Sailor Moon Expanded

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


     The barren iceplains of the North Pole actually made the Dark Kingdom 
look desirable in comparision.  Not that the youma nobility stayed to admire
the view.  Soon as they materialized at D point they stepped into the warp
gate and materialized within the great chamber.  A few stopped to glance at
the three nearby ice pillars but most hurried through.  There was still an 
hour before the celebration was to commence when the last of them arrived.  
None of them wished to be seen as tardy.  The Circle might take that as a 
sign of disrespect and no one in his, her or its right mind wanted that.
     The chamber had never sported as many amenities during the long reign of
the Overlord's predecessor.  Back then you'd just stand there for hours and 
watch her punish or reward her courtiers.  More the former than the latter. 
That or listen to her interminable ranting about how better times were coming
and the world would be hers.  Or hear her drone on for hours about the glories
they'd see when Metallia resurrected.  Many generations of youma had wasted
years of their lives standing firm and looking attentive through this sort of 
thing.  Desperately trying not to appear bored as though their lives depended
on it.  Which they did.  
     Centuries of repetition hadn't made Beryl an enthralling speaker.  You 
got the feeling she wasn't even listening to herself anymore.  Well that was 
all over with.  The end had been abrupt but long overdue.  While they all 
wished they'd been the ones to take command none of those remaining were 
suicidal enough challenge the Overlord.  The most foolish and reckless had 
been weeded out very quickly.
     At any rate now the chamber held dozens of tables crammed with a variety 
of Kingdom and Earth delicacies.  Human servants moved through the throng as
unobtrusively as possible, bringing drinks and obeying their masters' orders  
as silently as they could.  None of them wished to remind the youma of their
presence any more than necessary.  You never knew what might set them off or
what they'd take offense at.  The youma had been asked not to break the 
servants but that was more of a request than a law.  At worst the offender 
would have to find a human of comparable appearance from among his slaves as 
a replacement.  The Overlord had some funny ideas about asthetics though none 
of the nobles ever commented on it out loud.  All the servants here and at the 
Citadel were either beautiful or handsome (depending on gender) by human 
standards.  This seemed a little odd but if that was what the Overlord wanted 
who was foolish enough to comment on it?
     The central dais was empty except for a small table on which a servant 
was placing five glasses.  The throne was long gone, one of the Overlord's
first actions had been to vaporize it immediately after proclaiming it a 
monument to his predecessor's execrable taste.  Half an hour to go, now only  
the arrival of the Dark Circle remained.
     There was a distortion in the air and the first member of the Circle 
appeared.  Lord Magnesite haughtily gazed on those below and self consciously
adjusted the seam on his jacket.  His attire resembled Nephrite's uniform
minus the fancy epaulettes and with a diagonal red slash running from shoulder
to waist.  The same pseudo general outfit he'd worn before his elevation to
real power.  He liked to boast he ruled two continents but as one was 
Antarctica and Australia had been devasted by the climactic shift it sounded
far better than the reality.  It was well known that he was the lowest ranking
of the circle and many waited for his inevitable fall from grace.  It might
not be the most desirable territory but the status of being one of the rulers
of the planet more than made up for it.
     Magnesite was the only male member of the Circle to affect the General's 
habit of wearing ear studs.  Still he was far older than the others and had 
lived his life in the Generals' shadows.  He'd dreamed of becoming one of 
them, a sentiment not shared by the younger four.  What they'd done to Jadeite 
made their feelings on the old regime abundantly clear.
     Ten minutes passed before the air rippled again and Lord Pyrite and Lady
Azurite materialized.  The governors of North and South America were often 
seen together leading some to say that it was Zoisite and Kunzite all over 
again.  But not very loudly as they were known to dislike the comparison.  
With Azurite responsible for security it was a bad idea to anger her.  Not to
mention what she could do to you with her own power.  Pyrite wasn't as 
dangerous on an individual level but his many lethal inventions combined with 
his absolute control of the cybs made it an equally bad idea to annoy him.  
No one wants to get labelled experimental material, there were many more 
pleasant ways to die.  Both held the Overlord's favor in a way Magnesite 
never had and never would.
     Azurite was wearing a blue evening dress of human design, the same shade
as her hair.  She wore minimal jewelry apart from a platinum braclet inset
with amythest and a pair of ruby earrings which matched her eyes.  Pyrite had
foregone the black crystal armour he normally wore to offset his lack of
physical power.  In its place he wore a dark blue Armani suit.  As humanics
the pair had no trouble in utilizing human clothing and tailors.  Other youma
had been forced to train their servants to make allowances for tails, wings 
and other physical differences.  After the takeover the lower ranking youma
who'd done the menial work had abandoned it.  In the new order humans were the
servants, not them.  Such work was beneath them.  
     The pair nodded at Magnesite and he returned the gesture immediately.  
Some were more equal than others, even in the ruling circle.  Especially in
the ruling circle.  But that was the way it had always been in the Dark
Kingdom.  There'd never been any pretense that things were otherwise.  Pyrite 
handed the squat green bottle he was carrying to Azurite.  She snapped the 
seal and filled the five glasses before them.  The liquor was of Kingdom 
origin, a potent dark green liquor named "Bloodwine".  It had originally been 
named in honour of Nephrite.  Back when that had been a name to envy and fear, 
long before his idiotic and inglorious end.  Magnesite reached for a glass but 
stopped short at Azurite's glare.
    Pyrite sniffed the delicate aroma with appreciation.  A fine vintage, 
bottled for the former ruler and intended for her alone.  Beryl had maintained 
an excellent and very well guarded cellar.  A little too well guarded given 
the attrition rate among her wine stewards.  Get distracted at the wrong 
moment, step on the wrong flagstone and it was impalement, decapitation or 
falling into a pit full of something horrible.
     Seven minutes left.  The air behind Azurite and Pyrite took on a green 
hue and began to pulse.  They stepped aside as red threads of light interlaced
the green and created a complex web.  The web began to spin, slow at first
then accelerating into a pinwheel of light.  Suddenly the pinwheel exploded
into a flare of red then was gone leaving a figure in black in its place.
Princess Titanite enjoyed making an entrance.
     The black minidress would have looked better on her with a few more years 
development but none of her dressers were suicidal enough to question her 
choice.  As she often did she'd overdone the ornamentation.  She looked like  
she'd been caught in an explosion in a jewelry store.  A very exclusive store 
considering who'd owned them in the past.  She didn't care that she was 
wearing several fortunes, they were pretty and they'd belonged to important
humans in the old days.  Signs of conquest, nothing more.  She could dump all
of them in the garbage without a second thought.  All but one, the stone set
into her choker.  It might not be the ultimate weapon of legend but it was
still a useful tool.  A pity it hadn't lived up to its reputation, though if
it had the Overlord would have kept it for himself.  He was nobody's fool but 
his own.
     She raised a hand in greeting.  Pyrite returned the gesture while Azurite 
gave her an indulgent smile.  Titanite grinned back, no doubt she'd be given
a few more fashion hints before the party was over.  Not that she minded 
taking advice from her honourary older sister.  Magnesite gave her a 
respectful bow and regarded her with frank desire.  A liason with her would go 
a long way to securing his position.  Titanite was about to rebuke him when
something occurred to her.  She favoured him with a speculative look and hide
her amusement.  Behind him Azurite raised an eyebrow in query and resolved to
find out what Titanite was up to.  For now she gave a terse whisper to Lord 
Magnesite to get over to the other side of the dias.
     One minute to go.  They took their positions.  Pyrite and Azurite to the
left of the table, Titanite and Magnesite to the right.  The central area was
empty for a few moments.  Then without sign or fanfare he was there.
     Overlord Calcite surveyed the room which had suddenly fallen silent.  
The black aura which surrounded him seemed to deepen in pitch as he dropped 
the shields that kept Metallia's power contained.  Even those with the most
rudimentary psychic abilities felt the force he contained.  Dozens of idle 
thoughts of seizing power were washed away as they were all reminded that he 
was more god than man.  Most knelt without realizing they were doing it.  The 
more religious, who held him to be tha avatar of the Abyss prostrated 
themselves.  The humans present cowered in terror, one dying of shock while
others lost control of their bladders.  The Dark Circle, more used to the 
effect, but by no means immune bowed low.  Then his shields returned and the
presence was gone.
     Calcite signalled for everyone to rise.  The Circle members were first 
to straighten up.  For a change even Titanite looked solemn but he didn't
expect that to last.  She winked quickly then resumed her respectful 
expression.  He suppressed a chuckle, count on his sister to never take him  
too seriously.  Magnesite had caught her reflection in one of the glasses.  He
silently considered that if he'd done that he'd be facing divine displeasure
right now.
     The crowd straightened up and faced the Overlord in silence.  Among them 
the humans who'd embarrassed themselves slipped off unobtrusively to their
quarters to clean up, change and return.  Being somewhat fastidious Calcite 
didn't comment on them leaving their stations.  A cleanup crew appeared to
quietly wipe away any mess and remove the corpse.  Calcite made a note to 
commend the major domo for maintaining top rate service in what was a hardship
post.  These days the Kingdom was nearly deserted, the Great Chamber had been
empty for months.  Everyone had emigrated to Earth.  Why stick around the 
empty Kingdom and risk the predatory wildlife when there was a place out there 
for the weakest youma?  No matter how lowly you were the humans were lower 
still.  On a whim he'd maintained the palace shields and turned it into a
tourist haven for any youma who wanted to see the folly of the old days.  As
this was where his reign had begun he'd chosen to hold the celebration here 
rather than in the Citadel.  They seemed to be regaining their senses, another
few moments and he'd give his speech.  This dazed worship was one reason he
kept his power locked down and simply used it as necessary.  The unspoken
reason was that removing the locks increased the odds he'd lose control of
     The crowd studied him with awe.  By youma standards he wasn't much to
look at, he could have passed for human.  A human with long green hair that
ended just before his shoulderblades and nails of a matching color but a human 
none the less.  The real differences were inside but unlike them and like the 
rest of the circle his nature wasn't visible.  This had caused a few problems
in the early days as many said they'd die rather than have a humanic as 
supreme leader.  While they'd had to serve the Generals at least Beryl had 
looked properly youmalike.  After the first few had got their wish the 
rest realized he was even more dangerous than the Generals and regarded 
insults to the Circle as insults to himself.  Insurrection had promptly
     He was handsome by human standards, marred only by the old scar that 
crossed his left cheek.  How he'd acquired it and why he'd never removed it 
was a mystery to everyone outside the circle.  It was whispered that Lord
Magnesite didn't know or he'd have told the tale by now as a sign of his 
insider knowledge.  The Overlord prepared to speak.  He'd had a speech written 
but had junked most of it.  Addressing this crowd as "my friends" would be 
idiotic.  There were precisely three youma he could count on and they were 
standing beside him.  Enough woolgathering, it was time.
     "My subjects, we stand here today on the first anniversary of our 
triumph.  We may not use the humans' calendar but as it is their custom to 
celebrate anniversaries and we have taken everything else from them I decided 
we might as well take that as well."  There was a scattering of chuckles which
grew louder as the denser realized that was humour and they weren't showing 
appreciation for the Overlord's wit.  He continued in a more somber tone.
     "One year ago the Dark Kingdom stood upon the verge of defeat.  Queen 
Beryl, our late and unlamented ruler, had foolishly squandered much of our
resources and many of our most powerful warriors in one debacle after another.  
The last of the generals had died by a combination of his own hand and utter
stupidity.  Opening the way for our greatest enemies to come forth and bring 
destruction upon us!"  A few of Beryl and the Generals more ardent remaining 
followers looked uncomfortable but didn't dare say anything.  The most 
fanatically committed to the old regime were long gone.  Adapt or die was the 
name of the game.
     "Fortunately there were those among you who were prepared for this
eventuality.  The Dark Circle gained the power we needed and ended both the 
threat of the Senshi and the ruler who'd nearly destroyed us all.  I bound our
god and with its energies took the Earth from the humans reclaiming our 
ancestral birthright!"  There were cheers mixed with a few uncertain 
expressions.  On the one hand binding Metallia was blasphemy, on the other
seizing ultimate power was the clearest expression of youma values.  He picked
up the central glass and the rest of the circle followed suit.
     "Because of this we rule today instead of being a fading memory of the 
Senshi.  So raise a glass in tribute to the Dark Circle.  We have brought you
victory and as long as you follow us your future is assured!"  Defy us and
you die remained unspoken.  After all everyone knew that.  He drained his 
glass and smiled.  An excellent vintage and this little reminder of his power
should have quashed any thoughts of rebellion.  Not that any of them could 
topple him but it was a nuisance and wiping out his own race was ultimately
counterproductive.  Even with the vast reduction in their numbers humanity
still outnumbered the youma.  It was annoying having to keep running these
dominace displays but it was the nature of their kind to continually look for
a weakness to exploit.  "And now relax and enjoy yourselves."  With that 
he turned back to the Circle and exchanged a few words.  They dispersed and  
began to move through the guests acknowledging the signs of respect and 
considering various propositions.
     Calcite passed a small group of youma vaguely nodding to their sudden
bows.  A very nervous servant stood beside them holding a tray of goblets 
filled with a red liquid.  He caught the salty aroma and shook his head.  How 
had drinking that becoming chic?  They were youma not vampires!  Such an
idiotic fad, it wasn't as if it was particularly nutritious or had magical
benefits.  Now human lifeforce was another matter, that had many uses.
     As was inevitable (not that he objected) there were no shortage of 
females looking to depart the party with him.  Just being considered by him
would boost their status in the eyes of their fellows.  If they could achieve
a liason who knew what that could lead to.  Perhaps even membership in the 
Circle once Magnesite was purged.  As a result he never lacked for company.
Of course he had a castle full of human women who wouldn't dare refuse if
the whim took him but fear and helpless rage weren't what he wanted.  At least
not as a rule though there were exceptions ...  He remembered what he'd done
that morning and smiled.  Funny to think how that would once have repelled 
him.  Well he'd had a lot of odd ideas when he was young.  Lucky he'd grown
out of them.  Having Metallia nesting in his mind didn't hurt.
     Around him the youma plotted against one another, exchanged veiled 
threats, and tried to build alliances.  Almost human really.  One group stood
apart from the others ignoring the contemptuous looks they received while
quietly memorizing faces for retribution.  The female who lead the group bowed
low as he passed.  She straightened up giving him a good look at her face.
While the left was normal enough for a youma (pointed ears, orange tinted skin
and fangs) the right was another story.  From forehead to chin it was a smooth
surface of white, broken only by the bend around her mouth and the red crystal
where her eye should be.  Her companion had artificial crystal talons, every
member of the group had a prosthetic of some variety.  He acknowledged their
bows with a salute.  After all these were the closest people to loyal troops
that he had.
     It had been one of his more inspired ideas.  Among the terminals that
Magnesite had maintained as sword fodder were a group of cripples.  Most had    
lost challenges and been mutilated, others bore serious injuries from the
varied hazards of the environment.  Both groups had one thing in common, 
they'd been dismissed as useless and left to die.  Lacking alternatives they'd
hooked up with Magnesite.  They'd probably get thrown away in a wave attack 
but it was the best offer they were going to get.
     Observation of Earth was difficult at that point but some of the images
he'd managed to see had given him the idea.  Humans restored the appearance
and some function to their damaged by the use of artificial limbs.  If the
magical equivalent was developed ...  He'd sprung the idea on Pyrite and 
they'd had no trouble getting volunteers for the chance to be whole again.  
After the inevitable experimental losses they'd achieved many successes.  
Those restored had gloried in their replacement parts and sought vengeance on
their tormentors.  After it had been demonstrated that Pyrite could shut down 
the prosthetics at will they had want they wanted.  A squad of fanatics who'd 
do anything they were asked in exchange for remaining whole.  None would risk 
returning to being objects of scorn and jest.
     So Pyrite had gained a group who'd do obey him without question.  As he
was loyal to Calcite that obediance extended to him.  The cybs (as they'd
become known) had been very useful in the past and remained an elite force.
Calcite waved a dismissal to Arimanus, the half faced youma.  She'd been 
ecstatic about regaining her sight and would have been sharing Pyrite's bed if 
Azurite hadn't got there first.  Being smart enough not to challenge her Ari'd 
set about making herself invaluable and had quickly become leader of cybs.  
Pyrite was nominating her as Magnesite's replacement when the inevitable 
     It was somewhat unfortunate the inevitable was taking so long.  He'd  
been a little hasty in giving his word to Magnesite.  Ah well, at the time
the carrot and the stick (literally "the zal fruit and the soul whip") had
seemed the best way to ensure his cooperation.  They'd taken over Magnesite's
organization behind the scenes but left him as the frontman.  In case things
miscarried Magnesite would take the heat while the Circle jumped ship.
     Calcite had promised his former boss that if he cooperated and didn't try 
to oppose them Magnesite had his word that he'd have a share of the power 
they'd win.  The flip side was he'd die unpleasantly if he defied them.  This 
had ensured Magnesite's cooperation and Calcite had kept his oath.  His word 
was his bond.  It was the ability to trust each other that bound the four 
together and had forged the original circle.  He'd expected Magnesite to try 
and stage his own coup shortly after the takeover.  But he'd underestimated 
just how thoroughly he'd cowed the man.  Unfortunate as they all disliked 
Magnesite and had looked forward to his removal.  But he'd given his word and 
he never broke that.  If he did how could the others continue to trust him?  
Deep inside his mind a voice whispered that he didn't need anyone.  He ignored 
it as he knew it wasn't his own.
     On a whim he started toward the viewing wall.  He'd turned the North wall
of the chamber into a giant screen.  A screen fixed on a realtime view of a 
single point outside.  Three tapering pillars of ice towered over the frozen
plane.  Snow silently blew between the towers, there was no audio as there
was nothing to hear but the howl of the wind and the crash of ice.  The 
central pillar was taller and thicker than the two flanking it.  Near the 
summit of each a shape was frozen within.  The pillars were cleaned and 
scraped regularly to keep those shapes visible.
     Azurite and Pyrite stood before the wall looking back toward the party.
They stopped talking at his approach and waved him over.  Forgetting formality
they bantered as they had in the old days.  Seeing them engrossed in 
conversation the guests decided to steer clear.  Out of earshot but close 
enough to be signalled a servant stood at attention with the bloodwine 
balanced on a silver tray.  She'd been a star once.  Now?  Just another slave
like the rest of her race.  
      Titanite and Magnesite came over to join the trio and Calcite surpressed 
a frown.  Magnesite seemed to be surprisingly close to his sister and she 
didn't seem to be discouraging him.  What was she up to?
     Magnesite was the first to speak.  "The circle is rejoined.  Let the
powers of darkness note that in the name of Abyss though we may be separated
we are never sundered."
     Calcite sighed.  "This is not a formal gathering not a social one so we 
have no need for ritual."
     "If you say so My Lord."
     "I do.  Well since we are together any business for the whole circle?"
     Magnesite indicated the screen.  "I was wondering when Sailor Hades would
be joining the exhibit?"
     "Good question.  Pyrite, are you done with the body yet?"
     Pyrite looked thoughful.  "Yeeees ..."
     "But there's not a lot left to exhibit.  I've learned everything I could 
about Senshi physiology vs human however the remains are somewhat scattered.
I still have all the pieces but they aren't exactly together."
     "Could you reassemble them?"
     "I dismantled her down to the cellular level."
     "Ah."  Magnesite watched Pyrite with a hidden glee.  Surely the Overlord
would reprimand him for this.  "Did you preserve the face?"
     "Yes, as you ordered.  The costume's also been dismantled but I had a
copy made."
     "Fine.  Acquire a human corpse of similar build, graft on the face and
dye the hair the right shade, dress it in the costume then replicate the
injuries.  We'll install it in the fifth pillar.  Who'll know it isn't the
original corpse?"
     Pyrite glanced to the screen.  "Fifth?"
     "Poseidon broke this morning so I gave her the release she'd begged for.
She'll be number four."
     Azurite chimed in.  "Speaking of the Senshi there's a new development.  I
think it's time to upgrade the hunt team."
     Titanite nodded.  "Yeah.  It's past time we got rid of those clowns.  
Maybe they were useful once but all they do now is damage our property and
cost us subordinates.  Besides they keep mucking round in my domain more than
anyone else's."
      "They have special ties to Asia, or rather to one part of it."
      "I know that.  It's a real pain in the butt."
      Azurite broke in, "We appreciate your stoicism Princess."  That got a 
chuckle from her.  "Getting back to them during their recent raid on Chilean 
Enclave Beta besides killing seven youma they also got 15 guards and the vice
     "Nothing new there.  They've wiped out quite a few humans during the past
     "But those were all humans recruited to the guards.  At least their other
victims were shooting at them.  They had to go out of their way to get the
     Calcite raised an eyebrow.  "They?"
     Azurite shrugged and conceded the point.  "Okay from the damage it was 
obviously Hermes' doing.  No big surprise, we've known for some time she's the 
more violent of the pair."
     "Get any video?"
     "They torched the monitors.  We're working on a reconstruct."
     "Good.  When it's done I want global distribution.  That should eliminate
the pro Senshi sentiment in the enclaves." 
     "Same way the resistance became the enemy when they turned on them."  As
the human resistance movements became increasingly desperate they'd become
increasingly fanatical.  Anyone who'd surrendered to the youma was a traitor
and an enemy.  Not that there'd been much choice if you wanted to survive
the famine.  After a few atrocities the humans serving them had begun to 
pray that the youma wiped out the resistance before they arrived at their 
     Pyrite looked speculative.  "So they've adopted the resistance policy of
considering all humans in the enclaves traitors and viable targets."
     Magnesite snorted.  "What resistance?"
     "There's a few left scattered around the world but they aren't going to 
last much longer."
     "In your domain perhaps.  Mine is free of insurrection."
     Pyrite chuckled softly.  "If my domain consisted of ice and desert I'm
sure I wouldn't have any problems.  Which reminds me, Calcite ...?"
     "Yes?"  Magnesite seethed at the familiarity.  If he used anything but
My Lord or Overlord to address Calcite they'd all looked at him as if he was
about to step on a deadwalker nest.
     Pyrite continued.  "I've found another nest of survivalists.  This one's
in Colorado.  Old military base we missed last sweep.  I was holding off 
squashing them in case you wanted to do one of your 'wrath of god' 
demonstrations.  It's been a while."
     "That's very thoughtful but unnecessary.  Do what you will."
     "Thank you.  I've got a few prototypes that could use a field test.  I'll
set the wheels in motion after the party.  Speaking of which Canaveral is 
ready to launch on your order."
     "You know what we're looking for."
     "When we have positive detection you'll be informed immediately."
     "Fine.  While we're on the subject of space ... ?"
     "Nothing further to report on the ET object.  However I'm now almost
positive it went superliminal just past the orbit of Heaven."  They used the 
human names for the planets as they'd never needed their own prior to the 
conquest.  In fact most youma still didn't comprehend the idea of anything 
beyond the Earth.  Perhaps if it was possible to see the stars they'd have 
got the idea.
     Magnesite looked puzzled.  "Superluminal?"
     "Faster than light.  Which in real space is supposedly impossible by both
the humans theories and ours.  But there's no indication of a space warp."
He turned to Calcite.  "Incidentially there may have been a nascent warp from 
outside the solar system forming in Tokyo.  But when you annihilated the city
you destroyed whatever was generating the gateway."
     Magnesite ignored this last aside and looked Pyrite in the eye.  "So you 
admit a failure?"
     "The lightspeed limit is only a theory Magnesite.  Admittedly one I'd
have bet on but still only a theory."  He smiled.  "Still that's what makes 
this truly exciting.  If all our lightspeed theories are wrong we'll just have 
to revise them.  Who knows what we'll uncover in the process."
     Calcite shook his head.  "Pure research can wait until we're secure.  We
have no idea if the object was a random flyby, a probe to indicate the 
presence of life outside this system or a scouting expedition prior to a
colonization attempt.  In keeping with our ancestral traditions we'll assume 
the worst and begin developing space based weapons."
     Azurite looked unhappy.  "That's going to be tricky.  As we can't survive 
offplanet and we can't trust humans to man orbital weapons that could be 
turned against us we're looking at AIs to run them.  We're years away from     
development of a practical deployable system."
     "Then we'll have to hope we've got years.  Assuming those whatever it was
comes back.  Far as we can tell it did one slow orbit around the planet then 
headed back out of the system."
     "Maybe it didn't like what it saw."
     Titanite was looking confused by all this.  "Heaven ... that's the eighth
     "The seventh.  Poseidon's the eighth."
     "Close enough.  Speaking of which ...?"
     "No I haven't broken her yet.  Seems her lover's death revitalized her 
will to live.  She's sworn to last long enough to get her hands around my 
throat."  Titanite had to laugh at the thought of the halfdead Senshi being
able to do any damage to her brother.
     Pyrite looked a little guilty and cleared his throat.  "Her time may be 
more limited than we thought.  From my dissection of Hades I'd say we 
overestimated their radiation tolerance.  The tests may well have inflicted 
terminal damage to her tissues."
     Calcite sighed.  "Well I commissioned the tests and you warned me of the
risk so I can't complain.  I'll just have to speed my efforts.  To tell the 
truth she has been looking fairly sickly lately.  The trick's going to be
breaking her will without inflicting fatal damage on her weakening body."  He
smiled.  "I always did like a challenge."
     Azurite returned the smile but couldn't help think that there'd been a
time that she'd been against unnecessary cruelty.  Though this was actually
necessary cruelty.  The torture satiated Metallia's sadism and helped keep it
under Calcite's control.  At any rate that reminded her ... "We got side  
tracked from the issue of what to do about Zeus and Hermes.  I admit they've
been useful in the past ; they appear, the local resistance figures this is
their big chance  and follows them on a raid, we wipe out the majority of 
them, the more powerful Senshi break free and strategically withdraw and we
mop up the humans.  Then they repeat the whole thing in some other country.
But they've caught on and work alone these days.  Not that there's much of
anyone left to follow them."
     Titanite spread her hands.  "Well it's not like we haven't been trying to
kill them all along.  Though I have to say that the Seven ... the Six 
Legendary Great Youma haven't exactly lived up to their PR.  As individuals
we've all got tougher youma serving us and now they've lost Boxer they can't
do their merger trick."
     Pyrite spoke next.  "Possibly the restoration process was only a partial
     Calcite shook his head.  "I re-empowered them myself.  They're as tough
as they were during Silver Millenium.  The problem is that we didn't think
of the implications of that."
     Magnesite looked as puzzled as Titanite but she was the one to say, "I
don't think I follow you."
     "What we forgot was that back them most of Beryl's troops were humans.
Some of them possessed by lesser demons but the vast majority were human.  The
Seven were tougher than the human soldiers but what they really were was a
prototype for the youma.  After generations of survival of the fittest we    
had hundreds of youma available as tough as, or much tougher than, the Seven."
     Azurite slapped herself on the forehead.  "That's so incredibly obvious.
I can't believe I missed that!"
     Pyrite shrugged.  "I didn't think of it either and I'm supposed to be a
     She grinned at him.  "Yeah but you also bet that the Senshi wouldn't be
dumb enough to walk into that 'Moon Princess Ski Contest' without sensing a
trap.  Immediately after which you wagered they'd have to figure out the ice 
rink was a setup."  Pyrite glared at her but without real malice.
     "I underestimated their gullibility.  Besides Hermes was, and is, highly 
intelligent.  She should have figured it out!"  He sounded defensive.
     Calcite chuckled briefly.  "There's a difference between pure genius and 
     "Which is why you're the Overlord rather than me."
     "Quite so.  Anyway it's time we enhanced the hunter squad.  Azurite, get
me the names of a half dozen warriors of proven ability.  Methodical and 
efficient rather than anxious to look good."       
     "You want it now?"
     "Don't be silly, tomorrow will be soon enough.  It's not like they can
run anywhere we can't find them.  Especially after we finish the job Beryl
started.  For now we enjoy the party and our fawning subordinates."  The
servant caught his gesture and hurried over to refill his glass and top up
the others.  Titanite watched her move back to her position and signal another
servant to bring a fresh bottle over.  Nothing to worry about, this place was            
full of poison detection spells.  Besides the Overlord had quickly developed
a reputation for spotting the most subtle assassination plot.  The extremely      
graphic executions had also discouraged the attempts.
     "From the amount of gooseflesh I'd say she's rather cold.  Perhaps a more
substantial outfit was in order."  Her brother shrugged.
     "I was going to have them dressed as Senshi but that would probably have
caused a massacre.  Continually replacing servants is wasteful.  We don't have
unlimited numbers of humans available."  Azurite nudged Pyrite.
     "Hmmm?  Oh, right!  Calcite ..."  
     "It's not official yet but it looks like the ecology is finally 
stabilizing.  The human population decline has stopped and we're maintaining
what we have.  Our agricultural production is now equal to the human demand 
and introduction of useful Kingdom wildlife is proceeding smoothly."
     "Good news indeed.  So what's the bad news?"
     "Yes, well ... you know we were predicting the human population would 
stabilise at 1.5 billion?"
     "The estimate was wrong?"
     "Final figure's going to be under 1 billion.  Maybe closer to 900 
million."  Pyrite paused for a moment.  "There were over 5 billion of them a 
year ago."  There was a moment's silence broken by Calcite.  His voice was
     "Over 80% of the human race dead by my hand."
     Magnesite broke out laughing.  "Hah! And Beryl and the generals thought
they were tough!  They didn't wipe out a tenth as many!"  He roared with
amusement and slapped Calcite companiably on the back.  Then froze and stared 
at his hand in shock.  Titanite, Azurite and Pyrite were all grinning at him
as if he was about to step into a hidebehind's embrace.  Calcite turned to
face him, the Overlord's expression was unreadable.  
     "Lord Magnesite would you mind withdrawing?  We wish to discuss a few 
personal matter that would be of no interest to you."  He could hardly refuse.
Despite thinking that his replacement might be the topic of the day.  He
stuttered the ritual for breaking the Dark Circle, bowed and moved away.  The
only bright spot was the speculative look the Princess had thrown his way.
     Calcite glanced after him.  "Think we should get around to telling him
we made up all the Dark Circle ceremonies to spook him?"
     Azurite shook her head.  "No, we'll need them to help keep his 
replacement cowed.  Wrath of the Abyss is a great goad.  Don't want him 
blabbing the truth before he goes.  Besides it's fun watching him babble that 
     "Ritual and blind worship of the past.  If our predecessors hadn't been 
caught up in it we'd have had a harder time taking over."
     "Exactly.  Why throw away a useful tool?"
     Pyrite cleared his throat.  "Speaking of his replacement ...
     "When he breaks our covenant and not before."  Pyrite sighed but nodded
his agreement.
     Azurite's thoughts turned back to the earlier topic.  "Four billion plus
... and that's just the humans.  It doesn't even begin to account for the
majority of the animal life.  It's a good thing you kept the oceans' ecology 
going.  What a mess.  Four billion ..."
     She fell silent as Calcite spoke.  "Us or them.  I'd much rather it was
them."  She nodded and he sighed.  "Besides what we've learned since makes me
sure we did the right thing.. They couldn't even get on with each other.  
There's no way they'd have been able to coexist with another sentient 
     Titanite was looked puzzled.  "What's the big deal Azurite?  I mean, they 
were only humans."
     Azurite shook her head.  "We really did a number on you didn't we?"
     Now Titanite looked even more confused.  "I don't understand."
     "Don't worry about it kid."  Titanite shrugged and dismissed the matter.
Azurite looked back to Calcite and Pyrite.  "I have to admit the ecological
consequences of our entry to Earth escaped me.  Glad you two thought of it."
    Pyrite mumbled something about how he'd never have figured it out without
Calcite.  Calcite waved the matter away.  "That's nothing to be ashamed of,
like the rest of us you grew up in the Kingdom.  You're used to eternal
darkness.  It was only after my trips to Earth started that I began to
consider the consequences of disrupting the night and day cycle."
    "Good thing you did.  No one else thought of it."
    Calcite shook his head.  "That's what I really can't understand.  It would
be natural for us to make that mistake.  But Beryl and the Generals were born
on Earth.  How could they make that mistake?"
     Pyrite shrugged.  "They were vainglorious idiots."  Titanite nodded.
     Azurite threw her hands up.  "All I can say is they didn't.  After the
takeover I tore apart the general's quarters looking for lists of their prime
supporters and any other documentation we could find.  I'm sure I got 
everything and it's all been analysed.  There was nothing to indicate they'd 
even considered climactic shift."
     "You said you found some material when you sacked Beryl's apartments?"
     "Not about that but we found some interesting stuff.  My crew tore 
Beryl's quarters apart in our search.  We found all her journals and diaries, her grimores,
her enemy lists, her execution agendas, her sexy lingerie collection ..."
     "Her what?"
     Azurite chuckled.  "Surprised me too when we found it.  It was all 
recently acquired and of human manufacture."  She nodded towards the central 
ice pillar.  "I think she started getting it after she got her hands on 
Endymion.  Far as I can tell she had Kunzite obtain it during his trips to   
Tokyo."  Azurite's voice shifted to a higher pitch, "'Kunzite, while you are
in Tokyo destroying the Senshi and stealing the Silver Crystal so I can rule
the world pick me up a half dozen of those black lace g strings with the 
matching bras'".  Azurite had always done an excellent Beryl impersonation.
     Calcite shook his head, as though this could dispel the mental image of a
very underdressed Queen Beryl.  He shuddered slightly.  "Now that is scary!"
     Azurite nodded, "That's why I incinerated it.  Made my skin crawl to
think of it.  I'd say Endymion's was a mercy killing.  Anyway nothing to
indicate she'd considered the environmental consequences of our conquest."
     Calcite smiled.  "I guess there were some things she never considered."
He remembered the way Beryl had looked up him, unable to rise from the floor.
Her expression equal measures pain and confusion.  She just couldn't 
comprehend that it was over.  Her ironic last words, "It's not fair!"  As if 
of all people she was deserving of some form of justice.
     Pyrite glanced to ensure there was no one in earshot.  A little pointless
as he'd have sensed anyone close enough to overhear but he was the most
cautious of the four.  "So phase one is complete."
     Calcite's voice was equally quiet.  "How long for phase 2?"
     "Hard to say.  We've opened the well under the Citadel but that's our 
only success to date.  The Tokyo well's been screwed up by the energies thrown
around in the devastation.  I'd say at least another year before it's useable
for more than background radiation.  We can't even get sensors operating
normally in there."
     "Sorry about that but being elevated to near godhood makes you a little
     "Hopefully I'll find that out for myself before long.  Anyway we've found 
about 75% of the others but uncapping them without causing a disaster remains 
problematic.  Especially as we want mana access limited to the inner circle.  
I'd say anywhere from ten to twenty years."
     "Well don't take unnecessary risks but see if you can accelerate things.
The sooner we have a powersource without its own mind the better.  Azureite,
any sign Magnesite has a clue what the experiments at Ayers Rock are for?"
     "Far as I can tell he's bought the geothermal tap story."
     "Don't underestimate him.  While he might have underestimated us he 
didn't survive all those years in the Dark Kingom by being a total fool."
     "That was mainly due to his power and lack of desireable territory.  But
I'm keeping a close eye on him.  Security is my responsibility and I don't
take my responsibilities lightly!"
     Titanite spoke up.  "How long to phase 3?"
     "Impossible to say.  I've had to build youma genetic science from 
scratch.  It's a pain there was is so little previous work to build upon."
     Azurite snorted.  "You mean fortunate.  If they'd figured out what 
certain genes meant then tested newborns ... well we wouldn't be standing here
would we?"
     "Good point.  I bow to your superior wisdom."
     "One of us has to be practical.  Now you owe me a dance."
     "With pleasure."  The pair departed leaving the Overlord and his sister.
Titanite watched them go.
     "Any regrets about losing Azurite to Pyrite?"
     "Not at all, they make a good couple.  Besides she's a believer in  
monogamy which doesn't suit me."
     "So I've noticed."  His voice had sounded odd.  She turned around to see 
her brother's back.  He was staring at the screen, his gaze fixed on the 
lefthand pillar and the figure within.  He was getting into one of his moods 
again.  Not today!  This was a celebration.  Their celebration.  She reached 
over and caressed his scarred cheek.  Most people who'd touched the Overlord 
unbidden would be lucky to only lose an arm.  Her fingers went through his 
aura without resistance and stroked the old mark.
     "When are you going to get rid of this?"
     "Half past never.  We've discussed this before."
     "I know, it reminds you not to be careless again.  I'd think by now you
wouldn't need such a visible reminder."
     "Well to tell the truth I've got used to it."
     Titanite nodded at the central pillar.  "Why'd you freeze them both in 
the same one?"
     "She went to so much trouble to be reunited with Endymion it seemed a 
shame to divide them again.  Perhaps I felt I owed her that much for keeping
Beryl distracted.  Or perhaps I'm just getting sentimental in my old age."
Titanite snorted.  Those who'd thought it indicated the Overlord was soft had
swiftly learned that was a terminal mistake.  Within the pillar the reunited 
lovers were locked in a final embrace.  Once again his gaze twitched towards
the leftmost pillar.  Titanite rested a hand on his shoulder.
     "It still bothers you."
     He nodded.  "It does.  You have no idea how humiliating it was to have to
continually lose to her in her Sailor A days.  Then Beryl decdies to have her
killed but throws the job to Magnesite!   So he tries to take her out and 
screw up completely.  For once I was glad because it meant that when she
reappeared as Sailor Aphrodite I had a chance for revenge.  Except I couldn't
go after her because Kunzite was running the Earthside missions and I was busy
setting our coup up.  Still I persevered, sure that Kunzite would fail to
destroy the Senshi.  Which he did.  I knew they'd be coming and I was sure 
that when they got to the Kingdom we'd be in control and waiting for them."
     "So what happens?  She gets taken out by the DD Girls and I've lost my
chance.  I can't even get second hand revenge because the girls are all dead."
     Titanite looked thoughtful.   "You could take the reincarnate out of 
stasis, accelerate her aging, awaken her powers then kill her."
     "It wouldn't be the same."
     "I suppose not.  You can't have everything."  Her voice solemn she 
continued, "I guess you'll have to settle for being undisputed King of the
Youma, ruler of the human race, master of the Earth and the most powerful
being in the world."
     Calcite looked at her for a moment.  The he broke out laughing.  "As ever
sister you keep my feet firmly grounded in reality whenever I take myself too
seriously."  He turned from the frozen features of Minako Aino.  "This is a
party so let's celebrate.  I think it's time to pick some company."
     "So do I."
     He chuckled, "You've picked up all my worst habits."
     "You're the Overlord.  You don't have bad habits as there's no one above 
you to pass judgement!"  He laughed again and she joined him.  Chuckling the 
two rejoined the party.  
     Calcite smiled to himself.  Titanite was right.  So he hadn't killed his 
greatest enemy, so what?  Everything else had worked out perfectly.
     The youma are my vassals, the humans are my slaves.  God's in my body.  
All's right with the world.

End of prologue

On to part 1

TEXT to HTML conversion by Douglas Helm.