Warning: Java compilation error. Insufficient coffee. Due to this, none of the characters, situations and sites belong to the authors of this story. They are currently just used to explore the effects of sleep deprivation.
Hoshino Ruri switched off her monitor, leaving the world of Sailor Moon behind for the moment. Ever since she had learned that she was a princess, she had been slowly developing an interest in the various anime "Princesses" that Omoikane had displayed for her. Sailor Moon had caught her interest the most, as the series actually seemed to have a plot.
She leaned back in bed, pulling the covers up to her chin. Around her, she could hear the voices of the ship's crew on the systems monitor.
"All systems go."
"Boson field generated."
"Let's go home."
She stared up at the fan in the ceiling of her room. Her eyelids slipped closed, and she fell into a dream
Magical Girl Pretty Ruri
One: A World Is Born
Thirsty may you be sometimes
Ruri blinked, the music penetrating through the haze of sleep. She sat up and shook her head in confusion.
Since when does Omoikane wake me up with music?
"Ruri! Breakfast! Hurry up or you're going to be late for school!"
Ruri looked around the room. This was not her quarters aboard Nadesico. The room was predominantly pink and blue. Her bunk had been replaced with a huge bed. The same fan and mobile were there, but...different.
Most unusually, there was a large picture window, with the sun streaming through it into her eyes.
Say the magic words and you'll get everything you need...
Ruri reached over to the nightstand and switched off the repulsive little alarm clock/radio.
What on earth is going on?
The door to the room flew open, and a woman came in. Ruri started - except in age and height, this woman looked an awful lot like...herself. Her hair was worn in a single ponytail, instead of the double ponytail Ruri favoured, and was dressed in nurses' blues. She opened the closet door - Ruri noticed the Sailor Moon poster on the door - and grabbed some clothing. She dropped it on the bed.
"Hurry up and get dressed. Breakfast is on the table. I've tried three times now to wake you up! Sleepyhead."
"Yes, you slept in. Again. Hurry, Megumi will be here soon."
"You are really slow to wake up, aren't you? Maybe if you stayed up late studying, instead of reading those silly manga..." The woman sighed and walked out.
Ruri scratched her head. Something was definitely and completely wrong. As far as she could tell, she was on Earth...and even that felt wrong. She looked down at herself - she was wearing a long nightshirt. The nightshirt had a kitten on the front, with one paw raised and drooped, the tail curled.
If I am going to figure out what's going on, I'd at least better get dressed.
The clothing that the woman had laid out for her was a girl's school uniform, of the traditional sailor suit style - a white blouse with a rounded collar and gold trim at the cuffs; a dark blue pleated one-piece skirt reaching just below the knees; a matching blue tie; a dark blue bow with gold trim in the back of the skirt. It made sense, in a wierd sort of way: The woman had said she had to go to school. She dressed herself quickly and stepped out of the room.
The stairs were just around the corner from the bedroom door. She descended slowly, keeping her eyes on her surroundings. The stairs opened onto a family room, with a sofa and some armchairs, and a rack of electronic equipment. A large television set was currently chattering off the weather report for Tokyo Central and outlying districts. Through the other side of the room, she could see the kitchen, could hear someone rattling dishes about.
She stepped into the kitchen, to see the woman pouring a bowl of soup. The woman turned as she entered, and set the soup on the kitchen table. Also at the table was a man, currently perusing a newspaper. He was tall, with brown hair and a mustache, and wore black plastic rimmed glasses.
"It says here that a pair of Soviet SU-27 fighter planes collided at an air show." The man sipped his tea.
"Oh, my. No-one was hurt, were they?"
"No...the pilots managed to eject safely, and the planes crashed well away from the spectators. Ah, good morning, Princess. You slept in again."
Ruri was thinking to herself. Soviet SU-27. Obsolete fighter, scrapped by even the export market by 2010. What on earth... She blinked. Princess?
"You look cute, Ruri-chan."
Ruri twitched slightly.
The woman gestured to the table. "Eat your soup, before it gets cold."
Ruri was in no position to think at this point. She sat down and began to eat mechanically.
The paper's date says its 1997...what is going on? Who are these people?
There was a knock at the door. She jumped.
"Ah, Megumi must be here. Finish quick. Here's your bookbag. Time for school."
Ruri found herself pushed out the door, bookbag in hand. The person at the door was, in fact, her bridgemate, Rainerd Megumi.
"Megumi...what's going on?"
"What's going on is that we're late for school because you slept in. Again!"
"What are you talking about?"
"If we're late for class one more time, Uribatake-sensei is going to have a cow. I do not want to spend another hour on bucket brigade."
"Megumi, what's wrong with you? Where are we?"
Megumi sighed, and turned to face Ruri. "We are in Nerima, on our way to Yurinoki Middle School, Home Form 2-E, Uribatake-sensei's class. And if we are late again, I am not buying you any ice cream for a week!"
Ruri twitched. Again. "All right, Megumi...let's go."
Megumi turned and ran down the road. Ruri followed, still highly confused.
Ruri stumbled. She looked back, and realized that she had just punted someone's cat. She turned back and picked up the cat.
"Ruri! Now is not the time."
Ruri scowled at Megumi. "Baka! I can't just leave it..." She examined the cat. "I don't think it's hurt..." She looked around, then placed the cat on the roof of a nearby car.
At least this way, no-one else is likely to kick it.
The two girls resumed the mad dash to school.
The cat watched the girls run, tilting his head.
Could she be one of them?
The final bell rang for first period.
Ruri and Megumi collapsed into their seats, panting. The teacher - Ruri realized that it was one of the mechanics from the Nadesico - glared at them.
"You are exactly thirty-two point five seconds late."
Ruri rolled her eyes.
"Because of this, you missed the opening sentences of my lecture. Go stand in the hall."
"This is all your fault, Ruri."
Ruri stared down at the bucket in her hands. This was the first moment she'd had to try to make some sense out of this all. As far as she could tell, she was in Nerima, Japan, in the year 1997. Also, she seemed somewhat older. Given the grade she was in, she was probably fourteen. Not that this could be seen from looking at her - she didn't look any different.
"I wish you'd learn to get up on time."
But how did she get here? All she knew was that she'd gone to bed aboard Nadesico, and woken up here, forty years in the past. Judging from the situation she had found herself in, she was guessing that the two people that were in the kitchen were meant to be her parents.
"Or at least go to bed at a reasonable hour."
"Instead of staying up all night to read manga."
But her real parents looked nothing like those people. And her "foster parents", the computer generated images that had raised her...well, who knows? She could never see anything beyond the silhouettes.
"And another thing..."
And she'd seen so many people from the Nadesico here. In her classroom were Amano Hikaru, Maki Izumi, Subaru Ryoko, all looking younger than they did on the Nadesico. Also, she had seen Shiratori Yukina, the young Jovian spy. And of course, Megumi...
"Are you listening to me?"
She looked up, startled. "Sorry."
"Great! You fall asleep even holding a bucket in the hall!"
"I was not asleep."
"Okay, okay. I believe you. So why do you look so spaced out?"
She looked back down. "It seems like when I woke up this morning...everything was different."
Megumi frowned. "So what's his name?"
"The guy who's got you so confused."
Ruri blinked. "That's not what I meant."
"So there isn't a guy?"
"It's not that..."
"Oh, so there is! What's his name?"
"Baka! What I mean is...when I woke up this morning, I didn't recognize where I was, or anyone around me, except for you."
"Oh! You mean like amnesia. No wonder you can't remember his name."
"Look, Megumi..." Ruri was beginning to run low on patience. "There isn't a guy in my life right now. I just feel...very confused."
"You don't mean...you're interested in girls?"
"I give up."
Ruri dropped into her chair at her desk.
"Lean...Ruri...you're always hungry."
Ruri rolled her eyes. Some things just don't change. She opened her bookbag and pulled out the bento. "Well, what do you expect? I ran all the way here, then had to spend two hours standing out in the hall, holding a bucket of water." She opened the bento, and examined the contents: rice, fish and a pickle.
"Blink. That would be because you slept in again?"
"I did not sleep in."
"Smile. Oh? Then why were you late?"
"Because I...I...I...stepped on a cat."
"Stare. Stare. Stare."
"Quit staring at me."
Ruri dropped her bookbag on the desk and collapsed onto the bed.
"I hate sports. Why on earth would I have enrolled in a Phys. Ed. course." She sat up. "More importantly, I still have not figured out exactly how I got here, or what I'm doing here."
She looked around the room, and her eyes came to rest on a stuffed Care Bear on the bed. She shuddered. Must remember to burn that later. She picked it up and pitched it at the dresser. It slid down the wall behind the dresser. Good enough.
The rest of the room was just about as repulsive. It was decorated in pink and powder blue. The chair at the computer desk had a heart cut into the back. There was another teddy bear on the bed, white with a striped scarf. A bean bag chair sat next to the computer desk. The desk itself seemed sane enough, but the computer sitting on it looked too primitive even to play Pong, let alone Fighting Kanji. The nightstand was also fairly easy on the eyes, but the Hello Kitty alarm clock definitely had to go.
Who decorated this room? Chibi-Usa?
She sat down in front of the computer and reached for the implant. It was only then that she realized that this computer had a keyboard and pointing device. She scowled at it. Primitive. She flipped the switch labeled POWER. The screen lit up with a startup logo: Microsoft Windows95.
She drooped. The system was taking forever to start up. Where's Omoikane when I need him?
She stared at the picture of Sailor V on the computer screen.
More and more, I have the urge to just shoot myself.
There was a scratching at the window. She looked over.
Standing on the windowsill, on the other side of the glass, was a cat. She was fairly certain it was the same cat she'd accidentally punted that morning. She walked over and opened the window.
The cat jumped into the room and sat on the bed. She looked out at the alley beyond the window, and noticed the high wooden rail fence. ~Probably how he got up here.~ She examined the cat more closely. He was a rather handsome tabby, all black and silver stripes, with a white H-like shape on his forehead.
"Well, you don't seem to be hurt, despite our earlier encounter."
"Well, you didn't kick me too hard."
"O-kay...even on early Earth they didn't have talking cats...This is all just one long dream, isn't it?"
"No. Actually, that would make more sense."
"More sense? More sense than what?"
"Than you being one of the Martian Warriors."
"Yes. One of the reincarnated Warriors who defended the Martian Empire against the Dark World."
"Yep. It's a dream."
"No! I'm serious."
"Will you allow me a chance to prove it?"
"Why not. It is, after all, a dream."
The cat performed a rather graceful backflip, and a small pen-shaped object appeared. Ruri picked it up and examined it. It was a golden rod, about six inches long, topped with the symbol of the planet Mars.
"You raided a Sailor Moon toy shop for this, didn't you?"
"This is one of the artifacts left from the ancient Martian Empire. Hold it before you and say, 'Mars Guardian, Make-Up!'"
Ruri shrugged. "If I do, I'll probably wake up. So...Mars Guardian, Make-Up!"
The air around her rippled, and she felt waves of incredible heat pounding her. Music was playing in the background. Her clothes shredded and re-formed into a very short skirt, tight-fitting bodysuit and long boots and gloves. She suddenly realized that this was not a dream.
Reality stabilized, and she was transformed.
"Ano...where did the music come from?"
"I think your alarm clock went off...no AM/PM setting."
"Baka..." She unplugged the alarm clock. "I hate that damn thing." She looked down at herself. "This is the uniform of a Martian Soldier?"
The blue miniskirt was incredibly short--a few millimeters shorter, and it would be indecent. The gold bodysuit hugged her skin, revealing most of her figure to any casual observer. The boots were dark blue with gold trim and came up past her knees; the gloves the same colours, and reaching past her elbows. There was a large blue and gold bow tied in the back of the whole arrangement. On her head was a small tiara, a blue crystal centered in it. The ribbons in her hair were replaced with pink bows, with pink tassel pompoms. In her right hand was the transformed henshin stick, now a six-foot golden staff, still topped with the Martian symbol.
"Baka...I look like a Sailor Scout. Would you mind telling me what this is all really about?"
The cat grinned. "You are the reincarnation of the Martian Warrior, Kasei. You have inherited all of her fighting abilities, as well as all of her magical artifacts."
"So I'm a Martian Successor?"
"Why? Can't you give me some sort of ex-"
"Ssh!" The cat cocked his head. "I think I heard a scream."
Ruri moved to the window and listened.
"That sounded like Megumi!" She jumped out the window, forgetting that she was on the second floor. She started to squawk, but realized that she had instinctively landed on her feet...on the rail fence. She jumped from there to the roof and started to run.
Megumi had just left the drug store and was hurrying back home. The parking lot was deserted - odd for a Tuesday - but brightly lit. She only saw one other person in it as she ran through.
Suddenly, she felt something wrap around her ankle, and she was jerked to the ground. The touch was cold, and she felt like the strength was being drained from her. She screamed, kicked and cried out, but nothing seemed to work. She rolled over, and saw the creature attacking her. It bore a strong resemblance to a wasp...She screamed anew.
Ruri dropped from the rooftop to the parking lot, and saw the wasp-like creature.
"What the devil is that?"
The cat stopped alongside her, gasping for breath. "It's a golem...a servant creature...of the Dark World. Kill it!"
"I'm not a killer. I'm not even a soldier!"
"You are now! With the power of Kasei, you can defeat this thing!"
"But I don't want to fight!"
"Would you rather it devour your friend?"
Ruri was torn. On the one hand, she wanted to save Megumi...but on the other, she KNEW she couldn't fight this thing. "What magical powers do I have?"
She stared at the cat. "You do know, don't you?"
"Yeah...sure...just let me remember..."
"Baka!" She turned and ran at the golem, staff raised. The golem turned, and smacked her across the parking lot.
"I can't fight it - it's too fast, and its reach is too great!" She pulled herself to her feet. "It can just sit there and take me apart before I can get into range."
"That's it." The cat nodded. "Use the Distortion Field!"
"And how do I do that?"
"Ummm...try spinning the staff and calling out the name."
Ruri shrugged - it wasn't like she had any better ideas. She spun the staff and called out, "Distortion Field!"
A glowing bubble flared up to encompass her. She moved closer to the golem, and discovered that when it attacked her, its attacks were deflected by the energy bubble.
"Great! Now, how do I counterattack?"
"Well...the Distortion Field is impermeable to any physical attack. In or out."
"So what you're telling me is that I can't counterattack?"
Ruri groaned. Things were not going well.
There was a flash of silver, and a tentacle fell, severed. The golem howled in pain. Ruri turned to see a man, dressed in a tuxedo and wearing a mask. In one hand he held a massive katana.
He bowed. "I am Tuxedo Ken, sworn to protect you. But I cannot fight this monster for you. You must face it yourself, and prevail. Only in this way can you grow stronger."
She shook her head. "But I can't get close enough to attack it! I need some sort of long range attack."
The cat did a back flip, and a small pistol appeared. He batted it towards Ruri. She picked it up.
"Standard Nergal plasma projector pistol..." She shrugged. "Whatever works." She turned, pointed the pistol at the Golem, and pulled the trigger. The Golem was vaporized by the blast.
Tuxedo Ken applauded. "Well done! You shall truly be a great warrior."
"I don't want to be a warrior." Ruri was cross. "I just want to go home."
"For now, you can. If ever you need me...I shall be there." Tuxedo Ken disappeared in a cape swirl.
"Well...that was cheesy." Ruri ran over to Megumi. "Are you all right?"
"Yes...thanks to you. Who are you?"
The cat nudged Ruri. "The tiara contains a low-level Distortion Field that conceals your identity."
"Just like Sailor Moon..."
"Well, yes. No-one will recognize you in this form."
Ruri stood up. "You had best hurry home, young lady. Who knows what else lurks in the night."
In the darkness, a man frowned.
It seems that the direct approach is not going to work. I shall need to conceal my activities. Perhaps a subterfuge...Also, I shall need to destroy this warrior. She could be a problem.
The transformation rippled around Ruri again, and she was back in her school uniform.
"That...was just bad."
"Actually, you did quite well."
"That's not what I mean! I'm a Magical Girl!" For once, she was on the brink of losing her composure. "What else could go wrong?"
"Well, you could have a Dark General out to kill you..."
Ruri twitched. "I seriously hope you're joking."