[FFML] [Fanfic][SailorMoon] Phoenician Scape - Chapter 1

Kevin Callahan midn.callahan at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 02:34:48 PST 2008


Disclaimer: Takeuchi Naoko-sensei owns Sailor Moon and all
related properties. I claim no financial interest.

The story has nothing to do with the Australian/Telewision Polski
and its "Spellbinder" series. It is not a crossover, and even the
technology itself holds merely the contrivance of name usage, but
is not at all the same. If you are familiar with that work, you may
safely put it out of your mind, as it has no influence on the
science in Phoenician Scape, let alone the history it expounds on.

____________________________________________________

*Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt*

A hand shot out towards a blinking red light and scrambled
around its periphery.

*Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt*

"Yeah, yeah," growled a hoarse voice as the hand finally reached
its goal and hit the button next to the blinking light. "This is
Teraze."

"Terribly sorry to disturb you, Apprentice, but I am afraid we
have an issue that requires your attention."

Teraze ran her free hand through the hair of the head that
looked up at her from where it rested on her chest. She brought
it up to her lips in the ubiquitous shh symbol.

"Yes, well, you have it. Go ahead," the girl sighed. She and the
other apprentices were SUPPOSED to be on vacation. Her
dalliances were an open secret, but appearances must be
maintained.

"Apprentice... the uh..."

"Out with it, man. Are you frightened of what a 15 year old girl
with a power suit might do to you?"

There was an audible gulp over the circuit. "Yes ma'am, I mean
no, ma'am... I mean... It's the princess, Apprentice. She's...
disappeared."

"Oh bloody hell," Apprentice Teraze snapped. The next in line to
become the Spellbinder of Jupiter sat up in her bed, bringing
its other occupant with her.

"I tried contacting Apprentice Sui, but she did not answer my
hail. Apprentices Amora and Mai are already in the Hall of
Spellbinders."

Teraze sighed and swung her feet out onto the cold marble floor
of her suite. "We're on our way."

"We, ma'am?"

"Apprentice Sui is with me. Now if that is all...?"

"Yes, ma'am."

The circuit closed as Teraze felt Sui's body close around hers.
"I could construct a very believable situation that would allow
us to have approximately ten to fifteen additional minutes,"
Apprentice Sui, the next in line to become the Spellbinder of
Mercury, said in an intentionally monotone, almost Oracle like
voice.

"Tempting, but no," Teraze said sharply. She opened the closet
and pulled out two black power suits, one with green diodes and
cabling, one with blue diodes and cabling. Both power suits had
spaces for symbols in the middle of the chest area, but neither
actually contained any symbols- just an empty circle in the
appropriate color. Teraze turned and handed the blue tinged suit
to Sui, and started slipping into the green tinged one herself.
"If the princess would kindly stop these shenanigans, perhaps we
might actually be able to indulge ourselves... but I wouldn't
count on it."

Sui nodded as she slipped into her own power suit. "The
percentage is very low, indeed."

Teraze stalked over to a low vanity and pulled out an emerald
encrusted hair band and secured her long brown hair into a pony
tail. She handed two blue stud earrings to Sui and deftly added
a pair of rose earrings to her own lobes. She looked in the
mirror and frowned. She wasn't precisely the most... image
concious member of the apprentices, but she could definitely
tell that everyone would know she hadn't showered, and that she
and Sui had been... quite active prior to the Princess's
disappearance. Officially, of course, no one knew anything of
the sort, but reality was what it was. She ran a brush through
her teeth as Sui did the same and hrmphed in nonsatisfaction.

"Ready, my dear?" Teraze asked her lover.

Sui nodded. "I am prepared."

"All right... this is going to be fuuuuun..."

* * * * *

"...and you lot are supposed to be succeeding us if the princess
ever actually becomes queen? I don't think we can trust you to
look after a puppy, let alone the next in line for the bloody
throne," lectured Spellbinder Venus. "There are other
apprentices, you know? Your grades, well, they're not the only
thing this system is built on and-"

The four apprentices were standing at ramrod attention in front
of their mentors. Each spellbinder wore the same power suit as
their apprentices, with black boots and black gloves, and with
the colors of their position: blue for Mercury, red for Mars,
green for Jupiter, and orange for Venus. Except the spellbinders
actually had their planetary symbols in the circles on their
suits's chests. Regular apprentices had a power suit which had
diodes and wires which were black and copper in color.

Spellbinder Venus clashed with her suit. She didn't look very
good in orange. Her skin and hair were dark, and eyes the color
of chocolate. She was the undisputed leader of the spellbinders;
each generation of spellbinders chose amongst themselves who
would speak for them. Teraze very much wanted to be the next
leader, but knew she had an unspoken rivalry going with
Apprentice Mai, the next in line to be Spellbinder Mars.

"Perhaps that is a bit too harsh," said Spellbinder Mars. She
was always the last one to criticise. The heir apparent
apprentices loved Mars. Except for her own heir apparent, of
course. Apprentice Mai was not a big fan of Mars; the girl
thought her mentor thought she went too easy on the other
apparentices. "I mean, the princess is no ordinary girl... and
well..." She leaned in closer to Venus, "Do you remember the
time that Serenity I stole that maintence ship just so she could
fly to the beach? Oh, God, were the Spellbinders ever angry with
us. I thought we were never going to see another power suit
again." She chuckled musically. Mars also did not seem to fit
her persona. Her skin was so light it was almost the color of
plaster, her aqualine eyes reflected some inner tranquility of
unimaginable depths, and her hair so flaxen it shimmered like so
much spun gold. The effect of the red on her suit was equal to
that of an alarm turning a once familiar corridor into a hostile
and foriegn place.

Venus coughed. "Yes, well... That's..." She gave Mars a look.
"Lira... even if... well... we shouldn't let them think that
just because..." She folded her arms and looked at Spellbinders
Mercury and Jupiter. "You two agree, right?"

Spellbinder Mercury played with her bobbed brown hair. "Uh...
Hrm... Y'know, Lira's got a point here. It's not like this is
unusual behavior for this family. 'Ren sure gave us a few
frights now and again, and was it really our fault she was that
stubborn?"

Pulling up a chair at the conference table in the middle of the
Hall of Spellbinders, Jupiter sat down, and shook her head. Her
red hair played over the shoulders of her suit, glinting in the
cold light of the chamber. "This isn't the first time, and it
won't be the last time. As long as we manage to get this
resolved before the Queen returns-"

"-from my visit to the gardens?" asked a steely voice from the
entrance into the Hall.

All eyes immediately turned to the newcomer. "Your Majesty!"
called Venus. "You weren't due back for-"

"Nevermind when I was due back, Spellbinder. Please tell me what
you intended to keep from me," commanded Serenity I, Queen of
the Moon Kingdom and de facto sovereign of the entire Solar
System, outside of the chaos-ridden Earth.

"As you command," said Venus. The use of the nonspecific
Spellbinder meant that the Queen was acting fully as head of
state, and the history of their adolescence together was to be
disregarded. "Our apprentices have allowed your daughter to go
off on her own without protection. We were just in the middle of
severely punishing them."

The tiniest hint of a smirk appeared at the edges of Serenity's
visage. "I see," she said, letting her hand trail around the
conference table as she headed for the group of spellbinders and
their apprentices. "Spellbinders, have you made it clear to
these... children that their sole purpose in life is to make
sure that the heir to the throne is safe?"

"If it is not already, it will become clear to them after
today," Venus promised, crossing a fisted arm across her chest
and bowing. "I give my word, Your Majesty."

Serenity pulled her hand off the table and back to her side.
"Good." She turned and started for the archway, but paused and
looked over her shoulder, "Oh, and those two," she pointed to
Teraze and Sui, "are to do their utmost never to show up in
uniform reeking of how much they fucked the night before, or I
will personally strip them of their apprenticeships and assign
them to a garbage scow where no one will be able to tell the
difference." She continued through the archway and slammed the
Hall's doors behind her.

The four spellbinders stared at Teraze and Sui.

"Awww.... shit," Teraze murmurred.

* * * * *

Steam rose from the bath as Teraze's mouth burbled at its
surface. Sui was expertly messaging the brunette's knotted
shoulders. "Do not be too depressed, it could have been much
worse," she was saying. "At least we now know the Queen does not
object to our relationship."

Teraze rose slightly out of the bath in order to speak. "She
just objects to us smelling like sex- ooh... uh... Oh, yeah,
right there. Thanks, hon."

"Well, you must admit, showing up when it was obvious to an
astute observer, such as the Queen, that we had been
participating in homosexual fornication was probably not a well
thought out idea," Sui said, lowering her hands to knead the
small of Teraze's back.

"'Homosexual fornication'? Do you have to say it like that?"
Teraze said. She loved the little bookworm, loved screwing her
senseless even more, but sometimes...

"Would you have rather I said it was obvious we spent the night
munching carpet?" Sui said with a slight tinge of humour in her
tone. A tinge only really clear to those, like Teraze, that
really knew her.

Teraze leaned her head back to look up at Sui. "I'll munch yer
carpet."

"Please do," came the response.

* * * * *

Prince Endymion, heir to about seventy percent of the planet
Earth, rolled over and stared up at the ceiling. A hand wrapped
around his right arm, and its owner pulled herself close. "The
apprentices are going to be pissed when they find out where I
am."

Endymion smiled, "Rena, I think I can handle the apprentices.
And the spellbinders. It's your MOTHER I am worried about. She
has a mighty bad temper."

Serenity II, Rena to her friends... well... she guessed the
apprentices counted as friends... walked her fingers along
Endymion's stomach. "Oh... I think we'll be fine. So when did
you decide you wanted me?"

He stroked her hair. "Hrm... Probably four or five years ago, at
that ball for all the heads of state in the solar system. I saw
you and could think of nothing else but making you mine. Back
before your mother took control of the other planets and my
father took control of most of Earth. Used to be a lot more
monarchies, am I right?"

Rena nodded. She didn't really like political stuff. She raised
her head. "Wait, four or five years ago? I would have been what,
like nine or ten? And you knew then you wanted me..." she looked
around the bed for emphasis, "...like this?"

An eyebrow rose. "Well, I am not sure how much like this my
thoughts were, but did I have an adolescent sexual interest in
you, even at nine or ten? Well, yes, but you and I... you're the
princess of the moon and I am the prince of... well.. most of
the earth. We were bound to end up together, and I knew that. So
if I am going to spend my life having sex with you, is there a
problem with how early it starts? Nine or ninety, it's you I am
interested in. I admittedly think it took too long."

The girl blinked. "You would have had sex with me at nine years
old? I am not sure if I should be flattered or disturbed."

Endymion got up and mixed himself a very strong drink.
"Disturbed. Definitely, disturbed."

* * * * *

Apprentice Amora, next in line to be Spellbinder of Venus,
pushed her blonde hair out of the way as she dug through her
backpack. "I still don't understand why Mai is piloting," she
whined. She pulled out a sandwich and started munching. "I
mean... oomf... any one of us is... uhmph... just as good...
ahmf... as her."

Mai swiveled around in the command chair of the small bridge.
"It's because you three are incompetent fools. How you ever
became apprentices, much less heirs, I just... I told you we
should have checked on Rena throughout the weekend. But nooo...
You," she looked at Amora, "were too busy hitting up Consulate
Row for dates." She swiveled the other direction to look at
Teraze and Sui, "And we all know what you two were doing. You
ought to be ashamed. I mean the fact you two are homosexuals is
bad enough, but really, each other? You have to be breaking some
kind of fraternization regulation. And anyhow, it just isn't...
*natural*" She swiveled back to face the front of the bridge,
where she peered out of the large landscape window to the
airfield outside. She pulled out the transmitter attached to the
communications console. "Palace, this is Redoubt, requesting
permission to launch."

"Redoubt, this is Palace, you have permission to launch,
Apprentice," came the response.

Mai hung the transmitter back on the console. "Is everyone
appropriately secured?" she asked her colleagues. A positive,
yet none too enthusiastic answer was issued from the back of the
bridge. "Very well, prepare to launch." She ran the inside of
her arms across each other to charge her suit controllers and
then placed them into control interfaces to be found on either
side of the command chair. "Launching." The spacecraft came to
life as her arms manuevered in familiar patterns, wobbling
gently as its vertical take off and landing rockets fired. Mai
settled deeper into the command chair as Redoubt picked up
speed.

It really wasn't a great warship. In fact, the vessel was a
personal shuttle, but the Navy did like its names. Technically
the apprentices held commissions- well, more like warrants
really- in the Royal Navy. They were never refered to by any
particular rank other than Apprentice, but in most situations
they were likely the equivalents of senior grade lieutenants or
perhaps lieutenant commanders. Enough rank that Amora was quite
right; they had all been trained to command vessels, much less
pilot shuttles. In a time of war, the Apprentices would command
their fellows in the defense of the capitol, an infantry
command, assuming princess had not yet taken the throne- as
Spellbinders, they would lead armadas.

The shuttle landed not that long after it had launched.
Honestly, the apprentices could have take a car, or even walked,
but this was a statement, a political embellishment. A way of
saying, in no uncertain terms, that someone was very, very
unhappy.

After getting permission from the appropriate authorities-
afterall, this was technically Earth territory, not Lunar- Mai
settled the ship on the top of a tower as an entourage came out
to meet them. The apprentices unbuckled as soon as Mai had
released her arms from the control interfaces. Amora was the
first out, followed by Sui, Teraze, and Mai.

The leader of the entourage wore a grey military uniform with a
choker neck and gold buttons. Two stars sparkled at his neck and
anchors crossed behind a reproduction of the earth were placed
on a broach above his heart. Underneath were numerous ribbons
and decorations. He bowed and rose slowly, his eyes the color of
a stormy sea, and the color of his hair glinting in the sunlight
like his stars and medals. "Apprentices, what an unexpected, but
not unwelcome surprise. Please do come in. On such short notice,
I am not sure what entertainment we can prov-"

Teraze stepped forward, waving a head to cut him off. "Cut the
crap, Admiral Jadeite. No offense to your rank or your station,
but: is she here?" The other Apprentices added glares of their
own. Even Mai, who normally would be shocked at such discourtesy
to one of Earth's joint chiefs of staff. Even if they were, rank
wise, far below him, he was one of the Shitennou, the
counterparts to the Spellbinders/Apprentices, tasked not only
with defending the king, but also of defending the young prince
of Earth, Endymion. He would understand their urgency in
locating- and retrieving- their charge.

The sailors behind him bristled, but he forstalled them with a
hand. "Uncouth, Apprentice of Jupiter... Teraze is it? But,
clearly a sentiment I understand." He sighed. "Yes, your
princess is here. She is with Master Endymion in his chambers...
discussing... er... matters of international relations."

"Uhuh," Teraze said. Relations there no doubt were, but they
would not have been of the diplomatic kind. "Admiral, please see
to it the princess is informed her mother is quite agitated,
that her retainers are on probation... and her friends are
really, really annoyed with her."

"Done." He flicked a look at one of the sailors behind him, who
immediately turned and headed away from the platform. "Now,
Apprentices, please follow me. As I was saying, I am not sure
how much entertainment we can provide..."

* * * * *

King Apollo of the Federated Prinicipalites of Earth scribbled
furiously at his desk. The campaign in the west was not going
well. Oh, he would win, but it would be costly, and take quite a
few more- The King looked up as a knock came on his study door.
"Yes, yes, come in," he bellowed. The door creaked open and
inside stepped a man in a dark blue uniform, the gold stars
shone on his neck, and above his own rows of medals was an Earth
with crossed knives.

He bowed formally, "Your Majesty." His white hair was odd in
combination to his relative youth, and his eyes were the color
of steel.

"Kunzite, what can I do for you," asked the King of his
intelligence chief. Of the Shitennou, Kunzite was the most
feared. Outside of areas controlled by the Principalities, he
was regarded as a demon who could take over people's minds,
turning them into spies who would then assassinate their own
leaders. Inside of the Principalities, his reputation was far
less superstitious and much more concrete: a ruthless killer who
would do anything for King and Country, most of it very probably
illegal by the King's own federal constitituon. In some parts of
Alderstag, capital of the Principalities, there were those who
refused to even speak his name, too afraid of disppearing into
the night.

"It's your... Prime Minister," he almost spat the words, as if
they were bile he had to quickly dislodge from his throat. "I am
even more convinced that she is planning something than when I
first asked you to allow me to monitor her." At the King's flick
of his hand, Kunzite took a seat in front of the King's desk.
"Nothing she has said or done is overt but... I have a feeling."

Apollo set his papers aside and looked at his intelligence
chief. Technically, the Chairman this time around belonged to
the Army, and not Central Intelligence, so it would have gone
through General Zoisite, but the King was more than aware that
Kunzite had come to him very much as a friend more than just the
leader of one of his military branches. "Evidence, Kunzite. I
need evidence." The King stood up and walked over to his liquor
cabinet. He took out one of the bottles and held it out towards
the top spy, but Kunzite refused, as he always did. The King
shrugged and poured himself three fingers and then leaned
against the nearby buffet. "Do you know why I have been so
successful in my campaigns? Because of democracy! Because all
these petty kings and princes and sultans and sheiks and
emperors have spent centuries driving their own populations into
the dirt. So? Give the people what they want, I say. Give them a
voice, and then  pretend to listen. The constitution protects
the right of my dynasty to rule, the control of the armed
forces. Parliament is so much window dressing, but I am quite
content to let them go through their social engineering if it
makes my people happier and healthier, and by association makes
me look like a combination of military genuis and benevolent
ruler.

"You know what to do if any particular faction becomes too much
of a threat..."

Kunzite nodded. "Yes, I do."

The King drained his glass and put it down the desk with a hard
clack. "When Lady Beryl reveals herself," the King said slowly
as he sat down in his desk chair once more and folded his hands
beneath his chin, "take her out."

* * * * *

"...and so really, I have an odd job. I am in command of both
our water and space navies. And let me tell you, the two have
pretty much nothing to do with each other," the admiral
explained as he took a sip of his wine. He and the Apprentices
sat around a table in the main dining area of the Earth Embassy,
by far the largest and most ornate of the embassies on what had
come to be known as Consulate Row, although with each passing
year, less and less consulates actually were open, as both the
Queen of the Moon Kingdom and the Principalities absorbed their
neighbors.

Apprentice Amora took a bite of cake and waved her fork around
most impolitely, "But wait, wouldn't it make more sense to have
General Nephrite control your assets in space then?"

Jadeite set the wine glass down. "Our esteemed Chief of Staff of
the Air Force would most likely agree with you, but only out of
a sense of interagency empire building, Apprentice Venus," the
admiral answered, using his technically incorrect habit of
addressing the Apprentices in the same manner he would the
Spellbinders.  The Apprentices were far from upset by his habit.
"However, once a fleet is actually put in place, the command
dynamics needed are far more naval in structure. The air force
model might well make sense if space where built such that we
had strategic air bases that would launch fighters at each other
like on land but... you are naval officers yourselves, and your
mentors are commodores commanding far more ships than I have
under my command for now. You should well know that celestial
objects simply aren't close enough together for that kind of
structure to make any sense. What you need in space is roving
armadas, and that requires a navy."

Sui cocked her head. "Excuse me, Admiral, but there is one
question here that I need answered: why does your nation insist
on having an air force at all? Would it not simply be easier to
anhiliate enemy territories from space? You already control the
majority of the planet. It does not appear to be very efficient
to launch targeted air strikes against opponents you can merely
destroy completely from orbit."

The admiral fumbled, almost spilling his wine glass but managing
to catch it in time and set it further inland on the table. The
face he turned to Sui looked rather ashen. "Apprentice Mercury,
that is... Not how we Do Things." He coughed. "While it is no
secret that we are interested in uniting the entire planet under
a common flag, the Principalities human rights record is
legendary. What you suggest, bombarding the planet from orbit...
Well, it's cruel, and a damn sight unnecessary. Most of the
people in those nations are not our enemies. They want to join
us. It is their governments that must be taken out. Our orbiting
weapons simply aren't capable of the kind of precision our
aircraft are. Not to mention the devastation it would wreak on
capital we need once we control the area."

Apprentice Sui nodded and took a sip of her own wine. "Your
political and economic goals would not be maintained if such
force were applied. That makes sense."

"Well, yes," the Admiral agreed, "but the moral implications-"
he caught the glance of Teraze shaking her head. He coughed
again. "Yes, well, anyhow, perhaps I should go check to see if
Master Endymion and the Princess are up."

"No need," Endymion said as he strolled in with Rena at his arm.
"We're up, and have been for quite some time."

The Admiral moved to stand, and the Apprentices as well, but the
couple waved them off. "Let's not stand on ceremony right now,"
Rena said tiredly, "it's far too early for that nonsense... Mai,
hand me that orange if you would." Mai frowned but passed over
the fruit. "So, what did you guys need to talk about?" the
blonde princess asked as she took a seat at the table, and
Endymion sat down next to her.

"Your mother is going to fucking own your ass," Teraze said
bluntly. "And ours along with it unless we get you back to the
palace. And as for him," she jerked a thumb unceremoniously at
Endymion, "he should hope he doesn't end up starting an
international incident."

Jadeite frowned. "I uh... have some deployment schedules to look
over. If I may be excused, Master Endymion, then we can well say
I left... oh, about two minutes ago, and heard nothing from
Apprentice Jupiter's mouth."

"Too right, Jadeite. You may go."

"Then I shall take my leave... and I will see to it that the
staff is busy at the other side of the embassy." He bowed and
walked out of the room.

Rena watched him go, and when he had shut to door behind him,
turned back to her friends, as they were clearly acting as
themselves, and not their roles, no matter what their various
attire may have indidcated. "Teraze, you are just upset because
my lovemaking interupted *yours*." Teraze glared, Amora
guffawed, Mai looked embarrassed, and Sui had no expression at
all. "You all knew full well I would come here, and so did
Mama... but I bet you caught hell with the Spellbinders... and I
bet Mama scared you shitless, girls... So, I apologise. For what
it's worth. You know what they say, better to ask for
forgiveness than get permission."

"Permission you would never have received," Mai said without
humour. "Your mother will undoubtedy want to work out the
arragements of your bethrothal before agreeing. No offense to
His Majesty, but there are a few nations we were rather good
friends with before the Prinicipalities started attacking them.
There's still a lot of anger directed at the Principalities."

"One could say the same of our view of how the Moon Kingdom
acquired the far planets, Mai, and you know it. Let's face it,
even the populations, hell, the apprentices from the far planets
aren't very pleased with Serenity right now. Why do you think
there has been no move yet to appoint Spellbinders from those
planets," said Endymion immediately holding up a hand. "Look,
let's be honest here. The Principalities will control the entire
planet in no more than a few years, and the Moon Kingdom will
control all the other planets. That leaves, well, nothing
between us. If Rena and I don't marry, that will inevitably
bring us into conflict. Together, of course, we can unite into a
human empire. Honestly, nothing else makes sense. Not with these
few actors."

Rena finished her orange and set the peels down. "Guess we
better go talk to Mama."

* * * * *
-- 
Very Respectfully,
Kevin M. Callahan

"It takes strength to be gentle and kind." - The Smiths, "I Know It's Over"

http://www.kickmagnet.com - Violently Attractive Design


More information about the ffml mailing list