Welcome to the End
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"YOU HAVE TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!" screamed the black panther neko-human known as Ranma Saotome. "You're supposed to be the heroes of this city, and this is what you plan to do!"
"It is predestined," said Sailor Pluto.
Ranma merely growled at her. "Destiny is an excuse of the weak willed. You simply don't give a damn."
Sailor Moon looked ready to cry. "But if we interfere, then the Earth won't have a thousand years of peace."
Ranma turned to her, his fangs still bared. "So that makes it okay to build your utopia on the graves of so many billions of people?"
Some of the Senshi continued to give him a glare that would have killed a lesser man. A few gave him a look of sadness, indicating they had no desire for it either, but felt it must happen.
Only Pluto and Saturn remained emotionless.
"You just don't understand," said Uranus, walking closer to him. "We know what must happen, and some destinies cannot be avoided." Finally, she stopped in front of him. "Now leave, and never bother us again."
Ranma stared her down, trying to fight the urge to rip her apart. "If you try and stop me, I will kill you all. Don't forget it was me and my friends who defeated the Shadow Empire, not you. I will stop this, and I will do it without the help of some wannabes who can't be a hero when the people really need them."
Uranus made a move to punch him, and was rewarded by him grabbing her fist and tossing her into the cavern wall, embedding her several inches into the hard stone.
He turned to the others. "I warned you."
With that, he disappeared, as the Senshi prepared to enter stasis, and helped their injured colleague to her pod.
In the Tendo Dojo, a grouping of heroes had assembled warriors who had fought and defeated the Shadows.
The full Phoenix God Saffron and his aide Kiima sat by the South wall.
The Musk Prince Herb and his two vassals; Mint and Lime, sat by the East wall.
The Amazon elders Cologne and Lotion sat by the North wall, with Shampoo and her Airen; Ryoga, by their sides.
In the center sat the Tendo sisters, Ranko Saotome, and Ukyo.
Kodachi entered first, a tray filled with snacks. She was not shocked that no one had made a move to greet her. She knew who they were waiting for; it wasn't taking a genius to know that.
Sighing, she moved to the groups along the wall, allowing them their fills, before heading to the center, sitting with her friends.
It was at times like this she wished her brother was still around, wished that he was still there to support her.
But she knew he was watching over her, having given his life to save her from a Shadow assassin.
The door sliding open was all the warning everyone needed.
The sight of Ranma's face told them all the needed.
The Senshi had abandoned them; abandoned the world.
Saffron exhaled, turning to Lotion. "Could we use Jusenkyo as an anchor?"
Lotion shook her small head. "No. The Kinjakan, the Gekkaja, the Chiisui-ton, and the Kaisui-fuu; these all can provide the magical anchor for the spell. But we need another powerful magical artifact for the fifth anchor, to buy us and the world the time we need to research the last option."
The spell was a simply delaying spell. With the five magical anchors, they could hold off the Great Ice for at most twelve years. In that time, they would have the time necessary to prepare for a final attempt at delaying it, or find another way that was less...costly.
"Would the Silence Glaive do?"
The group turned to the open door, seeing a girl with purple eyes in a Sailor fuku.
Ranma walked over to her. "Saturn?"
She nodded. "I set my pod to activate five minutes after everyone else was under." She lowered her eyes. "I won't abandon the people who believe in me. You're right, the cost is too great."
Lotion pogoed over, observing the pole ax. "Yes, it will do quite nicely." She turned to the newest member. "I know how hard it can be to do what you did."
Saturn only nodded. "Just...just leave them alone. They made their choice. When they wake up, they'll have to face it."
Grumbling, the others agreed, and the spell was made ready.
"You expect us to believe this...this fiction!" screamed the American diplomat.
The Emperor looked behind him. "Do you believe the man behind you?"
The diplomat turned towards the door, seeing a bird man holding the diplomat's escort by their throats, two cat people before him, and two shrunken women before them.
Ranma growled; crossing the distance and pushing the diplomat back into his seat. "Now listen here, you pompous jackass. The truth is the truth, no matter how much you'd like to live in your dream world. At best, we have ten years before the delaying spell fails, and worst case scenario, a century after that before our last option fails. So you can bitch and moan about needing more time to gather the facts, but don't come running to us when your citizens are freezing to death, when your people demand answers."
Sailor Saturn turned the diplomat's chair, directing his gaze to her glowing eyes. "This isn't about politics, you prick. This is about saving humanity. I promise you that if you bungle this up because of a possible backlash to your career, then you won't live past the delaying spell. Do I make myself clear?"
The Emperor smiled. Sometimes, magical girls were the best weapon against career politicians.
The anchors had lost their places, and within the week, the Great Ice would be upon the world again.
Ranko looked across the chest of her husband to her co-wife, Shampoo. "Tomorrow is the day."
Shampoo turned to face her, as did Ryoga. "I was hoping it would never come to this."
Ranko tried to smile. "We had ten more years to try, and you'll have a hundred after tomorrow to succeed."
"Still doesn't make it right," said Ryoga. "They deserve their mother, just as Ranma's kids deserve their Father, and Hotaru's children deserve their mother."
A single tear dripped down Ranko's face. "We can only give what we can, and this will be the only gift we can give them."
Shampoo began to cry. "Still doesn't make it right."
Ranko drew closer into the embrace of her Airens. "Very little is ever fair."
Hotaru hugged her eldest daughter, the one who would take up the mantel of Sailor Saturn when... "I'm sorry to lay such a burden on you, Reina."
Reina was an eight-year-old Neko-girl, one of three children by Ranma with Hotaru. "I know, Mommy. I know."
Ranma merely embraced her, as did his other children. There were four by Kasumi, five by Nabiki, and three by Akane. Ukyo soon followed with her six.
Ranko was hugging her four children with Ryoga, as was him, Shampoo, and their four girls.
Soon, the time for goodbyes was over, the three boarded the transport that would take them, Herb, and Saffron to the North Pole, to cast the final spell, the last option.
As the plane took of, Reina: the Neo Sailor Saturn, smiled. Go save the world, Mommy, Daddy, Auntie. After all, it's what Saotomes do.
The pilot looked back into the cabin with his guests, placing the transport plane on autopilot, before walking back. "Excuse me?"
The five warriors turned to look at him.
"I want to thank you five for everything you've done. If it wasn't for you guys, I...I'd have lost my daughter. Thanks to you, she'll have a chance. I...I just wanted you to know that."
As he left, Hotaru hugged Ranma's side, as did Ranko.
They were doing it not only for their children, their friends, and their family; but for people like him.
They were doing it for everyone.
The five gathered at the North Pole, the transport now taking off.
Ranma had to smile. "It's so peaceful here."
Saffron nodded. Being a phoenix, he hated cold weather. But the quiet, it reminded him of his own children when they were born sleeping in their nests. "A fitting place for the birth of hope."
Herb agreed. "When this is over with, maybe our children will come here on day, find a peace in this quiet as we do."
Hotaru nodded, finally finding a peace in her curse, in the Silence.
Ranko looked at Saffron. "You okay, I know you've never had to worry about a permanent death before."
He nodded. "I do this for my children, so they can know life. If death is the cost, it is one I will pay without regret." He had had ten years to come to accept the cost from him for this measure. For it to buy everyone a century...they would each have to give up their life force in the end.
For him, that meant he would not be coming back from this death. Ironic, how many gods have ever died to save humanity? How many simply faded away from the lack of care by their subjects?
Ranma smiled. "For not just humanity...for every living being on this world."
The others nodded, pumping their fists into the air. "FOR LIFE!"
After exiting the Artic Circle, the pilot set his craft down, exiting and looking towards the pole.
At the time expected, a large ball of light formed in front of him, nearly overwhelming the shades on his face.
Smiling, and feeling the cold bite into him as tears fell down his face; US Air Force Captain David Richards saluted in the direction of the greatest heroes he had ever met. "Thank you, on behalf of everyone. May your noble sacrifice not have been in vain."
And thus, the century of Last Chance began.
Author's notes: This is a side story of what had happened in the timeline that Setsuna warned the other Senshi about. Until my muse returns for the main line for OCMW, this will be played out.