(An ArbyFish comes to type on a computer to the tune of Pirates of the Caribbean)
Arby: Dum-dum, dum-dah, da-dum-da-dum-da-dum! (hits enter)
Arby (nods proudly): In-deed! (flutters off)
Ah, yes, a bit of work and a few months time brings yet another section to this series. The work continues.
Thanks for sticking with me on this. As always, suggestions for improvement are always welcome! Let's hope it goes through okay…
So, here we go!
This story is only loosely based on the Sailor V manga. Significant modifications have had to be made in order to comply with the fusion with the Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow plotline. Besides, trying to make an adaptation compliant with many of the DIC dub standards is rather daunting task, especially for one that happens to like the original.
In short, people that have actually seen and read the Sailor V manga, which is currently unavailable to me, please offer suggestions.
In the meantime, we've got a fanfic to massacre!!! ^_-
Chapter 3: Cool! A Competent Villain?!
A Sailor V / Nuke 'Em Til They Glow!! crossover story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon and Sailor V are owned by Takeuchi Naoko.
On the highest floor of the wrecked BBC Television and Radio station, a strange glowing ooze dripped over the badly damaged broadcasting equipment. What screens were not smashed displayed static. BBC executives lay unconscious on the floor behind toppled desks.
A trio conversed in the near-darkness. The shortest one spoke in a malevolently cheerful feminine voice. "We've done well so far, and we nearly have the energy we need before we go back."
"Yesss," one of the other shadows agreed in a low, grating electric voice.
"However, as expected, there is a complication," the female added. "Our enemy, Sailor V, will arrive soon."
"She's no match for us," the third bragged, his digitally filtered words dripping with confidence.
The first one stiffened and a cruel grin came to her lips. Something red glowed on one of her shoulders. "Oh, she's more than a match for you, and your 'twin' brother. So, are you going to idiotically go run in front of her so she can blast you, or shall I do it now and save us the embarrassment?"
"He, er, just likes to see the positive," the second cut in nervously. "I can see how things could go wrong…"
"That's right," the third shadow agreed, "but we can plan better. I promise, Morva!"
"The Dark Agency should have given me much more support," Morva sighed, the glow around her dying down. "But until I can earn one of those 'ite' titles, you're all I have to work with. That's why we set the traps, possessed the minds of the workers, and dedicated a portion of our energy allotment to other defenses: so we won't be the ones turned to dust this time."
While the other two nodded their assent, the leader paused. "Proton," she said, "Neutron. I sense a great power approaching. Show me the lower level."
Proton and Neutron extended their hands, between which appeared an image of the entrance. A masked blonde in an abbreviated red, white, and blue girl's sailor outfit stepped cautiously through the front door, holding a jewel-studded, crescent-shaped gold boomerang.
"That's Sailor V," Proton said enthusiastically.
Morva breathed a long sigh. "Yes, Proton, I know. Maybe now you'd like to do something useful, like telling me where she is and what is going to happen next." Morva rolled her eyes. Some of these youma weren't worth the energy needed to create them.
"She'll hit our first line of defense in a moment," Neutron provided, obeying his leader's instructions. "At least a hundred small mecha will have to be destroyed before she can get to us. Not to mention they'll have to kill the humans we're controlling."
"We'll wait here," Morva said. "For every second she's delayed, we will have gained just that much more energy. At this rate, we'll be able to report to the Agency in under twenty minutes."
"Wait," Proton breathed, "who's that?" He pointed to the tan-skinned young woman that entered behind V. She had bright orange hair and her outfit was similar to the first girl's, albeit an order more revealing. She moved without seeming to notice the weight of the very large, heavy-looking sword strapped to her back.
Morva put a hand to her mouth, keeping her expression neutral. "Hmm. She could be a problem."
"We don't know how powerful she is," Neutron said. "She could be just another dolled-up human following Sailor V around and trying to imitate her. Then again, she could be one of the more powerful Sailor Soldiers we've heard so much about."
"Yeah," Proton added. "Look at the S on that tiara. Do you think that stands for Saturn? You remember the rumors about that one, don't you?"
"The one with enough power to destroy a planet?" Neutron asked. "If that's who she is, that's really bad news for us. Still, we're not sure. What do you think we should do, boss?"
"Certainly, the last thing we need is an unknown factor," the youma leader said softly. "Proton! Get down there and separate V from the new girl. Make certain she doesn't get a chance to use whatever powers she may have. Use everything you feel necessary, then get back here as quickly as you can."
"Right-o!" Proton saluted, then vanished in a pulse of energy. Lightning arced along the floor and wall near where he had stood.
"As for Sailor V," Morva continued, turning to Neutron, "let's go over the plan again."
There is something to be said about a pair of superheroines that barge straight in through the front door of an enemy hideout, especially when that enemy has had several hours to prepare for their arrival. Some would say they were exceptionally brave and confident. Others would call them fools. Then again, a couple of others would whistle at them, then hoot and holler that they were really hot chicks, completely ignoring the fact that they were armed and ready to do some serious damage.
Sailor S held one hand ready to unsheathe the Crystal Wink Sword at a moment's notice. Her eyes darted left and right for any sign of danger. "Did Katrina say where the youma was in the building?"
"No," V replied, brandishing her Crescent Boomerang like a dagger. "All she said was that she was in here somewhere." She laughed a little. "Well, it's like they say: a villain in the bush is worth three in the bag." She took a step forward through the debris.
One might ask why all land mines in popular fiction have to involve blinking red lights, a high-pitched whine, and a three second delay in order to allow the protagonist a chance at escaping certain death. The only thought going through V's mind in relation to this a second after taking her fateful stride involved an angry question as to why these particular explosives had no such convenient safety features.
When the ringing in the two girls' ears and bones subsided, they found themselves sliding down a wall half a dozen meters away from where they had been walking a few seconds earlier.
"V!" S coughed urgently though the dust, her feet finding the floor. "Are you hurt?!"
"Grrrrr," Sailor V growled as she stood back up, glaring down at her blackened slippers. "I can understand attacking the BBC," she added slowly and darkly, feeling the sting of minor burns on her legs. "I can actually sort of forgive them for draining London's energy," then her voice suddenly grew stronger, "but I CAN'T forgive them for doing that to the Agent of Love and Beauty, Sailor V!!!"
V dashed forward again, this time leaning her shoulder into her sprint. "YAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Mines blasted out from underneath her feet, the force of the powerful explosions just barely missing her as she sped by.
The determined girl ran up the stairs and around the corner, dodging some falling debris as she did. The detonations stopped a few seconds before the girl emerged from the dust cloud, into a room full of strewn photography equipment, where she finally slowed down. "Yaaaaah…?"
In a flash of light, S appeared next to her. "Wow! That was amazing, V! How did you manage to dodge all of those mines?!"
"Eh, it was nothing," V replied calmly.
Sailor Stylin's eyes glistened with appreciation. "I don't think I could've done that. Not even with lots of practice…"
The blonde waved off the compliment, while inwardly drinking it up and smiling in spite of herself. "I know, I know."
"Still, they were all in one line. Don't you think it would have been easier just to walk around them?"
V frowned at that. "I… ah…"
S put a finger to her chin and, without the slightest hint of malice or pride, added, "Of course, if you could teleport like me…"
It took Sailor V a few precious seconds to fully mull over the comment and realize that her friend didn't really mean anything by it. "Right. If I could teleport like you, things would be a lot easier for us. Come to think of it, there is a way. I'll have to check with Artemis—"
Several clicks and whirring noises attracted their attention. Suddenly, both girls noticed the dots of red laser sights on and around them. S and V looked at each other, wary of what was sure to follow. Their eyes held a conversation that, if they had the time to sit down over a cup of tea and actually speak it aloud, would end up sounding something like this:
"Mina, bullets or lasers or something are about to be fired off. Do you think we should back off or go on trying to dodge?"
"Heh. What do you think?"
"I say we fight our way through."
"Then that's what we're doing, girlfriend!"
Of course, what Sailor V's eyes were actually saying was, "You teleport around the weapon emplacements and take them out from behind while I draw their fire." However, the net effect was generally the same.
The two Sailor Warriors leapt away from each other, just as a salvo of high-powered pyrotechnics made a sparkly fireball out of the BBC executive's photograph behind where they had been standing. In an instant, the two lovely fighters saw the racks of small tubes from which the rockets had been launched. A distant whirring noise alerted the girls to the fact that an automated reloading system would momentarily send more explosives in their general direction.
Not one that particularly enjoyed implements of death being thrown at her, Sailor V focused on the matter at hand and decided to take measures to quickly end the bombardment. She raised her boomerang and chucked it toward their attackers, shouting, "Crescent Boomerang, THRASH!"
Sailor S mimicked her action, holding out her hand, tossing her head and crying, "Stylin' Barrette Barrage!" Her hair made a perfect swirl behind her before she landed.
What happened is best described as follows: V's boomerang sliced around in a double spiral to cut out the weapons' supports while Stylin's tiny magical barrettes burst against the launchers. The end result was very simplistic and anticlimactic: the racks fell over, rattling and steaming.
V caught her boomerang and the duo landed, taking stock of their situation. They saw only darkness beyond where the missile emplacements had been.
"That was easy," V commented.
S took a breath and nodded. "Yeah…" Then she saw the red eyes glowing in the darkness and heard the din of many unearthly yells. She took a step back and her hand went to the hilt of her sword. "Eek!"
A pair of Englishmen with burning red eyes ran out of the badly-lit corridor, wielding giant wrenches. Something green, pulsing, and organic hung off the right sides of their faces. Both were frothing and wore nametags identifying them as members of the BBC technical staff.
"Sailor V Punch!" V lunged under her attacker's swing and delivered a blow to his sternum, knocking the wind out of him.
With the loud ring of impossibly sharp metal through air, S cleaved the wrench of her assailant in twain and kicked him hard in the stomach.
Both zombified workers groaned loudly and fell to the floor, clawing toward the two girls like a pair of damaged, but still functional, androids. Their expressions remained blank, except for a sort of faint pained and pleading edge to their eyes every few moments.
"Serves you right," V said with her hands on her hips, nudging one of them in the ribs with the toe of her slipper.
S peered closely at them, sword in hand. Her eyes lit up. "Uh! Um, V-chan?" She sheathed her weapon.
"Have you ever run into anyone that liked to possess people and send them in as human cannon fodder?"
V blinked. "Yes, a couple of times, why?"
S indicated at the two men on the floor. "Take a look at them. I don't think they're youma."
"You think?" The blonde looked down and pointedly stuck out her lower lip. She laughed nervously. "Oops. Eh heh…"
"I think they'll understand," Stylin' said in a bright, encouraging voice. "But it's kinda fighting dirty. You know, using innocent people?"
"Well," V began, "yeah! Of course it's fighting dirty. That's what they do." She folded her arms proudly.
"Why can't they just fight fair?" S lamented.
"Because the Dark Agency could NEVER beat us in a fair fight!" V put away her boomerang. "Say, you're a pretty good swordsgirl. I'll bet your dad taught you all about fighting fair, didn't he?"
"Daddy?" S said. She thought about that. "No, not really." She reached down and yanked the green protoplasm off a technician's face. His body instantly relaxed and his breathing became steady. The goo squelched in her hand before she threw it to the floor, where it hissed and ate through the carpet before vanishing into a wisp of white smoke.
"Aha!" V stated, holding up a finger when she noted the effect. "Good work. So THOSE are doing the controlling this time!"
"Hmm?" S turned to her while she extracted the possessive agent from the other man's head. "You mean, they haven't used these before?" The ooze writhed, trying to burn through her glove before she threw it hard onto the floor and stepped on it.
"Nope! Never." Then V shrugged. "Eh, it's always something different. Usually, the only way to free everyone is to dust the youma."
"Oh. In that case, I'm glad to be working with someone experienced!" Stylin' struck a pose, put a hand on her hip, stuck out her chest, and smiled broadly to help emphasize her mood. "Then I guess they'll be okay as long as we blast the bad guys. So let's go get those evil, nasty, unfair, unstylish creeps!"
"You read my mind!"
"Only a little…"
The Agents of Love, Beauty, and Fashion leapt over the fallen workers and dashed past the broken artillery. They ran up the steps, little poisoned darts with feathers on the back just barely missing them. One or two bounced off of the nigh-impenetrable white top of Stylin's outfit, which was amazing, considering how little of said top there was. In any case, they made it to the top of another flight unharmed.
They weren't exactly surprised when a couple of huge metal arms came down and grabbed them, pinning their arms to their waists and dragging them into another room. Both girls were, however, rather disappointed at their inability to dodge such mechanized traps, since they had been doing so well… up until that point, anyway.
"Ugh!" V grimaced when the grip tightened, thankful for once that she'd missed both lunch and dinner that day. "S! Can you get free?"
"Urrgle… I'll try!" In a quick motion, as if she'd done it a million times before, S popped her shoulder out of place and started squirming, inching her sword-arm out of confinement. Her face remained a mask of concentration, which became particularly strained when several pops and crunches demonstrated the difficulties she encountered while withdrawing the appendage in question. Nevertheless, she kept at it. "Ow… ow… ow! Almost there!"
V winced, and not only at her friend's discomfort. "Ouch. Watch it, S! Try not to hurt yourself too bad!" Her knowledge of basic human anatomy flashed through her mind, which indicated, quite clearly, that people really aren't supposed to bend like that. "Ooh…"
Stylin' blanched at another agonizing crunch. "Owwwwwwww! Sure, V! I'll be okay!" She pounded her unfreed fist against her outer thigh. "I can take it!" Crunch, pop. "WAAH! I think…"
A bunch of television studio lights turned on, revealing the metal arms to be attached to a rather imposing, hydraulically-driven robot that probably had been for one of the BBC's more expensive sci-fi television ventures. S and V also saw a set and a stage consisting of one center podium with a semicircle of smaller pedestals around it.
Cameras took in the scene, run by possessed technicians. A captive audience — this one being a truly captive audience, judging by the manacles and chains — watched the proceedings; some in horror, some in morbid curiosity, and many because they were actually hoping they'd see something entertaining being done at the BBC for once.
An English woman in her fifties hosted the broadcast. Sailor S's eyes widened when she recognized her face. "Anne Robinson!"
"Consider yourselves fortunate to witness the premiere of a brand new show tonight," Anne said in her typical facetious manner. "Welcome to the Weakest Link!" The same glowing, oozing mass that stuck to the workers' faces was also on hers. "Today, our lucky contestants will include the very famous Sailor V— Say hello to Britain, Miss V."
"Urgh— Hi!" Sailor V choked out. She would have made a speech and struck a pose were it not for rapidly tightening vice around her waist. Instead, she showed off a pained smile to the camera. "Nice to be here!"
Anne looked over at Sailor S. "Now, you, will you please introduce yourself to everyone?"
"I," Stylin' began, "am the Cute and — URGH — FLUFFY Formerly One-shot Warrior—"
"Very nice," Anne cut her off. "Now, let's play ‘The Weakest Link!’"
"But you haven't explained the rules yet!" V protested.
"If you don't know them, too bad," the show's hostess replied, then looked down at her podium. "Sailor V, who was the youma that—"
V breathed a little while the robot loosened its grip to allow her to answer. "Ummm!"
"Wrong. It was Bauxite." Anne shuffled some cards in front of her while V's restraints tightened another notch. She turned to S. "You, what were the two strongest metals available during the Silver Millennium era of the Ancient Moon Kingdom?"
"Bio-Temporal Crystal and Carbon Neutronium," S replied swiftly, the topic apparently having been the second thing on her mind. The only part of her arm still trapped by the robot was her hand, by the wrist. "How did you—"
"Wrong," Anne stated. "Mithril Silver and Adamantium Steel."
Sailor S's jaw flipped downward and she started to protest. "No they weren't— URGHLLE!" The robot's arm closed down a few more inches. Several in the audience gasped when something in her body sounded like it broke. "YOW!!!" Then, she recalled the phrasing of the question, and it made her forget the pain for the moment. "Oh, that's right, those weren't metals."
"Miss V, how much pressure can the human spine sustain horizontally before it loses cohesion and begins to fragment?"
"Not much more, that's for sure," V choked out.
"Correct!" The robot arm applied more tension anyway. "Sailor S! Now I recall your name. From the news report a few weeks ago. Absolutely smashing the way you pulled V out of that fire, wasn't it?"
"Great, huh?" Stylin' replied, her torso at a rather odd angle and her arm now only trapped by the fingers. "That's right, I'm Sailor S, and in the name of Fashion—"
Anne's expression remained the same. "Well, then, Sailor S, which Sailor Warrior's seifuku is too racy for prime time English television?"
Stylin' blushed deeply while she looked down at her rather skimpy outfit and yanked her fingers free. "Ah, Sailor Orion?" She popped her shoulder back into place and flexed a little to get the feeling back into her limb.
"Wrong!" the possessed leader of the game show replied.
Sailors S and V suddenly took notice of the background music, which went through a quick resolution before going silent.
"The answer was," Anne continued, "Sailor S! Congratulations, you are the weakest link!"
"Great!" S cried, grappling for the Crystal Wink Sword. "What do I win?" She stopped and batted her eyelashes hopefully.
"You would normally take the 'Walk of Shame', but since we've had a change in management today, you will take the perilous, agonizing 'Descent Into Hades!'"
"What?! That's a terrible prize!" A big pit full of red and green flames opened directly under Stylin's dangling feet.
"Indeed." Anne Robinson smiled one of those thin-lipped, professional smiles often given by business managers to one's they're about to dismiss. "Goodbye."
The robot lifted S high into the air and, without so much as a dramatic pause, threw her downwards into the pit. Stylin' screamed loudly while she descended what sounded like several hundred feet, and went silent. A wafting plume of fire rose from the hole a second later.
"S!" V shouted urgently.
"That was easy," said a digitally filtered voice from the shadows. "Your new friend wasn't much to worry about, was she?"
"Ooh, you are SO gonna get it for that." V added, staring down the hole. "S! Can you hear me?!" There was no response. "Wait, who's there?" She looked over at the glowing eyes in the darkness at the edge of the studio.
The clank from the all-concealing obscurity indicated that the speaker had just fallen down, probably right onto his face. "Huh?! No! I'm Proton, come from the Dark Agency to finish you off."
"Well," V huffed, "at least I was close." She tilted her head. "And don't be so rude! At least show yourself."
"I'll take that as a last request. Fine!"
Anne Robinson rolled her eyes and leaned against the podium while Proton stepped into the spotlight.
Sailor V gagged. "Is THAT what you look like?!"
Whether it was the red leather bellbottom trousers with rhinestone-inlaid lightning zigzags or the Leprechaun face with pointed ears and pinwheels, V could tell that this particular youma had some serious fashion issues. "I've seen some stupid outfits before, guy, but YOU give the pie. Just be glad Sailor S ain't here. She'd get paleolithic on your lousy donkey, you creep!"
"Er, what?" Proton winced. It took a full eight seconds for him to realize that he'd just been insulted. Putting his hands on his hips, he screamed at her, "I— I WAS going to let you go free to face me and the others at the top of the building, but for what you just said—!!!" He motioned toward the robot, which clamped the other hand around Sailor V and made to finish her off.
Oddly enough, V barely felt the increase in pressure before she heard the twanging sound of steel being cleaved apart behind her. A harsh explosion signaled the end to the machine's hydraulic system and the metal fingers dropped away from her. The second she got loose, she wasted no time in pointing her index finger at Proton and shouting, "CRESCENT BEAM, SMASH!!!"
"AARGH!!!" Proton cried as the laser tore into his side while he struggled to get out of the way.
Sailor Stylin' dashed out from behind the busted 'bot, put away her sword, and held out her hands, announcing her attack. "Stylin' Tough n' Puffy Bow-Ribbons!" She hurled glowing pink ribbons at Proton until he was entangled in a cocoon-like shell.
"Nothing like a little short-range teleportation to stop a fall. NOW you're all gonna listen to my speech, got it?!" S held a fist to her mouth, cleared her throat, then struck a cutesy pose. "I am the Cute and Fluffy Formerly One-shot Warrior for Love, Justice, Fashion, and Makeovers. I am Sailor Stylin'!" She went through another series of poses. "You, you evil, nasty fashion-reject, have polluted the minds of Great Britain's television viewers, making a bad overall appearance! Worst of all, your plans to drain energy are out of date. On behalf of teen models AND stylish game show hosts everywhere, I will punish you!" She finished off with yet another ultra-flexible pose and smiled for the camera.
Sailor V came out from behind the orange-haired girl and made a few poses of her own. "And the Agent of Love and Beauty, I am Sailor V! Glad to see you're okay, S."
S giggled to herself. "Same here, V-chan!"
"Aha!" During the speeches, Proton had managed to work himself free of the ribbons, seemingly unimpeded by his small wound. Breaking away the last few strips, he struggled to his feet and pulled out what looked like a large pair of tuning forks. Between them, slowly rising lines of sparks buzzed, like those from an early Frankenstein movie. "POSITIVE CHARGE!" He jammed one of the implements into a nearby wall.
Electrical sparks burst along the wall, continuing upwards along the ceiling and spreading across the floor. In an instant, it divided Sailor V from Sailor S. Then, Proton hurled the other fork across the room, imbedding it into the opposite wall. "NEGATIVE CHARGE!"
"YAAAAAH!!!" A strong burst of lightning flung S and V several meters away from each other. V skidded into a low crouch while S fell flat onto her back, both with black singe marks on the front of their outfits.
"Lightning," S muttered, struggling to move her stunned limbs. "Why does it always have to be lightning?! So THAT'S why Daddy always killed the youma before making a speech…"
V whipped out her compact, allowing it to spin in the air for a heartbeat before snatching it again. "Crescent Boomerang, THRASH!"
In a flash, the gold boomerang parted the distance between V and Proton. The medium-height youma leprechaun raised a sparking arm, which appeared to influence the metal's arc by several degrees, the net result being that it missed him by at least several inches. The boomerang sped back to Sailor V's hand.
Proton looked smugly at V. "Hah! That boomerang's not real gold, you know!"
"CRESCENT SLENDER BEAM!!!" A tight burst of yellow energy shot from V's finger directly past Proton's ear. He looked back to see it neatly slice the goo off of Anne Robinson's face and destroy the support for an overhead microphone assembly. Anne slumped over her podium and the microphone fell down to conk Proton on the noggin. He collapsed. The audience cheered.
Sailor V paused to take a well-earned bow.
A few of her fans violently silenced the cad before V could take notice.
S fought to shake off the numbness all over her body and took out her sword, stalking towards the prone monster. Then she paused, glancing at the ceiling. "V! I can feel something upstairs." She gasped. "That must be where the youma's been gathering energy! A machine or something."
The masked vigilante nodded. "Yeah, they do that sometimes." She took another look at the youma. "Wait a second. Katrina said the youma we're looking for is a 'she'."
"Maybe she was mistaken," S replied. "Or there's another one to deal with upstairs. Oh! The energy upstairs feels like it's slowing down, like they've almost got all of it they need."
"You can sense that?" V asked, scratching her head. After a moment, she decided to let the assertion slide. "Can you teleport up there and stop it?"
S looked upward, pursing her lips in concentration. "Mmmm! No can do." She looked at the other sailor-suited warrior. "I'm sorry, V. I don't know how, but they're blocking me. If I had a few minutes more, I might be able to find a way around it—"
"Ah. So, there's not enough time for that, right?"
S shook her head. "No, not really. I mean, if they're taking too much from London's viewers, people could start dying if we don't destroy what they're using. And I mean soon."
"So, we'll split up. You finish off the youma, and do what you can for the people being controlled by it. I'll stop whatever it's got upstairs."
"Don't take too long, ya hear!" V said, brushing back a lock of blonde hair. "Eh, I'm sure I'll have it all wrapped up by the time you catch up anyway." She noticed the questioning looks of the audience. "Everyone, stay where you are! The lower floors are mined, but try to stay calm. We'll get these monsters as soon as we can!" She struck one of her tried and true poses, waved goodbye to everyone, and ran to the stairs to continue her ascent.
Sailor S turned back toward Proton. "Okay, then." She lifted the Crystal Wink Sword. "Your powers are gonna be mine!" She rushed at him with a loud battle cry and slashed downward at the youma's neck. "YAAAAAH!"
Proton's eyes shot open and he grinned at her. Sparks emanated from his body, creating a magnetic field strong enough to slow down and halt Stylin's blade.
"What—?!" S cried while the same force wrenched her sword around, pulling her with it at several different angles before it slipped from her grasp, stopped a few feet away, and swung back at her. "Oh no! I knew I shouldn't have put so much glove polish on earlier." On the bright side, she added silently to herself, her whole outfit looked positively smart n' stylin' tonight.
"Silly sailor," the electric leprechaun giggled. "Swords are for hearts!"
S backed away from the blade and, with the air of a rookie hostage negotiator who hadn't yet realized that the ammunition was real this time, protested, "That's not how the quote goes!"
"It is now!"
The youma made an emphatic gesture at the airborne sword, which plunged itself at an angle deep through Stylin's unprotected midsection and made a clean cut all the way through her torso, where the shining tip of the blade exited where her shoulder met her neck.
The audience winced sympathetically.
In her short life, Sailor Stylin' had never had time to think about what it was like to die. The sensation of cold steel passing though her was novel, to say the least. Indeed, she could not call it pain, because the minor scratches and flesh wounds she had previously endured were of a magnitude far too small to truly compare with it. Her pain intensified as the seconds dragged on. To make things worse, she honestly had no idea what to do about it.
Despite her tan, the girl turned white with shock. Silently agape, she stumbled backward, not even having a chance to fall down before Proton leapt to his feet, brandished a new set of metal forks and threw one at her. "POSITIVE CHARGE!" The deep, digitized echo of his voice continued even as he threw the second. "NEGATIVE CHARGE!!!"
The first caught S in the upper shoulder at one end of the sword, and the other landed at her stomach near the hilt. Lightning shot through her, then made a show of exploding, sending a blast wave throughout the room. As an additional aftershock, long, thick tendrils of electricity burned through the air around the girl.
Then darkness engulfed her.
"Yow!" V yelped while she continued up the steps. To her, it felt as if something had just stabbed her at the base of her neck. "What was that?!" She looked around and held the afflicted area, but could find nothing amiss. "Weird."
The sharp tingling gradually faded away while V gritted her teeth and sprinted onward.
The former one-shot warrior sailed backward in a slow parabolic curve, tears trailing from her tightly-closed eyes. Then she fell, swooning soundlessly to the floor, where she lay motionless.
Proton folded his arms and gazed for a minute at his fallen enemy. "Humans are such fragile things."
The spectators 'awwed', generally looking either hard-faced, distraught, or teary-eyed. Even if a couple of them didn't particularly like the girl quite as much as V for various reasons, neither did they really wish to see her in that condition, especially since she had come to try and protect them in the first place.
"Now, what did Morva say to check?" Proton mused. "Breathing?" He saw that the girl's chest was neither rising, nor falling. Neither did he feel any air coming from her mouth or nose when he reached down to check. "Good. Heart rate?" He felt her neck and waited for several seconds. "Hah! No pulse, and she hasn't moved a muscle." He chuckled evilly. "Now all that's left is to bring back her head." Then he frowned. "Yeesh. I hate severed heads! Oh, I'm sure Morva won't mind…"
The victorious youma crossed his arms, and vanished.
Everyone in the stands looked at each other.
Kyle Rayner had just barely grasped his ring by the tips of his fingers when a sneeze caused him to drop it once again. It clattered even further down the drain. "D'OH!"
In the darkness on the top floor, Morva and Neutron looked up at Proton when he appeared.
"Did you separate them?" Morva asked.
"I had to use some clever moves," the leprechaun replied, "but I managed. The second one's name was Sailor S. She sure was something to reckon with. She WAS a very good fighter. I got her, Morva! I got her!"
"You killed V's new companion? Are you absolutely certain?"
"I ran her through with her own sword, then shocked her with a point-blank, maximum-power double charge. She didn't move or breathe, and she had no pulse! Does that sound like a dead enough human for ya?"
Neutron whistled. "Yeah, that sounds pretty dead to me."
"Her head, Proton. Did you bring her head?"
"Oh, Morva, you know I hate chopping off heads! I'm allergic to the sight of blood. She didn't really bleed, either." At the deep red glow from his leader's shoulders, Proton added, "But she was fried, that's why! Smoking and everything. Deader than dead. Extra crispy. I promise!"
"For your sake, I hope you're right," Morva muttered darkly. With a swish, she turned around. "Now, the ambush. Neither Sailor V nor the energy will escape us this time."
Sailor V ran up what she hoped was the last flight of stairs. Upon reaching the top, she noted to herself that someone had redecorated the seventh floor of the BBC building with a lot of granite, dust, and spider webs. It looked like one of those fake Egyptian tombs with a bunch of randomly painted hieroglyphics that were meant to seem like a prophecy of doom to all who enter, but really read, "Quiet please, recording in progress, lavatories to your left, and stairways ahead and back."
Navigating by the faint torchlight and staying in a balanced stance afforded to her by her special "I Saw it On Kung Fu Theater Once" martial arts pseudo-training, the Agent of Love and Justice advanced forward.
Barely even a tenth of the way through the corridor, the grinding of stone against stone and the sinking of a floor tile alerted her to the triggering of a trap.
Sailor V stepped aside, just as an enormous boot on a very long steel pole swept past her in a rush of air. Then, a stone slid away in the wall next to her. A swift duck and roll maneuver enabled her to escape a wooden pole that came out and attempted to tape a "Kick Me" sign to her back.
V raised an eyebrow at the choice of traps, then shrugged and proceeded. Yet another tile sunk into the floor and the walls beside her sprang open. She heard the thunk of a large device falling into place, and fell flat on the floor, just in time to avoid getting tickled to death by several vibrating rows of chicken feathers.
The girl giggled to herself and shook her head. She got back up and ran confidently forward, ignoring the other traps that missed her on the way, which included swinging rubber chickens, a grey hair dye bomb, several buckets of water, and a couple of flaming bags of doggy-do.
Finally, she hit a tile that felt different from the others. This one also included side panels that slid away, but had a low rumbling along with it and included — for no extra pay — a general sense of doom.
V sidestepped a flurry of obviously poisoned darts, jumped over a large ballista arrow, and somersaulted forward just in time to keep from being crushed by a multi-ton slab of rock that, up until a few moments ago, had been the ceiling.
On the side of the slab, a note read, "Laugh THIS one off!"
The blonde considered doing just that, but then decided against it, remembering that time was of the essence, and that she had a job to do. She discovered yet another set of stairs to climb and, with a long sigh, continued her rapid ascent. She encountered no further resistance.
Halfway up, something occurred to her. "Lynne's sure taking a while." V whispered to herself. She pulled out a small, pink, calculator-like communicator and hit the transmit button. "S! Are you finished with that youma yet?" The tiny circular screen filled with static. "S?" More static. "S?!"
"She's almost here," Morva announced.
"I see her!" Neutron hissed, peering through the door leading to the stairwell.
"Everyone to their task," Morva whispered. "If one of us doesn't damage her, the other two will."
Sailor V turned her attention back to the mission. She told herself that it was just a jammed signal— S was fine. She would stop the energy drain, and then go back for her friend. Then again, she thought, maybe the youma had been too strong for her, even with the sword. With every passing step, the dilemma between going back and possibly saving Lynne or going forward and definitely saving a city full of strangers, gradually shifted in favor of her friend. "I shouldn't have left her alone."
Just as she started to turn around, a red glow in the shadows caught her attention. Changing her position in the unpredictable manner that she did probably saved her life, since if she had been standing head on, she would not have managed to leap upwards and rotate while arching her back just perfectly to avoid anything more than a burn in the back of her sailor blouse from the powerful laser beam that had obviously been intended for her heart. She landed in a corner while another shot sped by her.
"POSITIVE CHARGE!" a voice rang out from the darkness while a silver fork shot past V's shoulder, pinning an edge of her outfit's fabric to the wall. "NEGATIVE CHARGE!"
With a gasp, V recognized the voice from the youma she and S had fought earlier. She quickly aimed a finger in the direction of her attackers. "CRESCENT BEAM, SMASH!"
In that instant, a male cyborg with lots of wires and metal sticking out of him jumped into the light. He braced himself against the yellow beam and shouted, "GROUNDING DEFLECTOR!"
The energy of V's blast slammed up against a rippling barrier a centimeter away from the cyborg's body, then slipped down through his armor plating in the form of yellow sparks and put a big pockmark through the floor.
With a slight tug, V ripped free of the metal fork and rolled away from the lightning burst that went across the floor. She whipped out her boomerang and threw it. "CRESCENT BOOMERANG, THRASH!!!"
Proton stepped forward and waved off the device. It imbedded itself into the ceiling and refused to move after that. "Hah!"
"Proton, Neutron," a deep female voice commanded. "Realign!"
V leapt to her feet. "Three against one, huh?" she asked with her hands on her hips. "In the name of Venus—"
The red glow appeared once more. V barely had the chance to jump and snatch her boomerang before the lasers went off. Again, they seemed aimed at her heart, but due to her movements, it caught her in the calf instead.
The blonde hissed at the deep burn. She barely managed to stay upright when she landed. The gravity of her situation yet to set in, she popped open her compact and used the mirror to deflect the following shot toward Proton, tearing a hole through his shoulder.
The leprechaun yelled in agony.
"Keep up the attack!" the remaining voice from the shadows shouted.
V used the distraction to withdraw, limping — nearly rolling — down a single flight of stairs. Down on the floor below, she strained to catch her breath. "Since when," she panted, "could they ambush me so bad?"
The dreaded red glow shone from above.
Sailor V only had time to look up and curse under her breath before both laser beams caught her full in the chest.
Philosophers have debated for ages whether or not Fate plays games with our lives. Once it had been established that She does, speculation began as to precisely what kind of games She favors. Many supposed that it was a simple game of chess, and perhaps a long time ago, that's what it was.
During rosier times, it was thought that She played something akin to checkers or Candyland. When She got bored of those, things like Dungeons and Dragons held her attention for a while. In these enlightened times, though, She does not bother with such slow, inconvenient forms of entertainment. Now She wants some action.
And so it was that Fate grumbled to Herself, dug through Her pockets, gazed forlornly at the screen, and plunked in another sixpence.
Sailor Stylin' remained motionless on her back in the badly-damaged test studio, her sword still stuck through her body at a weird angle. To the captive observers, she looked very, inescapably, and completely, dead.
However, there were a few odd details that they could not quite figure out. The lack of blood, for example. By all accounts, she should have been lying in a pool of it by now. Instead, only a very slight drip of a glowing, light-blue fluid seeped out of her wounds. Moreover, the light tan color returned to her skin.
Brushing off the rather unstylish deceased look she had worn for the past few minutes, S took a breath and opened her eyes, then closed them again when an attempt to sit up was thwarted by the sword in her torso. "Ow! Oww! Owwwww!" Gingerly, and very carefully, she lifted a hand and took hold of an exposed part of the blade at her stomach. Inch by inch, she slipped it out and let it drop to the floor.
"Aaah. Ow! That's not much better." Stylin' reclined, closed her eyes again, and crossed her arms over her broken flesh. In a glistening light, her outfit shifted to the greenish organic one she'd acquired in her last life-and-death struggle. Her injuries quickly vanished, not leaving so much as a scar or blemish behind. "Hey," she whispered, rubbing where the blade had gone in and looking at her fingers. "Why am I alive?"
Cutting off that thought, she felt several sudden stabs in the back of her mind, along with what could be described as a sharp, burning sensation. She recalled that, in her father, that would have meant that his core being was getting seriously injured. A small communicator, shaped like a pink pocket calculator and tucked at her side under her upper outfit, buzzed to life. "S!" Sailor V's voice barely came in through heavy static. "Are you there?!"
The girl's eyes widened when she heard the underlying physical pain in her friend's voice. "Oh no!" An image of V getting ganged up on by a horde of youma flashed through her mind. She snatched her sword and literally leapt to her feet, instantly assuming a far more tensed, focused combat stance than she had ever used before. She tapped the inconspicuous communications device and said, "V! I'm on my way!"
Sailor Stylin' didn't even bother to strike a pose before she vanished in a soft glow.
At a major metropolitan airport just outside the borders of Wyoming, a fluffy white seal sat on a padded plastic seat and stared up at a television set, which for some reason was showing the latest BBC broadcast of "The Weakest Link".
"Oh dear." The seal slumped when he saw the action take place, slinking out of his seat and onto the floor on top of a bunch of rather negative newspaper articles.
"It's so depressing," the seal moaned to anyone who cared to listen. A few nearby shuffled their newspapers and did their best to ignore him.
"S, I'm pinned down on the next to last floor," Sailor V growled into her communicator, which still gave nothing back save for a bunch of useless static. "Where are you?!"
Adrenalin is a very powerful chemical. Even in those without any sort of magical powers, it can allow most individuals to perform seemingly superhuman acts, at least for a short period of time. Now, in the bodies of those actually possessing superhuman abilities, it can sustain life and allow one to continue fighting, even for several minutes after a mortal blow has been scored.
V had lost her mask somewhere along the way. She had spent the last couple of minutes dodging lasers and trying what felt like a few last-ditch efforts to return fire. This wasn't the first time she'd had to come to grips with her own mortality, but this was most assuredly the prime experience of having such an obviously fatal injury.
The fact that she hadn't managed to bring down a single one of her enemies didn't help very much at all. Taking temporary refuge behind a thick metal cabinet, she clicked her communicator again. "S! On second thought, forget about me! Get out of here! Save yourself!"
Proton must have heard her, since he let out a low, malevolent chuckle. "Sailor S?! Don't make me laugh. I left her dead back on the fourth floor!"
V took a shocked breath and froze. "You're lying!" she shouted back. "She's tougher than that!" She winced from the sensation just now seeping in from her cauterized wound.
Proton went on to describe what he did, embellishing some parts here and there. For example, he added the head retrieval and a few more unrealistically gory details.
V wedged her eyes shut and slid to the floor, her back to the cabinet. Tears trickled down her cheeks from a combination of the shock and the pain. "No. It can't be." Her voice dropped off while she, perhaps unwisely, used the last bit of her strength to avoid giving the enemy the satisfaction of hearing her sobs.
In the reflection of the window in front of her, V saw all three of the youma that had been after her. There was the electric leprechaun called Proton, the cyborg that she had heard called Neutron, and then there was the one the others had referred to as Morva. This one was unmistakably female, and had pale skin with a black vinyl bodysuit and fangs. Apparently the leader, she had two large growths on her shoulders that had been used to fire off the red lasers.
Just as Sailor V felt her senses start to slip away, the second most welcome voice she'd ever heard in her life rang out in this most forsaken section of the broadcasting headquarters.
"GET AWAY FROM MINA!!!"
Two thoughts went through Sailor Stylin's mind as she leapt into action. One was a flurry of emotion and the determination that she had to save Mina, her dearly beloved friend and partner. The other one appeared, unbidden, when she saw what condition Sailor V was actually in. That thought was, simply put, <Berserker Mode Engaged.>
Not caring, for once in her life, how she looked or how she sounded, the second-generation Knight in Shining Armor hacked into the cyborg with a flurry of powerful slashes. Sparks flew while the armor gave way. She wielded the large sword as if it weighed nothing.
Neutron — stunned and badly wounded, but still alive — grappled at her sword arm in an effort to slow the assault.
S snatched the youma's appendage and, staring directly into his eyes, twisted it backwards until it snapped like a dry twig. With the same hand, she lunged ahead and crushed his neck. Slime and ichor went in every direction while the youma screeched and crumbled into dust between the warrior's fingers.
With a cold, calculating glint in her eyes, the girl leapt to the side and delivered a precisely placed roundhouse kick to Proton's ribcage. It sent him crashing through a pair of dividing walls until slamming him up against a concrete support pillar. The pillar got knocked precisely three feet backwards before the remaining force caused the support to crumble into its component cement particles and twisted steel bars.
Several tons of debris fell onto Proton from part of the floor above. Nearly crushed, he squirmed out of the rubble, only to see Stylin' hurl her weapon directly at him.
With the Crystal Wink Sword imbedded to the hilt in Proton's forehead, he, too, crumbled into dust.
Two of Morva's red laser beams burned into the side of Stylin's skintight top. Seemingly unaffected, the formerly one-shot warrior turned toward her, effortlessly blurred out of the way of another shot, and swung her arm sideways.
The chop landed at Morva's side, obviously breaking her arm, but the additional crunches indicated that some ribs had gone as well. S followed up with another series of strikes, each aimed at vital areas.
The leader of the former trio stumbled backwards, barely managing to shield her face and chest from the girl's relentless assault while powering up another pair of blasts.
A concussive blow to Morva's clavicle came close to smashing one of her laser cannons and sent her reeling into the stairs. She showed definite signs of damage, shock, and fatigue. She started to scramble upward to make it away from her assailant, but S released a tangle of ribbons, catching her by the legs and starting to drag her backwards.
"AAAAH!" Her face a mask of complete and utter terror, the youma aimed both her lasers at Stylin's head and fired. When the ribbons entangling her legs went slack, she apparently decided that enough was enough, and she was getting her hindquarters out of there. Up the steps she flew, away and out of sight.
"GWAAAH!" S cried, clutching at her forehead. "Ow… Aah, owww!" She fell to her knees while her bisected tiara clattered to the floor. Snapping out of the strange trance she had somehow gone into, she looked around frantically. "Wait… Mina!" She stood and took another breath. "Mina, what happened?"
The warrior found her friend a moment later. Kneeling beside her and cradling the blonde's head in her lap, S struggled to think of how she could help. "Mina…"
V didn't open her eyes. "S," she whispered weakly, "I'm hurt bad."
"I'll find a doctor! I'll get help!"
"Please, don't leave. I can't recover from this— I'm fading fast."
"No… I shouldn't have left you!"
"Heh. I was thinking the same thing. But you're stronger than I thought."
S looked around frantically, fighting to recall something-ANYTHING that could work. She shifted into her plantlike outfit and attempted to use her acquired powers on V, but it was of no use. "It doesn't work! It only heals me."
V's body started to relax. "Maybe you'll be able to defeat the Dark Agency. Say goodbye to Artemis for me."
"It needs something else," Stylin' whispered to herself. A pair of small energy surges behind her caught her attention. Recognizing it as a type she could absorb, she reached out with great concentration.
A pair of small crystals rose from the ashes of the two slain youma and floated into Lynne's grasp, where they disappeared. She wedged her eyes shut while she battled to adapt the residual powers to something she could use.
"I think I got it," S said in a distant voice. "Sorry, Mina, but there's no time to make it stylish." She held her hands on each of Sailor V's shoulders, and lifted her gaze upwards. She took a deep breath and said, "Positive charge." Her right hand started to glow softly. "Negative charge." Light spread across both girls and a couple of sparks zapped around them. "Grounding deflector." The sparks subsided.
"Full-On Stylin' Therapeutic Healing Power Combine: Life Share!"
A strong wind came out of nowhere and swirled around them while the two levitated a small distance off the floor.
"Just a little more," S whispered softly. "We're gonna be okay."
A little while later, Mina opened her eyes and gave an exhausted smile, which Lynne returned, both looking quite relieved.
Then they fell flat on their backs.
"Hmm." S pursed her lips and stared at the ceiling. "Are we both dead now? It's so hard to tell."
"Hoo-yeah, girl," V breathed, glad to feel her heartbeat again, "we're dead."
"Well… At least now I know."
"That last youma escaped, by the way," S added after a minute.
"Eh. I don't care," V replied. "So long as you're okay."
"The same here. Anyway, we fought a good fight, didn't we?"
S picked something out of the dust and held it up. "Hmm? V-chan! Here's your mask."
Upstairs, Morva rushed toward the energy collection spheres that had been set up to gather the life force of London's television viewers. If all had gone well, it would be just about done.
The battered youma leader limped to the case where the spheres were being held and pulled aside the wooden panel concealing them. The solid blue glow permeating each ball confirmed her hypothesis.
"I lost two henchmen," Morva whispered while she grasped one of the spheres and prepared to teleport back to the Dark Agency headquarters, "but I have more than enough energy to make up for them. And next time, I'll be ready for that new girl."
Suddenly, a thick, heavy Plexiglas shield flew into the case, shattering half of the thin globes, releasing their energy back to their original owners.
"Stop," a refined Englishwoman's voice cried, "in the name of the BMBP!"
"The BMBP?" Morva shrieked, running a hand down her face in frustration. "Not… THE BRITISH MOTOR BOAT POLICE?!" The youma turned and saw the image that many of the Dark Agency's lackeys had come to dread: an English SWAT team consisting of the best-dressed and best-trained collection of London's Finest.
Aside from Sailor V, Morva recalled, they had been thus far the only ones to have a near-perfect victory rate against the Dark Agency. In general, they didn't kill youma. What they did was much worse: they attempted to capture and reform them. Most escaped, but a few had never been heard from again.
"The same!" Katrina replied in an enthusiastic tone. She still had on her dress uniform, but also wore a very stylish helmet, a designer flak vest, and a truncheon that looked like it could easily give a bludgeoning on par with one applied by Akane Tendo or Naru Narusegawa.
Katrina was flanked by about a dozen other men and women that were dressed almost alike, and also carried large Plexiglas riot shields.
The roar of a helicopter’s engine from the roof informed Morva as to how the group had arrived. Why they were called Motor Boat Police and had as many resources as they did was a mystery to the prospective youma leader.
As Morva saw it, she had two options. One, she could stay and try to get revenge for the lost energy; or two, she could cut her losses and get out with what was still a sizeable quantity.
"I'd love to stay and chat," Morva said while she grabbed one of the unbroken energy spheres. "But I've got better things to do." The last sentence she said while marginally transparent. Then she vanished entirely, along with the intact globes.
"Oh, bugger it." Katrina frowned and tapped her shoe against the floor. "I do so hate it when they get away." She turned toward the rest of her team. "I say, did you manage to disarm that last bomb she had set to go off once she got away?"
One of the men in the group held up a device with several cylinders linked by wires with a timer on it. The timer beeped, but since all the wires had been disconnected, nothing happened. "Got it right here. No worries."
Katrina clapped her hands together. "Oh, bravo! Jolly good. Now let's go check on the girls. I certainly hope they're all right."
The BMBP and the Sailor Team met up one floor down. Both S and V were obviously exhausted, so they accepted their praise and commendations mostly with smiles and nods while they struggled to support each other on the way back downstairs.
Another police group managed to sweep out the traps and mines from the lower floors, and when the Sailors passed by the live television audience, they were greeted by cheers and applause.
Stylin' even managed to get an autograph from a rather embarrassed and very apologetic Anne Robinson.
Normally, Sailor V preferred to get away before attracting any unnecessary public attention, but in this case, both she and S were too worn out to care.
Realizing the unique problems of keeping a secret identity in any kind of detective work, Katrina obtained permission to take the girls home. She learned their addresses, but in return, she gave them hers.
"Tomorrow's my day off," Katrina explained. "If you like, you two could come by and knock me up in the morning."
With raised eyebrows, S and V looked at each other, then stared back at Katrina.
"Umm," V began.
"Err," S continued that thought.
"Knocking you up in the morning?" Stylin' rubbed her bare forehead. "Is that the custom here?"
"Oh, yes. Quite."
Neither party knew exactly what the misunderstanding was about, but it eventually got cleared up. Really, it did.
[End Chapter 3.]
And now, it's time for…
SAILOR STYLIN'S TIP FOR THE DAY!!! Yaaaay! *Cheers*Twitch*Twitch*
(Scene of Sailors S and V charging into the battle zone)
"Today, we learned how important it is to plan things out."
(Scene of Morva lecturing her lackeys on the coming fight)
"Some people just try too hard, though."
(Scene of Proton, the badly dressed electric leprechaun, stepping out of the shadows)
"Even though we might mean well, the wrong outfit could spell disaster."
(Scene of S, screaming in a berserk rage and tearing through the bad guys with her bare hands)
"And remember, there's always someone who might not agree with you, so try to listen to others' opinions."
(Scene of Katrina with her hands on her hips, and the BMBP ready to take Morva down)
"When in doubt, go with the traditional look. It's always better to have something timeless than to go after the wrong fad."
(Scene of a white seal on a nonstop flight to London, cargo class, groaning at the little baggage tag on his flipper)
"More than anything, dress for the occasion. You'll get it right, trust me!"
(Scene of Stylin' and Venus posing together)
"And that's my tip for the day. Tee-hee!"
(Ending credits, to the music of "Fly me to the 'Shroom," sung by Mister R.B. Fish, in a cockney accent, while his seal-like silhouette rotates over a pool of rippling swamp water.)
Big thanks go out to:
And everyone that participated in the Sailor Stylin' poll! I was initially only going to have the villain be some stupid, dinky thing that just brawled until they killed it, but all in all, I think the current one is a nice improvement over that idea. It was as competent as I could make them if they were still to lose.
By the way, "Knock me up in the morning," is the equivalent of "Come by and say hello tomorrow," if stand up comics that I heard eight years ago are to be believed. Man, I sure know how to pick my source material.
Thanks for reading!
Benjamin A. Oliver
|Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005||
Webmaster: Larry F