Blown Cover and Battle Plans
Half an hour after Usagi's revelation and the talking light bubble, there had been no real change in the so-called "peace conference" aside from the fact that Rei's father who had only been there by coincidence to begin with was now showing his true slimebag politician colors and trying – and failing – to play both sides of the table. The only accomplishment he could have really claimed that night was that he almost single-handedly reconciled everybody present, albeit the temporary truce would have likely ended once they disposed of his corpse.
To general relief Setsuna finally had enough and interrupted his monologue, slipping out unnoticed and then coming back in having transformed into Sailor Pluto, and proceeding to brain him with the heavy end of her Garnet Rod. She then capitalized on the moment to announce, "Alright, I've given that idiot half an hour, and whenever he takes longer than that it spells trouble. So, given the fact that we're going nowhere fast, Princess I'm afraid that I am going to have to bow out of this farce, in order to fulfill my duties as The Guardian of Time."
"Of course Sailor Pluto, this is a more trivial personal matter anyway, if your duties call you away, then nobody here can blame you for that." Her tone made it rather clear to the rest of the Sailors that Usagi wished that she had such a convenient excuse to bow out. The use of titles however also made it clear that Usagi knew how serious things actually were.
"Thank you Princess," Pluto hesitated, which worried the girls and Mamoru, who had never known her to hesitate, and then she glanced at Hotaru, who slowly nodded back at her, which upped that status to scared, and then to terrified at what she said next, "You should know, the one who sent that message, he's powerful. Dangerously so, but he will probably be on our side. The real problem is that he is present at all." She looked directly into her princess' eyes and continued, "If he's here, then it means that you were right and we're in serious trouble." She switched back to addressing the general occupants of the room, "Something has threatened reality as we know it, probably from the outside. Nobody leave the house until I get back." She moved to teleport to the Space-Time Door, and then she froze. "I can't…" she whispered, so low that none of the others were sure that they had heard it, then seemed to regain her composure except for a cold fire now in her eyes, "It appears that there is too much temporal-spatial flux at the moment for me to access The Door. I'm going for answers."
Hotaru jumped up to stop her, "Wait, what are you going to do? You know that he probably knows more than us, so why don't you trust him?"
"Because I'm not allowed to Hotaru, my duty may be to Time, but it is to my princess first, and so I cannot afford to trust him implicitly without at least knowing his plan and motives." Pluto decided that now would be a good time to drop a little bombshell, besides, she needed the distraction to charge up for a direct teleport to the point in space that she could feel was the center of the disturbance. "Now then, if you'll all excuse me, I have to go hunt down my ex-boyfriend and kill him for not warning us about this." She then teleported out before anyone else could say another word.
Ryoga was now confused, it was one thing for him to get disastrously lost in a place like this with no idea how he had gotten there, but he now had to deal with this girl he had found unconscious. After he had shaken her awake, she had told him that her name was Naru, and she had even less idea of how she had gotten here than he did, a novelty he would have reveled in had he had the chance. The last thing she remembered before he shook her awake was a flash, and then it was like falling asleep, everything had simply faded.
Ryoga assumed that the flash must have been the same explosion that had knocked him out, but he hoped he was wrong. According to Naru, she had been in Minato at the time, and he didn't even want to think about what that must mean with London, Moscow, and New York in a direct line between there and the Tendo Dojo. She had looked at him a bit funny when he mentioned that, but apparently decided to let whatever was bothering her go.
But what Ryoga was really trying hard not to think about was the dojo itself. If the blast had been as big as Naru's information would have him believe, then the dojo would have been leveled, and everyone inside, Akari, Akane, even Ranma… he had to get back, he wouldn't stop until he saw it for himself.
"What's that?" it was the first time Naru had spoken in a while, and Ryoga quickly saw what she was pointing at.
"No way…" he breathed, and then he and Naru started a dead heat sprint towards the prone figure of Doctor Tofu Ono.
The Mew Mews were all in varying stages of shock for the second time that day, Ryou had managed to find a door into the underground bunker they had been told about, and (not entirely surprisingly with funding and support from the Japanese government) it put every superhero headquarters they had come across so far to shame.
Ryou had just managed to get the main computer up and running and was going through some of the less classified files when he saw something that made him pause.
"Girls! We've got trouble!"
The Cardcaptors and their friends and family were in shock, plain and simple. Well, most of them were, Kero was disguising his confusion by keeping quiet and nodding his head at appropriate times, effectively creating the illusion that he actually knew what was going on, while Ms. McKenzie actually did get what was going on, and seemed to be taking it rather well.
Syaoran had run out of questions to ask the newcomer, and Sakura only had one left. Everybody else was trying to decide whether to be more shocked over what Sakura had just told them (or the fact that she had just told everyone, as the case may be) or over what this stranger from nowhere had just claimed. Tori had been asleep since before the explosion, those who were still capable of higher cognitive functioning were beginning to suspect that his sister's new fiancé had slipped the older Avalon sibling something to avoid interruption when he (finally) asked her.
Sakura then reached around to the deck holster on her hip, and withdrew a card. She handed it to the boy who had the attention of everyone in the park, asking him, "This was here when we woke up, what can you tell us about it? Are there more like it? Will it work like the other cards do?"
The boy took the card and looked at it. Only those who knew him very well would have seen the look of surprise and joy on his face at finding a part of it so soon. "The First…" not really a whisper, or even a breath. He looked back up at the girl who held part of the fate of the Universe in her hands without knowing it. He couldn't tell her just what she had, but he could give her a good general warning, "Last question first, no. 'The First' will not work like your other cards, simply because it is not like your other cards. For one thing it is incomplete. Or rather, the card is complete, but it is also a part of something larger. One of seven. There is also the fact that its nature is different from the others, in that its magic is a representation of the dragon of your power and spirit. It will draw its power directly from your star, instead of using you as a medium, but it also won't be able to do much on its own. Unless I miss my guess, it will allow you to blend the powers of the other cards more effectively, but as a price, you will sacrifice energy and their individual strength. For example if you used it to channel Firey, Windy, and Fly, you would only feel the drain of using any one of the cards rather than three together, but their combined power would also only be equivalent to that of any one card.
"Second question, yes and no. There are no other cards like it, but as I mentioned before, 'The First' is one of seven pieces to a whole, which may play a large part in saving reality as we know it. Before you ask, no, I haven't found any of the other six and don't know what or where they are yet.
"Now to answer your first question last." He handed the card back to the girl in front of him who he knew full well probably wasn't ready to bear the burden that he would have to place on her shoulders. "Aside from what I have already told you, there are three things you should know about it. First, it is as much your card as any of the other fifty-three, with the possible exceptions of Windy, the first to claim you, and Hope, the one you created. Also possibly Fly, the first one you captured, and Shadow and Mirror, the ones that take your form.
"Second, as I mentioned earlier, it is directly bound to you and your power, meaning that if it is ever destroyed or falls into the wrong hands, you will likely share its fate.
"Third, and possibly most importantly, there are others out there, some people, some not. They're like me, but with one major difference. They want to destroy this world, and everything in it. They will have no qualms about hurting people." He took a breath before he dropped yet another bombshell on this poor girl's life, "They will hurt anyone close to you in any way they can, they will be trying to destroy the card, and Sakura, they will kill you if you give them the chance.
"The good news is that they're not here yet, and what's more they're hurting pretty badly right now, but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep them out of this world, se be ready Sakura Avalon, and keep your allies close, because in your next fight, the stakes might just be your life.
"I have to go now, given the way that this town has changed, I would suggest that you all get to the Taylor mansion, and alert your various families with whatever cover story seems appropriate. You should know that everyone in this clearing is now in danger, Sakura more than the rest, but since you're all from the old world, and your memories are from before the rewrite, you're all in danger. You will all become targets eventually.
"I have to go now; there are still five groups that I need to contact to keep them from causing any trouble. I'll contact you as soon as I can, until the stay together, and please, stay safe."
He stepped behind a tree and vanished before anyone could say another word. Tori woke up just in time to see him go. He was quickly distracted from this though by the mass migration to the Taylor mansion and the glint of a reflective material on his little sister's left hand…
Lady Chapel was now completely unrecognizable, Kaname and Tessa were unconscious in hospital beds on the far side of the room (it was deemed unsafe to move them, especially after what the captain had said to Sergeant Sagara), there were four cots set up, two on either side of the door, and a set of curtains separated the room into three distinct areas, with Kyoko and Mao sharing one third, Sosuke's and Weber's cots in the second, and the good sergeant himself never leaving the unconscious girls, his cot only being slept in in the loosest sense when Kurz and Melissa dragged him unconscious from the chair next to Kaname's bed.
With that particular crisis stabilized and emergency batteries and extension cords powering the impromptu ICU, the engineering crews were set to work restoring the power the parts of the ship surrounding Lady Chapel, while the bridge crew set course for the nearest friendly port capable of giving them medical aid discreetly, namely Tokyo, Japan.
It was coming up on late morning in Nerima, and at the Tendo household, Yukinari, Ranma, and all of their friends were dead to the world. Happosai was still in the tree, wary of the combined magical barriers of Cologne, Risa Fukuyama, and Yukina, as well as Ranma's oath to hold him down while Akane made good on a threat she had been using for the past few months if he tried anything.
In a supply closet in the dojo however, Tsubasa Kurenai, Kodachi Kuno, and Pantyhose Taro had yet to discover their situation, and were each trying to break free while avoiding being killed by the other two's attempts to do the same. All in all not too far out of the ordinary for this part of Tokyo.
Behind the Higurashi shrine, a strange sight awaited anyone who had occasion to look. A Shrine Priestess, in full ceremonial garb, in the modern era, sitting and fletching arrow after arrow. Meanwhile a young man with long silver hair was tying logs together in a fashion that screamed "BARRICADE" to anyone with a passable knowledge of military history.
Kagome and Inuyasha were no fools, they felt that they could trust the mysterious warning, but had no particular reason to, and besides, they couldn't abandon the rest of Kagome's family. If it came down to it, their mysterious friend could obviously contact them if things got dire, and so in the seven hours since Kagome had opened that letter, they had begun preparations for war. They would run back to the Sengoku jidai if they had too, but before they did, they were going to make sure that whoever was after their daughter knew that they weren't going to let them have her.
Meanwhile, with his mother and grandfather occupied watching Ran while her parents worked, Souta was taking his responsibilities as an uncle very seriously, and while he may not have the demon-fighting experience of his sister and brother-in-law, he did have his own slightly misguided and troublesome adolescence to draw on, and so while the acknowledged warriors were arming up, he was in the kitchen making a slightly more modern weapon for his own use if it came to it, namely taking apart fireworks to make a device that would get him into some serious trouble if he were caught with them: Pipe Bombs.
The doorbell at the home of the outer Senshi rang, and Hotaru opened it to reveal a boy standing there looking like he was ready to dodge if necessary.
He came in and looked around, quickly doing a head count. "I take it that Setsuna's off looking for me?"
Usagi nodded, "Yes, now if you could please tell me, preferably in order, who you are, what you're doing here, why two of my most powerful friends seems to know, fear, respect, and dislike you in equal measures, and why the entire Universe just got rewritten around us?"
The boy winced, he hadn't heard that tone since the last time his mother had told him off for doing something he shouldn't. well, he thought, I already knew that they would have figured out most of it by now, although I don't know why I thought that that would make things any easier…
"First off, let me say to everyone who is currently finding themselves homeless, that housing arrangements have already been made for anyone who needs them, free of charge. Now then, to business. I'm going to skip straight to the last point, because it's the most important. As Usagi Tsukino already mentioned, the entire Universe has just been rewritten, but more than that, all of reality was rewritten in that explosion. And not just your reality either…"
And so, for the third time in less than thirty-six hours, he began the short version of how exactly he had managed to screw up everyone's lives, just when they had all earned their happy endings.
When Sailor Pluto had attempted to access the Door of Space-Time, she was unable to. This was because there had been some changes to the door, and so she was unable to properly visualize the location. This would be corrected the next time she used the portal in Charon Castle.
What she had succeeded in doing was setting off a reaction. She inadvertently created a nexus point, where the seven lines met and began to cross, and a ripple spread out in every direction, across space and time, smoothing out the edges, finishing the changes of the rewrite, the various things that had survived the original rewrite were unchanged, but everything was no longer certain, and an all-too-young pink-haired girl on her way home was about to discover this in an incredibly painful fashion.
A/N: Hello everybody, aren't you glad that I finally resolved those cliffhangers? I apologize for the relative shortness of this chapter, but I'm trying to keep too much from happening before our reality hopping friend manages to contact everybody. I'm also trying to get the various timelines re-synchronized, as they became somewhat disjointed after the events of the first chapter had various groups recover at various rates. And so I'm forced to avoid too much happening with the Higurashis and the TDD-1's crew to make up for their time lapses, while the Girls Bravo group is currently getting set up for their own plot twist, and the only way to keep things quiet and reasonably paced in the Ranmaverse is for everybody to be unconscious. To those who are wondering, yes, Ryoga is going to keep wandering around and picking up strays for a little while, anyone who figures out how I'm deciding who shows up gets bonus points. For those who are a little bit confused about Doc Tofu, I'm currently trying to decide between two separate versions of how that played out, but I can promise that it will be explained in the next chapter.
On another note, I will say in advance that despite the fact that they are sharing a bedroom for the foreseeable future, Ranma and Akane will not be doing anything to force the rest of the wrecking crew to accept their decision, although in about four more visits from the still nameless reality jumping mystery man who has a history with Setsuna. Also, I apologize in advance to any diehard Sailor Moon purists for diverging from canon as far as I'm going to be forced to, but Crystal Tokyo and Neo Serenity are a long way in a now nonexistant future that is about to have its remains fractured six way from Sunday. really though, come one. You can't insert the other six without changing the Crystal Millennium at least slightly. Don't panic though, this is really the only spoiler I'm planning on giving you: The timeline will be fixed, the future will be saved, and once the plot twists finish and the story arc closes, the Crystal Millennium will be reborn, albeit slightly different than before.
For the very few that my traffic stats page is telling me actually made it this far in my story, thank you. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me that there are people out there who actually take the time to read (or at least notice the existence of) my work. You really are the best.
Thank you again for your continued reading and support, and please review, I could really use the criticism and comments.