Continuing Tales

Dark Kingdom Renegades 1: Refugees

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 3 of 7

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It was Thursday afternoon, the day after the Jadeite incident. Minako was dominating the emergency meeting she'd called. "Look, don't you get it Usagi?! He phoned me at home! HE KNOWS I'M SAILOR VENUS!"

"If you don't keep your voice down my grandfather, Yuichiro and everyone else in the temple is going to know that!" Rei glanced out the window into the empty courtyard. Good, no one in earshot.

Minako took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "Look I don't want to sound like I'm panicking but I'm in a lot of trouble! If Calcite knows my real identity I have to worry about him attacking me at any time. Or worse he might go after my family in revenge for all his defeats!"

"That's bad all right, but just who is he? I don't recall fighting

anyone by that name." Makoto then added, "Of course I was one of the last to join the team."

"Well I never heard of him before and I was around from the start of the Dark Kingdom attacks." Usagi continued, "So who is he?"

"I never did learn much about him. This was back when I was the only Sailor Warrior and the Dark Kingdom was just starting to break into our world. He called himself Lord Calcite and launched a series of attacks in Juban. He wasn't interested in collecting energy, he seemed to be more interested in destroying things in sacrifice to Metallia. As Sailor V I stopped his schemes several times but he always escaped. He got sick of losing all the time and opened a warpgate to England. I followed him there. Artemis had told me that Luna had found the second Sailor Warrior so Juban would be protected in my absence ..."

Rei broke in, "You left before Sailor Moon actually appeared, didn't you?"

"Yes, how'd you know?"

"Why else would you leave her alone to protect this town?"

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean!"

"It means ..."

Luna cut in before things broke down, "Go on Minako."

"Well when I got to England ..." She decided not to mention Alan or Katrina again, "... sure enough Calcite was trying the same sort of thing. He didn't try to shift countries again, maybe he'd exhausted his ability to move his gate from the Dark Kingdom. Anyway we were fighting regularly and he started getting more dangerous. Maybe because he seemed to be operating solo most of the time. In Juban he'd always had youma underlings. He almost drowned me one time. Matter of fact he would have if Gray hadn't shown up."

"Gray being that guy from last night?"

"Right. I don't know much about him, he spent most of his time looking grim and saying as little as possible. Whoever he was, is, he made himself Calcite's enemy. Eventually he seemed to have everything under control so I returned to Juban which seemed to be at the heart of the war."

"That's glossing over things a little", Artemis thought. "As long as you thought Alan was in love with you I couldn't get you to come back. Calcite made a great excuse to stay there."

"Do you know what happened after you left?" Ami was wondering why the Dark Kingdom had targetted England. Everything significant seemed to have happened in Juban town.

Minako thought about her meeting with the brainwashed Katrina. "I was told Calcite stopped showing up after I left. Gray announced that without a superhuman adversary to fight he couldn't justify vigilantism and retired."

"So Gray may be in Juban because he learned Calcite was in town?"

"That's good thinking Ami. That must be it! But why is Calcite in town? How'd he learn my identity? And why is he still around when the Dark Kingdom's gone?"

Rei shrugged, "Jadeite's still around, we just discovered that."

Ami nodded, "Maybe Calcite and Jadeite are working together?"

"Why didn't we meet this Calcite guy when we were fighting the Dark Kingdom?", Makoto asked.

"If my theory's right then it's not surprising Calcite never fought the combined Sailor Warriors." Luna suddenly realized she had everyone's attention. Artemis was giving her his "not-in-front-of-the-children" look. "Errr, never mind!"

Artemis tried to change the subject, "Yes, well we should get back to Jadeite. We know he's at large and draining energy ..."

Minako broke in, "What's this theory Luna?"

Luna began sweating, "Errr, just something I talked over with Artemis."

Artemis found himself the focus of Minako's attention. "It's just a theory, nothing you really need to worry about. Getting back to Jadeite ..."

"Tell me the theory!"

She wasn't going to be sidetracked but she really wouldn't like hearing this. "As I say it's just a theory. Following your return to Juban town Luna and I were comparing notes and trying to figure where Calcite fit in the Dark Kingdom hierarcy. Errr well we sort of came to the conclusion that ... ahh do you remember part of your job as Sailor V was being the decoy Moon Princess? You were a distraction for the Dark Kingdom to keep them from hunting down the real princess. So that any youma looking for her would come after you instead?"

"Of course I remember that."

"Yes, well we sort of think that ... that Calcite was the Dark Kingdom equivalent."

Minako looked puzzled, "What do you mean?"

"Well he claimed to be a high ranking youma and he had a lot of nasty gadgets but ... but he never really accomplished anything except keeping you distracted."


"Well you chased him all the way to England which got you out of the way of Jadeite. And back then you were the only Sailor Warrior around. Also Calcite screwed up consistently but was never removed. Jadeite got replaced after a lot fewer defeats. Then there's the fact that Calcite disappeared from England right after Sailor V apparently died. He didn't try to continue his plans and challenge Gray."

"I see." Minako sounded suspiciously calm. "This was all Luna's theory?"

Artemis considered lying but decided to stay honest. "I'd begun to wonder about this towards the end of your stay in England. All the serious action seemed to be happening in Juban."

"So you thought I was wasting my time AND YOU NEVER TOLD ME PARTNER!"

"Calm down. I tried to but you wouldn't listen. As long as you were hung up on that Alan guy it was useless to ..." Oops, Artemis suddenly thought he'd said a bit too much.

"You really think I'm that shallow?" Minako stormed out without waiting for an answer. Which was something of a relief to Artemis.

Luna wandered over to Artemis, "Well you handled that tactfully."

Artemis sighed, "Now she's in a rotten mood. I know what that means! Dry catfood and 'catch a mouse if you want some meat'. Not that there's anything wrong with the odd mouse." Now Luna was staring at him. "What?"

"Mice? How uncivilized!"

"Luna, we're cats. Try not to think too human."

Usagi was watching Minako leave. Probably she wanted to be alone right now. She'd catch up with her later. "So everyone, what do we do about Jadeite?"

Luna actually felt a little pride. Usagi was trying to lead the Sailor Warriors. Sometimes she felt her task of making Usagi into a princess wasn't a waste of time.

Rei said, "I'll try consulting the fire spirit. Maybe it can find him."

"Great. While you're doing that I'll get to my date with Mamoru. Bye!" Usagi dashed off.

Luna sighed, of course those times never lasted long. Ami glanced around at the two remaining Sailor Warriors. "Well, I guess we'd better get on with it Rei."

"That dumpling headed ... oh all right, our fearless leader would just have got in the way. Let's go."

Not far away Minako leaned against a lamppost and watched Usagi dash by. The real Moon Princess, the girl she'd been the decoy for. It couldn't have been for nothing. Calcite had to have been for real. The only problem was she'd been thinking back on some of her conversations from England with Artemis. He was right, she'd used Calcite as an excuse to stay in England despite all his news from Juban.

But if Calcite was a fake how had he survived the destruction of the Dark Kingdom? Had he simply stayed hidden in England all this time? In which case why reemerge now, come to a place full of Sailor Warriors and threaten her? It didn't make any sense.

Meanwhile, completely unaware of any of this, Calcite had returned home. Pyrite paused his Trek tape and asked, "How's Mai?"

"Still weak but recovering fast. So are the others. The doctors are saying it was the worst case of Juban Syndrome they've seen so far."

"Juban Syndrome?"

"Yeah I was talking to one of the doctors. It's the name they come up with for people suddenly suffering extreme weaknesses, usually in large groups, without an identifiable cause. They've been testing for bacteria, viruses and toxins but still have no idea what causes it. Victims often talk about monsters and demons which is absurd this being the twentieth century. However they keep an exorcist on retainer just in case."

"Does she remember anything?"

"She says she doesn't but I think she just doesn't want to sound crazy."

"Could be. So did you ...?"

"Yes I planted your monitor so we'll know if Jadeite goes near the hospital. The only problem is, what do we do then?"

Pyrite shrugged. "No idea. Try and reason with him maybe? I want to know just what that message of his meant."

"Me too!" Calcite paused then asked, "Learn anything?"

"Nothing. It's just a piece of rock. No enchantments, power signatures or anything abnormal. A perfectly ordinary chunk of your namesake."

"Terrific. What the hell does it mean?"

"You'd have to ask Jadeite. I doubt he went to all this trouble just to discuss pleasantries."

Calcite sighed, "I wish I could figure this out. There's no connection between us. At least I hope not."

That was something new. "Meaning?"

"Meaning that there is a certain chance that there's a direct connection between us."

Pyrite considered this then exclaimed, "You mean he could be ...?" Calcite nodded. "But I thought that Nephrite ..."

"Was one of the candidates. All I know is that my mother's journals indicated it was one of the generals. Kunzite and Zoisite are out. Even if they were bisexual all the evidence indicated they'd been monogomous for the past century. Which brought it down to two candidates. Nephrite was the slightly preferrable of them so I acknowledged him. But I don't know one way or the other."

"Damn. Does Ti know?"

"No. There's quite a bit she doesn't know about her birth. Which reminds me, why isn't she in here fighting with you over the big screen TV?"

"She said she had a pile of homework to do so she'd watch her tapes later on."

"Good. Maybe her obsession with those bloody cartoons is ending. I am sick of seeing excessively cute and/or excessively violent characters every time I walk in here. Now if we could just do something about your Star Trek obsession."

"Hey don't knock Trek. Where else do you get to see people as brilliant as me come up with innovations everytime something goes wrong. I really identify with it." This was delivered in a fake Scots accent. "What do you think?"

"Slightly better than your Geordi LeForge but that's not saying much."

Meanwhile upstairs Titanite was quietly rummaging through the room Pyrite and Azurite shared. Azurite was still on a shoot and wouldn't be back for a few hours, Pyrite wouldn't be budging from in front of the TV for some time. So she shouldn't be interrupted for a while. Where was it? If she couldn't find it she'd have to abandon her scheme. Wait a second ... there! Titanite pulled the bracelet from the drawer and examined it. Yes, this was it. Azurite would never miss this, she didn't use it these days.

Then she heard her brother's voice downstairs. Quietly as she could she slipped back to her room and slid the bracelet into a desk draw. She'd work on it later, for now she'd better act innocent. Ti opened her schoolbooks and spread out a pile of papers. It'd be best to look busy when her brother looked in to greet her. He definitely wouldn't approve of her plans. But the Sailor Warriors were the same age as her and took risks all the time.

Back at the temple Rei's firereading had produced no result. Wherever Jadeite was she couldn't sense him. All they could do was wait.

Despite the anxieties of both the Warriors and the Renegades the remainder of Thursday passed without incident. However Friday was a very different matter.

The morning and afternoon passed without incident. It was that evening that things got weird. Despite the recent incident the school had decided to go ahead with the scheduled student play. None of the main cast had been zapped but a few of the bit players were in hospital. In fact Titania Hobbes had found herself hurriedly recruited as a guard. Not wanting her stage debut to be unobserved she'd talked Cal into attending. She'd pointed out he had no idea where to search for Jadeite, assuming that a good idea anyway. Pyrite and Azurite had begged off, claiming they'd keep watch for supernatural disturbances. Which was how he found himself in the audience wondering why Japanese schoolkids were performing Shakespeare.

Also in the audience were Usagi, Ami, Makoto and Rei. They were there to check out Minako's performance. Minako though she'd been miscast and would have been a better Lady Macbeth than one of the witches. She was currently backstage wondering why she'd mentioned this to her friends and just how many hag jokes she'd have to put up with.

"Break a leg partner." The voice came from underfoot. Glancing down she saw a familiar white feline. "Look forget what I said yesterday. What do cats know about human relationships? As for Calcite ... well why worry? If he's a fake he's no threat and if he's for real you'll toast him."

"Thanks Artemis." The cat shrugged and slipped away unnoticed. Minako saw her cue and headed for the stage. Any moment know the curtains would open. Try and make this a show they'll remember.

People remembered it all right, but not for the reasons she'd hoped for.

The curtains had opened and Minako (2nd witch) had just done her first line. Then the swirling lights appeared above the stage. These faded leaving a man standing in midair. The audience began applauding this special effect. Neither Minako or Makoto recognised the figure but based on the greyish purple uniform they could make a good guess. Usagi, Rei and Ami all recognised him. Given the last time they'd seen him it's not surprising that they were shocked.

Two other people recognised him, Titanite had thought she'd heard he was dead. Calcite knew for a fact he was looking at a dead man. It couldn't be and yet the aura was unmistakeable. It was completely insane. Nephrite had died months before the Dark Kingdom fell. Yet here he was, floating in place and smiling. He bowed from the waist, straightened up and addressed the audience. "Ladies, Gentlemen and children of all ages. It is with deep regret that I interrupt this performance. However I must inform you all that the Dark Kingdom needs your energy." Above Nephrite's hand an energy matrix formed. Around him Calcite saw and felt energy flowing from the spectators. People began slumping feeling a growing lassitude. Calcite imitated his seatmates. Nephrite seemed to be concentrating on the audience leaving the stage alone. However Minako was the only person remaining on it. The other actresses had all heard the new schoolyard stories about floating demons sucking people dry and vacated in a hurry. She'd seen her comrades drop to the floor and crawl outside to change. Rei had been pushing Usagi ahead of her none too gently. There wasn't anything she could do here. She ducked backstage and wasn't surprised to find it deserted. Good, that simplified things.

"Venus Power Make up!"

Nephrite hovered over the audience examining the energy he'd drained. While it was incidental to his real purpose it would come in handy. Now if the main event would just begin ... "Nephrite!" Excellent.

Sailor Moon continued her speech, "How dare you return to evil after breaking Naru-chan's heart. You gain a new life and waste it the same way you did the old one? On behalf of the great wheel of Karma I will punish you!"

"Hey I make the speeches with the religious references!"

"Butt out Mars!"

Nephrite had floated higher so he could keep an eye on the four Sailor Warriors who had emerged from the lobby and the fifth one who'd emerged on the stage. "Ah my old friends Sailors Moon, Mercury and Mars. I don't recognise the newcomers but things must have changed while I was ..." His expression clouded, "...wherever I was after it happened. Whatever it was. In answer to your question Sailor Moon I am a youma, blood will tell."

"Like hell!", Calcite thought from his sprawled position on the floor. Now if they'd just get out of here he could stop acting drained.

Almost as if he'd heard him Nephrite glanced around the room and announced, "Too many civilians. I'll fight you outside!" There was another swirl of lights and Nephrite vanished.

"A youma who cares about innnocent bystanders?" Jupiter sounded amazed.

"Nephrite always had a certain amount of honour", Ami said. "But evidently not as much as we thought."

"Forget it, let's go. This is the second time my school's been drained and that's twice too many." Venus headed for the door followed by the other four. When Cal sensed them leave and checked no one awake remained in sight he touched his watchband. The concealed transmuter shifted his clothing to the costume worn by Gray. A small alteration in his glamour shifted his hair and eye color as well as giving his skin a greyish tinge. There was a flicker of red light and Calcite was gone. He was going to try and find out what was going on. Hidden backstage Titanite finished putting on her own clothes. The play costume wasn't treated and wouldn't work if she wanted to change. She headed outside stroking the bracelet.

Outside Jadeite waited for the Sailor Warriors to join him. He didn't pay any attention to the two kids walking by. They'd stopped to stare at him, levitating people being somewhat uncommon. One of them was watching him with more than amazement, she recognised him.

"Nephrite!?" The Sailor Warriors emerged from the school as she called his name and began running towards him. As he turned to face her Sailor Moon shouted, "Naru get away from him!" She didn't listen and the senshi powered down their attacks. She was far to close for them to attack Nephrite. Back where he'd been abandoned by his date Umino tried to figure what to do. If that guy was an old friend he shouldn't interfere. If that was a rival he'd better get over there.

Nephrite dropped to the ground in time for Naru to fling her arms around him and say, "I thought you were dead!"

She didn't notice the blank look that flittered across his face briefly. He gently eased her arms down and said, "I may have been, everything's been vague lately. I remember being hurt and then ... then I was here and I knew I must collect energy for the Dark Kingdom."

"No! You turned against them. Don't you remember!"

"No, no I don't. This is my duty and I have to do this."

"Wait! I can help you remember. Come with me and ..." Umino blanched hearing this. Nephrite looked and him and said. "You've got someone else who needs you more."

"But you need me to help you. Maybe I need you too. If I go with you ..."

Nephrite touched her cheek and Naru stopped talking. As gently as he could he said, "If you leave him for me you'll regret it. Not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day you'll regret it for the rest of your life."

"But ..."

"It has to be this way. It doesn't take any kind of genius to see that the problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. That's why you have to leave. Hey kid!"

Umino realized he was being addressed, "Yes?"

"Get her out of here, things are about to get ugly." Umino crossed over, took Naru's arm and began to drag her away. She looked uncertain, as if she felt she should stay with Nephrite despite what he'd said. But she let him lead her away. From his postion in the shadows, aura masked against detection, Calcite aka Gray had watched with a certain confusion. He couldn't explain it but he'd just felt a definite feeling of Deja Vu. He didn't expect to have to intervene this time. Nephrite had used a standard energy drain rather than an attack like Jadeite's. Everyone would be fine in a few hours and there wouldn't be a backlash when the Sailor Warriors took him out. Calcite figured Nephrite was about to die for the second time.

Nephrite turned back to the Sailor Warriors. "Well thanks for waiting. Shall we get on with it?"

Minako and Makoto were both looking confused by what had happened. Rei and Usagi were looking uncertain so it was left to Ami to say, "Nephrite if you return the energy to the audience perhaps we can work this out." She pointed at the glowing sphere that clung to his left hand.

He shook his head. "Sorry, can't do that. I should mention that I'm only a nice guy with my friends." He raised his empty right hand, "Whereas you are my enemies, therefore ..." Power crackled from the palm shattering the asphalt between him and the Sailors. Venus and Jupiter jumped clear but the other three were slammed into the wall. There are times it doesn't pay to give someone a second chance.

"SUPREME THUNDER DRAGON!" Jupiter's attack tore towards Nephrite. Like Jadeite he was gone before it reached him. She spun around expecting him to materialise behind her. She heard a cry and turned in time to see Minako slam into the others. Damn, he'd appeared behind Venus rather than her. Four of them down in the first minute, this was bad.

Makoto leapt, landing in front of her dazed friends. Ok now he had to go through her to get to them. Problem was it looked like he was planning to do that. Everything soft in his expression was gone. He wouldn't stop until he'd wiped them out.

Nephrite strode forward then hurriedly leapt upwards. He didn't come down again. Below eight thin blades ripped through the space he'd occupied and a rose stem punched into the asphalt. The two figures who'd emerged from opposite sides of the schoolyard looked at each other in surprise. Jupiter wasn't too surprised to see Tuxedo Mask. He always managed to show up when Usagi was in danger. The other one was that guy from the other night, Minako's old friend Gray.

Momoru called over to Gray. "It seems we missed. Shall we try again."

"All right." The reply was cool and delivered in a monotone. It covered Calcite's very real confusion. What the hell had got into him? Why should he care if the Sailor Warriors went down? The only good part about this was that this couldn't really be Nephrite. Nephrite was dead, this had to be a fake. So he wasn't about to face one of the four generals. Unless of course this was actually Jadeite disguised as Nephrite. He really wished he hadn't thought that.

Wishing he hadn't limited his powers so much when he created the Gray identity Calcite generated psychoplasm which became the sword in his right hand and the throwing knives in his left. He leapt upwards in an arc designed to land him by Jupiter. As he did this he skimmed the knives at the floating Nephrite. Not for the first time he wished he could fly.

He wasn't too surprised to see the blades bounce off a forceshield. The roses flung by Tuxedo Mask did the same as he landed on the other side of Sailor Jupiter. Calcite did have a plan. Not much of one he'd be the first to admit but it was a plan. Forceshields usually repel energy attacks that are insufficent to overload them or kinetic weapon attacks. But since that needs different field harmonics they can't do both at the same time. He'd get Jupiter to zap Nephrite at the same time he created and threw as many knives as possible. One of their attacks should get through. He was about to explain this to her when everything went wrong.

Four large pods appeared around Nephrite and fell to the ground. They burst on impact spraying the area with sap. In seconds the sap had hardened trapping Sailor Jupiter, Gray and Tuxedo Mask in a web. The semiconscious Sailor Warriors were now glued to the wall. This was not, Calcite thought, one of his better days.

Jadeite's hands glowed with power. It seemed his sense of honor didn't prevent him from annihilating trapped enemies. Calcite gathered his energy. He could escape by teleporting but even with a masked aura it'd be obvious to Nephrite that he was a youma. Perhaps even to the Sailor Warriors in the unlikely event they survived. He could manifest a sword and cut them free but that needed time he didn't have. Making a silent apology to the two people beside him he prepared to jump.

Then a new voice cut in and Nephrite froze. "Wait a minute Nephrite. You're still short one Sailor Warrior!" He turned to look behind him. Everyone's gaze shifted to the shadowy figure on top of the wall. There was a blur as the figure leapt from her old position and landed in the yard facing Nephrite.

The design of the outfit matched the other Sailor Warriors. The main difference was the yellow mask she wore, which matched her skirt. Like Sailor Moon she had flat heeled boots, these were green as was her hair. Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Jupiter both heard Gray mutter "What the hell is she doing?" Then a sword appeared in his hand and he began cutting the web as quietly as possible.

Meanwhile Nephrite was about to demand the newcomer's identity when she proclaimed. "For centuries my star has guided travelers to safety. It is my sacred duty to ensure the safety of the innocent. I am Sailor Polaris! On behalf of the pole star I will punish you!"

The semiconscious Sailor Moon muttered, "That's my line!"

"Quiet", Rei whispered. She'd recovered enough to see they were trapped but that Gray person was cutting himself, Jupiter and Tuxedo Mask free. As long as Nephrite was occupied they had a chance.

Calcite was slashing frantically at the web. His sister was about to get herself killed. Whoever this guy was he could take her apart.

Nephrite seemed to have drawn the same conclusion. "Never heard of you before. I don't expect to hear about you later."

Titanite held both her hands before her chest. This was the only shot she'd get. A sphere formed between her fingers. Here goes nothing. "POLARIS MISSILE!" The sphere surged toward Nephrite who stood secure behind his forceshield.

Nephrite was slammed across the yard striking the opposite wall. Calcite froze in amazement then finished cutting himself free. The answer flashed through his mind. Ti's power spheres were produced by her (largely uncontrollable) telekinetic ability. As such they consisted of concentrated kinetic energy. The only kind of power that could beat a youma energy reflecting force shield. Nephrite had assumed he was dealing with electro magnetic forces or magick and set his shield accordingly. Calcite wasn't about to waste the opportunity. He leapt for the dazed general swordfirst. Nephrite's eye's cleared and he saw the figure charging at him. Nephrite vanished. Calcite's sword punched into the wall like a hot knife through butter. Which meant nothing stopped his face from impacting the wall. Swearing somewhat (and very glad of his own forceshield) he staggered upright. He glanced down and felt his heart skip a beat.

Tuxedo Mask and Jupiter were free of the slashed web and were pulling the others free. Sailor Polaris was watching him with a concerned expression. Maybe about his health, maybe about his reaction. Then Nephrite's voice boomed around them, it was impossible to find the source. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH EXCITEMENT FOR ONE NIGHT. I WILL FINISH THIS LATER AT THE TIME OF MY CHOOSING!" Silence followed.

Sailor Polaris flashed a victory sign, "Score one for the good guys. Everyone OK?"

"Fine. Sailor Polaris? I never heard of you before." Sailor Moon looked more dazed than usual.

"Did you hear of the others before they showed up?"

"No. I just didn't know there were any gaijin Sailor Warriors. Why the mask?"

"The time is not right to reveal my true identity. Like my sidekick I must wear a mask." She pointed over to Gray who was straightening up after picking up something Nephrite had dropped. He'd heard that last comment.

"Sidekick? You are really pushing it." He sounded angry to Minako, a change from his normal flat tone.

Polaris seemed to realise she'd gone a bit too far. "Ok my partner." He didn't contradict her which was a relief. The last thing she wanted was her brother showing her up in front of the Sailor Warriors. This had been fun. She'd been able to use her powers in public and was on her way to joining the team. Just like the TV shows.

Calcite noticed Sailor Mercury staring at the object he carried so he tossed it over. She caught it and examined it. A rough greenish crystal, similar but not identical to the one she'd seen Wednesday night. He said, "I'm no expert but I'm guessing that's nephrite. Didn't know those guy's left calling cards."

"They don't, at least they didn't."

He made a sound along the lines of hrmph and turned to Sailor Polaris. She was chattering to Sailor Moon, it sounded like they shared a common interest in shojo anime & manga. "Sailor Polaris!" She shut up and looked at him. He continued, "We're leaving. No point in sticking around." She looked for a moment like she might argue but instead nodded and joined him. He nodded a curt goodbye and the two of them headed off in a series of superhuman bounds. Tuxedo Mask paused for a moment then headed after them.

Behind him Minako called, "Wait!" but Gray was already too far to hear her. She sighed, "I wanted to ask him about Calcite." She touched her forehead, there was going to be a nasty bruise up there.

Ami was scanning the rock with her computer. Nothing unusual about it, just an ordinary chunk of nephrite. Sha said as much then added, "You didn't mention Sailor Polaris when you told us about Gray."

"I never saw her before and Gray never mentioned her. Although if he did know a Sailor Warrior that might explain his knowledge about the Dark Kingdom."

Meanwhile Rei was asking Makoto, "Do you suppose those two are like Usagi and Mamoru?"

"I don't think so. They were more like siblings. Speaking of Mamoru ..."

Tuxedo Mask landed by Usagi and said, "Well I lost them. They ducked into an alley, there was a cloud of grey smoke and when it cleared they were both gone."

Minako nodded, "Gray's favorite mysterious exit. Maybe we'd better check everyone's OK." In all the confusion they'd forgotten about the people Nephrite drained.

A quick learned confirmed everyone was recovering though they looked very puzzled. As if they couldn't remember what had happened. "Everything looks fine, but the show is defintely over." They could hear ambulance and police sirens, some of the people who'd fled must have called them.

Sailor Jupiter looked and the others and said, "Why don't we get out of here and find somewhere you can explain this whole thing to me and Minako. Cause you told us both you three saw that guy die."

"We did. I didn't just see it I felt it happen." Rei looked grim. It had been the first time she'd been that close to a dying youma. Normally her psychic powers let her feel a sudden flash which was over with instantly. Nephrite's death had been a bit more prolonged. It had definitely happened.

The Sailor Warriors headed away. They would talk things over with Luna and Artemis but fail to come to any conclusions. As to what happened to Gray and Sailor Polaris ...

Calcite spotted Tuxedo Mask following them, time for one of his patented sudden exits. He spotted an alley and signalled Ti. She'd been quiet since they departed possibly fearing upsetting him further. They landed and he asked her, "So you're my partner?"

"Errr ... well it's a big job to handle on your own ..."

"We'll talk about this later. For now partner we have to make an untraceable exit. Know what that means?"

Ti felt sick to her stomach, or rather knew she was about to get that way. "Yeah." She dropped her mental defenses and let her brother link with her. He dropped a smoke grenade and let it fill the alley. When it was thick enough he triggered the teleport dragging his sister along for the ride.

They materialized in the bathroom a destination Cal had chosen for a reason. Ti looked nauseaous and lunged for the toilet. She made it just in time. Given the extreme vertigo it caused her he sort of doubted she'd ever get the hang of teleporting.

A wet sponge slapped him across the face. Azurite had thrown it from the bathtub and said, "It's customary to knock before entering." Meanwhile Titanite continued making unpleasant noises.

Outside he heard Pyrite say to someone, "You're right that was his voice. I guess he came back when I wasn't looking." Great they had company, just what he needed. He touched the band on his left wrist and sent the appropriate mental command. His mask shifted back to being glasses, the Gray costume became an ordinary suit and the wristband became his watchband. It took a moment to shift his complexion and haircolor back to "normal". Normal for Calvin Hobbes if not for Calcite.

He exited the bathroom and was surprised to see Mai standing in the hallway. "I thought you were still in hospital until tomorrow?"

"They said we were strong enough to leave and I insisted on being discharged. I had to talk too you."

"Uh, yes of course I ..."

He was interrupted by a cry from inside the bathroom of, "Close the bloody door." He quickly slammed it shut. In the tub Azurite breathed a quick sigh of relief. All they needed was for Mai to see Titanite in that costume. Why the hell was she wearing it? She'd have to ask Ti later when she was in recovered enough to talk. For now there was something she'd better do. She touched the braclet on Ti's wrist and triggered it.

Outside Pyrite was asking, "So Cal why were you in there while my fiancee was taking a bath?" Mai looked like she'd appreciate an answer to that question. The door opened and a very pale Titania Hobbes staggered out.

"Big brother I feel awful." She started to stumble and Cal caught her.

"Afraid Ti's got a touch of food poisoning, or possibly an allergy. Whichever it was I had to get her in there fast before she got sick!"

"She doesn't look good, perhaps the hospital ..."

"No, she'll be fine by morning." The last thing Cal wanted was doctors running tests on his sister. The odds of any doctor not figuring out that blue blood was unusual were ridiculous.

Azurite emerged wearing a pink bathrobe. "I'll put her to bed and keep an eye on her. I think you two had other things to talk about." She cradled Titanite in her arms and headed for Ti's bedroom.

"Strong woman your housemate." Mai commented as they headed to the living room.

"She works out regularly. Models have to keep their figures." According to the official story Cal and his sister shared this house with two other westerners. More for companionship in a foriegn land than out of financial reasons.

After they'd settled down he asked, "So what's so urgent that you had to browbeat the doctors into kicking you out?"

Mai looked edgy. "Calvin, you were there but you weren't affected by ... by it, yes?" He nodded and she continued, "The students in the hospital ... they saw the vision but it had affected them so I couldn't trust what they said happened. Calvin did I really see a man standing in midair holding a ball of light?"

He considered lying but told her, "Yes, you did. I didn't want to say it when the TV people were asking questions but that's what really happened."

She shivered. "I've always believed in logic and rationality. Always felt that there's a rational answer for everything and that this country has far too many superstitions but this ... it's like something out of a legend." Cal slid an arm across her shoulders and the shivers eased a little. "Calvin, what is happening?"

"I don't know.", he said. That was the truth. First Jadeite now Nephrite ... he had no idea what was going on.

Upstairs Ti was looking healthier. She murmurred, "Haven't got that sick in ages."

Sitting on the edge of the futon Azurite shrugged and said, "It's been months since you were teleported anywhere. You're just out of practice."

"Not that I was ever any good at it."

"You can take it better than that. So what's with the costume?"

Ti sighed and began explaining. When she'd finished Azurite asked, "Why pick a star?"

"In case there are Sailor Warriors named for the other planets. I just thought big brother could use some help."

"So it had nothing to do with wanting to meet the Sailor Warriors and show off you powers?" Ti blushed and Azurite added, "Still you may be right. Initially he was just going to observe but now he's actually fighting. He could use some backup. But I don't think you're the best candidate. By the way isn't this my transmutation bracelet?"

"Sorry. I just ... borrowed it. If you want it back ..."

"Keep it. I'll just get Pyr to make me a new one." Azurite thought she could understand why Ti did it. Keeping your powers continually hidden was difficult. After all they were a part of you. Not being able to use them was like having an itch you couldn't scratch. "Now what can you tell me about the Sailor Warriors?"

Much later long after Titanite was asleep Calcite got together with Pyr and Azure and told them about the incident in detail. He concluded by saying, "Then he disappeared leaving three rocks behind. Again I managed to hide everything but the general's namesake. Here's the other two."

He dropped them on the table. Azurite identified the first as calcite but the second? Pyrite studied the dark brown crystals of the second then said, "It's titanite isn't it?"

He nodded and Azure swore. "He knew she'd show up?"

"Maybe not. He might have been carrying rocks for all four of us. He just dropped the ones for those of us who were there."

"But who's doing it? We could rationalize Jadeite's appearance but Nephrite's definitely dead. Who had the power to successfully impersonate two generals? Even to the point of duplicating their auras. And what the hell is it playing at?"

Calcite sighed, "That's a very good question. I have absolutely no idea."

Elsewhere Nephrite held a steadily diminishing sphere of human energy. It shrank until it flickered out of existence. He opened his eyes and said "Delicious." Then standing before the mirror his features' shifted again. His face became much more effeminate, his hair color shifted back to blond. Zoisite studied his reflection and smiled. "My, what a beautiful fellow I am. This time I don't have those boring crystals to worry about." Once again laughter echoed through the chamber.

Dark Kingdom Renegades 1: Refugees

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 3 of 7

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