SILVER SUN

A Sailor Ranko fanfic
by Jason Heinrich

Based on the Sailor Ranko story and webcomic by Duncan Zillman and Rebecca Heineman. All Sailor Moon characters are owned by Naoko Takeuchi.


PROLOGUE

Sailor Pluto paused before the great doors that led into the throne room and tried to fight down the growing sense of dread that had been building in her. She wasn't nervous that she had an audience with the most powerful individual in the Solar System. On the contrary, Queen Serenity usually had such an aura of peace and love about her, that the very thought of talking to her helped calm Pluto's nerves. No, she thought as she took a deep breath and blew it out. It was the uncertainty. As the Guardian of Time she had grown accustomed to having access to the finest details of historical events. But what she had just learned - and what she hadn't been able to learn - left her with more questions than answers.

Sailor Neptune glanced at Pluto. "Are you okay?" she asked her fellow senshi. When Pluto nodded, she shrugged, turned the latch, and swung the huge door noiselessly open. "Princess Pluto to see you, your Highness," she announced with a bow. Pluto entered the throne room and Neptune closed the door and resumed her post, leaving Pluto alone with the Queen.

Queen Serenity stepped down from the dais, her smile warm and welcoming. "Setsuna! It's so good to see you again! Welcome home!" Pluto couldn't help but smile in return. It really had been a long time since she'd been back to the moon. Maybe once she'd delivered her news to the queen she would stay a while and relax for once, take in the sights and sounds of the capital city. Just as soon as she delivered her news... Pluto's smile faltered as the reason for her return stomped down the pleasant thoughts.

Serenity didn't miss the change in Pluto's expression. "Come, Dear, and tell me what's troubling you," she said as she led Pluto to a more comfortable reception area at one side of the throne room. It had plush carpet, several cushioned chairs, decorative plants, and warmer, more subdued lighting; the space was clearly designed to help put visitors more at ease in the presence of royalty. It also contained one of the crystal orbs that allowed the Queen to communicate with her princesses in their castles throughout the solar system. Glancing at the crystal, she observed, "This must be of great importance for you to have travelled so far to see me in person."

Pluto nodded as Serenity seated herself. "Your highness, when you charged me with the care of the Timestream, you instructed me to watch not only for changes to the past, but also for significant disruptions to future events as well."

"Yes," the Queen acknowledged, "though the future is always in motion and difficult to see clearly. I take it something caught your eye?"

Pluto opened her mouth, then closed it again. How could she put this? "Your majesty, how many senshi are there?"

Serenity raised an eyebrow at the question. "I appointed eight senshi: one for each planet save Earth, which is Aethlius's domain. This is well known."

"Of course," Pluto replied, bowing slightly. "Perhaps it would be easiest to show you what I have seen." She closed her eyes, focusing on a specific point in time, and her Garnet Orb began to glow. An image began to form in the communication crystal, slowly at first, then quickly projecting into the air above the crystal. It was a young woman with striking blue eyes and fiery red hair. She appeared to be in a battle of some sort, but when no enemies appeared it became apparent that she was merely in training. Occasionally she would gesture as if casting a spell, followed by a flicker of frustration across her face that was quickly replaced by grim determination as she began her routine again. But what really caught the Queen's attention was the white, red, and yellow fuku the woman was wearing. It was the same style as her own senshi's uniforms.

"Fascinating," Serenity finally said, straightening up. She hadn't even realized that she had stood from her chair. "Were you able to learn her identity?"

"She calls herself Sailor Sun, though that's all the Gates could show me," Pluto answered. She fought back frustration at the incomplete information. The volatile nature of the future made viewing it a challenge. You had to take what you could get.

Serenity pondered a bit, then asked, "She doesn't seem to be able to use magic. Are you certain she's a senshi?"

Pluto nodded. "Either that, or she's an imposter. One thing I have learned from watching the Timestream is that the more powerful a person is magically, the more difficult it is for the Gates to focus on that person. For instance, I can't see you at all: the best the Gates can do is take me to a timeframe in which you are alive."

"That's good to know," the Queen smiled.

"Perhaps," said Pluto, not sharing in her amusement. She nodded at the image. "When I felt the shift in the future, it wasn't difficult for me to pinpoint her as the source of the change. This image is taken from the near future, before she learns how to use her magic, so it was fairly easy for me to observe her at this point in time. However, as time passes her magic ability grows and she becomes as difficult to locate as any other senshi. But then she disappears from the Timestream completely for several thousand years before reappearing. I was able to track her for a little while, but she continued to grow and eventually I wasn't able to locate her at all."

It took little time for the Queen to realize the implication of a senshi as powerful as herself. "Do you believe she is a threat?"

"It's difficult to say, but from what I was able to see she at least appears to be honorable and loyal. However, there's something else."

"Oh?"

"I was curious as to how she could disappear from the Timestream for so long. As I searched the Gates for answers I discovered that..." Pluto paused before continuing. "It wasn't just Sailor Sun. All of the senshi were gone." She looked the Queen in the eyes. "Even you."

Serenity sank back into the chair, her mouth suddenly dry and her eyes wet. "There are only two things I can think of that would cause a person to vanish from time. Time travel..."

"Which I probably would have been able to detect."

"...or death."

Pluto sighed. "I was hoping you would be able to think of something else."

A tear spilled over and traced a line down Serenity's cheek. "I wish I could, Setsuna." She stared at the red-head training in the air over the communication crystal, and shuddered to think of what she represented. "I desperately wish I could."


Author's Notes:

First of all, thanks for reading! If you haven't read Sailor Ranko, go do it now. That's okay, I'll wait.

This prologue is based entirely on the cover to Chapter 9 of the Sailor Ranko webcomic. It touched off a fair amount of speculation and discussion on the comic's forums when it was posted, as the scene it depicted wasn't in the novel. As of the time I write this, I have no idea whether the author intends to reveal any more details about that scene, so this is my interpretation of what's going on. Besides, it fit so well as a lead-in to this story.

Speaking of the story, I'll admit that I'm not a prolific or speedy writer, so new chapters may be slow in coming. This is also my first attempt at posting anything I've written for public consumption, so reviews are very welcome. A few other comments:

Sailor Neptune: There's a scene in the comic of Angwyn leaving an audience with the queen, with both Neptune and Uranus guarding the doors behind her. For this story, I'm going to assume that the Senshi, with the exception of Saturn and Pluto, took turns doing royal guard duty in addition to their regular posts.

Setsuna's name: Frankly, I never much liked stories that gave the Senshi in the Silver Millenium the same names as their present-day incarnations. To the best of my knowledge, however, Setsuna/Pluto didn't die when the Silver Millenium fell, as she was safe at the Gates of Time. Therefore, she was never reincarnated with a new name.