[FFML] [FanFic][SM] NETTG: Terra in Tokyo Ch. 15
Benjamin A. Oliver
benjamin.a.oliver at gmail.com
Sun Jul 29 10:36:44 PDT 2007
Well, it's been long enough since I've last posted, and in the time
between my last post and this, the FFML has been revived and possibly
restored to its former glory, though only the posters and participants
can decide how involved it all gets.
This is the next chapter in the TinT series; the others are available at:
And also in the forums, deep within the Florestica site. Larry's
working with someone to help get it all in proper order. If you can't
find a chapter, send me an email and I can get that to you if the
other sites, including the Google FFML group, don't work for you.
Thanks go out to Abdiel, who has reviewed in detail every last
chapter, ensuring that this story gets posted!
Also many thanks to Larry, who checked for errors and provided good
suggestions for corrections to problems that we found. Thanks also to
Esa, who's drawn odds and ends, encouraging me to continue.
This story... has a skeleton written out; that is, a first draft of
the story is done, but that only guarantees that this will someday be
finished and posted. We've already done some heavy debugging, in this
chapter and in some previous ones. Heavier debugging in the future
depends on the comments of others.
Thanks for reading! And now, the story....
Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow!!
Terra in Tokyo
---Chapter 15: Hangover of Fate
As the powers of the Moon Princess purged the elements of the Dark
Kingdom from the Starlight Tower, the Sailor Soldiers were also bathed
in its power, producing a euphoric effect bordering on pure ecstasy.
But not Terra. She, rather, felt the energy rip through her body
painfully and sting fibers of her being that she didn't even know she
had. The unwelcome onslaught nevertheless felt quite familiar, and
she strained to remember where she had last experienced it. Tendrils
of her black power rattled in the gusting metaphysical wind.
Flailing, she grabbed onto its tails and held on tight, as if they
were the last remnants of the only remaining tattered blanket on a
planet of eternal frost. She saw hallucinations, such as a little
armored monkey guy drinking tea with a bizarre chicken-lizard thing.
Three cheerleaders in go-go boots danced in a circle, swinging their
pompoms, one of them riding a mechanical bull.
An empty calendar rapidly filled with pages of days with cute little
inspirational and guilt-trip quotes like, "Life would be so much
better if you actually listened to what your mother told you," or
"Don't fret a stubbed toe. There's plenty more where that came from!"
Her birthday popped up and passed, leaving its quote, "Doom, Doom,
DOOM!" far behind.
Next, all of this vanished and a spectrum of light and dark strobed
across her consciousness, and she fell for what seemed like ten
thousand years. Actually, this last part wasn't so bad, except for
the sudden stop at the end.
There was an incredible jolt of pain, and then it all went dark.
Okay, so it wasn't completely dark; a moment later, Terra could see
light from the stars coming in through the window--but this was
considerably darker than the flash of fireworks that Usagi--whom
everyone else had been calling Princess Serenity--had been shooting
Terra found, after squirming around for a bit, that she was in a
bed--one with a warm blanket and considerably nicer sheets than she
was used to. It had to be Sateen material, because there was no way
it had less than a thousand thread count. Whatever it was, it felt
pretty downright posh. It was rather big, too. Just as well, she
thought, since her body felt like it just had its entire central
nervous system removed and grafted back in with a hot knife and
stitches. She needed something soothing like that on her skin right
Where was she, though? Certainly not her own room. It kind of
reminded her of when she woke up in the hospital. Lately she seemed
to have a habit of waking up in unfamiliar places, to unfamiliar
ceilings, and unfamiliar or unwelcome people. This time, she at least
had a comforting voice to listen to.
"Terra?" she heard her mother call. "Are you all right?"
"Oh, yeah, Mom," Terra moaned back promptly. "Rough night last
night. Got used as bait for a trap, only we were the ones that got
trapped. We fought and fought, but there were so many of them! Then
we got backed into a corner, and were about to get squished, but then
Usagi turned into a princess, and I blacked out."
"A rabbit turned into a princess? That sounds like a very intense
dream," her mother said. "But it's all better now. You're back here,
safe in your room at the Imperial Lunar Palace."
"IMPERIAL LUNAR PALACE?!!?" Terra cried and instantly bolted upright.
The light went on--her mom must have flipped the switch. She saw the
marble floors, elegant gilded decorations, expensive curtains, and
came face to face with the woman whom she had been speaking to. "Mom!
Wha--ah, you're so, so..." Terra searched for the proper words as her
eyes scanned the individual in question, "tall?"
The woman looking at her with such concern was indeed quite tall.
Terra had seen shorter slam-dunking professional basketball players.
Other obvious traits the girl could have been considering about this
person included things such as the fact that she was not, in fact, her
mother. Oh certainly, the face and voice were kind of the same, and
the expression was all too familiar, but the floor-length
platinum-blonde ponytails were a dead giveaway.
"I am rather tall," agreed the woman slowly in answer to the girl's
question. "But that's never surprised you before."
"Before?" inquired Terra, drawing her sheets up to her chest over her
white nightgown. "But we've only just now met. Who are you, where am
I, and what's going on at this particular moment? Are we enemies?
Where is Tuxedo Kamen? Why can I see the stars in the sky outside
despite the sun clearly being directly overhead? Why is my spine
intact? Where are my clothes? Did Arby steal them again? What's the
deal with my hair? It's kind of silky, yet jagged." She glanced in a
large nearby mirror and got a good look at her bare neck. "And who
removed that cursed mushroom mark?"
The girl thought through it to see if she'd missed anything else.
She was somewhat thinner than she remembered being, perhaps
unhealthily so, as if she had been on a sparing diet since she was
seven. However, aside from little details such as the ones she had
gone over, she felt more or less like herself.
The regal woman put a hand to her cheek and peered at the girl
curiously. "You're not acting at all like what I expected."
Terra blinked. "Expected? You know what's going on? Did you bring me here?"
"I had... your servants bring you here, after everything that
happened last night."
"Servants? I have servants? Who are they?"
The woman sighed, brushed her brow with her fingers, and said, "I do
not understand what sort of game you are playing now."
"I'm not playing a game," Terra affirmed. "For all I know, you're
playing a game. You seem to know me, but I don't know you, though you
do look kind of familiar, like a dream I had once when I died."
The Irish redhead rubbed her forehead, attempting to think of a
solution for this situation. Everything she had said before seemed to
be getting her nowhere. She returned a bright smile. "Okay, fine.
Let's play a game. C'mere, sit down." She patted a section of the
huge bed by her. When the woman didn't move, she added, "What? I
won't bite! I promise. Come on."
Her expression neutral, the tall lady seemed to consider her options,
and then softly took a seat by Terra. "Very well. I suppose... there
may be time. What shall we... play?"
"Let's play," Terra replied, "'We're Total Strangers and Have Never
Met Before.' And we've just met right now." She forced a broad
smile. "Hello. How are you?"
"Hello," the woman replied uncertainly. "Now, who might you be, young lady?"
"I'm Terra," the girl replied quickly. "What's your name?"
"Serenity," the white-clad lady said.
"Serenity! Such a nice name. So... serene and stuff! I met a
Princess Serenity once. Her name was Usagi. You wouldn't happen to
be a princess too?"
"No," Serenity replied, her expression turning from somber confusion
to disbelief, as though she felt she were doing something totally
absurd. "I was a princess once, years and years ago. Now, I am Queen
Serenity." She shook her head. "Terra, I don't understand. Have
you... lost your memory or something to that effect?"
Terra waved her hands in front of herself. "Just, just... just bear
with me for a minute." She straightened up. "Ahem! So, you're quite
a tall sort."
"Yes, I suppose I am rather tall," the woman agreed slowly, nearly
smiled, and placed a hand to her chin intelligently. "Though you must
admit it does help when officials from other worlds come to speak with
me. I do not even have to sit on a high throne to look impressive.
We can take walks in the courtyard to discuss policy. Things go much
more smoothly that way."
"Okay, so you're a Queen. So, why am *I* here, in particular?"
Serenity stared at her curiously. "Shall I pretend you've lost your
"Sure, sure. For the sake of this bit, yeah."
"Very well. Let me begin by saying that you are my daughter."
"I'm your daughter?" The girl glanced at a mirror and added
sarcastically as she fingered her spiky red hair, "Hmph. Oh yeah, I
can totally see the family resemblance. Not!"
"You were adopted."
"You can adopt princesses?" Terra wondered with a raised eyebrow. "I
always figured that sort of thing was hereditary." She shrugged.
"Hmm. Okay, consider that noted. You're a queen, and I'm an adopted
"Correct. And you were a very bad girl last night."
"Gotcha, so I'm some kind of bad girl. An adopted rebel princess of
sorts. I broke a mirror or perhaps my ruby slippers, and you sent me
to bed without any dinner?"
"It--!" Serenity started, but stifled what surely would have been a
shout. "It was a little more serious than that, I would say."
"So you came and gave me a spanking? With a big spoon, perhaps?"
Serenity nodded slowly. "Something like that."
"And now everyone hates me?"
"Very few people know what you did. I... am having difficulty
finding it within myself to forgive you this time, to be perfectly
"Oh," Terra said with a frown. "I suppose I shall have to do
something to make it up to you, then. What can I do in the future to
avoid such problems?"
"Where to begin?" Serenity whispered. "For example, you could try...
not roasting foreign diplomats on a spit, and perhaps instead bowing
your head and giving a sweet curtsy when visitors come. Honestly... I
mean, even with the best healers, it took the poor soul a week to
Terra boggled. "I did that?"
"Don't hurt people anymore."
The girl noted a great sadness buried within Serenity's expression.
"Oh," she said, and decided a further gesture was in order. "Then how
about," she raised her right hand, "I promise I won't hurt anyone
anymore. No more roasting foreign diplomats, no more... whatever it
is you think I did."
"What is wrong with you today, Princess?" The woman strained to give
a smile. "I shall have to have a word with the chef. Perhaps finally
allowing you to have deadly live poisonous shellfish for dinner was
not the best of ideas."
"Live poisonous shellfish?" Terra said with a raised eyebrow. "Oh, I
might like things a little bit spicy, but I'm definitely not a sushi
The graceful queen shook her head. "I see you're not going to be
yourself today. And I suppose that's not such a bad thing, really.
Everyone in the palace--and the city, for that matter--does know
that... Princess Terra is quite a handful." She dabbed a tear from
her cheek. "They've taken to calling you 'Terrifying' in some
circles. For good reason indeed, after last night. But I'm certain
even that may pass if you could behave yourself somewhat better."
Terra scratched her head, trying to figure this situation out. She
wasn't home, she wasn't even sure if she was dreaming or awake. It
was all so surreal. But then her reverie was broken by a shrill
"Queen Serenity!" a pair of chirpy voices called, ahead of two peppy
twelve-year-old girls who rushed down the hall and hurried in through
the open mahogany door.
"Ow!" Terra muttered, holding her ears. "How can... ANYONE have such
Queen Serenity regained her full radiance when the girls entered.
"Hello, you two. Late again, I see."
"We're sorry!" the twins replied, only barely out of sync.
"Huggyn was late making breakfast," the first noted with a slight
accusatory tone, pointing to the other.
The second looked down and fidgeted. "Well, Kyssin didn't want to
fetch the warm bathwater this morning until I had to tell her."
Serenity waved, dismissing their complaints. "Oh, it's all right.
In any case, the Princess has only barely awoken. I must warn you,
your charge is somewhat out of sorts today."
The twins tilted their heads and looked worried. "Out of sorts?
What's wrong THIS time?" they asked.
"Her memories and attitudes seem somewhat addled--some bad shellfish
I believe, but I imagine it will all come back to her if you help her
out and show her around. And keep an eye on her. Come tell me if
anything... dangerous occurs. Can you do that for me?"
Huggyn and Kyssin nodded emphatically. The Queen patted each of them
on the head, and went out and on her way, glancing back only
momentarily at Terra, as if she presented a true unsolvable enigma.
The twins turned towards Terra, tilted their heads to the side,
smiled brightly, and gave out a perfectly synchronized, "Good
Terra coughed, and scooted towards side of the bed furthest from
them. "Uh, hi. Who are you? Don't hurt me."
"Hurt you?" the one on the left asked, obviously taken aback from the
remark. "Why would we hurt you?"
"Yeah," the second pouted. "We're your trusty Royal and Loyal Attendants!"
Terra stared at them for a few seconds, finding herself examining
them as intently as she had done previously to Rei and Makoto. They
were a cute pair, obviously unarmed, but kind of short and with odd
braided azure hairstyles. She checked for signs of age and confirmed
that they were probably around twelve years old, and most likely human
girls, though she couldn't quite place the bloodline type. If she had
to place a nationality on them, she'd call it an unholy mix between
Korean and Swedish. After the examination was done, she blinked a few
times and relaxed.
"You were looking at us pretty funny," the one on the right noted.
"I'm sorry," Terra replied. "For a moment, I thought you were circus midgets."
The two little girls giggled at that.
Though Terra didn't particularly like circus midgets--they REALLY
creeped her out sometimes--her remark was more to dismiss with humor
any major misgivings they might have had about what she was doing.
After all, Makoto thought it looked like she was lecherously leering
when she last did... whatever it was she just did.
"Anyway," Terra continued, "judging by yours and... Queen Serenity's
remarks, what I'm about to say is going to going to come off as
bizarre. What are your names again?"
The one on the left did indeed seem to think it was an odd question,
but she shrugged and answered, "I'm Angel of the East Puff Clan, from
the former Jares Asteroid Kingdom, but you nicknamed me Huggyn."
"And I'm Dewdrop," the other added. "From the same clan, from the
same kingdom." She giggled again. "Tee-hee! We're sisters! Anyway,
you nicknamed me Kyssin."
"Huggyn and Kyssin, huh?" Terra repeated to herself. "Do I dare ask
why? No, I don't." To the twins, she said, "Well, then. As much as
you might deny it, I think you've got me confused with somebody else.
My name is Terra Incognita. I came from Ireland, but now I'm a
Japanese schoolgirl. I used to be a complete ditz ball before this
one guy smashed a guitar into my head to turn my life upside down.
And now, I'm here, but I'm not sure where here is. Can you please
enlighten me on this particular subject?"
The twins stared at her and blinked a bit.
"Huh?" Huggyn finally asked.
Terra looked around at the room's furnishings, as well as the city
she could see out the window and door to the balcony. It all seemed
vaguely familiar, but she was having trouble placing it, like
something from a half-forgotten dream. Her gaze refocused on Huggyn
and Kyssin, who were waiting expectantly for her clarification.
"Could you two give me a tour of the palace and tell me about
Kyssin looked at her sister and said, "Weird game."
Huggyn shrugged. "The Princess wants a tour, she gets a tour."
"But she'll need her morning bath and everything first," Kyssin amended.
"What about breakfast?"
"She hates breakfast."
The girls looked back up at Terra, and noticed an empty bed as well
as the curtains thrown wide.
"She buggered off," Kyssin noted.
"So she has."
"She hates baths, too."
"Oh well, won't be the first time. Let's go get her."
Dealing with unusual situations had been a large part of Terra's life
for the past several months. Part of her explained that she should
try to be a rational person and speak sensibly to the people she had
met in this strange place, and to continue her intelligent dialogue as
she built a better mental picture about her surroundings. But another
more dominant part of her screamed, "AAAAAAAAH!!!" and ran off.
Fortunately, her nightgown was reasonably modest, so at least she
wasn't precisely running around in her underwear this time. She even
had something supportive on underneath the nightgown that she hadn't
bothered to identify yet. Not that she really cared about her
reputation here yet.
After sliding down the curtains she tied to the balcony's stone rail,
she closed one eye and took stock of her color-coded energies. Green
was gone, thankfully, but red and gold were virtually non-existent as
well. There was a hint and spiral of other powers mixed together at
the bottom of the barrel like paint such that they formed a sort of
icky greyish-brown, but she couldn't even begin to guess how to tease
those out into a useful form. The only thing she really had to work
with was the black power, which sparked a damaged, halfhearted
As she ran, Terra got a feel for her body. It wasn't quite
right--her muscular structure seemed more similar to the wimpy gracile
spoiled royal form she had for a few minutes at the tower than it did
what she now considered her normal body. Bombarded with so much
information to consider at once, she couldn't yet figure out why her
body had taken its current shape, nor why her powers seemed to be such
Sprinting first across the courtyard, she dashed through some
hallways, then tripped over someone and tumbled in a tangled mess with
that individual into a nearby fountain.
Coughing and spitting up water, Terra got a good look at who she'd
bumped into. "Usagi!? Is that you?! You're not dead!"
"Terra?" Usagi coughed to clear some water that had gone down the
wrong way. "Now we're all wet! Wha-aah!" she screamed as Terra
accidentally knocked her back into the fountain. "Why?!"
"Oh, Sorry, Usagi." Terra thought about what had just been said.
"Hey, you called me Terra and didn't use the suffix. Finally!
Thanks." The two struggled out of the fountain. Terra noticed the
white and gold dress Usagi had on. "Nice getup. Still wearing that
from when you thought you were named Princess Serenity?"
"Who's Usagi? I AM Princess Serenity," the blonde replied while
shaking the water out of her ears. "What's wrong with you today,
Terra? Mother says you're not yourself."
"Utter nonsense," Terra said. "If I'm not myself, then who would I
be? Somebody else, obviously." She paused. "You don't recognize the
name 'Usagi?' And yet I'm looking at you and you ARE Usagi, down to
the most minute detail. No, I'm not leering at you. Either you're a
clone or this must be some sort of funky mind trick here, manufactured
by the Negamafoozles! Hmm, yes, it must be a trap! And they're
trying to trick us!" She considered her options, and decided on one
of them. "But now that I've found you, maybe we can escape!"
Princess Serenity stared at her with her mouth hanging slightly open.
"Creatures from the Dark Kingdom?" Terra prodded. "Gotta whack 'em
all? We've spent the past few months taking 'em out?"
Terra glanced left and right furtively while holding onto the other
girl's shoulders. "And we'll need to go find the other Sailor
Soldiers, and Tuxedo Kamen. They've gotta be around here somewhere."
"I really have no idea what you are talking about."
"No!" Terra cried out in frustration. "They must have gotten to you
too!" She grabbed Serenity under the arm and started to run, hauling
her off. "Come, little missie! The ArbyFish will know! We shall
find a way out of this yet!"
Serenity was too stunned to resist.
When they reached the front gates, the fully armored guards barred
their way. Terra tripped over an ill-placed cobblestone, stubbing her
toes bad, and tumbled to a halt facedown into the mud and grass. The
blonde teen picked herself up and tried to brush herself off, but the
stains looked like they were there to stay.
"Terra?" Princess Serenity ventured. "Do you need help?"
"Go," coughed the redhead, frantically motioning for her to move on,
"leave me. Save yourself!"
"I think I'll go get washed up," finally said the drenched and
"Princess Terra! Princess Terra! Time for your morning bath!"
It seemed that Huggyn and Kyssin had caught up with her as well.
"Mmmmohhdear," moaned the confused Irish girl as she was picked up by
the arms and legs and carted off.
Huggyn and Kyssin proceeded with a practiced flair that indicated
they had done this a thousand times or more. They stripped Terra
down, dumped her into the large sunken ceramic tub, and gave her the
most intense and sweetest-scented wash she'd ever had in her entire
Before she knew it, she was toweled off and decked out in several
layers of elegant clothing until she wore a cute puffy green dress
with lace and bows. This struck her as rather odd, considering that
both outfits worn by Princess and Queen Serenity probably consisted of
less than a sixth of the material. She imagined that the static
generated by her new dress could easily outdo Makoto's
"There!" Huggyn announced. "All done."
"Not quite," said Kyssin as she brushed and tied Terra's hair into a
pair of rabbit ear buns with ribbons. "NOW we're done."
Terra briefly considered running again, but between the weight of her
dress and the folds of petticoats obstructing her legs, she didn't
think she could even walk very fast, much less sprint. "What is
this?!" she muttered with shallow breath, as the tightly laced corset
creaked and strained painfully. "Weighted gravity training clothes?!"
The twins looked at each other, then back at her. "You never had a
problem with it before," Kyssin said.
"Forget whoever you thought was me, because that wasn't," Terra
advised. "I'm someone else. The me that was me, is not me, because
I'd remember being me here, but I don't, and therefore there's been
quite a mix-up."
Huggyn and Kyssin didn't seem to know how to respond.
After a while, Terra just shook her head and waved her hands around,
as if by doing so she could dismiss all that had been said. "Never
mind. Here, let's start over." She re-did the rabbit-ears into a
pair of her favorite obnoxious--yet mildly spiky due to the current
quality of her hair--ponytails, and then reached around her back and
fiddled with the laces on her corset until it no longer throttled her
quite so badly. Finally, she took a deep, satisfying, breath of air,
and looked down at her entourage. "Hi. My name is Terra Incognita.
"Umm." Huggyn wrapped her hair into a pair of large buns that
covered her ears. "I'm Angel?"
Kyssin followed suit, tying a ribbon around her forehead and putting
a monocle over her left eye. "And I'm Dewdrop?"
"Yes!" Terra congratulated them emphatically, briefly shaking hands
with each of them, who seemed nervously unfamiliar with the gesture.
"Good! Nice to meet you. Now we're getting somewhere. So, what's
this place called?"
"The... bathroom?" volunteered Dewdrop.
"Well yes, obviously, but where's here?"
"The Imperial Lunar Palace?" suggested Angel.
"Yes." Terra nodded. "Let's expand some more: what city, country,
and how about planet and solar system while we're at it?"
"The palace is part of the larger Citadel, and the city's named
Shores of Tranquility City," Dewdrop said.
"But now, we just call it home," added Angel.
"Okay." Terra nodded. "What planet is this? You've got the strangest skies."
"We're on the Moon," said Angel. "The High Seat of the Silver
"What planet's moon?"
"Earth, of course," remarked Dewdrop. "We don't say 'The Moon' for
any other moon in the solar system."
"THE Moon?" considered Terra as she shuffled over to the window and
saw the Earth in a prominent stationary position in the sky.
"Zoinks!" she exclaimed, all words having left her save for an
exclamation from an old TV show she vaguely recalled liking when she
was four. Then she tripped on her own skirt and fell onto her chest.
The heavy padding prevented any serious pain from the impact. "Oof!
Jinkies, even! JINKIES, I SAY!"
As her attendants picked her up, Terra swayed, muttering, "Talk about
being far from home...."
"You're from a far away solar system," Angel tried to console her.
"Your old home's gone, so home's here now."
"Of course, some people say you're a monster," volunteered Dewdrop,
but Angel quickly hushed her.
Terra shook her head. "I'm no monster. I'm a ditzy girl that
finally got some sense knocked into me a while ago. I may stink at
being a heroine, and I might lose most of the time, and I suck really
bad," with each self-depreciative statement, she had been deflating
ever so slightly, but she straightened up when she said, "but I'm no
monster. Maybe whatsherface that you're confusing me with is, but I'm
"Methinks she doth protest too much," Angel whispered to her sister
in a silly accent, who nodded emphatically at the assessment.
"What was that?" Terra asked.
"Nothing," Angel responded quickly. "Please go on."
"Right," said the redhead. "Where was I again?"
"The Moon?" suggested Dewdrop.
"Yes, the Moon," sighed Terra. "Since when has there been a
settlement on the Moon?"
Dewdrop shrugged. "I dunno."
"History kind of ran out after the first couple thousand years,"
noted Angel. "That was when the Great Old Ones left."
"Great Old Ones?! You had gigantic Cthuloids running around!?"
"What's a Cthuloid?" wondered Angel.
"Is it kind of like a hippo with feathers?" imagined Dewdrop.
"Uh, no. More like a huge squid-thing," said Terra. "All kinds of
tentacles drawing you into a hideous beaked maw. Had a dream about it
once." She shuddered at the memory. "Tasted like chicken!"
"Princess Terra?" Angel began.
"Look, I'm NOT a princess. Dad doesn't even call me by a cute
nickname like that. He just kind of waves and flaps his wing at me
when he walks by."
"Hmm. Okay, not-Princess-but-still-named-Terra," Angel continued,
"are you trying to say that you're not really our Terra?"
Terra patted both girls on the head--they were only a couple of years
younger than she was, but they were still substantially shorter--and
exclaimed, "Yes! They can be taught!"
"She's not acting ANYTHING like the Terra I know," Angel whispered to
"You don't think she's being honest about all this, do you?" the
other pre-teen asked.
"Hey, I'd like to believe her. But, I don't know, I kind of like her
better than our Terra."
"Yeah, she hasn't tried to eat us yet, so that's one good thing."
"Thanks," Terra said. "You're pretty respectable yourselves. The
short answer is, no, I'm not the Terra you're familiar with."
Angel's eyes almost glazed. "You're not the Terra we're familiar with.
"But if you're not our Terra," said Dewdrop as she shrugged off a
slight daze that began to affect her, "then who are you?"
"I told you," Terra replied. "My name's Terra Incognita, and I'm
from Ireland." She paused, then went over to the window and pointed
at the sphere up in the sky. "There, look, you see that little sliver
of land on the Earth up north? I'm from there."
Angel squinted at it. "You mean... you're from the Frozen
Northlands? Or do you mean the outpost at the North Pole?"
"Frozen Northlands?" inquired Terra, and when she looked back at the
Earth, she saw that the area in question really was all white. "What
the--??! Glaciers that far south?! It's like an ice age!"
"It's been like that for as long as we can remember," said Dewdrop.
Terra held her head to keep it from falling off from the impact of
the next big realization that hit her. Not only was she in the wrong
place, she was very likely in a completely wrong time. "Tell me, is
this the far past or the far future?"
"You mean it's not the present?" asked Dewdrop.
The redhead paused. "Well, yes, obviously now it's the present for
you two, but for me, it's either the far future or the far past,
because they say the last ice age was thousands and thousands of years
ago, and another one wouldn't come for a very long time either,
provided global warming didn't throw things out of whack." Terra
thought a little more. "Unless, of course, this is some kind of
alternate dimension, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms I'd
rather not be opening right now."
"Can of worms? Ew, don't remind me!"
"I never really read a lot of sci-fi," Terra noted, "but there were a
few shows on TV that talked about it, I think. I liked Doctor Who
quite a lot. Colin Baker was great!"
Terra was about to explain further, but then realized that since the
girls were already convinced of her identity, there really wasn't much
point. Besides, that particular one of her old favorite shows was
tough to explain in just a few words. "Never mind."
With the metaphoric ice broken, and Huggyn and Kyssin finally
believing her story, Terra finally got her tour of the palace. She
and her escorts chatted away about various unimportant subjects, like
what kind of food they liked, things they liked to wear, and what home
As it turned out, the twins' world had been completely razed by a
massive bombardment from a fleet of Terran warships. There had been
mitigating circumstances at the time, but the Moon's relationship with
Earth had sharply deteriorated after that. Angel and Dewdrop were the
last to escape before the final major city was destroyed. They had,
in fact, been princesses, but since the asteroid upon which the
kingdom was founded had been reduced to vapor along with all but a
scattered handful of its people, there hadn't been any point in
maintaining titles. Their people were displaced and broken; hardly
even a people anymore.
"That's... really sad, y'know," Terra couldn't help but haltingly
state the obvious. She didn't know what to say to people who had lost
everything they ever knew. "Does it bother you to talk about it?"
"It was three years ago," Angel said. "We got over it."
Dewdrop nodded her agreement, though judging by her expression, the
memories stung her a lot more than her sister. "At least we have each
Angel noted her sister's discomfort and decided to change the
subject. "Terra, I want to hear more about your home."
"My home?" Terra said sheepishly. "What's there to say? We lived in
Ireland for almost all my ditzy life, then I moved to Japan, wised up,
and met a lot of new friends."
"Are there trees there?"
"Hmm? Oh, sure. Tons of trees. And then there's the grass. In
Ireland, we've got more kinds of green than Eskimos have kinds of
"Oh, that's right," Terra sighed, "if I want you to understand
anything, I have to avoid cultural references or be ready to explain
By this time, they were atop the highest balcony in the palace. If
there's one thing this lunar castle had, it was huge romantic
balconies, as if the architect had a lot of overly dramatic love
scenes in mind when he or she sketched it all out. This balcony was
different in that it was three times as large and overlooked the
courtyard--more for royal addresses rather than lovey-dovey escapades.
"Tell me about the Earth," Terra requested.
"The Earth?" said Dewdrop with a hint of sorrow and perhaps malice.
"They're a lot of backwater, primitive savages that would just as soon
kill you as talk to you. They have no code of ethics, no scruples.
If they could have conquered this world, they would have done so ages
"Aw, I'm not sure Earth could be THAT bad," the Irish girl said,
trying to laugh it off. Regardless of the time period, she was rather
partial to that particular blue-green world. Even if the current
rulers were punks, surely the rest of the people had some kind of
"I'm afraid she's right," Angel insisted. "They've been linked to
every major unnatural disaster in the solar system for the past four
years. Last week, their ruler was killed by their own people. Now
someone even more infamous has come to power, and rumor has it she's
summoned a demon goddess to serve her will."
'It's the other way around,' a dry, world-weary voice whispered in
The redhead glanced around quickly. "Who said that?"
"Who said what?" Dewdrop asked. "Angel was just telling you about Earth."
Terra held out her hand to let the girls know she wanted quiet. But,
when the voice didn't come back, she decided she must have imagined
it. After all, so much always went through her mind all the time, it
got difficult to distinguish between thought and reality. "Just
thought I heard something," she said. "It was probably nothing.
Anyway, I'd like to meet some of the people around here. In
particular, I'd like to speak with... Queen Serenity, was it? Yes,
"Okay," said Angel, "she has some important meetings today, but it
shouldn't be too big of a deal if we catch her in between sessions."
After a bit of thought, Terra started to understand why Queen
Serenity had seemed so familiar when she woke up this morning. She
had had a long dream after nearly dying from the battle with the
generals at the airport. There was a woman in it that looked a lot
like the Queen, though the details had blurred in her mind as is quite
common with fantastic nightly visions. She recalled embracing the
woman and calling her "mother."
And here she stood, alive and in the flesh.
Terra wracked her mind on how to properly communicate with royalty.
Sure, she looked like this woman's daughter, but if she wanted
straight answers, she'd need to be forthcoming about all this.
"What is it, Terra?" Serenity asked sweetly.
The redhead winced. It was the sort of voice she'd hate to
disappoint in any way. The first thought that came to her mind about
it was the inhibitions against kicking a cute, helpless puppy, but
that analogy felt somewhat lacking. The individual in front of her
was anything but helpless--the tall woman nearly glistened with hidden
power--but a quality about her discouraged the inclination to act
"Hey, I really gotta say, I'm not YOUR Terra," the girl spat out the
words in a rough, forced manner.
The Queen's brilliant smile turned downwards. "Oh my," she
whispered, and put a dismayed hand to her mouth.
Terra froze. "I, uh, DIDN'T mean to say it that way. Sorry." Her
dress suddenly felt several degrees less comfortable than before.
Tugging at her collar, she amended in a hurried voice, "What I meant
to say was that," she stumbled over her words and ran them together
such that they were nearly unintelligible, "I've somehow been
temporally displaced, through mechanisms I have no comprehension
whatsoever--but I don't know where your Terra is--I have nothing to do
with this--only, eh, heh...."
"You are trying to say that you were not playing earlier; that you
really are NOT my adopted daughter Terra?" Serenity tried to clarify.
"Yes," Terra replied firmly.
"Then that begs a question: who ARE you?"
"That's a good question," Terra muttered. "Who am I?"
It was like being under a very bright, hot lamp, in a room that
contained nothing but herself and darkness. Her most basic thoughts
fled from her, apparently rebelling against the intrusion.
Fortunately, Dewdrop chimed in to explain. "She says her name's
Terra Incognita, from a land called Ireland that's somewhere in
Earth's Northern Frozen Wastes."
"You're from Earth?" Serenity asked Terra.
"Am I? Oh y-yeah, I guess I am."
Serenity straightened and took up a formal posture towards her. "I
have just finished with an important meeting. The Terrans have,
through their actions, made their positions very clear. We and what
remains of the Silver Millennium Alliance are at war with Earth."
"I'm not from Earth of the present--I mean, your present," Terra
rallied as she adapted to the woman's force of presence.
"How do you mean?"
"I'm either from your far past or far future. The Moon I know is a
large grey lump of rock with craters in it."
Queen Serenity paused to consider this. "Ah, the Moon has never been
what you describe."
"Even before you colonized it?"
"For all of recorded history, it has been blue with many seas, like it is now."
"Okay, then I must be from your far future." Terra's mind worked on
that. "Unless, of course, I'm from your distant past, in which case,
all of this takes place in the future and the Moon's been terraformed
to suit human life. So, that brings us back to the point that I
really have no idea when I am, so to speak. Say, do you believe in
---End of Chapter 15
And now it's time for... MIND YOUR MANNERS!!! with Sailor Nuke.
(Terra wakes up in the palace bedroom)
Sailor Nuke: Today, we learned that whenever you wake up in an
unfamiliar setting, there's one thing you should always do.
(The redhead runs screaming with Princess Serenity in tow)
Sailor Nuke: WREAK AS MUCH HAVOK AS YOU CAN!!!
(Huggyn and Kyssin make friends with Terra)
Sailor Kawaii: No! We learned that you should act nice to people
always. That way, they give you the information you need--
Sailor Nuke: Yeah, yeah, to make good tactical decisions so you can
know what to blow up later.
Sailor Kawaii: Act cute and you'll find out about things better!
Sailor Kawaii says. Tee-hee!
Sailor Nuke: And always set your charges before they suspect
anything. Then you can shock 'em when they become a problem later.
Sailor Nuke sez. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!
Benjamin A Oliver
benjamin.a.oliver at gmail.com
Technical Writer / Translator
M3 Engineering & Technology
Master of Science in Management Information Systems
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona
Writings: Fan Fiction
Webcomic: Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow!! The Early Years
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