AN: Hey everyone. Merry Christmas and a happy holidays!

First off I am going to lead off with some term definations. Juliemarie12 pointed out that some people might not know what some of the terms I use below are. Particular the Diet. When I say Diet I don't mean dieting. I mean Diet as in the Japanese council. Closest comparison I can come to is the equivalent in American terms is I believe either are House of Representatives or the Senate or in the UK the parliment. Not sure about other countries but hopefully that will give you a guys a basic idea of what I am talking about. They aren't much in the story itself only referenced a couple of times.

Another important note, I use the word governor for one of the characters below. I don't mean like state governor. In this case the closest equivalent I believe is mayor but for Tokyo and Yokohama the person is referred to a governor.

I am going to lead off with some news. The story will be going on temporary hiatus. Not because I am behind schedule (chapter 10 is with beta currently) but just to give me and juliemarie12 a bit of break for sanity reasons. And to let her get over her infections without the time constraints of which I normally try to have. I am currently vacationing in London so writing time is questionable and I need to wrap up chapter 11 before I post chapter 10 or else I won't be happy. So this should get me some time to at least get 11 and 12 done. Plus I have my Secret Santa present (which depending on whether or not I can drag my muses out of hiding may or may not get posted here) to work on. The story will resume like normal on January 4 with chapter 10. So you guys will just have to wait a little longer than normal.

First off a belated happy birthday to regular reviewer, Puffgirl1952. Hope you had a wonderful birthday and sorry we couldn't get the chapter to you on Sunday. We tried but as I mentioned juliemarie12 is sick and couldn't get me the chapter until today.

A thank you to Lucyole (thanks for the cookies), LoveIntheBattleField, Light-Sakura, and of course Puffgirl1952 for the reviews. To October Autumn for the follow. And to the rest of my unknown readers.

Note from the beta: I am so very sorry for the delay in this update. The bug I had developed into both ear and sinus infections, leaving me basically worthless over the weekend until I got some antibiotics. To the lovely reader whose birthday was Sunday, Happy Belated Birthday! We were planning on getting it up then before this mess hit, but alas. Merry Christmas, everyone! ~JM

As always I don't own Sailor Moon, these characters belong to the lovely Naoko Takeuchi and I am simply burrowing them for my story purpose.

Enjoy Chapter 9 and I will see you in a week and a half.

Chapter 9

A New Problem

Dear Shingo,

Today things took a turn for the weird again. When I signed up to become a sailor senshi – though it really wasn't much of a sign up I never expected to gain public respect. Apparently more people were and are going to witness our battles against the Dark Kingdom than we realized...

After the battle with Jadeite, the girls managed to make it back home without running into any trouble. The next morning while preparing to go to school, Usagi was munching on some cereal when her phone rang. Picking it up, she saw it was Naru calling and she answered, "Hey, Naru! What's up?"

"Usagi, have you turned on the news this morning?" came Naru's voice.

"No, why? Is something wrong?" Usagi asked, putting her spoon down in favor of scrounging around for the television remote.

"No. Well, not exactly. I think you need to see what they're talking about," Naru said.

Usagi finally located the remote for the small kitchen television and hit the power button, scrolling past the morning cartoons to the local news station. She saw the news anchor standing on the runway where she and the others had fought just a few hours before, "–four girls dressed in sailor uniforms and a man dressed in a tuxedo successfully took down the terrorist that we now know was named Jadeite, according to footage from security cameras. Jadeite has been officially declared dead by the police.

"The mystery girls are being met with mixed reactions. Many members of the Dietare declaring them heroes, the police are remaining silent on their stance, and the general public seems uncertain if they a hoax. However, the governor wishes to meet these girls in private and is asking they contact the governor's office. If anyone has any additional information about how to contact these girls, or any information about them in general, please call the number listed below."

As the new channel cut away from the report Usagi, switched the television off and picked up her cell phone back up, having set it down at some point during the news report. She took a deep breath before speaking into it, "Send Luna over and call the others. I'm going to see if I can call in sick. We need to sort this out sooner rather than later."

"Will do," Naru said before hanging up.

"Mom!" Usagi called down the hallway.

"What is it, Usagi?" came her mother's voice.

"I need you to come here for a second. There's something you need to see on the television," Usagi requested.

"One second," her mom called back. Usagi switched the television back on and turned to one of the other local news station while she waited. Thankfully, the other news station was circulating the same information as the first. It wasn't long before her Mom came in. She watched the report in its entirety before asking, "Should I call you in sick?"

"That would be best. We need to sort out this mess as soon as possible. The others are probably going to arrive in the next half hour or so," Usagi said.

"Okay, I'll make the call," her mom said, stepping out to get her own cell phone. Usagi grabbed the remote and turned the television back off. It was going to be a long morning.

An hour later, the group gathered again at Usagi's apartment. Luna was pacing back and forth nervously. Neither she nor Central had thought this kind of problem would ever come up.

Haruka was the first to speak up, asking the question on everyone's mind, "So, do we answer the call and go meet the governor?"

Luna continued to pace in thought before responding, "I am not sure. It probably would not hurt to establish good connections with the police and government for the future."

"So we should go," Usagi said, her tone a bit nervous. She hadn't been around politicians in the big city before. Sure, she had known a few from friends' parents back where she used to live, but here in Tokyo? Never.

"I would rather have a chance to consult with Central and my fellow guardian but I doubt I will get to do so before the arranged meeting time. I will have to come, of course, to act as an adviser," Luna said.

"I'm not so sure they will let you in, Luna," Usagi said after a pause.

"Don't worry, I have a trick to get in. I will be there, but not as a cat," Luna replied.

"Do you have some more of that weird magical device stuff?" Usagi asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Not quite," Luna said after a moment of hesitation.

"What do you mean by 'not quite?' How are you going to 'be there' if you are not a cat and don't give us some weird device?" Usagi prodded.

Luna's tail twitched for a second before she sighed. She had been hoping to wait to reveal this later but they were not going to let this go if she went by Usagi's questions and the looks she saw Haruka and Michiru exchanging. After a minute or so of silence she spoke, "I have the ability to temporarily become human."

"Wait, what?" Usagi voiced the entire group's shock.

Luna sighed before continuing her explanation, "My fellow guardian and I originally hailed from a far away planet named Mau. Its inhabitants have the ability to shape shift to a certain extent, usually from a human-shaped form to some other kind of creature. I have a couple of other forms that I can take besides that of a cat or human, but I much prefer being a cat, as does the other guardian. It allows us to blend in without drawing a large amount of attention."

"If you could do this all along, why not accompany us to Dreamland?" Haruka asked, raising an eyebrow in question.

"I wanted to see how you three could do on a mission without my assistance. It seemed like a good starting point since we weren't one-hundred percent sure if Dreamland was being used as a base," Luna said.

"But you are going to go as a human this afternoon?" Usagi asked after a few moments of silence.

"Yes, I plan to do so," Luna said, nodding and allowing some silence to pass before speaking again, "In the meantime, I want to go over a few things about how to speak to the governor when we go tonight."

In the early afternoon, the girls gathered in their uniforms outside of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Usagi was pulling on her skirt nervously again. Luna had shifted into her human form, the only recognizable attributes being her yellow crescent moon glowing on her forehead and her long dark purple-blue hair. She was dressed in a yellow dress and covered with a coat that Usagi's mom had lent her.

It was no surprise to see numerous camera crews gathered around the entrance to the government building. As soon as they came into view, they attracted the attention of all the news reporters, who began squabbling over each other, trying to speak the loudest and get their question answered first. Usagi finally managed to get her voice heard over all of them to say, "Look, we have a meeting to keep. We will be more than happy to answer your questions after the meeting, okay?"

There was some grumbling from a few reporters but they backed off at that point. Usagi let out a sigh of relief and Luna gave her a smile before leading the group into the lobby. The girls had to remove their tiaras to get through the metal detectors, but other than that they got into the building without any problems. A man who introduced himself as Dai Fumio, a worker for the governor's office, said he would lead them to the meeting room. He quickly led them to one of the elevators, away from the prying eyes of tourists and visitors. They hopped into one of the building's elevators and rode up to one of the building's many floors.

Usagi kept an eye on everything as they were led into a room and told that the current governor Naoki Inose would meet with them shortly. Usagi kept shifting, attempting to find a comfortable position, as Haruka and Michiru lightly conversed and Luna went over some notes concerning the government. Everything came to a grinding halt when the door opened.

Michiru was first to her feet, followed quickly by the others, as Inose stepped into the room. He gave them a smile as said, "Go ahead and be seated. You three are not in trouble and neither is your friend, though I am not familiar with her. Also, you seem to be missing a few members of your group from last night?"

The girls took a seat, sighing in relief as Luna took the chance to introduce herself, "My name is Luna, Inose-sama. I act as an adviser to the sailor senshi. I actually was with the girls during the fight last night and, originally, I was the one charged with the task of awakening the girls to fight the Dark Kingdom. As for the other members who are missing, they come and go on their own accord. We have yet to meet them outside of battle. If I ever get a chance to formally introduce them to you, I will do so."

"Well, then it is a pleasure to meet you, Luna-san," he said respectfully before turning to the girls, "As well as meet the girls responsible for taking down the terrorist known as Jadeite. Though, I am guessing by your phrasing, Luna, that he was only one piece of a larger puzzle."

"I believe the phrase is, 'he is only the tip of the iceberg.' The Dark Kingdom that he was part of is a race whose sole objective is to take over planet Earth; possibly more, if they can pull it off," Luna explained. This was treading into dangerous territory, but if they were going to form a solid relationship with the Japanese government, the girls had said that at least one person would need to be trusted with the entire truth about the Dark Kingdom's origins.

"Race? Are you saying they are not human?" Inose said, frowning.

"Mostly, no. Three of their generals are human but, for the most part, the rest are part of an ancient alien race from another system far from ours. They used to have four humans, but with the death of Jadeite their numbers dropped. Most of the race is able to take on a very convincing human-like impression, often impersonating other humans as part of their schemes to steal energy," Luna explained.

"Then just how long have they been living on Earth?" he said with a frown.

"They first invaded Earth about two millennia ago, by your time keeping system. However, the late Queen Serenity was able to seal them away with the cost of her life. The seal has only begun to weaken recently, causing us to move to appoint new Sailor Senshi for the first time since the Dark Kingdom fell over two thousand years ago," Luna patiently explained to him.

"So this is not the first time the Sailor Senshi have served as warriors?" he asked out of curiosity.

"No. Back in the days of the Silver Millennium, the Sailor Senshi acted as both peacekeepers and a force to keep unwanted visitors from destroying their home. Unfortunately, that did not always work, seeing as the Dark Kingdom was able to get in and destroy us," Luna replied after a moment of hesitation. She would rather not bring up the long-forgotten civilization, but she would not leave something out and have it come back to bite her later on.

"And, let me get this straight, we are not alone?" he asked after a pause.

"To be quite blunt, governor-san, you were never alone. What has been forgotten by the sands of time is the fact that there once was life on every planet in this solar system. I know you currently believe that humans evolved from a primitive organism, but that was never true. Humans came to this solar system seeking a new home after their own homes were destroyed by a supernova. We scattered among the planets, including Earth," Luna said, earning shocked looks from all the room's inhabitants.

"And you know this for certain, how?" he asked, extremely skeptical.

"Because I never died. I originally lived in the Silver Millennium. When the Moon Kingdom fell all those years ago, Queen Serenity sent another fellow guardian and me into a deep sleep, only to be awakened if the Dark Kingdom's seal began to weaken. When it began to fall apart a few months back, we guardians awoke and began the hunt for a new group of Sailor Senshi to fight the Dark Kingdom," Luna explained. After a few minutes of silence and his expression remaining skeptical, she offered, "I have a way to show you some of my memories of the Moon Kingdom, if you wish."

"That would be best. I need to see proof before I believe what initially sounds like a wild goose chase of a story," he said.

"Understood," Luna said, reaching up to his forehead and touching it. She focused, creating the link, and began showing him several select memories of the Moon Kingdom.

While she was at it, the other girls spoke quietly. Haruka questioned, "If she remembers the Moon Kingdom so clearly, why hasn't she shown us any of her memories?"

"Did she ever show you any memories, Sailor Moon?" Michiru asked, turning to the younger girl. According to what they had heard from Luna and Naru, it had taken some convincing to get Usagi to take up the fight against the youmas; the teenager had wanted nothing more than a normal life when she had become Sailor Moon.

"No. She talked about the Moon Kingdom a bit when she first explained the Dark Kingdom but she never went into this kind of detail or showed me any of her memories," Usagi said, scanning her own memories of the times she had heard Luna talk about the kingdoms.

They didn't get a chance to say much else as Luna pulled away from the governor. She sat back in the only empty seat and let the man sort through the foreign memories. After a few minutes, he commented, "We are in for quite a bit of a fight, aren't we, Luna-san."

"You are correct in that assumption, Inose-sama," Luna said, nodding.

"All right, so here is the deal. First, we need to make some sort of announcement to the public to warn them of the possible danger posed by the enemy. We will create a hot line to call in case of possible suspected attacks and teach what to look for when it comes to youma attacks.

"As for you three, you will officially report to the public safety commission, along with any new additions to the team that come along. They will be the ones that set your payroll and such. However, I want all reports involving attacks dropped off in my office by Luna herself and handed directly to me. In the wrong hands this information could cause a mass panic."

"Luna, I would like your permission to inform the Emperor and the Prime Minister of the situation. I only have so much power and keeping them in the loop would be best. Even so, I do not think now is the time to tell them. I will try to set up an appointment in the next couple of weeks and I want all of you in attendance. If I try to tell them about it on my own, with no firm proof, I will be dismissed as a man who has spent too much time in office and has gone crazy from the pressure. Is there a phone number I can use to reach any of you?" he said after taking a few minutes to think.

Usagi considered the situation before scribbling her phone number and handing it over as she instructed, "Call this number. The people who live there know how to get in direct contact with us and will pass on any messages."

"Understood. If that is all, I dismiss you for now. Fumio-san will make sure you get out of the building without getting lost," he said, standing. The others followed suit.

"Thank you, Inose-sama," Luna said, speaking for the group again as they parted ways.

The next day, Usagi and Naru sat on the school rooftop eating lunch and talking about the previous day's events. Usagi recounted some of the aftermath of the meeting with the governor, "So it all went great in the end. The biggest mess was actually dealing with the press after we left the building. I almost wanted to de-transform and pose as some visitor instead of dealing with them, but the others insisted that we'd have to deal with them at some point. They thought it was best to deal with them sooner rather than later, so we had an impromptu press conference before heading home."

"Glad it went so well. Hopefully this will lead to better things in the end," Naru said before taking a bite of her lunch.

"Yeah, I sure hope so. And even better is now I get to help contribute to my parents' Let's Get a New House fund," Usagi smiled. She was looking forward to the day she could say goodbye to the old apartment.

"I still think you should hire a lawyer to deal with the school," Naru muttered to herself.

"It's getting too late in the year to really do anything. It's better to just wait the year out. Hopefully I'll be done with Haruna-sensei in March and have a good teacher next year. Sure, it is going to suck to have to repeat a year, but I resigned myself to it a few months back," Usagi argued.

"I guess that is true," Naru conceded, both girls falling into a silence that was interrupted by the door opening.

A bluenette stepped out on the roof. She looked surprise to see them and she gave a slight bow before saying, "Sorry, I did not know anyone else would be up here. I will take my leave."

"No, it's fine. Ami, right?" Usagi said, speaking up for the two of them. At the girl's shy nod, she added, "Come on over and join us. We don't mind the extra company, right, Naru?"

"Not at all," Naru answered, scooting over to give Ami some room to sit.

"Thank you," Ami said, taking a seat in the offered space.

"So you heard about the whole event down at the airport, right? What do you think about those girls whose supposed job is to fight evil?" Usagi began, deciding to start with a topic that seemed neutral.

"You think you could make it to my house without getting lost today?" Naru asked after school.

"Yeah, sure. Why?" Usagi asked, tilting her head in curiosity.

"I need to go check on my cousin Rui. You know, the one that plays tennis? Well, she was acting weird yesterday so my aunt just wanted me to go to her practice today and make sure everything is okay. I'll probably be home in an hour," Naru said, gesturing as she spoke.

"Oh, yeah. I'll see you later, then, right?" Usagi asked, waving off her friend.

"Yep," Naru said, giving her a smile as they parted ways. Naru headed for the nearby high school to check on her cousin. Rui had always been a passionate tennis player, but recently her cousin's love for the sport had turned scarily obsessive. Her aunt had asked her to check on her after she had gotten home extremely late from tennis practice the previous day.

It wasn't hard to find her. Rui was a popular student and her practices tended to attract a crowd; today was no exception. Most of the crowd comprised of boys but there were some female classmates scattered throughout. Naru managed to push her way to the front. Rui was swinging the tennis racket with more force than usual, that was true, but she appeared normal for the most part.

Naru glanced up when she heard someone call out to her to see one of Rui's classmates with a worried look on her face. She gave her a smile, "Hey, Aki-san, right? Is something wrong?"

"I am guessing Rui's mom sent you to check on her?" Aki asked, getting straight to the point.

"Yeah, she said Rui got home unusually late from tennis school last night and she was acting more obsessed with tennis than normal. She wanted to me to try and talk some sense into Rui, or at least figure out why there was a sudden change in character," Naru answered.

"Well, we aren't exactly sure why it happened but she began behaving oddly after this business man came by. They exchanged a few words and he appeared to give her some advice. Ever since then she's been acting oddly," Aki explained, crossing her arms and looking toward Rui worriedly.

"I'll try to talk to her after practice, before she heads for tennis school, and see what's up." Naru assured with a smile. She turned to watch the practice, hoping everything was okay with Rui and that she hadn't been targeted by the Dark Kingdom.

Naru never actually made it home, it turns out. After a worrisome walk to the tennis school with Rui being extremely standoffish, she decided to call Usagi and was greeted fairly quickly, "Hey, Naru, something up?"

"You know how I mentioned earlier how Rui was acting weirdly according to my aunt? Well, I managed to catch her and she really is acting weird. Usagi, I'm worried that the Dark Kingdom may have gotten to her," Naru said, shifting her weight to lean against the building.

"And you want me and Luna to come down to make sure that is the case and not her having a bad case of nerves?" she could hear Usagi shuffling through her stuff.

"Yeah, if you could," Naru requested as she pulled out the address of the tennis school. Usagi said she would try to get there as soon as possible and to hang tight before hanging up the phone.

Naru managed to stay in her place for maybe five minutes before her worry about Rui overcame her. She would just check on her cousin quickly and then go back to the entrance to meet Usagi, she figured. She let out a whistle when she finally located her cousin. Apparently, Rui had challenged some pro players and was currently running them into the ground. While Naru had always figured her cousin was more than capable of going pro, she'd thought it would be a few years off. But if she had really evolved into this type of player already, she wouldn't need to wait.

However, the more she watched her cousin interact with the players, the more convinced she was that something was very wrong. Her cousin may have a competitive edge sometimes, sure, but she had never seen a mean streak to this extent before. She wanted to stay and make sure nothing else serious happened but she knew that Usagi would be arriving soon and would only be more concerned if she was not waiting for them at the entrance.

Reluctantly, she left the fence and made her way back to the entrance, hoping Usagi would not be too much longer. Settling back into the position she had been in before, she was thankful when Haruka's car came to a screeching halt a few parking spaces down from the school. Haruka and Michiru were first out of the car while Usagi had to be coaxed out, apparently a tad bit scared by Haruka's driving habits, as Naru approached them.

"Thanks for coming," Naru said as Usagi finally straightened out.

"Not a problem. So you think your cousin may be possessed by the enemy?" Haruka asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, she is acting like some other possessed people. The weird thing is that no one at school was acting the same way. If anything, they were all freaked out by her unusual behavior. So it looks like-" Naru started only to be interrupted.

"She maybe the only one possessed," Luna finished for her.

At Naru's nod, Luna spoke again, "While it is uncommon, since the Dark Kingdom has always favored a mass group energy stealing, they may have changed tactics because they know we are aware of their preference. They may be hoping to catch us off guard. If it had not been for you knowing this victim, this probably would have gone largely unnoticed until someone closer to us a victim."

"So it does appear that she is a victim," Naru said after a minute or so of silence.

"Yes, so that means you three need to transform. The type of youma that we are about to encounter is different from the ones you three have fought before. These are stored in containers and use the container to feed off of their victim. They are not at full power until a certain point. If we can find the source that the youma is using to feed off of Naru's cousin, we can destroy any shot of it coming to full power, understood?" Luna said, turning to the three girls.

They nodded in agreement then ducked into a nearby alleyway to transform. After, Usagi turned to Naru and said, "All right, lead the way."

Naru nodded, taking them back to where she had last seen Rui, hoping her cousin had not somehow up and left with her noticing. Thankfully, she was still there, except she was now wildly practicing her serve instead of beating up a couple of pros. Luna's eyes narrowed before she spoke, "Usagi, aim your tiara at Rui and try to get her to drop the tennis racket. Once she does that, Haruka, Michiru, aim your attacks at the tennis racket. I think that is where the youma is currently incubating."

"Got it, Luna," Usagi said, removing her tiara and preparing to launch it at the supposedly possessed racket when the racket began to glow.

Luna groaned in frustration, "Get inside the court now, you three. We are too late, this youma is already emerging."

Haruka and Michiru used the fence to get over while Usagi turned to Naru with a questioning look. Naru pointed further down the fence, knowing what question Usagi was asking. Usagi quickly found the door and went through just as the youma fully emerged. It looked like the average run of the mill youma except for the fact it was holding a tennis racket. Usagi couldn't remember any youma actually holding an item before – or, rather, continuing to hold it in a fight. Before she could put too much more thought into this new development, the youma attacked. Usagi dodged to the right and the others to the left, trying to get away from the energy ball. It managed to make contact with her, however, and all of a sudden she found herself trapped in a tennis ball.

"Sailor Moon!" the two girls called.

"I'm all right. Just get me out of this thingggggggggg," Usagi began only to have her pitch increase as she suddenly found herself several feet in the air. As soon as she was more than a few feet off the ground, she closed her eyes tightly. Crap, this was not good. She hated heights, she hated them a lot; that was one of the few things that predated the life changing incident a few years back. The incident – which had also led to her terrifying fear of water – certainly had not helped the matter, instead making her want to stay on solid ground as much as possible.

"Splash-" "Spiral-" she heard Haruka and Michiru start to try and power up their attacks only to come to a halt. The youma must have tried attacking them, too. She didn't have too much time to think as she suddenly felt her elevation change before she slammed into the ground. Apparently the youma was going to try and beat her into a pulp, she thought as she continued to be smacked against the ground several times. This was going to really hurt in the morning.

"Dimension Dance!" the attack call signified that Pluto had finally decided to appear. Whatever she did with her attack did the trick, Usagi finally feeling her mobility return to her when the large tennis ball encompassing her disappeared. She sighed in relief, opening her eyes finally and thanking the lord to be back on solid ground.

Michiru helped her to her feet, looking her over in concern. Usagi gave her a reassuring smile and said, "I'm fine, just give me a second."

Usagi took a deep breath before turning to face the youma who was currently distracted by Haruka and Pluto. She removed her tiara, aimed it at the youma – hoping her balance was not too off from the bounce-a-thon – and threw it while yelling, "Moon Tiara Action!"

Thankfully, her coordination was not off too much and the tiara made contact, taking out the youma. Haruka returned to the others, giving Usagi a once over and asking, "You okay?"

"Yeah, fine. Just a bit off balance, if anything. I'm fine now that I am back on solid ground," Usagi said, giving both girls an attempt at a reassuring smile.

"Good. We should probably get out of here before Naru's cousin wakes up," Haruka said, making a motion to Rui who was, indeed, coming to again.

"Right," Usagi muttered in agreement as they made their way out of the court to where Naru was waiting.

"How is Rui doing?" Usagi asked Naru when they met up for their usual school walk the next morning.

"Good, except she doesn't remember acting really weird. It's odd. She has a couple of memories of the last few days but the last extremely clear memory she has is of the conversation with that businessman that her classmates mentioned. Everything else is kind of a blur," Naru said, contemplating the mystery of what happened to her cousin.

"Well, I doubt we've seen the last of this new Dark Kingdom minion. Hopefully we'll get a better understanding of what is going on during the next attack," Usagi said, giving her a reassuring smile.

"Yeah, I hope so," Naru agreed.

"Did Luna mention anything about the new enemy when you were at home?" Usagi asked curiously.

"No, she was too busy writing up the report to give Inose-sama. I expect she'll drop it off while we're at school," Naru replied.

"It's still so weird to think that we're going to be working for the government now," Usagi said, going over the events of the last few days.

"Yeah, but at least you're going to get paid for helping save the world from these strange aliens," Naru pointed out.

"And, who knows, maybe someday soon my parents will finally be able to buy a new house and we'll be able to move out of that stupid apartment," Usagi said hopefully.

"That's the spirit," Naru smiled. The girls fell into silence as they continued their journey to school.

So, just as Jadeite goes down, we find ourselves faced with some unknown minion of Queen Beryl's. Luna thinks it's most likely one of the members of the Shitennou – she thinks Nephrite. Since we haven't seen hide nor hair of him yet, it's hard to say for sure.

We are supposed to get our first paycheck tomorrow. Luna will be the one picking up the checks and any missives from the governor's office. She's mainly acting as a messenger for us so we don't have to worry about showing up at the office at odd times.

The first check is supposed to be compensation for not only beating Jadeite, but for taking down the other enemies we fought since we woke as Sailor Senshi. I hope it's a good amount.

Our meeting with the Prime Minister is two weeks from Saturday. I'm actually more nervous about meeting him than I was about meeting the governor. Then again, the minister is of higher ranking. I just hope he takes us seriously.

Your big sister,

Usagi Tsukino

So ends chapter 9 and the last chapter for 2012.

A quick note before the preview. Concerning the origin of humans for this story. I am very much aware humans evolved from an earlier life form, I am a firm believer in that. The reason why I went this route with this story was because I felt it was more plausible than the other option which was humans forgot somehow to build spacecraft over the period of a couple thousand years.

To tide you over until the new year here is a slightly longer than normal preview for chapter 10:

As it turns out Usagi did not have much longer to wait as the man came out again with her number this time, "368, 287, 247, 233, 432, and 32 please report."

Usagi took a deep breath trying to calm her nerves again and stood. Most of the other girls were all ready at the door waiting to bet let through the door. Once they were all there he led them into another room where someone else was waiting to speak to them. He spoke in a calm tone saying, "Congratulations for making it so far. The next round will tell whether or not you will actually get photos published that were taking by Shinokawa-san. Remember you want to stand out as much as possible during the photos. The more unique and beautiful the photos are the more likely you are to be picked. How the audience and Shinokawa-san reacts to you are going the two factors in telling you whether or not you are likely to be selected. So do your best to appeal to both of them while you are out there and not just one. Leave your bags here for now. When Shinokawa-san wants you to change outfits he will instruct you to return here. You will change outfits and then go back out for the next set of photos. Best of luck."

He waited for them to stash their belongings. Once they were all ready he opened the door and led them into a stadium style room. She could see several bleachers filled with people. She tried to keep her gaze down and not look for Haruka and Michiru knowing she was probably confusing the older girls. Thankfully she was provided a good distraction when Shinokawa was returning from a separate room with his camera.

She briefly wondered if the people stealing part of the camera had an on/off switch. She didn't have much time to wonder about this much more as an announcer voice began calling out their numbers, in numerical order. The other girls took a step forward did a slight bow, waved at the crowd before stepping back into line. When her number came up Usagi took a step forward giving the crowd a nervous smile and a wave before falling back into line.

After the girl next to her went the announcer came over and said, "The first theme is fun at the beach. Please head over to the pool area for this."

Usagi nearly froze at that but managed to get her feet moving towards the pool area reluctantly. She hadn't been to the beach since the quake, heck she very rarely went in the water unless it was to get clean. Sestuna had recently begun working on getting her over her fear but she still had a long way to go.

She wondered briefly if she could get away with getting some neat photos without going actually in the water. No matter how odd she would probably would look it was better than her having a panic attack mid-contest she figured as they reached the designated area. The other girls headed straight to the pool while Usagi toyed with the water with her foot not actually getting in. She looked up in surprise when she heard a snap of a camera lens realizing that Shinokawa had deciding to photograph her toying with the water.

She looked up when one of the other girls called out to her, "Hey would you mind throwing one of the balls to us."

Usagi looked behind her to see one of the brightly colored beach balls. She grabbed one and threw it over in their direction losing her balance as the ball left her hands and falling in the water. Usagi grabbed a hold of the pool ledge and quickly pulled herself out before she could feel the onsetting panic over take her. Once out of the pool she took several deep breaths, reminding herself that she was out of the water. She was nowhere near ready to go in the water like the others but she hoped Shinokawa had gotten some photos of that because she doubted she would willingly repeat that in the deep end.

Though maybe…she looked around and sure enough there appeared to be a shallow end. It was still deeper than she wanted to go in but the first step looked like it was shallow enough that her inbuilt panic wouldn't kick in by just standing there. So she went and stood on the first step somehow getting dragged into a game of catch with the other girls. Finally after several minutes Shinokawa made a signal and they were told to change into the dresses they had packed.

Usagi took a deep breath of relief as they returned to the room they had come from. She hadn't even paid attention to the crowd during that little section because she had been so nervous. But judging by the other girls comments she was the only one. She would have to try and act crowd pleasing during the next section she promised herself as they stepped back out to the roar of the crowd, at least it appeared that she was done with water.

See everyone on January 4th! And have a good holidays!