[FFML] [Sailor Moon] Double Exposure 7 [Dark/Comedy]

Paul Durant 031537 at comcast.net
Sun Jan 6 15:03:28 PST 2008


   Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Takeuchi, and the DARK.MATTER
setting was written by Wolfgang Baur and Monte Cook. I own neither of
these things, and expect that if either of those last two people
Google their own names they are going to be incredibly confused.



* * * * *



   The man in black smiled, narrow, malicious. There were police
officers nearby so he couldn't let them see ALL of his teeth, but he
got the message across all the same. "Well, if it isn't Itohiro
Nakami! We didn't expect to find you here, judging by your history.
The Director of the Hoffmann Institute... I wonder if should buy a
lottery ticket!"


   Nakami sneered, and the man in black knew that the expression he
saw wasn't his real face, that it was an illusion. "So who sent you,
G-Man? Is it the CXS? Bildebergs? Are you working for the Ahotti?"


   The man in black nodded toward the officers emerging from the guest
room, and Nakami, Nadine, and Philip turned around to see what he was
indicating. The three agents were bound at the wrists, two with
handcuffs and one with a plastic tie. Nakami, of course, was wearing
the same clothing he always wore, a rumpled and creased white shirt
and slacks and a red tie with a coffee ring on it. Philip and Nadine
were in over-large blue jeans, Phil wore a large button-up flannel
shirt that had seen better days and Nadine had an oversize T-shirt
that had a bald eagle holding an M16 and the words "DON'T MESS WITH
THE U.S."


   Three of Tokyo's finest -- as the saying goes, though in a city
where magic princesses fight monsters it may not be as applicable --
had emerged from the room the Hoffmann agents had hoped to use as
lodgings, one of them holding an M16 assault rifle, one holding a
Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, and one holding two Ziploc bags filled with
mixed calibers of ammunition. The three agents turned back, faces
reddening in embarrassment and rage, and the man in black threw back
his head and laughed. "You know, Nakami-chan, for someone who purports
to be from this country you could sure stand to learn a lot about its
gun laws! With such a good reason for the Tokyo police to come after
you, I don't know why you would think I'd need to be motivated by any
third party..."


   He leaned in close to what he saw as Nakami's face, then after a
couple seconds lowered his gaze a few more inches to stare into where
the Fraal's eyes would actually be located, and continued in a voice
only Nakami could hear, "...especially when I have so very, very many
reasons that are entirely my own." He lowered his sunglasses so only
Nakami could see the milky white orbs beneath them, hissed, then
pulled them back on and stood upright once more.


   Philip looked like he wanted to punch the man in black in the face,
but his hands were cuffed behind him and he doubted he could kick
higher than his waist. "You can't arrest me," he said angrily, "I'm an
American citizen, I demand to be taken to the embassy!" He knew it
wouldn't matter, and he'd be no better off there than in Japanese
prison, but he wanted to feel like he was doing something.


   "Agent Statler-san," said the policeman holding the M16 once the
outburst was over. "We've found some of the contraband you predicted,
but there are two pistols still unaccounted for." He nodded back at
the guest room. "We found some other materials as well -- what looks
like laboratory equipment, a great deal of paper notes, and a large
number of lamps. Should we call for a haz-mat team, do you think
they're...?"


   Statler looked off to the side and chuckled. "Oh yeah, the lamps
were a great idea. Because, you know, nobody could just come out
twenty feet away and open the unlocked, paper door that doesn't have
any guards on it. My God, you people are stupid." The policeman
started to open his mouth and Statler waved his hand. "No, no, no,
it's okay. Nothing wrong with that stuff, and it's not our problem
anyway. In fact..." He stroked his chin. "In fact I think we can leave
it here. We don't want to make a scene, do we? I know where the rest
of the cache is and I'll be arresting them momentarily. Putting up
police tape and those little numbers by all the objects will just draw
totally unnecessary attention."


   The officer looked perplexed. "...Sir? We only use the little
numbers at a murder, and it's highly irregular not to take all the
evidence from a crime scene..."


   Statler extended a gloved hand into the officer's face and snapped
it as if he was trying to get a child's attention. "I am in command of
this operation, aren't I?" Statler waited a couple seconds, staring at
the officer until he realized he was supposed to nod. "And I am the
one working for the FBI, right?" He nodded again. "And if it's my
experienced FBI counterterrorism anti-smuggling opinion that we leave
the stuff here just like we found it, what are you going to do,
Minori-chan?"


   The Hoffmann agents wondered what the hell kind of trap he was
setting if he already knew where all of them were. Officer Minori
looked uncertain for a few moments, then said "I'll... leave the stuff
here just like we found it?"


   "That's right, Minori-chan!" said Statler in the voice one usually
reserves for telling children it's great that they used the potty.
"Because if you didn't, that would mean you're making waves! And what
do I hate, Minori-chan?"


   Nadine put on an expression of mock befuddlement. "Could it be...
people who make waves, sensei?"


   Statler laughed like a seal barks. "Ha! You're a real funny one,
Nadine-chan. Your life has always been useless and in a week when the
police beat all of you to death with hoses not one single person on
this Earth will remember anything you did. Wocka-wocka!" He threw out
his hands like he was ending a tap routine and held a phony smile for
a few moments, enough to let the mockery sink in, then returned to a
normal standing position. "Now if all of you will excuse me, I've got
to make sure your littlest felon comes along as quietly as you." He
began to walk off, then spied the elderly shrinekeeper transfixed with
shock at the fact the police were here arresting people. He was
holding an orange he must have been planning to use to make lunch
with, and Statler snatched it out of the old man's hand with a
flourish and disappeared behind a corner.


   "You can't do this to us!" Nadine screamed as the policemen started
to lead them down to the squad car. "We know our rights!"


   Phil would have palmed his face if his hands were free. "No we
don't, Nadine. We're in Japan, as far as I can tell we don't have any
rights!"


   "The American Miranda law does not apply here," said Officer Minori
in a voice as patient as he could make it sound. "but though you do
not have a right to counsel you do have a right to silence. Please
exercise it."


   "This is all your fault, Nakami," said Phil heedless of the
officer's request. "I thought you were supposed to have friends in
high places! Allies! You could... CONVINCE people to DO things!"


   "And I WOULD," growled Nakami, "if not for the fact that I've been
awake for twenty-nine hours straight and if I don't get a shot of
something soon I'm going to pass out and that'll cause a major LOSS of
FACE!"


   "Hey!" shouted the officer pushing Nakami. "No more talking in
code! You don't have a right to talk in code!"


   "Don't tell me what not to say!" yelled Nakami as they pushed him
into the car, becoming more and more frenzied and panicked. "Do you
have any idea who I am? I'll have your badge for this! I'll have all
your badges! If your dogs have badges, I'll have -- OW!"


   A half-eaten orange bounced off Nakami's head and rolled underneath
the car.


* * * SAILOR.MOON: DOUBLE EXPOSURE


CHAPTER 7: DOUBLE JEOPARDY * * *


JUUBAN DISTRICT, OUTSIDE CROWN GAME CENTER
TOKYO, JAPAN MONDAY FEBRUARY 21, 1995 1:33 PM


   "So you go to HELL, tux-boy! You don't know ME, you don't know what
I DO, you don't know what I AM, you don't know shit about shit! Having
nicer clothes and more money doesn't make you better than me! It
doesn't make you SHIT! You just come on in here and think because you
got goddamn roses and lasers that makes you some kind of rock star..."


   Tuxedo Kamen took off his mask and rubbed his eyes. Sailor Moon's
arm didn't hurt any more, because it was completely asleep. The daimon
had only really been talking for two or three minutes, but that felt
like an eternity when your arm's in a hammerlock being maintained by a
screechy daimon who's trying to convince you you're no better than it.
About seven or eight meters away, on opposite sides of the street,
Mars and Mercury stood with their hands trained on the daimon's head,
attacks at the ready for the instant Moon got out of the hold. Venus
was maybe five more meters past them; she'd helped the dark-haired
woman off the sidewalk and now appeared to be conferring with the two
foreigners on the tactical situation, and how to incorporate them into
the Senshi's battle plan.


   "So, you people look like you do this often," said Donna as she
worked her shoulders around, "is everything in Tokyo this stupid?"


   Venus wanted to correct her about the seriousness of the situation,
about the stakes they were dealing with, but in good conscience she
couldn't say anything other than "...Yeah. Yeah, it is. So you're the
ones who found Sailor Saturn, I assume?"


   Donna arched an eyebrow. "That depends. Do you want to kill her?"


   "Donna," said Bill with a roll of his eyes, "if she does you just
told her anyway."


   "You met Uranus and Neptune, I take it," said Venus. "We don't want
to hurt Saturn. She's our friend, and we've been very worried about
her. She hasn't been hurt, has she?"


   "No!" said Donna, disproportionately insulted.


   "Yes, she has," said Bill at almost the same time. He looked at
Donna's expression and hastily added, "Not by us, though! She was in a
fight with a few of those daimon-things. And then she got shot a
couple times by a shadow guy."


   "And you know you people have like bulletproof armor and magic
healing powers! She's fine now!" Donna looked from side to side, then
pensively added, "Uh, by 'you people' I mean, like planet-sailors, not
'Japanese people.'"


   Venus sighed and scoffed at the same time, no easy feat. "Yes, I
know that you don't think Japanese people all have magic powers. I'm
just happy that she's okay and that you don't want to use her to end
the world. We've had some of that lately."


   "...The hell?" Bill looked behind them at a manhole cover in the
middle of the street that appeared to have come loose in the middle of
their conversation and was now forming a crescent-moon shape over the
dark shaft it was supposed to seal. He held out two fingers to Venus
and held up his gun with his other hand as he walked away from them to
investigate. "Hang on, I think there might be another MOTHERFU--"


   The manhole cover twirled upward like a flipped coin and from the
pit there came a shape, white and glistening and sharp, that hit Bill
in the chest like a concrete block dropped from an overpass. He fell
backwards to the ground, gun knocked out of his reach, and his hands
were engaged in batting away the frenzied attacks of the saurian
creature. It was something like a small dinosaur, with webbed feet
planted on Bill's stomach, three-fingered hands wrapped around a short
hand-axe it was trying to bury into his head, skin of ivory scales,
and a head featuring a wide, bony crest, bright blue-green eyes, and a
wide mouth filled with serrated teeth. They poured out of the open
manhole with preternatural speed, clutching axes, spears and swords
that looked to be made of scavenged car parts and garden tools,
hissing menacingly.


   "Daimons! AMBUSH!" shouted Venus, pointing her index and middle
fingers outward and making a split-second decision to determine which
was the priority target.


   "Kinori! AMBUSH!" shouted Donna in English at the same moment,
spreading her legs into a firing stance and aiming for the head of the
lizard perched on Bill.


   "No! No, you get back the hell in there!" screamed U-Kigumoko. "You
wait for the signal and I did not give the signal yet! I don't need
your help for any of this!" She let go of one of Moon's arms so she
could point at the pack of lizards as they fanned out. "So you get
your little gay-ass spears and you get back in that hole and don't
come out until you're telling the Master how I -- OW!" Moon, one of
her arms now freed, threw an elbow into the daimon's nose. The impact
wasn't that hard but it was unexpected, and the daimon let go of her
other arm to grab at her face. "You bitch, that HURT!"


   Moon took a few steps and turned around, rubbing her numb wrist,
then realized the daimon was still standing on the Moon Rod. There
were six of the white lizards around the manhole now, and a seventh
that looked like them save that his scales were ebony-black. The black
scaled one shouted back to the daimon, and its speech was closer to a
dog barking than a snake hissing. "Silence, egg! Surface-dwellers are
to perish, not to talk to! You take too long! KILL THEM!"


   And then everything was in motion. The lizard-things ran outward,
their gate clumsy and waddling but their pace fast enough to
compensate; two went for Venus, two went for Donna, one was already on
top of Bill, and the last made for Mars. The blackscale walked toward
Sailor Moon, his gait much smoother and more assured, and he appeared
unarmed but Moon couldn't see what he had strapped to his back. Donna
squeezed off one pot shot at the creature pinning her companion before
the other two kinori closed in, but it ricocheted harmlessly off the
crest on its head. She shifted her aim and started firing at the
creatures closing in on her, alternating her shots between the two of
them. Each hit caused them to flinch while broken scales flew off
them, but they weren't slowed enough to create any kind of comfortable
gap.


   Venus held out both hands at the creatures advancing on her and
braced her knees, even though she knew she didn't have recoil to deal
with the motion was instinctual. "Double Crescent Beam!" she shouted,
and the fingertips of both hands erupted with light. The yellow beam
from her left hand went clear over its target's head, but the right
beam caught its target square in the chest. Its bright aquamarine eyes
went wide with shock and it reeled backwards as if it had been
kicked... but not as if it had been shot, and as the left creature
reached her with its spear, the right one shook off the impact and
started running for Mercury.


   Mars fired off a Burning Mandala and tried to spread it to hit more
than one of them, to little success. She missed the ones on Donna and
nearly scorched her in the process, the black one seemed to ignore the
attack, and the white one running for her reeled, its skin crackled,
but it did not fall. It started to advance once more and then shrieked
in pain, clutching at an eye that now had a long-stemmed rose
protruding from it.


   Mercury attacked the daimon now that she no longer had her human
shield, but of course the daimon sidestepped her Shine Aqua Illusion
and snorted derisively at the effort. She wished she could do some
kind of predictive tracking or analyze any weaknesses the daimon had,
but her visor was giving her nothing but static. There was some kind
of massive electromagnetic disturbance in the area, perhaps part of
the ambush was a device to disable her visor. It hadn't been working
since the daimon appeared, but nothing about U-Kigumoko seemed all
that magnetic. But then again when she slapped Mercury aside like a
wimpy American football linesman, the visor shorted out altogether, so
maybe that was it. As Mercury fell backwards, she saw the daimon slap
aside a kinori that appeared to have been charging her from behind, it
reacted to the betrayal with an inarticulate yelp.


   Moon grabbed at the Rod that had been knocked to the ground, her
arm experiencing that tingly pins-and-needles sensation as feeling
returned to it. The blackscale advanced on her, heedless of the bedlam
going on around it, and performed something that must have been a
smile for a species with no lips. "No more games for Surface-Queen!
Now you get to play death!"


   Venus ducked backwards to avoid a spear thrust that would have
given her a new eye socket, then momentarily abandoned the possibility
of attack to concentrate on avoiding the lightning-fast flurry of
thrusts and swings it was sending at her. With no weapon of her own to
parry, she ducked, jumped, sidestepped, spun, flipped, each time
barely avoiding the weapon's deadly point. It was an inelegant,
frenzied dance, but it was a dance that kept her alive. Over the crest
of the kinori's head she saw Donna faring no better, she'd broken into
a full run as one of the creatures chased her, she was screaming
either in pain or terror. The one on top of Bill looked like it was
trying to gnaw off his hand, at least until the back of its head
exploded and Bill pulled a blood-soaked hand clutching a blood-soaked
gun out of the creature's mouth. The corpse fell to the street like a
bag of cement, showing no indication it would disappear in a puff and
revert back to whatever it was made of.


   U-Kigumoko reached the streetlight pole she was running toward,
clapped and rubbed her palms together, then jumped. She kicked off of
the wall behind the pole, kicked the pole as she reached the apogee of
her arc, kicked the wall again to rise even further, and smacked the
back of her head against the light pole with a reverberating 'WHONG'.
She fell to the sidewalk, snapped her head around to see if anyone saw
that, then muttered "Tell me I take too long, don't need your goddamn
help, think I can't take care of these idiots by myself..." as she
cupped her hands around the pole and 'walked' up the surface to get to
the rooftop of the adjacent building.


   Moon rose from the ground with the Rod clutched uneasily in her
hand, took a deep breath, closed one eye, and nailed the blackscale
right between the eyes with a Moon Spiral Heart Attack. He laughed, a
horridly forced noise, and didn't seem to react to the attack in any
other way. "Magics can't work on me, Surface-Queen! We bathe in your
font of magic every day -- can't hurt us, now! Your weapons, though,
your weapons very good at killing your kind!" His clawed hands reached
for the object he had strapped to his back and returned with an old
lever-action shotgun.


   "Take heart, Sailor Senshi... and others!" shouted Tuxedo Kamen
with a quick glance at the man with the bloody Magnum and the woman
screaming a string of obscenities as a monster chased her around in
narrow circles in the middle of the street. "Don't give up, and you
can defeat this foe!" He reached into his jacket and threw another
rose at the blackscale that pulled a gun on Sailor Moon; his hand
darted from the barrel and snatched the rose out of the air like he
knew it was coming. Tuxedo Kamen grimaced and reached for another
rose, and that's when U-Kigumoko shoulder-tackled him to floor.


   Bill's face was now a scowl that could curdle milk at ten paces,
blood oozing from puncture marks on his right arm, seeping downward to
mix with the slightly darker blood of the kinori, running in thin
rivers over his knuckles, dripping off the tip of his gun. He stomped
toward Donna and her lizard attacker; she remembered reading in a
dentist's office that if an alligator was chasing you the trick was to
run in a circle because they don't corner well and apparently that
applied to kinori too. "That is IT!" Bill shouted, "I have HAD IT with
your bullshit, Tokyo!" The kinori turned toward him just as he grabbed
the crest on the back of it head and yanked it toward him, shoving the
barrel of his gun into the creature's eye. He pulled the trigger once,
then again, then again, becoming more and more frustrated each time
when the only thing that came out was a clicking noise. More disgusted
than afraid at the fact he was holding onto the head of a creature
that meant to kill him with an axe, he shouted "Goddamned blood got
the bullets wet!" to nobody in particular, right before the kinori's
wild defensive swing embedded the axe-blade deep enough into his thigh
to touch bone.


   The one with the rose in its eye flailed about on the ground, limbs
and tail twitching like a lizard epileptic as he swatted at the flower
poking out of his skull, the thorns leaving it unable to pull the rose
out without painfully shredding his eye tissue. Mars windmilled her
arm around, tracing out another ring of fire with her fingertip,
hissing "Burningmandaaa..." through her gritted teeth but not
finishing the attack, leaving the hoop of flame to hang in the air for
a few seconds as a spear-wielding kinori closed the distance between
them. Just half a second before it leapt through and skewer her she
bellowed the last syllable of the invocation and blasted the creature
with all eight spheres of flame at the same time, each of them making
a satisfying WHUD as they connected. It staggered backward with each
impact and by the sixth the kinori completely lost his balance and
fell to the ground, where Sailor Mars began to stomp on its prone
form, flames licking at her calves.


   The rooftop had been covered in gravel, and it crunched and
crackled as Tuxedo Kamen fell against it. His jacket was scuffed and
torn, his hat rolled away in the breeze like a lazy tumbleweed, his
white mask cracked, bent, flew from his face and twirled to the ground
like a maple seed. U-Kigumoko had one hand on his throat, sitting on
his chest and pinning his arms with her knees, and with her other hand
was punching him in the face repeatedly, he felt the tiny stones
digging into the back of his head every time she did. "Do you have any
idea what you SOUND LIKE?" she howled, punctuated by the noises of
flesh colliding with flesh and stones rubbing against stones. "You
show up dressed like you think you're Sean Goddamned Connery, throwing
ROSES around, and you're like," she curled her lip to bare her teeth,
seemingly heedless of Tuxedo Kamen's efforts to work his arm free from
under her leg, "'Derr, look at me and my fancy suit! I think I'll
babble on about love and purity for a while! Hurfa durfa durfa doo!
Don't run away girls, I will throw a daff-oh-dill at the -- eyahme
--'" The daimon looked down to see that Kamen had worked his arm free
and grabbed the side of her face, two fingers hooked into her cheek
and one right at the edge of her nostril. "Ah, oo heece oh hit," she
said around his gloved hand, then he yanked downward and brought the
side of her head into the gravel.


   "Many subjects, huh, Surface-Queen?" said the blackscale kinori. He
held his elbow over the shotgun, pointed it at Sailor Mercury right as
she rose to her feet, and pulled the trigger. Stinging lead pellets
struck her all over her torso, arm, and thigh, though her reflexive
movement to cover her face left it mostly unharmed. With a strangled
squeal that didn't have the energy to be a scream, she fell once more
to the sidewalk. "Perhaps if you were a better queen, they'd be loyal
to you too, yes?" He worked the lever-action, ejected the spent shell,
and brought the barrel underneath his wide mouth and Moon heard air
hiss out of it, though he didn't have any lips he was clearly blowing
the smoke off the barrel. "Leave your gate-keeper all alone to watch
us, in our hatchery? Gate-keeper saw enough to know she liked kinori
more than surface-dwellers!"


   There was only one person the 'Gate-keeper' could be. "That's a
lie!" shouted Moon. "Sailor Pluto could never hurt any of us. She's
being controlled by something evil -- and so are you!" She took a step
backwards, hands shaking around the Moon Rod. "Whatever it is it told
you you're doing, it wants you to end the world!"


   "The Master wants to end YOUR world, Surface-Queen! And in that we
are of total agreement!" Another burst of flame erupted from Mars,
struck the blackscale in the back. The flames curled and licked around
him but had no ill effect, and without turning around he put the
shotgun on his shoulder and fired back at where the attack had come
from. Moon saw he grazed Mars, but most of the pellets hit the
creature running up behind her. "Stupid humans, stupid Greys in
control too long! Kinori too afraid to change things -- Master 90 show
us how!" With one hand pointing at Sailor Moon, he spun his firearm by
the lever, trying to work the action by flipping the weapon around in
a circle -- a bit before the halfway point of the loop, the weapon
slipped out of his three-fingered hand and sailed forward, clattering
to the ground. The blackscale barked out something that had to be
kinori for 'shit!'


   Bill's mouth opened so wide Donna momentarily thought his jaw
unhinged, and emitted an unbelievable string of profanity that
zigzagged between English and Russian and both simultaneously. The
kinori pulled on the axe handle to take it out for another swing, but
only managed to wiggle it a bit, the spray of blood from around the
wound became a fountain as the axe head was loosened. Bill made a
wild, drunken swipe that the kinori easily batted aside with one hand
as it tried to yank out its weapon with the other, and right before
Bill was certain it was going to come loose and let out a veritable
torrent of his blood the kinori's head jerked forward, with Donna's
knuckles grasping its crest, and it jerked twice in time with the two
gunshots. Donna threw it to the side, showing the two smoking holes at
the base of its skull; she was about to say something about Bill being
a big crying baby, but once she saw how deep the axe was she shouted
"MEDIC! We need the healy-hands over here NOW!" Bill fell forward, the
puddle of blood beneath him rapidly becoming a lake.


   Tuxedo Kamen rolled out from underneath U-Kigumoko, grabbed his
cane from where it had fallen, and came to his feet a couple meters
away from her. His hat and mask were gone, though still none could
identify him as Chiba Mamoru if they didn't already know. His elegant
clothing was scuffed, dirtied, torn, his hair was matted and dusty,
his nose and mouth were bleeding and his cheek was starting to swell
but somehow, the way he stood, the way he moved, the look of righteous
determination in his eyes made him the living portrait of class and
sophistication all the same. "You are a skilled fighter, but a skilled
villain..." he flipped his cane upward and grabbed it by the handle,
holding it like a champion's sword, "...shall never be a match for a
virtuous soul!" He spread his feet, put up his arms, sized up her
stance.


   "Bring it, Boy Scout." The daimon charged him, face twisted in a
snarl. Kamen swung the cane at her head, the polished surface leaving
a brilliant crescent behind it as if it were a blade. She ducked
beneath it, the wind from the attack stirring up her uneven-length
hair, and thrust for his kidney. He stepped backwards, leaving her
punch short, then swung the cane into her wrist to parry her first
follow-up, her next punch he caught in his open hand. She spun around
his hand to dodge an overhead swing, twisting her arm around in its
socket, than chopped the inside of his elbow to release her other
hand. She backed out of range of his cane, rubbed her wrist. "Oh,
you're good. Almost good enough to justify all your talk. ALMOST."


   "Venus... Love-me... Chain!" gasped out Sailor Venus in between
frantic dodges, and like magic -- for it is -- a glowing yellow chain
of heart-shaped links appeared in her hand. Twirling like a ballerina
to avoid another thrust and build momentum, Venus smacked the kinori
in the snout, throwing it off-balance, then while it was stunned
wrapped the chain around its spear and yanked it out of its hands. She
laughed triumphantly, spun the chain above her head, and lassoed the
lizard. It braced its feet, digging its talons into the asphalt as
best it could, and as Venus pulled on the chain the kinori pulled
back, turning it into a tug-of-war contest. It strained, grunted, but
this was Venus's weapon and it was clearly her game, and the kinori
was being inexorably pulled toward her. Until one of the other kinori,
staggering from a buckshot pellet to the eye, fell backwards onto the
chain and it slipped out of Venus's hands.


   Sailor Moon and the lizard-man commander made eye contact for a
fleeting moment as the lever-action Remington clattered against the
street, and the kinori's saurian face had an expression that Sailor
Moon could not read, but guessed was either smoldering rage or
mortified embarrassment. They dove for the gun simultaneously, arms
stretched out in front of them, yelling a cry with no words. The
kinori was a split-second faster, but Moon's arm was longer, and she
wrapped her hand around the barrel at the same moment that he got his
three clawed fingers around the weapon's stock. A third of a second
later, their heads collided, the red ornament on Moon's right odango
was scraped off against the right side of the kinori's face, the
scales on his skin pulled at her hair. She yelped in pain when they
pulled apart and his scales yanked her hair out of the ball it had
been tied in, and reflexively her hand went up to grab her scalp
instead of going down to grab the barrel of the shotgun.


   It only delayed her by a second, but it was enough, and the kinori
wrested the gun out of her grip. He took a half-step back and, with no
other options, Sailor Moon fell toward him, swinging her arms to try
and slap the weapon away. When the kinori pulled the trigger, the
barrel was pointed right at her navel, about fifteen centimeters away.
She stopped, her eyes widened, and she would have screamed in pain if
she had any breath left. She reeled backward, almost fell, but caught
herself at the last second. Her vision was blurred and her ears were
ringing from the gunshot, but she could see through the holes in her
uniform that she was barely even bleeding. She laughed in surprise,
shook her head around, the hair on the right side of her head splayed
about everywhere, and with the pain shaken off she met the kinori's
eyes once more. He growled.


   Sailor Mercury grimaced, brought her hand to her ear, and tapped
her earring. The very edge of the Mercury Visor vanished back into the
un-space it normally dwelt in, and the rest of the device fell off
from where the piece had vanished and fractured on the sidewalk. It
would come back to her in perfect condition the next time she
transformed, but right now the damn thing had too many cracks to
adequately see through, and the earring only pulled it back until it
hit a crack. She was stinging all up her side and her hands; her whole
left side felt like one big skinned knee. She rolled on to her back
and before she even sat up saw a kinori two, maybe three meters from
her, holding a spear, its skin blackened in places by recent
application of flame; it must have meant to finish her off before it
moved to the others. When it saw her move, it started to run faster,
but it couldn't close the distance in the time Mercury could say
"Shine Aqua Illusion".


   She expected it to flinch, the creatures were clearly magic
resistant, and give her time to get up and think of a better way to
fight it off. It flinched, drunkenly listed to the side, twitched its
head, and staggered toward her at maybe a quarter of the speed it was
using. It pushed the spear in her general direction but provided
almost no resistance when she grabbed it out of its hands and smacked
it on the side of the head with the shaft; he fell over easily.
Lizards may be magic resistant, but they were apparently still cold-
blooded, and did not respond well to freezing. She pointed the spear
straight up and used it to help herself to her feet, taking a quick
glance around to survey the situation.


   Sailor Mars was wrestling with one of the kinori, and though the
creature was disarmed Mercury couldn't tell if it was losing or not.
Nearby, another kinori had its webbed foot on the back of Sailor
Venus's neck and was choking her with the Love-Me Chain, she had her
hands underneath it but didn't have the leverage to pull it off her
throat. The red-head was facedown in the street with an axe in his
leg, and the woman had taken off her shirt -- she was wearing a bra
that looked brand-new and a size too big for her -- to press it
against the wound, taking an occasional shot at the kinori choking
Venus but not hitting anything one-handed. Two kinori were dead, one
more incapacitated with a rose in the eye, one more Mercury had just
knocked down. Tuxedo Mask and U-Kigumoko were nowhere to be found, but
there were sounds of a struggle from the rooftop. About a block away,
and inside of the "youma aura", a black sedan was idling in the center
of the street. And the blackscale kinori had just shot Sailor Moon
right next to where Mercury was standing, so the course of action was
obvious, still it was good to know the situation.


   U-Kigumoko and Tuxedo Kamen punched, kicked, and dodged, hands and
feet twirling like dead leaves caught in a dust devil. She sent two
roundhouse kicks to his face in succession, he ducked under the left
foot and caught the right heel in his hand, yanked it up in the air to
throw her off her balance and send her to the floor with a yelp. "You
are quick," he said, circling around her just outside her reach, "But
one who refuses to acknowledge her own weaknesses is not truly aware
of her own capabilities. Worse still, you believe your anger to be a
strength you draw upon, not something that holds you back." He
extended the cane to jab at her, but quickly retracted it when she
started to grab on to it. "Humility and temperance are the hallmarks
of the true champion, not pride and rage."


   "What is it going to take," she growled from the floor, "for you to
stop this Mr. Miyagi--" and here the gravel crunched under her palms
as she launched upward feet-first, spring-boarding out of the prone
position and shouting "--BULLSHIT!" right as the soles of her feet
collided with Tuxedo Kamen's face. He fell backwards, kept enough
control to roll when he hit the ground and be on his feet again at the
same time U-kigumoko jumped at him. "Oh, the warrior has virtue in his
heart!" she shouted, and threw a punch at his chest that he blocked,
and another at his stomach that he didn't. "The slow blade penetrates
the shield!" She grabbed his wrist with both hands, and before she
could twist it he struck her in the solar plexus with the base of his
palm; she staggered backward, gasping for air, and he swung his cane
into the side of her head while she was reeling, then hit her again
from the other side. He reached into his jacket for another rose to
finish the fight but had it kicked from his hand. The daimon's voice
was thin and gasping, she'd had the wind knocked out of her, but still
she spoke, saying "Opportunities multiply as they are seized! Your
lucky numbers are 3, 5 and 23! Do you have any idea what a
laughingstock you are? People are laughing at you!" with such fevered
intensity it was as if she thought she could make it all true if she
just said it enough times.


   The blackscale hissed in disbelief and worked the lever on the
shotgun without taking his eyes off of Sailor Moon. "Impossible!
Surface-weapons made to kill your kind -- you're dead! Should be
dead!" His eyes went wide and he snapped his head in the direction of
Sailor Mercury just in time to see the Shine Aqua Illusion strike him
in the face. He twitched, ground his teeth, snarled, but didn't seem
affected to the same extent as the other one. He saw the kinori next
to Mercury listlessly trying to get up and put two and two together.
He looked to Sailor Moon, then to Mercury, then back to Moon, howled
in frustration and smashed her across the mouth with the butt of the
shotgun. "Come BACK for you, Surface-Queen! Master 90 take you all!"
Moon fell to the ground, hand over her mouth with blood dripping from
between her fingers. As one, all of the still-living kinori's heads
jerked in the direction of the manhole they'd climbed out of and they
began to retreat; at the same moment there came the sound of tires
squealing as the black sedan started to move.


   With dizzying speed the blackscale sprinted back to the sewer, head
low and tail high forming a line parallel to the ground. The
whitescales on Mars and Venus broke away and ran to the manhole,
though their speed-waddling gait was not so sleek and elegant as the
blackscale. The one with the rose in its eye scrambled on all fours,
head and limbs twitching and jerking like a yurei in a cheap horror
film. The one that Mercury had hit, though, was trying to run but
could manage nothing faster than an easy jog. The others leapt into
the hole and vanished into the darkness, but Mercury's target lagged
behind them; and right as it got close to the sewer entrance the black
sedan had closed the distance, brakes smoking and hissing as it went
into a totally needless handbrake turn, spinning ninety degrees and
coming to a stop directly over the open manhole. The driver's side
window was open, and sticking out from it there was a gloved hand at
the end of a black-sleeved arm, holding an enormous black pistol with
a barrel so wide it should have had guardrails so children wouldn't
fall in. When the car came to a stop, the gun was maybe thirty degrees
off from pointing right into the last kinori's face; the man in the
car grumbled, shifted his aim, and blew a chunk out of the creature's
head.


* * *


   Hotaru had only intended to catch her breath, then get up and find
a way out before the police caught on to her, but she was still
exhausted from the day before and soon caught herself nodding off. Her
eyes snapped open as soon as she realized it and she saw she was no
longer wearing Sailor Saturn's clothing, that she was back in her
simple black shirt and pants. She thought she must have fallen asleep,
or passed out, and that caused her to slip out of the transformation,
she had to get out before the police came back and recognized her. She
looked up and saw Sailor Saturn standing in the doorway of the shed,
illuminated by a soft glowing light from behind her that still allowed
Hotaru to see her face, holding the Silence Glaive perfectly straight
beside her and looking Messianic. She realized she'd fallen asleep,
and she still was.


   "Hotaru," Saturn said in a voice that was almost like hers, but
older and more confident. "I know you're worried. I know you're
afraid. But I've come to tell you there's no reason to be. You have
the strength to overcome any obstacle, if only you believe it."


   Hotaru sighed. "No I don't. You do. Sailor Saturn has the strength,
Tomoe Hotaru's just a liability. If you've come here as a glowing
vision to tell me about my inner strength when you're doing all the
work... then, then I think you've wasted your time."


   Saturn took a step forward, carefully tilting the Glaive so it
wouldn't slice into the doorframe, and closed the door behind her.
There was no more light spilling in from the doorway, and no visible
light source in the shed, but everything was still fully visible as if
they were in especially bright candlelight. "But Hotaru, YOU are
Sailor Saturn now! I may be the first Sailor Saturn, but the power is
etched into my soul -- into your soul. You are noble, and virtuous,
and there can be no strength I have that you do not share."


   "It's a horrible power," she muttered while looking off to the
side. "What kind of madmen would ask anyone, much less a child, to
hold that hideous strength?" Her eyes welled. "What noble might is
there in mass murder? How can I be such a good person when what's
etched into my soul is the potential for six billion deaths waiting to
be unleashed?"


   Saturn carefully leaned the Glaive against the wall so it couldn't
slice through it, then crouched down beside Hotaru. "Hotaru, Hotaru...
you're not a murderer. The power of Saturn isn't murder --"


   Hotaru's face turned red, her hands balled into fists. "I don't see
how the power to kill every living thing on the planet Earth counts as
anything but murder! That's what I'm supposed to do, isn't it? Kill
off planets! That's my job! Is it, is it supposed to be okay to kill
people if I think their society isn't good enough?"


   Saturn laid a hand on Hotaru's shoulder, just to let her know
someone was there for her. "No, Hotaru. It isn't okay. But that isn't
what being Sailor Saturn is about. When Queen Serenity granted it to
me, she didn't want someone to run around and kill planets... she was
saying to me, 'Princess Hangaku, the Silver Millennium trusts your
judgment and your virtue so totally that we'd even trust you with the
power to wipe out entire worlds, because we know that you could never
misuse it.' The mantle of Saturn is not a murderer's fate... it is a
testament to your unimpeachable virtue."


   Hotaru pushed Saturn's hand away. "No. It's a testament to YOUR
unimpeachable virtue. You're the perfect princess who earned it, it
fell onto me. I mean, I'm not a psychologist, but I've read enough to
know -- someone like me, someone who had my history, I'm a serial
killer waiting to happen." She looked down, slowly exhaled. "I've
already killed. I bring nothing but suffering and misery to everyone
around me. You were impeccable and pure, you could have been Mahatma
Gandhi, but if you wanted virtue and goodness in your successor, I
don't think you looked hard enough."


   "But Hotaru, I know that's not what you're doing," said Saturn, and
she stood up and walked back to the door. "Because you and I are far
more alike than you're willing to give yourself credit for. You know
that I was pure and good, you say that I could be trusted... but
Hotaru, you and I are the same person."


   Hotaru suddenly found herself standing by the door, in Sailor
Saturn's outfit, looking down at a girl with dark purple hair and
violet eyes in a black shirt and pants. She was disoriented for a
moment by the unexpected movement, but she doubted it was as much as
Sailor Saturn -- or Princess Hangaku, now that she was out of the
uniform -- intended it to be, since it was quite clear the they were
not the same person, that they had switched clothes and places.
Hangaku was taller than Hotaru was, and Hotaru's clothes didn't cover
her navel or ankles, the ankles had marks on them like cord had been
wrapped around them, and tight. There was a red scar running across
Hangaku's neck, thin but bright and angry, and her eyes widened she
she realized Hotaru was staring at it; her hands darted to her neck to
cover it up and Hotaru saw her left hand was missing three fingers.
Hangaku flushed red with embarrassment.


   "...So," said Hotaru after a long pause, and put her finger
underneath Sailor Saturn's dark purple choker, "Is that what this is
supposed to cover up?"


   "No..." said Hangaku. She pulled her knees up to her chest and
crossed her arms over them, thought about it for a few seconds. "No,
it's just a coincidence. I didn't... didn't know it would show up, and
I always had the choker on, so I couldn't see it."


   "What happened?"


   Hangaku sighed. "It was near the end of the Silver Millennium's
reign, and there was a sage, Beryl, who was gathering an army on
Earth, drumming up support for a war on the Moon. All of the nobles
were worried about the threat she posed, about what little of a
standing army we had, all the damage she could do if diplomacy failed
and there was open hostility. Everyone was afraid, and they were
working out all the possible options they had -- just, you know, just
to see what was possible. And someone, some nobleman suggested that if
worse came to worse, and it looked like Beryl was about to launch an
attack, that they send me to Earth and cleanse it."


   "That... that's horrible. No, it's horrific." Hotaru didn't look
angry so much as queasy.


   Hangaku nodded ruefully. "That's what I thought. And when Queen
Serenity didn't reject it out of hand, I decided I would commit jigai
-- the, uh, noblewoman's honorable suicide, like seppuku -- in
protest. I went back to my quarters, tied my ankles together, and
tried to cut my jugular with the Glaive but, only I pushed a bit too
hard, and, you know, it's so sharp..." her voice dropped to a near-
inaudible mumble, "...and it ended up slicing clean through the neck."


   Hotaru nodded slowly, sorrowfully, and when she spoke there was
nothing but melancholy. "So we really do have more in common than I
thought -- no, that isn't... I'm so sorry."


   "No, no, you're right!" Hangaku said, trying to salvage the
conversation. "I ended my own life rather than see myself cause that
kind of suffering. And, and I know you would too. You want to kill
yourself now, because you think you can't be trusted and you don't
deserve to be Sailor Saturn, but doesn't that prove you can be
trusted, that you are living up to it?"


   She bit her lip. "...What happened to your fingers?"


   Hangaku looked at her hand and chuckled nervously. "I, uh, it was
my first time using the Glaive." She put on a weak smile. "But that
just shows that you don't have to be perfect to be Sailor Saturn, you
just have to be good where it counts, right? And I know you're a good
person, Hotaru. I know it and I feel it and..." she let out a long
sigh, "and I know you don't believe it and that I made a fool of
myself but all I want is for you to see it too, you've been given this
wellspring of hope and light within you and it's so sad that you can't
see it..."


   Hotaru wanted to ask if there was any good part of her that she
hadn't had passed on, or if it was that everything good was Hangaku's
and everything bad was Hotaru's, but she knew she couldn't get a
straight answer. Her past reincarnation wasn't very helpful, just
giving out platitudes without working out what they meant... but she
had helped a little, if only to show that Hotaru wasn't expected to be
perfect. Hotaru knew she would fail to live up to any expectation, but
knowing that Princess Saturn had a name and wasn't the perfect figure
she'd built her up to be was for some reason very comforting.


   After a prolonged silence, Hangaku said "You know I'll be watching
over you. I'll help you any way I can, because I love you, and there
are so many other people who love you too. But it's time for me to
leave for now, you'll need to be awake." They switched places again,
Hotaru more ready this time, and Sailor Saturn opened the door, picked
up the Glaive and started to leave.


   Something occurred to Hotaru and she called out before Saturn had
made it out the door. "Wait!" Saturn stopped and turned back to her.
"When you said that people were talking about that Beryl, and how they
could deal with her... were there any aliens there you could go to for
help?"


   Saturn sighed, because she knew the question Hotaru was really
asking. "I... I don't think I can answer that, Hotaru. Whether the
Silver Millennium was before or after the aliens showed up, if they
started it, if they were ever somewhere other than the Moon... I'm
pretty sure that's something you're going to have to work out for
yourself."


   "But how am I supposed to find out the truth about events that
happened thousands of years ago on another planet?"


   Saturn sighed and she didn't simply look sad, she looked defeated.
"I didn't say 'find out.'" And then she was gone and Hotaru was awake,
in a pile of potting soil, wearing the uniform of Sailor Saturn.


* * *


   Donna pushed on the bloody, wadded-up shirt with both hands,
holding back a river of red from flowing out of Bill's leg. "I still
need some Goddamn help over here! I don't HAVE any magic healing
powers!" she yelled, voice hoarse. "Did one of you call an ambu-- oh
JESUS CHRIST!"


   The driver of the black sedan leaned forward and peeked his head
out of the window, and both Donna and Sailor Mercury could have
described his pale fish-belly skin, inappropriate Ray-Bans, leechlike
lips and smug, malicious smile with their eyes closed. "Hello there,
ladies!" he said in Japanese both casual and insincere, "I trust these
two hooligans haven't been interfering with Sailor Moon's duties? I
would have come for them sooner, but I was cleaning something else up
across town."


   "I can't see anything," whispered Bill. "Tell me that's a Japanese
paramedic talking?"


   "It's that damn sharky man in black from before. I don't know what
he's saying but I doubt he's going to get a first aid kit."


   Bill's eyes shifted downward and he stared right into the surface
of the street. "I hate you so much, Tokyo," he whispered.


   "Actually," the man in black said, switching to English, "I haven't
had the pleasure of meeting you in person, Donna-chaaaan. My name is
Agent Statler -- you've met my partner, Agent Waldorf." If Donna
hadn't been pressing onto an axe wound, trying to keep her teammate
from bleeding to death, she would have groaned. Sailor Mercury and
Venus came to her side, trying to see if there was something they
could do, but the three of them crowded around could do little more
than one could.


   "Of course I don't have to have met you to know where you're going"
Agent Statler continued, "you people are so predictable. Anywhere
there's a mess to be made worse, you'll find the Hoffmann Institute.
Honestly, do you people have any individual thoughts or do you work
off the same..." He peeked his head out further to look directly at
the crowd around Bill. "...Wow. He is really, really bleeding over
there, isn't he?"


   "Yes, he is!" shouted Mercury. "He's going to die if he doesn't get
medical attention right away!"


   Statler seemed a bit flummoxed. "Well, geez, don't you have, you
know, the magic healing powers?" He looked to each girl in turn, head
tilting slightly with each one. "Okay, you don't have anything, you
don't have anything, you don't have anything..."


   On the rooftop, Tuxedo Kamen caught one of U-Kigumoko's punches
with his right hand, then another with his left. They pushed against
each other's grip for a few seconds, gazes locked on each other, then
Tuxedo Kamen managed to take a step forward and get within range to
sweep at the back of her knee with his heel. She yelped and fell
forward, he spun around her as she fell, twisted her arm around, and
ended with her face in the gravel, his knee between her
shoulderblades, her arms pinned to her back. She grunted and struggled
futilely. "Are you ready to surrender, demon?" he said, his tone as
calm and even as ever.


   "You know," she responded with a triumphant sneer, "if you weren't
an idiot, you would have sat about twelve centimeters back from where
you are now and pinned my legs." He felt her feet hook to the sides of
his head and then he was yanked backwards to the ground. The daimon
scrambled from underneath him and dropped both of her elbows into his
stomach, knocking the wind out of him. "I am DONE screwing around with
you, tux-boy!" she shouted, and hooked her arms under his shoulders to
lift him upward. "So now I'm going to pound you into a crater! How do
you feel about that? You got some funny quote for that? 'Cause I'm all
ears!"


   She dragged him to the edge of the rooftop, stomping his ankles to
stop him from finding his footing, and unceremoniously pitched him
off; he fell two storied and hit the sidewalk with a thud and a groan.
She climbed to the edge and glanced down to line herself up to jump on
him, then as she glanced out on the street she noticed the kinori were
gone and the Senshi were still there and she'd have to be a stationary
target for too long to deal with the tux-guy. "...And I'll be back for
the rest of you later!" she shouted, then turned and ran to the
opposite edge of the roof. She leapt off to reach the next roof, one
street away, but hit the side of the building about two meters from
the top; she quickly picked herself up and sprinted into an alleyway.


   "And you don't have anything... Oh! There we go!" said Agent
Statler as Tuxedo Kamen impacted with the sidewalk. "That's what I was
looking for. Hey, uh... Mamoru-chan, come over here, got a job for ya!
Somebody want to go get him?"


   "Whatever the hell he's talking about, whatever he's telling you to
do, don't believe a word of it!" Donna shouted without looking towards
him. "He's one of Them! He's the most Them that anyone's ever been!"


   "He's telling us to bring Tuxedo Kamen over here to heal your
friend's wound," Mercury translated.


   "Then forget everything she just said!" said Bill as loudly as he
could manage. Mercury and Venus had to lean over to hear him. "Do
that! Do it! Get me a tuxedo man right now! I've got a Slayer video
coming out of my leg here, I don't wanna die in this hellhole!"


   But Sailor Moon didn't need permission, and was already halfway
down the block to get Tuxedo Kamen. People were coming back towards
them now that the daimon was gone, looking with curiosity, surprise
and fear at the two kinori corpses, the bleeding man, and the man in
black with the enormous gun. Sailor Mars stayed put, hands extended to
aim at Agent Statler in case he tried anything.


   "Your name is Hino Rei," he said with the tone of someone who can't
believe he has to bother to say these things out loud, "although you
don't look like her. You're a miko at the Hikawa shrine, you're
wondering if I'm a Death Buster -- which is a stupid name -- you're
wondering why the kinori didn't vanish when they died, and you're kind
of pissed that you didn't kill any of them. And if you shoot your
Flame Sniper or your Fire Soul or your Burning Mandala at me, not only
am I going to dodge it, I am going to tell your friends here your
deepest, darkest secret."


   "...You could have read most of that from a file on me, guessed the
rest, and tried to make me think you can read my mind." Mars arched an
eyebrow. "You don't know any of my secrets."


   "Not until I mentioned them and I got you to think about them! I
wonder what Ami-chan and Mina-chan here would think if they knew you
lusted after... put 'em down or I'm gonna say it... Mmmmmmaaa..."
Mars's hands dropped to her sides, palms flat; it wasn't that she'd
rather surrender than have her secret revealed, but if he really could
read her mind there wasn't much of a point in attacking him.


   Down the street, Sailor Moon leaned over to help Tuxedo Kamen up,
but he held out his hand, laid his hand on a couple of places on his
legs and torso, and stood on his own. A man of about thirty in a ratty
suit and tie was standing right next to them, staring, making no
attempt to help or engage in conversation. Statler whistled, tapped
the edge of his gun against the side of his car, and generally acted
as if he was waiting for a particularly slow elevator. "Soooo... Ami-
chan, you been thinking about the question I asked you?"


   "I haven't really had a chance!" she replied, astonished he was
bringing it up, then leaned in to resume speaking to Bill. "Shh, shh.
Don't panic. You're going to be just fine."


   "There's an axe in my leg and the Men in Black are about to take me
away!" he said in a hoarse whisper that was a close to a yell as he
could get. "I don't see how that makes me just fine!"


   "Shut up, Bill!" Donna looked around, seeing that there were
several people staring at her chest and trying to get a sneak peek of
breast, then lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "The
tuxedo dude's going to patch you up and then they're going to magic
the piss out of this guy, just keep cool!"


   "She doesn't know what she's talking about, does she Ami-chan?"
Statler smirked. "Of course good, obedient little girls like you would
never do something so crass and rebellious, wouldn't you? Good little
girls cooperate with the authorities, and the authorities cooperate
with them in return. I left you a present back at the Hikawa shrine --
I'm sure you'll be able to find some use for it and get us out of this
mess we're in." There was a sound of car doors closing, and a
uniformed officer came into view from behind the sedan, then another.
"I couldn't make heads or tails of it myself," Statler finished, then
turned to the policeman. "Yes?"


   The officer bowed to Statler, a gesture that was not returned, and
tried not to stare at the dead lizard-man lying beside his car. "Agent
Statler-san, we, uh, we're sorry for being late, but we fell behind
you at that stoplight, and then..."


   "...And then you drove around in circles because you couldn't find
the intersection until just now, yeah, yeah, I know. There's our two
perps, right over there." He nodded in the direction of Bill and
Donna, which was also the direction of Sailor Venus, Mercury, Moon,
and Tuxedo Kamen. After a moment, he added, "The two white people,
over there."


   Sailor Moon and Venus put their hands on the axe handle and blade
and prepared to yank it out, while Tuxedo Kamen maneuvered his hands
into position above and below the head. Donna patted one of his
shoulders, Mercury the other. "Okay, they're going to have to pull the
blade out now," she said evenly into his ear, "on the count of three.
Are you ready?"


   He shook his head and whimpered, and Donna rolled her eyes. "Bill,
either they pull it out now, or you have an axe in your leg for the
rest of your life which will be like half an hour at most." He paused,
then nodded slowly and ruefully.


   "Yes, that's Donna Kimberly Truitt and William Scott Wheeler, two
members of the illegal paramilitary group known as the Hoffmann
Institute. FBI's been after them for years, and the cooperation of the
Tokyo police won't be forgotten."


   The officer looked to the girls, to the corpse, to Agent Statler.
"Uh... and who are the rest of these people?"


   Moon and Venus yanked the axe back and away, and a shower of blood
followed it. Tuxedo Kamen quickly moved his hands in to mend the
wound, his palms and fingertips glowed as his white gloves soaked red
with blood. It took him two passes, but the wound was soon sealed.
"They didn't count to three! You said they were going to count to
three!" Bill croaked.


   "They counted to three in Japanese!" Donna shot back, "We're in
Japan, that's what they speak!"


   "They're a troupe of Sailor Moon re-enactors," Statler said in a
voice that was perfectly suited for explaining 'The Miracle of Corn'
to slow-witted children named Billy. "They were rehearsing when these
two criminals interrupted them." He gestured to the corpse with his
gun. "That's fiberglass."


   "That's the real Sailor Moon," Mars countered, "and I'm the real
Sailor Mars, and that's a real monster, and he's not with the FBI. The
FBI doesn't even have jurisdiction in Japan."


   "They really get into their roles, don't they? That's what they
call method acting." Statler chortled, saw the officer was about to
say something, and cut him off. "Now who are you going to believe,
Hiro-chan? One of us is wearing a miniskirt in February, and one of us
can write glowing performance reviews, reviews that would be sought
out by people who are gunning for that next promotion in the slim
hopes that the increased income and status will make their wife Tamiko
respect them again so she'll stop having sex with that college dropout
in 4G and they'll be a happy couple again and he won't have to eat his
service revolver the way he fantasizes about when he's been drinking
at home alone. Which one of us would you believe?"


   The officer was visibly unsettled. "Uh... uh, the second one?"


   "You're damn right you would! Now why don't you and your partner go
over there and cuff those two and let these girls get back to their
play?" He paused, looked up for a second. "Oh, and the dead youma are
evidence, we need to take those with us. Too many people have seen
them already."


   "I thought they were--"


   "They're whatever the hell I say they are!" He pointed toward the
group around Bill. "Now march your ass over there and make with the
arrests!"


   Meanwhile, Donna, Venus and Mercury spoke in hurried whispers. "All
right, I've got another magazine on my ankle, but I'll need a second
to reload." Donna glanced behind her. "If that cop goes for his gun
can you take him out with that finger-laser?"


   "No, I, I mean maybe, but--" Venus stammered, "but I can't just
attack a policeman! He didn't do anything wrong, and..." and she was
about to ask if she even knew that they were the good guys, but she
did know that, because the bad guys are always above the law, and
because the man in black was clearly a VERY bad guy and he was no
friend of theirs. "...and how are we going to get away when everyone
is watching us?"


   "I don't know, don't you do this all the time? Wing it! I just know
I can't take out all of them on my own!"


   Mercury swallowed nervously. "Your friend's in too bad a condition
to run, but if Statler wanted you dead, I think he'd have killed you
by now. You'll just have to go along with them... and we'll see what
we can do on our end."


   Donna looked disappointed and a bit betrayed, but when the first
cuff went over her wrist she didn't struggle. She turned to Statler as
she was lead to the squad car and sneered, "Yeah, well, 'Sic Semper
Tyrannosaurus,' that's all I have to say to you!"


   Statler looked down at the dead kinori for a few confused moments.
"Yes... it is?"


* * *


   Uranus glanced at Neptune, then back at the road. "Are we getting
closer?"


   Neptune shook her head while keeping her eyes on the mirror. "Hard
to say. It's moving, fast, and I can't predict where it's going to go,
so I keep losing the sighting..."


   Uranus's knuckles tightened around the wheel. "I'm not comfortable
taking this car out again."


   "It was either this, take the bus, or wait for your father to get
off work and use his Benz. And we took too long to get down here
anyway. Besides," with the hand that wasn't holding the mirror,
Neptune held up a red metal bar with two fat hooks on the side, the
word 'CLUB' was on it in block print. "We remembered to bring this
thing this time, right? Last time was a fluke anyway, the odds
anything will happen again are astronomical."


   Neptune then looked behind her to make sure no karmic whammy was
incoming. The car radio started to warp and distort, and the Suzuki
commercial became a stream of static. "It has to be nearby -- let's
pull over now and go on foot." Uranus nodded and pulled the canary-
yellow 1967 Toyota 2000GT open-top -- one of two in existence -- to
the side of the road; it was a little-used side street so she didn't
have to parallel park. Neptune got out and leaned over, staring into
the mirror, trying to lock on the daimon's position; Uranus was trying
to determine how 'The Club' opened up and attached to the wheel.
Neptune's eyes widened and she whirled in place, started to scream a
warning but it was too late because a karmic whammy named U-Kigumoko
had already emerged from the opposite side of the street, vaulted over
the passenger's side door, and as Neptune said the word "LOOK--" she
kicked Sailor Uranus in the chest with both feet.


   Uranus swore and fell backwards to the sidewalk, the Club
clattering beside her. "This is a robbery!" shouted the pink-skinned
daimon with nonfunctional night-vision goggles growing out of her
forehead and a 'grappling hook' hanging from her shoulder like wide
loops of hair. "Give me your keys and nobody gets hurt... any more
than they already are!"


   Neptune wouldn't have agreed even if they did have keys to give
away. She took a step backwards,raised her arms, and got to "Deep--"
before the daimon leaned forward, grabbed her by the bow on her chest,
and yanked her into a gut-punch.


   "Again with this!" the daimon shouted in disbelief. She glanced
into the car to see if maybe the keys were still in the ignition and
she could drive off without getting killed as soon as she left melee
range; she saw that it didn't need keys at all. "Don't you people have
school? Don't you have other things to do other than bother me? You're
not even productive members of society!" She pressed the starter
button with her free hand, then flipped the Club upward with her foot,
snatched it in one hand, and smashed Uranus's knuckles with it,
knocking the Space Sword out of her hands before she could unsheathe
it. "And where did you get a car this nice anyway, huh? What, it's not
enough you have magic powers, now you've gotta show off how much money
you have? Like you're better than me because your daddy gives you more
money; you're not even old enough to drive this!" She grabbed
Neptune's hair and kneed her in the face, spiked her to the sidewalk
like a football. "Well, it's my car now, so who do you think's more of
a success!" She vaulted over the door and stomped on the accelerator,
the tires squealed and she was off, tearing down the street at
breakneck speed, drifting into and out of oncoming traffic that would
have been screaming, honking, and swerving out of the way even if she
wasn't a daimon.


   Uranus fired off a World Shaking at the the fleeing vehicle, but
missed the target by a good three meters. As it vanished into the
Tokyo smog, she laid on her back on the sidewalk, eye twitching,
slowly inhaling and exhaling, trying to contain her white-hot rage.
Neptune looked back at her, sincerely worried that she might snap and
start beating people with her bare hands. But, after a couple seconds,
she exhaled, cracked her neck, recomposed herself, and rose to her
feet. As she extended a hand to help Neptune up she said, very matter-
of-factly, "I am going to have to see if I can switch places with
Sailor Mars, because right now I am at the point where I need to set
people on fire."


   In the car, U-Kigumoko looked down from the road to fiddle with the
radio knob, but could find nothing but static. She switched the radio
off and started drumming her fingers on the wheel, bopping her head
back and forth, humming to herself, "Here she comes, here comes Speed
Racer, she's a daimon on wheels..."


* * *


   "No. No! You are not -- This is the time where I am talking and YOU
are listening to the things I am saying!" Takashi Hino's face was red,
his eye was twitching, and spittle was collecting in the mouthpiece of
his cellular phone as he screamed into it. His other hand ran through
his greying hair, ruining his expensive hairstyle. He was standing
beneath the torii arch of the Hikawa shrine, pacing an angry path
between its two supports, while his assistant Kaidou held a stack of
papers and watched on, a smoldering cigarette butt hanging out of the
corner of his mouth.


   "Oh, oh, you can't tell why I'm angry? You don't think it has
something to do with the fact that you had armed thugs storm my
father's house, which happens to be one of Tokyo's most significant
cultural sites? He's an old man, his constitution is frail, he could
have had a heart attack!" His free hand was now waving wildly for
emphasis, even though the other end of the conversation couldn't see
him; the motion worked his white dress shirt out from his waistband
and left it visibly hanging from his jacket. "Yes, I said they are,
no, no, --shut up! They're armed thugs because clearly they're not
police officers, because if ACTUAL police officers were thinking of
raiding a relative of one of the highest ranking members of the LDP,
they would have notified me beforehand!"


   "No, I will NOT calm down! I'm outraged, because that's what this
IS -- an OUTRAGE! Are you trying to humiliate me and my family? What
if my daughter had been here, would you have led HER out in handcuffs
into a police cruiser where everyone on the street can see her?
Because that's about the only way I can think of to perform this
operation more shamefully! No, no I don't care that they were
harboring -- M16, AK-47, Double-A MCO I don't care if they're mooring
a nuclear submarine in the koi pond, if a police officer wants to so
much as politely ask my family what time it is, you run it through me
first!"


    "Oh, oh, the FBI was in charge of this? That's what the last guy
said, so I made an overseas call, and you know what the FBI said?" He
extended his free hand toward Kaidou, snapped his fingers a couple
times. Kaidou nodded, grabbed a sheet of paper and put it in Takashi's
hand, he snapped the paper audibly to straighten it out and read from
it. "'The Federal Bureau of Investigations has enjoyed a long history
of cooperation with Japanese law enforcement, FBI agents serving as
advisors and assistants to the already-capable Japanese LEOs in
Japanese cases where both nations have an interest, with Japanese
officers extending the same courtesy for such cases in the United
States. However, no such operations are currently underway and no FBI
agents are on official duty anywhere in Japanese territory. As the
FBI's jurisdiction is only within the United States, it cannot conduct
law enforcement operations within another nation without their consent
and cooperation.' Then he paused for about five seconds and told me 'I
think what you're thinking of is the CIA.'"


   "Yes, I believe him more than you, I talked directly to Louis
Freeh... He's the Director of the FBI, that's who! No, it wasn't a
direct quote, he said it in English! ... No. no, you know what, I'm
done explaining myself to you. I'm Hino Takashi, and when I want to
talk to the Superintendent, I talk to the Superintendent, you you had
better -- no, don't you put me on hold -- don't you dare put me on
hold... He put me on hold. Kaidou?"


   "Yes, sir." Kaidou wrote on the back of a manila envelope the name
of the assistant who'd put Takashi on hold, then marked a black X next
to it. So far, three people were going to never work in Tokyo again,
and it would be a fair bit more before things were finished. "Sir,
perhaps we would get more favorable results were we to visit in
person?"


   "No, no..." Takashi waved his hand. "He's undoubtedly fled his
office by now to escape the fallout. No, we're going over his head on
this one. I think we're going all the way up to the Commissioner-
General... I know I have Kunimatsu-san's number here somewhere." He
dug in his pockets for the scrap of paper he'd written Kunimatsu
Takaji, head of the National Police Agency's phone number on, then
hunched over his phone to punch in the digits. While his eyes were
looking downwards, his daughter and five more of her friends walked
behind him through the torii arch. Rei and Kaidou's eyes met for a
moment, then they looked away; the rest made no attempt to greet
Takashi or alert him of their presence; Rei had told them that
interrupting his Important Business for any purpose was futile.


   By the time he'd dialed Kunimatsu's number and looked back up at
Kaidou, the girls were gone, inside the building. "There's no point in
making connections with those in power if you're too afraid to use
them, Kaidou-san," he said while the phone rang. "In this business
sometimes you have to go straight to the top, in order to stay on top
of things."


   "It would appear so, sir."


*


   "Hello, Rei-san, Mamoru-san, Usagi-san, and... no, don't tell me...
Ami, Minako... Oh, of course, Chibi-Usa!" Rei's grandfather greeted
them from a cushion across the room, a simple teacup in his hands.
"Your friend Mako-san said school got out early?"


   "There was a gas leak," said Ami.


   "Federal holiday," said Minako at the same time. "Uh, which we
wouldn't get off normally, if the gas wasn't leaking."


   Rei quickly cut off the avenue of discussion before it could dig
itself any deeper. "What happened here, Grandfather? It must be
something major for Father to be here, Makoto didn't say much over the
phone."


   He took a long sip of his tea and smacked his lips. "Ohh, that's
good stuff." He then turned to her as if he'd just now noticed she was
there. "Oh, nothing, really. Turns out those TV producers were wanted
criminals, the police came by to take them away." He took another long
sip. "Takashi-san's quite incensed that it happened without giving
them a chance to peacefully surrender, but, hey, these things happen,
right? I was surprised, of course, but mostly I'm just disappointed I
won't get to be on TV again. But my son looks like he's about to have
a coronary, and he wasn't even here."


   He leaned back on his elbow and uncrossed his legs. "Oh, but you
don't care about this old man's troubles. Your friends are back
there," he gestured to the hallway behind him with his thumb. "Oh, and
there's a bunch of TV and lighting equipment left in the guest room,
don't mention it to Takashi-san or his head may explode, we'll clean
it up later if the police don't want any of it."


*


   Makoto lay on the floor with her plaster-bound leg propped up on a
pillow, staring up at the ceiling, wincing as if waiting to be struck.
Hotaru was on her knees next to the pillow, one eye closed, tongue
sticking out of the corner of her mouth, occasionally blowing her hair
out of her eyes. One hand was holding Makoto's cast steady and the
other was holding the Silence Glaive, fingers grabbing the flat edge
of the blade about halfway up, slowly and carefully using the tip to
slice through the plaster.


   Makoto inhaled sharply. "Ouch! Easy, easy, you just poked me in the
leg there." She paused and rolled her eyes upward in thought. "Yeah,
that's bleeding."


   "Sorry! I'm sorry!" Hotaru blew the hair out of her face again. "I
told you, I said I couldn't do this, I'm not -- I know what happens
when I push too hard on this!"


   "No, Hotaru, no, you're fine." Makoto sat up slightly so she could
look Hotaru in the eyes. "It's just a poke, we can get a bandage for
that if it won't heal. You're doing fine, just keep going. I am not
going to find that special saw and I can't transform without standing
on it, this is much better than either of those."


   Hotaru didn't know why Makoto wanted the cast on her broken leg
removed, but she wasn't going to try and convince her it would be a
bad idea; it wouldn't work. She just sliced the cast away in silence,
she made the first cut all the way down Makoto's leg and was about
halfway down with the second, higher cut when she heard footsteps. She
lifted her hands off the blade, letting it sit in the cast for a
couple seconds before vanishing, and grabbed for the Sharpie that had
rolled to Makoto's other ankle. Their cover story would be that Hotaru
-- or, Makoto's good friend Minaguchi Yuko -- was just leaning over to
sign her cast and most certainly was not using an enchanted, world-
destroying scythe as a cast remover. Once the Glaive was gone and the
marker was in her hand, Hotaru turned to see who was coming; her eyes
went wide and she ran for the doorway.


   Usagi, Rei, and Chibi-Usa all reacted at the same time and with the
same sentiment. "Hotaru?"


   "Chibi-Usa!" Hotaru shouted in joy, right before she collided with
her at full speed. They spilled into the hallway but didn't fall over;
their heads were on each other's shoulders, arms wrapped around each
other in a joyous, relieved embrace. Tears fell from both their faces.


   "Hotaru, you're okay! We were all so worried, there's been more
daimons, there were strange people and we didn't know where you were,
if you were safe... It's so good to see you're all right, Hotaru."
Chibi-Usa tried to let go and pull away so she could look her friend
in the eye, but she couldn't, Hotaru wouldn't let go.  She was holding
onto the little pink-haired girl as if she was the only life preserver
in an infinite ink-dark sea, and to loose her grip would mean certain
annihilation. The points of the ornament on Hotaru's chest dug into
Chibi-Usa's skin, Hotaru's breath came in sobs and shudders.
"Hotaru... Hotaru, you're hurting me!" she cried in panic.


   "I know I do," Hotaru choked, winced her eyes shut. "I know I do."



---



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* B O N U S   C O N T E N T *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


XENOFORM: YOUMA
(Part 1 of 2: Description & Theory)

   So apparently, people all over town have been getting attacked by
   some kind of monster roaming the streets at night, that's sucking
   some kind of energy out of 'em and then sprints off into the night
   to escape. And I'm thinking, some kind of vampire, right? Wrong. I
   run into this thing and it's like a woman, only she's got pink
   skin, freaky hair, and -- I shit you not -- an enormous shoe
   sticking out of her chest. Like she's some walking Reebok ad. So
   she comes at me, right, and I put a few bullets into her, but none
   of them really break the skin. And she does this horrible B-movie
   laugh and says "Your weapons are useless against me!" And only
   thing I could think of was "And you're a giant shoe, so I guess
   that makes us even!"




   More accurately described as a method of creating demons than as an
actual species of demons in and of themselves, youma are manufactured
foot soldiers of a more powerful necromancer or diabolist. Once
thought to be exclusive to Tokyo, recent sightings as well as a more
careful examination of records has shown these creatures to have been
found in London, New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Damascus, New
Delhi, and Pripyat. Though youma are demons, their closest relatives
are not the Bering demons or Luciferans encountered by other Hoffmann
teams -- the "standard" youma is closest to a homunculus, while a
Series IX youma is more akin to a golem. But whereas a homunculus or
golem is assembled of existing Earthly components to grant it a
physical body that magic then grants the spark of life, a youma's body
is magically assembled ex nihilo moments after being granted life,
using the psychic impressions of an Earthly object as a rough
guideline.


   Though they come in multiple distinct subtypes, and within subtypes
no two youma are identical, all youma share certain characteristics:
all youma are created by fusing a specially-crafted magical essence,
the "core", with an ordinary person or object, or the "template." Once
fused, the youma creates a humanoid body for itself using magically-
powered "virtual matter," and this body takes on exaggerated
characteristics of the template it was created from, or of thoughts,
emotions and perceptions associated with the template. A man known for
his skill in one specific area will probably become a youma "themed"
around that particular skill, regardless of his other qualities.
Objects that have been much-loved or the focus of a great deal of
thought and ideation are likely to become youma with more qualities
based on how the item is seen rather than how it is used. Different
youma visually express the concepts that comprise them in different
ways, but a general poll of those who have contacted them has created
this rough guideline: A youma looks as if it's wearing a gaudy costume
to represent the thing or idea that most influences its existence in a
high-concept off-off-Broadway play.


   The relativistic magical-energy-to-matter conversion to create and
sustain a youma requires large amounts of power to maintain, and as
such youma have only been known to exist in areas with dark matter
gateways of sufficient size to sustain the conversion, or in close
proximity to a dark matter fusion reactor such as would be found on an
advanced starship. Youma capable of teleportation, or who are
transported by similar means, can jump from one sustainable dark-
matter area to another. Normal youma may be created of magical
material that seems to defy the laws of biology, but are indeed
biological in nature: they breathe oxygen, eat (though most youma
don't exist long enough to need to), bleed when cut, et cetera, though
their brain-matter functions abnormally, as detailed below. Series IX
youma, so far only seen in Tokyo in 1995 (sightings in Damascus in
1974 are unconfirmed), have the same composition as normal youma but
almost all organic components are nonfunctional. Like a golem, the
magics that give them life directly animate their bodies, rather than
the magic creating muscle tissue that then contracts and relaxes to
move their bodies. These youma have only one vital organ, the head,
and are "killed" after losing a certain amount of structural
integrity, regardless of its location.


   The magics creating and maintaining the youma's structure also
attempt to keep its cohesion, resisting attempts to pierce or slash.
Youma have Good toughness against Low Impact and High Impact damage,
but Ordinary toughness against Energy damage. Low Impact or High
Impact damage that is magical in nature -- magically-conjured needles
of ice, for example -- bypasses this protection as well and treats the
youma as Ordinary toughness. Magical attack is obviously the most
effective means of dispatching a youma, but most Hoffmann agents are
without access to magic. Explosives and incendiaries -- grenades,
dynamite, dousing the youma in gasoline and throwing a lighter at it
-- are most effective after magic; if none of those can be acquired,
sources of LI or HI damage of Good or better intensity can be
scrounged from everyday items. Power tools such as circular saws,
power drills, riding lawnmowers, and wood chippers rend flesh with
enough force to overcome the youma's defenses, as do speeding cars,
subway trains, and jet turbines (all three of which were demonstrated
in an incident at Los Angeles International Airport in 1998). Youma
are incredibly dangerous and hard to kill when magic is unavailable --
as it usually is -- and often require Herculean effort to destroy; if
magic is usable, they become trivially easy to dispatch.


   The youma's most powerful defensive measure, however, is entirely
accidental: an unconscious, passive protection against discovery and
reprisal by humankind. The material that youma are composed of is
otherworldly and thus obeys slightly different physical laws; while it
is more resistant to damage, stronger, more flexible, etc., the
organic conductivity and intricacy required to make a functioning
brain is impossible over such a small area. A youma brain built to
function like a human brain results in a youma experiencing a constant
grand mal seizure as every area of brain activity interferes with
every other. The organic brain matter of a youma is merely the
receiver for a massive construct that serves as their actual mind; a
gigantic invisible, intangible sphere, almost entirely out of phase
with reality, made of the magical equivalent of vacuum tubes spaced
wide enough to avoid cross-interference. The gigantic size of their
"brain" does not make them more intelligent; most youma are far less
intelligent than an average human. However, their massive "brain"
means that others can walk into the physical area of their thought and
perceive it subconsciously.


   In a phenomenon termed the "Taioron Reaction" by a Tokyo-based
research team (Arimura, Hanyuu, Teruno, Bidou et al, "Cognitive-
Psionic Reactions to Extraplanar Stimuli: A Comprehensive Approach",
New England Journal of Medicine [suppressed], May 1989), the human
subconscious interprets the presence of the youma's thought processes
in the same physical space as its own as an attempt at psionic
domination and provokes a natural defense mechanism: the subconscious
locks out all interference from the youma's mind by locking out all
evidence of its existence from the conscious mind, provoking the
person to flee outside the youma's cognitive range, and prevents the
individual from returning by preventing him from recognizing he's
capable of going back to that area. Unfortunately, like most deep-
seated reactions in the human body or mind, this doesn't do anything
productive; the youma's thoughts cannot control anyone else's and the
Taioron Reaction never helps against actual mind control attempts. In
fact it inhibits a person from doing what would actually be useful in
the situation; that is, fight off the youma or find someone who can.


   The Taioron Reaction, however, does not apply to everyone, and
though its effects are drastic its power is weak. The reaction can be
resisted without active effort or exertion; this does not require a
feat check or a certain WIL score as it is more a question of mindset
than mental ability. The conscious mind is told by the subconscious
"That thing is bad, you should ignore it and it will go away." A
person who would want to agree with such a proposal when spoken aloud
is running away, affected by the Taioron Reaction. A person who would
react with "What? No, that's stupid." is totally unaffected -- but
often they run away anyway, youma can mess you up. This is
unapologetically a mechanic allowing for bigger, more bombastic evil
schemes while allowing secrecy to remain a plot point and for clearing
out combat areas in urban environments. A rule of thumb for
adjudicating the effect is thus: Player characters are never affected,
and named NPCs would only be affected if, assuming they were player
characters, they would not ask you if they got to make a WIL check to
avoid the effect. Cultural and local factors affect the prevalence of
the Taioron Reaction in ways that can't be precisely described
mechanically: youma in Tokyo's Juuban ward, for example, are seldom
remembered by anyone save the people who are specifically trying to
destroy them; a low-level youma in New York City was actually beaten
to death with iron pipes and sawed-off pool cues over the course of a
half-hour by a gang of toughs who recognized that a big purple monster
was something that had no business in the world; the cops didn't
arrest anyone for the assault because they couldn't recall seeing it.


   Normal youma suffer damage like any other living thing, save that
they receive an additional +1 penalty to all actions rather than
becoming unconscious once their Stun damage track is filled. But they
accrue +1 step action penalties for losing half of their Stun or half
of their Wound durability, lose consciousness when they lose all of
their Wound durability, suffer Fatigue damage from extended activity
and so on. Series IX youma don't need their organic components save as
a structural base and are more durable; they do not lose consciousness
when their Stun or Wound damage tracks are filled, do not receive
action penalties for having Stun or Wound damage (though they receive
penalties for Mortal damage as huge chunks of them are missing,
interfering with their function), and do not have a Fatigue damage
track. Both types are killed when they lose all Mortal durability, and
upon death revert to the template object they were made from. Youma
made from objects return to the form of that object, usually in the
condition it was in when it was made into a youma; it's hard to
translate damage from a humanoid form onto a pair of electric hedge
clippers.


   However, if the template was a living human, he returns to being in
a condition that's suffered most or all of the things inflicted on the
youma made from it. Youma do not age, but the human template suffers
the ravages of having lived the entire time he was a youma; this is
not an issue with most human-template youma as they are found and
neutralized within weeks of creation, but human-template youma that
have lived longer than a human lifespan often revert to a pile of
grave dust when slain. More important than age, a human that served as
a youma template inherits almost all damage inflicted on the youma.
Roll d4 for the youma's Stun, Wound and Mortal durability and subtract
that much damage, then apply all of the youma's remaining damage to
the human template, including any damage in excess of maximum
durability the final shot inflicted. This can result in instant death
if a human-template youma is killed with more than the bare minimum of
damage required, or if the youma has more Durability than the human
and damage spills over. Human-form youma are generally not to be
killed, simply restrained until an FX skill such as Monotheism --
Exorcism can be applied.


   The ability to make a demonic minion out of anything is powerful,
but it's important to note that a youma takes its form and powers from
what people think about the item and not the item itself. Youma are
sometimes made using custom-crafted objects specifically made for the
purpose, but there are usually less powerful than youma made from
everyday objects. A statue of a robot specifically made to make a
mechanized youma killing machine will result in an anemic, powerless
youma if the model wasn't important to anyone; a youma made out of a
lucky rabbit's foot could be a cute (and weak) bunny, but if it
belonged to a heavyweight boxer who kisses it before every bout, in
order to have the strength to win, might or might not look like a cute
bunny but it's damn certain to "float like a butterfly, sting like a
bee."


   Below is a list of the villains Sailor Moon has encountered, along
with what their youma were crafted of as well as additional expository
information where applicable:


   Season 1's antagonists, the Dark Kingdom, just called their youma
"youma". They were all made from humans, though some were made from
humans in contemporary Tokyo and some were made from loyal servants of
Queen Beryl during the time of the Silver Millennium. What was
initially believed to be "moondust" left behind by their destruction
was desiccated, powdered human remains.


   Season 2, Part 1's antagonists, Ail and Ann, used a brand of youma
called "cardians". Cardians were all made from objects, specifically a
special set of tarot cards printed for the explicit purpose of being
made into youma. Cardians are referred to as a "brand" because, since
Ail himself did not have the power necessary to create youma, it is
assumed that he purchased the deck of cardians from a third party
merchant who had pre-treated them for easy youma creation.


   Season 2, Part 2's antagonists, the Black Moon Clan, used "droids".
Droids were made from objects manufactured specifically for the
purpose of making youma. Instead of reverting to their template object
when killed, they turned to dust, this was a special measure
implemented by the Black Moon Clan to hinder efforts to trace the
youma back to their point of origin that was entirely superfluous once
they moved their war effort to the 20th century.


   Season 3's antagonists, the Death Busters and Master Pharaoh 90,
used "daimons". Daimons were made from inanimate objects, usually
things close to the intended target of their current evil plan, but
sometimes chose items for the specific qualities of the item rather
than the owner. The daimon creation process was refined according to
scientific processes multiple times, and though a solution to the
Taioron Reaction was discovered, it was never implemented as the
Reaction was productive to their ends.


   The giant-size daimons released directly by the Pharaoh 90 were
Series IX youma.


   Season 4's antagonists, the Dead Moon Circus, used "lemures",
singular and plural. Lemures were said to be made from "the dead", but
there is some disagreement as to what that means. Either the lemures
were made from the corpses of the recently deceased, taking on
qualities of what the deceased was remembered for, or they were
created directly from the souls of the dead and embody what kept them
in this world. Supporters of the latter hypothesis point to the
"beautiful nightmare netherworld" nature of the Dead Moon Circus and
the fact that they leave no physical residue when killed; supporters
of the former hypothesis say it's hard to stick a youma to something
intangible and not that many ghosts are bound to this world by
juggling.


   Season 5's antagonist, Sailor Galaxia, was served by the "Verger
Senshi". These are not youma and, aside from being FX Adepts, are
completely normal members of their species.


   The "Flower Youma" of the R movie were, obviously, made from
flowers, though it's unknown if their leader/mastermind the Xenian
Flower was itself a youma, or a mindwalking plant who could create
youma. Princess Kaguya's "Snow Dancers" were made from ice and/or
snow. Howard LeClanche did not use youma.
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