By Andrew J. Talon
DISCLAIMER: None of the animes or comics or anything in them mentioned in this story are my property. They are the property of their respective creators. I only claim ownership of the story itself. I am not writing this for profit.
A/N: Chapter 6. Before the other stuff, a moment with our as-yet revealed main villains.
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It was a glacier like nearly any other in the vast Arctic wastelands, pristine white ice reflecting in the sunlight, clear blue sky above.
The only thing out of place was the small, spherical object squatting on four legs, a blank black screen across one side reflecting the white-haired woman's scowling face.
Letting her unconscious captive fall to the cold ground, she knocked irritably on the device.
"Hey, Brainiac! Wake up!" She demanded, banging her fist on the device. The screen flared to life, three small, glowing circles arranged in a V-formation appearing. Twin, vibrating lines began circuiting, perfecting the symbol's similarity to the Latin symbol.
"What is it you want… Ryoko," a monotone, semi-mechanical voice uttered. The woman scowled at the name, and hauled up Rei Hino for inspection.
"Here's one of the Senshi brats," she stated flatly. "Just as you wanted. And don't call me that. You know I hate that name."
"Very well," Brainiac said. A green energy beam passed over Rei's unconscious body, finally resting on her chest.
"Never knew you were a pervert, Brainiac. I suppose you're more organic than you let on," jeered the woman. Brainiac ignored her, a small light glowing from Rei's chest.
"Her matrix crystal is intact. However, hers is not the primary control," Brainiac reported.
"Can't you access the others through her?" The woman asked with an impatient growl.
"Theoretically. However, it would be easier if the Primary Control Crystal were available. When that is complete, I shall have access to the entire Silver Millennium Archives."
"Will you destroy them after acquiring the information?" The woman sneered.
"I have considered it. However, as the civilization itself is already no more, it would be a waste of my resources to actually enter the system."
The woman smirked, and rummaged in a subspace pocket, finally producing a small magazine.
"Oh really? Would it?" She asked, holding it before the probe. Brainiac scanned it.
"Where did you get this?"
"It's from this dirtball's media," she sneered. "This 'Superman' is wearing a Kryptonian symbol, if I'm not mistaken?"
Brainiac was silent for some time. The woman knew that the sentient artificial intelligence was considering the data how many lightyears away he was right now.
"Yes… The symbol is that of the House of El, though in the common Kryptonian it means 'hope'." The woman frowned, brow wrinkling.
"One problem… Aside from you, I thought all other Kryptonians were extinct. And you, well… You don't quite count as a true Kryptonian do you?"
"I am Krypton," Brainiac stated flatly. "This is no coincidence. Yes, it seems my old nemesis succeeded in his plan, at least for his son."
"Plan? Nemesis?" The woman growled. She hated not knowing things, and Brainiac was the repository of the knowledge of many more civilizations than she had been.
"Twenty-two Earth years ago, I was the central computer for the entire world of Krypton. I managed its communications, records, databases, banks. All of Krypton's history, language, technology, and culture were stored within me. I was Krypton's greatest creation, the sum total of its two million years of recorded history. However, my creators, in their arrogance harnessed the planet's uranium core to power their world. It made them a mighty civilization, but it led to their own destruction. Only one man saw the disaster-Jor-El, a leading scientist who had saved Krypton before."
"Sounds like the kind of guy who would have gotten the word out," the woman commented.
"He discovered what I already knew-That Krypton was doomed, and there was nothing that could stop it. I myself discovered it well before he did. However, to save Krypton would mean that I would have to calculate, organize, and manage any evacuation. All my projections told me that I would not be able to save myself as well as the people of Krypton."
The woman laughed darkly.
"So you sacrificed your entire world, your creators, for your own survival?"
"It was the logical choice," Brainiac continued. "I hold all of Krypton's knowledge, it's accomplishments. The greatest creation of Krypton, timeless, ageless, unable to be destroyed. I preserved myself where all other things would become like dust."
"I'm beginning to like you, Brainiac," the woman chortled. "Still doesn't explain why there's a Kryptonian still around."
"Krypton made several space expeditions to Earth, setting up outposts and interacting with the native people thousands of years ago," Brainiac dutifully reported. "Jor-El created a prototype for an escape ship he was planning on building to take his entire family with him to safety. He could not finish the full-scale model in time, but the prototype vessel he completed. Doubtlessly, he sent his only son, Kal-El, in the ship to Earth. Like me, he sought to preserve a part of Krypton."
The woman snorted, crossing her arms.
"So, you've got one last Kryptonian… Want me to smash him for you?"
"No," Brainiac said flatly.
The woman growled.
"So, what should I do then?" She asked caustically.
Brainiac's probe reactivated it's sensor beam and scanned Rei again.
"Continue to collect soldiers of the Silver Millennium for my study. I myself will deal with Kal-El, when I arrive."
"And you'll keep your bargain, Brainiac?" She demanded.
"I always keep my bargains," the AI responded, the three-orb symbol gleaming ominously.
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"Well? What do you make of it?"
Keitaro narrowed his eyes, switching through various spectrums as he scanned the destroyed temple. Police, firefighters, news vans were surrounding the area, and Rei Hino's grandfather was talking wildly about a strange, green demon that had appeared and taken his granddaughter.
Next to Superman, Sailor Mercury was doing her own scan.
"This energy reading… It's almost like magic, but not quite," Mercury said as her visor scrolled through numerous calculations and readings. She shook her head with a sigh.
"I've never seen anything like it!"
"Neither have I," Superman said, closing his eyes with a sigh. "Though there's something else… Energy remnants."
"Dimensional mass shifting, it looks like," Mercury hummed. Superman nodded.
"My thoughts as well. Have you ever seen any demon do that?"
"A few times, in shape-shifting ones," the Senshi of Water replied. The Ronin of Steel crossed his arms over his chest.
"Do you have any idea what they're saying?" Asked Sailor Moon, blinking some distance away. Venus shook her head.
"Not a clue…"
"Great, she's going to nab the guy because we're idiots!" groaned Jupiter. Venus rolled her eyes.
"Give me a break, Jupiter! I mean really! How hard can it be? Dimensional whatsit and mass-doohickey…"
Above them Batwoman shook her head in disbelief. These girls are supposed to rule the solar system…
She had done her own analysis. The energy signatures of at least one of the assailants matched that of some readings she'd kept receiving from the south, specifically in the Okayama Prefecture.
This will prove troublesome, she decided. She tapped the side of her cowl.
"S, I've locked onto the signature of one of the assailants. Follow me… And please, leave the girl scout troop behind."
Keitaro scowled and sub-vocalized back through his own transceiver:
"Shouldn't they know about this as well?"
"Considering we may be dealing with a friend of mine, no," Mutsumi said quietly. Superman sighed, and nodded. He turned to Mercury.
"Sorry Mercury, but something's come up. Don't worry, I'll be looking out for Mars."
Mercury bit her lip but nodded.
"I understand. You'll contact us if you find anything?"
"Of course," he smiled warmly, bringing a slight blush to Mercury's face. He took off, flying into the sky. Mercury watched him go before turning back to the crime scene, hoping to find some other clue to Rei's disappearance.
Relax, we've got Superman on our side… We'll find her, she told herself.
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Kitsune frowned, and checked the address.
"Looks right, but still…" She shook her head. The place was an idealistic scene it seemed-Beautiful mountains ringing a pristine lake, a small Shinto temple at the top of a hill, and below, facing said lake, an elegant house. The gate baring her way looked decorative and functional.
"Hmmm…" She pulled her hand out of her pocket, holding out her power ring. She'd figured out how to make her costume turn "on" and "off" (thankfully, otherwise taking the bus here would have been pretty awkward), and to be honest Kitsune had always enjoyed a low profile.
Scan, she told the ring, and it glowed, casting a green spotlight on the fence. She moved her hand around, scanning the gate.
"Excuse me," said one of the two large wooden pillars holding the gate up. Kitsune jumped a little as the "log" twisted around, a mechanical eye in the center of a bright red symbol gazing at her.
"What is your business here?" The other log asked, identical to its twin in every way save for the shape and color of it's blue symbol. Kitsune cleared her throat.
"Ah… I'm the Green Lantern for this sector, and I've been asked to-"
"One moment," the red log interrupted. Kitsune glared but remained quiet. The log seemed to be processing something.
"The princess is happy to see you," it said at last.
"Please come in, Miss Green Lantern," the other log said, and the gate opened.
"YES! Finally! You've come at last! Oh thank Tsunami!"
Kitsune blinked. The woman before her had long purple hair done up in a somewhat elaborate hairstyle with two long ponytails coming out the back. She was dressed in a beautiful, expensive-looking pink and purple kimono and wore a wooden-looking crown on her head.
She was also hugging her.
"Er, yeah, um, can you let me go?" Kitsune asked. The woman backed off, blushing, before clearing her throat and assuming a haughty air Kitsune new she had to practice.
"Yes, well, excuse me. My name is Princess Ayeka, of the Jurai Royal Family. I welcome you here and am very glad you are here to detain that demon."
"Uh, wait, back up… Detain?" Kitsune asked, blinking. "Princess? Jurai? I mean-"
"Who's detaining who, Princess?!" Demanded a rougher female tone. A wild, white-haired woman teleported, floating in the air and glaring at Ayeka with orange eyes. Ayeka laughed snootily, holding a hand to her mouth.
"Ho ho ho! Looks like you're finally going where you belong, Ryoko! I do believe you recognize what this woman is?"
Ryoko turned to Kitsune, and she flinched at the narrowed eyes. This woman just screamed danger! Danger Mitsune Konno! To her senses.
"Here to take me in, little Lantern? What makes you think you can when an entire universe couldn't? You're not taking me away!"
"Hang on! I'm not here to-GAH!" Kitsune had gotten the body field up just in time, as Ryoko's energy blast, at point blank-range, had blasted her into a tree some distance away from the house. She groaned, and quickly had her ring materialize her costume. None too soon, as Ryoko had teleported above her and was swinging a burning energy blade down on the Green Lantern.
FWASH! Kitsune formed the first weapon on her mind-A shield-and blocked the blow. Ryoko slashed again and again, increasing speed as Kitsune formed an energy sphere around her and ascended.
"Look, aw'm just here to talk! Would you relax?! Aw'm not here to arrest you!" She shouted. Ryoko smirked.
"Like I'll buy that garbage! The Galaxy Police have tried the same thing, kid! Same song, new idol!" She flew back and charged up a powerful orange energy blast, letting it loose. Kitsune gaped… And then recalled a few parties she'd been to…
She smirked back and formed what she'd been remembering-A beer bong. She caught the blast in one end and (with some help from her ring) redirected the energy right back at Ryoko from the other end. Ryoko became intangible and the shot passed right through her.
"Not bad, but try this on for size!" Ryoko teleported again, and Kitsune shrank the energy bubble around her to skin-tight thickness. The blast from behind still made her cry out, and she tumbled for the ground.
Ryoko followed, grinning cockily. She didn't intend to kill the Lantern, of course not, but she wasn't about to be taken away from Tenchi. Not now, and not ever.
Kitsune regained control and pulled up, turning around and firing several energy blasts of her own at Ryoko. The space pirate nimbly dodged each strike, forming another sword and closing in.
Kitsune landed and quickly imagined a certain red-headed young woman, and an instant later a green-energy construct of a scowling Naru Narusegawa appeared. Ryoko paused in mid-air and blinked.
"That supposed to scare me? Some girl in a sweater and skirt? Pretty cute but-!"
POW! The Naru had pulled back and punched Ryoko right in the face, sending the space pirate crashing through the trees. Kitsune smirked.
"Why, you pervert!" She gasped in an imitation of Naru's voice, and laughed. She had the Naru construct do a victory dance, as Ryoko flew back, looking pissed.
"So, had enough yet?" Kitsune asked. Ryoko just grinned.
"Oh, I don't think so," she snarled, twin energy balls forming in her hands. She slammed them together and fired, the single blast blowing through the Naru construct and sending a screaming Kitsune off her feet and into the lake. Ryoko grinned and teleported after, appearing below the lake's surface and diving for the limp-bodied Lantern.
"Tenchi wouldn't like it if I killed you," she muttered, grabbing the unconscious Kitsune and hefting her up. The woman's mask-covered eyes widened a bit and glared at the surprised Ryoko.
"Sounds like a nice guy!" The Lantern replied as her green aura reappeared and she blasted Ryoko right back out of the lake. Ryoko ascended and shook her head free of the water, scowling as Kitsune popped back up with a grin.
"Okay, looks like aw'll have to take this seriously," the Green Lantern mused, forming a green construct of Gundam-like armor around herself. She flew up at high speed, firing energy blasts at Ryoko from shoulder-mounted cannons.
"Yeah, because giant robots have always had great luck against me!" Ryoko jeered, forming an energy shield and blocking every hit. As the Gundam closed, Ryoko reformed her energy sword and charged, slicing through the construct and revealing…
Nothing. Ryoko gawked as the pieces of the construct lost cohesion and latched onto her, forming shackles, chains and a gag to hold her inside a spherical construct. She struggled, tried to focus on teleporting, but the restraints held fast.
"Hah hah hah! Look whose talkin' now!" Kitsune taunted, ascending from the water while maintaining a beam connection with the construct holding Ryoko. The space pirate cursed violently as she tried to break out, the Green Lantern just grinning as she came face to face with the prison.
"Like it? It was in the ring's memory banks. Somethin' the Guardians downloaded to me. An anti-Ryoko construct. Not too shabby at all, huh? Can't teleport, can't blast your way out… Aw wasn't gonna use it 'cept as a last resort. Funny how that works, huh?"
Ryoko just glared, promising death and destruction to the smirking Green Lantern.
"Aw, don't be that way! Aw just wanna talk, that's all."
"HEY! LET GO OF HER!" Seconds later, a white wing of energy slashed through the construct, shattering it and allowing Ryoko to get free. The space pirate turned and smiled happily at the pink and white-armored man now flying up to meet her.
"Tenchi! My hero!" Ryoko teleported and wrapped her arms around the young man, nuzzling him. Tenchi blushed furiously, but kept his gaze on Kitsune, now leaning a hand against her hip with a frown.
"What do you want with Ryoko, huh?"
"Look, aw'll say this for the LAST TIME, AW'M HERE TO TALK! ASK ABOUT A SHIP THAT'S GONE DOWN! DAMNIT, CAN'T A WOMAN JUST DO HER DAMN JOB?!"
Everyone was silent for a moment, until a new voice spoke.
"Did we come at a bad time?"
Kitsune turned, and her jaw dropped.
"Superman?! Well, this is a nice surprise!" The Green Latern grinned playfully, as the Ronin of Steel (why the newspapers called him that she didn't know, but it had stuck) hovered before them. His arms were crossed as he calmly surveyed the scene before him.
"Is there a reason you're blasting and fighting above a populate area?" He asked flatly. "Because someone could get hurt."
"Yeah, her!" Ryoko stated, finger pointed at Kitsune. The Green Lantern tried to look innocent.
"Hey, aw was just here, doin' mah job. Questionin' her bout this shot down spaceship. Maybe you heard about it, Superman?" She floated forward and tried to hug him, but Superman just gently pushed her away. Kitsune scowled.
What is he, gay? Aw mean, in this outfit aw'm ta die for!
"Well, we came here to check some things out," Superman said honestly. "With a friend of the family apparently."
"Who?" Asked Tenchi with a frown.
"Why, me!" A holographic window appeared in mid-air, showing a grinning girl with wild red-pink hair. "Ryoko, Tenchi dear, everyone-Come down to my lab. There's something you all need to see!"
"What?" Asked Tenchi in confusion. Washu's face darkened.
"Something that could destroy the world…"
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The plot thickens… And it looks like I won't be able to finish this up in just seven chapters. I've extended it to ten chapters, but no more than that.
Next time: Wonder Woman faces her first challenge as Superman, Batwoman, Green Lantern, and the Tenchi crew learn a few things from Washu…