Cyber Moon: Dark World.
Episode 1: No happy endings.
By Razor Knight
Last update: May 8, 2009
The war had been a long one. A war that had almost erased mankind completely. A war which had costed them the lives of all their friends, and had almost costed them their own. A war they wouldn't have won, if not for the allies they found in another world. Allies that were now gone, but had helped them eliminate the leading force of these creatures, the Youma.
An army of youma had gathered there, waiting for weeks, planning and researching. But when it all came down to it, it became clear to them. They had no way to win against such a force as the one they were facing. There were thousands of youma in that last bastion of the once proud Dark Kingdom, and only two Senshi against them.
However, either of those two Senshi was as strong as ten thousands of the youma. Mankind, what little was left of it, was now free of their rule, and was starting the rebuilt of their world. In only two years, youma had effectively destroyed most technologies humans used, and had brought their own species of animals and plants from the Dark Kingdom, damaging the Earth's ecosystem as well. But it was time for their threat to end for good. It had been decided six months earlier, with the defeat of Queen Beryl, but the two Senshi knew it wouldn't really be over until the last youma fell. Until mankind was once again the only sentient race in the planet.
And now, the two Senshi stood there, defiantly looking at the incoming thousands of creatures, and waiting. Waiting until the crowd was close enough to them, until they released their attacks. They didn't shout out their attacks, as they had in the past, because death was far more frightening when you knew not what shape it would take. It took them slightly over one minute. Half the army of monsters was reduced to ashes, the other half was turned into ice statues. Lifeless ice statues, frozen to nearly absolute zero, left to melt down under the sun.
It was done, the Dark Kingdom was no more. But it was a victory that was, to the two who had fought that day, meaningless. They had lost everything they cared about thanks to this war, and the only thing that kept them fighting on, living on, was the hope to, one day, find a way to get everything they had lost back.
Mercury looked at the crystal in her hand. Once a white, transluscent crystal, now pitch black and dull, and filled with the energy of an evil spirit. As things were right now, she had found no method to get rid of that darkness. And with that darkness inside, the Ginzuishou's power was no longer a force of good, but merely a destructive weapon.
Rei walked in, looking at her friend with a mix of shock and surprise. "Ami, you didn't stay up all night again, did you?"
"I know I'll find a way to solve this, Rei. I can't lose focus."
"If you die from lack of sleep or food, you'll never get the answer, either."
Mercury looked up at her friend and noticed the way she was looking at her. "Don't worry, I'm not planning on dying until I bring everyone back."
"So you'll die afterwards?" Rei mused.
Ami returned to her 'normal' form. Her civilian form, in any case, since she felt a lot more comfortable in Senshi form nowadays. "Of course not. Any news on that reading I got?"
"There's nothing out there, as far as I can tell, Ami."
"We should keep our guards up, just in case. Such a power spike as the one I read can't just be 'nothing.'"
Rei stared at Ami and shook her head. "I'll keep my guard up for now, you go get some sleep."
"Is that an order?" Ami said with a smile.
"It's simply a friendly request. You know even us have to sleep and eat to survive."
"I'll be okay," Ami said dismissively.
"Ami, you can't keep this up. What do you think Terry would think of you if he saw you like this? What do you think Usagi would think?"
Ami looked away and sighed in defeat. "They would..." she stopped and looked at Rei, her face showing resolve. "You're right. Killing myself won't bring them back."
Rei smiled as she saw her friend walk out of the room. Seconds later, she sensed something in her mind and turned to one of the walls. "Locate the source."
Ami had kept herself busy the last few months. She had thought that, if they were to defend the whole planet from whatever forces were still out there, then they needed a way to detect them. She had worked on creating a computer, using some of the blueprints she had 'borrowed' from Zephyr's labs, and adapted it to work with mana instead of electricity. The computer let them locate magic entities almost anywhere in the world, and Rei had been sensing one such entity being somewhere near them.
"Readings indicate the target is somewhere in the area between Kyoto and Tokyo," the computer said. It was a monotone, female voice, and Rei had asked Ami the reason to choose such a voice, but Ami had always averted answering that question. Rei, however, knew this voice, it was the voice of that computer girl they had met in the alternate Earth.
"Can you identify the target?"
"The target's magic matches that of Mercury and Mars."
Rei was shocked to hear that. "A Senshi?"
"Probability of the entity being a Senshi is eight-five percent."
Good enough, Rei thought. For a moment she considered telling Ami about this, but then she looked at the screen. Whatever that creature was, it was rather weak, so she could handle it.
Mars had been searching for hours now. Whatever this creature was, it wasn't easy to locate, but she felt its power closer this time. She looked around and nodded. It was real close.
"You... You're one of them?"
She turned around and almost jumped in shock. She knew this girl, well, at least her alternate. The brown fuku made it quite easy to guess who she was. "Sailor Lilith?"
"You're Mars, aren't you?"
Mars nodded at that. "But how did you..."
Mars was shocked, before she knew it, the girl had tackled her and was raining punches at her relentlessly. It didn't hurt her, since this girl was just a Twilight Senshi, but still... What made her attack out of the blue like this? "Hey, stop that."
Lilith looked down, realizing her assault had done nothing but confuse her foe, and stood up, crying out in frustration.
"Chie, why did you..."
"You know my name?" Lilith asked between sobs.
"It's hard to explain, but..."
"I don't care," Lilith cut her off and turned around, glaring at her through reddened eyes. "The Senshi, champions of justice, defenders of mankind, that's what you two are being called. It's all bullshit. "
Mars was quite lost. More lost than the few times Ami had gone 'lecture mode' on her about the computer, the crystal or whatever other subject she decided to rant about. "Listen, Lilith, I don't know what happened to you but..."
"What happened? I'll tell you what happened. I was luckily out of the city with my family, when the youma destroyed it. My parents and I kept on hiding for months, hiding from the youma and hoping someone would make the nightmare end. We heard the news about you two destroying their leader, and I felt really happy, I thought the nightmare had finally ended."
Mars saw Lilith fall to her knees and start crying. "Where are your parents?"
"Dead. A youma scouting party found us, two weeks after that bitch Beryl died. Dad died protecting mom and me, and... I froze, I couldn't do a thing. Then one of those youma attacked me, and mom shielded me from the blast. I don't know what happened after that, I can't remember no matter how hard I try, I just know I was there, wearing this suit, and with green and blue blood staining my gloves. "
Mars cringed. To have to go through all that on her own, she could almost understand why she was so violent. "Listen, Chie, I'm sorry about..."
"Sorry?" Lilith almost shouted. "Being sorry won't bring them back! Where were you two when my parents got killed?"
Mars turned back to her civilian form, issuing a gasp from Lilith. "Yeah, it's me. Go ahead, hit me."
"Listen, girl. We all lost a lot back then. Do you remember Usagi, Terry, and the others?"
Lilith nodded slowly. "I do... They're all dead now, aren't they?"
"They were Senshi. Usagi was... She was meant to be our leader, but I always got into arguments with her for the dumbest things. I never got to tell her how much her friendship meant to me. I lost my family, too, and Ami..."
"Ami is Mercury, isn't she?" Lilith asked.
"Yes. I can understand what you feel, Chie. And you... You didn't have your powers when your parents died, but us..."
Lilith saw Rei sink to her knees and gasped. Her hatred for these two women was mostly gone, they had suffered as much as she had.
"You don't know how it feels. To see your friend, your leader, killed in front of your eyes. To have this stupid power and not be able to stop that from happening. I agree with you in a way, whatever they're calling us right now, it's all useless."
Lilith turned back to normal. "Rei, I... I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Rei smiled humorlessly. "There's nothing to be sorry about. I understand why you reacted like you did. I'm sorry that things won't be back to the way they used to be."
"The youma are all really gone, aren't they?"
"Then I guess I should thank you for that."
Ami woke up and immediately sensed something amiss. She rushed to the main room of their base and was greeted by an unexpected guest. "What... Chie?"
"She's Sailor Lilith, remember?" Rei noted. "Apparently, her luck played somehow in her favor in this world, too."
Chie nodded. "Long story short, my parents were killed by youma, I killed those youma and have been hiding ever since."
"Hiding?" Ami said. "You could have helped us."
Chie glared at her. "You're not easy to find, and also... I don't know how to fight, I don't know how to control this power I have. The only reason I'm at Twilight level, as Rei here called it, is because I almost got killed using my luck to escape a youma patrol.
"Oh," Ami said, "sorry, I just..."
Chie looked down. "No need for that. You're like me, a survivor."
Ami shook her head. "You got here on your own. We owe our victory over the youma, in part, to our friends."
"So the rumors are true?"
"About a large group of Senshi being the cause of Beryl's death? Yes. "
"How did that..."
"I doubt you'll believe it, Chie."
Chie looked at the crystal floating in the middle of the room. "That thing... Wasn't it Moon's crystal?"
"Yes, unfortunately, it's been polluted by evil energy, and I know of no way to get rid of it. I suppose only a Moon Senshi would know, but she isn't available."
"It's still hard to believe Usagi was Sailor Moon," Chie noted. "No offense."
"None taken," Rei said. She stopped and looked at the computer, in unison with Ami. "What is it now?"
"Strange energy signature detected near Yokohama."
"Your computer talks?" Chie asked with a smile.
"We'll explain later. We need to check what's out there."
"I'll tag along," Chie said.
"You're weak, you need training before you can be of any use to us," Rei said.
"What better training than a real battle? If it's even an enemy. "
"What else could it be, another Senshi?" Rei mused.
The three appeared in the exact center of the Yokohama ruins. New Yokohama town was visible several miles to the north, and to the east, there was... A crater that shouldn't have been there.
"What is that?"
"It's not natural, that much I can tell," Mercury said as she scanned the crater. "There are traces of magic in it, and it's recent."
Lilith turned to the side as she heard a scream. "It came from that building." Well, 'building' was a figure of speech, since only three of the walls were still standing, and most of the top five of six floors had been destroyed.
Mercury looked in that direction and nodded. "There's two strong magic signals there. Nothing close to our level."
Mars nodded and walked to the shop, as the other two lagged behind. As they grew close to their goal, they could hear a woman's voice. "This isn't a Talisman. Great."
Mars could see a girl lying on the ground, and a woman looming over her, holding some sort of crystal in her hand. "Doesn't look like a youma."
"She's strong," Mercury said, "but not quite like us."
The woman looked at them and snorted. "More of you? Good, I can get my job done faster this way."
"More of us?" Mars said, looking down at the fallen girl. From afar, it wasn't noticeable, but from this distance, she could see the girl had a suit much like theirs. "Well, what are the damn chances?"
"Higher than we thought, apparently," Mercury mused.
"You kids shouldn't ignore me," the woman snapped. "Die!"
Mars looked at the incoming energy blast dismissively. However, as the beam hit, she flinched and fell to her knees. "What is this?"
Mercury saw a crystal like the one the woman was holding floating out of Mars' back. "That thing is... No, it can't be."
"What's going on?" Lilith asked.
"That freak can take our core out of our bodies. Call it soul, spirit, or however you want, but that's just what that crystal is. "
The woman laughed. "Your friend is down, that's what you get for ignoring me, Kaorinite, one of the Death Busters!"
Mercury was about to say something, but then saw Mars stand up, so fast only she could follow her movement, and clasped her hand around Kaorinite's neck, rising her up in the air. "Rei..."
"I never said I was down," Mars snapped, glaring at the woman with glazed eyes. "Die."
Lilith saw a column of fire rising from underneath Kaorinite, turning her body into ashes in a matter of seconds. Mars' arm, however, wasn't affected at all. "What was that?"
"Fire magic," Mercury said, then realized something. "Oh, I suppose you never saw someone of our level before."
Lilith backed away. "It's just impossible, that much power..."
Mars smiled as she grabbed the small crystal, which went back into her body. "I think Beryl thought exactly the same thing before we destroyed her."
Mercury got the other crystal, and walked to the fallen girl. As it went back into her body, the girl opened her eyes and sat up, looking around in confusion. "Where is that woman?"
"Gone, we took care of her," Mars said.
"Good," the girl said, not phased at all that three other Senshi were there. "I'm... Sailor Earth," she said, "I take it you're Mars and Mercury?"
Mars nodded slowly. "Who are you? Your real name, I mean."
"My real name... What does it matter, the two persons I cared the most about in this world are gone now," the girl said, leaning on a wall. "I guess we're the last ones, right?"
"Unfortunately," Mercury admitted, studying the girl. There was something familiar about her, but she couldn't figure out who she was. "For some reason, I think I know you."
Lilith had been looking at Earth since she woke up. "Maybe it's just me hoping for the impossible, but... Is it you, Karin?"
Earth stared at Lilith in shock. "How do you know my name?"
Lilith returned to her normal form and smiled. "It's good to see you're alive."
Earth nodded, then looked down. "I am, but my brother is gone. I'm sure he died in that explosion, when..."
"He didn't. He died fighting Beryl," Mars said, "he was one of us. "
"He was a Senshi?" Earth fell to her knees. "I should've been there, helping him, but... These stupid powers, what's the use of them?"
"I don't want to give anyone false hopes," Mercury noted, "but I'm searching for a way to bring our friends back."
Earth smiled sadly. "That would be good, but we can't get our lives back, can we?"
"Unfortunately," Mercury admitted, "there's no way to do that. Tokyo is gone, as are all of the world's capitals. But mankind can still make it through this crisis, and I'm going to watch over them. This woman who attacked you might be part of a group, but we can stop them."
"And what if you can never resurrect the others?" Lilith asked, "what's the use of fighting if we can't go back to how things were before?" What was the point, if she wouldn't be able to bring her parents back.
"Because if you give up, then the deaths of those you cared about the most will really be for naught," Mercury said.
Earth stood up and flinched. "I feel quite exhaused right now. Is there a place where we can rest?"
"Sure," Mars said, "and I'll admit, that whole having your soul taken out of your body thing wasn't fun at all. I feel like sleeping for a week."
Mercury looked at her and smiled. "That sounds familiar, doesn't it?"
The two women weren't pleased. They had been close to losing their own lives a few years earlier, and had to move their base of operations from their initial stronghold. Most of their warriors were gone, and their search had since been for naught. Without talismans, they had no clue on what to do next. Kaorinite had apparently found someone who could be a carrier, but she hadn't reported again for two days.
"We can't seem to find..."
"... The talismans. Apparently, the Senshi got..."
"... to Kaorinite and killed her." They were both talking to a strange dark cloud, which seemed to change its shape almost constantly. "I may have to take care of things myself, then. But to be able to exist in this world in my true form, I will need energy."
"Then we will..."
"... Gather it ourselves."
"No, send Mimette first. But if she finds whoever eliminated Kaorinite, tell her to avoid combat. We're running low on soldiers, losing another witch would delay the arrival of our god, perhaps for too long."
"If we find another enemy like that Kaorinite woman, let's try to keep her alive."
Mars looked at Mercury. "What are you planning, Ami?"
"It's quite simple. If we let them escape, then I can trace them to wherever their boss might be."
"Think their boss could be strong?"
Mercury nodded at Earth. "Given you and Lilith are only in Twilight level, I think you should train hard to catch up with us."
"You mean we could be as strong as you?" Lilith asked, slightly surprised.
"You're Senshi too. The alternates who helped us were all at high level, so I don't see why you couldn't come up to our level, given time and effort."
"It's not like we have anything else to do," Earth admitted, "and I do want to become stronger, to stop running and hiding like I was until now."
"Then we'll help," Mars said, "we'll train you both, because we two can't really protect the whole world alone."
Mercury smiled at that. Yes, it had been tiresome to eliminate all the youma, and she could guess there would be stronger enemies out there, if things were any similar in their world to what the alternates had told them. And she would still keep on searching for a way to restore the Ginzuishou, to bring her friends back.
Even if it took her a century to do it, she would not give up. She just couldn't believe there were no happy endings for them.
A/N: This story is a side-story of Cyber Moon Chronicles, expanding on what happened in the Dark Empire arc of said story. Of course, things will be very different in this world than they were in the 'normal' Cyber Moon universe.
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is a creation of Naoko Takeuchi, and I thank her for creating such wonderful universe.