Continuing Tales

Dark Kingdom Renegades 2: Bad Moon Rising

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 6 of 8

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Bad Moon Rising

Leon McNichol finished surveying the wreckage of the Imperial Hotel's groundlevel restaurant. They'd been heading for Webster's Boomer Development Lab after visiting Deite's when they got diverted. By the time they got here it was all over. The ADP SWAT unit was packing up and heading back to HQ. Given their casualty rate they were happy to have wasted the trip. Now it was up to the detectives to figure out what the hell had happened.

Pretty minor damage for a Boomer rampage. No casualties, one wrecked restaurant and a couple of cars plus a few holes in the outer wall. The real mystery were the identity of those involved. Staring at the overturned table wasn't accomplishing anything. Nothing he could learn here. The forensic techs were getting excited about some stains they'd found on fragments of shattered glass. It seemed one or both boomers had lost fluid when they went through the main window.

Daley was still running the security system downloads through the video link. He was back at the point they considered the start. Where the blur enters. "Get a description from the waitress?"

"For what it's worth. She was japanese, mid 20's, black hair, blue suit, white blouse, top of the line clothes, big tipper. Really narrows it down."

Daley nodded, "At least you confirmed it was a woman. That does eliminate half the human race."

"Unless she was a Boomer too."

"I don't think so. Why blank herself if she didn't have an identity to hide? The other two certainly didn't."

"Think that girl was human?"

"Hard to say. There's a definite resemblance to the male Boomer." Daley froze the image as the blur followed the waitress to table 7. "Very sophisticated jammer. It kept security from registering her image."

"That's not hard."

"Keeping the security AI from noticing the anomaly was. If they'd had someone in here actually watching the screens it would never have worked."

Leon shrugged. "For that matter if they hadn't switched from magnetic tape to digital video we'd have a picture. The price of progress. Run it forward to the main action." Daley snapped the time index ahead a few minutes. The first time they'd seen this they had been very surprised to recognise the Boomer. Since it had only been an hour since they'd talked to her it would have been hard not too. Catherine Margrave strode up to the table stopping behind the man. Daley switched to a different camera to get a better view of the proceedings. Both the teenage girl and the man obviously recognised her. They were also extremely surprised to see her. The blur had no expression to read. The AI had tagged the incident as a possible altercation based on body language. Then Margrave demonstrated she wasn't human. The slap drove the man across the room, demolishing several tables and scattering an arrangement of minature palmtrees. The AI codes now showed it flagging the incident as an assault and placing a call to N Police. The security cameras were now tracking both participants. Here was one of the weird bits. As Margrave charged her victim he raised a hand and the air rippled. She slowed, her clothing appeared to be caught in a powerful wind, but kept moving. She impacted the man and both went through the window.

"Switch to the external cameras."

Daley looked at him. "Any other incredibly obvious orders?"

"You're touchy today. Hey maybe you did see her eyes change. Some sort of system failure."

"Maybe. Of course we don't know yet if this is her or just a Boomer lookalike."

"We'll find out. We're detectives, it's our job. That's way they pay us the big bucks."

"Hah. Which reminds me, word is insurance deductions are going up again. Seems HQ's decided the casualty rates too high. It's supposed to discourage malingerers."

"Stupid pack of ... Remind me again why we joined?"

"Not sure. Think we were unemployed and not too bright."

"Sounds about right. On with the show."

On the screen Margrave swung a car and knocked the man flying. The fact he was still able to get up after denting a parked car made it clear he wasn't human either. "Back up a little. Freeze. Now forward at 10% realtime. Yup there we go again." As he struck the car the man ... the Boomer's hair shifted from blond to light green. "Any theories?"

"The hair is colorless fiberoptic filaments that shift color as the CPU instructs. Could be a malfunction or could indicate a change to battlemode."

"He is about to start kicking ass. Same shade as that teenager's hair."

"I noticed." The fight had shifted dramatically. In fact Margrave was now sprawled on the street. The other Boomer was advancing with a sword it had pulled from ... somewhere. The techs would have to break down this part byte by byte. The picture blanked. At this point someone had fried all the cameras on the first three floors of the hotel. Some sort of localized electromagnetic pulse. A few fleeing witnesses claimed to have spotted the blue Knight Saber. No one had stuck around to see. Natural selection was weeding out those foolish enough to stay and watch berserking Boomers.

"Doesn't make any more sense the second time through."

"She came here to pick a fight with another Boomer. Vance is checking the register to find how his ID was inserted. Why it was placed here is anyone's guess."

"Could be some sort of internal conflict within GENOM."

"Except that Webster's dead so Deite's got no obstacles."

"None we know about. I wonder if it's connected to her reaction to the Sailor Arcturus Boomer."

"Maybe when she saw it she knew she was obsolete ... still doesn't any sense."

"First thing we should do is determine if that was her or just a lookalike. Still there aren't many Boomer's that can pass for human."

"Sexaroids could and did."

"Except they aren't that tough. Maybe my combat sexaroid theory actually makes sense."

"Well nothing more we can do here so let's go have a few words with Deite. Find out if he's looking for a new Executive Assistant."

Jadeite was still anticipating genocide so he was in a very good mood when the ADPolice officers arrived. It wouldn't last. The first he knew that Margrave had done something stupid was when his personal secretary called him. Two detectives wanted to ask him some questions. He'd sighed. GENOM policy was to give the appearance of cooperation with the authorities so he'd better talk to them. The sooner the day came he could throw off the semblance of humanity he'd been forced into the better. He told them to let them in.

They entered and identified themselves. Ah these endless formalities.

"So what can I do for you gentlemen? I'm a very busy man and my time is limited." Something to do with Webster's death? No, that wouldn't be ADPolice juristiction

McNichol gave a thin smile. "We really hate to interupt GENOM's newest wonderboy but we were hoping to have a word about your Executive Assistant."

"Margrave? Whatever for?" Damn, she must have been spotted hunting. I should have nipped that vigilante business in the bud.

"A boomer who looked a lot like her just got into a fight with a second boomer over at the Imperial hotel."

"What?" Jadeite's mind cast out searching for youma presence. There was no others within the building.

Daley dropped a picture onto his desk. "We got this from the hotel's security cameras." It was clearly Margrave. "Now this one is a little hard to explain." Margrave hefting a car, her hands digging into the hood. Jadeite looked at it as he tried to come up with an explanation. WHat the hell had that stupid furball done. Hotel Imperial? That was where ... The next picture was of blond man. Give him green hair and it was Calcite. Thinking back on it in the moment before he'd looked through Calcite's glamour spell he'd seen a different haircolor. Obviously the locals thought they were dealing with Boomers. After all what else in this world could look human but display paranormal strength? Why had Margrave gone after Calcite? He was clearly far more powerful. The result of such a battle was a foregone conclusion. In fact ...

"This a fairly serious allegation officers. Do you have any proof of this wild story besides these pictures? Which could well have been faked by a malicious collegue. Any evidence that there actually was a Boomer present. A Boomer which allegedly resembles my assistant?"

"If you mean have we found the remains yet, no. But we will."

Good luck. Dead youma don't last long in Earth's environment. The power runs wild without a mind to contain it and consumes the flesh. "So there is no physical evidence."

"We've got a wrecked restaurant and a lot of eye witnesses."

Jadeite laughed. "All of whom will have seen something different. You don't even know if that's Margrave in the picture do you." And with no evidence you won't be able to proceed. "Excuse me a moment." Margrave's secretary answered the intercom. Ms. Margrave ha given instructions to hold her calls and departed. "It seems my assistant is unavailable to talk to you right now." You won't find her anywhere outside of the Abyss. No body means this can't proceed. They look determined to continue this. I could just make them drop it but why risk drawing attention? Easiest thing is to let them deadend themselves and give up. Might as well throw them a crumb.

"Still it's our policy to cooperate with the police. At least when it won't compromise security. Take a look around her office if you like." Where they would find absolutely no evidence she was a Boomer. Or anything else potentially damaging. All the files dealing with the Hyper Boomers are encrypted. In any event they're all fakes designed for GENOM's consumption. I'm the only one who can perform the enhancement. The technicians think they are part of the process because I've brainwashed them to believe that. And to ignore how I create the Hyper Boomers. They just write vague reports that make the fake procedure sound plausible. Citing security to avoid getting too specific. The best these two could hope to find were a few cat hairs. The ADP men left. Jadeite made a mental note to drop by Margrave's apartment and dispose of that sexaroid along with anything else potentially revealing.

Margrave's secretary couldn't tell them much. Her boss had stormed out of the building a few hours earlier. That could have got her to the hotel in time for the festivities. Could have. She might have gone anywhere. No evidence, no warrant to search her apartment.

"He'd never let us in here if he thought we were going to find anything."

"I know. But we have to go through the motions." Leon nodded to the secretary and she unsealed the inner door. Exactly the same place they'd seen earlier. A typical midlevel executive office. Spacious, bright, big window, very real looking fake plants, big desk (artificial wood), collection of executive toys ... which were now scattered around the base of the desk. That was different, they'd all been neatly lined up last time. Had she swept them off the desk in frustration over something? Leon stepped closer and gave a low whistle. "Daley, take a look at this!"

There were four paralled gouges in the supposedly scratchproof veneer. The last time Daley had seen this pattern it had been carved through someone's ribcage. "This definitely looks familiar. Think I'll give Carol a call."

Jadeite returned to his office to find the building had become bedlam. After Leon and Daley had departed he had wrapped himself in a glamour and teleported to the nearest secluded point to the Imperial hotel. After months in this city he had warp-points throughout MegaTokyo. Quiet sites he'd picked to enable him to arrive near anything and everything he wanted. He joined the crowd of disaster junkies who'd arrived after hearing the action was over. Most were complaining about the lack of casualties and blood. Jadeite smiled. In three years they'd be enough fatalities to satisfy anyone. Except there would be no humans left enjoy it. Idly he tried to work out the number of tons of rotting corpses scattered worldwide. He'd probably have to filter the air while stripping this city of anything useful. Except that he now had two other powerful youmas to do the dirty work.

He reached out with his mind. Calcite was not in the vicinity. Not a total surprise. While he could have changed his glamour and remained under a new guise Calcite might believe he had just killed a valued servant of Jadeite's. After all who else could Margrave had represented? So he was probably hiding. No matter. A thorough search would find him. After all it wasn't as if he could leave the zone. The only other place to run was back to the world protected by Sailor Moon. Not an option.

Calcite and Azurite would be far more useful than Margrave. She couldn't even teleport. More powerful than her, far weaker than him. They'd know their place.

He warped back into his office to find his secretary trying to contact him. He ignored her for a few minutes as he called up pictures of women who had attracted him. Selecting tonight's conquest he made notes of places to meet and control her. With that done he answered his secretary. To be told the building was full of N police officers and ADP techs. They were gathering evidence though no one knew for what. However rumours were circulating that Ms. Margrave was connected to the werewolf vigilante case. There were several detectives out there wanting to ask him questions.

Jadeite felt a sudden rage that he could not kill the already deceased catwoman. What had the stupid bitch done to arouse their interest? Now there was no saying how many minds he'd have to control to minimze the damage. He managed to give himself the appearance of calm then unlocked the doors and told his secretary to send them in. He spent the next half hour convincing the detectives he had no knowledge of his assistant's life outside the office. The mere thought that she might somehow be involved in murder shocked him.

Meanwhile Daley Wong, Leon McNichol and Helen Ohta (N police) were forcing the door to Margrave's apartment. They'd obtained the warrant on suspicion of involvement in serial killing. ADP were along because of potential Boomer crime connection.

Leon was talking as they waited. "Lot of nervous guys back Deite's little kingdom. Which do you figure upset them most? The stories that she might be the vigilante or the one that she might be a Boomer?"

"Probably the one that she might be both. Certainly were lots of them. Lady must have been busy most nights. Maybe she was a sexaroid?""

Ohta had been watching the police passkey find the right combination. "Maybe she was human and just liked having fun. Strange how a guy who does that is a role model while a women who does it is a slut." Both of them shut up.

The security override clicked in and they entered the apartment. Ohta, more experienced in homicide investigation, spotted the faint odour from the bathroom. They found the remains in the bathroom.

"Thought she just killed them in the streets. Now she's bringing them home!"

Daley studied the exposed spine. "Guess again, that isn't bone."


"Too extensive. I think this is a boomer."

"Another human lookalike? OK Ohta this is now officially ADP juristiction. Daley get the techs over here."

The body was quickly identified as one of the banned 33-S series. A rare find, made even more surprising by being a male design. The nature of the wounds that had destroyed it matched some of those inflicted by the vigilante. The ADP's forensic unit moved in and began tearing the apartment apart. A number of long white hairs were found but no evidence that the occupant had owned a pet. Another link to the Werewolf? Perhaps.

Jadeite found his office was now full of ADP detectives questioning everyone. Before long his head was aching after continually have to control minds to cover Margrave's fake past. On top of which Kate Madigan had been phoning constantly ordering him get matters under control fast! His good humour was long gone and his plans for the evening were changing. The Hyper Boomers would be hunting tonight. Soon as he figured out the best place to kill a lot of people and cover the effects of draining. He didn't need the power but a slaughter of innocents should defuse the tension. He was still thinking along these lines when his secretary buzzed him.

He repressed the urge to go out there and toss her through the window. "I said no more calls from the police, Madigan, or anyone else at GENOM!"

His tone was sufficent to unnerve the secretary. "I ... I'm sorry to disturb you sir. It's just that there is a Mr. Cite on the phone. He insists that it is urgent and he is an old acquaintance of yours."

"I don't know any ... what was the name again? The full name."

"Mr. Cal Cite. He claims ..."

"Put hin through."

"Good afternoon Lord Jadeite." The language this was delivered in confirmed the caller's identity in a way the voice alone couldn't. With Margrave's passing only three speakers of this language remained. Jadeite answered in the Dark Kingdom tongue. Any listeners on the line would be frantically trying to decipher what was not a code.

"This has been a foul afternoon. Most of which resulted from Margrave's abrupt demise."

"I apologise for destroying your servant but I did not seek her out. She challenged me." Hesitantly, "Had you told me she had survived I could have warned you that she bore me an old enmity from the kingdom."

"Must have been severe indeed to make her challenge you given the gulf between your powers." Perhaps she'd refused Calcite but he'd overwhelmed her and taken his pleasures anyway. Some females objected to that. Like that "no means no" nonsense you heard human women spouting. There had been some female youma who seemed to feel submitting to a more powerful male was wrong. Though they'd never objected to him. Just as well as he'd have destroyed any of them who had. No, they'd never objected to him. Every female in the Kingdom knew ... had known, it was an honor to serve one of the four Generals. Over the centuries many had sought him out to father their children. Hoping for powerful offspring they could mortgauge for power.

On the phone's videolink he saw Calcite shrug. "Females are an unpredictable lot. They are driven by emotion which makes them irrational."

Jadeite nodded, "True. They lack our rationality and calmer perspective."

"Indeed my Lord. I apologise for leaving the site of the incident but I ... ahhh feared I might make an error in my unfamiliarity with this city that would betray me to the police." Jadeite hide his chuckle. A partial truth but the whole truth is you feared I might destroy you after losing a valuable servant. "However you will find myself and Azurite far more capable than Margrave in your service."

"I had better."

"Yes Lord." A brief pause. "I ahh ... might perhaps be able to begin serving you right away. Did you place any of those Boomer creatures near the dimensional gateway."

"What concern of that is yours?"

"My apologies Lord. It is simply ... have you checked their status lately?"

"No. Why?"

"Perhaps you should." Jadeite frowned and called up the Boomers status boards. Then cursed. Eight of the units had managed to transmit imminent destruction codes. The rest simply didn't respond. They hadn't had time to give notification before being annihilated.

"What is this?" And why had he failed to check the units regularly? Or install a watch program to inform him if anything happened. He'd intended to but he had only deployed the units a few night previously. There had been other demands on his time.

Calcite continued. "I do not know, my lord. I had ventured to the gate because of fluctuations I detected ..."


"Some equipment in my possession sensed that the gateway was perhaps going to collapse so I went to investigate ..."

"Impossible. I created the gateway. I do not make errors."

"With respect Lord there may be factors in this dimension you were unaware existed."

"Silence." Jadeite powered up his space/time warping abilities, expanding his sensitivity to the forces involved. Then mentally reached across the city. Here was the gate and ... and it was pulsating. It should have been steady, waiting in standbye for his order to open. Now it shook and seemed to be nearing collapse. He could open it again easily enough but until he understood how this had happened the new gate would face the same risk. What if the collapse rate accelerated? He might lose all hope of accessing the other world. His vengeance would go unfufilled! Wait. Calcite had mentioned equipment.

"Why bother to investigate the gate when you could do nothing about it? You have no dimensional shifting abilites beyond rudimentary teleportation. If you had I would have sensed them."

"You are correct Lord Jadeite I do not possess such powers. However my late cousin was capable of handling such matters artificially. I appropriated his equipment after his untimely death following our own dimensional jump." Jadeite considered. It would have been easier to open a gateway from the Kingdom to the other Earth because of the existing connections. "I made sure I knew how to operate it before our escape." Jadeite began to wonder if the deaths of the other two had been directly linked to the warpgate. "So I intended to analyse the problem and correct it. As a small apology for any trouble my earlier actions might have caused."

If he could do that then the equipment he mentioned would be very useful. The trick would be to ensure he didn't know he could do anything Jadeite couldn't. Something struck him. "You said you intended to do this for me, saving me some minor effort."

"When I saw the remains of the Boomers I withdrew to assess the situation."

"Then called me rather than continue without my sanction."

"Uhh ... yes Lord."

"Good. It is important that you realize your place." He glanced at the time display. "It'll be dark in an hour. Meet me at the gatesight and you can demonstrate your alleged skill with this equipment of yours."

"Yes sir. Should I bring Azurite? She is eager to pledge her loyalty."

Rather than be disciplined for failing to do so promptly? I am sure she is. "Bring her then. And command her to show appropriate respect."

"She would do that anyway. Until later my Lord."

Calcite hung up the phone and the screen blanked. Azurite nodded toward the nearby Knight Sabers. Speaking in the Dark Kingdom's language she commented, "It's a good thing they didn't understand that. They don't know you like I do and might have taken you seriously at the beginning."

"What makes you think I wasn't serious?"

"Chauvanist!" She punched him playfully in the shoulder.

"Ouch." He realized she was looking at him with concern. "I'm kidding. I'm almost back to normal. Another hour and I'll be fine. Incidently let's switch back to Japanese. Priss is looking a bit edgy at not understanding us."

"Suppose we should stay on her good side."

"I was thinking more in terms of keeping her shooting straight when the time comes. After all we will be standing next to Jadeite."

"That's the part of the plan that worries me."

"Really? I'm worried about everything that came after the part where I said 'now here's my plan'."

"You really know how to boost a girl's confidence." Azurtie sighed and switched back to Japanese. "Cal, how do we keep getting ourselves into these messes? We came over to do a little reconaissance and consider our options. Now we're stuck taking on Jadeite himself and our only backup is women whose combat gear has even more ridiculous heels than mine?"

Nene looked over at Priss. "Why do all the hardsuits have high heels?"

She shrugged. "If the whole world is an anime series then you have to blame the character designer. Maybe there is something to that, it would explain how somebody with no talent except being cute got into this group."

"I resent that. Let's see you cut through GENOM's database for a clean retrieval while dodging three levels of black ice."

During this Azurite and Calcite had wandered out. She realized they were keeping a little distance between each other than usual. "Have to practice my grovelling for when we meet Jadeite."

"Don't overdo it. He's a lot sharper than he used to be."

"He certainly sounded more together. Though he was still dumb enough not to check his guard Boomers."

"He's still got that arrogance. That makes him overconfident. Sending those Boomers through before his grand plan was ready was idiotic. But he was sure that the gate wouldn't be found. Of course far as he knows all the Senshi except Sailor Moon died at the North Pole. Margrave didn't get to stick around to witness the resurrections."

"Something else we owe her for."

"Let it go." Pause. "So everything's really all right between ..."

"Yeah. Good thing you didn't come after us though. We talked ... actually it was more shouting than talking at first. He'd warp somewhere. I'd follow. We'd yell at each other. He'd warp away again. I'd pursue ... could be a lot of ghost stories in tomorrow's paper."

"What's ironic about this whole thing is Jadeite thinks we're lovers. Uhhh is that going to be problem?"

"Not to worry I'm a good actress."

"I reserve judgement until I've seen the movie."

"You are dicing with death mister."

"If it's all the same to you I've had enough of women beating on me for today."

"Pity. I've got the outfit for it." It's probably best to banter about this. Otherwise we might start getting serious again. And who knows where that would lead?

"Are you two supposed to be hanging around alone?" Ti had emerged from the slumbering Margrave's room.

"Don't cause trouble. What were you doing in there?"

"Just checking on her. She mentioned your name big brother."

"I see. Angry?"

"No, sounded more like she was going to cry."

"Wonder what she's dreaming?"

Azurite shrugged. "Probably that you rose high in the Kingdom but ditched her in the process. She was sure she had you."

Calcite didn't respond to that. "Everything ready?"

Ti nodded. "Pyrite got the skirt and boots changed to the right color. The translator's set to give me the voice. All I need are the other props and I'm all set. Sylia said she knew where to get what we need."

"Good. I'm going to have a word with Pyrite."

"Last I saw him he was in there looking through the discs." Calcite nodded and departed. Azurite studied Ti. She wasn't nervous anymore, probably back to thinking of this as an adventure.

"Remember what your brother said. When the shooting starts hit the ground and shield."

"I remember." Now Ti was looking a little uncomfortable. "Say Azure ... when ... I mean how long ago ..."

"When did I decide I was in love with Calcite?"

"...well yeah. It's none of my business I know but ..."

"You're right about that. Let's just say I was younger than you are now."

"So this whole things been going on for years? Why didn't you just tell him a long time ago and sort it out then?"

"That makes a lot of sense with hindsight. The main reason was fear."

Ti just stared at her. "Come on, you're not scared of anything."

"Actually there's a lot I'm scared of. I've learned to suppress the fears of combat beforehand. After we've won tonight I'll get scared thinking about what could have happened. That's when you need someone to hold you. But that's not what you're talking about. If I'd told Cal I'd have destroyed what I had with Pyrite. Which wasn't the same thing I felt for Cal but ... There's love and there's passion. Passion is immediate but it tends to burn out quickly. Maybe it'll become love, maybe it won't. With me so far?" Ti nodded. "Ok. So what if my passion for your brother didn't translate into love? The three of us would have separated by bitterness and I didn't want that. Especially in the Kingdom where unity meant survival. Worse, what if I'd told him how I felt but he still chose Margrave over me? Pyr would have had every reason not to take me back. I'd have gambled and lost everything for nothing except loneliness."

Ti was silent for a few moments. "I ... well I always sort of figured once you grew up you could sort out how you felt and life would make sense."

"That could happen someday. But I'm not holding my breath."

As Titanite had said Pyrite was sorting through the BGC discs. "Still working on your theory?"

"That's right. I'm beginning to think it's the only thing that makes sense for the radical changes Jadeite and Margrave went through."

"Jadeite's certainly changed for the worse but that could be a side effect of months of sensory deprivation."

"I concede that. But I think this is more likely." He was fingering the "Red Eyes" disc. "Jadeite was always dangerous but genocide was beyond him."

"What about the Moon Kingdom?"

"Nowhere near this level of slaughter. Besides from a military standpoint couldn't you justify it as a preemptive strike?"

"I couldn't. But I imagine he could."

"He's acting a lot like this Largo character. Mass slaughter of humans. According to Ti in the second series he's planning the destruction of humanity. He personally commands a lot of power."

"The idea being that things that don't belong in this dimension arrive some force assimilates them so they will belong. You're saying that when Jadeite arrived this world began molding him to fit in. The closest thing to anyone or anything like him was Largo. So he mentally at least he became a second Largo."

"Roughly speaking. If you look at these wave patterns ..."

"Can anyone other than you understand the details of your theory?"

"Well ... probably not."

"I'll take it on faith then. This leaves the question that if Jadeite was changed what about Margrave? How'd she synch into this world?"

"I think I've found a pattern she conforms too. There's a recurring theme in both these discs and this world. Roughly speaking, close friend dies violently at the hands of someone. Vigilante justice is extracted. It's happened to two of the Knight Sabers."

"You're saying she was becoming one of them?"

"Not precisely. More following that pattern. Given her violent nature I'd say she was acting more like Vision than Linna or Priss. Definitely more extreme than them in seeking vengeance."

"But why that role rather than a villain's part?"

"That I can't answer. Maybe contact with you changed her enough to switch from black to gray. Maybe it was just random, she had to become like someone here. Perhaps I'm dead wrong, she hasn't changed a bit and she had her own reasons for becoming a vigilante."

"If you're right then the longer we stay the more chance we have of being changed."

"Cal we don't have to go back. We can survive here as easily as in Tokyo."

"Ti mentioned that. I pointed out she'd have to give up her ambitions of becoming a Senshi."

"That's a good reason not to go back. No one here has heard of youma. No more fears of the Senshi turning on us one day."

"But I'd be afraid of waking up some morning and being someone else. Even if we don't change we'll still be hiding what we are from the world. The Senshi make me uncomfortable but it's still a better world. In this world technology is already advancing faster than self control, most people don't even know they're on the brink, the ecosystem is nearing collapse and there's the strong possibility of war between humanity and their AI creations."

Pyrite nodded resignedly. "I have to admit my own faith in salvation through advanced technology has taken a beating. The chance of this place

winding up anything like the utopia in Trek is fairly remote."

"But there's something more than that. This world has a ... a darkness ours lacks. I get the feeling that there's always hope over there. For all the Dark Kingdom's plans they didn't get to cause as much damage as a single Boomer rampage does over here. When violence breaks out here it's a lot worse. I don't know why but that seems to be the way of it."

"I think you're judging this world too harshly." Sylia had entered with a stealth Calcite wouldn't have thought possible. "But I accept that this is not your world and you don't belong here. Or, perhaps worse, you would fit in but lose yourselves in the process." There was no answer to that. Sylia opened the box she carried and unwrapped the contents. "How's this?" The earrings and tiara were an excellent match.

Calcite and Azurite waited among the demolished Boomers. Many of them had been stripped of the parts that weren't too badly damaged. The stench of organic decay filled the air. Azurite surveyed the wreckage again and shook her head. "Remind me never to get on your bad side."

"Remind me to avoid getting involved in these situations." Almost zero hour. "Tell me again this isn't the stupidest idea I ever came up with."

"It isn't. That was getting involved with Margrave. However this probably ranks number two."

"Hmmph. Enough banter, let's think youma." She nodded and both put on cold expressions.

The interval between sensing the warp and feeling it was unnervingly brief. Both renegades immediately bowed low before Jadeite. "Arise." He studied both of them paying particular attention to Azurite. He nodded. "You've developed well. Your power is adequete. For a female."

Must have been really galling kowtowing to Queen Beryl all those centuries. Or maybe that's why you think like this. Azurite didn't voice the thought. Just respectfully answered, "I am honoured to meet with your approval Lord Jadeite."

He dismissed her with a nod. "Very well Calcite, demonstrate your vaunted skill and repair the gateway. Then prevent the problem from recurring."

That would be simple as the gateway's instability was caused by the devices Pyrite had planted earlier in the day. The plan was simple. Bring Jadeite to a place with an excellent firezone. Throw him off guard then break his shield and kill him. Calcite opened Pyrite's case exposing his cousin's varied tools. It looked quite a bit like a gemstone collection. Jadeite studied them while trying to appear aloof. Then it began.

"Villains should not outlast their homelands."

Jadeite froze as he recognised the voice.

"We should only recycle popcans rather than bad guys."

He turned. It couldn't be. That costume! The ridiculous ponytails! It was her!

"When the big boss monster loses smaller fry should get the idea it's time to give it up."

Behind Jadeite Azurite built a vortex wave. Calcite created psychoplasm gauntlets on both hands and focused energy through them. Jadeite didn't notice, all his attention was on the girl before him.

"I'm the Sailor Senshi fighting for Love and Justice! The one and only Sailor Moon! On behalf of mandatory retirement and in the name of the Moon I will punish yowwwww!" Jadeite overcame his shock sufficently to throw a hasty shockwave. The Senshi instinctively moved her arms in front of her but it was the force shield that kept her standing. Force shield?

Calcite and Azurite struck simultaneously. Kinetic and energy based attacks. Very difficult to shield against both at the same time. One should get through his shield. Ideally killing him, hopefully at least hurting him so he couldn't maintain any sort of shield. Leaving him open to the second wave. A kill would be perfect but the Renegades weren't counting on that.

As they struck Pyrite heaved out of concealment from his position by Sailor Moon. He'd had to stay close to blank her real aura. The Knight Sabers broke free from their cover in the surrrounding rubble. Railguns and lasers firing another kinetic and beam energy based attack began

It's very difficult to shield against both varieties simultaneously.

But not impossible.

Calcite had an instant to realize Jadeite's shield was weakened but intact before the older youma struck. His own shield buckled and the blow tossed him ten metres. Azurite was stepping back to deliver her second hurricane from outside the blast zone when he seized her wrists and hauled her towards him. He forced her hands skyward making the airvortex rip off into the night. A link in his mind called for assistance. Within the storage section of the development lab red eyes gleamed.

From behind a kinetic force sphere hammered his shield as Sailor Moon attacked. An energy bolt ripped past fired from a crystal held by a man next to her. The Knight Sabers aimed to shoot around Azurite and locked on target. Azurite tried to pull her hands free and so she could deliver a pointblank hurricane to his head. Male humans and youmas share one major vulnerable spot. She brought her knee up with enough force to fell a tree. From the expression on his face some of the impact had got through. Calcite rolled to his feet and summoned a shockblast. Jadeite felt his shield near collapse but he wasn't worried. His children would answer their father's call.

Pyrite sensed the incoming warp wave and began to shout a warning. Too late! The four Boomers materialized and immediately began transforming. Each picked a Knight Saber and attacked. The Sabers now had their own problems. Leaving the Renegades to deal with Jadeite.

"Those bastards can teleport?" They'd never considered that.

The energy burst from Jadeite's hands overloaded Azurite's shield and she screamed. Pyrite yelled her name, distracted from getting a target on Jadeite's head. Calcite ignored the distraction and fired. He barely missed Azurite but struck Jadeite. The Youma Lord swayed. Calcite charged in already forging the weapon he'd use. Jadeite released his grip on one of Azurite's wrists and aimed a hand at Sailor Moon. This force blast overloaded her shield and knocked her flying. The blond wig was knocked askew exposing the green hair underneath.

Jadeite was still staring at her as Calcite cut toward his side with a sword glowing with power. As the sword came down it exploded. The damage from the energy discharge was nothing compared to the psychic feedback from its destruction. Azurite opened her eyes in time to see Calcite fall. Then Jadeite hauled her to her feet.

Meanwhile the Knight Sabers had their own problems. The new arrivals were just as tough as their brother had been. One had nearly finished them. Now they each had their own adversary. Priss's railgun fired a burst into her Boomer's face. The hypervelocity needles ricocheted away without damage. It slammed into her and Priss was thrown back into one of the omnipresent rubble heaps. She hadn't hit that hard so why was it so hard to get up? The hardsuit seemed so very heavy. Around her her friends were batted around by the Boomers. The Boomers weren't using their firepower just their strength. Like cats playing with mice. No one was moving right. Priss tried to force herself upright as the Boomer approached. No good. She had no strength left. The Boomer grabbed her by the ankle then flung her at the one Nene lay crumpled beside. It grabbed the Pink Saber and swung her like a bat. The hardsuits impact slammed Priss's teeth together cracking several crowns. The laughter of the Boomers was harsh and metallic.

Pyrite watched helplessly as the Boomers continued draining energy from the Sabers. Everyone else was down except Azurite who hung in Jadeite's grasp. He couldn't risk a shot. He wasn't accurate enough to be sure of missing her.

Jadeite saw Azurite stir as he watched his Boomers play with the Knight Sabers. Seemed there's been some personality transfer as well. "Boys will be boys. However daughter you are a disappointment!"

"What?" Keep him talking, build your strength.

"How sharper than a serpents tooth is a thankless child. I honoured your mother with a child and this is how you repay me." He shook his head in mock sorrow. "Ah well hardly the first time I've had to kill one of my offspring." He flung her into a piece of the wall that still stood. It exploded in a shower of rubble.

Jadeite heard the scream and turned in time to dodge the charged crystal that slashed downwards. The shockblast hammered Pyrite backwards. That was the last of them. Now should he finish them or ask a few questions first? Perhaps best to kill them it was fairly obvious this was an attempt to take over the operation. Pity. Calcite might have been useful. Besides being potentially dangerous. Fortunately he'd learned a defense against psychoplasm decades ago. If you knew how you could make the creator unmake his creations explosively. Lucky Calcite hadn't learned the appropriate psi defense yet. That left the Knight Sabers. Suck them dry or peel them out of the suits first then dismember them. Decisions, decisions.

Then the hand closed around his ankle. Jadeite looked down to see Calcite the instant before he channneled all his remaining energy through his hand. Jadeite howled and writhed as Calcite hung on. Pyrite's attack had got him close enough to get a grip. This was the last shot he had.

Jadeite's free boot rose and slammed down on his wrist. Again. Calcite ignored the pain and hung on. The foot came down again and something crunched. Jadeite wrenched himself free. "You hurt me." He sounded more amazed than pained. "You actually hurt me!" The kick rolled Calcite over onto his back. That was his last shot and he'd blown it. He saw Jadeite raise his hand and power gather. "Not bad. In a few centuries you might really have been dangerous. Any last words?"

"Yes." He was a bit surprised that he was able to speak. "I really hope you're not my father."

Jadeite looked a little surprised. "What was your mother's name." Idle curiousity.


Jadeite flicked through his memories. That actually rang a bell. Meraphis, Metazal, Metrenar ..." Ah yes I remember her. Attractive female, shiny gold skin, beautiful horns. I would have had her but Nephrite got to her first. I never could stand to touch his cast offs. I'd heard he gave her a couple of brats. So you must be his son. Feel better knowing that?"

"Not really." I was hoping to buy enough time to forge a weapon and make a last effort. Nothing left. Sorry everyone.

"Enjoy the Abyss. Your comrades will be joining you momentarily."

Titanite tried to focus on the action. Her head ached and her vision seemed blurred. What had happened? Someone standing over someone else. Jadeite! Her brother sprawled before him as Jadeite raised a hand and summoned power. Something missing ... Shield! Jadeite's shield was gone. Hit him with a force sphere. Not enough time to create one but she had to. She brought her hands forward and saw the tiara she'd clutched as she fell. The baseball trick! Focus Ti! Something's delaying Jadeite. No he's done talking! Going to kill Cal! DO IT! Driven by the telekinetic surge the replica tiara Sylia had had made tore forward. Jadeite caught the movement and moved to block it.

Just a little too late.

He stared down at the ends of the tiara jutting from his chest. Green blood welled around the entry wound. His expression one of disbelief he managed to look at Titanite. She heaved herself up and managed to gasp "Moon .... Tiara ... Action!" Then slumped down again. Jadeite almost smiled. He opened his mouth as though to say something. Then doubled over vomiting blood. He collapsed on top of Calcite, twitched briefly then lay still.

The Boomer that had raised Linna over its' head paused in the act of striking her back against its knee. Suddenly it shrank reverting to a C-55 Boomer. The sudden change in state immobalized it as its CPU tried to deal with its previous behaviour. Linna felt her strength flow back. Her combat ribbons flicked downwards and wrapped around the Boomer's shoulders. She energized them and the arms holding her separated from the rest of the Boomer's body. She hit the ground rolling and swung the ribbons around cutting it off at the knees. As it fell she was already rising into the air. Both armoured heels came down squarely on its face. The Boomer's head caved in and biomech brain sprayed over her legs.

To her right Priss rained punches on the torso of her Boomer. She'd already pulled the head off and crushed it between her hands. As she hammered its chest into the backbone she kept up a steady stream of curses.

"Uhm I think you've already killed it." Priss ignored Nene. Nene's Boomer was already down. A larger hole where the right eye had been marked a pointblank range laserbolt. Sylia straightened up from the Boomer she'd split from forehead to crotch.

"That's enough Priss. It's over." At least I hope so. The battered Sabers trooped back to the ambush sight. The adrenaline rush from the return of their energy was gone. They were beginning to feel the pain from the beating they'd just taken.

Calcite heaved Jadeite's body off himself. It seemed extraordinarily light. With a crash Azurite heaved herself out of the rubble. She took in the body and realized it was over. "Pyrite!"

Calcite pointed and she hobbled over. He was already stirring. Calcite turned away from them and looked toward his sister. He should check her but he didn't have any strength. He heard crunching footsteps and saw the battered Knight Sabers limp into view. He tried to get up again and failed. Forcing the words out he said, "Titanite ..." Nene tottered over to check. She was careful as she examined the girl. The damaged hardsuit had none of its normal precision. "She's breathing normally. Other than that I don't know enough about your physiology to guess." Azurite and Pyrite stumbled over too join her. Pyrite announced it as concussion. Best left to her healing factor.

Nene stayed with Ti but everyone else gathered around the body. It was becoming less substantial. Fading into glowing motes of light. Azurite watched it happen with an intensity Calcite didn't recognise.

"My father?" Disbelief echoed through her voice.

"Do you want to say anything?" Calcite felt a little stronger. They'd both learned their fathers' identities after more than twenty years. Did it really have anything to do with who they were? He doubted it.

"I'm glad I never bought you a father's day gift." Nobody laughed. After a few moments she added, "I owe him my existence. I thank him for that. Beyond that I can't really say anything as I never knew him. That was his by choice. I doubt we'd have liked each other. If its true that ages ago he was a good man corrupted by Beryl then let's hope he's found peace. Anyone else?"

"More of a eulogy than he deserves."

"How often do any of us get what we deserve?"

The body finished fading leaving nothing except the tiara. Even the clothing was gone. "Let's get the hell out of here."

The truck was undisturbed. When Mackie saw them approach he slid into his own waiting powersuit to haul them in. Though he didn't say anything he mentally groaned at the repairs he'd have to do.

As he drove them back Sylia winced and decided it was time for a vacation. Two severe pummelings within a week was about her limit. The city would have to look after itself for a few weeks. Besides now both sets of hardsuits were writeoffs. Maybe she should just design the next generation of suits and build them from scratch instead of patching these together again.

The Renegades were in worse shape physically but from what they'd said would heal a lot faster than the Sabers. Calcite looked up from his unconscious sister. "Ms. Stingray now that the immediate threat has passed I'd like to discuss an information trade with you."


"We have a second set of discs which are supposed to cover the events of next year. I'm willing to trade it for certain items."

"Those being?"

"A complete set of episodes for the Sailor Moon television show and something to enable us to view it. I doubt we can manage it with 20th century technology."

"Theoretically that would give us both foreknowledge of what's going to happen. A very valuable commodity."

"I'm thinking more in terms of staying out of the line of fire."

"You're not planning on trying to rewrite history?"

"That assumes history is predetermined. I prefer to think I've got some free will."

"As do I. Though recent events have damaged that belief."

The following day was spent quietly healing. Or in Priss's case healing while grousing about the unfairness of being able to match the Renegades accelerated rate. The Renegades had decided to depart that evening. They would have been absent from their own continuum for three days (two in Ti's case). Any longer and questions might start being asked. Calcite and Sylia were talking.

"Pyr's sure the presets will work. The gate will collapse behind us which ends the danger of interdimensional conmtamination."

"Good. It's hard enough dealing with our own world's problems without importing someone else's." They heard Mackie and Ti talking. "She seems to be dealing with it all right."

Calcite shook his head. "She doesn't have anything to deal with. Far as I can tell she really doesn't remember killing Jadeite." He paused. "I could probably enter her mind and restore the memory but I don't know if I should. I don't want her growing up to be a warrior. She'll never be a normal girl but she'll be a lot happier living a normal life."

"I sometimes question there is any such thing. On another matter we've finished copying your discs so Titanite can return them to her friend. This little device is a handheld videodisc player. Each of these optical discs has a season of the show encoded on it."

"Thank you. Let's see. Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon SS ... that leads to an interesting mental picture and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars." He looked at them. "Odd to think that the future of the world could be sitting on these things."

"Perhaps. I guess you'll have to see for yourselves. Do the others know?"

"Yes. Don't your friends?"

"I'm waiting until Mackie's reviewed them. If it turns out that any of them die then I'm definitely not saying anything until I've managed to prevent it."

Nearby Pyrite sat with Azurite. "Soon be home again."

"I'm looking forward to that. What I'm not looking forward is our new houseguest."

"You couldn't expect Cal to abandon her."

"No. I could hope though."

Calcite's announcement wasn't a real surprise. Margrave would be going back with them. Once they arrived he'd wake her up and explain the situation. Then offer her the choice of staying with them under their rules or making her own way in the world. The latter option would probably mean she'd wind up doing something youmalike and get herself vaporised by the Senshi. So Azurite hoped she'd pick that.

"Ti will be a little disappointed to leave here."

"I won't. The sooner the better."

"These people aren't ..."

"They're alright, that's the problem. I have the sick feeling that if we stay Cal will end up falling for Sylia. Which means we'll get sucked into her crusade. That's exactly what we want to avoid."

Pyrite looked at her. "What makes you so sure Cal would fall for her?"

"Because she's a worse choice than Margrave. And it seems to be his karma to make the worst possible choice."

A little later Calcite entered Margrave's room and looked down at the sleeping youma. He fingered the cast on his broken wrist as he contemplated her. There she was, the last surviving nonrenegade youma. It couldn't possibly work. Betrayal and deception were part of her nature. Even considering getting involved with her again was idiotic. In the Dark Kingdom his options had been limited. That was no longer the case. The smart thing to do would be leave her here and let her find her own doom. Even as he thought this he knew he'd be bringing her with them.

He shook his head. "I must be out of my mind." She didn't answer, just kept dreaming and purred.

It was evening when they departed. It would still be afternoon in their world. There were various goodbyes then the Renegades prepared for departure. Hair and eyecolors shifted as they activated their glamours. Calcite held Margrave. He extended his glamour to make her appear to be a child. It would be a lot easier to been seen carrying a sleeping child rather than a sleeping catwoman.

"Goodbye Sylia. I hope you maintain the balance you strive for."

"Goodbye Calcite. I hope you find the peace you're looking for."

The watching Knight Sabers were disappointed by the lack of special effects. One by one the Renegades walked forward and vanished.

As Titanite headed for the gate Priss called, "Ever get your answers?" She blushed and stepped forward. She just hadn't had the nerve to ask them in person. She carried the precious disc viewer. If anything happened to it her brother had promised a variety of dire penalties. She wasn't going to let anything happen to this. Not only was it the key to the future it would be one of a kind. An anime unique in their world. The greatest collectors item of all time. She vanished.

Pyrite was the last to go. As he'd promised twenty seconds later there was a brief feeling of vertigo and a faint electrical pop. Priss tossed a brick through the space the gateway had been. It thudded to the ground without vanishing. Sylia picked up one of the crystals Pyrite had placed. It was already blackening and starting to crumble. She dropped it and saw it shatter on the ground. The fragments began crumpling to dust.

"Nothing more to see. Might as well go."

Priss nodded. "Be nice for things to get back to normal."

Linna chucked. "Priss just this year we've dealt with Gibson who was being absorbed by his car, Largo and the laser satellite takeover, Vision's mecha and that mess at ADP headquarters. Not to mention dozens of Boomers running amuck. That's what passes for normal around here."

Priss's reply was unintelligable but probably obscene.

Back in her apartment Sylia confronted her brother. "Mackie you've seen the Crash discs and I haven't yet. Why are you so down?"

"Sis, it's terrible!" Sylia tensed up. "I don't even get five minutes of screen time. I'm hardly in it!" It wasn't often Mackie got to see his sister laugh. "I should mention that Titanite told me many fans don't consider Bubblegum Crash as canon."


"People have changed since the first series."

"Mackie life is change. No one stays the same forever."

"Maybe. I guess you'll have to watch it for yourself to see what I mean. Though right now a Nene who kicks ass and takes names seems a little unlikely." Sylia just stared at him. "Seriously the first thing to do is see if there's anything to this business about Largo surviving."

"Why the hell didn't you mention that earlier?" These disc could be far more important than she'd suspected. Assuming anything in them was actually going to happen.

Time would tell. It always did.

A few other loose ends remained. Over at ADP HQ Daley and Leon were still trying to puzzle it out.

"Ok so everyone agrees Margrave arrives with Deite. Let's say she's a protype. Some sort of combination sexaroid personality and combat boomer. A demo model to prove what he can build. He sends her hunting people no one's going to miss to demonstrate her capabilities. Next thing we know the Werewolf Vigilante is open for business."

"Lab boys still haven't explained the hairs we found. Feline but far too long too have come off a pet cat. Let's leave that and get back to the Margrave unit's successful demo.

"GENOM likes it so they give him a lab. Which really pisses off Webster. He sets his own advanced Boomers loose for a firepower test. Deite intercepts them with his completed combat unit which is called Sailor Arcturus for some reason. It destroys them. Our mystery man in the tux is there as its controller."

"Enter the boys in blue. We go to see Deite and meet Margrave. From her secretary's testimony we know soon we left she barged in to see Deite."

"Maybe she knew she was now obsolete. She's got emotions ... or a damn fine simulation. Anyway she panics."

"So far so good. Now the tricky part. She suddenly goes to the Hotel Imperial and attacks another Boomer. The cameras fry before we can confirm Margrave's destruction."

"Maybe he was the man in the tuxedo."

"Maybe. But that still doesn't explain the smashed sexaroid in her apartment. Or the blur in the restaurant. Or that girl who looked something like the male Boomer."

Leon sighed. "Think we're ever going to figure this out?"

Daley's reply was interuptted by the phone. "ADP. Detective Wong ... Evening Carol ... Really? ... Go on ... Well well well ... I owe you dinner ... call it that if you like but I don't promise anything until the second date ... is it? OK until the third date then."

"So what's up?"

"Seems GENOM's filed felony charges against Mr Deite. He's dropped out of sight and taken all his work with him. From what Carol overheard there's no trace of what they've been pouring millions into. No working models, no data, no Deite. Everyone who worked with him blanks out when asked to describe the process. Some sort of brainwashing technique. A very effective one from the sound of it."

"So GENOM's out a small fortune and Deite's out there somewhere with his own Boomer army?"

"There can't be that many of them. Not much we can do until he reemerges or we hear something more."

"So it's another one for the open files."

"Along with the Vampire, the Werewolf Vigilante, Largo and all the other crazy stuff we've never been able to close."

"Cheer up Leon. Law of averages say we have to solve one sometime."

Perhaps. But it wouldn't be this one. Even if they did who would believe the truth?

Dark Kingdom Renegades 2: Bad Moon Rising

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 6 of 8

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