when she does it'll be boys.  Thanks to an isolated
childhood she's a little behind.  Socially she's learned to fit in just fine
but sexuality remains terra incognito.  Now she's starting to come out of her
shell.  Right now she's getting obsessed with anime and manga boys.  Easier
to deal with than the real thing and aren't going to cause any trouble ..."
A few months later Margrave would have a different opinion on the matter.
"... but she's going to get interested in the real thing before too long and
find out how much fun she's been missing.  However right now she's kind of 
vulnerable and a smooth operator could mess her up by bringing into an affair
that would only screw her up and not satisfy her needs.  I don't like that 
idea."  Haruka was obviously struggling to put together a coherent sentence 
but Michiru kept her cool.
     "You have a rather blunt manner."
     Margrave just shrugged.  "I call them like I see them.  Actually Azzie 
would tell you the same thing but she'd dress it up a lot more.  I've never 
seen the point of that ... well, not unless I'm trying to seduce some guy and  
he likes dancing around.  But the direct approach works on most." 
     "That's ... interesting.  I'm a little curious why you're so protective
of Titania?  Do you think of her as a sister, too?"  Margrave snorted.
     "That's Azzie's hangup.  She's got this thing about Ti getting the kind 
of childhood she wanted herself but couldn't have.  Oh and don't let the 
smooth exterior fool you, she's one cold bitch.  Though I'd say you know 
something about that."  Haruka looked outraged but Michiru's expression didn't
change.  "Anyway some years back Azzie started thinking of Ti as her little
sister ... heh, that made her feelings for Cal kinda incestuous, didn't it? 
She didn't laugh either.  Me, I'm not like that but I like the kid the way 
she is now.  Ti ... amuses me and if she gets into something self destructive
she'll be no fun to watch.  Oh, there would be a certain novelty value but 
that would pall when she got all weepy."
     "It sounds like you think she's your pet."
     Margrave nodded.  "Yes, and I find her a constant source of amusement."  
She shrugged, "Not really my style but that's how I feel.  I put it down to
not having a pet as a child.  Mum figured only weaklings kept them.  I 
remember this pup followed me home once and I asked if I could keep him.  But  
she said they grew up to be big dangerous bastards and cooked it."
     "Cooked it!"
     "Yeah.  Though it did make a pretty good stew."  Haruka was looking a
little glassy though all Michiru did was comment, "You must have had a very
practical mother."
     "That's one way of looking at it."  Margrave frowned slightly.  "Maybe I 
took more after the old cow than I think."  Ti passed them to retrieve her
toy from the bench and Margrave decided a more innocuous topic was in order 
(such as if they wanted nude photos of Azzie or some souvenir or other) when 
things got crazy yet again.
     Ti felt something she couldn't define then realized the doll she had 
just tucked under her arm was glowing.  The glowing Mokona tore out of her 
grip and flew several metres away to hang in the air momentarily before the 
light flared and it grew.  Standing between her and Margrave was a ... well 
it looked something like the Mokona equivalent of a playboy bunny.  It was 
covered with short white fuzz and wore a red thong.  Its upper torso was 
largely concealed behind an abbreviated third stage red, blue and green 
striped Magic Knight chest plate and shoulder armour.  The oval jewel on the 
forehead had been replaced by a five pointed black star.  It was a bit pudgier 
than the senshi's average female adversaries.  Perhaps because of the source, 
though the arms and legs had increased to human proportions.  Its ears waved 
as though there was a strong breeze but the air was still.  It began making 
Mokona-like noises but it looked nowhere near as happy-go-lucky as the 
Rayearth mascot.  Given past events Ti figured it was safe to assume it was 
hostile.  Time for Sailor Polaris to spring into action!
     Ti grabbed for her bracelet then realized Haruka and Michiru would see 
her transform.  She froze in indecision then lost her chance as the diamon 
got to work.  The star on its forehead had started to glow and an energy beam
shot out and struck her where her heart should have been. 
     Haruka winced slightly as the black star on the diamon's forehead shone
its light on the girl and fought the familiar urge to turn away.  This was the 
part she hated, the agonized screaming that preceded the manifestation of the 
heart crystal.  Not like Michiru, she always watched it without turning a 
hair.  It sometimes seemed like nothing could break her composure.  Haruka 
sometimes wondered if that meant she was stronger of simply colder than her.
It troubled her to think the latter might be the case.  Except this time 
Michiru's calm did break.  Not much, she just gave a muffled exclamation but 
she had never done that during any other attack.  That was when Haruka 
realized how quiet it was.  The girl wasn't screaming, the beam was striking
her chest squarely but nothing was happening.  She couldn't see the baffled 
expression on the diamon's face but she saw the beam intensify in strength.
Still Titania showed no sign of discomfort though her face showed her caught
between fight or flight.  Locked in place with no idea what to do.  What in
hell was going on here and what were they supposed to do about it?
     While Haruka and Michiru remained frozen watching the tableau of Ti and
the Diamon, Margrave wasn't wasting time.  Still trying to work out why its
beam wasn't producing Ti's heart crystal the Mokona diamon didn't notice her
approaching.  At least until Margrave stopped behind her and tapped on her 
shoulder.  The distracted diamon turned and Margrave's fingers slashed towards 
her face.
    With an unearthly scream both of the diamon's hands covered where its 
eyes had been.  The black energy beam vanished as the blinded creature cried
in pain.  "Sorry, my hand slipped."  With that Margrave viciously elbowed it 
in the stomach and sidestepped as the screaming creature hit the ground.  "Ti, 
let's go!"
     "But ...!"  Before the gaping Ti could make any further protest Margrave
grabbed Ti and slung the girl over her shoulder.  Margrave took a moment to 
shout over the diamon's screams.  Telling Haruka and Michiru, "If I were you, 
I'd run away!", before taking her own advice and leaving in a hurry carrying
her unwilling passenger.
     Neither moved, both were still trying to work out the unprecedented chain
of events.  The shocked Haruka muttered, "No effect at all.  Not only does she 
not have a pure heart she must be completely depraved if it couldn't latch on
to any speck of good ...  she seemed so ... so cute!"  
     Still staring at the writhing diamon Michiru mumbled, "Appearances 
deceive.  Who should know that better than you?"  At which point she realized 
creature's moans were weakening and fluid had ceased to bubble through its
clenched fingers.

     "Sailor Polaris is some sort of deviant?  Then why did Serenity let her 
into the senshi?"  Vicky was the one to ask the question but all the Young
Senshi looked confused.  Haruka looked a little embarrassed.
     "Well that's what I thought at the time.  I remember the incident now but
I didn't make the connection between Polaris and the girl."  Defensively she  
added, "Why would I?  She was an adult and not wearing her glamour when she 
joined the court and we met for what I thought was the first time ... how do 
you know all this Michi-chan?"
     "Polaris reminded me of the incident and filled in the details some 
years after she joined Serenity's Court.  By then we had accepted her and she
had learned our birth names and made the connections."
     Azure frowned, "She's never told me all the hidden details of this story 
even though I was there.  I mean I had no idea I had met you before that
mess with Margrave."
     Michiru nodded, "Because you met us as Haruka Ten'ou and Michiru Kaiou.
Not Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.  When you met as the Outer Senshi our 
distraction aura kept you from recognising us as the girls you'd met earlier. 
Since we've never made our birth names public you wouldn't make the connection 
on your own.  As for Ti she, and all the other senshi, are honour bound not to 
reveal our names to anyone outside the court until we choose to make them 
known.  As you're not a member if she told you the story ..."
     "... She'd blow your secret identities.  Makes sense."
     Haruka still looked confused, "That still leaves the question of why the 
diamon's beam didn't affect her."  Michiru was looking sphinxlike which meant 
she was expected to work it out for herself.  "Maybe those beams don't work
on youma ... no, wait ... if it affected Margrave that's not it ... uh ..."
     Azurite took pity on her.  "Actually it's pretty simple.  Ti's first 
impulse when the ... 'diamon?'  ... the diamon appeared was to change to
Sailor Polaris and blast it.  But she couldn't do that as there were ... hah,
innocent bystanders watching.  Namely you two.  But that didn't mean she 
couldn't defend herself.
      The thing to remember is that for Ti and me transforming is just a
matter of putting on a costume.  Our powers are part of us and always there
and ready.  We had been training Ti so soon as the creature manifested she 
erected a force shield.  Invisible to the naked eye there was nothing to show 
it was there and give her away while providing a defence against attack.  
When she saw that glowing star she spun her shield to energy blocking and the 
beam washed over it without making contact.  Simple."
     "..."  Haruka looked like she could kick herself for not seeing that
     "Excuse me Neptune-sensei but thinking about what you have told us
it sounds as though you made no effort to defend a girl you thought of as 
normal and defenceless against an attacking monster."   Everyone looked at 
Hitomi.  The Younger Mars blushed but didn't back down.
     "You're quite correct.  We were waiting for the Diamon to expose her 
heart crystal.  As soon as it did we were going to grab it and see if it was 
one of the three talismans we sought.  If it was we would have kept it despite
the consequences to the victim."
     "Isn't that ... unethical?"
     "We thought the sacrifice of three individuals was a small price to pay
to save the world.  If we had it to do over again then we'd still use that
philosophy.  Though we wouldn't be as cold blooded about it."  Hitomi and a 
few of the others looked troubled by the answer though both Sakuya and Jeanne
nodded.  Azurite decide to give an outsider's opinion.
     "I'd probably use the same logic.  I've always felt the needs of the many
outweigh the needs of the few.  That's how I'd answer the Kobayashi Maru 
scenario ..."  Everyone looked at her with puzzled expressions having no idea 
what that was supposed to mean.  Azurite thought about what she had said and  
winced.  "Live a thousand years with a trekkie and the trivia seeps into your
bones ...  anyway the point is I can't fault your decision.  What I can fault
is your methodology."  
     "What do you mean?"
     "Look all you knew is that somewhere in Tokyo there were three pure 
hearted people with the right heart crystals and both you and the bad guys had 
to find them.  So you followed the bad guys, right?"
     "Yes.  So?"
     "So they were obviously scrabbling around blindly, zapping everyone who
seemed to fit the criteria.  Now let's get cynical and say only 1% of the
people in Tokyo qualify as pure hearted, okay?"  Haruka nodded.  "Tokyo had 
about ten million people back then.  That was the stongest point and it fell
off fast outside the city but if you expand it to the very fringes of the zone
you'd take in another twenty million people.  Thirty million people and one
in every hundred is purehearted.  That's 300,000 candidates.  Factor in the 
fact that they were zapping one person a day max ...?"
     Michiru chuckled having seen where this was going, "Probably less but 
call it that ..."
     "So that's 365 victims a year tops.  Each has a 3 in 300,000 of being a 
carrier.  Not only would it take ..."  
     She paused to calculate and Mayuki chipped in, "822 years."
     "Really?"  Azurite glanced at the Younger Mercury, she hadn't even seemed 
to concentrate.       
     "Okay, so not only would it take 822 years to check everyone the odds 
against stumbling on the right one on any day in that first year are 
     "0.001%, improving slightly each day.  To even have a 0.0015% chance they 
would have to eliminate one third of the candidates, 274 years worth."    
Everyone started to work out the math then decided they would take Mayuki's
word for it.  She continued, "Perhaps better odds than the average national
lottery but that's not saying much.  Naturally the odds change if pure chance 
lets them stumble across a candidate but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for 
that to happen."     
     Azurite didn't question Mayuki's figures this time.  "Even if it's only 
in Tokyo so there's only 100,000 candidates it's still 274 years to run 
through them all.  So it's a good thing Sailor Moon got involved or both you 
and the Death Busters could have died of old age looking for the talismans."
     "Okay, we get the idea!"  Haruka looked more that a little embarrassed
while Michiru was amused.
     "It's worse than you think.  We were two of the carriers but we never
considered that for an instant."
     "Then perhaps you underestimated the Death Busters."  Everyone looked 
back at Mayuki who had produced her computer and was retrieving something.  
She turned the terminal so everyone could read the screen.  Michiru frowned.
     "'Synchronicity and Probability : A study of the Laws of Dramatic 
Coincidence within Synchronous Zones' by Mizuno, Maxwell and Pyrite?  What has 
that to do with anything?"
     "From the records it appears several of the Death Busters practised an
early form of magisci so they may have been aware of Tokyo's status as a
Synchronous Zone.  So they might not have been searching blindly for the 
Talisman carriers but counting on the skewed probability laws of the zones to 
guide their diamons to the carriers.  Which they did as the diamons 
consistently encountered two of the three carriers."  Michiru and Haruka 
stared at each other.  Never in the past thousand years had that ever occurred 
to them.  Oblivious to their shock Mayuki added, "Fortunately for us all the 
Death Busters were unaware of the equally active Law of Dramatic Irony also 
prevalent in Synchronous Zones.  There is a case study on Sailor Moon and 
Tuxedo Mask ..."  She noticed the stricken expressions, "Perhaps later."
     Azurite recognised that look, Haruka and Michiru were reviewing all the  
weird coincidences that had occurred over their centuries in Tokyo.    
Including, she now realized, their own first encounter.  As that could take 
hours (or days) she decided a diversion was in order.
     "So, if you two were carrying these talismans that must mean you qualify
as pure hearted?"
     Haruka shook herself out of the fog of introspection, "Uh, yeah."
     "A variety of sarcastic comments spring to mind but we'll let it pass."
Haruka glowered but Michiru chuckled again.  It had truly been a real surprise 
to learn that despite some of the things they had done.  But intentions were
the real deciding factor.  Azurite continued, "Go on with the story.  As I 
recall events Margrave had just run off with Ti.  So, by my recollection,
someone else was about to make an entrance."
     Michiru nodded, "That's right.  Just when we thought things couldn't
get any weirder ...


     The Diamon stopped covering its eyes and rose to its feet.  One eye was 
whole again while the lid hung loosely over the other socket and dribbled a 
clear fluid.  It looked very angry.  It raised its paws and hidden talons 
slid out to gleam in the sunlight.  Michiru had a sudden premonition that 
staying here had been a tactical error.  The feeling was reinforced when the
creature abandoned its cute sound speech pattern and hissed, "I'll tear all 
your hearts out!" giving a fanged grin to the spectators.  It coiled to spring 
and Haruka grabbed for her transformation wand feeling sacrificing her secret 
preferable to sacrificing her life.  But before she could invoke the change
there was the sudden howl of wind and something unseen slammed the creature 
face first into the pavement very hard.
     "Congratulations, you just overrode whatever qualms I had about shooting 
you in the back in cold blood."  Haruka turned to see a woman in an outfit
somewhat reminiscent of a senshi's but with a red and black colour scheme and
a tinge of S&M chic.  In a much quieter tone Haruka overheard the newcomer
mutter, "Great, killing bunny girls again.  Why me?"  
     Beside her Michiru murmured, "There really is a Sailor Arcturus?  I 
assumed they just made her up for marketing reasons."
     "She looks pretty real to me.  Looks like we're not the oldest senshi in 
town after all."
     Meanwhile the diamon possessed Mokona had scrambled upright.  Its face
looked a lot more battered but it seemed angrier rather than pained.  There
was a popping noise as its broken nose straightened out.  "Not good enough!"  
The diamon's mood was growing fouler by the second.  It raised its claws 
intending to gather and test hearts by more direct means.  First it would  
carve the heart out of this annoyance then do the same to all the slack jawed
spectators.  "Ready to die?"  It wasn't waiting for an answer but it got one.
    "Lechpaw w lech ber kwturph shyrshachph."  Before it could either ask for
a translation or spring to attack Arcturus raised both palms towards it.  The
gale slammed the diamon backwards until its flight was abruptly halted by a 
retaining wall.  Its screech as it crunched cut off as the very localized
hurricane pushed its chest plate inwards.  It struggled to draw air into its 
lungs as the winds crucified it to the wall a metre above the sidewalk.  
Azurite's eyes narrowed, it was still holding together.  This thing was 
definitely a lot tougher than the last batch of monsters.  But not tough 
enough to tear free meaning she had time to do a bit of Arcturus style tough 
girl dialogue while she waited for it to be crushed.  After all she did have 
an image to maintain.
     "On your way back to the pit stop by your masters' dwelling and tell them 
to stay out of my way.  Or Sailor Arcturus is going to tear them a new one.
Now go to hell!"  There, that should do nicely.
     Azurite focused more energy and increased the air pressure.  The concrete 
around the pinned creature began cracking.  Good, just a little more and it 
would go squelch and the fight would be over ... a flicker and it was gone   
leaving an outline in the wall.  Azurite reacted instinctively and dropped.
Behind her something slashed though the space her neck had occupied.  She 
kicked backward, her foot driving for the white face.  With a squawk it threw 
itself to the side so her heel just grazed its cheek.  Being blinded once 
today must have made it especially sensitive to the possibility of eye injury.  
Azurite rolled to her feet thinking maybe it was just as well she had missed.  
There wasn't much traction in stilettos at the best of times and eyeballs 
always made the heels greasy.
     With some distance between them Azurite could see what had slashed at 
her.  The creature's ears had increased to at least ten times their old length
and were weaving above its head like tentacles.  Strength and full extension
unknown plus the damn thing could teleport so pinning it long enough to mash
it could be a problem ... The right ear grabbed for her.  Shit, it was fast!
She barely sidestepped the ear tentacle but grabbed it as it passed and 
wrenched.  The ear tore, the attached section writhed away while the severed
end began to melt.  Where was the other ear?  She dropped the dissolving 
tendril and raised her hands as the left ear slashed down from above gripping 
a mailbox like a mallet.  No time to knock it aside with a windburst!  The 
box slammed down on her upraised arms and exploded in a spray of mail and 
shattered metal.  The diamon smiled and commented, "Oo popoo", sounded very
cheerful.  The cheer slipped as Sailor Arcturus tossed aside the wrecked 
mailbox looking none the worse for wear.  
     "Not even close!"  Azurite gave the diamon one of her, "time to die" 
smiles and stepped forward radiating confidence.  If this thing could be 
rattled she didn't know but it was worth a try.  Besides she did have a
reputation to uphold.  Okay, they had a stalemate.  Her shield could block 
its strikes but it could regenerate damaged parts in seconds.  It had already
regrown the ear.  Plus it was tough enough to withstand windstrikes long 
enough to teleport.  Definitely tougher than the last bunny creature she'd run 
into.  This was going to be harder than she'd thought.  
     Two solutions, do enough damage that it runs dry repairing it or get in 
close and hit it hard enough that being able to heal won't make any 
difference.  It seemed to be running off internal power rather than tapping 
into outside sources so it had finite resources.  Unfortunately that worked 
both ways.  She was using up mana faster than she could replenish her reserves 
from the environment and had no way of telling how much power it was packing.  
Pyrite could tell her but she couldn't get him without risking leaving a 
teleport trail it could follow.  Crap!  If she'd called Cal before ...  To 
hell with "if", she was on her own so she'd have to make do.  Except 
suddenly she wasn't on her own anymore.  But it might not be an advantage.
     "Manga and anime merchandising should promote the artists' vision not
make people fearful.  For those who prey upon the dreams of their fans there 
can be no forgiveness!  On behalf of CLAMP, Sailor Polaris will punish you!"
     The puzzled diamon turned to face the second senshi which was a serious
mistake as an air vortex caught it in the small of the back.  "Don't take
your eyes off me, bitch!"  The prone diamon snarled and its ears tore through
the air like whips slashing at but missing Arcturus. 
     Somewhat put out at suddenly being ignored Titanite called over to 
Azurite, "I wasn't done confronting it yet!"
    Despite most of her attention being on dodging Azurite managed to
respond "Polaris there is a time to make speeches and a time to punch them in 
the kidneys while they aren't looking.  This is the latter!"  An ear pinged 
off her shoulder, just a glancing blow on her shield but a sign it was 
starting to track her.  She had to abandon the defensive and retake the 
initiative but this was taking all her concentration.  She had a strategy now
she just needed a distraction ...  She saw Ti creating a "Polaris Missile"
and knew there was no way she was going to stay out of the fight.  Hoping she 
wasn't making a very big mistake she called, "Polaris, cluster fire!"  
     Ti nodded and the energy sphere in her hands was suddenly composed of
golfball sized pieces.  She gave a cry of "Polaris Cluster Bomblets" and the 
micro missiles spread out then swarmed towards the diamon hitting it from all 
directions.  It howled and the creature's ears flicked away from Sailor 
Arcturus as they began battering away spheres to block Polaris's attack.
     Off to the side Haruka was asking Michiru, "When exactly did we lose
control of this situation?"
     "Hard to say, I'm beginning to wonder if we ever had it ... what is she
     Sailor Arcturus had used the diamon's distraction to reach for her throat
and unclasp her collar.  Removing it from her neck she snapped it shut again
then made a minor adjustment to the transmuter on her wrist.  She felt the
band of the spiked collar stiffen and grow rigid in her hand.  So far so good,
now to see how this move worked in real combat.  
     While Azurite's sense of humour and style had been a major factor in 
creating the Sailor Arcturus guise she hadn't neglected the practical aspects.
Early in life she had learned that her winds could be made more devastating 
with a few additions.  Which was why she had once been in the habit of 
carrying a bag filled with small fragments of razor sharp obsidian at all 
times.  Those days were gone, however ...  the collar floated over her 
upturned hand and began to turn.  It span faster and faster, the spikes 
becoming an indistinct blur just as the diamon batted away the last of the 
spheres and grabbed for Polaris with its ear tentacles.  They never reached 
her, something tore through the air and severed both ears very close to its
skull.  Almost before it had time to feel that the blur had shifted course and
slashed across its belly.  What followed was rather unpleasant as Arcturus
used her weapon (which Titanite would subsequently christen the "Arcturus 
Razor Frisbee" but be unable to convince Azurite to say) to cut the Diamon
apart faster than it could regenerate.  Constant attack kept it too distracted
to teleport.  All things considered its was having a very rotten day.  
     Azurite had her own concerns.  The major problem with this attack was the 
degree of concentration it required to manipulate the collar.  Plus while she 
was hurting it she wasn't inflicting enough damage.  Time to see how much of 
her training Ti remembered.  "Polaris, go atomic."  With that she focused on 
slicing up the bunny sparing as much attention as she dared for any new 
adversaries showing up.  From the corner of her eye she glimpsed Titanite 
generating a brighter than usual energy sphere.  The diamon didn't notice, it 
was too busy constantly putting itself back together.  
     Titanite held the sphere as long as she dared.  She could neither make
it any stronger nor hold it any longer.  She caught Azurite's eye and saw the
collar veer back towards Arcturus.  It slowed and she caught it between thumb
and forefinger avoiding the spikes.  It was a safe bet that the diamon had 
forgotten her.  It didn't even react when she shouted, "POLARIS NUCLEAR 
MISSILE!" and threw it at her.  Dully it had started to turn when the missile
caught it and flared.  Ti's jaw dropped when the light faded and the creature
was still standing.
     Arcturus was amazed it was still on its feet but didn't let that slow
her down.  The diamon had definitely seen better days, a score of wounds still
bled with no sign of healing, bones protruded through the skin and there were 
bends in its limbs that shouldn't have been there.  Staying upright by sheer
stubbornness it managed to gasp, "Rip ... out ... hearts ..."  There was a 
faint flicker in the black star that swiftly vanished.  Azurite's right hand 
touched its chest as her left grabbed its shoulder.  "That's my line!"  With 
that she fired the air vortex into its chest at point blank range.  Braced by 
her grip the diamon was held in place instead of tossed away and the micro 
hurricane tore through it.  Its back exploded and something like jelly sprayed 
     Forcibly separated from its host the diamon began coalescing and 
spun a shell around itself returning to its egg form.  Hovering in place it
began to rise drawn by instinct to return to its birthplace for restructuring.
At least it would have if a localized wind hadn't caught it and swept it into
Arcturus's outstretched hand.
     Azurite was currently favouring her right arm.  The creature's form had
begun to melt as soon as that thing had emerged from it.  In fact it was 
returning to the shape of Ti's stuffed animal except that it now looked like
it had been run though a shredder.  Hardly surprising as half the spikes on 
her collar were either bent or broken.  She had gratefully released it as soon 
as the meltdown began.  It felt like she'd pulled half the muscles in her left 
arm holding the creature in place.  She was going to need a hot soak and one 
of Pyrite's massages ASAP.  But first she had to decide what to do with this 
thing she was holding.  The one worrying thing about all this was this thing
had been a lot tougher than the last batch of creatures they had encountered.
When they had arrived in this world they could match the senshi in power and 
had an edge in experience.  Now both the senshi and their adversaries were
getting tougher while they hadn't changed much since arrival.  This was a 
worrying trend.  If matters continued in this vein then before too long they'd
be unable to defend themselves and as helpless as the humans against the new
waves of invaders.  To make matters worse they'd be in the same boat as the
humans.  Depending on the senshi to bail them out when there was trouble. 
This was not a desirable state of affairs to the proud warrior woman.  But 
that was a worry for another time.  Right now she could still protect herself 
and had a decision to make.
     Ti joined her, fortunately she was either security conscious enough to 
ignore the torn toy.  Either that or she was to intrigued by the whatever it 
was that Arcturus held to identify the shredded Mokona as hers. 
     "What is that?"
     "No idea but it's a definite change from those black gemstones."
     "Yeah ...  kinda looks like an egg."  Most girls wouldn't have thought
that but Ti's Dark Kingdom culinary experience gave her a broader view of what 
qualified.  Nearby Michiru was contemplating the pair.  A young girl and a 
woman in her early twenties.  Different hair and voices but both had appeared
just after ... then she saw Margrave peek from round the corner.  Michiru 
shrugged, so much for that theory.  She was going to comment on it to Haruka
when she realized Haruka's attention was fixed on the pair.  Or, to be more
precise, on the ovoid in Sailor Arcturus's grasp.  Before she could ask why
she was so fascinated Sailor Polaris echoed Haruka's thoughts out loud.
     "That thing's still intact, this is great!  We can use it to trace the
route back to where it came from and take out the guys behind it."
     Arcturus nodded, "Yes, we could do that, couldn't we."  She studied the
diamon egg intently for a moment, her face unreadable.  Then she tightened her
grip and the egg shattered.  Something black and smoke-like emerged and gave
a weird cry as it dissipated.  Haruka swore under her breath and slid her
wand back into her pocket.  
     The perplexed Polaris was asking her partner,"Why did you do that?"
      "Two reasons.  First, because tracing can be a two way street.  If we 
could find them then they could find us.  Which is the last thing we need.
Second and most important it's not our job.  We just take care of the
weirdness we run into.  Looking for trouble and protecting everyone is 
the responsibility of Sailor Moon and the rest of her brat pack.  It's not 
our concern."
     "But ..."
     "This isn't a debate ..."  Arcturus suddenly glanced to the right.  No 
one there.  Strange, she could have sworn she'd caught a glimpse of someone   
wearing black with a touch of red.  A reflection?  In any event she could hear 
the wail of approaching sirens so an exit was in order.  "Time to go."  
     Polaris looked like she might protest but she didn't get the chance.  
Arcturus grabbed Polaris with her good arm and sprang upward.  Haruka lost 
sight of her though that wasn't really surprising considering how fast leaping 
senshi could move.  She heard a minor commotion and saw Ti push her way past 
Margrave heading for her ruined toy.  The scowling Margrave trailed her.    
     "Poor Mokona-chan."  The doll dribbled stuffing as Ti picked it up.
     "Yeah well, we'll get you another.  Now let's get out of here before we
get stuck spending the evening filling out police reports."
     "Just a moment, I think I can patch her up.  Give me a hand, will you?"
Margrave looked about to yell but sighed and swiftly scooped up every bit of 
the doll's insides and outsides she could find.  They dumped it all into one
of Margrave's bags then pushed their way through the thickening crowd.  
Stories about senshi sightings always drew spectators and while there was
nothing to see here save an outline on a wall and a wrecked mailbox they 
stayed to swap highly exaggerated stories about what had happened.  Ti waved
a quick goodbye to Haruka and Michiru then vanished in the throng.
     Haruka muttered, "Not too upset about her toy turning into a monster." 
     Michiru shrugged, "They never are, around here people accept the weird.
Two months ago a giant black crystal tower grew in the middle of Juban.  A
couple of months before that a giant spaceship hovered over the place.  When 
was the last time you heard anyone mention either?"
     "I though those were some sort of mass hallucinations ... hey if there 
really was a spaceship wasn't that our responsibility?"
     "Evidently not as we didn't wake up until later."
     "Ah."  Michiru frowned, Haruka looked very distracted.  Something was
bothering her but what?  This had been another wild goose chase, a little
annoying but par for the course.  Nothing to get worked up about.
     Nearby someone who didn't know the evil that lurked in the hearts of men
but was very capable of clouding their minds so they couldn't see them was 
appraising recent events.  If Ti managed to put that toy back together so it  
didn't look like Frankenstein she'd be very impressed by her needlework.    
Chance had put her in the neighbourhood but it had been so close to over by 
the time she arrived that there was no point in uncloaking.  She'd missed the 
main action but at least she knew the source of the spooky feeling earlier.  
Ti had simply been the latest victim of a random monster attack but she'd 
come through it okay so that was fine.  A little unnerving sure but every city 
had it's problems.  L.A. had drive-by shootings while Tokyo had creatures from 
the pit popping up and zapping people at random. All part of life's rich 
pageantry.  Twilight shrugged, regardless she wasn't needed here and at least 
she had got to see Sailor Arcturus in the flesh.  Not too shabby but she still 
preferred Jupiter-chan.  On that thought the woman who believed herself the 
last survivor of the Dark Kingdom departed.  Nobody noticed, hidden behind her 
cloaking shield no one even realized she was ever there.  
     Certainly Michiru didn't as she asked Haruka, "What's on your mind." 
     "Just thinking about Arcturus ..."  Michiru sighed.
     "Another woman again!   Why am I surprised?"
     "No!  That's not ... I was just thinking about what she said.  About 
having their own worries and not caring about protecting everyone.  How that's
a job for the other senshi ..."
     "I though that sounded so cold.  Then I realized that's exactly how we
must sound."
     "Your point being?"
     "Well ... we're doing this to protect everyone but the way we're doing
it ... people are getting hurt and by definition everyone who does is 
somebody good-hearted ... there's got to be a better way of finding the
talismans ... then there's the other senshi ... it wouldn't be that hard to 
wreck the monsters permanently instead of just dazing them.  We think we're
so much more than them but I just wonder  sometimes if we really know what 
we're doing.  Don't you ever have doubts?"
     "No."  There was absolute certainty in Michiru's voice.  "A few 
traumatised people is a small price to pay if it leads us to the talismans.
As for the other senshi while I don't doubt their power they don't know
how to use it effectively.  More importantly they lack our hardness.  We
need a callous edge, otherwise we won't be able to carry out the necessary
sacrifices.  They couldn't handle it.  As for destroying the monsters that's
the worst thing we could do to them.  They need to learn to handle them on
their own, not to depend on us.  It's already bad enough Sailor Moon can't
fight unless that twit in the tuxedo shows up to help out.  Last thing we
want is to reduce the others to that.  Understand?"
     Haruka nodded.  "Good, then let's go.  We need to find the next target
and we've wasted enough time here."  With that Michiru turned and slid through
the crowd like water.  Haruka, following in the wake had to use a bit of elbow 
work to get clear.  Her doubts were assuaged, as always Michiru gave her the
strength to keep going with her unwavering belief in what they did.  It wasn't
that she didn't care but what she card for was for everyone rather than 
individuals.  She couldn't afford to let herself care for specific people or
it would get so much harder.  That raised a worry but Haruka dismissed it.
Or tried to but at the edge of her consciousness a little voice wondered if
Michiru considered her a weakness.  Could she sacrifice her if the mission
made it necessary?  Haruka couldn't decide if she'd be happier with a yes or a
no.  Or would she resent either answer?  Trying to ignore the question she  
followed her partner.


     "You thought Margrave was Sailor Arcturus!?"  Azurite looked utterly 
amazed.  How anyone could ever come to that conclusion? 
     Michiru shrugged, "It was a reasonable assumption at the time.  Until 
I saw you both at once.  Then when Ti appeared from the opposite direction
to Sailor Polaris it was obvious they weren't connected." 
     Haruka frowned, "So how'd you work that anyway?"
     "Easy.  The jump was cover for a teleport.  Soon as we were in the air
I took us to our underground practice site.  Ti reverted to her ordinary
clothes, restored her glamour and teleported back to where she'd left 
Margrave.  Good thinking on her part to muddy the waters."
     "It worked."  
     Jean suddenly chipped in, "Did she manage to get her stuffed animal back
together?  I know how hard it is on a kid to lose a toy to senshi induced
damage."  Sakuya snorted and shook her head.
     "Some people never let anything go!  I replaced the damn thing didn't I?"
     "Just kidding, you really need to unwind big sister.  But seriously what
happened to the whatsit?  Did she manage to repair it?"
     Azurite shook her head.  "She never got the chance.  I contacted Pyrite
and he intercepted them and stuck a warding spell on it to get rid of residual 
influences.  Then he tore it apart in his lab looking for any sign of magical
taint.  He couldn't find any but there was no way it was going to fit back 
together again.  Luckily there were still some in stock at the store she'd
got it from so Cal got her a new one.  Far as I know it never did anything 
     Vicky chipped in, "Cute story, so is that it?  No moral or long term 
     Azurite shrugged, "You'll have to find your own moral, I'm sure there's
at least one in there somewhere.  As for long term consequences one thing did
come out of that mess."
     "Yes.  When the cops arrived we were long gone and the only guy there 
with a camera had just got some blurry photos.  But there were plenty of 
people saying Sailor Arcturus was there so there was going to be the usual 
senshi sighting blurb in the papers.  The movie producers heard it and figured 
with her name back in the news it was free publicity.  So they supplied 
pictures of their Sailor Arcturus to the papers and that got the story a lot
more space than it would have otherwise.  As it was a slow news day it also 
made the TV news.  So striking while the iron was hot they tried to release 
the Arcturus movie immediately.  Unfortunately distribution tie ups held it
up for a few weeks by which time she'd been forgotten again and it sank like 
a stone.  Vanishing forever into utter obscurity."  That last part was a lie.      
Pyrite had a copy somewhere around the house and Ti had one as part of her
senshi memorabilia collection.  But she'd just as soon forget it.  
     Unfortunately the younger Jupiter gave an evil grin and produced a small
disc case.  "Guess what's on this."
     "Oh no!"
     "Oh yes!"  After Azurite's initial departure Sakuya had checked RH's
senshi directories for any information on Sailor Arcturus.  She had found 
quite a bit including a movie file.  RH was something of a connoisseur of 
videos about the senshi though he preferred the more hardcore material that
was banned in Crystal Tokyo.  Still considering he didn't worry too much about 
the lesser senshi he had a lot of Arcturus related material.  A little odd 
considering that while she had a career stretching almost 150 years she
hadn't been seen in the past 800.  RH claimed it was a legacy from his
mysterious creator who had been an Arcturus otaku.  Besides he liked her looks   
and would love to see Michiru in that costume someday.  He also had the hots 
for the actress who played the evil queen in the Arcturus movie.  No big
surprise as he had the hots for every good looking woman in creation.
      Meanwhile the former actress who had played the queen was saying, "My
is that the time?  I really should be going."
      "Grab her."
     It was an excellent demonstration of the teamwork that existed among the
group.  Sakuya tossed the disc into the player and flicked on the wall screen.
Then settled down besides the giggling pack and the struggling Azurite to
watch the movie.
     Azurite quieted down after the credits rolled apart from the odd groan at
her long ago performance.  Vicky produced popcorn from somewhere and lead the
noisemaking during the film's cheesier moments.  Of which there were no
shortage.  Ninety minutes later the lights came back on and Azurite rested her 
head on her hands.  "That was so embarrassing."
     Haruka patted her on the shoulder, "It wasn't that bad."
     "Yes it was!"
     "Quiet, Jeannie.  Look at it this way, in this one Arcturus comes off as
competent.  In those Dark World films she's an airhead who Sailor Polaris has
to keep hauling out of trouble."  She grinned, "Come to think of it in those
films Sailor Polaris always saves the day."
     "Dramatic license.  Which is another way of saying Ti was the star so
they took a few liberties with the facts."  
     Michiru patted Azurite on the knee, "Look on the bright side, you made a
great evil queen.  If you'd come after me I might have surrendered without a 
     Haruka shot her a look and Michiru looked innocent.  "I liked you better 
when you were serious all the time!"
     "Why should you be the only one to flirt?"  That had the feel of a long
familiar routine between them.  Much like a few things she could think of 
between Pyrite and herself.  She chuckled softly, looked like she'd have to
get used to fending off a few not-serious seduction attempts from both of 
them.  Immortals got very set in their ways.
     "Azurite-sensei ..."  Azurite turned to see the Younger Mars addressing
her.  "... your performance was excellent given the limitations of the script."
     "Thanks, it wasn't that bad for a first role but really it was pretty 
raw.  I got better later on." 
     Hitomi's eyes widened, "You were in other films?"
     "Quite a few though not as Azure DeWitt.  During my century outside 
CT I did quite a bit of work as an actress under a variety of names."
     There was the sound of rapid typing as Mayuki did something with her 
terminal.  Suddenly the blank wall screen began scrolling a list of titles.  
"Okay these are films made in the appropriate period.  Point out the ones you 
were in and we'll see if anyone here has seen them.  If so let's see if they 
can point you out.  If not I'll display the characters from each and we'll 
play spot the youma."
     "What the hell, okay up top there, 'Whisper their love' ..."
     "You were in that?  That's one of Haruka's favourites ..."
     "Wait a minute, I'm crazy about the 23rd century remake ..."
     With that the trivia contest got underway and Azurite felt herself 
relaxing.  Everyone was getting used to her and she felt more at home here 
herself.  Before too long she'd be one of the group instead of a visiting
outsider.  One of the family and looking at Haruka and Michiru that was
obviously how they felt about this group.  No longer just the two of them
against the universe.  They had never really fit into Crystal Tokyo try as
they might nor had they been comfortable in the old world.  But at long last, 
after all those centuries, they had finally found a place they belonged.  With 
their adopted "children" they had finally found themselves a home and a  
purpose.  For home was where the heart was.


Original character credits : 
     Chrysolite/Twilight created by Berk Watkins.
     The Young Senshi concept and Hitomi/Y. Mars created by Andy Combs
     Sakuya/Y. Jupiter & RH created by Douglas Helm
     Mayuki/Y. Mercury created by Chris Gadeken (Hopefully he'll finish her 
                                                 origin someday)
     Fiona/Y. Neptune created by Ben Harrison
     Jeanne/Y Uranus created by Sheryln Lim Li Ping
     Vicky/Y. Venus created by Frank Barr
     Thanks to Sam Ashley for pointing out how the law of dramatic irony
applied to Haruka and Michiru.  As well as the proofreading.
     Thanks to Aponar for the youma'shak rendering of the traditional youma 
battle cry, "It's a good day for someone else to die" that Azurite used in the
heat of the moment.  Along with a big thank you for all the other work he's 
done on youma linguistics and the unsolicited odds calculations.

     The Golden Millennium crew will be appearing in a variety of forthcoming
stories from SME.  Watch for "Sisters in Arms" & "Space 2999" along with the
stories of their exploits in the war with Nemesis.  Check the SME page for
updates.  All the SME stories can be found at:  
If you have any comments on this story please E-mail: 
All my fanfics can be found at:

Now back to work on Bubblegum Crisis
Mark Latus, Oct. 1 1997
Revision Oct. 18 '97 - Thanks to Andy Combs for spotting the glitch in the
                       original version. 

TEXT to HTML conversion by Douglas Helm.