Minako's Story » Chapter 19: Operation Salvation

Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma 1/2 or Sailor Moon or other characters that may be noted from time to time in the author's notes as originating elsewhere. This piece of work is purely for entertainment purposes.

Author's Note: In the previous chapter I erroneously referred to the Queen of Canada. I based it on a very cursory look at the Wikipedia page and of course was corrected on it. For consistency's sake I have changed the characters name to Queen Ann of the United Kingdom. I thank those who pointed out the mistake.


Minako's Story
by Lerris Smith

-«Previously»-

The trip to Mars begins. The Japanese prime minister and his wife take a stroll on Mars. Rei invites the world leaders to come with her to where the mining is going on for the material they need for the ships. After a small interruption, they reach the mining site. Mercury is forced to risk her life to insure the completion of the drilling process. Afterwards they continue onward to Venus. On Venus, Nabiki, Kasumi, and Nodoka head to Anfala at their hosts suggestion, although Nodoka soon slips away back to the capital in the hope of meeting her grandchildren. Nabiki and Kasumi are offered a gift. The leaders from Earth have breakfast at the grand hall in Kasan Castle. Afterwords they attend a short martial art exhibition before visiting the memorial at Kasan. On Earth, in the White House, the vice president expresses his annoyance over the presidents sudden field trip.

-«Chapter 19: Operation Salvation»-

Takayama watched the ship take off before boarding the little atmospheric shuttle for his own destination. He had considered going back with Cheryl and the others, but it seemed that they were quite crowded already with the equipment and people they already had on-board. Besides, he and his wife really wanted to stay longer anyway, which brought them to their current destination. He had requested to see the ships in production, but that request was denied. It seemed the Senshi were doing tests of the fusion reactors on a couple of the ships. That was of course not the interesting bit. No the interesting bit was they were doing those tests without the required shielding, which of course made the whole area a deathtrap for any mere mortals.

They did offer the next best thing though. It was fantastic on a scale that the television view could not do justice to, although the fact that it lay in the middle of a barren mountain range did make determining scale a little difficult. Still, the main core of what they called the working model had to be ten football fields long or more. The main difference between this and the ships they were working on, was that this, while identical in most ways and used to test the design, was never intended to have more than a mock up reactor and weapons systems.

They landed near the entrance. He and his wife eagerly walked in, walking faster than they had in years. It was amazing. One of the crew members that came with them said, "It is a little crowded now as almost all of the crew for the real warships is here training and polishing their skills."

Takayama said, "If the opportunity arises, I should like to thank them for their hard work."

His guide nodded and said, "I'll see what I can do."

One hour later he found himself in front of a hastily assembled podium in the ships largest cargo bay in front of what he thought must be the crew to all of these ships. He found himself desperately wanting his assistants skill with words right now, but he pressed on anyway.

"I have been on your world for a short time, and yet I already have a great fondness for it. When my time as Prime Minister is up, I hope to become an ambassador to your people." He paused as if searching for words. Finally, he said, "I don't know what else to say, except this. I thank you for all of your work towards saving my town, my country, and my world." With that he bowed deeply to everyone there, which caused whispers to erupt before an elderly man came up beside him and spoke into the microphone saying, "Dismissed."

Nearby his wife wiped a tear from her eye as she stared proudly at her husband.

-«oOo»-

Queen Ann of the United Kingdom had decided to leave the military details to her staff. These people seemed to be so advanced at times, and yet the castle they lived in looked in many ways medieval. It was tradition for them, and they prided themselves on that tradition. It was a bit like her favorite community theatre back in Derby. The college theatre had an altogether clever design with both an air conditioned indoor part as well as an outdoor part, which could access the same stage via a huge metal door that rose into the air. Every summer they would present a musical in the outdoor stage and every year, if you happened to watch the rehearsals you could hear at least one actor wistfully wish they would just have it inside where it was air-conditioned, but they never did.

It was thoughts of that college and the good people she knew there that led her to visit the Academy of Venus. She had already sat through part of a class of aspiring physicians when a young girl, perhaps all of twelve came in, with an obviously skinned knee. The girl caught the attention of the instructor, who, she thought was named Kain.

With concern, the instructor asked, "Hurt yourself again Lina-chan?"

"Yes," she pouted before adding, "Will you fix it?"

The instructor sighed, obviously used to such occurrences. He said, "Okay, but this will be the last time since I half think your getting hurt deliberately to get attention."

The child suddenly had a perfectly innocent face that the Queen was not buying one bit. The child said, "Okay, I be good."

Kain smiled and said, "Xian Pu, could you help me up here?"

The violet haired woman smiled as she came up to the front and set down in the chair Kain indicated. The little girl, automatically climbed up into her lap in a practiced fashion.

Kain said, "Now everyone pay close attention, particularly you Xian Pu, since you will be able to feel the most. Ki healing is probably the most difficult thing I have to teach, and I have great hope that one of you will come to surpass me one day, and maybe teach me what I'm doing wrong." The last was said with a bit of amusement laced with frustration.

Kain sat Indian style in front of the seated pair. Ann quietly got up and sat down in the seat near the front that had a better view, while her security looked on warily. A soft white glow formed around the little girl's knee where Kain held his hands. As she watched, it seemed nothing short of a miracle as the redness went down and the abrasion seemed to heal before her eyes, shrinking to barely a scratch.

As the glow finally died, she glanced at her watch. Somehow almost half an hour had lapsed. She could scarcely believe she had lost track of time so badly. Still, days of healing in, well minutes, was beyond remarkable. By the looks of things, the little that was left might even be gone by tomorrow. Had he left that last bit deliberately to remind the child? It didn't matter. It was still incredible.

Kain seemed on the verge of falling for a moment, before he grinned and smiled. The little girl hopped down and kissed him on the cheek before saying, "Thank you Sensei."

"Amazing," said the Queen. "Simply Amazing."

A young woman, perhaps all of twenty years old, said to her, "Princess Ami, who you probably know as Sailor Mercury created the basis of this skill from what she learned from Sailor Saturn and our King and Queen. We have expanded on it, but it is still very hard. Pure magical healing, or healing by those with the true gift is much easier, but those people are very rare. This can be taught, although it seems excellent physical conditioning is a prerequisite."

"It is still quite amazing, but I am curious, how did your doctor's work before you learned this?"

The young woman smiled and said, "They heal the same way your doctors heal of course, by figuring out the causes of sickness and treating those causes. Of course, we lost some of our most advanced techniques when Beryl nearly destroyed us, yet I think we have recreated most of them."

"I am most impressed young lady. After we take care of the immediate crisis I would hope our people could share our knowledge, at least with respect to medical knowledge."

Kain, who had listened up till now said, "A plan has already been made. Not all will be shared of course. Some things are classified, and must remain so, to prevent misuse."

"I'm afraid that is quite understandable. There are always people who would use knowledge in ways we wish they would not. Even our western allies sometimes." Her last sentence was said in almost a whisper as if it was perhaps something she did not intend to say out loud.

Kain continued smoothly with, "Ki healing is no different. Well, if all you wanted to do was kill someone, there are easier ways, but there are also certainly possibilities I hope never to see."

The queen stared at him for a moment before saying cryptically, "There always are."

-«oOo»-

Shampoo once more looked over the little apartment she had been given. She supposed she should somehow be grateful, having her great grandmother and that idiot Mousse make sure she was safe when the rest of her people were facing death.

She wasn't grateful though. Still, there were compensations. The first of which was they had locked Mousse up when he refused to leave her alone. Now that was a surprise, that seemingly ordinary people here had taken down Mousse in well, record time. It was enough to send a shiver down her spine. If she wasn't careful she was apt to end up married again.

What really galled her, more than anything else, was the people that had taken Mousse down were clearly using an art that had in its basis Anything Goes. Her airen, well she supposed her former airen, ruled an entire world with a Queen at her side. Oh well, if she had to lose at least it wasn't to spatula girl or kitchen destroyer. She could respect this Minako Aino, if not only for her duties defending Earth before arriving here, then for the world she helped shaped here.

In short she, the future possible matriarch to a village, had lost to the matriarch of a world, which, she supposed was as it should be. It still sucked. Her only other compensation was the classes she was taking. Medical knowledge of any kind was a treasured thing to her people. She would learn these things and take them back to her people.

She glanced at the clock on the wall, which thankfully, now showed the numbers in Japanese. Of course, it would have been nice if it was in Mandarin, but it seemed that they currently didn't have a way to change that. Regardless, it said that it was time to go to yet another class. Great grandmother would not forgive her if she missed even one. She may have been abandoned with a fool, but at least she had a chance to learn. She wondered if the doctor from Jüban would be there again today. Her insights were turning out to be invaluable, and she was one of the students. Stranger still, her daughter, who looked a bit like Akane, was one of the teachers, although she was apparently too busy to teach the classes right now.

-«oOo»-

As she boarded the cargo ship that would return her to her world, Cheryl Davis, the second woman to hold the title of president of the United States, took one last look around at the wondrous place she had barely begun to learn about. With a sigh, she put away her regrets and turned back to her job. It was time to go back home and try to reign over the hotheads that would, left to themselves, make a mess of the entire situation. It was certainly a gigantic risk they were taking extending this must trust. Just planning an all out nuclear assault could tip the world into chaos, yet her path was clear. There simply were no other feasible alternatives. Of course, as she well knew, that would not stop the march forward of politics. Just because they had no other choices, didn't mean people wouldn't scream and demand she find other choices. It was a waste of time, but then, unfortunately, her job was in part to bring into harmony even those acting stupid. It was often a fools errand, but she had to try.

-«oOo»-

"What the heck do you mean with this nonsense?" the fat graying man said as he smacked the thin folder marked top secret down on the table.

A black haired man, perhaps all of forty said, "I should think that was obvious. It is all explained in the log."

"I've read the drivel you call a report. You claim a planet is going to blow us all to kingdom come if we don't work with a bunch of kids to launch an all out nuclear assault at it."

"Well, I'd hardly call the rulers of an entire world kids, and chronologically we believe they are in their thirties, even if they don't really look it. Besides, if you had read the report you would know that we really don't have any other choice, well other than waiting for death that is."

"I read the report and I still think it is nonsense. If the lord wanted us dead, then he can take us at any time. I'm not going to allow you to place the fate of our people in the hands of a bunch of heathens."

The black haired man started to respond but after a few moments simply said, "Is it not said that god helps those who help themselves?" and walked out the door.

He rubbed his forehead with the tips of the fingers of his right hand as he absently continued to walk down the long hallway. As he walked, he spoke softly, "Tho' much is taken, much abides and tho' we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

He turned right where the hallways intersected and said, "Well Tennyson, in the end I don't think we will yield, but there is a definite opening for being squashed like a bug."

Just then a young page, perhaps all of sixteen, caught up to him and said, "They have found out. It is on the news!"

"Found out what?" he hazarded, already expecting the answer.

"About the planet that is going crash into us. They think someone leaked it."

The dark haired man resumed rubbing his forehead, this time using both hands. After a moment he said, "Contact the press secretary. He already knows what to do."

"Yes sir." The young man paused, obviously worried at the others worry. He asked, "Um sir, can we stop it?"

The dark haired man smiled, even if it held hints of being forced, before saying, "Of course. We have resources you do not know of. We will stop it."

The young man smiled a thin smile, obviously not entirely believing, yet reassured nonetheless as he turned and rushed back the way he came.

-«oOo»-

On the way back to Earth the graying haired captain knocked on the presidents cabin, and after been looked over by her bodyguards was admitted. He carried with him a compact disc casually pressed in his hands.

Cheryl greeted him with, "Good evening captain? Is everything alright?"

He smiled as he looked down at the compact disk in apparent curiosity. After a moment, he said, "Time doesn't always allow things to be done diplomatically. We have on board the first of a complete set of artificial fusion powered illumination satellites. They are part of the PIDS system. Well" He handed her the disk and continued with, "The important bits are in here."

"Huh? Why would you do that? I know I've seen them in your sky at night, and they are kind of neat in the way they simulate moonlight, but this hardly seems the time for toys."

He said, "I'm sorry, I really can't say more, but as I said that storage medium has the information you want."

She peered at it for a moment and then said, "Assuming it is formatted normally, I should be able to read it. Are you sure you can't just tell me what is going on?"

He said, "No. I know, but it is not my place. PIDS is a strategic secret that I have not been ordered to discuss. I am told that all that you need to know is on the storage medium. It will be up to you how much your people are told, or what they are told, as well as other governments. I'm afraid also that the deployment of the PIDS system is not negotiable. We are going to need it. Afterwards, well, afterwards we will of course want our skylights back."

The captain left and Cheryl opened the cover on her laptop causing it to resume from standby. She popped the disk in, and opened a PIDS document which she started scanning. "The exact technology used in the PIDS system is classified. The secondary control system of the PIDS systems implement a redundant tiered cryptographic system using multiple forms of magical and physical authentication. Final control restriction is implemented via bio interface to the local operator. Operators must swear a magically binding oath to..."

She read on, wondering exactly what it was that required such precautions. Three sentences later she knew. To the empty room, "My god, if this system should ever fall into the wrong hands. Its no wonder they are so careful with it, yet it might just be the edge we need to survive."

-«oOo»-

Nabiki awoke to blackness. No, on second thought it was not blackness, it was that same very soft glow the cave they were in gave off. Kasumi was right next to her. She stopped to wonder how she was so sure of that, when she couldn't see her or anything like that. Her sister was waking up and she was once again, surprised, annoyed, something, about how she suddenly knew that. Kasumi said, "Morning Nee-san,"

Nabiki replied, "Morning."

"So it worked then?"

"Guess so. Leave it to Ranma to run into an alien princess from a water world with a strange ritual involving French kissing."

"Nabiki!," scolded Kasumi as she absently licked her lips.

Nabiki looked over at her sister and smirked. She said, "Neri is old enough to be our mother, although she hardly looks it." She trailed off as she said the last.

Nabiki said, "Neri must have already left. We should get back.."

Kasumi said, "I can't wait to play with the fishes."

Nabiki laughed and said, "Me too. You know, when this is all over, I don't think I'm moving back." Kasumi looked at her sister and frowned to herself as she sat in thought. Nabiki said, "You don't want to go back either!"

"But father.."

"Can take care of himself. I can make a difference here, and I like this place."

"Maybe we could build a dojo here. Maybe one with a little clinic."

Nabiki smirked and said, "Now your thinking."

-«oOo»-

Cheryl grumbled as she sat in Air-force One for the long helicopter ride to the White House and the chaos that awaited her there. In her hands she held a small tablet computer with a document in it. They wanted her to make a speech right away to calm the panic, but the truth was she wasn't ready. Still, there was no choice. She proceeded to add to the prepared text. She hated improvisation. It had a tendency to bite you in the arse when you were in this line of work..

The captain from the spaceship had offered to set her down wherever she wanted to be, but for reasons of secrecy she ended up getting off with the others on the island she had left from which meant a jet ride back and then transfer to the helicopter, altogether wasting almost six hours. In hindsight, she probably should have taken him up on the offer. It would have played well with her speech. Then again, she had hardly been idle since returning to Earth. She had begun to push everyone in the direction they needed to go. Her own people even said that her opponents had only mustered about thirty percent of the vote they needed to start impeachment proceedings. All in all, given what all was happening, she was doing good. It was not as if she had to hold off chaos for all that long after all, and afterward, well she would deal with that then, provided any of them were alive then.

-«oOo»-

Fellow citizens. People of the world. I come before you today to apologize for our deception. We sought to minimize chaos while we dealt with the problem. I tell you straight out that though the future looks dismal, we are even now implementing the plan to stop the planetoid. It is a solid plan, yet certain details I cannot go into for reasons of national security. I have just come back from a tour of Venus where even now our allies are preparing to use their technology to drill a hole in the planetoid to what we believe to be a critical point. Once that point is reached, we, combined with other nuclear capable countries of the world will launch all of our ICBMs at the target. Once they reach space our friends have technology that will assist them to their final destination, with the goal of simultaneous detonation of every nuclear weapon in what should shatter the planetoid and cause its pieces to miss the Earth.

In order that people will have hope we have accepted a gift from our friends. Currently being distributed in orbit are a series of artificial fusion powered satellites designed to simulate moonlight. Every night, until our planet is safe they will shine down on our planet so that night will be as bright as daybreak, regardless of where you are on the planet.

I ask everyone to go about their business, and trust that we are doing everything possible to prepare and to face this challenge. I will be speaking with you nightly to tell you what I can of our progress. In order to assure that there is no breakdown in order I have, with the full authorization of congress, authorized the full call up of all reserve units of the military. Some will be used to help with our plan. The rest will be divided up to help local law enforcement and under their direct control. While the authorization of congress fulfills the requirements of posse comitatus, I still feel that local emergency services workers should best know how to keep the peace in this trying time.

I ask and I pray that no one will do anything to make these precautions needed. I have talked with the leaders of Venus and with our own scientists and engineers. We can and we will defeat this threat. Furthermore, I tell you, that while our friends have indicated their desire to transport those they can to Venus, I myself swear to you to stay here with the rest of you. The few thousand that they are able to transport in the time remaining will come proportionally from all the states in the union in some equitable random manner that will be left up to the states.

Videos from Venus, their presentation at the UN, as well as other related materials will be distributed on the white house web site and to news organizations.

Cheryl took a drink of water and then turned back to the camera. She resumed speaking.

Now, onto the future. I am happy to inform you, that with the help of those from Venus, we will be able to stop global warming, and eventually, to reverse the environmental damage our technology has created. The beginning of this will be our first fusion power plant that will be located at a location between the United States and Canada. It will have the output capacity of four of our largest power plants put together. It is only the beginning of course. I also hope they we can eventually implement a version of their underground subway system. Their cars can be linked together and float on a magnetic field. They move through airless tunnels at speeds up to three times that of our fastest jets, and consume very little energy in the process. I have no idea how they built such wonders, but that is in the future.

Cheryl held her hand to her right ear for a moment before saying, "I am told that copies of much of their literature and music will be placed freely available on-line, so look for that too. For now, god go with you all."

She paused for a moment and then added, "I am reminded of the story they told of how their world was saved by a pair of kami that decided to show them mercy. I have been to their world, and while I have no way to confirm their story I can think of no better explanation to explain why Venus was a barren rock mere months ago and is now a prosperous world. At any rate, even if you don't believe I ask you to keep all of us who are working on this great task in your prayers. Thank you and good night."

-«oOo»-

The male kami who sat in the wicker chair sighed. "I never intended that our role would be so noted. Now many of them will believe in the kami saving them whenever they get in trouble rather than working to save themselves."

The blond haired goddess sitting in a nearby chair said, "It was unavoidable, and if it prevents them from acting stupid in the meantime then perhaps it is worth it."

The male kami turned to focus on her and said, "You don't think its better for them to believe the truth?"

The blond shrugged and said, "What would be the point in that? If the decedents of the silver moon fail, then at least they won't live their last days in terror. Beyond that, life will go on. We have assured that much."

"You are correct I suppose, but after this is over I think it may be time for people to forget the kami again."

"That should only take a few thousand years."

"Or seconds."

-«oOo»-

The next day Cheryl visited a missile silo in Kentucky that the team from Venus had already upgraded. It was, well it was nothing short of amazing. They had completely refurbished the six ICBMs at the silo.

The engineers that checked them afterwards said the tolerances were so exact that the variances were all but immeasurable. The only exception to this was that the guidance systems refused to enter configuration mode. When queried they all basically were hard coded to go straight out into space when launched.

The joint chiefs predictably hated the changes, since it effectively removed these missiles from their tactical arsenal. Their attitudes failed to improve when she stated that they hadn't really lost anything since they were broken before. Of course things changed when the engineers pointed out that time wise, even if they had to replace their entire guidance system later, they would still be ahead of where they would be otherwise. Cheryl herself found the whole thing idiotic. Those missiles were going to be gone.

Of course, there were real problems, and the most prevalent was, that while the Venus engineering detail appeared to be shortening their time slightly with each missile, it didn't look like it would be nearly quick enough to get them all done before their deadline. After briefly questioning the staff at the silos they had already visited, she left orders that the other silos should coordinate their efforts and try to anticipate what they might need so the upgrade process could be accelerated. She also ordered the white house kitchens to prepare all of their food. One of the cooks was even following them around. The delivery of their meals ended up consuming a ridiculous amount of jet fuel, but it didn't matter. Everything that could be done to help their critical task would be done, and it would be foolish to risk chancing their meals to anyone not vetted by her own security.

-«oOo»-

The days that followed were mostly peaceful, interspersed with the odd riot here and there. The interesting parts were not the riots, but rather how they were stopped. For instance, Happosai strangely enough became the hero of Tokyo as he led Genma, Soun, Hinako, and Ryoga in their successful campaigns to tamp down the two worst riots in Tokyo history.

Later that very day, while Genma was drinking saki with Soun in a Bar in Jüban, Soun said, "I never would have thought I'd live to see the day when the Master was a hero."

With an obvious drunken slur Genma said, "Hah! The troll just didn't want to die until he could explore a whole other planet full of lingerie."

Soun winced at Genma's drunken insult and looked around before carefully downing the rest of his drink.

The worst riot occurred in Moscow, and despite the mobilization of the army with local law enforcement, they were unable to suppress it. The riot was three hours old when Ranma contacted the prime minister of Russia.

Ranma said, "It has come to our attention that you have a problem."

The prime minister said, "I look as flames consume the city I grew up in and I cry. We are doing our best, but it is not enough. I can't think of any way to stop this without a lot of people dying. They are frightened and sure the end is coming. I ask you, humbly, is their anything you can do?"

Ranma said, "We have one hundred of our special forces on route to Earth with this last batch of skylights. They were added this morning before launch since the riots had been getting worse and we thought they might be needed to preserve life. They could be there within an hour, but before we dispatch them we require your government to issue a formal permission for them to conduct peacekeeping duties."

"You will have it within the hour."

"There is one more thing. We require one hundred of your best people to pair with them to help them with the language and such. We have given them personal translation units, but so far their ability with Russian is pretty much crap."

"That should not be a problem either. In fact, I think it would reassure many to know they were paired with our own policemen and soldiers. I am curious about one thing though, what makes you think a mere one hundred extra men can make a difference?"

Ranma said casually, "I think you will be pleasantly surprised."

"If you say so. Now the assembly is still in session and I need to get that formal approval, so if there is nothing else..?"

Ranma said, "No, except my current expectation is that most of them would stay in the homes, or nearby those they are paired with, for now anyway."

"You are going to leave some of your people here when this world is on the verge of being wiped out?" said the prime minister with incredulity.

Ranma said, "Yes. I don't like it either, but they did volunteer and by having people from our world stay with yours we hope it will give them some hope."

The prime minister said, "It might at that," before closing the video call and heading to the assembly. Forty five minutes later he had permission. Thirty three minutes after that and the shuttle dropped them off on top of a building outside the city where one hundred soldiers, policemen and firefighters had hastily gathered to meet them. Fifteen minutes after that and they were all loaded up and driving back in the city. That is to say the Russian contingent was driving, all of about twenty five miles an hour while their Venus counterpart was running alongside with full supply packs.

The sight alone of seeing a hundred athletic men and women of varying stature, many with a light golden tan, a few with darker skin colors, left many gaping which incidentally defused much of the immediate tension in the rioters. Perhaps the oddest part of the contingent was along with the normal hair colors there was the large complement of light red hair, fair skin, and green eyes in the group.

The rioters that remained were swiftly dealt with barely a slowdown in their speed as they moved through the crowd, seemingly only brushing arms necks or backs. A closer look would show minute golden bursts of energy being transferred at each touch. After they were touched, the most violent rioters slumped to the ground, seemingly spent of energy. This continued for over an hour as people slumped to the ground and officers and soldiers took the worst of them into custody. A little over two hours after they arrived on the planet the special forces troupes from Venus were sitting in the homes of their counterparts.

One such person went by the name of Jeran Saotome and he was currently sitting in the home of a buxom, single, blond, and rather attractive Russian soldier as she cooked him dinner. He just knew Hotaru we going to kill him if she found out. Ah well, he was fairly sure his father's stories of women with mallets were nothing but exaggeration.

The translator he wore in his ear translated the woman's words as, "Tell me about your world, your family." He had just started drinking the cola she had given him when she added, "Your girlfriend?" tentatively. After momentarily choking on the soda, he did just that.

-«oOo»-

Other such groups came in the waning days for a total of over two thousand troops from Venus helping to maintain the peace as the people of Earth's fear grew. In the end, most thought that it was not so much their skill in the art that kept relative peace, but the fact that so many of people of Venus believed enough to stay with them, while at the same time they had on the return flights of the shuttles transferred almost four thousand people to wherever they had space on Venus. Quite often they ended up staying with the same families that had sent troops to protect their world. Of course, there were problems, but for the most part things went off with relatively few hitches.

-«oOo»-

"I can't believe this crap! How the hell did they get the votes to allow this nonsense? There are over four hundred foreign soldiers in our beloved country, and what's worse, we invited them!"

The man's secretary adjusted the eyeglasses on her heart shaped face briefly before saying, "Sir, I fail to see the problem, or rather I fail to see on how we are not better off with their presence than without it. They have saved a lot of lives, and all without even resorting to weapons."

The graying haired man looked sternly at his secretary and asked, "What is up with you today?"

The blond secretary cast her eyes down before saying, "They. One of them saved me earlier. The mob had just gotten through when I was trying to sneak to the store. Somehow one of them knew I was your secretary and they decided to take their frustrations out on, as they put it, 'The slave of the bastard that was trying to get us all killed.'"

The man frowned. He said, "People are confused. Our lord will not desert us in our time of need. We need only have faith and protect our people and our way of life from corruption in the meantime."

The blond wiped tears from her eyes, while still not looking up. She said softly, "I'm sorry sir. I know you are a man of deep faith, but I can't continue to work here."

"But why Cathy? It is not about money is it?"

The young woman's tears stopped. She looked up and said, "No, it is about doing what I think is right. I'm going to try to find the woman that saved my life earlier and help her, if I can, and if I can't do that then I'll do what I can to help the others keep everyone calm."

"You would change sides?" asked the man skeptically.

Confused and more than a little bit angry she said, "You still don't get it do you? This is not about what side people are on, but about insuring the survival of our planet!"

"Very well. I will contact my accountant and have your termination processed. Good day to you."

The woman gaped. She opened and closed her mouth several times as if trying to say something but unable to find the words. She grabbed her bag and walked out the door saying, "You do that senator, but you might want to make sure you spend what you save within the next two weeks."

The man grumbled and said something about it being nearly impossible to find qualified help with the job market right now.

-«oOo»-

Minako looked at the display on her desk showing the newest and as yet mostly unpopulated city on Venus. Well it was perhaps a bit early to call it a city, yet the infrastructure was there as well as typical stores and such. In total it had perhaps a thousand people in it so far. They had begun construction on it years ago, not out of need so much, but out of caution. If something were to make a major city on Venus uninhabitable, they were, for the most part prepared.

Ranma came in the room and glanced at the screen before saying, "Are you still debating the decision not to mention that location to our guests?"

"No. Our reasons then are still valid now. We want to help these people, but inviting that many people from Earth into our society without supervision would invite trouble needlessly. It would be different if we could transport millions rather than thousands..."

"But we can't. The only way to transport millions would be with the silver crystal or extreme use of the time gate to generate portals. Both would cause us to fail in stopping the planetoid. The first would probably kill Usagi, and likely anyone helping. The second would severely weaken Pluto and maybe the gate itself."

"I know. I just wish we had a plan B. I mean those kami saved our world easily, yet it will take all we have to have a chance of saving the Earth."

Ranma asked, "Do you think that is part of it? Perhaps they knew of the danger to Earth and helped by restoring Venus."

Minako said, "You're saying that they could have saved the Earth but instead chose to save the tiny fraction of lives here and then leave saving the Earth up to us?"

"Hey, I'm just guessing. It is just that, well, it does fit."

-«oOo»-

Sandar sat on the hill as he overlooked the assembly of the only three warships that stood a chance of being completed in time to be useful. As he sat, he listened to the faerie that had been bound with him for as long as he could remember. He could not hear Sylia in words, at least not without breaking the symbiosis, and that had its own problems, but he did understand. While the Senshi of Ice was no doubt a genius, and Arnaeth was nearly as good, and far more knowledgeable in actual engineering, they really did not have the time to solve the problem they were trying to solve. They had admitted that much, more than once.

Of course his own understanding was crude at best, but it seemed that trying to maintain the stability of an inherently unstable containment field, even with the best of their technology and science was dubious at best. The alloy they were relying on was a great help of course, but trying to shrink a massively heavy fusion reactor with all of its shielding down to a fraction of its normal weight was beyond simply difficult. He supposed that these kind of problems were why space based warships were so limited in power, well unless you were willing to make them the size of a small city, which they did not easily have the resources to do, particularly in the time they had left.

He sighed before getting up and walking away. He walked for almost an hour until he came to a small cemetery. Kylana was gone now of course. Destroyed in Beryl's original assault, for the simple reason that it had held a key communications node. The node had been rebuilt of course, but not the town, which made it such an ideal place to build something as dangerous as these warships.

He walked to the center of the cemetery and spread his outer robe out on the grass before sitting down and letting the cool wind brush at his hair. A few minutes later he wiped a tear from his right eye before seeming to fall into a meditative state.

Minutes later soft golden power flowed out from him in a ring and then vanished. Minutes turned into hours and yet Sandar remained motionless. Finally, as the last rays of the sun were vanishing, motes of light coalesced in front of him to form the body of a small green haired child.

Sandar opened his eyes and said, "Hello little one. Why have you not passed on?"

She gave him an impish smile and said, "It surprises me that one as old as you can be fooled by simple appearances." Sandar blinked at that but otherwise didn't react. She continued with, "I have been watching over this city since before Sylia and you made your bond. I considered finally going beyond once the young Queen returned, but this endeavor kept me curious."

Sandar said, "You have already saved them at least once haven't you?"

She smiled and said, "Yes. They try hard, and risk much, but I do not believe their design can work. As to saving them, I merely shifted probabilities and variations so that one of their failures did not fail catastrophically."

Sandar nodded. He had only to hear her say words like catastrophically, to really notice how old she truly was. He asked softly, "Will you do it?"

She tilted her head slightly before flopping back on the ground as if getting comfortable, except she sunk slightly into the ground itself. Finally. she asked, "Will I give up protecting this place and bind myself to a chunk of metal, so that I might bend the laws of physics for you?"

Sandar said sadly, "You know the stakes. Those warships are needed. Even without the crises facing the Earth, there are always threats we must guard against."

"And if I do what you wish, what is to stop them from trying to get the engines on-line in the next ship and blowing up my former city, me included?"

Sandar said, "I will tell them of course. Ami will not like it. She has always had too kind of a heart, but there is little choice. As to the others, well at most their is time to have two others activated. I had hoped that you might know of a couple others willing to help."

"Perhaps. If I do this, I will need you to do something for me."

"If it is in my power, you shall have it."

"Contact the Queen. My price is this, and I suspect the others will ask the same. The queen must promise to always post good men and women to these ships, and if the day comes that these ships are no longer needed she must promise that they be utterly destroyed."

"So you are not lonely, and so not even a part of you ever becomes permanently attached to a thing of metal. Both requests are fair. I will go to ask her now."

"I will talk with the others. I think I can find at least the two others you need."

Sandar stood before donning his robe. He then bent in a deep bow to the spirit still lying on the ground.

The little girl smiled. She said, "I see Sylia did finally teach you manners. Go now. I will be here when you return."

On the walk back to the city Sandar mused how he could get around so much faster if he would just requisition some kind of vehicle, but once more dismissed the idea. His legs and the subway system had been good enough for hundreds of years and he would not change now. Besides, in an emergency he had another option, if an expensive one.

-«oOo»-

The queen of Venus was sitting down at a small table going over information on a datapad and drinking tea when her assistant showed Sandar in.

"Greetings my queen."

Minako gave him a brief welcoming smile before saying, "Hello my friend. How may I help you?"

Inwardly Sandar was relieved. It was rare for any ruler to ask that question, but then, he had never asked for anything before. He said, "I know how to solve the containment field stability problem."

She looked sharply at him for a moment before saying, "Given that you are not an engineer, I can only assume more esoteric means, and given that you are here rather than implementing the solution, I can guess that it is not something I would necessarily agree with."

Sandar nodded. "You are correct, yet I think you will agree." He went on to explain the details of how he could help link a soul that was willing to each of the three ships that could be made ready in time, and that in doing so would allow the soul enough control over the energy fields used in the reactor to insure their stability.

Minako listened attentively and when he was done turned to her secretary who had entered mere moments ago and said, "We will be leaving for Kylana in a few minutes. Please inform the home guard and the crew of my transport."

"Yes my queen."

Sandar waited as the secretary left and then looked again towards his queen. She said, "It may be that I will approve this, but first I wish to speak with Ami and Arnaeth in person to be absolutely sure there is no other way."

Sandar nodded, before wondering if he would have time to get a new pair of shoes. He supposed not.

-«oOo»-

Ami, Minako, Arnaeth, Sandar, and Captain Grey met in the same cemetery that Sandar had visited only yesterday. They set down in the well kept grass. Minako was the one to speak first. She asked, "Ami, Arnaeth I know I have asked before, but are you reasonably sure that you cannot solve the problem with the containment field in the time we have left?"

Both Ami and Arnaeth started to speak. At some unspoken agreement between them Arnaeth said, "Princess Mercury's calculations are impeccable. She has proved that a solution to the field stability problem must exist, but neither of us know of any way to directly reach that solution. At our current rate of investigation we estimate it could take as much as two years. At best, right now we could go with our backup plan and segment one of the ships, before towing the pieces into to orbit and rebuilding its reactor core in orbit. We'd be lucky to get a third of the power, since we would have to use an old heavy design, but we believe that we could get one ship on-line and stable in the time we have left."

Ami added, "It would still be several times more powerful than our next best ship, but no, barring a miracle we won't solve the field stability problem in the time allotted, at least not with a purely physics based solution. There just isn't the time."

Minako said, "Captain, your opinion?"

Captain Grey brushed a stray lock of graying brown hair behind his ear before saying, "I will work with what I am given and I will protect what I can. I do not like asking anyone to sacrifice, but that too is my duty and if we fail to sacrifice enough now, we risk all."

Minako said, "But how do you feel about sharing control over your ship? It will, after all, be Memory that this is first attempted on, if I give the go ahead." Just behind Minako the air seemed to sparkle for a moment.

"I have no problem whatsoever with it, as long as Cally," he glanced at Sandar who nodded, "also agrees."

Minako nodded. She called forth her own magic and let it suffuse the circle around them. It touched all the others, but seemed to slide past Sandar. She said softly, "Cally, honored guardian spirit of Kylana, I, Minako Aino, third queen of Venus humbly ask for your presence."

In the area that flickered before a form resolved into a short, translucent, green haired girl who bowed briefly and said, "Hello my queen, and yes, as long as both you and the captain will swear to my conditions, then I will gladly help in this."

Minako immediately placed her right hand over her heart and said, "As Queen of Venus I do swear. For as long as I live will I watch over your ship and do my best to insure that good men and women serve about her, and if the ship is ever decommissioned then I swear to make sure it is utterly destroyed, no matter the cost so that your spirit may safely pass on when the time comes. You will never be alone, and you will never be deserted."

When she was finished the captain added, "I captain Ander Grey also swear. For as long as I am captain will I work to bring honor to Memory, both with its crew, and with its new avatar. In the unlikely event that Memory is to be decommissioned in my lifetime, then I too promise to watch over and insure its complete destruction in duty to you. I further swear to insure that if I am ever to pass command to another that I will insure that the next also makes this promise."

Cally smiled at that before jumping over to hug the older man and give him a quick peck on the cheek. She then stepped before Minako as two others appeared before her. She said, "My queen, let me present to you my friends, Teren, who I think of as an older brother, and Isis who I think of as a younger sister. They are the guardians of the two destroyed cities north of here." Teren appeared to be about twenty years old, while Isis appeared to be about sixteen.

Teren turned to Minako and said, "If you will give us the same promise you gave Cally, then we will agree to become the avatars of Liberator and Hope."

Minako said, "I do swear, but I wonder, if, no when we succeed in protecting the Earth, if you three would want me to destroy the ships afterward."

Isis white hair was blowing in the gentle breeze when she said solemnly, "You do not understand, or perhaps you do and are just polite. We are guardian spirits and have guarded our homes as best we could for a very long time. It is true that a ship is not a city, yet in a way in serves the same purpose we serve. Keep your promise and we will gladly serve, and if the time comes that we wish to be free of our task, well you shall be the first to know."

Sandar grinned at that, yet did not speak up.

Minako said, "Thank you." She turned to Sandar and asked, "Is there anything further you require of me? I can provide magical energy should it be needed and I'm sure Usagi would help in this as well."

Sandar said, "No, it is not a matter of power, but skill. I can do what is needed. You should probably talk with the others though."

Minako said, "I realize that. They will have to understand. Memory, Liberator, and Hope shall always be Venus' protectors, and Venus shall be honored by their service."

The three prospective avatars smiled at that. Minako stood and bowed to the others before walking back towards the direction of her bodyguard. For a few steps her face seemed troubled, yet calm acceptance soon returned to her as she neared her ever faithful guards, her ever faithful friends. She longed to reach her bedroom in Kasan, or better yet the little cave of Neri's, or any other equivalent place where she could simply snuggle with her husband and not be queen for awhile. Still, they had a few days yet. With any luck she could convince her husband to take a short break from his incessant training and join her in that bed. Then again, a spar right now sounded very good, and given that they were all hoarding their power these last days for the coming battle, it would, by necessity, be fully physical.

-«oOo»-

Finally the day of the operation had come. The PIDS system had been fully on-line for a week, making the dead of night like the gray predawn for the people of Earth. Rumors had abounded in reputable and less than reputable news services as to its true purposes, some even getting close to the mark.

They had decided to begin the operation a full forty eight hours prior to the expected impact, even though almost ten percent of the expected missiles were still not ready. The news services on Earth put on their experts who's considered opinion was that they could see no way for the missiles to reach their target at this distance.

Ami was sitting at the tactical station on board the only warship to have reached operational status. Two more would be on station within a day, with the rest a week or more later. Most likely they would be much later, since she doubted Minako would approve linking more spirits to ships, once the crises was over. She turned to Usagi and Minako. "Everyone is refusing to launch their ICBMs. They think it is impossible."

Minako said, "It is not surprising, given we had kept that detail a secret."

Usagi asked, "Is Setsuna ready?" Ami said, "Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru are with her and linked. The new shielding and secondary reactor control systems on Pluto are performing as expected."

From the speakers, Setsuna's voice said, "I'm ready."

Minako nodded and then said to Ami, "Are my people on Earth ready?"

Ami said, "Yes, the engineering details are protected by our people, and our people are now in small, yet defensible groups, just in case."

Usagi said, "Can you connect me with the president of the United States?"

Ami said, "Secure link opening now."

Usagi said, "Madam president. Why have you not fired as we planned?"

Cheryl said, "Our people tell me that there is no way for our missiles to even reach now. Even the upgraded ones barely have the capacity to escape Earth's gravity. If we sent them now they would be wasted."

Minako said, "If you don't send them now they will be wasted, and so will your planet."

Usagi temporized, "If you could hurry up and send one, we could show you how they are going to be assisted in their flight path."

Cheryl looked behind her and after a nod from someone talking on a red phone said, "Launch in four minutes."

Time ticked away, and the first ICBM flamed into sky. Just as it was about to start to fall back down to Earth it suddenly shimmered and continued its acceleration.

Cheryl looked at her display and gasped, "How? The missile was out of fuel yet it is still accelerating."

Usagi said, "That is classified. Now, can we count on you and the other nations of the world to launch according to timetable? We have a lot of work to do to get them all flying and aligned to impact all at once."

Cheryl said, "But you haven't even dug the hole yet."

Ami interrupted with, "PIDS stations all reporting that they are in position and ready."

Minako's tiara appeared on her forehead. She touched the fingers of her right hand to the amber gem in the center. It came forth and began to emit a brilliant golden light. She cupped it gently in her hands and said, "I Minako Aino, queen of Venus, with the authority of the council and people permit fail safe deactivation on all PIDS systems." The gem's light became momentarily blinding before settling back into quiescence.

Ami said, "Reports coming. PIDS stations are going hot. Seconding power system coming on-line. Round robin firing commencing now!"

Cheryl blinked when on one display a thin beam of energy impacted the planetoid, and then another and another.

Minako said, "Well drilling has begun, so if you could please hurry?"

Cheryl said, "We will start our missile launch in minutes and I will ask others to do the same. Good luck and may god smile on us today."

Usagi said, "Thank you," as the screen faded to black before showing a view of the drilling process of the planetoid.

Captain grey said, "Shall we assist in the operation? I know all our firepower isn't much compared to those satellites, but then we don't have an entire network of fusion reactors behind us.

Usagi said, "Please do. The gate's power is still needed to accelerate the missiles as well."

Ami added, "Bringing sustained firing sequence on-line. For your information captain, I estimate that we shall assist the drilling speed by as much as thirty percent."

The captain said, "But I thought we were much less powerful?"

"Hardly. The gate can only open one energy transfer portal at a time to transfer power from its secondary reactor system. While the instantaneous power possible from the Pluto integrated defense system is close to twenty times what we can produce, the average power we can sustain is nearly a third of what the PIDS system can, due to the time required to switch power between the satellites. The system was designed to annihilate an incoming threat on the first charge, not to drill a tunnel into a planet."

After a brief pause she continued, "It only took about ten thousand years for me to finish the project and now, in some ways craft like this make them obsolete. Still, the price paid is so much higher for these. With Cally's help our power systems are operating at one hundred and forty four percent of their designed capacity. We are anything but powerless."

Just at that moment a green haired child's face appeared on the main display for a second before it turned back into a long distance view of the planetoid. The three main guns continued to slice into the planetoid, even as the satellite weapons array continued its work.

-«oOo»-

On Earth, Anderson Cooperfield was one of the few news people allowed inside the converted NATO logistics base that was now the control center for the Earth based efforts. He was looking up at the screen alongside the president and other world leaders when he said, "It has begun. You can see now if you look up at the screen how their lasers, or whatever that is cutting a tunnel into the planet that is approaching us. I repeat operation Salvation has begun."

Anderson privately wondered who had named the project, but he supposed it didn't matter. He looked over when one of the technicians half shouted, "We have preliminary readings on the power they are using for cutting. Assuming maximum theoretical lasing efficiency, something that we have no way to even come close to, they are outputting more power than the entire continent of North America's electrical system put together!"

Cheryl asked, "Time until full launch?"

"We have had a few last minute problems. World wide ETA fifteen seconds."

The prime minister of France asked, "How long until the missiles reach the target?"

"Our best estimates given the rate of the first missile is seven hours."

Cheryl asked, "How long until the drilling operation is complete?"

"At current rate, our best estimate is four hours."

Anderson said, "And there you have it, the full nuclear missile contingent of the planet is on its way to the stars. We should be getting feeds of the launches anytime now." The studio put Anderson in the upper corner as it showed launches from various silos in the other parts of the screen. "I still can't believe the foolishness of our past, may yet be our salvation."

"General, we have a missile malfunctioning just above the southern tip of Florida. It is stalling out and will impact back down somewhere over palm beach."

"Can you disarm it?"

"Sending commands to jettison the explosives package. Jettison successful. Sending commands to separate the warhead. Warhead separation successful. The missile body is now ballistic and is still headed for palm beach, although we think the warhead is going to land in the ocean."

"Time?"

"We estimate four minutes to impact."

"Send the information to the local authorities and dispatch a team to recover the warhead, if possible. They probably can't do anything, but we should at least warn them, just in case they are not watching this on the news. I'm just glad the fail-safe worked or it would not just be a hunk of metal falling from the sky."

Anderson commented, "As you have heard the launch was not perfect, but so far we have only had one missile fail, and its warhead has been safely disabled. I just pray that no one down in palm beach is hurt by its uncontrolled reentry."

Six minutes later CNN was displaying video of a young woman who somehow shot a ball of energy out of her hands that half destroyed the incoming missile, and more importantly caused it to impact an empty parking lot rather than a crowded church.

Anderson said, "Amazing. Once again we are in debt to the people of Venus. Now let us all pray that the rest of the plan goes so well."

-«oOo»-

Two hours later the two sister ships arrived on the scene and assisted the drilling process. The tunnel was completed an hour later. Three hours after that almost seventy thousand ICBM's impacted at the base of a perfect tunnel, in what should have been the middle of the planetoid. The destruction was seen around the world with the naked eye as the planetoid fractured. Thousands in Greenland, which just happened to be most in line with the borehole, had their vision seriously damaged, with hundreds permanently blinded. The local government had blanketed warnings about staying in doors and not looking up in the sky, as had every government around the world. They hadn't listened, but not even that tragedy stopped the worlds rejoicing. At the command center, the rejoicing lasted for a total of about twelve minutes, which was the time it took them to get communications links reset from the EMP blast and again gain visuals at the command center.

"Most planetary fragments shooting away at speeds that will cause them to exit the system although there is a lot of rubble that will eventually be pulled in by our gravity. Still, I estimate less than five percent of the fragments will come down as meteorites. Many of those are going to be problems in the next few weeks. Oh No! There is a huge chunk left, maybe ten percent as big as the original planetoid."

"Contact our allies. Determine our options."

-«oOo»-

Ami looked at her panel and cursed. She said, "We've been had! We are lucky we just didn't kill ourselves!"

Usagi said, "Explain." as the remnant of the planetoid appeared on the screen.

"Most of the planetoid was hiding a core of dark matter. I'd imagine they also had some huge subspace generators to hide the things true mass from our sensors as well, but no doubt we just destroyed those. We are just lucky that the nuclear impact was so staggered. Had all of that energy been released at once the dark matter would have detonated. Earth would not have survived."

Ranma said, "Dammit! Your saying we can't even destroy it? That we just have to let it hit?"

Ami didn't answer. She was too busy staring at her panel and typing at rates where her fingers were no more than a blur.

Minako said, "It was a trap for Saturn wasn't it? Beryl certainly knew of her power and expected her to be the one to try to stop it."

While continuing to work, Ami said, "That much is obvious. The Death Rebirth Revolution would have easily detonated the dark matter, taking the Earth and Moon with it."

Captain grey pushed a button and the island command base appeared on the screen. Cheryl asked, "Well, what now? It is good that we got rid of most of it, but is there nothing we can do for what is left?"

The captain started to say something when Usagi spoke, "Don't worry, we will stop it."

Ranma, in his formal uniform as head of the home guard, tapped a few keys at the station he had co-opted. Ranma said, "Currently it looks like it will impact somewhere in the middle of Australia. In the event that we fail, you have a little over twenty four hours to evacuate as many as you can."

A haggard Sailor Pluto conferenced herself in, supported on either side by Makoto, Hotaru, Michiru, and Haruka all in their super sailor forms. She said, "After I rest, I will be able to open two portals to evacuate some of the people. The portals will be person height and about four meters in width. At best I will be able," Setsuna paused for breath as she wiped sweat slicked hair out of her eyes before accepting a drink Haruka handed her. She continued with, "be able to keep each open for thirty minutes each." The picture faded.

Minako said, "Evacuate everyone you can without relying on that. She is exhausted and will probably still be needed. Those that do end up coming by portal will be stripped of everything but enough to clothes to preserve their modesty. If they have swim suits wear them. If they have long hair, cut it. Anyone who tries to bring even the smallest of possessions will be put at the end of the line. Don't even let them eat or drink more than the minimum. Every ounce of mass transferred increases the burden, and makes it likely that someone else won't make it."

Cheryl asked concerned, "How will they live?"

"There is a city on Venus that we created in the event another major city became uninhabitable. I hadn't expected to house refugees from Earth there, but they are welcome to stay as long as they need to, provided they accept our laws. It will be hard for awhile, but we will find them what they need."

Cheryl said, "I understand. I will see that it is done." The video screen went blank.

Arnaeth, who had only been listening and doing his own calculations said, "It won't be enough you know. If that thing hits as it is, the whole planet is history. Despite its size, it is actually more massive than the Earth.

Ranma said, "Nothing is ever easy."

Minako said, "I wish Beryl was alive, so I could kill her again!" Ranma put his arm around her shoulder and she buried her head in his chest. A few steps away Mamoru took one side of Usagi in an awkward attempt to comfort her while Rei pulled them both into a hug. Usagi said, "We will stop it."

-«oOo»-

On Liberator, Sandar was staring at their nemeses from the chair he had co-opted. He said, "Captain, can you get me down to the planet?"

"I can't take the time off station when they may need us. There is the little runabout, but it doesn't have engines sufficient to escape the atmosphere. You would be stuck on a world about to get blown to heck. No, that won't work. You don't know how to operate it do you and I can hardly order anyone to go with you when it means their death."

Just then a sober faced Teren appeared on the main screen. The Liberator's avatar still hadn't mastered how to speak, but printed on the screen was, "I can guide the runabout. I ask the captain to agree. Sandar is planning something."

Sandar looked up at the screen, obviously faked innocence in his expression. The captain said, "You have a go to do what you can."

Sandar said, "Thank you captain and goodbye."

For some reason, his goodbye had a note of finality to it.

-«oOo»-

Author's Notes: For some reason when I looked at what had been posted, I was thinking I had already posted this section. Well, I hope everyone is still enjoying this story. I usually don't end in a cliffhanger, but I thought it appropriate this time. There is considerable planned yet for this story. If anyone sees any consistency issues they are welcome to email or review them and I will try to address them. I'm not sure how significant it is, but with this chapter, I expect that Minako's Story will finally reach 100,000 hits, as measured by the fanfiction dot net counter.

Finally, if possible, I do appreciate people letting me know what they think. I was a little disappointed at the number of reviews I got to the last chapter, given its length, but then part of that is due to how long it is between updates. Of course, I plan to finish this regardless, and in a way I already have, at least in general, but the process of writing it all down can take some time. On a positive note, I find that more time between chapters usually leads to more ideas as well as better editing.


Glossary

Academy: Shorthand for the Academy of Venus. The greatest center of learning on the planet

Anfala: The country of Anfala sits on a peninsula in the southeastern corner of the main continent of Venus. Castle Anfala sits at the far southeastern corner of the continent.

Ceras Tree: Blue green trees unique to Venus. Their wood has magical properties, including the ability to retain magic applied to it.

Darna: Minako and Ranma comment on their son's relationship.

Devan: A middle aged physician that originally worked in the capital city and was fortunate enough to be on vacation away from the city when it was destroyed. He helps Neri earlier in the story.

Duke Trenan: Ruler of Anfala. He has a daughter named Neri.

Kasan: The capital city of Venus. It is situated in the just south of center of the main continent on Venus. Beryl destroyed it just before the end of the silver millennium.

Kethra: Leader of the home guard in charge of insuring Minako's first child ( Jeran's) safety. She has long teal hair and pale green eyes. She is second in command of the home guard after Ranma.

Kylana: The city where the new warships are being built.

Nara Wynneth: Neri's mother, wife of Duke Trenan. She was killed by the Duke prior to the beginning of the story.

Oceana: Planet of the oceans. Neri's homeworld. Due to the limited land masses a great many cities on the planet are built under the ocean near the coasts. The people have the unique ability to breathe underwater.

Sandar: Court Mage in Anfala.

Silina: The northernmost city on Venus. It has an average temperature of seventy degrees in the summer. In the winter thin layers of ice often form on the trees and buildings making them almost glow in the daylight. Ami Mizuni has a secondary mana link to the city's hearthstone.

Sylia: Sylia is the last princess of the faerie. She is about six inches tall and has long white hair, piercing green eyes and translucent wings. She is bonded in symbiosis with Sandar.

Tilan: Leader of the home guard in charge of insuring Minako's second child (Nodoka's) safety. He is third in command of the home guard after Ranma and Kethra.

home guard: Those elite knights chosen to guard the royal family. They had three commanders, one each to act as the head of the others to guard the queen, the king, and the princess.