Daughter of Silence
A Sailor Moon Fanfic
By: Aaron Nowack

Disclaimer: The world and most of the characters are Naoko Takeuchi's. Only the words are mine. By reading this fanfic, you agree to be pulled away from the wall when the counter-revolution comes.

On the night of her tenth birthday, Tomoe Hotaru went to sleep in the comfort of her own bed, and awoke on another world. She did not panic, instead standing and calmly gazing up at the alien heavens. Bands of softly glowing, crimson clouds swept rapidly across the night sky, twisting in shapes that almost seemed to form a repeating pattern, only to break it at the last moment again and again. The stars visible through the gaps in the clouds flickered on and off, leaving the young girl the impression that they were moments from dying out.

There was no sound, a total lack of the constant noises of the city that Hotaru never noticed except in their absence. Nor did the cry of any animal ring out, nor did the beating of insect wings fill the air, nor did even the blowing of the wind break the silence. There was only the quiet sound of Hotaru's own breathing, which in this place came softly and deeply, free of the desperate gasping she had grown used to.

She stood on a raised platform of black stone, amidst a flat plain of dark earth, broken only by outcroppings of rock and small patches of plant growth. In the four corners of the platform, braziers burned weak, purplish flames. As Hotaru took a step forward, onto the the short, stone steps that led down from the platform, the flames guttered out. Unthinkingly, she took a step back, but the fires did not return to life.

After a moment's hesitation, she walked down the stairs, and began to walk toward the nearest rock outcropping. Her light footsteps left light prints in the ground that seemed to vanish mere seconds later, leaving no trace of her passing. Overhead, a band of clouds briefly twisted into a circle, and bright lightning lit the night. There was no thunder.

There was a howl in the distance, and then a closer roar answered. It came from what Hotaru had thought to be a mound of stone, and it stirred, becoming in an instant a creature the likes of which Hotaru had never seen. It resembled a dog, if a dog had no fur and stood taller than Hotaru at its shoulder. It drew near with surprising speed, reaching Hotaru before she had time to be afraid.

Then it knelt down before her on strangely jointed legs. The creature's greenish hide was marred by tattoos of black and silver, forming characters that were not Japanese, or Latin, or of any language known on Earth. Still, Hotaru's hand reached out, almost tracing the letters, and she knew their purpose. A name, a title, and a number. "You want me to get on?" she asked the creature, almost wincing at the seeming loudness of her quiet voice.

The beast turned to look at her, and she read its answer in the alien face, noting the bold, black star tattooed on its forehead. Trying not to shake, she seated herself on its back. The beast let out a soft rumble, almost a purr, and stood. Then they were moving across the landscape with the same incredible speed it had shown in reaching Hotaru.

As they traveled, the girl observed the various outcroppings that disturbed the perfect flatness of the plain. Some seemed to indeed be natural rock, others showed signs of having been constructed. Some seemed to be more creatures like the one she rode, and others were different types of beasts. None that they passed moved.

Soon, however, another creature drew up alongside Hotaru's, slightly larger and with a more intricate pattern of tattoos. It too bore a passenger, of roughly human shape and size. Her - for the rider was clearly female - skin was pale, and seemed to glow in the dim light. Three golden eyes sat in her face over an open mouthful of needle-thin, sharp teeth, and though she seemed shaped like a mature woman to Hotaru, she was only slightly taller than the young girl. She too had a black star tattoo on her forehead, although Hotaru saw no other markings on her skin.

"I am Witch 43," she said, an unfamiliar accent tainting her halting, but otherwise perfect, Japanese. "I am to take you to the Mistress."

Hotaru just nodded, not trusting her voice, and the two traveled in silence. In the distance, a stepped ziggurat of black stone appeared, crimson energy dancing around it. As it slowly drew closer, Hotaru saw more and more signs of life, and occasional hints of motion, but nothing came close to the pair of riders.

Finally, they reached the pyramid, and without halting Hotaru's steed bounded up a wide stairway. Her companion followed, and within moments they neared the top. As one, the two beasts stopped and knelt down on a large landing. Witch 43 got off, and Hotaru followed suit. The alien woman led her up a short, narrow stairway, but with a gesture warded her off from following past the top step.

They had reached the highest point of the ziggurat, and in the center of the flat roof was a tall throne. Witch 43 knelt before the throne, and its occupant rose. It was another woman, or so it seemed to Hotaru, though she was a shadowy, indistinct figure. Her two eyes shone like stars, brighter than the weak and pale things in the sky of this world. She stood much taller than either Hotaru or the Witch, looming over them like a mountain over two small foothills. A slightly lighter patch of shadows formed a star on her forehead.

"Mistress, I have brought her," the Witch said, still in Japanese.

The shadowy woman nodded, and gestured for Hotaru to approach. Hesitatingly, she stepped off the stairs, and the shadows that made up the tall woman's face shifted into what Hotaru interpreted as a smile. "I am Mistress 9, and in the name of Master Pharaoh 90," the shadow woman said in a voice that sounded to Hotaru like her own, "I welcome you to the ninth world of his domain, that your people call the Tau Ceti star system."

Hotaru knelt. "Thank you, Mistress."

Another hint of a smile moved Mistress 9's face. "Are we not to become one, child?" she asked. "There is no need for such formality."

Hotaru could somehow sense surprise from the Witch who had brought her here, but the pale alien stayed perfectly still. "My father," she began.

Mistress 9 interrupted her. "Your father no doubt feared to offend me," she said, "but I need fear no offense from you. We are to become one, after all. You could no more offend me than I could offend myself." Her Japanese was perfect in every respect, Hotaru noted, every word spoken precisely as Hotaru herself would. "We are already one, in many ways," Mistress 9 added, as though Hotaru had made the observation aloud. "I know that your father has prepared you admirably for this day."

Hotaru licked her suddenly dry lips, remembering what was to occur. "What am I to call you, then?" she asked.

"Soon," Mistress 9 said, "I will be with you always. You will be my child as much as you are Germatoid's." Her meaning was clear, and Hotaru could tell the woman knew she understood by the smile she made. "Now rise, my daughter, and we shall speak of what will be done this day," she said gently, offering the human girl a shadowy hand.

Hotaru took it, and rose, a smile of her own appearing on her face. "Thank you, Mother."

Author's Ramblings

The idea for this came to me in a dream. It stuck with me, and the more I thought on it the more interesting it seemed. After all, Hotaru was raised by the Death Busters, and if they'd been a little wiser in taking advantage of that, the events of Sailor Moon S might have gone rather differently.

So, I wrote this. I'm not sure when or if I'll follow up on this; if I do it will likely be a series of connected short pieces rather than a longer story.

Thanks go to Ann Lewis for some corrections to the first draft.