This is an alternate history (both the world in general and the Senshi in particular) continuation for both Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2, set in a world with no space exploration, personal computers, cell phones, or anything else requiring a transistor.
This was originally published by me under the name Anduril at Anime Addventures, with the only changes being a few corrections in spelling and punctuation and occasional word choice. If you like the beginning of my story but think I've gone off the rails, or have your own ideas for a great branch-off, or think I'm taking too long to update and want to continue the story yourself, come to Anime Addventures and join in the fun!
I claim no ownership rights to any of the works of Rumiko Takahashi or Naoko Takeuchi, or anything in the GURPS Ogre and GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol settings published by Steve Jackson Games. Everything else is mine.
Usagi followed Rei into the now long-familiar family room at the shrine where the Inner Senshi had been meeting for six years, and looked around a little wistfully.
Come on, Usagi, it hasn't been that long," Makoto said, following behind her along with Minako and Ami.
"Yes, I know," Usagi said, "but I miss our little weekly meetings."
"So do I," Ami responded as the five girls spread out to the seats around the coffee table, reaching for pastries next to the teapot. "But with everyone scattered — me in medical school, Makoto in chef school, Minako with her singing career, you and Mamoru getting married — weekly meetings just haven't been practical, especially since there haven't been major threats in the last couple of years, just an occasional leaker a couple of Inner or Outer Senshi can handle, or even just one."
"True," Minako said as she flopped into her seat. "So is there anything important to bring up, or do we go straight to the gossip-fest?"
"Actually, I do have something to report, though I don't know how important it is," Usagi said. "This morning, the Moon Crystal flared for a second or so, I have no idea why. I called Ami and asked her to look in on it as soon as she finished her morning classes — Ami, did you find out anything?"
Ami shook her head. "Not much. The Mercury Computer recorded the power flare as well as a simultaneous flare of Silver Millennium energy centered on Furinkan High School in Nerima. From the timing they must be related in some way, but there's nothing to indicate what caused them."
"Nerima?" Rei said thoughtfully. "Not good, with the way Setsuna told us to stay out of that district. Have you tried to contact her about this?"
"Yes, I have, but nobody's picking up the phone at their home, and her secretary tells me she isn't in her office."
"That's because today has been a very busy day," came a voice behind Usagi, and she shrieked and leaped out of her seat, pastry flying across the room.
"Setsuna, you promised to stop doing that!" she shouted as she whirled to face the emerald-haired woman that had just appeared out of thin air behind her, now with a slight self-satisfied smile and ... carrying a briefcase?
"I know I did, Princess, but this is the first meeting I've been to in awhile and I just couldn't resist — tradition, you know," Setsuna responded as she walked around and placed her briefcase on the table and took an empty seat. "The rest of the Outers will be joining us in a little bit, as well. So, Princess, how's married life treating you?"
Usagi blushed but calmly said, "It's been a lot of — fun, though a bit lonely the last few days with Mamoru on assignment in Australia and Luna visiting Diana in the future."
"Oh, is that the reason for the two-hour phone call last night — nobody to share your bed, so you go looking for someone to share an ear?" Minako teased, and Usagi's blush deepened.
"Well, maybe a little," she mumbled, and Setsuna chuckled, then sobered and straightened, focusing the attention of the girls on her as she snapped open the latches on her briefcase.
"I was going to show up at tonight's meeting anyway, there's a new enemy coming and later we'll need to talk about that, but the power flare this morning Usagi and Ami were just talking about has overshadowed everything. It involved someone you may not have heard of, a young man named Ranma Saotome." Setsuna glanced around to blank expressions from all except Makoto, who had jerked upright. "You recognize the name, Makoto?" the Senshi of Time asked, and Makoto nodded.
"Yes, he's a legend in the martial arts community in Tokyo — I wouldn't believe a word of the stories they tell about him, if I weren't a Senshi. What we've experienced makes those stories barely believable."
"Well, those stories are probably true, or at least could be," Setsuna said, and looked over at the Senshi of Ice. "Tell me, Ami, in your studies of Silver Millennium history have you come across the Life Dancers?"
Ami nodded. "Yes, I have. But they were healers, not warriors."
"Yes, they were," Setsuna agreed, "but that was because we'd discovered magic for personal combat and never tried to develop the human life force, ki, as a weapon. Since the Fall, Oriental martial artists have, and the results have been — impressive." Reaching into the now open briefcase, she pulled out five folders and passed them out to the girls. "Here's an overview of Ranma's life I've made up."
The Inner Senshi opened the folders and started reading the pages within, but within a few minutes Rei jerked to her feet as her hands clenched, crushing the papers she was holding. She opened her mouth as she turned to Setsuna, but her question went unasked as Usagi turned white as a ghost, dropped the papers and bolted from the room. A few seconds later, the sound of retching echoed back to the room, followed by a flushing toilet and water running in a sink. A minute later a shaking long-haired blonde walked back and rejoined the others, wiping her mouth.
"The Cat Fist training?" came a voice from the other doorway, and everyone turned to find a young green-haired woman, an apparent bishonen with short blond hair, and two teenagers standing there.
"Chibi-Usa!" Usagi shouted, charging and sweeping the pink-haired teenager up in a hug while her frail-seeming dark-haired friend chuckled and shook her head.
"Aw, come on, let go!" Chibi-Usa demanded, grimacing and rolling her eyes. "I know it's been awhile, but still —"
"You've grown so much!" Usagi whispered, holding her neo-daughter at arm's length, eyes going misty, and Chibi-Usa shrugged, ignoring her only slightly watery eyes.
"Yeah, well, maybe I've missed you too, a little," she muttered, then more loudly repeated, "So I take it you just read about the Cat Fist training?"
As tears started rolling down Usagi's cheeks, Rei growled. "Yes, what kind of monster can do that to his own son!?" she demanded.
"A complete idiot," Setsuna replied. "And while that's the worst, the rest isn't much better." Motioning to the folders the two had dropped, she continued, "Finish up, so we can continue."
Rei and Usagi obeyed as the four newcomers took seats of their own, and for a time the room was silent except for the rustle of paper and the occasional gasp, growl and curse. Finally, a greenish-tinted Usagi put down the last page and everyone in the room turned to look expectantly at Setsuna.
"That made rather horrific reading," Ami said, "and I really hope we can do something about Genma, if only to turn him over to Child Services, but why is this important to us? Why did the Moon Crystal do something to Ranma this morning?"
"Actually, it was more for Ranma than to him," Setsuna replied, and quickly told of the morning's attack by Happosai. By the end, Usagi was curled up with her neo-daughter hugging her tightly, Rei was again up and stalking back and forth, while the other three Inners and three Outers were simply staring at Setsuna in shock.
"That poor boy," Usagi whispered.
Finally, Ami shook her head. "Agreed, but why? Why did the Moon Crystal reach all the way across Tokyo to help out Ranma like that?"
Setsuna's usually serene mask cracked just a moment, then she sighed and looked over at Usagi. " 'Why' is actually simple. Princess, how much do you remember of your little sister? Anything at all?"
"Quite a bit actually," Usagi replied, looking up with a wistful but confused expression. "I just never mentioned little Yasuko because I thought that if there was anything we could do for her you'd have said so, given how fond you were of the little nuisance. But what does —" the blonde froze, then suddenly she was on her feet, fists clenched. "Ranma is Yasuko reincarnated, isn't he?" Usagi shouted.
Setsuna nodded, then flung herself out of her chair to avoid the normally good-natured young woman's attack. The rest stared open-mouthed for a long moment as Setsuna back-pedaled around the room blocking and dodging Usagi's wild swings and kicks, then as a red-faced Usagi's brooch materialized in her hand Haruka jumped to her feet and wrapped her arms around their leader, pinning Usagi's arms to her side.
"Usagi, stop, that's enough!" Haruka shouted, holding a desperately struggling Usagi until she went limp in her arms.
"You knew all along!" Usagi shouted at Setsuna, tears streaming down her face. "You knew, and you let it happen! How could you, she loved you!"
Setsuna's gaze dropped to the floor. "Yes, Princess, Ranma is Yasuko reborn. But no, I didn't know — not until a few years ago, and by then it was much too late to interfere. Ranma's sense of honor wouldn't let him just walk away from that clusterfuck," — everyone jerked at the obscenity Setsuna had snarled, she never swore! — "and the only way I could have made a real difference myself, beyond what a friend was already taking care of, would have involved killing a number of self-centered but not really evil clueless idiots."
"So what, they deserve it!" Usagi shouted, but Setsuna shook her head.
"No, Princess, long ago to avoid becoming a monster I came up with some rules governing how I use the foreknowledge the Time Gates give me to interfere with people's lives, and I learned a hard lesson fifteen hundred years ago on how important those rules were."
Instantly Usagi softened, asking gently, "What happened?"
Setsuna shook her head again. "I don't have time right now to tell the true story behind the legend of Camelot, but I saw a very unlikely but glorious possible future if a certain idealistic, brilliant and charismatic young British war leader's dreams came true and I did whatever it took to push those dreams forward, falling in love with him along the way, not that I ever told him — he was very much in love with his wife. I managed to push the odds of success up to eighty percent, and then a misstep at the Battle of Camlann and Artus and Medraut achieve a mutual kill instead of Artus slaughtering that traitor like a pig and it all falls apart. It took the direct intervention of a very good friend to keep me from slaughtering that traitor's army to a man."
Setsuna whispered, "Belldandy had warned me of the hole I was digging for myself, but I just wouldn't listen, and then she got herself in real trouble saving my soul."
Everyone stared in silence as the Senshi of Time gazed at a memory that no one else could see while tears rolled down her cheeks, then Usagi shook herself free of Haruka's now slackened grip and walked over to pull the older woman into a hug. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, and Setsuna returned the hug for a long moment before breaking away and wiping at her face.
"Not your fault, Princess, it was an honest misunderstanding," she said in her normal serene tone, and returned to her seat, motioning the rest back to theirs. "Anyway, the Moon Crystal intervened because Shizukeza had soul-linked both of her daughters to it, and so when Ranma found herself in a situation that all her skill and willpower couldn't fix she reached for a link she didn't even know she had."
"But Sestsuna, what about what happened to us this morning?" Chibi-Usa asked. "You said it was some kind of ... of temporal realignment, that the future doesn't go to Crystal Tokyo anymore! How could what happened to Ranma change the future that much?"
"No more Crystal Tokyo?" Usagi whispered as the rest stared at Chibi-Usa then whipped their heads around toward Setsuna, and she nodded.
"No, not for us," she said, "and a good thing, too." Looking around at all the incredulous stares, she sighed. "Girls, all along I've emphasized the glories of Crystal Tokyo, and I've never lied. But I've also never really spoken of the price paid to get there. There just wasn't any point — no real way to avoid it, and no point in ruining your present lives by telling you of the horrific war waiting for us a few decades down the line. But now, thanks to the Moon Crystal Ranma has been frozen in female form while remembering her short life as Princess Yasuko, and that makes all the difference — over six billion people don't have to die to give the human race any future at all."
"Six billion people!" Ami gasped and Setsuna nodded, then Rei was on her feet.
"All right, time out!" she shouted. "That's one shock too many, let's take a break and catch our breath." Looking down at the teapot filled with by now lukewarm water, she picked it up and added as she headed for the door, "I'll get some more water for tea."
A little later, everyone had settled back with a pastry (or two, or three, or ...) and some tea, and Ami spoke up. "Okay, so we aren't going to have a horrific war in a few decades that kills off almost all of the people on earth, and it's all because Ranma has been stuck as a girl and remembered being Princess Yasuko — how?"
"I can't tell you, not yet, or it doesn't happen," Setsuna replied, and gave a small smile at the groans of frustration that rose on every side. "For now, you'll just have to take it on faith that things will work out better all around." And you won't have to turn to each other for romantic relationships, after having a few husbands grow old and die on you, Setsuna added to herself.
"Okay," Chibi-Usa said, "so you can't talk about the future — we should all be used to that by now, I certainly get an earful from Puu-chan every time she sends me here. But this morning you said that my Crystal Tokyo is still out there, that you can get me home, but that this world's future doesn't go there anymore. What's up with that?"
Ami perked up at the question while the rest looked confused, and Setsuna hid another smile. "I suppose an explanation is in order, a bit on how time travel works. The first rule of time travel, one that you'd be amazed how many would-be future manipulators never figure out, is that you cannot travel back into your own past."
"What!?" Chibi-Usa shouted, "But what about all this time I've been coming here?"
Setsuna shrugged. "Your first trip was to a timeline that was exactly the same as the past of your own timeline up to the point you arrived." Looking over at Ami, she asked, "Ami, you've read the science fiction writers' speculation of a timeline branching as it travels into the future?" At Ami's nod, Setsuna continued, "They don't quite have it right — rather than one timeline that branches out, all the timelines that will ever exist already exist, with the ones with identical histories 'growing' next to each other, then breaking apart as different events separate them and coming back together as events realign their futures. So, when Chibi-Usa came back to us, she traveled back along the 'string' to the point her 'Puu-chan' " — giving the pink-haired girl a small fond smile — "sent her to, then landed in another 'string' identical to her own.
"Now, the important thing to remember about the future is that it isn't so much like a spread of branches reaching out from a common trunk, as a string coming up into the center of a spider web — the past is what it was, but the future has many possibilities, with multiple possible results coming from a particular event, and multiple possible events resulting in a particular result. So even with Chibi-Usa's presence changing things it was still possible, even likely, that we could end up with a future enough like hers that we could be in the same 'branch'. However, with Princess Yasuko's awakening the chance of a future anything like Chibi-Usa's is so poor that we are effectively in a separate 'branch'. The massive, instantaneous headaches that hit me and Chibi-Usa at the same time the Crystal intervened were because of that change — me because of the sudden, massive change hitting me through my link to the timestream, Chibi-Usa because of her connection to the 'branch' we separated from."
Ami had leaned forward and put down her teacup, face intent and bright with curiosity. "Okay, I think I understood all that," she mused. "Has this happened to you before?"
"Yes, twice," Setsuna agreed with a nod. "Once around 9 B.C., when a Roman general led several legions into an ambush in the woods of Germany that basically wiped them out. Before that, the Roman Empire, at least the third one, had been destined to eventually conquer the world. The second time was when the Japanese military settled on an attack on Pearl Harbor and a southern strategy in the Second World War. Before that, the odds were on a northern strategy into Siberia, the United States didn't get involved in either Japan's war in China and Siberia or in Europe against the Nazis, and the rest of the century was a Cold War with Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire on one side and the United States and the British Empire on the other — not a happy future."
"So those were the only times really unlikely things have happened?" Ami inquired, frowning thoughtfully.
"Oh, no, unlikely things happen all the time," Setsuna corrected, "but the vast majority of unlikely events just don't matter, not in the long run — the 'inertia' of major trends pull things back into the 'path of least resistance'."
"Got it!" Ami said with a happy grin. "But what about —" She glanced around at the blank, uncomprehending expressions on all sides. "But maybe we should discuss this later?" she asked, and Setsuna followed her gaze.
"Perhaps you are right," she agreed. Clapping her hands to shake everyone out of their daze, she said, "The important thing is that Chibi-Usa's Crystal Tokyo is on a different timeline, I can get her home easily enough by taking us to a timeline that's still part of her branch, but we can't do that until after we take care of the latest menace she came back to help with, and a discussion of that menace will have to wait until things have settled down a bit. Meanwhile, we need to take care of Ranma."
Usagi perked up instantly, face twisting with anger. "We are not leaving my little sister in that madhouse!" she insisted, and Setsuna nodded.
"Of course not," she said. "Nor do we need to worry about that. In fact, by now she should have left the dojo and be setting up camp in a nearby park. I'll be right back." Standing up, she stepped into nothingness and vanished, then reappeared a moment later. "I was right, she and Akane are getting tucked away for the night right now. Shall we go and offer them somewhat more comfortable accommodations until Nabiki finds an apartment?"
"What, that violent maniac is with her!?" Rei shouted, but Setsuna frowned repressively at the Senshi of Fire.
"There are reasons for that violent side to her, and they are going to be fading soon," the emerald-haired woman said. "And whatever other problems she may have, she loves Ranma dearly and is walking away from the only home she's ever known to stay with her. So get to know her before you judge her too severely." Then glancing at Haruka's inquiring look, Setsuna nodded. "Yes, you and Michiru will have some competition for 'oddball' couple of our little club," she said, "But let's not have the little quip you're about to come out with."
Haruka raised her teacup to her mouth to hide her little grin, and was just taking a long sip when Minako spoke up. "Well, a bird in the hand is worth a hand in the bush," she said brightly, then yelped as Haruka's mouthful of tea sprayed across her. "Hey, what was that for?" she demanded as Michiru pounded on her coughing lover's back while the rest of the Senshi just stared at the perky blonde. Looking around at all the stares, Minako asked, "Uh, what did I say?"
Finally, Makoto just shook her head and stood up, her henshin wand appearing in her hand. "Minako, sometimes I swear you do that on purpose. Come on, let's go collect the lovebirds. Will they be staying with Usagi until Nabiki finds the apartment you mentioned?"
Setsuna nodded as she rose. "Usagi did mention that she's a little lonely, and she and her sister have some catching up to do."
"So let's go!" Usagi shouted joyfully, jumping to her feet and bounding toward the door, accompanied by chuckles from the rest as they quickly followed her.
* * * * *
Ranma awoke to a series of thumps outside the tent, instantly alert and cursing the blankets she was wrapped up in as she struggled to get free to face whoever or whatever was outside. Her struggles knocked Akane around, and the black-haired girl jerked awake.
"Whazzup?" she asked blearily, only to find Ranma's finger pressed to her lips.
"Shhhh!" Ranma hissed softly, finishing getting herself unwrapped, and a now wide-awake Akane nodded. The redhead stealthily gathered her feet under her, ready to spring out of the tent, when a voice froze her in her tracks.
"Yasuko? Are you in there?" came a voice that Ranma had heard only in very old/new memories and she simply sat in her crouch, her head whirling. "Ranma?" the same eerily familiar voice came, and she slowly crawled out of the tent and stood up and looked around at the ten fuku-clad figures in a half-circle around the tent's entrance, then focused on the long-haired blonde in the center. "Yasuko?" the blonde asked again, and Ranma nodded.
"Yeah, it's me," she said in a quavery voice. "Usagi?"
"Yeah," the blonde said and then Ranma was throwing herself into the arms of her no-longer-so-much-older sister with a shout to wake the dead.
Akane crawled out of the tent and stared at the embracing pair in confusion. "The Senshi? What's going on?" she asked, fighting to control the anger she felt rising at the sight of Ranma embracing another girl, hands twitching as they tried to curl to receive a hammer's haft.
Another of the Senshi with emerald-colored hair stepped forward beside her and turned to observe the embracing pair. "Relax, it's just a family reunion," she said, and Ranma's head twisted at the sound of her voice.
"Puu?" she whispered, and the Senshi nodded.
"Yes, Yasuko, it's Puu," she quavered, then when Ranma opened out an arm in invitation stepped into a three-way hug.
Akane's anger had vanished but now confusion reigned, and a brown-haired Senshi took "Puu's" place.
"Don't worry, it's just a sister and old friend that Ranma hasn't seen in four thousand years," the Senshi said. "Oh, I'm Sailor Jupiter."
"Akane Ten — Akane," Akane replied. "So you are all from the Moon Queendom?"
"Oh, you know about that, do you?" Jupiter asked, surprised.
"Yeah," Akane nodded. "Cologne told us all about it."
"Who's Cologne?" Jupiter asked, then smothered a huge yawn. "On second thought, you can tell us about it later, let's get you two packed up and settled somewhere more comfortable."
"Where?" asked Akane, and Jupiter nodded toward the three still locked together.
"With Ranma's very long-lost sister, where else?" she asked, then looked around at the rest of the Senshi watching: Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Chibi-Moon with fond smiles, Venus wistfully, Neptune and Uranus with their arms around each other's waist and happy smiles beaming. Sighing, Jupiter strode toward the three. "Come on," she said. "As much as everyone is enjoying the show, it's been a long day, let's get the new lovebirds settled and call it a night."
Reluctantly the three separated, though Ranma was blushing bright enough they could see it in the moonlight.
"Right, you two are staying with me!" Moon enthused, and Ranma smiled happily, then sobered and glanced at Akane with a worried look only to brighten with her love's bemused nod of acceptance.
"Great!" the petite redhead agreed, "I'll have everything broken down in a sec."
In the tree above the tent, Xian Pu watched as the blankets were folded up, the tent quickly broken down in spite of Moon's insistence on helping, and everything packed up. As the twelve girls disappeared into the shadows of the park's trees, the purple-haired cat stood and stretched, then jumped out of the tree and trotted off toward the Cat Café. There'll be no keeping up with those ones, she thought with a happy "oh well." Besides, Lady Pluto's affairs are her own, and not for us to mess with. Great-grandmother will have to contact her and make her own arrangements.
Thinking back to the reunion she'd observed she started to purr, only to be interrupted by a huge yawn of her own. A happy day for Ranma after all, but the brown-haired one was right — it's been a long day. Thinking of a report to her Matriarch, a quick meal, and then to bed, the strangely-colored cat went from a trot to a run and also disappeared into the park's shadows.
dglsprincess105, good to see you're still reading the story. While I do feel a bit sorry for Soun, you're right, he brought it on himself, and deserved the result.
Author's Note: This is the last chapter of the first story arc. I'll be posting three chapters I have for a different story this weekend, then start posting what I've produced so far of the next story arc as a separate story, A New Future 2: First Blood. I have ten chapters so far, and will probably start writing for this story some time in January.
In the interests of full disclosure, I "borrowed" the idea of the Life Dancers from Ozzallos' excellent work, A Time Apart (one of the writers that kept me from writing my own for awhile).
Merry Christmas and a safe and wonderful New Year, everyone!