Sailor Moon Expanded


Sailor Moon Expanded : Starting Over
by Mark Latus

Crystal Tokyo - 2016 AD

     "Your Majesty , we pledge ourselves mind, body and soul to you, your
court and your realm.  We offer our lives and service to Crystal Tokyo."
     Neo Queen Serenity studied the two figures kneeling before as they 
finished speaking in unison.  Both had spoken with the same honesty yet their
voices had been a sharp contrast.  Much like them.
     Their height and hair matched and there were enough similarities between
them to make it obvious they were siblings.  Yet the differences were equally
profound.  Besides the obvious one their expressions were a sharp contrast.  
His were fixed in that stern sincerity she had seen on her husband's face so 
many times before.  The woman beside him looked equally sincere but underlying 
it was the hint of anxiety.  Probably from fear of rejection.  For, though she 
stood upon the threshold of a long sought dream, she knew nothing was certain.
It could still go either way as Serenity need not accept them despite having
sought them out.  It would, Serenity mused, be cruel to keep her in suspense.
Especially as she had already made up her mind.  Indeed, Serenity reflected, 
her decision had been more than half formed when she summoned the four to the 
Palace.  But she was not the sole monarch of Crystal Tokyo and turned to her 
husband.  His nod was minuscule but unmistakeable to her.  She couldn't see 
the senshi who flanked the thrones but knew without a doubt how each would 
look.
     Rei, a little sceptical but trusting her to make the right decision.   
Ami, confident in her but a little disappointed that the other two hadn't
remained.  She had confided there was much she looked forward to learning from 
the oldest Renegade.  Makoto, cheerful and already planning to welcome a new  
senshi to the court.  Minako ... Serenity almost shook her head.  Sailor
Venus would be trying to look casual while fighting the urge to throw a 
"thumbs up" to Calcite and grin from ear to ear.  Still convinced that no one 
knew anything was happening between her and her one time adversary.
     That left the Outer Senshi.  Which as far as everyone outside the senshi 
knew had always only consisted of Sailors Uranus and Neptune.  With the 
disappearance and presumed death of Saturn in the Darkness and the fact there
had been no sign Pluto in years they had decided to conceal the existence of
both.  Ami had pointed that when the Senshi made their presence undeniable 
revealing either of those two had ever existed could be a problem.   How would 
people react to knowing there was a senshi who could blow up the world any 
time she chose and whose whereabouts were unknown?  Let alone another who 
could theoretically rewrite history on a whim making reality itself seem
emphereal and fragile as a soap bubble.  So when people asked the obvious 
question about why those two worlds did not have Sailors the official answer 
was that the posts remained vacant.  In many senses that was the absolute 
truth.
     As for how Uranus and Neptune were reacted to this loyalty pledge?   
Michiru would be wearing her normal polite poker face and her "wait and see"
attitude.  By contrast Haruka would be looking openly sceptical if not 
outright hostile.  She'd be trying to project a sense of "screw up once and 
you're mine!".  Futile as neither of these two were the type to be cowed by 
threats.  Serenity could sense that despite the softer exterior at the core 
Titanite's will and determination matched her brother's.  With that thought
she turned back to face them and addressed Titanite.
     "I can't help noticing you're not wearing your Sailor Polaris costume."
     Titanite nodded and with a hint of nervousness said, "I ... decided that
I had no right to assume that identity in Crystal Tokyo when I'm not a real
Senshi.  But I'm ready to serve as Titanite."  Serenity thanked her and turned
to Calcite.
     "Your pledge was flattering if a bit excessive.  Was that the traditional 
youma oath of loyalty or one exclusive to Renegades?"
     There was a hint of wry amusement in Calcite's answer.  "I composed that
very recently but we both meant every word of it.  As to youma tradition there 
never was a youma oath of loyalty except for perhaps as a joke.  Among our own
group the Renegades never bothered with loyalty oaths to one another.  While 
we were not all blood relatives when all was said and done we were family."
     Serenity nodded, she knew the feeling well.  "Well said and welcome to
our family."  With that she looked from them to the spectators that filled the 
court.  "Two of the four survivors of the Dark Kingdom have chosen to join us.
The remaining two have decided to depart but I respect their choice and 
cannot fault their reasons."  The older Renegades did had a somewhat skewed  
perception of her.  While everyone else regarded her as a saviour of worlds 
she had been the death of theirs.  Not that they wanted the Dark Kingdom back
but, much as they had despised it, it had been their birthplace.  What must 
it feel like when the destroyer of your homeworld asked you to join her court?
Also, unlike Calcite, they hadn't found a reason to remain in Crystal Tokyo 
after she had granted them the ability to survive anywhere in the world 
regardless of background mana levels.  Perhaps changing them without their 
awareness or consent had added to their concerns.  That had been the opposite 
of her intentions.  She had done it as a gesture of good faith but with 
hindsight she could see that is could be misinterpreted.  Unfortunate if that 
had driven them to depart, she had just been trying to do what seemed best to 
her.  Next time she'd discuss that sort of thing with Mamo-chan ... Endy-chan 
first and get his opinion.  Keeping this to herself she continued her welcome. 
     "Should they chose to return Azurite and Pyrite will be welcome in 
Crystal Tokyo.  As for those who remain; Calcite, Titanite ..."  Her gaze 
returned to them though she continued to address the assembly.  "When I     
created Crystal Tokyo (actually shortly afterwards but it sounded better like
this) I proclaimed that all who had been in Tokyo at the time of the 
transformation were automatically citizens.  So there is no need to grant you 
that for you already have it.  What I do now is for your invaluable assistance  
in speeding the end of the Great Darkness."  That sounded suitably ambiguous.
It acknowledged their contribution without letting anyone know just how touch 
and go things had been.  It was better people didn't know how close they had    
come to spending centuries in the Acolytes clutches.  As she spoke she 
extended an arm towards each.  On her tiara the Silver Crystal glowed in 
response to her wish.
     Calcite showed remarkable self control but Titanite couldn't resist an 
involuntary start as the glow wrapped around their clothing.  A few seconds
later it vanished and both looked at one another's dress then studied their 
own attire with a little bemusement.  Titanite's was the most familiar, it was 
practically identical to her original Sailor Polaris costume except that it 
now sported the larger bow on the back, heartshaped locket holding the front 
bow and the frills on the shoulders that the Senshi had added to their own 
original costumes.  While the Senshi had kept the changed costumes they had 
long ago discarded the "Super" part of their titles feeling it was redundant. 
So Serenity wasn't about to call Titanite, "Super Sailor Polaris" but felt
she would fit in better with a matching costume.  
    The familiarity of Titanite's new attire was a sharp contrast to 
Calcite's.  His metamorphosised outfit was a radical departure from both his 
present and past dressing habits.  
     Calcite found himself wearing armour similar to Endymion's but with a 
different colour scheme.  The dark blue had been replaced by white while 
instead of silver decoration the inlay was a light green.  Serenity had 
decided not to mention the colours were inspired by a field trip she 
remembered from her less than brilliant school years.  That particular 
excursion had been to a cave full of stalagmites and stalactites and, for some 
reason, one large stalactite had stuck in her mind.  The guide had pointed out 
the formation and told her class that the deposit was calcite and the greenish 
tinge within the white was caused by iron.  Or copper.  Or (probably) some
metal at least.  She didn't really remember the explanation.  All things 
considered she was doing well just to remember the trip.  Regardless Calcite's 
name invoked memories of that cave so it seemed appropriate to her when 
mentally designing formal court wear.  Though she suspected he might not 
appreciate the source.
     Banishing the memory she told the pair, "Welcome to the Court of Crystal
Tokyo.  Arise Lord Calcite and Lady Titanite aka Sailor Polaris."  Fighting
the urge to cheer and grinning like an idiot Titanite started to rise.  Then
stopped in confusion as she realized her brother hadn't moved.  Calcite 
stayed where he knelt and respectfully addressed Serenity.
     "My sincerest thanks for the elevation your majesty and I mean no 
disrespect but ..."  For a moment he looked hesitant then continued, "... the
name Lord Calcite might have some unpleasant connotations for Sailor Venus
from her days as Sailor V."  There was the start of the buzz of confused 
speculation from the spectators what that meant that was broken by the voice 
that boomed from Serenity's right.
     "Long as you don't add 'Dark' to the start of it I can live with it."
Serenity hid a chuckle as Endymion gave a good natured sign.  Well so much
for Court decorum.  Not that protocol was very well established with Crystal
Tokyo being less than a year old.  Besides with Minako in attendance it was a 
wonder they ever managed any dignity to these proceedings.  Regardless that  
broke the ice and the new nobles arose and thanked Serenity and Endymion.
This was followed by respectful welcomes by the monarchs, mass cheering from
the gallery, enthusiastic welcomes from Jupiter and Mercury, a more restrained
one from Mars, an overly enthusiastic one from Venus (whose focus on Calcite
would have been impossible for everyone to notice if the other Inner Senshi
hadn't been blocking the view of the crowd), a polite but noncommittal one 
from Neptune and a very lukewarm hello from Uranus.   When the noise had died 
away Endymion proclaimed that the duties of the court's new additions would 
be announced as soon as it was determined how their talents would best serve
Crystal Tokyo.  In the meantime there would be a grand party that evening to 
officially welcome the newcomers and all present were invited.  That set off 
another round of cheering.  In all the noise nobody heard the white cat 
sitting at Serenity's feet hiss with anger.  Or noticed the black cat next to
him shake her head and sigh.
     That night Titanite was enjoying herself immensely.  For the first time  
she was out in public with no disguise of any sorts, her identity exposed to
everyone.  Not only was this neither endangering her nor driving people away 
it was quite the opposite.  She was the center of attention, the belle of the
ball.  Well ... not quite that as the King had called this a royal party and
that seemed to be the in term.  Evidently Endymion didn't have balls. 
    In later years outside Crystal Tokyo there would be a popular song about 
this.  But the pun didn't occur to Titanite as she wasn't thinking in English.
The party was very much a formal affair with (no surprise) all the men wearing
tuxedos.  Though most were the traditional black rather than the white the 
King wore.  Cal had traded in his new armour for one (thankful that Serenity 
had told him it was formal dress he had to wear only for state occasions) 
though his tux was a very dark green.  Her own evening dress was a light 
green, in sharp contrast to the majority of women here who wore white in 
imitation of Serenity.  In another contrast most seemed to be more decorous 
than she had expected and she had been wondering if she had overdone the 
cleavage.  Fortunately her fears had been allayed when she caught sight of 
Makoto and Minako who both exposed at least as much flesh.  Particularly 
Minako who seemed to have permanently attached herself to Cal's side under the 
guise of introducing him to everyone.  Titanite had to smile, both of them 
were still convinced they were being discrete when the truth was that after 
this party anyone in the palace who hadn't heard the rumours would know about 
them.  It was, she had to admit, the last thing she had expected even with her 
tendency to look at life with rose coloured glasses.  
     Her mood darkened a bit as she remembered someone else who hadn't 
expected it.  But, sorry as she was for her friend, she wasn't about to stand 
in the way of her brother and Minako.  If she had only realized how she really 
felt before this!  There had been years to face and confront her feelings 
while Calcite was waiting for a sign of affection from her.  But she had taken 
him for granted and expected him to wait forever.  You couldn't blame him for 
his feelings towards her fading.  Her sigh prompted one of the current crowd 
around her to ask what was wrong.  She made a quick excuse then, in response 
to another question, once again gave the capsule version of how she had become
Sailor Polaris.
     It was quite some time before there was a lull and she found herself 
momentarily alone.  She started across the room intending to find and have a 
few words with that crazy Californian she had met in passing.  The one who 
claimed to be both a wizard and the first human of the modern era to enter the 
Dark Kingdom.  Yet en route she stopped as she glimpsed an open terrace door
and a very familiar figure alone on the balcony.  She changed course and went
to join him.  He didn't seem to notice her approach, his gaze seemed fixed on 
the lights of Crystal Tokyo. However just before she could tap him on the 
shoulder without turning he asked, "Having a good time, Ti?"
     One day I'm going to sneak up on you.  "The best."  She paused then said,
"I'm surprised to see you alone.  Every other time I spotted you tonight you
were with Minako.  Or are you still calling her Lady Aino?"
     For a moment he looked like he'd deny her observation but then he 
shrugged and sighed.  "Some guy Minako obviously recognised but didn't 
introduce began rather vocally commenting that I had been monopolizing her
attention all evening instead of making the rounds.  To keep the peace and
quiet him down she agreed to dance with him.  I decided I could use a little  
fresh air and came out here."  Titanite considered making a comment on the 
last bit but forebode.  A moment later Calcite changed the topic.
     "While I was out here I've been thinking over something Serenity said
at our audience.  That line about two of the four survivors of the Dark 
Kingdom joining up while the other two fled.  What I can't help wondering is
what happens when they find out about number five."
     "Ah ..."  Titanite stopping thinking about her brother's romance and 
focused on the situation she had helped set up.  She had the feeling she was  
going to have to do some fast talking.
     "If we go to Serenity directly ..."
     "Cal you know how Margrave feels about the Senshi.  We promised to 
protect her and to her that includes keeping her existence secret.  If she 
gets exposed she'll panic and there's no saying what she'll do.  Everyone's 
a lot safer if she stays hidden.  She's not powerful enough for Serenity to
sense her like she did us so it's not like they'll know she's out there as 
long as we stay quiet."
     "I know how she feels but ..."
     "Look Cal, we're not actually breaking any laws here.  Serenity said it
herself, everyone in Tokyo when the city changed became a citizen of Crystal
Tokyo.  There was no qualification for species so she's not in the city 
illegally.  She's not even really hiding as she's using her real name.  She's 
just adopted a human name to go with it.  So there's nothing anyone can object
to."
     Calcite nodded but still looked a little troubled.  "I realize all this
which is why I haven't corrected Serenity's assumption that only four of us 
returned from Earth-Beta.  Ti, I have no intention of breaking my oath to 
Margrave.  But not only have we just sworn loyalty to the King and Queen we  
also sworn to protect the welfare of the citizens of Crystal Tokyo." 
     "There's no conflict."
     "I agree, as things stand everything is fine.  But if she resumes her 
habit of sucking human life force ..."  He shook his head.  "It was no problem
on Beta with those stockpiles of energy crystals we liberated from the youma
available but here ..."  He stopped at the sight of Ti's gesture and her 
uncharacteristically serious expression.
     "I've already thought of that Cal.  In fact I talked to her about it very
recently.  She has sworn to me that she will not steal human energy under any
circumstances.  If she doesn't keep that oath then I give you my word I will
deal with her.  No matter what it takes."  She concentrated on looking utterly 
sincere while hoping he didn't spot the loophole.  But without thinking she 
added, "Please trust me on this.  Have I ever steered you wrong."  As soon as
she said it she wanted to kick herself.  "Uhhh ... what I mean is ..."
     "I know what you mean and while you could be a real pain as a child you 
have never broken your word to me since you reached adulthood.  Indeed, to be 
charitable, you didn't even in your younger days."  Titanite blinked until he 
added, "Though you frequently stretched the letter of your oaths to the 
breaking point so you could violate the spirit of them."  That was more like 
it.  Titanite had to nod in agreement.  Calcite sighed before saying, "I 
really hope you know what you're doing.  We'll forget about this conversation 
and hope things go smoothly."
     "Thanks for trusting me, I appreciate it."
     "We're family."  This tender moment was broken abruptly.
     "Good grief, how can we have a proper party with both guests of honour 
out here."  They turned to see Jupiter bearing down on them.  Calcite gave a
quick bow, "Lady Kino ..."
     "Makoto, please.  We've haven't even had those title a year yet and I'm
still not used to them.  Let alone everyone knowing I'm Sailor Jupiter."  She
looked at Calcite somewhat quizzically, "Where's Minako?"
     His expression neutral Calcite indicated a couple approaching the dance
floor.  "An old acquaintance insisted on a dance and she agreed."  Makoto 
followed his direction and spotted the pair then grimaced.  She muttered, 
"Not that loser again, what the hell was she thinking?"  Over at the bar a
woozy Artemis looked up from his latest saucer of white russian to see the 
couple and moaned, "Thas no improvemen over Calcyt."  Luna shook her head,
"You've had more than enough.  Let's get you home and to bed."
     "Why Luna, yore really hot tanight ... OWW!"  Luna pulled her claws out
of his rump.  "Don't get crude, Artemis.  And stop whining about Minako's
choice in men.  She's old enough to know what she's doing."
     "Thas what you think.  You dunno her like I do.  S'always makes the 
worse choice and don't learn a thing.  Is so sad!"  With that he keeled over 
and began to snore.  Luna shook her head than looked over at the dance floor.
What she saw rather surprised her.
     The trio on the balcony also had their attention fixed on the dance 
floor.  His eyes on Minako Calcite commented, "I see dance styles have changed
during the years we were absent."
     Makoto frowned as she watched Minako tossing her partner around.  "What
do you mean?"
     "I thought this was a slow waltz."  Makoto sighed.
     "It is!  She's adlibbing again."  She shook her head.  "She was with you  
all evening and you didn't dance yet?  Must have been to busy introducing you 
to everyone."
     Calcite's mind was elsewhere so he answered, "That's right, Mako-chan."
Beside him Titanite suddenly thought, "Uh oh!"  Her brother suddenly realized 
what he had said and made an apologetic bow to Makoto.  "Lady Kino, please
excuse me.  I momentarily confused you with your counterpart Sailor Zeus who
preferred to be addressed informally.  I apologise for the unwarranted 
familiarity."
     Looking a little bewildered Makoto answered, "Uhh, that's not a problem.
Lots of people call me that.  It's okay really and I'm a lot more comfortable
with that than Lady Kino.  Feel free to call me Makoto or Jupiter rather than
that.  Same goes for you, Titanite."
     "Thank you Lady ... excuse me, Makoto."  
     "Likewise and call me Ti-chan if you want.  Also my brother's got no
problem with Cal over Calcite."  Smooth recovery Cal, Titanite thought.  You 
just might have pulled that off without any problem. 
     "I'll remember that."  With that Makoto's attention flicked back to 
Minako and her hapless partner.  Everyone else had cleared a wide circle
around them and was trying to ignore their gyrations.  There was a hint of 
humour in her voice as she commented, "I would say he's looking for someone 
to rescue him."
     Calcite nodded and looked brighter.  "Then perhaps he won't object if I
cut in.  If you'll excuse me ..."  She nodded and he set off.  Makoto turned
to Titanite and seemed to study her closely.  Wondering about the scrutiny
Ti began, "Is something wrong ...?", but Makoto shook her head.
    "Just wondering how tall you are."
    "183 cm, same as Cal.  Why?"  Makoto gave a self depreciating laugh.
    "It's nothing important but I've been the tallest Senshi all along and ...
well silly as it sounds I've got used to it.  It's close but I've still got 
the title."  Her gaze flickered to Calcite briefly then back to Titanite.
"He looks about the same as I remember but you've changed quite a bit."
     Ti nodded.  "When you first met Cal he'd already gone into aging super
slowdown.  About six months after you guys went home I finally started to
develop.  I shot up and filled out.  Like I said Cal was barely aging while
I hadn't hit equilibrium point yet so a few years later we could be taken for
the twins we were born as instead of younger sister and older brother."
     Makoto nodded, "You guys do look a lot alike."
     "I agree ... unless you mean I look butch or he looks effeminate."
     "Uhh ... no, no!  Nothing like that!  It's just things like the hair, the 
height and the nails ..."
     "Relax, I'm just kidding.  I see what'shisname was happy to let Cal cut
in.  Seems to have found the dance a bit taxing."
     Makoto looked back to the dance floor where Minako and Calcite were
beginning a sedate waltz while Minako's former partner staggered away in 
search of a drink.  Perhaps Calcite was using his own paranormal strength to 
keep her from flinging him around or perhaps Mina was following his lead.  She
couldn't tell from over here.  Titanite heard her muse, "Now was she doing 
that deliberately or was she just overdoing it again?"  Then she turned her
attention back to Titanite. 
     "From what I saw earlier you were really enjoying the party."
     Ti nodded enthusiastically.  "Absolutely.  First time anyone's made a
fuss over me."  This puzzled Makoto.  
     "I don't get it.  In one of our talks while you guys were hanging around
the Palace deciding what to do you told me Sailor Polaris was very popular
on the other Earth."
     Titanite nodded.  "That's absolutely true but ..."  She snapped her 
fingers and Makoto blinked as Titanite was replaced by an unfamiliar brunette.
"... if you asked anyone over there to describe Sailor Polaris this is who 
they'd tell you about.  Likewise their Sailor Arcturus was a red head with a
german accent.  Gray didn't look a thing like the Overlord and Merlin bore
no resemblance to Lord Pyrite.  With our own faces being the most hated in the 
world we had to make a few modifications."  The glamour vanished as smoothly 
as it had appeared and Titanite was back.  "Living your life behind a mask 
gets kind of wearying.  It's such a relief to finally be rid of them."
     "I can sort of understand that except it was the other way round for me.
I was Kino Makoto most of the time except when I became Sailor Jupiter.  But 
as time passed the line between them started to blur."
     "I recall Ami mentioning.  Say is that why none of you look as old as
you should?  The way I figure it you guys must be the other side of 35 but you
don't look any older than me."  Makoto wondered if she should explain about
the ginzuishou's gift to the senshi then frowned.
     "Weren't we about the same age?  How old are you anyway?"
     Titanite shook her head.  "I'm 27 though everyone figures me for years
younger.  As to the age thing ... We used to be the same age back in our 
teens but coming back from Beta our merry little group lost almost ten years 
in that time anomaly.  So while Cal had a bit over eight years on you guys 
back in the 90's what with that and the months you guys were iced he's now 
either the same age as Minako or maybe just a little younger.  Kind of odd, 
huh?"
     "More like downright weird!"  Titanite shook her head.
     "Just a little strange.  Believe me compared to some of the things that
can happen when you travel dimensions that isn't really that peculiar."
     "You'll have to tell some stories sometime.  But right now there's 
something I'm wondering about."  
     "Namely?"
     "Namely, 'Mako-chan' ..."  Titanite suddenly felt she was on thin ice.
"Your brother doesn't strike me as the type to get too informal with anyone 
he doesn't know really well.  So just what was his connection to that other
Makoto?"
     Titanite tried to collect her thoughts.  She was going to have to be a
little cautious or she might inadvertently mess things up for her brother.
This could be tricky to explain.  "Before I can answer that you've got to 
understand the background.  Things were very different over there.  I mean
over here the senshi and their adversaries were officially urban myths until 
the Acolytes arrived and made your existence undeniable, right?"
     Makoto nodded, "Yeah, we could have changed that earlier but we liked  
having private lives.  Besides which there were enough companies doing senshi
merchandise that they'd be after us for copyright infringement.  So we stuck
to blasting the bad guys then disappearing.  That way nobody who hadn't met
us could ever decide if we were real or not.  Until the Great Darkness."
     "I've been meaning to ask but why is everyone using that name for the
war with the Acolytes of Silence?  I was expecting it to be called the 'Ice 
Age' or 'The Years of Silence' or something like that."
     "Oh it's like this ... 'a dark shroud fell over the old world.  a Great 
Darkness that remained impenetrable until the light of Crystal Tokyo
show forth' ...  Something like that.  Our PR people came up with that and 
had it all over the place before we knew what they were up to.  That's what
we get for putting Minako in charge.  Serenity moved her to External Relations
and named her Ambassador Propitiate.  Which means she's Crystal Tokyo's good 
will ambassador.  Doesn't have authority to negotiate treaties ... thank the 
gods ... but wherever she visits she make it clear Crystal Tokyo's concerned 
and taking an interest.  It's getting her something of a cult following 
abroad.  A glamourous distraction from all their problems ... Say that 
reminds me, those two friends of yours who left the city ...?"
     "Azurite and Pyrite.  What about them?"
     "Well things are great here in CT and a lot of Japan's mostly back on its
feet but the rest of the world is a real mess."  Makoto paused then asked, 
"They're not staying anywhere around here, are they?"
     Titanite shrugged and answered, "They didn't specify a destination ...
telling anyone where they were going would have defeated the whole purpose. 
But I know how they think so I can say with 100% certainty they've left or are
leaving Japan."  Makoto nodded but looked alittle concerned.
     "It's just that the outside world is a pretty unstable these days.  That
makes it dangerous to wander around out there right now.  Are they going to 
be all right?"
     Titanite nodded, "They'll be fine.  They're both survivors."
     "Well she looked ready for anything but that I'm not so sure about.  Even
if he did remind me of ... Uh, getting back to PR, Minako's transfer quietened
things down a bit.  That solved the immediate problem but PR is still running 
amuck and we've got too many other worries to bring them back in line.  
Somebody really needs to reign them in ... say are you interested?"
     "Uh, I don't know.  I've never managed people before.  Except in a 
military context.  If Serenity thinks I could handle it then I'll give it a 
go."
     "Well keep it in mind.  Now before you sent things off on this tangent
you were telling me about the other Earth."  Ti hid a wince, she should have
known she couldn't distract her that easily.  Better bite the bullet and give
her the whole story.
      "Okay, where was I?  Right, existence of the senshi.  Well on Beta the
existence of the Senshi, the youma and magic was undeniable after the 
Overlord's invasion.  The youma were in disarray when you guys went home but
they pulled together under the lead of a real hard case they called the Dark 
Lord."  Like the old saying said there were no atheists in foxholes.  Everyone 
looks for a saviour when things go disastrous, even the youma.  As for the 
source of leader's charismatic fanaticism that got so many to follow him ... 
a broken heart could really twist someone up.  Especially if they were nowhere 
near a saint when they started and had a very good teacher when it came to
unadulterated evil.  "It took us ten years to reclaim the world from the Dark
Kingdomers and they didn't go easy.  Though it wasn't just them ... matter of
fact on a couple of occasions we had to work with the youma against bigger
threats that showed up.  You wouldn't believe some of the things that happened 
... scratch that, you and any of the other senshi would."
     "I'm not sure I see where this is heading."
     "This is all leading somewhere but I may not be explaining it well.  The
point I'm trying to make is everyone knew magic existed and after the youma
oppression people were scared of it.  Not that they didn't like us liberating
them it's just that ..."  How could she explain this?  "The senshi ... which
far as anyone there knew consisted of Hermes, Zeus, Arcturus and Polaris and
two tuxedo masklike characters ... were adored.  But at a distance.  Up close 
people got scared of anyone who could theoretically kill them with just a 
thought.  The youma could and had done that which had ingrained a fear of 
power wielders in them.  It wasn't universal, there were those who could work 
with us without getting as scared of us as they were of the enemy.  But they 
were a definite minority."  
     Titanite paused to wave a passing maid over and they both grabbed a wine
glass.  Minako and Cal were still dancing though she noticed the number of
other dancers was dropping while the number of spectators increased.  Neither 
seemed to have noticed that yet.  So much for Cal's powers of observation,
he must have it pretty bad if he wasn't aware of anything besides Minako.
Not to mention vice versa.  She sipped her wine and saw Makoto was eager for
her to continue.  Remembering the last thing she had said Ti resumed her 
story.  
     "The upshot of all this was socially we were pretty isolated.  I was 
actually the most popular member of the senshi being the cute one ... Hermes 
was the other end of the scale with Arcturus and Zeus in the middle.  But 
even in my case my fans were more comfortable with worshipping me from afar."  
Makoto nodded, she followed Ti so far.  Ti mentally took a deep breath.  Now 
for the tricky part.
     "That's the background, now here's the answer you were after.  We spent 
ten years working with Hermes and Zeus.  During that time I grew up and so
did they.  Like I said we were kind of isolated but when you get older you
starting thinking about ..."
     "Boys.  Later, men."
     "Right.  Now Hermes wasn't a problem being very repressed.  I think she'd
psyched herself into believing she'd killed her one true love and didn't 
deserve to ever fall in love again ... I really hope she gets some therapy 
someday.  Zeus was a different matter.  Kind of screwed up and she isolated 
herself to an extent from human contact but nowhere near as much as Hermes.
As the years passed she wanted ... well, a life."
     "Putting that aside for a moment there's one more background detail.  We 
often worked in pairs ... I should say they worked in pairs as the strike teams 
normally consisted of Cal, Zeus, Azure and Hermes.  Pyr and me usually got 
stuck on the homefront or babysitting."  Before Makoto could ask about the 
last part Ti plunged on.
     "The normal pairs were Hermes and Azure, along with Cal and Zeus.  Their
powers complimented nicely.  Thing is when you work that closely with someone 
for all those years things can happen ..."
     "I see."  Makoto's face was hard to read.  "You're telling me Sailor 
Zeus, my counterpart, fell in love with Calcite?"
     "Not exactly, it's a bit more complex than that.  Sailor Zeus fell in 
love with Gray.  Cal's alter ego."
     "What?!"
     Titanite nodded, "You heard right.  There's probably some psychological 
term for the syndrome but I don't know it.  Confusing the mask someone wears 
with their face is how you'd describe it."  She paused for a moment to marshal 
her thoughts then plunged on hoping to get through this soon.
     "You have to remember we were existing in glamour and in character pretty 
well twenty-four hours a day and absolutely every time we were out in public.  
This was towards of end our time on Beta.  I don't know how long it had been 
building but Zeus decided to prove to Gray that she wasn't a little girl 
anymore.  She didn't look much older, existing as a senshi permanently 
retards the aging process but chronologically she was in her twenties.  Her
timing was either very good or very bad because right then Cal was kind of
vulnerable himself.  He was kind of on the outs with his longtime lover."
     "Why?"
     "Jealousy, mainly."
     "He thought she was mixed up with another guy?"
     Ti looked a little embarrassed.  "Actually it was all the other guys she
kept sleeping with.  I mean open minded as he was there comes a point when
you sort of have to question if she gives a damn about you and ..."  She 
trailed off at the shocked look on Makoto's face.
     "She sounds like a really piece of work!"
     "One of a kind."  Not wanting to get into discussing Margrave Ti resumed
her story.  "Anyway Cal and Zeus got involved and there were real fireworks
when Hermes found out about it.  Ice sculptures actually but ... anyway it
didn't last.  Cal figured out that she wasn't in love with him but Gray and
that struck a nerve.  He took to refusing to use the glamour when they were
alone.  Wanted to be loved for his reality rather than his illusion.  Can't
really fault him for that, I guess.  Well, if he'd looked like anyone except
the Overlord ...  They parted reasonably amicably and were still able to work
together so it didn't complicate things missionwise.  I hope that answers your 
question."
     "Yes, it does."  Makoto looked over to the dance floor where Calcite and
Minako were still waltzing, oblivious to the crowd who watched them.  "He fell
for one Makoto so he could fall for another.  I'll see about keeping my 
distance."  Ti had the sudden feeling she had added some unnecessary tension
to the court.  
     "Uh, you don't have to worry, really.  The circumstances are very 
different here plus you're not identical to Sailor Zeus.  It's not just the 
age thing, you lived very different lives after 1993 and it's shaped you very
differently.  Also Cal's not about to try anything when he's falling hard
for Minako ..."
     "That last one's the real reason."
     Titanite frowned.  "I'm sorry but I don't follow that."
     Makoto hesitated then began, "It's like this.  For quite a few years
Mina and I have been the only single senshi.  Everyone knows about Usagi and
... about Serenity and Endymion.  Ami has Tom, you were introduced to him
tonight?  Thought so, well they've been together for years and everyone 
except Ami knows they'll be married one day.  Rei had Yuuchiro ... had, she
lost her husband in the Darkness but they had a lot of good years together.
Haruka and Michiru have always been solid despite Haruka's constant flirting
with other women ... by the way you should expect that once she accepts you as
a member of the court.  Just take it with a grain of salt."
     "The upshot of all this me and Minako were the only ones without partners
in our merry little group.  Another thing we had in common was zero luck in
romance.  Maybe you kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince Charming but all we 
got were toads with sleek exteriors.  As I said Minako's luck was as bad as
mine but she didn't take it as seriously.  When things went bad she could 
usually shrug it off and look for somebody else after a little mopping.  I'm
different.  When my heart gets broken I fall apart.  The number of times
Minako had to drag me out of depression before my life collapsed and I lost
the restaurant is more than I care to remember.  But she always did and I owe
her a lot for that."  She looked back at the couple who had realized they 
were the center of attention and were trying to pass it off as a dance lesson
with little success.
     "I don't know that what's happening between them is serious.  I'm sure
your brother's a great guy and all but this could be just some dual brief 
infatuation that will fade soon.  But just in case I don't want to take any 
chances of messing things up for Minako.  Which I could do being a dead ringer
for an old lover.  So while trying not to seem like I'm avoiding him I'm going 
to keep as much distance between us as I can.  Just to be on the safe side."
     "Not much point in trying to talk you out of it, is there?"
     "Not the slightest.  In the meantime we've spent enough time out here 
alone to get rumours going about us.  So we really should get back in there 
and mingle or you'll have Haruka looking you over sooner than you expect."
     "Fair enough, let's go."
     They needn't have worried.  Calcite and Minako were drawing enough  
attention that no one had noticed them out there together.  Makoto headed 
to the far side of the room, away from the twosome.  Titanite took a few
moments to enjoy her brother's cracking composure before wandering away while
still watching them.  Which was the reason she stumbled over a drunken cat
and would have fallen had a firm grip not steadied her.
     Ti turned around to thank her rescuers and found herself looking down a 
little at a man in his early thirties.  He was Japanese, stood about 10 cm 
shorter than her and had the most piercing brown eyes.  "Are you all right."
     "Yes, thank you for the helping hand."
     "My pleasure.  The guest of honour should be the last one to wind up at
sprawled on the floor."
     "That's one way of looking at it.  Excuse me I don't think we've been
introduced yet."
     "My apologies ... is it true you have only one name?"
     "Yes, Titanite's all I got."
     "Ah.  I have two, Shimizu Asuma."
     "Nice to meet you Shimizu-san.  Excuse me but I can't help noticing 
that while you're trying to be polite you really want to be watching either my
brother or Minako."
     "You are very observant.  The real object of my attentions is Aino-sama."
     "Personal?"
     "Professional."  At her curious look he added, "You are aware Aino-sama
has stated her desire to resume her singing career.  While it had minimal
success prior to the recent unpleasantness now that her identity as a Sailor
Senshi is known she could become a major star overnight.  Currently only in 
Japan as the overseas markets have more important priorities than importing
entertainers but in the long term I see no reason she could not become the
most listened to singer of all time!"
     That sounded cool.  "And your connection with all this is...?"  
     "I am an agent.   I hoped to have a word with her though it seems the
opportunity will not present itself."  He sighed almost inaudibly.
     "I'm afraid not.  For the time being Minako's got other dreams than 
stardom."
     "I am forced to agree Titanite-san."  He paused a moment.  "Excuse me 
for asking but have you ever considered a career in show business?"
     "Well not seriously ..."  Ti hesitated before finishing the rejection.
Why not?  These days it seemed the sky was the limit.  If Minako could be
both a sailor senshi and a megastar then why not her?  Besides Asuma was 
good looking in an understated sort of way.  "Actually if you'll join me for a
drink at the bar we can discuss it further.  No one's watching me right now 
so we won't be disturbed.  Oh and you don't need to bother with any of those 
honorifics.  But if you must use one, make it Ti-chan." 
     "Thank you ... Ti-chan.  I would be delighted to join you."  As they 
walked over to the bar Ti could see him debating if he was going to keep this 
professional or make it personal.  Either could be fine.  Stardom sounded  
good.  On the other hand she wasn't romantically involved with anyone so that
wasn't a problem.  Maybe he'd try both which might also be fine.
     These were interesting times indeed but she didn't see that as a curse.  
Who would want to live in uninteresting times?  These days life was full of
surprises each more so than the last one.  She just could hardly wait to
see what tomorrow would bring.

End

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Afterword 
     Credit where credit is due
     Thanks to Andy Combs for deciding to integrate the DKR into Crystal 
Tokyo.  This story was inspired by the background in his "Crystal Renegades".   
You can find it on the SME page along with a lot of other great fanfictions.
http://www.texas.net/~android/sme_main.html 

I stole the "Ball" joke from one of Terry Prattchet's Discworld books but all 
other details about Crystal Tokyo's rulers and inhabitants created by or 
inspired by Naoko Takeuchi.  

I always like feedback on my stories so if you've got an opinion about this
one please email me at:
Mark.Latus@MSVU.CA

I'm setting up a homepage so you can find all my stories at:
http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Temple/1810

Now it's back to writing Bubblegum Crisis as I attempt to answer an often
asked question, "How can he makes the Knight Sabers lives any worse?"
Wait and see.

Mark Latus
Sept 10 '97




TEXT to HTML conversion by Douglas Helm.