Pre Story Notes:

Murphy's law states that what can go wrong, will go wrong. While most people take it to mean "don't tempt fate", the actual meaning is actually a bit more subtle and complicated.

It means something along the lines of: "If there is something that can fail in a system, it will eventually fail."

This is a warning, that if you don't plan for failure, failure will STILL strike. And you'll be SOL when it does.

In fiction, you can make use of Murphy's law to turn a small problem into a bigger problem. A flat tire can be a small problem. A flat tire in the middle of a scorching southwestern US desert? Not so small…

Murphy's Law can be applied to remind people that in real life, a dozen happy coincidences don't just appear out of thin air. You will not always have the right tool for the job, or the right person to do the job when the job needs doing.

Sometimes, you just have to make what you have work.

We call this, improvising.

What will the story improvise?

I frowned.

It was a simple expression, but conveyed so much meaning. If a picture was worth a thousand words, an expression was worth a novel.

As I stood there, the gunshot echoing into the background of the Tokyo night, the weight of my action slammed into my consciousness.

I just killed a man. I killed him in cold blood, as the butcher slaughters. I didn't strike him down in an epic firefight to the death. I finished him off, broken and defeated as he was, while he lay helpless on the ground. Zoicite was a beast, but some part of him was still human. I had to remind myself as those thoughts surfaced that Zoicite was not a case of what ifs. I knew exactly what he would do, how he would do it, and how sadistic he would be in the process. If I hadn't killed him, he'd be back. And he would kill out of spite, out of pleasure. In the end, he just needed killing, plain and simple.

"You… Killed him," the soft feminine voice of Sailor Mars almost whispered in my hearing. The Sailor Senshi walked up next to me, looking pale despite the dark, and seemed somewhat tepid as we watched the former Dark General dissolve into a mound of cherry blossom petals and sparkles. The strangeness of it had little effect over the churning of my stomach.

"Yes," I nodded, fighting back bile. "I killed him."

I expected some kind of satisfaction from beating this 'fictional' enemy, or maybe to become deathly ill from making my first kill…

But, aside from a bit of an upset stomach, I felt nothing. There was no satisfaction, no horrible collapse, just emptiness. It was like I had simply finished an unpleasant job, checked it off a list, and moved on to something more pleasing.

"I killed the monster," I finished.

Idle thought hit me.


"GRAMPA!" we chorused. Both spinning about to find 'Grumps' growling at us, looking more vicious than ever.

Tired as I was, sore, and every other condition you could imagine me to be in at this point. It seemed so very clear as I pumped the Mossberg and chambered the last round in the tube.

"If it's not one thing, it's another," I growled in response, glaring into those damned googly eyes. "Do you want to bet on being tougher than your boss, monster Jiiji?"

"Don't hurt him!" Mars admonished from my side. "That's still my grandfather in there!"

I angled my head, never breaking eye contact with Grumps.

"Then we have a problem…" I replied. "I suppose you have a plan on healing him?"

"Sailor Moon can do it easily!" Mars reminded me.

"I guess that might work," I nodded, suddenly feeling some sarcasm coming on. "Assuming Usagi's been lurking around here at four in the morning lately and decides to make her corny love and justice speech right about now. We can heal your Grampa, gripe at her for being late, and laugh it off over some rice cakes."

There was an extended pause.

"Jiiji," Grumps growled at length, claws elongating.

"I guess Sailor Moon didn't get the memo," I continued, raising the Mossberg. "Monster Fight, five AM sharp, BE THERE…"

It was quiet for several seconds.

"Then I don't know what to do," Mars almost whined. What it took to make her whine, almost to sound like Usagi. Man, she must be turning into an emotional wreck. Now's not the time to be Emo though…

"I've currently got three options," I commented, lining my sights up. Mars looked at me curiously.

"One," I began. "I kill the demon now."

"NO!" she snapped.

"Two," I cocked my head as if to say 'very well' and continued. "We use the ultimate fallback option."

"What's that?" she asked.

"We die, at great length, and in great pain," I instructed. Mars blanched.

"I never said it was a GOOD fallback option…"

"So what's the third option?" She asked, looking at Grumps as it took a menacing step towards us.

"Advance to the rear," I nodded.

"Advance to the-?" she looked at me confused.

"RUN LIKE FUCK!" I dropped my aim and fired into the dirt in front of Grumps, kicking up a spray of dust and dirt.

Grumps flinched at the blast and report as Sailor Mars and myself scattered in two directions. Then with a roar of its own name… What is it with monsters that roar their names? It makes it sound like a Pokemon reject. But I digress. Grumps tore after Rei, firing a blast of dark energy from its mouth.

If you told me that today I was going to go tearing after a girl in a miniskirt, have a showdown with a super villain, or get chased around by an angry demon grampa, I would have asked you what you were smoking. Hell, I even after the universe hopping I've done, I would have asked you why I would risk my life and get into a fight if I could avoid it.

Well, sometimes these things just happen, and the next thing you know is that despite all rational thought pointing to other actions, you're doing the irrational. And I wondered why I had done all this… I wondered why I was suddenly feeling so clear headed as I ducked into the trees, shouting as Mars to try and use any and all cover possible. Maybe my mind finally went out to lunch or something. Maybe this was autopilot.

I don't know. But what I did know, is that if we didn't figure something out in about the next five minutes, I wouldn't be calling Washu to tell her what world I was in.


"DON'T YOU HAVE A COMMUNICATOR?!" I shouted across the gap. Grumps rewarded my boldness with a blast in my direction before slicing at a tree Mars had been trying to keep between them.

"IT'S IN MY ROOM!" She shouted back.

"YOU DON'T KEEP IT ON YOU?!" I asked, working to load Mossy up.

"IT'S FIVE IN THE MORNING!" Mars snapped with just a bit of temper.

I pumped a round into the chamber and sighted up, aiming for a spot behind Grumps, and fired. Distracting him enough for the girl to retreat to another tree.

"YOU MIGHT WANT TO CORRECT THAT IN THE FUTURE!" I responded. Ducking as my opponent turned to fire another punishing blast at the tree I was using for cover. "BAD GUYS DON'T KEEP USAGI'S HOURS!"

"SO I'VE DISCOVERED!" Mars barked back with an edge of sarcasm.

Ah well, maybe it was better that way. Knowing Usagi, by the time the girl showed up, we'd be kibble. I guess that meant the problem solving rested with the two of us. Or did it?

Ducking out of sight behind one of the larger trees, I pulled Washu's beacon out and fumbled for the earpiece. Perhaps the Greatest Scientific Genius in the Universe had a field manual on how to get my bacon out of the fire.



The tone cycled once, cycled twice, three times. By the fourth time I was nearly screaming at someone to pick up the goddamned phone. Or whatever amounted to a phone. I swear, if it clicks over to Washu's convoluted version of an answering machine, or to a West Indian technical support line, I'm throwing another grenade.


"Moshi-moshi…" a female voice chirped.

Oh thank god! Saved by the- Waitaminute… That's not Washu.

"Who's this?" I demanded sharply.

"Wow, you're rather rude," the female on the other end commented snidely.

"I'm blunt when I'm stressed," I shot back, snapping a glance around my cover. "Who are you, and where's Washu?"

"This is Princess Ayeka Masaki Jurai," the voice responded in a slightly regal tone. I suppressed a choice swear word. "Who is THIS?"

"Washu's latest pet project," I commented dryly, as I turned to fire another round, ducking back just in time to avoid getting struck.

"Oh, it's the pervert man," Ayeka's voice dripped with cyanide tainted honey. "Washu told me all about your latest exploits… I was just beginning to think you weren't so bad."

"NOT MY FAULT!" I snapped in anger. "You try getting teleported at random against your will some time!"

"I was only kidding…" The Princess' voice returned a little shocked.

"And I'm only trying not to get killed in horrible ways," I responded, letting just a bit more urgency into my tone. "So far I'm failing… Where's Washu?"

"She's in the bath," Ayeka responded. "She told me to watch the monitor here in case you called."

"DAMMIT!" I swore, turning to check on a yelp from Mars. It might as well had been West Indian technical support for all the good it would do me. Ayeka was immensely powerful, but when it came to super science and strategy planning, I might as well be talking to Mihoshi. Mars had tripped and Grumps was trying to get around the tree as she scrambled on all fours.

"Hold on a second," I commented, and then jumped out of my cover.

"Hey hey hey hey hey!" I snarled at Grumps. "Hey hey hey hey hey!"

I emphasized my point by firing another shot at his feet. The creature flinched as the dust from the impact pelted it with a sting. Then its attention turned from the prone Sailor Senshi, to my sorry carcass.

"Delicious and nutritious!" I began in English. "Tastes just like chicken!"

"JIIJI!" Grumps responded with a snarl, coming after me with a blast of dark energy. I darted back behind a tree, waited for the blast to clear and then darted for another.

"MOVE IT OR LOSE IT MAR!" I shouted at the Senshi, still sprawled on the ground.

"What's going on?" I heard Ayeka's voice in the earpiece.

"Glad you ask!" I commented, ducking behind another tree. "Ever heard of Sailor Moon?"

"Oh," Ayeka seemed surprised. "Sasami watches that."

"She does?" I asked, then shook my head. "Never mind; I'm currently IN IT, and I'm having an absolutely WONDERFUL time trying not to get shishkabobbed by the Monster of the Week..."

"Jiiji…" I heard the growl from the other side of the tree.

"Oh dear," the princess mulled. "Washu told me you were more or less helpless..."

I ducked one way, and darted another as Grumps took a swipe. Dammit!

"Well," I began with a near yelp. "I at least picked up a weapon…"

"Anything I can do to help?" Ayeka continued.

"Know how to beat the monsters?" I asked, holding a momentary stalemate with the demonic killing machine not four feet away.

"You could simply drop something large on-"

"Without killing the guy inside," I added that stipulation.

"…" I didn't think she had an answer.

"SASAMI!" I heard Ayeka call urgently.

Grumps used his elongated claws to take several stabs at me, forcing me to back up just a bit and avoid another blast of dark energy he tried to put around the tree.

"MARS!" I yelled at the Senshi a dozen meters away. "FLANK HIM AND ATTACK!"

"ARE YOU INSANE?!" She yelled back. At this point, I was entirely tempted to yell an affirmative to that one. It was possible that I really had gone insane. At least temporarily… But…


I turned and made a quick sprint to another nearby tree, Grumps taking only a moment to realize I'd abandoned my cover before coming after me with what almost seemed to be glee.

Right in the middle of this, I heard it, and felt it. Mars' attack, up close. It sounded like the hiss of superheated steam escaping from a cracked pipe under high pressure. My destination glowed dimly in front of me and I was aware of just how hot the back of my head and neck suddenly felt before the thump of an impact reached my ears. Holy SHIT that was a close shot! But I wasn't about to complain about nearly getting fricasseed at this point.

As I twirled behind my next tree, I looked at the dimming glow scorched across the ground behind me, cutting a line between a startled Grumps, and my position. Grumps glared at the open Mars, who turned to look at me.

"NOW WHAT?!" She asked.

"KEEP MOVING!" I yelled as Grumps tore after her. I'm so glad that these Monsters of the Week have such a one-track mind in a fight.

"Ne! Ne! Is it true you're really playing around in Sailor Moon?"

I almost stopped thinking at the sound of Sasami's voice crackling into my ear. In front of me, Rei bounded back and jumped up into a tree, adding a whole new dimension to our little 'battle' with her demonized grandfather.

"Playing around isn't really what I would call this," I managed to ground my thoughts again. "I need Washu NOW!"

"Ayeka's gone to get her," Sasami responded. "She told me to keep track of you in the mean time. Who are you fighting?"

"Oni-grampa," I peaked around, thumbing another round into the tube. "Zoicite got Rei's grampa and turned him into a monster."

"Oh!" Sasami chirped excitedly. I wish I felt as optimistic as she sounded. "That's episode thirty! Grampa Goes Crazy!"

Wonderful to know someone has encyclopedic knowledge on the series… Really... It helps so much.

"So you can't fight back, or he'll get hurt," she continued.

I wanted to be sarcastic right then. I really did. But this was Sasami.

"That's the problem," I interjected. "I've got a shotgun, a demon possessed grampa, and no Sailor Moon conveniently showing up to help. It's just me, Mars, and some trees between us and a whole lot of rip and tear."

Aiming around my tree, I fired at the monster as it started to climb the tree, blasting the bark below it. I ducked away as it looked my direction and dropped to the ground again.

"Where's Yuichiro?" Sasami asked.


"Who?" I asked.

"Yuichiro," she continued. "The guy who shows up at the shrine in episode thirty and gets attached to Rei."

I really did stop this time. Yuichiro, the guy who's name I could only remember as Y, CH, something or other. The bum with a heart of gold... I hadn't seen anything of him anywhere. THAT's what was nagging me this whole time. THAT'S what was missing from this fight.

"I haven't seen him," I continued, hearing Grumps come stalking up towards my tree again. As soon as I opened my mouth, I heard the creature growl.

"That's bad," Sasami responded. "He's the entire reason Usagi shows up when she does."

FUCK! The guy was a living plot device. I knew fifty percent of Sailor Moon's exploits depended on a random act of coincidence combined with a formulaic use of some kind of plot device. But never before did I really appreciate how badly it permeated the storyline. I could really go for Tuxedo Kamen to mysteriously show up to hurl an armor piercing rose right about now. Or maybe hear that absurdly corny speech and stupid poses from Sailor Moon.


I looked as Grumps turned around at the sound. And watched Mars slap an Ofuda right to his face. He immediately froze and grunted in pain.

"Is that what I think it was?" Sasami's voice interrupted.

"Yeah, anti-demon ofuda," I commented. "That slowed him down a bit…"

"Now what?" Mars jogged up next to me, huffing. "That's not going to hold long…"

I couldn't think of any acceptable answers.

"Sasami," I began. "Know of any alternative methods to heal him?"

No answer…

"Who's Sasami?" Mars asked, looking around. In the dark, she couldn't see the little earpiece I had.

"The Ofuda stuns the demon right?" Sasami asked at length.

"Yeah," I answered. "But it's not powerful."

"Try using a bunch!" the child chirped excitedly.

Well… Didn't I feel stupid. It was so obvious I could have turned the Mossberg on myself for not realizing it sooner. 'If you can't solve a problem with brute force, you're not using enough.' One little scroll might stun Grumps, but maybe a few dozen of them could match the demon purging power of a single Sailor Moon, Moon Healing Escalation! Yes, YES!

"Good idea kiddo!" I snapped, then turned to the Senshi next to me. "Mars, hit him with every exorcism scroll you have! Right now!"

Once I suggested it, she seemed to catch on to what I implied. Sailor Mars turned around, snapping out another of those little white paper strips, and began to chant, charging it with her psychic energies before tagging the immobilized Grumps, who grunted in pain.

"Again!" I snapped. The process was repeated, and Grumps howled in agony.

"I think it's working!" Mars looked hopeful.

I really hope it was working, otherwise we were just pissing it off. The last thing I wanted was having that thing angrier than ever trying to kill us. Not that this was any worse than how it was going to kill us before, but whatever.

"Hit him again," I instructed. And then Mars did something I really didn't want to see, but should have expected. She looked at me as if at a loss. I think I took a stab in the dark but…

"You only had three," I asked, nonplussed.

"Those aren't easy to make," she shrugged. "I have to draw each one by hand, and the symbols have to be flawless for it to work."

I really wanted to strangle Sailor Mars right about now. Really… After all this, a combat load of three admittedly effective exorcism ofuda was all the girl carried around. If she spammed those babies like machinegun fire, most of the fights would be over in thirty seconds… But NOOOooo…

"If we get out of this alive," I began, taking calming breaths to keep from snapping like I did earlier. "You are going to drag your ass-"

"Watch your language," Sasami snapped in my ear.

"-Down to Ami's place, ask her for every book on military tactics and strategy she can find, and you are going to study those books until you can recite them backwards and forwards… IN ENGLISH."

Sailor Mars blanched at my rather scathing remark. While she did so, I turned to look at grumps, who had started to glow slightly from the last Ofuda. It was fading now, meaning the charges were weakening. But it raised my confidence a little. As I often told myself. A problem with an answer simply becomes a matter of getting it done. If you know what to do, do it. Everything else is procrastinating. Something I'm quite guilty of at times.

The only problem now was that while I had a solution, I had no means of executing it. Sailor Mars was the only exorcism capable psychic on hand and our next nearest hope was probably snoring miles away.

"If anyone has any creative ideas for exorcism," I began, talking to both Sasami and Sailor Mars. "I'm open to ideas."

Mars looked at me, drawing a blank. There was silence over the earpiece.

"Jii…" Grumps growled, the glow almost faded.

I began to back up, Mars following suite.

"Revised strategy," I stated. "Mars, get to your room, find your communicator, and wake that lazy girl up."

Mars hesitated as she turned, half beginning to walk back towards the shrine, half wanting to keep an eye on her grandfather.

"I SAID MOVE IT!" I snapped. One of the Ofuda suddenly burst into flames, causing me to emphasize the point. "GO! GO! GO!"

The Sailor Senshi bolted at my command as the second Ofuda burst into flames. Only one more and I'd have my hands full of Rip and Tear.

Backing up, I started looking around the shrine for defensive options as I topped off the tube on my Mossberg. I lost count of how many rounds I'd fired. If this fight would have just stopped with Zoicite…

There was a sudden click and the sound of shuffling in my ear, then an all too welcome voice snapped quite clearly.

"I'm here! How are you doing?"

"Still alive," I commented dryly. "Not for the lack of people trying otherwise."

"What Ayeka and Sasami are telling me is that you're having a fight with a demon possessed old man," Washu continued. "What else?"

"Look up Sailor Moon, episode thirty," I responded, turning away from Grumps as the third Ofuda caught fire. "The whole sequence of events is completely shot to shit. I've got no Yuichiro, no Sailor Moon, a dead dark general, and I'm fresh out of non-lethal options to subdue grampa-oni."

"Checking…" Washu indicated on her end. "Its possible from what you're telling me that you've initiated a temporal mass displacement."

I reached one very large tree and took position behind it, pumping my shotgun.

"Explain," I ordered.

"Temporal mass is not fixed," Washu lectured. "Your ability to affect a timeline can vary quite fluidly. Especially when traveling between dimensional environments. For someone with your knowledge of these worlds as fiction, your temporal mass is immense."

"The universe revolves around me," I simplified.

"To an extent," Washu supplied. "Temporal mass involves a large number of observable variables as well as decisions on your part. But it relies most heavily on your ability to influence events."

"Clarify please," I watched as the last Ofuda burned up and Grumps shook the effects off.

"The more powerful you are, the greater your ability to change events," Washu provided. "If you have superpowers, and jump to a world without them, your temporal mass skyrockets.

"I don't HAVE any superpowers though," I commented. "What's that got to do with anything?"

"I taught Dimensional Mechanics for two-hundred years," Washu commented idly. "The most basic principle of Dimensional Mechanics is the Medium Transfer Principle. No matter where you go, there you are."

"What?" I asked. This time, she lost me.

"Nothing in reality can exist without a supporting Medium," the scientist explained. "Sound cannot exist without air. Water cannot exist in liquid form without the correct temperature range. Mass cannot exist where there is no space. When matter from one dimension is transferred to another, it carries a localized pocket of its own reality with it in the form of its mass, natural properties, and gravitational field effects. It ties in with your astral pattern, which is unique to a being from any given universe. If this did not happen, the matter that made up your body would instantly cease to exist because it would be incompatible with the local physics, and you'd disappear in a burst of radiation."

"Spontaneous Total Existence Failure," I shuddered as Grumps stalked his way towards me.

"Right!" Washu chirped approvingly. "An object from one universe must retain the properties it had in that universe if it is to continue to exist anywhere else."

I could almost hear the record player somewhere screech to a halt.

"Come again…" I stated.

"An object from one universe must retain the properties it had in that universe if-"

"ALL it's properties?" I interrupted.

"Every last physical attribute," Washu confirmed. "From the most fundamental physics, to the most outlandish magics."

"No matter where you go," I began again. "There you are."

"You'd make a good student…" Washu praised me.

I might be going out on a limb here, but the odd idea struck me as I fished in my pocket. I've got no magic, no mystic powers, no psychic skills. Aside from some military training and some knowledge of my environment, I was about as bland as you can get.

But Motoko…

Pulling her ceremonial dagger out, I thought about it. Motoko, heir to the Shin Mei Riyu... An entire line of demon slayers and exorcists… Swordswomen who could project a solidified air burst of their-own inherent ki up to distances of a hundred feet, if not greater. They could drop kick an evil spirit at a distance without so much as hurting the host. Their equipment had to be all kinds of mystically charged just from being in their possession. How much do you want to bet this little dagger is white hot like molten steel to an evil demon?

"Jiiji…" Grumps growled as we began to circle the tree.

"Washu," I began, an idea forming in my head. "I could kiss you."

Without waiting for her reply, I whipped around the tree and gave Grumps a target, earning a slash. Ducking back just enough to avoid the claws, I watched the creature slice right into the tree.

And I pounced.

I slammed the pommel of the little dagger into the back of the creature's hand, and was quite startled but pleased at the loud hiss it made right before I saw those obnoxious googly eyes widen in surprise.

Grumps leapt back with an agonized howl as it looked at me in shock. Whatever passed for intelligence with that demon had just raised the bar of respect on me a few notches as it backed away warily.

Brandishing the little knife in front of me, still sheathed, I carefully crept back mutually to keep the monster at arm's length. My idea was gaining momentum.

If the handle of the dagger alone burned more than three of Mars' fully charged pieces of scrap paper, what would happen if she fired that kind of psychic charge through the blade?

"She's on her way!" the Senshi announced, bounding out the front entrance. "Sailor Moon should be here in just a few minutes! We just have to-"

"JIIJI!" Grumps tore after a new, more 'vulnerable' target.

Mars froze at the sight. Shit! It was wary of me, but now she was easy prey to it.

"MARS!" I snapped as loud as I could. "CATCH!"

I pitched that little dagger with everything I think I might have had left. Barring my less than stellar aim with thrown objects, it flew straight enough that the Senshi managed to shake her surprise off and jump to the side to grab it.

Grumps slid to a halt in surprise, seeing the thing in her hands.

"What is?" Mars began. "A knife?"

"USE IT!" I snapped.


"DO AS I SAY!" I instructed as forcefully as I could. "PULL IT OUT!"

Mars did so, and to our surprise, the thing was glowing with an eerie little blue-green hue.

"RAISE IT IN THE AIR!" I instructed, trying to remember the motion off the top of my head. If this worked…


I heard her chanting as Grumps quickly backpedaled. A round of buckshot quickly slammed into the dirt behind him, causing him to stumble. No escape here…

Mars finished, and the blade burst into a blood red flame.

"NOW WHAT?!" She asked.


"Aku yo… TAISAN!"

Oh, my GOD. I'm not sure if I miscalculated, or if it was what I was expecting, but DAMN! The wall of ghostly fire that came off her swing made anything Motoko had ever launched look like party tricks. I suppose in retrospect it was that Sailor Mars magical power giving it the hefty boost, but the blast wave of the attack was powerful enough to dig a line from her across to her target. And even though I wasn't in the line of fire, the side concussion knocked me on my ass.

When the blast hit Grumps, it ripped the demonic form right off like a cheap rubber mask, leaving the demon to howl in rage before it incinerated in the air above like tissue paper in a firestorm. Grampa's body, now in its short, original form, fell flat on the ground unconscious.

For a few seconds, it was quiet.

"By the power of Grayskull," I muttered at length, pushing myself to my feet, wobbly making my way over to the old man. Sailor Mars continued to just stand there in shock. Surprised at the blast that she had fired from that tiny little dagger.

Kneeling down, almost falling to my knees, I put my hand on his neck, then looked up.

"Good job Rei," I nodded with a smile. "Good job."

"Is he?" she asked. I simply nodded with a smile.

Oh, here come the water works. Letting her transformation collapse back to her pajamas, the Senshi rushed forward and lifted her unconscious grandfather up in a hug… Me? I've never been the water work kind. Call it a little bit of a brick wall between the rest of the world and myself… I was just happy it was over. Man… That was brutal.

"Mission report," I commented idly at Washu. "Enemy threat is neutralized, and I think I'm going to take a break…"

"I'm going to give you an A Plus on applied dimensional physics," Washu replied in a satisfied tone. "As well as an A Plus in Exorcism, and Resource Management."

"Whatever," I replied, my shoulders and legs already getting heavy as I moved over to the steps of the shrine building. "I'm spent…"

"How much rest have you been getting?" she asked.

"Not enough," I commented, leaning over and picking up the knife.

"And thus did Bilbo name his dagger," Washu continued. "STING."

Get out of my head…

"Ouch!" I yelped, accidentally poking myself on the Motoko's dagger.