Sailor Moon Expanded

Dark Kingdom Renegades/Sailor Moon : Thy Kingdom Come
by Mark Latus

Part 3 : The Atrocity Exhibition

The Overlord's Citadel, England, The Dark World - 12 hours before the 
anniversary party

     Calcite awoke in a good mood.  This wasn't really unusual, when you're 
the undisputed master of the world you've got a lot to feel good about.
He stretched more from habit than any need.  The power he contained would
maintain him in top condition forever.  Never aging, beyond the touch of all
disease ... yes immortality agreed with him.  Far superior to his long gone
healing factor.  He'd shared this blessing with the rest of the Dark Circle.
He wouldn't want to lose his sister, his cousin, or Azurite.  As for Magnesite
... well every rule had it's exception.
     Because he was a thoughtful man he avoided waking either of the bed's
other occupants.  He eased the batwoman's wing off his chest and slid forward.
Standing up he stepped over the human girl.  A servant silently glided up and
helped him into a green robe.  Despite being king of the youma he saw no 
reason all his clothing had to be black.  He ignored the servant and watched
the slumbering woman.  She'd claimed to be 19 but looked a lot younger now.  
Humans tended to get very tense (and very obedient) in the presence of youma.
The only time he saw them really relax was in sleep.  The girl mumbled 
something but didn't wake up.  Just lay there, blonde hair sprayed out over 
the pillow.  
     He'd picked this actress as a lover for symbolic reasons.  Because of 
her resemblance to someone now dead.  Someone he'd hoped to kill himself.  
Her appearance wasn't coincidental.  She was in the Citadel to play the part 
of Sailor Aphrodite in another tribute gushing stage production that was being 
mounted in his honour.  He shook his head ruefully.  He'd once mentioned how 
much he'd enjoyed the live theatre he'd seen during a few of his trips to 
London.  So now his subjects kept putting on these shows glorifying him.  
     Well it was pleasant being praised and some of the shows had been rather
amusing.  He found light musicals preferable to heavy pseudo Shakespearian 
dramas depicting his triumph.  Pyrite seemed to think this new show would be
an artistic triumph and was being cagey about the details.  Having had some
experience of what his cousin considered art Calcite had some doubts.  But
he meant well and as long as it was entertaining who cared if there was any
deeper meaning?  Pyrite had hoped to be ready for the anniversary but there
were some problems with his director.  He had evidently wiped out half the
human cast in a fit of pique.  Artists!  Well that had meant restarting 
almost from square one.  Luckily there was no shortage of (literally) starving
actors willing to chance appearing in the production.  Not that they'd really
had a choice.
     Yzani (ah yes, that was the batwoman's name) stirred but remained asleep.
Probably worn out.  That was something of a drawback to his stamina, he tended
to exhaust his partners.  Not that there was any shortage of either volunteers
(youma) or draftees (human).  Oddly there was a surprising number of human 
women eager for his attention.  Some just sought material benefit but the 
others ... probably the types who fantasized about serial killers which he'd
also never been able to understand.  A confusing breed humans, youma 
psychology was a lot simpler to understand.  At any rate despite an abundance
of candidates he'd decided to just use those two during the last rest cycle.  
Just an impulse but he hadn't bothered to analyse it.  Something to do with 
the date probably.  The choice of the human girl was fairly obvious.  Now why 
the batwoman?
     He studied the slumbering youma for a moment.  Her lips had parted 
revealing her fangs and a thin line of drool ran down her chin.  She groaned
slightly and her wings twitched.  Of course!  How obvious.  She'd reminded  
him of his first lover, Latitax of the DD Girls.  Sacrificed on the iceplains
of D point to delay the Senshi while Beryl set her trap and the Dark Circle
worked secretly to revive Metallia.  Latitax who'd gone in to battle with his
assurance that the Dark Circle would bail her out if there was trouble.
Latitax who'd thought she'd had him wrapped around her little finger so he'd
do anything for her.  Including making her leader among her sisters.  Dear,
sweet, stupid, Latitax.  
     For a moment the Overlord remembered the feel of her body and her wings
wrapped around him.  Perhaps he'd loved her a little.  Then he shrugged.
Can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.  Which reminded him, it was time
for breakfast.
     He snapped his fingers as he strode across the bedchamber.  Servants 
hurried to open the doors to the lounge.  Within the buffet table was packed
in preparation for whenever their Lord and Master awoke.  As soon as the 
hot food showed signs of cooling or the chilled of warming it was discarded
and replaced.  Meaning a constant parade of serving carts from the elevators
to the kitchens.  It was for this reason that the palace staff ate better than
any of their brothers and sisters in the nearby human enclave.  The name for
the human settlement was intended to drive home a message.  This wasn't their 
world anymore, they were the aliens here.  
     Calcite didn't begrudge his staff the calories.  The only thing he 
objected to was obesity.  The staff were all female, beautiful by human 
standards and slender rather than thin.  So long as they stayed attractive 
he had no objections to what they did with the discards from his table.  
Slovenliness and heftiness would get them dumped back in their enclave to
scratch out a living.  They were easily replaced.  There was no shortage of 
those clamouring for the good life within the Citadel.  Or any of the palaces  
of the Overlord and the Dark Circle.  Calcite found this desperate grasping 
rather amusing.  He'd formed certain views on the brotherhood of man and 
this just reinforced them.  At any rate this policy meant the servants' gym 
and sauna was always heavily used.  Staying in shape prolonged your life.  Or 
at least made it more bearable.  As for the enclaves themselves?  Those humans
who'd chosen death before dishonour had gotten their wish.  Rebellion had been 
almost crushed out of humanity in the face of utter defeat.
     Calcite nodded to the attending servants.  Their short black maid 
costumes (which he'd decreed the servant uniform on a whim) rustled as they 
removed swiftly covers and bowed themselves out of the way.  He briefly 
studied the exposed Terran and Dark Kingdom delicacies.  After a moment's 
thought he selected grapefruit, croissants with thornyfruit jam, graxxat
bacon, scrambled ktar eggs and a glass of orange juice.  
     As quickly and carefully as possible two of the servants set the table 
while a third preceded him to his chair.  As soon as he was seated all three 
stood by with hands clasped and awaited further orders.  Calcite ignored them 
and began to eat.  Excellent as always.  He sipped his orange juice and nodded
his approval.  He'd developed a definite taste for citrus fruits.  Good thing
he'd taken the entire Californian crop via teleport prior to triggering the
San Andres fault.  That had been a gift to his cousin.  Why give him territory
where a major earthquake would inevitably happen someday?  Best to release the
pressure and get it over with.  Pyrite had found the tidal effects from the
state sliding into the ocean fascinating and had set up an oceanographic
research facility.  Giving a few human specialists a secure future for which
they were thankful.  None of the youma bothered asking the surviving 
Californians for their opinions.  Getting back to oranges the current climate 
was not kind to terrestrial fruits but he'd had greenhouses set up.  Harvests 
were coming due so there was no danger of a shortage.  It was a good life.  As 
long as you were the right species.
     He was halfway through breakfast when the twinge hit him.  At his frown 
the servants rushed forward eager to placate him.  He waved them away.  The  
two longserving servants recognised the symptoms and bowed as they backed 
away dragging the startled neophyte with them.  They'd explain it to her after 
the master had departed.  The black aura that surrounded the Overlord seemed 
to deepen.  Yes they'd explain it to her later.  Assuming they were still 
     This wasn't a serious attack.  Just Metallia rattling the cage within his
mind.  Calcite nodded to himself, best to throw it a few scraps.  His left 
hand made a gesture in midair.  Unnecessary but he liked a bit of showmanship.
A window opened in midair revealing a purple skinned creature with a badger's 
snout but the rough hide of an alligator.  It wore a grey uniform resembling
Jadeite's but with a black circle emblazoned on the right breast pocket. 
Varis, Chamberlain to his excellency the Overlord, snapped to attention and 
awaited his orders.
     Varis had been one of the few members of Beryl's household staff to 
sense the change in the air and bow to Calcite.  Most of the others had 
thought that Beryl lived and was simply playing a game with Calcite before
arising to destroy him.  A bad decision as the Dark Circle had decided a show  
of excessive and needless brutality was necessary to drive home the point that
things had changed.  For his wisdom Varis had been rewarded with this post.
It was a comfortable life and a position of no little power and prestige.  It
was however very different to serving Beryl.  Queen Beryl had always 
cultivated a regal presence.  None except her body servants saw her appear 
clothed in anything but her regal dress and icy dignity.  She would never have 
appeared before her chamberlain in a green robe that was flopping open at the 
chest while halfway through a grapefruit.  If anyone had pointed this out to 
him Calcite would surely have replied that appearance was nowhere as important 
as power.  And he had no shortage of that.
     "Varis I'll be paying a visit to my guests after I've finished breakfast. 
Make sure they're ready to receive me."  Varis bowed and acknowledged his
master's order.  The window disappeared and he grinned.  While the flippant
tone might sound wrong the Overlord's plans for the morning were in keeping
with the very best youma traditions.  He connected to the high security
dungeon and gave orders for a cleanup and warning of an imminent royal visit.
The guard captain nodded and his team got to work.  Privately he considered
the Overlord a little too fastidious about hygiene.  Though he had to admit 
prisoners left to rot in their own filth were a bit hard on the nose.  He 
ignored that and oversaw the routine.  First sedate then clean exposed 
surfaces checking for signs of awareness.  Ensure that only one limb at a time
was freed for cleansing and stripping.  Keep a watch on the power dampeners 
and never forget what you were dealing with.  Letting them escape would be 
the last thing he'd ever do.  If that ever happened he'd have to pray they 
killed him before the Overlord found him.  As always his caution was rewarded
and the two were prepared without incident.  They were dressed and locked back
into position.  Everything under control.  At his order the human janitors
were allowed in.  Several guards watched them but the majority watched the
unconscious twosome.
     Youma took care of the prisoners because of the risk factor but humans 
could be trusted to clean the floors and walls.  Silently, ignoring the 
captives, the servants mopped and scrubbed the floor tiles clean of mess.  The
floor drains were opened and unplugged.  When the cleaners were done the 
dungeon had an incongruous lemon scent.  It didn't fit with the two chained 
figures, the pain inflicting engines and the trays of tools ready and 
waiting.  The captain neutralized the sleep spell and the guards herded the 
humans out.  He was closing the door as they began to stir.
     Back in the lounge Calcite caught a reflection in his juice glass of the
servants behind him.  The newest servant looked confused, the woman to her 
left had no expression on her face.  The red headed servant on the right was
another matter.  Her face was twisted in horror.  He dismissed the matter and
went back to eating.  He didn't much care what they thought of him as long as
they obeyed.  Look on the bright side girl, it could be you.
     Breakfast was followed by a leisurely shower.  He ignored the women who
were washing him and focused his attention within his mind.  All the psi 
containment wards were firm.  Still he'd feel a lot more secure when he had 
an alternate power source.  He waved away the servant who suggested a hot soak.  
He was going to get himself messy anyway.  His shield would block blood spray 
but he was going to provide Metallia an emotional conduit.  Meaning working 
up a sweat from excitement at the very least.
     The bathgirls towelled him dry and Calcite reflected that he was getting 
out of the habit of doing anything himself.  Well not strictly speaking true.
He did nothing menial himself these days.  But his activities this morning
would be strictly hands on.
     His dresser glided up and suggested a white suit.  The brilliance of it
as it remained unmarked by blood would be an additional psychological blow to
the prisoners.  He thought about it then mentioned the sweat staining problem.  
The dresser bowed and apologised for her oversight then suggested a 
utilitarian dark slacks and shirt.  He agreed and let her do her job.  Fancier
clothing could wait for the party and he was not one for excessive formality.
     There was discrete knock at the door answered by a servant.  Varis stood
there awaiting permission to enter.  Once allowed entry he respectfully 
proffered the current reports.  Nothing priority one, a brief glance at the
priority two summary showed nothing requiring immediate personal intervention.  
He'd made sure those chosen to supervise the enclaves and lands within his 
domain were good administrators rather than the most powerful of the youma.  
None of his subjects complained about his utilitarianism anymore.  They'd 
learned he didn't care if his vassals were of the old elite, personally    
powerful or adept at flattery.  To him the most important thing was not 
appearance, it was getting the job done.  As this philosophy had enabled him
to win the Kingdom for himself it was catching on.  For what was more 
important than victory?
     Calcite handed the reports to his secretary with a few comments on 
follow-ups he wanted done on a couple.  He'd study them all in more detail 
later.  He instructed Varis to inform the other members of the Circle he would 
talk to them in six hours.  Nothing of import, just their normal discussion of 
any business.  An unintended sideffect of shrouding the world in perpetual 
darkness was the elimination of time zones.  For the first time ever the world 
ran on one clock.  It made life simpler.  Now it was time to get to work.  
Everything has it's price and this was one of his for the power he enjoyed.  
He opened a window to the captain in charge of high security and announced he 
would be there momentarily.  With that he studied his reflection in the mirror 
once more, ran a finger over his scarred check unconsciously, then teleported.
     After the guards had paid their respects they unlocked the door and he
walked in alone.  He could bypassed the teleport blockers and appeared in the 
dungeon before them with ease.  But he found it more foreboding to appear at 
the top of the stairs having given them time to hear him coming.  He looked 
down from the head of the stairs to the two figures below shackled to x shaped 
frames on opposing walls.  Both wore copies of their Senshi uniforms.  He'd
turned the original costumes (which he damaged extensively during his initial
torment of the Senshi) over to Pyrite for studied.  Since then he'd had many
intact copies of the uniforms made.  It seemed only fair that they wore their 
robes of office.  He had them supplied with a fresh one before each visit.  
But unlike the originals the fabric of these could be penetrated easily.  In 
between his visits they normally wore the bloodstained rags he left them.  
Well, blood and whatever else they picked up.  It wouldn't be a proper dungeon 
if the inmates didn't get to fester in a foul smelling pit.  One must maintain 
a certain sense of tradition after all.  He smiled at the thought.  Within his 
mind something stirred and began to drool in anticipation.
     "Good morning ladies.  It's a beautiful day today.  The sun is shining,   
the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming."  As he said this matching
images surrounded him.  With a wave of his hand he banished the illusion.
"Actually I'm lying.  The sky is black as always, the cold is finishing off
the songbirds and the flowers never sprouted due to the lack of sunlight.  
Other than that it's a perfect day."
     Sailor Heaven lifted her head and glared at him with the eye he'd left
her.  That had been a mistake, he'd got a little too excited on one of his
visits.  She didn't curse him as she had in the early days.  Nowadays she 
saved her energy, hoping to endure as long as possible.  There was still 
defiance in her eyes ... eye.
     By contrast Sailor Poseidon still hung with her head down and made a 
small whimpering noise.  Not a complete surprise.  The guards had reported     
lately most of Heaven's attempts at conversation were one sided.  The whimper             
was a good sign.  It meant she was near breaking instead of escaping into
catatonia.  Time to layer on the dread a little.  Give it time to grow instead
of just rushing right in.  He began to saunter down the stairs, taking his 
time and humming a bit of retrofitted Gilbert and Sullivan.
     "And it is, it is a glorious thing to be the youma king ..."
     He reached the bottom and smiled at Sailor Heaven.  "It's been a while 
since my last visit.  Miss me?"  He considered mentioned he'd recently
killed the third Outer Senshi who'd been intent on breaking in and freeing 
them.  But he dismissed the matter.  To tell the truth that was a little 
troubling as they'd still had no luck tracing the reincarnate.  Could she 
have displaced her soul through time?      
     He shook off the speculation.  It was of no consequence.  If she returned
he'd just kill her again.  And again and again should her soul still prove 
untraceable.  There was no point in mentioning it.  He would not be doing
anything to crush her spirit.  Heaven had no knowledge that she should be a
member of a trio.  He knew this just as he knew her birth name was Haruka 
Ten'ou, when she'd received her transformation wand and how she'd escaped the
destruction of Tokyo.  His mind control abilities had been boosted to 
undreamed of heights by his merger with Metallia.  It had been simple to
shatter her psi defences and make her tell all her secrets.  At the time he'd
hoped that she would say something that would destroy her partner, Sailor
Poseidon (or Michiru Kaiou) emotionally.  Sadly she'd just reaffirmed her
partner's faith.  As Poseidon had done for Heaven when he torn into her mind.  
But this dark cloud had a silver lining.  The destruction of that love and 
trust would be most enjoyable to Metallia.  Almost as enjoyable as their pain.  
     Calcite considered torture an inefficient way to extract information.
Mind control was surer and didn't run the risk of being supervised by a
sadist more interested in causing pain than extracting information.  He took
no pleasure in pain.  He had publicly tortured them after their capture as
a symbol of his power, to break help break humanity's spirit as they witnessed 
the grisly fate of their champions and to placate the entity he contained.  
He had already gained all their information that was of any worth before he 
began his broadcast.  He had done it as efficiently as he'd done everything
else that was disagreeable.  You just do whatever is necessary.  The only 
important thing was protecting your people.  By any means necessary.  The
code he'd always lived by and still did.  For who would seek Renegades among
those who had conquered the world and murdered billions?  Who would dare  
challenge the man who stole the power of their god?  Who would call the youma 
who tortured Senshi a heretic?  He had simply done what he had to.  He took no
pleasure in it.  None at all.
     Calcite snorted, he was lying to himself again.  That had been true once.    
He'd done whatever was necessary to survive and protect the few people he 
cared about.  Pure necessity, nothing more.  But along the way things had 
changed.  Killing his enemies had shifted from necessary, to simple and at 
last to fun.  When he'd channelled Metallia's power and slaughtered the 
populace of Tokyo it had been all he could do not to laugh out loud.  The 
sense of power had been intoxicating.  As for the humans who'd suffered and 
died before him?  Who cared?
     Humanity was no better than the normal youma.  They'd both have 
cheerfully slaughtered him and the other Renegades as freaks.  Once he'd 
realized that everything had become so simple.  It wasn't just the four of 
them against the Kingdom as he'd always believed.  It was the four of them 
against everyone.  After that realization it had been simple to make big 
plans.  As always Pyrite and Azurite had followed him.  Titanite ...  He still
felt a qualm at the memory.  What they'd done to her hadn't been easy.  
Especially for him but it hadn't been pleasant for any of them.  But it had 
been necessary.  They had much to do and couldn't keep shielding her from the
Kingdom.  She had to learn to fit in.  At length they'd succeeded and she  
could pass for a normal youma girl.  Indeed she was now probably more capable
of atrocity than any of them.  The most extreme member of the Dark Circle. 
She revelled in her power more than Magnesite.  She hadn't become a true youma.
She still loved her brother fiercely.  Her affection for Pyrite and Azurite
was also true and firm.  And they loved her back.  Yet they couldn't help
thinking they'd lost something irreplaceable.  Changing her had been the most 
difficult thing he'd ever done.  But it had been necessary.  There was only    
one way to ensure the Renegades were safe.  They had to be on top of the
     Now the youma ruled humanity and he ruled the youma.  What no one outside 
the inner circle knew, or would know until it was irreversible, was the last 
laugh would not belong to the youma.  It would belong to the Renegades.  It 
wouldn't be soon, a project so monumental would take time.  But thanks to
Metallia's power they had all the time in the world.  Though every now and 
again he had to throw Metallia a few scraps of atrocity to keep it satiated.  
So he'd kept the Senshi alive for that purpose.  Every time he came here it 
got easier.  And, like killing, he was learning to enjoy it.
     Which was why he beamed and glanced from one Senshi to the other before
asking cheerfully, "Well, who wants to go first?"
     "Me!"  Haruka's voice shook but she managed to hold eye contact.  "Leave
Michiru alone.  Try and break my will Calcite."  Calcite shook his head.
Still trying to protect her lover.  It was frustrating and undermined his 
theories on human behaviour.  He was tempted to work off his annoyance on her
but maintained his calm.
     "No swearing?  You used to turn the air blue when I arrived.  Aren't you
going to comment on my parentage?  My relatives?  My sexual habits or 
inability thereof?  The parts of me you'll tear off and do hideous things
with?  Well?"        
     She shook her head slightly, conserving her endurance for what would 
follow.  She would not give him the satisfaction of being amused by her  
helpless rage.  Yes, she was scared.  Yes, she felt a numbing terror as he 
idly stirred the contents of one of the instrument trays.  Yes, she would 
scream as he inflicted pain she once could not even imagine.  But if she
could keep him focused on her and angered by her defiance he might ignore
Michiru this time.  That was all she had to keep going.  "There's nothing I
could say that expresses how vile you really are.  You are a monster."
     He didn't snarl and strike her.  Or smile and pick up a probe.  Instead
he looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding.  "I suppose I am.  It wasn't
easy for me."  He gestured around at the torture equipment.  "This sort of 
thing is second nature for most youma.  Me?  I had to learn it.  But I had
good teachers.  Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Chivington, Torquemada ...
humanity was a great inspiration to me.  You've done things to each other 
that a youma couldn't have imagined.  Slaughtered one another in numbers we
wouldn't have dreamed of.  At least, not until I came along."  He chuckled
and reached out to brush her cheek.  Haruka flinched away from his aura then
cursed herself for her weakness.  "Rebuttal?"
     He thought she was going to say something but instead she began to cough.
Thick chesty coughs.  She bent over as far as she could sprayed and her new
immaculate white fuku with red flecks.  Though he gave no sign the Overlord    
frowned mentally.  On closer examination her hair looked sparser that he
remembered.  She'd definitely lost some very recently.  Probably during the 
shampoo and rinse she received during cleanup.  There were new skin lesions
on her throat.  Definite warning signs.  Pyrite had warned him the tests posed 
risks as there was still a lot of guesswork involved in exposure levels senshi
could tolerate.  
     Which was why he'd only had one of them exposed.  No sense losing both of 
his playthings.  She could have received a fatal dose.  DAMN!  It wasn't her 
possibly dying that annoyed him.  It was that she might die without his
breaking her will.  Perhaps he should have had Poseidon used for the radiation 
tests.  She seemed nearer the breaking point anyway.  But that was why he'd
chosen Haruka.  He'd hoped the tests, carried out in silence and without 
explanation would have preyed on Haruka's mind.  Driven her closer to the 
edge.  And perhaps roused Poseidon into a terrified helpless rage.  That 
hadn't happened.  Michiru had simply retreated further inside herself.  That's 
the problem with these cold ones.  They seem unbreakable but when they did 
crack they fall a long way.  So neither goal had been achieved.  Ah well, you 
can't win them all.
     "No more."  The voice was quiet and from behind him.  Michiru's head 
still hung forward, the thick blue tinged tresses cascading to her waist.
His interest piqued Calcite turned to watch her.  Still some life left in 
her after all.  As he turned away Haruka finished coughing and spat out the  
last of the blood.  It bounced off Calcite's aura and spattered to the floor.
He ignored it and she made a croaking noise as she tried to call him back.
Part of her screamed to let Michiru sacrifice herself if it would save her.
She ignored it and tried to work up a curse..
     Calcite ignored the Senshi behind him.  "Offering yourself to be today's 
     "No."  The voice was low and shame filled but they both heard it.  It 
took Calcite a moment to understand.  Then he smiled.  He stepped closer and
reached down to her chin.  Gently he tilted her head up so he could see her
face.  Tears ran down her cheeks and she wouldn't meet his eyes.  In a muffled
voice she whispered, "You said ... you said if we begged you ... begged for 
ourselves alone you'd stop hurting us.  I ... I'm begging you ... no more ...
please ... whatever you want I'll do ... just not again."  She sobbed but
didn't call back her words.  He'd broken one of the vaunted Senshi.  Calcite 
felt a sense of growing satisfaction.  Was it his or Metallia's?  Perhaps it 
belonged to both.  Now to hurt Haruka with this. 
     "The torment only ends for you.  I'll still be hurting her."  He gestured
behind him.  Michiru wouldn't look at Haruka but she whispered.  "I'm sorry
Haruka ... I can't take this anymore."  This should be doing wonders to 
Haruka.  Metallia chuckled in his mind.  It was not a pleasant sound.  A 
thought occurred to Calcite.  The perfect final touch.  He held his empty left 
hand where Michiru could see and closed it around a nonexistent hilt.  For the 
first time in weeks (perhaps months) he called forth his own inate powers.  
Psychoplasm manifested  and shaped itself to the pattern he cast.  He was now 
holding one of those razor edged commando knives.  An efficient killing tool.  
Perfect for what he had in mind.
     "Michiru, look at me."  She tried to turn away but he held her chin 
firmly.  Her eyes twitched back to look at him involuntarily.  "See this 
knife?"  She tried to nod.  "Your lover is behind me listening to every word
of this."  She whimpered a little and tried to pull free.  This was the 
crucial moment.  "If I told you I would free you if you took this knife and 
cut her throat would you do it?"
     There was a moment of silence.  Then a weak whisper of "Yes."  It seemed 
to hang in the dungeon's air.  Calcite looked deep within her eyes ... and
saw nothing but truth.  Her released his grip and let the crying woman slump
back.  Roaring with laughter he turned back to Haruka.
     "She'll kill you to gain her own freedom.  So much for love undying!"
     Haruka still had her tearducts so both her eye and her socket were wet.
But her voice was firm as she said, "If I'd known that was what it would take
I'd have told her to cut my throat months ago."
     Metallia snarled and Calcite frowned.  He said mildly,  "You're not 
playing the game.  You're supposed to curse her for having abandoned you to 
save her own skin."
     "I won't play your sick game.  You've tortured her for months and she's
finally gone over the edge.  One of us had to crack first.  I wish it had been
me.  But anyone will break if you cause them enough pain.  There's no victory in
here!  This proves nothing!"
     Metallia squalled but Calcite seemed unperturbed.  "You have plenty of 
spirit left but you said it yourself.  Anyone will crack if you hurt them 
enough.  As you'll find out."  He gestured at Michiru with his knife hand.
"That's your future.  One day soon you'll beg me to do anything to anyone 
rather that hurt you again."  Now for the final twist.  He turned back to  
     "I promised I wouldn't hurt you again.  And I keep my word."  His eyes
glowed and to Michiru, Calcite, the dungeon and the castle beyond melted away.  
Haruka remained, fully restored, standing in the middle of a beautiful green 
pasture on a perfect summer's day.  Haruka smiled at her and Michiru knew she   
was forgiven.  They ran towards each other ...
     Calcite watched Sailor Poseidon's face become vacant as the implanted 
fantasy took hold.  Endorphins flooded her brain and her face became a study
in joy.  She was no longer connected to the real world.  She didn't hear
Haruka yell, "What have you done to her, you bastard!" or his response.
     "I promised her I wouldn't hurt her again.  Now she feels no pain ..."
He drew the knife back and adjusted his intended swing.  "... and very soon
I'll never be able to hurt her again."  Haruka's scream didn't disturb the 
smoothness of the blade's arc.
     Blood sprayed forth and bounced off his aura.  It would take long.  
Michiru's expression of happiness didn't change.  Behind him Haruka screamed
in horror and rage and power burned through her.  He kept watching Michiru
as he clinically wondered if Haruka's fury could focus enough energy to burn
out the power dampners.  She was achieving a higher power level than she'd  
ever registered before.  Perhaps ... just perhaps he'd have to subdue her.
Then the power wavered as physical weakness took its toll.  She tried to 
ignore it and focus on the rage but the sickness was unrelenting.  She doubled
over choking and fought not to vomit.  Again her coughing brought up blood.
Before him the flow of Poseidon's blood had slowed from a geyser to a stream.  
Michiru's expression changed to one of puzzlement as she felt a tremendous 
weariness.  She must be tired, so much had happened so quickly.  She closed 
her eyes and drifted off to sleep in Haruka's arms.  
     Calcite saw Sailor Poseidon slump back.  The bloodflow slowed to a 
trickle and she stopped breathing.  The bleeding became a drip as her heart 
ceased beating for lack of anything to pump.  Her lifeglow flickered and 
disappeared.  He logged the time and wondered momentarily where he'd find her.  
Then he turned back to Haruka.
     The remaining Senshi had stopped gasping for breath.  The power dampners
had funnelled away the energy she'd built.  Without the trigger of seeing her
lover die before her he doubted she could achieve that level again.  She'd
gone berserk for a moment, bypassed the blocking fields and started 
channelling power from ... where?  The Senshi drew power from outside sources 
but just what were those sources?  It could be blocked or drained away but the 
original source remained unknown, its location unidentified.  Pity, if it 
could be found it could perhaps be stolen.  Or perhaps not.  Pyrite theorized 
that the Senshi perhaps drew on the mana of the planets that shared their 
names.  An interesting if inconclusive theory as they have been should be 
unbelievably powerful with a planet's energy at their disposal.  Of course 
there might be extreme limits on how much power they could draw without 
burning themselves out.  Or perhaps a lot of power was lost if it was drawn 
across interplanetary distances.  Most of it might bleed into the void and be 
lost before the senshi got it.  Assuming the power was drawn through normal 
space rather than a subspace link.  So many possibilities.  But he shouldn't 
be standing here musing, he was ignoring his guest.  Besides if the source of 
the Senshi's power was extraterrestrial it was inaccessible.  At least for 
now.  But it would soon be inaccessible for all without Senshi to wield it.  
Five down.  Three to go.
     "Well Haruka?  You were trying to attract my attention?"  Her face was
a study in pure hatred.  She looked a lot like Beryl when she talked of
Silver Millennium.  Metallia giggled at the sight.  Sailor Heaven met his gaze.
She didn't curse him.  She was far past anything that minor.  Her voice was 
cold and controlled.  But very sincere.
     "I swear but whatever is holy in this universe that before I die I will
kill you."  
     He nodded.  "I don't doubt your sincerity.  But while the spirit may be
willing your flesh is a little on the weak side."
     "Whatever you've done to me I won't die until I've avenged Michiru.  Then
I will join her in whatever comes next."
     Calcite smiled.  What perfect timing.  "I can tell you what comes next.
Reincarnation and rebirth.  Unfortunately for you Pyrite's developed this
system we call 'Karmic tracking'."  His hand reached into overspace and
emerged full of photographs.  He fanned the pictures like a deck of cards
before the enraged senshi.  
     Confusion cut through her anger momentarily.  "Babies?"
     "Not just any babies."  He selected one particular picture.  "This one is
the reincarnation of my old friend Sailor Aphrodite.  We got a trace on her 
soul when she died at D point and tracked her after the takeover.  We acquired
her mother in California and took her back to the Kingdom.  We gained the
hosts for Endymion and the other Senshi the same way.  We were careful with
them, didn't want to accidentally cause miscarriages and have to look again.
After we emerged to claim the world and the Citadel was built I brought them 
along.  Their every need was attended and three months ago they gave birth to 
four healthy brats."
     Haruka's voice was dull.  "And then you killed them again."
     Calcite looked annoyed.  "Don't be ridiculous.  That would have meant
finding them again.  No, there was a simpler solution."  He held up a picture
of a newborn baby being placed within a clear cylinder.  "Stasis."
     "Stasis?"  What the hell was he talking about?  This could be important
so she tried to follow it.
     "The word is a misnomer.  Rather like invulnerable having come to mean 
'very difficult to damage' rather than 'impossible to ...'  It is not true
stasis as time does pass within the stasis field.  But very slowly.  My sister
was born my twin but she spent her first eight years within a stasis cylinder.
I think she gained a day.  Physical laws are a little different on Earth so
the spell isn't quite that efficient.  But with IV feedings they won't starve 
or dehydrate and it'll be centuries before they reach their teens.  And then?
Well they'll be no threat being adults with the minds of newborns but I'll
probably kill them just to be sure they don't manifest senshi powers.  Then
I'll track down the new reincarnates and start the cycle again." 
     Why was he telling her this?  NO!  "MICHIRU!"
     Calcite smiled.  "I wonder what she'll look like next time around?  Well
we'll bring her mother in and in nine months I'll have my answer."  
     "YOU ..."  She couldn't think of any curse that was sufficient. 
     "Death will not deliver you.  There is no escape and no justice.  Just
     "You're not God.  You still haven't got Sailor Hermes or Sailor Zeus!"
     "Who you dismissed as kids getting in the way?"  Haruka felt her cheeks
burn with shame.  They'd done more damage to the youma than the Outer Senshi
combined.  Calcite didn't notice, he looked almost wistful.  For a moment he 
sounded respectful.  "They are impressive.  Children at the start but they've 
survived and learned fast.  Worthy if hopelessly outpowered adversaries.  And 
useful tools on occasion.  Still, they have my respect for their valiant, if 
doomed, efforts.  That is why I'll have them killed instead of brought in to 
join you."
     "Since when do youma respect their enemies?"
     "Most don't.  But I am an exceptional youma."
     "All you are is a bigger monster than all the others.  Nothing more than 
     "Perhaps you're right".  Calcite sounded agreeable.  "Well if I am a 
monster I should act monstrously."  He looked to the knife he still carried.
Far too crude.  With a thought it dissolved.  He considered using psychoplasm
but decided not to bother.  There was no shortage of tools available, why not
use them?  How to start?  Ah that would do.  He picked up an ivory hilt.  From
it protruded a blade long as a pen but thin as a sewing needle.  Light winked
on the point.
     "I am Overlord of the Youma, unchallenged ruler of the world and master
of the human race."  He advanced towards the spreadeagled senshi.  The needle
gleaming as the light caught it.  Behind her defiance he saw the hidden 
     "And yet it's the simple pleasures that remain the most satisfying."


Tokyo, Japan, Earth - Immediately after Sailor Hermes concluded her story.

     Calcite paused a moment before speaking.  "Let's summarise this.  You 
claim that on your world not only am I a sadist and mass murderer but I have
stolen the power of Metallia, seized control of the Dark Kingdom, conquered 
the world, wiped out most of the human race and become the next best thing to 
a god.  You have no way back and want us to open a gateway between this world
and yours.  Somehow this strikes you as a rational idea."
     Sailor Hermes just glared at him so it was Sailor Zeus who answered.
"Well, basically yes.  We have to go back!"
     "Why?"  The absurdity of the question was beyond belief.  "Because ..."
Makoto suddenly felt her train of thought derail.  "Because ..."  The 
answer to the question suddenly seemed a lot more elusive.  They had to go 
back because ... well who else was left to fight the youma.  "Yeah right, like
you and Ami can stop them", part of her mind jeered.  "Only thing you can 
accomplish is dying messily."  Out loud she said, "Because ..." again but 
then her mouth seized up and an inner voice asked why she was so eager to
throw away the second chance this world offered.  She'd been so fixated on
following Ami that the possibility hadn't really occurred to her.  But now 
it had it was becoming hard to think of anything else.  Was Ami thinking the
same thing?  She must look like an idiot continually saying "because" then 
sitting there with her mouth hanging open.
     "Because it's the right thing to do."
     All eyes turned to where Sailor Moon was sitting, surrounded by a lot of 
empty plates.  "We're the Sailor Senshi.  Fighting evil's our job.  On behalf  
of the moon we have to go to there world and fix everything."
     Sailor Hermes managed not to laugh at this naivete.  Fix everything?  
Even if all the youma were destroyed tomorrow it would be decades, perhaps 
centuries, before the damage they'd done was repaired.  If it could be.  Could 
the biosphere be returned to its pre-conquest state?  More and more Kingdom
species were filling the empty niches in the ecology.  "It is the necessary
thing to do.  Right and wrong are somewhat nebulous concepts for me these 
days."  Unbidden she added, "I don't fight for right or justice anymore.  I'm  
not sure I believe in either anymore.  I fight to kill youma and restore the 
human race to dominance of our own world."  Sailor Moon looked both confused
and a bit shocked by this declaration.  Sailor Hermes cursed herself and 
vowed to hold the cynicism down before their counterparts.  More courteously
she said.  "The hope of gaining your assistance is why we came here.  With
your help we can beat them."
      Sailor Moon brightened up again.  "That's right.  So if Calcite-sama 
will give us one of those dimension travelling thingies Ti-chan mentioned 
we'll go fix things."  Zeus noted that the other Senshi didn't seem to share
her confidence.  Nor did she.  The others weren't thinking it would be that 
simple.  But she was sure they had no real idea of just how bad it would be.
This was seeming like an increasingly bad idea.  My god, they'd be lambs to
the slaughter!
     All eyes turned to Calcite.  Who calmly answered Usagi's request with a 
question of his own.  "Let me ask you this Sailor Moon; are you prepared to
risk the Dark Kingdom invading your world."
     "It's simple really.  We call the passages between worlds 'gateways' for
a reason.  They allow passage to another world but the reverse is also true."
     Usagi thought about this for a moment.  "I don't get it."
     A slightly pained look crossed Calcite's face.  Before he could simplify
Sailor Mercury said, "A gateway is two ways.  If we can use it to get to 
the Overlord's world he can use it to get to ours."  There was a collective
exclamation of surprise from the other Senshi.
     "That's right.  If you go there and lose you endanger this world.  And
before you say you won't lose remember that according to their story the
youma of that world have a lot of power and experience in fighting Senshi.  
They also know Sailor Moon and all the Senshi except those two are dead or 
prisoners.  So they'll wonder where these lookalikes came from.  They'll
start looking.  And if they find the dimensional key you used to cross over
or the warpgate then everyone in this world is in a lot of trouble."
     Sailor Moon wasn't looking as confident as she had a few moments earlier.
Hermes took the initiative.  "What did you mean by, 'according to their 
story', youma?"
     Calcite turned to face her.  "It means we have only your word that any
of this happened."  Titanite was about to interject when Azurite placed a 
warning hand on her shoulder and Margrave shook her head.  Titanite stopped
before she said anything and sank back into the couch.  "I have difficulty
imagining any version of myself being that evil ..."
     Sailor Venus snorted.  "I don't!"
     Calcite ignored the interruption.  "... But in an infinite multiverse 
anything is possible.  By that logic somewhere there's a world where the 
Senshi are the bad guys.  Still even if this world exists as you've described 
it it's no responsibilty of either ours ..."  He indicated the DKR, " ... or 
theirs!"  He nodded towards the Senshi.
     Sailor Moon frowned.  "But fighting evil's our job."
     "Really.  There's no shortage of evil outside Tokyo.  Why aren't you out
fighting that?"
     "Uh ... well that's the wrong kind of evil.  See we just take care of the
supernatural stuff.  The police take care of the regular kinda evil."
     "Then your responsibility is protecting this world.  If you get yourself
killed by this Overlord who's going to protect the people here?"
     Sailor Moon looked very uncertain and the other Senshi looked equally 
confused.  Sailor Zeus exploded.  Maybe she wasn't sure this was right but 
she wasn't going to let Calcite wreck everything. 
     Calcite's calm didn't waver.  "I do not accept that.  I am responsible
for my own actions alone.  I have no responsibility for the crimes of Overlord
Calcite with whom I share nothing more than a name and a face.  Any more than
Sailor Jupiter is responsible for anything you may have done."  Jupiter nodded
involuntarily.  That was a good argument.  
     Zeus took hold of her temper.  Don't alienate the other Senshi!  In a 
quieter voice she asked him, "Why are you trying to ruin this for us?"
     "My friends and I went to a lot of trouble to get out of the Dark Kingdom
forever.  We don't want it back."  He paused a moment then dropped his 
bombshell.  "In any event this is all academic.  We can't open a gateway
anymore.  I destroyed the warpkey."
     Both Zeus and Hermes looked stunned.  So it was up to Titanite to shout,
     "I destroyed the warpkey.  As Margrave can verify."  Titanite stared at
Margrave to see the catwoman looking a bit ill at ease.  After a moment's
hesitation she nodded.
     "But ... but I wasn't through with it."
     "That's one reason I destroyed it.  After your little escapade a few
months back (the Senshi all looked at Titanite who blushed) I considered the
value of keeping it.  Migrating to another dimension no longer seemed a good 
idea.  If we left this world we'd adapt to another and become god knows what.
Add to that the dangers that exploration would bring us into contact with
something dangerous that could follow us back and the risk was too great.  So 
a few weeks ago I removed the key from the safe, dismantled it then shredded 
the components.  I caught Margrave spying on me during this but she didn't see
enough to be able to rebuild it."  Margrave looked a bit sheepish.  She'd been 
sure Calcite hadn't seen her until he teleported behind her and tapped her on 
the shoulder.  Embarrassing.  She was getting careless with all this soft 
     Calcite finished.  "So we no longer have the means to travel dimensions.
And we will not build another."
     Hermes snarled, "I can make you build another."
     Calcite's gaze turned as cold as hers.  "I will say this once.  I have
no quarrel with you nor reason to wish you ill.  But threaten me or those I
care about and that will change."
     The glaring contest was interrupted by Sailor Moon.  "Hey come on Ami ...
Ami-Hermes, not Ami-Mercury ... we're the goodguys.  We don't do that sort of
thing."  Hermes held the glare for a few moments more as she thought.  Not
good.  Unbelievable as it seemed threatening the youma might turn the Senshi
against them!  Her counterpart had a shocked expression, unable to believe
what she'd heard.  Damn!  What now?
     "Very well."  Hermes tried to organize her thoughts.  "Makoto, we're 
leaving.  We need to make plans ..."  She nodded towards the youma, "... and
I don't care for the company in here."
     Calcite decided to try defusing the situation.  The collars dissolved
before anyone could ask.  Sure he had their attention he asked, "Have you 
considered trying to settle into this world?  I'm sure there's space for 
another two Senshi."
     Jupiter brightened up.  "Yeah, that's right.  If you can't get back home
then you can join the team."  Something else occurred to her.  "You don't 
actually have anywhere to go do you?"
     Her counterpart shrugged.  "Not in this world.  Or our own come to that."
     "Yeah well ... See I have my own place ..."
     "I know."
     Jupiter flushed a little.  "Right.  Of course you'd know that.  Well 
there's plenty of room for you two until you've figured things out."
     "I ... we appreciate the offer ..."  Zeus glanced over at Hermes.  "But
we need to talk over a few things privately.  So if we could drop by later?"
     "Sure.  Anytime's fine.  I guess this a lot to take in all at once."
     Her counterpart gave a weak grin.  "That is an understatement."
     "I imagine you don't have any funds?"  Both Makotos turned to Calcite
in surprise.  
     "Uh no.  Nobody uses money anymore ..."
     "I thought not."  No sense sending them off any more embittered than they
have to be.  "I can provide you with money temporarily ..."
     "The emergency funds right?  I'll get them."  Calcite turned to his 
sister in surprise.
     "You know where they are?"
     "Margrave told me."
     He sighed.  "Of course she did."  Quietly he added.  "Just one roll for
now and don't touch the box keys."  Titanite nodded and vanished.  As she did
Calcite opened the hallway closet.  "You mentioned not being able to change
back?"  Zeus nodded.  "Well as those outfits are a little conspicuous for
wandering around in ..."  He turned back holding two trenchcoats.  "These 
should help a bit."  Zeus took one with a bemused expression.  Hermes studied
him for a moment then silently took the other and pulled it on.  It almost
scraped the ground but that would be less noticeable than a miniskirt in the
dead of winter.
     Ami obviously wasn't going to say it so Makoto said, "Umm, thanks ...
from both of us."  If anyone had ever told her she'd be grateful to Calcite
for anything ... She shook her head in disbelief.  Titanite reappeared and
handed her a roll of yen.
     "Here you go.  That'll hold you for a while.  And I'm sure we can work
something out for you guys."  Her eyes flicked downward momentarily and Makoto
saw a piece of notepaper tucked in with the banknotes.  She casually stuffed 
the wad in one of the coat's deep side pockets.  "Thank you."  She pulled the
coat on and noted the bottom just cleared the top of her boots.
     Hermes nodded towards the door.  "Let's go."
     "Yeah. Uh well, bye for now.  We'll see you sometime."  Makoto looked 
from the Senshi to the youma.  "Um well thanks for the hospitality, the
clothes and the money despite us trying to kill you ..."  Hermes flung the 
door open and looked at her.  "Uh well ... bye."  With that she followed 
Hermes out into the night closing the door behind her.
     Everything was quiet for a moment.  Until Rei asked, "So now what?"
     The ever practical Mercury shrugged.  "I suggest we go home.  It's 
getting late and there is little we can do about the situation.  Makoto, if
you could call us when your house guests arrive?"
     "Uh yeah sure.  Man, living with myself.  That's going to be weird."
     Usagi surveyed the ravaged buffet but couldn't see anything left worth
scavenging.  "Well we should be going.  Ti-chan, thank you for the food."
Her friends echoed her.  Then something occurred to Usagi.  "But how do we 
get out of here?"
     Pyrite volunteered, "We can ferry you back to that park."
     "No way!  Forget it!"  Usagi didn't know what had happened to her earlier
but she didn't want it repeated.  "I don't want my brains scrambled again."
     "Why not?  It could be an improvement."
     "What!  Take that back Rei!"
     "Just telling it like it is."
     "Grrr!"  There followed the inevitable razzing contest during which
Ami used her computer to examine bus routes.  "To avoid attracting 
attention it might be best to change back and head to the bus stop over here."
She tapped the map displaying on her terminal.  Nearby Azurite got a little
concerned over the attention Pyrite was paying her.  Then she realized her
computer was the object of his desire.  He muttered, "If I could just examine
it for even five minutes ... Ow!"  Something rapped him on the head.
     He turned to see Azurite.  "I wouldn't mind your drooling over the 
occasional other woman.  But playing second fiddle to a computer is a bit
much."  He considered an explanation but decided a kiss would work better.
As they embraced Margrave made a retching noise.
     Usagi looked at the catwoman.  "Is she all right?"
     Calcite nodded.  "Just a hairball caught in her throat."  Margrave 
started to glare but remembered she was supposed to be cute.  So she meowed.
Then gritted her teeth and purred when Usagi came over and scratched her 
behind the ears.
     "Usagi, toss me the disguise pen."  She obeyed automatically then asked  
Minako.  "Why do you want that."
     "Let's just say all of us untransforming in a nest of youma might be a
mistake.  So I'm staying Sailor Venus but I don't want to look like me on the
bus as that means I'll be signing autographs the whole trip.  Therefore ... 
Disguise pen, change me into Minako Aino."  With that she suddenly wearing
the same outfit she'd been wearing before changing.
     Usagi scratched her head.  "Seems paranoid to me."  With that she shifted
back to normal.  Titanite tapped her bracelet and her Sailor Polaris costume 
morphed back to her own clothes.  "Nice meeting you again Ti-chan."
     "Likewise.  Maybe we can do this again someday."  She caught her 
brother's expression.  "But not till we've got things sorted out with the new 
     The other Senshi untransformed with the exception of the apparently 
normal Minako.  She gave Calcite a hopefully threatening look and stalked
out.  Almost immediately blowing her exit by stepping on a patch of ice.  She
picked herself up and glared at Calcite, daring him to laugh.  He didn't, 
merely asked, "Are you all right?", which was even more aggravating.  She
was still glowering as the others said their goodbyes and joined her.  The
five girls headed off following Ami's directions.  Calcite watched them go
then shook his head.  What a day.
     As soon as she was sure they were out of earshot Margrave stretched,
headed for the liquor cabinet and poured herself a large drink.  "Darkness, 
all that being cute is really hard on the nerves."  She looked around at the 
room.  The food was gone and the atmosphere was definitely strained.  "I guess 
the party is over."
     Calcite nodded.  "I would say so."  With that he fell silent again.
     Azurite tried to lighten the mood.  "Well, we still only have their word
that it happened right?"  The others nodded.  "And even if it did well that's
just ... everything has to happen somewhere right?  Just like you said."
     Pyrite added, "Well I don't know that there's an infinite number of
universes ... but that scar of the Overlord's makes me think that things must 
be very different."
     Calcite tried to lighten the mood.  "That's right.  Especially if you're
one of the bad guys.  No offense cousin, but you're hardly dark lord 
material."  They all laughed at that.
     "Lord Pyrite!"  Azurite had to chuckle at the image.  She could maybe 
imagine a version of herself or Calcite who'd begun to enjoy the things the 
Dark Kingdom made necessary.  But Pyrite?  "And don't forget Princess 
Titanite."  Everyone laughed at that and Titanite smirked.  Princess Titanite
indeed.  That part couldn't be right.  Could it?
     "Umm ... these guys couldn't just have the same names and faces but 
otherwise be totally different?"  The laughter stopped.  After a moment 
Calcite said, "Frankly Ti, that's the only explanation that makes any sense."
     "Oh."  She looked at Pyrite.  "So if we went there we'd become them?"
     "Perhaps.  It depends on if it's a parallel or an alternate world."
Pyrite suddenly wondered if he'd said too much.
     "What's the difference?"
     "Well ..."  Should he answer?  "It's a matter of terminology.  Parallel
worlds have their own laws and rules which may be radically different to ours.
Enter one of these and you become assimilated into their world.  You've seen 
that happen."  Ti nodded.  "Okay, alternate worlds ... these are theoretical
to date.  They're are worlds identical to this one except a decision somewhere
has been made differently from ours.  Maybe a major decision, maybe a minor.
But it's different.  In short it's a world ours could have been if things
just went a little different."
     "So ... if they came from a parallel world it couldn't have happened
like that here but if it's an alternate world it could have."
     Yes, he'd definitely said too much.  "That's right.  But I'm sure they're
from a parallel world."
     "Yeah I guess so."  Titanite looked thoughtful for a moment then looked 
at the dishes and cutlery scattered around the room.  "What a mess.  Margrave,
could you give me a hand?"
     "Couldn't you ask Azurite?"  Ti shook her head.
     "She's a guest now."  Margrave gave a longsuffering sigh (which roused
absolutely no sympathy from Azurite) and began to pick things up while 
grumbling.  Calcite, Azurite and Pyrite continued trying to laugh off the
story the two senshi had told.  But the laughter had a definite hollow sound.
     Titanite and Margrave headed for the kitchen.  Calcite heard Ti saying,
"I'll wash, you dry" and Margrave's muttered but far from enthusiastic
agreement.  He was feeling down.  They'd looked so damned sincere ... just    
a lookalike youma with the same name.  There's no other connection between
me and this Overlord.  There can't be!
     Azurite guessed his thoughts.  "Just a coincidence.  And like you said 
it's nothing to do with us."
     "Right.  Not our world, not our responsibility."  To Pyrite they both 
looked like they were trying to convince themselves.  They needed a good
distraction.  Fortunately he could provide that.  A quick rummage through the
wintercoat he'd arrived in produced the crystal he was looking for.  He 
rejoined the others and activated it.
     Azurite looked puzzled and Calcite asked, "A force shield?"
     He nodded.  "A pretty weak one at that.  But it'll keep sound from 
carrying so we don't have to worry about Margrave or Ti overhearing."
     "What's wrong?"
     "It's not exactly a matter of anything being wrong."  Now how to explain
this.  "You know I've being taking tissue samples from us all trying to figure 
out a way we can survive outside of Tokyo."  Both nodded though he'd been
working on that for two years now.  "Well I've been studying the samples
cell structure trying to find an answer when I noticed something 
extraordinary."  He wasn't sure how to continue.
     Calcite noticed his hesitancy.  "After all that build up and your
precautions you've really got my attention.  So let's hear it.  We aren't 
getting any younger."
     Pyrite almost laughed, Cal had no idea how ironic that was.  "You're
right we aren't getting any younger.  But we aren't getting any older either."
     Both of them tried to work it out and failed.  "What?"
     "That's an exaggeration but ... well simply put as a result of our 
regeneration factor our cells are constantly renewing themselves and our aging
has slowed to a crawl.  We're in a sort of biological equilibrium.  It's not
a true equilibrium as we are aging but the rate that's happening is almost
too small to measure."
     Azurite just stared at him. Calcite, his mind whirling, asked, "Are you
trying to tell me we could have a lifespan measured in centuries."
     "No ..."  Calcite didn't know if he should feel relieved or cheated.  
Then Pyrite dropped his bombshell  "... I'm saying we could have a lifespan
measured in millennia."
     They both stared at him.  He could understand how they felt.  When the
implications had first presented themselves he'd been sure he must have made a
mistake.  He redone the tests twenty times, using new samples each time until
he'd accepted the truth.  After that he'd wondered about when to tell the
others.  But one thing he known was that he had plenty of time.
     Calcite tried to order his thoughts.  "But we aged normally for years!"
     "I know.  Far as I can tell we hit the equilibrium point in our early
twenties.  21, 22 somewhere in there."
     Azurite shook her head.  "This is too much ... as a model I spend a lot
of time looking in mirrors.  I haven't noticed any changes since I started
almost two years ago but I just thought I was aging well."
     "You are."
     "You know what I mean."
     "Yes.  Well you don't have to worry about wrinkles for a very long time
... ouch!"  Pyrite winced when she poked him.  Azure didn't like being accused 
of vanity.
     Calcite tried to think through the implications. "Ti?"
     "Aging normally.  She's a good five of six years away from equilibrium
point.  But I have no doubts she'll achieve it.  It seems to be natural
for Renegades."  
     "Margrave?"  Pyrite had been dreading that question.
     "It's ... it's a consequence of being a renegade.  We all have the
healing factor.  Margrave isn't ... so ..."
     "How long?"
     "I'd guess a normal youma lifespan so ... another forty years maximum."
     "I see.  Best to keep this from her for now.  She's already got a large
temptation to face.  This could push her to head back to the kingdom."  
Azurite nodded, the same thought had occurred to her.  She was glad to see
Calcite was staying sharp despite everything.   
     Calcite fell silent.  Azurite was also quiet as she tried to deal with 
this.  A lifespan longer than recorded human history!  The full implications
were beyond her.  Just grasping the edges was difficult enough.  She was going 
to outlive Margrave by centuries.  Shouldn't that make her happier?
     Pyrite tried to fill the silence.  "That's why I put the shield up.  I
don't know how either of them would react when they found out.  But it's a
good bet Margrave won't be happy.  Still it'll be years before it's obvious
so I'd suggest we keep this to ourselves."  
     The others nodded and Pyrite deactivated the shield.  It had worked as
he intended and Margrave hadn't heard a thing.  What hadn't occurred to him
was that they wouldn't overhear anything Margrave and Ti said.
     Holding a dishtowel and drying a plate without enthusiasm Margrave 
looked at Titanite.  The younger girl was up to her elbows in soapy water and
scrubbing away at a fondue pot.  But her thoughts were obviously elsewhere.
     "So what do you want to talk to me about Ti?"  Titanite looked up in
alarm.  Margrave jerked a thumb towards the kitchen door.  "It's closed.  
And we still have all the soundproofing from when Azurite was living here."
Calcite and Pyrite had both agreed that the soundproofing made life more
     Somewhat hesitantly Ti said, "I need a favour."
     "Tonight I need you to make sure Cal's ... uh, occupied.  Just that he
doesn't try to check up on me ..."  She stopped as Margrave laughed
     "Little one that doesn't need a favour.  There is no way Calcite is 
going to leave me alone tonight."
     That didn't sound like a boast.  "What exactly do you mean?"
     Margrave grinned.  "Your brother has a nasty, suspicious mind.  It's one
of his more endearing qualities and the reason he did so well in the Dark
Kingdom.  Having heard the senshi's story it'll have occurred to him I'll be
seeking a way to take advantage of it.  We both know that while he doesn't 
have a warpkey anymore Pyrite wouldn't junk his own.  So he's wondering if I'm
going to try and steal it then cross over to the dark world.  Once there I'd
trade the warpkey to Overlord Calcite for a position of power.  It's a         
perfectly natural plan for a youma.  And in the unlikely event he hasn't
thought of it Azurite will be sure to remind him what I'm like."  Margrave
chuckled again.  "So it doesn't need a favour.  Calcite will not let me out
of his sight tonight even if he has to chain me to the bed."  She looked 
thoughtful for a moment then smiled, "Now that I think of it ..."
     Titanite didn't really want to hear the rest.  "You wouldn't be telling
me this if that's what you were going to do.  So why not if it's what a normal
youma would do?"
     Margrave sighed.  "Because it sounds like this other Calcite uses Dark
Kingdom rules.  Which means his word is worthless.  Rulers don't have to keep
their word to lowly youma like me and anyone I used as an intermediary would
kill me for the warpkey.  So the smart thing to do is stay here."
     Titanite nodded.  "That makes sense by youma logic."  She paused a moment
to scrub away a persistent stain.  "On the other hand maybe you just don't
want to betray us in the first place but you need a good youma reason to 
justify that."  Margrave glared at her.
     "Have I mentioned just how irritating you can be?"
     "Not lately.  But I'll keep quiet if you get serious about drying."
     Margrave sighed.  This was far too domestic for her.  But she was stuck
with it.  "Deal!"  As she got to work she saw how it would go.  Ti would try
and obtain Pyrite's key.  Possibly he'd made it accessible for Ti in case
of emergency.  Say all the adult Renegades dead and the world coming to an
end.  She wouldn't enjoy the same privileges.  In fact Azurite had 
specifically mentioned their hidden security system was set to recognise her 
and deny her access.  Very wise of Azurite.
     Once she had the key Ti would open a gateway for the alternate senshi.
They could go home and Ti could close the gateway behind them.  Sailor
Mercury would be smart enough to know Calcite was right about the dangers of
going through into the other world with a key giving access to this one.  So
no more youma hunting senshi, our senshi owe Ti so she's happy and they're
less likely to come after us.  Everybody wins.  Except Hermes and Zeus who
go home and get slaughtered.  Well that was their choice.  Why stop them?
One worrying thing.  Would Ti try to go with them?
     She shook her head at the thought.  Not a chance.  Ti had experienced
dimensional assimilation for herself.  She wouldn't take the chance of 
becoming a true youma like Princess Titanite.  Ti definitely didn't want that.
     Beside her Ti was remembering her brief visit to the Dark World.  She
hadn't changed and now she knew why.  It was an alternate world not a parallel
one.  So if she went there she wouldn't change.  If she lead the Senshi there
they'd be sure to let her join.
     But there was a bigger reason.  If it was an alternate world then 
something had happened to the renegades of that world.  Probably Metallia had 
possessed them all.  That was why they were doing terrible things.  They were
victims of the demon queen.  But Sailor Moon could fix all that.  She could
cleanse them the way she'd fixed the rainbow crystal carriers.  Once she'd
done that they'd all be normal again.  Ti thought how she'd feel if something
turned her into a monster and shivered.  She'd give anything to be free from
that and that other Titanite was just like her.  She had to help her and
all the other members of the Dark Circle become whole again.  Well everyone
except Magnesite anyway.  Big brother would be mad but afterwards he'd  
understand what she'd done.  She'd be a heroine and they'd all be proud of
     With that in mind Ti turned her attention back to the washing up.  She
began to hum the Rayearth theme as she worked.  This was going to make up for
all the screwups she'd caused by dimension travelling.  Everything would work
out.  She felt incredibly confident.

End of part 3

Next - You're a Sailor senshi.  Your world has fallen to the youma.  It's 
       your job to put it right or die trying.
       Except - You're only fifteen years old, you've already lost everything,
       there's no way you can win and you never asked to become a senshi in
       the first place!  So why go back?

Part 4 : "... And It Is Your Duty!"

Plus Sailor Polaris vs Sailor Chibi-Moon.  To the death!
     (Okay I made the last bit up.  But they will meet)

On to part 4
Back to part 2

TEXT to HTML conversion by Douglas Helm.