Battered, crippled, and bloodied, a woman in a uniform that
had not been seen in centuries dragged herself with a key-shaped staff away
from the base toward the temporal portal. Gunshots continued behind her as she
strained to crawl through the portal before the soldiers could catch up to
her. “How did it happen?” She muttered
under her breath. Answers, however, were not forthcoming, and she dragged
herself through the portal, opening another wildly toward
Change of Phases
The preceding and following characters and some scenarios are the possessions of Naoko Takeuchi and Stan Lee among others in Marvel Entertainment, Co and Toei Animation Group
Usagi tried to ignore the crowds about her as she made her way to Juuban Jr. High. A sickeningly cheerful smile on her face was utterly faked as she tried to shut out the noises about her. She had tried everything in her power to ignore the noises for almost two years, ever since they began. At first merely a mild annoyance, now, at age fifteen, they were almost unbearable. The various noises caused her problems as time went by… until she began to realize what the noises were.
It was little wonder, if one knew, why Usagi could never seem to get to class on time, and always fell asleep. She was actually very intelligent, but the strain of keeping the voices out kept her awake until she passed out from sheer mental exhaustion. And once more, another fatiguing day came to pass. (HELP!!!!) Usagi almost fell on her rear as she heard the anguished cry for help. She quickly rushed in the direction the cry came from, only to find a trio of children tormenting a small cat.
“Go away!” She yelled at the children. However, that was not what disturbed the children the most. The hail of pebbles and debris scared them out of their wits, and they dashed as far as their legs could carry them. She then looked around for the person who screamed, but could see nobody. Nobody except the cat. The cat whimpered as it pawed at the bandages. The voice was still in her head, but it was more primal, less coherent now. Usagi hesitantly moved forward and started to peel the bandages away. “That’s the first time I’ve ever ‘heard’ a cat speak…” She remarked quietly to herself, as the bandages peeled away to reveal a golden crescent moon.
The girl blinked as she heard the cat’s mind become clearer. (Thank the Goddess… I thought I’d never get those damnable bandages off.) Said cat looked up at her savior and blinked a little in surprise.
“I’m sure Amaterasu would be glad to know that cats ask her favors as well.” Usagi remarked to herself, and then started as she heard the school bell off in the distance. “Oh no... Haruna-sensei’s going to kill me…” She set the utterly astonished cat down and dashed for the school.
Usagi stood in the hall after a rather public dressing down by Haruna-sensei, rubbing at her temples as she tried to ignore the numerous conversations, erotic images, arguments, wistful wishes and day dreams that floated about her head.
Haruna-sensei poked her head out at Usagi, ready to give her a dressing down for not holding the buckets, when she noticed the strained expression on the girl’s face. “Tsukino-chan, why don’t you go to the infirmary?” Usagi nodded gratefully and shambled off to the nurse’s office, a hand rubbing her temple.
As the girl stepped into the office, and the door closed behind her, she could almost feel the weight lift. Perhaps it was an ulterior motive, but for some reason, the noises were always less in the nurse’s office. Marginal, but any reduction was welcome. The door behind her opened for a moment, and then an odd whirring sound was heard, followed by a pair of heels clacking gently on the tile. “Usagi-chan? There’s someone here to see you?”
Usagi turned to see Nurse Kiuko standing behind and towering over a beautiful woman in a business suit. Despite being five and a half feet tall, Kiuko still towered over the woman by the simple fact that the woman was seated in a motorized wheel chair. “Tsukino-san? I’m Dr. Meioh. I heard about your frequent trips to the infirmary from Kiuko-san, and decided to speak with you.” Those were the words heard by the ear. What was heard by Usagi’s mind was quite different.
(Hello, Usagi-san… Kiuko-chan tells me that you are having some difficulties as of late.)
Usagi stared in shock at the woman. She bore a beautiful elegance despite her immobility, and seemed to fill the air with a calm surety. (Yes, you are not imagining things, Usagi-san. You can hear me and I can hear you. I see you are having quite a difficult time.)
Usagi tried to speak with a dry mouth. “I… I’m pleased to meet you, Meioh-sensei.” (H... how are you doing this?)
Setsuna looked into her eyes. (The same way you are, Usagi-san. I can teach you to quiet the noises, to gain control over them, so you only hear what you want to hear.)
Usagi almost burst into tears at the possibility of surcease from the brain numbing din between her ears. (You can do that? How?)
Setsuna smiled gently. (I can teach you many things. I actually came here to offer you an opportunity at a new school. One where you and others can learn to control themselves and their abilities.)
Usagi paused. (But how can I afford it? My family is not that rich…)
Setsuna laughed gently in her mind. (Money is not a concern. Call it a scholarship if you will. If you would like, I could help with your parents if that is a concern.)
Usagi paused and sighed. “Can I have some time to think about it?” She asked aloud.
Setsuna nodded and smiled. “Certainly. If you decide, please let Kiuko-san know, and she will get in contact with me. Or call me.” She offered a small business card to Usagi, who accepted it.
Kiuko nodded knowingly and gave Usagi a note. “Here, dear, you should go home.”
Usagi nodded and began to leave.
Tsukino Ikuko was only slightly surprised to see her daughter stepping in the door with an exhausted-sounding ‘tadaima’. “Another bad day, dear?” She asked concernedly.
Usagi looked at her mother and sighed. “A little…” She wasn’t sure she wanted to talk about the offer yet, but decided, better now than never. “’Kaa-san, I spoke with a Doctor Meioh today. She said something to me that I thought you might want to hear.”
Ikuko brought a cup of tea for her daughter and nodded. “What would that be?”
The girl took the cup and sighed. “She offered me a place at a school she runs. Free room and board, no tuition… she said I had earned a scholarship.” The last earned Usagi a skeptical look. After all, she had seen some of Usagi’s tests. “I’m serious, okaa-san. She really wanted me to be there. And I think I want to be too,” she said with a sip of her tea.
“I’ll talk with your father about it when he gets home.” Ikuko took the empty cup and went to the kitchen while Usagi crawled into bed.
Said bed, however, seemed to be occupied by a small, familiar, black cat. “Hello…”
Usagi would have been startled, but hearing the cat in her mind prepared her for the shock for the most part. “Never known a cat to talk either… who or what are you?” She asked as she sat heavily on the bed.
“My name is Luna,” the cat replied, “and I’ve come to give you something that belongs to you.”
Usagi raised an eyebrow. “Belongs to me?”
The cat performed an aerobatic back flip, leaving a small broach in its wake. Usagi stepped toward the broach, examining it thoughtfully. “Curious. A little fancy.” She remarked as she examined it cautiously. “What is it for?”
Luna looked at the girl and replied, “It will give you the power of Sailor Moon.”
Usagi paused. “More power?” She asked, hesitant.
Luna looked confused. “What do you mean?”
The girl sat heavily
on the bed, staring at the broach. “I’ve enough problems with powers I can’t
control, I’m not sure I can handle more.”
Luna didn’t understand but said, “You will have all the control you need over these powers. It will also keep you from being recognized. Just speak the words Moon Prism Power – Make Up.”
Usagi repeated the words, and with a flare of light, the girl began to change, power and strength filling her body. As she stood, she gazed down at her body and made a slight expression of distaste. “Can’t we do anything about this suit?” She replied, and then paused, head snapping up as a voice called in the distance. Not one in her head, but one she could actually hear. “What the hell?”
Luna looked at Sailor Moon. “What is it?”
The newly resurrected Sailor Moon leapt from the window, taking to the rooftops. Luna never got a reply as she stared at the airborne senshi.
Osaka Naru was scared out of her wits. This is quite understandable, however. Watching one’s mother turn into a demented, psychotic hag would do that to someone. Watching said hag draining people of their lives only reinforced the sheer gut-churning terror. Her throat was raw from the screams, yet she found herself still trying.
“Don’t worry, child. You’ll be joining your mother soon enough.” The creature hissed as she continued to drain those about her.
With the sound of shattering glass, a figure hurtled through the window, staring down at the being and the people upon the ground. “Back off, ugly.” The figure drifted to the ground slowly, glowing softly as she landed on her feet.
“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” The youma snarled as she stood straight.
“Call me Sailor Moon. Call me cranky, too. I’m going to take you down.” The figure said as she stepped forward, gloved fists clenched. “I’ve got a headache, I’m tired, and ticked. You figure it out.”
The youma sneered. “Then sleep permanently.” With that, the drained beings slowly got to their feet, starting toward the oddly dressed heroine. Sailor Moon lashed out at one of the ‘zombies’ with a badly made punch. The man yelped and clutched his face.
(Oh no… they’re still alive and normal people… What do I do?) the warrior thought to herself as she backed away from the milling people, until an object plunged into the concrete right in front of the creature, startling it out of its control.
“Do not give up hope, Sailor Moon! You can win the day!” A figure in a tuxedo spoke out from the window she had burst through herself.
Sailor Moon frowned as she backed away from the creatures. “Don’t see you doing much…” She muttered, and then growled… this had two effects. The two jewels in her hair amplified the enraged sound to almost stunning proportions. That was the lesser of the two effects… the greater was that the ‘zombies’ near her were slammed backwards violently, hurling them against counters, cases and walls.
The youma stared in disbelief, as a winded Luna yelled at Sailor Moon. With a flourish, she grasped the tiara from her brow and hurled it, the metal incandescing as it tore a gash through the center of the being’s body, causing it to collapse, turning into sodden dust before it could hit the ground.
The warrior looked up toward the window she emerged, but the tuxedoed man was no where to be found. The girl sighed and shook her head, taking the cat up gently and drifting up toward the window, not even noticing the cat’s utter astonishment at the feat.
Setsuna stared at her staff, which lay in her lap as she sat in her bed. She reached over to the phone just as it rang and answered. “Tsukino-san?”
“How did you know it was me?” Usagi asked from the other side of the phone.
“You were the only one I expected to call,” She said and smiled a bit. “I am guessing you want to accept my offer?”
“When can I start?”
“I can transfer you tomorrow night.” Setsuna replied.
“Alright. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Sleep well, Tsukino-san.”
Usagi hang up the phone and sighed, sagging back at her bed, looking at the broach. “I hope I made the right decision,” she said to herself. She fingered the piece of jewelry thoughtfully, examining it.
Luna moved to sit down on her stomach. “So what did you think?” the cat asked, curiously.
Usagi looked up. “It… now that I think of it, it was quiet. I couldn’t hear the voices so much.”
Luna looked confused and more than a bit concerned. “Voices?”
Usagi nodded. (Like this…)
Luna fell off of Usagi and almost fell off the bed. “How did you do that?”
Usagi closed her eyes. “I’ve heard the voices for almost two years… They’re always there.” She admits softly. “I don’t know why, but I can hear people think. I can also move some things too.”
Luna stared. “I see…” The cat sat down, rattled.
Usagi shook her head. “Good night, Luna.”
“Good night, Usagi…”
Usagi stepped out of the office, sighing a little in relief, right behind Meioh-sensei, as the two began to leave the school. “I’m glad that’s over… I thought they’d never stop asking questions.” She says with a sour face.
Setsuna nodded softly. “The van should be here in a few moments.” She replied as she turned about to face Usagi. “I’m sure you’ll do quite well at the Institute.”
“The Meioh Institute for Special Students. Sounds like it’ll be worth it.” Usagi remarked as she rubbed at her temples.
(I think we should start our first lesson, Tsukino-san. Shielding will help you very much.) Setsuna said sympathetically.
(Shielding? You mean I can keep the voices out?) the younger girl asked, a tremendous note of hope in her tone.
(Indeed, dear. There is another advantage to the Institute as well. All quarters are shielded sufficiently, so only an intentional sending can be heard.) Setsuna said, smiling gently as she saw Usagi’s expression of intense surprise and happiness, almost to the point of tears. “Here we are,” Setsuna said aloud as she wheeled up to the van, which opened up to a lift, allowing Setsuna to access the vehicle. Usagi’s parents were already in the vehicle, wanting to see the school for themselves. After an hour and a half’s drive, they approached the mansion. The Tsukino family was stunned at seeing the immense building.
“How could you afford this?” Kenji said, shocked. “The land price alone…”
“Was provided by grants by former and current students and families.” Setsuna finished the sentence. “As were the building materials and manpower.”
The Tsukino adults looked suitably impressed, but Usagi was not listening. Or rather, she was not listing to the voices audible to the human ear. (So, sensei, are all of the students…)
Setsuna continued to expound on the virtues of the campus as she replied to Usagi mentally. (Yes, Usagi-san. They are mutants, like us,) she replied. (Each of them, like you, is struggling to control their abilities.)
Usagi smiled as she sat back in her seat, relaxing a bit. (So, how does one shield?)
The tour of the mansion continued, but Usagi barely noticed it as she continued her conversation with Dr. Meioh. (I didn’t realize it was as simple as that,) Usagi admitted as the voices, save Setsuna’s, were muffled to near silence.
Setsuna continued to describe the facilities to Kenji and Ikuko as she replied to Usagi. (All it takes is focus. If you need to, imagine the wall thicker. Of course, all the quarters are heavily shielded, so that you can relax.)
Usagi smiled to her parents as they listened, bewildered, to the woman. It was at about that time that a slight chime was heard, and children begin to file out of rooms, chattering with one another. None of them wore uniforms, but rather, all of them were casually dressed. There were also a proportionally large portion of foreigners among the students.
“So, Doctor, you teach non-Japanese students as well?” Kenji asked, curious.
Setsuna nodded as she
wheeled her chair around. “Yes.
Ikuko looked impressed as she responded, “That would be wonderful, to have Usagi-chan able to interact with students from all over the world.” Ikuko then looked to Usagi. “Perhaps they can even help her get her grades up.” Usagi hid a look of mild irritation.
Dr. Meioh concluded the tour fifteen minutes later, and then, after a tearful goodbye, Usagi was left alone with Setsuna as her parents were driven back to Juuban. “So, Usagi, shall we meet some of the other students, perhaps?” She offered as Usagi was led toward one of the common rooms.
There were several younger people relaxing in the common room. All in all a rather relaxing scene, or so it seemed to Usagi at first. She then began to realize what was strange about the scene. In one corner, a bluish-black haired girl was studying a book, and every so often, took a drink from a glass. After a moment, she placed a finger to the drink, and to Usagi’s shock, saw ice crystals forming on the top. Another darkhaired girl sat back in a corner, relaxing, and running her fingers over the pages of a book. As Usagi took another look, she noticed that the girl wore a cloth over her eyes. Yet another seemed to be sketching a potted plant while sipping some water. “Usagi, these are some of the other students. Mizuno Ami, Hino Rei, and Sakura Kikyo. Everyone, this is our new student, Tsukino Usagi.” Everyone waved in her direction. Well, Rei tried, but waved off to the side. “Ami and Kikyo have been here since the school started, while Rei just arrived a few days ago herself.”
Dr. Meioh looked toward the blindfolded girl. “That reminds me, Rei, we do need to continue those tests.” The girl nodded and stood, adjusting her hakama. As she stood, Usagi noticed the girl’s clothing almost seemed like a priestess or the like.
“Anyway, Usagi, Ami will be able to help you to your room. Please get to know everyone, Usagi, and make yourself to your new home,” the doctor said, as she wheeled off, leading Rei onward.