Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon.
This is a little on the punny side. Over-used idea, but hopefully it'll still be entertaining and maybe go in some interesting directions. Some of the names have been shortened or (in the case of the Shitennou) made up - but I think they're not too hard to figure out. Just a random idea I had to write out - thanks!
"This is Gray." Kipling Gray answered his cell phone with a deep sense of foreboding, mixed with a pinch of weariness.
"Uh...we have a problem, Kip."
Kip sighed, adjust the collar of his black suit coat and motioned to the driver to slow down.
"What is it, Jude?"
Jude, the man on the other end of the line, sounded both quiet and worried – in other words, quite normal for him.
"We're at ten and I've just broken a string on my Dobro, and all the replacements are gone. Nolan's feeling sick, and...I can't find our lead singer anywhere."
Kip stared at the dark glass of the car's passenger window. In his reflection he saw a worn looking man in his late twenties whose prematurely entirely gray hair was not helping his appearance one bit. He rubbed his head and took a deep breath.
"Alright, I'll be there in five minutes. In the mean time, ask Nolan if you can borrow one of his strings – I'm sure he has some, he probably just forgot that he does. And have M run through the songs in the set in case we can't find Zoe in time."
"I just talked to him about it," Jude answered, dolefully, "And he says he 'doesn't feel like it'."
"He doesn't feel like it, huh?"
"Well," Kip continued, lifting his glass of scotch to his lips: "You can tell him that unless he feels like getting on a plane and heading straight back to Japan, he can start practicing the set now."
There was a moment of static while Jude relayed this message to his band member.
"He says 'ok'," Jude reported a moment later, "But he won't do the 'Heavenly' song."
"I don't blame him, it sucks..." Kip muttered.
"It's a deal. Oh, and Jude? If you do find Zoe before the show starts...please punch him."
Jude laughed, quietly.
"You don't want to ruin the 'image', do you?"
"I didn't say you had to punch him in the face," Kip growled. He tapped the driver on the shoulder to let him know to speed up.
Kip leaned back and slipped his glasses on for the two minute nap he still had time to take before all hell broke loose.
Three thousand miles away, Mina Aino stretched her legs on the deck chair of the ocean liner and re-adjusted her head pillow.
Beside her, her cousin and best friend since grade school, Usa Tsukino, gave a sigh and flopped into the neighboring deck chair which abruptly collapsed under her weight.
Mina giggled unsympathetically at her cousin's predicament while Usa yelped and became even more entangled in the chair.
"Looks like you could use a hand," a whiskey and honey voice said. Both Mina and Usa squinted up into the sun which outlined a tall shadow with a head full of bushy, curly hair.
"Yeah, thanks, Mako." Usa said, sticking out a hand in the other girl's general direction. Mako grabbed her arm and hauled her out of the man-eating chair.
"Have you been having seconds at the all day buffet?" Mako asked, surprised.
"No!" Usa yelled, her face turning a little red.
"Sure she has, just look at her," Mina chuckled. She put her hands behind her head and relaxed back again.
"What do you have there, Mako?" Usa asked as she watched Mako pull out a deck chair for herself and place it safely on the cruise ship's deck.
"Oh, it's the latest edition of Rolling Stones – they have an interview with one of my favorite bands."
"You mean Ai No Soldier isn't your favorite?" Mina asked, playfully, "Isn't that a bit wrong?"
"Whatever," Mako laughed, "Of course we're way better, but it's nice to have a change once in a while."
"That's for sure," Usa nodded, "I think I'm getting carpal tunnel in this wrist."
"Well, enjoy vacation then," Mina suggested. Usa humphed and lay back on her chair.
"So read the interview," she asked Mako who sat down beside them, drawing her long legs up the chair so that they wouldn't dangle off the end.
Mako flipped through the pages and found the place.
"It's an interview with three of the band members and their manager."
"Which ones?" Usa asked, excitedly.
"Uh...lemme see...uh, looks like the drummer -"
"Awesome!" Usa chirped, beating out a strange tattoo on the arms of her deck chair, her carpal tunnel momentarily forgotten.
"And the guitarist, Nolan, and Zoe, of course -"
"Zoe!" Usa sighed.
"He's so cute," Mako sighed.
"He looks like an angel," They chorused.
"Looks can be deceiving," Mina muttered and returned to her sunbathing. She was almost asleep, lulled by the sound of Mako's deep voice, until something startled her awake.
"What did you say?" she demanded, startling both Usa and Mako.
"Uh...they've decided to do a complete national tour starting this month?"
"No, before that."
Mina sat up straight and took off her glasses. Usa and Mako exchanged a look, but Mako continued to back track.
"Er...Four Kings' manager, Kipling Gray, states that the band will -"
"Kipling Gray?" Mina repeated, "Did you say Kipling Gray?"
"Yeah," Mako answered, slowly holding out the magazine. Mina snatched it and scanned the page rapidly, muttering to herself.
Usa and Mako continued to stare at her.
"I knew it," Mina uttered emphatically and tossed the magazine back at Mako.
"What was all that about?" she asked, trying to find her place again in the article.
Mina didn't reply, for a moment she merely stared out to sea.
"Uh, Mi?" Usa asked, poking her timidly.
"Are you alright?"
Mina turned to them both and flashed them the glittering smile she usually reserved for her favorite audiences.
"Fine." she said.
"You sure are acting weird."
"Who's acting weird?" asked a smooth, svelt voice from behind.
The girls turned to see Rei Hino, her long hair pulled back and a large brimmed hat on her head. She also wore a long sleeved, cotton blouse and trousers. The over all effect was cool and stylish.
"You won't get any sun like that," Mina commented.
"Unlike most of you," Rei answered, "I prefer not to look like a baked potato chip."
"Vampire," Mina muttered, not without affection.
"I heard that."
"Mina's being weird," Usa volunteered.
Rei lifted an elegant eyebrow above her rather large sunglasses.
"I can't say I'm surprised."
Mina stuck out her tongue.
"Here, I brought you a water - and this is the thanks I get."
Rei placed the water bottle next Mina's arm on the deck chair.
"Well, I didn't want you to pass out from dehydration after letting your body fry in the sun for the sake of fashion."
Mina thought about retorting to this but laughed instead. Rei drifted over to the rail and turned her back to the sea to face the others.
"I think she's pestering the captain to let her explore the ship's engine room." Mako answered.
"There's an article in here on Four Kings," Usa spoke up, "Mako's been reading it. Do you want -"
"What's the Four Kings?" Rei asked.
There was sudden and intense silence as all three blinked at her in unison.
"You've never heard of Four Kings?"
"As in poker...?"
Mako shook her head in awe.
"They're only the most popular band in America right now."
"I don't live in America."
Mina tipped her sun glasses down.
"No," she answered, "But you will soon."
"So I need to research the competition?" Rei asked.
"No," Usa exclaimed, "Research the hotties!"
Rei looked rather unamused.
"Just look at them, even you have to admit they're good looking, ok?"
Usa grabbed the magazine out of Mako's hand and turned to the fold out poster of the band. She flipped it down and held it out for Rei to inspect.
"What do you think?" she asked, expectantly.
Rei took off her sunglasses and looked at the poster with disinterest. It showed four young men - two blonds, a brunette, and a man with very black hair - posed in varying attitudes of lassitude, introspection, apathy, and narcissism. A man with odd white hair was posed behind them - he looked vaguely bored.
"They look very immature."
Usa's mouth dropped open.
"All except for that one," she went on, pointing at the manager, "He's not bad."
Usa blinked again before her frenetic mind snapped.
"How can you say that!?" she screamed, and several of the other passengers, including two elderly ladies, jerked their heads in her direction.
"Look at this! Just look at this guy! He's beautiful!" She continued, jabbing at the page while Rei began to feel extremely embarrassed.
"Hush!" she hissed. People continued to stare at Usa holding the page open on a magazine they couldn't identify. The whole thing didn't look very good.
"Alright," Usa huffed, "Just look at that," she slapped the picture of Zoe, which happened to be in the middle of the fold out. He had undeniably angelic good looks, but Rei didn't feel like flattering Usa's favorite band, at the moment.
"You can't tell me that isn't beautiful. That doesn't make you drool -"
Out of the corner of her eye, Rei caught the old ladies shaking their heads in disapproval and outraged shock.
"People are misunderstanding, you nit wit!" she growled, and grabbed the magazine – smacking Usa on the forehead with it and then flinging it toward Mako.
Usa rubbed her head and sat heavily on her chair, which attempted to swallow her.
"Not again," Mako grumbled. She reached over to start disentangling Usa and the chair.
"I understand your feelings," Mina murmured as Rei sat down beside her, trying to regain her cool composure, "But I'd appreciate it if you didn't kill our drummer until we're back in Japan."
"I can't promise anything," Rei grumbled, barking out an order for a mimosa to the startled waiter.
"She means well," Mina commented, philosophically. She was already thinking about the lyrics for their next hit song.
Rei snorted and closed her eyes, trying to block out the unpleasantness of Usa's howling as the chair continued to batter her.
"Let's just get to America in one piece, then we can break up after we get there – like the Beatles," Mina suggested.
"Deal." Rei smiled in spite of herself.
Ami Mizuno flipped her short hair out of her face, utterly contented at being on the deck of a cruise liner and surrounded by ocean.
She made her way through a crowd of tourists, carefully adjusting her sunglasses and hat - most people never recognized her anyway, but it was always better to be prepared. She wasn't as flashy or as notorious as Mina, the band's originator and lead singer, but people tended to remember her, if for nothing else than her odd hair color.
She was doing fine until she heard her name and jerked her head around, afraid that a fan had seen through her disguise.
To her relief she saw that one of the ocean liners' huge television screens was replaying the interview Mina had done yesterday for one of the popular American music magazines. Ami could never keep their names straight - she was glad she didn't have to deal with all of that. All the hard work behind the band was left to Mina, and their manager, of course - Sets.
"...tell us about that time in your life, Mina," the interviewer was asking.
Mina, in perfect English, smiled and replied, "Well, it's true, I started out as an actress and an idol for B Company, did some shows and a few movies...but I really felt like there was something else...you know? Some way to reach more people, I guess - And the acting career - you work with some really great people but it's sort of a one - woman job..."
"You were lonely?" the interviewer asked in surprise.
Mina crossed her legs, the image of her attractive face magnified one-hundred times on the large screen. Not for the first time, Ami was struck by the charisma and over-powering allure of Mina's features - she wasn't exactly beautiful, but she was very, very charming. Most people failed to realize the difference.
"You could say I was, I suppose, " Mina answered, "Yeah, I guess so. I wanted to work with a group. And I've always wanted to explore that side of me - the songs."
"So, you woke up one morning and said, "I think I'll start a band!" -
Mina laughed infectiously and the interviewer couldn't help but join in.
"Something like that," she admitted, "I'm a little impetuous."
Ami, watching from the floor, snorted softly at this.
"But my best friend, my cousin, Usa-chan, is a fantastic drummer - not many people know this about her," Mina continued, looking directly at the camera now, "But Usa really never wanted to be a drummer, she just picked it up as a hobby. If she hadn't joined the group she'd probably be a happy housewife by now."
They shared another laugh.
"So, how did you go about finding members for this venture?"
"Well, Rei I knew from college - we both went to the same jr. college of music and arts - but Rei is a classically trained singer and she actually prefers Jazz -"
"Yes, I have some of her singles here," the interviewer agreed, holding up a CD.
"So how did you convince her to quit Jazz and join a rock group?"
"She hasn't quit," Mina interjected swiftly, "She still records her own stuff, but she was looking for a group experience too. Don't get me wrong, it took a bit of persuasion."
Ami laughed softly at Mina's understatement. She didn't notice that a small group had gathered beside her to watch the broadcast.
"And Rei plays bass?"
"Yes, well, I can play guitar - tolerably well - but we needed a real bass player. Rei actually taught herself - she couldn't play at the time that I asked her to join - but she's really a natural with any kind of music."
"Amazing. Let's move on to your lead guitarist, Makoto Kino...there's an interesting story behind how you two met, isn't there?"
"That's the truth," she said, "I was walking down the street one day - and there was this tough looking girl on the side of the road with a guitar - and I looked at her and she looked at me - and I mean she had these bruises on her arms, and a cut above her eye - she looked like a gang leader - and I thought I'd better get out of there fast -"
The listeners and the interviewer were lapping it up.
"But then I almost walked out in front of a car and if she hadn't grabbed my arm I probably would've gotten myself killed."
"So she saved your life?"
"I'll say. In a lot of ways. We got to talking, and I found out she had moved to the city to make it big and when I heard her play I thought it was fate. She's a really great girl."
"And not a bad singer, I know a lot of people love her solos - she has such a unique voice."
"She does," Mina nodded, "I think she was voted 'sexiest female singer' in Kyoto's Youth Competition. She's the youngest, so it made the rest of us a little jealous."
"And not without reason, let's hope people in the states take to her as well."
Mina made many agreeing noises and shifted her legs.
Below her, the crowd on the increasingly packed deck craned in closer to hear the show, and a few people started to send curious glances toward Ami as her picture came up on the screen. Ami didn't notice because she was too busy criticising her own appearance and blushing.
"And last, but not least," the interviewer said, "We come to your silent member, Ami Mizuno - the prodigy, is that right?"
"That's completely right," Mina's tone grew even more chipper, "Ami is a musical genius, not to mention being an amazing mathematician and biologist. You know, I often see films of our concerts and I think to myself - how in the world did we ever get lucky enough to end up with Ami?"
Ami blushed even hotter. A few more people gave her searching glances.
"And how did you? I've heard that she was already a successful professional pianist before you asked her to join."
"Yes, that's right. She can play violin as well. Um...I really hadn't met Ami before I was given these free tickets to one of her concerts - and I'll be honest, classical really isn't my thing -"
Here most of the crowd laughed with the interviewer.
"But, I went. And it was amazing - I can't even describe to you how much it moved me. And I met her afterwards and, jokingly, suggested she chuck the classics and join my rock band...and she took me up on it."
"Incredible. Did she ever say why?"
"I think maybe..." Mina paused, for a moment.
"You know," she said, slowly, "I really think she was a little bored. Maybe she wanted a change of pace."
Ami was surprised. Boredom had entered into the equation, but there had been much more to her decision than that. Of course it had mainly been because -
"Hey, excuse me," someone said, "Aren't you her?"
The man beside her pointed at her picture on the screen.
"Um...no." She said in a small voice. She turned quickly and started to retreat back to her rooms.
"Wait, you are her, I mean, Ami Mizuno. Hey - wait!"
Everyone else was now turning to see who he was pointing at. A few of them started to follow her, mostly from curiosity.
"I just wanted to ask you -"
Ami started to run.
"Wait - I just..." the man stopped, panting, and watched as Ami's light figure disappeared into first class.
"I just wanted to ask her if that's her natural hair color."