THE PERSON I LOOK UP TO
Chapter 1: "Sigh . . .Teenagers"
A Neo-Sailor Moon fanfic
By Bill K.
Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2005 by Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and Toei Animation and are used without permission, but with respect. Story is (c)2005 by Bill K.
As always, for those only familiar with the English dub:
Finally, Haruka and Michiru are NOT cousins.
Queen Serenity sat in her study in the palace of Crystal Tokyo. She was at her easel, applying synthetic resin dye to color receptive board with her brush. That was the thirtieth century version of painting. Luna sat quietly in the window and slept in the sun.
Fidgeting in the chair opposite her was Palla-Palla of the Asteroid Senshi. Serenity glanced at the girl, found her in yet another position from the last time she'd looked, and smiled.
"You fidget just like I did when I was your age," the queen commented.
"Palla-Palla's sorry, Usagi-Mama," Palla-Palla offered penitently, using the title that the queen permitted only in private. "Thank you very much for painting her picture."
"I couldn't very well refuse," Serenity beamed, "given how sweetly you asked and how big and soulful your eyes were."
"Palla-Palla promises she'll sit still," the girl proclaimed. Serenity knew she meant it, but that she wouldn't be able to keep the promise.
"It's all right," the queen said gently. "I've got enough of you down that I think I can finish it without you modeling any longer."
"Can Palla-Palla peek?"
"Certainly," Serenity smiled.
Instantly Palla-Palla scurried over to where the queen was sitting. She looked at the picture as Serenity stroked highlights on the arm of the girl in the portrait.
"Ohhhhhhhh," she gasped. "You're so very good! It's like Palla-Palla is looking at a mirror!"
"Thank you," nodded Serenity. "Wait until you see it when it's done."
"Palla-Palla wishes she could draw as good as you, Usagi-Mama."
"Palla-Palla," Serenity said, momentarily stopping what she was doing. "It's nice to have aspirations, but it's not important to be able to draw as well as I can. It's only important that you can draw as well as you can."
Palla-Palla's brow furrowed, trying to grasp that concept.
"Attribute your sources, Your Majesty," Luna murmured, still curled up in the window. "I believe Michiru once told that to you."
"She did, and she never gave me better advice than that," Serenity said, resuming work on the portrait. "And stop calling me 'Your Majesty'!"
Luna ignored her.
"Palla-Palla still wishes she could draw better," Palla-Palla sighed.
"You don't draw all that badly," Serenity told her. "Let me show you something."
The queen put her brush down and glided over to a dresser. Opening the top drawer, she took out a Crystal Information Storage Retrieval Viewer, which had a jack for information storage crystals and a view screen, and sat back down next to Palla-Palla. As the girl with the blue hair looked on, Serenity opened the file. Inside were drawings of picturesque landscapes. They were technically crude and unaccomplished, but there was a hint of talent and more than a hint of interest.
"Pretty!" gasped Palla-Palla. "Did you draw these, Usagi-Mama?"
"No," Serenity replied with a wistful smile. "Actually these were done by the princess when she was younger. She would sit on one of the balconies or out in the garden and draw the most beautiful landscape portraits. Do you know why I'm showing you these?"
Palla-Palla shook her head.
"I'll tell you. From a technical standpoint, Usa's art is - - unskilled. But if you look at the picture and not how the trees or the grass is drawn, you can see the love and respect she had for the subject when she drew it. So you see, art isn't always about how accurately you recreate something. It's about how passionate you are about the thing you're drawing. And I see passion in everything you draw, Palla-Palla-chan. Do try to get better - - but please don't lose that passion."
The girl beamed at the queen.
"Your Majesty," Luna replied, turning her head toward the queen. "That was quite profound." Then she grew a cynical leer. "Are you certain you're feeling all right?"
"Go back to sleep, Luna," Serenity scowled. Palla-Palla smothered the giggles with her hands.
Huddled in the quarters shared by the Asteroid Senshi were three of the room's four tenants, plus two guests. The Princess Usagi and Hotaru Tomoe were at a table with Cere-Cere and Jun-Jun, hunched over their portable school stations. The four were studying for an upcoming test - - one of Mizuno-sensei's, so they knew it would be hard. Meanwhile Ves-Ves sat in a chair in one corner of the room, bouncing a basketball.
"Do you HAVE to do that?" Cere-Cere finally roared after she reached the point where she couldn't take it any longer.
"Is it bothering you?" asked Ves-Ves.
"YES!" Cere-Cere snapped.
"Then I guess I have to," Ves-Ves replied with a wicked smile.
"You could also try studying," Jun-Jun suggested.
"Why? I'm going to fail."
"Why do you think that?" Hotaru asked.
"Because Sensei Mizuno-sama is giving the test. I always fail her tests."
"Well you're never going to reverse that trend if you don't study," Jun-Jun argued.
"Leave her alone, Jun," Cere-Cere said. "She's actually done a brave thing in accepting the fact that she's an utter idiot." Usa put her hand to her mouth to cover her giggle.
"At least it's better than being a priss," grumbled Ves-Ves.
"I AM NOT A PRISS!" Cere-Cere snapped.
"Careful. Yelling gives you stress lines."
"For real?" Cere-Cere gasped and fished the compact out of her pants pocket.
Usa put her head on the table next to her station.
"Usa?" Hotaru inquired.
"Why do we have to study vector geometry?" the princess moaned.
"Because some day you may be piloting an intercontinental cruiser and you'll need vector geometry to help you plot the shortest, safest and fastest course to your destination."
"I thought that's why they had on-board computers," Usa grumbled.
"And if the computer goes down?" Hotaru asked.
"I'll buy another one," Usa shrugged. "I'm a princess. I've got money." Hotaru gave her a bemused look.
"Yeah, why do they have to teach us stuff we'll never need to know?" echoed Ves-Ves.
"Who says you'll never need it?" Jun-Jun replied. "Can you see the future now?"
"We don't need stuff like Vector Geometry or Duotronic Computer Programming," the redhead reiterated. "Self-defense we need. You notice I don't fail that."
"Too bad they don't have a course in manners," grumbled Cere-Cere.
The door opened and Palla-Palla entered, smiling sweetly. She seemed more pleased than usual, a fact that caught the eye of her sisters.
"Where you been, Stupid?" Ves-Ves asked, still bouncing the basketball.
"With the Queen," Palla-Palla replied. "She's painting Palla-Palla's picture."
"Conned you into modeling for her, huh?" Usa smiled knowingly.
"Palla-Palla was happy to do it. The Queen is very good." The girl walked directly up to Usa, stopping just inches from her. "You're very good, too, Princess. Palla-Palla didn't know you could draw."
"You draw?" Cere-Cere asked.
"I used to," Usa shrugged. "Did Mom dig up those old drawing files of mine? Honestly she trots those out at the slightest excuse."
"That's right, you used to draw all the time when you were in the twentieth century," Hotaru said.
"Well I used to wet my pants and drool all over myself, too, but I don't anymore."
"Oh yeah, I remember that. It was just last year, wasn't it?" Ves-Ves added.
Usa shot her a venomous glance.
"So why'd you give it up?" Jun-Jun asked.
"Because," Usa scowled. It didn't satisfy the others. "I wasn't any good."
"Yes you were," Palla-Palla persisted.
"Well I wasn't going to be as good as her," Usa replied uncomfortably. "Besides, I've got a creative outlet now - - my singing. And I know I'm good at that."
"Why can't you have more than one creative outlet?" Hotaru asked. "Michiru-Mama is a great artist and a great violinist."
"Can we get back to this?" Usa prodded. "As much as I hate Vector Geometry, I hate flunking more. I really don't want to listen to another one of Mom and Dad's 'you can do better' speeches."
As the students resumed their studies, Palla-Palla wandered over to Ves-Ves.
"Why aren't you studying, Ves-Ves?" Palla-Palla asked.
"Because there's no point," Ves-Ves shrugged. "If I had any money, I'd be at the arcade."
"But Miss Ami-ma'am is going to give us a test tomorrow."
"I know." Ves-Ves looked away. "Why waste my time if I know I'm going to fail?"
Palla-Palla's eyes grew wide. Her mouth opened, stunned, and she just stared at her sister.
"What are you staring at, Stupid?" snapped Ves-Ves.
"You're giving up!" Palla-Palla declared. She sounded almost betrayed.
"You don't get into a fight you can't win unless something important's on the line," the redhead replied. "I don't care about 'grades'."
"You're not even going to try? How are you going to be smart?"
"What do you know about it, Stupid?"
The little amazon's face screwed up in anger.
"That's right! Palla-Palla is stupid! She's always going to be stupid because she can't help it! She's going to be stupid forever and ever and there's nothing she can do about it! But you don't have to be! You can be as smart as anything! But you're not going to be if you don't try!"
"Hey, Palla-Palla, calm down," Cere-Cere said, crossing over to the girl. For her part, Ves-Ves glared at her, stunned and angered by the girl's childish rebuke. "She's just being Ves."
"You said you were going to always look out for Palla-Palla!" howled the girl. "How can you do that if you're as stupid as she is?"
Ves-Ves stared down at her. She felt the stinging humiliation of her sister amazon's words. She saw the naked sense of betrayal etched on the girl's face and felt the remorse and self-loathing it built within her. She could feel it churning into anger, anger that began to seethe and boil and search for a way out. Dr. Mizuno's training clicked in and Ves-Ves clung to it, desperately trying to hold herself back - - for this was Palla-Palla, the one person in the universe above all others she couldn't attack.
To her relief, their senshi communicators sounded.
"All senshi, please report to the throne room," King Endymion announced. The girls instantly folded up their computer stations and headed for the door.
"Palla-Palla?" Jun-Jun inquired when she noticed her sister heading for the corner where her dolls resided. "That was a general summons by the King. We've got to go."
"Palla-Palla doesn't want to," the girl replied. She sat down in the corner with her dolls, her back to everyone.
Everyone looked to Ves-Ves to say something, to apologize or at least somehow mediate the situation somehow. Bent by the weight of the peer pressure upon her, Ves-Ves dropped her gaze to the floor.
"Come on," she grumbled, pushing through everyone and out the door.
In the throne room, Sailor Moon, Sailor Saturn and the Asteroid Senshi - - minus one - - stood in the throne room with their mentors, the original inner senshi. Haruka and Michiru were there as well, though they chose not to transform until they decided it was necessary.
"What's up?" asked Sailor Jupiter. "Is there trouble?"
Queen Serenity was about to speak, but her husband cut her off.
"Where is Sailor Pallas?" Endymion asked.
"Um," Sailor Juno replied too quickly, "she's - - not feeling well."
Sailor Mercury turned to them, concerned.
"It's all right," Serenity said. "What's happening only just barely concerns her anyway. Let the girl be." For a moment, to Sailor Moon and her senshi, it almost seemed like the queen sensed what had happened. Then the moment was gone.
"So what's going on?" Venus asked.
"I've sensed an ascension," Serenity explained. The Asteroids seemed perplexed. "Sailor senshi are not unique to Earth. There are other senshi on other worlds. And when one of those senshi ascends to a higher level of consciousness and power, tradition requires that someone who has previously ascended seek that senshi out and - - mentor her until she fully accepts what she has become and knows how to use her new abilities. I've sensed the ascension of another senshi on another planet, so I have to go and provide all the expertise I have to guide her."
Serenity then glanced at Sailor Mars.
"I wasn't going to say anything," Mars huffed.
Serenity smiled placidly.
"It would have been too easy," Mars added.
Serenity's smile wavered - - just a little.
"So why did you need us?" Sailor Moon posed.
"Tradition also holds," Sailor Mercury explained, "that the ascended queen be accompanied by a senshi to escort her and act as a guardian."
"Guardian?" Saturn asked, concerned. "Will you be in danger?"
"That's doubtful," Serenity smiled. "Usually these exercises involve teaching more than anything else."
"However, the queen will be entering a potentially hostile environment as an alien entity," Endymion added. "There's no telling what could happen, so the escort is assigned to play it safe as much as anything."
"And to guard the queen should she make a mess of things," Mars interjected. "Like the time you went to Cirrus 3?"
"You would bring that up!" fumed Serenity. "They looked like cute bunnies! How was I supposed to know scratching one behind the ear was their way of proposing marriage?"
Several surprised snickers emanated from Sailor Moon and the Asteroids.
"Anyway!" Serenity said emphatically, trying to regain control of the room. "I'll need one of you to accompany me to this world. Endymion can't go because he needs to stay on Earth and watch over the kingdom. I'll need someone who I trust implicitly, someone who can interact with a new race and set them at ease. I need someone who has the power to guard me should it become necessary, but also the judgment and temperament to know what is a dangerous situation and what isn't. We don't need a wrong action turning a potential friendly situation hostile. Above all, the person must be keen-eyed, diplomatic, deferential and yet willing to act, courageous and strong of character. To my mind, everyone in this room fits that description, so the choice must be made on a different basis."
The Queen rose from her throne and walked to the gathered senshi. When she was directly in front of Sailor Moon, she placed her hand on her daughter's shoulder.
"That was the basis for why I chose you, Sailor Moon," Serenity smiled.
"M-ME?" gasped the pink-tressed teen.
Continued in Chapter 2