Epilogue

"In youth, we learn. In age, we understand."

- Austrian novelist Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

Crystal Tokyo is decorated for celebration with the finest congregate at the Crystal Place: the crown jewel of their utopia. The reasons behind the festivities was: to both welcome two newly reformed individuals into the community and commemorate the Sailors' victory over their first true enemy in over three centuries.

Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion, festooned in clothing befitting their royal status, along with all their Sailor warriors are scattered over the landing atop the ivory staircase. The staircase overlooks the mass of Crystal Tokyo's inhabitants, who stand at the bottom, spilling out over the roads and filling the streets as far as the eye can see, chattering in anticipation. Trumpets sound and the crowd grows quiet.

Sailor Mercury, microphone in hand, addresses the audience with enthusiasm. "Good people of Crystal Tokyo, one and all," she beams, "we are pleased to formally introduce the two newest citizens of Crystal Tokyo… and the latest additions to our medical science team."

Sailor Mercury hands the microphone off to the queen, who practically floats across the stage with a whisper of white fabric. Both Sailor Mercury and Neo-Queen Serenity twist their bodies towards the entrance, lift their arms, and flourish their hand at the snowy white tapestries.

"Welcome, Dr. Curtis Connors and Dr. Michael Morbius!" Neo-Queen Serenity rejoices. King Endymion's chest swells with pride. He steps forward to join his wife and gestures at one the footmen who stands ready with a braided cord in hand. The man nods and pulls.

The tapestries part and the sun overhead seems to brighten for a moment. The gathered mass of people erupt into applause as two figures emerge from the shadows and stride over the floor. Taking center stage, the two former villains turned scientific contributors, raise their hands up and gesture their thanks to the people that welcome them so mercifully into their community.

Sailor Pallas squeals with joy, bouncing on the balls of her feet. The other members of the Quartet give the two men a thumbs-up. Sailor Neptune entangles her arms around Sailor Uranus' arm, leaning her head on her shoulder.

Dr. Connors and Dr. Morbius meet eyes. They exchange lopsided smiles and sighs of relief, looking worn, but better for it. No words are spoken but their conversation is clear as crystal. It has been a long and difficult journey, for both of them, but now they look forward to starting this new chapter of their life and redeeming the mistakes they made in the previous one.

Dr. Connors had once been a military doctor, preforming surgeries and treating injuries to soldiers wounded in combat. He was caught in an explosion that resulted in the necessary amputation of his right arm during one of his tours of duty. To his dismay, he was honorably discharged shortly afterwards. Connors attributed this to the fact that the military did not believe he would continue to be of any value to them with only one arm. And what was he, if he could not be a doctor? Returning home, he became bitter towards the world and could not accept his new life without both of his arms.

Connors turned to alcohol, as a coping mechanism, which eventually drove his wife, Martha, and their son, Billy, away. When the famous scientist and business tycoon, Norman Osborn, approached him about an experimental new treatment that could naturally grow his arm back, and spare him the cold robotic texture of a prosthetic, he jumped at the chance.

Connors found out too late that the "treatment" was really a serum that contained reptile DNA and needed electroshock therapy to activate it. It was an arduous and painful process, one he was not sure was entirely worth it, but he was already in too deep. The end result caused him to turn into a large lizard monster - completely savage and dangerously feral.

Connors could revert back to his human form at will, but his will was tainted by his own poor self-image. Feeling more akin to the monster he could become, instead of the human man he once was, he often preferred the power and completeness of his lizard self.

Norman told him that he needed to do some things for him and in return he would reverse the effects of the formula, making him fully human once again. At the risk of spending eternity with these unfortunate side effects, Connors had no choice but to comply.

Dr. Michael Morbius, on the other hand, had been a brilliant Nobel Prize winning biochemist in his native Greece. When he learned that he had contracted a rare and fatal blood disease, he sought out and tried every known treatment for it, with no success.

Norman Osborn got wind of his plight and approached him, claiming that his medical research team was making big breakthroughs in finding a cure for the blood disease ailing him. He had told him that they had a possible cure, but they needed a subject with the disease to test it. Michael's fear of his own impending death made the decision easy. He volunteered for the procedure, letting his emotions, instead of his common sense, make the choice for him.

The treatment involved the use of bat DNA.

Just like Dr. Connors, the treatment had a large negative result. The side effects of Norman's supposed cure caused him to have to digest blood in order to survive and have a strong aversion to light. He gained the ability to fly, as well as superhuman strength, speed, and healing powers. His once handsome appearance, already affected because of the disease's progression, became hideous. His canine teeth extended into fangs, his nose flattened to appear more like a bat's, and his skin turned chalk-white.

Just like Dr. Connors, Norman forced him to work for him since he was the only one that could reverse what the treatment had done to him. What other choice did he have?

As the applause continues, the original and new sailors joined in. For them, this is the silver lining that has come out of all of the terrible events of the past few weeks, and the horrible reality of what had been occurring before that, right under their protective watch. They have made a pact to be more mindful of the global goings on, instead of strictly focusing on Crystal Tokyo. They had become too content with the lasting peace to look beyond their borders. Now they know that evil, powerful enough to challenge them, could arise at any moment. They will need to be mindful and maybe a little more proactive again, just like when they were disarming the world's weapon supplies and capturing criminals that were harming innocent people. They had become lax in the department recently, due to their belief that their duties were needed elsewhere. The recent events have proven that they need to purge the evil from this planet, in all of its various forms, least another Norman Osborn be allowed to rise again.

When the Sailors had defeated Norman Osborn, and conducted their sweep of the Oscorp building, they found Morbius in the lobby. He was still unconscious after his fall through the building and having the Rhino land on top of him. The Lizard was still frozen from the fire extinguisher attack by Sailor Pallas. They found no sign, not a trace, of Doctor Octavius or any of the others, albeit several damaged plants and flower boxes from when the Scorpion landed after being thrown from one of the top floors.

Sailors Neptune and Uranus were the ones to discover the hidden entrance to the underground laboratories when they searched the basement levels of the building. They and the other Sailors who joined them, after securing their areas of the building, discovered all of Norman's and Doctor Octavius illegal experiments and weapons research. This had included a prototype for a cold fusion battery, which was a direct violation of Neo-Queen Serenity's mandate banning any and all nuclear research and experiments.

Amidst their extensive and thorough search, they discovered Norman's personal files on each of the members of the group they had battled, now referred to as the "Sinister Seven" by Sailor Pallas. They contained the personal histories as well as detailed notes on the serums used on Morbius and the Lizard. It was these documents that allowed them to learn of their tragic histories and influence their decision to try to help them rather than punish them like common criminals.

Using the notes as a guide, Sailor Mercury and her team, were able to reverse-engineer the process and purge the mutated elements from their bodies, freeing them from the curses of their monstrous alter-egos.

In Michael Morbius' case, Sailor Mercury was able to go one step further. She developed a real cure for the blood disease that had been affecting him, using her knowledge of the disease from her tedious studying of medical textbooks. And this cure had nothing to do with bats.

The gentlemen would now be able to lead normal lives, as opposed to ones of blackmail and servitude.

Once they were both fully cured, Neo-Queen Serenity had welcomed the petition by the Sailors to make them members of Sailor Mercury's medical science teams. The petition also asked if they could become full citizens of Crystal Tokyo once they were purified by the Silver Moon Crystal. They were delighted when Neo-Queen Serenity had approved the requests.

As the crowd continues to clap for their newest brothers, Sailor Mars leans towards Sailor Moon. "Where's Tera?" she whispers with mild disapproval. "She's missing the event."

Usagi smiles, but doesn't take her eyes off her mother, standing beside her father, clapping behind the two doctors. "She's training with Hybrid," Usagi answers.

Sailor Mars ponders this silently for a second. She suddenly smiles as she clues in to what Sailor Moon is referring too. "About time," she mutters to herself and resumes clapping.

Many miles away from the Crystal Palace, in ironically the same field where he had lost control of his symbiote due to the involvement of Aldrich Reid, Hybrid stands facing his daughter. Tera is in full symbiote costume, four long whips of green sprout from her back and lie lifelessly on the ground behind her. She, meanwhile, is down on one knee and struggling to catch her breath.

They had just finished a tough mock battle with the purpose of getting Tera more comfortable with her newly embraced symbiote powers. This aspect of herself is strong and, with the proper conditioning, it will only get stronger. The goal of today's exercise, and the ones to come after it, was for her to develop a fighting style that incorporated both her sailor and symbiote powers together. By all accounts, it was successful.

"Very good honey," Hybrid congratulates after he sheaths his sword back into the scabbard around his waist, "you've really improved that last round." Hybrid crosses the grass to Tera and extends his hand in a silent invitation of helping her to her feet. Tera's progress really is remarkable. Hybrid cannot hide the proud grin on his face.

"Thanks Dad," Tera replies as she clasps his hand and pulls herself up. She mentally commands the symbiote to retreat back into her body, leaving her in her sailor uniform. The breeze ruffles the folds of her skirt. They turn around, beginning on the road back towards the city.

"Dad, do you think Usagi, the Quartet, and I will be able to defend this planet when you and mom and the others are gone … like really gone?" Tera wants to know. She wears a look of concern and can only hope her father will alleviate her worries with encouragement. Then again, nothing is a suitable replacement for the truth. Should he not believe so, she expects him to tell her. In that event, they will just have to work harder and strive for the improvement necessary.

Hybrid considers his response in the silence flanking her question. He reaches over and pulls his daughter against his side, his arm drapes around her slender shoulders. She strings her arm around his waist, leaning against him.

"I know you and the others will do your absolute best… and that is all we and you can ever ask of you." They exchange smiles, "your mother and I have raised you to be the strong, confident woman you are today. I have complete faith that the Earth will be in good hands when that time comes."

Tera's eyes well with grateful tears. Her father's words warm her heart and she hugs him tighter.

Thousands of miles away, in the bowels of deep space, a lone spacecraft rockets through the starry expanse. Inside the interstellar vehicle, three men sit as the fourth piloted the craft.

"How much longer is this flight?" Scorpion whines like a petulant child. "It feels like it taking forever!"

Vulture rolls his eyes, the anger vein of his forehead already protruding through the skin. "Quiet Scorpion or I will blast you out of the airlock. Maybe the loss of your useless mass will speed up our voyage!"

"Just try it bird-man!" Scorpion dares with a vicious snarl.

"Enough!" Doctor Octavius roars, whirling around in the pilot's seat with a 'don't make me come back there' expression. He fixes his eyes out the windshield again, releases the wheel, and massages his temple. "Your witless bantering is disturbing my focus. Piloting a spacecraft like this takes someone with genius intellect, a factor sorely lacking in all of you, while my tentacles prepare the hyper-sleep chambers. It's doubly hard to do both at once and you're not helping."

"Where are we going, Doc?" Rhino asks in his deep and slightly dumb voice. He is a creature of instinct, not intellect, and it is plain in the brainless droll of his speech. "You said we left Earth to escape those Sailors."

Doctor Octavius really has no choice but to indulge the lug's inanity. It's not his fault his brain isn't directly proportional to his monstrous body. "Correct Rhino. Norman Osborn may have been a toothless worm, but he did have the foresight to plan for every contingency. He created this spacecraft in the event of his defeat so that he would not be captured by those confounded Sailors. I secretly learned of its existence and took it while he distracted them."

"That's pretty smart, boss," Rhino adds, sounding pleased as he settles back into his seat. Doctor Octavius is still surprised that the dwarfish chair has held up so well under his weight, the witless wonder.

"That still doesn't answer the question of where you are taking us," Vulture hisses shrewdly, slouching to convey his boredom.

"We are going to the one place that Neo-Queen Serenity's rule does reach, the tenth planet of our solar system. Norman and my research have shown that it is able to sustain life. We will live there and start our own society." Doctor Octavius chuckles a little, his thick German accent lacing his words with wickedness. "Norman Osborn may have thought of himself as the world's smartest carbon based life form…"

The doctor looks down at the several trays of human blood and tissue samples that he stole from Norman's genetic research laboratory. A snide, contemptuous sneer crawls across his lips. "But even Neanderthals like you three must know that carbon gives birth to diamonds!"

The End