A Ranma ½—Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
She blinked. Traveling? Aboard a jetliner. But why...?
"Oh, Usagi-chan! Are you all right?! Everything's going to be just fine. Don't you worry now!" the woman holding her tightly hissed.
Tsukino Usagi blearily looked at her mother, wondering why the woman was in tears. She felt her own tear ducts leak in sympathy. Then her ears picked up the sounds of crying all around her. "What...?"
A man walked down the aisle, catching Usagi's eye, and she turned to see a face hidden behind a ski mask, panning back and forth. He held a rather large and imposing gun of some kind, cradled in his arms.
Her mouth worked a couple of times. "What...?"
She should do something about this, shouldn't she? Couldn't she? And why would she think that? And why couldn't she remember getting onto the plane in the first place? Her brain raced under the stress, and flashes of memory beginning to play in her mind's eye like a slideshow. A pretty girl with short blue hair in a blue-white seifuku... frozen painfully in ice. Another in a red-and-white seifuku... again frozen in ice. Dead. She didn't know how, but she knew they were dead. Tears cascaded down her face. Who were these girls? Why did it hurt so much that they were dead?
Orange-and-white. "Venus," she muttered, not knowing why.
Green-and-white with some pink. "Jupiter..."
Red-and-white. "Mars... Rei!"
She drew attention, and the cold muzzle of an AK-47 Kalishnikoff pressed into her neck. "Quiet," the man ordered in poor Japanese, but much to his momentary shock, Usagi shot to her feet and glared at the man. "SIDDOWN!" he shouted.
Usagi thrust one hand into the air, fingers splayed. "MOON PRISM POWER... MAKE-UP!!"
At the resulting lightshow, the hijacker dropped his firearm and shrieked in a language Moon didn't understand, but she was so incredibly angry, both at her situation and the memory of her dead friends and comrades, the Sailor Senshi, that she barely noticed. Kicking the gun up into the air, she caught it by both ends and twisted it into a rough circle, the stock splintering off the metal. Dropping the useless weapon to the floor, Usagi backhanded the hijacker, lifting him off of his feet and throwing him through the air and down the aisle a good ten meters. He didn't get up.
Moon stalked up the aisle towards the cockpit, giving her victim nary a backwards glance.
Back in their seat, Usagi's mother wavered for another few seconds before falling unconscious across her daughter's now vacant spot.
The locked cockpit door bent in upon one blow and then peeled back against an instrument panel on the second. The two hijackers spun, one bringing a gun to bear and the other shrieking in much the same way as his less-fortunate comrade back in the seating area had done.
"GO BACK OR I KILL!" the first said.
Usagi had never been mad in quite the same way as she was now, and any competent soldier, warrior, or martial artist would've recognized it immediately as a sort of bloodlust, battle fever, or mild berzerker state. All Moon knew was that her mind was startlingly clear with only a single objective, and in that altered state of clarity, she could do what usually she could not and tapped her birthright without benefit of an artifact. A white glow built around her body and increased until blinding.
- - -
The plane rested comfortably next to the Coliseum in Rome, Italy, although the cockpit had been disintegrated. The pilots were miraculously unharmed, sitting in their seats that were suspended only by the barest of metal struts, but there was no sign of the two hijackers that had been present earlier. There was, however, one more occupant of that compartment, and she lay on the floor.
"Tell..." she began but paused to cough up a large amount of blood. "Tell... my mother... I love her..."
The pilot and co-pilot merely nodded, still stunned, as the light in Tsukino Usagi's eyes faded and her arm fell to the floor, revealing a body riddled with holes.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -The trio found her, lying on her side on the floor in front of a quiescent Time Gate, clutching her staff to her and sobbing uncontrollably. Three pairs of gentle hands lifted the woman to a sitting position, and she blinked through her tears. "What...?"
"Be at ease, child of the Silver Millennium," a brown-haired woman of exquisite beauty cooed to her.
"Yeah! We're here to help!" The second voice belonged to a girl child with long raven tresses that swept the ground. The smallish head of a long-handled mallet jutted incongruously over one shoulder of her white clothing.
"All is not lost, Sailor Pluto." A pearl-haired woman smirked at her, her emerald green eyes glinting and bronzed skin krinkling kindly. "Someone is here to see you, Setsuna."
"What...?" Setsuna blinked in confusion, but the three stepped aside to reveal a nebulous glowing form, a form that coalesced into an apparition of her princess, Neo Serenity. "USAGI!!"
"Hello, my Senshi of Pluto. Yes, it is I, Tsukino Usagi... or what remains of her."
Setsuna was too astounded to process the second part of Usagi's statement. "B-B-But the plane! You died!"
Sadly, Usagi nodded. "Yes, Setsuna, I died, and... I won't be returning this time. I didn't know enough to plan for this, so I won't be coming back."
Falling forward onto her hands again, Setsuna erupted into fresh wails. Usagi glided forward and rested her ethereal hands on Setsuna's head. "Hush, now... As Urd-sama said, all is not lost."
"But without..." She choked a few seconds before continuing. "Without the princess...!!!"
"There, there, Setsuna... The answer is really simple, Pu."
The Senshi of Pluto startled to hear an affectionate name from her princess that she hadn't heard since the fall of the Silver Millennium, ten thousand years earlier. It brought on a fresh bout of tears and wailing.
Usagi let her cry it out before trying to pick up the thread again. "Yes, Pu, I remember everything now." She caressed Setsuna's face, and her voice became joking. "I even remember who taught me the first joys of intimacy so long ago."
"Serenity-sama!" Pluto's face colored, despite her anguish.
Usagi laughed, leaned forward, and kissed Pluto's forehead. "The answer is simple, Pu. Someone else will have to rule in my stead. The main line of Serenity is no more. A new line will arise, and all will be well."
Blinking rapidly, trying to assimilate what she was being told, Setsuna slowly returned to an upright position, regaining some measure of her usual carriage and poise. "I... I see..." She bit her lower lip, thinking. "Maybe... Mercury... She would be a just and wise ruler... Or Venus... People would follow her into hell if she but asked... Maybe—"
"Maybe none of them, Pu," Usagi said gently.
"They are what they are, Pu. They are the Senshi to the Queen, and the blood of the Moon royalty flows in them not. And as the Norns have shown me," she glanced around at her companions, "they would not be at their best as the new princess. It would strain their relationships, and discord would arise, causing our cause to fail utterly. No, Pu, another must be chosen. Someone outside but yet not. Someone the Senshi can look up to. A leader."
"The direct line of Serenity is no more, but the blood of the Moon royalty still exists, filtering down among the people of Earth over the millenia, and... sometimes collecting in a person." Usagi paused, glancing again at the Norns. "A... suggestion has been made. I did not like it one bit, at first, and neither will the Inners... or you or the rest of the Outers, but..." She sighed. "The blood of the Moon royalty is strong in this one, and I have seen what this person will become, in time, and I cannot help but give my approval. Once you see, I think your initial reservations will dissolve."
"The Norns will show you, for I must soon depart. Already I have been delayed too long, but I have a gift that I request that you bestow."
"Anything, my princess! Anything!"
Usagi smiled. "Go to my Senshi and make them remember and know what has happened. Make them know that a new princess has been found, one chosen even by the kami to lead their cause. And... And give them all my love, Pu, and tell them I will wait for them... always."
"Of course, Princess! Oh, Princess..." Setsuna threatened to dissolve into tears again, but Usagi pulled back and cupped her hands in front of her.
A ghostly image of a large, spherical crystal appeared and solidified, floating out of Usagi's hands to Sailor Pluto. "Take the Ginzuishou, Pu, and do not hesitate to bestow it upon my successor. He... She will need to learn it quickly, as you well know, to face what is to come."
"I... I will, my Princess." She missed the gender confusion entirely.
"I must take my leave now, Pu." Already Usagi's form was less distinct, and her voice began to echo as if from a great distance. "Remember my love to all of them... and to yourself." Her image was almost gone. "I will watch over you all..." And then nothing.
Setsuna burst into even stronger wails, cradling the Ginzuishou to her breast. The Norns gathered back around the distraught woman, comforting her but letting her flush the anguish out of her system.
- - -
Nursing a cup of tea provided by the brown-haired Norn, Setsuna brooded by herself, off to one side, while the three sisters conferred.
The pearl-haired woman spoke first. "How do you want to handle this, Bell?"
"Honesty and straightforwardness is the best policy, Urd-oneesan."
"Hit her while she's vulnerable. Got it." Urd nodded sagely.
Belldandy winced. "Well... I suppose that's one way of looking at it..."
The youngest of the three, Skuld, rolled her eyes. "Let's just do it, then."
They all nodded to one another and then walked over to Setsuna.
- - -
Setsuna had spent thirty minutes, subjective time, reviewing the Norns' and Usagi's suggestion in the Time Gate. She then turned and gave the Norns a half-lidded and bland look. "You must be insane..."
Recovering from a flinch, Belldandy gestured back at the Time Gate. "Look again, Setsuna... Look further..."
And she finally agreed... while smacking her forehead over and over...