Chapter 12: "By Dawn's Early Light"

By Bill K.

Sailor Mercury read the data from her computer screen.

"My long range telemetry is showing all the Frost Giants on Earth

are congregating on Japan. I count thirty-eight in all. Some will

arrive sooner than others, but they're all headed here."

"Bring 'em on," Jupiter said resolutely. "The sooner we end this,

the better."

"I don't know if that's a wise strategy," Mercury warned. "We've

proven, with the exception of Serenity, that we can barely take on one.

If two or more happen to attack us at once, particularly if we're tired

from fighting other giants, we could be overwhelmed. And the longer we

take in defeating one or more, the more the odds increase against us."

"So we take the fight to them?" Venus asked. "Pick them off where

they are now? It's a big globe, Mercury. That's going to expend a lot

of energy, because I'm guessing Serenity's going to be our only mode of


"If only Pluto had stuck around," scowled Jupiter. "But she's an

outer and they have to do things their way."

"Jupiter, don't," Serenity moped.

"Hey, you've always been our leader," Jupiter said to Serenity.

"What do you think we should do?"

Serenity wrung her hands. "I don't know. Both plans involve

killing them."

"Serenity," Mars sighed, tired and irritable, "we can't make

friends with them, no matter how much you want it! Face facts!"

"They're living creatures, Mars," Serenity argued gently. "They

have every right to their life."

"Well, so do we!" snapped Jupiter. "So does San-San, and Akiko

and Ichiro! I don't even know if they're still alive, but I know they

won't have a chance as long as those things walk this Earth! You've got

to choose, Serenity! It's them or us! I know which side I'm going to


Serenity's eyes sought the ground. "You don't understand. When I

had to kill the one Giant, I heard it die. I felt it die." She

shuddered, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I sense so many new things

since I got this power! I can feel everyone's life force, all around

me! And-and when that Frost Giant died - - oh, it was so horrible!"

Endymion put his arms around Serenity from behind to support her,

for she seemed about to collapse in a heap of sobs. A hand reached out

and gently touched her arm. Serenity looked up and saw the sympathetic

face of Sailor Venus.

"War's never easy, for anyone," Venus said gently, an encouraging

smile on her face. "I'm sure it's a lot worse for you, in ways I

couldn't even begin to imagine. I know this is rough for you, a lot

rougher than it is for me or for any of us, and this has literally been

Hell for me. But it's got to be done. Part of life is doing things you

don't want to do because they need to be done."

"I-I just wish there was another way," Serenity moaned. "There

has to be a way to do this without hurting anyone."

"Well, that's all well and good, as far as it goes. But it takes

two to have peace and they don't seem to want it." Venus put her hand

on Serenity's shoulder. "You say you're in contact with the life force

on Earth. Well, I'm not. So tell me - - how strong is it at the


Serenity said nothing, but her expression told everyone how weak

the pulse of Earth was.

"We've got to bring all those lives back, Serenity," Venus told

her. "They're crying out to us, because we're the only hope they've

got. We have to save Earth - - and if a few eggs get broken along the

way, then - - then that's the way the ball crumbles."

"And she was on such a roll, too," Artemis mumbled, rolling his


Though she tried to prevent it, a giggle burst from Serenity's

mouth. It was all she could do to force the corners of her mouth back


"Did I say something goofy again?" Venus asked the others, a

twinkle in her eye.

"All right," Serenity said, struggling to maintain her solemn

tone. "We'll take them on. And we'll use your direct attack strategy,


"Are you sure you want to use a plan 'she' thought up?" jabbed


"Perhaps I can teleport them home instead of - - of killing them,"

Serenity said. Then she felt herself being gently turned to face

Endymion. Serenity looked up, surprised and intimidated by the tall

dark man before her, the man who was her lifelong love and yet a perfect

stranger now.

"Don't do anything to jeopardize either yourself or the mission,"

he warned.

"Endymion," she began to plead.

"Be charitable if you can," he told her, firm and yet gentle.

"But if it comes down to them or us, you must be strong."

Serenity looked into his eyes, searching for something that

reminded her of Mamoru. Finally she looked down and nodded.

Their hand clasped, Serenity and Endymion extended their free

hands toward the others. The group gathered in and a bubble of silver

energy formed around them all. To the wonderment of the senshi, the

couple effortlessly lifted them all into the air until they hovered a

thousand feet above Tokyo.

"Where is the closest giant, Mercury?" Endymion asked.

Mercury was about to answer, but Serenity nodded as if she'd read

Mercury's mind. Mercury stared, unsettled by the experience as Serenity

propelled the bubble toward Australia.

It was the first visit any of them had made "down under", and no

one was sure what to expect. When they arrived, it was a great deal

like Tokyo: everything as far as the eye could see frozen in a thick

blanket of ice and snow. The terrain was so barren and lifeless that it

was hard not to be depressed by the sight. The senshi flew over miles

and miles of ice, exchanging dejected glances with each other and

casting worried glances at Serenity. The thought entered more than one

mind, asking the question "What would break on Serenity first - - her

stamina or her will?"

And Serenity would return those glances sadly, as if reading the

mind of the thinker each time. And each time the senshi who wondered it

would look down in embarrassment.

"We're approaching the next Frost Giant," Mercury announced, her

eyes glued to her computer so she couldn't peek at Serenity.

"I feel it," Serenity said calmly.

The energy bubble landed in what had once been a huge stretch of

desert. In the distance, lumbering toward them, was what could only be

a Frost Giant. When the bubble dissipated, the senshi fanned out

reflexively in a defensive pattern around Serenity and Endymion. But

Serenity did the unexpected, lifting off into the air and heading for

the approaching giant.

"Serenity!" Mars called after her. When no response came, the

woman ground her teeth angrily. "Be careful, you little dope."

Serenity came to a stop roughly thirty feet from the Frost Giant's

face. The giant stared at her, uncomprehending, then began to lift its

hand toward her.

"Don't be afraid," Serenity said, trying to be calming. "I won't

hurt you. I want to send you home. You want that, don't you?"

In response, numbing cold shot forth and struck Serenity. Taken

by surprise, the future queen of Crystal Tokyo fell back and tumbled

toward the Earth. As one, the senshi surged forward in a valiant

attempt to get to her before she impacted. It was unnecessary, for

Serenity managed to right herself in time.

"You just wrote your ticket!" snarled Sailor Jupiter. "Supreme

Dragon Thunder!"

At once Jupiter seemed to glow white with energy. Then the

electrical energy jumped up into the air above Jupiter and formed the

outline of a huge dragon. The winged beast turned and lunged for the

Frost Giant, spanning the distance between them in the blink of an eye.

The dragon tackled the giant, throwing it to the ground with a force

that shook the area. The giant stiffened as electrical energy sizzled

through it. The electrical beast snapped its jaws around the throat of

the ice beast and poured every erg of its energy into its prey.

Fissures began to span the surface of the gigantic ice creature.

Finally it could withstand the pressure no longer and exploded in a

shower of ice chunks. Serenity grasped her head in pain and limped

through the air back to the group.

"All right, what the Hell's going on?" demanded Venus. "First

Mars and now you?" Jupiter answered the demands by clutching her head

and sinking to one knee. "Jupe, you going to make it?"

"Don't know where that came from," gasped Jupiter, "but it took a

lot out of me."

Suddenly Serenity pushed next to Jupiter. With one arm around her

friend's shoulders, Serenity brushed her hand along the woman's temple.

"Jupiter?" gasped Serenity, her own pain shoved aside. "Please be

all right!"

As if her wish translated into fact, Serenity saw Jupiter relax

visibly. Her lips curled into a small smile and a pleasant sigh escaped

her mouth. Jupiter swallowed and opened her eyes.

"I feel so much stronger," Jupiter remarked. "Did you do that?"

"I guess," Serenity shrugged.

"Perhaps Serenity and Endymion weren't the only ones who changed

during hibernation," suggested Artemis.

"And note the similarity of the attacks," Luna added, "and how

much it took out of them. I don't think there's any doubt about it,

Artemis. They've entered 'Dragon Phase'."

"Dragon Phase?" asked Mercury.

"Once a senshi reaches a certain level of maturity, she can, in

times of great anger or desperation, summon all her power in a single

burst," explained Luna. "This burst takes the form of a dragon. As you

can see, it's quite formidable. Unfortunately it usually takes the

senshi a while to regenerate her power. It's basically an all or

nothing gambit."

"You shouldn't have done it, Jupiter," clucked Serenity. "I would

have been all right."

"It did the job," Jupiter replied.

"Yes, but now we're down two senshi," Mercury advised. "At this

rate, we're going to be out-numbered very quickly."

"Then I'll handle them from here on," Serenity declared.

"Be careful, Serenity," warned Luna. "Your power isn't unlimited,


"Where's the next Frost Giant?" Serenity asked.

Mercury consulted her computer. "The sub-continent of India."

Instantly the bubble formed around them and they were off. In

India, they found much the same as they found elsewhere. All was in

ruin and covered with ice. Mercury in particular cringed at the sight

of the famous Taj Mahal broken and in ruins. They found the next Frost

Giant lumbering across the mountains in northeast India. Serenity set

her senshi down and flew up to the giant.

"Please stop," she appealed to the monster. "Hasn't there been

enough destruction?"

The giant raised his hand to her.

"Look out, Serenity!" yelled Mercury and Venus, lurching forward

to use their power to defend her.

"Stay back!" Serenity called, even as the burst of numbing cold

passed harmlessly around her. "I'm ready for it this time." She turned

back to the Frost Giant. "You leave me no choice."

Cupping her hands before her, Serenity began to take on a silvery

glow. Uncomprehending, the giant continued to batter Serenity with cold

waves. It did nothing to dim the glow. Serenity seemed to reach an

apex, and then the glow shot out and enveloped the Frost Giant. The

giant recoiled and tried to pull away from Serenity.

"Don't fight me, please!" begged Serenity. "I only want to send

you home!"

The giant continued to struggle to break from the silver energy.

As it thrashed around, its movements seemed to tug at Serenity.

Valiantly she held on, trying to accomplish her task. The monster

continued to fight her.

"It's resisting being sent back," Endymion announced, feeling what

Serenity felt through their connection.

"Single-mindedly trying to accomplish its goal no matter what,"

Artemis added.

"Sounds like some of the guys I used to date," scowled Venus.

"Maybe if I could knock it out with a shock blast . . .?"

"No," advised Endymion. "You'd never penetrate her energy."

The Frost Giant's struggles became wilder. Serenity found it

harder and harder to hold on as she tried to force the being through the

warp to Knorr she created. But she didn't let up. She was determined

to see it through to the other side.

And, since one force wouldn't yield, the other had to. At once,

the Frost Giant tore itself apart, shattering into misshapen chunks of

lifeless ice. Serenity clutched her head as if knifed through the

brain, then slowly drifted back to Earth.

"Why?" Serenity asked numbly. "Why wouldn't it let me help?"

Mercury took her hands. "It didn't want your help. You can't

force someone to let you help them. There are some creatures, just like

there are some people, who refuse to allow themselves to be helped.

Whether it's because of pride or ignorance, faith or fantasy, some

people won't be helped."

Serenity looked down, dejected.

"Unfortunately, that only leaves you with two choices now,"

Mercury continued. "Logically, you can either give in to them or

destroy them."

Serenity kept her head down. She seemed to weigh things silently.

"Give me your hands," Serenity requested.

And her senshi, her friends and trusting companions, complied

without even a question. Their hands folded one atop another. Serenity

folded hers atop theirs. Instantly everyone felt a charge pass through

her hands. Serenity closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

And a bolt of silver lightning leaped from Serenity's body. It

sped through the air on a northeasterly course toward Russia. A Frost

Giant, trekking across the vast Russian plains, turned toward the

approaching bolt. It had a moment to comprehend what it was before the

bolt tore through the giant like a bullet through an apple. Unhampered

and undimmed by its encounter with the giant, the bolt altered course

and headed for central Europe. It didn't slow until two Frost Giant's

remains lay beneath it, then altered its course again for northern


Like a crazed pinball, the bolt of silver energy sped across the

globe. It would seek out the nearest Frost Giant and speed through its

icy mass like a missile, then seek out the next giant without a single

second spent in remorse over the last. More fell in Africa, then the

bolt burst across the southern Atlantic to South America. As it sped

toward the Giant in Peru, the icy monster seemed ready for it, as if it

heard the death throws of its brothers. The Frost Giant raised its

hands and threw its powerful cold at the energy. However, the cold only

seemed to make the energy move faster. It obliterated the giant, the

huge monster flung to pieces before it even realized it was dead. In

rapid-fire succession, more giants were smashed. Their resistance was

of no consequence.

The bolt tore up the continents of the Americas, jumping from

Frost Giant to Frost Giant with deadly consequences. Only after every

Frost Giant had been obliterated from the seven continents and all

smaller land masses, the bolt shot back to India. Seconds had passed,

so scant a time that the senshi still held hands and wondered about the

jolt that had passed through them. They watched Serenity stiffen as the

bolt entered her body. Another charge passed through them all. Then

Serenity sank to her knees and began weeping. By her side in an

instant, as he would always be, was Endymion.

"Serenity," Endymion said gently, lovingly, "don't cry, please.

It had to be done."

But despite his whispered words of tender encouragement, Serenity

continued to weep bitterly. It tore out the hearts of the senshi to

look at it. It was like Serenity had taken the misery of the entire

world into her and she cried inconsolably.

"Serenity," Endymion persisted. "You did the right thing. You

must accept it."

"They didn't give you any choice," offered Jupiter. "You did what

you had to do."

Serenity shook her head, helpless to speak to defend her position.

"Serenity!" Mars gasped. "Stop it, please!"

"You didn't feel it - - didn't hear it!" Serenity gasped out

between sobs. "Those mournful wails - - I'm going to hear them for the

rest of eternity!"

"Maybe," Venus suggested gently, "if you only dwell on the

negative. Instead of concentrating on the wails of a few dozen Frost

Giants, how about concentrating on the pleas of all the billions of

people trapped and helpless. Maybe if you think about that, we can help


"We don't think ill of you," Mercury added. "Don't think so ill

of yourself. Venus is right. There are still many positives to be


Serenity didn't react, though her crying seemed to abate. Without

warning, a bubble of energy formed over everyone. It lifted the group

into the air, then shot forward on a northeasterly course. The frozen

terrain whizzed by them, blurry and unrecognizable. The senshi looked

back to their friend. Serenity continued to look down, her face hidden

by her bangs, and it chilled them all. Their concern for their friend

choked out all other emotions, so much so that they scarcely recognized

they were back in Tokyo until the bubble had landed and dissipated.

Without a word to anyone else, Serenity stood up. She took ten

paces away from the group, her head bowed but her shoulders squared and

resolute. Mars felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise. Endymion

looked on with cautious concern, while the others were mystified.

"Serenity?" Luna ventured, braving several steps toward her.

"Don't worry," Serenity murmured flatly. "I won't be shedding

anymore tears. I realize now what I am and what my responsibilities

are. I'm sorry for burdening you all with my immaturity."

"It was never like that," Mercury said. Her response went


Gathering her hands to her chest, Serenity closed her eyes and

seemed to look inside of herself. Gradually her body began to take on a

silvery glow. It grew in intensity, causing everyone to once more

shield her eyes. The glow demonstrated no signs of letting up, growing

more and more intense.

And with the glow came feelings in them all. The joy of

accomplishment, the passion of newborn love, the giddy rapture of the

aftermath of childbirth, and the security of being nestled in a parent's

arms all swirled around them like a strong current. Mars became so

overwhelmed she began to cry. Venus stared in wonderment, while Jupiter

laughed like a little girl. Even Mercury lost her scientific detachment

and cooed like a baby, while the cat's purrs seemed to rumble all around

them. Endymion merely smiled proudly.

Artemis noticed it first. The ice and snow around Serenity and

around them all was gone. As the aura from Serenity fanned out, the

choking ice began to evaporate. People, animals and insects alike,

frozen for two years dropped to the ground, unconscious and at life's

low ebb. Then they were touched by the healing presence of Serenity.

Eyes fluttered open and lungs once more took in air, while a hundred

thousand million tiny voices whispered "beautiful" almost in unison.

The senshi looked around. Juuban was thawed, free of ice. Its

population began to wake. They looked around and found destroyed

buildings and dead plants, dead animals and some dead fellow humans,

victims of the onslaught of the Frost Giants. But at that moment it

didn't matter. They were alive.

Rising up on shaky legs, the survivors began to stumble and

shuffle toward the senshi, toward the warmth and life-affirming,

hope-giving glow of Serenity. She did not acknowledge them, so deep was

her trance. She was too busy extending her aura over the length of

Japan, over Asia, over Europe and Africa, and finally over the Americas

and the world.

Amid the miracle, a bubble formed. It was ruby energy and

contained three travelers. When the energy dissipated, the trio looked

around in confusion.

"The ice is gone," Sailor Uranus whispered humbly. "Everybody's


"It's amazing," Sailor Neptune remarked in awe. "I didn't think

even she was capable of - - of this! How?"

"Because she is Serenity," Sailor Pluto replied proudly, "and she

is my queen." With that, Pluto departed from Uranus and Neptune,

joining senshi and human alike drawn to her glow.

Finally the glow dissipated. Serenity returned to normal. She

lifted her head and opened her eyes. Surrounding her were her senshi

and Pluto, Endymion and the cats, and a crowd of people tattered and

bruised and haggard from their ordeal, but with a light in their eyes

that said they lived again. Serenity sought out Endymion and he crossed

to her, gathering her up gently in his arms.

"You did it," he said, the belief in her a rock-solid constant in

his demeanor. "You brought everyone out of hibernation."

"I'm glad," Serenity replied, burdened and yet pleased that some

good had come from the ordeal.

Endymion leaned in and pressed his lips to hers. And suddenly

hope seemed born anew.

Continued in Book Three: Resurrection